Sunday, March 31, 2013

Baby Food

Written several days ago:

Can I just take a moment to have a brief pity party?

After months of questions about when I would come to Winnipeg (the coldest city with a population over 500,000...also the city I grew up in), I finally caved.  R was planning to be out of town for work, so I decided to take E to go meet the rest of my side of the family.

Six days seemed like more than enough time to spend here in the winter.  Until...I got an ear infection that wouldn't go away.

Fast forward two and a half weeks and, we're still here.

Why do people subject themselves to this weather?!?  It was -27 Celsius for most of this week.  Not pleasant.  I spent last night with a large warmed up grain bag on me.

I finally got the okay to fly home.  But, since we're just a couple of days before Passover, I'm sticking around until after the first seder.

Written last week:

I'm back in Ottawa!  I still can't hear well out of one ear.  But, I'm happy to be home and happy that family got to spend a lot of time with E.

We spent the first seder in Winnipeg.  Thankfully, my dad (who usually likes to draw out the seder with "teachable moments") did the expedited version.   We all got a kick out of E finding the Afikoman.

One thing that really helped for our trip was having some homemade preserved apple sauce that I could use in a pinch.  I haven't been married to any one approach to feeding E solid food.  Sometimes I give her purees and sometimes I go with a more baby-led approach.  She loves putting inedible things in her mouth...but isn't much for actually putting the food in her mouth.  She'll usually have a couple of small bites of food and then lose interest.  

But, apple sauce seems to be one of her preferred foods.  

A couple of days before leaving, I made apple sauce out of a three pound bag of Granny Smith apples.

My goal was to freeze a ice cube tray's worth and can the rest.

I kept the ingredients simple -- the peeled and cored apples were boiled with about half a cup of water and a cinnamon stick.

After about 15 minutes on a light boil, it was pretty sauce-like already.  But I blended it with an immersion blender.

I got an ice cube tray

and six 125 ml. jars.

Next I'm going to make some pear sauce.

Below are some of the other purees I've made (carrots, leak and potato soup and squash soup):


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Las Vegas, Nevada

R and I used to debate over whether our travelling days would be over once we had a kid.  He thought they would be and I didn't.  But, we grew up differently in that regard -- his family would use any free time to go to their farm. My family travelled more, even if it was nearby. So, although it is more challenging being away from home with a baby, I'm not ready for our travelling days to be over.  Plus, it's hard to resist taking advantage of babies under two being able to fly for free.  

We decided that E and I would accompany R on a work trip to Las Vegas.  I had never been and it was just a quick flight from LA.  

I can see how going to Las Vegas could be very expensive.  There are a tonne of ways to spend money there (expensive restaurants, designer stores, shows and, of course, gambling).  But, if you want to make sure you don't spend too much money in Vegas, take a baby.  We spent most of our time walking the strip, which is deceiving long, and going through the maze of hotels.    

Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino:

Lobby at the Bellagio:

Fountains at the Bellagio

The show at Treasure Island

Caesar's Palace

Forum at Caesar's Palace

Inside the Venetian

The Mirage

New York Hotel and Casino

Inside the M&M store

I would have loved to try out some of the big name restaurants.  But, I feel nervous about bringing E to a fancy restaurant, even though most of the noises she makes are happy noises.  So, we usually opt for somewhere loud, where noise from a baby won't make a dent.  We went to Burgr, one of three of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants in Vegas.  Having your name attached to three restaurants in Las Vegas seems like overkill to me.  But, why say no if it brings in money without requiring much in return?  

Overall, the burgers and fries were good, but overpriced.  The most memorable parts were the cut of the fries (rectangular), the use of iPads to show menu items and the poor waitresses that have to wear the most uncomfortable uniform ever.  There's no way they could hire an average-sized woman to work there.

Aside from that, we also ate at the buffet at the hotel we stayed at, Treasure Island.  By the time R got back from working, we didn't have a lot of time to go out before E's bedtime.  I was hoping that the buffet would be like the images you often see of Vegas buffets, with seafood, fresh assortments of everything, beautifully set up, etc.  Although you won't leave hungry, this buffet would rate around average in any city.  The last night we went to Pho, also at TI.  The food was pretty good.  Though you pay about double what it costs to get pho at a Vietnamese restaurant.  But, the service was off.  I was annoyed when the person who replaced our server (who went home) brought our food and seconds later brought the bill.  Okay...I guess that means that dessert is out of the question. Then, we never saw the server again.  We waited for a long time to pay, which is annoying when you have a baby that is ready to call it a night. StumbleUpon

Saturday, March 2, 2013

San Diego, California

Before leaving for LA, my friend mentioned something about Americans loving babies.  I kind of sloughed it off...until I experienced it for myself.  Here in Canada, you may get the occasional comment about having a cute baby or someone may smile or wave shyly at your baby.  I've never had so many people comment on E, talk to her, try to touch her, etc. as I did in my 5 weeks in the States. Has anyone else noticed this difference?

During our time in the States, R had to attend a trade show.  As luck should have it, my stepmom was planning to be in San Diego for a vacation at the same time that R was going to be away.  I couldn't turn down an opportunity to visit San Diego, not be by myself and take E to visit Baba.  

We arrived in the evening, so it wasn't until morning that I really got to appreciate the amazing view of Pacific Beach and the ocean from our living room.  It took me a while to figure out what I was seeing popping out of the water: dolphins!  

Later in the day, we walked around Old Town, which is considered the "birthplace of California."  There are a number of restaurant, museums, tourists shops, etc.

On the second day, we took the Old Town Trolley Tour, which takes you to many of the tourist destinations.  The experience actually surpassed my expectations.  Since it's a hop-on/hop-off trolley, we had several different drivers, all of which were personable and helpful.  We got off at The Gaslamp Quarter and in Coronado.  I wish I had more time to explore all of the stops.   

The above picture is of Hotel del Coronado. The adjacent beach has been voted one of the nicest beaches in the USA.  The weather was so beautiful.  It occurred to me, as we were sitting outside of the hotel, that it was the first time E had ever touched grass.  At home, you'd have to dig a meter deep in snow to even see something that resembles grass.

On our last full day in San Diego, we went to the zoo.  It's known as being one of the nicest zoos in the world, so I had to check it out!  Aside from it being Martin Luther King Jr. Day and, what seemed like,  the busiest day of the year, I really enjoyed the zoo.  I think we only got through about 2/3 of it.  In addition to it being a massive zoo with a huge variety of exhibits, they do a great job of landscaping between exhibits.

I'm looking forward to going back to the zoo with E when she's a bit older.  At this point, she is more captivated by sounds, lights and people than animals.

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