Public Service Announcement: Uniwide is Closing Shop!

Waaaaaah! My happy place is closing for good next month. Special thanks to Tricia for sharing this terrible news. I am sure other Uniwide-fanatics like me felt both panic and sadness. If there is only a way I can save Uniwide… If only I had billions to buy and run Uniwide myself. Haaay.

I have been avoiding Uniwide for months but when I learned about the SEC order, I just had to give my final goodbye, thru shopping of course. Because Rachel was suddenly available, I had a shopping buddy. It was a fun fun day for us. First, the Aki and Coco fought over the scooter. Then we made pizza. Off we went to the Booksale Warehouse. Then to Uniwide. We had dinner at Jolliant. And then went back to the house where the little boys chased each other, the daddies talked about guns, bikes and paint guns and the mommies talked about anything and everything under the sun. The highlight of course was our trip to Uniwide. The best husband in the whole wide world, Franco, who vowed to never go back to Uniwide Coastal Mall, wholeheartedly drove us to Uniwide Sucat. The Sucat branch is much closer to us. It is also not as dusty. The selection is not as wide as that in Coastal Mall but good finds were still everywhere.

For the reference of those who are not from the Philippines, 1 US dollar is around 40 Philippine peso. Some of my favorite finds. Continue reading

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Finally, Homecooked Fries that aren’t Soggy

Cooking French fries used to be very frustrating. They always turn out soggy and extremely oily. The fries that I used to make were nothing close to the French fries that I buy from Mcdonald’s. Thanks to the summer 2012 issue of Cook’s Country, I learned the secret. Instead of dropping frozen fries in a pot of really hot oil, room-temperature oil and potatoes are cooked the same time. Simply put fries in a pot, add oil and cook over high heat covered. I was supposed to follow the recipe and let the potatoes cook for 15 minutes without stirring. Stir to prevent the potatoes from sticking and cook until slightly golden. My mistake is that I used an opaque pot cover. When I checked  my fries after 10 minutes, almost half of them were already toasted!

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Yikes.They were still very good though.  Using my brand-new slotted spoon which I got from Uniwide, which in case you do not know will be closing shop soon (will try to blog about that), I transferred the potatoes to a paper-napkin-lined plate. Aki and I enjoyed our fries with our Belgian-style dip. French Fries with Belgian dip. How soshal, right?! The Belgian dip is actually just thousand island dressing with a garlic clove pressed thru a garlic press.

Enjoy! Don’t forget to regularly check your potatoes.

The Boys

Can’t think of any catchy title for this post. Speaking of The Boys, do you also like The Voice Ph? After watching numerous talent and singing shows where the winner fails to make waves after winning, I thought I will never watch another reality TV singing contest again. I am surprised that I am hooked to this show. The coaches are relevant and truly talented. The talents are, well, talented.

Anyhoo, this post is about my boys.

Aki: I have green yayay (saliva)!  So cool!

Aki: I have green yayay (saliva)! So cool!

Aki is such a boy, special thanks to his dad. Friends tell me that Franco reminds them of their older brothers.  Franco is both gross and protective. He reminds me too of my kuyas or older boy cousins who loved to tease me or scare me to death when I was little.

Last month, we were in Glorietta, and I noticed that Aki’s butt crack was showing. I told Franco to go up to his son and pull up the shorts. Franco told Aki to fix his shorts.  Instead, Aki pulled his short down to expose his whole butt with matching booty dance and naughty smirk. The people who saw him found him amusing but for sure the parenting police would have wanted us arrested if they were there. Can you guess who Aki was copying? Definitely not me!

Because my dad died when I was two (my sister was only months old) and because I grew up surrounded with females, the male bonding activities that Aki and his dad enjoy, never fail to either amaze, surprise or scare me.  My husband is a big kid at heart. When Aki gets a new toy, Franco sometimes gets more excited.  When my boys are fighting, it feels like I am raising 2 rowdy sons. Sometimes, I put Franco on time-out too for being naughty and too makulet. hehe.

Even though our parenting style always confuses Aki (eg Me: Go ahead and cry.  Franco: Stop. Crying. Now. ) there is no doubt in my mind that Franco is the best dad for our son.

Here are some of the activities they like to do together.

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They like having a drink together. For now, it is just Yakult but after many years, Aki might take after his dad’s love for that Daniels-something.

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They build toys together.

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Unfortunately for me, both like loud rock music that hurts my ears. They like playing air guitar and headbanging. Anyone else who has had more than enough of the Metallica song Battery? Continue reading

Aki Tells Tales

Once in a while, I have moments when I worry if Aki is his hitting the developmental milestones of his age. Do other 3.7 year olds hate writing too? Is he the only boy his age who is not a fan of drawing?  Why does he keep saying Twenty-teen? My main source of worry really is the fear that he might not pass the entrance exams of the big schools that we are eyeing.

Aki asked me to draw a water dragon. When he saw my drawing. Aki:  That's a duck!

Aki asked me to draw a water dragon. When he saw my drawing.
Aki: That’s a duck!

And then, there are also those moments, when I watch him, so care-free and so happy with himself and all my worries are washed away. Last Thursday was one of those moments. I was home early. I picked him up from my in-law’s house. I was putting away my baon when I heard him playing with his 2 current favorite toys – a broken balloon pump and a small toy car that he got from his summer job in McDonald’s last month.

I grabbed  a paper, sat beside him and started jotting down everything that came out of his talkative mouth. He is such a passionate storyteller with sound effects and changing voices for added drama, I tell ya. Aside from dinosaurs, Aki is into dragons and robots. He is always either a viking or a inventor. Watching him play is such a delight and makes me realize that he is indeed developing just right.. in his own pace. I have always wanted an imaginative and curious child. Aki is exactly that and much more.

His current favorite books

His current favorite books

Without further ado. I would like to share the stories that Aki made up, in his own words.

THE BUKOL AKI STORY

Once a time, this name dragon charlie. (Charlie is always the toy car)

Charlie found other dragon,
His name is Bukol Aki. (Bukol Aki is the broken pump)
Bukol Aki is sleepy.
Next, he’s hiding (referring to Charlie)
and Vraaaaaaagh!
He is come awake (referring Bukol Aki)
Bukol Aki have a breathing fire

Bukol Aki says Nyaaaaar!
Nyaaaar means time to eat.

Am.. Aaaam… Aaaam…

Next, Bukol Aki spins and spins.

And the other dragons come to fight the big dragon..

(Me: Wait. Is Bukol Aki the big dragon?
Aki: No. He’s other dragon (he is one of the other dragons) )

Hooray to Bukol Aki!

Charlie (who was still hiding) says,
Hooray! Hooray! Hoooray!
Hooray! Hooray! Hoooray!
Hooray! Hooray! Hoooray!

The end.

———— Continue reading

Save-the-Caterpillars Project

Aki and I made an important discovery about caterpillars recently. They don’t start as little green creatures. Instead, they are dark brown and white when they hatch. All this time, I thought this furry thing was insect poop.

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Imagine how amazed we were when we inspected our calamansi plants an hour after. The brown thing became a cute green caterpillar!

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Because of this discovery, Aki and I started a project. We call this project “Save the Caterpillars” Project. Remember how the birds attacked the caterpillars in our garden? That was quite traumatic so we want to be heroes by saving them. Basically, we inspect the calamansi plant in the garden for baby caterpillars and transfer them to the plant in our mini backyard which is not frequently visited by hungry birds. This way, we increase the fighting chance of these little critters to become a beautiful butterfly.

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Since we started this project, we have seen 3 opened cocoons. In two instances, there was a butterfly beside the cocoon. I want to think that we just missed the grand cocoon opening by minutes. Continue reading

Easy Korean Beef Stew ala Focolare

I would like to dedicate this blog post to Ninong Eddie Boy who went to heaven last week. He was not just Franco’s baptism godparent. He was also one of the principal sponsors in our wedding.
Tito Eddie Boy, like my Franco’s dad, was an active member of the Focolare community. My mother-in-law got this recipe from one of the Focolare members.
Korean Beef Stew

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1 1/2 cup water
1 tsp ginger, grated
8 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce, preferrably Kikkoman
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp sesame oil
3/4 kilo beef ribs
toasted sesame seeds plus more for garnishing
spring onion, for garnishing
Continue reading

Scrimping and Splurging: Back-To-School Shopping

Where did the last 5 months go? Can you believe we are already in the middle of 2013? For kids, June means the end of summer and the start of the school year. For parents, June is the month of paying for tuition fee, of wrapping books (which does not excite me at all), and of course, shopping for school supplies.

Fortunately, Aki’s school kept the art materials and other supplies that we bought last year. Because of that, my shopping list was slashed significantly. After comparing prices, I found out that the school supplies shopping place-to-be is ….. drum rolls please…. Booksale! Yup, another reason to visit Booksale. School supplies there are cheaper compared to the ones sold in the more known bookstores. If last year’s shopping trip in Cash and Carry was not stressful, shopping in Booksale this year is even better. No lines at all.  I got these for Aki

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And because I doubt like cramming and I hate last minute birthday invitations, I stocked on gift-able books for Aki’s classmates.

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Booksale is known to be a bookstore of second-hand books but they also have a lot of brand new ones. You just have to inspect books carefully. Although this is not true for all books, I noticed that one way to spot a brand new book is to check if it has a mark on the pages. I think Booksale does this so the discounted books sold at their stores will not be sold elsewhere for the original price.

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From books, let’s move on to socks. Last year, I was surprised to find out how expensive socks sold in malls are. I can’t remember exactly but I think we bought a set of three for 150 or 200 bucks.Yes, that is already expensive based on my standards.  I am a commuter who regularly checks out bangketas or sidewalk vendors. I know I can get 3 pairs for as low as 50 bucks. That’s exactly what I did this year.

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We scrimped on socks. We scrimped on school supplies. We scrimped on gifts for classmates.  School shoes was a different story. Continue reading