Saturday, August 30, 2014

Korea, here I come!

My hubby will be going to Korea for work for a few days and after much deliberation, I've decided to join him. I really had to think hard about it since I'm still exclusively breastfeeding Skyler. I thought about bringing him, but then decided against it. I personally feel that young kids, especially those 1 year old and below, won't appreciate or remember anything from the trip anyway. And they'll just get tired particularly if you spend the whole day outside walking and sightseeing. Kawawa naman especially if it's hot or you go to crowded places. For me, I feel that it's better for them to stay at home where they'll be more comfortable. Of course, it's a different story if you have no one to leave your baby with. But in my case, my mom was very willing to take care of the kids while we're away.

Don't get me wrong, I admire parents who bring their kids everywhere because I know it's not easy. We've traveled with Miley and Sabre last year to Singapore without a yaya and it was definitely challenging. Anytime you travel with kids, you have to think about them first. You have to realize that you can't go to all the places you want or do everything on your itinerary. You have to deal with temper tantrums, bathroom breaks, lugging around strollers and heavy baby bags... At times, it may not even feel like a vacation since you're extra tired too!

I'm sure for other parents, the prospect of leaving their kids while they go away seems outrageous. And I do understand that feeling as well. I think anytime you're away from you're kids, you get apprehensive and end up missing and thinking about them the whole time.

This will be the first time I'll be away from Skyler since he was born so I'm still honestly feeling mommy guilt. But he's turning 8 months now and I think I've got to cut myself some slack. Breastfeeding makes things a little bit more difficult, but I've been working on my milk stash this past month so Skyler will have plenty to drink while I'm away. I also fully intend to pump on this trip and bring my breastmilk home. I've already done the research and bought all the necessary storage supplies.

Bottom-line, I'm going on this trip since I believe it's important to have a break once in a while. Like any other job, being a stay-at-home mom can be exhausting. I love my kids but there are honestly days when I just want to get some "me" time. This will also be a great time for me and hubby to spend quality time together which I think is important for any couple. :)

So yes, I've finally allowed myself to get excited about this trip since this will also be my first time to visit Korea. I'm sure I'll miss my kids everyday and I'll probably be thinking about them the whole time I'm there. But I also know that when I come back, I'll be recharged and ready to face my mommy duties head on once more! :)


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Family Portrait Outfit Ideas - Neutrals

I've just booked a session for a new family photoshoot in the coming weeks and I'm super excited (check out our past portraits HERE and HERE). Right now though, I'm thinking of what we're all going to wear and I've pretty much changed my mind so many times already. We've already done white, black, and denim outfits before so I want to do something different although I love how those looks turned out.

I've always been a big fan of neutrals when it comes to portraits since I want to keep it simple, classic and timeless. Besides, you want the focus to be on you and not the clothes right? But of course, I think you should still choose outfits that show your personal style so that you'll be comfortable and confident during the shoot. I've been searching Pinterest for ideas and inspirations and here are some of my favorites:


What do you think? I love how they're not so "matchy-matchy" but everything still looks good together. Now time to make up my mind and I still have some shopping to do! ;p

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Flaunting my Finds from Seek the Uniq

I don't remember exactly how I came across the online store Seek the Uniq in Instagram, but I know that once I did, I was definitely hooked! They have such fabulous clothes, especially their bestselling kimonos and tunics. The only problem was that everything would get sold out at once, so you really have to make up your mind quickly when you see something you like or else you'll miss out.

love how they wrap their packages :)

I personally find the clothes a bit on the expensive side, since the prices range from P1,500 to about P3,000. The kimonos start at P1,400 while the tunics are P1,660. I really love all the clothes, but honestly I kept thinking that I could buy more items for the same price elsewhere. Like I've found kimonos online and in bazaars for as low as P180 each.

But I guess that's why they're called Seek the Uniq - because their items are indeed unique. Aside from clothing, they also sell accessories, bags, make-up, home decor, and even books! So after stalking their site for the longest time, I finally made my first purchase... and then some more. ;p

I finally found a tunic I liked that wasn't sold out at once!
This wooden peacock tray was something I couldn't pass up.
I also got a baby kimono for Miley. Like mother, like daughter! ;p
You all know I love pineapples, so this canister was a no-brainer. I also got it in green.

Now, they had a contest a few months ago called "Flaunt Your Finds" where you post your most creative shots of your buys on Instagram. Can you spot some of my entries below? ;)

Needless to say, I really, really, REALLY wanted to win. And I guess I was quite lucky because I did! Check out my winning entry, Tray Chic:

Check out my prizes! The box it came in was an extra special treat too - it was so nice!

Renegade Folk sandals (the ones I wanted were out of my size, but these were cute too)
1969 by Joyce Makitalo Oracle necklace
Butter London nail polish
Napoli Mesh Coverup
another Pineapple Canister in pink...
which perfectly fits in with the other two I already had.

Not a bad haul for just posting a photo on IG right? I'm still stalking their site like crazy though, drooling over all the items practically everyday. I'll probably give in one of these days and buy something. But for now, these finds will do. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

DIY: String Laser Maze

My kids get so active sometimes, it's hard to think of ways to keep them entertained at home. They're at that age where they love playing pretend and using their imaginations. I find it so cute when I catch them talking to themselves while playing with their toys, making up different scenarios and characters! :)

One afternoon, Miley was telling me how she was bored and wanted to do arts and crafts. I honestly wasn't in the mood to take out all their painting materials again since they had just made a huge mess in our room the day before. So I thought of doing this activity I read about - a String Laser Maze!

It's super fast and easy to do but you're kids will spend hours having so much fun, guaranteed! All you need is yarn (or any type of long string) and masking tape!

Just tape the end of the yarn to the wall and then start weaving it in a criss-cross pattern across the room at varying heights...

I also threaded the yarn through the cabinet handles...

And also through the chairs...

In the end, you'll have something that looks like this! It's ideal to do this in a hallway, in your garden, or any area where you don't have to worry about breaking anything. In our case, we used the dining room and just pushed the table and chairs to one side so we had more floor space.

Needless to say, the kids were so excited to play spy agents, Mission Impossible style! We made up this whole story where they had to get the treasure at the other end of the maze. If they touched the string, an "alarm" would go off (basically me just making a siren sound lol!) and then the cops (me again) would have to bring them to jail! Haha! ;p

I swear this was so much fun, and it was a great workout for the kids too. You'd be amazed at how a simple piece of string could provide so much excitement! This was a great experience and we've done it a number of times again since the kids couldn't get enough. Go ahead and try it too and have your own spy adventure with the whole family! :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Celebrating my birthday

It's a known fact that I love planning and throwing fabulous parties for my kids and loved ones, but when it comes to me, I'd rather keep it super simple. So I guess it's no surprise that I'm okay with just having a cupcake for my birthday (whereas I had to go and buy a whole cake just for Skyler's 6th month hehe!) ;p

It was so funny because when I told the kids it was my birthday, Miley immediately asked "where's the decorations?" Haha! Then they were like "Mommy can you decorate the house since it's your birthday?" Toink! Well maybe next time I can DIY my own stuff, but I think we should teach Daddy how to make buntings and paper pompoms so he can surprise Mommy next year right? ;p

make a wish...
the best gifts ever!

Instead of a fancy dinner or party, I figured a weekend staycation in a hotel was the perfect way to celebrate since the whole family would be able to enjoy. And no need for an expensive gift from hubby. To be honest, I was completely happy just spending time with my greatest treasures. And tipid-mode na lang muna since I'm also starting to plan Skyler's 1st birthday and ang mamahal na ng mga suppliers ngayon ha! ;p So here's to turning 32! And thank you to everyone who greeted me as well! :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

I'm officially out of the calendar

Because I'm now 32 years old!!! haha! :)

Others say that after you turn 30, you sort of stop counting how old you are already. And I guess that's kind of true since my tita asked me yesterday how old I was and I sort of had to think twice about it haha! ;p

We celebrated by having a staycation in Fairmont Hotel this weekend (more on that soon) where we just spent the whole time eating and swimming. I also heard mass early this morning where I was able to give thanks for all the blessings that I've received this past year - the birth of my youngest son Skyler, the health and safety of my family, the chance to travel, the opportunities and new friends from blogging, and many more.

My birthday isn't over yet, so I hope you'll join me in celebrating my special day. And I'd like to thank you my dear readers for all your continued support. It makes me so happy to be able to share my life through this blog and know that I'm able to reach out to others who share the same passions as me. Cheers everyone! :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

DIY: Getting Creative with Chalk

Like every other parent, I love taking pictures of my kids. I love dressing them up in costumes or cute little outfits and teaching them how to pose (my daughter Miley has mastered the hands-on-hip, beauty queen stance at 4 years old).

We’ve had our family portraits done by a professional photographer about 4 times already (basically once a year). And one thing I can say is that these photoshoots do not come cheap these days. It really is an investment, especially if you choose to go with the more well-known studios around town. 

But really, there’s no reason not to have beautiful pictures even if you just take these by yourself at home. I love searching for inspiration online, and if I can recreate something with my kids, I’m all for it! One of those ideas I’ve been wanting to try is sidewalk chalk photos.

I love this whole concept since it’s so easy, inexpensive, and creates a big impact. All you need is chalk, an area where you can do your drawing, and a huge imagination.

To find out more on how I did this, please head on over to Cerelac & Gerber's #ParentingNerd blog, where I (along with other mommy bloggers) give lots of cool tips and ideas on Food, Fashion, and Arts & Crafts.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pumping & Storage of Breastmilk

Since August is National Breastfeeding Month, I decided to share how I pump and store my breastmilk. I proud to say that I have been exclusively nursing my baby for 7 months now (read about my journey HERE). I'm also lucky that I'm a stay-at-home mom so we direct feed most of the time. However, I also pump to relieve engorgement and to be able to leave milk at home when I go out without baby.

I've been using the Medela Swing electric pump for all 3 of my kids. I first used this in 2010 after my first child and it's held up fine until now. This was recommended to me by a friend and I'm really happy with its size and the fact that it's not so noisy. I bring this with me whenever I leave the house so I can pump when needed.

Most of the time, I nurse right until I have to leave the house then baby just feeds again when I come home in about an hour or two. But if baby is sleeping or is full, that's when I pump right before I go and then leave the milk at room temp without refrigerating it (usually 4-6 hours) for when baby gets hungry.

Usually, I'm just out for about 2-4 hours anyway (maybe 6 hours max) and then I'll also pump on the way home in the car. Hubby and I also love going on movie dates and what I do is pump in the theater while watching. I mean, you're just sitting down doing nothing, might as well pump right? At least after, if we decide to have dinner or go to the grocery, I don't have to worry about my engorged boobs anymore. ;p

When going out, I usually have 2-3 bottles in the refrigerator. I keep them for 3-5 days, then move it to the freezer if baby doesn't get to consume it. I usually keep the milk in each bottle to about 3oz to prevent wasting milk in case baby doesn't finish it.

There are times though that I'll get to pump just a little (like maybe 1-1.5oz). What I'll do is set aside the bottle (still at room temp) and pump again after an hour or so until I get 3-4 oz. Then that's when I refrigerate it.

I've also mixed milk pumped at different times of the day. I did research on it and it said it was okay as long as they're the same temperature when mixed. So let's say I pumped 1.5oz in the morning and placed that in the ref. When I get to pump another 1.5oz later in the day, I put that also in the ref and then combine it in one bottle after a few hours when they're both the same temperature. But I've rarely done this (maybe just thrice?), and only mixed milk pumped in the same day.

I also use Pigeon's Peristaltic Nipples with cross cuts since the milk will only come out when baby sucks on it, just like when breastfeeding. Not like nipples with round holes where the milk comes out as soon as you tilt the bottle. With these nipples, baby is able to replicate how he naturally latches on to you when nursing.

I also use this small cooler bag when transporting my refrigerated or frozen milk somewhere (for example when we go to my in-laws house and leave the baby there for a few hours). It also comes with 2 reusable cold gel packs which helps keep the milk cold while in transit.

I have just a few frozen milk in storage because I prefer giving my baby freshly pumped or refrigerated milk only. I also read that frozen milk can lose some of its nutrients and antibodies, but of course it is still better than formula. Besides, we direct feed most of the time anyway. The frozen milk is just for emergency purposes just in case the refrigerated milk isn't enough when I'm out.

These are the storage bags I use:

I prefer the Lansinoh ones since they have a ziplock seal. However, they're a bit expensive so I only use these when transferring about 3-4oz of milk so there's more space (the bags can hold up to 6oz).

The Playtex Nurser Liners are what I use most of the time since obviously they're cheaper. I only transfer 2oz of milk into these 4oz bags so that there's enough space to seal it (take note that milk expands when frozen so you don't want to fill the bags all the way too). However, I've encountered instances when the bags had little holes so the milk seeps through. So just make sure to double check before freezing, or place them inside another ziplock bag when thawing.

I was given this sealer by a friend which I use to seal the Playtex bags:

There are 8 heat settings, but I only place it at no.2 then press down for about 2 seconds. I once didn't realize it was at no.4 and the Playtex bag sort of melted where I sealed it because it was too hot.

I try to remove as much air as possible before sealing it, but it's a bit tricky sometimes since the milk goes up. I just do it really carefully then seal quickly. Although I'll probably buy the bigger sized bags next time to make it easier hehe.

I also seal it twice just to make sure it's really closed.

Then I lay it flat in a tupperware before putting it in the freezer. I also place all the packs in a big ziplock bag when frozen already.

When thawing, I transfer it to the ref a few hours before if I know I'll be using it within the day. If using it straight from the freezer, running the frozen pack over tap water helps to thaw it quicker. But our yaya just puts the frozen bag in a bowl of hot water and then transfers it to the bottle when already warm.

For more information, I read Chronicles of a Nursing Mom, especially the VIP (Very Important Posts) section which has really provided me lots of useful tips. :)


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