Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why

" . . . the loss that I had experienced was no longer something I wanted to define me" 
Mama Kat 

It's been a while since I wrote something for myself, I wrote stuff but mostly for work. Nothing that said anything about who I was or what was going on with me and the people that mattered. I didn't write anything that I felt anything about, because for a moment there I lost my "why". 

I did a lot of things the past few months, I was busy with trying to keep busy. I was busy moving furniture around, took down the walls of  my dads room to make a bigger living room. I cooked and cooked, even took photos so I could post the recipes on this blog. Had a few friends over for taste tests and cooked some more. I put the Christmas tree up as early as November because I wanted to drive the bad away. I kept doing small projects around the house, would have even repainted the walls if hubby did not stop me. I was busy keeping busy, because I lost my "why" and there was nothing to write about. 

When I was younger, I wrote sad stuff because as Mama Kat put it, I wanted to get the sad out. But I never shared it to anyone. Mostly just a few people that knew what my sadness meant. When I got a little older, I began to see how great life is and I wanted to write about that. I wanted to write so my daughter would see that she was loved, I wanted her to read about how much her parents loved each other and how there are so many things to be thankful for. 

I stopped because for a while I forgot that. I lost my "why".

I have never been a big planner, sure hubby and I had dreams but before we got too far,we would always go back to earth. Mostly because we needed to think about how this dream or that dream would affect my parents. Being the youngest, I was responsible for them and had to bring them along. Why?  Because, it was what I was always told. During each of their funerals, people would often say, "oh, you are so strong you can still do this and that". Well, what else would I be?  I broke my grief into a series of tasks, things that needed to be done. Why? Because, it was what I had to do. 


When they died, I told hubby that I lost my "why", not because I was grief stricken but because now I had to plan and work on MY dreams, my family's dreams, our own dreams that did not include them. 


I got stuck for a moment there, so I stopped writing, but as Mama Kat so eloquently put it "the loss that I had experienced was no longer something I wanted to define me". 

I don't know all my new dreams yet and yes . . . at 31 I have to work on my new "whys". But isn't that the fun part? 



Mama's Losin' It;

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Random Thought: The Road


Sometimes the most peaceful place is between the soles of your feet, the hard surface of the road and the trees that surround you. You are not judged, you are not asked questions and the tree's couldn't care less about what you look like. Just you, your shoes and a whole lot of running.


Going out for a morning jog ;-)
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Monday, November 8, 2010

In a Nutshell

A couple of weeks ago I went on an unexpected trip to the Pili Nut Capital of the World, Bicol  to visit my father's home town in Balogo, Albay. It was not just a vist but an Eat, Pray, Love adventure not to mention gaining  a couple of pounds around my hips!

What's a Pili Nut? It's actually a fruit bearing tree, the fruit itself  can not be eaten raw, it's a little too fibrous and somewhat bitter. The locals often enjoy it blanched, the flesh becomes sort of pulpy and they dip in fish sauce. I remember my dad telling me about it, when he was a kid, they'd boil some pili fruit , peel it off and shape the pulp into balls, then they wrap it in banana leaves with preserved fish paste (ginamos). He would bring it to school and that would be his lunch. The nuts actually taste like a cross between almonds and pine nuts. 

The pili nut is actually what's inside the fruit, it's covered in a really hard shell and there's no machine or nutcracker that can crack it open. You need an "itak" or a bolo knife, a really BIG one, see me below doing it the WRONG way!!! The result was minced nuts, instead on one beautiful whole nut ;-(


Here's a step by step look at how the Pili Nut Brittle is made before it's packed, shipped and sold at souvenir shops.

Step 1. Pick the fruits from the tree, one fruit is equal to one nut, so just imagine how much nut cracking it takes to fill one bottle.

Arriane, my cousins kiddo guarding the fruits with her pretty doe eyes.
Step 2. The fruits are blanched in a tub of boiling water and all the flesh is peeled off, leaving the nuts in their shell. Blanching is done instead of boiling, if it's overcooked the nuts tend to stick to the shell. The nuts are then dried for a couple of days, they say it makes it taste better. 


Step 3.  After a couple of days, it's nut cracking time.There's a technique on how to do it, not too hard, not too gentle, and here's how my expert cousin did it and you can see the shell separating whole from the nut. There's some special wrist action going on that would probably take me a couple of tons of pili before I master. 



Step 4. The nuts are blanched with boiling water again to take off the skin, then its separated in half. Halfway through the process, I get to munch on a handful or two of fresh nuts, not helpful at all!



 Step 5. It's cooking time, sugar is caramelized in a "kawali" or native wok before adding the pili nuts.


Once the nuts are added, my cousin chef constantly stirs them to prevent the nuts from forming into one big clump.

The sugar then starts to dry up and stick to the nuts, he leaves it on the fire for a couple of more minutes untli the sugar melts again turns into a glossy caramel color.   

                                     

See my cousin Reggie, expertly whipping up a batch of yummy goodness and me pretending to know how!!!


My pretty niece Charm and the finished Pili Nut Brittle, both equally awesome!!!



Seeing how the pili nut is harvested from the tree, cracked and cooked gives me a new  sense of appreciation for this delicacy, and the next time I see a pili nut vendor I will never ever "tawad" or haggle again. . . well, maybe just a little!


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Monday, November 1, 2010

Little Gothic Pumpkin Girl

Here in the Philippines, doing Trick or Treat is not really a well known concept. Mostly during Halloween, families camp in cemeteries to visit their loved ones graves. This is also a good time for family reunions and  the younger crowd often hit the clubs and pull all nighters, getting wasted on Bloody Marys.

Having a toddler run amok in a cemetery is a certified mommy-nightmare. Good thing we have malls for that now. Yesterday we hit two spots with our Little Gothic Pumpkin Girl. First stop was at SM North Sky Garden and played around the Pumpkin Patch and caught a few glimpses of the Fashionista Pooch dog fashion show. 
The Goofy Pumpkin vs Little Gothic Pumpkin Girl
"Daddy, what you doin'?"
"Errr? Where'd my head go?"
Milk Break
They also had Trick or Treat, but it was only for certain hours and since we got there in the afternoon, there was no more candy. I ended up buying stuff for Sofie, every time she was told that there was no candy her dad and I would put stuff in her loot bag, she got a bag of popcorn, a pink belt, a DVD with about a hundred and fifty songs and EggNog ( it was her "baon" from home). SM North had great events planned out like Meet and Greet with Hansel and Gretel and Dracula, but there was just way too many people so we trooped to the next mall. 

We were able to get more candy in Trinoma, they had Trick or Treat the whole day. They also had a Cirque Festival with aerial dancers and a mentalist. There was of course a lot of people so it was kind of hard to go to the events. However, I think my Little Gothic Pumpkin Girl was more into shopping than anything else, so we just did some early Christmas Shopping. I swear if ever there was a shopping gene, she's got it. She'd look at shoes with me and try them on, she even picked up a pair of pink sling back heels and said "this one!!!" Tsk tsk tsk!
The Rumored Shopping Gene


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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday







**Copyright Note: I do not own these photos or claim to own these photos. These are just some that i have compiled into a collage and edited.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

What's Cooking: Cheesy Chicken Roulade


This recipe was inspired by loads of cheese my husband brought back from Sweden. I asked him to bring me a cheese sampler, but he brought a LOT! Enough to feed Mickey and everyone in his Clubhouse!
For this recipe I used Mesost (my new favorite), its a sweet cheese with a very distinct caramel flavor and color, too yummy! Another cheese I used is Prästost, a really strong vodka flavored cheese,  apparently it's best served on its own, but it worked well with the sweet flavor of Mesost so I didn't really have to do much with the chicken. 
Of course, you don't have to scour the Metro looking for these two, I use kesong puti (goat cheese) and Kraft  Eden cheese all the time. What ever kid of nice melting cheese you got in your fridge would do. As long as it's cheese that you and your family would eat that's fine. 

Okay so enough of the yapping and let's get cooking!

WhatYahNeed:

4 pcs flattened chiken breast fillet
4 pcs canadian bacon (any bacon would do,really it's BACON!)
4 sticks Mesost cheese ( best way i can describe it is the size of your index finger)
4 sticks Prästost cheese (again, the index finger is your guide)
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil 
pepper to taste

butcher's twine or toothpicks
bamboo or stainless steamer
pot of boiling water
cling wrap

WhatYahGottaDo:

1. Cover the chicken with cling wrap and flatten with a meat mallet or back of a cleaver. Be gentle enough not to tear them to pieces.
2. Assemble your roulade, place the chicken fillet on top of the bacon, they should be around the same size, add more bacon if needed. It should look like the chicken is wrapped in bacon.
3.Sprinkle ground pepper on the chicken, place one stick each of the Mesost and  Prästost cheese(you can go crazy and add more if you want), and roll them into a log. Brush with a little olive oil.
4. Secure the log with butcher's twine or in my case toothpicks (clean,unused ones)!
5. If you have a steamer, you are lucky! If not, you can put a bamboo steamer on top of a pot of boiling water or use a rice cooker with steamer. Place the chicken rolls of a heat-resistant dish and steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Once the chicken is done, slice them and drizzle with maple syrup!


* Best served with a salad and basically ANYTHING! It a yummy yummy dish!




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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Writer's Workshop: 24 Hours

Mama Kat is asking what I would do twenty four hours if I could stop time. That is just teasing, isn't it. I have a toddler and I'm sure any mother would know how precious 24 hours at your own disposal could be. I am sure that at one point, when your kid is running across the floor leaving poop marks on the floor,  you would wish you could stop time so you could clean it before she gets to the sofa!

If  I could stop time for 24 hours, and I'm assured that my family is clean, well-fed and safe from harm, I would check in a nice hotel, ALONE, order tea and cookies from room service, prop some pillows, lie on the bed and watch TV. The only thing that would be moving is my thumb, so I can channel surf and mobile tweet. Occasionally, I may lift an arm, to pick up the cookies and drink tea. When I get tired of that (LOL) I'd take a really nice warm lavender scented bath, ALONE! People don't know but when you become a mom, your really expected to not have "alone" bathroom time anymore. When I'm all wrinkly, I'd crawl back into bed and continue channel surfing. Just imagining it is enough to calm me, sigh!

Twenty four hours to stop time and do what ever? Really sounds delicious, twenty.four.unadulterated.hours! That's a treat! 


Chime in!

Mama's Losin' It;

My Mermaid

Kiddie Pool - Php600.00
Air Pump - Php150.00
Mcdonald's Delivery - Php300.00
Sucky Camera Phone - Php12,000.00
Setting up the Kiddie Pool - Free mommy labor
Smile on my mermaids face - PRICELESS!





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Saturday, October 2, 2010

What's Cooking: YUMMY Red Wine Adobong Tadyang


Before we start today's cooking adventure I have to say that this is not my recipe, it belongs to Chef Ed Bugia of Pino Resto Bar. This recipe is featured in Yummy Magazine's (September 2010) Adobo series that I wrote about yesterday. 

As you know I'm not an absolutist when it comes to cooking so I tweaked it a little, instead of simmering the meat in the sauce I boiled it in broth, like soup, I made half into the red wine adobo and the other half beef nilaga for my kiddo.Okay, enough yapping from me, here's how to make this good eats!


WhatYahNeed: 

6-7 cloves minced garlic  (I used 1 head of garlic)
1 1/2 tbsp cooking oil
1/2 kilo beef short ribs ( I boiled it in water until tender,drained the meat and used the broth for soup)
1 cup red wine (choose one that's good enough to drink)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar (I used cane vinegar for a milder tang)
1/2 cup beef broth
3 pieces star anise
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp brown sugar
black pepper to taste
toasted sesame seeds

WhatYahGottaDo:

1. Boil beef in stock until fork tender. Drain and set aside the stock for making soup.
2.Heat the oil in a pan and saute the garlic. Put the short ribs until well seared, or browned.
3. Pour in wine, broth,soy sauce, vinegar and sugar. Simmer in medium heat until sauce thickens and do not stir. Stirring makes the vinegar taste raw and overpowering.
4. Once the adobo is a bit dry add the spices and top with toasted sesame seeds.

This dish is best served with rice or French baguette.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Crazy over Yummy!



Nothing beats good home cooked food, smells wafting from the kitchen is enough to make even the darkest day a little happier. I find cooking therapeutic and whenever I'm down, my husband says I cook so much food, enough to sell in a carinderia (mini resto). He ends up lugging them in food containers to share with  people in his office. Like what I've been doing the past few days! Haha! 

For inspiration and comfort I go to my Yummy Magazine! You can say that I've gone crazy over Yummy, I'm the girl who keeps her food mags and cookbooks in a locked book case but leaves the encyclopedia in an open shelf! I make sure to get my copy as soon as it's out and hubby knows betther than to interrupt me when I'm having my "YumMe" time.

I'm not a recipe follower, I like experimenting and reinventing recipe's with what I have in my pantry. What I love about Yummy are the flexible recipes and the restaurant reviews. They also have a recipe guide for every day of the week and a grocery feature to let you know what's out there. I'm a Shopwise fanatic, I can't seem to do my grocery shopping effectively anywhere else, but the stores featured are just so intriguing and bursting with good food that I just might break my loyalty to my neighborhood store.

This month's issue is all about Filipino dishes and I love the adobo series. I have to confess that of all the things I can cook well, adobo and rice are the hardest and I'm a Filipina! This month's issue will definitely be revered after I get the redwine adobong tadyang(beef ribs adobo) perfected. I'll be making it for lunch and we'll see how it goes.
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Daddy

video


You passed away while we were doing our daily hospital ritual, I was late coming yesterday but at least we were able to shave your stubbles before you met with mom. I hope you are no longer scared and hurting. 
I'll keep watch on everyone here on my side, you and mommy watch over us on yours, deal?  


**Music by Sony Music Entertainment /Artist
:Crystal Shawanda/You Can Let Go;

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Freedom

Freedom is being complete, feeling safe, having no fears or worries, even just for a while. Being able to breathe in and out without having to think, when will I have to hold my breath and endure something again. I could think of a few times when I felt free. . .

Freedom was when I was 4, sitting on the school yard tire swing under a santol tree , I could swing for hours staring at the sky and singing Cyndi Lauper songs.

Freedom was when I was 6, my dad taught me how to waltz and tango, he says those are the two most important dances for my debut and my wedding. 

Freedom was when I was eight, we lived in Bulacan and I was trying to learn how to ride a bike. My dad tried to teach me without training wheels and I ended up on the tar. I switched to a bike with a side car, my dog Jimbo helped me balance and we would zoom around the quiet neighborhood, past the house of the lady who makes coco jam and the old couples'  who makes rice cakes with cheese. I drove at lightning speed past the crazy old witch's house, of course.

Freedom was when I was ten, still learning how to ride a bike, catching dragonflies,climbing trees and learning how to shoot a makeshift arrow with my niece. No, she wasn't the target!  

Freedom is when I was fourteen, sitting at McDonalds for hours and hours eating sundaes and fries talking with my friends about boys, as if it was more important than gravity. Forgetting the fact that I can't ride a bike without a side car or training wheels.

Freedom was when I was 17, I was stupid enough to elope with a REALLY stupid boy, I felt more relieved than hurt that he did not show up! Thank God, there was no way I was gonna give up my V to him, eeww!!! I came back home, my parents , none the wiser just thought I came from the mall.

Freedom was when I was nineteen, I moved out against my parents and brother's will, to go to college 355 miles away from home.

Freedom was when I was 20, I met a REALLY smart boy, who always knew when to show up, when to back down, when  to make me laugh, when to tell me I'm crazy, when to hold my hand and when to ask me to marry him. 

Freedom was when I was in my 20's with the REALLY smart boy, walking in the rain, holding hands, and feeling warm and cozy inside. (mush, mush, ick!)

Freedom was when I was 27, I held my baby in my arms and I knew I could do anything. Everything was right with the world.

Freedom is what I wished for my mom before she died last year, and what I wish for my father, the man who taught me how to love, as he slowly and painfully slips away. Grace is another thing I'm praying for, as he goes through kidney failure and memory loss. 

Freedom was when Sofie patted my face yesterday, telling me not to worry and that it's okay.

I am still here, I am still able and I can still remember the dances my father taught me. Even if he doesn't, I can still remember for both of us.




Mama's Losin' It



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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Saturday Six

BWS tips button

1.) List 3 celebrities that you would throat punch if given a free pass to throat punch them, and tell us why you picked them.

  • Katrina Halili - Sorry Katrina fans, but really what was she thinking?!
  • Paris Hilton - she really needs a good smack down to get some sense in to her.
  • Barney - I know kids love him, but a purple dino with arms sticking out of his hips?! Really! I don't know if I'd punch him or run the other way, fast!

2.) Would you spend the night *wink wink* *nudge nudge* with someone other than your significant other for a million dollars?
Hell NO! . . . is it Patrick Dempsey? If it is I might have a hard time declining. . . his McDreamy, c'mon!

3.) Is it just me, or is Kat Von D one of the stupidest people on earth for dating Jesse James AFTER the world found out that he's a man whore and also one of the stupidest people on earth?

Haha! And she's a cross between Sandra Bullock and his other ex too!

4.) Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?

True love all the way!

5.) Do you consider yourself 'old fashioned' or more 'modern'?

It depends, when it comes to fashion,technology and education I'd say "modern". Now if were talking about my daughter, bring out the Maria Clara outfit! I'd be old school all the way!

6.) What's your favorite thing about the opposite sex?

err! nothing at this point! hahahaha!

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dating Hubby: Moon Garden

One of the things we promised each other when we got married was, we will always make time dating each other no matter what. We're not able to do it as often as we want, but we try to make most of our little escapades. One of our favorite places is Moon Garden in Tagaytay.

It's a Balinese inspired B&B, with about eleven or so individual casitas or stone cottages right smack in the middle of a pineapple plantation. Nestled between soft rolling hills, its about ten minutes off the Taal Volcano ridge. The place gives you a feeling of being Alice in Wonderland, the food is so fresh, the staff friendly, you wouldn't want the weekend to end.


Nothing says good morning like a perfectly brewed Barako Coffee, homemade corned beef and paksiw na conchinillo (roasted suckling pig stewed in native vinegar).


Another thing we loved about the place is the bathroom, it has a sunroof over the shower and NO DOORS! Yup! Only a divider where they have the sink and the other side of that is the king sized bed.


The casita is a true blue honeymoon suite with a king sized bed and a really sturdy mahogany table. They don't have air conditioning but in Tagaytay, you don't really need it, there's a floor to ceiling window on one side of the wall letting fresh mountain breeze flow in. 


They have a lot of nooks and crannies hidden all over the garden, all you need is a good book and your all set. Art lovers will love the floral murals scattered all over the place.


I guess the best thing about the whole place is that they have male models walking around EVERYWHERE!
I swear, this particular one was eye-stalking me! I was like "You know I'm taken, right?"




*Check out their site http://moongardentag.multiply.com/, Peter, the owner is very accommodating. 





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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mommy, wheshu heamdband?

Being a work at home mom, as I mentioned before, has its perks. However, it also has its  difficulties. I tried to have a separate place where I can work, but having a toddler stuck to my hip, there was no way.

Sofie is currently addicted to headbands. Yeah, a regular Blair Waldorf wannabe! She picked out this bunny/piglet ear headband last week and hasn’t stopped wearing it since. Well that is, until the other day, she began insisting I wear it, the.entire.day! 
Whenever I took it off, she’ll pounce on me and ask “Wheshu heamdband?” 
I was like, “Don’t know, it’s just there.” 
She’s like “Wheshu heamdband?” 
I was like "Mommy's working"
And she was all “Mommy, wheshu heamdband?!?” 

Then she makes a mess of everything, just to unearth the pink thing from where ever and put it back on my head.

It’s really quite hard to reprimand a child and be believable, when you look like this.

I Skyped my husband that I was loosing patience with Sofie. I needed someone to calm me, but he was in a meeting and did not reply. So I did what anyone in my position would do. 

I went all Hansel and Gretel  and  I.ATE.HER! 


Kidding! No, really I wanted to but she was too squirmy and a bit salty!

So we just played with "Mommy Lahtop". . . .

She won, I lost. . . .  

I had bunny/piggy ears and I lost!

But who wouldn't want to loose to her anyway!


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Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Perfect Summer

Summer, more than surf and sand represents family bonding and ultimate rest. Some of the best summers we've had was when Sofie was born.

This was the first time we took her to the beach in Cebu, she was barely a year old and we were pretty sure she enjoyed herself, judging from how sore hubby and I felt all over. Hahaha!


This is one of my favorite mommy and baby moments.



The second time we went to Cebu, she was about to turn two. We stayed in a hotel where she took over the lobby swing, she would've slept in it too if we didn't bribe her.



We  were running after her the whole time, but we still played it cool. We still got it!


But still, one of the best summer outings we had was when it was just the two of us, alone for a weekend in this Balinese inspired B&B. 


Too bad summer is over :-(







Mama's Losin' It;

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Random Thought: Pieces of you

Sometimes you become everything to everyone and although it is not a bad thing most of the time, there are days when you look at yourself and see that pieces of you have been taken away. Do you welcome the new you? The one you do not recognize? The one who seems to be a less powerful version of your self? Or do you take a closer look and see that this is what being an adult is about?;

Friday, August 20, 2010

Weird Mommy = Weirder Kid

I was thinking of the weirdest and oddest things I did as a child, I couldn't come up with a lot. Most of the stuff I did, I only remember because my kid is doing them now. I don't know how that happened, but she does, and sometimes even better. 

When I was a kid, I walked around the house on my knees just so I could be like Thumbelina. Sofie did that for a time, but she was on her knees while doing everything, playing, eating, EVERYTHING! 

I remember, I also had this thing where I wanted all things to be symmetrical, like if I ate a sandwich, I would nibble on all four edges first until it gets smaller and smaller,keeping it square until the last bite. Whenever I ate rice, I shaped it on my plate with my spoon, usually a rectangle, before I took a bite. Of course, I talked to myself while I did this, usually there would be a story or two involved. Give me a break! I was like, 3 or 4 when I did this. All my siblings were off to school and I had no one to play with! 

Now, Sofie is taking it to the next level! Everything needs to be in order, except when she's the one doing the mess. Her socks needs to be the same length, she will not eat a broken cracker, she won't bite the same piece sausage or sandwich twice, she actually does this with almost anything she eats. I learned to cut up her food, in same sizes so she would eat everything. Oh, she doesn't just talk to herself, she sings!

One useful thing she's obsessed about, is the locking the doors in the cab. She could'nt sit still unless all the car doors are locked. I really don't know where she got that! Hubby says she takes after me, hmmmmm, if that's true and she's able to do things better, I have to get ready when she gets to high-school!



Written for 
Mama's Losin' It
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Princess and the Kool Fever Patch

For the first time since she was born, Sofie had a flu. It came with cough and colds in the likes I have never seen her have, ever since she was a baby. She has always been a healthy baby and we are grateful for that. Last week though, after grocery shopping with hubby she ran a fever of  38.5 and later on a 39 which never happened before, even when she got her vaccines. Its funny how I was so in control when my brother and mom died, but I was so out of my element when my kid had a fever.  Hubby was very helpful, he left work for a day to spend time with us, in case things got worse. Which thankfully did not.

Getting her to drink her M-E-D-I-C-I-N-E was a battle. When we used a spoon she sent it flying across the room in seconds. We tried to use a dropper and syringe, forcing it down and blowing on her face to make her swallow. We even tried the surprise attack, my husband would distract her with a song, I'll come up from behind like a mugger. Not.a.very.good.scene! We finally resorted to using a bad college party trick - we spiked her drinks. Milk, fruit juice, water, you name it! It made us feel like hooligans, but it was the only way of making her drink her meds.

Oh and the sign that she is a true princess, she only puts on a Kool Fever patch if you tell her it's a crown.





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