Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Our Favorite Baby Products

     If you are about to become a new parent and are not sure of what items to buy for your little one, here are some baby items that have always been my favorites. I have used every single item on this list for both of my kids and they've proven to be very useful, extremely helpful and long-lasting.

1. Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper

                                Arm's Reach Ideal Arc Original Co-Sleeper Bedside Bassinet, Natural

      We bought the Arm's Reach co-sleeper back in 2010 for our firstborn and it proved to be a very good investment. I had a C-Section then and having the co-sleeper right beside our bed where I could get my baby easily to breastfeed her was very convenient. We also didn't have to worry about squishing our very small baby while we were asleep because she had her own bed to sleep on while keeping a close distance to us.

2. Baby Bjorn

                                            BABYBJORN Baby Carrier One - Black, Cotton Mix

       Although I had several types of baby carriers, this one remains to be a constant favorite. The Baby Bjorn was recommended by my sister in law and it is our go-to carrier when traveling. It's so easy to put together and so safe. And it also makes baby carrying look cool for daddy ;)
         You can check other types of Baby Carriers that I love, here.

3. Medela Harmony Manual Pump

                                                        Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump

        As a breastfeeding mom, I cannot live without this manual pump! And yes, this brand in particular. It's the best one according to my mommy friends, especially those who have tried other brands so this is what I got. I personally did not try any other brand - but I am very happy because of the Medela harmony's efficiency. Although I've used their double electric pump as well, I still would say that this manual one is my essential one to have, simply because you can take it with you anywhere (the car, your bed, the kitchen, walking around, traveling, etc.), you can control the pressure, it doesn't require batteries, and it gets the job done! (not to mention cheaper too).
       You can check my other Breastfeeding Essentials here as well.

4. Safety First Grooming Kit

                                    Safety 1st Deluxe Healthcare and Grooming Kit, Dupont Circle

        I have 2 sets of this grooming kit in 2 different colors. One for Audrey and another for Natalie. It's my favorite because it has all the essentials and comes in a nicely designed case. I like the nail cutter in particular because it makes cutting small nails really easy and safe. 

5. Chicco Sterilizer

                                          Chicco Electric Steam Sterilizer in Purple/White
      Even breastfeeding moms need sterilizers. I needed one for all my breastmilk storage cups, breast pump parts and bottles (for those times when I had to leave a little longer than my baby could wait for the breast to come back! Can't let baby go hungry). I liked this brand because it was easy and simple to use.

6. Exergen Digital Thermometer

                                                      Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer

      Now this! This forehead thermometer is a MAJOR essential for me. My pedia uses this type of thermometer because it's easy to get a child's temp with it and it's accurate. Our doctor got it from the US and so I searched Amazon and voila! My sis and I bought one each through amazon.com and she brought it home with her during a trip. Whenever my kids would feel warmer than usual, this is what I use to check for a fever and it's so hassle free. I don't have to stick anything in their mouth, armpit or (gasp!) butt! :o There's hardly any struggle when using this one and they can be asleep and not know that I'm checking up on their temperature. Super duper good investment! And up until now (5 years later!), it still works very well and has not run out of battery! 

7. Baby Bag

                                        Skip Hop Swift Changing Station Diaper Bag, Black

       Now of course, what parent can leave home without a baby bag when going out with baby?! none! (unless you're super forgetful or like to take risks! haha).  I love our Skip Hop messenger bag because: 1) It carries everything we need from diapers, a changing mat, sippy cups, wipes, clothes, etc and 2) I love the design - it doesn't really look like a baby bag so my husband doesn't mind carrying it, plus 3) It's durable. 

     These are my Top 7 for Parents' Essentials for Baby! These items are actually used more by a baby's caregivers to make life easier and more convenient. These sure helped me a lot and hope they will help you and your baby too :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Audrey's 5th: The Birthday Events

      Audrey's birthday fell on a Sunday and we really didn't plan for a big party. Instead we ended up with a 3-day celebration over the weekend which left us, the parents, all partied out! :o  Haha! Not really complaining but if you're a parent, I think you already know that even small gatherings can tire you out easily when it's done on 3 consecutive days! Both Audrey and Natalie had lots of fun, and of course so did we so no regrets! We super enjoyed as well! :)

The morning before her celebration in school :)

Audrey and her classmates had a blast in her simple pizza party!
Who knew preschoolers could eat so much pizza?! They kept
going back for seconds and thirds! :D

The next day, it was time for Audrey's Birthday Brunch at our bro/sis in laws' house!
They just had a baby and my sis in law was recovering from an operation
so we brought the party to them! Had so much fun cooking brunch with a bit
of Natalie's help hehe, and everyone else's! The brunch buffet was a good idea!

Natalie seems to love the pancakes we prepared!
Complete with rainbow sprinkles :)

The birthday girl opening her gifts!

Up, up and away!
Natalie pretending to be carried away by the balloons! :)

Family photo ;)
Cake star decor turned lollipop!

The girls spent the day eating, playing and enjoying the company of their baby cousins!

Time to blow out 5 colorful candles!

All smiles!

This fondant covered butter cake was superb!

On Audrey's actual birthday, we went out of town with ze grandparents.
It was a relaxing afternoon at the playground and the pool!

Birthday photo with dad and sis :)

Another year has passed and
my little girl is growing up so fast.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Audrey's 5th: The Birthday Goodies

     Somebody just turned 5! :) This year, just like any other - I made Audrey choose a theme for her birthday celebration. Hi5 was the perfect choice since she's into rainbows and colors and she was turning five! See the few cute and yummy goodies that we prepared below ;)

The birthday girl!

Our dessert table
(before we packed the cupcakes and
cookies for Audrey's celebration in school).

We super love this cake by Sweets by Cha! :)
Everything turned out perfect from the butter cake inside
and the stars and Hi5 hand logo outside!

Gum paste rainbows on fluffy white buttercream icing
on top of chocolate cupcakes!

Checking out the goodies!
Hand shaped cookies and cupcakes by Coco Cakes!

With Natalie - Hi-five!

Glad she loved them all :)

Planning a party?
Check out Sweets by Cha on
Instagram (sweetsbycha), Facebook or email at sweetsbycha@gmail.com 
and Coco Cakes on
Instagram (cocomichel), Facebook or email at ilovecococakes@gmail.com

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Potty Training: The Return of the Mini Potty

   Ah yes. It's that time again. Having a two year old means sooner or later potty training will have to begin.
   Not too long ago I potty trained my eldest and although it became easy in its final stages, the beginning wasn't a walk in the park. There were delays and circumstances that needed to be taken into consideration. A new sibling came in the midst of potty training and we were traveling too so all these changes had to be adjusted to before we could resume and have a more consistent schedule.
    With my second, using the potty began almost a year ago already - we would place her potty seat into the adult potty and let her pee and poop (though this one was more challenging) and she would more often than not gladly oblige. However, it stayed this way - she would use the big potty upon our recommendation, and sometimes would also say no (which is usually normal). So if I were to be honest, this was more like potty trying than potty training. 
    It is after all called potty training for a reason. Training requires consistency. Trying does not. Training requires discipline. Trying doesn't require you to follow through. Therefore, I had to first prepare myself again and plan my course of action. I had to come up with a better Training Plan.
It all begins with me. 

    Potty training is initiated by the trainer, not the trainee. I'm the coach so I need to establish a good and effective plan for my trainee to follow. So as soon as I knew I was ready, I began (and of course my toddler too, check out these signs of readiness). By being ready I mean being committed. Admittedly, since Natalie was still very young when we first made her try using the potty, there was no sense of urgency on my part. I didn't want to rush my toddler, and I didn't want to pressure myself either. So we put her in the potty whenever it was convenient and whenever we had the time. We still had her in diapers so we didn't worry if there was a bathroom emergency and we were too busy to take her to the potty.
    Enter the comeback of the mini potty. This was an essential part of my current Training Plan. I prepared our precious little potty, a hand-me-down from big sis. It's been sitting for a while in our bathroom, waiting for its seat to come back (because we've been using it for the big potty). Alas, the potty parts were reunited and I was ready to start.
    I showed Natalie how this mini potty works. Open the cover, pull down your pants and diapers and take a seat. Wait for the wee to come out and tell me the good report! Use it as often as you need.
    I started this last week and as expected, she kept volunteering to use the mini potty. And with delight! A successful wee in the potty would always bring a smile to her face - and she beams with pride as she reports her success. Yes, the mini potty trick worked like a charm :) 
   And when you think about it, who among us adults would find using a potty twice our size appealing? Certainly not me! Hahaha! So I put myself in my child's place. I wanted to use something that was:

1) proportionate to my size
2) easy to use that I can do it on my own without anyone having to help me
3) easy to get up from

       You just can't rush a little one into using the big potty - at least not my little one. It may be more convenient for me to have her use the big potty (no need to clean, just flush!). But this doesn't teach consistency and independence. So I had to adjust to my toddler's needs. Just one of the many gazillion adjustments that a mom or parent has to make for her kids! And with this in mind, I know potty training again won't be so hard as long as I have an effective plan in place ;)

        Check out more Potty Training Tips and Tricks here :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Paper Dolls

     I have tons of photos of almost all of our Arts and Crafts activities at home and meant to share them here if I had more time. I just happen to love taking pictures of almost anything I do with the girls! I just wish I had posted these sooner because as you will see, the girls were much younger when we worked on our Paper Dolls - Audrey was 2 years and 9 months old while Natalie was only 8 months! Time surely flies! 

Paper Dolls seemed like an easy enough craft activity to do with my toddlers

Start by getting a piece of paper that you can fold into 4 equal parts and draw your dolls in pencil.
Remember to keep the arms intact and connected when you cut the shapes.

Here is what your dolls will look like after cutting :)

Prepare your markers or any coloring materials of choice

Start drawing out the details of the dolls' faces, dresses and shoes!
Then color!

The finished product!

With baby Nalie admiring the colorful dolls :)

8 month old Natalie staring at the camera :D

Mommy's idea source for this Arts & Crafts activity is The Little Hands Art Book (Little Hands!)