26 Weeks: Antenatal 101

for the past few weeks, i’ve been attending all sorts of FREE pre-birth courses here in chch. here in new zealand, some classes are government-funded and for free so many can attend. since our families are away from us, we need to gather as much information as we can for us to survive the first few months of being with the baby. now, this makes me miss my family more. :(

1st class: nappy workshop by the nappy lady

i’ve been hearing about cloth diapers for sometime now. the use of cloth diapers are highly recommended because you contribute in saving the environment by lessening the waste in the landfill. to be honest, i am one of world’s worst consumer and i always want my life to be as convenient as possible so i sometimes resort to using the life’s short cuts such as using disposable materials. lately, i sudden had a change of heart and started considering other option because i always think of my baby and as a first time parent, i want my child to see the beauty of the world and enjoy it as much as we do. i asked some friends on what diaper they prefer to use, between cloth or disposable, and it’s a 50-50 response i got. some friends use disposable diapers because they don’t have time for laundry and they rather spend the time with their baby than washing nappies. of course, i empathize with them knowing they are working mothers too. also knowing how bad the traffic in manila is, i might be doing the same too. meanwhile, some friends are using cloth diapers because they are more economical in the long run and cloth nappies are investments too. they can be use by the succeeding babies as long as quality is still good.

in the nappy workshop, i learned the benefits of using a cloth diaper against the use of disposable diapers. and since i always choose the money-saving option, i’m considering more of using cloth nappies. i don’t mind the laundry, the washing machine will take care of it. haha! there are lots of styles and brands to choose from and all of them just works the same wonder as a disposable diaper. the only difference is that you throw them in the washing machine and not in a garbage bin. 2 years of exclusively using cloth diapers can save as much as $4,000 – imagine that money can be use for traveling back to PH or savings for the baby’s 1st year party!

these are the freebies i got from attending the nappy workshop, 3 trial pack cloth nappies. this is so i can try which style best suits the baby.

Nappy Trial Pack

nappy trial pack

2nd class: breastfeeding course

last saturday, i took a break from weekend work so i can attend the breastfeeding class at the women’s hospital. i did not register for the class but just showed up in the seminar room. it was a 5-hr long class which cover topics such as breasts, milk and how-to’s of breastfeeding. despite sitting for 5 hours, it was not dragging at all because the course is well balance. it’s a mixed of discussion and watching videos of the different topics related to breastfeeding. i am praying to the lactation gods (pleeaassee) that i’ll be able to produce enough milk someday so i would no longer buy formula milk which is not only expensive but also not as good as the breast milk. breast milk has antibodies that help defend babies from illness, which the formula milk doesn’t have. of course, nobody wants a sickly baby. parents go nuts when babies get sick so i’m now choosing the healthy option.

breastfeeding course

breastfeeding course

breastfeeding brochure and information

breastfeeding brochure and information

3rd class: antenatal classes

this class runs every thursday for 2 hours and one of the days i look forward to because my husband and i attends the class together. classmates again! :) so far, we completed the 1st class and there’s 5 more to go before the holiday season kicks in. during the first class, we had to speak and introduce ourselves one by one and it feels odd because it’s been a while since i recited in front of a class. how i hate class recitations! we discussed housekeeping rules, expectations from the class, signs of labor and the body changes a pregnant woman goes through. i very much enjoyed listening to the different topics and group discussion because there’s so much to learn. i also like the freebies they gave us, huggies newborn nappies. i might use them for the sake of using them but again i think i’ll be using more of the cloth diaper. wish ko lang na hindi ako malurkey magbabad at maglaba ng diapers!

antenatal 101

antenatal 101

freebies

freebies

also, apart from attending the classes, there are also online groups that provide support and information on these topics such as the modern cloth nappying group for cloth nappy knowledge and breastfeeding pinay group for breastfeeding information. there’s so much to learn and it’s quite overwhelming.

Book: The Fault in Our Stars

finally, i finished reading the book, ‘the fault in our stars’. i tried my best to speed up my reading because the book is already past its due date and i was supposed to return it last month.

the fault with the fault in our stars

the fault with the fault in our stars

obviously, it took me a while to finish it because 1) i’m workaholic busy 2) i’m wifey busy and most of all (the most truthful reason) 3) it simply did not catch my attention for me to sneak some reading time in between my busy life.

i was slightly disappointed about the book because i had lots of expectations, especially when everyone’s raving about it. there’s at least one person in my facebook or instagram feed, who posted a photo of the book and saying how excited they were that they finally got their hands on the book.

so there, i was enticed to read it to satisfy my curiosity on what the hype is all about.

the book is always unavailable in the library so i place a reservation which cost me $2 bucks. thinking about it, it’s better that i wasted $2 than buying a brand new copy which costs maybe around $20 bucks.

i will not make this post a lengthy one because i’ve got nothing better to say about the book. it’s so-so for me. it’s good in a sense that you can read it as a past time, like those magazines you see in the salon or dental clinic but you can also leave it there once you’re done with the appointment. it did not leave a lasting impression perhaps because the book is for teenagers and since i’m in my thirties, how come i’m still reading young adult books!? i thought it’s a tear-jerker book but how come i did not shed a single tear. is there something wrong with me? wala ba akong feelings?

***note: this is my opinion. if you come across this blog and you happen to like the book, then good for you. ;)

Food: Blueberry Muffins

lately, i am feeling extra diligent doing the household chores – from laundry, sweeping, cooking, baking, organizing the closet and bookshelf and many more. despite the extra hours spent in the office and working weekends, i still have lots of energy after work to run the household and i realized that this is it na talaga…ang domesticated ko na nga! i’ve spoken to a friend and she was asking me how my pregnancy was and i told her that i’m feeling well and good then i quipped, “… and ito panay ang linis ko himala nga, ewan ko ba…” and she was laughing at me because she said i was “nesting”. i don’t know what that means so i looked in the internet and found out that it has something to do with the urge to clean especially with pregnants, brought on by a desire to prepare for the baby’s coming. 

ay may ganun pala? eh di naman bago sa akin actually ang magligpit at maglinis. in fact, allergic lang naman talaga ako sa makalat at burara. haha! gets ko na tuloy si mama kung bakit ang sipag nya magligpit sa bahay nuon, non-stop! also, when you’re living with someone who happens to be the ‘master of relaxation’ (higa then watch (basketball) videos sa cellphone then tutulog), naku mapipilitan ka lang talaga maglinis. haha.

so last night after i clean the backyard and finished cooking our dinner meal, i baked some blueberry muffins for our snack. i’m in the mood to bake because last sunday’s baking project was a total disaster and hindi lang talaga ako mapakali kung hindi ako makapag-bake. it’s a must. hehe. ;-)

so i’m sharing the recipe for blueberry muffins. enjoy!

ingredients:

frozen blueberries, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract, buttermilk

frozen blueberries, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract, buttermilk

flour, sugar, eggs, unsalted butter

flour, sugar, eggs, unsalted butter

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 and 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 and 1/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

steps:

  • preheat oven to 190C and put paper liners into muffin tray.
  • in a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients – flour, baking powder and salt.
mix flour, salt and baking pwder

mix flour, salt and baking pwder

  • on a separate bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar for 2 minutes. then add the eggs, scraping the sides with a spatula. add vanilla extract.
mix butter, sugar, vanilla, milk and eggs

mix butter, sugar, vanilla, milk and eggs

  • gradually add the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture on low-speed to combine.
  • add the berries to the batter and distribute evenly using a spatula. do not overmix.
  • scoop batter into muffin tray filling each cup.
scoop batter into the muffin tray

scoop batter into the muffin tray

  • you can add sugar or cheese toppings as optional.
  • bake for 30 minutes until light golden brown or cake tester comes out clean.
  • cool the muffins and transfer to a cooling rack.
cool and ready to serve

cool and ready to serve

verdict:
the ‘taste-r’ looks unimpressed.

nakakain ba to?

masarap ba to?

haha, ano to!?

huli ka!!!

huli ka!!!

Food: Nutella Banana Muffins

it’s labour day monday and unlike most people here in new zealand who are on an out-of-town trip, we just stayed at home. my husband taking a rest and mostly sleeping as he had a tooth extraction while i’m busy cleaning the house left and right. am i nesting!?

while cleaning, i saw a bunch of overripe bananas sitting in the kitchen. i don’t like the idea of throwing them because i don’t want any food going to waste. now i know and understand why my mother always eat the left overs at home when i was a kid because she kept on telling us, “sayang ang pagkain, hinde naman kayo ang bumibili.” now that we’re earning our own money and paying for our own grocery, bills and many other things…every centavo counts. everytime i see that my husband did not eat his lunch and the food i prepared for him, he surely gets a drama reminder from me “uy bae (BAE talagaaa!?), sayang naman ang pagkain. aga ko gumigising sa umaga, di mo kinakain ang baon mo…” then just like my mother, i always end up eating our days old food so as not to throw them away.

i was thinking of making a banana cake or banana chocolate chip cupcake out of the ripe bananas but then i saw someone in my fb feed tagged by somebody on a photo of a banana nutella cupcakes. hayun nakigaya lang, so there came the inspiration of today’s baking recipe. haha!

ingredients:

1 and 3/4 cups self-raising flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

113 grams melted unsalted butter

3 large very ripe bananas, mashed

1 tsp vanilla extract

nutella, at room temp

self-raising flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs

self-raising flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs

nutella, bananas, unsalted butter

nutella, bananas, unsalted butter

instruction:

  • pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  • in a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt.
mix the flour, sugar and salt

mix the flour, sugar and salt

  • on a separate bowl, combine the eggs, butter, mashed bananas & vanilla.
mix the melted butter, eggs, vanilla and mashed banana

mix the melted butter, eggs, vanilla and mashed banana

  • mix thoroughly the dry and wet ingredients. the batter will look lumpy, this is fine.
  • scoop the mixture to the muffin pan, each cup about a size half full.
  • take a teaspoon of nutella in each muffin. swirl the nutella into the muffin just making it look like with streaks of chocolate, do not over mix.
mix nutella into each muffin serving

mix nutella into each muffin serving

  • bake for 20 to 25 minutes then remove from the oven.
voila!

voila!

tara kain na, bahala na ang sugar. haha! 

excuse the banderitas a.k.a sinampay

excuse the banderitas a.k.a sinampay

notecredits to thelondoner for the recipe 

Food: Hola! Spanish Bread!

this baking project has been loooooong overdue! i wasn’t even pregnant yet when i promised my husband that i’ll bake spanish bread for him. then came july and he gave me a rolling-pin as a birthday gift and it only ended up sitting in the dark cupboard. haha!

BUT NOW I’M BACK. my energy is in full swing and i’m ready to reign the kitchen once again. hohoho!

so here’s my first bread baking project, the spanish bread. that’s how we call it in the philippines. but i don’t even know why it’s called as such because there’s nothing espanyol about it. this reminds me of the french fries from belgium.

ingredients:

a) for the dough
2 tsp yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs

b) for the filling
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup sugar

breadcrumbs, white sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla

breadcrumbs, white sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla (optional)

buttermilk, salt, yeast, brown sugar, butter

buttermilk, salt, yeast, brown sugar, butter

instructions:
1. dissolve yeast and sugar in lukewarm water let stand for 10 minutes. if the mixture doubles in volume then yeast is active.

add yeast and sugar to lukewarm water

add yeast and sugar to lukewarm water

2. in a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, sugar and salt.

mix the dry ingredients - flour, sugar and salt

mix the dry ingredients – flour, sugar and salt

3. add the wet ingredients – milk, melted butter, eggs, and yeast to the dry mixture and combine well.

mix the wet ingredients - yeast mixture, eggs, milk and melted butter

mix the wet ingredients – yeast mixture, eggs, milk and melted butter

4. on a clean surface dusted with flour, knead the mixture into a smooth elastic dough. add more flour, if necessary. omg buhay panaderya!

5. let the dough rest in a bowl greased lightly with oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until the size doubles, about three hours.

keep calm and it will double the size

keep calm and it will double the size

6. divide the dough into two equal parts. shape each part into a log and divide into eight equal parts.
7. flatten each piece and brush with melted butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and sugar. then roll them making it oblong in shape.
8. sprinkle or roll the rolled dough with more breadcrumbs and sugar and place the pieces with the seam-side down on a greased baking sheet.

sprinkle or roll the dough in breadcrumbs and sugar

sprinkle or roll the dough in breadcrumbs and sugar

10. preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. once oven warms up, place the rolls and bake until golden brown for 15-30 minutes.

verdict:

finished product!

finished product!

my official taster a.k.a “the husband” said that the bread tastes good and soft (weh!? sinabi lang nya ata yun para not to hurt my feelings – haha). once it gets cold, pwede na syang ipang kalso sa kotse. just reheat it in the oven for a minute to bring back its softness and freshness. the only downside is that i should have put more filling inside the bread to make it really taste like a spanish bread. i under estimated the amount of filling i put on the dough so after baking them, the bread turned out thick and good but it lacks the filling inside. i was hesitant to make it too sweet because i’m regulating my sugar intake. i think this project turned out more like a “pan de sal” project rather than a spanish bread. wahaha! anyway, i’ll do my best next time. i think what matters most is that it tastes good and it’s edible. lol!

21 weeks: Prams

i didn’t know that searching for a pram or a stroller would take lots of serious consideration. initially, i thought that as long as you like a certain design then it would be enough. now, just like buying a major appliance, furniture or a car…you would need to make a lot of research to be able to find the one that suits your budget, lifestyle and most important – baby’s safety.

my husband and i started canvassing and buying the things we need for the baby. not that we are doing a major shopping splurge though. every month, we target to buy something major so we do it in a ‘slowly but surely’ way. it’s hard walking around the shops when tummy grows very big so we do it now while i’m still capable. as you may know, it’s not a joke buying a brand new baby item. having a baby is sort of making an investment too, making sure that our purchase will be for a long-term and can be use by the next child. in the philippines, oldies usually advise that parents must start buying on the onset of 7th month.

investPram

prams are investments

but since i’m far from home and i don’t believe in old wives tale anyway, we started doing it on the 5th month. i don’t know if that’s too early but see, i’m already halfway through the pregnancy! my mantra is always look at the glass half full rather than half empty. haha! besides, i am not the superstitious type of person. i just pray that everything goes smoothly during the pregnancy so i don’t entertain negative thoughts. the physical aspects of being pregnant are stressful enough and i don’t want to make it hard for myself thinking, “what if something happens?”. as advised by my midwife, all i need to do is to relax and eat healthy and she’ll take care of the rest. ;-)

going back to prams, i’ve been in a constant search to find “the one”. there’s soooo many to choose from and i’m getting more confused as i see more designs when i check the online stores. the thing is, the type of pram that i want doesn’t coincide to the budget i want to release! lols! i didn’t know that prams could range from $500-$1000 so as an alternative, i also look in trademe, an online buy and sell website here in nz. this is where we got our crib by the way, but save that for another post.

prams or strollers are in different shapes, sizes and functionality depending on the person’s lifestyle. it could be a 3-wheeler or a 4-wheeler, it could be single or double purpose especially if you have twins or 2 kids on it. it could have plastic wheels or a rubber, fit for a smooth surface or on a terrain and there are jogger types of prams which can be use by mom’s post birth to get back in shape.

if you ask me about my dream pram, this is what i want – a bassinet pram.

bassinetPram

dream pram (source: pinterest)

i’m dreaming i’m walking at the park with this, back to my pre-baby weight (college weight to be more aggressive – hehe asa!) wearing my wide-brim hat with sunglasses, pushing the pram and smiling to my baby. i’m no longer working in IT and i just spend my daily life walking at the park, getting sunshine blah blah blah…

hello! but in reality, this pram will cost us as much as a $1000 bucks and would just accumulate dust once baby starts to walk…a total waste of money. also, the bassinet pram will only be good for 0-3 mos and after that, baby is very curious to look around and would rather face front instead of looking at me. as baby grows older, he will start fidgeting and this pram is not practical at all. :(

so i have to reconsider and think of another option. eventually, these are some tips i read online when considering buying a pram.
- make sure it meets the safety standard
- check it has foot breaks and harness to strap the baby
- make sure there are no loose parts, sharp objects or protruding parts that may harm or choke the baby
- locking mechanism for the baby
- stability. make sure it doesn’t tip easily
- consider functionality and lifestyle. prams should be reclined flat for baby’s under 3 mos. after that, should be changeable to a semi-reclining position as baby gets older
- a foot rest so child can avoid injury when trying to touch the ground
- consider cover up for the baby like a large canopy, a rain cover and a foot cover for small ones
- storage underneath to store baby items or any shopping items
- make sure it’s compact, easy to fold and will fit the trunk of the car

long-term, multipurpose and functional

long-term, multipurpose and functional (source: pinterest)

having said that and add my own requirements (a 3-wheeler, 2-way facing pram that i can use in rapaki track) and the “budget”, i wish and pray that the pram angels will guide me to find the perfect one. some friends told me that they don’t like bringing prams/strollers since they’re bulky and would rather baby-wear. i’ll surely baby-wear too but here in nz, prams will be very useful especially when going to parks and mountain trails. we are an active family after all. :)

biker mom

biker mom (source: pinterest)

skater mom

skater mom (source: pinterest)

19 Weeks: PutoToy

my puto has a putotoy and is a boy. woohooo!!!

finally, we were able to find out the gender from this week’s anatomy scan and we couldn’t be more happier having a boy for our first baby. oftentimes when people ask us what we want, we always say we prefer a boy as a first baby though of course given a girl, we will be very happy still because girls are a lot more exciting to dress up and as long as they are healthy and well. hubby wants a boy so that there will be a ‘kuya‘ to look after the small ones. imagine this, “isusumbong kita sa kuya ko!” hahaha! in-laws are wishing for a boy too because they already have twin girls around. from my side, no preference at all because baby is the first in our family so everyone is very happy. :) taking care of my husband is a challenge. having another boy at home will be a different story. i can just imagine having two boyfriends around, oh boy it will be a mess!

putots_bumpdate

now that we know the baby’s gender, we can start preparing stuff for the baby while i’m still flexible to roam around the shops and check for a massive sale. lols. we already started looking for the major items such as cot, breast pump and pram as these are the more expensive items and we are on the look out if stores will have a major clearance sale. i now realize how expensive it is to start a baby. i’m in a stage now where i am confused whether to buy a brand new item because it’s the first baby and we surely want the best for him. then, there’s the budgetarian me who’s thinking of buying good quality 2nd hand items instead because baby will eventually outgrow the items and i’d rather save the money for him and be practical.

so far, here’s what i found out:
a brand new cot/crib will cost $300 to $1000…
a brand new pram will cost $400 to $700…
a brand new capsule, car seat or booster seat will cost $100 to $500…
a brand new electric double breast pump costs $300 to $600…
a brand new manual breast pump costs $100 to $300…
a reusable cloth diaper will cost a minimum of $10 a piece. do the math for a baby which needs to wardrobe change for 12 times a day and building a back up stash in case someone’s too tired to do the laundry, it could range from $100 to $300…
and not to mention the miscellaneous items like baby carrier, bottles, sterilizer, clothes, wraps, blanket and the list goes on.

ow-em. gee. the hard-earned money that i waited for a month, can be easily spent in one single day. *sigh*

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