stockpiling and other good stuffs

Diaper Stockpile

We were running low on our diaper stockpile (down to 3 boxes) but we were able to stock up on Huggies diapers today through our Amazon Prime membership. There was a 30% off coupon, 20% discount through Amazon Family and Subscribe and Save savings off the first delivery that dropped our diaper costs to half. We were able to get the following in size 4 (my friend Victoria was able to score the same ones on her account for SML too):

Diaper costs are so expensive these days that any type of savings is a blessing. The cost per diaper is also less than the chart we usually follow at Southern Savers so it was a no-brainer purchase for us. I am grateful that my friend Mai introduced me to this website. This is a great website for first-time parents because it helps you figure out what is considered a good deal on diapers and how much you need at the beginning per size. I am also super happy that SML didn’t have any allergies to any of the diapers we have purchased.

I think we have a little ways to go before we get rid of diapers entirely. Though SML has been able to tell us after she pees or poos sometimes by complaining or gesturing, we still have not managed to get her to say the words yet. We are trying to teach her hopefully so she will be able to let us know before she needs to go. Until then, we will continue to work with her. We do have a potty purchased just in case she is ready. The goal is to get her to that point before 2 (hopefully).

Other Good Stuffs

In other news, one of our good friends, Lisa, came back from a trip to Japan with her husband and got us mommy and baby clear (see through) umbrellas! It was a such nice surprise to see at the door once I got home from work :)! I love them because I can see exactly where I am going or looking backwards without lifting it aside and possibly get soaked a bit. I can’t wait for when SML is a little bigger and we can use them together.

 

Today we were also able to pick up Little Pim DVDs from another mommy. She didn’t have any luck with them with her daughter but I’m hoping SML will be interested in them and be able to learn Mandarin. Right now, she has been watching shows in Mandarin at her maternal grandparents’ home and has said one phrase correctly to her grandma.

I have also been looking into Mandarin immersion daycare/preschools in the area to send her to once she is a little bit older. We are just waiting until she is old enough to tell us if something is wrong so closer to 2-3 years old at this time is our guess. Until then, SML gets to spend time with grandpa during the week while we work.

While with grandpa, she will also be exposed to both Cantonese and Toisanese (other Chinese dialects) through everyday interaction. I was trying to search for Cantonese learning programs online but have not found a good one yet. Until then, I don’t believe it would hurt for her to learn Mandarin. It will good for her to learn multiple dialects while she is young and can easily absorb everything!

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Happy Baby literally

We scored an amazing deal today on Happy Baby Clearly Crafted pouches at Babies R Us. We were able to pick up 12 pouches for $5.96 using the following deal:

  • 12 pouches for $15 sale at BBRUS
  • 20% BBRUS coupon (printed from BBRUS website)
  • 6 Buy One Get One Free coupons

They normally sell for $1.89/each at BBRUS so it’s quite a steal!

>> So what exactly are Happy Baby Clearly Crafted pouches? <<

They are the newest organic food item that the Happy Family Brands has come out with. We were first introduced to it at a Baby Brunch hosted by Macaroni Kid before it was sold in stores and SML loved them. The pouches are nice because it has the ingredients shown on the back of the pouch (see pic below) and it tells you how much of each ingredient you need if you want to recreate it at home. Not only that, the pouches are see through so you can see exactly what your kid is eating!

This is a great item for the full-time working mommy. Prior to baby, I had plans to make fresh baby food for SML for all her meals but obviously that didn’t work out so well. This new product makes me feel better because I can see and know exactly what she is eating. (No worries here about discolored food in these pouches; one of the major concerns I had previously)

They are also great for traveling! I introduced this brand to a fellow mom on Facebook maybe a month ago and she mentioned that TSA loved them because it was clear and they didn’t have to do as much testing on them. So it’s a definite must bring if you are planning a vacation with your kiddo!

Sousaku Bistro and Home Stuffs

Sousaku Bistro

Today we went to check out Sousaku Bistro, a new restaurant that opened up in Malden in 2015. It is a Japanese tapas restaurant and bar. We really enjoyed all the dishes we ordered:

  1. Gyu Tataki – Yummy and as expected from beef tataki
  2. Sousaku Boky Bun (4 orders) – Great sauce. It had the perfect amount of meat, veggie (to make you feel good) and sauce for each and every bite
  3. Foie Gras Risotto
  4. Curry Tatsuta Don
  5. Matsusaka Pork (Pork Toro) Yakitori (4 orders) – Simply amazing. Juicy and fatty, just the way I like it!
  6. Tartar Trio – the raw fish was really fresh

Baby SML didn’t really like the texture of the bun but liked the risotto (she didn’t try the foie gras part though) and the rice with a hint of curry (we did not want to give her too much salty foods) since she is still very young. We also have not started her on any “raw” foods and do not feel ready to do so yet.

Overall, we really enjoyed the food here but we might try to bring some snacks or other food items for SML next time so she has more choices of food. We highly recommend this restaurant and would order all the plates again next time we go.

Home Stuffs

After we stuffed ourselves, we had to get down to business. Landscaping has been a major item on our to-do list for a while now but due to the birth of baby SML and my crazy work schedule, it has been kicked to the back burner. Since SML is a bit bigger now, we hope to get our yard fixed up soon so she can enjoy time outside with us and her grandma.

For the yard work, we are hoping to have a fence built around our property and have the grounds dug up before adding new soil and leveling the grounds off to create a safe play and gardening space.

Today’s focus was on fencing. Unfortunately, we are not very handy people so we called a local fence company to come by to get a quote. We also went by Home Depot to set up a call in the next few days for a quote as well. Hopefully, the fence prices will be reasonable. We might need to shop around some more and get quotes from several more places in the upcoming weeks before deciding which company to use. For the fencing, we are thinking vinyl is the way to go so it’ll be easy maintenance on our end and will last for years to come.

Yard safety is a major concern for us for several reasons.

  1. Strangers – SML is too young to know who is a good or bad person. Though she is very shy at the beginning, she easily warms up, trusts and wants to play with everyone so we want to make sure to protect her as much as we can from strangers.
  2. Cars – Our street can be quite busy with cars in the morning and afternoon hours when people are going to work or coming home. We would not want her to accidentally run out into the streets if she sees cars driving by. We also do not want her to chase squirrels or bunnies that she sees running across. (She tried following the squirrel when we went walking the other day)
  3. If she is anything like me as a child, she might be an adventurous toddler and decide to go “shopping” on her own. My younger cousin and I did this when we were toddlers. We crossed a major intersection and almost made it to the train station. We were able to get out of the house on our own and through the yard because it was not gated. We definitely do not want this to happen with SML so we hope to get this done before she is able to reach the knobs to our doors (she already knows how to lock the front door if she is eye level to it).

car rides, walks and random silliness

4.18.16-4.19.16

We are taking a mini vacation from the “real world” to spend time with our little one this week. Instead of traveling to some exotic country and staying at a nice hotel, we are just taking it easy and doing things at home and around town by taking car rides and walks with our daughter.

We usually like to sleep in but it does not always work out if baby SML decides she wants to skip her morning nap. When that happens, mommy has to find ways to improvise! Instead of just playing with toys at home, I decided to take a walk with SML yesterday so daddy can sleep in. We did pretty well on our first walk out with her holding onto my hand. Unfortunately, I might have overestimated how much energy SML had to burn because I ended up having to carry her to the new cafe I wanted to check out on the fly: Cha Shu Coffee and Bubble Tea, which just opened up in August 2015. We ordered black tea milk tea with bubbles (for daddy), lychee smoothie (for mommy) and egg puffs. I definitely fell in love as soon as I found out they have egg puffs aka gai daan jai. The only times I’ve had them was in Boston Chinatown or Hong Kong. I definitely ended up going back one other time later in the day yesterday and this afternoon just for these puffs! If you have not this, it is a MUST try. They are simply amazing. Here is a link of what it looks like: http://dessertfirstgirl.com/2011/05/hong-kong-eggettes-daan-jai-for-mothers-day.html

Once daddy was awake, we took a car ride to check out Charles Ro, America’s largest train store. This place was simply amazing. They had so many different trains available! They also sell train tracks, buildings, people, scenery pieces (trees, etc), tanks, etc so you can build your own town, city, etc. They even stock up on Thomas the Tank engine toys for the little ones who are too young to play with the more expensive stuff. One of the employees there was nice enough to set up one of the trains to show SML how it worked. Though she is too young to fully appreciate this, he filled up the smoke on the trains so that she could see it puff when it was in motion. It was definitely amazing and she liked it alot. We plan on going back again one of these days to check out the operating layout (only open on Saturdays) they run on the 2nd floor.

Yesterday, we also checked out RC Cars of Boston. They sell miniature race cars and boats. They have parts that you can buy to customize your ride. They even have another room that had work spaces where you can work on your car for $5/hr or $15/full day which includes track time. There is a nice indoor track available that you can test out your cars and make adjustments in your numbered work space as needed. The cheapest car that you can buy to try out was about $100, which isn’t bad at all.

After these two places, we ended up having a late lunch at Yong Yong Restaurant. Instead of just ordering random dishes, we decided to do the all you can eat hot pot and sushi meal. SML slept through our lunch for the most part but she ended up waking up towards the end. She got to try out taro for the second time in the past week and ended up liking it this time; she was not a fan when grandpa tried to feed her it last time. She also ended up making friends with two little boys who were there with their family though she was super shy at the very beginning. The mom and I ended up exchanging numbers in the hopes that we might end up setting up play dates for the kids in the near future. It will be nice for baby SML to make friends who can speak/understand Chinese as well.

Today, we had a short visit from grandma before taking a walk around town. Instead of having SML walk today, I decided to wear her around town while her daddy pushed her stroller. I decided to back wear her using the Ergobaby baby carrier so she can look around until she passed out for her afternoon nap. We ended up going down Pleasant Street in Malden and found a new restaurant, Ming’s Seafood Restaurant. We were pretty excited to find a new dim sum restaurant has opened up in downtown Malden. Since we got there at the end of their dim sum service, we only got to try out the har gow (shrimp dumpling), shumai (shrimp/pork dumpling), ngo ba yip (beef tripe) and feng jiao (chicken feet). They were all pretty standard dim sum fare and tasted exactly how we expected. We also ordered beef teriyaki, beef udon and shrimp with caramelized walnut and mayo. The beef teriyaki and shrimp were pretty good. The shrimp had just the right amount of mayo. We probably would not order the beef udon again though but SML did like the udon noodles. The dish itself was exactly what the name on the menu suggested but we were expecting a bit more. Overall though, we would go with our extended family next time since we liked most of the food served. The employees there were super accommodating and nice.

After lunch, we ended up checking out the Malden Public Library. We went to the Children’s Room where we learned there are vids available that we can borrow for SML to learn Mandarin (unfortunately, no Cantonese). However, there is a small play area for the kids with a ton of puzzles, a puppet theatre stand, an activity cube and a dollhouse. The librarian also had a couple lists for us to take home on what are good books for us to start SML on. We spent a tiny bit of time there before we headed home. We hope to come again when they have story time on the weekends just to see how SML would enjoy it.

On our way home, we took a small detour to Cha Shu for more egg puffs and drinks. While we were enjoying these things at home, SML decided it was time to be silly! She went through her boxes (which we take to grandma/grandpa’s every week) and pulled out her shoe collection. She “put on” her snow boots and started walking around the house and decided she needed to put on her hat backwards and/or sideways. At one point, she had her hat on, one of her gloves partially on one hand and her new bracelet on her other wrist while she paraded around the living room. It was very silly but she had a great time. SML definitely loves trying to be independent and dressing up! It’s amazing how little it takes sometimes to make her day. I hope she never grows out of this silliness 🙂

17 month bday: melrose common playground

for baby SML’s 17 month bday on 4/17/16, we checked out the melrose common playground based on the advice of a local moms group on facebook. parking was easy — there were free spots right next to the playground.

from our experience, there are definite pluses to this playground:

  1. signs advising parents which age group the equipment is good for (similar to playgrounds i’ve seen only in Chicago)
  2. two playsets with its own swing set
    • the older kids side has a birds nest swing – this is pretty cool because then SML and her daddy can lie down and swing together. unfortunately SML was not impressed and much preferred the baby swings in the little kids side. SML liked going down the slides with mommy too.
  3. seesaws, spring toys and these cups that kids can sit and spin in circles in? not sure what they are called
  4. rock climbing structure
  5. two playhouses and a play kitchen
  6. huge track area with lots of ride-on toys such as cozy coupes, push cars, etc

SML’s favorite was the cozy coupe. she enjoyed being pushed around the track and started a new trend: pushing the coupes around. all the older kids thought it was fun so did it too (see last pic of kids in the background)

overall, we really enjoyed this playground and approve! it is very clean and safe — there is a gate and fence to make sure the kids stay in the play area. we love that it was not very crowded. we hope to come back in the future with her play date buddies!

taj & bpl day

4.16.16

Afternoon Tea Time at the French Room at Taj Boston

Baby SML and I ventured out into the city today — this marks our first trip without daddy or another family member. We met up with my friends from uni and one of the kids (CC) at the Taj for afternoon tea. This was the first time all of us have been in the same room since SML’s birth. It was good being able to catch up with everyone.

Tea time at the Taj was really relaxing and the staff was very accommodating. While we were there, soft live guitar music played in the background. SML enjoyed the music and would rock herself in her seat on the couch at random times. For the meal, I ordered the Taj tea which came with mini sandwiches, pastries and one of the teas. Though filling, I was expecting a bit more in terms of taste considering the high cost of the set.

SML does not appear to be a fan of tea sandwiches though. She tried a few mini bites of the egg salad and pb&j sandwich (from CC’s children’s set). Unfortunately, she did not want more than that. It does not appear she is a fan of jelly (though she likes peanut butter) and not a fan of egg salad though she likes eggs on its own. I am relieved I brought some strawberries I cut up this morning and packed in her new take and toss bowl. She was able to enjoy that while I ate and chatted with the others.

First trip to Children’s Room at Boston Public Library

After tea ended, we went on a short stroll down Newbury Street with the girls before ending up at the Children’s Room. The library is currently undergoing renovations. The update to the Children’s Room is pretty amazing. There are mini colorful reading areas, a few containers of toys (puppets, etc), a sensory wall, a distorting (or carnival) mirror and a mini tunnel for the little ones to walk under (similar to what they have at IKEA). The books are also at eye level so SML was able to take books off the shelves and flip through them on her own. She was also able to practice going up and down the steps to the small reading areas.

Whomever designed this room did a great job as it is all very little kid friendly. SML had so much fun with CC at the library that she fell asleep shortly after we left to head home from the library. All in all, we did pretty well without daddy today! Hopefully we will have more mommy & daughter time in the future.

art break and steps

we recently purchased the crayola washable watercolors set for $3.97 on amazon to bring a pop of color into our baby’s life. we have done a few pics since with her, always stopping once she gets tired of it.

today, for the first time, i had baby SML pick most of her own colors. she did a really good job.

her completed art work:

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we are really happy with this purchase because it is easy to clean up if she gets it on her hands, clothes or the floor (though we need to get her a small work table soon). it has taught her a little bit more patience – she waits for us to clean the brush, add color to it, she paints and then gives the brush back to us for more colors. if she is dirty, she will listen to us to hold on while we get paper with a bit of water to clean her up. the only thing we need to work on is making sure she paints only on the paper.

lately, baby SML has been working on going down the steps of our home. instead of scooting her bum slowly down the steps, she wants to take big steps down. she has been holding onto me as she does this because she is scared she will fall. she loves going down but gets bored sometimes with going up (which she is pretty good at already). i think as she gets bigger and more confident, she will be able to do this on her own. for now, we will be her “railing” since she is too short to grab a hold of it at 16 months.