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Food & Feeding

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It’s the Year of the Monkey – reason enough to monkey around?  Well, definitely reason enough to eat loads of yummy yummy food (not just bananas) and have lots of great fun!

Traditional Reunion Dinner and 1st Day Chinese Lunar New Year in Ah Mah and Ah Kong’s house in Ipoh:

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A simple dinner gathering back home in Penang:

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Wishing everyone a happy, blessed and prosperous year ahead full of health and love in abundance!

Just over 2 weeks ago, after some positive reinforcement and influence from some girlfriends of mine, I decided to start drinking fresh vegetable and fruit juices.  I stocked up on fresh vegetables and fruits and decided to use my immersion blender, just so I could get all the fiber too.  My sole intention of drinking green juices was to help to heal my eczema from inside out, and hopefully the goodness will pass on to my breast milk and that will in turn heal Emma’s eczema too.

The ingredients I chose were primarily green, with the occasional orange.  I added water or soy milk depending on my mood.  The resulting drink is a nutritious, and somewhat filling green smoothie.

On one occasion, however, as I was holding my cup of green smoothie, and carrying Emma at the same time, she quickly grabbed my cup and put it to her mouth.  I relented and let her have a taste.

Well, well…surprisingly she loved it and kept asking for more!  She drinks the juice and eats the fiber..maybe like 4-5 sips but it’s a healthy and promising start! :)

So now, since I have an accidental green juice lover in the house, I make my own organic soy milk from organic soy beans and use it to make the green smoothie.  That way, I can be sure there are no preservatives and sugars added to the smoothie for Emma to drink.

Have you had your green juice today? :)

Cribside Chomping!

Would you just look at how Hannah lovingly takes care of her little baby sister, by offering her a drink?

This certainly brings back memories…see?  This was what Ethan did to Hannah some years back when she was just starting to learn how to drink from a straw.

Simply, amazingly PRECIOUS!

Two days ago, we gave Emma her first solids.  This time around, I figured I would attempt Baby Led Weaning.  It’s a relatively new concept and the more I’m learning about it, the more it’s making a whole lot of sense.

Basically with Baby Led Weaning, the baby is given “real food”, as in food that is as close as possible to what we as adults would eat (minus the salts and sugars, of course).  With Baby Led Weaning, there will be no food purees and mushy food that is always linked to weaning a baby.  A baby is encouraged to feed herself by holding on to food and chomping or munching as much or as little as she wants.  At the same time, breastfeeding is fully encouraged and baby can drink as much as she wants.

I’ve read that babies who adopt Baby Led Weaning tend to have healthier appetites, are not fussy eaters and become more independent with feeding themselves.  This in turn (hopefully) will result in happier meal times, because the entire family eats together.  Another obvious PLUS is of course that I don’t need to spend time making ground rice, pureeing fruits and vegetables and frozen food cubes! 😀

I’m still learning about Baby Led Weaning as I go along, so if there are any of you out there who has advice or suggestions, please feel free to let me know! :)

So I didn’t buy any rice cereal this time.  Instead, for Emma’s first solids, I boiled some soft Bario red rice grains and shaped them into little rice balls.  The boiled Bario red rice looked a little like porridge, soft and palatable.

She grabbed the little rice balls immediately.  But I suppose her hand-to-mouth coordination is not that advanced yet, so she didn’t really know what to do with the rice balls!

She ended up chomping away on the side of the bowl!

When she threatened to fling the bowl over the side of the food tray, I decided to place the food on the tray itself, so she could have easier access to it.

Well, she didn’t eat much of the rice that first time.  I did allow her to hold the bowl again, and she happily licked the bowl a little! 😛

I didn’t expect her to eat much this first time anyway.

Today, I tried again, and she did put a little into her mouth, but she became quite frustrated when she could not eat a lot (we think).  So I used a spoon and fed her small tiny spoons of the red rice porridge.

Guess what?  She grabbed onto the spoon and nibbled at the porridge!  Looks like she likes it!

And she drank some water too after that, with a sippy cup!

Great job, Emma!  Mommy is so proud of you!  Here’s to more healthy eating days ahead!

Hannah has certainly come a long way learning how to eat with chopsticks.

Using a pair of regular chopsticks fixed together with chopstick holders (to enable kids to learn this skill), she eats her slippery udon this way.  Personally I find it more difficult to use the chopsticks with the holders, compared to her training chopsticks at home, but Hannah seems to be able to master it pretty well.

She’s always asking me if she’s holding the chopsticks correctly too!

During the past one month where I have been learning about this new world I’m in, Daddy and Mommy has brought me to so many new places!  So many new things to see, I can safely assume I have been to more places than most of the newborns around! :)

  • I visited my pediatrician twice; once when I was 2 weeks’ old and one more time when I was a month old.  I didn’t like it when they undressed me and placed me on this weighing scale thing, but Daddy and Mommy sure seemed happy after they took my weight.  Also, I had a Hepatitis B jab during my 2nd visit.  Didn’t like that at all!  Hmmph.
  • I’ve followed Daddy, Mommy, Ethan and Hannah out on countless occasions to several restaurants for their meals.  Japanese food, Vietnamese food, fast food…they sure eat a LOT.  Me?  I’m just contented with Mommy’s breast milk – yummy!
  • One several occasions, they brought me along to this ice cream store called Coldstone Creamery where they bought their ice cream to go.  Daddy said something about me crying, so they had to get it to go.
  • I’ve also been to grocery stores, sometimes just Mommy and me.  It’s never too early to learn about shopping, they say.  Mommy pushed me around in a stroller and managed to get the groceries done.
  • Mommy has also brought me along to my brother Ethan’s school to drop him off, and she also takes me down with her when she drops my sister Hannah off at her school.  The cool weather is just right for me, but there were a couple of days when it was a little bit windy.  I heard Mommy saying that it’s much warmer now and that it was a good thing I was born a little later, after the unforgiving cold winter.

I’m looking forward to more exciting outings ahead…psst…I heard that they are planning some as we speak!  Well, I ain’t complaining as long as they keep me clean and dry and ensure that my supply of milk is readily available all the time! 😀

Lately Hannah has been slightly disinterested about going to school.  She would grumble about being sleepy in the morning and I would have a hard time waking her up.  Then she would be all clingy and did not want us to leave her in school in the morning, sometimes citing tiredness or tummy upsets.  Her teacher however, says that she is enjoying her time in school, and her uneasiness wears off after about 3 minutes.

Nevertheless we tried many methods to make her like going to school: bringing a soft toy, bringing a book to share, telling her about something interesting that would happen in school.  Some worked for a while.  She’s also been asking me to pick her up a little earlier from school.  You see, her class has activities in the a.m. and then lunch at about 11:30a.m. After lunch, the kids wind down for some quiet time or nap time, around 12:15p.m.  Hannah asks me to pick her up around 12:30p.m. and we’re guessing it could be that she’s a bit bored by the non-activity.

In any case, I’ve decided to start her off on a weekly cooking class on Fridays in school.  Hopefully it will be something she will look forward to every week for the next 2 months or so, at least till we leave.  (She’s been looking forward to her Phonics Adventures classes every Monday and Wednesday, so having a Friday cooking class to look forward to could be the answer!)

She had her first class last Friday, and I was surprised to see her get up early that day, all by herself too!  The Cooking Class method must be working, as she was excitedly looking forward to it the whole week!

Last week, she made Dunkaroo Dip, using yogurt, cool whip and confetti cake mix.  She definitely had fun making and sharing it with us when she brought it home.  We had the dip with some Teddy graham crackers.

I’m sure she can’t wait for her next cooking class! :)

Last Saturday, my little sweetheart of a little girl turned FOUR!!  She had been looking forward to this day for a long, long time, and she had already started the countdown to this auspicious day after Ethan celebrated his birthday about a month ago.

Being a little paranoid and worried that my third little bub might arrive on that same day, I had a contingency plan in place for Hannah’s birthday cake.  Thankfully, this year, Hannah requested for a cake that did not require much shaping and moulding on my part.  So the backup plan in case I was not around was that Pete go get a store-bought cake and then decorate the top with my ready-made cake topper.

However, in the end, since my third little one decided that it was still more comfy in Mommy’s womb, I still got to bake and decorate Hannah’s cake….and a whole lot of fun I had!

 

Hannah’s crazy about Princess Jasmine and the song from the movie Aladdin: A Whole New World, so it came as no surprise when she’d requested for a Princess Jasmine-themed cake.  I ordered the edible cake topper online and only had to bake the chocolate cake and decorated it with chocolate ganache, frosting, chocolate rice and some orange slices.  The addition of the fruits was Hannah’s idea too.

 

And afterward, because the weather was not-too-cold, she took her present for a “test drive”…or “test ride”.

It was the first time Ethan took his scooter (our Christmas present to him) for a spin too…and boy, did we have fun!

Definitely an awesome way to spend a birthday!  Happy Birthday Hannah!

Yesterday, my little Ethan turned seven.  I still can’t believe how much he has grown.  I told him that now when someone asks how old he is, he can say, “I’m seven years old!” instead of his usual “I’m six…but I’m gonna be seven soon!” :)

Here in Massachusetts, schools are very strict about food being brought into the classrooms in view of hygiene and food allergy.  So instead of edible stuff for the kids, I prepared little birthday treats for every one of Ethan’s classmates, so that he could pass it round during snack time.  His teacher(s) had suggested something practical and useful for the kids like a pencil or a fun eraser, so here’s what we prepared:

The kids helped me with the packing and arranging.  The treats were just something very simple and useful: A mini memo pad and a cute little pencil.  The memo pads came in 5 different colors and the pencils were just fun-looking and colorful.  Ethan told me he had a great time passing these round to his friends, and they were thrilled to get them.

Back on the home front, we had a little celebration of our own.  What would a birthday be without a birthday cake eh?

That’s right!  I made him a Captain America shield cake! :)

He’d been consistently asking for it for a year and thankfully, it wasn’t too difficult to make, but I ran into a few minor glitches when I realized that I had left my cake leveler, fondant smoother and offset spatula back in Penang.  So I had to just make do with whatever I had here, which explains why some parts of the cake were a bit uneven.

Ethan didn’t seem to mind though, and was really looking forward to blowing out the candle and eating the cake.

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