Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fun Simple Activities for Toddlers at Home

I'm all for keeping my kid entertained in simple yet intriguing ways that allow him to explore textures and the world around him.  Here's a few ideas of what goes on in my house

First thing though as a side note that I'd like to address is that I believe in having my babe actively participate in everything he can through out the day.  He helps me do everything from smoothie making, to baking, washing the car, watering the grass, checking the mail, feeding the animals, etc.  Its also really great to explain what you're doing as you do it, they catch on really quickly.

Also, none of this includes making use of the actual toys he does have and love such as his toy car and bike he rides down hills or blocks he uses to build.

We also try to leave the house every single day, whether it be a walk to the park or a trip to hang around Costcos.  Its pretty vital to both of our health and happiness to not be constantly cooped up in the house.

Homemade Play Dough
This ones easier than you think, I did it without cream of tartar because I didn't have any on me.

Basically I took four bowls (for four colors) into each bowl went 1/4 cup water, 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil, food coloring.  In a separate bowl went 3 cups of flour and 1 1/2 cups of table salt mixed together.  Take the dry ingredient mix and put a cup into each of the four bowls, mix well and knead into dough.  Simple.

Its also fun to have babe help you make it, Ezykiel enjoys measuring out ingredients.





Finger Painting

all you need is some vanilla yogurt and (one drop) food coloring.  its a great alternative to using real water colors and such because your babe can eat it without any worries.




Sprinkler Fun

Honestly, I rarely ever end up putting up the actual sprinkler, mostly Ezykiel just loves to run through it while watering the grass.  Most of the time he will water the grass himself or spray the hose to rinse the car.




Baby Pool with a Water Slide

I bought a baby pool for $4 on clearance at Walmart and it was by far the best investment ever.  My child plays in it every day five times a day.  We also got a small slide off of craigslist for a few bucks.  We simply just move the pool under the slide and it makes a crazy fun experience for my babe.



Also, if you don't have a baby pool, a large cooler also works fine :)



Box Fun

One thing I've learned is that toddlers are not difficult to entertain at all.  One of Ezykiel's favorite games is to simply stand on a card box while you move it quickly from under him and catch him.  He also enjoys jumping from the box.  I kid you not this will keep him entertained for a good hour.

I only have videos of this, i'll take pics and upload at a later date.



Smoothie Making

I believe in having my babe participate actively with anything he can.  When we make smoothies, he's the one that puts everything in (with mamas help of course) and he presses the buttons to make it blend.  He actually gets really upset if he doesn't get to help.  He also tends to eat the fruit as I prep.








Feed the Turtle (or any animal really)

Ezykiel actually helps to feed all the animals, we have two dogs, one cat and a turtle...well tortoise to be accurate.  Ezykiel's favorite animal to feed is obviously the turtle. Every morning the very first thing he does is go into the back yard, pick the red hibiscus from the bush (turtles fave,) runs it over to the turtles corner of the yard and throws them in his enclosure.



Spray Bottle Play

This one I got from another lovely mama but all I did was fill a couple of empty spray bottles with water and we had a water fight! Lots of fun and it helps babe further develop motor skills to be able to spray it at a target (you.)



Treasure Hunt

I actually didn't come up with this one either. For some reason there were a bunch of bottle caps in the dirt patch in our yard and Ezykiel discovered on his own how to dig them out.  He quickly mastered using his little hand shovel and when he's able to get them all out, I put them back for him to play again the next day.



Stickers

Ezykiel has been going through a sticker phase and loves everything about them.  He particularly likes to stick the stickers on his stomach and face.  Stickers entertain him for at least a good half hour.





Cha-Ching

We use an old wipes container and fill it with old gift cards.  Ezykiel really loves to dump them out and stick them back in through the slot.  I play store with him with this and when he puts one in all the way he says cha-ching!  (other good ideas to fill the container with is really anything with textures, old fabrics, velcro, the possibilities are endless!)




Futon Fortress

We have tons of fun playing around in the futon.  Whether he's falling all over it or crawling through it, this is another one where the possiblities are endless.

Also only have videos of this, will take pictures and upload at a later date.

Car Wash

My child loves to help wash the car.  Everything about it from scrubbing to rinsing and even drying, he's there every step of the way.




Recycling

Like I said earlier, I prefer to have Ezykiel always involved in everyday activities.  My grandfather (Ezykiel's great-grandfather) is usually the one to do the recycling in the house.  Ezykiel helps by sorting the glass and cans into separate buckets and smashing the cans to donate.




Mail Time

Our mailbox isn't located on our driveway but rather two streets over since we live in an association.  Ezykiel holds the keys the entire way and now knows how to stick the key in and turn it to get the mail out.  Very very helpful little babe.






Magnets and Tupperware

Both are my saving grace while I try to cook.  I ordered a few magnets that had pictures from instagram on them.  He loves to take them off and put them back on and see whose pictures he's playing with.  Also our tupperware is on the ground level shelves and free game for him, its not latched with baby locks.  He can take them out as he pleases.  Currently he likes to put small objects (such as ice) in cups and shake them around.


Arts and Crafts

Which usually for us means coloring on paper with pens and crayons.  He's finally old enough to enjoy scribbling without having the desire to eat the pens.




Cleaning

This may just be a my kid thing but he loves to help sweep, vaccum or anything of the sort.





Friday, July 11, 2014

Hawaiian Food Recipes

For all you mainland peeps who want to try out something different or all the locals away from home who are feeling nostalgic. :)

Lomi Salmon
2 Tomatoes
1 Onion
1 Bunch of Green Onions
1/4 lb of Fresh Salmon

Dice everything up into cubes and toss in a bowl. Serve as is or with Poi.

Poi
2 lbs of Kalo/Taro
water

Prepare the Kalo by steaming as you would a Potato.  Pound or mash in a bowl slowly adding water about a Tbsp at a time till you reach desired consistency.

Laulau
3 pounds of Kalo Leaves
a bunch of Ti Leaves
3 pounds of whatever you'd prefer (pork butt, butterfish, okinawian sweet potato, chicken thighs)
Kitchen String
Hawaiian Salt

Salt your meat, devain your leaves.
Lay two ti leaves down in an "x" shape, place maybe 2 kalo leaves on top of ti leaves.
Place meat on top of kalo leaves and fold into a ball, tie up with ti leaves.
Either tie the ti leaves with string or if its long enough you can tie off with the leaves themselves.

Either steam for a couple of hours or throw it in the imu

Reading that ^ was confusing even to me. I'm guessing your best off watching a video on how to do it.

(generally speaking laulau is time consuming to prepare and freezes well so if people take the time to make it, its almost always made in bulk.)

Squid Luau
2 lbs of Tako
3 lbs Kalo (Taro/Luau) Leaves
1 tsp Hawaiian Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
6 tbsp Butter
2 Onions
1 tbsp Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Salt
2 cans of Coconut Milk

Clean out Tako, Boil on high covered for an hour. Remove from pot and dice.
Wash and Devain Kalo leaves. boil 3 cups of water with the hawaiian salt and baking soda. add leaves, lower heat and simmer partially covered for an hour.
Drain leaves.
Saute Onions and Tako in the butter 8 minutes, add coconut milk, luau leaves, salt and sugar than simmer for 30 min.

(Best if its allowed to sit over night)

Kulolo
3 cups Kalo grated
1 cup Coconut grated
1 cups Coconut Water
1 cup Coconut Milk
3/4 cup Brown Sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Mix all ingredients and add to a foil lined pan.
Cover with foil and bake for two hours.
In the last half hour remove foil from the top

Oh and if I can get the recipes from family, I'll do another post on Patele's and Gandule Rice. I'll also add Chicken Long Rice when I get my mama's Recipe


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Post Partum Bodies and Loving Yourself




I know a whole lot of women struggle with their post partum bodies and I'm here simply to share my story.

When I got pregnant, I gained a whole lot of baby weight. 55 pounds to be exact which looks crazy on a five foot frame.  Anyway I thought that I would be really scared of what I'd look like after Ezykiel came out.

Low and behold I do have a ton of stretch marks and due to the lack of sit ups and such my tummy is indeed a bit "soft."  All of which though I'm fine with.  I thought i'd miss my body before and hate my "after" body.  I looked into a whole lot of support from other women and came across projects such as the 4th trimester bodies project and birth without fear.  All of which center around the idea of loving yourself and acknowledging the fact that your body created life. How incredible is that?

I know media portrays celebrities and such in a way that makes them appear to be a size zero two weeks after having their babies but in reality your body takes a bit longer than that to snap back into shape.

First off, your uterus has to shrink back to size.  That tiny little organ stretched to fit a fully formed baby and needs time to go back down to its average size (smaller than your fist.)  Second, it took your body nine to ten months to change in order to have the baby, so give your body at least that long to readjust back to normal.  I still looked pregnant for the first two months after Ezykiel was born.

I honestly to this day, I still don't work out (I know its terrible of me) but I actually live a pretty active lifestyle.  Breastfeeding helps the weight melt off easily.  Matter of fact I have to monitor how much I eat to keep the weight on (who would've thought right?)  Work outs should be introduced slowly and not until after the eight week period after birth.  Diets are a no-no especially for breastfeeding mamas.  Healthy habits on the other hand are great to adopt. Here are some things that I do that just so happen helped lose the baby weight.

1.  Walk anywhere within distance.  I live in Kaneohe so everywhere and anywhere in Kaneohe I walk as long as the weather permits and I do it everyday with Ezykiel.  For those of you not from Hawaii that's anywhere within a six mile area.  Most often we do two walks, one long one during the day and one shorter one with Alex when he gets home.

2.  I meet up for coffee regularly with my aunty and cousin.  Also note here that I only drink decaf.  I had given up coffee during my pregnancy which was terribly difficult for me.  I figured since I had already broken the bad habit, I minus not get back into it.  We walk laps around the mall regularly just to chit chat and so that the babies can people watch and play.

3.  Baby wearing, oh man I used to wear Ezykiel 100% of the time.  Now that he can sit up on his own I use an umbrella stroller because they're small and easy to lug around.  Although I do stroll him, I still wear him 85% of the time.  Oh and he's 20 pounds so he's not terribly light any more.

4.  Water.  I never really cared for soda or juice anyway but I drink a crack ton of water.  Sometimes I do drink Gatorade rain berry or lemon lime.

5.  Diet.  I don't believe in diets first off.  In other words I don't think diets work.  What really needs to be done are some healthy lifestyle changes.  I was never big on breakfast but I do make sure that I eat all of my meals everyday.  I do usually snack in between because breastfeeding pretty much means you're starving all the time.

Typical days food would go like this:
In fact, this is today's food list.

Breakfast:
Cup of black tea with honey and milk
Two packets of Oatmeal
Yogurt

Snack:
Golden Apple
A Power Bar of some sort (I make my own here, if anyones really interested I can post recipes for energy bars)

Lunch:
Huli Huli Chicken Salad with Ginger Sesame Dressing
Bowl of Soup
Water

Snack:
Apple Sauce or Pear Sauce (I also make this in bulk because its Ezykiels favorite)
Tuna Wrap
Water

Dinner:
Steak with broccoli
Salad with strawberry pomegranate dressing and croutons
Water

Snack:
Ice cream (I eat a ton of ice cream, ridiculous amounts)

6. Get some sleep.  Ezykiel has slept through the night since he was three months so I've been fortunate enough to get at least eight hours from the beginning but a lot of that has to do with cosleeping.  To this day we cosleep and he usually sleeps from seven to seven.  Some days I do take naps with him as well.

7.  Love yourself. I don't know what to say about this one other than its self explanatory.

8.  Go outside.  My husband and I have always been quite active and we share a love for the outdoors.  We take Ezykiel literally everywhere.  We don't hike or go to the beach as much as we used to but we still go.  Its not unusual for us to take Ezykiel on a six mile hike and carry him the entire way.  We get out of the house and into nature at least once a week.  Sundays are typically "our" day that the three of us spend together outside somewhere.



38 weeks pregnant/9 months post partum

There is always room for improvement when it comes to yourself, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Physically though I'd like to work on my arms.  I think I have arm fat and I've always wanted to have a "toned" back and arms.  I'd also like to get into yoga.

Oh and as a last note, the one thing I wish someone would've told me is that your body is forever changed. I know it sounds self explanatory but I had thought that when I got back down to my pre-pregnancy weight, I'd fit the same clothes and such.  However my body shape is different. My hips are wider, butt smaller and the same styles don't look quite flattering anymore.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sling-a-ling Sakura Bloom

Oh what? Another post already?! Whoa whats going on?!

Well since I haven't had a phone, I haven't really been on instagram and I have found myself doing more blog posts than usual.

This one isn't really about baby wearing in general; its more so for the people that I've already convinced to try it out and some simple suggestions and how to's for the sakura bloom ring slings...


1.  In general, the higher the carry the better.  The lowest point of your baby's butt should always be at or above your belly button.  You should be able to kiss the top of your baby's head easily at all times.Notice Ezykiel is easy to kiss.





2.  Baby's butt should always be the lowest point of the carry with the knees in a deep squat.  Notice how the bottom of his butt is always lower than his knees.






3.  If you don't have the sling on correctly, it'll eventually hurt your shoulder and your back.  Its best to switch shoulders from time to time so you can get used to wearing on both sides.  I'm guilty of going to my right shoulder all the time because its more comfortable but I do try to make a conscious effort to wear him on my left from time to time.

4.  Make sure the fabric is spread out in the back and not bunched up.  Also be sure to make sure that the fabric on your shoulder is spread out and fans the entire cuff of your shoulder so that the weight is evenly distributed.  Notice how the fabric is spread across the entire back/shoulder and has no bunching.





5. This is the kangaroo carry also known as the buddha carry.  Anyway this one garnered a whole lot of attention when I would wear him like this.  I only have a couple of picture of me carrying him this way because I only did it for a short amount of time.  After some extra research I found out that front facing carries, such as this one are not good for baby's spine and since they are facing outwards, they are likely to get overstimulated.  In a front facing carry, they are unable to hide their faces or turn away which can lead to an upset baby. All in all carrying baby towards you is best so that they can check things out and turn away at their own comfort.  If you do choose to try out this carry, same rules apply.  Notice that Ezykiel is above my naval, close enough to kiss and the fabric is spread out evenly.






6.  Side carry, I would personally recommend waiting till baby is big enough to sit up with some assistance.  I started this carry between four and five months with Ezykiel.  This is actually probably my favorite carry for day to day wear because he can see everything easily but he's still able to cuddle his face into me if he's feeling overwhelmed.  Its a comfortable carry in which baby should be sitting on your natural waist.  However he should still be high/above the naval/easy to kiss.  This position does also allow the boob pillow, see bottom right picture.


 




7.  I always put Ezykiel in towards me with his legs in a deep squat on either side of my waist and adjust him to other carries if necessary but all in all I have him facing me often.  He usually naps in this carry.






8.  Back carry, I do this carry when my baby doesn't want to be put down or isn't feeling well and I need to get things done.  This one needs to wait until baby can sit completely unsupported.  Very handy for when cooking and dishes need to be done.



9. Breastfeeding in the sling.  Loosen the upper rail a little so baby can eat comfortably than readjust when he/she is finished.  While feeding babies butt will be below the naval which is fine.

The sling is a godsend for me when it comes to nursing in public.  I'm really not one of those cover up type mamas.  I really don't care about whipping out my boob for my hungry babe, if other people don't like it, well that's their problem.  However as Ezykiel got older he became more and more interested in the world and less and less interested in sitting still in order to nurse.  The only way I can get him to nurse in public is to feed in the sling and wrap him up.  It cuts off a whole lot of the stimulation and puts him against my heart which usually if not always calms him down.

Also, its pretty darn discreet, half the time people don't even know that i'm bf him at all.  Oh and I can also feed him in a side carry but I usually only do that at home because it really isn't discreet.  Especially when you have a baby that constantly pops on and off of the boob.











10.  Its always good to bring the fabric all the way up babies back.  I personally do so half the time.  If Ezykiel is sleeping I have the fabric all the way up so he can cozy up and sleep.  I also have it all the way up if he's nursing so he's not so distracted.  If he's awake and alert I allow the sling to be pulled up half way so he has more range of motion.  Also, make sure that the fabric is never ever covering babies mouth, face.

Oh and remember, you can always tuck in the tail of the sling so its not in the way. :)

Some extra sling pictures to end the blog post.

A couple of side notes though, I'm completely comfortable with posting breastfeeding photos.  Its a beautiful relationship and posting helps to normalize breastfeeding.  Second, I do post some pictures in which you can see my body/shape or whatever.  Similar point to the normalizing breastfeeding.  I'm comfortable with me and I post to embrace the postpartum body that I do have.  I can't stand when media pushes tabloids that convince women that they need to focus on dieting as soon as they have a baby.  In reality its very dangerous to start up an exercise routine and to restrict calories early on when there is a real risk of bleeding out.  Anyway, cutting calories isn't good for breastfeeding either, but rather you should be taking care of what you do choose to put in your body, meaning healthier choices.

A whole lot of postpartum women have a hard time embracing their body.   The point I'm trying to get across is to love the body you have and to acknowledge the fact that it grew another human being and how freaking amazing that is.  There is always room for improvement but you have to appreciate what you already have.

Alright enough of that rant, on to the pictures.