My Favorite Meal of the Week

What is your favorite meal of the week? Ours is definitely our Sunday breakfast in our picnic van. If you have been reading this blog long enough, you know how much I am a sucker for traditions and rituals.This new ritual that started around November last year is definitely something we will keep doing for as long as we can.  After the 6AM mass, we go to the parish multi-purpose hall where entrepreneurs from our area sell clothes (do check out the 20-25 pesos factory overrun underwears) and food. The food options are wonderful. And not to mention very affordable. I blogged about my finds here and here.

Friends, meet our picnic van, Iron Hyde. Don’t look at me. Franco came up with that name. Aki likes it though and thinks our trusty old van is a real Transformer.

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On Sunday mornings, we stick to our favorites which are lugaw with egg for me and Aki.
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For my husband who is pretending to be on a diet, an order of fried squid, kwekwek, lumpiang gulay, fresh buko juice and most of the time, another order of the deep fried squid.
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These are the memories that I want to look back at.   I want us to remember when Sundays were simple yet precious. I want Aki to remember how we, as a young family, appreciated the small things like the combination of ice cold buko juice and smoking hot lugaw, being part of a community and simply being together. Continue reading

Photo Tradition with the Hubby

Halu! Happy New Year to all. I am starting this year on a different note. Unlike last year where I was feeling excited and pumped up, now, I am more relaxed.  I hope that is a good thing.

If you have been reading this blog long enough, you already know that I am a sucker for traditions. Traditions for me make wonderful memories. And happy childhood memories are what I want Aki to have. I realized though that I don’t have a lot of traditions with my husband. Except for the year-end holiday card where we write down the highlights and lowlights of the year to make sure we won’t forget (see our past cards here and here), there is no other regular activity that I do with Franco that can be considered as a tradition. So I started a new one. Encouraged by the past and present photos that are everywhere online nowadays, Franco and I will be collecting selfie pictures of the two of us during important and ordinary days.

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Aki’s 4th Birthday Celebration @ Home

Because of Typhoon Whatchamacalit, we had to reschedule Aki’s school birthday party. The night before, I was already feeling antsy. When I woke up that morning, there was no rain at all so I thought everything was going to run smoothly as planned. My world crashed when Aki’s adviser confirmed via SMS that there won’t be classes that day. I wanted to cry and dwell on my disappointment but Franco and Aki did not let me. They were too happy that we were together. I tried to move on and reach out to my suppliers. Before 9AM, Monic of Good Eats,  brought the 2 trays of pasta that I ordered.

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Only 400 per tray. You may reach Monic at 09498431796. I wish I had a signature pasta dish. Well, I kinda have one. My meatballs and marinara is always a hit but preparation can be quite a hassle. Plus, it is expensive since I use canned tomatoes.

Iya of Bianca’s Bakeshop brought the most adorable dino cake before lunch.

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Remember the Hello, Cupcake book? I was so inspired. I was dead set on  having a cupcake-cake or pull-apart cake as Iya calls it. I am not sure if you notice but I ate 1/10th of the “grass” even before we served the cake. Just looking at the pictures makes me want to go down, open the ref and wolf down the grass icing that I stored for special pick-me-up days. Frostings don’t taste the way they used to when I was a kid. Iya’s cupcakes brought back memories of my own birthday parties in Bayog with birthday cakes ordered from the neighborhood bakery. And isn’t that the cutest candle?

To satisfy my sweet tooth and to stop myself from eating the grass icing, Aki and I made crinkles from out Ghirardelli brownie mix. These babies did not look and taste like crinkles but they were yummy.
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Later in the afternoon, we went to SM Bicutan. We promised Aki that we will watch Cloudy with Meatballs II and get him a Transformer book. As if the heavens were playing a trick on me, Cloudy was not yet showing in SMB and the Transformer book which I just saw in Booksale a couple of days ago was already gone. Six hours to go and we still did not have a birthday gift for our son. We checked the toy section of the department store. There were a lot of really cool Transformer toys but they were so expensive!! The cheapest Transformer robot was about 2K! Mygawd! There were cheaper and smaller Transformer toys but after inspecting them, it dawned to me that those robots do not have a fighting chance of staying intact for 3 days in the hands of Aki. Alas, lady luck was finally on my side when I went to McDonalds. The happy meal toy at that time was Pokemon. Prior that were the Coke glass and Smurfs. It had been over a month since they discontinued giving away Transformer robots. It was a long shot but I had to ask. I am the type who even if what I really want seems to be an impossibility, I really just have to try. Failing is fine but when I don’t even dare try or ask, I won’t be able to sleep. And guess what? I got Aki 3 Transformer robots and 10000 calories for myself after eating 3 happy meals. haha. I waited until the branch manager stepped away from the counter. I knew that if they still have Transformers, she would not yes to my request in front of many other customers. I followed the store manager and when I had the perfect moment, presented my plea. I told her that it is Aki’s birthday and I would really want to give him robots. I told her I know they follow the happy meal toy schedule but if there is a chance that she can make my son’s birthday more special, I will be forever grateful. Thank you so much, Ms Mcdonalds Store Manager! I am sorry I forgot your name but if you read this, I want you to know that I really appreciate that you scoured through your stockroom just to please a begging desperate customer. Btw, Aki had his McDonalds Kiddie Crew workshop in the SM Bicutan branch last summer. I can attest that the staff and officers are really good with kids.

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Another Birthday Tradition: Coloring Pages

Happy Tuesday!

How was your weekend? I spent the whole Saturday in bed. Sunday on the other hand was a totally different story. We started the day with Aki’s martial arts training. Then, we played in a nearby park and had a photoshoot with Maggie and Lucas. Had early lunch with our photographers, Dom and Richard of Studio 2916. When I got home, the generous people from Bounty Fresh has sent me packs of their Chicken Torikatsu. Normally, I would be panicking if I come home at 12 NN with no idea what to serve for lunch. Franco comes home famished after his morning training. But because we got packs of Torikatsu from Bounty Fresh in the ref, it was so convenient to just open a pack and fry away. Best of all, hubby loved it. He ate 3 katsus in one seating. Thank you Bounty Fresh! I think it  was meant to be because I was planning on trying out the product after I saw their bus ads.  Don’t these look really yummy?

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After that all three of us napped in the sofa. When I  woke up, it was already 3PM and it was time to start working on Aki’s halloween costume! So glad we were able to finish in 1 hour. We got a surprise visit from Franco’s cousin, Marco and his cute baby boy Marcus. Later in the afternoon, we  supported a neigbor’s garge sale. Out total bill was 300 plus. I am so happy with our purchases. I will blog about them soon. The evening was spent watching Friends Season 4, which we bought from the garage sale for only 80 bucks per season.

Anyhoo, this post is really about another birthday tradition. Oh yes, I am addicted to birthday traditions.  Every year, on Aki’s birthday, we ask him to color the same picture. It is interesting to see how he has improved in just 2.5 years

We started this tradition when he was a year and a half.

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at 2 years old

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at 3. You can see that he made an attempt to color the balloon and cupcake red, the boy and party hat blue

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It is Starting to Feel Like Christmas!

Speaking of traditions, one of my favorite Christmas traditions is our holiday book collection. Every year, our collection grows and grows. When I was still starting this tradition, I’d buy books so long as they look interesting. Now, I only choose books that are age-appropriate and interest-related. Here are some of my newest finds.

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A Houseful of Christmas. The illustrations look familiar because this book came from the same illustrator who did Click, Clack, Moo. Unlike most Christmas book, Santa does not appear in this book. The story is about how Christmas brings the family together. Very Filipino. It reminds me of my family because in my mom’s house, even if there are only 3 rooms, we always have room for all my aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces.

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The Twelve Days of Christmas. I love the vintage-ness of the hand drawings of this book.

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Santa’s Favorite Story

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Santa’s Book of Names. I got this book because the main character, Edward, is also a new reader, like Aki.

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The Annual Birthday Photo Tradition

Hello you!

If you have been reading this online diary long enough, you probably already know that I am obsessed with family traditons. I like the idea of doing the same thing over and over until simple acts become treasured family memories. One of our birthday traditions is taking Aki’s annual birthday photos.

By the stairs
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It took at least 20 attempts to get this shot.

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Silhouette shots

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As you can see, Aki was not very cooperative. Here, he was running away from me.
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Nutella Cookies

One of our first-day-of-school traditions is baking cookies for Aki and his classmates. Since we had a Nutella jar that was about to expire, I made Nutella cookies. While my cookies were a hit, I was quite disappointed because unlike the other cookies that I baked, my Nutella cookies did not give the kitchen a freshly baked aroma. More than bringing the cookies to school, what I really want is for Aki to remember, everytime he smells something freshly baked,  how his mom would wake up early every first day of school to bake cookies.
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I made 2 batches of these cookies. The first batch came out very pretty and nicely cracked. Too bad, I was so busy that I was not able to take photos. This is a picture of the cookie from the second batch. I just wanted to finish all the hazelnut choco spread. I added flour and eggs without meticulously measuring the ingredients first. The cookies were yummy but not as pretty as the ones from the first batch. Continue reading

Favorite Holiday Moments 2012 {Part II}

Advance Merry Christmas! Here is 2nd half of the list of my favorite Christmas moments last year. Here is the part one in case you haven’t read it.

We bought two new books for our Christmas book collection.  If you like Little Mouse, The Red RipeStrawberry and the Big Hungry Bear, you will definitely like the twist in this follow up story.

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The other book was one of the best steals that I ever bought from Booksale. For only 120 bucks, I got the anniversary collector’s edition of Polar Express. Not only is it autographed by the author himself, it also comes with an audio book recorded by our favorite actor, Liam Neeson. It became a traditon for us to listen to the CD while browsing thru the pages on the weekends before Christmas

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I finally finally finally got myself a copy of the Martha Stewart’s Holiday bookazine. This is the magazine that I had been looking for. I remember when I first saw a copy in Booksale. It was already in the hands of another customer. I stalked the girl, hoping she won’t buy that magazine but she did. The wait was so worth it! I got so many doable ideas from this magazine

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Speaking of traditions, we added a new one – watching Christmas movies. Franco and I searched high and low to find movies related to the holidays but only got two. Arthur’s Christmas and Home Alone I. I know I should stop being scared of downloading from the net but I just can’t. I also know we’re the baddest of all bad parents for letting Aki watch a violent slapstick movie like Home Alone. I love that movie. Franco feels the same way. And Aki seems to have inherited his parent’s lack of taste in movies.

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Meeting Santa in person is also part of the holiday tradition list. As soon as it was our turn to take pictures with Santa, here is way Aki said: Hey Santa, where’s my Beyblade?! hahaha. Santa was lost for words.

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Aki’s first school presentation! Yey! But it was another bad parent moment for me! I was worried if people would notice that Aki was wearing a pair of light brown shorts instead of white, which was the instructions in the memo given weeks before. Good news, no one seemed to notice. Bad news: Aki’s class was supposed to wear a green top and Aki was wearing a blue one. Naman! Aki looked so cute though. That performance confirmed that he got his non-talent in dancing from me. Hahaha

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We went to Ayala Triangle to watch the light show and have dinner with my mommy blogger friends, Sha, Maggie and Aimee.  These are the only decent pictures that I have.

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Nevertheless, it was a fun evening filled with lights, laughter, failed exchange gifts, cakepops and friendship. Sha, who is talkative online and offline, blogged about it here

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Favorite Holiday Moments 2012 {Part I}

I know. I know. Christmas posts are so 2 months ago. I was really busy during the holidays and was even busier when I returned to work.

Here is the Part I of my favorite moments last December.

1. Making ornaments for our white Christmas tree. Blogged about it here.

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2. N@W Christmas party. It is always fun personally meeting online friends. Plus, Aki got a ninja shirt from the exchange gift. For a time, he wanted to wear the shirt all day everyday. Thank you so much Cheng. Recently, I learned that Laya loved the elephant watering can that we gave her. Yey!

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3. In Franco’s family, it has been a tradition to go to Malvar, Batangas to visit Lola Maring, Franco’s paternal grandmother every December 24th.

Here, Franco and Lolo Tay,are in a middle of an exciting chess game. I grabbed the camera and took a couple of shots because watching them made me realize how fortunate I am to be part of closely knit family that really enjoys each others company.

My wish is for Aki to grow up having the same close relationship with his dad.

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Oh, it has also been a tradition to have a family picture taken by the entrance door. The family has been doing this tradition even before Franco was born.

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4. Before Aki went to bed on the eve of Christmas, we left milk and oreos for Santa. Hopefully next year we will have time to make cookies from scratch.

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2012: The Year that Was

A couple of hours before we officially welcomed 2013, Franco and I sat down to write ourselves a holiday card. We started this tradition in 2010. The idea is to reminisce the highlights and lowlights of the current year.

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Looking at the card, 2012 was a good year for us. In fact, when we were already in the lowlights part, we could only think of a few things. See notes on the side.

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So what were the highlights?

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