Friday, April 6, 2012

Green Tea, Aroshka, Books, TV

Arosha on his car.I think about writing something about everyday things quite often, but keep putting it off. I guess if there was something grand to talk about, it’ll be easy to come up with the words, but my life at this point is pretty ordinary. And you know what, this is a good thing!

Nonetheless, here are some things I want to jot down.

Green Tea and Milk


Japanese green tea.When we were in Japan I realized that I am quite in love with green tea. I drank it in huge quantities there, and ever since returning home I consume about one and a half liters (or more) of this fabulous drink per day. I used to drink all my teas with milk (yes, ALL gazillion billion kinds of them) because to me they tasted too watery and flavorless without dairy. Japan changed this, and I am quite happy about this development. I went from consuming 1 gallon of milk per week to about 1/4 gallon — I even stopped buying milk for myself, and just drink from Aroshka’s carton of whole organic milk. Aroshka is not big on milk drinking by the way. He gets some in his morning kasha and with his evening tea, but that’s about it (we’re talking about cow’s milk, not mine).

Green tea from Japan.I also realized that I like Japanese green tea in particular. I drink other kinds of green tea as well (jasmine, rose, pear flavored ones are among my favorite), but when I ran out of the teas that we brought from Japan, I knew I had to get more of them. Luckily, you can get almost anything with the help of the Internet nowadays. I ordered three different kinds of green tea from Hibiki-an, and 8 days later a package from Kyoto has arrived. All I want to say for now is that two teas that I’ve opened — Organic Gyokuro and Organic Genmaicha Matcha-iri — are excellent. I might write a bit more about the teas and my favorite tea-maker (Danya’s New Year present) in a separate post.

What I am also happy about is that Danya likes Japanese green tea as well. He prefers to drink black tea with lemon and sugar, but he drinks green tea straight up, which in my mind is an additional bonus (he really has a sweet tooth when it comes to drinks).

Arosha’s Crib Escape


A few days ago Arosha has figured how to climb out of his crib. Luckily, we saw it on a baby monitor, and were able to stop him from completing the grand escape unsupervised. Here is a short video of his technique.

I was afraid that unless we do something, he might hurt himself while climbing out. Our friends told us that they just forbade their daughter from climbing out and she listened. I doubt that this approach would have worked with Aroshka (he is not mature enough and is pretty stubborn). Some people put some sort of tent on top of a crib, and it prevents toddlers form climbing out. I am not ruling out this option yet. And some people just transfer their children to a toddler bed. We decided to go this route since our crib is convertible, and so far the first two nights were normal. We had some issues with nap the first day (he did not want to fall asleep and kept climbing out of the bed), but today he napped happily for 3 hours.

Arosha's converted crib.To be honest, I am much more concerned about Arosha’s transition from nursing-to-sleep (or almost sleep) to NOT nursing-to-sleep. This has been on my mind for at least a few months now, but I am still not sure how to best approach the transition. He just loves to nurse, and I don’t know how to help him to learn to fall asleep by himself. I hope that in the next few months he will become less and less attached to nursing (and by the way, I believe that my milk still has a lot of great stuff in it), and I’ve decided to wean him around his second birthday (I don’t think that he well give it up by himself).

Books


Book in Kindle.After reading a very favorable review of “The Magicians” by Lev Grossman, I’ve decided that I would enjoy it too. It was OK, and I even bought the sequel, but somehow I can’t bring myself to read more than a few pages of this book at a time. I am not sure why Grossman’s magical world did not suck me in, but the fact remains that I am not drawn to reading, so it’ll probably take me another month or two to finish “The Magician King”.

TV


We’re re-watching Star Trek: Enterprise now. We watched it over 5 years ago for the first time. Sadly, my opinion about the show did not change — it’s not bad, but it does not come close to other Star Treks either (we did not watch the Original Series, so I am not talking about them here). This show is not too engaging or thought-provoking, but it is relaxing nonetheless. Too bad I know that they’ll screw some characters at the end (we’re at the 3rd season right now).

Star Trek: Enterprise via Netflix.Sometimes, when we have dinner early, we watch “How I Met Your Mother” or “The Big Bang Theory” on TV. Those shows are pretty funny, and I usually enjoy watching them. We might watch them on DVD when they finish filming them.

What I would really like to watch is “Mad Men” or “Game of Thrones”. We watched the first four seasons of the “Mad Men” last year, and I really loved this show. I think we’ll hold off from watching the rest of the show until it is fully finished. As for the “Game of Thrones”, we did not watch a single episode, but we heard a lot of good things about it, so I have pretty high expectations. Since at the moment only one season is out, we’ll hold off watching this one for a while as well.

My Weight


I’ve mentioned before, but I’ve lost some weight since our Japan trip. I used to be around 172-175 lbs in November, and now it’s 158-160. I love being on a skinnier side of my weight spectrum — the clothes look better, and I feel more confident about myself overall (especially when I have a touch of make up and freshly washed hair). Yay to loosing all the baby weight and then some! I think that the weight loss is a combined effect of green tea drinking, overall healthy eating, running after Aroshka and breastfeeding. And I started to sleep more in the last 5-6 months, which is great too.

I think about having another baby pretty often. Not that we’re planning to yet, but it seems like every other girl I know is expecting. The news about future babies make me excited, but a tad jealous at the same time. Is there ever a good time to have a baby? Is it every easy?

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Арошка — 19 Месяцев

Arosha on a walk at Floyd Bennett Field.Я уже больше месяца ничего не писала про Арошку — даже очередной пост по поводу 19 месяцев пропустила так как мы как раз были в отпуске. А он развивается прямо на глазах.

С момента нашего приезда из отпуска у него появилось желание самому есть ложкой. Вот уже несколько дней кашу на завтрак он ест самостоятельно (что для меня является огромным облегчением, ибо раньше кашу он частенько есть оказывался вообще), а так же пробует есть ложкой обед и полдник. Он еще не определился с тем какой рукой ему удобнее, и время от времени перекладывает ложку то в правую, то в левую руку. Из кружек и стаканов он пьёт уже довольно прилично, и даже из моей огромной чайной чашки (конечно, если она не полная) у него получается пить хорошо.

Smile.Еще он начал лучше жевать — ему нравится самому откусывать яблоко или сладкий перец, а еще он любит орехи (пока мы давали ему орехи пекан, грецкие и кедровые). Правда, он частенько выплёвывает разжёванные яблоки, перцы и орехи, но кое-что иногда и глотает. Мне кажется, это происходит потому, что разжевать достаточно мелко он их не всегда может, а глотать большие куски, к счастью, у него никогда не было охоты. Ну а иногда он слишком сильно набивает себе рот, и тогда тоже всё выплёвывает.

Stone and sticks. There is nothing more amusing in the world.Еще Арошка каждый день всё больше и больше говорит двусложные слова. Из последнего:

доть (дождь)
и-ка (Лида)
ша-па (шапка)
ге-га (деда)
ка-па (пока)
у-ка (ухо/утка)
пай-на (пальма)
ма-на (манго)
дё-ма (идём)
та-у (устал/встал)
мой (домой)
мо-е (море)
сёк (сок)
э-ма (Элмо)
се-у (сел)
тюй (поцелуй)
Бой (Боря)

Ahoy! Any questions?А в Доминикане ему понравилось, хотя последние дни он время от времени просился домой. Само море его не особо впечатлило, но несколько раз он купался с Даней с большим удовольствием. К бассейну он тоже был довольно равнодушен, а вот пляжные души его совершенно покорили. Как только мы приходили утром на пляж, Арошка начинал свою песню: “дю-дю-дю-дю” (душ-душ-душ) или “па-дю-па-дю” (купаться под душем). За все 10 дней нашего прибывания на курорте я, кстати, не видела под душем ни одного карапуза Арошкиного возраста, что лишний раз доказывает какие разные всё же детки с самых младых ногтей.

At Floyd Bennett Field.Еще Арошке очень нравилась вечерная танцевальная программа для детей (дети разных возрастов танцевали на сцене с воспитательницей). Сперва он не решался подойти к остальным детям, но к концу отпуска выходил на середину сцены и даже немного танцевал. К сожалению, у него не было возможности посещать сие мероприятие каждый день из-за не совсем удачного для нас времени (слишком поздно вечером).

А еще Арошка полюбил мультик про Машу и Медведя. Мы смотрим 2-3 серии почти каждый день, благо они легкодоступны на YouTube. Он даже начал иногда смеяться как мультяшная Маша (причём он именно осознанно пытается её пародировать) — тоненько и с подвизгиванием.

Spoons are also fun.А еще Арошка обожает мне помогать заваривать чай. Каждое утро после питья молока он бежит на кухню со словами “тяй-тяй” (чай). Я даю ему специальную ложку, и с её помощью он пересыпает нужное количество чайных листьев в заварник. Как правило часть заварки оказывается на полу, но это ерунда. Потом я закрываю ситечко крышкой, и он его какое-то время держит, наслаждаясь то запахом чая, то шелестом, которые издают листья когда Арошка трясёт ситечко. Ну а потом я наливаю в графин с фильтром свежей воды (так как всю отфильтрованную воду я выливаю в чайник), а Арошка следит за процессом фильтрации (он то открывает крышку, то дует на воду, то пытается усесться на графин). Частенько всё заканчивается тем, что мне приходится изгонять Арошку из кухни и вытирать разлитую на пол воду.

Ароша и Даниэла.Ну а Даниэлка по-прежнему остаётся его закадычной подружкой. Они с удовольствием играют вместе, и когда Арошка был в отпуске, она даже немного хандрила (может, конечно, это просто совпадение).
In: Family   Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Loose Leaf Teas

Our tea collection.My newest obsession is tea! I wanted to get into the habit of drinking good teas for a while now (Danya even bought me a tea pincer over a year ago), but I tried to stay off caffeine during pregnancy, and right after Aroshka was born I did not have time for anything for a few months, so it got put off some more.

When my mom was visiting, we finished off my bagged tea supply and decided to give loose teas a try. I’ve asked around, and my friends have recommended 4 websites: Davids Tea, Adagio Teas, Mighty Leaf and The Republic of Tea. So far I have only tried ordering from the first two, but I will definitely get to the other two at some point as well!

Brewing the teas.I started with Davids Tea, a Canadian company, which was recommended to me by Vicky. I am very impressed with the quality of teas, the variety of teas, the speed of delivery (especially considering it’s international) and the excellent customer service!

I’ve tried a number of black, green and rooibos teas, and enjoyed the majority of them. I don’t think you can really go wrong ordering from them (although I personally did not like the taste of Detox Rooibos and Elf Help Green tea). Among my favorites are Zing Me (black with ginger, peach and apricot), Read My Lips (black with mint and chocolate), Cocomama Lime (black with lime and coconut), Three Wishes (mix of black and green teas with jasmine and rosewater), Sencha Pear (self-explanatory), Coco Chai Rooibos. My mom fell in love with the Cinnamon Heart tea, and Danya prefers good old Earl Grey (I liked the vanilla variety of it — Cream of Earl Grey). I’ll definitely be ordering from this site again (it’ll be interesting to also try more expensive white and oolong tea varieties). Continue Reading
In: Food & Dining   Tags: , , ,
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Monday, March 21, 2011

BBQ Pork Ribs & Other Good Stuff

BBQ ribs.Last weekend was quite nice!

On Saturday, I’ve decided to try out a super-easy barbecue pork ribs recipe from Allrecipes.com. I thought — it sounds so simple and will be cheaper than going to the restaurant, plus we can invite Maruks over, get some beer, watch KVN and have lots of fun! ) Since it was on such a short notice, Maruks weren’t able to come, but Danya and I decided to proceed with the plan anyway. )

Preparing the ribs.So on Saturday afternoon, while Danya’s mom went for a walk with Aroshka, we went grocery shopping. By the way, our local Pathmark will be out of business in less than a month. We don’t shop there often, but it’s still nice to have an option. I am holding fingers for the Whole Foods, although it is probably not very likely.

I am slightly annoyed by the Pathmark — they declared a store-wide 10%-40% sale, but they canceled all regular sales, so a lot of stuff that we buy comes out more expensive after this discount (for example, they always used to have some bread “on sale” for $2.99, but now they only give you 10% off the full price of $4.49, which brings the price down to $4.04 only).

BBQ ribs with french fires and corn. And beer.When cooking the ribs, I slightly modified the “just rub them in barbecue sauce” recipe. I rubbed them with paprika, onion and garlic powders and used half pork marinade and half barbecue sauce for rubbing. No extra salt was necessary. I marinated the ribs for 1.5 hours only, but baked them an hour longer than the original recipe calls for (3.5 hours total) in 300F oven. For the side, we used half-made stuff, which still comes out less expensive than the restaurant would have been (especially if you consider gas, tax and tip) — frozen french fries, pre-cut coleslaw (I just added some mayo, vinegar and sugar to it) and fresh corn (rubbed it with salt and butter, wrapped in foil and baked in the oven along with the french fries).

It all came out really nice, and was complemented greatly by the Blue Point blueberry ale. ) I drank probably half a bottle, so there was no need to discard any milk due to alcohol consumption. ) And KVN of course was as funny as ever! Too bad they only let 2 teams pass with each round of the 1/8 game.

Blueberry beer.The weather got much colder again, by the way. Truth to be told, I am relieved by this. I like springs and falls in NYC, but summers get really nasty really fast. So thank you, but no thank you — let me enjoy the cooler days for a short while longer. )

On Sunday Danya and I went for a walk with Aroshka — I properly enjoyed it. ) Later in the day we celebrated Sasha’s 30th birthday at his parents. His mom prepared a delicious dinner and made a collage of Sasha’s pictures at different ages (the guests were supposed to guess how old he was on each one). It was a nice, nice celebration. Originally we planned to take Aroshka with us, but he was a bit fussy, so we left him at home with Danya’s mom. I half regret not taking him (since I like showing him off to people, ha-ha), but I realize that I was able to relax much better without a fussy, wiggly infant on my lap. )

Alёna near Sheepshead Bay Canal.And in the evening we got a short visit from Maruks. We just drank some beer and tea (I recently ordered a whole bunch of nice teas from DavidsTea Company), and chatted about little stuff. Just like old times — well, maybe with the exception of some topics like baby poop, baby sleep, traveling with babies, etc. )

And I want to finish my post on an unrelated topic. We are all very sad about what is happening in Japan. As a person who grew up in a country which got about 60% of Chernobyl fall out, I am much more scared of radiation than of earthquakes and tsunamis (although those are very devastating too). ( Please donate if you can (all major consumer sites have donation links) — every little bit counts!

Sheepshead Bay canal.
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