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Showing posts from June, 2011

Children's Museum of Houston with twins

Being a working mom, I find that I barely spend 3 hours of awake time with the girls on weekdays. When the weekends came along, I found myself trying to shop and do stuff and in the process, not spend as much time as I want to with Sugar and Spice. So two weeks ago, I made myself a promise that regardless of what was on my agenda, every Saturday would be spent with the girls. This did two things for me. Made me plan and consolidate my trips with easy twin mobility in mind and I also look for venues that will provide a stimulating change for the girls.
Our first trip together was to Costco and we had a fun ride in the double carts. For the second week's Saturday and in the hope that I can groom children with more appreciation for the cultural things in life, we took a family trip to the Children's Museum of Houston. They are very proud of their ranking as the number 1 children's museum in the US and I was very curious to see if they'd live up to their billing.
They did. …

Self-Feeding Part Deux

Earlier in the month, I posted about Sugar and half an orange here. I concluded the post with a speculation about mesh feeders. Well, speculation time is over. After that post, I did a little research and settled on the sassy mesh feeder but never got around to using it until yesterday.

Home alone with the girls (too sick to go to daycare) and not in the mood to defrost food cubes and not sure the girls will have an appetite for solids anyway... light bulb moment!

Frozen bananas + mesh feeders + babies = happy home

The girls lurved it. They took their time inspecting the feeder for the first few minutes and then tasted the contents and it was all hums and drool for the next 30 minutes. Their first self-feeding experience was a mother's pleasure to watch (and pain to clean up). So now, I'm researching other foods that do well in a mesh feeder. Self-feeding part deux - Pass!

Book Review - First Meals

First Meals by Annabel Karmel
If there is any such thing as the Donna of Baby Food, Ms Annabel Karmel would be a strong contender for the title. According to her Amazon author profile, she has written 16 books and sold over 3 million copies all on the topic of feeding children. I first heard about her from my sister and own a copy of her Top 100 Baby Purees which I referred to extensively on my first attempt at making baby food. When I saw this book in the library, I was quite excited and checked it out.
In this book, Ms Karmel covers a broad range of topics including Pantry items that would ease the baby food making processEquipment for preparing the foodsPreparation, freezing and reheating techniquesRecipes for ages 4 month to 5 yearsInternational tastes andMeal planner What I loved most about this book are the photos and the descriptive choice of words. It really  takes the guesswork out of the process. Ms Karmel got my attention with her take on the necessity (or not) of using organic…

First Squabbles

It's official, the girls definitely know about each other. They've been smiling at each other for months now but we've now had our first episodes of sibling squabbles to confirm their awareness of each other. 

First one of course had to do with a toy. There were 15 toys on the playmat, but they both decided they wanted the oball rattle. They can't crawl, they can't talk, but that did not stop the two duelling parties for sticking tiny fingers into the oball and pulling back and forth with legs frantically kicking amidst teeny tiny whines and grunts. Sugar won the tussle and Spice cried. I swear I bought two of those balls but I cannot for the life of me find the second one.

It happened again this morning. I had both babies on the bed while getting ready for the day. Spice got fussy so I gave her a paci. Would you know it, Sugar reaches over, removes the paci from Spice's mouth and sticks it into her own mouth without so much as a please and thank you. This leaves…

Baby Menu Planners

Now that I'm making my own baby food, it's time to start planning the girls' menu a couple of weeks in advance. This will help me know what to include on my shopping list. 

A few handy online resources for baby menu planning that I've used are

Babyfood101 - There's a free email subscription for a baby food course, a searchable database, grocery guides etc. I really like them

Cuisinart's baby menu planner - I didn't expect cuisinart to have a menu planner but somehow they do. For this, you select the baby's feeding stage and they generate a menu with food options for you. You still get to choose within the food options generated. This also gives you an option for generating a recipe for selected meals. Major Like

Gerber menu planner - I daresay I don't like Gerber for anything. I had a bad experience with their clothing and I'm not a fan of their baby food. The menu planner is no exception. It's all nice and shiny but it seems to me that a baby w…

Bad Mommy Moments

Bad mommy moments?! I know what you're thinking. "You've only been on the job seven months; how many baddies could you have committed?" Well honey, pull up a chair and let me take you back to the hospital where it all started Two days after having my beautiful babies, it was time to take them home. After reading all the blogs etc, I was prepared with two sets of clothes for each baby; one premmie size and one newborn size. Well, I couldn't get the premmie sizes past their thigh so they wore the newborn sizes. 30 seconds into her going home outfit, Sugar had her first bowel movement and it was an illustrious one. First bad mommy moment: taking baby home in a tee shirt, a diaper and two blankets. Disgraceful!Once we were home, I was careful to keep all the girls things separate so we didn't have any exchange of germs. It was all good until the time when Spice was screaming for more milk after finishing her bottle and there was Sugar with a good one ounce of milk…

Book Review: How to Raise An Amazing Child

How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way
I mentioned previously that our daycare has a library of books for kids as well as parents so last week I checked this book out. Why? The set up of the infant room and my daycare's policies (based on the Montessori educational system) have engaged my curiosity. I believe that I see an impact on the way my girls are developing and I'm definitely interested in implementing some Montessori concepts at home.

The book itself is easy to read with lots of pictures. It does go up to the teen years but I limited myself to the chapters on infants and toddlers. It includes ideas on activities and materials that stimulate a child's sensory development. 
The two main ideas that I'm taking away to implement from this book are Natural materials - The Montessori way encourages the use of natural materials. I am very open to that. I was looking for some musical toys for the girls over the weekend so I went to Babies R Us. I found myself fee…

Children's Clothes Semi-Annual Sale

I'm not just a mom to twins, I'm a mom to twin girls so clothes shopping comes with the territory. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that I have a $10 golden rule when it comes to clothes - I do not buy anything over $10. Most times I don't even exceed $5.

Semi-annual sales are really good for stocking up on basics and buying clothes ahead. I try not to buy more than 18 months ahead so right now, I'm buying clothes for 12-18 months and 18-24 months (plus some 2Ts). Here's the lowdown on children's clothes semi annual sale:

Gymboree Red Balloon sale in December/January and June: This is going on right now. I used to think their stuff was expensive, but my sister convinced me that I was wrong. They have some awesome deals on off-season items. So if you live in a place with 4 distinct seasons, this is a good time to stock up on long-sleeve items or warmer clothes. Shopping tip: If you go on a less busy day, you can ask the store mana…

Seven Months Old

It's that time of the month - here are our 7th month stats

SpIce aka Twin A Weight             17lbs 2oz  Dress size        6 - 9 months
Diaper size       Size 3 
Sugar aka Twin B Weight             16lbs 2oz
Dress size        6 - 9 months
Diaper size       Size 3

Feeding schedule is now taking adult form. Early morning bottle is still 530. Breakfast is around 4oz of a cereal plus fruit combination. Lunch is a 70z bottle of formula followed by 2oz of fruit and veggies around 1130. Afternoon snack is a 7oz bottle at 330 PM and dinner is 8oz bottle plus 1oz veggies at 600pm. This month, the girls got a taste of green beans, blueberries, apricots, beets, broccoli, carrots and barley cereal. Next up is the introduction of proteins - chicken and yoghurt at least.

Top Gear - My fave 5
Orthodontic pacifiers that glow in the dark - I get up between 3 - 8 times every night to play pacifier fetcher. This glow in the dark paci cuts out at least 5 seconds of me fumbling blindly around the crib …

Are All Infant Formulas The Same?

Switching to store brand formula Part 1

Switching to store brand formula is a cost cutting move that I'm considering; but before I do that I have to answer the question "Are all infant formulas the same?"

That's a loaded question. The brand names will want you to think no, and the generic manufacturers will want you to think yes. So what's the right answer? Stick around, this is going to be a long one

Let's start from the beginning. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed the Infant Formula Act into law. The crux of this law is that it stipulates nutritional standards for all non-exempt formulas being sold in the US. Formulas for special nutritional needs are exempt from compliance with the nutritional guidelines which are set by the Health and Human Services Department. Exempt formulas are those for any baby "who has an inborn error of metabolism or low birth weight or who otherwise has an unusual medical or dietary problem". The guidelines are really…

Reducing Grocery Bill With Twin Babies

Reducing Grocery Bill with Twin Babies - Part 1

At almost seven months old, the monthly addition to my grocery bill for the twins comes from feeding and diapering. To reduce my grocery bill, these are the steps I'm taking to revisit the cost of food and diapers.

Currently each baby is taking 28oz of Enfamil formula daily. That's 1680oz per month which comes to around $200. The freebies are beginning to dwindle so what are the options for cutting costs on formula?
*   Breastfeeding - puhleeez! It's a little too late for that
*   Switch to store brands; that will cut the cost to $100 per month if I go with the Costco or Target brand. (More of that on my Wednesday post)
*   Grin and bear it

Baby food
The girls are taking a total of 10 ounces of pureed baby food daily and that amount should be keep increasing as they grow. The smartest cost saving option is of course making the food myself (More of that on tomorrow's post)

Since turning 3 months old, the girls' d…

Ranking Baby Food

No I didn't do another baby food taste test. I stumbled on this link on Saturday and thought to share it. It's a website that has rankings of baby foods and cereals. It sorta confirms what I suspected - no brand gets it right all the time. Different brands get different things right.

Healthy Start, Grow Smart Series

I stumbled on this link on the US Department of Education website. It's a series of booklets with information on infant growth and development. Each booklet covers a month and includes sections on baby's health, home safety, games to play with baby and family dynamics as related to a new baby in the home.

This is an initiative from former first lady Laura Bush and a great free resource for all caregivers.

(Politically Correct) Nursery Rhymes

As I was giving the kids their bath yesterday, I sang "goosy goosy gander" lustily until I got to the geriatricide part - you know the part where the old man who couldn't say his prayers got thrown down the stairs. This is the latest on a growing list of  nursery rhymes that I've had to stop singing abruptly when the words dawn on me.

Like "sing a song of six pence" that includes animal cruelty (birds baked in a pie) and ends with class warfare (the queen was eating bread and honey while the maid loses a nose)

Then there's Jack and Jill. Were they husband and wife, brother and sister, BFFs? Regardless of their relationship, they started out the day doing chores and ended up with head injuries

Let's not forget the three blind mice and the violent farmer's wife. Actually in retrospect, I guess we can say the farmer's wife acted in self defense

Even "row row row your boat"; while not violent ends with "Life is but a dream". No i…

Treating Cradle Cap in Babies

My twins had cradle cap from when they were 2 months old till they turned 6 months. I tried a lot of different cradle cap treatments in those 4 months. Some were successful in reducing the cradle cap and some were not. The picture below shows you my arsenal and I'll tell you more about each treatment option. 

This is how it all started. When the twins were around 7 weeks old, I noticed some scales on their scalps. Here's everything I've used to treat my babies' cradle cap:
Circle of Friends Han's Shampoo: We're still using this because it smells like blueberries.Bella B Bee Gone Shampoo: Didn't really workAveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream: I used this when it looked like the cradle cap was spreading to daughter's face and it worked. This is a good choice for if the cradle cap spreads beyond the scalp onto the baby's face. It's fairly expensive in stores so I usually buy it online. The link above will take you to the retailer's webs…

Things to do with Baby's First Shoes

Since I had a post about dealing with baby's old clothes, I might as well talk about the shoes. I shake my head when I think of the fact that my babies actually have shoes. If I was a 100% rational human being, my girls will not have shoes till they can walk. I however seem to have these things call emotions and hormones and my babies have a box full of old and new shoes.
Most of the shoes have been worn once and by once I mean one time. I totally understand the need to buy shoes that babies will wear only once and in the same vein I understand the need to memorialise dem shoes. So here are the options I considered for keeping my babies' first shoes Bronzing: That's like "everybody does it" right?! It's the conventional option but the price tag does not appeal to me. Christmas Ornaments: The shoes are small enough to hang on a Christmas tree. A plus is that the kids will be tickled pink see their first shoes on the tree as they grow olderWindshield hanging dec…

Our New Feeding Milestone

Over the weekend, we experienced an unexpected milestone. While mommy's back was turned, daddy gave Sugah a taste of half an orange. I turned round and screeched said "No, she's not supposed to have thatbefore she's 12 months old". Daddy took the orange away and my sweet little girl went ballistic. She threw her head back, arched her back and kicked and screamed and focused red laser beam eyes on the much-desired half orange which was now out of reach. If only her hands were longer than 8 inches! If only she could crawl! She'd have shown us!!!

Anyway, after calming said offended child and as I settled in for the night, it hit me (My genius moments are usually just before bedtime or in the shower). These kids may just be ready for some form of self-feeding. I know they are now quite skill in removing, twirling and reinserting their pacifiers (except at night when mommy gets to be the pacifier fairy). I don't think they're ready for finger foods just yet…