Wolf’s First Solid Food

Today marks Wolf’s 7th month! To celebrate, we decided to let him have his first taste of solid food. Although he is not yet able to sit up well unsupported, he has been eager to participate during meal time by avidly watching me eat and sometimes even grabbing my spoon. He has been showing interest in food, and so I wanted to let him have a taste to see how he takes to it.

Wolf is patiently waiting for his food. ☺️
A healthy humble offering to his Little Lordship!

 

I decided months ago that his first solid food will be fresh avocado. Why avocado?

  1. Avocado is a super food and is even said to be “nature’s perfect food,” as it contains healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that aid in developing baby’s brain, strengthening his immune system, and supplying him with essential nutrients.
  2. Avocado tastes good but is not overwhelming. It is soft and creamy, with a very subtle hint of sweetness. It is advisable to start with a bland food so that baby does not reject bland food later on (ex. If you start with mango, baby might want that level of sweetness all the time). Avocado on its own is not too flavorful, and that’s why many people eat it with sugar or condensed milk. I enjoy eating it alone though. I can think of no other fruit that is more similar to milk than avocado, and so I surmise that it is an ideal first solid food.
  3. Avocado is natural and unprocessed. One popular first baby food is infant cereal, but these are usually heavily processed and may be more difficult for baby to digest. As much as possible, I want to feed Wolf fresh, whole, and natural food.
  4. Avocado is the only natural baby food I know of that contains more fat and calories than breastmilk. Many people think that once babies begin eating solids, they will bulk up faster. Most of the time, this is actually not the case, because breastmilk has more calories and fat than most food given to babies. I constantly monitor Wolf’s weight to ensure he stays within normal range and doesn’t lose weight again. As much as possible, I want to give him solid food that’s high in good fat and calories. Avocado has more than twice the amount of calories and around four times more fat than breastmilk, and so I think avocado will help Wolf continue his healthy weight gain.
  5. Avocado is in season during May to September, which coincides with Wolf’s 5th to 9th months, the time of his first exploration of solids. It’s best to go with what’s in season when feeding babies (and adults too). This way, you get a variety of healthy, fresh food, just as nature intended.

 

Wolf’s first solid food, yummy avocado! ❤️

So how did Wolf like it? Well, I can say that for now, he still prefers breastmilk. Haha. He did eat without making any fuss, but he ate just less than a tablespoon before losing interest. Granted, I nursed him before feeding the avocado, as is advised for babies below one year old. After he warms up to the activity of eating solids, he’ll gradually increase his appetite for them. Baby steps!

We mashed the avocado and mixed in a bit of breastmilk.
Wolf anticipating the feast ahead!
His first bite!
Nom nom nom
I’m sorry for the mess, Mom!
Just kidding. I’m not sorry at all! Mwahahaha!

Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer: A Must-Have for OC Moms and Dads

The joy I have felt being a mom is incomparable to any of the previous highs of my life. However, the expense of raising a child is also, unfortunately, unparalleled. Wolf is not yet even one year old, yet I already feel like I’ve spent more on him than I have on myself for my whole 27 years of existence. Haha. God is just so good that He continues to provide for us. So far, we are able to afford the things we need and want even without me working full-time. 

I suppose, being a low maintenance girl, it’s a bit difficult for me to get used to spending on someone extremely high maintenance. Babies really need so many things! Buying stuff for a baby is especially tricky, because many fancy products that are marketed as must-haves may not actually be necessary. Parents have to be discerning about where to allocate their hard-earned cash. Does the baby need a crib with built-in music and vibration, a crib with a changing station, or can he just sleep in a cardboard box like the babies in Finland? Haha. Do we buy the stroller with 360 degree wheel rotation, the one with newborn support, or the one with a detachable bassinet? There are really so many options, but compromises have to be made when we purchase big-ticket items, if we are to set aside money for the future. 

One thing though that I do not compromise on is Wolf’s health. His vaccinations are always up-to-date and administered at a private hospital, Asian Hospital (we could actually save a lot by getting them at government health centers for free, but the brands of the vaccines used in those health centers have been known to cause unwanted side effects). I invested in a double electric breast pump, because I am exclusively breastfeeding Wolf and plan to do so as long as he desires it. When it is a matter of health, I am ready to fork over the cash. And so when my cousin and fellow mommy Roxanne suggested we check out the Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer for cleaning Wolf’s toys, despite its high price, we purchased the sterilizer without a second thought. It’s a must to be fastidious about sanitation for Wolf, especially because diarrhea is very common among babies his age, as they tend to put everything in their mouths. 

Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer in blue
The sterilizer comes in blue, pink, or white. I would’ve preferred the white one, but only the blue and pink ones were being sold at a discount. Boo.

The Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer uses plasma (ionized gas) to quickly and safely sterilize items at room temperature. This type of sterilization is the same type used to purify water and decontaminate surgical instruments! Because the sterilization process does not involve heat, water, or chemicals, it is safe to use to sterilize any type of material. The Aller Sterilizer is really handy for sterilizing irregularly shaped materials that are difficult to clean manually (as are many of Wolf’s toys). It is especially nifty for sterilizing battery-operated stuffed toys that cannot be washed, such as Wolf’s favorite musical seahorse. It can be used to sterilize other stuff too, such as make-up brushes, towels, and even cellphones! The sterilization process takes just 15 minutes and consumes just 3 watts per session, and so toys can be sterilized before every use.

Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer in blue
Spot Mr. Seahorse! ❤️
Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer in blue
The sterilizer doubles as a toy box too. I love how it keeps Wolf’s toys clean and organized!

I am quite satisfied with my purchase. I don’t have to worry about Wolf exploring everything with his mouth, because I can ensure that all his toys are squeaky clean, down to the molecular level! There is only one minor inconvenience, and that is the design of the lid, which can be tricky to close without getting your fingers caught, as the grooves are inconveniently located in front and at the back, and not at the sides. With practice though, one gets the hang of closing the box without self-injury. 
Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer in blue
Placing the grooves at the sides instead of the front and back would have made placing the lid much easier!
Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer in blue
Just plug it in and switch it on. It shuts off automatically (signaled by the light going out) after sterilization. It’s so convenient!
THE VERDICT

Peso Damage: P7,750 (promo price, discounted by P1,000)
Value for Peso: 4.75 / 5.0

For OC moms like me, the Aller Plasma Toy Sterilizer is worth spending on, because it gives me peace of mind. I can let my baby explore freely knowing that all his toys are stripped of disease-carrying germs. I see the device as a necessary investment, as I’d rather spend a few thousands now than tens of thousands later on hospital bills. As they say, prevention is better than cure, and better safe than sorry!

My Unlimited Dim Sum Birthday Feast at Jasmine

Last Sunday, July 9, I turned 27! I remember how when I was in grade school, while my classmates aspired to be married by 28, I thought that it was such a young age to settle down. It’s so funny now how I’m not yet even 28 and I have a husband and son! But so far, I have no regrets. I am loving my life right now!

In our family, it is tradition for my dad to treat me and my sisters out for lunch or dinner on our birthdays. This year, I chose to go to Jasmine, a Chinese restaurant in New World Hotel, Makati. I chose Jasmine, because I wanted to eat unlimited dim sum. My first choice was actually Shang Palace in Makati Shangri-la, but their unlimited dim sum offer isn’t available on Sundays. Being buffet veterans, we arrived at Jasmine a few minutes before 11:30 am, which is their opening time for lunch. When we do buffets, we’re there from opening till closing, which in this case was 2:30 pm (What? Just three hours? Not enough tiiime haha).

unlimited dimsum at jasmine new world hotel makati
I say “buffet” but actually, Jasmine’s unlimited dim sum is not served buffet style. They give you a menu, and you can order as much as you want for a fixed price per head (P988). I suppose this is because dim sum  should be served fresh. I was able to try 25 out of the 33 items on the menu. Not bad!

unlimited dim sum menu at jasmine new world hotel makati
Jasmine’s Unlimited Yum Cha (Dim sum) Menu as of July 2017
hot and sour soup at unlimited dimsum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Hot and sour soup. A bit more spicy than usual.
Seafood spinach soup at unlimited dimsum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Seafood with spinach soup. Nice and lightly flavored.
siomai unlimited dimsum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Siomai. Filled with fresh shrimp and topped with tasty crab roe. Very good!
Yang chow fried rice at unlimited dimsum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Yang chow fried rice. Fragrant and lightly flavored. Good to balance out the richness of the other dim sum.
Hakaw at unlimited dimsum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Shrimp dumplings aka hakaw. Fresh, plump shrimp in delicately chewy wheat flour wrapper. Excellent!
Radish cake at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Radish cake. Tasty, with just the right amount of radish. Very good!
Mixed mushrooms dumplings at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Mixed mushrooms dumplings. Was more of a vegetable dumpling since it had just around 5% mushroom. Nothing spectacular.
Pork dumplings at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Glutinous pork dumpling and pan-fried pork dumpling. They looked the same and tasted the same. A bit too oily for me.
Spareribs tausi at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Spareribs tausi. Tasty and not too salty.
Asparagus dumpling at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Fresh asparagus dumpling. The asparagus added a nice twist to the classic dumpling.
Xiao long bao at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Xiao long bao. The wrapper was too thick and floury, and the filling was nothing special. A far cry from Din Tai Fung and Lugang. I guess xiao long bao is like ramen.. you need to get it at restaurants that specialize in making it!
Barbecued pork puff at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Barbecued pork puff. Really tasty and not as sweet as those of Tim Ho Wan. Melts in your mouth. I had like six of these babies! Excellent!
Chicken feet at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Chicken feet. Good but nothing groundbreaking.
Seafood taro puff at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Seafood taro puff. I was not expecting to like this, but it was surprisingly really good! It had just the right crunch, complemented by rich and creamy filling. Excellent!
Wonton at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Wonton. Good but there was too much wrapper, which made each piece too oily.
Wagyu beef mango roll at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Wagyu beef mango roll. Delicious and innovative, though a bit oily. Very good!
Chicken bun with black mushroom at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Chicken bun with black mushroom. This looked ordinary but tasted good! A nice break from all the pork!
Minced beef balls at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Minced beef balls. The beef was too blended to the point that the texture was not that appetizing. I didn’t like this one.
Mashed fish balls at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Mashed fish balls. Quite tasty, and not your ordinary fish ball.
Machang at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Machang. The rice had a good chewy texture and everything was rich and flavorful. Very good!

Machang at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati

Machang at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
My surgeon papa insisted on expertly dissecting the machang to show what’s inside. Haha.
Asado siopao at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Asado siopao. Nothing extraordinary.
Butchi at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Deep-fried sesame ball aka butchi. Not too sweet. Delicious!
Chocolate glutinous rice dumpling at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Chocolate glutinous rice dumpling. Rich chocolate filling paired with a nutty and chewy exterior. Very good!
Butchi at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Butchiiiii ❤️
Mango cream sago at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Mango cream sago. Creamy and refreshing. Great end to the meal!
unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
These are just a few of the dishes that we gobbled up like it’s no one’s business. 😎

The food was quite good, but one issue we had was that the serving time was a bit slow, especially for our beloved hakaw (shrimp dumplings)! We had to follow up several times. I think it took long because hakaw is really a crowd favorite.

A significant drawback was that the offer did not include any drinks. I think that for P988, they should include at least one round of drinks. We ordered a pot of tea at P428, which the waiter said was refillable. We later found out, as the tea became progressively watered down, that they were just refilling the water without placing fresh leaves. For P428, they should replace the leaves every time the pot is refilled!

After our meal, the waiters sang Happy Birthday and I got a complimentary slice of cake. I don’t think they usually sing to birthday celebrants. I suspect that my dad coaxed them into doing so for me. Haha.

happy birthday at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makatiHappy birthday at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati

THE VERDICT

Peso Damage: P988 / head (unlimited dim sum)

Value for Peso: 4.25 / 5.0

Jasmine’s unlimited dim sum offer is more expensive than many mainstream buffet restaurants, but if you are a fan of Chinese food, you will get your money’s worth here. Go here if you value quality over quantity. With only 33 items on the unlimited dim sum menu, picky eaters will have difficulty getting their fill. But if like me, you are an adventurous eater, you will appreciate both classic dishes like their shrimp dumplings and siomai and special creations like their wagyu beef mango roll and seafood taro puff. Maaan now I’m hungry! Can someone treat me again? It’s still my birthday week! 😂

Happy birthday unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
My favorite foodie buddies! ❤️
mom with baby at unlimited dim sum at jasmine new world hotel makati
Happy mommy, happy baby! 😍

Wolf’s Happy Half Birthday Dinner at Kettle Eastwood

When I first decided to blog after giving birth, I didn’t want to write so often about food. However, I now realize that it is inevitable that I will talk about food here, because we LOVE to eat out. As in, not a week goes by that we don’t eat out. It seems a shame if I don’t share our gastronomic adventures!

To celebrate Wolf’s sixth month last June 27, we had dinner at Kettle. Unlike some parents who choose to give their baby’s first solid meal on the exact day that they turn six months, Casey and I have decided to delay solids until Wolf displays all signs of developmental readiness. And so last June 27, he merely watched us feast in his honor. And what a sumptuous feast it was! Kettle is known for serving great comfort food. We ordered the tried and tested bestsellers and were not disappointed. Rich, bold flavors satisfied our palates, and I’m sure Wolf was also delighted with the quality of his evening milk. Haha.

six month baby dinner celebration
Wolf’s Half Birthday OOTD ❤️
six month baby dinner celebrationsix month baby dinner celebration
Here are the dishes we ordered:

six month baby dinner celebration at kettle eastwood
Baked Brie, P399

There’s no way I wouldn’t have enjoyed this, as brie is my favorite cheese. Sweet creamy indulgence! The greens on the side complemented the richness of the cheese.

 

  

six month baby dinner celebration at kettle eastwood
Caesar Salad, P289

A hefty serving good for three hungry diners. The shaved egg added a nice twist to the usual Caesar salad.

 

 

six month baby dinner celebration at kettle eastwood
U.S. Angus Short Ribs, P539

Tender, melt-in-your-mouth meat, although the serving was measly. They should give more to justify the price.

 

 

six month baby dinner celebration at kettle eastwood
Buttermilk Fried Chicken, P559

Huge juicy chicken thigh fillets fried to perfection, served with honey and gravy. Up to four people can share this wonderful medley of sweet and salty! The cornbread was unfortunately really dry though, a damper to what would have been a perfect dish!

 
Lemon Iced Tea Carafe, P179
I didn’t get to take a picture of the carafe, but it was good for three. The iced tea was too sweet and we needed to dilute it with water. Oh well, at least there was more to go around!

 

 

six month baby dinner celebration at kettle eastwood
Checkered Cake, P229

This was a combination of red velvet and chocolate cake. It was not too sweet, nor too rich. It’s a good cake for those who don’t want a huge sugar rush and are just looking to end the meal on a sweet note. The slice was huge and good for three.

 

 
THE VERDICT

Peso Damage: P700 / head

Value for Peso: 4.5 / 5.0

Although on the pricey side, Kettle offers comfort food that is a notch above the usual overpriced franchised diner (IHOP, I’m looking at you). The dishes are fun, innovative, and memorable. Servings are good for sharing. This is a great place for casual dining with family. We will definitely be back!

six month baby dinner celebration at kettle eastwood
For now, Wolf is content with just looking at the food. ☺️
six month baby dinner celebration at kettle eastwood
Thank you to his Lola for the yummy half birthday dinner! ❤️
six month baby dinner celebration at kettle eastwood
Happy Half Birthday to our happy baby! 😍

Five Benefits of Enrolling in a Birthing Class

Last October to November 2016, Casey and I attended the birthing class of Rome Kanapi held at Ateneo de Manila University. The class consisted of six morning sessions every Sunday. Rome is a birthing class pioneer in the Philippines, specializing in the Lamaze method. She is a certified childbirth educator under the Philippine Association for Childbirth Education (PACE) and a member of the International Childbirth Education Association. Not only was she knowledgeable in her field, she was also very kind and approachable. What I loved about her teaching style is that she never pressured us into following a specific route for labor (such as going for fully unmedicated birth) even if that was her preference for her own births. She presented us with our options, but she always respected our birthing choices. It was a great experience and was definitely worth the investment. Below are the five major benefits we got from our birthing class.

1. It prepared both me and my husband for my pregnancy, labor, and post-labor. The topics covered were extensive, from diet during pregnancy, to massage and breathing techniques during labor, to changing diapers and carrying newborns, and so much more. Although some of the information can be accessed by reading books or articles online, other topics, such as labor massage, breathing techniques, and carrying newborns, are easier to digest when actually demonstrated. Also, there were tips and pieces of advice shared that could not have been found in books because they were gleaned from our facilitator’s experience with her own pregnancies and those of her former students.

2. It empowered both me as a mother and my husband as a father. It’s difficult being a first-time parent, and although we could have prepared by just reading on our own, attending a birthing class together better cemented our relationship as husband and wife and made us anticipate our new roles of father and mother. The class not only provided us with vital information but also was a safe avenue for us to share any of our concerns with other couples who could truly empathize with us.

3. It provided us with a certificate of attendance honored by major hospitals. Some hospitals are strict when it comes to permitting the father to be in the labor room. They require proof that the father attended a birthing class. In our case, we did not need to present our certificate, but it gave me peace of mind to know we had it just in case.

4. It gave us access to many discounts and freebies from baby companies. Rome invited various company representatives to pitch baby products at the end of every session. The representatives usually gave freebies and discounts exclusive to attendees of the birthing class. We were able to save a lot of money on big ticket items for Wolf, such as his stroller and baby carrier!

5. We gained a solid parenting support group. It’s really valuable for us to have gained many mommy and daddy friends through our birthing class. We still keep in touch through our Viber group, and so we’re able to support each other as our babies reach their milestones. It really helps that our babies are all practically the same age (Wolf is around a month younger than most of the babies), and so we encounter the same issues simultaneously.

To learn more about Rome’s birthing class, you may contact Rome Kanapi at 63-917-541-5114.

Last week, we had our first birthing class reunion, wherein our babies were able to meet one another for the first time. It was expertly organized by our classmate Angel, who used to work in the events industry. We had lunch and a few activities (Name the Baby, Baby Fashion Show, and Music and Movement). It was really fun meeting our classmates again and seeing all our babies together. I’m already looking forward to the next reunion!

birthing class reunion with six month old babies
Spot us in red! Wolf was busy eating his hands most of the time!
birthing class reunion with six month old babies
Among the three boy babies, Wolf is the youngest and the smallest. ☺️
birthing class reunion with six month old babies
Wolf stopped eating his hands to comfort his crying classmate. 😘
birthing class reunion with six month old babies
Mommies, daddies, and babies wearing one color per family. We’re team red! ❤️
Dad with six month old baby
My boys! 😍
six month old baby in birthing class reunion game
Wolf in his purple royal garb! Our team won! 👏
Six month old baby with mom and dad
Wolf is defending his territory. 😅
happy family at birthing class reunion with six month old babies
Our happy family ❤️❤️❤️
birthing class reunion with six month old babies
All mommies with our adorable babies and birthing class teacher, Rome! 😍