News Flash! Hello Baby 2!

I have been quiet. 

For this reason. 

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We are happily and excitedly expecting our 2nd baby! 

 

Our history indicate that having 1 baby is a miracle. To be able to experience this another time, is truly a God’s gift. We prayed, we left it to God’s hands and surprisingly (or not so), it happened. 

 

I think back to my first trimester with Asher. Oh what joy, oh what fear and what agony. The knowledge that miscarriage is higher for us. The unforgiving morning sickness that left me hugging the toilet bowl. The visit to the doctor’s office which he told us it’s hospital or rest with monitoring at home. The non-stop-eating. The non-stop-puking. 

And then 3 years passed. Here we go again. 

The first trimester

Fortunately, I haven’t had much spewing. Just non stop nausea, fatigue, headaches,bloating and feeling “sick”. Still, I count my blessings that I continued to work, having to take minimum time off as I cope with these symptoms + viral infection. 

I had to admit there were times where TV was my life saviour while it entertained Asher as I sit resting. Ginger tea, and water seems to help. Eating regularly works too. I was perpetually hangry. Often feeling sad, pale, unhappy,and angry even when there isn’t any food in sight! 

I learned though, and stocked our fridge and pantry with relatively nourishing and nutrient dense food. Yes, I did had dim sum twice, and totally craved for zamberos and it’s black rice for 2 weeks in a row. Yes, we bought a packet of sweet potato chips once, but we shared it out and finished it only 4 days later (a mean feat!). I did crazy things like making myself a banana, cacao, date, almond milk, peanut butter shake at 8:30am in the morning just barely 2 hours after breakfast. Oh, and I heated that one up too. Hubby fried an egg for me at 10:30pm at night and I had it with kimchi. 

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Me having my hot cacao banana date drink.

Mostly though, I managed to eat well. Eating more, but better than when I had Asher. I attribute it to better eating habits, but also filling my body with more nutrient dense food prior to conception. With Asher, I was craving for heaps of carbs and I always wondered if me going low carb was a contributing factor. I was stuffing myself with breakfast biscuits (No way!), rice and just whatever carbs that I could get my hands to. This pregnancy, I didn’t have that urge to. I just needed to eat. I’m still fearful of weight gain, and my bump is noticeably bigger, but I feel like I have a better relationship with food and nutrition. 

Pregnancy is definitely a test for me. I feel fat, big and it’s a little sad saying farewell to my skinny jeans at week 8. Amazingly, I managed to fit into non-maternity clothes till week 13 and has only recently started taking out those to wear again. 

It is an ongoing process, I will have bad days, I shall admit that. Already I feel that I am gaining weight too quickly despite eating relatively better (it is still more). I feel that it is so easy to give in, and had to be conscious about it. Perhaps it is a combination of hormones, or my old self lingering (with my ease of weight gain), but I just have to keep going and keeping tabs. Hubby has been a great encourager and monitor. 

In terms of exercise, I had a few breaks, but mainly maintained with less intensity. I can’t seem to get a 16 kg turkish bell up, I have slowed down, and every workout seems to be harder work. This is all expected I suppose and I will keep chugging on. I’m proud that I’m still deadlifting, and squating (still doing 32kg gb squats). Listening to my body and slowing down. My motto is to “Turn up and if I don’t feel well, just stop and leave”. So far, I managed to finish all workouts, despite the pace and lesser intensity. 

Baby’s health is going ok. My NIPT was great but scans revealed that I need more monitoring. That again, reminds me that there are greater things to be concern at this stage. It’s not something I can control but only in God’s timing will I know what will happen. 

Asher is excited to be a big brother. Often speaking to my tummy and then saying “baby isn’t talking to me!” oh that poor little man! Soon, he will learn I am sure. 

So here we go! I will be back to update of course, Heaps to chat about. Still, this time round, I’m going to be documenting my journey and thoughts on being a parent of 2! 

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(me and my bump!)

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes (Nut Free, Gluten Free, Clean Eating)

Blueberry Ricotta PancakesYes. Another pancake recipe. We pretty much make pancakes on a fortnightly to a weekly basis. Asher really likes his pancakes! Blueberries of course is another favourite of us. IMG_2745 (640x427)

The funny thing is that Asher does not seem to like cheese (or nut butter!?!) by itself. He is generally a great eater so I put it down to personal preference and how that might change as he gets older. We aren’t too fussed about dairy as it does have inflammatory properties, and being Asian just means Asher might be more prone to lactose intolerance later down his life. For us though, it is about teaching him that just because you don’t like one form of food doesn’t necessarily means another form isn’t delicious. 

From time to time we have ricotta in the house. This time round, we included ricotta in to our pancakes. The result was smooth and creamy. He scoffed it down in on time. These are nut free too which will be a handy thing to have in the future for school I’m sure! IMG_2744 (640x427)

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Blueberry Coconut Pancakes (Paleo, Gluten Free, Clean Eating, Nut Free, Dairy Free) + Asher’s list of favourite foods

IMG_2256 (640x427)“What are your favourite foods Asher?”

  • Pancakes
  • Blueberries
  • Nuts (more on that later)
  • Mushrooms
  • Custard
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries 
  • Watermelon
  • PANCAKES

He rattled off a list. 

Hubby was saying that was what Asher said in one of their conversations. I was impressed. Not just that he can remembers all those food items but he was able to understand the question and rattled off foods that he does get excited when they are given to him. IMG_2260 (640x427)

Pancakes are his current thing. We make pancakes mini size. My understanding is that they are similar except pikelets are thicker. Of course since we do not have flour in our pantry, we use coconut flour. After some experimentation, I like this ratio of coconut flour and eggs best. 

For some reason, Asher does not like nut butter. A pity because I LOVE THEM. I think it is the sticky feel that he isn’t a fan of. He has also grown to like nuts which is a big horror to me after reading and knowing that whole nuts are a no no to kids due to it being a possible choking hazard. It reinforces how he copies our eating habits as he knows I always have a small box of nuts in my handbag! IMG_2258 (640x427)

One of my ways of getting some great protein into him is using nut butter in pancakes. In my pantry we have jars of nut butters. Cashew, almond, ABC and dare I saw it… peanut. Yes peanut is a legume and it is not “paleo” but we love it and believe that we can have some of it if it sits ok with us. We do choose a brand without any other ingredients. 

I love these pancakes because I can make a big batch and fridge or freeze them. On my work day mornings, Asher will eat them without a fuss and they are easy to re heat. On some Fridays or Mondays, we make them together. He loves whisking the eggs and seeing me our the batter into the pan. An activity that 1) helps him to learn cooking/measuring/counting, 2) bonding between us, 3) he eats it, 4) less fuss on work mornings! 

Killing 4 birds with one batch of pancakes. IMG_2259 (640x427)

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Chewy Banana Date and Nut Bars + Toddler Snacks

IMG_2101 (427x640)The lure of the kids snacks section beckons. Just like snacks for adults, those little bars and crackers packed mini size is so convenient. Names with “muesli”, “yogurt”, “organic”, “whole fruit” on boxes appears to the health conscious mums and dads. 

I would admit that I have been lured into that section before. A little “organic date and dried fruit” bar sits in my handbag for those emergency times where Asher has finished what I have packed or when he rejected what I would prefer him to eat. IMG_2104 (427x640)

Those times of course increased as Asher learned that there is a possibility of having a “bar” if he says no enough. He would even go through my handbag to locate that “spare treat”. 

Enough is enough, and we decided to reduce if not eliminate purchase of those bars. If as adults we bypass the muesli bars section, why is it any different for Asher? Thankfully, we were getting a box every month or two and we reduced that to pretty much none in the past 3 months. 

So what changed? Asher is generally a good eater, so really it is about pre planning for us. His snacks are

– Bananas

– Mandarins orange

-strawberries

– Cucumber and capsicum sticks. 

-Cherry tomatoes

– Hard boiled eggs

– warm milk or babycino if we are outside

– chia seed puddings

– home made custard

– some home made baked goodies such as banana muffins or bread 

–  sulphate free ham or some smoked salmon 

– chickpeas

– popcorn 

– biltong 

– baked sweet potato “chips”IMG_2106 (640x427)

You will probably noticed that we haven’t shy away from dairy in his diet. Asher seems to be able to digest it so we are going with the flow with that unless we noticed otherwise. We have also allowed him to have some legumes in his diet, with chickpeas and popcorn on the list. We figured out that we would prefer to know how he respond to them than to shock his system when he gets to school and share copious amount of processed food and legumes without our knowledge. Deep down, I do not want him to grow up thinking that there food is “bad” and would prefer to educate him on what nourishes his body and some food we eat that may be more for tastes and satisfaction and they are to be kept a limit. 

Asher loves the cakes I make. However, he still associates “bars” with store bought ones and had initially refused to try any of my creations till recently. Sometimes, I just tell him it’s cake and he would happily snack on them! Toddlers! This one was a winner for him. It is probably still a little too sweet for my liking but it sure beats opening a packet snack food for him. It is slightly chewy but still easy to swallow. My proud moment is when he prefers having what I make than store bought cakes. IMG_2105 (640x427)

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Apple Cinnamon Cookies (Paleo, Clean Eating, Gluten Free) + Asher’s favourite games and toys

IMG_1983 (427x640)Rain rain go away. Come again another day… Asher wants to go out and play! 

The lovely thing about having a toddler is the amount of play we get into. Everything can turn into a game. It has been such a long time since I did this, but I want to document the kind of games Asher has been into lately. I’m still not sure how it happens but he is 2 as of Friday *insert horror face* I’m a mum of a little man! 

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– Books. I think I have a book worm as a son. He loves books. ANY books. Especially books featuring vehicles. Trains, buses, cars, fire engines. He loves classics too. Like “Spot”, “We are going on a bear hunt”, “10 little fingers and toes” and more recently “the hungry caterpillar”.

-Trains. Yep. He loves Thomas. I’m in two minds about introducing too much Thomas to him. My thoughts are that kids should be expose to as many variety of the same item although I know that is rather hardRight now, he thinks Thomas is one of the trains. He still adores his other train books and will play with any trains. 

– Play shopping! Cash register and fake food

– Play cooking. Sizzling with his pan. As we cooked him some mushrooms or eggs up for breakfast, he would take the borrowed wooden plan and pretend to cook up his own meal too. 

– Ball games. Kicking and throwing. Balloons. 

– Drawing! He loves drawing circles.. and will ask me to help him draw triangles

– Painting. Although at the moment, we are painting with water. He dislikes mess and stickiness. It is a work I’m progress with play doh and textural play. 

– Slides. He received a slide for his first birthday and really love that. He would even slide his teddy down

– Cars. All kind of cars. Plus planes. 

– Lego. He is really into lego now. Building blocks. Telling me he has built a ship or a car! 

– Tractors. We got him a Tonka truck for his birthday (shhhh). 

– Cosy coupe- we don’t have that but he loves it when we visit friends.

– Singing. We can sing Row row a boat, abc, twinkle twinkle, wheels go round, bob the builder, ba ba black sheep…etc. The funny thing is we will catch him singing at random times to himself. Super adorable. 

– Music instruments like tambourines, egg shakers.. anything that has a rhythm. He would even bang on the boxes and call it a drum

– Puzzles. A friend bought him a fire engine puzzle and he loves it. We also have ABC puzzles and animal ones. 

– Rough play-. Tickles, upside downs. Anything that involves heaps of movement.

-Chasey

– Bubbles!

– Peek a boo. This is a surprised. I thought they would grow out of it but he would peek a boo every thing including holding my sweater and hiding himself there. 

– We like looking at buses, trucks, tractors on the road. 

– Tool box. He likes sawing and turning things

– We cook and bake a lot more now. He would sit on the bench and watch me cook or stir things. Sometimes he might have a go. IMG_1978 (640x427)

I’m sure I missed out other things. He is still a little yucky on sensory things like playdoh. I bought some special books that he can paint with just water which he is warming up to. Day care is doing a great job in exposing him to messy play too. He has no problems getting his hands dirty when he eats though!

I’m most surprised by his pretend play. He would stack a car up a truck and said that’s a car transporter. He would grab a bag and pretend that he is going shopping. He would use a toy kettle and said he is making tea. 

Apple and cinnamon. They can never go wrong together. I made these cookies for him and he seems to like it. He loves fruits so much that he probably thought he was eating apple pieces with dough stuck on it! They don’t last as long in the pantry and I do suggest double toasting them if you can. That way they can stay crispy longer. Enjoy these little nibbles.IMG_1979 (640x427)

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Zucchini Sundried Tomatoes Slices

IMG_1647 (640x427)I really can’t complain as Asher is an excellent eater. Most of the time anyway. He likes his vegetables and would go for his fruits any day. He would eat what I make for him and usually looks like he is enjoying his meals. Yes as a toddler, he has his fussy days, but overall, I think we have been very blessed with a good eater. IMG_1652 (640x427)

On my “off days”, I like to make something extra to freeze. Sometimes, these can be used as snacks. Other times, it can be a breakfast item. I freeze bigger meals as well so that I know that there is something we can pull out of the freezer for him on busy evenings. 

IMG_1650 (427x640)I LOVE zucchini. I think we can have it every week if we want to. We can roast it, grate it, fry it, add them in stews.. the possibilities is endless. I have not yet make them into cakes yet but that day might come just yet. In the mean time though, I do like grating and adding them in fritters or frittatas. I like to think they increase the nutrition value of whatever we are making. 

This has a few slices of sundries tomatoes with the added protein of eggs. I love how well they freeze- making them easy to defrost. They are portable and makes a good snack if not breakfast. 

I hope you like it too!

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Cauliflower Cake (Paleo, Gluten Free, Clean Eating)

IMG_1501 (427x640)I love cauliflower. I’m pretty amazed but what we can do with this vegetable. You can make it into a mash, enjoy it roasted with cumin seeds, transform it to a pizza base and now…we can have it in  a cake form! 

I’m really lucky that Asher is a great eater. Yes he has his moments where he does not like cheese and refuse to take yogurt if it is white (can anyone tell me what is that about?!?!). However, he does takes most vegetables and enjoys his meat. IMG_1503 (427x640)

I stumbled into this recipe from Epicurious. Some might call it a fancy cauliflower frittata I suppose. To me, it is a perfect one pot dish- protein and vegetables. All I needed to do was to serve it with some side salad for hubby and myself. That’s dinner done. IMG_1506 (640x427)

The addition of fresh herbs like basil takes it up a notch. I would have love to sprinkle a little chilli into it but then again, that’s me. I like spice in everything! 

The best bit is when Asher asks for “CAKE” for dinner. That is one cake I’m happy to dish out night or day. IMG_1502 (427x640)

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Kiwi Slice with Coconut Crunch Crumble (Paleo, Gluten Free)

IMG_1441 (640x427)I like to think I’m a fun mum. To fully make use of the precious time I have with Asher at home, we play heaps together. However, sometimes when I’m feeling a little down or low in energy, I seem to be at a lost of what are the kind of things we can do together. It has been ages since I document my little games with Asher like what I have done when he was a little baby, and thought I might do the same now that he is a toddler. 

My philosophy to play is simple. Whatever that is fun, stimulating and engaging. I think play allows us to reach to the child’s level, exploring the world from their point of view. It can be seen as educational, but mostly, I think children thrive just with our presence and attention. At home, we do a mixture of structured and free play. Structured play is when I bring out or suggest activities. There are also classes that we go to such as gymbaroo, swimming and an occasional play meet up with other children of Asher’s age. Free play is when Asher has free rein to choose whatever he wants. Sometimes he would engage me in them, and other times, I would let him play by himself. IMG_1443 (640x427)

Structured Play Activities

Lego and Duplo- Asher is at the age where he loves trains. We would put carriages together, build tower blocks or just work on joining pieces together. Sometimes I would ask Asher to give me a particular colour of a block but other times, we would just build things. Motherhood has brought out the builder in me! 

Music Play- This can be structured or free play. I bring out the box of musical instruments and we have fun drumming, tapping and shaking. I get Asher to shake the tambourine up high or left and right. Gymbaroo has taught us well! 

Tickles- Need I say more? 🙂 Nowadays, I incorporate naming body parts to tickles and kisses too. Asher loves this one. 

Reading- We read HEAPS. Asher loves his books. I suspect this fall into more free play than structured because Asher constantly asks us to read. I have “Where is Spot” and “Where is the green sheep” tattoo into my memory……

Colouring- I bring out different types of crayons and pencils. Sometimes we scribble, other times we just stack the crayons up. Asher would name some colours too. 

Ball games- This is endless. We roll, kick, chase, throw balls so often. I would use a mix of small and big balls. Sometimes we would use a basket ball hoop, but more often, we just invent as we go.

Chasey- Classic. I chase him, he chase me. Guess who win more often? 

Sing songs or turn some music on- Current favourite is the Wheels on the Bus. Another one is Old MacDonald has a Farm. We do Twinkle Twinkle and also Itsy Bitsy Spider. Row Row Row a boat he loves too. We do children bible songs. Asher would sometimes attempt to dance along. 

Spinning- I put him on an office chair and SPIN! 

Slide- We have an indoor slide. Asher would practice going up the slide both ways. 

Sensory Play on the High Chair- I give him ice, and sometimes I attempt play doh. He seems to prefer ice than play doh! 

Puppet Show 

We jump, run and practice concepts of stop and go. 

Rough and tumble. He goes upside down, roll left right..I would lift him, squat with him, swing, fly him like a plane…. (It’s quite a workout) 

“Does it fit”- we put different items in containers! That keeps him entertained for ages! He is at the stage where he enjoys opening and closing containers. 

Supermarket- We have a toy that is like a cashier. Asher would tell me he wants banana, milk, grapes..etc. 

Open the fridge game- He LOVES our fridge. He would stand there and attempt to name all the fruits and vegetables we have. 

Water play- As we water the plays, Asher would help by using the watering can or a pail. Sometimes he just like to run around the water as we use a hose to water some plants. 

Hammer Ball- He loves it when I take that game out. We name colours of the balls, practice our hammer skills and even roll the ball down a slide. 

Flash Cards- I never thought I would like using flash cards, but Asher loves them! I think it’s because it’s a single pictorial object with just one word. Less confusion and clutter. We run around the house matching things to the card at times. 

Different textures- Asher would help me out with folding of clothes as I introduce him to different textures but also naming of items of clothing. 

Bubbles is always a favourite.IMG_1442 (640x427)

Free Play

Usually Asher would choose to play with his toys or read. Once, he took a bag and told us “by bye” and pretended to go shopping! 

We try to organise outings to the park, shops and even to friends’ place for some fun out of routine. 

Asher has tried finger, potato and dot painting at day care. I’m sure I would extend that to home sometime in the near future. I noticed he is quite cautious and sensitive to sensory items. He is ok with sand now, but I would like to introduce more play doh, and fine motor things such as lacing. 

I’m very lucky that Asher loves his food. We had 2 kiwis in the fridge that was a tad sour. Not wanting to waste them, I make them into a slice. It was a quick mix recipe and he enjoyed this for his afternoon tea. IMG_1445 (640x427)

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Pear and White Fungus Soup (Paleo, Gluten Free)

IMG_1418 (640x427)I consider myself as a modern girl. I like holidays with a decent hot water shower and clean bedding. My kitchen has some pretty modern appliances such as a food processor and a kitchen aid mixer. My clothes are fuss free, girly and basic. 

It may come to you as a surprise that I like to make traditional soups and desserts from time to time too. A few months ago, Asher developed a nasty cough. The kind of cough that keeps him (and us) awake through the night. I was looking for natural and healthy alternatives to help soothe his throat. Manuka or Jarrah Honey helps but I wanted more options.

What would grandma do?IMG_1420 (640x427)

She would brew soups and making sweet soups to nourish our lungs and throats. With that in mind, I went back to my Cantonese Chinese roots and decided to make a traditional drink for us. 

Pear is nourishing and refreshing, bitter and sweet almonds helps to strengthen the lungs and is said to help with coughs. Red dates replenishing blood. White fungus is meant to be the “poor man’s birds nest” with its nourishing properties. 

I love it cold on a hot summer day. Asher? He takes it in whatever state. 

I’m now a modern girl embracing traditional roots. IMG_1417 (427x640)

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Water Cress Pork Ribs Soup (Paleo, Chinese, Gluten Free)

IMG_1234 (640x427)I realised that it is very tricky to make Chinese broth soups pretty in photos. For some reason, they just seem to be soup in a bowl (which is what they are of course, but I struggle to make it look presentable). Perhaps I should hunt down some prettier bowls soon or experiment with using different angles! More than often, this becomes a quick shot and then it’s at our dinner table. 

Photography skills aside, I was really excited to find watercress at the Manning Road markets. I have been hunting them for ages and suddenly they appeared along with our favourite salad leaves. I know that watercress is often used in salads, but I cannot resist making a soup that I grew up with.IMG_1230 (640x427)

Watercress is known for it’s superfood qualities. It topped the charts in its’ high vitamins and mineral contents. My grandmother must have known instinctively what was good for us when she was alive because she loved feeding us watercress. It cools our bodies down she says. Very important in the hot days of Singapore. 

 Having some pork ribs in hand, I made a broth with red dates and goji berries. Just before I serve the soup, I brought the liquid to boil and added the vegetables. It’s as easy as that. Asher loves sipping the soup, having some leaves and eating the pork. I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that Asher can feel my grandmother’s love as he grows up. 

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