Kids Photo Shoot

mei

Green is her favorite color.  That’s the reason why I am using green fonts for this post.

In a few days, our younger daughter is turning 4.  I’ve been asking around OC Mom groups about finding a good photographer who can do a mini-session with my daughter so that I can have a photo memory of her turning 4 years old. Money is an important consideration so after contemplating on it, I realized that I was the one who took all the pictures of my eldest daughter years ago, so why not grab my cameras, bring some toys, extra cute clothes and put them in my mommy bag and start heading for the nearest park.

We spent almost 2 hours playing, running, talking, and laughing and I ended up taking 60+ shots of her and I will be keeping around 15 compositions that truly captured great memories of her.

Next plan… another photo shoot – this time with her big sister. 

kids photo shoot

DIY Sprouting Jars

Recently, we’ve been sprouting a lot and my sprouting tray is not enough so I decided to make my own sprouting jars using my old jars from my kitchen.  We love it and it’s fun to grow more microgreens for my family.

   

             

Cholesterol-lowing Muffins

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It’s another one of those days… Days when we realize we need to eat healthy.  I miss making these.  Aside from being so easy to make, it’s super filling and tasty.  Here’s my Oat Bran muffins made with egg whites and soy milk, mixed with pine nuts and medjool dates (both my favorite muffin add-ins).  

Cravin’ for Ramen ラーメン

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When I went to Japan, my Japanese friend asked me what I wanted to eat.  She recommended Sushi but I said I wanted ramen (Japanese noodle soup dish).  She was surprised that I “only” wanted ramen.  My reason was that, I can eat high grade sushi in California but I have never found an authentic Japanese ramen restaurant in the USA that makes their ramen like they do in Japan (cooking the stock for hours).



My favorite ramen flavor is Tonkotsu (pork bone broth) but ramen comes in many varieties depending on where you are eating it in Japan.

When I crave for ramen, I go to our local Mitsuwa Marketplace or Marukai and I buy fresh ingredients and make it at home.  Today I made ramen using pork tenderloin meat from my freezer.  Ramen is usually eaten with thin slices of pork roast with a little fat for richer flavor but my pork tenderloin version garnered thumbs-up from my family.  

Cravin’ for ramen?  It’s really easy to make.



Throwback Thursday 02-26-2015

I don’t usually throwback my photos but today I am.  I just realized, instead of putting photos on Facebook, I want to save this photo here.

What are they doing on the photo?  My husband and our youngest daughter used to hang a piece of string (named “Wormy”, yes it has a name) on a pushpin pegged on our wall. This started when hubby was tasked to bathe our little one.  She was about two years old at that time.  We tried to find something that will make the bathing routine fun and easy.  The key was to find something or someone that will make us look forward to bath time everyday.

We purposely took a picture one night to record this moment and show it to our daughter when she gets older.  

Fun memories – parenting makes life colorful.



Growing Sprouts with my Kids

Growing my own sprouts was an idea I learned from my brother.  I researched about it and how beneficial and healthful it will be for me and my family.

I invested on a Victorio 4-Tray Seed Sprouter, I read the manual, watched YouTube tutorials and with my daughters, we enjoyed germinating and growing our sprouts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first harvest proved really effective.  The best discovery I had was that our girls love to eat them.  Growing sprouts being easy and money-saving plus fun simply makes it a worthwhile experience we will be doing from now on.

The next challenge was how do I make my children eat these.  We are not vegetarians but our children adapts well to new tastes and textures.  How do I make them eat it?  First I let them try a little piece of what they planted on their own.  That makes it more meaningful for them.  Then I prepare, cook or mix the sprouts with their favorite recipes like plain micro-greens mixed with their favorite soy dressing (see Mei’s cute YouTube video on top of this page),  add it to my daughter’s sandwich for school lunch or make our children’s favorite:  Vegetable Pancake made of sprouts and a lot of other simple dishes I am sure they will love.

I can’t wait to learn to grow sprouts from a Jar.  That will come next on my blog.

 

Crazy Sippy Straw Cup Hunting (Review) 2012

Back in 2005, it took me a while to find the sippy cup that will work best for our first child, but after several purchases, we finally found what we were looking for. Now, I’m back to hunting and spending and frustration. All these new sippy cup technology and features are just way too frustrating that’s the reason why I am sharing my experience and hopefully give light to other parents who are now in the same boat as I was.

BORN FREE 7 OZ. TRAINING CUP

This was one of the first cup I used after weaning my baby from using baby bottles. By the way, for infant bottles, we always loved Dr. Browns but because of cleaning and washing issues, we ended up with Avent Infant Bottles. I introduced Born Free Training cup to my baby and here’s the verdict:

POSITIVE:

  • Baby loved the handles
  • Easy to sip water
  • No leaking when used for younger babies (6-12 months)
  • Easy to clean
NEGATIVE:
  • When baby learned to shake the bottle with all might, she discovered that water can come out from the spout and she enjoyed playing with the leaking water. One day, I just saw our carpet all wet with water. I discovered that my baby spilled the water by just tapping and tossing and turning her Born Free training cup until it leaked out all the water.
  • The slit/whole on the spout got bigger eventually after a few use (2 months of use)

EVENFLO ZF SPORT CUP

While shopping at Target, my husband handed me this bottle and said it’s really cheap ($2.99) so we can try it and we might get lucky… we were not.

POSITIVE:
  • Very light
  • Easy to wash
  • Baby can sip easily
  • Nice design
NEGATIVE:
  • Not insulated
  • Leaks when turned over and shaken
  • Straw was hard to clean

AVENT 9 0Z. INSULATED SIPPY CUPS

One of my favorite sippy. I guess since my baby used Avent when she was an infant, I’ve been leaning towards her using an Avent sippy cup too. Anyway, I saw this online. Not available in stores anymore (except I think at Sears) so I ordered this at Amazon. It’s a little bit pricey but I get three, 9 oZ. cups with cute designs and colors. I am keeping these for when my baby is about two years old. I am sure she will use this because she likes it now except that it’s too big for her to hold.

POSITIVE:

  • Cute colors and design
  • Super EASY to clean (dishwasher safe)
  • Very durable
  • Comes with a flip-top lid
  • I especially love the Non-spill bite resistant spout with valve to conrol flow
NEGATIVE:
  • A little expensive and hard-to-find (Amazon still sells this)
  • Too big to hold for very young toddlers like mine (14-month-old)

AVENT TODDLER SPOUT CUP 260 ml.

I honestly don’t like this cup as much as my baby doesn’t like it. Even if you look around on the web, the consumer reviews for this cup is not so good.

POSITIVE:

  • Nice Design
  • Handle loved by my baby

NEGATIVE:

  • Terribly LEAKS around the nipple/spout area
  • Hard to sip for my 14-month-old
  • Spouts with valves are hard to clean – need special tools just to be sure it’s clean inside
  • LEAKS LEAKS LEAKS – Simple very disappointing for the price..

AVENT SOFT SPOUT 200 ml. CUP

Their claim that it is non-spill is a NO NO… but because of the soft spout, easy-sip technology, I’d give this cup an 4 Stars out of 5. It serves our purpose so I like it. My baby loved her Avent baby bottle nipple so she really likes this cup too.

For us, it was a GREAT STARTER CUP!!!

POSITIVE:

  • Easy to find (Toys R Us, Babies R Us, etc.)
  • Easy to clean
  • Handle for easy holding
  • Easy transition from Avent baby bottle for easy weaning
  • Very light and cute design

NEGATIVE:

  • When thrown, the soft spout in squished and leaks (but this only happened to us after using if for a couple of months already)
  • Nipple eventually became loose and falls off from it’s snapped position of the cup.

NUK ACTIVE CUP

I got this only because I saw that it has a soft silicone spout and the spout is my top priority in choosing a cup because of my very picky toddler. Nuk wasn’t as we expected it to be…

POSITIVE:

  • Cute design
  • Lightweight
  • Nice on-the-go cup

NEGATIVE:

  • Spout was soft but it looked like my baby was still drinking from a bottle (defeats purpose of bottle-sippy transitioning)
  • Leaks
  • Spout was too soft my baby ripped the tip after a few use (I guess she has sharp front teeth)

NUBY 10 oz. EASY GRIP SIPPY CUP

We loved this cup for our first daughter. This was her favorite cup back in 2005. Not only was it very cheap, it was easy to clean too.. But here’s the story now in 2012…..

POSITIVE:

  • Lightweight and easy grip for toddlers
  • Easy to clean
  • Very very affordable
  • No spill

NEGATIVE:

  • For my baby, the spout was too big … she didn’t like sipping from this spout. It was hard for her
  • Non-insulated

Because we liked this bottle years back, I still recommend other parents to try it. It’s really cheap and nicely designed. My first daughter liked the spout so it’s worth a try if your child will like it too.

NUBY 8oz. CUP WITH SUPER SPOUT

Another Nuby products I hoped my baby would like.. But she didn’t. It was worth the try because Nuby products are fairly cheap.

POSITIVE:

  • Lightweight
  • Easy-to-clean
  • Nice handle

NEGATIVE:

  • My baby didn’t like the spout. She had a hard time sipping plus it was too big for her tiny mouth
  • Super Spout leaks if it is not positioned correctly onto the cover… It was hard to back every after wash
  • Non-insulated
  • Too wide that it wouldn’t fit a stroller bottle holder
  • Lost all the “undetached” covers

TOMMEE TIPPEE EXPLORA® TRULY SPILL PROOF STRAW CUP

Sorry to say this but I HATE this cup! It was so disappointing and each time I washed it, I was frustrated and upset and I wanted to throw it to the wall. My review might not be accurate for others who had a good experience on this cup but I still want to express my frustration so that others new to this cup will be warned.

WARNING: STAY AWAY FROM THIS CUP!!!!!!!

POSITIVE:
  • Cheap… ($8.99 + Tax at Target for two cups)
  • Looks and feels durable (didn’t use it too long to prove that it is durable)

NEGATIVE:

  • Too HUGE for toddlers to hold
  • HARDEST in the world to clean because of too many parts that not easy to assemble. And even if you can assemble properly after reading the manual, the straw inside falls by itself when bottle is shaken.
  • Baby gets upset and frustrated when while drinking, she suddenly sips air and no milk when the straw inside detaches from the attachment with just a light shake (NOT GOOD with sleepy, hungry and tired babies… too upsetting I tell yah!)
  • Too big to fit in standard cup holders for strollers, carseats, or even diaper bags

And the winner…..

MUNCHKIN 9 oz. INSULATED STRAW CUPS

How do I love thee… let me count the ways.

POSITIVE:

  • Very cute designs (our is Backyardigans but it also comes in assorted animals, Dora, Spongebob, Elmo, Thomas the Tank and I think even NiHao Kai Lan)
  • Insulated (and works perfect too)
  • Easy cleaning, assembly of parts is a breeze…
  • Baby sips well. Not too easy – not too hard
  • Perfect grip for my baby… it’s not too wide to hold.
  • Most importantly – LEAK PROOF!!!!! Plus I love the Click-Lock Leak Proof Technology

NEGATIVE:

  • For now, I don’t see anything negative – that’s why it’s the WINNER!!!!!

For more information on Munchkin’s Click Lock Leak Proof Technology, here’s a quoted paragraphs from Munchkin’s website:

Munchkin’s new line of Click Lock™ Cups are just right because they just CLICK. These cups feature a simple click-and-lock lid to securely close for a leak proof seal – guaranteed. Parents will see, hear and feel the cup lock, so they have triple assurance against dribbles and drips. Munchkin is so confident these new cups are mess-free, we are backing up the promise with a 100% replacement guarantee.

I hope my short review on different sippy cups will help other parents buy the right cup for their use. I have yet to try the Thermos Funtainer. I bought a Ni Hao Kai Lan Funtainer for my incoming Kindergartener back in 2009 and it lasted really long. It was very durable and it kept her drinks cold for a long time. I will buy one for my toddler soon.

That’s it for now! I am done buying sippy cups except for the Funtainer and maybe some extra Munchkin cups for back-up.

Have fun with your hunting! :)

 

Morning Has Broken

A beautiful song played to me by my daughter on my birthday. :)

When I hear this song, I remember memories of childhood.  I think we own a vinyl record with this song in it.

 Lyrics of Morning Has Broken are as follows:

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.
Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass.
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day.