Free Baby Session Night at MotherCare

Posted September 30th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Yesterday night, sister-in-law and I went down to MotherCare in Melville to attend a free demonstration and information session for mothers and mothers-to-be. Sister-in-law is due on November 🙂

It’s a 2-hour session and we had to register our names in advance. There’re information talk for breastfeeding by a midwife, and also demonstrations and information guide for car seats and strollers by a representative from Britax and MotherCare staff.

The session started at 6pm, so I asked D to feed Hiro as we normally bathe and feed him at 6pm. There’re about 20 people attending the session. First, a midwife talked about breastfeeding, how to use breast pumps, and what to bring to the hospital. It was luckily that sister-in-law attended this because she didn’t know she’ll need maternity pads after having a baby!

Next, a guy from Britax talked about different type of car seats and their pros/cons. I thought the information was very useful. He pointed at the good thing on having a capsule (which I wrote about mine here), as well as its bad side which is that babies may get too hot in the capsule if stayed inside for too long. When he said that there’ll be no second chance if an accident happen and the car seat is not properly fitted, I started to worry if mine is properly fitted as we didn’t ask any specialist to install it. When it comes to a baby’s life, I think it’s worth going down to a store I bought the car seat from and ask them if it’s been installed properly. Good to know that Australian standard for car seats is the best in the world.

Then a midwife talked about safety including SIDS and using a baby monitor. She also did a quick demonstration of CPR. It was good to know that there’s actually a change in CPR guideline for babies.

After the talk, staff at MotherCare picked a couple of strollers and showed us how to use them. We could get 15% off any items purchased on the day (yesterday), and the strollers they showed us were pretty good, I thought. There was also some prizes gave away (which was kind of our main purpose of going there) but we didn’t win. 🙁   Two lucky ladies won Medela pumps and a $600 worth stroller!  We all got a free bounty bag which includes baby wipe, disposable changing mats and maternity pads, so it was nice.

It was a great session overall, and I really liked that MotherCare doing this kind of free information session for expectant mothers. I love their products anyway, reasonable prices and wide range of clothes and toys.  Plus they do sales and promotions quite often, and give away discount vouchers through few websites (e.g.http://parenting.thetest.com.au/thetest)

When I got home, D told me that it had been a disaster after I left… Hiro started crying during the feed, and didn’t even finish drinking 40ml of milk. He continued crying, didn’t take a dummy, and fell asleep after D tried settling him down for 45 minutes. It was a first time that I left him at night, so it might be the reason? But how did he know that I left? I gave him lots of cuddle and kisses when he woke up for feed at 11pm. :))

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Japanese Mayonnaise

Posted September 28th, 2011 in Food | 2 Comments »

Japanese mayonnaise has different taste from Western style mayonnaise.  It’s thicker in texture, and has rich flavour.  Some people love this Japanese mayonnaise, and some don’t.

When I came to Perth I tried Western style mayonnaise the first time, and I hated it.  I thought it taste like cooking oil (well, all mayonnaise contain oil, but it tasted more oily to me somehow), and didn’t have the creaminess that Japanese mayonnaise has. I’m used to it now and enjoy it occasionally though.

I wasn’t actually a mayonnaise-lover in Japan either. My mum and brother love (Japanese) mayonnaise and add it to any food such as braised vegetables, pickles, grilled fish and meatballs. Some super-mayonnaise-lovers in Japn eat mayonnaise with just steamed rice!!!! (yuck…)

I, however, need mayonnaise when I eat some certain foods.  They include okonomiyaki, takoyaki, and salad with tinned tuna. They are meant to be eaten with mayonnaise!!

It wasn’t my intension but I made tuna sushi and okonomiyaki 2 days in a row. I need Japanese mayonnaise for both of them. Mayonnaise tastes so good on okonomiyaki…. yum! I ate lots of mayonnaise in these two days, but I guess it’s fine. 🙂

Oh, one more food that need mayonnaise.  Teriyaki chicken burger!  Mayonnaise and teriyaki sauce match so well. 🙂


What to Feed a Baby

Posted September 27th, 2011 in Ume and Baby | 4 Comments »

There is one thing I regret of doing while Hiro was still a newborn.  It is that I should have tried harder on breastfeeding him.   I had difficulty feeding him from breast (because of my nipple shape and also the size of Hiro’s mouth etc) but I think the problem should have been solved if I had tried harder and continued doing it longer.  I didn’t want to give up on giving him breast milk, so I expressed using an electric pump and gave him with a bottle. It had became a regular routine, and he got so used to the bottles that eventually forgot how to suck on nipples.

At my friends’ house I see them breastfeeding their babies and it looks so natural.  On the other hand, I have to carry a bottle of expressed breast milk (EBM) or formula to feed my baby everywhere I go.  It’s not a big deal, I know.  The important thing is to feed him and not letting him feel hungry.  But, somehow I feel that I failed.

When I visited a Japanese playgroup with Hiro, I had to warm up a bottle of formula.  Then I noticed other mums watching me and telling me “oh, you are feeding him formula….” with an “interesting-look”.  I felt they’re thinking why I’m not breastfeeding my baby.  Also, while chatting with other mums, they were saying that breast milk is the best and you can tell if the baby is breastmilk-fed or formula-fed by their sizes.  I know breast milk is the best, and I’m not giving Hiro formula because it’s easy to prepare.  I wanted to yell at them, but I was shocked when my friend agreed with them and said that she wouldn’t want to give her baby more than 120ml of formula a day.  She knew I give Hiro quite lots of formula.

In Japan, I feel, they are more serious about breastfeeding, and they judge other people by what they feed their babies; breast milk or formula.  They are proud of breastfeeding their babies until the babies reach 2 years old, or giving ONLY breast milk at least for the first 6 months.  I’ve been asked this question  “do you breastfeed your baby?” by doctor, nurse, or Japanese mothers.  I don’t know why they are so obsessed about this.  Of course not everyone is like that, and maybe it’s all in my head, but I felt that mums at the playgroup were looking down on me for feeding formula to my baby.  The experience kind of made me feel shame of being not able to breastfeed my baby and giving formula.

Well, what can I do?  Since then I don’t want to feed Hiro in front of other Japanese mums, especially while they breastfeed their babies.  I shouldn’t care about what other think, like D tells me, but somehow I still feel shame.

When Hiro was around 6 months old I started giving him rice cereal as his first solids. I thought it’s one of the best food to start since everyone (child health nurse, people on internet, etc) recommended it to give babies for the first food.  I didn’t have any doubt about it, and Hiro took it pretty well.  After rice cereal I moved on to hand-made pureed vegetables (carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, zucchini, etc).  Then, again, I heard some Japanese mums complaining about feeding rice cereal to the babies.  In Japan, very soft rice porridge (o-kayu) is a typical first solids to babies, and they think that store-bought pack of rice cereal is a not good food to start with.  Hmmmmm…… why they care about such small thing? I mean, someone gives rice cereal, someone gives home-made porridge, it doesn’t matter.  It’s everyone’s choice and they don’t need to complain about it in public.  Yes I did give my baby rice cereal, but was it wrong thing to do?  I don’t think so.  After “rice cereal” subject, they now started talking about commercial baby foods.  Yes, complaining again.  I can’t stand people who complain all the time.  🙁   What to feed babies is everyone’s choice!


McDONALDS PLAY I SPY

Posted September 26th, 2011 in Eat out in Perth | No Comments »

My quick lunch at McDonald’s last week.

McDonald’s is doing this Play I Spy campaign, which could win you some prizes.  When you buy selected items from McDonald’s, the items come with Play I Spy stickers and 1 in 5 wins instantly!

I got McNuggets value meal and D got BigMac value meal, so we had 4 stickers in total to peel off….

Did I win something??   YES!!!!!!!  …. just a cup of coffee 😀  But it’s better than nothing!  D didn’t win anything..

There’s also 2nd chance where you can enter to win unclaimed prizes.

Hmmmm, anyway, I did enjoy McNuggets. 🙂  I used to eat McNugget a lot back in Japan, and this is one of the foods I craved for while I was pregnant!  I normally get mustard and ketchup to accompany, but this time I only got mustard.  Yummm…

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Sweet Fix

Posted September 25th, 2011 in Food, Perth WA | No Comments »

Our window shopping at Carousel shopping centre ended up as a hunting trip for sweets this week. We found a stall in the centre of hallway selling unique candies and soda drinks.

They all looked colorful, and reminded me of a candy shop I used to spend my whole afternoon while I was little. The products they sell at this stall are different from what I used to eat in Japan though. They are more like  American-style sweets which are in different colors and flavors.

D wanted to buy something, but I thought they’re bit expensive compared to other chains such as Darrell Lea. But, they all looked cute and we bought few packs of sugary candies. One of them, “fruit sticks” tasted like the one I used to get from a game centre machine in Japan, and recalled my memory of feeding the sugary candy to my brother when he was sick. He was around 5 years old and that candy was the only food he could manage to eat. I remember I thought he was dying (he was actually having measles) and worried about him a lot. So I got lots of the same candy and kept feeding it to him until he said “enough…”.

While remembering these childhood memories, we walked pass Darrell Lea and went inside the store to have a look around. Then we bought 2 packs of peanut brittle and 1 pack of caramel snows (which is finger-sized candy with layers of chocolate, caramel and white icing). Caramel is usually not my favorite thing, but I felt like eating it then. I even wanted to buy caramel McFlurry (which I ended up not buying). Our bodies needed some sweets!


That night we went nuts over these sugary treats…..   I had stomachache afterwards, but no regret! :p

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Onigiri Breakfast

Posted September 23rd, 2011 in Food | 4 Comments »

Since my friend told me that her kids eat either toast or onigiri (rice balls) for breakfast, I’ve been having a craving for onigiri!  Why not eat onigiri in the morning?  I ask myself.  Sometimes I wake up with empty stomach and onigiri may be a good food to eat for breakfast to fill me up.

There are many many fillings and flavors for onigiri you can find in Japan.  The typical ones include umeboshi (pickled plum), katsuo (seasoned bonito flakes), konbu (seasoned seaweed), and sha-ke (cooked and seasoned salmon), and unique ones include pork katsu, raw fish roe, sweet azuki bean paste, cheese, yakisoba, kimuchi, and natto.  I like these onigiri with fillings in the centre, but also love origiri which the ingredients mixed with rice (mazekomi-onigiri).  My favorite mazekomi-onigiri is shake-wakame (cooked & seasoned salmon and wakame seaweed).  Yummmmm!  Onigiri is usually triangle shape so that you can get to the filling in the centre on each bite from any angle.

People make onigiri in different ways : some use hands, and other use plastic wrap.  I use my hands because that’s how my mum used to make onigiri for me 🙂  It may get messy, but is the original way to make onigiri.  You will need a bowl of water to dip your palms each time you make each onigiri otherwise the rice sticks to your palms.  Here is a short video of how to make triangle onigiri by hands:

This time I made onigiri with katsuo filling in the centre, and wakame & goma (roasted sesame seeds) mazekomi-onigiri.  I’ve also posted few onigiri recipes here and here.

<Onigiri  > makes 6

  • 1.5 cup short or medium grain rice
  • salt

katsuo onigiri :

  • 5g bonito flakes
  • 1tsp soy sauce
  • seasoned nori sheet (you can use non-seasened one, if you like)

mazekomi onigiri:  (for about 1 cups cooked rice)

  • 1 tsp dry wakame
  • 1 tsp roasted white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Cook rice according to pack instructions. (with just water) Stand it for about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix bonito flakes with soy sauce, and set aside. In another bowl, soak wakame in little amount of water (about 1.5 tbs). When the wakame absorbs the water and becomes soft, drain and chop up. Mix with sesame seeds and salt, and set aside.
  3. Prepare a bowl of clean water, a bottle of salt (e.g. table salt), shamoji (a flat rice paddle), seasoned bonito flakes, wakame, and seasoned nori sheets next to steamed rice. (hot)
  4. Wet your hands and sprinkle salt over the palms. Scoop about 1cup of rice and place on a palm. Quickly make a hole in the centre, and place the filling (seasoned bonito flake) inside. Shape the rice into triangle, and decorate with nori sheets. Make two more.
  5. Mix the leftover rice with wakame mixture. Wet your hands, and scoop 1/3 f the rice into a palm. Shap the rice into triangle. Repeat to make two more.

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* You can use plastic wrap to shape onigiri instead of using your hands. The rice is pretty hot, so it may burn your hands if you do the shaping too slow.

If you are using plastic wrap:

Place about 20cm x20cm plastic wrap on the kitchen bench.

Spray water on the surface of wrap, and sprinkle salt. Place about 1 cup of rice and make a hole in the centre.

Place the filling inside the hole, and close the 4 edges of the wrap together and shape the rice into triangle over plastic wrap.

* Onigiri doesn’t have to be in triangle shape. Make them in ball or square too.

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A Rainy Day

Posted September 21st, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

It’s been cloudy for the last couple of days, but today it’s been raining since early morning.  The sky is white, and the air is cold.

I actually like the rainy day. Some people may get depressed feeling because it’s dark and cold, but it kinda make me feel relaxed.  I had pumpkin soup and toasted ham & cheese sandwich for brunch, and enjoyed it while listening to the sound of rain. 🙂

Oishii–!

I started tidying up my room yesterday, and found that I have so many things I actually don’t use. Clothes, zakka stuff, toys, kitchen tools…  I know I should through some of them away, or at least give them away to someone.  I’m still working on sorting these things out.  I can only do this while Hiro is sleeping (which is only 30 minutes every 4 hours), so I think it will take a while…  I’m Year of the Pig, so I can’t stop doing things once I started.  No wonder I dreamed about tidying up room last night. :p

I thought I should also remove all my kitchenware (plates, cups, etc) from kitchen and put them in a cardboard box, because I’m not using them and won’t need them until I move out this house. (I don’t know when though…)  Now the kitchen storage looks great.  I think in-laws will be happy when they come back here from Jakarta sometime next month.

It’s so funny that I have so many things for house even though I don’t need them.  Like, a frying pan, a panini press, cutlery, plates, etc.  I’m so ready to move out, I guess.

Wow, now it’s stormy outside.  I was going to go to a swimming pool to have a look at baby swimming class, but I’m not sure now.  It looks cold…  Probably afternoon.


Review of Chicco Cortina Travel System

Posted September 20th, 2011 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »

I’m using Chicco Cortina travel system stroller, and I want to write about how I like and don’t like this product.

First of all, there are few types of baby strollers available in the market. They include “umbrella strollers”, “jogging strollers”, “pram/carriage strollers”, “stroller travel system” ect. The reason I chose travel system is because my friend was using it and looked so handy and practical.

The biggest difference between travel system strollers and other strollers is that you can take off the capsule from the stroller and use it as a car seat by attaching to the base (dock). This way, you don’t disturb sleeping baby when taking him/her out from the car. That’s the top reason why I bought it.

There are few travel system strollers available, but I chose Chicco brand because ToysRus was doing a sale when I was looking for a stroller. I liked the features and the looking. Chicco has two travel system strollers (in WA): Cortina and Trevi. I didn’t like the handles and the position of luggege net on Trevi. I liked the drink/food holders for baby and mum on Cortina, so I chose this.

I actually didn’t search about other strollers before buying Chicco, but I’m pretty happy with it. Here are my review (Pros/Cons) of Chicco Cortina.

Pros:

– The stroller stands up by itself when folded.

– It has a drink holder and small storage compartment near the handle, so I can put my phone, car key, a bottle of drink, etc there and it’s useful.

– When the capsule is attached, you can cover the capsule entirely by closing the canopy. So, it shuts out the noise and light from baby inside the capsule.

– The capsule is very easy to install. Easy to attach and detach between the stroller and the base (dock).

– The stroller is easy to collapse (3 steps), and easy to open (1 step).

– Capsule can be used as a rocker as well

Cons:

– The stroller is pretty big and heavy. It just fits in my car’s trunk, so I think it doesn’t fit in some small cars.

– When the capsule is attached, the seat of the stroller has to be flat and there is only very small gap between the seat and the storage net, so I couldn’t use the net at all while using the capsule. I guess I could put my bags etc while the seat is up, but I wouldn’t be able to take anything out from the net while the capsule (and baby) is on.

– Like some of other strollers, there is no “peeking window” on the canopy. It’d be great if it had one.

– After the baby is too big for the capsule, baby sits on the seat. I felt that the seat is too low in position. I couldn’t see even his head from the handle side, so I had to walk to the front and check if he is still there.

– No bag hook on the handle area.

Overall, I am very happy with this stroller. I really loved using a capsule. It was just two motions (detach from the stroller and attach to the base) when putting my baby into a car, and it was great when you have lots of shopping bags or it’s raining. My baby loved the capsule too, and he slept very well in it. If I could I wanted to use the capsule longer, but I had to use another baby car seat when my baby is too big for it. Now I hate the normal car seat because he wakes up and cries every time I take him out from the car. If he was in the capsule, he’d keep sleeping comfortably.


Kids Cupcakes

Posted September 19th, 2011 in Food | No Comments »

Cupcakes with icing are not common sweet you can find in Japan. They are more like “foreign sweet” to us. Colorful green and purple icing used to freak me out. They looked so artificial, very sugary, and appetiting to me. But now, after living in Australia for over 8 years, I see this type of cupcakes everywhere and have started to think these are normal food we eat reguraly. I even get a craving for this sometimes.

Cupcake is easy to munch on, and looks cute with varieties of decorations. It’s a great item for parties and afternoon teas as well. I think cupcake is one of the most popular sweet for kids, as it’s colouful, sweet, and just right size for little ones to hold and eat.

I used to make this “face cupcake” when I was working at a bakery in Claremont. This sure looks cute, and loved watching kids picking the one with smarties and jelly beans in their favorite colors. Like, “can I please have the one with pink eyes and a green mouth?”.

Mini mrshmallows and 100’s & 1000’s are other typical toppings for cupcakes, especially for those who love sugary treats. Personally I wouldn’t want my kid to eat these sugary food often, but I’m sure most kids love them and eat them with smiles! 🙂


Kaba-Kore

Posted September 17th, 2011 in Ume's Interests | No Comments »

Kaba-kore (cover-colle), a short word for “cover collection”, is an order service from SoftBank in Japan to make customized cases for smart phones.  You can chose the design from three categories: from Oto-san Dog gallery, from design templates, or by uploading the images.

I like the idea of being able to use your own photo or image to create a case. No one else would have the same case!  The image will be printed to the sides of the case, and it looks great.

Oh, I just love the SoftBank’s character,  Oto-san Dog!!  So cute…. (one of my favorite character.  Post is here)  You can create novelty goods using this service as well.  Hmmm maybe I should make one for my iPhone!

There are also many collaboration designs available, including Pokemon, CanCam (a Japanese fashion magazine), and Hawks.  I also loves the Rock design of SoftBank tv CM family.   Oto-san Dog is so cute!