Follow parentsjourney on TwitterIngredients:

  • 500 g Beef Sirloin strips
  • 2 tbsp Calamansi juice
  • 3 tbsp Knorr Seasoning or ordinary soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • ½ cup Mixed Pickles with syrup
  • ½ cup Water
  • 2 pcs Potato, small, cut into 2” strips
  • 1 pc Carrot, small, cut into 2” strips
  • 1 pc Red Bell pepper, julienne
  • ¼ cup Coarsely ground roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup Grated Cheese
  • ¼ cup Raisins
  • 250 g Tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 pc Onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 3 tbsp Cooking Oil


Marinate beef for at least 1 hour with Calamansi juice, soy sauce, black pepper, the first tablespoon of sugar, and pickles. Drain beef strips and save marinade. Sauté garlic and onion then stir in beef strips. Stir ingredients in pan for about 2 minutes before adding the marinade to slightly brown the beef. Add water, cover pan and simmer for 10 minutes or until beef is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in potato, carrots and peanuts and simmer for another 5 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are almost cooked. Add tomato sauce, the remaining sugar, bell pepper, grated cheese and raisins. Stir constantly for 2 minutes after boiling to allow cheese to melt and be completely incorporated into the sauce. Serve hot.

Back to Our Christmas Dinner 2009.

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Follow parentsjourney on TwitterIngredients:

  • 1 whole Tilapia, about 1 kilo (scaled and cleaned but fins are intact)
  • Salt, Pepper and Aji Ginisa Mix
  • Cooking Oil

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup Vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Catsup
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Strips of Ginger
  • 1 pc Onion, small, cut into rings
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch dissolved in ½ cup water

For the Garnish:

  • 1 pc Carrot, julienned
  • 1 pc Red Bell Pepper, julienned
  • 1 pc Green Bell Pepper, julienned


Make 3 to 4 diagonal incisions about half an inch deep on both sides of the fish. Season the fish by rubbing with salt, pepper and Ginisa mix, paying close attention to the gut area and the incisions. Heat the oil and deep fry the fish to golden brown. Make sure to put the fish in the pan only when the oil is hot enough or when it starts to emit smoke. For even cooking and texture, flip the fish when the underside is done then fry the other side. Drain fried fish on paper towel and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with sliced vegetables on top.

For the sauce, place the vinegar, tomato catsup, sugar, salt, onion and ginger in a pan and let boil without stirring. Then add cornstarch dissolved in water with continuous stirring for a minute. You can add more sugar to suit your preference. Pour hot sweet and sour sauce over fish and vegetables. Serve immediately.

Back to Our Christmas Dinner 2009.

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Follow parentsjourney on Twitter Ingredients:

  • 1 kg Ground Pork (with a little fat)
  • 1 pc Carrot, medium-sized, finely chopped
  • 1 pc Onion, small, finely chopped
  • 1 pc Red Bell Pepper, finely chopped
  • 60 g Pickle Relish
  • 50 g Raisins
  • 4 pcs Chorizo de Bilbao, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Sweet Ham, finely chopped
  • 100 g Skim Milk
  • 20 g Iodized Salt
  • 50 g Brown Sugar
  • 100 g Bread Crumbs
  • 2 pcs Eggs, Large
  • Aluminum Foil to wrap


In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until well blended. Place about 100 g of mixture on a piece of foil and roll into a loaf, making sure the mixture is tightly packed and wrapped securely by the piece of foil. Close by twisting both ends of the foil. You can modify the amount depending on how big and how many you want to make per preparation. Put the embotido packs in a steamer and steam for 45 minutes. Embotido is served sliced into rings.

Freeze remaining embotido packs for longer shelf life. Now you have an easy-to-serve dish to be reheated in a few minutes before serving. To heat, steam (with foil) or microwave (without foil). Serve immediately.

Back to Our Christmas Dinner 2009.

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Follow parentsjourney on TwitterThis year, there will be ten of us together for the Christmas Eve Dinner and celebration. Considerations made to come up with the menu are the following: (1) Budget- the ingredients should not be too expensive. (2) Preparation requirements- some procedures can be done ahead of time to avoid cramming in the kitchen. (3) Health and variety- meat-based dishes should be balanced by vegetables and fruits. There will be pork, fish, chicken, beef, vegetables and fruits. Much as I want to have prawns or crabs in the menu, the artificially high cost of these commodities during Christmas season make me shy away from them.

Christmas Embotido

I have been making embotido for its taste and convenience. My children love them for breakfast and packed lunch. This is very convenient because one preparation can last for weeks in the freezer. Adding a few ingredients will make it a little more special for the holidays. I will make this a week in advance of the Christmas Dinner and a few loaves will be saved for the New Year’s Eve. One kilo of ground pork would be enough for the two occasions. Click here for the recipe.

Sweet and Sour Fish

Sweet and sour sauce will be prepared a day before and will only be reheated before pouring over the fried fish before dinner is served. There are many kinds of fishes suited for this dish. They are the white flesh type and usually the more expensive ones. Tilapia is a more affordable option. One medium-sized Tilapia weighing about 1 kilo will be bought for this dish. You can find the recipe here.

Roasted Chicken
Pollo Iberico or Roast Spanish Chicken appealed to me but I was not able to complete the herb ingredients listed when I tried it 3 months ago. The recipe was further modified when I got tempted to incorporate other ingredients I normally use to marinate the local ‘Lechon Manok’ or Pinoy Roasted Chicken. It turned out great and everybody who tasted appreciated its unique pleasant flavor. One whole chicken will be marinated a day before so what’s left to do on the 24th of December is to put it a broiler. I’m sharing the recipe with you through this link.

Cheesy Beef Caldereta

This is another family favorite. Kids love this dish because it catered to their preference for cheesy, sweet and not too spicy sauce. Half a kilo of beef strips will be marinated and tenderized a day before. The rest of the procedure to be done on Christmas Eve is simple. For the recipe, click here.

Buttered Vegetable

Broccoli, being a very expensive vegetable in this part of the country, is not always served in regular meals. For the Christmas Dinner, the inclusion of broccoli will make this dish so special. Other ingredients are carrot, green beans and corn kernels. My sons will surely dig in to this dish first before anything else.

Sliced and Chilled Fruits

Rather than making fruit salads or floats that would require the use of creams and sweetened condensed milk (my favorite), we will savor a variety of colorful and freshly sliced fruits. This is a healthier and cheaper option I would think…less sweet, less fat and less cost. Fruits more likely to be included are pineapple, watermelon, mango, banana and pomelo. This will be chilled in the afternoon (around 2 pm) of the 24th.
Sliced Fruits photo: / CCBY-SA2.0
Roasted Chicken photo: / CC BY 2.0

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Thinking of a unique bonding moment with your children? Try vegetable gardening. Many parents would attest to the numerous benefits consequential to this activity. Now let me share with you our family’s vegetable gardening experiences. 

Even before we got married, my husband and I have dreamed of establishing our own organic vegetable farm. Being both advocates of environment protection and healthy lifestyle and young professionals who wanted to make money for a decent living, we started tilling a small piece of land only to realize that business doesn’t mix with advocacy. We gave up the business part but the advocacy portion lingered in our hearts.

Wherever our family resides, vegetables are grown in the backyard whenever feasible. This is quite difficult especially for working parents, but we always try to give it time and effort because the harvest is more than the vegetables as you can see later in this article.

To guarantee harvest with less effort and minimal input (no pesticide and no synthetic fertilizer), we choose local varieties and low-maintenance vegetables like sweet potato, okra or lady finger, native pechay, native tomatoes, spring onion, radish, eggplant and string beans. We were also successful with an open pollinated variety of sweet corn. We tried cucumber and a cold-loving bean variety...we harvested some but lost many due to insect infestation and poor growth. Still worth the try...we had no regrets because this is how we learn and validate theories.

When our kids were smaller, they only observed us as we work in garden. But the best part of this journey was when they were old enough (4 years old in their case) to join us and also when the garden space got bigger. We usually spend time working together in the garden during weekend mornings, when everybody is available. It is in the process that they learned many things and we parents got to know them better.

For direct seeded crops, like sweet corn, they were asked to put 3 seeds per hole and to cover it thinly afterwards. Looking at the few holes available, they asked why 3 only and not 10 so they can have more corn later…well, good thinking kids! Lessons regarding competition and how plants obtain their nutrients from the soil were given to answer their query. The life cycle of plants, the importance of sunlight and water were also taught while they wait for the seeds to emerge as seedlings.

Asking them to water the plants that have emerged or wet the soil where they placed the seeds was never a big issue. At a very young age, they became aware of the needs of plants and how to provide for those needs. They became more gentle and caring as they realize that even plants have needs, too. Besides, this is a chance to play with water…hmmm, what a nice excuse for them to wet their feet, legs...and oh no their shorts as well! Pretty clever eh!

In the beginning of our every gardening session they are too active and overjoyed because they feel like playing, exercising and getting them dirty (that’s how we put it), yet accomplishing something. Towards the end, they get so sweaty and feel so tired. This is the time they reflect and appreciate the farmers’ hard work to make sure the rest of the people can have food on their tables. I feel so proud having heard that from my own children. 

Patience is observed…of course planting is not like magic that you get to harvest in one flick. They visit the garden from time to time waiting for the fruits of their labor. They observe the insects visiting to pollinate or to get a little share filling their tiny tummies with the veggies or to feed on other insects feeding on the veggies. This is also an opportunity to introduce trophic relations and other ecological concepts. You might think that it is too early for these concepts, but they are actually very receptive.

Harvest time is fun time!!! My children get to pull their veggies from the soil, or remove them from the stalk. They can’t hide the thrill…the proud feeling that they contributed a little something for the plant to grow from seed to an edible vegetable. For us parents, we relish on the peace of mind that what we are going to partake is safe even if eaten raw. This gardening activity also helped encourage healthy food preference in our children. They are always excited to eat vegetables, especially their own harvest.

Why did I say we got to know our children better with this experience? It became clearer that our daughter is more of a conformist or a parent-pleaser and a hardworking fellow. She has consistently been very cooperative and strictly follows our every instruction on how to do things in the garden. Our son on the other hand, spends some time observing us first and how we do things before he decides to work with us. Apparently, he was figuring in his mind how to make the tasks easier for everybody. It was the innovator in him refusing to do things the hard way. At the age of 4, working in a small garden, he was thinking of having machines to plant the seeds and to water the plants so we people don’t get too tired. Was this plain laziness or an amazing gift that my son have? I sure hope it’s the latter =)

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Follow parentsjourney on TwitterThe current practice of handling newborns contributes to the high incidence of neonatal death and illnesses in the country. Doctors are introducing a new way of caring for newborns in the first few minutes of life, which could cut by almost half the number of newborn deaths estimated at 40,000 each year according to this report.

Important points in the new program of the Department of Health (DOH) and World Health Organization that should be imposed are as follows: 1) dry the newborn immediately after birth (instead of washing) to prevent hypothermia and the risks related to it, 2) initiate skin contact with the mother by placing the baby on the mother’s chest or abdomen to provide warmth, increase the duration of breastfeeding, and allow the “good bacteria” from the mother’s skin to infiltrate the newborn, and 3) delay the cord clamping by two to three minutes after birth (or wait until the umbilical cord has stopped pulsing) to increase the baby’s iron reserves, reduce the risk of iron-deficiency anemia and improve blood circulation. These are basically in line with the Essential Newborn Care (ENC) protocol.

When I read about this, I had mixed emotions. On one hand, I got disappointed for I know it was not strictly observed when I gave birth to my 4 children. On the other hand, I felt grateful that an effort is being directed towards its strict implementation. There are only three hospitals in the Philippines currently subscribing to the ENC protocol so far—Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City, and Fabella Memorial Medical Center and Philippine General Hospital in Manila.

In all of my childbirth experiences, the umbilical cord was immediately cut before the baby is placed on my tummy or my breast. Then my baby was only allowed to ‘kiss’ my nipple because we were not given long enough time for the baby to latch on. They wash the baby and when they bring the baby to the room to be with me (room-in as we always specify), I usually notice red spots are on my baby’s face. They said that it is the result of the cotton rubbed on my baby’s face and will wear away in time. True enough the spots were gone in few days. But with the ENC protocol this should not happen to newborn babies in the future.

Most babies do not experience hypothermia even when washed immediately after birth, but a lot end up staying in the nursery for days just to be heated by lamps. Isn’t it because they were washed even before they get acclimatized in their new environment? I am just wondering. When this happens initiation of breastfeeding is delayed, making the situation worse for both mother and baby. Delaying the start of breastfeeding by one day could make the newborn 2.6 times more prone to infection as also mentioned in that report.

I am posting this to help spread the information about the ENC Protocol. To those who are about to give birth, discuss this with your Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB). Know the hospital policy on this as suggested in my previous blog on childbirth preparation. If they are not yet implementing the ENC protocol and you want it for your child, ask if they will accommodate your request.

This is also a good chance for me to highlight the various practices beneficial to the health and well-being of the child with less emphasis on cleanliness: (1) passing through the birth canal to get in contact with microorganisms necessary to prime his/her immune system and (2) allowing the child to play and get dirty as explained in my previous blog on natural immunity builders, (3) skin contact with mother for the good bacteria to infiltrate newborn, (4) delaying washing of the new born to prevent hypothermia as washing removes the vernix or baby’s skin protection. Apparently, too much emphasis on cleanliness is also detrimental to your child.

Director Honorata Catibog, head of the DOH task force on the rapid reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality, describes the new program to implement the ENC protocol as “paradigm shift”. I call it going back to basics...our natural survival strategy.

photo courtesy of

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Follow parentsjourney on TwitterIt is imperative for people, young and old alike, to have adequate daily fluid intake for proper hydration. This is necessary for normal body functioning and immunity to diseases as discussed in item # 3 of Parenting Journey blog entitled ‘Top 6 Natural Immunity Builders for Kids’.

There are many healthy fluid sources available everywhere, but still you may find that people, especially school children, often do not reach the minimum requirement. Getting so busy and preoccupied with school work, socialization with peers and other extracurricular activities leave them oblivious of this health concern. Here is where parents come in.

Though the consequences of inadequate fluid intake may not be fatal in most circumstances, there are definite short term and long term negative impacts on our children’s health. Some known effects of inadequate hydration in children are frequent headache, constipation and impaired cognitive function. Vulnerability to common diseases like flu, cough and colds are very likely because of weakened immunity.

As promised in the above-mentioned blog, I will be sharing the results of an ‘experiment’ we did on finding ways to improve the daily water intake of our school kids. So much time and effort was spent on this endeavor but so many lessons were learned in the process and lots of gratification in the outcome.

Some Background

Let me begin by specifying the fluid sources of my school children. A glass or mug is at least 180 ml. Our school kids, ages 9 and 7 years old, drink 1 glass of milk in the morning and another one in the evening. Half a mug of lemongrass tea and one glass of water (together with their vitamin C supplement in tablet form) are taken in the morning. In school, 1 glass of choco milk is consumed for snacks but the half liter drinking water goes back home often barely touched. One glass of juice or iced tea and 1 cup of soup are the usual consumption at dinnertime. It looks like a lot but still inadequate because of low water intake while in school.

I feel so upset looking at their water bottles every afternoon when they get home for I know that the minimum daily fluid requirement was not met. Based on their weight they should consume about 1.6L of fluid per day. To know the fluid requirement of your child based on weight, here is the link for your reference.

With the objective of ensuring that our school kids are properly hydrated for better health and immunity, this journey began.

The experiment

I initiated making a water intake chart using post-its so it can be easily attached on our refrigerator door. It is a simple table where we could record the amount of water we drink, a sort of score sheet. Only the intake of pure water is ‘scored’ because that’s where the inadequacy was identified. Our son provided the pencil and was asked to make sure it is always available near the refrigerator (he tends to take it with him and usually gets misplaced). Everything else evolved beautifully from this beginning.

My husband asked my daughter to summarize the data every end of our ‘water week’, which falls on a Wednesday. She was taught the concept of averaging and how it is applied in real situations. She was advised to use long-hand in her computations…no calculator. My husband even made it more difficult for her by recording different fractions of glasses so she can practice mathematical operations with unlike fractions. My daughter survived the challenge and even volunteered to do the next score sheets.

At the end of our first week, we were surprised that even we adults did not meet the minimum daily requirement of 8 glasses. Our children’s quota is 6 glasses a day. The next week saw us falling short again of our target. It was even lower on the third week because everybody got busy that time. I knew it was not easy but I didn’t think it would be this challenging!

Because enough data were already available, my daughter was now asked to make a graph to plot the data for us to clearly see the trend. Very few directives were given to her and hurray her first graph was made! Here is the graph she made:

Looking at the trends, we decided that it’s time to make a change. A meeting was held after one dinner. The importance of water in humans was reiterated, the data were discussed and resolutions were made.

The first strategy was to give a reward (but not specified) for the person(s) who can reach the target. As it became a contest, our quite competitive daughter surely reached her target but didn’t quite care about the performance of the rest, not even to check on our faithfulness to record when we drink. Failure to record was a significant reason in some drops in the averages.

It was obvious that we had to modify the criteria for winning a reward to make sure that everyone would benefit. So I suggested putting emphasis on team effort and changing the reward system to enhance teamwork. That is, all four of us need to meet the target average for the week so that we’ll get rewarded as a team. The first reward is to watch ‘A Christmas Carol’ in the movie house. Because we seldom do this, everybody was thrilled with the thought.

Other resolutions made were as follows:
1) We started to modify our drinking habits. Fruit juice and iced tea were eliminated during meal time in favor of pure water. This is a triple benefit because we also reduced our sugar intake and lessen our expenses with this move.
2) Because we fail to record our consumption at times, we resolved that each one of us will remind one another about it.
3) The children gave their commitment to be conscious about water intake even while in school.

With all the above resolutions, the following week saw a significant rise but still the criterion for the reward to be granted was not met. When the showing date of the movie we want to watch drew closer, the pressure mounted. And just this Wednesday, on the seventh week after we began the experiment, we finally did it-- all points were above the horizontal lines representing the target!

So happily, we declared that on Saturday, all of us will be in the movie house to reap the reward for our success as a team in an endeavor that was started to make us healthier but ended up making us wiser and happier as well. CHEERS!

glass of water photo courtesy of

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Now that the shopping galore for baby things is over and you have prepared your hospital bags, you might ask, what else do you need to do before your baby arrives? Actually, a lot needs to be done to make the baby’s arrival as smooth as possible. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Decide your birthing option. By this time you should have an idea on how you want to deliver your baby. If not, educate yourself on the pros and cons of the various birthing options by reading books and magazines, searching from the internet and talking to experienced mothers. You might also want to consider watching videos of child deliveries employing the various options.

    There are lots of birthing options to choose from. You can have it the natural way without any drugs (Lamaze, Bradley, Birthworks, etc.), natural with anesthetic pain management, or C-section. If you have made the decision, then preparations toward that option should be made, like enrollment and attendance to birthing classes when applicable. Discuss this fully with your obstetrician-gynecologist (OB).
  1. Tour the birthing site. Go to where you want to deliver your baby and have a nice tour to familiarize yourself with the place and with the procedure. Inquire on the process/requirements for hospital admission. In some hospitals, you will not be allowed to see the inside of the delivery room but at least you would know where the rooms and other facilities are. Find out if the hospital is Mother-Baby friendly that would allow rooming-in and would support breastfeeding if those are your preferences.
  1. Prepare yourself physically and emotionally. At this point, your OB might advise you to increase intake of foods rich in iron and prescribe iron supplement if she has not done before. Towards the end of pregnancy, it is advisable for you to have lots of restful sleep but remain active during most parts of the day. Regular prenatal exercise is preferable as discussed in blissful pregnancy tip #5. Active mom’s usually have relatively easier and uncomplicated natural deliveries.
Enhance emotional connection between you and your baby. Caress your tummy and talk to your baby. In all my pregnancies, I usually talk to my baby about childbirth few weeks from my due date, asking for his/her cooperation and giving my assurance that anytime he/she is ready, I am, for childbirth should be a team effort and the two of us are part of the team. I also tell how excited I am to see him/her and that I will continue to provide for his/her needs even outside my womb.

While you are still waiting for the big day, try envisioning the thrill of having your child on you hands, looking at his/her tiny lips that greet you with a smile. The joy will be far greater than the fears and anxiety of childbirth and will make you endure all discomforts. While I was on the delivery table, my focal point was the wall clock, I was keeping track of my contractions, and around it was a bare wall which I filled with nice pictures of me, my husband and my baby, together as a happy family. These were the visions that I've been keeping in my mind and heart since early in my pregnancy.

  1. Arrange Domestic Matters. If you have other children, start thinking about sibling care. Arrange for who’s going to be there for them, who will be in-charge of food preparation and other domestic concerns while you are in the hospital. You might want to stock up on easy-to-prepare food in your freezer. If you are a working mom and needs to go back to work after your maternity leave, then now is the time to arrange for child care. Make sure the area where you are going to receive the baby in the house is clean and tidy.
  1. Start a hobby. Despite the many things you need to do to prepare for childbirth, you might still find yourself spending time on futile musings about labor pain and blood, and even death from complications. These are normal and to a certain extent reasonable thoughts, but instead of feeding your worries, why not start a hobby that will keep your mind away from all those fears. Try embroidery on your baby clothes, or crochet a pair of booties or cross stitch a symbol of happiness. Regardless of your choice, or you might choose not to do it at all, remember that your baby is worth much much more than the entire wait.
  1. Select your Baby's Name. This is a fun part that could also alleviate the discomforts and impatience while waiting for the big day. My husband and I had many enjoyable discussions while trying to come up with our baby's name. These are the moments when we share and (re)define our hopes and dreams for our baby and the family. Each of the names of our children were picked for a reason and has special meaning to us. Baby naming sites like this one was useful to us when we were deciding.
  2. Plan the Announcement. After the long wait is the big day of your baby’s arrival. It is yours and your husband’s duty to announce the arrival of your bundle of joy so that he/she can be properly welcomed by your family and friends who are one with you in anticipating the newest addition to your family. Decide on the list of people whom you want to send the announcement to. Examples of announcement ideas include a simple text message with the child’s photo, a card bearing your child’s foot prints, a mass offering, an envelope with tobacco stick for a baby boy and a chocolate bar for a baby girl, a photo or video of you child posted on the home page of your social network account and many more. You can also be creative like this overzealous father.

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This stage of your parenting journey would require you to prepare two bags: one for you and the other one for your baby. These bags should be prepared on the seventh month of your pregnancy. In case of unexpected delivery, at least the bags are ready. Whenever you feel that it’s time to go to the hospital, then you can just lift your bags without any hassle. Like the checklist of baby things I posted in the previous blog, I am sharing here the checklist of items you should consider bringing to the hospital with you. These are the items that my hospital bags contained.

Mom’s Bag

  • Adult Diapers (2)
  • Maternity Sanitary Pads (4)
  • Regular Sanitary Pads (8)
  • Pajamas/Night Gown with front opening for easy breastfeeding (2)
  • Panties (4)
  • Nursing Bra (1)
  • Set of Clothes for going home (1)
  • Something to tie your hair with, if you have a long hair
  • Bath towel and face towel
  • Toiletries
  • Candies, crackers and bottled drinking water
  • Extra pillow

Putting on adult diaper immediately after birth is preferable because bleeding is more profuse. The first one is usually provided by the hospital. Bleeding should lessen the following day so you can switch to using maternity sanitary pads instead. Maternity pad absorbs more fluids, but it is very thick and wide. When bleeding is less heavy and you are up and about to do frequent pad change, then switch to your regular sanitary pad. The crackers, candies and bottled drinking water are particularly useful when you arrive at the hospital while still on early labor but advised not to go back home. Candies and water will work well for dry mouth. But once you’re done with enema procedure, you cannot take anything anymore. Labor is expected to progress after this procedure because of stimulated uterine contractions.

Baby’s Bag

  • Baby Vests (4)
  • Mittens (2)
  • Booties (2)
  • Bonnets (2)
  • Wash cloth/bibs (4)
  • Receiving blankets (2)
  • Waterproof sheet (1)
  • Cloth diapers (12)
  • Diaper clips (2)
  • Disposable diapers (6)
  • Petroleum jelly (1)
  • Cotton balls (1)
  • Bath towel (1)
  • Baby liquid soap (1)
  • Ethyl Alcohol, 70% (1)

If you intend to breastfeed your baby, don’t bring feeding bottles and formula milk for fear of your baby getting hungry if breast milk doesn’t come at once. Mother-baby friendly hospitals do not allow these items as well. Having feeding bottles and formula milk available won’t do you any good in terms of inducing milk let down. More info on breastfeeding will be provided in a later blog.

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Follow parentsjourney on TwitterDuring your blissful last two trimesters of pregnancy, you would be thinking of what your baby needs in its first months after birth. Completing these needs is an exciting part of childbirth preparations. It is a logical goal to accomplish this task before you reach your 7th month of pregnancy. Though shopping for baby things is definitely fun…fun…fun, this activity is also tiring and so you should not wait until the end of pregnancy as you would need a lot of rest by then.

Knowing the gender of your baby ahead is a real advantage that would help you on deciding for colors and motif when you shop (normally shades of blue for boys, and pink for girls). But if you prefer to leave it as a surprise until the baby is born or when the baby’s position does not allow for clear determination of the baby’s gender, go for neutral colors (i.e. generally white or green).

Baby showers should preferably be done earlier for you to consider the gifts received when you make your shopping list. Also consider hand-me-downs from older siblings and cousins. It is also advisable not to have too many clothes of the same size for the baby will surely grow fast and it will be a waste if clothes will only be worn once or never at all.

The following is a sample checklist of basic items that your baby would need after birth with suggested quantities in parentheses. This is basically the list I used to prepare for my four children. I took into consideration that cloth diapers were to be used during the day whenever the baby is at home for its first two months. You can revise this list depending on your preference but having a checklist to refer to is indeed valuable.


  • Baby Cot (1)
  • Cot Mattress (1)
  • Cot Sheets (2)
  • Waterproof sheet (1)

Baby’s Layette
  • Vest, Size M (3) & Size L (3)
  • Wash Cloth (6)
  • Mittens (6)
  • Booties/Socks (6)
  • Bonnet (3)
  • Long Pants (3)
  • Panty (3)
  • Cloth Diaper (24)
  • Disposable Diaper (24)
  • Receiving Blanket (2)
Baby Toiletries and Others
  • Bath Tub or Large Basin (1)
  • Bath Towel (2)
  • Petroleum Jelly (1)
  • Diaper Clip/Safety Pins (2)
  • Ethyl Alcohol, 70% (1)
  • Baby Lotion (1)
  • Baby Bath or Liquid Soap (Lactacyd Blue/J&J Top to Toe Wash) (1)
  • Cotton Balls (1)
  • Baby Oil and Baby Powder (not advisable for babies with allergies or asthmatic family line)
If you intend to fully breastfeed your baby, the following are not immediate requirements unless you need to pump and store your breast milk:
  • Feeding Bottles
  • Bottle Brush
  • Breast Pump
  • Bottle Sterilizer
You definitely would need a baby bag so please add that to your list. I choose a medium size bag with enough compartments so it is easy to carry and organize things that the baby would need when going out of the house. It should also be durable to last at least a couple of years or until both you and the baby outgrow the need.

All cloth should be made of pure cotton or cotton-mix especially in humid areas. Wash baby clothes with mild detergent without chlorine. Do not let your baby wear clothes directly from the department store. Enjoy your shopping but control the urge to buy things you and your baby don’t really need. As your baby grows, you can continuously add to his/her wardrobe plus accessories of course. You don’t have to purchase everything all at once. Prepare ahead and take it slow. Shop but don’t drop.

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Now we progress from Parenting Tips for a Blissful Pregnancy in the First Trimester to the last two trimesters of pregnancy.

At this point, you definitely look pregnant. Making yourself comfortable will ease your thoughts away from the burdens of your heavy load and will help you focus on the wonders of pregnancy. Here are some tips.

1. Have more pillows. If you can’t buy a body pillow, having several soft pillows within your reach will be very helpful. There will come a point when pillows will be your best friend in bed, in the couch or even in the car while traveling. Use them to support your back while sitting or to rest your tummy while lying on your side.

2. Change your wardrobe. Insisting on wearing your old clothes will make you uncomfortable and look terrible. Boost your confidence by getting a few sets of maternity clothes. Choose wisely, base your choice on fit, style, design and fabric. Maternity clothes should be fashionable yet comfortable. Cotton clothing will answer concerns about perspiration.

Also, having some nice clothes to wear will inspire you to move about and regain your loosing self-esteem. Even your underwears need to be changed, at least one cup size bigger for your bra is expected. For your panties, wear something like a bikini style, which you can wear below your tummy or a large stretchable maternity type which you can pull over it.

3. Spend More to Worry Less. If you feel too tired to cook, have your food delivered. Don’t do the laundry if you can afford not to. Have it done by others. If you are blessed with reliable help to do these chores, good for you. The message is to spend more if you have to, such that you worry less on things that should be least in your concerns these days.

4. Adopt Good Posture and Wear Comfy Shoes. Adopting a good posture is important especially during pregnancy. This will reduce the risk of back injuries, minimize backaches, and provide more room for you growing baby as well.

a. When standing up, keep your shoulders back and drop them slightly, keep your back straight and lift your chest and ribs up. Tighten your stomach muscles and tuck your bottom in.

b. For a comfortable sit, find a chair that will support your back. You can also use a pillow for additional support.

c. When picking up objects, squat down, use your leg muscles and keep your back straight.

d. Roll onto your side before getting up from bed. Use your arms to help pull yourself up.

e. Avoid prolonged standing and sitting, and lifting heavy objects.

f. Wear comfy shoes or low-heeled sandals. Wearing high-heeled shoes when pregnant will put more strain on your leg muscles and back.

5. Exercise Regularly. For uncomplicated pregnancies, regular prenatal exercise offers a number of advantages. It promotes good posture; tones and strengthens muscles, particularly in the back, abdomen and pelvis; and improves blood circulation and psychological well-being of pregnant women. Exercise also induces the release of serotonin, a hormone responsible for eliciting the happy feeling.

There are varieties of antenatal exercises, but even a slow 15-minute walk in the park or your neighborhood will do. An early morning or before sunset walk to avoid the scorching heat of the sun is preferable. Avoid walking on congested and polluted streets.

6. Get the Right Nutrition. Eat a well balanced diet and take vitamins and mineral supplements. But remember to eat small frequent meals to prevent heartburn and indigestion. When you are well-nourished, pregnant or not, you feel and look vibrant. As a pregnant mom, know what you need and get it.

Folate and iron are very important supplements for pregnant women for the development of healthy red blood cells and for optimum brain development of babies. Food rich in folate are red meat, green leafy vegetables and broccoli. If you do not get enough folate and iron, you may look pale and will easily feel fatigued and breathless.

Calcium requirements can be answered by drinking lots of milk and consuming milk products. But for those who cannot tolerate high milk intake, calcium supplement may be necessary. Deficiency in calcium may cause cramps in thigh and calf muscles.

7. Indulge on a Prenatal Massage. If you wish to have a prenatal massage, have it done by a professional or somebody knowledgeable on the restrictions of this practice. Enjoy this feel good indulgence…you deserve it. For all my pregnancies, in my 3rd trimester, it has become a nightly ritual for my husband to rub my legs with liniment for a sure good night sleep.

8. Alleviate Constipation and Prevent Hemorrhoids. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to get hemorrhoids mainly because the growing uterus puts additional pressure on the veins around the rectum, making them swell. I know you don’t even want to think about it. Unfortunately it can happen, so I have to discuss ways of preventing it. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.

a. Eat plenty of high fiber foods like oats, fruits and vegetables.

b. Drink plenty of water. This will also help replenish lost fluids during excessive perspiration as a consequence of hormonal changes and increased blood flow to the skin.

c. Don’t sit or stand for long periods of time.

d. If you are not ready to move your bowel, then don’t force it. Having high fiber intake and lots of water will do the trick and prevent you from becoming miserable…take your time and relax.

Basically, you only need to know the expected discomforts of pregnancy and find ways of alleviating them if you cannot totally prevent them from occurring. Bear in mind that in pregnancy, whatever you are going through is not your child’s or your husband’s fault, but yours to take willingly and cheerfully for you are sooo blessed. Again, my Congratulations! Have a Blissful Pregnancy!

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About Us (circa 2009)

Our journey led us to this place. A little more than 10 years ago we began our journey as husband and wife. Three years later, we found ourselves with two bundles of joy- a daughter and then a son. They're the children we've dreamed of having.

About five years since the birth of our son, an unexpected gift came- a younger brother to our school-age kids. And soon enough, a baby girl arrived to round the family membership.

Brave was a term used by a friend to describe us. Challenging... and loving it -- yeah, this journey is not for the faint of heart.