Life

My son Benaya

Benaya my second born. He’s 10.5 months now, time flies just like that. This time last year I was in my third trimester and very very pregnant. I remembered every single detail of this pregnancy. With him, my morning sickness was really bad, it didn’t stop until I was 20 weeks along. Just like first pregnancy, I didn’t really have food cravings. But because the nausea was very very bad, the only food that was okay during the first trimester was spinach soup. So I remember I ate spinach food every single day. It’s not that I really like spinach soup but that’s the only food that he approved. It got better after 20 weeks when my normal taste bud was back in function. He was one little kicker and he liked to wake me up every day at 3-4 am with those strong little kicks jumps and rolls inside the womb. Second pregnancy is more challenging physically. I got tired very easily and joints-pain here and there. I had some kind of pelvic problems that made it so difficult for me to get up every morning, but I was so unstoppable. Benaya liked when her mama moved around, went here and there, did a lot of things. I was craving for more and more DIY ideas that time around. Aside from designing stuff for Linoluna, I managed to make some crocheted stuff (blankets, baby beanies, baby onesies, cushion, bunting, etc), nursery mobile, and even tried my luck on baking. I remembered my baby bump was very very big and laying low. Everyone thought I was carrying twins. I also remembered those times I was really really worried when my third trimester blood-test came with not-so-good result that I had some bacteria infections. I was so scared and phoned my doctor crying. Turned out the result was not accurate. I took blood-test again and no infection and I cried again, happy cry this time (I cry a lot during both pregnancies, blame the hormones, haha.) He would kick and dance inside when I was singing, also when Abigail and papa tried to make conversation with him. My skin was at its best when I was pregnant with him although I didn’t do anything much to it.

Now he’s almost 11 months and will turn 1 year old in a blink of an eye. He’s so smiley and bubbly. He’s the loudest and funniest in the family, also the most outgoing. He likes tickle game a lot. And when he laughs, it cracks the whole room. He likes to explore, he’s so restless and unstoppable. He’s always on the move. Mama is his favourite person like no one else and currently, he wouldn’t let me be out of his sight. And the way he looks at me always melts my heart. He loves when I’m singing. He takes every conversation seriously. His eyes would shine so bright every time we talk to him. Mama loves you Benaya. We all love you!

D-I-Y & Crafts

Art at home: Kandinsky concentric circles

This girl is very into art. She actually loves various things but art and craft is her favourite of all. And I love her for her enthusiasm and her persistence in every activities. Every morning as I shower her before school, she always asks “mama, what are we going to do this afternoon after school?” So, I have to come up with ideas everyday as per her request. Well there are times that she’s just tired and wants to have some times of her own and I’ll just let her because that means rest for mama, too. Haha! But that one afternoon, I offered her the idea to make this Kandinsky concentric circles. To my surprise, she really enjoyed this. I let her decide the colours and everything and she came up with rainbow colours (she’s always about rainbows and unicorns). I helped her make the straight lines and divide the paper into nine sections. She made the rest: draw the circles and paint them in colours.

Doing art with kids is really fun. It’s good for their soul and to stimulate their brain. She is very persistent and she knows what she wants to do. Sometimes I have to guide her but most of the times she wants to do things by herself. We did this while Benaya is taking a nap and it was a good mommy-daughter time. Sometimes she talks a looottt while doing this (about school, friends, or some random things) but some other times she needs concentration and I need to keep my mouth sealed as she said “quiet mama, I need to focus”. haha. She doesn’t want to be disturbed and I respect her decision. It’s really very important to give children exposure to many different things since early age, as long as they do it without pressure. The long-term goal is that she finds her passion and be really good at it.

So here’s the result:

P.S: the paints are Crayola washable paints.

siblings love

Two peas in a pod

They really look alike, don’t they? Haha.

These two are my source of headaches and happiness in equal measure. Before I was pregnant with Benaya I’ve always wondered how can I ever love another baby as much as I love Abigail. I simply had no idea whether my heart could hold just the same amount of love. During the last days of my pregnancy, I remembered that I often cried at night (probably that’s because of the pregancy hormone haha) staring at Abigail while she was sleeping. I was so scared that she wouldn’t be able to accept the fact that she had to share her mother to her brother. And I was afraid my heart couldn’t handle loving both. However, it’s true what they say that “Love doesn’t divide, it just multiplies”. I didn’t know how much my heart could handle until I had them both. Abigail was so smitten with baby Benaya and she loved him so much although now she doesn’t think he’s cute anymore because he can already respond when he doesn’t like what she’s doing, usually in the loudest voice ever haha. These two like to annoy each other and very easily get annoyed by each other, sometimes it drives me crazy as a mother! Our house is always so loud, messy and chaotic. However, it’s also the cutest to see the bond between these two. Every morning as they wake up they would come to each other and play (until one cries, of course) and every night before sleep they like to share some laughs together. They also already have some sort of inside jokes that I don’t really understand but Benaya would really laugh so hard whenever Abigail does something.

I can’t wait to see them grow together, create childhood memories, and as they are older they will protect each other. Siblings are best friends for life. Mama loves you, kiddos!

Cooking

Recipe: Carrot Cake

This year I challenge myself to bake more often. It’s really fun! I don’t really fancy cooking but baking is another story. That’s maybe because I’m a sweet-tooth myself and this will surely satisfy my own cravings. Haha. Also Abigail enjoys the baking session a lot so it doubles the fun! I hope this little moment is something she will remember in the future.

So, this time it’s another uncomplicated recipe: carrot cake. I love carrot cake so much! And it leaves less guilt afterwards, haha. I tried it twice: first attempt was not a success but second attempt was quite a satisfactory. It’s moist and burst in flavour! Carrot, walnut and cinnamon create a perfect combination and I’m salivating as I’m writing now, haha! Well, some recipes I found online said that adding pineapple will make it extra moist. I should try it next time. But this one is already a good one. It’s our new favourite. Our as in my husband and I. Let’s hope Abigail will enjoy it as much as her parents do. She only loves the cake batter and cream cheese, in fact. Haha!

Let’s jump to the recipe, shall we?

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large carrots, grated
  • 1 cup walnuts

Cream cheese frosting:

  • 8 ounces block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions: 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F, grease the pan with butter and drizzle some flour.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon –> (Dry ingredients)
  • In a different bowl whisk the vegetable oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract –> (Wet ingredients)
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined
  • Fold the grated carrots and walnuts to the mix above.
  • Spread the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 45-55 minutes (always check with the toothpick).
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool.
  • Make the frosting: beat the cream cheese and butter on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar (gradually), vanilla extract, and salt. Beat on low speed.
  • Spread the frosting on the cake. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes before serving.
  • Carrot cake ready to serve. Enjoy!
baby stuff

Benaya’s Starting-to-Eat Guide: Equipments + Meal Planner Template

Well, this post is a little too late (because Benaya is 10 months now! Haha) but I think I need to write this post to remind myself, just in case we have another baby haha (although it isn’t something we’ve planned haha). Also, this might help you new-moms whose babies are starting to eat. So, in my very own experience, being a mother for the second time does not mean that I have got the hang of it. Firstly, the four year gap makes me forget so many things about baby and newborns. Secondly, kids are different (even if they come from the same womb haha) so you might need to try different methods. Thirdly, well as time progresses, more new research are out, and a handful of information available. There might be some differences here and there. I’m trying to update myself with the most recent ones. However, being mother for the second time also allows you to look back, learn some lessons and decide what to change or what to maintain, just to make things better and more efficient this time around. So here are some recaps of the equipment when Benaya was starting to eat:

1  Food processor

I got Beaba cook solo. Honestly, I fall in love with the design. It’s sleek, modern, and compact! It’s a 4-in-1 food processor: steam cooks, blends, defrosts, and reheats. It’s very easy to use and now that Benaya doesn’t eat pureed food anymore, I’m still using it to prepare other food for family (such as smoothie bowls) and it stands nicely in our pantry. So, it’s definitely a good purchase.

2  Eating utensils 

Bowl, sippy cup, cutleries, divided plates. I still keep Abigail’s eating utensils when she was baby and use them for Benaya this time around. But I also bought some for Design Letter’s range. Because I love the design.

3  Booster seat

Mamas and papas Baby snug booster seat (in Putty colour) is my favourite. Based on my experience with Abigail, I wasn’t that strict on sitting during mealtime rule. And it made me dead tired chasing her around while feeding her. It was not a good habit, too, I confess. But you know, first kid. Luckily now as she grows, she understands the rule but I just thought I should’ve taught her earlier on discipline while eating. So, for Benaya I’ve always wanted him to sit while eating. It’s a rule. Benaya couldn’t sit by himself when he started eating so I got this booster seat from Mamas and Papas. Also, because I would only need it awhile (until he can sit), I didn’t buy it, instead I rented it from Gigel.id. I love this booster seat because Benaya fits just right (not too tight compared to Bumbo that I got for Abigail a few years back). It also strengthened his muscles and helped him learn to sit.

4  High Chair

Ours is Yamatoya High Chair. So as soon as he can sit his own (7 month old), we shifted from booster seat to high chair. It’s a gift from friends and we love it. Easy to clean and it matched our home decor haha. The only problem is that it has no buckle seat.

5  Insulated lunch jar

It’s Skiphop and it’s cute, haha. It’s for Benaya’s food-to-go. I pick up Abigail everyday and Benaya always has his lunch outside. From the shop assistant’s information, this  insulated lunch jar keeps your food warn for about 6 hours, and cold for 4 hours. From my experience, it can only keep food warm from 2-3 hours. But no complain though, because Benaya usually eats 1-2 hours after we leaves house.

6  Baby bib

I have some bibs and before he started eating I had this picture in mind that he would be so cute wearing bibs. This one is from Skiphop, too (matchy matchy with the insulated jar haha). But in reality, Benaya never liked wearing bib. I tried a few other brands too but it just didn’t work out. Yes, it’s alwayssss so messy when he eats, but still better than not eating at all in my opinion. So, I give up with bibs for now. Maybe I should try other Bib brands later and fingers crossed he’ll approve.

7  Lunch bag

He has a few but I use this one from Sugar Booger quite often.

8  Freezer cubes

I usually cook in quite a large amount for efficiency, for about four meals in one go. I store the food in freezer cubes for longer period of time. But don’t forget to set aside the vegetables. So here are what I usually do: take the freezer cube from the freezer, defrost the frozen food, steam the vegetables, and blend them altogether (all in Beaba).

9  Cooking utensils (not in the picture)

Knife, sauce pan, frying pan, cutting board, strainer. The first few months when Benaya started eating, I separated the cooking utensils for baby food and adult food. For some, there’s no need to do this, but I still did it for safety reasons. Well, now that he’s 10 months already we just use the same utensils.

In this post I also want to include the Meal Planner I made for myself when Benaya started eating because I was so excited and anxious at the same time. I need to get things organised and this Meal Planner helped me a lot. I still use it until now. And below is Benaya’s eating menu for week 1 when he started eating. Well, I’m no expert here, always consult with your pediatrician to make sure everything is on track. Click here to download the Meal Planner template.