How My Friday Went From Better to Best

September 18, 2015. I had a good start on my Friday. It was our boyfriend-girlfriend anniversary and my husband and I woke up at almost the same time. We had breakfast together and I was happy that I finally got to recreate the same fluffy pancakes that I did long ago. The H genuinely liked it. My early morning efforts paid off!

When The H left for work, I managed to squeeze in a few minutes for a much needed stretching. Our toddler woke up a few seconds after my mini-exercise. I served breakfast in bed for him and I read stories to him while he was eating. I let him play afterwards while I follow him around with his sippy cup of fresh milk. Thinking that the my little one was content on playing, I got my laptop and began to work on a new blog post.

As soon as he saw me prop into bed, he went to my desk, pointed at the iPad and asked me if he could used it. I obliged just so he would also be busy while I’m doing my thing. I created a draft for my post on Word but when I was about to put it on WordPress, the CMS kept acting up. I have switched browsers and restarted my laptop, all to no avail. I was so upset because that glitch was causing a delay on our schedule. I even asked for my husband’s help but he can only do so much while he is at work. I went out of the room whining about my dilemma. I decided to pray about it and I suddenly remember the verse from John 10:10The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come that you may have life and have it to the full. I felt better after I have repeated it over and over. I won’t let the enemy steal my joy. We’re celebrating our special day and I won’t let that mishap ruin our happy mood.

John 10:10

My boy and I had late lunch, took a bath and had a nap. As I have promised him a couple of days ago, I took him out go biking. It looked like it was about to rain but we still went out and prayed that the skies would only be cloudy. And it was! We drove to the next block and asked my niece to go biking with us. My sweetie pie was so happy to go biking outside again. We went home a little after 6 and had another round of merienda. I have noticed that when I’m happy and excited, I would always sweep and mop the floor. So I did just that after we have eaten our snacks. Well, we’re about to have dinner in a few hours at my favorite Coco Hut and that made me giddy. By the time my husband got home, our son and I have already freshened up from a quick bath and were ready to go.

Coco Hut Menu

Soon, I will have hi-res photos for my posts and my dear readers will no longer see blurry pictures such as that of the Coco Hut menu above 😀 Moving on!

The Coco Hut is a cosy, 24-hour restaurant situated in the Commercenter Shopping Mall in Alabang. We have discovered Coco Hut during one of our family dates when my husband had mistaken for Army Navy, the place that we were planning to go to that night.  Coco Hut is adjacent to Army Navy and have almost the same setup which justified The H’s error. He liked how Coco Hut is more spacious than it’s neighboring resto which made it toddler-friendly. I had my eyes on their Pinoy-themed menu. They even have my favorite veggie dishes –  Laing and Coco Langka!

Coco Hut Barbeque with Rice
Barbeque with Rice (Php175)

I told my husband that since it’s our anniversary, we can order more food. I wanted to celebrate by satisfying my enormous appetite, which surprises The H at times. Some people said that I have a big appetite because I breastfeed. They didn’t know that I eat like a man most of the time even when I was still single! For that night, The H had a very meaty and deliciously grilled Barbeque with Rice. Of course, he shared some with me and Louiji. The little boy, whom his Dad lovingly refer to as a fishtarian, had Crispy Fish Fillet (Php160) served with rice, coco squash and tartar sauce. He ate his meal with gusto! We are so glad that he is getting a better appetite during mealtimes. He didn’t like the coco squash so we finished it for him.

Longganisa with Rice (Php145)
Longganisa with Rice (Php145)

Being a fan of all-day breakfast meals, I ordered Longganisa (Php145) which was served with garlic rice, egg and atchara. It was delish!

Coco Langka (Php75)
Coco Langka (Php75)

We also had Coco Langka (Php75) which was perfectly cooked that I couldn’t stop saying Sarap! with every spoonful.

We keep on coming back to Coco Hut not only for it’s proximity. We love it for its freshly served and home-cooked meals, cosy ambiance, kid-friendly atmosphere (we often see families with little children) and impeccable customer service. The crew always serve diners with a smile and would anticipate our needs. They would offer a highchair and refill our cups even before we ask for these stuff.

After dinner, we crossed the street to get to McDo and have our favorite dessert – Banana Oreo McFlurry for me and the kiddie while The H got the McFlurry with Oreo Cookies. It was a sweet and lovely Friday :)

I hope that you had a great Friday, too!

 

An Eventful Monday

Hey Friday! The weekend is upon us and I’m excited for it, as always. This has been a great week for us and it started with an eventful Monday.

It was our son’s 32nd month and to celebrate, I cooked Spaghetti with Meat and Mushrooms for us to feast on when we all get home for dinner.

We were on a scheduled well baby checkup and vaccine. It was a very costly vaccine! We paid Php3,00 for the Menactra, a vaccine against meningococcal disease. Based on my research, it is already the cheapest because the regular price for that is Php3,500. It was not actually a required vaccine but then our pediatrician advised us that if we have the means, then we should get it for our son so he would be protected against that rare but serious disease. After administering the vaccine, the pedia happily told us that our son has just “graduated” from having a series of vaccines! He would just have to get the annual flu vaccine next year. After that, the other booster shots will be given to him when he is four years old and we have the chance to complete them until he turns six. It was great news for the whole family! For Louiji, it would mean no needles until the middle of 2016. For me and my husband, less expenses. Also, we wouldn’t have to move mountains on Mondays just to make it to the doctor’s clinic.

The mountain statement was not an exaggeration. Our pedia holds clinic at Tokyo Healthlink in Alabang every Monday. Whenever we have an appointment, my husband had to go to work extra early or take a few hours off just so he could pick us up from and drive all the way to Tokyo. Hubby finds it inconvenient to bring our car to work because he would have to worry about parking and the costly toll fees. We went car-less last Monday. Since the pedia will be leaving a little early than her scheduled hours, I decided that our son and I should commute all the way to the clinic so we can be there on time. My husband would follow us after work. To cut costs, I did not book an Uber. Wrong move! From our village, we had two jeepney rides which was such a hassle. We were cramped in the first jeep and had to chase our next ride. I had to carry our little boy to make our transfers faster and safer. To make it more challenging, it started to rain by the time we got off to our next stop. It’s a good thing that before getting to our stop, I was able to help my tot put on his jacket and secure his cap. A kind lady helped us cross the street leading to the clinic. After a few pit stops on the side of the buildings, we finally reached the doctor’s clinic safe and dry. Hurray! My husband came just in time when the doc was about to administer the vaccine. He would always carry our boy and hug him tight to make vaccination easier and faster.

We were all happy on our way out of Tokyo. No more needles. No more Monday afternoon rush. No more grueling commutes to the clinic. No more costly vaccines. It was still raining outside and we were still figuring out how we can get home. I suggested that we go to the nearest Starbucks for a little celebration.

Happy BabySee how happy our little one is? For a while, he forgot about the painful shot that he got earlier. He got so busy tinkering with Daddy’s phones, sipping on his iced chocolate drink and taking small bites of his honey glazed doughnut. I actually had a few bites of his doughnut because I got hungry but didn’t want to go down to the counter to buy my own pastry.

Having experienced the conveniences of going home via Uber, my husband told me to book us a ride. I then remembered that I can give him a promo code (Php100 on the first ride) if he installs the Uber app on his phone. He had a better idea. Smart offers Php300 off to its subscribers when they install the app for the first time. Long story short, this post is getting long anyway, we had a free Uber ride on our way home! Talk about convenience and cost-effectiveness!

How did your Monday go?

 

 

Of Salads and Celebrations

I have noticed that salads have become a staple in our family celebrations. Whenever we get together with our relatives, I am sure to see a salad of any kind served on the table. It may be a vegetable salad, fruit salad, macaroni salad or something of the experimental kind (depending on who hosted the gathering). I, for one, have many variations of the macaroni salad which I have served during special occasions. I am sharing one of the varieties here on the blog today.

MACARONI SALAD WITH CHICKEN & CASHEW

Macaroni Salad with Chicken and Cashew
My Macaroni Salad with Chicken and Cashew. I promise to take better food photos next time (practice, practice)!

Ingredients:
400g macaroni salad, cooked according to package directions
1 c of boiled and shredded chicken breast
1/2 c of Jolly Whole Corn Kernels
443.60 ml of Jolly Real Mayonnaise
1 c of grated cheese
1 small pack of cashew nuts
Salt and pepper to taste

Jolly Real Mayonaise
Jolly Real Mayonnaise is made from the finest eggs and oils for more flavor and texture for your salads.

Easy Peasy Steps:
1. Drain the cooked macaroni thoroughly.
2. Add in the shredded chicken, mayonnaise, kernel corn, grated cheese and mix them altogether.
3. Add salt and pepper according to your taste preferences. You may add in a scoop of sugar if you have put in too much salt. This works well for me.
4. Top your salad with cashew nuts.
5. Chill for a few hours before serving.

Isn’t that easy? You can actually prepare this salad to make everyday meals special.

How about you? What’s your special salad recipe? Please do share in the comments below :)

 

Louiji’s First Birthday Party

We had a laidback celebration of Louiji’s first birthday. I have managed to convince my husband to have a small house party instead of having a big celebration at a famous fastfood chain. We had a long debate about this matter but my husband eventually agreed to my plan. :) I have wanted a house party for Louiji’s first birthday for a number of reasons. Most of them are for his own good. My primary concern is that I want him to be well rested before and after the party.

Since the day of his birthday, January 14, falls on a Tuesday, we had the party on a Saturday of that week so family and friends can come and join us. But we did have a celebration on January 14. My husband took a day off from work so we would be complete as a family to mark this momentous milestone in the life of our firstborn. We had a cake smash in the morning, gave him our gift then we drove to Sta Rosa to have a special family lunch, have a leisure walk and visit the nearby shops. We could tell that our little man enjoyed his special day because he smiled and laughed a lot during that day :)

Now, back to the birthday party. We have indicated in our e-invites that the party will start at 3PM. This is for Louiji and his baby and toddler cousins to have had their nap before the party and so they wouldn’t be cranky and just have fun at the party.

Louiji's Party Invite

For Louiji’s birthday cake, I asked my childhood friend Mau of Mau’s Cupcake Cafe to create a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse themed cake because we had Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Road Rally as our party theme. That’s because it is Louiji’s most favorite app on our iPad :) I looked for an inspiration on Pinterest and sent it to Mau. I also requested that she make the cake and the cupcakes not too sweet so Louiji wouldn’t get so accustomed to it and quit on breastmilk. Mau suggested to make vanilla because it is not too sweet. My husband and I were so happy when we got the cake and cupcakes! She even used red and white polka dot cupcake liners to follow our theme. Check out the photo below. The Mickey Mouse gang figures were from Louiji’s toys. If you’d like to have awesome and yummy cakes and cupcakes, get in touch with Mau via her Facebook or Instagram accounts.

Louiji's Cake and Cupcake Tower with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse figures

For the food, I cooked carbonara and macaroni salad with almonds. My Mom and Dad cooked lumpiang shanghai and lumpiang gulay, respectively. These are their specialties. Our Tita Ninang Alice gave us her most requested menudo. The rest of the food: a bilao of spaghetti, a bunch of pork barbeque, and roasted chickens were all store-bought. We also had tubs of ice cream.

Buffet Table and DIY Projects
Our buffet table with some of my DIY projects

The colored fringe backdrop, piñata, Happy Birthday banner, 4D letters for Louiji’s name, chronological photo display and the favor bags are my DIY projects. They were handmade with love with the help of my husband, sister-in-law and my niece. These projects were inspired by the pins from Pinterest and craft projects that I have seen from countless mommy and party blogs that I have read. Kudos to them for sharing the how-tos of their lovely projects! I hope to do the same for each and every craft that I do.

My husband also made a wonderful slideshow of our family photos. He is really good at doing it. Our dream to have a family photoshoot finally happened with the help of his Kuya, who really captured our good angles and candid moments. Photography is just a hobby of his and yet he is already good at it.

The other party effects such as the balloons, red tin pail, cupcake tower and red and white polka dot table napkins were all purchased from Celebrations Party Central at Festival Mall in Alabang. The treats inside the favor bags were bought from the grocery. We have also included Mickey Mouse Clubhouse mini memo pads and puzzles from Celebrations.

We have decided to dress in red as a family. Some of Louiji’s cousins donned costumes. Kuya Dionne came as Donald Duck and Ate Taji became his partner as Daisy Duck. Baby Zeia was in a Minnie Mouse dress while Kuya Dave wore a Mickey Mouse shirt. Too bad we didn’t have a picture with all of them together.

Family Picture
Louiji was looking at his Kuya Dionne who was trying to make him smile

 

Cousins in Costumes
Ate as Daisy Duck, Baby Z as Minnie Mouse and  Kuya as Donald Duck

I’m glad that Louiji didn’t cry when we sang him Happy Birthday. He didn’t get startled or anything. I guess it’s because days before, we’ve been practicing the birthday song and candle blowing. But, I was the one who blew the candle for him. Even if he already knew how to do it, he couldn’t because the cake was at the top of the cupcake tower.

Louiji eventually got used to seeing several people in our house that day. Though he can’t join his older cousins running around yet, he looked happy just watching them.He ate a lot that day. Before the party, he got to taste his vanilla cupcake minus the icing. He also ate the carbonara with me during lunch time. While waiting for the guests, he ate his favorite Bibibons. During the party, he ate spaghetti. When he was full, he fell asleep on his Dad’s shoulder. He felt comfortable in that position that he was asleep for a couple of hours. He woke up before our guests bid goodbye. We did the piñata before everyone went home. I helped Louiji pull the string that I tied at the bottom to bring the treats out. It didn’t budge so I had to remove the tape at the bottom. The kids went crazy when the candies came falling! Louiji just watched them. Amused and amazed, probably. After that, we had a group picture. We gave out loot bags to the kids, cupcakes and take out food to the adults before they went home.

MickeyMouseThemedPinata.jpg

Before I slept that night, I felt tired but glad that we had Louiji’s first birthday party right in our home. It was more fun, intimate, personal and less stressful. The thing that I’m most grateful for? Having a blessed first year with our baby boy, the most important reason for our celebration.

 

Louiji Turns One

Louiji's 1st Birthday Cake Smash
Louiji’s 1st Birthday Cake Smash

Up to now, I still can’t believe that the baby who is sitting on my lap right now is a year old already. How time flies! I am really blessed to have been chosen by God to bring one of His most wonderful and precious creations into life. Louiji, here’s a love letter that I lovingly dedicate to you. Talk about love overload!

Dearest baby Louiji,

I could have written this letter on the exact day of your birthday, January 14, but I was busy making preparations for your biggest milestone. I wanted to make sure that that day will be really special for you and for our whole family. I also think that the greatest gift that I can give you on your birthday is to be present and to savor every moment of that day with you. We had a very intimate celebration that day because it was just you, Mommy and Daddy. I hope you had fun during our late lunch at Contis Nuvali eating your bowl of arroz caldo. Well, for me, it looked like you did. We were so amused when you kept on looking at the waitress and following her around with your gaze! It was the first time that you did that. There are people who are really charming to kids and she is one of them.

I hope that you will also remember when your cousin Zeia, Tita Julian, Tito Homer, Granny and Lolo came in early in the morning to personally greet you. They were just in time because you just woke up. Tita Julian even made a birthday greeting photo of you and Zeia on Facebook. Kuya Dionne made a greeting card for you on paper with drawings of Mickey Mouse. Anak, these are all priceless birthday presents that I pray that you will value and cherish as you grow up.

At this day too, you’ve had your first birthday cake smash. I just got the idea on Pinterest and I thought that we can also do the same for you. It’s a fun experience that I want you to have on your first birthday. We have set up a corner of our living room for that. I finished your birthday banner which will serve as your backdrop and decorated the small but yummy cake that Daddy bought the night before with washi tape, paper straws and your Mickey Mouse and Pluto plastic figures. We sang you the birthday song as I place the cake in front of you. I was relieved that you did not attempt to touch the lighted candle. I blew it for you when the song ended because you don’t know how to do it yet. After that, instead of smashing the cake, you just poked on its sides and played with it a little without messing on your bib or tray. I smiled as I watched you do it. I thought that you didn’t whack the cake because you don’t want to ruin the toppers that Mommy made for you that morning. I love you (more) for that, baby! You’re showing signs of appreciating Mommy’s craft! 

Looking back at the past 11 months, I can’t help but be amazed and grateful of how God has blessed and saw us through the entire period of your infancy. Daddy and I are first time parents and though we read a lot and asked for parenting tips from older parents, we still had hits and misses. God made sure that you, one of His most beautiful creations, is always safe, protected and lack nothing. Through all those months, you have never been seriously sick. Mommy still has breast milk to give you up until now. Your appetite for solid food is something that we are really proud of. You’re not a picky eater. Your growth and development milestones continue to surprise us. You’re beginning to be more and more mobile and so I want to make an extra effort to keep the whole house spic and span (Help me, God!) so it will be safer for you to roam around.

To close this love letter, I’d like to say a prayer for you. I pray that the Lord will always bless you and keep you. The Lord makes His face shine upon you. May you grow up to be a God-fearing person, a man of good character, integrity, godly wisdom. I pray that you always be healthy and happy. I pray for all the good things in your life.

I love you forever my dear baby Louiji!!!!

Hugs and kisses,

Mommy 

 

MIA

I have been missing in action for a total of eight days already because I was preoccupied with a lot of things. I got busy preparing for mini birthday parties and my baby’s monthsary. If you have been reading my blog for quite a while, you would know that I’m a DIY kind of lady, doing her best to inject creative and personalized decors, favors and gifts in almost every kind of celebration. I have prepared garlands that will also serve as photobooth backdrops, place cards and the lunch menu for a dear friend and my son’s ninang who had her birthday last October 5. The party of 5 (actually 6, including my baby) got cancelled the night before because the son of another friend, who is among the guests of our intimate get-together, got sick. Naturally, we have to postpone the party. Family comes first. If I were in her shoes, I would do the same to be by the side of my ailing child. Just like what I did when this  happened months ago. I will show photos of what I have made for this party in another post.

Another house party that I have prepared for was that of my Dad’s. I made another set of garlands with the help of my sister-in-law and hang them in our living room wall to serve as backdrop for the photos. I have also created a cake topper for my Dad. Photos will be shown in another post.

We also celebrated our baby Louiji’s 9th month last Monday, October 14. I make it a point to have a different theme each month and make cake or doughnut toppers. This time, I took it up a notch by creating themed party hats, too. I made three: one for my husband, for our baby and for me. We took photos using the backdrop that we have made for my father’s birthday. You should see the photos! They really look great, happy and colorful :) I’d like to mention that this month’s cake topper, just like that of Louiji’s 7th, was made with my husband’s help.

Aside from the preparation for these festivities, I went MIA from the blogoshpere because of more serious stuff. This month, my husband and I both agreed and decided that I will quit my job to take care of our baby. My mom could no longer manage taking care of my school-age nephew and my 9-month old baby. It was a tough decision that we had to make and we had to do as soon as possible. It was kind of a detour but we both think that it’s the best decision that we can make for our baby. I am currently on the lookout for a work-from-home job that will augment our family’s income.

I had a sort of trial period of one week that enabled me to get a preview of what things would be like when I become a stay-at-home mom. I took a one week off from work to take care of my baby so he can fully recover from that nasty cough and cold and to isolate him from the respiratory virus that was lingering at my parents’ house. During those times, I had a better understanding of my baby’s behavior and schedule. I was able to make adjustments accordingly. I was also able to plot which stuff I can fit in at which schedule. I have also more or less estimated when I can squeeze in some work.

This is another season for us. We are praying for guidance, wisdom, knowledge and discernment as well as strength to carry on. We know that God is faithful. He will make a way and provide for us no matter what.