Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween 2012: Costumes and Candies Galore!

I've never seen so many Spidermen in my life until October 26th. I'm talking about the Halloween costume party in my kids' school with countless Batman, Spidey and princesses came to strut their special outfits. 

Just look at the throng of kiddos in princes/princesses, superhero and modern day cartoon costumes - the three categories of the costume contest. 

 As I shared in my previous post, the little girl came as Ariel under the princes, princesses/fairies category. That's her with the red hair and blue mermaid outfit.

And my little prince went as Spider-Man (but refused to wear his mask, itchy daw). I suspect that Sam's fascination with Spider-Man was hubby's fault. I try as much as I can to limit their TV viewing to Disney channel and educational shows. Then hubby came home one night with a Spider-Man comic book for the little boy. Naghahanap na karamay sa comic book addiction niya...

Back to the party, even the teachers came dressed in fun characters like Jasmine, Pocahontas, the jester, Alice in Wonderland, etc. 

Sophie with her K1 teacher who came as Pocahontas
And yeah, I was one of the judges that day and being so disallowed me to vote for my kids. Bummer right? So it was to my utter surprise when my little girl won the top two best costume in princess category. Yay! All that sewing and beading paid off somehow.
After the party the original plan was to go house to house for the trick or treat but due to the bad weather, the school came up with plan B, trick or treat in the classrooms. Parents just brought the bags of candies in school. Kids were ecstatic with their pumpkin baskets overflowing with candies and other goodies from the trick or treat. 

The following night, it's another trick or treat in our subdivision and both kids went house to house with their cousins and friends. That means MORE CANDIES and sugar rush problems. lol!

How was your Halloween fun? :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween 2012: Making Old Things New

It’s almost Halloween and if you go to the mall, it's all about pumpkins, monster (and really ugly!) rubber/plastic masks and tons of costumes for the kids. 

Speaking of costumes, the yearly trick or treat celebration in school will not be missed and kids are excited to come in their chosen character for Friday school activity. Good thing it's a holiday so I don't have to take a leave from work.

This year, Sophie wants to come as Ariel so I’m refurbishing a never-been-used but outgrown mermaid costume her uncle brought from London. It’s sooo cute but somehow just looks a tad short for her. My remedy: add length by cutting off the shoulders and sewing in about 3 inches of ribbons to make straps.

I wanted to use these sequins to decorate the straps but I ran out of supply.

Since I don't have time to go to Divisoria to restock, I went to the mall and found these bubble beads. I always go to Notions in SM North Edsa for my sewing supplies when I couldn't go to Ilaya or Tabora in Divisoria. 

I found the shell design a little too simple so I added those bubble beads and sequins as well

The end result. 

 For the fish tail, I don't have time anymore to sew them myself so I just took them to our mananahi neighbor. I bought a lime green satin fabric and blue frosted chiffon for shimmer and requested the dressmaker to copy the existing fishtail bt make it longer. Can't wait to see the finish product. 

My little boy Sam, on the other hand, is determined to come as Spiderman. I bought him the costume last year but he was still in Thomas and Friends addiction that time so I also made him this train box. This Thomas train is so special to us because we handpainted everything and I never thought I’d get his face right but I actually did.

I’m still thinking on how to make the little guy's Spidey outfit a little more special. I have several ideas in my head already but I have to check if resources are available. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Baking Partners Challenge #3: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin

This is my entry 2nd entry for Baking Partners and for this month, the challenge is to make muffin using pumpkin as main ingredient. 

Out of the three recipe options I chose Reshmi of Easy Cook's suggestion: Pumpkin chocolate chips Muffin as this is the one with ingredients that I can produce. Tried finding cardamom here but it seems  not available in the local market so I can't make the recipe with spiced buttercream and pecans. 

For the case of pumpkin puree, I had to make a homemade version since our groceries do not carry this product as well. I got a good tip online to peel and cut squash into small pieces (remove seeds) and bake them. This will ensure that the puree is not watery. ]
I also couldn't find ground ginger so I used powdered Salabat (powdered ginger with cayenne pepper, mixed with hot water to relieve sore throat). Talk about alternatives. At first I thought maybe I can do away with ginger but I feel like it will not be the same without this ingredient. 

I totally enjoyed this recipe, mixing veggie and chocolate. My daughter helped me make the muffins and she knew there's squash in there which she's not so fond of, but she ate the muffin anyway. They were irrestible!

The ingredients. I'm a big fan of nutmeg and cinnamon so I added a little bit more of those :)

 My avid helper

While the muffins bake. The smell of squash, nutmeg, cinnamon - totally intoxicating!

the finish product

I attempted to make a one-eyed monster out of chocolate coated almond but I think it was a flop,lol!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins:

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (180 ml) solid packed, canned pumpkin puree
1 cup (175 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Place rack in the middle of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, ground spices, and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and pumpkin puree, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips.  
Fill the muffin cups evenly with the batter using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.
Makes 12 regular-sized muffins.
Note: The batter can be baked in a 9-inch (23 cm) loaf pan. Butter or spray the loaf pan with a non stick vegetable spray. Bake the loaf in a 350 degree F (177 degree C) oven for about 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Photo for A Cause

Last September 29, my family and I were given the opportunity to do a family photo shoot. This was our very first amily photo op taken by professionals. Finally! 

This event was organized by RealKids and posted by Daphne Oseña-Paez on her blog.More of that here.

I am a constant visitor/follower of Daphne's blog. She's very inspiring in her advocacies and judging on how she writes, she remains grounded despite her success. I love how she shares her stories as a mom, very real, very relevant. 

Off to the event, as we entered Blue Leaf Pavilion where the event was held, my family and I were greeted by man wearing a pink shirt and a very warm smile. He introduced himself as Doods Tanabe, the owner of Real Kids and the man behind the event. You see, this event was organized to raise fund for the treatment of his wife Issay (who was at the event as well). This is such a timely event as October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. 

Here are some photos taken by Doods and Issay's photographer friends. We were asked to choose 2 venues out of the 5 options and we chose 1 indoor and 1 outdoor venue. We had so much fun, I'm sure the photographers were challenged by my (hyper) active kids but they were nice all the time. The event was overflowing with love and hope, it was so evident you can almost touch it. 

Indoor shoot

Kids only 

See? Hyper active kids caught on cam

Hubby and I (and a small arm sticking out) 

As soon as Sam was asked to sit on the arm of sofa, he started doing cowboy actions that it took a while before the photographer got a good shot (if he was able to at all)

Our outdoor shoot (what's with the Japan pose?)

For the last few shots, I requested that my sister and nephew join us.

It was an event we will never forget. Although we are first timers, we never felt awkward posing for the camera. Thank you to the RealKids, Daphne for making us part of this event for a cause. 
Can't wait to see the official photos :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Recipe Share: Apple Pie

 This is another recipe from the Baked cookbook that hubby gave: Apple Pie.

Everytime I tell my friends who share the same passion for baking that I actually made apple pie, they go 'is it really hard to make?'
I would say, yes and no. Yes because you have to knead the dough to a perfect consistency and it is not easy. I think I developed a muscle from just making one pie. Plus, since it was my first time to make a covered pie, it was a challenge to seal the pie with the dough. As you can see in the photos below, once baked the crust no longer hang on the edge of the pan.

This recipe calls for Granny Smith green apples and most apple pie recipes I researched require this brand. I don't know why but I just obliged and it turned out that these apples have enough crunch and not watery when cooked.

My bad because I wasn't able to copy the recipe from the book and it's nowhere online either. Not to worry, there are other recipes on the web much like the one I used. The one from the book requires the apples to be cooked with cinnamon, sugar, butter, etc. before pouring into the pie crust and sealing with dough. Next step is to bake and can you imagine the glorious smell of apples, cinnamon and butter in the oven? Hhmmm... :)

If you are a baking addict, Baked cookbook is for you. It's easy to follow. If you haven't tried one recipe, the authors seem to give you enough encouragement and confidence to dare with even the most complicated recipes. Authors Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito are heaven sent, they have some tricks of the trade shared as well. Baked is available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Baked-Frontiers-Baking-Matt-Lewis/dp/1584797215

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

One Tooth Out

Can you see that tilted milk tooth and the new and permanent tooth peeping from behind? This photo was taken a few weeks ago and when hubby and I found out, we went all emo again (just like we did before her first birthday). 
Our daughter was so patient and brave during the whole ordeal as she waited for her milk tooth to finally come off. Matter of fact, she's proud of it, showed it off to classmates and friends. She seem to understand that it's a rite of passage for kids and she's all for it. 
She preferred to do it the natural way than let the dentist take it out. She even succumbed to using the good 'ol 'sinulid' trick but to no avail. 
Finally, after several weeks of waiting it finally came loose and the sentimental mom in me just had to keep it in a box (just like I did with their first haircur, first cut nails,etc.). 

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