Monday, December 27, 2010

Homemade Baby Food Strategies

Suddenly it sounds like a war strategy, for some it might be, looking at the circumstances when we are battling against every odds to give the best to our baby. Homemade baby food is the best way to go, as it comes full with nutrition, no processing or preservatives. But time is something that we never seem to have enough of, neither can be bought. For things money can't buy, we find our own workable methods.

Here are my strategies in preparing baby food, usually about 2-3 times a week:

  • Since the serving portion for 1 meal is rather small, cooking a large portion (2-3 meals in one) is better to fully utilise the veggies you have bought for your baby. Freeze in portions enough for one meal each, and use as necessary. I usually keep frozen food for no longer than 7 days.
  • The same dish daily gets boring for baby. I sometimes cook 2-in-1 meals. Example one recipe here. This serves as the basic meal for either lunch or dinner.
  • I always keep stocks of powdered anchovies, cheese and yogurt to add taste and nutrition to the food. For example, with a basic meal of porridge or potato (consisting of carbohydrate and 2-3 types of veggies), I just add either anchovies, cheese or yogurt for added protein and dairy nutrition.
  • For some animal protein, I keep frozen stocks of boiled egg yolk, steamed fish or steam chicken for a twist to the taste and variety on the nutrition chart.
  • I cook and freeze some rice, banana or carrot puddings, for a change of taste on occasional meals or breakfast. A plain carrot or banana pudding is perfect to be served with cereal or on its own. You can also add in some fruits like apple or plum.
These methods gives me more flexibility over putting in more variety into his daily diet with reasonable effort. I usually cook and prepare stocks of his food while he's sleeping.

What are your baby food strategies?

How To Lose Weight - The Baby Workout/Diet

During my pregnancy, I put on close to 20kgs. Can you imagine, it is like more than 2kgs per month! I can still recall the merry eating sessions I used to have when eating out, at my parents or my in laws place. Truly miss those preggy (and legally bloated) days. I truly did put myself up to my best food cravings and one after another, dessert became mandatory on even weeknights. During preggers I didn't have to worry about not fitting my jeans, at least, at that time. But yeah, on some odd ocassions I used to wonder, WILL I ever be able to shed all these 'food' off? If yes, how would I do it?

I really did not plan anything (other than sensible diet) like exercise or yoga, because I knew, with a baby and a day job, it is going to be a challenge doing that. Here's something I want to share, how I finally managed to lose abt 18kgs post-baby. I call it the Baby workout and diet. Below listed is the aspects of baby workout and diet that helped me shedding my glorious weight away:

  1. Fussy Baby - Gives you power walks and arm muscle toning (hehe.. kidding here) while trying to soothe a fussy baby that wants to be carried and only carried the whole day. Constant sitting down and getting up also helps the whole body, as some babies, like Sanju, start crying the moment he realises I am sitting down
  2. Flash eating - I think I should rephrase 'eating' to 'shoving food into the mouth' to get over with the meal as soon as possible and go back to attending the wailing baby that needs attention, refer to (1)
  3. Baby wearing - When shopping or doing house work, the extra weight you are 'working' on is good for you
  4. Lack of interest in food - It is not the appetite, but the lack of time you get to even sit and think, hey, I want to eat ABC, or BKT or CKT
  5. Multitasking - Baby tending, house chores, (pampered) hubby tending... you get the idea?
  6. Baby eating = burning calories - When your baby likes explore the whole house during his meal times, and if he takes long to finish his meals, you have longer workout
Disclaimer - This diet only works if you have recently given birth and have a baby tending to do. Baby Alive dolls do not count.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Manmadhan Ambu Movie Review

Manmadhan Ambu is a classic example of half-baked story with an over-hyped starcast. The movie starts by showing arrival of movie star Nisha at the airport, later some details are thrown in as to how she is escaping from her personal life issues with her fiance back in India. The first half was so bland, with some hospital scenes of a cancer patient of some emotional factor. Nothing funny, interesting or engaging that happened at all. Yet, I continued watching, keeping some faith in the movie and Kamal Hassan's story.

It got interesting when some revelations came up in the second half, but only to be put down again with bad screenplay. The flashback song in the second half is the only engaging 5 minutes of the movie. I must say I was amazed at the whole song that was shot in a reverse order, at the same time, the actor was miming in a forward order, totally amazing. It feels as if 100% of the efforts in conceptualising & execution went into the song only.

Only at the last 1 hour that they decided to put in some comedy or errors, lies and cover-ups, which is nothing new, probably you would have seen this in 101 other films. The dialogue depends heavily on dirty and double meaning jokes to bring in the laughs.

So many things of important events were not explained or given proper justification.

1) What took Trisha 3 years to escape to a holiday away from Madhavan?
2) With such a bad accident happening just a distance away, how come none of the crowd of people heard it?
3) What triggers the romance between Trisha and Kamal? All of a sudden they announce that they are lovers?
4) The scene where Trisha was to confess about the 'accident', why does she suddenly turn all so romantic, citing her poem, and what not?
5) Why did Madhavan (the rich guy) refuse to pay Kamal?
6) Deepa promised to get Nisha to read Kurup's script, why does Kamal in the end walk around with it, saying he promised Kurup instead?
7) Deepa and Madhavan get together in the end, WTF for?

Instead of the comedy of errors and dirty jokes, they could have given more attention to Madhavan-Trisha-Kamal's relationships and development in a rom-com style. Badly disappointing. Kamal's 2010 offering is nowhere near Rajni's Endhiran. Better luck next time.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Giveaway: Bummis Review Series

I have been following the Bummis Review Series on Mummy's Reviews and I must say the Bummis Diaper Kit sounds perfect for new mamas on the cloth diapering block. The kit comes well planned for a cloth diapering mother, makes it somewhat a one-stop solution to your diapering needs. Makes me wonder why didn't I get myself one? Maybe I still can... with this giveaway, of course!

To see more of TinyPants and their products, visit their e-shop.

For more info on the giveaway, click here, and I hope you will be interested in trying your luck too, as they say, sharing is caring, and extra entries!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Zor Ka Jhatka

SRK is making a comeback to the small screen after his successful stints on Kaun Banega Crorepati (India's Who wants to be a Millionaire) and Kya Aap Pachvi Pass Se (Are you smarter than a 5th Grader), this time in the Indian edition of Wipeout.

Wipeout Australia is my absolute favourite weekend watch. It is not just fun seeing contestants act clumsy in all the weird obstacles, but the commentators' are amazingly hilarous, they actually contribute to the 70% of the fun in the show. And now SRK is to take on the hat of a host-commentator, I can imagine this show would be a blast, zor ka jhatka as they say! And in this edition, the contestants are Indian celebs from TV dramas and movies. This definitely makes for a even more fun commentating oppurtunity, and I must say, I know SRK knows best!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bananas Galore!

There is a large amount of bananas my in-laws gave to us once they got to know Sanju loves bananas. However, bananas ripe and start to spoil very fast and I hate throwing any food items away. Thus, I decided, there has to be something that I can make and freeze, for Sanju's breakfast or meals.

Found some banana ideas from my baby food bible, wholesomebabyfood, and I was like, why didn't I think of that earlier?

Never too late to start, I got on working (once the ball of energy is put to sleep) and I hope Sanju enjoys eating it as much as I enjoyed making it! Here's the banana menu for freeze stock:

1) Mashed Bananas:

This is pretty simple, just mashed them in a clean bowl (leave it slightly chunky if you want your baby to chew on it). Put them in small containers and freeze. Can serve it on its own, or with cereal or breakfast.
Total cooking/preparing time: 3 mins

2) Banana Pudding:

You need: 1/4 cup of rice, 1/2 milk, 4-5 small bananas (mashed), some cinnamon powder
Cook milk and rice together. Once rice starts cooking (like the porridge), put in the mashed bananas, and some cinnamon powder. Serve it for breakfast or meals.
Total cooking/preparing time: 15-20 mins

3) Banana Custard:

You need: 2-3 egg yolks, 2-3 small bananas (mashed), some cinnamon powder
Mix all the ingredients together and steam or bake it. You can also pan fry it. Serve it for breakfast or meals.
Total cooking/preparing time: 10-15 mins

Easy breezy cover girl, err... I mean baby food!

I've Got Fluffymail!

Well for those who are not familiar... I have just got some new cloth diapers! And this time it is not just any cloth diaper, it is custom made from a local WAHM mama who specialises in irresistible duo-printed diapers, called BlingBumz! This is probably the most awaited CD in my (and Sanju's) life ever. The maker, Lisa, was down with backpain for a while, I waited (im)patiently while she got working on it, and as luck had it, I managed to snab one in-stock diaper in another doubly irresistible duo-print while waiting!

They are:
1) Christmas Cupcakes (AI2 OS custom made):

This one is just a too cute of a print, even Sanju got attracted to it when it was in the laundry basket after drying. The soaker doublers have 2 different positions we can place, depending on a front or back wetter. And the diaper cover takes relatively faster to dry, as compared to a Bamboolite and Bottombumper! And I love the trim cutting, perhaps the trim factor makes the diaper look slightly smaller in size. Wish to have larger size designed for chunkier babies. Time to get all Christmas-y!

2) Blue Cheetah (AI2, M size, in stock):

Grrr... Cheetah print is what Sanju needs to become the player in the future, LOL! This one feels just as great as it looks, and the inner bamboo velour looks so black, shiny and feels luxe, Sanju's bums are indeed damn lucky!

Tempted? Get yours here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Confinement Miseries And Irony

Something on Facebook today brought me back to my confinement memories. Confinement is pretty much misery for all new moms. First of all you are already suffering from post partum recovery and whatnot. And then, for Asians, we have this strict diet and massage regime that makes it worse. You are required to be all covered top to bottom, and sweat your heart out. And to add fire to the heat, our diet is consist of food that encourages more heat and sweating.

Mom was quite particular about me not getting my hands and feet wet, about always wearing socks and long sleeves, about being coop-ed up in the room. The rebel in me, went against all of this. I washed my hair on 3rd day and even did some handwashing of baby's nappies and my poor mom, gave up, then again, I am sure she is secretly hoping that my kid would give me the same hell I always give her.

Everyone has baby blues during this period. Sometimes it is the feeling of incompetence or overwhelmed of being a new parent, worry of not being able to provide the baby. It does not help that this is also the time when babies have weird sleeping patterns, either stay awake the whole night, or wake up every 2-3 hours for feeding (and crying their lungs out). Or sometimes it is just the result of being confined. There would be times where we feel happy, and just the next moment we would be down, for no apparent reason. At times like this, it is important to talk and share your feelings with your spouse, mother or a friend.

Back to bad-mouthing confinement, to add more fire to the all sweaty heat, we, the mothers have to struggle with weight loss during confinement. Which is not easy for most of us. I had put on like 18 heavy kilograms during my pregnancy, and my weight after delivery was a whopping 60kg, which means 10kg more to my normal weight. Desperately looking out for some tummy tuck, I went out shopping for corset during my confinement. Ironically, most of the corset sizes that I found in Jusco were of size M and L that did not fit a 60kg lady. Pray, why? Someone of smaller size would not be looking for a tummy tuck, would she? Irony of all ironies...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New hobby?

Well, I am still busy with my baby food cooking & cloth diaper hobby to catch a new one. This is in fact, about my hubby. We seem to have a photographer in the making, and we didn't even know it.

We took a walk to the nearby park on Sunday evening, and hubby took some real amazing shots of lotus flowers in the lake, using just a HTC wildfire.

Here are some of the best shots:

In fact, I used one of the shots on the right side on my blog as my blog image.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New Addition to the Cloth Diaper Stash

Working from home for the past 3 weeks has been pretty fun as far as online shopping is concerned. When I am not occupied with work or Sanju, I managed to click 'Buy' at a few hazardous (to the wallet) and pleasure giving (to the CD-loving soul) online stores.

My latest CD arrivals are Bumgenius Artist Series, Joli printed PUL and Bamboolite Fleece cover. The main aim for these purchases are to sustain my little boy's pee needs, and yeah, for some retail therapy!

Here's a quick review on the dipes after one week's use:

1) Bumgenius Artist Series:
  • The diaper cover is so quick drying, it almost beats my coolababy dipes!
  • It fits the foldover inserts to the tee, perfect for outings (for the lovely print)
  • The inner fleece is the most stay-dry feel ever
  • The cutting suits my chunky little fella
  • This is my first ever BG dipe, and I am loving it!

2) Joli Printed PUL (below pic - left):
  • I love this one second to my bamboolites, so no explaination needed here
  • This is OS with a large cutting, definitely a good investment in the long term
  • A special thanks to Hannah from LovelyGoody!

3) Bamboolite Fleece Cover (below pic - right):
  • I got this cover to use with the foldover inserts, as an AI2 system
  • It is in size 2, so it appears rather bulky, only suitable for night use
  • Hoping to get some fitteds in future to be able to use this as a cover (oh my, more shopping!)
I have got a couple more coming in soon... So to keep the thrill going, stay tuned!

Baby Kichdi - 2 in 1 meal

Kichdi is a traditional north Indian porridge-like meal, where we cook rice with dhal, and throw in some vegetables, and you get a complete meal all in one. It is the best eaten with yogurt.

Now that Sanju is familiar with spices (such as coriander, tumeric) and garlic/ginger, I decided to whip up a baby version of kichdi, which in turn comes out as 2 completely different meals in one: rice kichdi & mashed potato with vegetables.

Here are the ingredients (makes 3-4 servings):

2 fist-full rice
1 tbsp moong dhal
2 cloves of garlic
a small cube of ginger
2 cups of water/veg stock
1 carrot, some pumpkin - diced big enough to be scooped out later
some other vegetables (eg - cauliflower, asparagus, other vegs that your baby is familiar with)
2 potatoes
half teaspoon of tumeric powder
2 tbsp coriander leaves (cut small)

Cooking method:
  1. Soak rice and moong dhal 1-2 hours prior to cooking.
  2. Cook rice and moong dhal in the water for 5 mins.
  3. Add tumeric powder, garlic and ginger. And add all the vegetables into it, and cook for 10-15 mins, stirring.
  4. Once almost done, add in the coriander leaves, and cook for 3-4 mins, and turn off the heat.
  5. Pick out the all the potatoes, pumpkin and carrots into a separate container. And voila! You have rice kichdi & mashed potatoes for 2 different meals.
You can mash the potatoes and vegetables to your desired consistency, and blend the rice or serve it on its own.

Here is the rice kichdi for lunch, you can reduce the water for thicker final product:

The mashed potato with vegetables for dinner:

Try it.. enjoy cooking for love!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Best Practices in Cloth Diapering

We all have our best practice and tips that works for us that we follow religiously in our daily lives. Especially when a chore or task becomes a routine, we tend to build our own practice that works best for us!

With a growing number of cloth diapering mamas out there, I see (read & hear too) many questions and doubts on how/why/when/what/who all about CD. Believe me, I have been there too, 8 months back when I took my first step in cloth diapering my then 2 month old Sanju. And with my experience (and wisdom) I have established my own best practices in managing cloth diapering my little one, which I thought I will share here. These practices not just proved to help in effective CD laundry management, it also helped me to 'spend' smart on those pretty and irresistable dipes!
  1. After use, always rinse the CD with water before placing it into the wet pail, to avoid creating a stink that can bring the house down, especially if you don't wash your CD laundry on daily basis.
  2. Wash CDs with baby clothes, to reduce the amount of laundry you need to do for the little one. Since you have already rinsed the CD prior to washing, no worries about hygiene here.
  3. Always put your CDs in a laundry bag before putting them for wash in the washing machine. It helps in preserving the elastics and avoid the velcro from spoiling the rest of the clothes.
  4. Keep a stash of mixed type of diapers, eg pocket, all-in-one, all-in-2, fitted. This way, you have the flexibity of choosing the type for home use, outings or travellings. Plus, what is a stash without some variety?
  5. For your all-in-2s, it is good to have a set or 2 of extra soakers to fully maximise the AI2-ness of it.
  6. For those pocket diapers, always keep extra inserts. It helps especially on a rainy and wet day when laundry takes longer to dry. Pocket covers dry much faster than the inserts. It is also useful when travelling and hotel stays.
  7. Buy one-sized (OS) diapers to be able to use it from baby to toddlerhood. This is indeed money well spent.
  8. But hey, one can't resist those pretty, luxe, minky and oh-so-adorable sized diapers... so if you must, buy sized diapers once your baby is above 7 or 8 months, as they are almost over the rapid growth phase.
  9. Use less detergent, more water, for the laundry.
  10. It is recommended not to soak the CDs before washing. Therefore, you can soak the rest of the clothes in the washing machine first, and dump in the CDs only when you are about to resume washing.
In the mean time, here's a shot of Sanju's new Bumgenius Artist Series diaper to feast your eyes:

Good News and Bad News

It was rather spirit dampening reading the news here about government subsidy reduction on fuel and sugar. One wishes more was done to provide incentives for the people to improve our lifestyles, indirectly helping our productivity and economy. Well I am not going to go all politics, but with the general elections coming up soon, the government could pay their cards better.

And... you might wonder, what is the good news? *Drum rolls* I won first prize for the LifestyleGreenSolutions Giveaway contest! I won products worth RM68, consist of Chlorine Free Baby Wipes and Clear Natural Laundry Detergent! Ya-ba-da-ba-doooooo

More winners and prizes here. This is my second online win in just 3 months and I am beginning to lurve it more and more!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rapunzel: A Tangled Tale Movie Review

I am a total animation movie freak. Fairy tales, however, usually do not count, because most of them, we have either heard or read them when we were young and pretending to be princesses.

What really made us watch Rapunzel was the fact that we needed some time out, and introduce Sanju, gently, to the cineplex, and what better than animation film to brighten up his time? Not to mention, this is a Disney musical, so there were songs in between, and I am pretty sure Sanju was as comfy as watching a hindi film with song and dance sequence. You know what I mean. Funny thing, Sanju's first ever movie experience had to be a princess story.

Rapunzel somehow diverts very much away from the usual fairy tale stereotyped stories. Forget the knight in shining armour rescuing the damsel in distress. This damsel actually rescues the the lad from trouble, not once, not twice.. err I think it is 4 times, if you count the ending (don't wanna give spoilers away here). She does this with her innocence, determination and a frying pan, yes you read it right.

The story is very much different from the version I have read during my childhood. But I am glad they spiced it up a little bit here, because thats how it becomes more fun. I shall not elaborate the story much here, as Rapunzel is as Rapunzel does... bring your kids for the fun, and yourself for the treat!

The moral of the story: Do not leave home without your frying pan!

Whats with fairy tales and princess stories anyway? I suppose it is the chic-lit and chic-flick of those days.


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