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Svara the Baker

Lately Svara has been enjoying baking more.  But it can’t just be any baking – it has to be baking as much as possible BY HERSELF.

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At seven years old I certainly can’t let her have free range of the kitchen, so I help her get out the ingredients and materials needed.  She reads the recipe to find out everything she needs, and then she does all of the mixing, measuring, etc.   I help with the oven.  Maybe in another year or two I’ll take another step back and let her get out the ingredients, clean up, and even place things into the oven herself.

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For now it is enough ‘herself’ for her to proudly exclaim that she has made these goodies ALL BY HERSELF.  She couldn’t be more proud.  Neither could I.

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Svara’s favorite cookbook is Live Learn Love Eat (you can find it for sale here by the author).  This book is written by a vegan mother of three.  The recipes are very child friendly and family friendly.  It is both the fact that the book has children in it AND the fact that she can easily read and understand it herself that appeals to Svara.  I love this cookbook as well!

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The recipes Svara made on this particular day were the chocolate cupcakes with raspberry frosting.  Mmmm!  The recipe for both are here on her blog.  The only thing we did differently was that I put the raspberry puree into a sieve to get the seeds out.  I wanted a smooth frosting.

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Svara had a blast making these cupcakes, and of course eating them as well!

I’m sure it’ll be a matter of days before she’s in the kitchen again paging through the cookbook for another recipe to make :)

Talisa the Toddler

I haven’t done a full post about Talisa for quite awhile, so I thought I’d update a bit on some things I want to remember about these fleeting toddler times!  For the record, she is 23 months old.  Can’t believe she’ll be 2 in less than a month!!  Haven’t even started planning her birthday yet, it’ll probably be very low key.

 

Talisa LOOOVES to color.  Markers are her favorite, but as you can imagine she’s not so good about putting caps back on, and over a period of about 3 months all of our markers have slowly been thrown away.  The marker drawer is now empty.  oops!  I used coloring time to try to teach her some manners (she’s pretty good at manners in general considering her age!).  Like most little ones, she likes to grab what she wants, when she wants it.  So if I was using a marker she wanted (which was every time of course) I asked her to say “Can I have that please?”  and I’d either say sure and give it to her, or ask her to let me finish and then I’d give it to her.  She did pretty well, though often she’d grab the marker and quickly say “Can I have that please?  Sure!  Thanks!” while pulling it out of my hand.  What do I say to that??  haha
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The crocodile tears have started as well!  Of course she often really truly cries, but sometimes she cries just to try to get her way and she has this habit of covering her eyes with her hands.  I try not to laugh, really I do.

 

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It’s my little kitchen de-organizer!  Her most favorite thing to do in the kitchen is beg me to carry her while I am cooking.  But if I can distract her from that, she’ll go to the cupboard!  Sometimes she takes things out and piles them on a table, other time she takes a few things out to play cooking.  Other times she completely empties the tupperware shelf!

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I think she has some sort of innate sense of organization (I must take advantage of that!!).  When she takes containers out of the cupboard she takes off the tops and puts each top underneath its corresponding container.  nicely done!

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Talisa has her share of falls like any toddler, but in this photo she is doing one of her favorite games – falling on purpose!  She falls down and then Svara has to rush up to her saying “oh no! oh no!”  Talisa thinks it’s hilarious.  Of course.

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This is the last photo I have of Talisa in her high chair.  She hasn’t sat in it for oh, 3-4 months I think.  In fact we don’t even have it anymore, we lent it to a friend who has 2 little ones who both like to sit in high chairs but they only had one chair.  Now Talisa sits at the table like a big person.  Except she’s not a big person which means she’s either too low in the chair or she has to kneel.  But to her that’s better than a high chair!  I thought about getting a booster seat, but I don’t know if she would refuse to sit in it because it’s not the same as our chairs, in which case it’d be a waste of money…

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Oh, these stairs.  Talisa goes up and down these stairs too many times a day to count.  seriously.  For many months my heart jumped every single time she’d go up or down and I’d run to make sure she’d be okay.  Now I’m pretty confident and she’s super confident, so I don’t have a mini panic attack 50 times a day anymore – whew!

 

 

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Sunglasses.  too cute!  Oh, and she puts them on by herself of course.

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Time to (un)help with the chores!  The best time for Talisa to sweep is AFTER I have finished sweeping.  But she prefers to sweep while I sweep, which means thrashing her broom in the dirt pile.

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Teaching a toddler their colors can be quite frustrating.  Talisa picked up on color names quickly, but matching them to the right color is a whole other ballgame.  I remember the same thing with Svara – wondering if perhaps they can’t see the colors the same as us or what.  So I put it to the test!  I found these foam “popsicle sticks” at the store and snatched them up.  I gave them to Talisa along with containers of similar colors.  And she  matched them!  All by herself!  I was so proud – and happy to know that she CAN see her colors.  Naming them?  Now that’ll take awhile.  But she’s very interested.  She points to things and says some random color, I tell her the color, she repeats it, over and over.  Fun times.

 

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Talisa can definitely be a little goofball.  She makes faces, does funny walks, silly stances, anything to get a giggle out of us.  And if we do laugh?  She’ll do it over and over for our everlasting entertainment.

 

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So let’s see, what else….

 

Talisa talks up a storm and speaks in full sentences.  Yesterday we were outside and it was time to go in to get ready for bed.  I told her and she walked away saying “NO, I play outside.”  Okay, then! (sorry kiddo, you can talk, but I can still carry you!) One of the things she says funny is “NO WITE!” (for no way).   She can count to about 18, but she skips the number 5 every single time, and I think she skips a couple of the teens as well.

Books, books, book!  This girl still thankfully loves her books.  Pretty much the only times during the day that I can count on having some peace while she’s awake is when she gets caught up in her books (she sits and reads by herself for 5 to even 30 minutes at a time) or when she’s watching home videos of herself on the iPad (desperate times call for desperate measures, meals HAVE to be cooked!).  Often in the morning she wakes up, nurses, and slides off the bed to toddle off to her book pile.  She reads her books by herself while we catch a few extra minutes of Zzzzzzzs.  Until I get hit on the head with a book of course.

Eating – some days Talisa has a good appetite, others she doesn’t.  She’s still keen on frozen blueberries and would eat them for every meal of every day if we had enough and if I let her.  Oh, she’s not allergic to chocolate anymore, YAY!  She used to get hives from chocolate, but over the past month I’ve tested it a few times and no reaction, so now she gets to have some chocolate when we do (I make a lot of healthy treats that include some cocoa powder).  She’s not so keen on veggies, but we keep trying and there are some she’ll eat (she likes raw tomatoes!).  She likes carrots and will eat leafy greens if they are chopped small and in soup.  She and Svara often share a small pot of miso noodle soup for lunch (healthy noodles, organic silken tofu, and either grated carrots or chopped leafy greens in a miso broth).  Easy to make and they both gobble it up – win win!

Talisa has become quite possessive of me where Svara is concerned.  If Talisa is not in the best mood and she sees me hugging Svara, all hell breaks loose.  She screams, pushes Svara (but she DOES say excuse me  hehe) and asks to nurse.  I try to keep most of my cuddles for Svara when Talisa isn’t looking for the time being.

SLEEP – if you have read previous updates about Talisa, sleep has ALWAYS been an issue for one reason or another.  It wasn’t getting any better after 18 months and I was at my wits end and couldn’t even think straight due to sleep exhaustion.  My mom sent me a baby sleeping book for my birthday, so I had a read through it.  I never was one for crying out.  I did sleep training with Svara at various times with various success, but I was glad to have never had to do that with Talisa.  BUT sleep was getting worse and the book made some good points – she wasn’t getting good sleep either, and she wasn’t crying in distress.  and she certainly didn’t physically NEED to nurse 5-10 times a night.  Yeah.  So with everything I read, I decided it was time to cut her off nursing at night.   So I thought maybe I’d be kind and just hold her but not let her nurse.  That didn’t work since I had to sit there and hold her for 2 hours a time waiting for her to fall asleep enough for me to put her in her crib.  Not cool.  I had other things to do at night – like work and SLEEP.  So…. one night when Naren and Svara were at a function I let her cry.  I checked on her every 10-15 minutes to let her know I was around and to make sure she had her pacifier and security cloth (her fasa and toony).  It took 45 minutes for her to fall asleep.  Things got a LOT better after that.  For about 3 months it was lovely and I could hardly believe it.  I did end up nursing her early in the mornings (5 or 6) as she’d then fall back asleep.  If I didn’ tnurse her at that time she’d be up for the day.  Not fun.  Then she got sick, and we were all sick.  And that dragged on for a month and a half and things were BAD again.  I can’t deny a snotty coughy baby who wants to nurse in the middle of the night.  So we were back to little sleep.  A few weeks ago she was finally totally over her cold so I had to go back and do the whole letting her cry again.  Took 40 minutes that time and it’s been better since.  she still wakes up and I actually bring her into our bed when she gets up sometime around 5 (sometimes a little earlier) because it’s just easier that way.  But if she wakes up earlier I just lay her down, tell her goodnight, and she goes back to sleep.  So glad to get a bit of sleep back again!

Nursing – still going strong!  When Talisa was a baby she nursed when she was hungry and that was about it.  After about 15 montsh or so she started becoming more emotionally attached to nursing, wanting to nurse when she was sad, mad, etc.  She still does that.  I am currently trying to defer that when possible, trying to divert her attention elsewhere, give her cuddles but not nursing, etc.  But sometimes she’s just in hysterics and it’s the only thing that’ll calm her down.  Other than those times she nurses in the morning, before and after nap, and at bedtime (and then once around 5am or so).  At some point in the next 2-3 months I’ll probably start phasing out the after nap nursing and go slowly from there.  I like still knowing she’s getting the extra complete nutrients from breastfeeding, and if it helps her sleep I’m all for it!

I think that’s enough for one post, I’ve got some other things to do online before I myself get to bed.  I should be back soon with a post all about…. homeschooling!

 

 

Sometimes it is just TOO hot and you just HAVE to dance in the “rain”.  At least that is what Talisa would say!  She loves it when Naren sets up the hose like a sprinkler.  He usually starts by watering the plants and then she convinces him to spray her and then he sets up the “sprinkler”.  Svara usually joins in, but she didn’t feel like changing on this particular day.

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Several months ago someone in a group on facebook mentioned this petting zoo here in KL.  It is called Farm in the City and spans over many acres of land.  They have many animals you can pet, and some that you just enjoy looking at.  We decided to take the kids here instead of the zoo as it is more hands on.  There are a lot of photos here, but this is only about 1/4 of all of the photos we took!  The girls both had a blast and Svara is still asking when we are going to go again!

Ready to go into Farm in the City!

Ready to go into Farm in the City!

 

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Pony ride!  This was a really short ride, but Svara of course enjoyed it anyway.

Pony ride! This was a really short ride, but Svara of course enjoyed it anyway.

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I’m glad that Talisa is still fine with being carried in the carrier.  We were there for about 2 hours and a stroller is not a good option there at all.  This was easy and I could just let her down in the places that were suitable for her.

The dinosaur turtle turned out to be a snapping turtle

The dinosaur turtle turned out to be a snapping turtle

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look up!

look up!

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I guess this is his usual resting place!

I guess this is his usual resting place!

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They had a large area for some of the animals to roam around in.  It was nice and shady even though it was a hot day!

They had a large area for some of the animals to roam around in. It was nice and shady even though it was a hot day!

feeding the birds!

feeding the birds!

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Another large bird enclosure.

Another large bird enclosure.

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This bird is so cool!

This bird is so cool!

feeding the deer

feeding the deer

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Loving the deer

Loving the deer

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eek, scary scarecrow!

eek, scary scarecrow!

time for some net fishing

time for some net fishing

Not even Naren managed to catch a fish

Not even Naren managed to catch a fish

And the girls' favorite part - petting bunnies!

And the girls’ favorite part – petting bunnies!

just a *little* excited

just a *little* excited

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Giving a little too much love to the guinea pig

Giving a little too much love to the guinea pig

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feeding the fish

feeding the fish

hungry fish!

hungry fish!

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big eyes!

big eyes!

Svara petting a large iguana

Svara petting a large iguana

This was actually Svara's favorite part, holding a chick, as she has never done that before.

This was actually Svara’s favorite part, holding a chick, as she has never done that before.

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I think we need to get chickens someday

I think we need to get chickens someday

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bird show

bird show

cooling down with some mango sorbet

cooling down with some mango sorbet

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Sidewalk Paint

Here is another day when it was time to do a messy activity!  Again this activity I chose to do outside, to allow for easier cleanup.

DIY sidewalk paint cornstarch and food coloring

I mixed together cornstarch with water and added plenty of food coloring for nice bold colors.  Add some spoons and/or big paintbrushes, and it’s time for some colorful fun!

 

 

 

 

 

DIY sidewalk paint cornstarch and food coloring

I see they are only using spoons in these photos, I can’t remember why they are not trying paintbrushes.  Maybe the paint was too thin or something.

 

fun with homemade sidewalk paint

Svara enjoyed mixing the colors and making swirls.  Talisa just enjoyed splattering!

 

fun with homemade sidewalk paint

 

 

Playground Fun

One of my favorite things about the place we live is that we can just go right outside our door to play at the playground, and go down a path to an even bigger playground as well.  We go out each evening that we can.  Right now it is hazy so we are staying indoors, but a few weeks ago we were going out each evening.  Usually either Naren or I take the girls out to play with the other stays in and makes dinner.  But one evening we were both able to go out, so I took the opportunity to get some updated playground photos!

Talisa has been going up and down these stairs by herself for many months now.  I stay close, as she occasionally stumbles, but she’s very insistent on doing it herself!

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After seeing the older kids swing on the bar above the slide, Talisa had to try as well.  Now she does it every single time she goes down the slide.

 

 

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Swinging with Papa!  She can sit on the swing herself as well, but sometimes she still enjoys swinging with one of us.

 

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A few months ago for Ayyam-i-Ha (a Baha’i holiday) we bought Svara a scooter.  Now it’s one of her favorite things to play on outside!

 

 

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Right outside our house this stray banana tree has been growing for the past couple years.  It finally got a blossom and I was looking forward to possibly having some bananas, but it looks like it’s an ornamental type of banana plant, as the bananas are only about 3 inches long.  Ah well, it’s still neat to look at!

 

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More fun on the scooter!  Talisa often rides on Naren’s shoulders after she gets tired of running around.

 

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More swinging!

 

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Talisa asks us to lift her up to this higher bar.  She hangs there for a few seconds and then asks for help to get down.

 

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Here is one of Talisa’s favorite ways to swing by herself:

 

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Svara practices on the monkey bars each time we go to the big playground.  She hasn’t gotten the hang of going across yet, but she reaches as far as she can, swings, and drops.

 

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Slide time!

 

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Because it makes sense to climb UP the slide….

 

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And then go DOWN the stairs…

 

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Now I’m hoping that seeing these pictures from when it was nice and clear outside, it will help the haze dissipate and we can go back out and enjoy the playgrounds again!!!

Once in awhile I gather up my energy and courage to do something fun and messy with the girls.  This time we did it outside in the porch so everything could be sprayed away in the end, a smart idea indeed!  I was inspired by this post I saw on pinterest for using basil seeds as a sensory activity for little ones.  I can easily get basil seeds here, so I went for it!

In each of the cups below I added 1T of basil seeds to about a cup colored water.  I waited more than 5 minutes, but they never soaked up all of the water.  Maybe I should have waited longer, or used less water.

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Here is a closeup of the seeds after they soaked up the water:

 

 

 

 

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Then it was time to dump!  I used a baby bathtub, it was a good size and easy to contain the mess in!  Svara helped dump the colors:

 

 

 

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In went the yellow and green as well:

 

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And finally the red!  Svara couldn’t wait to get her hands in it!

 

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But I had to get a closeup shot first, as I knew it wouldn’t stay this pretty for very long:

 

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A few seconds later, after being stirred a bit, and after Talisa threw the spoons in:

 

 

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And in less than a minute it was pretty much all stirred together!  I want to try this again with less water, or waiting longer for them to turn more gloppy, so they don’t mix together QUITE as fast.  But even when they were mixed together so the excess water was brown, if you picked up a handful you could still see the individual color of each seed.  it was pretty neat!  I wanted to get some better photos, but I was by  myself with the girls so I couldn’t do a lot with the camera.  Warning, basil seeds on the ground are slippery!!!

 

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After getting messy with the basil seeds the girls had some water time in the little bathtub outside.  Yes, it’s time to invest in another kids’ wading pool! (the last one got holes in it, boo!)

 

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