Baby Essentials For First Time Parents

I just found out that two of my brothers are expecting, and only two weeks apart! I’m absolutely thrilled to hear this news, especially for my second brother who is expecting his first.

Baby shopping can be fun but definitely also a little overwhelming, especially for first time parents. I myself have recently been through through the whole baby shopping thing for my three month old, and I thought building a list of things that I have found useful, may be a helpful starting point for my brother and my sister-in-law and potentially any other first time parents out there!

Some of these items are a must and others are just nice to have.

Must Haves

  • Onesies
  • Bibs
  • Socks
  • Mittens
  • Clothes – newborn ones with the covers for the hands are convenient
  • Baby blankets
  • Swaddling blankets
  • Wash cloths
  • Burping cloths
  • Towels
  • Bath tub
  • Diaper/nappy bin
  • Thermometer
  • Nursing pump – if planning on using a bottle
  • Nursing cover – if planning on nursing
  • Bottles
  • Baby bag/diaper bag
  • Car seat – Note: In a lot of countries, including the US and England, they will not let you leave the hospital with the baby without a car seat!
  • Pushchair
  • Cot
  • Cot mattress
  • Baby monitor

Useful, Non-essential Items

Here are some items that I found made life me much easier, but are not things you absolutely need:

  • Swing
  • Bouncer
  • Nursing pillow – found this very useful for my first child but hardly used this for my third!
  • Dummy – if you are going to use
  • Sterilizer
  • Baby carrier
  • Changing table

I will be posting specific brands of items that I liked and used soon.

About me

Hi, I am Aisha. In this blog you will find a place where all my scatterbrain hobbies come together.

Arts and craft, parenting, makeup, reviews and baking! I am currently a stay at home mother of three wonderful boys.

Chocolate Dirt Cups

These chocolate dirt cups were another dessert I made for my sister in law’s strawberry garden themed bridal shower. I found a bunch of these recipes on Pinterest. The only thing I changed was replacing a gummy worm to a strawberry to make it relevant and cute! The best part of this yummy dessert is how simple they are to make!

You will need:

  • Oreo biscuits
  • Chocolate putting
  • Strawberry
  • Mint leaves

Method

  1. First, make the pudding and put into dessert cups.
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  2. Then, make place the Oreos into a food processor and make fine crumb for the soil.IMG_2342
  3. Put this on top of the pudding & decorate with a strawberry, mint and an ice lolly stick. Now you’re all good to go! 🙂IMG_2344

Chocolate strawberry roses

For my sister-in-law’s strawberry garden themed bridal shower, one of the desserts we made were chocolate covered strawberries. I originally came across this idea from howtocookthat.net, and  loved them — they serve as both a tasty dessert and lovely decorative piece!

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You will need:

  • Dowels (I covered these with floral tape)
  • Leaves from fake flowers (I bought these at the dollar store)
  • Strawberries
  • Chocolate
  • Modeling chocolate

Method

  1. First, wrap the floral tape around the dowel and add the leaves.
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  2. Then attach the strawberry onto the rod and dip it into some melted chocolate.
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  3. Leave these to harden. Use the modeling chocolate to  make the rose, for this follow the tutorial on How to make a fondant rose.

 

And there you have it! Easy 🙂

Making Modelling Chocolate!

I have always wanted to use modelling chocolate to make cake decorations. It’s so much easier to blend than fondant, it’s smooth and unlike fondant, it actually tastes good! I also find it easier to make fondant figures out of modelling chocolate because it doesn’t crack or form elephant skin, and blending the seams with it is so much easier!

This recipe is a bit difficult – it took me a few failed attempts before I finally got it right!

Ingredients

  1. 1 lbs Chocolate or candy melts — use candy of the colour that you need.
  2. 1/3 cup corn syrup

Directions

  1. Melt the candy melts or chocolate in the microwave or double boiler. I usually use the double boiler as it’s far too easy to burn chocolate in the microwave.
    The Melted Candy Melts
  2. Microwave the corn syrup and add it to the melted chocolate.
    Adding the heated corn syrup to the mix
  3. Stir until incorporated.
    The stirred mixture
  4. Pour the mixture onto your worktop and knead it until the chocolate is soft and pliable.
    The kneaded mixture
  5. Wrap it up in cling film and leave it to rest for 20 mins before use.
    Leave the modelling chocolate to rest

Quick Tip:

Overmixing can ruin the modelling chocolate. I found this out the hard way when my modelling chocolate was a crumbly mess! 🙁

This is something that can be fixed with a little effort, as I learnt from Wicked Little Cake Company’s youtube video (See Below). The steps to fixing this are:

  1. Strain all the oil out of the modelling chocolate.
  2. Place it back into a bowl and start stretching it as shown in the picture.
    Do this a few times and let it set overnight. This should fix your modelling chocolate.
    Stretching the mixture

I fell in love with modelling chocolate the first time I used it, and I’ve used this recipe so many times since then, as modelling chocolate is so easy to use! Hopefully, you’ll enjoy modelling chocolate just as much me, and you’ll find this recipe just as useful as I do. Good Luck!

Busy Books!

I have taken on a new hobby….SEWING! I have never sewn anything before and do not even know how to use a sewing machine but I am having a lot of fun learning! I decided to make my son a busy book.  Busy books are just cloth books full of fun activities for children to keep them busy and help in developing their fine motor skills. They can be educational  as well  if you include alphabets/numbers and shape activities. They are extremely fun and addictive to make and you can find many free templates online. I purchased one from Etsy but also incorporated other free templates that I had found.

Here are some pictures of the pages so far. I will put up the links where I found the ideas/ templates etc

It is not a perfect book but hopefully I will improve :p

 

To make a busy book you will need some basic tools such as:

Thread /or you can simply glue it together but I like the look of a sewn book

Needle

Felt

Sharp scissors

Embellishments – such as buttons, zips, ribbons etc

 

Cover page
Cover page

 

I got this template from  Amy Pincock's  'Quiet Book Patterns: 25 Easy-To-Make Activities for Your Children'.
I got this template from Amy Pincock’s ‘Quiet Book Patterns: 25 Easy-To-Make Activities for Your Children’.

There is a little pocket to keep all the robot parts. This was my son's favoutite page. He loved making new robots.
There is a little pocket to keep all the robot parts.
This was my son’s favourite page. He loved making new robots.

I got the template for the lift up fruit from Etsy.
I got the template for the lift up fruit from Etsy.

Counting beads page
Counting beads page

Find the animals page and planets page
Find the animals page and planets page

 

 

I would recommend getting Quiet Book Patterns: 25 Easy-To-Make Activities for Your Children (CD Included) It has a lot of great tips, ideas and templates.

Jungle Birthday Cake

I made this jungle cake for both of my sons’ shared birthday party. As usual it was very difficult for me to make this cake as the children did not let me work on it during the day,  I stayed up many  nights often questioning my sanity. Whyyyy on earth would I put myself through all this pressure and stress?  And I would have an answer too. It was more meaningful to me for me to make them this cake. It was something I made with love and could be proud of…..besides….I LOVEEEE baking….and secretly look forward to my time,  alone, without the children….just to bake 🙂

 

I will do a tutorial on each of the animals soon….

 

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Scootcase vs Trunkie

Traveling with young ones is an extremely daunting task. Just the thought of which is enough to make my stomach churn.  I often fly long flights of 7- 8 hours, alone with my toddler son. Some of these flights have gone well while others….have literally left me in tears!  I often find myself purchasing anything and everything I can think of that may make my flight a little more bearable. Some of these purchases come in handy while others not so much.  On my recent trip I thought I would get my son a Trunkie. A Trunkie is a hand luggage-sized ride on suitcase for children 3 years and up.

I thought it would be a good distraction for my son when any waiting was required as well as being able to hold his own items – making my bag lighter :p. While surfing the internet for the Trunki Ride-on Suitcase – Tipu the Tiger (Orange)
I came across the Red Skoot
. It looked more appealing to both me and my son than the Trunkie so I thought I’d give it a try.

Although it definitely looked better, we were both disappointed. The Scootcase was not at all stable. It seemed too small for my son and he kept falling when trying to ride it. I was also not happy with the way the latch worked and found that it was difficult to open and close. It rather small and I was not able to fit much in there. I wanted to like this product so much but I did end up returning it.

I then ordered the Trunkie from Amazon. I was happier with this product and my son loves it. It is a lot sturdier than the Skootcase and has more room for his things. I also liked the saddle bag and stickers which can be purchased separately.  He likes to put his favorite small toys in the saddle bag for easy access.

I have kept this suitcase for travel purposes only so that he does not get bored of  it.  All in all, we both preferred the Trunkie.   It keeps him entertained and me sane! We also had people commenting on how cute it looks!

I have not yet gathered the courage to fly alone since the arrival of my second child…now that really is going to be a challenge….

 

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Red Skoot

Trunki Ride-on Suitcase – Tipu the Tiger (Orange)

How to Make Toffee!

I hope you all had a good bank holiday weekend and a brilliant memorial day.

This homemade toffee recipe is so simple and tastes ludicrously good! Toffee is great on its own or as an addition to ice cream or covered in chocolate to create a Daim bar/Almond Roca bar and is far cheaper than buying it from a store.

What you will need:

  • 450g (2 Cups) Butter
  • 470g (2 and 2/3 Cups) Sugar
  • 80 ml (1/3 Cups) Water
  • 82g (1/4 Cup) Golden syrup – Corn Syrup can be used as an alternative to golden syrup.

And if you want to cover your toffee with chocolate to make a Daim bar/Almond Roca taste you will need 500g of chocolate.

Toffee 1

 

The Process:

  1. Melt the butter, sugar, water and golden syrup in a large pan (make sure its a large pan as the recipe bubbles) over a medium heat.Unmelted in pan.Melted in a pan
  2. Increase the heat and stir regularly.
  3. Using a candy thermometer to check, take it off the heat once it reaches 145°C (300°F).Toffee 4
  4. Whilst still boiling pour the mixture onto a baking tray covered with foil.Toffee 5 Toffee 6
  5. Spread the toffee around the baking tray to an even level.Toffee 7
  6. Leave the toffee to cool for 4-5 minutes.
    Toffee 8
  7. Use your spatula to score the toffee into the size you want your toffee bars to be.
    Toffee 9 Toffee 10
  8. When the toffee is completely cool snap it into pieces along the lines you scored.Toffee 11
  9. Your toffee is done at this point but if you want to cover it with chocolate just dip it into melted chocolate.Toffee 12
  10. The finished product!Toffee 13

Leave a comment telling me how this turned out for you!

Mother’s Day Cupcake Bouquet

Mother’s Day in America is coming up in May…and anyway Mother’s Day should be everyday! I thought I’d have a go at making a  cupcake bouquet. Here is how I made it.

equipment needed:

Cupcakes

Frosting filled in a piping bag with either Wilton tip 1m or 2D

Styrofoam ball

Pot

Toothpicks

Tissue paper

Fondant/gumpaste

Leaf cutter

Butterfly cutter

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1) Cover styrofoam ball with tissue paper. Preferably in green….I didn’t have green so I used pink.

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2) Place cupcake on the wrapped ball and insert a toothpick into it to hold it in place.

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3) To make the rose swirl, hold the piping bag at a 90 degree angle  and start piping from center of cupcake out.

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4) Once all the cupcakes have been frosted roll out some green fondant/gumpaste and cut out some leaves. Let dry and place them in roses.

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5) Roll out white fondant and cut out butterflies. I used petal dust to add colour to the butterflies. Then let it dry on foil.

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5) Place the butterflies in any gaps between cupcakes. I would have liked to add green tissue paper to fill in the gaps but I did not have any. I then wrapped the pot in pink tissue paper.

Happy Mother’s Day! 🙂

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