Thursday, September 29, 2011

Teacher's Appreciation Gift: Thanks a Latte!

 It is Teacher's Appreciation Day in my son's school...  and I know, first hand, how a challenge it is to handle little boys... much more a class-ful of them!  This day is certainly a good day to show them my appreciation for all that they do.

I assume that teachers love to sip coffee during breaks, or at least are a fan of coffeehouses during weekends.
I imagine that they would love to drink their coffee with at least something sweet to munch on... so home-baked cookies seem like a perfect match.
image source
A pack of Starbucks Via Ready Brew and a few home-made cookies is a delightful way to say thank you!
Inspired by Strabucks' Thanks A Latte cards, I made personalized labels in Photoshop and had them printed out. 
A simple and thoughtful token.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Wishful Thinking: { Wardrobe ) Shirt Dress Love



I am always on the go, and my everyday clothes are simple and
functional.  I am usually in standard jeans and tees, but I sneak
in looking like a lady a once a week or so, with a day dress or casual skirts and tank tops. 




As a mom – an errand-running, meal-cooking, everywhere driver and tutor mom – I would have to say that dresses CAN still be fun to wear!  First, they do not require any thinking, and is the perfect
outfit for any mom who doesn't want to waste precious minutes thinking
if her top goes with the bottom. And, haven't you ever felt that extra swing on your hips, and lightness to your steps whenever you wear one?  Goodness, the wonderful comments alone from my kids and hubby on how great I look wearing a dress always makes me feel good!






How about you?  What is your daily uniform?  Try putting on a dress... just pull up hair in a loose ponytail, and wear it with sandals or sneakers.  Trust me, tt
is the easiest to put on; yet the vibe it gives out says “effortless chic
mama.”  




Here are a few pieces that are worthy of some Wishful Thinking...





Shirt dress from: Sarah, J. Crew, Theory, and Michael Kors



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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Eventful Weekend

If we didn’t have birthdays, you wouldn’t be you.
If we didn’t have birthdays, you wouldn’t be you.
If you’d never been born, well then what would you do?
If you’d never been born, well then what would you be?
You might be a fish! Or a toad in a tree!
You might be a doorknob! Or three baked potatoes!
You might be a bag full of hard green tomatoes.
Or worse than all that… Why, you might be a WASN’T!
A Wasn’t has no fun at all. No, he doesn’t.
A Wasn’t just isn’t. He just isn’t present.
But you… You ARE YOU! And, now isn’t that pleasant!
Happy Birthday To You!
~ Dr Suess
The weekend was the li'l boy's 7th birthday... meaning he IS my li'l man already.  It was VERY eventful - to say the least!  What, with baking his requested Angry Birds- themed carrot cupcakes, planning his simple birthday celebration, attending a dice game - and a short trip to the Emergency Room!  Whew!  I swear it's like having a very bad hang-over... not that I have ever experienced one, but that is how I imagined it to be.

The weekend started on a good note... with R handing over his report card showing two awards:  one for Second Honors and the other one for Diligence.  For a stay-at-home mom, nothing can be reward enough than to see your kids happy and excelling.

Alas!  My happiness proved to be short-lived as within the next hour, I was in a mad dash to bring him to the emergency room due to a deep wound near his right eye.  Having a high-spirited, spunky, very active little boy could make for a nervous, edgy, panicky and basket case of a mom.  Lemme warn you.
 
For his birthday, the 2 boys already agreed to have a date just by their twosome.  A lunch date and a quick visit to the zoo

The accident called for a change of plans... so there it was, the first order of the day - on his birthday - was a quick visit to the pediatric surgeon.  Thank goodness, there was no need to have him stitched up; but for a few minutes there I was dreading that scenario as blood was everywhere.  Trauma to that part of the head can cause some heavy bleeding pala.  

They have been wanting to try the newly-opened Korean franchise, Bulgogi BrothersThey loved the food and the service.  There was a FREE platter of sweet potato, corn and quail eggs; unlimited servings of kimchi and s spicy spinach salad.  Chris being the beer-drinking kind, was also amused to be served "corn tea."  Being heavy carnivores, they ordered all the meat specialties.  When the staff found out that it was R's birthday they also brought him Korean ice-cream as a treat.

Being in the vicinity, they also decided to drop by Michael Cacnio's exhibit.  R was intrigued by the interesting mix of brass and Legos that he spent quite some time going through each of the artist's works.  He must have looked so eager that Micheal Cacnio came over and started a conversation with them.   And knowing how I am a fan, my boys of course had to have a photo taken with him

 
It was on to Ark Avilon Zoo after.  It was a slow day at the zoo, as they pretty much had the whole place to themselves.  After feeding all the animals like there is no tomorrow, they head back home to where his Angry Birds are waiting for him.




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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Baked Eggs With Ham and Tomato

 
"Shelley had fallen in love with Max’s baked eggs and cheese almost as soon as she had fallen in love with Max himself.  They were in Paris when he first made the dish for her and the tour group she had hastily joined.  Since then each forkful tasted like that morning—warm, buttery, and bursting with full-fat promise." -- Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto
~ (A paragraph from Samantha Sotto's celebrated book, Before Ever After.  Taken from My Mom-Friday's post which inspired me to re-create the dish.)  

I am a sucker for beautiful words strung together by talented writers, and there are numerous times that I catch myself re-reading beautiful paragraphs over and over again - simply enjoying the moment as the words perform their magic in my mind.  Yes!  I am kinda weird that way...  And so that's how it was when I read the paragraph about how wonderfully Baked Eggs can make someone fall in love with you.  

Having said that, let me share with you that C is the personification of the idiom "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach."  Letting you in on that, allow me to go further and admit that I took it to heart that this dish can indeed make someone fall (more) in love with you.  Yeah!  I am gullible that way... 
Baked Eggs with Ham and Cheese Recipe
(loosely adapted from Samantha Sotto via My Mom-Friday)

Ingredients
1 medium sized onion, chopped 
2 medium sized tomatoes, seeded and chopped
ham, chopped coarsely
4 eggs
Parmesan cheese, grated
Mozzarella cheese, grated ( I didn't have any on hand, so I substituted with quick-melt)
Cheddar cheese

, grated
salt and pepper
olive oil
fresh basil leaves, hand torn
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 230C (450F).
  2. Sauté onions and ham in olive oil. Add the tomatoes and cook until soft.  Add in a tiny sprinkle of salt and pepper. 
  3.  Remove from heat. Layer the ham-tomato mixture at the bottom of a baking dish. Leave a few for garnish.
  4. Toss in some basil.  Sprinkle paremesan cheese. 
  5.  One at a time, break eggs into small bowl, carefully sliding egg from bowl over ham into each dish.
  6. Add in salt and spices.  I used my stash of Celery Salt, see DIY recipe here.
  7. Layer the cheddar and mozzarella (in my case, cheddar and quickmelt cheese)on top
  8. Place dish on middle rack of oven and bake, uncovered, in 10-12 minutes or until yolks are just set.
  9. Top with remaining ham-tomato mixture and freshly picked basil leaves.  Serve with toasts.



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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wishful Thinking: { Wardrobe } Decoding The Secret Language Of Formal Attire For A Filipino-Chinese Wedding

For those of you who are Chinese, or who have married into a Chinese family, you know what I speak of when I say that dressing for a Filipino-Chinese wedding can sometimes be a dilemma.

For starters, when the invites say "formal attire," people normally assume it means full-length gown for ladies, suit or Barong Tagalog for men; however, it can also be easily misconstrued by some elders (and emphasis on some, ha) in the Fil-Chi community to mean any casual dress for the women and shorts-sleeved polo and slacks for the men. C and I have found ourselves in too many a predicament wherein it would seem we are over-dressed; but in reality, we are actually the ones properly dressed. It is easier for C since all he has to do is take off his coat, and he blends in already.

It has been my habit to make an effort to strictly follow the dress code indicated on the invite whenever I have to attend a wedding. Dressing appropriately shows the bride and groom that I recognize the effort that they have put into that special occasion. Also, you'd have to agree that beautifully dressed guests make for a beautiful party.:)

Having been a victim of "over-dressing" in several Chinese weddings, I am now sharing my guide on how to decode the secret language of formal dressing for a Filipino-Chinese wedding.

For a Chinese luncheon wedding that is held in a restaurant such as Gloria Maris or Century Seafood, I advise you to take out a dressy blouse and trousers from your closet. It will not make you stand out, and yet people will still take notice of the carefully selected pieces you have on. Finish your outfit with simple jewelry and put a pop of color by wearing a brightly colored clutch. As you may know, Chinese elders frown on black or white when going to happy events such as weddings and birthdays.
 1st outfit: Paule Ka top, Carnie trousers, Nine West leather sandals, Alexander McQueen clutch.  2nd outfit: Balmain silk shirt, Alexander McQueen boot cut pants, Prada high heel pumps
For a Chinese restaurant dinner reception, I would recommend for you to wear a knee length dress of neutral color. Again, our purpose is to quietly let people sit up and turn their heads in your direction as you walk on by.
1st outfit: Hoss Intropia satin wrap dress, Stuart weitzman shoes2nd outfit: Miss Selfridge pink dress, Badgley Mischka silver stiletto heels 3rd outfit: Oasis pleated dress, , Badgley Mischka bow high heels 
The fun part of getting ready for a wedding is really when you get ready for a hotel ballroom dinner reception because then you pull out all the stops. Putting on a floor length dress can make any woman feel extra lovely; more so when she gets a spontaneous compliment from the husband. It is also a good time for you to take the bling-blings for a night-out!
Mango evening dress, Valentino evening dress, Miss Selfridge cotton maxi dress, Jimmy Choo stiletto high heels, Rodo crystal evening clutch, MCDiamond Engagement ring, Carolee stud earrings, Miss Selfridge flower belt
There, I hope I was able to simplify it for you!:)

FOLLOW ME!   
        

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Michael Cacnio and Lego = Inspire

I have been an admirer of Michael Cacnio's sculptures for several years now, since I first saw his work in 2009.   I have developed a fascination about how he has the ability to capture the joyful innocence of childhood and the untiring devotion of parents in his signature, modern take on brass sculptures. 

 

 

I started wishing I could afford his work when he introduced his "Lobo" series of sculptures.  The mix of brass with stainless steel and colorful fiberglass resulted to elegant masterpieces which look endearingly timeless.

 
 
 
For  a limited time, everyone can view his artistic genius as he collaborates with LEGO in his exhibit called INSPIRE.  The exhibit runs from September 16 - 29, 2011 at the Gallery of Greenbelt 5.  See you there! 




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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Teaching Children About God



Just a few weekends ago, I was talking with some mothers, and somehow, we got around to talking about school since exam week just passed by.  We were initially discussing about how our kids found Filipino as a tough subject, and then one mom pointed out that Christian Living was also a struggle for her son; dumbfounded as she was when her son asked her "Who is God?"





That night, I couldn't help but ask myself if I had taken every opportunity to teach my own kids about God.  I mean, sure, we go to church on Sundays, we say our night-time prayers daily; but does my kids know the Lord in a personal way?





It's just perfect timing that I stumbled upon this blog post today where it gives 10 tips for teaching children about God.  I am re-posting it in full right here:





10 Tips For Teaching Children About God:


by Stephanie Carmichael


Teach all the time: Young
children live in the moment. Help them to learn in the moment by making
the most of opportunities as they arise. Talk about God in the
day-to-day things you are doing.





Teach at a special time: Try
to set aside a special time to read about God. Prepare for this time.
If you are going to read the Bible, think about what you will read and
how to simplify and explain it.





Questions and answers: Listen
to your children's questions, and give quality time to answering them.
But also ask them questions about what you've been trying to teach to
check they have understood.





Teach through your life: You
are a living example (or visual aid) of someone who loves God. Set a
faithful example of dependence on God and let them see you reading the
Bible for yourself.





Be prayerful: Like adults,
children need God's help to grow in Christ and they can learn to pray.
So pray for them and pray simple prayers with them (e.g. "sorry God that
we...", "thank you God for...", "God, please help...").





Be simple: Young children
are not abstract thinkers so be literal and concrete. Use real examples
where possible (eg. God made this flower). Use simple vocabulary that
they can understand. Avoid jargon.





Be specific: Move from the
specific (God loves Ben) to the general (God loves everyone). Use lots
of familiar examples so that they can understand.





Repeat and repeat again: You might get tired of saying it, but remember young children thrive on repetition.





Be thankful: Approach God with thankfulness. Model to your children how we can thank God in various situations and what we can thank God for.





Be visual: Young children learn through their eyes as well as their ears. Use pictures, visual aids, picture books etc.





The author of the tips , Stephanie Carmichael, is also a published author.  Her books offer many examples of these tips in
action...




Some days everything seems to go wrong and everyone feels grumpy. And sometimes, not even a hug from Mum can fix things up. This beautiful story contains a wonderfully clear message about the disappointments of life and the goodness of God.  You can enjoy the FREE e-book right here.





It's Ben's birthday, but when he falls out of his new wagon and hurts
himself, Emily has to think of a way to make the day special again. This
lovely story is about families and looking after one another, and about
the God who loves us all.  You can enjoy the FREE e-book right here.









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Friday, September 2, 2011

Who Do You Follow?



For all you Instagram addicts out there, are you aware of WebstagramWebstagram is this awesome web interface which allows user to access their Instagram account in a desktop browser.  Cool, right?  Finally, I don't have to scrunch my eyes to see details of my favorite photos.  I can now view them on my desktop and laptop. All the Instagram features are available here and it is so easy to use, and most important of all, it's FREE, too!  Check it out by heading over to http://web.stagram.com/.





One of the people I follow at Instagram is my kids' swimming coach.  Now that I am on Webstagram, I can appreciate his photos more.  I follow him because he takes such amazing photos on subjects that I love...





....first and foremost among which are MY kids... Thanks, Coach!  I really LOVE the photos!










But other than my kids, I also love the photos he took of swimmers of all ages, capturing the swimmers in action...




 






His photos affirms what many of us swim-parents know all along - that for many young swimmers, happiness is simply being in the pool!






He captures the friendship and the essence that the pool is really one big playground for the kids.  A great venue to meet friends - many of whom stay on to become best buds ... for life!




 






 And here are a few more pool shots that are simply beautiful to look at.






And if you are the type who want a little something different, he also offers up interesting people photographed from an artistic perspective, with an edgy urban feel.




 


 

He consistently finds common locations and successfully transforms the mundane to interesting by coming up with new angles to shoot from.




 


 


 


Follow him at Instagram or Webstagram to see more of his wonderful photos.  His instagram ID is:  wengman.




Sherwyn used to be a bemedaled swimmer in his youth, and has since channeled his love for the sport into coaching a young but very talented swimming team.  As you can see, he is also an amazing photographer who
covers events (weddings, birthdays, engagement, corporate functions, et al) and product launches.  He also does one-on-one portrait services, pre-nuptial photo shoots on location, company product shots, and many more. 




If you have any need for beautiful photos, give his photo team a call/message at #0917.533.0727.





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