Archive | June, 2012

Recipe for Agua de Horchata

23 Jun

Today is Hadassah’s birthday party!  There are still 3 more hours till the party begins, and besides bringing out the food and placing it on the table, the only thing I really have left to do is cut the watermelon and make limonada.  I just finished making Horchata – it has been probably 3 years since I have made it, and since I didn’t use a written recipe before, I could not remember how exactly to make it.  Sure, I could look on the internet and find recipes, but I am really picky about my Horchata.  Horchata is either delicious or yucky and gives you a headache. 

One thing is for sure, I definitely appreciate the way Mexicans cook.  I learned a lot about cooking without recipes when I lived there.  I would taste something delicious at a luncheon and ask for the recipe, and the kind matriarch would respond with something like, “just throw some tomatoes in with oregano and chiles.”  That is maybe going a bit extreme, but the point is, I would just keep asking for similar recipes from different women and finally venture to recreate the dish.  And the best part of Mexican cooking is, after being in that culture for several years, I developed my own salsas, drinks, and other recipes.  My only problem is that I can’t always remember what I did. 

But I did just mix up my Horchata, and I think it will be perfectly delicious.  I am only waiting to add a little bit of milk, ice and water, which I will add a little bit before party time.  This is a traditional Mexican recipe in that it is a “little bit of this” and “a little bit of that.”  I hope there is enough uncertainty in the recipe where you can make it your own!

Agua de Horchata


White rice
Whole and ground cinnamon
Vanilla extract
Sweetened condensed milk
Evaporated milk

This is what I did: (unofficial instructions)

  1. Soak rice in water overnight.  You are going to use A LOT of water in this recipe, so it doesn’t matter how much water you use here.  Just make sure the rice is well-covered.
  2. In the morning, boil some water and place some cinnamon sticks in the water to “brew.”
  3. Place the rice/water mixture in a blender.  Add some vanilla extract.  Sprinkle in some ground cinnamon, but not too much!
  4. Blend the mixture (I used the Puree setting), then strain the mixture into a vat or a big pot (I don’t think I have a pitcher big enough to make this, but you are welcome to try a pitcher).
  5. Place the solids (which are left in the colander) back in to the blender.
  6. Place the water from the soaking cinnamon in the blender.  Throw the cinnamon sticks in to your vat.  Add a can of evaporated milk and a can of condensed milk to the blender.  Blend (I used Puree setting and then Aerate setting).
  7. Strain the mixture in to the vat again.  Discard solids.  Add a few cups of milk, lots of water and ice to taste.
  8. Drink your Horchata!

16 week ultrasound reveals…

15 Jun

I woke up this morning quite excited.  I had a hard time falling asleep last night and felt like it was Christmas Eve!  Before getting out of bed, I tried to decide what my instinct deep down said as far as the baby’s sex goes.  So the first thing I did was present logical arguments to myself (which I think are against instinct).

Argument for a girl:
1. I really want a girl (I would be happy either way, but if it is a girl, Hadassah and she could go shopping together and be best friends!).
2. The sex tests I did at home both said GIRL!

Argument for a boy:
1. My pregnancy is SO different than last time, which makes it hard to NOT assume it is a boy.

So, back to instinct… boy? girl? boy? girl?  I decided it must be a girl, because I want a girl so much.  And at the same time I decided it must be a boy – putting wants aside, I really think it is a boy.  Actually, I really don’t know.  I can’t figure out what my stinking instinct says!  Here is a thought: it must be twins!  A boy and a girl.  Yes, that is the only logical conclusion to me thinking it is a boy and a girl (which is quite silly, since I have already had a million ultrasounds and there is clearly only one in there).  Fernando originally thought it was a girl, then changed his mind about 6 weeks ago and said boy.  I think next pregnancy, I need to close my eyes early on, reach deep within, and figure out what my instinct says, because at this point in pregnancy there are too many things that are clouding my instinct (like gender tests).

We get to the doctor’s office at 10AM and I realize I don’t have my glasses!  I start freaking out, because there is no way I will be able to see anything on that tiny screen without my glasses.  Quickly I asked Fernando to check in the car (I had them in the car and put them in my bag, so either my bag ate them, or fate is being cruel and wants me to miss seeing everything).  Luckily, I did not get called back before Fernando got back, and he had my glasses in hand.  Phew!

One of my early ultrasounds – ultrasound at 8 weeks. It is amazing how the baby already looks like a baby! It is very tiny, but still already it is a little human!

Then I start analyzing things out loud to Fernando: Gender can be determined at 16 weeks, but what if it isn’t standard procedure here to do that?  What if the ultrasound tech doesn’t want to tell me?  What if she doesn’t dare make guesses until 20 weeks?  What if I have to wait FOUR MORE WEEKS to find out? AGHHHH!!!

Fernando calmly looks at me and easily says, “Just tell yourself we aren’t going to find out today, then you won’t be disappointed.”  Holy mole, that is not an option.

We get called back and start the ultrasound.  I start with a casual question, trying to make sure I don’t sound like a crazy, obsessive, pregnant lady, “So, can you determine gender at 16 weeks?”

“Sometimes,” the tech says nicely.

“Oh,” was my response…

We are going through the ultrasound, which is quite exciting in itself.  The baby had grown SO much since my last ultrasound.  With my earlier ultrasounds, the baby definitely looked like a baby (except in my 6 week 3 day ultrasound – it just looked like a circle, which is shocking when you look at my following ultrasound just a week and a half later at 8 weeks – see right), but I really imagined it the size of a little gummy bear.  Now, the image of the baby was taking up almost the entire screen.  It of course wasn’t full-newborn size, but I could imagine the baby in my tummy, instead of thinking of it like a needle in a haystack.

Ultrasound at 16 weeks, 1 day


Suddenly, and what I thought to be randomly, the tech says, “I think it is a boy,”

“I think it is a boy!?” I thought.  Doesn’t she need to say, “oh, I’ll try to look at the sex now,”?!?!  I was in shock!  Then I regrouped.  Okay, this doesn’t sound very certain.  “You think?  Like, so it isn’t very certain then?”  She kept rolling the probe on my belly.

“Let me get a better look,”  She continued looking for a minute.  “I’m pretty certain.  There is definitely a penis there”

So there it is!  We are announcing that we are going to have a little boy and I am over the moon!  I know I said I really wanted a little girl, but when it comes to your children, the sex really doesn’t matter.  Plus, I was so prepared that Hadassah was a boy at her 20 week ultrasound, that I was shocked she was a girl.  I was expecting and dreaming that we would have our oldest be a boy, and he would be a “Big brother” for this younger siblings.  Hadassah and our little boy will be so close in age that I know he will still be able to play the “Big Brother” role.  In addition, some friends from church just had their baby this week and it was a little boy.  I was looking at the pictures and thinking, “oh, I cannot wait to have a little boy!”  And how ideal is it that we already have our little girl and our little boy?  I told Fernando that maybe from now on we can wait to be surprised for the sex until birth!  (hmmm, I will have to take some maturing or something, since I am ridiculously impatient).

Moral of the story:  Gender tests are fun, but don’t bet money on them.

Today our task is to figure out names, since I was so focused on girl names!

Free gender prediction tests

6 Jun

Well, ladies and gentlemen, here is your chance to conduct two tests at home to predict the gender of your little bun in the oven.  I give you the tests, their ingredients, instructions, and my results:

Please remember that these tests, to my knowledge, work the same way as the ones you can by at the store – they test the pH of your urine.  They have a 50% accuracy (although the ones at the drug store claim an 80% accuracy, but I haven’t read the research studies).

Test 1 – Red Cabbage Test

I did this test with my last pregnancy.  I cannot remember the results, but I think it was correct in predicting the sex of my daughter.


My results for the red-cabbage test – the result is PURPLE, which means GIRL!

Red Cabbage
Pregnant lady’s urine

Chop 1/4 or 1/2 of the cabbage.  Place in cold in the pot and heat until boiling.  Mix equal parts of urine and the cabbage water.

Reading Results:

Purple:  Girl
Pink: Boy

Test 2 – Baking soda test

This test is pretty simple.  Here ya go:


Throw some baking soda in a cup.  Pee in the cup.  Observe results:

Reading Results:

No fizz – Girl
Fizz – Boy

I didn’t take a picture of this one, because the picture would be pretty boring, but my result was No Fizz, which, like the last test means GIRL!

I have an ultrasound on June 15th, and I will be just past 16 weeks, so I am REALLY hoping we will be able to tell if it is a boy or a girl!

Because of the tests, I am really thinking it MUST be a girl, since they BOTH corresponded (although they reliable ways to test pH, and it would be like getting excited because the cabbage said one pH and then a pH indicator strip said the same thing – of course it would, duh!).  We shall see!  Look for a post on June 15th to see if the results were correct!

Napping magic

3 Jun

Little Hadassah skipped her morning nap, which, unfortunately, happens about every Sunday.  However, her routine on Sunday afternoons is consistent in that she will nap right when we get home.  At 3pm, Hadassah still had not slept, and any mother could look at her and say, “She needs to sleep now, whether she wants to or not!”  Since it is her custom to eat and then fall asleep, we were warming up a bottle.  I was trying to keep her entertained and played quite a few rounds of patty-cake with her. During the last round she gave out a frustrated, tired cry.

I decided to take a break from patty-cake.  I really like to sing Brahm’s lullaby to her, or You Are My Sunshine.  However, this strange thought entered my head, and I wondered, “How will Hadassah ever learn her ABC’s?”  So I decided to sing her the ABC song.  The first time she was looking intently at me, her eyes very round.  The second time I sang it to her she did several long blinks and her head started bobbing.  I realized instantly that this little baby might fall asleep on me!  The third time I positioned my hand to support her head and she was completely out.

I am always very jealous of Fernando because on those few nights that Hadassah has a hard time falling asleep, I do not do a very good job of luring her in to dreamland.  Fernando on the other hand seems to have no problem working some sort of baby magic, so he is usually the one who will take care of an overly tired baby.  So, the fact that Hadassah became like silly putty in my arms absolutely tickles me.

First and Second Time Pregnancies

3 Jun

I am a little over 14 weeks pregnant.  I am finally starting to breathe more easily (figuratively – I am not quite as worried as before).  I just got done with a large glass of milk and a chocolate cupcake.  Yum.  I finally broke down and bought a container of lactaid, since I am lactose intolerant.  In my single life, I managed my lactose intolerance pretty easily – I hated milk and just used soy or rice milk in my cereal.  When I lived in Mexico I was able to drink leche deslactosada – a milk that had the lactose removed from it¡  I was pretty happy.

Last pregnancy I downed a minimum of 3 large glasses of milk a day and thankfully I did not have many problems.  I suspect my body somehow started producing more of the enzyme or whatever that helps digest lactose.  This pregnancy I have still been craving milk (although not quite at the same level as last pregnancy) but have had more stomach upsets.  I find it interesting how there are differences with pre-pregnancy, first, and second pregnancies.   I wish I could make a chart.


  • Nauseated all day and night.  Could not sleep from the nausea.
  • Hips hurt in 2nd and 3rd trimester.
  • Felt movement at 19 weeks.
  • Wanted only milk, cereal, and fruit to eat.
  • I did not want any sweets whatsoever.
  • Had a belly by 20 weeks.
  • A completely low-risk, non-worrisome pregnancy, with no red flags.


  • Nauseated in the afternoon and evening.  A lot lighter than last time.
  • Hips hurt in 1st trimester.
  • Can eat a wide variety of foods, but nausea hits me at any time.
  • Felt movement at 9 weeks.
  • I just ate a cupcake.
  • Had a belly by 10 weeks.
  • Somewhat scary 1st trimester, with lots of bleeding, but the baby seems to be pulling through just fine.


  • Out of breath easily
  • Really like Gatorade.
  • Milk is yummy

So, there is a list, instead of a chart.  I am sure I will be adding other things to it later.