Last Monday was not like any other Mondays. It almost felt like the weekend.
Ayra's school made a trip to Kidzania and those who didn't join the trip get to stay at home. Ayra didn't join the trip because we wanted to take her there ourselves (plus, we've already been to Kidzania in Jakarta end of last year), so we went out for a little shopping and then I took my girls to Kid's e World at The Gardens.
The place is quite new and since it was on a Monday, there were not many people. My girls had so much fun. Heck, even I had fun playing on the slides and whatnot too!
Then later that night, we went to Pavilion for a pizza session with the Pizza Hut clans. You know, the usual. Vivy, Wei Zhi, Hanis Zalikha, KY, BeautifulNara, Cheesie, RedMummy, Audrey, etc.
Pizza Hut always come up with a new pizza on their menu every now and then. That's what I like about them because I like to try something new (only applies to food tho).
Their newest pizza is the Triple Chicken Sensation Pizza.
Triple chicken: chicken loaf, chicken salami and chicken floss!
This is not a tomato-based pizza, which I love! I am more of a rich-creamy-food person so I like the mayo sauce on this. It has a little bit of creaminess, sweetness, loads of chicken and a little nuttiness from the toasted sesame seeds. It's yummy!
Of course we didn't just have the pizza. These Pizza Hut people are so generous, they just served us everything we want. "Order la apa-apa kalau nak". Habislah kalau pelahap ^_^
Triple Sensation Platter
Everyone ordered at least 2 drinks -
I had Iced Lemon Tea and my favorite Strawberry Rave Yoghurt Smoothie.
I sat in front of these adik-adik manis.
HOW do they stay so slim eventho they eat a lot? It's not fair!
This is Hanis Zalikha's lil sister
The new mommy (BeautifulNara's wifey) with her lil bundle of joy.
The last time we met, she was just a few months pregnant!
Watching the TVC while chomping on our food
Ehem. Look who's taller! *hides feet*
Wei Zhi just started online business, The Patbingsu, selling clothes and accessories from Korea.
I'm actually wearing one from her collection - the Toni blouse. Love it!
If you want to score yourself vouchers to try their new Triple Chicken Pizza, leave a comment on what is your favourite Pizza Hut moment and the best 5 answers win! (don't forget to leave your email).
Nobody told me that my feet would get bigger after pregnancy and stay that way....till now. Or is it just me? Do your feet shrink back after having kids?
Mine don't. In fact, they went up one size after each pregnancy. I was a size US 5, pre-pregnancy. Then after having my 1st child, my feet went up one size. And now after having my second one, it went up one more size, which makes me now a US 7! Can you imagine how big my feet would be if I have like, 5 kids?? I'd be a size 10. SIZE 10! *gasp*
None of my pre-pregnancy shoes fit me well now. And all those shoes - those pretty Nine West and Aldo heels that I bought during my two pregnancies (which I was planning to wear after delivery) are now safely tucked in the store room (ok, I've let go some of them).
But that's ok. Because that means I get to shop for new shoes to replace my old ones. A girl cannot live with just 2 pairs of shoes. Please understand that, guys.
I had never purchased shoes online before until quite recently. And now I'm addicted! I'm currently loving Jessica Simpson, Chinese Laundry, Seychelles and Madden Girl shoes - brands that I've never worn before. They are so comfy, especially Jessica Simpson. Her shoes are my absolute favorite!
I purchased mostly platform heels and these are some of my favorites:
This is Raina, when she was just a few months old.
I really miss that stage. She was a calm and easy baby - no cry, no fuss. As long as she has her fingers to suck on, she'd be at ease.
Raina, now at 1.5 years old. I know, right - time flies so fast!
Just like any other toddlers, Raina is quite a handful. Biasalah budak dah dapat kaki, mana boleh duduk diam. She is too busy playing and exploring everything!
Walking is one of the biggest milestones for babies. I remember Raina had her very first step when she was around 10 months old. It was so exciting! But it also means, dia semakin lasak. It's good that toddlers are active (even tho they can really test your patience sometimes!) because it's their way of learning about themselves and the world around them. The best thing we as parents can do is to keep an eye on them and provide a safe environment for them to explore. Wearing comfortable clothes is a plus too. No wait - wearing appropriate and comfortable clothes is actually important. And so is a good diaper!
I never thought a good diaper was really that important, until that day (about 2 years ago) when we decided to try a different brand of diaper. I won't mention the brand name here, but my God, it leaked so easily! Tak sampai 2 jam dah leaking habis. One time, Ayra was playing in the living room while I was in the kitchen and suddenly she came to me running and crying, showing something on her hand. It was her poop and it was everywhere! No, she didn't play with her poop (dia penggeli semua benda eew and yucky). Her diaper leaked! The floor, sofa and her toys semua kena. It was so frustrating and not to mention, stressful because I hate cleaning up! We knew we had to switch back to MamyPoko and ever since that day, we've never looked at any other brands. True story.
MamyPoko is, hands down, the best disposable diaper in terms of comfort and absorbency. It can last for hourssss without leaking. Trust me. And it's even better now that it comes with a stretchy waistband - the MamyPoko Pants Extra Soft Fit. Recommended especially for babies that have started crawling coz you don't have to wrestle with wriggly babies during diaper time anymore.
Sizes L and XL: Blue for boys, pink for girls
The MamyPoko Pants Extra Soft Fit contains Power Slim Absorbency Core with different absorbency focus, designed to suit boys' and girls' unique body shapes for better absorbency.
The cute Winnie the Pooh prints at the front and back are a plus!
My kids' going out essentials. No more big and bulky baby bag!
Went to DVF Collection Launch Tea Party at GapKids KLCC today. It's great that they set up a table with crayons and papers for the kids because we fellow mommies can shop in peace. Or at least I did. I had one of the macarons and quickly dived into the collection while my girls were busy coloring. Everything from the collection is so cute. Even the paper bag is cute! Had a hard time choosing which color to get for each of my girls but finally settled for a pink wrap romper for Raina and a bright yellow T-shirt dress for Ayra (she chose that color!).
I wore something colorful(ish) too today.
Ok that didn't sound right, but you know what I mean.
I purchased this book (and another 5 books) from bookdepository.co.uk. They offer free shipping worldwide and I just can't resist buying a few for myself and my girls. Plus, I haven't seen this book at any bookstores here yet. Or maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough. The books arrived separately tho - I'm still waiting for another 3 books to arrive (delivery takes about 2-3 weeks).
Ok, back to Joy.
Joy is one of my favorite bloggers and I LOVE her blog. Her blog is just amazing. I only found her blog about 2 years ago and had been following it ever since. I love her writings, her recipes, her cat and her photos. Man, her photos are amazing. In fact, her photos were actually the main reason why I was attracted to her blog in the first place. I love how she uses different plates and bowls and napkins and trays together to make a mix-and-no-match set. It's like an art!
She makes baking looks so easy too. I have tried one of her recipes from her blog, some time ago - white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Loved it! And I love her style of blogging. So warm and friendly. It's impossible not to like her.
And now she has her own cookbook. How awesome is that?!
Here's the thing about me and cookbooks if you must know: I never used them. I never read them. Heck, I had never even tried any of the recipes in any of the cookbooks that I have. I just flipped through the books, looking at the recipe titles and photos the first time I bought them and totally forgotten about them the next day.
I prefer looking for recipes online - on my computer or iPhone. But I knew I had to get Joy The Baker cookbook when I first heard about it. I don't know... I guess because I like her? Haha.
Even Emma Stone thinks she's awesome!
Joy The Baker Cookbook is loaded with simple and comforting recipes like Baked Coffee Cake French Toast, Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes, Cinnamon Sugar Rice Pudding, S'mores Brownies, Banana Coconut Cream Pie, Baked Chili Cheese Fries (yup, it's not all desserts) and unheard-of-recipes like Avocado Fries, Zucchini Cream Cheese Pound Cake, Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes, Chocolate and Black Pepper Goat Cheese Truffles, Kale Spinach Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie. All of the recipes in the book are not available on her blog, which is another reason why I wanted to get my hands on it.
Anyway, I decided to try one of her cake recipes yesterday. I wasn't in the mood for anything chocolatey, so I tried her Buttermilk Skillet Cake with Walnut Praline Topping. But because I don't have a cast-iron skillet and walnut in my kitchen, I call it Buttermilk Cake with Pecan Praline Topping instead. It was good nonetheless!
BUT! Amazingly, this time around, my cake turned out well for the first time! Haha. The cake was light and fluffy. I cannot believe I made that cake. And yes, it was easy! I love Joy even more now.
It may not be the best looking cake ever (well, mine doesn't, but hers does) but it was yummy.
Here's the recipe.
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
For the praline topping:
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (I actually used less than this - about 1/2 cup I think)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (the recipe calls for walnuts tho)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan (or a cast-iron skillet if you have one). Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, with a hand or stand mixer (I use hand mixer by the way) beat butter and sugar for about 3 minutes... until they are lighter in color. Add egg and yolk, beating for 1 minute between each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
With the mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture. Add the buttermilk and when flour is just combined with the butter mixture, add the remaining flour. Beat on low speed until they are well incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating the ingredients with a spatula. Spoon batter into the cake pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
While the cake bakes, make the praline topping. This one is so easy. Just dump in all the ingredients for the praline topping (except the last two), in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a soft boil for 3 minutes. Then remove from heat and add the remaining 2 ingredients, which are the vanilla and pecans. Stir. Let it sit in the pan for about 20 minutes for the praline to thicken up a bit.
When the cake is ready, remove from the pan, place it on a cake plate or whatever you have and pour the praline mixture over the warm cake. Spread evenly. Serve immediately.
I love eating this cake while the praline topping is still warm and melting. Mmmm... The pecan praline topping reminded me of Alexis' Pecan Pie, except this one is not as sickeningly sweet as that one!
I am going to try her Zucchini and Potato Pancakes next!
Here's a list of my favorite make-my-life-easier baby products, in no particular order:
1) PumpEase Hands-free Pumping Bra
Ok, so this is actually for breastfeeding mommies - not babies - but you could only breastfeed when you have a baby so this makes it on the list. The PumpEase hands-free pumping bra is what every pumping mama needs, IMO, because it makes your pumping life SO much easier as you don't have to hold the pump bottles every time you pump (unless if you're using Medela Freestyle la).
The first few days of using my Ameda Lactaline Dual Breastpump, my wrists were already aching from holding the bottles while pumping! It was no fun. I was determined to pump my milk for as long as I can and I wanted to make my pumping session fun and stress-free (because you can't produce a lot of milk when you're stressed/not happy, can you?) so I had to find a solution. Plus, I like to multitask while I pump my milk to keep my mind off how much milk I'd get - sambil pump, sambil makan/minum and watch a (funny) movie or surf the internet or read a book or something. But since I was using a double pump, I got no free hands to multitask. I've tried attaching the breastshields to my nursing bra but it wasn't secure enough and I can't really move. So I searched online and came across PumpEase. Such genius idea! And they come in cute patterns too! I bought mine from fabulousmom.com (sorry, can't remember the price). I don't think Fabulousmom.com carries it anymore tho, but this website ships to most international destinations so maybe they ship to Malaysia as well (you can try and ask).
I chose the classic Tuxedo print, like in the picture above.
"Breast-fest at Tiffany's". Haha. How hilarious is that?
2) Avent iQ Bottle Warmer
I got this as a present from my friend, Fadd (thank you so much!) when I was pregnant with Ayra. She asked me what baby gift do I want, so I said this! If I'm not mistaken, it wasn't available in Malaysia at the time and I think she got it from Singapore kot (siapa suruh tanya, kan? Hee ;p).
This is another genius invention. There's a reason why the name is iQ bottle warmer - because it is genius! I used to babysit my nephew before I became a mom, and I've tried using the normal Avent electric bottle warmer. Man, I had to warm my sister's EBM a few times before I got the right temperature!
The iQ bottle warmer automatically calculates the warming time needed according to the contents, amount and starting temperature, so you don't have to guess how long you should warm your EBM or baby food. You just need to choose which one you want to warm up - milk or food, and whether the milk/food is frozen/chilled/room temperature, then select the amount of milk/food in ml/oz. Genius, right? Once it's ready, the bottle warmer will make a beep sound to inform you.
I love this bottle warmer so much and had been using it to warm both milk and baby food ever since Ayra was a baby until my second one! It may be a little complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes so handy! I don't even need my husband's help to configure it when I first used it.
This bottle warmer is available at Mothercare and major department stores for RM319.
3) Angel Baby Bottom Balm
This is my absolute, ABSOLUTE favorite baby care product, thanks to my sister who introduced it to me way before I had kids. Where do I even begin with? The packaging is cute, the smell is so pleasantly nice and soothing (smells of lavender), it has a light texture which I like (I don't like cream ones), it's made of natural antibacterial and organic herbs, and it works wonders! The name is "Bottom Balm" but it's not just for bottoms. Rashes, minor burns, insect bites, cuts, scratches, almost anything! Even I use it too, sometimes.
Remember my post when Ayra had a rash about a month after she was born? She went from this...
...to this, after just two days of applying the Angel Baby Bottom Balm!
And remember last Raya, masa dahi Raina terkena bunga api? I applied this balm on her burn too, and Alhamudillah, it healed after just a couple of days. Not even a scar left now. It's like a miracle! This balm comes in 2 sizes - 1 oz (RM29.90) and 2 oz (RM49.90) - and is available at most online baby shops, including littlewhiz.com and fabulousmom.com. Highly recommended!
4) Nature's Baby Organics Conditioner & Detangler
I love little girls with long hair, but keeping them tangle-free is almost a hassle. I don't know about your girls, but it can be quite a challenge to brush Ayra's hair. Kusut ya rabbi, especially lepas bangun tidur! Bila kusut, nak sikat jadi sakit and she hates that, so I would end up mengejar dia satu bilik just to brush her hair. She does have somewhat straight hair and it's manageable after shampooing, but I don't shampoo her hair everyday. So on those days when her hair is not shampooed, I apply this detangler. It can be rinsed off or you can just leave it in (I usually do the latter). Ayra's hair becomes soft and silky and more manageable and 10x easier to brush!
It comes in 2 scents - Lavender-Chamomile (smells soothing) and Vanilla-Tangerine (smells yummy). Both smells nice! I'm planning to get the other one when mine (well, Ayra's) is finished. Available at Mothercare for RM49 (if I'm not mistaken).
5) MamyPoko diapers
The only diaper brand I trust! Besides MamyPoko diaper pants, Raina also wears MamyPoko Extra Dry diaper. It's a new version of the tape diaper (did you also notice the new packaging?) and it has stripes pad sheet that quickly absorbs and locks urine in for faster drying protection. Alhamdulillah, so far Raina has had diaper rash only once throughout her 1.5 years of life. It wasn't that nasty either! And it's not like I changed her diaper every few hours. I did not - I didn't have to (unless if she poops of course)!
MamyPoko diapers keep babies' bottoms dry and protect their skin from rashes and irritation, thanks to its cotton-like breathable cover. Available at all major supermarkets.
Shall I come up with my list of nice-to-have baby products next? I don't think I could do only 5 tho. Haha.
"When a man loves a woman, he needs to pull away once in awhile before he can get closer. For this reason, men are like rubber bands. When they pull away, they can stretch only so far before they come springing back" - John Gray.
I love reading books about relationships - mostly by Allan and Barbara Pease, and John Gray. If it weren't for those books, I would have never known about men and their "caves". It's a pretty important "cave"
You see, men need their own spaces every so often to relieve stress. They can't be hogging you all the time. They need to do things that don't involve you and so off to their "caves" they go. It's not literally a cave laa; it could be watching TV, playing games, hanging out with his friends, playing sports, etc.
During this "cave" time, men would usually ignore their partners. For instance, when he's out with his friends and he doesn't answer your phone calls, that, my friend, is him in his "cave". Don't kacau him. It won't be for too long. They need to be cavemen once in awhile. It's a part of the male intimacy cycle - they get close, pull away, then get close again. It doesn't mean that he doesn't love you. He just needs to fulfill his needs for independence. That's why I don't really mind if my husband wants to hangout with his friends or play sports once (or twice) a week. Unless if I'm PMS-ing. Haha.
Unfortunately, some women misinterpret a man's pulling away as something bad, because we women would pull away or ignore our partners when we're hurt or angry (silent treatment). Kalau boyfriend tak angkat phone, mulalah fikir macam-macam. Why is he ignoring me? Is he cheating on me? He doesn't love me anymore! And then boom! World War 3. And when World War 3 has begun, when your boyfriend tried to call you to explain what's going on, you don't pick up the phone pulak sampai dapat 48 missed calls. Merajuk. Ain't that true, women? Huhu.
I love dressing up my girls in coordinating outfits - they don't wear exactly the same thing head to toe (except for pajamas), but nothing too different either.
Their outfits would either be: same pattern different color, or same color different pattern, or same pattern different design, or same design different pattern... you get the idea.
Here's a same-pattern-different-design outfits, worn during our short holiday at Bukit Tinggi last month.
Top: Cotton On Kids
Cardigan: Cotton On Kids
Sandals: Stride Rite
I think leggings are a must-have in every girl's wardrobe. It's just the best clothing item a little girl could ever have. They look great with almost anything - tops, tunics, jumpers, even skirts and dresses. And the best thing? When my girls outgrow their leggings length-wise, they can still wear them as capris!
Believe it or not, the red leggings that Raina wore in the pics is in 0-3 months size....AND IT STILL FITS HER. I bought it wayyy back when she was a newborn. Of course at that time, the length was just nice to cover her whole legs, altho the waist was a bit loose (that's what happens when your baby is on the petite side).
Now she wears it as capri leggings and the waist fits her nicely. To be honest, I actually prefer it this way!
And that blue polka-dot leggings on Ayra? That is actually Raina's; size 3-6 months! Hee hee.
Shirt dress: Cotton On Kids
Leggings: Pumpkin Patch
Headband: Pumpkin Patch
Sandals: Stride Rite
I wasn't planning to dress her up in leggings but I had to, because I forgot to bring her diaper cover! Ayra had to wear something to cover her diaper and that leggings was the only thing that goes well with the dress. You can't really tell it's actually a full-length legging, can you? The side slit with bow makes it looks even cuter as a capri legging, IMO.
Yours truly was even dressed up in white, blue and polka dots! Now I don't usually wear coordinating outfits with my girls (except for Raya and weddings) but I made exception that day. While my girls wore polka-dot dress and top, I opted for a polka-dot scarf and keeping it simple with a plain white top and jeans.
It'd be even more coordinated if I wore red shoes.
But I don't have one, so I wore this mustard wedges instead.