Friday, April 1, 2011

Cruise Vacation

One of the photos of a cruise ship I found in my collection. Taken on Hawaii.Looks like we have our next vacation booked. We’ve done a lot of traveling, but we’ve never been on a cruise before. We were thinking of doing another road trip1, but after careful consideration decided that Arosha is going to be too little still for one of those.

Instead we’re going to Bermuda on Norwegian Gem, sailing directly from New York in June. We have booked a pair of adjacent staterooms2 with balconies on 9th deck — one for the 3 of us and another for my parents. We’ll see what cruising is all about. Hopefully it is a as much fun as everyone claims. Friends are welcome to join!

  1. A major Northwest road trip through Oregon and Washington is on our list for summer 2012 now. []
  2. Ours is costing us $3,085 for 7 days for the 3 of us. []
In: Travel   Tags: , , ,
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Friday, April 1, 2011

Sweet Potatoes Stew

Sweet Potatoes Stew.Last night I cooked African Potato Stew with Red Beans. The idea for this easy and quite delicious meal came from Jen Loves Kev blog. The funny thing is that I was drooling over Aroshka’s baked yams puree for a few days now, but did not know any good adult sweet potato recipes which both Danya and I can enjoy. ) So when I saw this stew, I jumped on it right away. )

Since neither one of us is vegetarian, I’ve added a chicken breast to the stew. I also added some cilantro which I think gave it a nice touch. I forgot to buy peanuts, so I skipped them.

Danya liked this stew too — I was afraid that he would not, since he is not a fan of sweet potatoes. I also offered some to d. Borya, who said it was not terrible, but probably not something he would want to eat again. ) To each his own I guess. Continue Reading
In: Food & Dining   Tags: , , , , , , ,
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Friday, April 1, 2011

Aroshka Update

Arosha after eating his lunch.I just wanted to make a quick post about Aroshka. He is one week short of 8 months today! ) He was such a good boy last night — woke up for the day at 6:55 (half an hour later than usually) and only woke up twice during the night! Believe it or not, for me it feels almost as good as sleeping through the night. ) I think when he will finally start sleeping uninterrupted for like 10 hours, I’ll be waking up every couple of hours out of habit. ) But I should not get ahead of myself here — he’ll probably be back on his regular schedule tonight.

Spends a lot of time in these positions now.He’s also developed a slightly different pattern of going to sleep in the last few days — he won’t fall asleep at the breast completely, and will cry and fuss for some time after I put him to his crib. It kind of makes me feel bad, but there is nothing I can do to prevent the crying — he cries at the breast, he cries if I try to rock him and he also cries if I just leave him be. ( Moving the bedtime will also not work since he shows all signs of being tired by the time he goes to bed. I simply don’t know what else to do. ( The good thing is that usually he cries no longer than 5 minutes at a time, but I still feel distressed at the sound of him crying.

Figuring out that he can move vertically too.He started to crawl a little better. Still very slow, and on short distances, but he is getting there! He also started to sit on his knees more and more. If before when he was waking up I used to find him on all fours, now I usually find him on his knees clutching the bars of his crib and trying to look out. So cute. )

Ooooh! Shiny!He’s gotten a bit worse with eating solids. Sometimes feeding him gets somewhat frustrating, but I guess I just have to keep offering different stuff. Aroshka tried blueberries, pears, cauliflower and green summer squash this week. He was OK with the sweeter stuff, but consistently spat out squash and cauliflower when I was offering them alone. So I mix and match stuff — buckwheat and blueberries, sweet potatoes and squash, cauliflower with apples, pears and cumin to name a few. We did not offer him any meat yet — I don’t see any reason to rush it.

"They are trying to feed me. Payback time!"It kind of goes without saying, but we love our little boy very much. It is a great joy to seem him growing, learning new things, figuring out the world around him. And when he laughs — oh boy, I forget about everything! )
In: Family   Tags: , , , , ,
Time: 21:42   Comments: 3 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cooking Together

Alёna and Arosha cooking.Aroshka and I cooked lagman today. Well, he was mostly observing, but I am sure he would have gladly participated if I only let him!

Still cooking.His presence made the cooking process more fun for me — I was narrating all my actions and singing songs along the way (Danya was watching him when I was cooking meat and onions though, since I did not want to accidentally touch the baby with dirty hands).

Lagman.Lagman came out well — the last time I cooked it, it was a bit too bland, so this time around I added lots of red pepper flakes, garlic and cumin. It was yum-yum spicy! I used a combination of Tatiana’s recipe which I previously posted on our blog and Mrs. Mansurov’s recipe which she posted on her blog with great pictures illustrating the process as always. I did not bother with hand-made noodles, but substituted with store-bought egg ones, and they were almost as good.

Local Toys "Я" Us.Yesterday we finally went to Toys “Я” Us and got a safety gate to separate the kitchen. Aroshka is not trying to get there yet, but I wanted to have everything in place by the time that he does. For some reason, we bought an extra-tall gate, so after Danya has installed it, we got slightly worried if Shublik will be able to get in and out of the kitchen.

Our new kitchen gates.Luckily, our cat is very agile and can jump over it with minimum effort. We keep the door open for now though — no point to go through the hustle of opening it every time we visit the kitchen. And yes — I go there pretty often, since I am one hungry breastfeeding woman! I just hope that when I am done nursing, my appetite will go back to normal. There is no way I can eat like that and not get fat (while not being Aroshka’s field kitchen at the same time).
In: Family, Food & Dining, Home Sweet Home   Tags: , , , , , ,
Time: 23:13   Comments: 7 Comments   Post a Comment  
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro Lens

Sigma 105mm EX DG Macro lens.I pulled out my old Sigma 105mm macro lens from my treasure chest — the only prime lens that I have at the moment — to remember what this lens is all about. Sadly it rarely gets any use. I don’t do any macro photography and this thing is capable of 1:1 reproduction.

UV filter degrades the quality.At first I tried taking a coupe of portrait shots and it really is not usable inside. 105mm is just too long. However a bigger problem was a lack of contrast or a visible haze. I didn’t figure it out until later, but the culprit turned out to be the UV filter on the lens. Moral of the story? Don’t put cheap glass on top of a lens — either buy the ones that are too expensive to make sense or don’t buy any at all.

Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.Overall the shots come out pretty sharp and the manual focus for macro shots works well as well. In the test shots that I took bokeh did look pleasant. Auto-focus itself is rather slow.

100% crop of 1:1 macro shot of 50mm marker. You can see it on the actual lens on the shot above.I should try to take it out more and try taking a couple of portraits shots outside. Maybe I’ll start using it more often.
In: Photography   Tags: , , , ,
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