Colourful meal

Made a new batch of puréed red kidney beans. Some I’ve put on expressed milk plastic storage for long duration storage in the fridge (one week at the most) and two servings on the storage box which Yui will be eating within a day or two.

Spinach green. Tomato red. Kidney beans (金時豆) brown.


For Yui’s dinner earlier this evening, I scooped out a portion of the olive oil-sautéed minced meat and onions (no salt and before I turned it into chili con carne) the Mom and Dad are having and put it on Yui’s rice together with a serving each of the spinach and tomato.

Ah, so thankful for our little happy eater. When I was a kid, I was such a picky eater that I probably haven’t eaten three quarters of the types of food Yui has been eating. Keep it up anak!

baby diaries: more hugs and kisses

Mommy yet again have fever and colds anak. Yet even when the dawn and morning had been pretty “eventful” from having had to change the sheets and your clothes twice, Mommy still have the energy to go on. And Mommy owes it to you. Because despite your very bad cough and your stye, you’re still your cheery self, giving Mommy and everyone else that beautiful big smile of yours. And when Mommy coughs (or even hiccup!) you would look at Mommy inquiringly while murmuring something, with an expression that’s quite akin to concern – yet another proof how empathetic you are.

Your body must be working double time now, adjusting from your new environment, new food whilst learning new motor skills (you try to stand up on your own now!). And you’re teething besides! Yet you didn’t make it all the more harder for Mommy by behaving, by not being fussy – main reasons why your paediatrician is not worried even when you have lost some weight already.

So I thank you.

Mommy sits here in the office during lunch break and all I could think of is how Mommy should have given you two extra hugs and kisses this morning, more than the usual. Albeit your teachers already always say “ii na” (wow that feels good), whenever I kiss and hug you goodbye.

I miss you anak even when we’re just apart for 8 hours. Let’s do our best shall we? 🙂

yakiimo is heaven

It’s warm now as May approaches. So I wasn’t expecting roasted sweet potato (or yakiimo in Japanese) would still be sold – they’re usually around during the colder months. But when we saw a man eating his yakiimo passionately on a bench near the grocery section in Ito Yokado, I also craved for one; which had Mayumi laughing and saying “yappari!” (I knew it!). 😀

Happy me the big ones are available again this time!




Yakiimo is so sweet it’s like candied sweet potato. Roasting it on the stone however, brought out its natural sweetness.

Ah. Love.


Yui had her share of the goodness as well, had it with her oatmeal. Like Mommy, like daughter I think. 🙂

I used to hear yakiimo jingles on speakers attached to the trucks of yakiimo sellers. They’re very seldom seen nowadays and that yakiimo are now more frequently sold in supermarkets. I’d prefer buying the traditional way though albeit Ito yokado probably has the best yakiimo in the region. 😀

Steam cooked shrimp and scallops

Thought of following Yui’s way and go for the healthier option – steaming our dish for dinner.

I wanted to achieve this.


But I can’t read the instructions. I can read at least that it takes 10 minutes to cook it. And that aside from the scallops and shrimp, there’s mayonnaise and curry flavor on it. Am not too keen on curry so I bought this instead:


The cooking paper was easy to find thanks to Mayumi being around.

I thought of adding mushrooms too.


End result.


Total time from preps up to the steamer’s “ting” is 20 minutes. Loved it how Hubs loved the resulting taste. 😀
Experiment, a success!

Lessons learnt for next time though: I want bigger scallops, the ones that I really like and will use fresh shrimp next time, not frozen ones.

my first DIY baby food

From the onset, I wanted and planned to prepare homemade baby food for Yui. It’s healthier and you can be rest assured there are no dubious additives. Also, a lot of the powdered baby food here are mixtures of two or more vegetables and fruits. I wanted to feed Yui one type at a time to make sure she’s not allergic to a certain food hence homemade is the way to go.

I figure vegetables and fruits would be fairly easy to prepare. You can just either steam or bake them then mash them or purée using a blender. The rice though was a puzzle for me. Do I cook it first before mashing/putting on the blender or have it milled first before cooking? If the latter, do I mill it myself (buy a rice miller or blender with milling blade) or have it milled somewhere (but where?)? So I compromised and told myself to have it instant with the rice cereal.

Rice cereal and wheat bread cereal. Tried it with milk but Yui doesn’t like it. She preferred water on her cereal. Very Japanese palate. 🙂 I tasted these by the way and they really taste just like rice and bread. Very simple taste. 20130316-234829.jpg

I wanted Yui to try brown rice but I couldn’t find one here. So I had it imported, through a friend. I wanted Gerber but apparently powdered Gerber is not anymore available in the Philippines. Did Yui like it? She did! Yui also has a Filipino palate, thankfully. 20130316-235239.jpg Segue: notice that the Japanese boxes say for 5 months whilst the Cerelac one says for 6 months. Read the label and saw that Philippine paediatricians recommend breastmilk feeding wholly for six months. Of course it’s the same here. However it’s recommended to start at around 4 to 6 months just for training the baby to get the hang of eating and not really for nutrition. Nutrition is still wholly dependent on breast milk or formula. When we had the required four months check up at the government health clinic, we also had a seminar on feeding solids for baby as midwives/doctors believe we would be starting solids in a few weeks or so. Plus, starting solids when Yui is 5 months works for me since Yui will hopefully start daycare come April. I want to be the one feeding Yui’s first foods and not her daycare nurse.

Whew, quite a long segue. Anyways.

I talked with my Japanese friend last Friday however and she was able to personally mash her baby’s rice cereal. It can be done! Will definitely try it when Yui’s boxes of cereals have all been consumed. So, having had done with rice cereal, wheat bread cereal and brown rice cereal, it’s time for Yui to be on vegetables and fruits.

First on the menu, sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes steaming. IMG_2384

I also bought a blender specially designed for making baby food. (The steamer was also the smallest one we could find). 20130317-000620.jpg

But sweet potatoes, once cooked, is really soft hence mashing it using this is enough. Mashing took just a couple of minutes or so. IMG_2398

Sweet potato is really dry once it cools down. Hence I added cooled down boiled water to achieve consistency that’s similar to cereal. IMG_2385

Did our baby like it? Sure bet! We had a very very eager eater straining on her straps to get closer to the spoon. She absolutely loved it.


This being the first time, I only prepared one batch. Will try next time to make more and store the rest.

Sure it’s more troublesome what with more dishes to be washed and the steamer to boot. But seeing Yui eagerly take a spoonful (and sometimes even complaining when it took too long for me to give her another spoonful), it sure is worth all the effort. That, and the fact that you know you’re feeding your baby only the healthy stuff.

do you still sterilise your baby’s milk bottle?

Even when I already knew what to do in sterilising milk bottles (I after all had been using Pigeon bottles already), when I bought another brand of bottles (Yui still preferred Pigeon bottles. But I digress), I read their instructions on how to sterilise bottles. It said to sterilise the bottle when using the first time. And then wash with soap and warm water on subsequent use. No sterilisation needed. I ignored this since after all, they sell some steriliser products. And I couldn’t wave away what I’ve been used to doing.

Then my bestfriend in the US mentioned how pediatricians in the US advise the very thing that I read in the bottle washing instructions. She still sterilise anyway. It’s already an engrained practice. Hard to convince yourself otherwise.

And then I read this article in Parents Magazine which tells about the most outdated pieces of baby advice. Yes, bottle sterilising is on the list.


We’d save on water and gas surely, if we follow this since the water I wash the bottle with is already warm. But I still am not sure if I can force myself to follow this. Will surely ask Yui’s paediatrician the next time we go for our well-baby appointment to hear about the latest on the Japanese paediatrics.
Asked our paediatrician about Japanese paediatrics’ take on bottle sterilisation in Yui’s recent 6~7 months old well-baby check and they basically concur with that of American paediatrics. As long as bottle is well-scrubbed with nary a spot of milk curd in it, it’s fine not to sterilise the milk bottle. He reminded me as well that of course, you have to make sure that your hands are clean when cleaning the bottles and when preparing milk.
Our warm tap water is set at 39deg C. Coupled with our paediatrician’s advise, using this temperature when washing the bottles, I’m somehow more comfortable with the thought of not sterilising the milk bottles anymore.

sakura yogurt

Everyone in the house, save for the baby, is addicted to this one right now.


BCG stamp

‘Tis the third day yet her BCG twice-stamped skin is still swollen. 😦 The mark of 18 (!!) needles. 😦 All other vaccinations were on her thighs and only single needle at that save for BCG that has to be on the left arm and stamped. Supposedly this is to avoid keloid formation/scarring of the injection site. Hopefully it really doesn’t leave her a lifetime mark like the ones I and my brothers have.


This by the way is the stamp. From Wikipedia.


the health clinic check and colouring book wall posts

Early yesterday morning (the earliest appointment Yui and I had together so far at 8:45), the whole family went to the children’s health clinic floor in the Ward office (Japan equivalent of the city hall) for the required 4~5 months checkup.

We actually also have the required (and free!) regular well baby checkups – first week, one month, 3 to 4 months, 6 to 7 months, 9 to 10 months, 1 year old, 1.5, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 years old – which can be done in private hospitals and clinics. These, on top of course of the vaccination schedules which of course doesn’t necessarily coincide with the scheduled checkups.

But the government’s health department also required regular checkups on top of the ones above that will be done by the government health personnel. Guess this is the government’s way of ensuring that their baby citizens are taken cared of well. Quite impressive isn’t it?

We actually thought we’d be the only ones there, similar to the personal visit we had from the ward office midwife when Yui was just five weeks old. Hence we were surprised to see a lot of babies with their families. Turned out they’ve called all the 4~5 month old babies in the area for the required checkup and organised a checkup system that’s quite reminiscent of company checkups.

The group is only supposed to be for 4~5 month old babies and only in our area at that. And yet there was quite a number of babies. Far cry from my first assignment here in Japan some ten years ago when I haven’t seen a single pregnant woman.

When we came to the room to have Yui’s statistics measured, I hesitated a bit when I put down Yui on one of the cots. She was still sleeping and I was wary that she’d cry a lot (like most of the babies there!) when I had to strip off her clothes since I’d be waking her up and the room is a bit cold (I was wearing a coat yet I was just comfortable with the temperature). But when she woke up, the first thing she saw were the drawings of Pooh Bear and Doraemon and Hello Kitty and a smile spread and stayed on her face even when I was taking off her clothes. After the body measurements, we had to wait a bit for our turn for one of the doctors to check on Yui and so to keep Yui warm (yes she still has no clothes on!) I put her again in her oversized bunting.

Her oversized bunting (oversized so that she can hopefully wear it again next winter. But since she’s already 65cm at barely 5 months when supposedly 60cm clothes are up to 6month old babies, I’m not sure if this will still fit her next winter).


Anyway I digress. While we waited, Yui just calmly looked at all the screaming and wailing babies and looked curiously at the wall drawings as well; making me decide that it’s high time to put up drawings by yui’s crib as well. Meanwhile, we are thankful the check with the doctor went smoothly and Atsushi and I were again very proud to see Yui propping up herself strongly when the doctor had her on her tummy.

We also had lectures on how to take care of our older baby, first solids (recommended at five months) and teething basics & care.

After the checkup we went to a mall to look for posters that I can stick on the wall by Yui’s crib. But we had difficulty looking for hello kitty posters nor pooh bear posters. So we decided to buy this one instead and have the colouring time as bonding time as well, yet another opportunity to tell Yui a story.


I would have to delegate the drawing from scratch to Atsushi. 😀 😀

Vaccines galore

Yui had her first vaccination today (or rather, yesterday since it’s 2am now). With some hoped-for travels in the near future in mind, we decided to have our daughter be vaccinated per both US and Japanese standards. Below is the list of recommended vaccines by CDC US and the timing with which they need to be administered.


Japan and US are same except that BCG is required in Japan and that RV, HepA and B and Varicella are not required. Since said four vaccines are not required here, they are not given for free, but for a fee.

RV (which would protect Yui against rotavirus) costs a whopping 13,000yen per shot whilst HepB (yep this is against Hepa B) costs 5,500yen per shot. Both vaccines needs to be administered three times. Ouch yes. But it’s for Yui’s sake so we have to go for it.

With advise from the doctor and with consideration on the Japanese recommended timing of immunizations, we decided to have her DPT (against Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus), Polio (speaks for itself) and BCG (against Tuberculosis) vaccinations on her third month, all free.

So thankfully yesterday afternoon, Yui only had to endure three injections since RV is taken orally (whew!) – PCV (against pneumococcal bacteria that causes pneumonia, meningitis), Hib (against haemophilus influenzae type b which causes meningitis) and HepB.

Yui looked so ready for her vaccine shots.


But oh how she screamed in pain. 😦


Her band-aids are so cute though!!


Us adults also had our influenza vaccine but our band-aid is the usual boring one. I want a Hello Kitty one too! 😀 And I’ve a mind to copy my daughter with the screaming – my vaccine hurt too! Hehe.

Thankfully Yui didn’t fuss much after her immunization. She just slept to pass off the pain.
Her pedia’s clinic is near Motomachi hence Mayumi and I dropped by to look for fleece/down jacket for Yui which her Dad had asked me to buy for her to use at home. The traditional Gap jacket solved the jacket hunt.


Shopped some other clothes and a pair of boots (for Yui) besides. But this is my favorite purchase in this afternoon’s shopping. Our little miss would look so fashionable (and warm) in this cute poncho.


If Yui is a bit older, this can actually be considered as her reward for the afternoon’s pain. 🙂

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