Thursday, February 11, 2010

Zach's 6 months old! (aka One Big Catchup)

Zach is half a year old, I can't believe it! The biggest change, by far, has been his mobility. He's now a full fledged crawler and he's getting to be really fast at it, too. I used to set him down on the floor by the desk and let him play with a couple toys while I worked on emails, pictures and such, but no more! My friend, Sally, documents weeks at a time rather than single events, and I think I'll be giving that a try in order to better keep up with what's going on. We shall see . . .

Besides crawling and being a general wiggle worm, what has Zach been up to? Well, he's down to 2 naps a day, sleeping from 10-12 and 2-5, generally and that's been a pleasant change. It has made it harder to get out of the house, though. When he was taking 3 naps, if he got a truncated nap or missed one all together it didn't seem to be as big of a deal where as now, missing a nap means missing HALF of his daytime sleep! But on the flip side, he's been fairly consistent with those naptimes and I have HUGE chunks of the day to get stuff done around the house. It's also wonderful having long stretches between feeding times for when we do get out or if I'm able to have someone watch him while I get out baby free.

Solid foods have been going very well. He has quite the variety built up now (since we waited about 4 days between introducing each new food). Avocado, sweet potatoes, bananas, butternut squash, acorn squash, peas, carrots, peaches, and apples. It's been fun to see his reaction to each one! Applesauce is definitely his favorite and peas his least liked. But that could have something to do with how dried out the peas were due to my poor cooking of them . . . hmmm. I haven't fed him anything out of a jar yet (with the exception of the applesauce. I just buy the regular unsweetened applesauce from the "normal food" aisle at Walmart and it's been just fine) and making the baby food has been so easy and so inexpensive. I figure that I do my best to make nutritious and fresh meals for Greg and I, why would I do anything else for Zach? And the cheapness factor completely won me over! I've been using this great website as a source for instructions and recipe ideas when we get to blending foods together.

Now for some pictures!

He's quite adept at sucking his toes!

And loves to read, especially the cloth books from Grandma Nancy, because he can hold them himself (we don't let him hold the paper books because they all go straight to his mouth!)
We enjoyed a visit from Aunt Leah, we yard sale-d and shopped Ikea . . . Zach was content to play in his stroller or slept the whole time we were out!

We got about 4 inches of snow! Nothing like our friends up north, but just the right amount for us. After 2 days of being trapped in the house because the roads were too icy to drive safely (and that was Mr. Pennsylvania who made that call!) I was so glad that we rarely see snow.

We had to put socks on his hands in lieu of gloves!

Starting good habits young, we brush Zach's 2 little teeth every night (that we remember). Normally we hold the brush, but I let him play with it last night after we were done with the real brushing.

Zach and Spartacus still get along, although we do have to watch out for Zach getting too rough with the dog. Spartacus does such a good job being gentle around the baby and not running off with Zach's toys, but Zach likes to play with the dog toys and has learned that if he yanks on Sparty's hair that he will run off and leave his toy behind . . . devious!
With crawling comes getting stuck! He was wimpering that he couldn't fit between the piano legs to get to his toy basket just beyond them. Then the camera came out and all was better.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sushi II

Dana - this one's for you!

I thought about documenting our process of making sushi as we went along, but seriously, can anyone do that better than the Pioneer Woman? Lucky for us, she has sushi 101 on her blog already! I read through it and those step by step directions were exactly what we did. Once we got our first "trial and error" rolls out of the way, we moved right along and had the following 4 done in less than 10 minutes.

The only thing that she doesn't include in her tutorial is how to make rice on the stove. I've heard that you really NEED a rice cooker in order to make rice properly, but I'm always hesitant to add an appliance or gadget to my tiny little kitchen that serves only 1 purpose if something I already have can do the same thing. Enter my 3 quart pot.

Our Sushi for Dummies cookbook assured us that we could get fine results cooking on the stove top, so we followed those steps and came out with PERFECT rice.

  • Selecting the rice - you need short or medium grain rice (the same as if you were using a rice cooker). Pretty much if you buy rice that's labeled "sushi rice" you're fine. (We found ours in the international aisle at Harris Teeter. I've heard you can get it cheaper from an Asian market.)
  • Decide how much rice you're going to cook. 2 level cups of uncooked rice produces 5-6 cups cooked rice which is enough for about 6 rolls. We made 3 cups and that was waaaay too much for just us.
  • Choose your pot. For 2 cups raw rice, use a 2-quart pot; 3 cups, a 3-quart pot, etc, etc.
  • Put the rice into the pot and rinse (cover the rice with cold water and gently swirl the rice around with your hand) several times until the water drains almost clear.
  • Soak the rice. For every cup of raw rice, add 1 cup of water. Set the pot aside and let soak for 30 minutes.
  • Cook the rice! Put a lid on the pot, place on medium heat and bring to a bowl. Once a boil is reached, turn down the heat and simmer for 15-20 min. After it simmers you'll "finish" the rice. Turn the heat down to it's lowest point for 5 minutes, then turn up the heat to the highest point for 7-10 SECONDS.
  • Turn off the heat and let the rice rest for 15 minutes.
  • Turn out the rice onto a cookie sheet, pour rice vinegar mixture over it (1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 Tablespoon sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt) and toss with a moistened wooden spoon while fanning the rice (we used a small plastic cutting board) until there is no more steam coming off the rice.
And that's it . . . it seems a little intense now that I've written it out. A rice cooker may be the way to go, but I love hands on cooking and thought that the whole process was really fun. Especially since it turned out well! If that's not you, the pioneer woman has another post detailing how to cook the rice perfectly in a rice cooker.

Let me know if you try sushi and how it turns out!

First Food

Soon after we returned from Deleware, we decided to start Zach on some real (not rice cereal) solids. Like I wrote earlier, we started rice cereal at 4 1/2 months because he was ready developmentally and had started waking up much earlier due to hunger. The rice cereal did the trick and added back a couple hours to his sleep! After a month of just rice cereal we chose avocado for his first fruit (it is a fruit, technically, isn't it?) really for no other reason then I love avocado and thought Zach would, too. I was right!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Greg and I have been fans of sushi for a long time. Armed with a sushi cookbook and tools Greg got me for Christmas and some encouragement from my friend about how easy it was, we made our first sushi. We did this while we were iced in and it sure was a nice way to break up the monotony!

Um, yes, we are pigs. I think that was 3 rolls a piece. Which ended up being too much, but Greg did say that it was the first time he was truly full after a sushi meal. Usually our wallets would keep him from eating to his hearts content.
Zach enjoyed it vicariously . . .

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The Rest of Christmas

In the days following Christmas, we spent a day with my family:

Mom and Dad hosted Mawmaw and Pawpaw, Chelle and Allie, Uncle Dave and family and us for a day of eating, exchanging presents and playing on the Wii! Allie and Chelle each got a Wii for Christmas and Chelle also got the Beatles Rock Band, and we put them to good use . . . they really kept us entertained the whole day. And it was super fun watching the adults (Even with a child, Greg and I aren't in that category yet at family functions) playing the guitar and drums. My favorite part of the day was when Mom and Chelle sang several duets with the Wii . . . I love their voices together!

The following Sunday, we loaded up the car and headed up to Maryland/Deleware to visit some of Greg's extended family. The first night we stayed with his Uncle Mike and Aunt Nicole and Zach got to meet Gigi (his great grandma Betty, Steve's mom). Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of any of our time in MD, I was snapping away with someone else's camera.

The next afternoon, we drove an hour and half longer and made it up to Bethany Beach, DE for dinner! We stayed with Nana and PopPop for 2 nights and had a wonderful time relaxing (and shopping at the Rehoboth Outlets - DE has no sales tax . . . quite a treat!) and watching Zach interact with everyone.

Zach made it very clear while we were there that he was ready to start on some solids. We had begun giving him rice cereal right after Thanksgiving (when he was about 4 1/2 months old) but this child (much like his daddy) loves to eat and the rice cereal just wasn't cutting it. This picture doesn't capture the full energy of the moment . . . he was lunging at that cheesecake with all his might!