Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wishful Thinking: {Wardrobe} Swim Mom Uniform

Sports has always been a part of my kids lives, especially for my eldest, JAlthough the level of intensity was not so heavy back then when she was younger.  We initially started with soccer camp during summer, and then moved to once a week soccer lessons, and this increased to twice a week of soccer training when she played for her school team.  This was long before the Azkals were formed and the Younghusbands entered the local football scene.  While playing for the school soccer team, she decided she also wanted to swim, so she mixed swimming training on alternate days when she doesn't train for soccer.  

Those days are long gone, as she has already made up her mind that swimming is THE sport for her.  She has gone a long way since she started 3 years ago, competing at the D-League (developmental) level, moving up to class A category, and finally, qualifying for the Batang Pinoy National Championship this December. 

She has always made me proud of her simple achievements in the pool, each hard-earned medal made more significant because she was able to successfully combine academic excellence while being a student leader and a competitive swimmer.  Although she has a million more laps to swim as far as swimming internationally is concerned, I am hoping she gets there... eventually. 

... Otherwise, how can I channel my inner Victoria Beckham while cheering for her during competitions? Hahaha!

Being a swim-parent means being in charge of logistics, food provisions, motivation, etc.  I am always there with my kids every training, 6 days a week. Oftentimes I am multi-tasking as I wait by the pool deck, trying to meet the needs of each of my three kids.  And because of that, I thought to myself that I deserve a new wardrobe... even if it's just wishful thinking. :) 

I love Breton shirts, and pairing them with Converse all-stars low-cut is a great way to being a chic sporty mom.
Don't fancy red? Blue and green is a great sporty fashion combi, too.

And this fashion template shows us all that pink doesn't have to be always prim and proper.

Gray and white looks crisp and clean.  Perfect for those all-day swim meets.  Just ditch the hoop earrings.

And if you want to stand out in the crowd, making it easier for your kids to spot you in the hundreds of spectators, wear something bright like this yellow tank.

What about you?  What is your daily uniform like?

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lemon Water

One of the recent things I have added to my family’s routine is to make lemon-infused water available during breakfast and dinner.  Now that my kids are all older, I have stopped giving them milk in the morning, and have instead alternated mornings between honey-infused warm water and lemon-infused warm water.  They still get their daily calcium fix from yogurt and chocolate milk taken after their swim training.
Lemon-infused water is super simple to do and the benefits are just too good to ignore. Water and lemon, that’s it.!Since I am making a batch for my entire family, I simply just fill up a pitcher with warm water and squeeze one lemon.  This makes enough for my family to drink in the morning, before we eat our breakfast.  

Three times a week, I make warm lemon water in the morning, which we all drink before we take in anything else.  Come dinner, I also serve an icy, cold lemon drink that is infused with ginger, tarragon, and cucumber.  Lemons by themselves are acidic and they only have an alkalizing effect once they are digested by our bodies.  I want to be cautious and not serve this everyday/too much to protect their teeth from the natural acids of the citrus.
According to my sister-in-law (who told my husband, and who in turn told me), mixing lemon with water that is warm will provide the most health benefits.  On the contrary, mixing lemon with cold water reduces the digestive benefits of lemon.  I have searched it up on the net, and it does say that warm water allows for the release of the full enzymatic properties of the lemon.  But, drinking fresh lemon juice at any temperature is better than not drinking any at all.

What Are the Lemon Water Benefits?
  • Boosts immune system Lemons are high in Vitamin C and potassium.  A great combination for my kids as Vitamin C makes sure that their bodies are well-equipped to fight infections/colds; and potassium stimulates nerve function to avoid muscle cramps during swim training.  Potassium also helps C control his blood pressure. 
  • Balances body’s pH level. Lemons are an incredibly alkaline food. It is true that they are acidic on their own, but once it is metabolized inside our bodies they start to have an alkalizing effect. 
  • Good for stomach. Lemon water has excellent digestive properties because it helps loosen toxins from the digestive tract.  It eases constipation, heartburn, bloating and other digestion problems, especially when mixed with warm water.   Lemon juice acts as a liver tonic and helps you digest your food by helping your liver produce more bile. It decreases the amount of phlegm produced by your body. In large doses, it is also thought to help dissolve gallstones.
  • Cures Throat Infections Lemon is an excellent fruit that aids in fighting problems related to throat infections, sore throat and tonsillitis as it has an antibacterial property. Warm lemon water  offers relief from cold and flu symptoms while providing some much needed Vitamin C.
Icy Lemon Water infused with ginger, cucumber and tarragon

1/2 cucumber, washed thoroughly and sliced thinly
1 inch ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
a handful of fresh tarragon leaves ( you can also use mint. I just use tarragon because I have a wild bush of them in my herb garden that needs to be tamed )
1 whole lemon, washed and brushed thoroughly, sliced thinly
1 pitcher water
1. Peel and slice ginger. Clean tarragon leaves. Brush the outside of the lemon and clean thoroughly. Wash cucumber thoroughly.
2. Pour hot water over the ginger and let steep for 5 minutes, depends on how you like the flavor of the ginger to come through.
3. Add tarragon to the ginger water and let it steep addition 5 minutes.
4. Add slices of cucumber and lemon. Add enough water to the brim of the pitcher.
5. Let it sit inside the refrigerator, to allow flavors to meld.
6. Serve icy cold.
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Monday, November 19, 2012

Kitchen Project: DIY Cream of Anything Soup Mix

Most days, it's a lonely lunch time for me.  I do not enjoy cooking for one, and I'd be just as content eating a sandwich instead.  I am only eager to cook if it's for the entire family, so the big cooking production always happen come dinner time. There are days, like when it's rainy, when I want a cup of soup to go with that plate of food.   But I am not willing to go slave in the kitchen just for a cup of soup.  Thankfully, I have now found a quick fix solution for anytime the soup craving sets in.

It is so easy to make, and so tasty that I do feel like patting myself on the back.:)  It is a DIY dry mix that you just add with water every time you need cream soup (think Campbells cream of mushroom and the like). 

Incidentally, when I first came across this on the net, I had just made a fresh batch of my home-made celery salt.  So instead of suing the bouillon specified on the original recipe, I just substituted with 2 tablespoonful of my homemade celery salt.  The DIY celery salt is another kitchen project that has turned into a routine already whenever there are celery leaves available.   I have used it to make baked eggs, minestrone and a whole lot more .

DIY Cream of Anything Soup Mix
Recipe found via Pinterest, inspired by pinner: One Orange Giraffe

1 cup non-fat powdered milk
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup bouillon/seasoning granules (if you have cubes you have to smash them up, or you can also substitute this, like I did, with 2 tablespoons of celery salt)
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon pepper

To make mix:  Just dump in everything in a bowl, and mix them up properly.  Store in a tightly sealed container, and it will keep for several months.  I keep mine inside the refrigerator since the celery salt is homemade so I just want to extend shelf life.

To cook: combine 1/3-cup mix and 1-1/4 cups cool water in a small saucepan. Do not use hot water as it will cause the cornstarch to lump up.  Stir it well and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Boil and stir for a full minute. Remove from heat. It is now ready to use in any recipe calling for a can of Cream of Mushroom or Celery or Chicken Soup.

You can use the mix as is, or you can use it as a base for making cream of mushroom, just add fresh mushroom), or whatever you want to make a cream of.  I have also used it to flavor the white sauce of my lasagna and baked pastas.

I just love it that the Phenomenal Papa thinks the world of me whenever I serve this for breakfast.  He doesn't know the story behind is that I really ran out of breakfast ideas, and all I have in the kitchen are days old ciabatta.  The crusty bread is a perfect mix for this cream soup.I just make this mix as is, and top with freshly picked thyme, reheat the ciabatta in the oven... breakfast is served in less than 5 minutes!:)

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Of Birthdays and Beauty Marks

Getting very near that "supposedly" wonderful age of forty (yikes!) must do wonders for my self-esteem, for I have finally learned to come to terms that my body will never be the same as it was before I had kids.

Yeah, I am that kind of woman who has dozens of "issues." You have heard me whine about my unpreparedness to be called someone else's tita. You've also seen how I was cornered to admit that I was (serial) lying about my age. You've also been a witness on how I (desperately) try to camouflage a less than perfect beach body. There are times when I'd get really conscious about the extra layer of skin and fat that has permanently wrapped itself around my belly; made more irritating by the fact that it seems to laugh at me as I put on that tight fitting pair of low-slung jeans... there it shows itself - giggling uncontrollaby at my attempt to pull my pants up all the way . :) You know what I mean.:)

After more than a decade of the Phenomenal Papa's assurances that when he looks at them he just sees beauty and sacrifice, I am finally beginning to believe him... yes, gullible me. The marks are quite ugly to look at and they make my stomach look like a mess, but my husband looks at them as "beautiful battle scars." The marks that showed I lovingly carried each one of his three precious children into the world.

As I inch myself closer and closer to that age of living fabulously, I have come to terms that the stretch marks, the c-section scar, the wider hips, and the mom-flabs that have taken over my entire body, they do make me look more beautiful - even if it's just in my husband's eyes.:)

Yes! this time of the year always work like a magic charm; blessings are always counted twice, and setbacks are intentionally overlooked. Just so grateful to be a part of my family. I look at my husband and see a loving man whose strong arms have, at all times, protected me; whose generous heart has always prioritized me; whose forgiving spirit has, time and again, deliberately ignored my shortcomings.

I see the kids and I am thankful that they are healthy and into sports, that they are doing well academically, that they have a close relationship with God. But, I am also thankful for having them, all three of them, when I need to wear a swimsuit... yes, most especially, when I need to wear a swim suit!!! Otherwise, what good excuse can I have for that belly. tee-hee-hee!

And as always, this verse just uplifts and inspires:

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
-Jeremiah 29:11