Category Archives: Travel

my outing essentials | 6-12 mths

 

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Top row: Tommee Tippee Travel Warmer, Zojirushi Food Jar, Munchkin Snack Catcher, Heinz container
Middle Row: Friso container, Avent Storage Jar, Pigeon Straw Bottle, Tommee Tippee 150ml bottle
Bottom Row: Tiny Bites Food Shears, Combi Spoon & Fork

Being a second time mom pretty much means that I am a lot more efficient in packing my diaper bag. With Ollie, I would pack so much snacks it (just so he would be happy in the stroller!) that I could easily be a walking mamak store. Cheerios, food pouches, yoghurt drops, rice crackers. You cannot imagine my happiness when I finally decided that he is ready to eat food purchased outside.

Anyhoos, these are my essentials for taking two kids out. They are what I won’t leave the house with.

Zojirushi Food JarS$65 for a 350ml jar from Takashima or Tangs.
Keeps food hot for up to 8 hours and cooks porridge in 3 hours! Nuff said. Best investment ever. You can read my review about it.

Munchkin Snack Catcher, S$7.90 at various baby speciality stores.
Promoting self-feeding! Was introduced to this by D, and it was awesome. I didn’t have to worry about much mess and so much easier to just give Ollie the container and let him go with it. Infantino sent me another Munchkin snack catcher last year for a review which you can read here.

Heinz Container, freebie bundled with their Biscotti, S$2.90 at various supermarkets. Just a freebie that came along with the Heinz biscottis. Perfect container for keeping those rice crackers and other snacks. The rice crackers used to break when I tossed them in the diaper bag. Now they stay safe in the container!

Friso Container, freebie that comes with a sample of their Stage 2 formula.
There were 6 containers. Omg. They are the best freebie EVER (please don’t ever stop giving out these containers!). I used them to freeze porridge portions. Used them for transporting frozen puree cubes. Used them for mixing QT’s cereal and bringing it out for breakfast. Used them for freezing soup for lunch! And they are bigger than the 150ml Avent storage jars, and yet still small enough.

Avent Breastmilk Storage Cup, S$31 for 10 cups with lids at various baby speciality store.
I got my first storage cup as a freebie from my KKH hospital goodie bag. I used them for freezing BM initially, but went on to just storing frozen porridge or using it for QT’s cereal. So so handy when we took Ollie for to Malaysia and had to give him a meal in the car. I had already prepped some cereal inside and all I had to do was to throw in some water and puree from food pouches. And tadaah! One meal. Cannot finish? Just cap it back and put it in the diaper bag.

Pigeon Step 3 Straw CupS$13.90. I was a huge fan of the range of sippy cups from Pigeon. So many stages! We bought the Japanese version from Takashimaya and only got the spout, training spout and straw tops for Ollie. And he is still using the straw bottle for the night, so we had to get QT one. This new range, also the Japanese version,..is a lot more fiddly than the previous version. Not such a big fan anymore. I should take a new picture of the one the boys use when we go out, the Camelbak Eddy for kids.

Tommee Tippee milk bottles.
It was the only bottle Ollie would take, so it was only natural that we would use it with QT too. He was okay with it considering it was the only bottle offered to him. But now that he has tried the Munchkin LATCH (review here), he is not going back to the TT bottles. *roll eyes* Why are kids so picky about what they use huh??

Tiny Bites Food Shears, S$16.99 from Toy R Us
They come in a pair, so I shared the pack with D and halved the cost! haha. It is really handy to have it around and a pair of dedicated scissors just for the kids’ food. Having a lid on it also makes sure it doesn’t dirty the rest of your diaper bag and keeps it safe from itchy fingers!

Combi Spoon & Fork with Case, S$8.90 from various baby speciality store
I am a sucker for utensils that come with a case. Nuff said. =P Okay, a little more on it. It is mad of plastic but is not hard plastic. I like that the kids can happily nom on the utensils without hurting their gums too much. The case is a bonus cos it also means I don’t have to clean the utensils and can chuck them in without the dirtying the rest of the bag.

As QT grew older, past the 8mth mark, we eliminated the travel food warmer, and milk bottles. The milk storage containers remained so we could pack frozen puree cubes inside it for the plain porridge in the Zojirushi jar. So items for a 3-year-old Ollie was basically 2 pcs of pants diaper (we swear by Merries!), some snacks & a water bottle. Everything else..basically was for QT including a swaddle for nursing! But hey, it wasn’t too bad especially when I was moving around with two kids! It was totally a different story when we started toilet training Ollie. -_-”

This was what it looked like when I took 10mth-old Ollie (circa 2012) out before I discovered nifty accessories.

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This is what QT gets when I take him out alone (circa 2014) Good grief, what a world of difference 2 years makes!!

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I know it looks similar, but hey, difference is the Munchkin snack catcher and this other nifty gadget for food pouches. Argh..seriously why I no discover it earlier!

Meet the ChooMee Sip’n (S$14.90 at 1010 Mother & Child Essentials & biglittleme.com). What is it about you ask? You can read my review about it.

BEFORE

Before

AFTER

After

With the Sip’n pouch top..I seriously can hand the pouch over to a 10-month-old QT and NOT have him squeeze and spill everything out. Plus point? He still gets to enjoy the pouch.

nomnom whilst out and about

nomnom whilst out and about

So that’s my list of essentials and convenience items. What’s yours?

Category: Daily, Kids, Parenting, Travel

my outings essentials | 0-6 mths

It was just one of those days where I found myself packing lesser…and lesser for the kids when we go out. I mean, sure as the kids grow up, we probably won’t need to lug a luggage out anymore. Now we just use a normal diaper bag. Kidding. But you know what I mean.

First time parents, we pack EVERYTHING and anything that we think we might need. I remembered the first time we brought Ollie out and went to Vivocity, we packed so much stuff. I actually think the bag was heavier than Ollie. Haha. Oh the horrors of a first time mom nursing in a nursing room. Shrieky hungry baby and poor latching. *le sigh. Thankfully it was a lot easier with QT. So much so that I was taking him and Ollie out shopping when he was 3 weeks old. Whee!

as 1st time parents

as 1st time parents

That was what we took out when we brought Ollie out. Except we had probably 2 milk bottles with formula (excuse the then unsure breastfeeding mom) plus 2 sets of clothes, loads of small towels, a full pack of wipes, 5-6 diapers and that hot water flask. The swaddle served as both a swaddle and a nursing cover.

Review: Tommee Tippee Formula Dispenser (3 pack, $7.90 at Mothercare)

I’m not a big fan of lugging an old school formula dispenser. I think we bought this fairly quickly when we were using formula. Before going out, we would fill the bottles with cool boiled water, and then sit the formula dispenser in the bottle. That way we don’t have to bring an extra bottle of water, or a old school formula dispenser container.

tommee tippee

Review: Aden + Anais Swaddles ($39.95 – $79.90 from Mothercare)

We love the Aden + Anais swaddles. Daddy Ting bought the Classic swaddles (think we paid about $49 for these?). The cheaper ones (when they are on sale at $39.95) are muslin swaddles, and are the smaller sized ones (44″ x 44″). The Classic swaddles are 47″ x 47″ and I find are a lot softer than the muslin ones. I use the swaddles as both a swaddle and a nursing cover *auntiemodeon*. To make it into a nursing cover, just fold into half, get one of those huge safety pins for muslin nappies, pin the corners, and tadaah! I love using it as a nursing cover cos it will have both my and baby’s smell. So comforting.

Review: JJ Cole Collections System Diaper Bag ($129 from Mothercare) / JJ Cole Diaper Change Clutch ($36 from biglittleme.com)

We were using a backpack before we bought this diaper bag at a huge discount (paid around $65 for it). Trying to get stuff out of a backpack whilst standing and babywearing..totally not fun. I was queuing at the Mothercare baby fair at Harbourfront. I bought it. Just cos I could haha. It was a great diaper bag, enough space for what we wanted to fit in, it came with stroller clips so we could hang the bag on the stroller. But on hindsight, it was a heavy bag. Heavy even when its empty! So you can imagine. Still, we used it even for QT. The diaper clutch, which is also a change mat, that came with it was fantastic! We could just stuff wipes and diapers in the clutch and go to the toilet. No need to bring the whole bag!

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how the diaper clutch works

how the diaper clutch works

When you become a second time parent….

2nd time parents

2nd time parents

With QT, it was just the above. No need for proper diaper bag. Just a tote bag’s fine…and oh, plus/minus the bottles, thermal bag & flask. That was for like the first couple of outings with Daddy Ting (gotta make him do some work and bond with QT!) After that, it was just swaddle, diapers and wipes. Tadaaah.

Review: Tommee Tippee Travel Bottle & Food Warmer (USD$13.49 from Amazon.com, S$39.90 from Mothercare)

I only discovered this before QT came along. No need to wait for the waiter to bring you a bowl of hot water anymore. Nor find a nursing room to warm up bottles. We can warm it up ANY time, anywhere! Good grief. Having said that, I recently found out that Avent has a travel warmer like this as well, except that it was a lid to cover the container, to prevent spillage from the container. But the price is about 1.5x that of the Tommee Tippee warmer. No brainer right…haha.

Review: Tommee Tippee Insulated Bottle Bag (2 for USD$13.49 on Amazon.com)

I bought it based on the reviews that the insulation is really good. And I second that! I have on a few occasions warmed up BM and put it in the bag before going to sleep. When I woke up about 3 hours later, the BM was still lukewarm. And the bag was placed in an air-conditioned room! When QT was on solids, I would use it to hold Avent containers containing frozen puree cubes. If I was put a frozen container of BM, I would add an ice pack to it to keep it cool longer. It would have thawed by probably about 4-5 hours later.

Review: Tommee Tippee Storage Lids (pack of 6, USD$7.99 from Amazon; pack of 2, S$6.90 from Mothercare)

I was a low breastmilk producer when I had Oliver. A bad latch plus the lack of discipline plus the lack of knowledge about breastfeeding meant I wasn’t producing enough to warrant buying heaps of bottles and BM bags to store breastmilk. We did have enough milk bottles tho! Haha. I was determined to latch QT more frequently and figured I would just pump and store them in the feeding bottles so that I didn’t have to do a lot of transferring!

You would have noticed that I am using a lot of Tommee Tippee products. I love that their products are so versatile and compact! We had read up on bottles before Ollie was born and decided to give the Tommee Tippee bottles a shot. Ollie took to it like a champ, so being able to play around with so many other accessories was a bonus. Apart from the above, I also bought a Tommee Tippee Microwave Steam Steriliser. I had a standalone electric steriliser and it just took up SO much space on my countertop. The microwave steriliser allowed me to shift it anywhere when I needed the space! I do buy my Tommee Tippee products from Amazon cos of the free shipping (from spending USD$125) and it is a lot cheaper. Some of the items like the steam steriliser, they don’t carry it in the Mothercare stores here.

I’m all for lesser is better when I take the kids out. Hope this gives you some info about the products out there and tell me about the products you use that are your lifesavers!

 

Category: Daily, Travel

holidays and what-nots: part 2

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A weekend in Sechelt

A weekend in Sechelt

Our cousin, E, who lives in Vancouver has family living in Sechelt (her in laws) so we thought we’d take it easy the first couple of days to settle down before starting on our hectic travel to Seattle.

Sechelt is about a 2-hour drive NW of Vancouver. You will need to take a barge (drive the car on) to get to the island. You can make reservations for the ferry however you will need to be there at least 30 minutes before your reservation is withdrawn. For non-reservations, you will need to be there at least 15 minutes before to grab the last tickets (providing there is still space on the ferry. The ferry ride is about 45mins, and there are some cafes on board the ferry if you need to get some food. We got to the ferry terminal about an hour before the ferry departs and made it in good time, arriving at our accommodation around 9pm, and the sky was still light!

Surprisingly when we got to Sechelt, it was cold (in Singaporean terms lah). It is a quaint island, with fantastic scenery. E’s in-laws own a house and I was fortunate enough to be able to see, via a telescope, an eagle sitting in its nest supposedly protecting its eaglet! I managed to do some quick grocery shop, grabbing the boys diapers in their sizes to last us the entire trip (28pcs-pack..definitely not enough for 2 weeks). But of course, there is no such thing as a quick shop. Ended up with junk food, crackers, pouches and cereal for the boys. Kua kua. Oh and lip balm. I couldn’t find the one I brought so I ended up buying another tube and then finding the one I brought a couple of hours later. Meh.

We had lunch at Lower Gipson (note to self: portions are always HUGE, so order one to share and then only reorder if it isn’t sufficient!) before ending up in this shop, the Sunshine Coast Olive Oil Co. What a terrible shop to go into, and when I mean terrible, I mean terrible on my pocket! I was tasting so much flavoured vinegar and olive oil. Oh man..thank goodness they had them in a gift size! Else I will be in trouble trying to finish the entire bottle.

We spent the rest of the day at E’s in law’s place where the kids had a blast with bubbles and wiggly monster racing.

racing

racing

wiggly monsters is basically a pull-toy for kids. They are made by E’s father in-law who is a talented woodworker and has made several pieces of furniture and toys out of wood! Man..I got envious look at his craft. He generously gave us handmade little dustpans, and QT a wiggly monster of his own! QT loves it and was mad happy to have a toy of his own on this trip.

We left Sechelt the following morning for E’s place, and dropped off spare luggages, picked up new empty luggages (for us!), had a quick lunch and were soon on our way to Seattle. At the border, we were required to get an entry permit into Seattle, on top of the ESTA for the USA that we had purchased prior to leaving Singapore. It costs USD$6 and it is a paper that allows you entry into the States. Now you will think, if I already have the ESTA, why do I need to pay this USD$6? We actually didn’t know that we didn’t have to pay for that. We just naturally assumed that an ESTA is required for any form of travel to the USA. That USD$6 is for entry into the USA by land, whereas the ESTA is required for entry into the USA by flight or sea. Ah wells. the ESTA is about USD$10 plus a USD$4 processing fee and is valid for 2 years, so maybe another trip to the USA before it expires then? =)

Seattle

4 days, 3 nights in Seattle

4 days, 3 nights in Seattle

we had gorgeous weather in Seattle. and the food! and the shopping!

shopping loot

shopping loot

well…*sheepish* to give you an idea, we went with a stroller in the back, those two purple suitcases, 3 backpacks. And came back with this. And…we were still not done with shopping. Haha Cos we hit the outlets again on the way back to Vancouver!

Our itinerary was somewhat like this:
D1: Premium Outlets, Target, Apartment
D2: Pike Place Market, Walmart, Costco, Apartment
D3: Pike Place Market (again), Daddy Ting & Ollie @ Children’s Museum, Target, Dinner @ Morton’s (mmMmm), Apartment & pack for Vancouver
D4: Leave Apartment, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Premium Outlets.

Yup. As you can see..we are very shopping orientated. Haha. I made Daddy Ting take Ollie to the museum. I mean, the adults are on holiday, the kids should also be on holiday right? I felt really guilty that we were dragging the kids around with us, so Ollie had half a day at the Children’s Museum. Judging by the photos taken, it is pretty similar to the one in Houston, but not as fully equipped and big as the Houston’s Children Museum.

But Pike Place Market is a must go! I was so happy to just soak in the atmosphere in the market, the seafood, the fruits & veg, the yoghurt, the coffee, food..etc. Aahhh…my kind of place. So many other shops around that area too! The parking rates are as follows:

Parking @ Pike Place

Parking @ Pike Place

TIP: There is a Target around the corner from Pike Place Market. You can park there, and if you spend $20 at Target, you will get the first 2 hours free (validation), and you pay $8 for the third hour,$12 for four hours. You can check the rates here.

Vancouver

8 days in Vancouver

8 days in Vancouver

D1: Arrive in Vancouver
D2: Fort Langley, Outlets, Walmart, Boston Pizza (yum!)
D3: Mount Whistler
D4: Dim sum, chillax
D5: Petting zoo for the kids, chillax
D6: Granville Island, chillax
D7: Strawberry picking!
D8: Pack & homeward bound.

We were due to leave on 5th June @ 2am, and had to return the car by 4th June @ 4.30pm. We didn’t want to hang around aimlessly in the airport, so we decided that we will pay for one night at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport. This meant that we would make two trips to the airport, one with just the passengers, the other with the luggage. Having a room meant that anyone could take a break/nap, take a shower and not have to make a mad rush to check in. The check-in counter opened at 10pm, so we could check in and then still hang around in the hotel room for another hour before deciding to go to the boarding gate.

This time round, I asked again at the check-in counter if they had meals for both kids. The counter crew assured me that there was. I have to say the counter crew we were dealing with was most helpful! Not because she let us get away with slightly overweight baggages (by 2kg), but that she actually thought up of a solution to help us!

TIP: There is apparently such thing as a courtesy box which Cathay could provide to allow you to repack some of your luggage into the box, provided you still had baggage allowance in terms of pieces. 

She went to find a box suitable for us and even provided us with tape and scissors! Waah, that is called going beyond the call of duty. She could have just charged us. In the end, we didn’t need the box cause of some weight machine problems. So all good! Phew.

At the boarding gate, I double checked again to ensure that QT will have his meal. See, there is this issue of catergorisation. QT is an infant passenger (below 2yo), BUT he requires a Child’s meal cos he can eat chunkier food. That in itself is a confusion. Infant passenger means jar food. Child’s mean means child passenger. See my point? Yet, when I boarded the flight and asked when the child’s meal would be served, there was again some confusion. Turns out that because I checked at the boarding gate, they rushed an extra child’s meal in at the last minute.

kid's meal of mac & cheese, with two corn dogs, a panacotta and snacks.

kid’s meal of mac & cheese, with two corn dogs, a panacotta and snacks.

Wah liew. Having said that, we had a really pleasant journey on the way back! The service crew that served us was really helpful and went out of his way to make us feel looked after.

Could tell that Ollie really enjoyed his holiday towards the end, spending time with his cousin Olivia. It was aaaalll he would talk about when he came home. Jie jie olivia this, jie jie olivia that. Haha. And he remembered all the places we went to! We did too, and can’t wait to be on our next holiday already!

Category: Special, Travel