One of the family traditions that I hold dear is the annual birthday picture taking that we do for Aki. Unlike some kids, Aki does not pose for the camera. His one-two-three-say-cheese smile looks forced… which actually is the case. Hehe. So why do we continue this tradition? Because I said so. Seriously, the boys can’t wait to go about their businesses and are very vocal that they hate being stopped just for pictures. It also does not help that I, being slightly perfectionist, take a lot of their time because we can’t move one until we have that perfect shot, right? Sorry, Aki but one day, I know you will thank me.
To my panganay and bestfriend, happy happy 34th birthday!
Aki is so luck to have the world’s greatest foam swordsman and Tito-Vic-and-Joey’s #1 fan as a daddy. He is going to have so many happy childhood memories because he has you.
By rolling your eyes every time I plan our weekend schedule, you teach me to live simply.
By impatiently waiting and honking in the van while I am still getting dressed, you teach me efficiency.
Continue reading “My Jon Snow”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Morning! Here is the first of a series of posts related to Aki’s dinosaur 4th birthday partey! Aki has obsessed with dinosaurs since the start of the year. He has dino toys, dino books, dino clothes and other dino things. When he told me that he wants to have a dinosaur party, the creative juices just flowed in. There are a lot of dino parties in the net but I still want our party to be different. Not the biggest, but the Aki-est party. I want the details and activities to be fun in the eyes of my son. The first DIY project was this simple pop-up dinosaur party invite. Cute eh?
Photo by CasLow Photography
I got the inspiration from Aki’s Tyson the Terrible book which has a surprise pop-up at the end of the story. I looked for pop-up invite 101 online but did not find any that was easy enough to do. I studied Aki’s book and tried to recreate.
Everything starts with the template. Thank God for husbands who can draw.
Lastly, fully fold all the creases. Continue reading “Aki’s Dinosaur 4th Birthday: Simple Pop-up Dino Invitation”
Belated happy 4th birthday to our son, Aki! Thank you for the joy, chaos, silliness, panic, balance, noise, perspective and love that you bring. May you be the inventor that you want to be when you grow up. May you never run out of creativity to turn a boring day to an exciting one. May you always have enough courage to give everything a try. May hope and optimism never leave you even on your darkest days. And always remember, whatever you do, wherever you are, you are always always loved.
A couple of Fridays ago, we celebrated Franco’s birthday. We were all at home. I took a leave from work. Franco came from a double shift so he rested on that day. Ate Dorina, to my surprise, decided without consulting me, that Aki will not go to school that day because of his cough. I already set my mind that I will bake a birthday cake. I have always wanted to make Aki’s birthday cakes from scratch but because I tend to overplan, I always end up ordering. Franco, the underplanner that he is, had other plans. He requested that we all stay in the house and spend a lazy day in bed. No cooking, no baking, no going to the grocery. The only agenda is be lazy.
The next day, while our daddy was out for his weekly jujitsu training, Aki and I baked a chocolate cake for the first time. Special thanks to my UP Comm III classmate, Aikko of Bake Happy for the recipe.
First, we mixed the sugar and mayonnaise. Yup, this recipe calls for mayonnaise instead of eggs and butter. The brand that we used is Best Foods.
On a separate bowl, we mixed cocoa, flour, baking powder and baking soda. Slowly, we added the dry ingredients to our mayo-sugar mixture. What I like about this recipe is that it does not require a mixer. Anything that will make the clean up easier, even if it means that some gadgets will be collecting dust in the shelf, is welcome in my kitchen.
The most crucial step, especially in Aki’s opinion, is the taste test. Because the batter did not have uncooked eggs, I let Aki taste and lick longer than usual.
After he gave his sign of approval, we transferred the batter in a lined cake pan and baked it until the toothpick came out clean.
While that was cooking, Ate Dorina and I made Franco’s favorite spaghetti with meatballs.
After 45 minutes inside the oven, our chocolate cake was ready. Aikko is right. This cake does not need frosting. It was very moist and chocolate-y.
Here, Aki is frosting our cake.
We used ready-made ganache from Let’s Bake It, a newly opened baking supplies store here in Bicutan. I was dead set on making my own frosting but really really nice, friendly and customer-oriented salesladies and salesmen are my weakness. I have been to other baking supplies stores and I must say, the lady and her husband (I think they are also the owners) behind the counter of Let’s Bake It, are just too nice to say no to. When I said that I am baking a cake for the first time and it’s for the hubby, she got really excited and told me that if it is for Franco, I must use her recommended brands. She has point. My hardworking husband deserves the best. She was not pushy though. I asked her if she has tips on how to make the frosting look billowy. She recommended a special spatula. She probably noticed the change in my facial expression after she said the price. She then told me that if I am not ready or if I won’t be using it often, I can try using the back of a spoon for the meantime.
Presenting…. our first chocolate cake with the yummy ganache that refused to look billowy…. and my DIY cake stand. Continue reading “A Birthday Cake for the Man of the House”
Last October, my boy turned three!!! I miss those cheeks!
Compared to his airplane themed 1st birthday party and his Letter A 2nd birthday party, last year’s celebration was low key. Having a party in school means less party time and more kids. I didn’t bother making a dessert table or decorating the area. We only had limited time so I wanted to make sure we make the most out of it. And because this was the first real kiddie party in the sense that all the guests were kids, I focused on making the party fun and educational. My priorities were 1) loot bags 2) activities and 3) food.
Aki had a say this time on the theme. Of the party themes that he liked, I picked the Baby Uod (baby worm) theme. It was just appropriate since he’s been obsessed with worms for the longest time. He even wanted to have a worm sibling at one point. Hahaha!
Let’s have a quick look back at the DIY project that I did for Aki’s little friends.
Read more about the projects here.
The worm puppet (my favorite DIY project)
Whenever Aki gets a party loot bag, I immediately check on the contents. Most of the time, loot bags are filled with sweets, the intake of which I try to control. So for Aki’s party, no sweets in the loot bag. At all! Aside from the DIY’s, we were supposed to give worm balloons. You should have seen me when I saw these balloons in Andings. Unfortunately, even before we could draw eyes and mouths, the balloons burst. They burst on their own because the material was too thin. Hmmp!
Aki had fun playing with them though.
So what did we do that morning? A lot! Aki’s class starts at 11AM so everything had to be ready by 10:30. Ate Dorina went on emergency leave so Franco and I were busy with the errands plus looking after the birthday boy. Plus, we have our morning birthday tradition.
First, we brought the balloons to Party Tools. We were told to go back after an hour. Then we went to Red Ribbon to pick up the cake.Then, we bought breakfast from Jollibee. It has been a birthday tradition to eat in Jollibee. We did not have time to dine there so we just ordered take out. Brought the food to the house. My sister and RJ, who were our photographers and videographers for the day were there. Good. Their turn to look after Aki. I gave Aki a bath and turned him over to his Chacha Jana. Franco and I left again this time to pick up the balloons, which started bursting as soon as we loaded them to the van and met up with the hubby of Kitkat of Kalea’s confections (09178920443), to get my order of cupcakes for the cupcake decorating activity.
The cupcakes that we ordered were unfrosted. The yummy butter cream frostings which came in 4 yummy colors were in tubs. The cupcake itself was so yummy we had to stop Aki from eating them.
I also ordered mini cupcakes for Aki’s teacher.
Once we got home, I dressed Aki in his party clothes. RJ made this #3 shirt. Thanks, Rj!
I quickly decorated the cake using the worms from Faye (thanks, sis!) and the cake pops that Maggie made. Cake pops by Bites are not only cute. They are really really yummy! Like them in Facebook or visit their blog here.
Off to school we went.
I talked to Aki’s teachers months before the party to ask for approval for my ideas. They were very supportive and liked that the activities were “educational”.
As I suggested, the book of the day was A Very Hungry Caterpillar. I planned on including a copy of this book in the loot bags. Books for Less had a warehouse sale so I contacted them. But then the final quote was too expensive for me, so we had to scratch out that idea.
I wonder why the classmates looked so serious while listening to the story.
To my surprise, I learned after the reading time, that I had to speak in front and explain the activities to the kids. In case you don’t know, I get really really nervous when I speak in front of an audience, even if they are less than 3.5 feet tall.
Our second activity was coloring. Thank you world wide web for the coloring sheet.
Next we made a worm family diorama. I prepared the blue paper for the base, strips of paper in different sizes, and the eyes.
Up next were the cakes and gifts -Aki’s favorites. We opened only 3 gifts because we had limited time.
The last activity I prepared was cupcake decorating. We got grass ( green sprinkles), soil (crushed oreos) and of course gummy worms. Each classmate was given a paper plate for easy clean up and a fork for spreading. Each table had two tub’s of Kitkat’s yummy icing.
Everyone even the teachers enjoyed this activity.
Even if we were without a helper, Aki’s birthday celebration this year is relatively less stressful compared to last year’s. Maybe because I have already mapped out the traditions, I kinda already knew what to do. I pictured how that morning would be. Wake up at 5AM to get cupcake and candles and make the birthday web. Wait for Aki to wake up. Once he starts rolling, wake up the hubby and light the candles. Sing happy birthday and lead birthday boy to his gift.Let him open his first gift and eat his cupcake. Go downstairs and ask him to draw. Before 8AM, ask neighbor’s helper to look after Aki while we get cake from Red Ribbon, give worm balloons to Party Tools, buy Jollibee breakfast, meet Kitkat for the cupcakes and go home. At home, picture taking with photog while waiting for pasta and drinks to arrive. At 10 AM, load stuff and at 10:30, go to school.
I thought it would be so hectic because there were so many people to meet. The morning was not as stressful as I expected. Thank you, Lowrd!
Oh, the birthday celebration actually started the night before when Aki and I looked at our old photos. The plan to print pictures and make a birthday scrapbook is, uhhm, still just a plan.
Where oh where did my baby go…
Web and gift, check!
Aki woke up before six. He was crankier than the Grinch. He was in no mood to blow any candles. After drinking milk, he went back to sleep.
Fifteen minutes later, he woke up and was his jolly not-so-old self.
After two rounds of birthday songs, he was ready to rip the web..
and open his gift. This time we have a proper gift, not like last year when all I had prepared for him was a banana.
At first, Aki was taking his time opening the gift. However, when he realized what was inside he got so excited and unwrapped his present fast. Continue reading “The Morning He Turned 3”
is easier said than done! Read more about it here.
First, getting Aki to stay still for the camera is impossible. And two, when there are a lot of errands for the day,busy moms will forget all the poses. I think we will be sticking to these three. They are the easiest to remember and recreate.
At the top of the stairs
By our third day in Asian Hospital, we already reached our quota for the number of cartoon shows that we can watch for the whole year. The view from our room was not so bad but my eyes were tired of staring at the window.
Hospital stays can be nerve wracking and boring at the same time. We needed to go out! If only we can sneak Aki out of the hospital. I thought it would be fun to look at the newly born babies but we were told that Aki can only stay in the 6th floor.
Aren’t these room markers cute?
I really like that the hospital made an effort to keep the floor kid-friendly. We also discovered that there is a pantry and in it is a water dispenser for everyone. Too bad, we already bought a lot of bottled waters. Parents of babies will also appreciate that there are several Avent sterilizers in the pantry.
Since there is not much to do, we settled in one corner where we watched people pass by and where we got silly for our camera.