real baby food.

dhara’s first official meal of gently mashed avocado

My little baby is growing up.  Her first tooth made it’s appearance last week.  It’s still in the crowning phase, but yep, it’s there.  Makes me sad.  This tooth signifies the next phase of life — solids.  I personally wanted to delay the introduction of solids to her, and keep her solely on breast milk, but my mom would never let me do that!  : )  So at 5.5 months, she had her first taste of avocado.

Greg purchased two of these wonderful wooden bowls from a yard sale before we were married.  He so proudly brought them to me the day after his purchase.  I just love the artist signature on the bottom.  After I found out I was pregnant, I went searching for these two bowls because I wanted something made of natural materials for the baby, and I knew these two would work out great as baby bowls.  Their size is just baby perfect.

I don’t know exactly why, but I have a small wooden spoon collection — had it since college.  There’s something so age-old about wooden cutlery and dishes that makes food tasty and wholesome.  I remember giving Greg a wooden spoon to carry around in his pocket during our college years.  He did so for quite a while.  Sometimes if you looked closely, you could see the handle sticking out of his pocket.  It was pretty darn cute.

But back to the topic at hand, so what has Dhara been eating?  I’ve been using two sources as references during this new adventure in first foods, Real Food for Mother and Baby, by Nina Planck and Super Baby Food, by Ruth Yaron.  Before reading Nina Planck’s great book, I probably would have given Dhara some baby cereal.  But, I read this interesting bit:

“Years ago, eating solids early in life was considered essential.  Among the principal beneficiaries of this philosophy were manufacturers of the baby cereal.  Bland and slightly sweet, cereal is easily ingested by a young baby who does not need to eat solid foods yet.  Nowadays, babies start on solids around six months, when they are ready to chew and are more coordinated, and by that point they have little interest in largely tasteless cereals.  Babies don’t need cereals.  Cereals are constipating and starchy.  An early emphasis on starch contributes to both a predilection for white foods (rice, potatoes, etc.) and the acquisition of a sweet tooth later on.”

Love this book.  It makes so much sense.


and more beets

creamy cottage cheese and banana

deliciously ripe mangoes

avocado, and sometimes with a dollop of plain yogurt

sweet potatoes with a small pad of homemade butter

she loves a bottle of freshly blended, cold, refreshing watermelon juice. the coldness probably feels good on her sore gums too.

As you can see, this little one is growing in leaps and bounds!  She’s not a big solid food eater, but she loves to try various foods and feel the different textures in her mouth.  After four to five baby spoon fulls, she’s done.  The past few nights have been hard for her because of the emergence of her new tooth.  She ran a small temperature and has cried off and on during the night.  Hopefully it’ll be all over soon.  And then onto more solids.

Next up for this little one, I’d like to introduce meats, fish, lightly cooked egg yolk, and cod liver oil.    

featured II.

Ooooolala.  Dhara’s strawberry cake from her birthday party is being featured on the design blog, You Are My Fave!  You Are My Fave is one of my favorite design blogs!  Yay!

[And while I’m on the topic of birthday cakes, Faith, go bake my best friend a birthday cake she’ll never forget!  Happy Birthday Gifty!  Miss you lots, but I know your having a blast in the midwest.]

papa day 2010.

Papa Smith and Dhara (3 months old)

[An older entry.] Gregory celebrated his first Father’s Day this year.  My daughter has a wonderful father.  He is dedicated to her well being — especially her spiritual well being.  Every morning before he leaves for work, whether she’s still asleep or not, he lays his hand gently on her and prays for her.  What blesses me most is knowing that the love she experiences from her earthly father translates into how she will come to understand love from her heavenly Father who loves her in the most perfect way.

Here are 10 things I love about Dhara’s daddy:

1.  The way he prays for his daughter.

2.  The way he believes in faith for his daughter to become a woman of God.

3.  The way he spends time with her.

4.  The way he laughs when Dhara is in her delirious-sleepy-smiley-stage right before she hits the sack for the night.

5.  The way he swaddles her so precisely.

6.  The way he would rock her to sleep when she was a wee one.

7.  The way he praises her.

8.  The way he waters the garden with her against his chest.

9.  The way he provides for his baby.

10.  The way he simply loves.  It reminds me of Jesus.

We celebrated Father’s Day a few days late by going to our old stomping grounds of downtown Baltimore to have a sushi dinner and watch the 48 Hour Film Project at the well-known and historic, Charles Theater.  It felt nice to take a walk on our old street.  I love living in the country, but I also loved living in the city.  There is something so alive about a bustling city filled with lights, historic markers, interesting people, and great restaurants.

The 48 Hour Film Project was an interesting experience.  We watched 12 short films and rated our top three.  It just so happened that my film major of a brother, Josh, helped film an Indian one.  Great job Josh!

vintage finds.

My dear cousin, OB, convinced me to go yard sailing and antique shopping with her during a break at the retreat this past weekend.  And I’m so glad I did, because New Freedom, PA really has some lovely ones.  We went to a handful of good ones, and only one not so good one.  OB walked away with a fantastic antique rocking chair and a 100 year old quilt.  Below are some photos of things I saw and loved!

a pillow cover.  I so need to learn this technique!  I would love it on a quilt!

a shelf displaying some lovely mixing bowls.

a pretty cookbook and a braided mat.

we saw the most delicate vintage teacups and bowls.  loved them!

some vintage flour feed sacks. one can never have too many of these.

I so wanted this huge braided rug. don’t think I’ve ever seen one this big!

a wall of beautiful historical kitchen artifacts.

I absolutely love this low chair [high chair]!!!  the woven cloth seat is too cute.  greg’s uncles in texas are fantastic carpenters and woodworkers.  I need to ask his uncle cliff to craft one of these for little Dhara!  : )

looks like a sweet read for mama + daughter while laying under a weeping willow.

celtic plate.

some sweet girl’s clothes in soft white cotton.

I, on the other hand, walked away with a bag full of pieced vintage quilt squares.  Yup, you got that right — quilt squares that are ready to be made into a quilt.  I’m guessing they are at least 50 years old if not older.  Can’t wait to begin this project, which will probably end up being a new quilt for Dhara.

And because of her love for vintage cookbooks, OB treated me to a really fun old school 1932 cookbook.  I just love the way they wrote back then!  So informal and pleasant to read.  Can’t wait to try some of these recipes out.

“the goodly cucumber”

I love the space available for writing in your own recipes and notes.

who knew?!?

and lastly, a sweet little recipe for dahl soup.  I need to sew myself a small muslin bag for the celery seeds.

backyard fireworks.

I hope your fourth of July was as lovely as ours.  We drove to meet some folks in a nearby city to see the fireworks, but happened to be late.  On our drive back, we stopped by a field near home.  We live in somewhat of a mountainous elevation, about 1000 feet, so from that field, we could see fireworks in downtown Baltimore and two other cities.  It was so, so beautiful to see the sparks in three different parts of the vast sky.  Wide open fields are one of the loveliest things.  Especially at night.

When we got home, my husband and brother lit up some fireworks and sparklers in the backyard.  Baby Dhara got a taste of July fourth in her own backyard.  She was amazed at all the flashes of light in the night sky.

berry picking.

Last week, myself, my baby, and Aunty Zuma went berry picking.  I knew I wanted fresh fruit for blueberry lemonade, custard fruit tarts and black raspberry pie for Dhara’s garden party, so off we went to a farm a couple miles away called, Larriland.  Next time I’d like to ride my bicycle there with Greg — just me and him, to pick fruits and veggies.  I was pretty bummed that I missed strawberry season this year.  It came and went just like that!  I remember last year this time when I went strawberry picking with the Juan kids and Oilyn at Blueberry Hill in southern Illinois — what fun it was.

My sister and I picked blueberries at Larriland until the afternoon sun became to warm for the baby.  While they cooled off, I went and picked some black raspberries and beets in the shade.  The beets are for Dhara.  She’s getting used to her real food.

I just love the fact that we can go to the local farms in our area for seasonal fruits and veggies.  It’s so much fun to pick your own.  Peaches will be popping up in the next few weeks.  I found a great recipe for a pecan peach cobbler that I’d love to bake.

Picking berries with a baby ain’t that bad.

Dhara playing under a blueberry bush as mama and Aunt Zuma pick blueberries.

black raspberries.

black raspberry fields.

beets for Dhara.

blueberries for us.