Saturday, December 2, 2017

Giving Love This Christmas Season

Christmas has officially started, it's finally December! I am almost done with my gift list and have started wrapping presents by December 1st. It is my target every year to finish Christmas shopping by end of November to avoid the holiday rush of shoppers and commuters at the malls and on the streets. However, I still haven't bought Christmas giveaways for the people who give our family their services - the kids' Yaya, the prompt school service driver, the always courteous school guards, the efficient canteen lady and our friendly water delivery boy. This is because we are still waiting for our Sodexo Gift certificates.

Annually, me and my husband receive Sodexo Gift Certificates from our respective companies for Christmas. The gift certificates that we receive are what we have been using all these years to give back to the people who have been working loyally for us. We have been buying Spaghetti packs, Hams, Cheese and Fruit Salad ingredients and have them arranged in a festive manner to give away to these great people. At least, I know that they will have something to share with their families come December 24th.



What is great about the Sodexo GCs is that they have always been and forever will be valid, and that revalidation and replacement of Sodexo GC’s are free of charge once the validity date is reached. So, for the past years, the leftover ones from Christmas are what we used to spend for New Year's Eve feast and even for my birthday on January. But this year, I have been thinking of starting a Christmas tradition with the kids. So, I thought of checking out the Merchant's list here on the Sodexo website and I found out that Jollibee is also accepting Sodexo gift certificates. Perfect for what I have in mind!




I remember when I was a kid, our family drove around one Christmas Eve and gave chocolates to the people who were working at the tollgates. It would be great to start a tradition such as that with my kids to remind them of the real meaning of Christmas - to share and to give love. Starting this year, my plan is to buy Jollibee meals, drive around and spread joy on Christmas Eve. I want my kids to realize how blessed they are, how they can help those in need, how they can touch lives no matter how big or small the gesture is. I know that what I have in mind will not change the lives of these people drastically but I am hoping that in our own little way, we will be able to make this Christmas a memorable one for them.






Sunday, November 26, 2017

What They Didn't Tell me About Motherhood

I received lots of advice on motherhood since I became one in 2010 when I gave birth to Johan. Back then, I was told how to raise a kid, how not to spoil my child, how to discipline. The advice changed when I became a Mom to two boys in 2014 after giving birth to Jeron. Now, the advice vary from how to prevent sibling rivalry, what to do when the boys start fighting, how not to show favoritism.



Yet, 7 years into this and still there are more than a few times that I surprise myself with the learnings, my emotions and my patience (or the lack thereof). So, here I am, listing down the good and the not so good things I learned while being Mom.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Do-It-Yourself Harry Potter Costume on a Budget

Johan has been looking forward to Halloween eversince we introduced the concept of Trick or Treat to him when he was two years old. I was inspired on his first Trick or Treat event that I DIY-ed his Russell, The Wilderness Explorer costume.

Over the years, he dressed up as different characters for Halloween. I would like to think that he enjoys dressing up as much as he enjoys getting all the treats.




Sunday, October 8, 2017

Johan's 7th Birthday Surprise

Prior to Johan's birthday, I asked him how he wanted to celebrate. Johan said he wanted a swimming party at the beach. I thought we could go to Boracay but told Johan that if we are to go to the beach, it will be just the four of us since it's going to cost too much if we are to bring mine and hubby's immediate families with us. Johan, who enjoys the company of our immediate families, then said that it's okay to just swim at a pool instead of the beach so we could invite his cousins to join us.

Then I thought I am going to surprise him. So, I came up with the idea of telling him that everybody had to go somewhere on the day of his birthday and we didn't save enough for a party. Now, usually most kids will throw a tantrum and insist on a party but not Johan. He told me it's okay if we won't have a party, that it's okay if we'll just go to SM, eat at McDonald's and let him and Jeron play in Kidzoona for two hours. Ang bait lang, di ba?

This is more of a surprise birthday for Johan but since the boys have the same birth month, we decided to celebrate Jeron's birthday as well. I had two cakes made for the boys, a Minecraft themed cake for Johan and a Superhero themed cake for Jeron. My sister made Chocolate covered Oreos with the same themes, decorated the venue with balloons, I made masks and C2 bottle covers and my bestfriend bought paper plates with Minecraft and Super hero designs.

Number 7 Minecraft cake

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Our Kidzania Manila Experience

A year ago, my cousins and I planned a trip to Kidzania Manila. Everybody enjoyed the experience, even the adults so we planned another trip this year and hopefully it will be an annual bonding thing for the kids and us.

August 2016 - Their first Kidzania Trip

This year, my husband wasn't able to come since he had to stay home with Jeron, who is still too young for Kidzania. So, Johan and I rode a van to Alabang to meet up with my cousin's family and we all went together to Kidzania.

Johan while waiting

Saturday, September 2, 2017

On Teaching Kids What to Do

Earlier this week, I experienced one of the greatest fears of parenthood. A stranger tried to convince Johan to go with him.

It was on Tuesday night as we were preparing for bed when Johan said he needed to tell me something. He then proceeded to say that there is this one tricycle driver who is so annoying and kept talking to him in school. Our conversation went like this:

Johan: Mom, there is this guy who is so annoying.
Mom: Who was the guy?
Johan: He is a tricycle driver, a service of a girl from school.
Mom: Why is he annoying?
Johan: He keeps on telling me to come with him to McDo and Burger King, He'll buy me burger. Sometimes he says he'll bring me to the canteen and I can buy anything I want.

At this point, my very sleepy self was suddenly alert and all ears to his story.

Mom: Who is the guy, where were you while he was talking to you? Was he inside the school? Did you get out of the gate?
Johan: No, I was inside, The guy was outside the gate waiting for the student. He was speaking to me thru the gate.
Mom: What did you do?
Johan: I just stay inside my classroom and wait for Kuya Amang to pick me up. (Kuya Amang is his service driver)
Mom: Does this annoying guy always talk to you?
Johan: Yes, everyday. He keeps on asking me to come with him to McDo and Burger King. That's why I just wait inside my classroom so the guy won't see me and sometimes I just run to Kuya Amang if I see this guy.

I was in panic and messaged my husband on Facebook and relayed to him what Johan just told me. We were both fearful for Johan's safety and decided that the Yaya will again accompany Johan to and from school. Yaya will talk to the school admin the next day and I will do it again on Thursday when I go to school for Johan's Buwan ng Wika presentation.

While me and the husband were planning what to do, I remembered to ask Johan:

Mom: Why didn't you go with the guy to McDo? Di ba you liked going there for the chicken?
Johan: Because the guy is a stranger and I am not supposed to talk to strangers di ba, Mom?
Great job, Johan!

Anyway, as planned, Yaya went to school with Johan the next day and informed the school admin and the guard on duty what happened. She also waited for the annoying guy during dismissal and it turned out that the guy used to be the same tricycle driver that serviced them a few times the previous year and Johan just didn't remember it was him.

It was relief to know that the annoying guy was not really a stranger but I am more at peace knowing my son is smart enough to remember what he taught him and to not speak to people he does not know.

This is why it is necessary to keep on reminding our kids not to talk to strangers, paulit ulit kahit makulitan sila. Times are different now, evil people are everywhere and we just cannot sit back and assume our kids know what to do. We have to teach them and prepare them.





Friday, September 1, 2017

Recipe: Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa and Crispy Fried Liempo

Gusto ko na magbagong buhay and maging typical wife na marunong magluto. My sister recommended the Panlasang Pinoy Facebook page for recipes as these are fairly easy to follow. Upon browsing the page, natakam ako sa Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa.

So, early Saturday morning, I went off to our neighborhood talipapa to get all the ingredients. I was deciding what to partner Ginataang Kalabasa with - Fried Fish or Pork. We had Fried Galunggong the previous weekend, so Fried Pork it is. I am using the recipe that my sister shared with me. I will also be including prices of the ingredients with this post.

Here goes:

Crispy Fried Liempo


Ingredients:
Cooking Oil
2 packs Laurel Leaves
Garlic
Salt
Whole Pepper
3/4k Pork Liempo

Procedure:
I got three slabs of Pork Liempo from the market, asked the manong to chop into three slices per slab. Put all slices in a pan and boil together with 2 packs of Laurel Leaves, salt and pepper. Boil until meat is tender. Take out the meat and let dry. Once the meat is dry, rub each side with salt and pepper and fry until golden brown.

Expenses:
I only have to buy the following since I have the rest of the ingredients in stock.

Laurel leaves ........................ 4 php (2 php/pack)
Garlic .................................... 5 php
3/4k Pork Liempo ................. 135 php (180 php/kilo)
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Total: 144 pesos



Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa
For the full recipe, please proceed to the Panlasang Pinoy website here.



Ingredients:
3 Squash slices, cubed
1 bundle String Beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/4 k Pork, cubed
1 cup Beef broth or pinaghugasan ng bigas
2 cups Coconut Milk
1 1/2 tsp minced Garlic
1 medium Yellow Onion, sliced
Cooking Oil
Ground Black Pepper
2 Tbsps Shrimp Paste (I used the Sweet Chili variant of Barrio Fiesta)

Procedure:
Saute the garlic and onion. Add the ground black pepper, stir and add the pork. Cook the pork until color turns to light brown. Since I didn't have Beef Broth at the time, I used the 1st pinaghugasan ng bigas water, pour this onto the pork and let it boil. Add the coconut milk. Stir and allow to boil once more. Cover and cook until the pork gets tender. Add the squash. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the shrimp paste and stir. Add the string beans. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Expenses:

Squash slices .................... 30 php (10 php/slice)
String Beans ..................... 10 php
1/4k Pork .......................... 45 php
Coconut ............................ 20 php
Garlic ................................  5 php
Onion ................................  5 php
-------------------------------------------------------------
Total: 110 pesos


And the verdict? The kids loved the Fried Pork, well they like all things fried anyway. But the husband, though nonverbal, looked like he enjoyed the Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa. I noticed that he got another batch when he finished the first and he even ate the same thing for dinner! Yay, success!

My realization here is kaya ko naman pala and there really is no harm in trying. Plus, I enjoyed my short trip to the market ha. Ang saya mamalengke! But, the greatest joy here is seeing my family enjoying the meal that I prepared for them. Mauulit ito talaga!




Thursday, August 17, 2017

Johan's First Quarter Exam Results

I've been sleepless for days leading up to Johan's exams week because I have been preparing reviewers for him. Since Nursery, we have been struggling with his Filipino lessons and now that he is in First Grade, we are having difficulty not just with one Filipino subject but with three subjects - Filipino, Araling Panlipunan and Mother Tongue.

Imagine how stressful it was to think of techniques on how to improve his Filipino vocabulary, on how I will make him understand what pangngalan, katinig, patinig, pangungusap mean. I never thought we would struggle this much in school.




We spent three days studying for his nine subjects and concentrated on the three he is having the most difficulty with. Math has always been his strongest one, English is quite easy, Science is average while the new ones like Values Formation, Computer and MAPEH were fairly easy to review. We mainly spent more time with the Filipino ones.

I thought he's ready to take the exams and I was hoping he'd get good grades. The results came out today and it came as no surprise that he did very well in Math, the rest of the subjects got good grades but the three Filipino subjects just showed how much Johan needs more guidance. 

After all those sleepless nights and hours we spent reviewing, his grades are below my expectations. He did not get failing grades but I know that he can do better. I don't want to pressure him too much about getting very high grades but I don't want him to get low grades either. We tried so hard studying his lessons but I guess, we need to do more next time. Right now,  I am frustrated, tired and dispirited. 

I am being too hard on myself as usual. It's a relief that I have a bestfriend who I can talk to anytime and air out my grievances without judging how being unreasonable I am.

Kahit madalas luka-luka tong babaeng to, may sense naman sya paminsan-minsan


First quarter exams may be over but we still have three more quarters left. We will try harder on the coming months and we will not give up until MATATAS NG MANAGALOG SI JOHAN. 


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Kita Kita: Unexpectedly Good (A Movie Review)

credits: Kita Kita

The movie is now on its third week and it is only today that I got to see it together with my sister. All the people I know who have seen Kita Kita have nothing negative to comment, they are all praises for the movie and the actors. I'm so glad that we chose to watch it in the movie house instead of watching online through the link that trended the other day. I paid a measly 181 pesos for my movie ticket and I tell you, I would have gladly paid more than that for Kita Kita. It is that good and here are some reasons why I am gushing about Lea and Tonyo: *some spoilers included so if you haven't watched the movie yet, stop reading now*
  • Alessandra is phenomenal. The first time that I watched her was in Azucena, way back in college when we needed to watch it for movie review. Even then, I saw her potential, she is a great actress at her early age. Ang galing lang ng mga mata nya. Here in Kita Kita, the scene where her fiance stood her up for their anniversary and she took a photo by herself in a photo booth, ramdam mo sa mga mata nya na may pinagdadaanan sya. 
  • Empoy was surprisingly great. I only saw this guy in a few TV appearances, I find his jokes okay but not enough for me to pay for a movie. In all honesty, he is the reason why I was hesitant to watch Kita Kita. I don't know the guy, his kind of humor is just normal for me, nothing fancy. But, gosh, that normal, nothing fancy thing is why this movie is earning a lot to this day. Empoy is so natural that I would like to believe some scenes where Alessandra is laughing is not acting anymore, I believe she is laughing in real life because Empoy is unmistakably funny. Sobra, first scene pa lang na pinakita sya tumatawa na kami. I'm glad to be proven wrong on how I see this guy. Ang laki ng ikinagwapo nya sa movie na to!
  • The script, I have no words. Not the typical, commercialized Rom-Com that I was used to watching - I love Popoy and Basha, Laida and Miggy - but Lea and Tonyo's story is a different genre. Kalmado the entire movie, walang rollercoaster of intense emotions. I felt warmth the entire time that we were watching it. Gusto kong mag slow clap for Kita Kita director and screenwriter Sigrid Bernardo. \
  • The setting. Sapporo, Japan is never heard of, at least for me. The movie depicted the town as a peaceful, laid back place. I liked that the movie did not use a setting that is too well known. Sapporo is just perfect for the flow of the movie - tahimik, malalim. 
  • The twists and turns of the story is clever. Nung nagback track na how Tonyo met Lea, ang warm talaga sa pakiramdam. May lungkot but not naman to the point na hahagulgol ka, lungkot na tipong reminiscing lang of the good old times ang pakiramdam ko and panghihinayang. I said before no rollercoaster of intense emotions, hindi sobrang lungkot hindi sobrang saya. Tama lang talaga ang timpla.
  •  I've heard reviews saying the movie's ending is not that good. It was unexpected yes, kasi ang una kong naisip "Ay, tapos na? Yun na yun?". Very abrupt kasi nag black screen bigla but it was okay for me. Lea lost Tonyo, she looked back at all their good times, cried for her loss, the end. There's nothing much to say after that and ayoko naman na like most Rom-Com's pahahabain pa ang istorya for the sake of humaba lang. 
  • The song Two Less Lonely People in the World. I am not a fan of cheesy lovesongs. Highschool pa ata ako nung huli kong nagustuhan yung mga ganyan but KZ Tandingan's version of the song added a different flavor. Ang ganda ng areglo, ang ganda ng boses nya. It was on repeat on my Spotify on my way home from watching the movie and now as I am writing this post. Listen here: Two Less Lonely People in the World by KZ Tandingan
  •  Alessandra and Empoy together. What an unlikely pair. They are the perfect unfits. I did not expect the two of them to have chemistry - ang ganda ni Alessandra, ang simple ni Empoy, ang lalim ng acting ni Alex, very comical si Empoy. One balances the other and their tandem is one reason why this movie is a success. 

I only have great things to say about the movie, I cannot think of a single thing na hindi ko nagustuhan. Their gross earnings of 230M on their second week is proof enough that this movie is not your ordinary Pinoy rom-com. I hope more people will watch it and pay for it instead of just watching through the pirated ones uploaded online. Give credit where credit is due and Kita Kita is worth the credit. Let's pay for movies like these so that more producers will invest on quality Filipino movies. 

Go watch Kita Kita, hindi ka magsisi, promise!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Struggle to be a Good Mom



Breath.

Don't shout.

1,2,3,4,5....


I failed. I shouted again at my two kids aged 6 and 2 years old. This happened one evening this week when I just arrived home from work and upon checking my 6 year old's school diary, I found out that I still need to prepare for project materials that are needed the next day. And to think that I just did the same thing for 3 other subjects the previous night. I had to cram - turn on the laptop, do some research, print, gather the materials - all of that while the 2 year old is crying and the older one is being his usual rowdy self running around the house teasing his little brother.


The long list of school project materials of my first grader

I've had it. It has been a stressful week with both kids being sick, me with very little sleep and school assignments and projects piling up. That particular night, I was tired and hungry and wet from the rain. So, I lost it. My meltdown was so bad, I was screaming for at least five minutes at my two sick boys, begging them to shut up.

I was a bad mom at that moment. There was no doubt about it and nothing, not even my lack of sleep, is reason enough for me to behave that way.

I'm struggling to apply positive parenting but fails each and every time. I can't do it. The pressure at work, the clingy youngest kid and the loud eldest kid gets to my nerves and I shout. I was never a yeller. My husband even noticed this, he told one time "You were very patient when we first met but since the kids arrive, you became short-tempered and you get mad easily."

What happened?

Work, traffic, house chores, yaya problems, demanding first grade school stuff, active toddler. Those are what happened and the reasons why I am such a lousy mom these past few days.

I have to remind myself that the kids are watching, whatever I say and do will be mimicked by two boys, they might think my behavior is normal. I have to be mindful of my actions and how it will affect my kids.

Also, I should never forget that all of these are temporary anyway. The kids will grow up and soon I will be left with a clean house, no more assignments to help with, no more loud kids to shush.

I've got a long way to go but for now, I'll just take this one day at a time, let these kids be kids, take a deep breath and be grateful that I survived yet another day.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

My Life with Boys


It's 2017, 3 years since my last post. Saying that life has been busy is an understatement! Life has been more than busy since 2014 - it's been tiring, hectic, tiring again. But beyond the tired there is also happiness and love.

Before I gave birth to Jeron, my constant fear was will I have enough love for two boys. I felt then that I have given Johan all the love there is to give that I don't have any left for a second child. Oh how mistaken I was! As soon as Jeron came it felt as if my heart has expanded to double it's size and I have more than enough love for my boys. How amazing a human heart really is!

Being a mom of two has been busy add to that the fact that I have a full time day job. As soon as I arrive home, my boys, both excited to see me, will be all over me. Johan will be talking nonstop about how his day went while Jeron will just be too clingy and won't let me out of his sight. Believe me, I used to want this much attention when I was younger but there are days when I dream to have a quiet moment of rest after a day at the office. 

That is the reason why it took me a long time to blog again. I've been busy -  with motherhood, with work, with life. But Jeron is turning three in October, he has started learning to play with his Kuya which gives me a little more time of solitude. Right now, they're both nursing a fever, I have just sprayed the room with disinfectant and we are in the living room watching Disney Jr. 

So maybe this is the continuation of my blogging life. Hopefully. :)

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