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.

Life

Throwback Melbourne Trip 2016

As I was looking through pics on our long-abandoned camera, I just realised that I haven’t posted anything about our Melbourne trip last 2016. So here are some pics. We went there with my brother so we were able to snap some pictures of us three while we were there.

Most of the pics were taken with iPhone because DSLR is not the easiest to take around (especially when we’re going with toddler), while iPhone comes in handy. But we managed to snap a few nice pictures with DSLR, too.

We love Melbourne so much. My husband especially loved it for the tons of design-store inspiration. Well, to be honest one of the reasons we picked Melbourne was because we wanted to do some research for our store. And so glad we did! We learned a lot and got tons of ideas for our store. I also love the art and design there; playful, vibrant and was of strong character. We enjoyed hopping from one small shop to another and gathered all the inspiration we could get. The culinary also didn’t disappoint, and oh the coffee is really really good! As we all know, Melbourne is famous for the coffee culture.

However, this holiday was mainly for Abigail (as for any holiday haha). She had a lot of fun. Everyday before we started the day, we went to the park that’s just within 2 mins walking distance from our apartment. She enjoyed every trips to the park, playgrounds, toy-shops, museums, etc. And her experience in the State Library of Victoria was probably the most memorable to her. Well, of course there are some meltdowns in between (especially when she was hungry or sleepy) which was not fun at all while it happened haha. She is not the easiest to deal with when she gets cranky, I tell you. It took a lot of negotiations until we could finally find win-win solution, a lot of thinking and ideas from us parents. Sometimes I also had meltdowns, haha. However, all the bad times was forgotten eventually. When we were back home, we asked her whether she was happy with the trip, and it was a relief that she said she was so happy. Holiday is always a good time to bond with the family.

I miss holiday so much. Last year we didn’t travel anywhere because one of many things, mostly because I was not that brave to take Benaya on holiday. He is much more mobile than Abigail. Car journey frustrates him a lot when he’s awake, very contrary to Abigail who really enjoys car journey. So I couldn’t imagine the frustration taking him on a flight journey. We still have no fix holiday plan this year but Abigail has been asking for holiday this time soon. Well, this mama right here badly needs one, too. So, fingers crossed I will brave it, fingers crossed we will all brave it. And of course, as anxious as I am for our party-of-four-holiday, I won’t lie that I’m also in full excitement. Any idea where to go?

Cooking

Recipe: Chewy chocolate chip cookies

Oh hello I’m back. Let’s start my first post with a recipe. Yay! I’ve been enjoying baking recently and this chocolate chips cookies is our family’s favourite. It’s very easy (I can only deal with the easy ones, to be honest) and delicious! Chewy, fudgy and not too sweet. Just the right amount! I’ve always baked this with Abigail and I’m proud she’s quite a pro now. Haha.. I also posted a few times on Instagram and a lot friends were asking for the recipes. So I thought it’s just right to share it here.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
  • To a microwave-safe bowl, heat the unsalted butter to melt, about 1 minute. Wait until it cools a bit.
  • Add egg, light brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla. Whisk!
  • Add flour, cornstarch, bakings soda and salt. Mix them together.
  • Add the chocolate chip and stir.
  • Take about 1 tbsp of dough for each cookies, roll them into ball. Or you can also scoop it with ice cream scoop and flatten a little bit.
  • Arrange all the cookies doughs to a large tray (lined the tray with baking sheet).
  • Bake for 10 mins (don’t overbake). Allow them to cool for a while on the baking sheet.
  • Cookies are ready to serve!

Side notes:

  • In order to get chewy result, don’t overbake! Even if the cookies are slightly undercooked, pale and glossy in the centre. The will firm up as they cool.
  • If there is still some leftover dough, you can store it in an airtight plastic, and put it in the refrigerator (or freezer for longer time).

Enjoy!

Cooking Motherhood

Baking with Abigail

It all started last Christmas. Her school was off for Christmas holiday, we were spending our holiday at home and she was whining to me “mama, I’m bored please let me watch TV just this time”. She wanted to break the “screen time is only allowed on Saturday and Sunday half-day” rule. I know parenting styles and rules are different from one another but we’re quite strict on this particular one. So I asked her idea on what she would like to do and she came up with baking.

From then on, it’s legit baking is our favourite holiday activity. Baking chocolate chips cookies, to be exact. We have been doing this on every holiday. And Abigail is such a natural. She did almost the whole process (except measuring the ingredients and taking the dough in and out the oven). We really enjoy the whole process, talking or simply telling things while doing this activity. She even made silly dances and really savoured the good time. It’s more like a quality time for both of us. And it always melts my heart every time she says “mama, I love you. Thank you for letting me do this. I love baking with you” Well, she’s not always sweet like that but whenever she’s that sweet, I just want to hug her so tight. Suddenly all those bad and rough days are forgotten. Haha!

This chocolate chip cookies is our family’s favourite. Abigail is sweet tooth like her mama and we just can’t stop munching. Also, it’s very easy to make. It works good with kids as it doesn’t require mixer. Abigail said she wanted to make cupcakes for our next baking session. To be honest, I’m not good at creating recipe my own, so I’ll go through Pinterest to find one. Or, if you have a good recipe to try on and don’t mind passing it on me, that would be such a big help.

Thank you!

Books

Start them young

So when I was pregnant with Abigail I was really big on buying books. I really wanted Abigail to be fond of books since early age (unlike me). And thankfully, now she is an avid reader. This keen of reading just grows in her although she can’t read yet. She asks us to read to her while she enjoys seeing the pictures and listening to the stories. There are days when she only wants us to read for her, six to seven books, all day. And those are the days I, as her mother, would like to escape. Well if I’m being selfish, I have lots of things to do, too. Also, she always comes up with unexpected questions that’s not even in the story. And as you may all know, four year olds and their endless questions are….. err… I just have no word for this. However, almost all the time, I couldn’t say no to this little reader of mine. Books are good for them.

So with the same hope that Benaya will also keen on books, I have started giving and reading him books, too. Most of the time I read books Abigail picked to Benaya and Abigail. But these are baby books of my recommendation.

The very hungry caterpillar, Eric Carle. I love this book, and the illustration. Eric Carle is my favourite. And this particular book I think is the best of all other books. The story is so simple and the colourful illustration really gets me. So far this is Benaya’s most favourite. Abigail also loves this one.

Black and white, Jane Foster. This book contains image in black and white on one side, and pattern in colours on another side. High contrasting book is very good to stimulate baby’s vision.

Oh the places we’ll go, Dr Seuss. My most favourite one. I read this over and over again when I was pregnant with both Abigail and Benaya. It contains words of motivation and those words are in rhymes, very typical of Dr Seuss’ books. Rhymed sentences are good for babies, too. Well yes, this is children’s book but I find it’s good for adults, too. Adults need reminder, too.

My dreams, Xavier Deneux. This one is good to stimulate baby’s vision, pictures are in high contrasting colours (black, white, some red and green) with glow in the dark surprises. It also has story inside. This book is Benaya’s second favourite.

Baby’s first soft book by Wee Gallery. It’s a concertina soft book. It contains images only, in black and white. It really helps during tummy time and well, soft book stimulates babies’ sensory as they are practicing their grabbing and holding skill.

Guess how much I love you, Sam Mc Bratney. “I love you to the moon and back!” is the most used phrase to express love and it’s actually from this book. Abigail really loves this book. I love it, too!

Good night moon, Margaret Wisebrown (illustrations by Clement Hurd). It’s a bedtime book. The story is as simple as saying good night to everything that’s in the room. This book encourages kids recognise things in their surrounding. It will also be more fun by saying good night to the stuff in our kids’ own room.

One thousand things, Anna Köveces. This book contains mostly of pictures. I’m very fond of the illustrations, the choice of colours, and everything. Well, Anna Kövecses is brilliant in picking and putting colours together. She’s one of my favourite.

Who’s there, Alain Crozon. It’s an interactive flip flap book with surprises inside. Basically kids are to guess what’s inside each pictures. Again, I love the pictures and colours.

Those are a few of our favourites. Some of them I bought online on The Book Depository or Open Trolley. Some are from any bookstores I visited. Fingers crossed Benaya will love books. It’s just our job to stimulate from early age. and cheers to little readers!