Monthly Archives: April 2011

And Here I Am, A Year Later…

… I’m still here, still partly crazy, still loving motherhood but a lot poorer.

Lots of changes and here are some updates and things that I would’ve done differently.

Diapers

I am still using cloth diapers which has its good and bad moments.  Little Patch is producing more pee each time he decides to go which means I have to change him more frequently. I love him but just thinking about his pee stench in a pail/bag waiting to be washed makes me want to gag.  I dislike changing diapers and I find every excuse to get out of doing it when Patch is around.  I’ve used every excuse in the book when I hand LP to him saying ‘Honey, could you change him, I have to go pee/job hunt/upload photos/return a call.‘  Yes, I’ve used job hunt before and it works because if he questions me, he’ll get, ‘Do you want me to work or not?’

That said, I do appreciate how much money we’ve saved by using cloth diapers.  On our one week trip to Hawaii, we used exactly one pack of 35 Seventh Generation disposable diapers.  That would normally cost around $20.  So at around $20 per week, you do the math.   We spent about $350 on cloth to last until he’s 25 lbs and about $200 on disposables.  However, that’s not the same deal as if I got Huggies or Pampers from Costco in the US (which for size 3 is about 17 cents each), I use Seventh Generation which costs about 27 cents each. Still, not bad for the year.  Best if the little bugger is actually potty trained…!

Money Saved But There’s Also Money Unwisely Spent

I can’t practice what I preach.  I tell new moms over and over that it’s not necessary to buy clothing and toys for the first few years.  Little Patch’s been extremely fortunate enough to receive clothing and toys from friends and family on Christmas, birthday, and “just because”.  He has so much that I’ve donated some to a local clothing bank or passed it on to expecting friends.  But guess what, I still spent $10 on a hoodie just because it’s cute and more importantly, I feel that I want him to wear something from mommy.  Does he know or care?  Most likely not. Yeah, I know that’s why I suck in this department.

TV Time

I’m a bit ashamed to admit that around Lil Patch’s 10 month bday, I started using the TV (Treehouse to be exact) to calm, distract or entertain him.  Who knew that 4 middle age men can be cute and comical wearing star trek knock off uniforms (I heart you, Sam Moran)?  And to be honest, sometimes it’s because *I* want to watch it.  His TV times are usually 12:30 – 1:15pm, around his lunch time.  Lunchtime with the TV on? That’s double crime.  However, I’ve managed to turn off TV time during his feeding and I find that he focuses better of eating.  Uh duh.

Healthy Soup – Winter Melon Soup with Pork

A light 'cooling' healthy soup.

Here is a nice, clear soup that is easy to make, cheap, and good for you.  I like making this winter melon soup because a big pot would last my family for a few days.

The main ingredients are pork tenderloin/shank (depends on what you prefer), duck eggs (for saltyness) and winter melon.   Winter melon can help detoxify the body and is normally used in soups, and stews.  Some fancy chinese restaurants serve the soup in the melon (after it’s scooped out) but will require advance notice to order. Read the rest of this entry

The Groundhog is My Neighbour

I have a neighbour.  He’s retired so he has a lot of time.  He doesn’t have hobbies like gardening or enjoy talking to my parents.  He’s East Indian and my parents are old fashion Chinese.  Both my parents and my neighbour are not racist but I guess the older generations don’t really hang out with other races for reasons like language barrier or cultural differences.  But they’re on polite terms.  The reason why I brought up our races is because we asked him once to not use his leaf blowers to blow his leaves over (especially after my dad spent hours raking our yard and keeping the grass area by the sidewalk leaf-free) and he called us racist.  Ok, whatever. Read the rest of this entry

Oahu’s Triple D – Waiola Shaved Ice – Worth a Trip to Hawaii

This is partially why I keep returning to Honolulu... seriously.

To end my Oahu’s Triple D segment is a trip to Waiola’s Shave Ice.  No, this is not the Waiola Shave Ice that’s constantly advertised on Hawaii Five-0 and not the one with the bakery.

On my previous trip to Honolulu, a local friend introduced me and my hubby to shaved ice.  At first I wasn’t too interested because I imagined it to be like PNE’s snow cone.  Coarse, grainy, rough ice doused in food colouring.

When I arrived, it was part of a corner store.  But there was a line for the shaved ice which is the first good sign. Read the rest of this entry

Oahu’s Triple D – Uncle’s Fish Market and Grill

I’ve been slacking on the posts recently so I’m hoping to finish up the Triple D segment before the start of the weekend.  We visited the Pier on Sunday and was hoping to have a late lunch at Nico’s.  However, Nico’s was closed and Uncle’s was open.  A local that came to eat with us told us that Uncle’s is where most of the fishermen go eat.

Colourful menu boards with lots of specials to choose from.

That day it wasn’t busy but there were still about 5 tables being served.  Mostly just one or two ppl per table, no other families.  Probably customers that had to work on a Sunday at the docks.

The right page of the menu where it explains the fish and texture was really helpful.

The menu had a good selection of entrees. Many of the items are kid friendly. Big portions as well.

There is also live entertainment on weekends and certain nights.  Their website has a calendar of events.  The only entertainment we had that day was sports on their TVs.  Read the rest of this entry

Oahu’s Triple D – Mac 24/7 (Waikiki)

Located inside the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel - 2500 Kuhio Avenue. Not quite by the beach but 2 blocks from it.

The restaurant name Mac 24/7 suggests its closing hours which are none unless it snows.  This restaurant is a block from the Aston Banyan located in the Hiltion Waikiki Beach Hotel.  Our friend mentioned that he saw an episode of Man vs. Food where the host did the Pancake challenge at the same restaurant so we decided to give it a try for dinner.  Not the challenge though! Read the rest of this entry

Oahu’s Triple D – Valerio’s Tropical Bake Shop

Valerio's Tropical Bake Shop in Honolulu. Parking in front and at the back.

I have returned to Valerio’s Tropical Bakery for one thing, its Pineapple Cream Cheese Bun.  The pineapple cream cheese bun is a very simple bun with flavoured filling. The bun itself is very soft and slightly sweet.   Read the rest of this entry

Oahu’s Triple D – Nanding’s Bakery

Once you've tried it, I promise that you will be just as excited as me when you peek into this bag of freshly baked spanish rolls.

Locals will definitely recommend this hole-in-the-wall Filipino bakery Nandings Bakery because of their awesome signature item – SPANISH ROLLS! These buttery soft rolls are small but they are super dangerous to calorie counters.  They just melt in your mouth especially when they are fresh out of the oven.

These photos are taken in the car because THEY DID NOT MAKE IT BACK TO THE HOTEL!!! Read the rest of this entry

Oahu’s Triple D – Home(Hotel)made Meal

After a trip to the farmer’s market, we dedicated a night to make use of our hotel kitchen and make a home cooked meal (and save some $$).   Here’s something that Patch and I whipped up for our friends.

The ever popular Miso Butterfish ($15 from the market). Baked in the oven. The miso paste was thick enough that it overpowered the flavour of the butterfish.

Ribeye steaks from trusty Costco... seasoned with Dole's Original Seasoning. A little bit of salt rub goes a loooooong way. They were cooked at the hotel's BBQ grill.

Fresh abalone sauteed in locally made garlic and herb butter.

Abalone ready for picking.

Salad with fresh mango, blueberries and avocadoes mixed with Dole's Pineapple dressing. Corn grilled using the lounge's BBQ. You will need to supply your own aluminum foil unless you got our room, we left the leftovers in the kitchen. 😉

Our homemade meal with beer and bottles of plum wine!

Hotel Review – Aston at the Waikiki Banyan

This hotel is one of the many hotels in the Aston chain and also goes by Aston Banyan Waikiki. On Trip Advisor, it is rated as 3 stars.  This is the second time that I’ve stayed at the Banyan.

One thing I learned about Oahu hotels is that is doesn’t matter if it’s 4 stars or 5 stars, the hotels are out dated and old.  Turtle Bay Resort, Royal Hawaiian, Hilton, etc. are 4 stars and above and I can tell you that their standard rooms are similar to 3 stars hotels along the strip.  Only exception is the Halekulani… hope to one day be able to stay there but I was lucky (and gutsy) enough to sneak in and catch a glimpse of the hotel.

There are many reasons to why I returned to the Banyan.  They are:

  • super kid friendly – playpens, cribs are available to rent at no charge (please tip though!).  Upon arrival, kids get a sand bucket/shovel and a Kids Eat Free card at participating restaurants.
  • parking – no valet, parking is charged by the day or week with in/out priveledges.
  • kitchen – fridge, kitchen utensils, there are even BBQ grills in the lounge area to use.
  • fast elevators – I’ve heard complaints about how slow the elevators for Tower I are but I’ve stayed at the rooms in Tower II and their elevators get me to my floor quick… even when I’m on the 36th floor.
  • free internet – it’s not wi-fi, but there’s a cable included.

Booking for both trips had its own hiccups.  But it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be resolved.  Both times, I asked for King size beds and was given Queen size which I swear it’s a bit smaller by Canadian standards (closer to full/double).  Both times, we had to switch rooms to get the bed that we wanted.  The staff are friendly but they work on Hawaiian time and very chilled. Read the rest of this entry