Gifts for the Grandparents

Of the gifts that we gave out this Christmas, my favorites are the ones we gave to Aki’s grandparents. We spent one whole morning working on the gifts. First we bought the materials from the Merriam Webster Bookstore near Don Bosco Makati. Art materials are cheaper there compared to other bookstores. The acrylic paints, the colors of which my toddler chose himself, were only PhP52. Paint brushes range from PhP7 to PhP21. The 11×15 canvas frames were only PhP108. In other bookstores, canvas of the same size, although of a different brand were being sold for PhP150.

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It is been a while since Aki and I had a painting activity. When Aki was younger, he hated having his hands get dirty with paint. Now, he is more experimental. So experimental, that we had to deal with a giant version of a paint brush aka a mop, to clean the mess that he made.

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Anyhoo, we used different techniques. There is of course the paint brush. Aki liked making circles by twisting the brush. We also used straw to blow the paint. This is my nth time to try my hands, or my mouth, at straw painting. Another fail once again. Aki can’t blow hard enough to really move the paint. Or maybe, we are using the wrong type of paint. Oh well, maybe in 6 months we will try again. The canvas also comes with little wood things, see lower left picture, that can be used to spread and mix the colors. Toy cars can also be used for painting.

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I learned this masking tape technique from my friend Leslie’s blog. I folded the ends of each strip to make peeling easier.

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My favorite technique of all was string painting. My sister did this when we were kids after reading about it from our Childcraft encyclopedia. I just tied a string to a macaroni so the string for easier handling and let Aki drag away.

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Aki’s favorite was painting with his hands. I am not a big fan because if you mix blue, yellow and black,  you get this ugly shade of  The Hulk green.

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Now for my little Picasso’s masterpieces.. Continue reading

Hanako: Our Current Favorite Japanese Resto

Whenever there are businesses that close down here in Dona Soledad in Bicutan, Franco and I feel bad. Whenever there are new stores and restos that are thriving, we silently celebrate their success. We love this neighborhood. As much as we can, we try to support our own. We tried spending our Fridates, discovering the  carinderia, milk tea shops and restaurants in our area. One of our beloved food joints here was  Little Tehran, a little Indian resto. We loved the biryani and the kebabs. Too bad, it closed some months after we discovered it. The space became Pollo Chello, which also did not last long. Then it became Wing-It. That also lasted for less than a year. Now, that little space near the entrance to Sun Valley, is occupied by Hanako Express. My good friend, shuttle-mate and fellow Better (living) girl, Macy had positive reviews for the Moonwalk branch.  Once it opened, I don’t think I ever saw the Hanako Dona Soledad branch empty. It was always packed. Compared to the other restos that occupied the space, Hanako is well lit and seems very inviting. Franco and I were really excited for this new place.

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Last month, we finally got to eat there. It was supposed to be a light sushi and maki date since we just ate dinner. The food was so good we ended up having another meal.

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Here is what we ate. Again, take note, we just had dinner 30 minutes before.

Miso soup. I am not a fan of miso but this I really liked. I also enjoyed watching “clouds” in the soup.

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Cute shade of pink.

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Gyoza. We had three orders of these.

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Tempura

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2012 in review according to WordPress

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 130,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Starting 2013 Backlog-Free

NOT!!

I had this wish of starting 2013 backlog-free. That is one big wish that even a thousand genies plus Santa can’t grant. Lemme see. Here are the topics that had been on my head for some time now

– Favorite Memories from My Childhood. Sis and I had SMS and email exchanges reminiscing the years when we were still young, pampered and each other’s number 1 enemy. I wanted to write a list of experiences that I also want Aki to have while he is still a kid.

– Top 30 Moments of My Life. I was supposed to blog about this topic in time for my 30th birthday last month

– Why We Love Aki’s School. I think this post will be helpful since I notice that a lot of people land on this blog after googling Paranaque Preschool

– Things I learned about Mutual Funds. I started investing in MF’s when I was only 24. That was for 2 years and it was only this year when I started investing again. Mutual funds may sound intimidating but it’s really not. Did you know that unlike before when the holding period was for 2 years, now it is only at 6 months?

– How I Try to Control Impulse Buying and other Tipid Tips. This might not be very timely because these past few weeks we’ve been spending spending spending! But if there is one tip I want to share, that is check your patterns and change your route. My weaknesses are BookSale and Japan Home. I used to pass by these stores everyday. By changing my route going home, I am able to avoid temptation.

– Eyeballs! We met Ann and Moymoy at Franco’s nephew’s party in September. Last October, I finally met the oh-so-talkative Sha of Kikay Mommy Sha blog. We had an impromtu lunch with Marsy. Then last month, we had a fun fun fun playdate with Sha, Maggie, Aimee and their gorgeous kids at Ayala Triangle.

– Chinese-inspired party for Baby Dumpling.

– My birthday brunch at Mom and Tina’s

– Our Manila Zoo playdate with Faye and Maia

– Our All Sous’ Day weekend with my paternal side of the family

Whatelse? I am sure I am missing other drafts.. Hmmm..

– OH! Aki’s Wiggly Worm school party and the simple celebration we had at home with our families.

For now, let me dump Aki’s pictures that I have wanted to blog about

5pageAki: Dysor hands ako ( I have dinosaur hands) –> Sometime Oct0ber

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Left: Aki – Happy Feet!  —> Sometime October

Right: Aki – Bye, Happy Guy! –> Sometime October

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Left. Yikes! I forgot what was this drawing supposed to be.

Right. Sometime in September, Aki said this is a dinosaur. Yesterday, he told me he wants to be a T-rex… or an armadillo.

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August. When Aki got back from the hospital, he used to ask me to make a cave out of pillows every time he was sleepy.

Late October. Aki loved the Mr. Popper’s Penguins movie. 10page

Left. Also in October… Hmmm, can’t remember the story behind this picture. Morning trampoline perhaps?

Still in October. Aki was playing with his “flute”1page

Cant remember when were these pictures taken. Probably in June or July.

Left: Me: Saan na yun bill? (Where is the bill?) Aki: I eat ice cheam ( I am eating ice cream)

Right:

Me: Ateeeeh! Bakit pinaglalaruan ni Aki ang mga paracetamol!!!! (Ate, why are the paracetamols with Aki!!!).

What’s that. Aki?

Aki: Aki house. Babita house. Bumbay house.

Me: Ate!!! Kung ano ano tinuturo mo sa anak ko!

Aki, you can call them neighbors.

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From October to November, Aki was deeply in love with his soap collection. To this day, he prefers to use Irish Spring during bath time because according to him, Irish Spring is the soap for big boys like him.

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Both in October.

Left: Aki went home really sad. He just came from my in-laws. During the walk, he found a big worm that was ran over by a car.

Right: Aki likes standing on his potty and say “I am Gin Gabin! ” ( I am Green Goblin), extend his arms and say a breathy  “Raaaaaagh!” Continue reading

A Family Sport

Both sides of my family are not sporty. I did not mind at all until I learned that my friend Tanya bikes and runs with her family on weekends. Running and biking are bonding activities they enjoy as a family. I wish there is a sport or any activity that my little family would enjoy doing together. Aki and I like crafts but Franco, over his dead fat body, will not touch glue. Aki and Franco both enjoy jujitsu but it is too boyish for me. My wish was granted thanks to a genie named Timezone. Before Aki only knew SM, now he begs for MCS and Glorietta.

This is the game that we love..

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GoGoballs! It is a test of speed, accuracy and reaction time.  The game is available in Timezone Waltermart which Aki calls MCS and the old Timezone in Glorietta. There is a similar game in the new Timezone in Glorietta, called Penguin Paradise but we like GoGoballs more.

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Last Leg of Gift Wrapping 2012

Again, special thanks to my officemates who helped me collect brown paper bags from Ministop. Without your help, your gifts would had been beautifully wrapped using plastic sando bags. Haha.

Since the popsicle molds did not come with boxes, they were more challenging to wrap. I thought of using brown paper bags so I don’t to make a lot of folds. To prettify the bags, I added pinwheels which were very easy to make. If you have colorful paper, single hole puncher, scissors and fasteners, you can make a pinwheel in less than a minute.

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If Aki did not try to help, I probably finished wrapping 10 popsicle molds in 15 minutes instead of 30.

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