Ramadan Series: 3 Easy Tip For A Well Stocked Freezer

ramadan tips The Mommy Blog

The holy time of the year is just around the corner – Ramadan! And when that realization hits us, we try our best to try and prepare our selves for this month and get the most out of the blessed days. Alas, we forget one main concern: food.

It’s not so much forgotten as being unprepared for. We remember it as the month of being deprived during the day and feasting at night. However, with all our spiritual aims and goals of maximum ibadah (worship) during Ramadan, precious hours spent in the kitchen can drain us physically and emotionally.

This is going to be our first Ramadan away from India and as a of family of four. And two little girls under four years of age. I had to plan a lot of things beforehand. I started planning for Ramadan, 3 weeks prior.  And I have been meaning to do a blog post for all my Muslim mommy friends so they could make use of it.

And only yesterday, I shared a picture of my freezer on my Instagram, and from then on, I have been receiving a lot of emails and messages on how-tos, which is why I just sat down to quickly jot everything down for you to read and make the best use. :D

Thank you all for your emails and messages, I feel so loved :)

And in this post I will quickly you give heads up on how and what to stock in your freezer, before Ramadan begins.

1.  Start by listing everything you need: 

Sit down peacefully and think of what fruits and vegetables you will need very often, those that go in pretty much every dish. For example onions and celery. Put these on the top, so you don’t forget them later.

Next think of the vegetables that you want to stock on and if you have kids, see what they like and quickly make a note of them.

If you have decided to freeze them, then you will need freezer bags or vacuum sealing bags, if you can find them. I used regular zip-lock bags and a straw to draw out the air from the bags, works just fine.

You will also need a clean towel or tissue papers to pat dry the veggies before freezing (depends on the type of vegetable).

2.  Pick fresh fruits & vegetables: 

Start by selecting the most freshest of the fruits and vegetables, you can find at the grocery store. If possible head to the farmer’s market and pick them up at the earliest ( when they are just out of the farm).

Avoid vegetables and fruits with blemish or marks. They generally won’t last you long.

If you don’t have time, ask someone close to pick them up for you, your husband or help. I couldn’t go out myself, so husband got everything for us. Yes he does better grocery shopping than I do! *sigh*

3.  Start prepping the fruits & vegetables:

Freezing is a process that lets you store fruits and vegetables without losing their nutritional benefits, over time, provided they are frozen properly. Now by ‘properly’ I mean that not every vegetable can just be chopped and popped in to the freezer, that way they won’t last you over a week.

So here’s the list of things I have frozen so far and the method I followed:

Freezing onions & capsicum:

  1. Selected fresh and blemish-free onions.
  2. Peel, wash and chop them into 1/2 inch slices.
  3. Spread it flat on a tray and pop the tray in to the freezer for at least 2 hours.
  4. Once all the pieces turn into solid, divide them into meal size portions.
  5. Put them into the zip-lock bags, draw the air out of the bags, with straw and seal.
  6. Then immediately put them back into the freezer.

Freezing carrots, corn. beetroots, beans and cabbage:

  1. Select fresh and blemish-free vegetables.
  2. Clean, wash and chop them into desired sizes (preferably small).
  3. Heat a large pot of water and start bringing it to boil.
  4. Once the water is boiling, put the vegetables in it.
  5. Grab your watch and keep an eye on it. You don’t want to cook the vegetables.
  6. When the water starts boiling again, turn off the heat.
  7. Quickly scoop the pieces of vegetables from hot water, and put them into ice cold water to avoid the vegetables getting cooked further (with their own heat).
  8. Drain the water.
  9. Pat them dry and store in the zip-lock bags.

Tips:

  • Keep an eye on your watch. So you don’t boil the vegetables for more than 2 minutes. Or they will get mushy.
  • Always try to keep the boiling time same as the cooling time. For example if you are boiling for 1 minute, then let then stay in ice cold water for 1 minute.
  • Boiling will kill all the enzymes and cooling then down will lock the nutrients in it. That way they will remain fresh for a longer period of time.

Freezing chicken for sandwich: 

  1. Wash and boil boneless (you can also use boned) chicken in salt and whole black pepper for 20-25 minutes until its cooked.
  2. Remove the chicken and let it cool a little.
  3. Shred it in to pieces using two forks (it’s easier that way).
  4. Divided into meal size portions and freeze int zip-lock bags.

I mix mayonnaise with shredded chicken. Spread it on a slice of bread. Top it off with slices of cucumbers and tomatoes for a super quick kids breakfast.

These frozen fruits and vegetables can be stored at least up to 6 months. Many people claim to be saving theirs for a year. But I can only talk from my experience, I had frozen beans in March and used the last batch only yesterday. And trust me when I say this I couldn’t find any noticeable difference, in the taste.

So these are all that I have frozen so far. I also plan on freeze a bunch of fruits soon. Let me know how you are prepping for Ramadan this year. I would love to hear it for you. Also please leave a comment down below and tell me if you found these tips useful for Ramadan :)

 

6 Best YouTube Channels You Should Not Miss

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I have to admit it, that every day I spend a good amount of time, watching YouTube videos, a lot of them actually. And I have been doing this for over two years now. And over time I have developed such amazing connect with these lovely vloggers and their channels that I thought it would be nice to share with you all and tell you how amazing they are.

I mostly follow a bunch of mommy/parenting channels and a few makeup/beauty channels, these are the subjects I have always held my attention. And in this post I will talk about six of my favourite and best YouTube Channels you should probably not miss.

1.  What’s Up Mom’s:

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Image Courtesy: blog.laurelandwolf.com/nursery-design-for-whats-up-moms/

This is probably the first on my list, for two reasons. This was the first YouTube channel that I ever started following. Second, I love the rapport between these young moms and their dedication to work. This channel was started by Elle, a mom of two. Now it’s a group of three moms who make it all happen. Meg shares kitchen tips, easy recipes. Brooke’s beautiful DIY projects and Elle does vlogs and tips videos. You should check out Elle’s Gangnam Style Parody. Their first video I ever watched, I remember husband showed it to me and we  both had a good laugh. That’s when I started following this channel.

2.  I’m A Mommy:

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Image Courtesy: www.facebook.com/ImAMommyof1

This amazing channel is by Michelle, a mother to 2 toddlers and a newborn. I have been following her for a long time now. And the reason I love her channel is because she’s so real and just herself. She’s one super mom I completely adore. Plus she always patient with answering all the questions posted by her followers (me included ;) ). I love her hauls and monthly favourites videos most.

3.  It’s Judy’s Life:

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Image Courtesy: http://its-judys-life.tumblr.com/

Judy is a mom to a pre-schooler and twin girls. I started following her last year and have completely fallen in love with her vlogs. The way Benji, her husband is always helping her film the videos and backing her up every time/place is so remarkable. I mean we all need a strong support system. Don’t we?

4.  I Love Being a Mommy:

Elizabeth Rebecca, a sweet mom to two kids started this channel about a year ago. And I have started following her recently. I love the way she making her videos. They are just so beautiful to watch. Like really beautiful. I have to admit that I keep watching her videos over and over again just because I love all those subtle colours and music in her videos.

5.  Amanda Muse:

Amanda, is also a mother of two and a beauty enthusiast. I love her vlogs for her simplicity and uniqueness. I’m not comparing here. But then it’s so refreshing to find something new and exciting every time you watch her vlogs. Plus she’s such an energetic mother.

6.  Daily Bumps

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Image Courtesy: http://channelpages.com/dailyBUMPS

This is another channel I have started following recently. Daily Bumps is by Missy and Bryan, parents to a toddler and expecting their second child very soon. I love how lively their vlogs are. And the constant connect between this vlogy couple. They put up one video every single day, which itself says a lot about their teamwork and dedication.

It’s so inspiring to see how all these wonderful moms and dads manage YouTube, rare kids and still have a life. I’m completely addicted to these vlog channels and can’t wait to see their next videos.

And if you are like me and would love to watch some wonderful parenting vlogs every day/week, then go on and subscribe to these channels. And let me know your favourite mommy YouTube channel. I would love to subscribe to them :)

* This list is purely based on my personal preference and is not a proven one. I was not paid to do this post. 

 

3 Simple Things I learnt From My Delivery

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So here’s what happened when I got pregnant – I also found out that I wasn’t in for the ride alone. Not only was a very close friend of mine expecting a baby around the same time as me, but also an ex colleague, a friend from college, one from Post Grad., one of my cousins, a hubby’s friend, alongwith our very own Duchess of Cambridge Kate, and a few other celebrities from the Indian cinema and Hollywood who were all pregnant. Suddenly, it seemed the whole universe had conspired to get pregnant together :)

Mostly all of us were going to be First Time Mums (FTM), and just like that, we were all facing a million doubts, a billion emotions, and only a few gazillion questions that we all thought will never get answered. Somehow, signing up with different pregnancy websites and support groups didn’t seem enough. We needed real experiences, with first hand stories.

For me, the biggest fear was not knowing. And out of all the ‘not knowings’, the biggest was of what I was going to face in the delivery room. I was about to spend the next 40 weeks of my life worrying myself sick about that one day. And no matter how much everyone told me that I will ‘forget everything when I see my baby’, it did not convince me enough to think about it any less.

Not to mention that I had also made the grave mistake of watching all kinds of birthing videos, and jumping chapters on my books to read what happens during labor. I had now managed to completely freak myself out.

I promised all the friends delivering after me that I’ll answer ALL their questions. Worrying is not good for anyone pregnant. Especially someone like me who already faced excessive hair fall and a face full of zits thanks to the lovely hormonal changes! No one needs to add on to the list of things to worry about. So here are a few directives I doled out; to ensure my fellow FTMs did not face the same predicaments.

Each week I will endeavor to elaborate each directive and bring more clarity. If you have sailed in a similar ‘worry’ boat as me, I am quite sure you will find my observations interesting:

1.  Get the right Obstetrician/Gynecologist  –

We went to the ‘first available’ on the day. Learnt my lesson. She was anything but nice. I can handle ‘not nice but super efficient’. Can not handle ‘not nice and also pretty inefficient’. Made appointment with another, and then another. Sounds crazy, but we actually went window shopping for the right doctor. I eventually had to decide between – a sterling hospital but ‘okayish’ doctor OR a perfect doc in a not so refined hospital. I then decided to go to my hometown to deliver. Again scouted around and finally found the right match…good doc (check) and a great hospital (double check).

2.  Firmly request your doctor for a Normal Delivery –

Birth via cesareans is fast becoming a money making racket across the globe. Normal is best for you and your baby. Most of the c-sections being performed are for avoidable reasons and not so complicated medical conditions, and only because higher costs are incurred when one gets the c-section done. Here’s an extremely thought provoking read about the steep rise of cesareans in India. {Here}

3.  Ask questions to your doctor –

One of my previous doctors had told me “stop reading stuff on the internet”. That sounded the alarm bells right there! It is MY body and I have the full right to not only question what you are doing, but also be fully informed on the effects, side effects, consequences for getting it done as well as the drawbacks if I choose not to get it done. On any given day we never question our doctors, just go with the flow. But in our case, there is another life involved.

Thank you very much, but I WILL read up AND question you. Buckle up. It’s not that I don’t trust the doctor, but you will be surprised the number of times their sentence has changed from “you need to get this done” to “it’s your choice as its not mandatory by WHO standards”, whenever I questioned the necessity.

Please make yourself aware and take informed decisions. Come back again to know my labour and birth story:)

 

7 Useful Lessons On Baby Led Weaning ~ Our Inside Story

babyled weaning The Mommy Blog India

While trolling Facebook (side effects of breastfeeding!), I stumbled upon this unique concept of ‘Baby Led Weaning‘. My baby was only four-months-old at that time and hence the entire thought of feeding the baby was new to me. While the pediatrician was quite sure of me exclusively breastfeeding till 6 months, I still wanted to be in the know.

Cut to 6 months, the ‘annaprashan’ was a simple affair with baby tasting homemade rice kheer from various family members, under mama’s watchful and super nervous eye.
Baby led weaningIndia The Mommy Blog

Day 2: Brain racking, over researching has led me to believe that banana is safe to begin with. Done! But BLW argues that the baby should be allowed to ‘explore’ textures. “Food till one, is for fun”, apparently. Uhh, not so much when you’re maid-less. Who’s going to clean the mess, d-uh!

What followed was mashed / steamed fruits and veggies for a week, moved to lumpy stuff and within a month to proper bites (much to the chagrin of my ever doting father, still!).

We’re now 16 months old and feed ourselves, leaving people aghast at the adult sized bites.

Lessons learnt:

Here are the few things I learned along the way.

1. Trust your baby:

For me that was always rule no. 1. Even though uptil 8 months I was spoon feeding him, I never ever force fed him. He used to make the decision of his own accord whether it was 2 bites or 2 idlis. Babies have an inbuilt survival system that will not let them go hungry!

2. No sugar, no salt:

The best(est) part about introducing food to a baby is the beautifully clean palate that they have. You can mold it any which way. However, it has been scientifically proven too, that the NSNS should be applied till the baby turns one. In short, all food, whether fruit or pulse have their own levels of sodium and sugars in them. No need to increase for baby. This way the baby gets the ‘natural’ of food.

3. Three-Day-Rule:

Call it mother’s instinct or what have you, but I had complete faith in this rule too, atleast till the first few months. While introducing new food to the baby- offer a small bite the first day and gauge his / her bodily reactions the whole day. Next day offer a bit more. And the third day offer a normal sized bite. Once you are sure about there being no allergic reactions, continue to offer as you would.

4. Take it slow: 

Your baby has a whole life ahead of him to taste and experiment. If he doesn’t like something, take a break. Try again after a week or even 10 days. Agreed babies have a clean palate, but they also have preferences.

Baby Led Weaning India The mommy blog

5. Be watchful:

Always always keep an eye on the baby whether your feeding him by spoon or baby led. And always know the difference between gagging and choking (yes, they are different).Try to learn the basics on how to handle the baby in times on choking and gagging, if need be.

6. Do your due diligence:

Be thorough with your research. There are a lot of naysayers, for example, to introducing eggs in the first year. My baby tasted egg yolk at 7 months, but that was also because we had no history of allergies in the family. Similarly, for nuts. Refer Note 3 and 4.

7. Experiment, experiment, experiment:

Do not fear to tread an untrodden path. Babies love new foods, it’s all to do with a whole new world beyond breast milk and formula. Smoothies have been a favourite in our kitchen, so much that he recognizes his cups, the blender et al.

I did finally throw caution to the winds and let him self-feed at 8 months onward, and now at 16 months he thoroughly enjoys munching on chicken legs and pastas or or what have you. He loves his bitter gourd as much as he loves mango seed (more for me, yay!) and I attribute it ALL to a clean palate.

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What are you following with your baby?? Traditional or babyled weaning?? Share your story with us in the comments below.

 

Cloth Diaper Review ~ Thirsties Duo Wrap Diaper Cover

The Mommy Blog Cloth Diapers

Until few months ago, I never thought I would manage to get myself a Thirsties diaper cover. Given that they weren’t available in India plus I was never interested in trying any, other than Flip covers, since they were working great for us. And though a cloth diaper addict, I definitely knew that I did not need any more additions to my stash.

However, I did recently went on and purchased a Thirsties Duo Wrap diaper cover from a new local online vendor, Totscart, who stocks international brands. Because I wanted to test it out on my daughters. And I have to say that though I still love our beloved Flip covers, I am fairly impressed with this newest addition to my cloth diaper collection.

Thirsties Duo Wrap diaper covers are a one-size cover available in two sizes. Size 1 fits younger babies between 2.8 to 8 kilos approximately (6 and 18 pounds). And Size 2 fits older babies between 8 to 18 kilos (18 and 40 pounds). Since my daughters weigh over 11 kilos, I chose the Size 2.

Although I am generally not crazy about needing to buy two sizes of diapers, I do like that Thirsties Duo Wraps would fit a baby starting from an average newborn to a fairly large toddler.

Talking about the design, the Thirsties Duo Wrap features two rows of three torso snaps. Thus, the cover converts into small, medium, and large sizes.

Thirsties Duo Wraps feature a single row of two snaps. But it lacks crossover hip snaps. However, since my daughters are already so big, I have no need for crossover hip snaps at the moment.

The Mommy Blog CLoth Diapers

Thirsties Duo Wraps can also be used over prefolds and other fitted diapers. During the day, it’s prefolds for us. The Little Thing fits into the large size with a tri-folded Osocozy prefold, without leaving any marks on her. I haven’t tried it for night-time yet. So I won’t be talking about it at the moment.

Thirsties review india

Thirsties Duo Wrap cloth diaper covers are a great bargain for the price. I love the double leg gussets and I think that I can use this diaper cover on my daughter at night with a fairly thick fitted diaper. The leg gussets contain poop very beautifully.

However I am not entirely thrilled about the dual sizing, but I do understand the appeal of parents with tiny newborns and larger toddlers. And the waist elastic does an excellent job of holding inserts or prefolds in place once the diaper is on the baby.

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I have heard very good reviews of the thristies hemp prefolds.  They were amazing, they say!  I will be adding a bunch of those to our stash in the near future. These covers come in both hook n loop (velcro) and snap closures. We prefer the snaps now that our girls are older or they will like try and take the diaper off! Who said kids are a breeze to handle??

Thirsties Duo Wrap is my favorite diaper to direct new cloth diapering parents, too. Whether you use prefolds with diaper fasteners (a must for containing newborn poo) or just tri-fold them and lay them in, you can get multiple wears out of each cover before it needs washing.  This makes for a very cost effective stash.

So if you are new to cloth or just looking for something that is simple and works on a smaller budget, this is definitely the way to go.

If you have any questions about cloth diapering India, feel free to comment below. I would love to help you out. And if you like this post, do give me a thumbs up on Facebook. :)

The review is based on my experience and is not a proven one. I was not paid to write this review, the product was bought by me for my personal use. All opinions and images are my own.

 

 

 

Mommy & Toddlers Favourites | May 2015

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Shopping has always been a major part of our weekend outings. And with two young girls, it only gets more interesting and fun. And I’m here to share with you, our Mommy and Toddlers Favourites for this month. So let’s get started.

Thomas Like Train ;)

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^^Our girls have always adored pretty much everything with wheels. And this toy train is their current favourite. They love watching Thomas and Friends and are obsessed with Thomas. After a lot of search, as husband couldn’t find Thomas Train anywhere, he got them this colourful train instead.

They love it, also for the driver that transforms in a ‘screw-driver’ that can fix the wheels. This is one of the most used/loved toys of the month.

The Story Of The Elephant Children’s Pop-up Book:

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^^  This huge beautiful book is a Quranic pop-up book for children by Shade 7 publications Limited. I got this for the purpose of review (coming soon). We absolutely love reading this book together.

Feeding Bottles:

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^^ These are the bottles that we bought for the girls. Yes they still have their milk in these bottles, once every day. That’s okay with me. As long as it’s just plain milk (okay don’t judge me for this). :)

A Lip Balm: 

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^^This is my new favourite. I haven’t really used Labello before. I don’t think I can came across this back in India. Anyhow I just love the sweet fruity smell and beautiful shine it has.  This is the latest addition to my diaper bag.

Those are all, for this month. Have you have used any of these products? Would you want me to do a detailed review of any of these? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to do it for you. :D

 

 

7 Useful Tips For Flying With An Infant Or Toddler

The Mommy Blog Flying Tipd

Have you been putting off a much needed vacation because you always dreaded the thought of actually going on one with a baby? Or developed a recent fear of flying, ever since your baby came along? Ever wondered what facilities will be provided for you and how much are the crew really equipped to handle babies on board?

Having been a crew for a good 8 years, and now traveling as a mum of a 2 month old myself, I have come up with a few tips* I think will come in handy for any traveling parent. *Please note the list is indicative and not completely exhaustive ;)

 Check-in most of the luggage: 

If you have lots of luggage, kindly check-in maximum of it! Carry-on luggage should just be things that baby and you may need in-flight.

Carry your diaper bag with your usual stock, but with an extra set of clothes for baby AND you (I have faced serious spit ups!!). Something warm like a stole or shawl for you and baby in case will come in handy if the aircraft gets cold. You both can snuggle in one. Also keep a sanitizer handy, just in case you need it. Most airlines do carry basic amenities for babies. But they are limited, provided only on demand, and given on a ‘first come first serve’ basis.

 Taking strollers on the plane:

Strollers are not counted as part of your luggage. It will be taken from you before you get on the aircraft and returned again at the door when you disembark, or at the conveyor belt, depending on airline/airport policy. This rule however does not apply to First or Business Class travelers. Both those cabins usually have separate closet space, apart from the overhead lockers. So if someone is taking Business Class, the crew may be able to accomodate the stroller in the closet.

 Know the rules of the airline:

Rules keep changing. From aircraft to aircraft, airline to airline, country to country. I was super shocked when I was asked IF I would like an infant seat belt to strap my baby in for take-off and landing! Another airline did not even offer. This, after I have had years of training on how every infant needs to be secured in one! And please have patience to hear the crew, no matter how many times you have heard the rules before.

★  Get Medical Assistance, if required: 

Your crew is equipped to handle any medical emergency, babies included. All crew are certified First Aiders and are trained each year to ensure their knowledge is up to date. Do not hesitate in going up to any one of them and asking for any help.

Most airlines carry basic medication for infants and children. But it is always advisable to carry your own in your hand bag. In case of any serious requirement, crew have the facility to contact doctors on ground and take assistance.

For immediate help, crew will page for doctors on board. However, since your crew is already trained and have a vast experience in dealing with all kinds of medical situations, they will hand over the proceedings to a doctor only after their protocol is over. Remember, everyone on board is working to assist you and baby. Please try not to panic, it helps no one.

 Don’t hesitate to take a walk down the aisle:

Everyone on board understands if your baby is getting restless and you need to walk up and down the aisle or stand in the galley to soothe her. Don’t even bother about people who may give you ‘the look’. Also never ask the crew to hold the baby for you.

As much as they would like to help, and however good their intentions to help might be, holding your baby or taking her to the galley for cuddles could get them into trouble. For many airlines, it is against their safety standards.

 Feed your baby while landing and taking-off:

Do feed your baby, especially during descent. It’s very important!! Babies often tend to cry their lungs out since they don’t know the trick of ‘suck / swallow to open ears’. My baby slept through the first flight and then there was total chaos during the second. This, when I was continuously trying to feed him. He just wouldn’t swallow. Finally took his feed and then slept off just before touchdown.

And remember never insert anything in their ears like cotton balls. You may end up causing more damage and agony than actually helping.

 Ask for help any at given point: 

Lastly, don’t hesitate to ask for help at any point. It is your prerogative to get special treatment. This includes boarding first, getting your choice of seat, and jumping queues by going via ‘special handling’ counters.

Ground staff and Cabin Crew should and will help you if you are travelling alone with children. If they don’t, ask for it. It’ll be comforting for you to know that before the start of each flight, crew discuss the number of babies on board/children on that particular sector.

Assisting unaccompanied mothers, giving them extra bottle of water, a plastic bag to store rubbish, helping them store their luggage for take-off / landing etc. is a ‘nicety’ that all crew are asked to indulge in. Briefing parents on safety related issues is mandatory so expect to be briefed on each flight.

These are the tips that I thought will come handy to you. Hope you have a safe flight! :)