Thursday, November 26, 2015

Giving back and giving hope

I have heard of World Vision for the longest time and even attended a concert sponsored by them when Hubby and I were still dating.  That has been more than five years ago!  I also have cousins who have sponsored kids via WV.  Despite that and knowing what this organization stands for, it was only now that I joined and sponsored a child to school.  At around 4:30am, while browsing my FB newsfeed, I came across the World Vision link and checked it out.  I am someone who HATES filling out forms and was delighted when I saw that I can sponsor a child in the comforts of my bedroom and pay online. How cool and efficient is that!  

Convinience aside, what drove me to act today was because of what we had to undergo lately - having a miscarriage for the second time. Honestly, I haven't cried a bit after finding out we lost again.  To this point, I am not sure why.  Have I gotten numb, am I still in denial, or probably I just learned to surrender everything to the Him and hold on to faith that one day, R will have a sibling?  Life is challenging and tricky.  But still, I try to look at the bright side of things.  I am still blessed with a happy and healthy family.  And with that I am very greatful.  The yearning to have another child is so great, but maybe in God's time. For now, I want to share what we have in memory  of Vito and our other angel.  There are alot of  kids in our own country that deserve good education and this is one avenue that we can lend a helping hand one child at a time.  It's the holidays and this may be one of the best gifts that we can ever give someone. It is time to give back and give hope.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Time to cleanse

A few weeks ago, one of my High school friends posted a photo of her colon cleansing regimen.  I took it as a sign to kick off my desire to get rid of all the toxins in my system.
I quickly sent her a message inquiring about it and immediate placed an order.  The price may be a little steep, but considering its benefits I think it is worth it.  The Clearstart package will last you a good full month.  Ideally, you should cleanse once every quarter.  

The Clearstart.

It's a 30-day process and I am already on my 20th day. The first day I would say was quite memorable because I was stuck in traffic and my stomach began to rumble.  TMI, but I did make it to the office with sheer will power (and self control).  Lesson learned, I shall never drink coffee during breakfast.  That was the culprit for me.  During the first few days, I had headaches and I was a bit hot tempered, which is not my usual self. It was part of the precautions so I expected it.  I also battled some acne issues for about two weeks and going on my third week, I noticed that my face started clearing up. Indeed that was a relief!  To add to my cleansing process, I also enlisted myself to a low calorie meal plan.  This is not a requirement, but I just feel I need to do myself some favor this time around and be nicer to my body. 

My daily food supply from Yummy Diet + LiFiber.

I did not expect that I will lose weight in the process since that is not the real purpose.  Others did whille some did not.    On my end, while the weighing scale did not change one bit, I felt that my clothes became loser and people noticed that my face got slimmer.  That was a plus, who would  not want that!  What I also love is that my bowel movement has become regular compared to when I started.  Probably that's why  I also feel so much lighter and energetic!  

I'm mid way in this program and I would honestly recommend this to anyone who wants to do their  body some favor.  I am not an agent of this product but I am so glad that I found it.  The Clearstart package by Unicity contains a bottle of Paraway Plus, which you drink first thing after waking up, the Li Fiber which you drink half an hour after drinking Paraway Plus, and  Natures Way.

Happy cleansing!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mommy me time: For the love of coffee

People who know me know that I cannot live without coffee.  It started with my grandmother who herself is a coffee lover.  Every time we slept at my their house, she would always make us a cup of coffee with a whole lot of milk.  I loved the aroma and taste of coffee.  As early as elementary days, I was hooked on coffee and enjoyed mornings with grandma who seemed to make the perfect cup every time.  Taster's choice was her brand back then and that was the only brand that I knew of.

Fast forward to the late 90's when Starbucks came into the picture and I was in college, designer coffee never tasted so good.  But there comes a point in your life when your preferences change and while I still enjoy flavored coffee with all its sugar from time to time, I found myself looking beyond Starbucks and CBTL.  With the entry of Third Wave Coffee a few years back, I could not be more happier.   

That perfect cup of Cappuccino.

My love affair with this drink has span more than twenty years.  And when I came across EDSA Beverage Design Studio's workshop offering on Coffee, I had to enroll myself to get to know my beverage of choice better. I enrolled in the Specialty Coffee Fundamentals class which covered three modules:  Intro to Specialty Coffee, Tasting & Cupping, and  Brewing 101.  The class is every Saturday and if you take all three modules, it will be for 3.5 hours.  In case you are interested, I suggest you take all three in one sitting rather than taking it one at a time.  Total cost for the class is P1900. 

Introduction to specialty coffee and Brewing 101 EDSA Design Studio.

I am no coffee expert but enrolling in this class made me a little knowledgeable of the different varieties of coffee, how it is processed and how it should be prepared.  I honestly did not know that poor water will lead to poor coffee!

My first cupping session.

I also had my first cupping session.  Similar to wine tasting, deciding on the best beans can be complicated and follow the same principle (Yes, you also have to spit it out and the noisier you slurp the better!).  There are several aspects that you have to take into consideration like fragrance, aroma, acidity, body, flavor, aftertaste and overall impression. 

After learning all the theories, we also had a hands on activity wherein we had to grind and brew our coffee ourselves.  The Baristas judged who had the best tasting coffee afterwards.  I unfortunately did not win.  How I poured the water impacted my brew. Lesson learned, just like baking and cooking you cannot hurry the process because it will affect the end product.

Preparing to Grind and Brew.

There was a contest on the perfect brew.  Everything you do affects the taste of the coffee!

With my fellow coffee enthusiasts and our teachers.  That sign we made was their advocacy on NO TO BAD COFFEE.  It is also not a coincidence that our eyes should be closed, I just was not following directions, LOL
After this class, I appreciated coffee more and I suddenly tried to stay away from 3-in-1 coffee and was more conscious in not putting too much of milk and sugar in my coffee and enjoy it as it is. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Staycation: Marco Polo Ortigas

For my birthday and wedding anniversary, we just opted to stay in Manila because of the weather.  I have been wanting to try Marco Polo in Ortigas.  The pictures looked enticing and I loved the fact that it is a new hotel.  We were able to book on the same day via Agoda.  Since I have an Agoda account, I accumulate points.   For this staycation, I got a discount of PhP1300, not bad.  So we just had to pay around PhP6,000 for our stay.

Everything about the hotel was good, with the exception of the parking.  If you have a huge car you might find it difficult to traverse the steep and tiny way to the parking.  But that aside, we would definitely go back here.
The Lobby is situated in the 22nd floor of the building.  From the parking you need to transfer to another elevator that will lead you to the Lobby.  To go to the rooms, there is another set of Elevators.
My favorite part of the room - huge and comfy bed!

R was quick to pull out the chair, stationed himself in front of the TV and watched his favorite Disney Jr. shows.
Bathroom with a view.  A big plus is that each room has its own tub.  Something that a lot of 5 star hotels do not offer.

The bathroom is very spacious.

For the coffee addict like me, having our own Nepresso machine was a real treat!  No 3 in 1 coffee!
R enjoyed swimming in the indoor pool.  This was around 6pm and almost everyone was gone.  But when we swam in the morning, it was jam packed that it was pretty hard  to really swim if you want to do some laps.
Breakfast was at Cucina.

The buffet breakfast had pretty much a little of everything.  They had their own Bibinka and Puto Bungbong station that R just adored.

Monday, October 12, 2015

September to remember

A few weeks ago, it was my birthday.  No fancy celebration whatsoever, just had a quiet dinner at home with my family over take out Chinese food.  I took a half day leave and accompanied R to his first field trip during the day and was so exhausted by the time we arrived home in the afternoon, having only two hours of sleep. 

We went to two venues in Rizal.  The first was in YAB design in Antipolo and the second was in Sweet Harmony in Taytay.  It was a joint field trip between the Katipunan and Marikina branches of FMP. 

R's first field trip and first time to ride a tourist bus.  He was beyond ecstatic!

At YAB design checking out the Treasure chest and pretending to be Jake the Neverland Pirate.
At Sweet Harmony, we were all given hair nets, aprons and plastic gloves for our Pizza making activity.

R concentrating in making the dough for his Pizza.
Mommy and R's finished product.  We got to take it home and eat it.  R was very proud of his pizza that he at it on the way home!

The kids got to go inside the bakery while the parents watched them from outside.

There were really some big and fat ducks and chickens in Sweet Harmony.

This was his first time to play hopscotch and he was so excited to give it a try.
Last activity for the day.  The kids played Cat and Mouse.

It's no joke juggling work and motherhood.  I am thankful that my parents are both willing and are still able to help us take care of R while my hubby and I are working. Honestly, I don't think I would not last this long if it were not for them.  A lot of days, I wish I could do more and there are many instances wherein I wished I could stay longer and be with R and teach him.  My days and nights are totally opposite from his.  My only consolation is that at least I am still there when he wakes up in the morning, prepare his breakfast and bathe him and bring him to school. Weekends are super sacred to us because that is really the only time that when we are together day and night.  

I try to be present in all his school activities and as much as possible. It's a good thing as well that with the current company I am with, they are understanding and we are encouraged to take our leaves. That really makes a huge difference.   At the end of the day, you just really look for ways to make things work.

Pre-school home activity: DIY moveable alphabet

R is four years old and is already learning to write, spell and read.  Writing has been a challenge ever since.  He refused to practice at home.  Even his past evaluations indicated some resistance.  But what I love about the Montessori way of teaching is that they let the child take the lead.  They are not forced  into something that they are not ready to take on.  They would be introduced to it, but not to a point that it is mandated.  A few months back, he struggled a lot writing his name, but lately he would already take the initiative in pulling out the writing board, write his name and would even ask me if he could spell my name.  Now I know he is more accepting and open to writing, spelling and reading.
One of the materials used in a Montessori set-up is the Moveable alphabet that cultivates spelling, reading and writing.  There are different approaches on this, depending on the child's skills.  When I observed R last week, he was asked to choose 5 pictures and then his teacher pronounced the words several times.  R took the queue and spells the 3 or 4 letter words using the moveable alphabet and writes the words in a piece of paper.  At this level, correct spelling is not the objective. 

R in action in school.  Before beginning, he spell out his name.
I love this concept of the moveable alphabet.  Actually, I  have been waiting for the day that we would be doing this at home.  To my eagerness, I initially bought Melissa and Doug magnetic wooden letters a year ago.  We did play with it but not as much.  It was quite costly, so when the time came that I saw that R was ready for this activity, I just thought of making a DIY version.  I bought the DIY kit from the Montessori Print Shop for a fraction of a cost.  I just printed the materials in white card stock paper, used contact paper instead of laminating the letter, and found a plastic case from SM department store that was a perfect buy. 

For storage, I bought 2 plastic cases to fit  all the letters and pictures.  Here he is spelling the word POLICE.  Currently he is fixated with Police cars and ambulance.

Remember that the goal here is not to immediately correct the spelling.  R here asked me if he could spell out WATER.

I try to make this activity interesting every now and then.  Sometimes, I ask him to choose from the pictures to spell out, sometimes we just have a free-flowing spelling activity and at times we do spelling and writing depending on his mood. 
This activity will go a long way and you can use this even until he can spell out more complicated words.  Always remember to take the child's lead to make it more fun and enjoyable.





Monday, September 14, 2015

Breakfast date at Pan de Amerikana

I have never been to Pan de Amerikana and I have always been curious about why there would always be a lot of cars parked along their Katipunan branch. I think what attracts people to this place would be their quirky interiors.  The Katipunan branch even has an upside down Landrover hanging in its facade.

A few Sundays ago, my hubby and I had a quick and simple breakfast date in the Marikina branch while R was asleep.  I was excited when we reached the place.

The landscape and interiors looked inviting.

A Kalesa welcomes the visitors.

A gallery of showbiz personalities.
I was looking forward to a good Pinoy breakfast.  The price range for breakfast variety was around P90-P120.  Brewed coffee was P35, I believe.  My expectations on the food was short changed.  The portion was so small that we had to order an additional Ilocano longganisa which by the way surprised me that it cost P40 and that sole longganisa was just as big as my thumb, even a little smaller.

  Yes, I was not too happy about the food. But hey, you will  never know until you tried.  So there goes my bittersweet experience. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Fun at Fun Farm

We spent Mother's day at Sta. Elena Fun Farm in Cabuyao, Laguna.  Our reservation was at eight o'clock in the morning.  It was pretty early, but with unbearable heat now a days, I think it was a wise choice.  There was no traffic, the heat was forgiving and best of all, we had the place to ourselves for the first hour! I didn't want to bring lunch anymore,  so we grabbed some drive through along the way.  There is a Pavilion where you can leave your foood and other stuff while you tour the farm.

I love the concept of Fun farm.  It teaches kids to care and respect animals and a great reminder to all of us how great the outdoors are - to drop our phones and be one with nature.  We rarely get to see huge spaces in the city and this was a breather.  There wasn't any air conditioning but we didn't mind the heat at all. Just remember to bring extra clothes and towels since it's inevitable that the kids would run around and get dirty.

It was our first time here and I wasn't sure how R would react. He is afraid of animals.  But to my surprise, it just took him a little prodding to feed the rabbits and guinea pigs.  And before we knew it he was having a ball feeding them. He also rode the horse and loved the Carabao ride.  The highlight of the trip for me was when he obliged to try the zip line.  I think my hubby and I were more scared!  He enjoyed it so much that he went for it three times!  It was a joy seeing him discover new things and concur his fears.

         My favorite structure in the farm
          Panoramic view of the farm. 

                     The wash area.

      Quotable Quotes around the farm.

        How cool is this vintage truck ?

      Dad and R feeding the guinea pigs.

        Time for some physical activities.

     At first he was covering his face with his hat, but in the end he had a blast pretending to be Woody.

           Out first ever Carabao ride!
      Guess who caught a fish? Mommy!

      Sand adventure for the kids and kids    at heart.

                   Mommy a Tractor!

                     My brave boy! 

For reservations, you may contact 

Fee: P300/ head

- book in advance
-go in the morning
-bring your own food, utensils and drinks
-bring a change of clothes
-bring a hat

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Toddler activity

I found this DIY puppet in Kidzart SM Hypermart during R's artclass a few months back.  I saved this knowing that he will have some downtime during Summer vacation. It was his first attempt to sew and Im glad he enjoyed it, though he stopped half way through.

I think he got tired sewing with all the holes. But that was not bad for a first timer.   We can go back and finish sewing when he is ready.

Happy Saturday!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Goodbye Popoy

It was 4am on a Tuesday. I rushed to the parking lot in the office, went inside my car and called my brother through FaceTime.  I had to talk to Papa.  I do not know if I will ever get to talk to him again.  It was a brief but special video call. "I love you Papa!" I said.  He removed his mask and told me " I love you. I love you very much and you know that."  His voice was so clear and loud, as if he were fine.  My brother quickly prodded him to put his mask back and had to bid me goodbye immediately because of fear of overstimulation.  That was the last time I heard his voice.  

Up until his last moments, Papa continued to be a source of strength for everyone.  His body may have withered, but his mind was still very clear.  He continued to make his loved ones laugh and sang to his youngest great grandchild during his last few hours. 

On the 5th of February at 1:23am, my grandfather went home to be with his Creator.  He was  surrounded by my grandma, his children, sons and daughter in law, and grand kids.  Just like our Sunday gatherings everyone was there, keeping it together and comforting one another.  How I wished I was there, too.  

Thank you Papa for all the beautiful memories and for equally loving all your grand kids. Thank you for making us always feel special and loved.  Thank you for making me feel like I am the best cook in the world when I made you Salpicao. Thank you for dotting on my son even if it meant only seeing him through FaceTime. Thank you for being so proud of me when I got my new job a few months back.  
Now that you are in heaven, please give Vito a hug and a kiss for me.   I know you are having a grand time there, watching over us.

We will miss you so much, Papa. We love you, until we meet again.

               Papa was just in his mid 40's when he had his first set of grand kids-my brother and I.
                          We were lucky to have been able to spend a lot of time with him.

 This was in 1989 when majority of the clan was still living in the Philippines.  Every a Sunday, we had dinner at Mama and Papa's place and heard mass together. 



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