How to make healthy bento box baon for the kiddos

I’ve always admired the creativity of moms like Kat Maderazo (she comes up with amazing bento box ideas in her Instagram account: @bentobykat). She effortlessly creates incredibly appetizing themed bento boxes that are also yummy and nutritious. I cant even begin to imagine how to decorate Tristan’s bento box baon when he starts going to school. Like, creating something cute and delicious might be a little difficult at 5 in the morning!

So okay, the Baby Barangay moms (that’s me, Bianca Santiago-Reinoso, Cat Juan-Ledesma, Nicole Hernandez-de los Angeles, and Patty Laurel-Filart) were invited by Gold Seas Tuna to a bento box class and guess who our teacher was?! KAT MADERAZO! She was so nice and patient, and allowed us to explore our creative side, while teaching us the tips and shortcuts for making our bentos look amazing.

We had all our ingredients properly chopped up and prepared (which helped make the class smooth and easy) and we each had a complete set of tools and our own workstations! It was so much fun–I was nursing a headache that was quickly turning into a vertigo episode but I soldiered on. I didn’t want to miss out on this!

So this is how our individual workstations looked like. All the ingredients were in nice little containers, which I think helps make the bento box decorating process a whole lot easier. So yes, if you want to get into bento box making for your kiddos, make sure to: (1) prepare everything the night before and separate them into glass containers, like above.  

 Before anything else, you will need a legit bento box to put all your wonderful creations in. These ones from Yumbox (IG handle: @yumboxlunch) are so cute, so easy to clean and really organize and separate each food group. No mess or spills with this one. So be sure to (2) pick up a bento box (like this) because of course, before you get into bento box baon making, you need a bento box! 

Another important tip I learned from this class: (3) invest in bento box making tools! You will need all the cute molds, punchers, mini scissors, tweezers, small knives and spiralizers to create your masterpiece easily. Yes, you can actually do without these but you will surely have a difficult time creating that theme you’re envisioning in your head or copying your son or daughter’s favorite cartoon characters.

 The most important thing I learned is (4) how to incorporate healthy ingredients into your kiddo’s bento boxes. This is the part where you can make use of colorful vegetables and fruits, which your kids need to eat anyway. Kat taught us how to use natural coloring for the rice to make it more appetizing–you can use ingredients like turmeric (yellow) and edible flowers (blue). And using cut up seaweed sheets to create an outline of a face/features. Gold Seas Yellowfin Tuna chunks can make cute tuna mayo sandwiches or can be fried to be make tuna nuggets!

And lastly, (5) be creative with your presentation! Kat suggested to draw the design you’re envisioning in your mind. This not only helps organize your thoughts, but also allows you to come up with the right proportion for the bento box, as well as know what ingredients you need to create it (so you can prepare and do the groceries beforehand).

Oh, and don’t forget to have fun and keep practicing! Your kids will surely appreciate all your efforts.

The Baby Barangay loves Gold Seas Tuna Chunks and Kat Maderazo!!!

Here it is: the ultimate Pampers torture test!

Mommas, I’ve been wanting to share this with you this torture test from the day we shot it! It is unbelievable! It really shows that Pampers Premium Care is THE BEST diaper in the market today. Of course, I did this test with fellow mamas Cat Arambulo-Antonio and Nicole Hernandez-de los Angeles (what a riot it was to shoot with these ladies). We absolutely love Pampers Premium Care! Our babies are always happy because of we use the best. WATCH and comment below. ❤

To order Pampers Premium Care (via Lazada) click HERE.

How a UV sterilizer can make your life easier

I’ve been breastfeeding my son for two years now, and so far, he is showing no signs of weaning. He still direct latches, but since he eats solid meals he feeds only when he wants to cuddle, relax and sleep. To be honest, this is quite a long extension as I promised myself I would only BF until Tristan turned one. But when the time came, I just couldn’t do it, and said I would wait until he is two. Well, now that he is two and I can see what good it is doing for his overall health (my little guy rarely gets sick, and when he does he is back on his feet after a few days), I’ve decided to wait until he self-weans, which I am hoping will be within the year. Crossing my fingers it will happens soon, but at the same time I am perfectly okay with extending it (mixed emotions here).

Come to think of it, I haven’t really encountered any problems with breastfeeding my son. Well, except for one thing: it is such a pain to sterilize all the attachments of my breast pump, including all the containers where I store my milk! Really, this is the only struggle I’ve had to deal with, especially in the beginning when I was learning the ropes of BF and motherhood. I’ve had such a horrible time with my old electric sterilizer as I’ve been burned by scalding hot water many, many times before (especially during those no sleep days). Apart from that, I’ve had to deal with wet bottles, attachments, and feeding bowls/cutlery, which don’t really feel very sterile. The appliance itself seems unclean, as the inside is constantly wet, and needs to washed a few times during the day. That thing was messy, burning hot, and always dirty (you could see mineral deposits from the water at the bottom after each sterilization).

Well, that is all in the past now, because I now have my very own uPang UV Baby Bottle Sterilizer. I cannot tell you how happy I am to have this wonder appliance. It answers all my past problems about sterilizing, and now I actually enjoy doing it. It is so simple and easy, a toddler can do it (of course, I wont allow him to do it, but you know what I mean). The straightforward design is fool-proof, and really, all you have to do is place the baby bottles, breast pump attachments, toys, teethers, feeding bowls and utensils, water bottles, etc. inside and let it kill all the nasty germs, viruses, and impurities. uPang is the only Korean brand UV Sterilizer that passed Europe S Mark Certification for Baby Bottle Sterilization (instead of just Kitchenware Sterilization), it is FDA registered as a medical device product and is acknowledged in six other health organizations around the world.

Now, I’m sure you want to know more about this appliance, that’s why I am giving you seven reasons why you need a uPANG UV Baby Bottle Sterilizer in your life.

1.) It uses amazing UV technology to sterilize. uPang utilizes Philips UV Purification Lamp Technology which can effectively kill 99.999% of germs and bacteria. This beats my messy sterilizing steamer by a 100x! Everything inside is surely sterilized, it doesn’t matter if the items are wet or dry, you wont have to think twice about it.

2.) You have sterilizing options. There are three button functions: Auto, UV Sterilization and Ventilation. The AUTO mode (dry + sterilize) makes life easy–all the things inside are dried and sterilized, which means you don’t need to wait for them to dry. I usually just leave the sterilized items inside the uPang UV Sterilizer, with a note that says, STERILIZED. This way, I don’t need to store them and worry about dust.

3.) Its design efficiently sterilizes. It comes with a five-sided High Quality Super-Mirror 304 Stainless Steel with 1-sided UV High Reflective Glass Panel to ensure 360 degrees of effective reflection of UV light penetration. The sterilizer has no plastic surfaces on its inside walls including the back panel on the back of the door, which means there is no dead angle as plastic cannot reflect UV light.

4.) It is super light and comes in bright and fun colors. The UV sterilizer itself weighs only 5kg, has only three buttons to press and comes in Pink, Green, Blue, Orange, and Yellow. I love my green uPang UV Sterilizer!

5.) It is super safe and no more scalding yourself. uPang UV Sterilizer uses Infrared Light Low Temperature Drying at a controlled 40 degrees celsius. This means it never overheats and minimizes the likelihood of burning yourself (unlike the steamer/sterilizer). Also, if you think about it, high heat can ultimately damage plastic products. So using this UV sterilizer will ensure your baby products last longer.

6.) It can fit plenty of bottles in there, so there are less batches to sterilize. I counted and it can fit about 14 bottles in there. But since Tristan direct feeds and drinks from the glass/waterbottle, I sterilize his feeding products and cutlery instead.

7.) You can use it even after your baby grows up. I love that I can put other things in there for sterilization. Things like Tristan’s toys, remote controls, our mobile phones, gadgets, etc are safe to sterilize in the uPang UV Sterilizer. I really cant imagine my home without it!

If you still don’t have a sterilizer and are expecting, well, I suggest you get this (or put it on your baby shower registry). It will surely be put to good use, as it effectively kills germs and harmful bacteria. ❤  

5 reasons why I switched diaper brands

Like any first-time mom, I went through practically all the baby brands out there to discover what works best for my little boy. Looking back, I went through soooo many products! From pregnancy to birth, my ‘essentials’ list was extra long, but in time I was able to decipher which ones were really needed and which ones were just extra. And these were just mommy/newborn brands! I went through more baby products for Tristan’s first year, until I finally decided to stick to my tried and tested brands that I remain loyal to. It was a long and arduous process of trial and error, but I guess all of that comes with being a mommy. We want the best for our babies, and we wont stop until we’ve found the most effective products for our kids.

When it comes to diapers, well, I couldn’t have found a more perfect brand. I actually discovered Pampers Premium Care when my family was on vacation and I needed to buy diapers for Tristan. The name called out to me in the grocery store, and as soon as I tried it, I was sold. These were absolutely the best diapers I have ever tried, and I never looked back since. When we got back to Manila, I made sure to make the switch and I immediately looked for Pampers Premium Care. I was ecstatic to find out it was available in my favorite grocery stores and the rest is history. I’ve been using it on Tristan ever since.

That’s why I am sooooo happy, thrilled and excited to be part of the Pampers Premium Care family. I have been invited to endorse this amazing brand, along with lovely mommas Nicole Hernandez-de los Angeles and Cat Arambulo-Antonio. Together with our kiddos, we have been spreading the word about the best diaper you can ever buy, which is, of course, Pampers Premium Care.

Let me share with you five reasons why it is indeed THE BEST DIAPER IN THE WORLD (in my opinion).

1.) Keeps baby’s sensitive skin dry all night long. I remember the first time Tristan got a diaper rash. It was red and painful, and he cried non-stop whenever we would change his nappies. I kept trying different solutions to prevent it, including a slew of diaper rash creams. Then it hit me, it must be his diaper that is causing all this! True enough, when I switched my baby never got a rash again. It is because Pampers Premium Care diapers have a special Absorb Away Liner built in, which pulls wetness and diaper mess away from baby’s skin. This allows my Tristan to stay dry thoughout the night, so we never have to worry about rashes.

2.) Hypoallergenic, made from super soft material and is soooo thin. This is definitely the thinnest and lightest diaper I have ever used on Tristan. At first I thought, there was no way this would be able to hold all the wee and poo of my baby, until I saw it for myself. It truly is effective! More importantly, it is hypoallergenic which means it is less likely to cause skin irritation on baby’s skin. And it is so soft, it has a silky feel that most diapers do not have.

3.) Made with amazing Japanese technology. Most mommies don’t know that Pampers Premium Care is actually made is Japan! It is no big secret that the best diapers are made there, and this is no exception. The Japanese really do have a way of making the best products and this diaper is proudly Japan-made.

4.) Does not leak or sag. It is the only diaper I know that never leaks, even after Tristan had an extra big meal. My little boy is able to fill a diaper like no other, and we never had a problem with diaper spillage. The secret is in the Magic Gel Channels, that is able to absorb efficiently and distribute wetness better than any diaper. I know this for a fact, as I use this on Tristan everyday. It works, and this diaper never sags or gets deformed.

5.) They are environmental and social-conscious. Pampers does its part to reduce their environmental impact by using less materials to make their diapers (50% reduction on diaper materials and packaging), use smarter manufacturing methods (99.35% of all materials entering P&G plants were either recycled or recovered in the last year) and they even support happy, healthy babies around the world thru the Pampers-UNICEF “1 pack=1vaccine” program that helps eliminate maternal and newborn tetanus (MNT).

 

I couldn’t be happier to endorse this brand to you mommies out there. This is the best diaper brand I have come across, and you really won’t have to worry about leakage, spillage, diaper rash, and sagging diapers. Try Pampers Premium Care for yourself and see the difference!

How to deal with ‘MOM GUILT’

MOM GUILT. Most of the mommas I know (myself included) seem to suffer from this. And no matter how much we try to escape it, well…we just can’t because it is so deeply ingrained into our mom brains. Now, I am pretty sure I am not the only one who feels this way about their child. It is a constant mix of love, care, worry, and yes, guilt. It is wanting to be with our kids all the time, but then of course, not being able to because we have to go to work, do errands, run the house, meet up with friends, and take time off to take care of ourselves.

Actually, the last one is something we mommas forget to do. We usually allot the measly few minutes we have before going to bed for this, which is so sad. And most days, we don’t even get to enjoy it because more often than not, one of our family members yells, “MOM” and we have to rush to save the day.

Oddly enough, blogging is my little escape from the busy life of a working mom, and I hate that I don’t get to do it as often as I want to. On most evenings, just as I get warmed up to write, my husband or son calls me because they need me, and I end up not doing any writing at all. This can really be frustrating, because this is the only time I ask for myself. But when my family needs me, that’s it.

I guess the thing I struggle most with motherhood is finding the balance between a happy family life (time with the husband and my son), work, social life, and time for myself. Every day I struggle with having to meet all of what’s expected of me and more, and still have time to look good and be healthy. I don’t know how other moms do it, but apparently it is possible.

I recently attended an event by Sun Life Financial that allowed moms to have a guilt-free pampering day. We moms were treated to the best–a yummy buffet at Bloom in I’M Hotel, inspiring talks by amazing moms, and a full body massage at Onsen Spa. It was exactly what I needed, as I had just come from a working trip and desperately needed that time for myself.

What I really enjoyed though, was a talk by guest psychologist Michelle Alignay. She broke down the feeling I struggle most with: mom guilt, and helped us mommas see that it is possible to find balance in our lives. Like, okay, she basically defined the meaning of balance as: the feeling of BEING IN TOUCH with one’s self (body, mind and spirit) of CONTINUALLY centering energy with the COOPERATION and CONSCIOUS SUPPORT of all other parts… as we are in the constant process of changing. I never really thought about finding the balance in my life, but wow, to have that would be amazing! Every single day I strive to find that and fail miserably, as I feel the pressure coming from all aspects of my life. It is so difficult to be a working mom, and a wife, a daughter, a friend and just a person with hopes and dreams. We put everyone’s needs before our own and in the end we are left with nothing for ourselves, which can ultimately hurt us.

I love that Michelle reminded me to work on my wants, should, and capacities in order to find balance in my life. It turns out, I should always ask myself these three questions: (1) What do I WANT? (2) What do I think I OUGHT TO DO? (3) What do I think I CAN DO? And after I answer these questions, everything will be clear, because then I will know what I should prioritize and accept to do on that day. This means having to say NO to things that don’t really matter, so I can do things that I actually want and need to do. Finding balance is very tricky, but once I am able to decipher what really matters, then everything else is just noise.

The most important take away from her talk is that we actually HAVE A CHOICE!!! We can choose to be at peace and satisfied or face other’s or our own judgement and guilt. Mommas, you already know what to choose–it is okay to be happy with our imperfect lives. Perfection is unattainable, and besides, it is boring. It is so freeing to know we can do things on our own terms, in our own messy way–we shouldn’t strive to be a cookie cutter version of a perfect mom, wife, etc. That will never end well, because sometimes that cookie cutter will cut out the good parts and you can never get it back.

Really, that was just what I needed to hear–that I don’t have to be some person’s idea of a perfect mom. That I can get a massage when I need it, or finish my work until I am satisfied. That it is okay to delegate some of my work. I cannot do it all and more, I need the help of others to find balance within me. And most importantly, it felt great to know I am not alone in this struggle. We mommas go through the same thing every day, which is why we have to be kind to one another.

Also, I love this message: instead of having a rule that covers all situations, choose to pick within the situation. ❤ This means being flexible, working with what we have, and trying to see the good in the situation. This will prevent meltdowns and unnecessary arguments, and will promote peace in the home. Most importantly, do not wait for a big “message” to know your life is out of balance. Acknowledge the little imbalances, and deal with them as they come. BE PROACTIVE IN CARING FOR YOURSELF. And we can do this by:

PERCEPTION:

  1. Affirming our goodness.
  2. Releasing control of things beyond us.
  3. Saying NO is okay and needed at times.
  4. Feeling happy and satisfied is normal.
  5. Relinquishing some tasks that stresses us.

EMOTIONS:

  1. During emotional highs: PAUSE.
  2. Ditch the guilt.
  3. Choose to love more.
  4. Be silly with the kids.
  5. Flirt with the spouse. Make marriage matter.

ACTIONS:

  1. Choose to rest or sleep.
  2. Give ourselves an extra 10 minutes in the shower.
  3. Put a little color on the face.
  4. Find a spot for daily reflection.
  5. Find a daily physical activity to do.

Since the talk, I’ve been trying my best to incorporate what I’ve learned to my daily life and so far, so good. Finding the balance in my life seems more attainable now that I put less pressure on myself to do it all and more. It is okay to make mistakes and to enjoy life, while being responsible and taking the time to do the serious things.

I’ve realized that I cannot do it all, which is why I have made an appointment with a Sun Life Financial Advisor to discuss Tristan’s education plan. There is no better time to start investing than today, while my son is still young, so I wont have to worry about paying for his education in the future. Doing this allows me to enjoy life and spend quality time with my family, because I know my money is working for our future. I swear, I feel like an adult with all this talk, and it is a pretty amazing feeling!

Visit http://brighterlife.com.ph/sunshorts now and sign up for the next Mommy’s Day Out!!! ❤