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!!!
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.
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! 🙂
…is the alarm signal for a parent to prick up their ears and activate the eye in the back of their head.
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…
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.
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.”
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.
Measure your child’s head circumference and glue or staple to form a crown base.
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?
While your child is busy with the stickers, cut out the Q shape.
When she is done, position the Q shape on the crown base and staple into position. Let the parade begin!
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?)
Next, unleash the budding painter with her paints. Lastly, paste on the H shape.
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? 🙂
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 🙂
So DH and I were brainstorming what to represent for the letter F. Yeah, F is for Fish, but how do you incorporate a fish design into the shape F? So we came up with the grand idea that F is for Fingers and DD can do some finger painting within an outlined frame of the letter F.
Now, those of you who know me personally know how jumpy I get around mess. Because I have to clean it up. And cleaning paint mess…hmmm…
So it was with great trepidation that I approached this project. Here’s what took place that fine and fair morning we did the letter F.
Mummy (M): Sweetheart, guess what letter we are going to do today… … the letter F! Now, F is for…?
Daughter (D): Fish skin!
M: (!!!) …Ye-e-es, F is for fish skin and by association, F is for fish too. And F is also for fingers!! *wiggle fingers*
D: Fingers!! [grins and attempts to wiggle fingers too]
M: So here is some green paint, and some yellow paint. Now wait wait, let me spread out the newspapers properly. [DD is getting excited about the paint pots.] Wait wait, sit on the newspapers. No, ok, stand here. Move over here. Ok sit. Er, not like that. Yeah, like this. [DD turns to pick up the paintbrush] Oh oh, watch where your feet are! Oh oh, let me move the paint away to here….there, that’s safe. Ah ah, wait wait…..oops, quick let’s pick up the green paint pot. Oh wait now, let me adjust the newspaper. Ok that’s fine now. Ok sit down. Ok wait! I will handle the paintbrush. Wait. Don’t dip your fingers in yet. Wait! Ok, hold out your hand, which hand do you want painted. OK right hand. Here we go…pointer finger, middle finger, ring finger, little finger, thumb! Print! Press on the paper. Ok, again. Wait wait! Don’t touch the carpet. Wait, don’t touch the chair. Ok, pointer finger, middle finger, ring finger, little finger, thumb! Print! *repeat sequence for few more times*
D: I want yellow colour.
D: Please mama, may I have yellow colour. On the hand?
M: Ok. yellow colour. Wait wait! Before we do yellow colour, we have to wash our hands. And the paintbrush. [Yes, I know. Why didn’t I get a second paintbrush and have tissues on hand. Lessons learnt okay?] So follow me…yes get up carefully. Ooh, don’t touch the wall…ok ok you hold mummy’s hand, wait wait, I get up, ok let’s now walk to the bathroom. Oh oops, mama knocked over the paint pot. [quickly picks up the pot and looks in dismay at the growing green spot on the newspaper…thinks to self, lucky it is newspaper] Ok wait, get up on the stool [aiyahh, now the stool’s got green paint on it], ok I’m going to run the water…wait wait! hands under the water. Scrub! OK, wait wait! Let me wash the paintbrush.
D: Splash mama! [splashes water in the sink with glee]
M: (Oh great. Green speckled water on the edges of the sink and the countertop, and the tube of toothpaste. Eek.) Ok nevermind, I will clean up later. Ok let’s go and do the yellow colour! Wait wait, wait for mama…!!
[DD has stepped down from the stool and gleefully run back into the room to touch the yellow paint pot, aiyeee!]
Did you lose count of the number of times I said the word “wait”? I did. What a bunch of nerves.
Anyway, here’s the proud masterpiece. 😀
F is for Fingers.
F is for Finished.
F is for Faster clear all the newspapers with the paint splotches before DD gets to it with her now clean hands.
F is for Fall back into the sofa with relief.
F is for Flat out from all the mental excitement.
Can I say F is for f-ew (as in phew)?… 😛
We have an alphabet wall in our home. I got the idea to use craft to help DD learn and recognise the letters of the alphabet from this blog called Notimeforflashcards. Today, we are making a P for Peacock. [P is also for Pink, the colour of the peacock’s body 😀 )
First, draw the base for the peacock’s feathers. Here I just drew a basic frame for six feathers. You can try more but I find that toddler attention span is just that much before they start finding some other “creative” ways of applying the glue around the room!
Cut out all the pieces you will need for the body, beak, feathers. I always like to try and incorporate the letter of the day into the design, so you will see a pink P cutout for the body. I also try to squeeze in a lesson about shapes to maximise the economies of scale in teaching, heh! So here I have cut some large green circles, medium blue circles and small yellow circles for the feathers, and a yellow triangle for the beak. I stuck the yellow circles on the blue circles in preparation, again because I find a 2 year old may start finding the going a bit tedious to stick 18 circles in a specified order. If you have older kids, you may want to let them attempt it, I think it’s a great exercise in developing concentration and focus.
Stick the circles on to the frame like below. Large green circle, followed by medium blue circle on the green, and finally, small yellow circle on the blue. Repeat until all the feathers are done.
Finally stick on the P for the peacock body. Stick the yellow beak on. Draw in an eye. All done! Paste up on the wall 😀
When my brother visited us a few months back, he brought one book each for DD and DS about sheep. (Why sheep? I don’t know. Maybe the illustrations were cute? They were on offer?)
Anyways. One of them is about the parable Jesus told about a shepherd searching for his lost sheep and not giving up until it was found in Matthew 18:12-14.
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.
DH designed this game based off the parable, because DD had enjoyed a similar lesson and game in Sunday School involving looking for lost sheep and returning them to the paddock.
We thought that it makes for good fun and a great way to impart counting and number identification skills.
First, draw the background on an artblock sheet or similar kind of thick paper or backing. This is just a simple pond with a cute frog at the side and some flowers and grass.
Next, draw or print and cut out little ducks. We made 10 and numbered each one of them.
You can laminate the ducks if you want it to last longer. Put a little blu-tack on the back of each of the ducks.
You’re all set.
Hide the ducks in various spots around the room or house. Tell your child that there are 10 ducks hidden all around the room. You need to find all the missing ducks from 1 to 10 and bring them safely back to the pond. They’ll be off even before you can finish saying “ready, set, go”. 🙂
All found and accounted for, well done! 😀