Cooking with our Bruno Hotplate

I don’t cook much these days but I felt like stuffing my face with carbs one evening for dinner. Well, it was one of those days and carbs plus chocolate (alcohol too) somehow does make it feel somewhat better.

My MIL was out and I thought I  just whip up something simple for the helper and myself. Felt like cooking something too and the compact Bruno Hotplate that we got was just perfect for such an occasion.

img_8574I popped into the supermarket to get the ingredients – namely the Pasta sauce and the helper prepped all the other items needed for me to whip up this dish on the dining table. We are taking about brocoli, boiled pasta shells, cocktail sausages, chopped shallots and garlic. Well, it was that simple.

img_8572This was made on my dining table using the Nabe Pot add-on that was fixed to the Bruno.

img_8583And it seriously made for a really satisfying meal though I did feel a little guilty after. ;p

Valentine’s Day

Hello there..

Nope, not expecting anything special for Valentine’s Day but it would still be nice to mark the occasion with a little something extra for my little family (one whom I love dearly).

And what better way to commemorate the highly-raved day (one that’s probably created for retailers to sell more stuff) with this customised photo-printed marshmallows from MarshSG. I chanced upon their IG account and thought they would make a really cool gift for both the Man and the Bub.

When she presented the gift (on my behalf) to her Dad, the Man was touched by the gesture but the ultimate beneficiary of this gift was clearly the Bub who couldn’t wait to sink her teeth into her fave sweet treat.

I mean, just check out that face. That said, she wasn’t selfish in wanting the entire box for herself. So she distributed them all to the rest of us.

While she happily chomped down her square marshmallow which we told her would make up her daily quota of sugar intake. In fact, it was slightly more than what we would have given her but well, it was a lead up to Valentine’s Day so I felt indulgent as a mother. 🙂

img_8187We all know that the prices of flowers would usually cost slightly more during this time and while I will not be expecting a bouquet of flowers to land on my lap. I thought it would be nice to just hold on to a bouquet and just grab a pic with my little one. [Note: Bouquet was kindly loaned to us by my sis who received the bouquet from my future bro-in-law! Hehe] That said, my mini Valentine definitely fared better than the Man for last Thursday after her Berries class, she came up to me and said 妈妈,我爱你 (Mummy, I love you!) and that was simply music to my ears!

img_8220To my mini Valentine, your face lights up my world! Regardless of whatever expression you may have! 🙂 Daddy and I will always LOVE you…

And to the Man, Happy Valentine’s Day! I know you always tell me you don’t celebrate the occasion and I shouldn’t be expecting anything, but it’s still nice to give you a shout out on this special day where millions celebrate the day of L.O.V.E! MUACKS!

Punishing the Bub

So far we have dealt with the Bub’s toddler tantrums, toddler meltdowns and basically learnt how to navigate through the situation either by distracting her with something else (if we are out) or giving her the space to cry it out before going to her after she has calmed down to speak with her and resolve the problem.

Between the Man and myself, there isn’t a distinct ‘good cop’ or ‘bad cop’ role. We simply assume the bad cop role if needed there and then to deal with the situation. However, I think the Bub is a little more afraid of the Man as when he gets angry, he really does angry (think Incredible Hulk with clenched fists and a huge frown).

While a couple of our friends have already imposed the ‘Time Out’ and ‘Face the Wall’ as a form of discipline. We’ve so far done it once or twice to the Bub when she refused to eat her food and started throwing her utensils at the table. After crying and apologising, she would come back to the table and go back to having her meal.

Last weekend, we were having dinner and I fed Bub her rice. Yes, while she is capable of feeding herself, sometimes she fusses and so it’s easier for us adults to feed her. She knows that when she’s done with her meal, all she needed to say is “I’m done!” and depending on how much she has eaten, that’s the cue for us to stop feeding her. I was more than happy to stop feeding her had she said that but instead, she let out a couple of wails and then flung her plate of rice off the table.

The Man was furious and slammed the dinner table almost immediately when he saw the plate fly off the table. He spoke to the Bub in a stern tone as to why she did that when all she could do was to tell me that she’s already full. The Bub knowing that she was in the wrong simply refused to make any eye-contact with him and simply stared down at the table. The Man continued asking her why she did what she did and whether she knew what she did was wrong. She remained silent through the whole series of questioning.

img_7688The Man prompted to pick her up from her high chair and then placed in front of the wall. She was asked to reflect whether her actions were right and when she was ready to admit her mistake and apologise to us, she could come back to the table.

img_7689The time-out session lasted all of 2 minutes (at most). She knew she was in the wrong despite being somewhat stubborn initially. She walked over, apologised for swiping the dinner plate off the table.

There sure are no shortcuts to parenting and even though it’s hard, discipline is necessary just like the quote that my cousin shared.

Discipline is caring more about a person’s future attitudes, personality, and perspective rather than their current comfort.

Donald McCafferty

Bye-bye baby toxins! Say hello to Dapple..

[Sponsored review]

Now that Bubba is nearly three, it’s not entirely necessary that we stick to baby dishwashing liquid and detergent for her. But you know what? I still prefer to do that as the child’s skin is still pretty sensitive and some of the brands available out there might be too harsh for the skin. So for this reason, we decided to let her continue using baby-safe products till she’s much older.

When she was much younger, we’ve used brands such as Pigeon, Kodomo, Pureen, Method, Attitude and Bio-Home. If you noticed the trend, we started switching to more environmentally-friendly products when she was a little older and we understood what the harmful effects of some of these chemicals/ toxins and the long-term effects that they have on our body. This includes allergens, irritants, dangerous synthetic additives, preservatives, fragrances or dyes.

As such, I’ve always been on the look-out to try out other brands out there that are not only baby-safe but also safe for the environment. Expanding our horizons also meant shopping beyond our shores but on sites such as iHerb or even shopping at the local supermarkets when we are overseas to see what’s available out there. Case in point, we did uncover a couple of baby-friendly products during our recent trip to Coles Supermarket in Gold Coast. But of course, due to luggage constraints, we didn’t bring everything back.

We received an email from the good folks at DearBaby who asked if we were keen to give Dapple home-cleaning products a try for the purpose of this review. I’ve seen Dapple products being sold on Red Mart and Agape Babies and have been wanting to try it out but never got the chance so the timing was just right for us to test the products and see if they would be ideal for our home/ Bubba.

I shared with Audrey our profile (ie: Bubba’s age, the types of household cleaners we would purchase to use specifically for Bubba) and she curated a list of products based on our lifestyle.

About Dapple:

Dapple is a pioneer in natural cleaners and healthy home products, specifically designed for households with babies. Started by two mums in 2008 in New York, Dapple was born because these mums wanted to take the guess work out of cleaning safely around kids. Trust me, this can be quite mind-boggling as shared earlier if half of the products available on the shelves claim to be baby-friendly and one actually has to scrutinise if the ingredients are truly child-friendly.

Powered by plant-based formula, Dapple products are designed specially to clean baby messes. All Dapple products use natural-based ingredients that are environmentally-safe, biodegradable, and free of parabens, SLES, and phthalates, as well as synthetic dyes or fragrances. That to me is a huge plus for I understood more than half of those harmful ingredients that I would avoid on products that I would actually use on myself, what more for the Bub.

What does this mean?

Not only is Dapple baby-safe which means generally safe for children, it is also kind to the environment. Dapple is a trusted brand of Healthy Child Healthy World and is also certified by the nonprofit B Lab to have met rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. That’s great to know given the growing popularity of green parenting in Singapore, Dapple will certainly appeal to this category of parents/ families who are more environmentally conscious.

Here’s what we received which we thought are all great for travelling to be honest!

img_7435For Surface Care: Dapple Food Grade Pacifier Wipes (25 pieces)

I did share with Audrey that Bubba is no longer using a pacifier so I wasn’t too sure if sending these over to us would actually come in handy. She told me that actually I would probably find this very useful as the wipes can also be used to clean utensils or surface areas (such as high-chairs, tables, cutlery) when we are out. Turned out to be true!

img_7438What we liked about the pacifier wipes is that it comes individually wrapped and it’s really very convenient. No more fishing out for your big pack of wet-wipes which may not necessarily give you that pure clean-on-the-go for your equipment. Another plus for this individual packaging is that you don’t have to worry about them drying out which we often get when we open a pack of wipes that we hardly use and over time, the entire pack just ‘dries out’. What we do is simply pop two or three of these towelettes into Bubba’s utensil pouch and this comes in handy to clean her cutlery when she’s done with eating when we are out.

img_7441

For Laundry Care: Dapple Baby Laundry Detergent Pods (25 pieces)

I’m usually quite picky when it comes to using the right laundry detergent for the Bub. It needs to be hypoallergenic (safe for babies’ skin), free of parabens and artificial fragrances. It doesn’t need to necessarily have any scent but that would be an added bonus if any.

img_7443Again a great accompaniment for overseas trips, these pods are easy and convenient to use. Each pod features a unique, natural enzyme package that specifically targets and cleans up all that spit-up and mushed food stains (things that your toddler would typically do to irk you and get their outfits all stained).

img_7583 I like that each pod is just sufficient for a laundry load of your child’s clothes, so all we needed to do is to throw in one of these pods to a load of laundry (3kg) which usually contained home-wear, school uniforms, towels and sometimes our wet-bags plus diaper bags.

For Dish Care: Dapple Baby Bottle & Dish Liquid (Apricot)

img_7445Seriously, Dapple does come up with a delicious-scented baby bottle and dish washing liquid. I was literally spoilt for choice when I had to narrow down to the preferred scent of our choice (couldn’t decide between Apple-Pear, Lavender or Apricot) so I opted for Apricot – something light and fruity.

Dapple Bottle & Dish Liquid is perfect for safely cleaning baby milk bottles, cups, pacifiers, cutlery and even breast pump components. It features an award-winning green technology that specifically targets milk residue with baking soda to combat odour. Again, as with the rest of the products under the Dapple umbrella, this is free of harmful chemicals such as SLS, SLES, artificial fragrances, dyes, parabens, , phthalates, 1,4-dioxane, chlorine, formaldehyde, and alcohol.

Be warned, this seriously smells so good that we wanted to basically wash our entire cutlery for the home using Bubba’s dishwashing liquid instead! Plus, it’s fast-rinsing and majority of the oil stains and milk residues from her milk bottles came out quickly that I didn’t have wash her bottles twice. Savings for one bottle of dishwashing liquid will probably last longer.

Pure ‘N’ Clean Baby Bottle & Dish Liquid (travel-sized)

img_7448While going through Dapple’s catalogue, I was also particularly pleased to find that travel-sized bottles are available for their Baby Bottle and Dish Liquid. I find that extremely useful as we travel quite a fair bit so it’s important that we bring along Bubba’s dishwashing liquid to wash her bottles and utensils when we are on-the-go (on the plane, on the roads, in hotels, etc). Also, I like the assurance of relying on something that we have been using rather than going to a foreign land and rushing out to the local supermarket/ convenience stores to purchase baby-friendly products. And these travel-sized bottles are great for these occasions (approved by security given that it’s 3 oz – under 100ml), at least I don’t have to look for other smaller bottles and transfer them. Priced at S$4.90, I think the price isn’t that expensive either.

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SPECIAL PROMOTION FOR READERS OF LADY J’S MUSINGS

Enjoy 15% off all Dapple products when you use the code “dapple15ladyj” at both DearBaby webstore (minimum order value of $20 nett for processing) and Dearbaby JEM store (#04-45). This code is valid until 28th Feb 2017 so I think this is a great time to take advantage of the offer and stock up these great household cleaning products that’s safe for your child and family. We are going to do that as well! 🙂

Disclaimer : lady J’s musings received the above-mentioned products from Dapple (DearBaby) for the purpose of this review. No additional monetary rewards were given. All views expressed are purely of my own and written according to my experience in using the products and services.

Fever: Is it really a common part of childhood?

Fevers… I really dread them especially on my child. For you see, Bubba is rather prone to fevers. When she was younger, she used to get fevers so often that we were visiting the paed every month. I had to take time off from work to care for her that I actually felt bad that she was falling sick so often. Some of those days, I actually cried and wondered did I eat anything ‘wrong’ during my pregnancy to birth a child whose immunity was low. No one blamed me for she could have picked up the germs from anywhere but I felt bad as her mother.

Other than the horrible time that she was hospitalised for fever fits, we basically took most of her fevers with a pinch of salt. “It’s all part of growing up and part of building her immunity.”, my sister reassured me.  I guess that part is true but yet, it is really heartbreaking when you see your child crying out for you and soothing her simply because she’s not well. But to be fair, despite her fevers being high, she’s usually active and alert for a good period of the day, so that wasn’t much of a concern to us. The only time alarm bells started ringing was when she was listless, lethargic and basically irresponsive to us when we called for her to play. That’s when we knew, we should send her down to the doctor immediately. 😦

Decided to do a little more research about fevers in toddlers (I know, Google is probably the worse source for the information and the worse kind of doctor, but on the flip side of the coin, as a parent, you know your child best so take the advice you can but really, make your own judgement call), and here’s what I found which I thought might put some first-time/ young parents at ease:

Why do kids get fever?
Fever happens when the body’s internal “thermostat” raises the body temperature above its normal level. This thermostat is found in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus knows what temperature your body should be (usually around 37°C) and will send messages to your body to keep it that way.

Most people’s body temperatures even change a little bit during the course of the day: It’s usually a little lower in the morning and a little higher in the evening and can vary as kids run around, play, and exercise.

Sometimes, though, the hypothalamus will “reset” the body to a higher temperature in response to an infection, illness, or some other cause. Why? Researchers believe turning up the heat is the body’s way of fighting the germs that cause infections and making the body a less comfortable place for them.

Our paed thinks that the reason why the Bub’s fevers are usually ranging from 39-40 degrees is because it’s her body’s natural way of fighting off the infections. Perhaps that much is true as we also realised that once she’s done with her fevers, the flus/ coughs as a residual effect from the fever are usually not as prolonged as some of our friends’ kids. I guess chicken-and-egg situation, depending on how you look at it.

Causes for fever:
It’s important to remember that fever by itself is not an illness — it’s usually a symptom of another problem and fevers have a few potential causes such as:

  1. Infection: Most fevers are caused by infection or other illness. A fever helps the body fight infections by stimulating natural defense mechanisms.
  2. Overdressing: Infants, especially newborns, may get fevers if they’re overbundled or in a hot environment because they don’t regulate their body temperature as well as older kids. However, because fevers in newborns can indicate a serious infection, even infants who are overdressed must be checked by a doctor if they have a fever.
  3. Immunizations: Babies and kids sometimes get a low-grade fever after getting vaccinated.
  4. Teething: Although teething may cause a slight rise in body temperature, it’s probably not the cause if a child’s temperature is higher than 37.8°C.

When do you start panicking?
To be honest, I start panicking when the Bub’s temperature is anything more than 37.3 degrees. But that’s me and thankfully, the Man will give me a earful when he checks her temp and dismisses my judgement. However, perhaps due to mother’s instinct, I’m also exceptionally sensitive when Bubba’s temperature becomes a little higher so when I do wake the Man up in the middle of the night exclaiming that she’s having a fever, it usually is true.

Some of our friends who have lived overseas would call us alarmists and we do bring Bub to see our paed pretty often. They’ve shared that in the country when they live, the doctors would typically advise them to let the child run the course of the fever without any medication (or using natural methods to treat the fever).

There’s one important exception to this rule: If you have an infant 3 months or younger with a temperature of 38°C or higher, do see the doctor urgently as a slight fever can be a sign of a potentially serious infection in very young infants.

Do take into account the behaviour of your child when he/she is sick as it will give you a pretty good idea of whether a minor illness is the cause or if your child should be seen by a doctor. The illness is probably not serious if your child:

  • is still interested in playing
  • is eating and drinking well
  • is alert and smiling at you
  • has a normal skin color
  • looks well when his or her temperature comes down

And of course, we used to worry about whether she’s getting enough food into her system when she’s sick but with time we realised that we shouldn’t  worry too much about that. She will make it up for the intake of food that she’s lost over the days when she’s better. But it’s important to make sure that your child gets enough liquids so as not to be dehydrated. Wet diapers are always a good sign.

(Source of information: Kids Health)

We are on to Day 6 of the Bub’s fever episode and seriously, all at home are worn out and all praying very hard for her to get well soon. One day more.. she will get better…

Festive Fever

img_7382This face.. obviously played too hard over the Chinese New Year period and is now down with a throat infection coupled with a fever that rivals the temperature of an onsen. Don’t laugh, it’s true!

I would have loved to blog but over the long festive weekend, our calendar was packed with visiting and basically eating around the clock. As the Bub is a little older now, we are a little more relaxed when it came to her nap-times. She largely battled sleep or just took a power nap along the way. Well, what we did was to compensate her short nap-time with an earlier sleeping time in the night so that basically evened out the amount of hours her body need to clock in for the day.

For now, she’s off her fave nuts – pistachios – as well as ice-cream as she recuperates from that nasty sore throat. Good thing is that her spirits are up and she’s active although clingy when I’m around. Last evening, she basically stuck by my side when I reached home from work. Refused to sit her high chair for dinner and insisted on sitting on my lap as I fed her her rice and soup which thankfully she finished but extremely slowly. I almost lost it at one point as she was fidgeting and simply refused to eat her food. I raised my voice and pretended to be angry.

Me: Look at this face! Is it a happy or angry face?

S: Don’t be angry, Mama. Mama, don’t be angry ok?

Me: (tone softens a little) I won’t be angry if you finish your food ok?

S: Ok.. I’m sorry…

How did my baby girl know when to say sorry? I almost burst into tears when she said that. For a moment, I felt as if I was the bad guy, forcing her to eat but I didn’t have a choice for she needed to have her meds and she definitely needed food in her system.

Get well soon, my little baby girl!