Saturday, February 27, 2010

e-shopping my way

I regularly get email updates from sites like Amazon and Sephora informing me of upcoming sales or new inventory.  As you can see, I am a devoted online shopper. I have bought a lot of stuff online and had them conveniently shipped right to my doorstep.

Here are some of my new purchases, mostly baking paraphernalia:

a cake level slicer...   
a tiered cooling rack...

a cupcake transporter/holder...

a cupcake stand...
It doesn't need Holmes to deduce that I am sooo into a "baking" state of mind.   I really am and happily so!  Sadly, most people cannot relate.  Friends have asked, "A cupcake what?!?  Why do you need a cupcake courier for?  Because really, who ever needs to carry that much cupcakes around?"  Uhmm, I do not even offer to come up with an answer, because really I have none. It just looked too cute.  Fortunately, the person who pays for my purchases understands me.  He finds it funny that there is even such a thing as a cake leveler, ribbing me, "what, using a plain knife too low-tech now?" tee-hee!

If there ever was one purchase that amazed everyone (they were amazed mostly because they found out I have been trimming R's hair with it), it would have to be this... 

One of the most practical and worthwhile purchases I've made.  This razor stays true to its promise of giving a professional looking job.  I spend almost P300 (P250 for the haircut plus P50 tip) every other month to get R's hair buzzed off by a barber  And believe me when I tell you that his hair grows at an incredibly speedy rate.  I usually try to extend our trips to the barbershop as long as I can before his hair starts screaming, “Cut me!”   I figured that if I invest in this I would eventually be saving thousands.  The thing probably paid for itself in the 3rd or 4th haircut at home.  Yeah,  I am cheap like that! :)

His hairstyle is so simple and the razor so uncomplicated that even someone like me, who has no experience nor formal training in hair-cutting, can easily pull off a professional look in no time.  Promise!  Just remember three things:  Guide #5 for the top, Guide #3 for the middle and Guide #2 for the sides.  That's it!
Now, excuse me while I go trim R's hair before we go off for a swim on this hot Saturday afternoon!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cakes and Celebrations

B will be turning seven in a few weeks.  I don't know kind of cake she wants this year.  She can't make up her mind yet.  I ask, "How about Angelina Ballerina?" No response.  "Fancy Nancy, perhaps?"  Still nothing. 

It's still a couple of weeks away and it's nothing major so we both still have a lot of time to be inspired.  We never celebrated seventh birthday in a big, over-the top kind of way.  Those big fantabulous parties are reserved for the kids' first birthdays only.  AND I must emphasize, I have no plans of ever planning a first birthday party again.

Here are some of her birthday cakes during the last six years.

For her first birthday celebration, I had Dexter's Bakeshop make this Noah's Ark-themed two-tiered fondant cake with the cutest animals made from gumpaste.

For her second birthday, she had a Barney-themed cake from Estrel's; but the star of the buffet table was the cochinillo we ordered from Alba's.  The meat was so tender, and as if to highlight that, the server sliced it with a plate, I kid you not!

She celebrated her third birthday at Mc Donald's and wanted a Disney princess theme.  For her cake, we ordered this cute three-tiered fondant from the friend of my sister-in-law.

Her fourth birthday was celebrated simply at home with a heart-shaped caramel cake from Estrel's:
She also hosted the school snack that day.   I prepared baked macaroni and hotdogs on a stick.  This is also my first attempt at baking celebratory cakes/cupcakes.  I used a store-bought brownie mix and used ready made frosting straight out of a jar.  These are such pitiful looking cupcakes and I now wonder what exactly was I thinking bringing them outside the house... tsk! :)  I am sure, back then, they looked wonderful to my eye. Just between us, I had second thoughts about posting this photo, but I figured we would all get a good laugh out of it.
For her fifth birthday, I returned to my trusty cake supplier, Estrels, to make this adorable Littlest Pet Shop cake.  I supplied them with the cake toppers and left them in charge to spin their magic.

On her sixth birthday, she was still crazy over her Littlest Pets collection so that's what I had Estrel's make again.

Riley bent down to blow the candles even before we finished singing her birthday song.
I baked a huge, huge batch of sugar cookies for her to give to her classmates.  I made so many cookies that there was a lot left over, enough for J to share with all of her friends, too.  All of their friends went crazy over the dress-shaped cookies.  I had a lot of fun making them, as well.  As always, the kids helped and designed their own cookies, too.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Triathlete Carolyn

Carolyn was introduced to me in 2006 by a common friend in whose wedding we later both stood as bridesmaids.  At that time, conversations with her would usually revolve about our common love for online shopping, make-up and bags.
Some time later, she became interested in running and it is an understatement when I say that she has inspired the whole Tuesday group to follow her lead and take up the sport, as well.  She has run alongside some of the best local runners, and has given not a few boys some bruised egos by leaving them in her dust, so to speak.  Her interest in the sport has her going around the globe to run...

She joined the Nike Women’s half marathon (21k) in San Francisco

After which, she did a full marathon (42k) in Big Sur, California.  

She also joined the Singapore Sundown Race, and was qualified to join the prestigious New York Marathon scheduled last 2009, until she got sidetracked a few months before the race by her fourth pregnancy.  In spite of a bulging tummy, she still found time to run for charity.

Race to Shine, Charity Run For Autism

This young mother of three, with the fourth one ready to pop anytime now, did not find triathlons interesting at first, brushing aside this elite sport as something that she could never do.  This notion began to change in 2007 as she started running and realized that she enjoyed the sport immensely.  The next thing she knew she was doing biking and swimming, as well.  She acknowledges that the variety of the three sports has made working out a lot more fun and less monotonous.  She started joining mini sprint triathlon, gradually moving up to doing the full triathlon.

She has earned my admiration for showing determination and a strong will to excel.  For not only has she pursued running, she went on and finished a marathon.  Not only does she train her hardest when she joins a triathlon, she shows how to finish one with class.  I was reading one of my favorite running blogs and saw a triathlon result posted here.  It was a happy surprise to know that Lyn finished in the top four.

Let’s sit down and talk with her.

Tina:  Given your multi-sport training, can you share helpful tips with young athletes who are interested to join traithlons/aquathlons? 
Carolyn:  To just do something everyday.  Whether you go for a swim, bike or run, just set aside the time to do at least one activity a day.  Usually after a hard run, you can easily bike or swim the next day since you are using different muscles. I find one of the most effective method is the brick workout, where you first bike then go for a run right after.  Then hopefully on the race day itself you won't feel 'jelly' legs as you make the transition.  Do your weakest sport the most. Spend time doing light weights at the gym, do your core workouts too.  For swimming use paddles, kickboards and fins.  Practice, practice, practice!

Tina:  Knowing that transition plays an equal role in the total race time, can you share any tips to make for a smooth transition?
Carolyn:  For smooth transition just have everything ready to go on your station.  Caps, shoes, watch, socks, sunglass, helmet, race belt w/gels etc.  These must all be laid out so you're not rummaging unnecessarily in your bag and wasting precious minutes!  I usually lay it all out flat on the ground.  Except my sunglass, don't want anyone to be tempted to steal them!

Tina:  Can you give us some behind-the-scenes detailed account of what actually happens in a triathlon, during the race and transition?
Carolyn:  I've seen stage moms screaming at their kids to 'kick harder!' while swimming.  People slipping after getting off the swim part (not very glamorous!)  People asking for directions while on the bike and/or run, and being given the wrong information - very annoying!  LBM from unsanitary water coming out of buckets and dippers.  Luckily this hasn't happened to me but it's happened to friends. 

Tina:  What is the best part of the race?
Carolyn:  Best part is meeting new people and making friends you would not have otherwise met.  

Well said.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Walk It Like You Talk It

“What you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say. 
                                                           - Ralph Waldo Emerson

All parents want their kids to grow up to be honorable human beings – to be God-fearing,  honest, loving, and morally upright.   Sadly, our kids learn more from our actions than they do our lectures.  I have read countless of parenting books reminding me of this adage that it should be imprinted in me already by this time.  This is not saying that I have the most virtuous kids in the neighborhood; on the contrary, I think it only stresses that I have the worst memory. :)

Save for a few lapses, I seriously try to model what I say and I try to live my life the way I want them to live theirs.  Healthy habits, active lifestyle, love for learning and fear of the Lord are some of the habits I consciously try to put into practice everyday.  And I hope that my actions speak as loudly as my words.

Nonetheless, I acknowledge my limitations, and when it comes to certain things I throw in the white towel:  I have never been and will never be the athletic, multi-sport type of person.  Knowing that I simply cannot make my kids better than the examples they see around them everyday, I have gathered a few “athletic” friends who agreed to share their stories to serve as inspiration.  So in the next few days, you will read about a friend who live a very active and purposeful life that will surely inspire everyone.

Friday, February 5, 2010

He Is Special

R was assigned sometime last week to bring a photo collage with the theme:  I Am Special.  With over a thousand of digital photos in my hard drive, it was hard to select only a few pictures to fit a poster.  To ease the selection process, I decided to choose pictures based on the different aspects of R's life.  As a little boy who love to laugh and play, as a loving son and a funny little brother.

I haven't done Photoshop for quite some time. I was so excited to work on a collage again and I ended up being so inspired that I did this elaborate presentation.

Here is the nursery boy with his toys, hobbies and collections:

Here is the part of his collage which shows him as the adorable little brother:

The family's sweetheart...

On this layout, he shows his enormous love for the outdoors and his great sense of adventure...

On the other hand, he can also be creative when he wants to and proves to be useful in the kitchen...
He is indeed SPECIAL!!!

Here is how it looked like when he brought it to school for his show and tell.  Can I just say I am so happy with how this school project turned out! But more than that, it made me appreciate my little boy all the more. :)