Sunday, September 7, 2008

My Birthday and Childproofing the House

Last Wednesday (September 3rd) was my 38th birthday.

It turned out to be a really special day and week, thanks to Amar's special treats on the preceding Sunday as well as on my birthday.

He had a surprise gift for me on the morning of my birthday --- a cooking book called Breakfast, Lunch, Tea from Rose Bakery (see top photo). I have been very curious about this book since I heard about it from a friend who is a very good cook and lives in London.  (Rose Bakery is a popular cafe restaurant in Paris and in London.)  

Yesterday, I have already tried one recipe from the book --- Apple & Blackberry Crumble, which proved to be very delicious ^^

This gift was a surprise to me, because I thought I had already had a special treat for my birthday on Sunday: he devoted his Sunday to me (and to Benjamin), doing all the things I had on my list of "Things I would like Amar to do" ;-), such as childproofing the house, going shopping with me for Benjamin, and cooking dinner for me.

And he did all of the things on the list, too!

He first started his Sunday with installing locks to the every cupboards and drawers in the kitchen and bathroom that contain any kind of hazardous items.

After that, we went out for shopping at a second-hand store for babies and moms called "Once Upon a Child", looking for Benjamin's clothes (he has already outgrown so many clothes and now he can wear only those for 6-months-old babies, though he is still 4 months old...^_^;), and some items useful for childproofing the house.

Though we didn't really find any useful items for childproofing in that shop, we got some nice clothes for Benjamin, and a baby's chair called "Bumbo Seat". (The Bumbo Seat was not a used item --- they sell some new items as well, apparently.)

Bumbo Seats are meant for babies who has just gained their head control but cannot sit by themselves unassisted --- the bumbo seat provides a minimum assistance and thereby babies can learn to balance their body to sit on their own eventually.

Benjamin looks so cute sitting in this bumbo seat! 

My sister Tomoko also had bought a bumbo seat for her son Yu-chan, and he looks just as cute, too! ^^

We have also bought a foam mat for children's nursery --- they are very useful to protect Benjamin from injury in case he falls down (well, when he starts crawling and walking, you know), and of course protecting the hardwood floor from babies' activities.

Benjamin looks very small (and cute) after we put out this mat ^^:

Benjamin seems to quite enjoy this new mat.^^

*I will upload more photos of Benjamin sitting in his Bumbo Seat on my photo album website.

The first tomato in our backyard (and a battle with a deer family)

We planted some tomato plants in our backyard for the first time this summer, and after almost three months of waiting and taking care of them (with watering them every day, adding stakes, etc.), we finally got the first tomato to harvest two days ago!

This is the tomato we harvested:

And this is the tomato cut up and thrown into a salad:

Hmm....It was DELICIOUS! we must say!!

It was not without any problem, however, that we managed to harvest this tomato: we had to compete with a deer family that pays frequent visits to our backyard, and that now turned out to eat even our tomatoes, not only flowers and flower buds!!!

So, as soon as we noticed that a deer was eating our tomatoes which had just started ripening, I did some *serious* research on the web and asking a gardener friend for advice.  

I first sprayed a deer repellent called "Liquid Fence" (which is biodegradable, made of seaweed and egg) on the leaves and stems of the tomato plants, and then, following an advice from the gardener friend, we put a transparent fishing line at about 4 feet high and about 2 feet away from the tomato plants.  According to the friend, given that deer always come out at the dawn and the dusk, they cannot see the transparent fishing line, and thus when they try to reach for tomatoes their body touches the fishing line and then they freak out and ran away.

Amar was at first a bit dubious about this idea, but he did it anyway because it was the simplest and quickest solution at hand, and also because it happened to be my birthday (!) --- so he wanted to please me rather than frustrate me. ^^

The fishing lines installed around the tomato plants look like this:

So far it seems working well, and we managed to protect the only tomato left which was ripening then, and harvest it two days later (as you saw above).

There are still about 20 to 30 tomatoes which are to ripen from now on, so we really hope that this simple device will work until the end of the season!