12 July 2018

Ginisang Labong at Saluyot

My husband's family has been in this neighborhood since the early 1980s. So they basically know each and everyone in the area. In fact, if you get lost coming here, ask for our surname and they will direct you to our house. Just don't do bad things to us; you won't like what can happen to you, haha. Anyway, my favorite benefit of living here is the good number of community vendors that often knock on our door, er, gate. One of them is Grace, an old woman who sells fresh produce from her own harvest. My pure Bicolana mother-in-law, Mama A, gets fresh gabi leaves from her that she cooks into laing. One day, Grace cheerfully arrived with fresh labong (bamboo shoots). I was so excited I bought it all! Then Mama A prepped it for cooking by boiling and extracting the not-so-pleasant taste of its liquid. Para daw "walang kati". The next day, she bought saluyot, tomatoes and ginger. I bought bangus. We were on a serious mission for some tasty dinengdeng! However, Mama A had allergies that day so I skipped using bagoong isda for this recipe, making it a simple guisado. 


You know what, okay lang naman 'cause I used fish sauce (patis) instead and the natural flavor of fried bangus made it more delish. To be honest, this was the first time that I cooked this! I was so happy it was a success and that my tweener foodie loved it so I'm sharing this with all of you.

07 July 2018

Gratitude Giveaway

Having a huge following on social media is a big deal for small-time bloggers like me. I mean, I'm not a celebrity mom or a wealthy woman who knows everyone. I'm just a regular mom from the suburbs, who found her way around the internet and made a lot of new online friends who don't mind her virtual chatter. Getting the attention from hungry people through my recipes and baon ideas two years ago was a total surprise. Well, I don't want to sound hypocritical that everything happened because of sheer luck. I blogged hard to get to it – I created content that readers love, used the correct Facebook tools and applied learnings from my social media management experience. And yes, it wasn't just luck. It was God's way of telling me that I'm meant for bigger things so I have to really take care of it.

Win these awesome prizes!
So to seriously keep you in my tribe until we grow bigger, like what I've been posting on the page, I am throwing a grand giveaway for all of you! Contest rules are simple but specific. Read carefully.

04 July 2018

Where We Ate in Baler

Food and travel go together well. As in, think of the late Anthony Bourdain. Not sure if he really was but I think he pioneered the will-travel-for-food-and-nothing-else attitude. I mean, please show me videos of him bungee jumping and rappelling. I might just have missed it. But him traveling to a place just to eat? He has lots of those! In fact, he made Jollibee famous in the side of his world. He may have sadly cut his life short for whatever reason he had but he surely touched a lot of lives through his love for food. Sigh. Anyway, this isn't about him naman. Cheer up na tayo. This post took more than a month to be posted 'cause I still can't find the right words to describe our foodie experience in Baler! The town doesn't really have specific delicacies aside from Nanay Pacing's Homemade Peanut Butter but we're so glad they have awesome restaurants that cater to their hungry tourists well.


We arrived in Baler a little before lunch time so after we toured a bit (saving that kwento for another post), we headed to Bayler Restaurant.

26 June 2018

Ginisang Sayote at Carrots

Mashed sayote was Sophia's first food. Eversince, the unassuming and versatile veggie has been a mainstay in my grocery list. It's so easy to feed to kids! In fact, Samantha just had a mashed sayote with breastmilk today. Our baby bear loved it, too – no spills, no mess! So I'd like to share my recipe with you. 


No-brainer dish ito for someone who knows how to cook but I'm sure, a lot of you want to know a fail-proof base recipe of a guisadong gulay. This one can be altered by adding other veggies that match sayote. Serve it for lunch, dinner or for your families' baon along with fried meat. Ready to cook?


17 June 2018

Pinangat na Hiwas

One rainy Tuesday morning, I woke up earlier than usual (and before my girls, which is very rare) so I made sure to use the extra minutes wisely. I went to the nearby talipapa to buy food to cook for lunch. I'm so happy to see some fresh fish other than the mainstay bangus and tilapia the vendor sells. I bought four pieces of Hiwas (Chabeta) for ₱95. Price is reasonable since it's fresh, there weren't too many fishbones and is definitely meaty. I knew I'd cook it pinangat style.


Pinangat is fish boiled in water; one version is sour and the other is cooked with coconut milk. We have kamias tree here at home so I did the sour version. I added tomatoes for a fruitier taste. Ayoko yung puro asim lang ang nalalasahan. I put pechay para more gulay. Also, the more color your food has nga daw, the healthier it is. My little foodie, Sophia liked it so much. It made my homecook heart so happy 'cause it wasn't just so easy to prepare, nagustuhan pa ng bagets. So if you like to try this at your home, too, here's my recipe –

11 June 2018

Family of Four at Playa Azul Baler

Our family travels officially started when Sophia was 15 months old. It was a breezy December afternoon when we went to Cagwait, Surigao del Sur. It was our water baby's first time to step on the sand! And it was so funny I can still picture out her face until now. Definitely one of my most memorable moments as a mom. That's when I realized vacationing with a baby is more fun. Fast forward to now that my firstborn's a certified beach babe, we are on a mission to be in all accessible Luzon beaches. Our trip to Hundred Islands in Pangasinan will always remain a favorite. I hope to never repeat the experience we had in a not so beautiful resort in Bataan. Potipot and Magalawa Islands in Zambales are beaches to beat. Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte, which I need to write about soon, wasn't as exciting as I hoped it'd be. 


Well, we still have a lot of beaches to go to but I got pregnant last year so we only managed to go to Dingalan, Aurora for a much-needed vitamin sea for Sophia. Now that I have two mermaids (the smaller one showing signs of water lovin' when she's at her tub), I am more excited to vacay with my now family of four! So kilig to write four, hihi.

31 May 2018

Life Lately: Hating Postpartum Hair Fall

As most of you know, I just gave birth. It's my big excuse to be this big. Well, I haven't checked my weight yet. I don't want to feel pressured to lose some extra fats, lol. Maybe when baby Sammy starts to eat solids, that's when I'll do something about my size. For now, I'm happy. What makes me really annoyed, though is postpartum hair fall!

Shameless no make-up selfie with my badass shades and that dreadful bald spot! 

My fallen hair is everywhere! I see it on my pillow, in the shirt I'm wearing, on the floor, on the bed and worst, in baby Sammy's neck. It's that ridiculous. But what can I do? It's part of having a baby! I feel so bad for looking at my poor head slowly going bald. The best thing I do now is to tie it up. Oh, how I wish I have these lace wigs from Divatress to use in the meantime! It can automatically make me look like I actually have time for myself. I mean, look at that!

29 May 2018

My Girls Are the Greatest Collaborators of This Blog

Have you already seen my girls in the video we made for BabyLove Diapers? I said we because all four of us are in this blogging thing together. Well, technically, this is my blog. But they fully support this online endeavor of mine that any partnership I get, my husband R and the girls are also involved. Say, I need my signature affixed in a pdf file but I only know editing MS word file (lol) so I'd send them over to my husband. After a few minutes, as if I can already afford a virtual assistant, it's done. But since this is a mommy blog, Sophia and Samantha are my real colleagues here. They are the greatest collaborators of this blog. In fact, one of our major projects was the BabyLove video. Ate Sophia may be its main artist but it wouldn't be as fun if Baby Samantha wasn't there. After all, she's the one who uses diapers.


I'll try to expound my girls' online exposure here and there but speaking of diapers, BabyLove Philippines is giving away Similac Gainschool sample and P500 voucher that you can use on your next transaction for any BabyLove product you purchase! Hurry mommies 'cause this is from May 27 to June 2 only. SHOP HERE! And like them on Facebook, too for promo updates and more details: Click, click!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BabyLove but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

25 May 2018

Shared the Importance of Tamang Nutrisyon at RiteMed’s Tamang Alaga Day: Para Kay Nanay

When I became a mom, my cooking skills were put to a test. There was a point when my firstborn, Sophia only ate chicken nuggets, adobo and anything fried, anything processed. So I knew I had to step up; making sure the dishes I cooked are delicious was no longer enough. It has to look happy and be healthy! I will never claim it was easy but let me just say it again in case I have mentioned it before in my previous posts that it's the parents' fault if kids don't eat healthily. Harsh but true. Sophia still doesn't eat ampalaya (just like I sometimes do) but I know that her early training to eat what's on the table is a story of success. And that is what I briefly shared with the mommies who were invited to attend RiteMED's Tamang Alaga Day: Para Kay Nanay last May 20th!

Photo courtesy of RiteMed 
My booth was called the Tamang Nutrisyon booth where I taught them to make Fruit Kebabs. It's an exciting and enticing way to serve fruits to our kids. They learned how to present the fruits nicely, making sure it's clean and still fresh. I also added helpful tips along the way as we went along with our short lecture.

23 May 2018

Top Three Essentials You Need to Spend On When You Have a Baby

I was jobless at the time I knew I was pregnant with our firstborn, Sophia, living under my mom's care as my husband and I weren't married yet then. It wasn't what I wanted for my baby but it was what I only had. Of course, having a baby is costly so we had to plan. Even if my heart was telling me to just stay at home and personally take care of her, our finances told me that I had to work. 10 years and a lot of career-shifts after, now with our second baby, Samantha, I finally decided to stay at home for as long as my girls need me. I love working but family first, always. I'm just so blessed that my blog gives me opportunities to still be at home and sometimes earn from it. And I can't thank God enough for that.


But let's be real, this isn't the case for all mothers. Others have to work two jobs or render overtime as often as they should because they have mouths to feed and a family to raise. So if you dream to have babies someday, here are some of the things that you need to financially prepare for:

04 May 2018

Motherhood in the Time of Hashtags

I don't know about other moms who are also into social media like me but I am one of those who find joy in using a specific hashtag for my girls. #Sophiabulous for the tweenager, who knows how to work it for the camera ever since, #Samantharrific for the baby, who usually gets a great response from our followers because she's really cute and #SophiaxSamantha for all the times my girls are together in one photo. The latter also has videos, you should check it out!

#samantharrific

Well, I do that to basically collate their photos for easier searching in the hopes of having them printed out in the future. I used to include a lot of unnecessary hashtags on my posts to get likes. It used to be helpful for the community but when I started getting spammy followers and comments, I stopped doing so. I now use ones that are legit and are also used by moms I follow; like #lifewithdaughters, #thebigkidyears, #kidsofinstagram and #babiesofinstagram. I get organic likes from real people. Not that it's rewarding or whatever but I just don't like using hashtags for my kids that do nothing for the post. Unless it's a funny one like those paragraph-worth of hashtags, just use the legit ones if I were you. 

Speaking of hashtags, have you read my post about why #mybabymyway should be the official hashtag of your mom life? You should if you haven't! It's such a controversial topic among moms, especially new ones. Well, I said what I wanted to say in that post so I'll just leave you with this cute video my girls and I made for BabyLove Premium Gold Pants, which by the way has 50% off on all their products for Shopee's 05.05 sale event! SHOP HERE. You can also follow them on Facebook: Click here!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by BabyLove but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

28 April 2018

Sophia's McDonald's Kiddie Crew Workshop Experience

Sophia just finished her first summer activity as a McDonald's Kiddie Crew member yesterday. At first, I thought it will just be an ordinary experience for her but turns out she really had a blast. Sulit our Php 695! She just didn't get her McDo t-shirt, bag, apron, cap, chef's hat and notebook but she got to eat there, too – for 5 days! I thought nga that McDo didn't earn anything from it but naku, the parents and guardians waiting for the kids can't help but buy talaga. Guilty mom here for having iced coffee vanilla and spaghetti and chicken and cheeseburger. LOL.


We enrolled her in the branch near us; it's the most calm store among all McDo stores in Marikina. Not that there's no foot traffic but it's situated beside Palmera Center, an exclusive subdivision in Marikina Heights. I expected the kids (and their guardians) to be just a peaceful bunch. But of course, there will always be rowdy boys and adults who do nothing about it. Ha! And please don't start with families who are always late. I mean, Sophia's schedule was 1 PM but there was one family who just kept on coming 30 minutes after... from Day 1 until the grand graduation. I actually didn't care but they have distracted the kids from what they were already doing for each day they came in late. Worse, they are so entitled to having their kids' photos taken. Sorry if I sound so rant-y, moms! I know this is like a regular thing in your kids' schools – annoying mommies, that is. But I'm not just used to it after two years in Sophia's school. Parents there are empathic and decent.

24 April 2018

5 Tips to Get Your Baby Sleep Through the Night

When Sophia was one month old, whenever I'd feel like crying because I don't know what to do with a wailing infant at 2 in the morning, my mama would be in our room to rescue her granddaughter from the crazy, clueless me. Nine years after, now with Samantha, I am practically on my own. Well, I love my baby bear so much but I have to be honest, it's exhausting! So much so that my backpain's agreeing as I write this. Sure, she doesn't wail like her big sister but gosh, putting her to sleep is such a big production number! Fine, let's be fair. It's only tough in the beginning. Once she gets in a deep sleep, she lets me sleep, too – like a true caring boss. Ha!


So how do I do it? Here are my simple but very doable Tips to Get Your Baby Sleep Through the Night that actually work! 

20 April 2018

Chicken Tinola

Having a child who's now in her big kid years surely has its many benefits. One of them is no longer needing to make her food cute just she'd eat it. We are now done with broccoli trees, rice mountain and scrambled egg sand. Well, the baby will soon eat solid food but not those I've mentioned yet so I'm now enjoying the freedom to serve real adult dishes. I'm glad my daughter eats most veggies that I serve her. I trained her to eat whatever's on the table, that's why. It wasn't a walk in the park; there were soooo many table discussions about how blessed she is to have me at home, how blessed she is to have warm meals and how blessed she is to eat more than three times a day. I think it got to her. She now eats well like a sensible adult. I mean, there are older people than me who decided to be picky eaters for the rest of their lives. 


Anyway, one thing that a lot of parents are wrongly doing when preparing food for their kids is serving them a kid-unfriendly dish. And they'd be mad all of a sudden 'cause they expect their kids to eat and like it! So cruel. Folks, food has to be pleasant to the eyes and the palate of a kid, okay. They will eventually learn to love what you love to eat now. Just train them gradually but not in a forceful way. I did that and guess what Sophia's first favorite real ulam that has veggies? TINOLA!

So if you're always lost in the kitchen but wants to sometimes impress the fam with a warm Filipino family dinner, here's my recipe to help you out –

17 April 2018

#MyBabyMyWay Should Be the Official Hashtag of Your Mom Life

My firstborn will be turning 10 on September. That also means, I will be celebrating my first decade as a mother. I claim no expertise on parenting yet but if there's one very important thing that I can impart with new and upcoming moms, it will be this – refuse to raise cookie cutter kids. While it is best for baked goodies, it isn't for children. There is no exact formula on how our little humans should be reared. Each family has its own way, each family is different. However, I strongly believe that our choices as parents reflect the way our kids will be in the future so I hope that we will be more careful in giving what is "best" for them.


How about I share my stories about some of the controversial parenting topics that actually caused a lot of mom battles, caused so many mama dramas? Are you ready to fight me – er, read it? Game. 


Pork Adobo with String Beans

Sophia and I were cleaning the house when she requested her ultimate favorite ulam for lunch. And since we still have veggies left from our Nueca Ecija trip, I cooked Pork Adobo with String Beans! You might have already read or seen a hundred ways to cook this super easy Pinoy dish but if you want a base recipe that you can always go back to for days when you can't think of anything to cook, here it is. 


06 April 2018

R's Birthday Lunch at Sambo Kojin Eastwood

If there's one thing that can make my husband R forgive me should I made him mad, it has to be my laing or some fresh,  raw and expensive fish. With my homecooking, I guess you already know that by now especially if you are one of my longtime readers but with fish – well, yes, he has deep appreciation for sashimi. It's safe to say that it is his ultimate favorite food! So for his birthday last February, we went to where he can eat a lot of it without spending a lot.

The sashimi monster was overjoyed, apparently.

I asked on my Facebook page and IG stories for suggestions and recommendations on where to go. There were a lot who suggested Sambo Kojin because of food variety and having the birthday boy eat for free. Well, after some research (aka checking its rating in Zomato and reading other people's experiences), we went to Sambo Kojin in Eastwood City a day before his actual birthday.

19 March 2018

So I Just Finished Watching the First Season of Santa Clarita Diet

Although my mom brain isn't working as it should be right now, I will write about this (whatever you call it – review, sequel excitement, Netflix addiction) before my own thoughts pass me by. Fine, I'm cradling my baby to sleep and won't put her down even if she seems to be snoring already. Yes, it's a lame excuse but blogging keeps me sane. This blog is where I can write my insinuations about life that I can't tell anyone but I wish I should. Like, my husband brings his phone with him to the bathroom. You hear me? Err, read me? Non-issue basically but he poops more than two times in a day and it's not cute anymore especially when he will suddenly stand up, declare he'll go number 2 when I'm about to tell him to do something for me (i.e., a house chore). LOL. Please tell me your husband does that, too so I won't feel so bad about myself. 


I love that my husband is a responsible provider and a loving father but that little I-will-poop-with-my-phone-several-times-in-a-day excuse just keeps me off sometimes. I let it slide all the time, though 'cause again, it's a non-issue! Humans are made to defecate and I completely understand that. Plus, arguing about poop doesn't sound like what two matured people should be doing. 

08 March 2018

Today Could've Been My First Year Back At Work

One year ago today was my first day back at working away from home. I remembered how excited I was! I wore a chambray longsleeved shirt from H&M (a gift from my husband) paired with black leggings and simple black flats from Zalora since office dresscode is basically casual. I had soooo many plans as the new Marketing Manager of an iconic clothing brand! Some were approved; like the website campaign, where my blogger friends happily helped me out with. But of course, a lot were also shelved and ignored due to its ambitious nature, which needed a big budget that our department unfortunately does not have. 

One the girls from my team doing her magic. 

Oh, how I miss working in a big company and please the bosses who are paying us. HAHA! Seriously, that's what working there made me feel like. If some of you are serving your customers or clients, I did that with our bosses – make them happy at the end of the day. I didn't mind that, tbh! It still fulfilled me, anyway. My goal was to do my job and earn money. Simple and real and brutal. 

But a month after, I got pregnant. 

22 February 2018

Thoughtful Thursdays / 01

Thoughtful Thursdays is created for moms who need her little space in the interwebs as keepsake of her dreams, worries and thoughts.

***

Today, my little boy grabbed the comb and asked if he can comb my hair. I said yes. "You’re pretty”, he said. Then he sat on my lap and told me, "I love you. You're the best mom ever." 


Though I know, he must have just heard this from a TV show or something, still, I abruptly burst into tears. 

09 February 2018

Dear Sophia, You Slept on the Couch Last Night

By the time you have the liberty to read this blog, you might not remember why you did. But I seriously hope you do. Because of all the evenings in the past 9 years of co-sleeping with you, tonight was the hardest. While it broke my heart to see you like our pet cat, curled up and soundly sleeping, I still knew it would do you good.


You see, I told you that if you don't wake up by yourself, you wouldn't go to school today. I was up almost all night going in and out of the room checking on you. Come 4 in the morning, I texted your bus driver not to pick you up. Then I heard a soft knock at the door. It was you – clad in your towel, all wet and shivering, freshly bathed. To be honest, that was like a pat in my back, a star stamp for doing an awesome job in disciplining you.

Your father and I were right all this time – tough love works best for you. 

03 February 2018

Real Delights – Breastmilk Boosters

Real Delights is a roundup of products or services that my family and I have personally tried and liked. We may buy it or could be given to us but all thoughts and opinions are our own.

***

When I had Sophia in 2008, I had no concrete plans on how I will raise her. I mean, I knew that I will instill the importance of being a good follower of Christ on her, that reading makes one smart and to eat whatever is served on the table but breastfeeding wasn't in my mommy priorities. Sure, at 24, I knew how it can be beneficial for her but since I only had Smart Parenting magazine and an old-school book about caring for babies, I didn't have enough knowledge to push me to do it. Also, sadly, it didn't help that the mothers around me (including my own mama) weren't encouraging when I showed signs of giving up. Kaya maswerte the moms who gave birth when the internet became more accessible to information.


Sophia was not totally kawawa naman. She was able to get the colostrum and we had 3 weeks of [painful] breastfeeding experience but that's just it. Perhaps, I was okay with not doing it at all when I saw that she was responding well to her very expensive formula milk. Read: Sugar in formula made her really botchog. I just thought of going back to work immediately so I can buy her loads of milk because wow, she was always hungry!

26 January 2018

One Word, One Year: 2018

I was not into this whole idea when this year started. For apparent reasons, the ordeal of having a clingy newborn baby makes me want to ignore the things I regularly do to nurture my soul. Also, I didn't feel like having just a word rule my year. "Who knows what the future holds" was kind of my mantra since the arrival of our new baby, Samantha a month ago. Savoring the moment, yes?


But when I saw my post about my 2017 one word, I realized how it truly helped me live the year. It served as my guide. Won't go into all the gory details, though. Let me just say that I now have more than 80% humility than I had in 2016. Getting wiser as the years go by, I suppose. So even if I didn't feel like doing this, my past one word post motivated me to do it again in the hopes that the word will reflect the life that I want to live.

18 January 2018

God Heard Sophia's Prayer

When our faith was tested with ectopic pregnancy in 2012, I caught myself strongly believing the possibility of not having a child ever again. You see, it's not a simple EP issue that can be treated by Methergine. Sure, I took that med but the doctor cut my right fallopian tube where a 6-week-old baby blood got stuck. Therefore, giving me only 50% chance of conceiving again. Many times I cried alone just thinking about that.


The desperation and depression got worse months after. I blame no one for what I felt but you know, the society we have is cruel to moms.

13 January 2018

The Wonderful Year That Was

Hey 2017, thank you. Can my family and I give you a big bear hug?

You see, we may have started on a different note - lost my regular homebased job the previous year that paid half of our bills - still, I'm glad you turned out and finished well. 


On January, not just making it as "eveyone's New Year's resolution" but truly doing it, I chose to have a more active lifestyle. I jogged in the morning and did HIITs as regular as I can. We also ate more nutritious food. The next month, I decided to go back to working away from home. I love my chill SAHM life but there are times that we just got to adult real hard. So on March 8th, I bravely headed the Marketing Department of an iconic clothing brand while mothering my gradeschool girl and managing our home. Our family was slowly adjusting to the changes, I was doing well at work but God, being the Alpha and the Omega, had other plans for us. I got pregnant on April.