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Savoury Korean Pancakes (Pa Jun)

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These scallion pancakes are a great twist to the traditional sweet breakfast food. They make a great brunch dish and can be served up with salad for lunch.

Ingredients:

2 Cups flour

2 Eggs, beaten

1.5 Cups water

1 Bunch of scallions, quartered and cut into 2-3 inch lengths

½ Cup corn

½ Cup frozen peas, thawed in boiling water

¼ Cup grated carrots (water squeezed out)

1 Cup cooked shrimp, finely chopped (optional)

1 tsp salt

Oil for cooking

Dipping Sauce:

1/3 Cup soy sauce

1/3 Cup rice wine vinegar

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp chili pepper flakes

1 Tbsp scallions, thinly sliced

Directions:

1) Combine all ingredients together in large bowl and let sit for about 10 minutes. Check consistency before cooking – batter should be a little bit runnier than regular pancake batter, so that the Pa Jun cooks quickly and evenly.

2) Heat frying pan over medium heat and coat with a thin layer of oil.

photo 1-33) Spoon batter into pan to create individual pancakes. (You can also pour batter to fill entire pan in a thin layer and then cut giant pancake into wedges)

4) Cook until set and golden brown on bottom.

5) Turn over to finish cooking other side 1-2 more minutes, adding more oil if needed.

6) Combine all dipping sauce ingredients and serve with pancakes.

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12 days of Newborn Christmas (or how to avoid useless Christmas presents for Baby)

Sweet Pea is 4 months today so I thought I’d make a list of the newborn essentials that helped me make it through the first hairy three months. As it’s the holiday season season…why not make it a 12-days of newborn Christmas list!

I’d suggest any new parents use this as a baby Christmas wish list so you don’t get stuck with 20 “baby’s first Christmas” onesies this holiday season.

Top 12 New Born Must Haves:

1)stroller Baby Jogger Mini City GT Stroller

Ok – your little one would have to be one extra good kid to merit a stoller as a Christmas gift from Santa…but if you’ve got any Santa’s in your life with extra deep pockets this year, I’d definitely recommend this stroller. I live in the city and on the second floor of a triplex so this stroller is perfect for my needs:

  • It folds up super compact like a lawn chair (as I don’t have a garage to keep a giant stroller in, the stroller folds small enough for me to keep it at the bottom of my stairs)
  • Folding action is a one-shot-deal. All you do is pull on a handle and the entire stroller folds in two.
  • It only weighs 16 pounds – so if I do need to carry it up the stairs I won’t break my back doing so.
  • It lays almost completely flat and can hold up to 65 lbs. This means I can avoid having to buy three-four separate strollers (i.e. one for newborn with a bassinette, a snap and go style that the car seat clicks into, one for infant size, and an umbrella style stroller.) My stroller should last me until well beyond the time Sweet Pea should be out of a stroller for good.
  • The GT model had bigger tires than the regular City Mini stroller – so it can work as a winter weather stroller (not for a giant snowstorm…but the tires can handle everyday snow.) I’ve also taken it on vacation to the beach…so the tires also work well on sand.
  • You can buy adaptors so your car seat can snap right onto the stroller – great for running errands with the car (stroller fits easily into the trunk of my midsize car.)

sponge 2) Bathing sponge

This is the perfect stocking stuffer for any new parents or newborn in your life. The sponge takes so much of the anxiety out of bathing a newborn because they literally stick to the sponge…no slippery child falling into the water – bath time can be a relaxing and enjoyable time with this amazing sponge.

We initially used it lying flat on our counter for the first sponge baths. We then used it in the infant bathtub up against the reclined seat so Sweat Pea would stay put and comfortable during the bath. This sponge has been a real lifesaver!

bathtub3) Bathtub that fits in kitchen sink

Some people may be squeamish about having their baby bathed in the same place food is served…but not me. (After all soap was invented to clean things no?? Just wash your kitchen sink after the baby’s had its bath then everyone is clean.)

I personally love having the baby’s bathtub at counter height because I don’t have to awkwardly bend down to bathe my child. I can have good eye contact with Sweat Pea as he soaks in the tub so bath time becomes a nice bonding experience where we can take our time and I don’t have a back ache by the end. Plus with the counter right beside, it is easy to lift the baby out of the tub and transfer him to a towel laid out on the counter.

hydrasense4) Hydrasense nasal aspirator starter Kit

Inevitably your baby will get a cold (or two) in their first couple months. It is so hearbreaking to see your little one snuffed up and unable to breathe through his nose. Sweet Pea caught a little cold before we were to take him on a big trip and this nasal aspirator worked wonders for him. At first it seems rather gross (sucking snot out of your child’s now via a tube) but rest assured there is a filter and nothing yucky will every reach your lips. I also liked how the kit can with mini-vials of saline solution – perfect for loosening everything up…and also small enough for airplane travel!

aquarium5) FP aquarium mobile 

After nursing, this was by far the most effective thing at getting Sweet Pea to go down for naps in the beginning. I don’t know about other babies, but for the first couple of months our little one would always sleep with his head to the side, rendering our crib mobile virtually useless!

The fisher price aquarium was a lifesaver. It hooks onto the side of the crib – in the baby’s eye line, plays calming music or sounds, and also has a bubble light show that mesmerized our Sweet Pea and lulled him to sleep. My only criticism of this is that it needed so many batteries (and battery changes) – why can’t they have it plug in?…and the light/music show wouldn’t always last long enough for Sweet Pea to be fully lulled to sleep. Thankfully the newer model has a remote control to fix this issue.

yellowduck16) Wubbanub

Soother haters beware, the next item on my list is just that. But a Wubbanub isn’t your ordinary soother. It’s a soother with a stuffed animal attached to the end. The animal is specially weighted to help keep the soother in Sweet Pea’s mouth when he’s trying to settle for a nap…and now that he’s a bit bigger, he can even hold onto the stuffed animal for comfort. This too was a lifesaver for those times when your baby is just about to go to sleep… and then the pacifier falls out of his mouth and all hell breaks loose! The Wubbanub can be cleaned in the laundry and the tip can be sterilized by dipping it into boiling water. The stuffed animal also helps prevent the soother tip from coming into contact with the ground if it is dropped – an added bonus. It doesn’t work all the time but is a lot easier than standing over your baby with your finger holding the soother in for hours.

swing 7) Infant Swing

I’m not sure I could have gotten through the first months with Sweet Pea were it not for his baby swing. When he was really small, he hated it but by around 4 weeks, the swing was his new best friend. It would help calm the baby enough for us to make the transfer to the bassinette or crib with little to no fussing from him. On extra fussy days, we also let him take a nap in the swing – but I don’t recommend this if you can avoid it. The swing is also useful if you just need to put the baby down for a couple of minutes to regain use of both arms (i.e. to eat something, or get dressed!)

Swings can be pricey. Ours was a hand-me-down so I can’t complain. I’d recommend having your little one try out other people’s swings before buying (often the cheapest swing is the one baby likes best)…If you’re comfortable with it, the best suggestion would be to buy one second hand. (after all that is what washable liners are for).

bouncer8) Interactive Bouncer Chair

I love how these chairs are interactive (not just passive like the swing) – they teach the baby action-reaction as the baby’s hand or feet motions trigger lights, sounds and music. Sweet Pea had hours of entertainment in these bouncy chairs. Plus they are relatively compact enough to fit in you car if you’re visiting friends or relatives and need a place to keep the baby happy and entertained.

We loved the bouncy chair so much that we bought a second hand one when visiting relatives down in Florida for two weeks. The chair also doubled as a great poolside lounger for Sweet Pea. Secondhand it only set us back 25$ (they can sell for upwards of 70$ brand new) and by the end of our stay we sold it back to the used baby store for 12.50$. The chair was the best 12.50$ I ever spent!

By the way, my new favourite used baby store is Once Upon a Child They have locations all over North America and keep on top of the recalled item list – so you can feel secure what you are buying is safe. It’s a great place to pick up inexpensive essentials for the home…or items you can’t travel with for cheap. After all babies outgrow all their “baby contraptions” so quickly second hand items are often just like new. As long as you clean and disinfect the item there is no issue. As the 6th grandchild in our family, the majority of Sweet Pea’s possessions are hand-me-downs. Plus second hand is good for the environment! My philosophy is each new person doesn’t need to leave a trail of new waste behind them.

snuggle9) Baby Delight Snuggle Nest

As I mentioned in a previous post, the first two months of Sweet Pea’s life, my husband was away at work for weeks at a time. This is where the snuggle nest was a godsend for me. I’m not totally comfortable co-sleeping as I’m concerned that I’d accidentally roll over onto Sweet Pea – The snuggle nest is essentially a box that surrounds the infant making it very hard to accidentally roll over onto them when they are placed in the bed with you. I used this while my husband was out of town (i.e. out bed had lots of room to accommodate Sweet Pea). It made night feedings super easy, and also helped to ease my first-time-mom nerves (I could easily just reach over and feel Sweet Pea’s chest to make sure he was breathing at night. This was also very useful when I traveled to visit family with Sweet Pea and didn’t want to pack a huge pack and play.

swaddles10) Aden & Anais muslin blankets 

I love these for their versatility. They serve many roles: Swaddle blanket, sunshade, nursing cover, and play mat. Sweet Pea was born in August so these blankets were great in warm weather. They were a night covering for his naps and were terrific sun shades when draped over his stroller or car seat. The Aden and Anais ones tend to be quite pricey – but I’ve seen similar muslin blankets by Summer Infant that are less expensive.

thermometer11) Thermometer

This thermometer kit was a gift from my mother in law. It came in really handy when Sweet Pea had a reaction to his two-month vaccines and was running a fever. I was thankful to have a baby thermometer in the house so I could see how high his temperature was and communicate this information to the nurse on the phone. I’d say you don’t necessarily need a three tip thermometer – the anal reading is most accurate so I’d definitely go with that one. My only criticism is the instructions are a bit hard to follow (especially at 3AM with a screaming infant in your arms) so I’d suggest reading up on how to use the thermometer to get an accurate reading before you need to use it.

play mat12) Play Mat

At first Sweet Pea hated “Tummy Time” he’d screech every time I’d place him on his stomach. The physiotherapist suggested I prop him up on a breastfeeding pillow first to make things easier for him (because when it comes to tummy time endurance trumps holding up a heavy head for a short period). Gradually Sweet Pea’s neck got stronger and stronger and he now does tummy time right on the play mat. You don’t need anything too fancy…just something that has interesting colours/shapes/textures to look at and feel as well as some hanging toys and mirrors to amuse baby when they are on their back. Sweet Pea can easily spend 30-45 minutes happily playing on the play mat both on his stomach and back. He’s even had a couple naps there. Play Mat time allows me to get housework and cooking done!