Our Chinese New Year celebration

I identify myself more as an Australian, having lived here longer than living in Indo. However, I find that the older I get, the more proud I am of my Chinese Indo heritage. So I really want Little E to know this part of him, so I try to make this year’s celebration as festive as I can. It’s actually his second new year, but like Christmas, he’s aware of things more this time around.

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On new year’s eve, we had a simple dinner at home with nectarines and oranges for dessert. We stuck to Little E’s nightly routine so we didn’t do anything special.

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This morning, he received his first red pockets! He didn’t know what to do with them and abandoned them after only a few seconds lol I also had bought him a new red outfit to wear. Mr E and I didn’t get the same pleasure of getting new outfits but we’re wearing our reddest clothes we have 😉

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Lunch was more en-point with BBQ pork, roasted duck, roast pork and beancurd. It was a feast! Little E’s present for me was a 2.5 hours nap in the morning, sooooo good! 😉 For dinner tonight, Mr E is making some noodles, an auspicious dish to represent long life.

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If you celebrate the Chinese New Year, I hope the year of the horse brings you a joyful, prosperous, healthy and full life! From my family to yours, Gong Xi Fat Choi! 🙂

Newborn Essentials

A few soon-to-be mums have asked this question recently in some forums I am in, so I thought I would post about what I think are essential items for a newborn. Other than clothing, nappies and wipes, these are the items that I found were most used in the first few months after Little E’s arrival. I would suggest to start with the basics, and if need be, you could always get some more things as you go.

NewbornEssentials

  1. A cot with mattress, a mattress protector and a fitted sheet. Depending on the season (and so, temperature) you will also need a blanket.
  2. A vibrating bouncer chair – this was a godsend for us, as Little E suffered a little bit of gas. Just the way he was lying down on it, he got relief and he would fall asleep comfortably on this. When he was a little fussy at night and wouldn’t sleep, we would just put the vibrate on, and that soothed him.
  3. As I have mentioned in my post about this. we didn’t use a bassinet for when we’re downstairs. Instead,  we tucked Little E on one of these.
  4. A baby bath – more comfortable than bathing your little one in the sink or big people’s bath 🙂
  5. A glider chair – I love my glider chair, I still use it now, as it allows me to sit comfortably while breastfeeding. It is important, as it used to take Little E almost 1 hour to feed!
  6. Muslim swaddling wraps – I love using thin muslim wraps as I found they’re easier to use (not as stiff and bulky). Since they’re thin, they also don’t take long to dry after I wash them. This is important if you don’t want to buy too many and you have a blurpy baby 🙂
  7. A towel and a washcloth – this is pretty self-explanatory?
  8. A change table – I didn’t actually like to use this for the first few months, I prefer to do all nappy/clothes changing on the floor, as I didn’t need to then be confined to one spot (wherever the table is) to change him
  9. A pram/stroller – another self-explanatory item?
  10. A carseat – make sure that it is fitted correctly. If you’re in Australia, you can actually get the store you buy it from to fit them, or ring Kidsafe to help for a small fee
  11. A nappy bag – most standard nappy bags comes with a changing mat. I still use the mat that came with my nappy bag, even though I don’t use the bag as often
  12. Sudocream or any other anti nappy rash solution

Financially, I suggest not to buy everything new nor buy the items marketed specifically for babies. Like towels, for example, I personally have no qualms just using one of our normal towels. Little E wouldn’t care if his towels have cute patterns or if it’s pink 😛 I do prefer to buy bedding and the car seat new, however, most other items, if weren’t already gifted by family and friends, I bought second-hand.

In regards to clothes, it all depends on the season that your newborn arrives. Mine came in summer, so he either just had nappies on then swaddled, or he would have a singlet. I was given about 2 dozens of them, plus loads of onesies. If yours is coming in winter, I would also suggest warmer clothes plus some mittens, socks and beanies.

If you know of any expecting parents, please do refer them to this post. I hope that it is helpful to them in preparing for the little one’s arrival 🙂 I also wouldn’t mind if you would comment on what things were essential for you when you first brought home your newborn.

Image Sources: 1. King Parrot Cots | 2. Amazon | 3. Kmart | 4. Ikea | 5. My Baby Warehouse | 6. The Little Linen Company | 7. Natural Little One | 8. Babyhood | 9. Pram Fix | 10. Baby Kingdom | 11. Baby Bunting | 12. Guardian Pharmacy

Activities: National Zoo, Canberra

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We spent the morning at the zoo with the gang from Mothers Group today. It is a (very) belated joint birthday celebrations for all the babies! It was such a great day, I’m pretty sure that all of us enjoyed the trip.

There were zookeepers wandering around for us to pat the animals they’re carrying. Little E’s favourite was the baby alligator! Except he didn’t pat it, instead, he scratched it as he would with his scratch and play baby books. Ha!

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Little E was captivated by all the animals, sights, smells, and activities the entire time we were there. It’s interesting too to watch how the different babies react to an emu that was walking around. One brave little boy walked straight towards it. Another sat right down and cried. Little E started to approach it then when it turned around to face him, he hid behind me lol

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Little E didn’t last the walk back to the car before he started snoring. Us parents are so exhausted too! It’s a pity that the café doesn’t really serve much, as it would be great to have lunch there too.

I totally recommend the zoo if you have young ones and are looking for something to do. The entry price is very reasonable and you get a whole day of fun experience 🙂

Happy Australia Day 2014

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We made our way to Stage 88 early to catch the first Dora the Explorer show. It was Little E’s first exposure to her and he loved her! Mr E told me that he was mesmerised by all the commotion on stage and the audience (most of the kids there participated). When it ended, and everybody clapped, he chuckled lol

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Prior to the show, I queued up to get our free-ish (a gold coin donation) sausage sizzle. Mr E also got us free chocolate milks, yogurt and OJ. I couldn’t resist and get a Dagwood Dog too. Mr E hates it but I’m an Aussie at heart, I gotta get me some! 😉

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After the show, we watched the raising of the flag, gun salutes and flyovers. Little E was fine with the loud bangs, until the flyovers happened. He wasn’t happy. Ha! We also saw a snake and a lizzard, proudly presented by the Zoo. Little E got to pet both animals, while I watched from a safe distance. They give me the hibby jibbies!!!

We’re at home now, full, happy and content. The weather was amazing this morning, cool in the shades but warm in the sun. Great temperature, with awesome atmosphere, the typical Aussie day we’re most proud of.

Happy Australia Day! 🙂

Almost child friendly eatery: Chez Frederic, Braddon

Chez Frederic
Ph: 02 6248 0044
14 Lonsdale St
Braddon
Chez Frederic on Urbanspoon

We met up with a couple of my friends today for lunch at Chez Frederic. It is apparently a new concept of eatery, focusing more on take-away meals, and less dine-in. From what I experienced, it is restaurant food made quick.

They have quite a selection in the menu and it took a while for me to choose. I had to order a meal for me to share with Little E, so it had to be on the healthy side. I really wanted to try their sandwiches, which sounded nice but sandwiches aren’t really baby-friendly. Most especially since there’s no highchairs available. In the end, I chose their seafood risotto with parmesan cheese.

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While we waited, I let Little E toddle around the place. It is bright and airy, clean with plenty of seats. They had 2 big tables for communal seating, as well as a smaller one, which we occupied. I like the decor they chose, it’s simple and clean but very welcoming. The service was also friendly, and the food took no time to arrive.

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I enjoyed the risotto and Little E did too. It had nice amount of seafood, and it wasn’t overly salted either. I normally don’t order risotto as they tend to be quite a hit-and-miss. So when I get a good one, I know. This one was good. The portion was huge, though for the price ($19.50) you kinda want it big.

Our friends had the lasagna and I noticed that it had nice portion of meat in it. I hate going to a restaurant and ordering lasagna, only to find it mostly pasta sheet and tomato sauce.

The fact that Chez Frederic provided no highchairs make it hard for parents whose kids don’t settle well in prams. However, the place has nice quality food that is served quickly. Perfect for hungry little tummies 🙂 They do have a big selection of food, most I would give to Little E. I reckon, if you’re dining with your non-parents friends, they’ll be happy with this place too.

If you’re on the lookout for new eatery to try, please do give Chez Frederic a go 🙂

Lux Soap Flakes

As I have mentioned repeatedly in my posts, the main cause of flare up to Little E’s eczema is detergent. Even though I have used a supposedly organic, gentlest of the gentlests, pediatric dermatologists approved, sensitive, baby-safe, blah blah blah detergent. So, when my mum inlaw first suggested I try Lux Soap Flakes, I was very reluctant to do it.

For one, it only comes in a giant box and it is expensive. Two, I really do not want to muck around with it and am happy to just use hot water, as advised by his pediatric dermatologist.

The thing is, hot water doesn’t clean clothes properly. It doesn’t remove oily residue from food or his moisturiser, and we use a lot of the QV cream. Hot water also doesn’t remove smells, either from food or any bodily fluid/waste. Even when I always make sure his clothes get lots of exposure to the sun, his clothes were muddy coloured and smell pretty bad. To combat this, very very occasionally, I would use grated Pears soap, however, it isn’t the nicest smelling soap either.

I then found a site that suggested using bicarbonate soda, which is natural and so, it shouldn’t flare up his eczema. I tested on a couple of his clothes, which he is fine with. Bicarb soda, along with hot water, worked well in getting rid of discolouration. However, it made all his clothes stiff and gave them a funky smell.

So my hunt continued.

When I complained to a friend about him being smelly, she said that she uses eucalyptus oil (or tea tree oil) for her dog’s towels. These oils are antibacterial as well as being able to remove odour. On my way home, I stopped by the supermarket and bought a bottle of eucalyptus oil (only because it is a fraction of the cost of tea tree oil). Again, I tried it on a few of his clothes and he seems okay with it. No flare up!

Hoorah!

For a couple of months, I used bicarb soda, eucalyptus oil and hot water in his load of washing. I don’t use it all the time, mostly if I know the load has lots of really dirty clothes. His clothes were cleaner and smell nicer, however, I am still not 100% happy with it. I really want to use less hot water (our electricity bill tripled!!!), I don’t like how his clothes are still stiff and though the oil remove funky smells, I do end up having eucalyptus oil smelling baby (though only subtly) 😦

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Luckily, as fate/luck would have it, I was sent a box of Lux Soap Flakes by Pental to try. My first impression of it was that it looks like snow in a box! The second was the smell, aaaaahhhh… a clean baby smell, something that I have yet to experience 🙂 I was so excited!

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I only use 1 tablespoon of the flakes, thoroughly stirred in hot water. It is enough to properly wash a load of his clothes and give them a totally clean smell! As an added bonus, he doesn’t react to it! Yaaaay! I wish I had listened to my mum inlaw 😉

You have to make sure that the flakes are completely dissolved in the hot water, as well as, making sure that you do a clean up of your washing machine after a few washes. As they’re pure soap flakes, I would imagine they’ll leave a build up in the machine (just like fabric softeners would). This is something I can live with, I just have to do our load in between doing Little E’s.

If you are in the same boat as we were, and have access to Lux Soap Flakes, please do give it a try. Yes, a box of it is expensive, but you only use a small amount at a time. Yesterday, I was given some more of the flakes by one of my mummy friends, so I reckon we’re set for the remainder of the year! 😉

Little E now has clean, nice smelling clothes without aggravating his skin! Yay! Such simple pleasure that used to seem so unattainable 🙂

Fussy Little Eaters: Basil Pesto Pasta

The first thing I noticed about being back at work is that I have a very limited window to cook dinner. We can’t actually get to Little E until 4.30pm and his dinner time is 5.00-5.30pm. That leaves me about 30 minutes to get dinner on the table, something healthy and nutritious for the little man. It is also something that needs to work for our (Mr E and I) taste buds. There were a few nights where we had take-aways and Little E had to make-do with steamed vegies. Not that he minds, as he loves steamed zucchini and broccoli, and the fact that he does get hot meals at lunch when he’s at care. However, I do feel like I should give him something better, and that Mr E and I cannot rely on take-aways.

Tonight, I made some basil pesto pasta. Little E didn’t go to care today, however, the weather has been pretty hot here, so we took refuge at a shopping centre. Little E found the airconditioned temperature so comfortable that he didn’t wake up until 4pm! So by the time we came home, it was 4.30pm – just like as if he did go to care lol

Basil Pesto Pasta

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2.5 tbs olive oil
  • Pasta of your choice
  • 1 piece of bacon, diced. This is optional to give a “meaty” taste, you can use normal olive oil.
  • Vegetables of your choice – I cut up some zucchini, carrots, broccoli, and asparagus

Method:

  1. With a stick blender, make the basil pesto by blending the basil, garlic, parmesan and olive oil until smooth
  2. Cook pasta as per normal
  3. In a pan, throw in the bacon (or olive oil) and all the vegetables until all is cooked
  4. Prior to serving, throw in the cooked pasta and stir some of the pesto (or all, depending how strong you like it)

This recipe only took around 15-20 minutes to prepare. The things that took the longest were picking out the basil leaves off their stalks, as well as chopping up all the vegies. I made sure I didn’t give Little E any bacon, yet, he approved of this recipe and ate all of his dinner plus some 😉 Mr E also liked it, so double yay for me! Hooorah! You can make it a lot healthier by using multigrain pasta and cutting out the bacon. Yay for easy and fast healthy recipes!