Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yakapin: Batang Hilagang Mindanao (YBHM)

This is a repost from YBHM Facebook Page, written by Ms. Cathy Babao-Guballa.

“Put yourself in her shoes.
“You fall asleep snug in the arms of your mother; the rain pounds on the room but you are not afraid because beside you is your mother, and you know you will be safe. All of a sudden, the waters enter your home and you are swept away from all that is familiar, and everyone you love.
“You wake up dazed, not knowing what has happened to your family. You walk around aimlessly, only to find that your home and all that you love are gone….
“Toys are effective tools in helping children heal from the trauma of loss.Stuffed toys are effective comfort givers in times of stress and trauma. To children,  stuffed animals are more than toys; they become the vehicles by which they tell their stories and release their pain. Stuffed toys or teddy bears provide some comfort in a scary world.
“Please send clean, friendly-looking toys in good condition (no pigs please, owing to cultural and religious sensitivities) in any size, but ideally, big enough for a child to hug.”

Please visit any of our 12 drop-off centers in Metro Manila:
Alabang—12 Brentwood St., Hillsborough, West Service Road, Alabang. Look for Magding or JC.
Greenhills—33 Madison St., North Greenhills, San Juan. Look for Ann or Shirley.
Asuncion Berenguer Inc. 3/F Homestudio Bldg., 63 Connecticut (same building as Homestudio, Torch resto and Bose), Northeast Greenhills. Please leave with guard and indicate “Bears for YBHM.”
Makati—The Citadel Inn, 5007 P. Burgos St., Makati City c/o Andre Urbina; 15 Garcia Villa St., San Lorenzo Village, Makati. Please look for Marge.
Marikina—1 Ferdinand Marcos St., Industrial Valley Subd., Marikina. Leave with guard, please indicate “Bears for YBHM.”
Parañaque—Johnson and Johnson, Edison Road, Parañaque City (Edison is street by Zuellig). Leave with guard, indicate “Bears for YBHM.”
14 C. Diamond St., Greenheights Village, Sucat, Parañaque. Look for Yaya Marlene.
Quezon City—A-2 Doña Sotera, Pilarville Subd., QC c/o Dennis Mariano; 41 Milkyway Drive, Blue Ridge B, QC. Look for Lily.
C1C3 Narra Heights Condominium, 28 Mariposa St., QC (near Camp Crame)
Eastwood City—Unit 5c Eastwood Lafayette Tower 3, Eastwood Ave.,  Libis,  QC (in front of Watsons, near McDonalds).  Leave with guard indicate “Bears for YBHM.”

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sofia's Holiday Plans

As a new mom, I am always worried that I am not doing a good job. In fact there are times when I think, I may be screwing my kid up. Then there are those magic moments where all my worries fade away and I grow up a little too. 

We have been monitoring the situation in Northern Mindanao afftected by Typhoon Sendong for a few days now since we have friends and family in the area. Whenever we watch the news we try to not let Sofie see the more sensitive images. Last Monday, while watching TV Patrol, she often asked me what happened to the people in TV and why are their houses wet and dirty. I had to explain to her that their houses were washed away because of the storm and they have nothing left. 

Here's how our conversation went:

Mommy: "They don't have houses, clothes and food". 
Sofie: "They can go to Ministop
Mommy: "They don't have Ministop, too because of the storm"

Suddenly she got up and locked the front door, "I don't like my house to be wet!" she finally said. At this moment I was thinking, oh darn it, I'm raising a snob!

Later that night, after her bedtime story, she kept turning around in bed and kept opening her eyes. I told her that it was late and that she needed to get some sleep. After a few more minutes of counting sheep, she suddenly said, "Mommy, the kids houses are wet, their chairs are wet, it's lying down not standing up, even their Ministop is wet". She was really looking stressed at this point so I asked her what she wanted to do "We go to fix their house so the kids houses are not wet". 

And there it was the magic moment. 

My daughter reminded me that instead of stressing on our Christmas plans, gifts and what nots there are more important things. 

The following day we looked for ways to help and instead of physically going there to "fix" houses, she agreed to give away her some toys, old clothes and early Christmas gift from Tita E. 

If you want to help out Typhoon Sendong Victims please see the useful links below;

For Residents in Cebu City

U.P. CEBU ALPHA PHI OMEGA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION is conducting a RELIEF OPERATIONS DRIVE. We will be accepting relief donations, in any forms ( clothing, food supplies ) It will be collated and sent to ILIGAN & CDO on 23rd of December 2011.
You may drop your donations at U.P. Cebu Guardhouse.

Send Stuffed Toys to Children and Toiletries for Women (Drop off  points all over Manila and QC)

Red Cross

LBC Foundation - Accepts all kinds of goods to be shipped for free. 

PAL - Accepts all kinds of goods to be shipped for free. 

Let's all make magic moments!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What's Cooking: Like We've Never Scrambled Before

I am and egg and mayo person but for the life of me I have never put them together until yesterday when I tried Lady's Choice Real Mayonnaise Scrambulicious recipe. I thought it would be a bit too tangy but when I tasted it, oh man, was I wrong! It was like I have never tasted scrambled eggs in my life. And it only took 3 minutes to make! My hubby, who's palate is almost always opposed to anything new, loved it . . . we'll more like devoured it really. My kid who only eats egg whites ate half of everything. I had to cook a second batch for our sit down breakfast. We sort of finished the whole plate before it hit the table.

We are on our second mayo-lovin' day today and this time it was hubby who cooked the eggs. It's a Herculean feat for him too, seeing as he can't cook eggs to save his life. (Luv u!) Now I think I'm going to cook some for dinner too, it should be great with minute steak;-)

Here's the Scrambulicious recipe:

4 pcs eggs
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground pepper
4 tbsp Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise
2 tbsp cooking oil
chopped cilantro for garnish
  1. Beat the egg, salt and pepper until frothy.
  2. In another bowl, put Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise. Slowly pour the beaten eggs while whisking the mixture together until well blended.
  3. Heat oil in the frying pan. Add the beaten eggs. Keep on stirring, do not overcook.
  4. To add a bit of zing sprinkle some chopped cilantro when you plate the dish. 
If you think I'm exaggerating then you have to grab your self some Lady's Choice Real Mayonnaise and try it yourself.


What's Cooking: Salmon Belly and Dill Canapes

Last weekend we had some friends over and had ourselves a little party. I have been obsessed by canapes, tapas and other finger food over the past few days. First, you can make them with almost anything you got lying on your pantry. Second, they're quick and easy to make, plus when served in a nice tray or hors d'oeuvre tower, you'll look like a culinary goddess!

So here's a little something I came up with. It's a twist on the classic Smoked Salmon and Dill Bites but it tastes great and is very affordable.  

Salmon Belly and Dill Canapes


1/4 kilo Salmon Belly (cost about Php65 in Shopwise)
Juice from half a lemon or about 5 pcs calamansi
10 pcs Capers
1 tbsp pickled relish
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp spanish paprika
1 packet (80ml)  Lady's Choice Tuna Spread with Real Tuna
2 tbsp  Lady’s Choice Real Mayonnaise
2-3 sprigs of dill

  1. Squeeze lemon juice on salmon belly and steam for about 5-7 minutes or until cooked. 
  2. Once salmon belly is cooked and cooled, flake the meat, discard skins and bones. Set aside in a bowl. 
  3. In another bowl,  mix capers, pickle relish, salt, pepper, paprika, half of the dill leaves,  Lady's Choice Tuna Spread with Real Tuna and  Real Mayonnaise.  Fold in flaked salmon meat.
  4. Spread about a teaspoon full on sliced toasted baguettes and top with dill for garnish. 

More Tapas &  Hors d'oeuvre recipes to come!


Monday, December 19, 2011

DQ Christmas Cakes Giveaway

My daughter loves Dairy Queen, she utterly loves it and it has become one of her favorite stops after taking our frequent afternoon walks. You can just imagine our excitement when we got DQ Gift Certificates through, we get to try out their DQ Blizzard Cakes for Christmas and then some, yey!

The timing was perfect since we also had our yearly Christmas Party with our friends. What I really wanted to try out was the Blackforest Cake but it wasn't ready yet when hubby went to the store so he got the Chocolate Extreme cake instead. I super loved it, the chocolate ice cream combined with a crunchy almost cookie like center was perfect for my sweet tooth.  I was not able to take pictures while eating my DQ ice cream because well, let's just say I needed to concentrate. So here are the before and after photos.

Check out Dairy Queens Christmas Cakes Giveaway for Moms. It's the perfect ending to your Noche Buena Feast. As for me, I'm still eyeing that Black Forest cake.


On Preschool & Epic Fails

On Preschool

Being a first time mom means being constantly shocked by things your child does or things that you end up doing because of the said little munchkin. Sofie has been going to pre-school for a couple of months now and we can see how happy she is and even for a short period of time we can see that she is becoming a well rounded, compassionate child. Now being new to the preschool routine, hubby and I of course try to make sure that she has everything she needs. Every morning we wake up early, hubby prepares her baon while I get her ready for school. I go with her to school and stay until she gets out and we diligently check the teacher's reminders every time it is sent. I like how we as a family are all excited to be doing this preschool thing then I hear stuff like "Is she your only child?" " Ahhh that's why." Does it mean that the excitement and attention wanes or gets divided the more children you have? Well, I sure hope not, after all love doesn't get divided it just multiplies. 

On Epic Fails

I've always been a DIY kinda girl and I guess now I'm a DIY kinda mom. Since Sofie entered school during the middle of the year, she is basically the only one running around wearing regular clothes instead of her school uniform. We tried to order one but unfortunately they don't have it in her size anymore and would need to have one done. I found the cost of 1 set to be a bit pricey and thought well since I already made her a gown for Halloween, a school uniform would be easy. After all it was just a blouse and jumper set, easy enough, right? NOT!!!  I was able to do the jumper quite successfully since it was pretty much shaped like a pillow case with straps. The blouse on the other hand. . . EPIC FAIL! Who knew the bane of my existence would lie in a baby collar. So I ended up making three jumpers and buying the upper uniform in the mall then I just attached the patch. 

How NOT to Make a Uniform
Over all I still managed to save a few hundred pesos but the stress the baby collar gave me was immense! Nevertheless, the first time we put on Sofie's uniform she was so happy looking so grown up. Despite my epic fail her smile was simply priceless. 


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sofie's Angry Bird Birthday Part 2

After the cake ordeal, next stop was the party. We did't really plan a big one, we just ordered spaghetti from McDonald's, blew some balloons and along with the cake, brought the classic hot dog and marshmallow combo to school. We didn't want a big production that will end up disrupting the kids routine, so we just inserted our mini-party during the snack and story time. Since it's our first time to have a school party, the teachers were very helpful and we all enjoyed the party. The Angry Birds cake was a sure hit, as apparently even kids as young as three know who they are. They each got a slice of cake and an angry bird, Sofie got the piglet ;-)

My husband and I prepared a "little entertainment", instead of having clowns or mascots that only end up making the kids cry. We got some floating cards and Wacky Worms and try to do our own "magic". We practiced for about a week . . . okay. . . he practiced, while I watched, as he made Wacky jump and spin and dance. A classic case of stage fright struck us right before we went to the  kids room, even though our audience is just a bunch of pre-schoolers. Luckily, it's easy to make them happy and everyone liked their new friends "Purpley" and "Pinky". 

After the school party we had a little party of our own, I asked Sofie if she liked her party and she said Mommy and Daddy "fixed" it and that she is so happy. At the end of the day that's all we really wanted. 


Sofie's Oh So Angry Bird Birthday Part 1

When I was a little girl, having a pink birthday cake with a ceramic princess sitting on top of it was a dream come true. There were a few choices back then and you either got a chocolate, mocha or vanilla cake with flowers on toothpicks stuck all over the cake and they either came from Merced, Fortune, Goldilocks or your local bakeshop. Now a days, they've got all kinds of stuff like princesses, bratz, plants, zombies, all kinds of critters, superheroes and birds. There's a gazillion places to get your cakes from and you can even order online. In preparing for Sofie's 4th birthday, we asked her what she wanted to do since it's the first time she is going to celebrate her birthday in school. She said she wanted to have a party, so we said yes. She wanted balloons, check! She wanted a cake, an angry birds cake! Hmmm.

Mommy: Anak, how about a princess cake?
Sofie: No, I want Angry Birds.
Mommy: How about a Dora one. 
Sofie: No, that will not work. I want Angry Birds cake. 

Okay, she knows what she wants and we are going to have an Angry Birds Party. Hubby and I scoured the tianges to look for Angry Birds loot bag items. I have to say it was quite easy, they've got all kinds of Angry Birds stuff, and I mean all kinds! From pens, stationery, toys, shirts, even mini-fans. Seriously! 

For the cake I turned to my best buddy, Google, to look for cake makers in my area. After a couple of clicks I found a couple of suppliers but their prices were a bit steep (Php100+ for a character cupcake!) and we really couldn't find a design we wanted. So, as always I decided to make the cake myself. First, I tried it on play-doh to see if I can make a decent looking Angry Bird. It looked fine, well, cute really! I understand the fascination now. 

First thing was to make the fondant, for the recipe and how-to, I asked Google again. For the marshmallow fondant, I used a recipe I got from Yummy magazine and for the birds I must have studied every single tutorial there is. Not really but it was a LOT! 

I used rice krispie treats wrapped in fondant to make the pigs and birds. One tip I learned about all this is to have a bowl of shortening on hand, to keep things from sticking everywhere. It beats getting a hand paraffin, my hands were soft and supple after making a batch. Plus, I had fun making those nasty birdies!

For the sling shot (we just had to have one) I tied two straws together, you know the bendy kind, and wrapped that in brown fondant. For the cake, I have to admit I cheated. I'm a big cheat, cheater, cheat twat and for sure the pastry goddess will frown on me for using a cake mix. Then again, I'm no Martha Stewart or Betty Crocker and I only did it this one time, so there, I said it. I used a cake mix!

As much as I would love to do a full-on tutorial, I can't! So here are my sources: 

Marshmallow Fondant Recipe by Yummy

Angry Birds Toppers Tutorial from Several Fabulous Sites


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Off! Lotion Tea Party

Last week Sofie and I were invited to attend the Off! Lotion Tea Party, it was held in Lemuria, a cozy restaurant in Q.C. We had a pretty good experience tasting mini hors d'oeuvres and cupcakes while Sofie had a fun time over at the kiddie activity corner. Actually scratch that, we both had a blast at the kiddie corner. There was a craft activity where I ended up making most of, while my little girl enjoyed listening to one of the hosts read a fable. One thing I rediscovered since the princess started school, I'm actually good at making art projects;-0

For the mommies, there was a forum hosted by celebrity mom Suzi Entrata-Abrera with Top Moms, Dr. Empress Carlos-Villapando, a pediatrician and Dr. Anna Vazquez, a child psychiatrist. Amidst the fun and chikka  they also shared invaluable advice mommies can use to raise their kids. These two ladies will be sharing more of their wisdom and experiences through a new community website, Top Moms powered by Off! Lotion. The site features expert advise, Top Mom Quiz , a photo wall and many more, I'm excited to see their official launch this December!

Overall we had a fun experience and we even met a couple of friends;-)

Enjoying the grass with her new friend.

Did you notice her yarn change from pink to purple?! Just like a cooking show, mommy did the finished product. 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanks Momcenter!

I just got my MomCenter gift and I have to say I'm very happy with it. I got some Cycles products that I really used on Sofie. She's a bit bigger now and we don't use them anymore but back when she was an infant, she really had sensitive skin that I ended up using bath soap for her clothes. I was relieved to see some Cycles Laundry Detergent for babies, it's a product that is not so readily available a couple of years ago.. I was a bit skeptic about the product until I tried it and was very pleased with the results, she didn't get rashes from her clothes despite the weather. The powdery scent was amazing and more than that it was tough on stains like mashed broccoli and pumpkin, even if I used just a bit;-)

I also got some Cradle Bottle Cleaner, but Sofie doesn't use the bottle anymore so I didn't get to try them. Fortunately for my friend, she came the day I got the package, I passed on the product to her 9 month old baby boy. 

I just want to give a quick THANK YOU to MomCenter and more power!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

When Kids and Crayons Meet

When kids and crayons meet it's not always a work of art. Writing on walls, table tops and other "illegal" surfaces, can be a bummer as far as the parent cleaning "art" (mess) is concerned. For kids, though, every bit of scribble is important and holds a world of meaning, it helps them develop their creativity and imagination.  However, as much as we want them to explore their inner Dali, it's not always fun when you have abstract art everywhere you rest your eyes. Luckily for us, Sofie has learned early on that we only write on paper or activity books. I buy her rolls of Manila paper and other art materials enough to supply a pre-school, so she gets to release her artistic energy there.  Other books and surfaces are a big no-no, unless she doesn't want to see her crayons again. 

When she first made an attempt to create a mural, we considered giving her a wall and covering it with Manila paper, but I read somewhere that it sends mixed signals to kids. God forbid we visit a place with wall paper! Although we had a bumpy start with this rule, once she learned it, she stuck to it without fail . . . until a few weeks ago. I was doing the laundry and after a couple of minutes, I was amazed by how awfully quiet she was. When I went to the living room, lo and behold, I came upon Picasso's Blue Period and a little tyke grinning at me. "Look, look, Mommy I colored blue, I'm great!!!"

Sofie smiling - Good
Can identify colors - Good
Well developed self-esteem - Very Good  
Streaks of blue on wooden floor - Bad. . . Extremely BAAAADDD!

Sofie + Blue Crayon + Wooden Floors = Disaster! 
Sometimes, they just seem possessed , don't they?!
I don't want to take away the crayons since she really loves to color and it helps her fine motor skills. Spanking definitely will not work and ignoring it will only make it worse. I could only think of Cinderella. Yup, I resorted to physical labor. I  told her I liked her art, but we do not color on floors only on paper. Then I gave her a damp rag with a little soap and asked her to scrub, while repeatedly saying "We only write on paper".  I wasn't sure if she was taking me seriously since she seemed to have enjoyed her punishment a little too much. We haven't seen any wall or floor art since then, so it seems to have worked ;-)

A fun activity WE DON'T  want to do AGAIN!

**I did this with potty training too, I asked her to help me wipe her "accident" off the floor until she eventually got tired of it and began using the potty. 


Saturday, November 12, 2011

45 minutes into Sofie's minor lunch misdemeanor  . . .

Mommy: Anak, earlier my patience was THIS BIG (w/ hand gestures) now it's THIS SMALL! Can you please finish lunch so we can go?
Sofie: Oh no Mommy! What happened to your patience!? (in all innocence) 
Mommy: Speechless ;-(

.....after 5 minutes

Sofie: Mommy is your patience getting larger and larger?

tsk tsk tsk

**Anak - child , term of endearment used by parents or elders when calling young children;

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nursery Tales : Sofie's First Day

We just survived a parenting milestone unscathed. . . mostly. Yey us!

After a couple of months of looking around we are finally done pre-school shopping and enrolled our kid to an integrated school in Q.C.  The other day was Sofie's first day in Nursery and needless to say we tried to pull all the stops just to make sure she is well prepared for her first day. The night before, Hubby was staring at the ceiling while I was making my mental list.  
  1. Pre-school Talk with Sofie - √
  2. School Documents - √
  3. Camera - √
  4. Lunchbox - √
  5. School Bag - √
  6. Powder - √
  7. Hand Sanitizer - √
  8. Towel - √
  9. Extra Shirt - √
  10. First Day Outfit - √
  11. Shoes - √
After I assured myself that everything will be JUUUUSSSSTTT FINE and that I did not forget anything, I was ready to sleep. Hubby nudged me and said " I have a feeling we are not prepared, I  feel like we forgot something." Gee, thanks Lab!

Come Wednesday morning we woke up early, aimed at arriving 30 minutes before class to give our little schoolgirl some playtime. In a seemingly orderly fashion, Hubby, Sofie and I took our butts over to the pre-school. Of course Hubby and I were a bunch of nerves and I think we were the ones who experienced separation anxiety. Sofie on the other hand was excited about the whole thing and only had the playground in mind. She's been going to Gymboree's weekly learning lab, but it still feels different since this new school is bigger has more kids and a more regular schedule. Still, all she thought of was the playground and lunch. Once in school she totally forgot about us and made a beeline to the slide. 

We were asked to wait in the admin office to fill out some forms but Hubby refused to budge. He was like a hawk on prey! His eyes never left Sofie and I could feel his blood pressure rising every time she climbed a ladder or talked to a boy. When a boy pushed our kid to the ground I thought my dear husband would pop a vein and assault someone. We tried my best to resist helping her, some things she really needs to handle on her own. Thankfully, Sofie stood up and walked away, she doesn't like fighting. The teachers were also quite quick and talked to the boy about pushing and saying sorry. By the time class started, Sofie stood in line, listened and hummed during the opening song and went inside without any fuss.

Hubby and I on the other hand, stood outside the classroom like idiots peering through small openings in between the curtains covering the glass windows. We even tried seeing through the curtains and deciphering which moving shape is our kid. Separation anxiety, much! We did that for a little over an hour until we got hungry and bored. After a few minutes of convincing Hubby that his unica ija will be okay in school, we had a quick lunch and did our best to entertain ourselves. Dang! pre-school is hard. 

I'm very happy to say it went very well, there were no tears (from both husband and kid), no going out of class, no biting, scratching or any behavior resembling an escaped convict. Our kid was playing, making friends and eating on her own by lunchtime. After class we asked her how it went and she said "I just have fun and I rock." See, everything is JJJUUUUSSSSTTT FINE!

Come to think of it,  I should have included one more item in my mental list :

12. Preschool Talk with Hubby - √


Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween Fiend

I'm saving my daughter's teeth from cavities by raiding her Halloween loot. Moms have such tough jobs.


Eastwood Preschool and Enrichment Fair 2011

Deciding on whether to send your child to pre-school and which one to go to can be a very long and difficult process. I guess what's really important is finding the school who shares your vision as a parent as well as a place that your child is comfortable with. Of course, other considerations are important too like cost, distance, teacher-child ratio and so on. 

Sofie's starting to get bored with our home school/play school set up. So far she's able to write her name(when the mood strikes) as well as read and write simple words but I can tell that she really needs to be with other kids and not just with Mommy all the time. Hubby and I have decided to move Sofie from play school to Kindergarten and we think we've found the best match for us. 

The bottom line is which school do you feel most comfortable with, to whom would you entrust your child's learning and which school matches your own family values and lifestyle. Take advantage of the free trial classes offered by the schools, this will give you a good idea of how things are run and don't forget to ask your child's input. Privately. I have to emphasize the word "privately", I once made the mistake of asking my kid if she liked a school we visited and she said " No, I don't like" with eyes poking directly at the teacher.  Tsk, Tsk, Tsk. Kids have a 6th sense about these things so we never came back;-)

Eastwood City Mall is holding it's 2nd Preschool and Enrichment Fair for the year, the event started last Nov. 3, 2011 and will run until Nov. 9,2011. If you haven't picked out a pre-school for your young one and you live in Quezon City, it's a great one stop shop while doing some early Holiday shopping too. 

Here's some of my personal picks, I've included an estimate of their tuition. They have very flexible payment schemes that parents can choose from ;-)

Pail and Shovel Integrated School is a progressive school located in Cubao, Q.C. The school believes in the  holistic development of children through hands-on learning and dynamic interaction. They are family oriented and the entire faculty is UP educated. They also have various enrichment programs like ballet, martial arts and cooking classes. 
Contact Information:, 09228143041
Price Estimate: 75,000-80,000/year 

WCC Kids Academy International is also a progressive school that uses Australian and Korean curricula along with thematic teaching methods. Enrichment classes include Language arts, Arts & Crafts, Taekwondo, Dance and Photography classes. They are located near Robinson's Galleria. 
Contact Information: /  (632) 6875791 | 0917-5968624   Price Estimate: 75,000 - 78,000 /year

Cradle of Joy - Center for Learning is a Catholic progressive school that uses multiple-intelligence program with emphasis on Cristian values, as well as social and environmental awareness of the child. They also use a  thematic  learning approach in teaching. They are located in Kamuning Q.C
Contact Information: / 9210602, 8714553, 09285018388
Price Estimate: 70,000-75,000 /year

O.B Montessori Center is located in Greenhills. They employ classical montessori education from Toddlers, Casa, Grade school and High School. I did not really inquire much but a friend of mine has nothing but praises for the school after having all her 3 sons attend the Montessori. They also have branches in Fairview, Las Pinas and Sta. Ana. 
Contact Information: / (02)7229720
Price Estimate: 80,000 - 95,000 /year

Good luck Mom's and Dad's! Happy hunting;-) 


Thursday, November 3, 2011

When She Say's She Wants to Be a Princess . . .

A couple of weeks before Halloween, Sofie and I were browsing the fabric store as  I was looking for some fabric for a bedsheet. I wanted to try an "easy" project to christen my mini-sewing machine I gave my self for my birthday. Of course Sofie kept on asking what things were for and I told her we can use them to make stuff for the house like curtains and pillowcases and clothes.  That's when she told me that she wanted to be a princess, a pink one. In verbatim she said "Mommy, make me a princess, in your song machine, a pink one, please, please,please, please!" Well, when she put it like that, there's only one thing for a mother to do. 

I forgot about the bed sheet and we started going through different shades of pink cloth, tulle, ribbons and what not. I told myself that it's just like making Barbie clothes when I was little, except that now I have a whiny little Barbie-like girl who has an opinion about everything and is having a hard time choosing between different shades of pink. "Not that one, the darker one Mommy". Oh God! I can just imagine when she turns 13!

I'm happy to say that it was well, as close to a successful first try as I'll ever get. I told hubby that if he owned a sewing factory I won't  get hired unless I did him "special" favors. Haha!

When you're a Mom and you said you can do anything, your kid holds you to it!
The other one is for my grand niece Sam-Sam
Trick or Treat
Oh no! Princess Sam-Sam refuses to set foot on the ground ;-)

Remember what mommy said "Don't mix your candy, it makes you loopy!"


Monday, August 15, 2011

Tutu in Tatters

This is a long post, but hopefully worth the read. . .

My daughter loves to dance and ever since we saw  Nutcracker last December, she has decided to become a ballerina. We waited for a few months to see if she stills likes it. A couple of weeks ago, we asked her if she wants to go to ballet class and she did. We were more than glad to indulge her, at least she was asking for a class and not a laptop or a car. After much Googling, we found Effie Nanas Ballet School although it was a bit of a commute, the ballet school was in  Edsa Shangrila Mall. We chose the school because they had a class for 3-5 year old girls called Pre-ballet. Most schools that I've called only accepted girls 4 years old and above. Their website was quite impressive, it even said that the head teacher was "one of the ballet luminaries of the Philippines". 

I called and asked if they were accepting new students, they were and we were told to come and have my daughter dress in pink leotards, tights, tutu and ballet shoes. So off we went and bought her an all-pink ensemble except for the shoes, we couldn't find a pink one so we bought a slightly larger white one. We got to the class 30 minutes early and my daughter was oozing with excitement. I wanted to make sure that the teacher would say it was okay for her to join, since I've heard of some teachers who are strict and my daughter can be a bit hyper especially when she gets excited. 

There were two elderly teachers, a cashier and a couple of 4 year old students, once Sofie saw the studio she immediately ran in the middle of the room and gave a little squeal. I was signaling her to be quite and to take off her rubber shoes when one of the little girls told her in verbatim "There's no shouting here, naughty kids go to Gymboree". Errr, my daughter takes core classes in Gymboree. Hmmm, I wonder where the kid got that from. I ignored it of course. 

I asked the teacher sitting by the door if Sofie can be accepted, I had a feeling the place was a bit too formal for the baby ballet we had in mind. I told Sofie that we will not dress in her pink uniform yet and just watch the girls dancing for the day because I think the class is for bigger girls. Overhearing us, the teacher by the door said she can join, I asked the teachers again if it was okay and was assured that she can join the class. Of course, it was under the condition that my daughter could follow. We were also told to buy pink ballet shoes for her in the school's ballet supplies store. My daughter wanted to be a ballerina, so we bought her second new pair of ballet shoes for Php695.00 and paid the Php650.00 fee for the 1 hour class. 

Before the class started, I told her that there is no running or shouting in the studio, I said that if she did not follow teacher, Mommy will bring her home. She answered with a big nod and said "Look Mommy, I'm a pink ballerina".

As the class started, I found myself standing behind the glass partition where mommies stood, nervous with a camera on hand. There were about 15 girls there and the ballet teacher had them stand in two rows. She placed masking tape on the floor to serve as a marker for the girls. Unfortunately, my girl refused to stay in her spot. Although she was following the moves, she was doing it in her own spot, she kept moving to the first row, right smack in front of  the teacher. 

I moved closer to the door, preparing to signal my daughter if in any case  she ran around or something when Effie Nanas came up to me and said "Your daughter Sofia, I don't think she can follow, he he I don't think so."  with that she turned away and all I could say was "Opo", I mean come on, she's older than my mother. 

The next thing I heard from the teacher, Effie Nanas, was "Put her in her place" she told her teaching assistant. Then she said in verbatim "I am getting mad" Followed by "She doesn't know how to obey" She was addressing the other students and was pertaining to my kid. She continued with "We will show her we are disciplined here and that naughty kids go to Gymboree" . Okay, so that's where the other kid got it from!

At this point I admit I was embarrassed, but then I heard Effie Nanas tell her assistant to "carry" my daughter out. She called her cashier and said "Give the mother the refund". Just like that she was lifted out of the class and into my arms, I did not have time to react because right then and there my daughter who never acted out outside the house in her life went on an EPIC TANTRUM! We were at the 4th floor and I swear people on the first floor could hear her. She was shrieking at the top of her lungs "Go back, go back, I want to be a ballerina". We were kicked out and my instinct was to just carry her, kicking and screaming, as we stumbled on our way out of there. I just kept telling her that I'm sorry, that it was okay, that we will look for another ballet class and that she will be a ballerina! Her heart was broken and I would have given mine, if it meant taking her pain away. 

I'm very thankful to the people in the elevator who understood, the Shangrila guards who helped me carry her and got us in a cab. I'm very thankful to the cab driver who comforted us as we both sobbed in the back seat. I'm very thankful to my husband who left his work and waited for us at the front door, McDonald's in hand, when we got home. 

This post is not intended to discredit the ballet school, it is in fact a good school that produced many talents. But, I can not discount the fact that the situation could have been handled better. I can not discount the fact that my daughter felt like she failed. That I felt I failed her. 
That night, I asked her what she felt about the class, she did not say anything. I said we will look for another class, Sofie said "Not mad class Mommy, only happy one". Lastly, I asked her if she wanted to become a ballerina, she answered with a resounding NO, just like that.


Monday, July 4, 2011

What's Cooking: Creamy Braised Beef Pastel

I have always been amazed by people who can cook Pastel or Pot Pie. It's one of those dishes that we just order since it seems too complicated to cook. Today, I've decided to christen my kitchen with some massive cooking and got the balls to cook Beef Pastel. I got part of the recipe from Yummy's March 2011 issue and the rest I decided to wing it. 

Before anything, this recipe calls for a strong and patient heart since there's 3 major cooking parts and you'll need a large pan and a stock pot. Not to be prepared when your hungry either, it's  one of those Pinoy dishes that taste better when eaten the day after. 


Part I.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 kilo braised beef  cut in cubes
2 large onions cut in cubes
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large bell pepper cubed and cut in half
1 cup grated carrots
1 1/2 cup diced celery
1 beef bullion  
1 liter of water
3 tbsp Kikoman Soy Sauce (or any dark soy sauce)
4 tbsp cooking wine ( or any red wine fit for drinking)
1/2 tsp Spanish Paprika
1/2 tsp black ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Part II.
1/2 cup milk
1 cup diced potatoes
1 cup carrots cut in chunks
1 cup broccoli flowers
1 cup mushrooms ( I used canned)
1/2 bell pepper diced ( I used the remaining half)
15 pcs green pitted olives

Part III.
1 egg, beaten
1 sheet store-bought puff pastry


Part I. 
1. In a large pan, heat some olive oil and brown the meat in all sides. Searing the beef ensures all the flavors and juices are locked inside. Do this in small batches so you don't overcrowd the meat, I mean if you are in a hot, tight space with other cows, would you like it?!

2. Once all the meat is seared, set them aside in a bowl, in the same pan pop in the garlic, onions, half of the bell pepper cubes, grated carrots and celery. You ask why the grated carrots? It makes the dish mildly sweeter, thickens the sauce and ensures that picky eaters get at least some of their veggies. 

3. Wait about 2 minutes for the veggies to sweat, you can tell this is done by looking at the onions change  to a lighter color. Put the beef back into the pot and stir it together with the veggies. Now for the next part you need to get your stockpot ready. 

4. Pour in 1 liter of water in the stockpot, pop in the beef bullion, soy sauce, cooking wine, spanish paprika, sugar, ground pepper and salt. Once the bullion disolves, pour all the meat and veggies into the stockpot and cook in very low heat. Let it simmer for 2-3 hours until the beef is fork tender, add more water if needed. Cooking it slow makes for really tender meat and the flavors meld well together.  Once you got the beef tender, put in 1 cup bread crumbs, I used chopped up old bread for this recipe. 

5. Simmer it for about 5 more minutes until the breadcrumbs absorbs the liquid and you have a thick sauce.Taste your dish and adjust the flavors according to your preference, cover the pot, turn off the heat, let it cool  and put in the refrigerator overnight. Yes, overnight! While cooking this I think we had too much tasting, hubby and I even ate it with rice at this point;-).

Part II. 

6.The next day, heat a some butter or oil in a pan and fry the potatoes, about half-way through add the carrots, broccoli, mushrooms and half of the bell pepper from Part I.  

7. After about a minute add the braised beef and mix well together until all the veggies are covered with the sauce. At this point, add the olives and about half a cup of milk and let simmer for about a minute more until you have a creamy, thick sauce.  Place it in a baking dish, I used a 10 inch round stoneware. 

You can already eat it at this point, really. 

Part III.

8. Thaw the puff pastry for about an hour in the ref before you need to use it. For this recipe I used only half a block. Roll out the pastry with a rolling pin, or in my case a cling-wrap roll (can't find mine, I blame it on the move). I find rolling it covered in cling-wrap is less messy, no need for flour and it's easier to lay out on the dish.  Punch some holes on the pastry after covering your baking dish to let the air out. 

9. Don't forget to brush the top of the pastry with an egg wash, this will give it a nice & shiny golden brown color. 

10. Now you have your dish ready for baking, this I think is the easiest part of the whole thing. Pop the dish in a pre-heated oven at 350ºF for 20 minutes or until the pastry puffs and becomes golden brown. In my case, I used a turbo-broiler so I did not need to pre-heat. 

Tadddddaaaaah! Whew! Ten steps and were done. I was pretty sure it was good not only because I couldn't stop eating it but also because my niece and nephew couldn't stop making lip-smacking "mmmmm" sounds while eating. Totally worth the effort!



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