Thursday, March 20, 2014

Karimadon Dresses the SoMoms

The SoMoms were invited by KARIMADON to view their latest collection a few weeks ago. It was a fun-filled event where we were made to feel glamorous, like we were walking the red carpet – even just for a few hours.  The event was at their flagship store at Glorietta 1.  Some of the other SoMoms went in earlier at Karimadon's Megamall boutique, so we were a tiny group of three only for this day.

I have known KARIMADON since my high school days (do not ask how many years ago!), but I admit that I haven’t been to any of its stores for a long time now. The brand was established in 198O by Mr. and Mrs. Richard and Josie Go. The name KARIMADON is the acronym of the first names of the children of the couple.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Welch's Grapevine: Win a Spa Party Package Worth P5K

If you’ve been a long time reader of the blog, you will surely know that I am very conscious of what I feed my family. The kids are competitive swimmers, and so I have learned how to choose and serve foods that are not only filling and tasty, but those that nourish and replenish, as well. As a home-maker, I am conscientious about what goes in my pantry. I make an effort to keep sugary treats, chips, canned goods out of our pantry. 

I truly believe that eating and drinking healthy is very important to live a good life. I tend to follow a lot of health brands, and Welch's is one of them. I like the fact that Welch's is 100% Grape Juice, meaning what you're getting is all grape, no preservatives, no sugars, it's just all natural. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Weekend Footnotes

Last weekend started early for me  because my girls had their last day of classes mid-week.  It is officially summer!  We had to celebrate that, of course!  We went to UP Town Center and had lunch at Dulcelin and sweets at Cafe Shibuya.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

{Phenomenal Tip} My 10-Step Guide On How to Enjoy a Family Vacation With Kids

School's done!  And for us moms it can only mean that we have to start getting serious with planning for our family's vacation.  Sometimes planning for a trip can get really stressful.  And mothers everywhere know that a vaction with the kids is not really a vacation.:)  I have met moms who feel like they need a vacation AFTER a vacation. Have you ever felt that way?  

When my kids were much younger, I admit there were times I have felt that way, too. But nothing a quick shake of the head cannot shrug off.  We have to watch what we think ... because what we think, we are.  Positive thoughts only!:)  

The longer I am a mom, and the more frequent we took the kids traveling with us, the more adept I have become at planning our vacations.  Along with that, I have also become an expert in dealing with unexpected changes... I deal with it by winging it. :)

As I am writing this, I am in the midst of planning for our vacation this summer.  We will be leaving soon and I am excited because I know the kids will be having so much fun in our chosen destination. I know I will be, too.
Here's my 10-step guide on how to enjoy a family vacation with kids:
1. Decide Where To Go
Include the entire family when you decide on where to go.  If it were all up to my husband, we would always just be going to Hong Kong.  He lives for food, glorious food!!! But the kids and I wanted something different.  A compromise has to be reached. 

2. Book Flight and Accommodation
For this trip, as soon as we decided on our destination, the first thing my husband and I did next was to book our airline tickets.  We wanted to get the best possible rates so we knew we had to book early. 

The next thing I did after that was to go choose a place to call home for the duration of our trip.  We are a big family (in number and physique), so the size of the room is a notable consideration in choosing a hotel.  Getting two rooms was definitely out of the question, because our destination this year has the reputation of being one of the most expensive in the world.  I don't want our hotel bill to eat up our budget for the trip.

I wanted all of us to fit in one room, but still have space to walk around.  After a long day of walking, I am sure everyone wants to go back at night to a place which is a refuge from the demands of traveling.  
Our room at the Marina Bay Sands when we took the kids on a previous trip to Singapore.
Read about our Singapore trip here.
We typically stay in big city hotels, but since our forthcoming trip is going to be quite long (for our standards), I thought it sensible to choose a serviced apartment, instead.  I think it is the best choice; for not only do we get more space, we also get the advantage of a kitchen, washing machine (so we don’t have to pack that much clothes), and the most important of all, separate living and sleeping quarters.  I am sure the rest of my family don’t really care much for these extra details, but these extra facilities can make the trip so much more enjoyable. The living room is a sanctuary for me when the kids are already in the bedroom. I really need that time alone at night before I go to sleep.  I feel like my mind is so active from taking care of everyone's needs that I cannot just shut it off and sleep right away.  C, on the other hand, would benefit from it because he usually reviews the maps and itinerary the night before.

3. Make a list of places of interest
I made a specific list of attractions that I think my family wanted to experience, making sure to mix a bit of the country’s traditional way of life with modern culture.  And then the husband and I gathered all the kids for a consensus, everyone has a say on where to go.  As much as I like to milk the trip for what it’s worth, I really avoided packing all the attractions into our “must-see,” and instead allotted ample time between sights so we can enjoy the sights on our priority list

4. Make a packing list and designate a packing area
I used to pack for everyone in the family, yes for all five of us!  But now that the kids are older, I let them pack for themselves.  I made a list and printed it out so the kids can refer to it.  We always use packing cubes, but prior to putting everything inside the cubes, I designate one spot in the play room to be the packing zone.  Everyone is given a huge hamper to put clothes and other necessities in as they begin to start preparing to pack for the trip.

5. Slow Down Pace For Kids
By nature, I am the type of traveler who tries to pack my schedule trying to do it all. But now that I have kids, I realized that this will only leave my family tired and overwhelmed.  I am realistic about what we can see and do with kids.   The less sights I have on my list, the more enjoyable and stress-free for everyone because I do not have to rush them. 

My kids love to linger in a place that interest them so we try to arrange a manageable number of attractions in a day, and arrange a mix of scheduled tours and leisure downtimes.  My son still loves to run around so we try to include a break within the day in a place where there are wide spaces so he can run around and take a break from “behaving.” Baka ma nose-bleed sa ka-be-behave. teeheehee!:)
Pawis na pawis.
He always has several shirts in the backpack he carries around
because he always needs that "running break" during the day to release his extra energy.  
One of the most unforgettable experiences for my kids was when we allowed them to spend the day in the zoo – one entire day!  We were one of the few to arrive early and one of the last to leave.  The kids passed by the moat where the lions were contained twice – once in the morning and again in the afternoon.  Such lucky timing because we were able to catch the lions in a playful mode.  They were running around the wide enclosure with no regard for us.  The kids felt like they were transported to the wide savannahs in Africa.  It’s rare to see lions run around because they sleep for about 20 hours each day, so we were extremely lucky to have seen that.

6. Learn a little of the local language
I downloaded an app for my kids to learn the language of our destination.  We always get favorable reactions from locals whenever they hear anyone of my kids trying to speak their language.  During our trip to Korea, my two younger ones gets loads of sweets from Koreans whenever they greet the locals with “Annyeong Haseo!”.  I’ve always noticed servers in restaurants break out a smile due to the kids attempts at communication.

7. Set a Budget
Cost can pile up easily for my big family, so before and during planning my husband and I talk about how much we want to spend for things like our accommodation, transportation, food, activities,etc.  Basically we categorize the things we can save and what to splurge on.

I also talked with the kids that they will be give a certain amount as “trip allowance.”  Anything they want to spend on outside of our accommodation, transportation and regular meals, they will have to pay for on their own.  This includes shopping for pasalubong for their friends, shopping for whatever interest them.
8. Capture Memories
Heavy as it is, I will be carrying my DSLR to document our trip.  My iPhone5 takes pretty good photos, but I want the way a big camera captures photos… more vivid and sharp.
Add caption
My oldest is also good at digital sketching, so I asked her help to document our forthcoming trip.  The photo shown above is one of her works.  Click here if you want to know what app she used. I requested her to draw certain landmarks of our trips, which I plan to include in my future posts.  For my two younger ones, I will be asking them to write down a journal to encourage them to draw and write about the things they see, food they eat and places they experience.

9. Expect the Unexpected
Even if I spent a good number of days planning our itinerary, I know that not everything will be followed.  That is why I make sure to put in a free day into the itinerary because it is likely that we will discover a new attraction or activity that I was not aware of when I was planning.  This will also allow us some room just in case we did not cover everything that we intended to do as planned.

If unforeseen events happen, C and I remind each other to just go with the flow and treat the occurrence like an adventure to be conquered. Our children will learn important life lessons from watching us deal with unexpected changes. #whomovedmycheese

10. Enjoy The Trip!!!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Weekend Footnotes: A Night Out With My Mooncake Moms

Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to be a guest at an intimate party to celebrate a milestone birthday for one of my DML mooncake moms.  It was a surprise birthday party organized by the husband of the celebrant.
My Mooncake Moms.  Parang Koreanovela lang!:)
So there we were, all ladies.  It was a gathering of all of her good friends accumulated from the time she was in school herself all the way upto all the mommy groups she has formed through her kids.  She has 4 kids so you can just imagine how many groups of friends she has accumulated.  It was enough to fill up the entire function room.

 Everyone enjoyed the sumptuous spread, from the buttered prawns to the roast beef.  But these dessert shooters were the star of the dessert table.
Clearly, CYMA's Roka Salata ruled!  I think everyone in my table went back for seconds or thirds.:)
 The Tonnos Salata was also good, but I have always loved the Roka.
Here is the birthday girl.  She is everyone's achi in our group, and we have learned so much from her. Dealing with kids, husband, and even how to diet. hahaha!:)  I have always admired her dedication to all of her four kids. Four kids, imagine that!
Happy Birthday, Helen! 
For me and my friends, it is a good way to catch up and our long awaited night out. :)  I hardly go out at night with friends anymore, my meet-ups are usually breakfast or lunch dates when the kids and husband are away.  So this was a good excuse to be out!:)