Saturday, April 30, 2011

India: Baby Goats and a Train

We spent most of our time in Kerala with Mom's side of the family but we did have a nice little visit with Dad's side on one afternoon.  Mary Auntie served us the usual tea and cake but she also made up this scrumptious snack - I wish I could remember the name.  She made a batter that cooked into some sort of pancake/burrito and then filled it with a sweet filling.  Coconut and jaggery and some spices.  Also served was a cool drink, two different types of bananas and some papaya. 


We got to visit with Biju's grandfather, along with some other aunts and uncles and cousins. 


The family had some baby goats that were just 2 weeks old.  As you can imagine, that was a big hit with the boys!  Bino Uncle had taken his camera (my second set of batteries were dead by this point) so got some great shots. There were several, so I'll try to limit my choices to share with you.




We then took a walk.  We crossed some railroad tracks (the same ones we would later be traveling on as we headed back to Bangalore), peeked into a little creek, then came back to the tracks to watch a train pass.  It was pretty sunny/hot so we walked along with umbrellas.  I also got to use Bino's camera for the first time! 


Waiting for the train to come.  (I actually have a great photo of the train passing by but Blogger won't let me upload it.  So sad.)

Our attempt at a family photo.  Bino took several shots and this was the best we could do.

The big boys gave the little boys a ride back up the steep hill.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter!

This post is a few days later than what I would've liked, but better late than never.  I'm just going to wrap all of our Easter activities into one post - which means this will be a bit photo heavy.

Friday, since Ajay didn't have school, we colored some eggs.  Getting all set up, all decked out in stained clothes so as not to ruin the good stuff!
Pretty egg-dye colors.
Putting the finishing touches on the eggs.

Adding a little glue.

Monster Eggs!!  (Orange Hair Brothers with mustaches are from Ajay,  Yellow-Hair from Alex.)
On to the Easter Party sponsored by Biju's company employee club (on Saturday).   First up - Balloon swords!

The boys played many games and jumped in some bounce-houses. 

Alex did his "candy hunt" w/ the 3 and under set. 

Whoa, wait, did I just pass something good??  (The candy wasn't in eggs, just tossed out into the grass to collect.)

The boys grabbed a ton of candy - so I guess Biju and I will have to help eat it!!
On Easter Sunday the boys woke to this.  And how nice of the Easter Bunny to bring a basket for Mommy and Daddy - this way we don't have to raid the boys' buckets!  (Those gloves are great starter-gloves - they have velcro on them and the balls are soft.  They are really enjoying playing catch.)

Ajay, thrilled that Daddy put gel in his hair, ready for church.

Alex wanted his hair gelled, too! 

Aww, best buds.

The family photo taken after church.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Recipe Wednesday - Patio Weed Killer

Not a food, but hopefully you'll find some great use for this "recipe" !!! 

When we moved into our house the previous owner's daughter gave us a great tip.  Use vinegar to kill the weeds on the patio.  She gave us this tip because, at the time, our little Ajay was about to celebrate his 1st birthday and she figured we wouldn't want chemicals where he would be playing.  Ain't that the truth!

So here is what I do. 

At the start of spring I put on some junky old clothes and have a seat (criss-cross-applesauce style) on our back patio - which is made of brick.  I put on my gardening gloves and pull out the weeds that have grown in.  I then take a squirt bottle filled with white vinegar and spray in the cracks.  (I use the stream nozzle, not the fan-out nozzle.)  I'm generous without being wasteful.  I do it a few squares at a time.  I've learned to make a mark of some sort (the kids' chalk works great for this) so I know where I left off and don't re-spray.  (Ideally, if you don't finish this project in one sitting, then you can get back out there and finish up before the rain washes the chalk line away!)  This treatment usually lasts a few weeks to a month, depending on how much vinegar you use and how much it rains.  Would work great for the sidewalk or driveway, too.

Super simple, cheap, healthy. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

India: Sugar Cane

This is actually a post that should have been put up 2 years ago but never was.  So I figured since I posted about Jack Fruit on Tuesday, I'd post about Sugar Cane today!

Biju noticed the cart coming down the street with the sugar cane.  This was obviously not something seen everyday so he wanted to be sure we all got to try some!

Biju grabbed Ajay and went downstairs with Mom to pick out which cane we wanted.  You see the long canes?  Those are the "full" pieces.  All those shorter pieces are the stems and other discarded scraps.

Ajay enjoyed munching on some popcorn while Echachan peeled the cane.

Here is the cane stripped down.

Chopping it into tiny pieces to chew on.

You chew on the pieces to get the juice out then spit the rest.  Even Alex, at almost 11 mo. in this pic, enjoyed a little taste.  I was afraid of getting splinters in my mouth but never did.  It was a very odd feeling.  If you ever get the chance to try sugar cane, do!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Recipe Wednesday - Yogurt Jello

Super simple dessert to whip up.  Serves 4. 

1 pkg. (3oz) flavored Jell-o
1 cup boiling water
1 6-oz. container yogurt

In a medium bowl, combine the Jell-o powder with the boiling water and stir to dissolve.  Add in the yogurt and stir until all blended together.  (If you want a full 2 cups, either use 8oz yogurt, or perhaps add 2oz. of cold water to the mix.  I've only tried this recipe once and did it this way to see if the mixture would even gel - it did!)  Put into the fridge until it is set. 
You choose whatever flavors you think will go nicely.  For my experiment I used peach Jello and peach yogurt.  I'm looking forward to trying other flavor combinations!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

India: Jack Fruit

Have you ever seen a jack fruit?  Those bad boys are huge.  They grow in our family's backyard (and all over India) so one day, Great Grandma got out the knife and hacked one down.  Here are some photos of how she cut it down, how they cut the fruit (along w/ a video), and how it was served.

Amachee tying the hooked knife to a very long stick.  Ajay very interested in what is going on.


Reaching up to cut the jack fruit down.  It made a *thunk* sound as it landed.

See how big that thing is??

The white stuff on the stem is a sticky, glue-like substance secreted by the fruit.
video

After Great-Amachee cut the main fruit into sections, Amachee and Echachan cut it into bite-sized pieces and took out the many seeds.

Part of the jack fruit was cooked up that day.  The other part was left to ripen a day and we ate it plain.  I tasted it the first day and couldn't believe it was the same fruit the second day.  First day didn't have much flavor, second day was quite tasty!

It may not look very appetizing but this jack-fruit mixture along with a beef-curry (with big chunks of coconut) was DELISH!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

35 Weeks!

Wahoo!!  Getting closer and closer to meeting our lil feller.  Funnily enough, that means that today at 35 weeks past I have 35 days left to go!

I'm still trying to limit my activities.  I skipped the zoo on Saturday and actually ended up with a postponed Norwex party, also (the hostess' son split his head open so they had to go to the ER - go figure!), so I was able to get a lot of bum-around time in.  We did go to the cheap-movie theatre to take in Gnomio and Juliet - which we actually got to see for free because of the company employee program Biju belongs to.  And while we're talking about free, the zoo was free because it was a family day sponsored by the Parents As Teachers group - so yay for not having to pay much for a day full of fun! 

Sunday we went to church and then went to get our hair cut.  Some people in this family were gettin' perty shaggy!  In fact, aside from butchering my own bangs from time to time, I can't even tell you when the last time was that I had mine trimmed!  I feel much better having that taken care of before the little guy gets here. Sunday afternoon the boys played outside quite a bit then came in and played chess with Daddy.  Alex got bored with watching so he sat and "chalked" on the front porch while I started a new crochet project.  This time I'm working on a wool diaper cover.  I picked up some Paton's Classic Wool last fall that was on super-sale - we're talking about paying less than a dollar for a skein when it normally costs around $6 each!  (Yeah, I picked up 4 skeins!)

Despite not doing much I still had quite a few Braxton-Hicks over the weekend.  A couple different times I noticed they were coming 10 minutes apart.  But since they weren't painful and didn't last very long, I decided to ignore them.  

Here is my tummy as of this morning:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Aww, baby stuff!

I've been busy making a couple of items for our little guy to wear once he gets here.  It has taken awhile but I'm pleased with the outcome.  I made a sleep sack and a hat


The sleep sack.

The hat - I'm hoping it will fit on day one. 

I love the soft feel of this yarn (Baby Bernat) and the texture the pattern used.

Pokin' my tummy out at 34+ weeks!
We actually went to the Labor & Delivery section of our hospital on Tuesday of this week because I was having too many "practice contractions" in an hour.  We were monitored and checked (1 cm) and sent home after a few hours.  I then started having painful contractions that were every 3-4 minutes apart for an hour and a half!!  We were making plans to go back to the hospital when the Tylenol I took started to take effect.  They spread back out, thankfully, and I made it through the night without too many more.  My OB has advised me that I limit my activities, so Biju and the boys will be going to the zoo without me tomorrow.  I'm sad to miss this outing but I think it will be a great father-son(s) bonding event.  Lil Guy needs to stay safely tucked in for at least 2-3 more weeks! 

Friday, April 8, 2011

India: Water Wells & Chickens

I know I dropped a picture-bomb on you yesterday so I should warn you - today's post is a bit picture heavy, too.  I hope you don't mind!!  It is just so hard for me to filter out pics when each one seems to say so much. 

As mentioned in a previous post, you never really know who Alex is going to take to.  He took to George Uncle right away but he pretty much shied away from everyone else.  Mainly the women.  The funny thing is that Ajay did this exact thing when he was younger.  He wouldn't go to many women.  It drove Nana and the aunts crazy that he wouldn't have anything to do with them but he would go directly to Papa and the uncles!

Since Alex wouldn't go to anyone other than a select few, Biju's grandmother was over the moon when he let her pick him up just so he could look down inside the water well!  The boys got a kick out of looking down the well and helping to bring the bucket up.  (Just so you know, they don't use the bucket for most things.  The well is connected to a pump so the house has direct access.)

I didn't get a shot of Great-Grandma holding Alex by the well but he let her continue to carry him for a little while longer.  She took him over to look at the motorcycle since she knew that was a point of interest for him.


I love this shot - not only did I get Alex bonding with Amachee but you can see Biju showing Ajay the well in the background.

Puuuuullllllllll!

Take it out, look at it, pour it back in.  You can see the net they use to cover the opening.  This allows access to the well in addition to rainwater to go in yet keeps the leaves and bugs out.
After experimenting with the well they got to experiment with some of the chickens around the place!

There are quite a few chickens around the house but only two of them sleep on the "back porch." They are the most gentle hens, and they are the ones Annyamma (spelling??) Auntie and George Uncle offered to the boys to pet.

As you might guess the boys were a bit timid.


George Uncle even hid this hens head so Ajay would feel more comfortable petting her - knowing she couldn't peck at him.

You look so comfortable with them, Biju, do you want to get some of your own??

Getting bolder and bolder....

Aha!  You're holding it!!