Archive | April 2009

Hungree-eeh!

I love eating.
I love enjoying tastes and textures, flavours and aromas.
I love baking and the fantastic smells wafting out from the oven while I wait in anticipation for the buzzer to sound.
I just love food.  😛

In my normal state, I really can’t do without a hearty breakfast in the morning, and a satisfying lunch and a delicious dinner to end the day.
And on top of that, for the past eight-and-a-half months and for another few more more to go at least, I am a nursing mum…I get hungry even faster than normal!

So the other day, when I wanted to book an appointment for a medical checkup, and the nurse told me that I needed to fast (as in not eat breakfast), I was like, “What??” Sob, sob.
I said okay, and then on the day itself forgot all about it until I left home with a full tummy from breakfast. Yeeks. Reschedule…

On the morning of the rescheduled appointment,
I watched DH eating his oatmeal.
I practically drooled while helping DD to feed herself her vanilla strawberry fromage frais.
I stared longingly at the avocado flesh I was scraping out of the skin for DD.
I considered ruefully the dish of Japanese sweet potatoes that had been steamed up and served.
I imagined the fruity, flavourful fromage frais, the ripe, freshly cut, sweet and creamy avocado, the earthy taste of the scrubbed purple skin and the tender yield to the bite of steamed sweet potato.
I obediently drank my plain water and felt so sorry for myself.

I did pack my oatmeal and three sweet potatoes with the insane hopeful scenario playing out in my mind that I would be asking the doctor to quickly take the blood sample; I will just sit here and chow down my oatmeal and sweet potatoes. Heh, that cheered me up a bit. 😉
Then I got to the doctors. Wait. Wait wait wait wait wait. Wait some more.
Hungry. Low…blood…sugar….must….eat….soon…. 😦
It was 10:45am when it was all done and I finally got to eat my breakfast. Sooooo hungry!!!

Baby Food

jar-food

Being in Singapore, we’re really fortunate to have a wide variety of baby food jars to pick from the supermarket shelf. There are basic single veggie or fruit purees all the way to fancy mixed dinners that sound quite appetising even to an adult! What I have found though is that although jarred foods do have a generally nice smell when you open it, the taste is basically…non-existent. This I find is incongruent. Can see, can smell, cannot taste? In my mind, food that has no taste scores a major negative on the pleasure scale in eating. I mean, the point of putting food in your mouth is all about the taste right? Else I might as well just pump the food into my nose…

So apart from buying the token few to stock up in case of days we may have burnt the veggies but need to dash and run…[This really did happen. Because the veggies had burnt to a crisp and we were 20 minutes late to meet DH’s cousins, for that day’s dinner, we scoured the fridge and in the end gave DD avocado, steamed fish and Heinz banana pear puree with rice cereal. Yeah, don’t think too much about it…] …we ended up making our own baby food for DD. DS has been very fortunate though, he hasn’t eaten a single bit of jarred food!

I have gotten a couple of questions as to how we prepare DD and DS’s foods so below are the food prep methods that I’ve found work for me for a baby and toddler accordingly. The thought of preparing baby food is more scary than the actual task itself. It really is quite easy once you’ve learnt the basics. You don’t even need a fancy baby food making kit. All that’s required is a good strainer.
I generally make the food fresh each time because I like it that way. But you can make a batch and freeze portions.

vegs

Baby’s food is generally steamed, minced, mashed or strained.
Vegetables – steam for approximately 10 minutes or until soft and press through a strainer using a spoon to get a puree.
Chicken – I use chicken breast. Remove any skin, fat or veins, then mince to very fine consistency. Put inside a bowl, add a little boiled water and steam for 10 minutes. Mash before serving.
Pork – Scrape the meat along the lines of the “fibres”. Mince the scraped meat to a very fine consistency. Put inside a bowl, add a little boiled water and steam for 10 minutes. Mash before serving.
Fish – steam a piece of boneless fish with a small slice of ginger on top. Flake and mash before serving.
“Ikan bilis” – clean and remove heads off the ikan bilis. Bake in the oven till crisp. Grind into powder, which can be added to the rice cereal or porridge.
Fruits – generally I cut the fruit, mash and serve straight up. If I’m in an industrious mood, I may stew the apples or pears before mashing 🙂
I usually mix a combination of two vegs and one meat into DS’s rice cereal. Gonna let him try oatmeal and porridge soon.

For the toddler, we use a variety of cooking methods – steam, bake, oven grill, fry (with a little butter or olive oil)…
Root vegetables are generally cubed, green vegetables are chopped roughly or sometimes just cut into pieces, and legumes, e.g. French beans we cut into manageable slices.
Fish – serve the whole boneless piece.
Chicken and pork – sometimes we make meatballs with vegs mixed in, steamed chicken or pork, or her favourite, grilled chicken wing/drumstick seasoned with a little soya sauce, ginger and garlic.
Beef – scraped and minced.
Carbs – Noodles are cut into manageable pieces, rice is served as is.
Fruits – grapes are sliced in half with seeds (if any) removed, apples and the like are sliced or cubed, avocados, passionfruit – we give her a half and she scoops out the flesh. I’m not into giving juice, for beverages, I always prefer to give either plain water or milk.

If you’d known me before I had kids, you would know me to be the laziest person alive. Actually, I still rather am, hahaha! But I make the effort because it’s more cost-effective and healthier, it’s great for me to know what goes into my kids’ food…that alone makes it all worth it. When they enjoy it, it’s the icing on the cake! 🙂

The sound of silence…

…is the alarm signal for a parent to prick up their ears and activate the eye in the back of their head.

 

Incident 1
It was a quiet afternoon. DS was napping after a milk feed. I was sewing downstairs in the kitchen. DH had dozed off while reading. All of a sudden I heard loud protests from DD upstairs. Apparently DH woke up from his forty winks and found that DD was smearing (well, in our eyes smearing, in hers, painting) the floor with her Crayola Color Wonder No-Mess Fingerpaints. Flagrans Crimen!!**
Now, if you know about these fingerpaints, they don’t produce any colour except on the special Crayola paper surface on which it is applied. BUT. They have a consistency similar to petroleum jelly. AND. They are quite a challenge to wash off – I have to soap DD’s hands two or three times before the oils wash off effectively. The whole floor was waxy and oily!!
Crayola’s tagline for this product is “Fun for the kids and no mess for mom”. Indeed. Fun for the kids, I don’t deny that’s true. No mess, I wonder about that one…

 

Incident 2
Every weekday morning, before we go to the kitchen for breakfast, DS and DD have a short time of play in their room while we get dressed for work. Today, DS was surprisingly quiet and we soon found out why. DH turned around after shutting down his laptop to find DS with a huge wad of tissue sticking out of his mouth and pulling out some more from the tissue box. (!!!)

While I was still doing a double take and thinking to myself, “How many has the boy stuffed into his mouth?” [yeah not very helpful at a time that requires action, not academic discussion…] DH sprang over to grab the tissue box out of his hand, pried DS’s mouth open and removed the wad and picked up the trail of tissue paper on the floor. DS was still looking very confused, like, “Huh what’s all the fuss, Papa?” and giving his signature grin after the tissue wad was removed from his mouth.
Sigh. That dear boy. It wasn’t so funny right there and then but I couldn’t help but have a really hearty laugh about it afterward on the way to work. The expression on DS’s face with the tissue stuffed in his mouth was priceless.

** Flagrans Crimen [Definition from the Law Dictionary] – This, among the Romans, signified that a crime was then or had just been committed for example, when a crime has just been committed and the corpus delictum is publicly exposed; or if a mob take place; or if a house be feloniously burned, these are severally flagrans crimen. 2. The term used in France is flagrant delit. The code of criminal instruction gives the following concise definition of it, art. “Le delit qui se commet actuellement ou qui vient de se coramettre, est un flagrant delit.”

Rainy Sunday afternoon project

Taggy Ribbon Texture Glove
Taggy Ribbon Texture Glove

I’ve been wanting to make this for DS for a long time. But I never got the time to start on it, so it has evolved somewhat from its original intent – a Glove Mobile for a three-month old. Yu-u-up it was THAT long ago…

Anyway since DS is already 8 months old, I adapted the idea into a Taggy Ribbon Texture Glove instead.
As I sewed, some of the stuff that I thought of teaching the little guy are:-
1. Identifying the fingers – little, ring, middle, pointer fingers and thumb.
2. Colour recognition
3. Texture touch – different textures of ribbons
3. Opposites – Red and Green colour on the ring finger and thumb, Big and Small buttons, Opaque and Transparent on the middle finger, Thick and Thin on the little finger.

Original idea: Glove Mobile (excerpted from Baby Fun by Anne Knecht-Boyer – Carroll & Brown Publishers Limited)“Colourful moving objects are very intriguing to babies in [the two to three-month old] age group. Rather than simply fixing a store-bought mobile to the crib, a portable one that can be moved closer to his field of vision and which he can reach out and play with, will prove much more interesting. To create a really portable and interactive mobile, tie some colourful ribbons to the fingertips of a glove. The moving ribbons encourage neck and eye movement at an age when your babh is just developing the strength needed to lift up his head but still tends to look at the world sideways. This glove mobile is also easy to slip in your pocket as you leave the house, making it a useful distraction on car journeys or trips to the store.”

Alphabet Wall: Making…Q for Queen

This alphabet craft took a lot more prep work…so the orderly instructions you see below are not really an accurate reflection of the real scenario of my scrambling around to gather the materials as I thought of it!  🙂

You will need: 2 cereal box side panels for cardboard crown base, construction paper to wrap the cardboard, a piece of artblock with a Q shape drawn on it, crayons, glue, scissors, stickers or cutout shapes to decorate the crown, stapler.

Draw a Q shape on the artblock sheet. Hand your child some crayons or colour pencils and let them colour the sheet.

While your child is busy colouring, prepare the crown base. Stick the two cereal box side panels lengthwise to form a long strip. Cover with construction paper.

crown-base1
Measure your child’s head circumference and glue or staple to form a crown base.

completed-crownbase

Let your child decorate the crown base with stickers or any cutout shapes you like.  I remembered my OCBC stickers from some previous promotional junk mail – they were conveniently Q shaped!  Lucky I “karung guni-ed” them…heheh who knew they would come in so handy today?

crown1
While your child is busy with the stickers, cut out the Q shape.

crown2
When she is done, position the Q shape on the crown base and staple into position.  Let the parade begin!

Alphabet Wall: Making…H is for House

I don’t know how I let myself get talked into doing paints again…such a softie…:-P
DH bought a box of poster paints for DD, as the last time when we did the F for Fingers craft, I was making do with a very old box where the paints had dried out, leaving me with, yup you guessed it, green and yellow paint only.

Since then, DD had been asking to open the paint box and do craft with paints. So DH and I were again thinking what can we do that will give her the opportunity to use the paints. DH’s idea – do H for House, and she can paint the house. Incidentally there is some renovation work on one of the houses behind where we live, so this came in handy as I could point out the ongoing painting and construction work to DD from our window to reinforce the lesson 🙂

First, draw the outline of the house. I also cut out an H to fit the H shape that frames the door and window in the centre (can you spot it?)

house

Next, unleash the budding painter with her paints. Lastly, paste on the H shape.

paints

painted-house

Heheh! Not quite what I had pictured in my idealistic mind of a red roof, blue walls and green grass. But hey, the girl had great fun, remembered the letter associated with the object, and that’s what counts, isn’t it? 🙂

Queen of Wistful Thinking…

tiny-mittens

Today I visited a colleague and his wife as they have just welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world. Tiny fingers. Tiny toes. Tiny everything. So cute.
And as I was recalling DS’s birth 8 months ago, I found myself feeling a little wistful as I think back to when he was just so little and so cute in his little transparent hospital crib, all swaddled up, with his tiny fists clenched in the mittens, so sleepy, so at peace with the world. And how I longed to be back in that moment. Now that I think about it, what was the great big hurry about finishing up the confinement month and maternity leave to go back to work?!
DS really seems to grow up too fast. He’s already impatiently trying to pull himself to a standing position in his cot. Soon, he’ll be crawling, standing, cruising, walking, running! And then the sky’s the limit!
Too fast. For me, at least. Maybe it’s that with two kids I have less time to obsess over milestones so it’s just all sweeping by my eyes as the days fly by.
Well, the pace ain’t gonna slow down just for me to be wistful, so if you’ll just excuse me, I’m gonna stop this wistful business, stop typing my blog entry and go give him a special cuddle. Just because 🙂