Sunday, October 4, 2015

August/September update

Hey all! Life has been happening over here, but not a whole lot of blogging. =) I'll try to get you up to speed!

Our little Umbututu went home with his mommy a few weeks ago! We are so thrilled for him! Although, Mama Linda said, "He must buy us cooldrink (pop, soda) when he leaves, for putting us through so much trouble!" (He cries a lot!)

Our friend Akila brought her dog to visit the babies! Mama Patricia was just through the roof with happiness. Every day for months she has read a book about dogs to the boys - one of those books with the fur - and she often takes them out to the gate, hoping that the neighbor dogs will bark so she can show them to Happy and Snuffy.

The babies all seemed to enjoy Nala, our doggy visitor, but she was a bit shy!

The girls are working very hard on holding their own bottles. Well, Auntie Abbie is sooooo ready for it and is working very hard on developing this skill in them. ;) Chipmunk almost has it. Chickadee lazily throws her hands out to the side after a minute or two...

Meanwhile, these kiddos were sipping on some yummy green smoothies this morning, full of lots of raw nutritious stuff like spinach, banana, cucumber, pineapple, and homemade yogurt. We need to find the sippy cups! Auntie Abbie is working hard at kicking stereotypical "orphanage diet" in the rear...sometimes they like my concoctions and sometimes it takes a looooot of tries! 

I've really enjoyed my role as Chief (aka only, lol) Baby Food maker here at MBH, even if it is a LOT of work. We have four babies eating solids and they eat a TON!

The kitchen usually looks messier than this when I'm making baby food! It's a full-scale production.

I generally have less than $15 to feed these four babies per month, so I have to get VERY creative. Everything is made from scratch - thankfully fruits and veggies are generally pretty cheap here! However, some things I can only buy a little of per month (apples, pears, etc.) and we must rely on cheaper veggies to make up the bulk of their diet - like pumpkin or carrots. I can buy 5 kg (about 11 lb) of carrots for $1.30, or a pumpkin for about $2. Spinach is about 35 cents per large bunch. Pears are about $1.20 a bag - not sure how big the bag is (2 kg maybe?) but is definitely much smaller than the carrots! Yogurt is about $1.50 a container, but I recently found I can make it for about half the price (although it's really runny - working on that).

Meat is a luxury we can't often afford! Sometimes I buy a whole chicken and debone it, and this month, I found some very old, forgotten chicken breasts in the freezer that I used! I also make broth from chicken carcasses and use it to blend the babies' purees.

I use Pinterest for inspiration, as well as There are a lot of creative ways to use herbs and spices to liven up the babies' foods! Some of the recipes, of course, are not practical to my budget, or contain hard-to-find produce in this part of the world - but some are cheap and great, or able to be tweaked.

Here are some of the foods and combinations I've fed our babies:

Applesauce (with and without cinnamon)
Apples and turnips with cinnamon
Turnips (after a few introductions, a favorite!)
Spinach/pear/banana with fresh grated ginger
Butternut (sometimes with cinnamon or thyme)
Beets (no one really likes them, unfortunately)
Spinach/sweet potato
Sweet potatoes
Persimmons with cinnamon and vanilla
Bananas - always a favorite!
Zucchini with potato
Broccoli with potato and garlic (not enjoyed greatly)
Avocado and plain yogurt (very popular with the boys)
Yogurt, plain or sweetened with fruit
Black beans/avocado/chicken/cumin
Chicken with various veggies
Roasted apples and bananas with cinnamon
Watermelon smoothies
Green smoothies (lots of fruits and veggies with yogurt)
Oatmeal porridge with/without fruit
Rice porridge (cook rice until soft,then puree in the blender)

They no longer turn up their noses at this turnip applsauce. ;)

Happy is getting older (he turns one tomorrow!) and I'm on a quest to find some cheap freezer meals I can make for them. He's refusing anything with much texture, so we'll see how these go.

Homemade "Spaghetti-O's" - pasta is cheap and so is tomato paste. I cooked the pasta, then cut it small (it was macaroni). I made a sauce from tomato paste, beef broth, oregano, garlic, and basil, then cooked it all until it was basically dead (trying to make it as soft as possible).

I then helped it along a bit more with a potato masher.

Pumpkin with rice and spices

I also found a recipe for pasta with a carrot sauce, and I made a yummy (mild) potato/spinach curry - a very popular dish here - and mashed it. Everything is frozen in little cubes in the freezer, so we will see how things go - introducing stage 2 and 3 type foods has proven to be a challenge!

Chipmunk and her angry beet face 

Guess what, guys! I'm getting chickens! It's old news on Facebook, but those of you who read my blog for updates might not know. This is the area where I will build the coop. It looks a lot better now! A guy from our church comes and works in the yard once a week, and he does a great job - I've never seen anyone get work done quite so fast.

This is the area where I have my veggie garden. Almost everything is up and growing now, including a volunteer, "bondwe" as my Zambian auntie calls it. It's a green leafy plant that grows taller than my head and appears to be known by a different name in every African country. They eat the leaves like spinach and apparently it's very good for the heart, or the blood, or something, I forget. Not being a particular connoisseur of spinach, I'll leave it for my friends at the baby home! 

 And lastly - here's a bit of Happy for you. He recently learned how to take off his pants. Ok, so I was the one who put them on his head, see why, don't you? It's just too cute. ;)

Sorry, this wasn't an overwhelmingly comprehensive post, but I hope to be updating more regularly from now on.

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