Travelling with a toddler

If I put any sentence to go before “with a toddler”, for example  “going to the beach with a toddler” or “watching a movie with a toddler”, or something as simple as “eating vegetables with a toddler” it will send parents a slight chill down their spine. Just kidding. But sometimes they do pose a lot of challenge for their parents, depending on their mood, personality or how hungry and tired they are at that moment.

We have been lucky enough to have travelled a little bit with Aurora the last two years. Her first ever flight was when she was just 7 weeks old, Melbourne – Singapore – Jakarta. I had read numerous amounts of blogs before that particular flight. They all tell you how horrible it is to travel with babies, that we should just wait will they’re older blah blah blah. Some blogs show parents how to make a small goody bags for their fellow passenger, usually consisting of earplugs, chocolate and a small note saying to forgive them if the baby gets too loud. I actually planned to do this but I thought it would be a little tacky; the passengers in business class would not fully appreciate it.

My mind kept going over and over in details on how each step of the process will be different compared to “babyless” travel. I kept practicing getting her in and out of her baby carrier, breastfeeding under the cover, and all the small stuff that might come in handy during our flight. Turns out she slept through most of the flight like a little angel baby, better than ever before. The white noise must have done it for her.

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Look at her mouth lol
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Daddy took a selfie

Fast forward a couple of months later, we travelled to Bali, Japan, Singapore, Melbourne (we were living in Jakarta then). Aurora was around 18 months when we took her to Mauritius. I also travelled solo with her when she was almost two, from Melbourne to Singapore, to visit Puffy who was in quarantine as he was migrating to Australia. The flight went surprisingly well. Getting luggages from the carousel was a challenge. But you know what was hard? Her terrible twos had started. She was 2 weeks shy of her second birthday but boy oh boyyy, will she not listen to me! Whatever it is I forbid , she will do it just to test my temper. Terrible twos are not fun.

We recently travelled back to Jakarta and Singapore and we noticed that she absolutely loves traveling on the airplane. You know why? In flight entertainment of course. She would watch for hours then nap for a little, wake up and have her meal. She would keep asking to go back on the airplane even when our trip has ended.

With our upcoming travel this year, we know what’s going to happen and what we need to bring. So here are a few tips and trick in what to put in your diaper bag

1. Lots of entertainment

When Aurora was younger and have not yet understood the concept of books, I used to bring colourful bandaids or mini post-it tabs to keep her entertained and stay seated at least when the seat belt sign is on. Recently, I brought her favourite Peppa magazine or sticker books. I bought her an airport themed one sometime ago from Book Depository. Seemed very suiting and she loves understanding how airport works, especially when she didn’t understand why her bunny had to go to in the Xray. First sticker book Airport

2. Snack snack snack

Aurora is obsessed with snacks. So I bring a variety of snack, knowing that she will get bored of a single one fairly quickly. I always go for healthy ones. I don’t really bring fresh fruits not vegetables since it can go bad pretty quickly, and can get quite messy. Here are some of her favourites and you can easily find them at your local Coles or Woollies.

3. Baby Carrier

I will never travel without a baby carrier. Our most recent trip, not-so-baby Aurora is already 2.5 years old I still use of it. I tend to carry her in and out of the airplane because  she’s usually asleep. It just gives me freedom to use for both arms. I’m definitely bringing a lightweight one (BobaAir) for our Korea trip.

4. Baby wipes, diapers, spare clothing

I cannot stress how important baby wipes are for me. Cleaning up food messes, wiping dirty food court tables, sticky fingers and of course diaper changes. I cannot live without baby wipes. In regards to diapers, depending on how long the trip is, divide it every 2 hours. For e.g, if it’s an 8 hour flight I’ll bring 4 diapers plus one just in case. Ideally, when Aurora was younger, I’ll change her every 2 hours and always right before we board the plane just to make her comfortable, nice and clean. But sometimes she just gets changed twice within the 8 hour trip. But it’s always good to bring some spare just in case the flight gets delayed or your luggage gets lost. Now I will take one spare underwear (Aurora is fully potty trained) and one to two diapers.

5. Hand Sanitiser

According to the article below, airport germs are not in the toilet.

The Most -Covered Surfaces In Airports Aren’t In The Restrooms

It turns out that while the tray table and seat belt buckle on the plane house a small fraction of the number of germs found on other surfaces, the vast majority of them fall into categories that are most harmful.

So the lesson, it seems, is to maybe skip the self-service kiosks if you can. But most important is just to be sure and carry hand sanitizer with you on your next journey.
It’s a must-have in her diaper bag even not during air travel. My current favorite one is  Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Hand Sanitizer. It is organic, smells incredible. Aurora will always have a little sniff after being sprayed.
Dr Bronner's Lavender Hand Sanitizer
Our Organic Hand Sanitizer kills germs with a simple formula: organic ethyl alcohol, water, organic lavender oil, and organic glycerin—that’s it! None of the nasty chemicals you find in conventional sanitizers, but just as effective. 

6. Other essentials not in the diaper bag

List of other items in Aurora’s luggage

Thermometer, paracetamol, hair comb, shampoo and soap, towel, nail clippers, socks, extra wet wipes, PJ’s (plus extra for incidents), travel stroller, blankets, insect repellent, sunscreen, jackets, toothbrush and toothpaste, hair clips and hair ties, cotton buds and vitamin D.

So happy traveling! Take lots of pictures and videos and remember to always enjoy the little moments, even if it’s a negative one because it will be a cute story to tell when they’re older.

30th birthday planning (or the lack of it)

Sitting down on the sofa with all my little loves just relaxing and watching a rerun of MKR. Feels so warm and fuzzy. Speaking of cooking, I don’t think I will be doing a lot of the cooking recipes the next couple of weeks since my parents are here and we’ll definitely dine out most nights with them.

A couple of exciting things are happening.

First, I’m turning thirty next week! I’m not particularly excited about the getting older part. But I’m going to have a small get together with family and friends who will be able to make it, because I already know some of them won’t (which is understandable because Easter is coming up) nudge* Glo, Mimi, Fiorn lol. It will be somewhere nice, and I hope it will be wonderful.

Second, Aurora and I will be leaving early April for a “moms and bubs” Korea trip with Priscilia and Lewis! No hubbies allowed! Lol just kidding.

Yayy, Korea. We’ll be there for 10 days and Priscilia and I have been so occupied on picking  “practical” outfits that we have left the itinerary last. We still have a bit of time, but everyone knows that solo traveling with a toddler is not easy, especially two of them! So everything needs to be prepped and planned to the tee, while still allowing mishaps to happen along the way. So if you know any neat places to hang out for kids or cool destinations, do’s and don’ts please do let us know, we would love to hear it!

We’re in for a lot of traveling this year because Aurora is going to kinder next year, and opportunities for long holidays will be scarce. She’s growing up so fast… Time just slips away. I still remember the time where she was just a fragile little newborn crying for my breast milk. Also the cracked and bloody nipples, colic, no sleep, exploding diapers, sore vagina, hormonal melt downs, plenty of tears (both baby and mommy but mostly mommy), feeding every 15 mins (not usual text book 2 hours), pumping and more pumping. Come to think of it, I don’t miss newborn days. It was hectic for us.

Besides my Korea trip, David and I will be going to Jakarta & Bali, Dubai, Mauritius, Japan, Finland and Norway to see Aurora Borealis (and other parts of Europe that we still have to decide). Big year this year! We are very excited but we still have a bit of planning to do.

I might end the blog early today because tomorrow is going to be a full day leading to a big week. What I mean is I haven’t even started planning for my birthday and it’s happening in 6 days.. No confirmed a venue, food nor cake. The party was a last minute decision since I didn’t really want to celebrate my 30th. But then again, I’ll only turn 30 once so I think I’m going to go all out? Maybe.

Follow me on Instagram: @nickagunawan

Bruno Mars and Mushroom Asparagus Risotto – the best combination

Friday, March 16th  2018

Yesterday was pretty hectic. I had to submit a video for an audition with a time limit which took forever, had a rehearsal, and then I had my 4 hour long acting class. Came home at 11.30pm, exhausted but I’m glad I saw Aurora before she went to bed (she sleeps pretty late lol). So it wasn’t a particularly exciting day. But you know what was exciting? Bruno Mars last Sunday!!!

It was our first time since Aurora was born that we had the whole evening to ourselves for more than two hours. We left her with our parents a couple of times but never more than 2 hours. Even then, I start to panic and couldn’t really enjoy our time away, fearing that they would give her chocolates, sweets and YouTube videos the whole time (which is sometimes true). This time we left her with my dear friend Priscilia and her husband Hendrick, who also has a 4.5 year old son, Lewis (Aurora’s best friend). So that worked out perfectly! They had so much fun and Priscilia sent me lots videos of them, good entertainment while waiting for Bruno to come out already. Aurora snatched Lewis’ toys a couple of times which made him upset, so sharing is something she needs to improve on. Sorry Lewis, please forgive your stubborn little sister. But other than that they look so cute together.

While auntie and uncle are occupied the 2 toddlers, with the addition of my mischievous and extremely disobedient dog, Puffy, (who apparently kept snatching apples from Lewis’ hand) mommy and daddy had so much fun! Hahaha. Sorry not sorry? Just kidding, I felt really bad knowing that my place can turn to a crazy house in a second is a crazy house all day everyday. I could be cooking dinner in peace one evening, then suddenly Aurora starts demanding for snack snack snack, and out of nowhere Puffy drags his grotty brown bed to the living room and starts humping it. I would give in to Aurora and her pre-dinner snack to calm one kid down, but Puffy will start chasing after her. Aurora screaming around dropping crumbs in every little nook and cranny, eventually Puffy will get it off her and she’ll ask for another one bla bla blaa. This goes around like a vicious cycle while my onions starting to get a little too brown waiting for my mushrooms. So yea, crazy house.

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

img_5542-2046665659-1521167204971.jpgI made risotto with asparagus and mushroom for lunch on that day. I think risotto is the kind of dish that people assume hard to make, but not at all. As long as you have all the ingredients on hand, it’s just like making fried rice.

Ingredients:
  • Mushroom
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach (or kale is also good)
  • Arborio rice (crucial to make good risotto)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Boiled organic vegetable stock (I dont like to use vegan chicken stock for this since I find that the flavour gets too “heavy”).

In goes the onion and garlic , then mushroom until brown. Arborio rice next, adding a ladle of the hot stock slowly (around 2-3 minutes before each addition). When I’m through with half of the stock, I’ll add in my asparagus. Don’t add the spinach after the risotto is cooked (the heat should be enough to just wilt it, plus raw spinach is good for you anyway). Done! Aurora loves it, and so does Lewis.

Bruno Mars in Melbourne 2018

We are fortunate enough to get early entry tickets, so we had access to enter the premises before everyone else and stood right in front of the stage. But I was quite unfortunate to be standing right in front of someone with BO aka body odour (lol). She was the only person between me and the stage and she had to have BO… But then again, David said the screaming teenager right next to him also had BO. Hahaa. Warm and squishy in the mosh pit.

I was wearing 15 cm wedges for fear that I wouldn’t be able to see Bruno, and I regretted that decision before we even entered the stadium. My feel and calves were killing me.

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Sitting on the floor because my feet were in agony

Overall it was amazing. All the fireworks and the confetti. Bruno Mars is a spectacular performer and dancer. I will definitely go to one of is concerts again in the future.

At the end we rushed home when I was informed that Aurora was sobbing and asking for mommy. Getting an Uber with 1% battery left, running and crossing the street barefoot among hundreds of people was not fun but I just needed to get home ASAP. I missed my baby. When we walked in the house, she ran towards us and cried in my arms. I felt so selfish and guilty for leaving her for that long. No more. At least for now.

Anyway, special thanks to Priscilia, Hendrik and Lewis for keeping Aurora company for the whole 7 hours. We owe you lots and lots.

The Wiggles concert next time would be appropriate I think.

Follow me on Instagram: @nickagunawan

South Melbourne Market and vegan pizza night!

I made it to my second day of blogging! I’m hoping that this will be a daily thing but knowing myself, let’s be honest, I don’t think I’ll make it. LOL.

But anyway, check out Aurora’s OOTD that daddy picked for her today. I’m surprised actually. He’s getting pretty good. There were days where I was confused looking at the clashing colours he considers “cute”. But well done daddy.

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Aurora’s pleather jacket from Target and denim pants also from Target.

We left around 10am to visit South Melbourne Market. There was a story-telling fairy for the children. When you are a parent and you see a free activity available for your kid, you run straight towards it! The fairy provided colouring sheets, story telling, and at the end they all got a chance to play with bubbles, which I thought was quite nice. Aurora had a blast.

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She coloured for like 10 seconds and got bored. Toddlers..

Brunch

I was starving, and as always, I over ordered. Tofu Bahn Mi, Vietnamese Tofu Salad and lentil soup. All for me. I finished my salad, half the lentil soup and half of the banh mi which I took home for lunch the next day.

Daddy bought the little lady a mushroom and cheese toastie. It is not vegan but Aurora is not a strict vegan, since it is not always possible especially when we are traveling. The world is not vegan friendly, so we try to make the best out of every situation. But her diet is probably around 90-95% vegan. But this is another topic that I will go in depth sometime in the future.

Cupcake Monster

We can never pass a cupcake store in peace with this little one. So today we got her a treat. I picked the vegan red velvet but she was insistent on the chocolate one. See, not always possible.

Aurora at the market

Dinner: Pizza with daddy’s home made dough

With mushroom and zucchini, topped with sundried tomatoes and vegan parmesan. I think I sort of killed it with too much tomato. The dough did rise up quite nicely.

And also Swiss chard, spinach and potato soup.

It’s very simple to make and so delicious, you can’t taste any of the greens. The ingredients are potatoes, leek, onion, swiss chard, spinach and organic vegan chicken stock. I poured a little soy milk before blending which made is extra silky and creamy.

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Sprinkled with some vegan parmesan. So hearty and filling.

Throughout my cook, Aurora was busy playing with her stuffed toy dog. She kept going back and forth to Puffy’s cupboard, retrieving two of his essential items. Dog poop bag and water bottle. When I asked her why, she replied “the doggy pooped” and “the doggy is thirsty”. Hilarious, but I guess more things for me to put away.. #momlife

P.S.

It is 2.40am and Aurora woke up crying and asked to go to the toilet! She is potty trained during the day but this is the first time during her slumber that she managed to pee!

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Sleeping position – 15 March 2018, 2.30am

Good night everyone!

Follow me on Instagram: @nickagunawan

My very first blog!

Hi everyone this is my first blog I’ve ever done so this is quite exciting! I’ve always wanted to tell stories about my life, especially living with my tantrum throwing toddler, food stealing beaglier and my ‘always hangry’ but sweet husband, in the most livable city in the world!

As you all know I’m a mom of 2 babies, my daughter Aurora is two and a half years old, 31 months to be exact, and my dog son Puffy is 10 years old! We’re currently living in Melbourne and loving it. The diversity, the clean air and mostly the outdoor life which is extremely lacking in Jakarta.

I’m a vegan mom for 2 years now so I always try to find recipes that is both healthy and delicious for my family. Yes, I only cook vegan at home, and no I do not cook two meals to cater to my husband (who is a budding vegan). Today I made Aurora’s favorite meal for lunch, pasta! She’ll just absolutely inhale the whole plate if it’s pasta on the menu. So for you moms who are struggling to convince your children that veggies are the most amazing thing on earth, I always suggest to sneak it in their favorite food, whatever it could be. In this instance, it’s pasta for my little lady. I’m not saying that Aurora is not a veggie lover, however about a month or so ago there was a period of time where she just would not touch anything green. I do not have the slightest clue as to why she behaved like this, so I’m just going to say that it was a phase that she went through, which I still find a little strange since I do not feed her anything else other than veggies. Oh well, let’s move on to what I made today!

Swiss chard, spinach and mushroom pasta. Do not let the name fool you into thinking that this could not possibly be tempting for children, but yes, yes it is! Let’s just call it greeny dreamy yummy spaghetti. Hah it rhymes. You see there is a trick to feeding you children greens, and that is chop it till it is no longer a piece of leaf.

Chopping swiss chard as big as my head, literally.

Left hand side is chopped spinach and right hand side is the chard but you probably can’t tell.

I chopped some mushrooms, sautée them, and minced lots and lots of garlic (because I’m obsessed with all things garlic) so I used a whole bulb, boil some pasta and combine them together. Tadaaa! Add a little chili for yourself if you fancy a little spice. Oh I usually add nutritional yeast in all my pasta dishes however I completely forgot about that since David was starting to get hangry. Easy, simple, quick, delicious and most importantly kids won’t pick at the greens (fingers crossed)

I also baked some potato wedges on the side, using salt, garlic powder, dried mixed herbs (rosemary, thyme, basil, marjoram, oregano and sage), drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. So simple yet delicious.

As you can tell, she loves it! Paired with in-season orange and red cherry tomatoes.

After our delicious lunch, I put Aurora down for a nap. She woke up smiling, and gave me a hug. I asked if she had a good nap, she replied “yes”. Then David and I took both of the kids to the park for a little outdoor play. Aurora joined in the rally that was happening at the park after Puffy became exhausted from chasing his favorite ball.

Overall it was another good day spent with my loved ones. Looking forward to tomorrow!

See you on my next blog! ❤

P.S.

This is how Aurora is sleeping beside me right now… interesting dream perhaps? Omgosh it’s 2.25am arghh. Good night everyone, I need my beauty sleep!

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