Thursday, January 27, 2011

Meal ideas for toddlers

One of the things that hubby and I dread is meal planning.  We usually do grocery shopping in the weekend and try to figure out what we will be eating for that week.  Seriously "ma farn" (troublesome in chinese) business.  It is hard to think of something that we like and that our wee one will also enjoy.  And the fact we can't use processed food (well, at least we tried not to).  Anyhoo, in case there are new parents out there who are in the same predicament as us, here is a list of dishes that both my hubby and 18 month old like:

1) mac and cheese (original style and sweet potato style)
2) bebe bolognese with turkey (with different types of pasta - alphabets, rotini, wheels, macaroni, etc.)
3) pasta with spinach and chicken sauce  (I steamed spinach and chicken and then blended them in the blender and put some cheese on top.  Ali loves cheese.)
4) fried rice
6) chicken rice noodle/vermicelli/"lai fun" in soup (like Breakfast A/B at The Boss)
7) chicken quesdillas
8) grilled cheese sandwich with turkey
9) butternutsquash ravioli (uncooked from costco) with tomato sauce
10) tortellini (uncooked from costco) with cream cheese alfredo sauce
11) lasagne
12) shepherd's pie
13) pan fried udon
14) chicken chow mein
15) fish congee
16) chicken and veges dumplings
17) steamed ground pork and egg with rice

Things that I wanted to try...
1)  meatballs
2)  mini-burgers
3)  gnocchi
4)  homemade chicken nuggets

Are there fast, nutritious and delicious meals that your family particularly enjoy??  Feel free to add to this list.  Good luck with meal planning!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Super yum!

Ali is really into table foods these days.  We tried making separate baby food for her, but she just wouldn't eat her.  It is pretty tough to come up with dinner ideas that are tasty and healthy for the toddlers at the same time.  By default, we use cheese.  Ali LOVES cheese, in fact, a little too much sometimes.  I found a recipe that uses sweet potato in mac and cheese.  I put some peas in and done.  A pretty nutritious dinner ready for the whole family and it's quite yummy too.  

"Ummmmm...."

"It's so good!  Mommy, one more bowl please?"

Look at how messy of a eater she is!

"Mommy, another bowl please!"
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Teach them when they are still young and naive

Wiping the floor is perhaps one of Ali's favourite things to do.  She will take her baby wipes out from the box and start wiping, even no body asks her to.  Weird.  But I guess I shouldn't complain about that.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Justin Bieber's fan

Now that we have moved our den to the basement, hubby suggested to buy a netbook to make it easier for us to check emails when we are watching Ali.  I have to say I am LOVING it.  So convenient.  Man, I wish I have one when I was on mat leave.  Anyways, we were listening to the baby song and Ali was VERY interested.  In fact, she was so excited that she wanted to climb on the couch.

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We tried to make her do it again, but she failed miserably.  We are such bad parents!!  And yes, she is wearing shoes with her PJs.  

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy 2011!

I read somewhere that it is a good idea to keep a "blessings" journal.  It can remind ourselves how lucky and fortunate we are and hopefully, we won't whine and complain as much as we ordinarily do.  I guess this would be fitting to be one of my first entries in 2011!  So much to be thankful for!  Now, where should we start?

This is what Ali looked like a year ago!

1.  Work
Going back to work is a lot harder than I expected.  I do like teaching, but leaving at 4 is very, very difficult.  When I was on maternity leave, I knew about the time restrictions of Ali's daycare (8 hour policy), so instead of going to work full time, I work part time and I requested to have a prep block every day so that I can do most of the admin stuff and photocopying during that time.  But in reality, there are always things that come up and needed my attention or that students will come for extra help.  It is just immensely difficult to leave early.  After I put Ali to bed and we finished our chores around the house, I found myself working for at least 1-2 hours every night.  This is partly my own fault.  I should have done more of my new prep during my maternity leave, but then of course, I decided to spend time on TV.  Bad mommy!!

2.  Daycare
We were so lucky to find quality daycare close to home.  I was making many phone calls and was really stressed about it because either they have a long wait list or that they don't want to commit until two months before her entry date.  Thank goodness a good friend of ours recommended CEFA and so it turned out that they were opening a new location just a 10 minutes walk from our house.  The opening date was delayed again and again, but at the end, they did open the first day I had to go back to work.  Lucky us!  Ali LOVES going to school.  We are so grateful that Ali is such a calm and easy going baby and her teachers love her because of that.  She is probably one of the few babies in her class that didn't cry in the first week.  She transitioned really well and just loved the teachers there. There were a few hiccups here and there, but all and all, we are happy with her school and we are happy she is enjoying herself and feels comfortable there.  There are many times when I go and pick her up and she just simply refused to go home.  It is nice to see that Ali is starting to make friends at school.


3.  Health
While Ali's eczema started to get better, her daddy's skin got worse and worse.  His eczema got really bad at one point and he was always itchy.  Poor daddy.  Even the doctors have trouble figuring out what the problem was.  While we still don't know the real cause of his skin problem, his dermatologist just prescribed him some really expensive vitamins ($600 for one month's worth of meds!) and we are glad to say that he is slowly, but surely, getting better and better each day.

An unfortunate by-product of going to daycare is getting sick.  Ali gets sick ALL THE TIME.  So far, I have taken ~8 sick days and her daddy has taken ~4 days off to take care of her.  It is just unbelievable how often they get sick.  I am just hoping that her immune system will build up nicely and that she won't get sick as much in the next few months.  Keeping our fingers crossed!

Poor Ali was sick and had to move to our bed.  Look at that little sleepyhead!

4.  Family and friends
We are so so happy that our extended family has grown!  Ali's goo ma got married in September of 2010.  Welcome to the family, goo cheung!  And to make it even better, they decided to move back to Vancouver last summer too!  Yay, we got more baby sitters!  Yippee!

Babies, babies, babies!!!  Ali's number of friends have increased yet again!  We welcomed these lovely babes to Ali's circle of friends!

Avery Wong


Madeline Lamont


 and Jacob Joon Santos


5.  Ali's growth and development
Throughout my mat leave, I tried to take Ali out as much as I can - baby time at libraries, baby group, music classes at community centers and meeting up with Ali's baby friends every now and then.  Now that I am back to work, I have slowed down quite a bit in terms of enrolling her in different classes.  Time to pick up the slack a bit, mama bear!

Ali has grown so much.  She is probably one of the tallest kids in her baby class right now.  Ali is a very cautious baby (a nice way of saying she is a little chicken, just like her mommy) and was not very confident with walking by herself.  By 17 months, she can finally walk quite happily without any help.  Her favorite thing to do these days is to walk around and explore her surroundings.  

Ali and the world's largest gingerbread house.

Ali loves to try new foods and have whatever we are having.  Since her daycare has a chef in house, we don't have to worry about packing her food.  One great thing is that she gets to try many different types of foods.  Advantages seem to always lead to disadvantages.  On certain days, they would eat "fun" foods, like hotdogs and cupcakes.  Really??  Is that really that fun??  For a one year old??  Who are you kidding??  Her absolute favourite seems to be dim sum and HK style cafe.  She is so much like her mommy in this regard.



Her best friend is Allison.  Whenever she looks at Allison's picture, she will smile and be really happy.  When they see each other, they will hug and kiss each other!!!  How cute is that?!!  The two are really close in age (just 2 weeks apart) and they see each other a lot throughout my mat leave.  It also helped that we regularly schedule play dates with Allison's parents too!!  Please love and take care of each other, you two!!  


Ali's gross and fine motor skills are developing slowly.  Again, she is a slow learner, but I am sure she will get there eventually.  In terms of language development, she comprehends what we are saying (most of the time), but she is not too willing to speak too much just yet.  A lot of babbling tho.  She knows how to say ~12 words.  Lately, she is yelling a lot and very disgruntled when she doesn't get what she wants.  I hope this is just a phase or maybe she is not feeling well.  We are blessed with our easy going baby, please do not turn into a mad and whiny baby.  Ali also likes to play dress up.  She LOVES putting on shoes, hats, bibs, socks and sunglasses.  But I would have to say her two most favorite things right now are trains and phones.  


6.  Hobbies and new obsessions

Card making has been my obsession for quite some time now, but in the past year, I have taken a few new hobbies - sewing and knitting.  Still at the very beginner stage, but I have made a few dolls and bags for Ali.  In terms of knitting, still a very, very inexperienced newbie (can barely knit and perle!), but I do have to admit I like it quite a bit.  I have never knitted anything other than scarves, but in 2010, I managed to knit mittens (with some help of my coworker!)!!  Woo hoo!!  I have a few other projects in mind, hopefully, they will all work out!!  

I have always, ALWAYS, wanted a cricut (a cool machine that cuts different shapes and sizes) and I finally got one for Christmas!!!  There are so many things that I want to do with my new cricut, but that will have to wait for now.  Korean drama is another thing that (my husband and) I are addicted to right now.  It is so difficult to exercise self-control sometimes!! 

With so much to thank for, we look forward to another exciting and fun year ahead of us!  May the year of 2011 be filled with many happy surprises for everyone!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ali's first kiss and first steps

Finally!  It took forever to load these videos!  

Here is a clip of Ali's first kiss:
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And Ali is finally walking!  Yay!!  Joy to the world!!!  Still wobbly, but she has improved quite a bit in the past two weeks.  
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Dinner at Uncle Gordy's

If you have never tried Costco's frozen unbaked croissant, you are missing out.  Seriously.  It was SOOOOO GOOD.  Okay, it is not Thomas Haas kind of good, but it is pretty darn good when it is fresh out of the oven.    The unfortunate thing is that it comes in a BIG box, like 144 of them.  We do not have that much freezer space.  So if there is anyone that is interested in sharing a box, let me know.


Uncle Gordon prepared this whole meal by himself!!!  Unbelievable!!  I don't know how he can do this on his own.  Good job, Uncle Gordy!!!


After dinner, we cut the little ones loose and they were walking around looking and exploring the house.
Ali playing peekaboo with Aunt Mish:


While Ali wobbles when she walks, Kaley walks with very steady steps!  


The newest addition to Aunt Stephanie's family - JJ!  Jacob is cute as a button!


A picture with the master chef, Uncle Gordy:


Ali passed the wrapping paper back to Aunt Steph...oh wait, I think it is the other way around.  Ali was asking for her wrapping paper back!


Daddy holding on to two adorable little ones - Avery and Ali:


Uncle Dom:  Hey Ali, how is it going?
Ali: Um...do I know you?


Thank you everyone for getting Ali gifts!!  And thank you Gordon and Haelan for hosting!!!  And too bad we missed you Aunt Haelan this time!  We will definitely have to catch up when you guys are back!  Happy Holidays!
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