Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cookie Butter French Toast

Just because we stuffed ourselves full during the holiday dinner parties doesn’t mean that the holiday mornings should be any different! It’s the holidays after all, and we are throwing self-control out the window till the holidays are over! Hehehe!

We have an abundance of nut and cookie butters in our pantry, of all sorts of flavors and textures; some gifted, some bought!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

SoMoms #BetterMe Sessions: How To Develop Your Child's Self-Esteem

How much do we contribute to our children's self-esteem?

According to life coach, Pia Nazareno of  The One Core, parents have a lot to do regarding their kids' own level of self-esteem.

A healthy self-esteem is the most important thing we can give to our children. Coach Pia mentioned that the foundations for a positive self-esteem starts early on in a person's life, and is dependent on the care and nurture that we give our children.

But first, what is self-esteem anyway? Self-esteem is the way a person feels about himself, and it can determine success, attitude and ambition. Simply because a person with high self-esteem can face challenges without feeling overwhelmed because parents have helped them develop resilience and persistence.

But even for parents like me whose kids are already grown (teens, grade-schoolers) it is still not too late put into effect these best-practice guidelines to continue to develop self-esteem in children.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Vanity Beauty Bar and Patisserie

Some weeks back, I felt like I was so tired from mommy-chores and I needed to prioritize myself, it was perfect timing that Vanity Beauty Bar and Patisserie invited me to try out their services. Finding time to go to the spa is an occasional indulgence for all busy moms. And I am no different from that. I constantly find myself with some mom-duty that I feel needs to get done first that I push this “me-time” aside

But I know that a well-rested mom is a happy mom! So I confirmed my appointment as soon as I cleared out my afternoon agenda for that day! But, still, I couldn't resist multi-tasking... I multi-tasked pampering and having a one-on-one date with my daughter. My li'l girl loves it whenever we go to the nail salon together. So with enough hours to spend for a relaxing break, we headed to Vanity Beauty Bar and Patisserie.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Mommy Mundo Bazaar 2013

Christmas is less than a month away, are you done with your Christmas shopping?  If you still have a few inaanaks and pamangkins that you have to buy gifts for, then you shouldn't miss the second leg of the Mommy Mundo Bazaar happening on December 8, 2013, from 10am to 8pm at the Rockwell Tent.

I attended the first Mommy Mundo Bazaar last November 10, and I was able score the best shopping deals from some of my favorite vendors.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Our Family Photo Shoot at The Picture Company + FREE Family PortraitSession!

Growing up, one of my dad's favorite thing to do during the holidays was to gather everyone in front of the Christmas tree for our annual family photo. He'd set up his SLR on a tripod and put it on self-timer mode. My parents would then send out this holiday photo cards complete with greetings to their friends.

Even if I love taking photos, I did not carry on with this tradition on to my own family. There are several occasions where I bravely took on the role of the family photographer, and let me just say that it is a task that is not for the faint-hearted.:)

So when The Picture Company invited me to come in for a family portrait shoot, I immediately said yes!  If you want a nice family picture to treasure, but none of the hassle, then I suggest you go to a professional studio like The Picture Company.

The Picture Company is good at what they do that all you and your family really have to do is just show up at any of their stores.  We chose The Picture Company in Boni High Street for our photo shoot as it is one of the branches which offers outdoor shoots.  We booked an indoor shoot in the morning, had lunch within the area, and came back at 2:30pm for our outdoor session.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Human Nature

All my three kids have very sensitive skin, and suffer from varying degrees of eczema. So I am very choosy when it comes to their body wash, shampoo, lotion, and even the laundry soap… basically everything that comes into contact with their skin.

But one of the brands that I trust for my kids is Human Nature. Human Nature is the Philippines’ largest brand of natural personal care products, which are 100% made in the Philippines and 100% free from harmful chemicals. I regularly stock up on Human Nature’s Kids Natural Shampoo & Body Wash in Ocean Apple for my daughters and Tangerine Thunder for my son. Because they are 96.4% Natural and 100% free from harmful chemicals they are gentle enough on my kids’ eczema prone skin.

Kids Natural Shampoo & Body Wash
(Php44.75 50ml; Php129.75 200ml; 289.75 500ml)

So when Human Heart founder, Anna Meloto-Wilk, invited the SoMoms for an intimate brunch to introduce the new and improved baby products of Human Nature, I just had to say yes because I wanted to meet the amazing lady behind the brand.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Counterflow: Raising Successful Kids In Today's World

Have you often wondered if you are doing things right, as far as parenting your kid is concerned?  I always have that question at the back of my mind.  No, I actually have a LOT of questions in my head!

The Bible is the greatest greatest resource/book to read on the topic of parenting; with documented examples on how God has been generous with his provision and grace for all His children; how He has been our deliverer, source of strength and stronghold in times of trouble; how He forgives us every time we ask for forgiveness, and how our redemption is made complete because His forgiveness of our sins is not dependent on how sorry we are but on His never-ending mercy and love.

If you want your parenting questions answered, attend Counterfow! Counterflow is a 1-day parenting conference (8am-5pm) to be held on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 at the CCF Center Main Auditorium, Frontera Verde, Ortigas Avenue corner C5 Road, Pasig City
Although I have attended several parenting seminars in the past, I am looking forward to this one because two of the persons I admire will be speaking.

Friday, November 15, 2013

#YolandaPH: One Woman's Journey to Save Her Family

A week after Super-typhoon Yolanda devastated Eastern Visayas, people all over the world are still talking about it. The people directly affected by it are still largely suffering from its devastation.
In the midst of all this, I just want to share this uplifting story that is full of courage and filial piety. This woman’s story is about how she pulled herself out of the comfort and safety of Manila to rescue stranded relatives in her hometown, Tacloban.

Hers is a story that is meant to be shared for it is driven by personal courage that goes beyond duty. But, hers is also a request... a request for people to stop criticizing the government because it is amplifying the problem.

I have known Gigi Wong since our daughters started nursery eight years ago. I’ve always known her to be gutsy, outspoken, and full of exuberance. Even then, she has always been big-hearted, always opening up her home for playdates between both our daughters.

A few days after the typhoon made landfall, her FB wall was full of impassioned pleas about any information about the whereabouts of her relatives in Tacloban. We exchanged a few PM's as my husband also has relatives in Tacloban. I shared with her how some of our family members went to Tacloban to retrieve trapped family members also.  The next message I got from her, I found out that she hitched a plane ride to Tacloban. 

Here is her story in her own words: (I am compiling and summarizing her FB notes into one narrative)
My name is Geraldine Uy Wong and I am a private citizen who had just arrived from Tacloban after I successfully pulled out my relatives. Now safely back in Manila, I read and hear comments criticizing the DSWD and I feel that this is quite unfair. We are all guilty of judging the government, but I was there in Tacloban to see for myself how the people of DSWD work. Beside her in the command post, I witnessed how Sec. Dinky Soliman marshalled her task force to address the enormous job ahead that even my mind cannot grasp. Tirelessly, she champions everyone to keep going even as the morale is evidently low, as she herself goes through her never-ending list of to-do's, 24 hours being not enough for the enormous task that still lies ahead. Yet she is gracious, her presence is reassuring, and she has the steady look and smile that tells you one thing : we will not stop working because many people need our help. I ask everyone to please give the government a chance. If you receive a message, an email, or a post criticizing this government agency or even other departments, please think twice before you share or like. Instead, I ask you to go to the nearest DSWD relief center to deliver your donations. While you are there, you might as well volunteer to do even just an hour of volunteer repacking work. The government is really doing its best. It will be even more efficient if the private sector pools its resources to support the entire national operation - that of helping our fellow countrymen in this worst calamity ever imaginable. I hope you can share this message, even by word of mouth, so that people are not discouraged to help. I am afraid that others will tend to believe the false things that they hear and will be disheartened to help because they think it is useless.
Here is a group photo of the family members she rescued:
Gigi Wong, in the middle with outstretched hands, with all her family members safe and accounted for!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bizu's Brie Flambee {Recipe-Hack}

I had brunch with a group of friends in the early days of October. The "ber" months only mean that there are many more get-togethers to follow. Afterall, the holidays is fast creeping up on us; and one of the things I love most about this season is that I get the chance to meet up with different groups of friends. Catching-up over brunch with long-time friends is definitely one of my favorite things to do.
This particular group of moms I’ve been with since about 8 years ago, when our kids were just about upto our waists. Now our girls are all taller than us.:) We’ve all seen our kids grow up, and have similar problems dealing with teenage daughters. But I still walk away from every get-together learning a lot from our shared parenting experiences.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Halloween 2013

A late post on Halloween, but I just wanted to share with you how my kids did Halloween this year. We are not really big on celebrating this, and costumes are usually just limited to the DIY type.  I love doing it with the kids, and I enjoy all their gushing when they see the costumes finally come together. 

This year their swim team decided that it would be fun to go to training wearing costumes.And so the kids were required to don costumes for two training days. First day sporty costumes, and you can see how FIERCELY the coaches posed for their Halloween #OOTD (outfit of the day):
As Coach Rio and an aerobic instructor

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What's In My Cart: Hi-Top Supermart

I have already mentioned before that I rotate the grocery stores I frequent, with no recognized pattern.  It might seem complicated to some, but I love doing this because I discover new grocery items this way.  

One of the groceries I frequent is Hi-Top Supermarket.  What I like about Hi-Top is that it is just the right size for me to navigate easily.  It is not too big that grocery-shopping takes forever, but it is still big enough that everything I need is available.  The prices of most of the items here are low compared to others.  There is also a wide selection of imported items. 

There is also a small area for “specials;" items which are over-stocked or near expiry, and selling at a discounted price.  I always scour through this pile first before I start doing my grocery shopping.  I have managed to get good deals every now and then. 

It also has a good refund policy, which is so convenient on the rare occasions that I ask the husband to pass by to buy something, and he ends up buying the wrong brand or the wrong bottle size.  

Another factor that adds to the lure is also the presence of my favorite kakanin store tucked in a corner.  I love their suman sa latik and sapin-sapin.  One of the best in the metro!

Here are some of the grocery finds that that filled up my cart recently:

Purefoods Bacon Crumble.  (Please don't judge me!) Although we are not frequent consumers of bacon, there are dishes that just doesn't seem right without bacon in it.  Baked potato, minestrone, potato salad... it's a looong list, actually! heeheehee! It makes sense to buy them "crumbled" since I usually use the bacon as topping bits anyway.  I failed to get the price, but I think it sells for about less than P100.00, which is way cheaper than the smallest sized whole strips of bacons which sells for around P270.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ways to Date your Spouse - On The Cheap!

I attended a parenting seminar by Maribel Dionesio some days ago. The seminar, given by my daughter’s school, was about how to team up with teens on rules and relationship.  Parents of teens, we all know, we need some help here.:) 

In any case, Maribel stressed that one important aspect on being a credible person in the eyes of our teens is to be a good parent in their eyes.  And one attribute which can make us good parents is continuously working on our relationship with our spouse.  

She strongly suggests having a once a week date with your spouse.  But we all know this is easier said than done.  Setting aside a time once a week to go out on a “date” with the husband can be a challenge once the children come.  Couples with small children especially know this to be true.  

This made me reflect on my own relationship with my husband. While we do not regularly go out on “traditional” dates.  We do, however, have our “daily date” which we both treasure.  Small pockets of uninterrupted time together, which was probably born in the early years of our marriage; surely, out of exasperation, after realizing what a major production it is to go out on a date – just the two of us.  We have incorporated this into our routine for the past decade quite conscientiously. We start our days with a breakfast date, and end it with a movie date.  

1. We both treasure our daily breakfast date.   We both consider it as an important way to start our day right.  As soon as the kids are in school, we treat the time together as our breakfast date.  On most days, I make an effort to prepare food that I know he will enjoy eating - and looking at. He is the type who appreciates food presentation, and so even if I don't do it as well as the professionals, I try to style the food before I serve it to him.

Here are some of the breakfast that I have served

He really enjoys it whenever I make the extra effort to style his plate… not that I think I am good at it.  But I know he appreciates the effort very much! Acts of service is one of his love language.
We enjoy starting the day with a quiet time to talk.  Remember, a date is all about spending time and being intimate by sharing thoughts, talking about our dreams, and having fun.

2. We enjoy capping the night by watching recordings our favorite tv shows.  After the kids have been tucked it (yes, even our teenager still asks to be tucked in each and every night), and night prayers have been said, we both look forward to watching an episode or two of our favorite tv series.  Occasionally, a glass of wine, a bottle of beer or a cup of hot choco make an appearance.  

Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer this relaxed style of dating.  Not only do we not worry about parking or getting stuck in traffic, this is also a much more economical way to date.

What about you? How do you date your spouse?


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Intramuros via Segway

The walled city of Intramuros is the oldest district in the city of Manila, thus it has such a rich and storied history within its old walls.  Even knowing that, I’ve never really explored it, except for that one time in college where we were required to do a research paper on it.  A few weekends ago, J was invited by one of her very good friends to go on a tour of Intramuros… while riding on a segway.  How fun could that be!  

One my favorite structure in Intramuros is also one of the most beautiful churches in the country, the San Agustin Church.  I love this church so much that I chose to get married in it more than a decade ago.
The tour’s starting point is at the White Knight Hotel, within the vicinity of San Agustin Church.  The White Knight Hotel  is the company which organizes this tour, which is called “Intramuros Tour on Electric Chariot.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Makeup Training Session with Estee Lauder's Blair Patterson

I was given the opportunity to attend a make-up training session with Blair Patterson, Estee Lauder’s Global Makeup Artistry Director last week. He had flown in from New York to share how to replicate runway makeup for everyday people like us.

Being a full-time homemaker, I do not really put on makeup everyday, but I do enjoy the process of learning something new each time I attend beauty events like this.  It inspires me to make an effort to add to my makeup routine.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Moms On The Floor

Now is a good time to get pregnant or to have young kids, there are so many choices available, from pregnancy clothes to organic baby onesies.  During my first pregnancy, close to 15 years ago, the options weren't as many, and activities for pregnant moms and/or moms with babies were practically non-existent; or if there were any, they were not mainstream.

Mommy Mundo is now on its fourth year of hosting Moms on the Floor, to make sure that pregnant moms have happy babies while having a happy pregnancy! My kids are overaged for this event, and even if it sounds like fun, I am definitely NOT going down that pregnancy road again!  (knocking on wood - multiple times here!) But if you are a pregnant mom, or a mom to a toddler, do go to this event which really spells FUN!.
Mommy Mundo's Moms on the Floor is expected to be another fun-filled event with exciting activities for all moms with babies and toddlers!  This event is FREE, but pre-registration is required; to register text 0908-8657245 the following details: your name and which portion you will join. 

10:00am- 12 noon For Moms with Babies
Baby Play by toddlers and Teachers Inc.
Infant Massage by Rome Kanapi

1:00pm-3:00pm For Pregnant Moms
Preparing for Birth with Rome Kanapi
Prenatal Yoga with Urban Ashram

3:00pm-5:00pm For Moms with Kids upto 6 years old
Kids Yoga with Michelle Aventajado
Zumba Kids with Roxy Araneta

Bring your exeercise mats on October 5 at the Loft at the Manansala Rockwell Makati City.

For more info visit www.mommymundo.com
Moms on the Floor event Facebook Page


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Phenomenal Tip: DIY Cookie Cups

On days when I have my head in the clouds and I feel like I can stop time, I like to indulge in DIY's.  I know other people might scoff at the idea of DIY-ing, but I derive pleasure in the process.  The very idea of making time to create something is therapeutic for me. 

My daughter celebrated her birthday a few months ago, and we both decided to bake treats so she could share the happiness with all of her friends.  Hence, the cookie cup project. 
I started this post in July, and did not even realize that I had this on draft until I scrolled down my list of posts and found this still unfinished.  Nonetheless, Christmas will soon be upon as, and now is a good time as any to share how I made it.  This could be easily be under the best handmade gifts list for Christmas 2013! The biggest smiles will greet you as soon as you hand over a box of these goodies to the special people in your life!

Cookie cups are basically choco chip cookies that are baked to resemble mini-bowls.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Valor Chocolates: Spain's Leading Chocolate Brand Now in the Philippines

I love eating chocolates! I usually sneak in a bite at night, right after I am done with tutor duties, while C and I are watching a recording of our favorite TV shows. I make sure to get the ones that are mini-sized, so I can limit the temptation.:) Bad, bad practice, I know - eating chocolates at night, because you know what they say: one moment on the lips, forever on the hips. Haha! But I feel like I deserve a little treat at the end of the day.:)

But there’s good news for everyone who count chocolates as one of their guilty indulgences! We don't have to feel all that bad about eating our chocolates becasue Spain’s market leader, Valor Chocolates, is now on our shores.  And not only did Valor Chocolates bring with them their distinctly flavoured chocolate bars, they are also introducing their new range of Valor sugar-free chocolate bars which are sweetened with stevia, a natural sweetener derived from a plant originating in South America. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Nail Room

A few hours at the spa is always a good way to de-stress. But even if I know that, I do not really find time for it.  I keep arguing with myself that my days are filled with a hundred things that I need to do for my family, so the pampering can wait.  But when some of the SoMoms were invited for an afternoon of pampering at The Nail Room, I immediately said yes.
Cai from Apples & Dumplings, Jackie of Go Jackie Go, Michelle of My Mom-Friday, ME, Jay of Nail Room And Nuat Thai- Libis.  Photo from My Mom-Friday. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Phenomenal Tip: Fast Track Your Smoothies

I have been serving the kids a whole lot of smoothies as after-school snacks since the start of the year. My kids are always hungry every time they get off from school, and I used to give them carbo-rich foods like brown rice toppings or pasta. But now that the two girls are older, and consequently their dismissal times have also been pushed back and they now only have about an hour before training, so a light snack that is easily digested is ideal. Their usual merienda of pasta or rice is not suitable anymore as a full tummy that is busy digesting all those carbohydrates will leave them sluggish and feeling heavy.

Hence, a little adjustment had to be made to give them after school snacks that are filling and yet are also easily digestible. Smoothies are our new favorite after-school snack!
I make smoothies almost everyday, and sometimes even twice a day – one for the kids' pre-workout, and another one for after training recovery. It is easier to prepare rather than the time-consuming effort of preparing pasta sauces. And another upside to this is I also lessen the amount of gluten (from the pasta) that my kids take in.