Monday, May 27, 2013

Home Service Victim

That’s me. My nails were done without my consent so I fall into the category of victim. Right?

Here’s the story.

After our Sunday lunch at home, I went for a nap with the kids. Yeah, buhay baboy on a weekend. Geez, I never thought making kare-kare for the very first time could be so exhausting.

I was so tired I went to sleep faster than I knew it and didn’t know that the kids didn’t go to sleep immediately. After a few minutes of snooze, I felt something sharp poking on my toes. I thought I was dreaming but when I opened my eyes, I realized what was happening. The little girl was giving me a pedicure!

She somehow got hold of nail polish set box. She was pushing my blue nail polish out of my pitiful toes. She’s obviously deep into the task that I didn’t bother complain. I was too sleepy anyway so I guess I’m a willing victim after all.

After painting my toe nails, she did a little ‘massage’ and moved on to my hands. Haha! This is what she came up with. I forgot I bought this

polish but it was so cute I wore it for a weak. Just filled in some blank spots.

I always bring the little girl with me to the salon and we spend foot spa bonding time every now and then so I guess she knows the drill.

This is just a peek on my life with a kikay daughter. Most times I’m also a victim of make up tutorials or hair styling :0 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Allergy Free Mom

I had history of asthma. My last asthma attack was when I was about 7 or 8. I can't remember my exact age then but I remember every detail of that moment because it was my father's birthday and I was alone with my mom on the second floor of our house missing out on all the fun. Yeah, asthma is such a kill joy.

I'm happy to say that I somehow outgrew asthma. Thanks to my parents and to all natural diet. But I guess having a weak respiratory at birth and having it in the genes made me acquire allergic rhinitis since I can't remember when.

This post is all about my allergic rhinitis journey and I'm sharing with you in the hope that it will bring awareness and help to those who suffer the same condition.

What triggers the allergies? Upon careful observation, I believed that dust mites and pollen get me sneezing nonstop for days. This has been my observation for years but somehow I can’t totally prove it because a visit to the park sometimes trigger an attack, sometimes not. 

At times the allergy gets worse and turns to colds and cough especially during summer seasons or crazy weather like we have now. I would cure the cough and cold with OTC drugs only to get exposed to the allergens again. It's a vicious cycle. As much as I don’t want to depend on meds, I usually have no choice.

So to help me from an attack, I make sure I have zero (if possible) exposure to dust mites. Everything in the house has to be squeaky clean (from the floor to the ceiling). No furniture or houshold items that attract dust fast like carpet or furry stuff (and animals!). Even the bed needs to be cleaned and vacuumed every week or as often as possible. Too much work I know but I just have to live with it (thank God for helpers). 

Until I found a life changing solution to the problem.

After years of continues research and hits and missess to cure my allergies, I found a study that made me give up one major part of human diet - dairy products. Vegan advocates and experts insists that dairy is not food for humans. This information didn’t get my attention right away because I knew what I’m really allergic to anyway.

Then one morning, out of curiosity and ‘there’s no harm in trying’ mindset, I decided to give no-dairy diet a try for a few weeks – almond milk instead of cow’s milk for cereals, no cheese in breads or dishes, even no breads (especially wheat)! Since I can’t drink coffee without milk and sugar I just decided to stop drinking coffee at all. My chocolate intake has been dark ever since. I’m a huge fan of dark chocolate anyway and milk chocolates make my throat scratchy. 

The result? I haven’t had any allergic attack since the start of the year. Zero. Nada. There are sneezes every now but it never got as far as a rhinitis attack anymore. How cool is that? I only wish I discovered this very life changing information earlier.

I'm thinking that it I may not be allergic to ALL dairy products but eating less of it made my immune system stronger that I'm able to fight off allergy attacks whenever I'm exposed to the allergens. 

Just to prove how effective (almost) dairy-free diet is in curing the allergic me, I exposed myself to dustmites and didn't request the helpers to vacuum the bed for weeks. In fairness, just one or two sneezes last week but that's about it. No more teary eyes, red nose, headache and runny nose for months! That's a real feat for me :) And yeah, last month we bought our very first living room carpet, they real furry one :)

Slowly, I'm making my kids eat less dairy because the doctor says they have the tendency to acquire the same respiratory problem and allergy as I. Although they are voracious consumers of cheese, wheaning them slowly made them not crave for cheese anymore. For this year, they haven't been to the doctor for colds, fever or cough. Double feat for us!

To date, we still have some dairy products in our fridge like the kids’ milk, flour, etc. Our house is not yet dairy-proof, I don’t know when we will get to that part. Maybe if there will more alternatives available in the market or maybe in time. Sometimes I can get almond milk in store but most times it's out of stock and I still can't find organic butter in local stores.

We are taking this route one step at a time. I am also on the look out for gluten-free recipes like the Flourless Cake recipe I shared here. I hope to find more healthy recipes that my family will enjoy. 

This month of May is Food Allergy month and I hope every year, more valuable information and research will come out to help people suffering from allergy. I hope our local market will deliver more organic and gluten-free, dairy-free products (at a reasonable price) so Filipinos will have healthier alternatives.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Mom's Special Treat

What we did on Mother's Day was truly special for me. Thanks to hubby for the 3D/2N staycation treat in Makati's One Greenbelt Hotel. It's a small hotel, more of traveler's hotel but checking in there made it breezier to go through all our planned activities for Mother's Day and voting on May 13.
Thanks too to my two ultra sweet and hyper active kids who kept surprising me with a Happy Mother's day greeting - they came out from the hotel's closet and surprised me, I got into the car and they 'surprised' me (or so they thought), we were eating dinner at a restaurant and they continued to shout 'Happy Mother's Day Mommy!'. I felt Mother's Day every minute, every step of the way. As I write this they still greet me. I think this thing is going to be month long.

 I told you my kids love to celebrate. When I'm 8 months away from my birthday, they give me a happy birthday card and surprised me as soon as I got home from work. Every week, we get a Happy Valentine's Day greeting from them. Haha!

We were yayaless in the hotel and those with toddlers will know how busy it can get. Busy being an understatement but kids just kept cracking me up with their antics and funny stories so that compensate. BIG TIME. Sam kept on suggesting we stay there FOREVER. Big word right? He decided in the end that he still likes our house :)

Our hotel. Just a stone throw away from Greenbelt malls.

Kids slept soundly, it was so hard to make them get up for breakfast

We also got to try the much raved about Bibingka souffle in Solace, the adjacent resto of the hotel. You got to try this one. I think I can finish 3 orders. 

On morning of Mother's Day, we walked from the hotel to the nearest breakfast our PJs! So liberating! That is definitely off my bucket list :)

After breakfast, we walked again to our fave bookstore. Here's the little boy in his Thomas and Friends PJs picking out a book.

I miss the south so much. Don't get me wrong, I love our crib. I got my garden and all plus it's proximity to work is such a convenience. The south, well, it's where my family is, it's got my fave malls and the place is just homey (for me) . I discovered, though, that  despite not living here for almost a decade now I still know the place like the back of my hand.

We celebrated Mother's Day with all the other great Moms in my life. We visited both my Mom and sister and my in-laws. Brought Chocolat's Death by Tablea cakes for the ladies. This cake is  starting to climb up in our list of fave cakes. They just opened a branch in Palanan, Makati City.

I got another Mother's Day treat 'ya know. It came as a surprise. I ♥ stocks. You earn without a sweat. Another one on my bucket list is to buy moorrreee stocks.

Every time this special day comes I feel so proud to be part of the celebration.

I remember the first year I got Mother's Day greetings on FB and on my mobile phone I was still on maternity leave and I felt so overwhelmed for all the greetings it brought tears to my eyes (very rare occasion for me). I don't know why. I guess I didn't expect it to be that special. Maybe it was the postpartum issues, all the pain (of breastfeeding and recovery from CS) or sleep deprivation that made me cry over simple text messages from families and friends.

 It could be that surge of UNCONDITIONAL love for a stranger in my arm whom I met for just a few months. How that is even possible is still a mystery to me. My world was turned 360 degrees by these little gifts I now call Sophie and Sam but I succumb with an open heart. A mother and child bond is really a magical thing.

Being a mom and going through the everyday learning experience is both humbling and enriching for me. I know I have a lot to learn and improve as a mentor, a leader, a good example, a friend and all other roles that I need to play. So much the responsibility and expectations. Nevertheless, I know that having kids and having a partner like hubby inspires me be better and to be thankful everyday.

Happy Mother's Day to all the great moms out there !

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Enrich and Enjoy

It’s May and summer’s over before we know it. Sam is currently in summer reading readiness class while Sophie is enjoying her vacay because we want her to take it easy before she starts to tackle big school.

So what have been keeping the kids busy this summer?

1. Baking lessons with Mommy. We made cookies last weekend with just this simple recipe:
1 cup flour
½ cup butter
¼ cup sugar

It’s so easy to memorize that’s why the kids can make their own cookie dough. I'm proud of the little ones, they now know a cornstarch from a flour and they know that a butter needs to be softened before mixing for baking.
This activity at home saved us lotsa moolah on summer baking classes. You can do it too, no need to enroll them in expensive cooking or summer classes. Easy-to-bake brownie or cookie mix are readily available in groceries. We love Maya products.
If conventional oven is not available at home, oven toaster will work just fine for simple recipes like butter cookies, crinkles or brownies.

2. Parteeee! When were not baking, we’re inventing a celebration like Teddy’s birthday or an exercise party (whatever that means). Kids have limitless imagination when it comes to party concepts. As I posted on my Instagram, anyday is a reason to celebrate when with kids :)

That's Teddy, fresh from a bath. And Rosie came to celebrate :0

2. Swim Fun :) So this is taking a toll on our water bill but the heat! OMG! UNBEARABLE! Ergo, the swim party happens pratically everyday. When I decide to join them for a dip, the little girl challenges me to ‘patagalan sa tubig’ match. Mind you, she wins most of the time ;)

3. Guitar Lessons. This is definitely keeping as busy at night and on weekends.
The day I finally bought hubby his long-delayed birthday gift, I also bought myself a ukelele. Why? Uhmm, because Eddie Vedder is into ukelele? Or maybe because I just want to learn something new this year though it looks like I have some competition with the strings because the kids love it too. They even got to jam with their Dad first (my husband plays both the bass and acoustic guitar). They love to jam to Somebody That I Used to Know. I’m happy, though deprived, that kids are showing interest in music.

4. Sewing and other crafts - I still have a few more weeks before we get busy with school again so I’m really looking at a new sewing project. I long ago fixed and oiled the heirloom sewing machine my Mom gave me but haven’t given it a spin except to test the parts and stitching. I miss sewing; I used to be good at operating both the manual and electric sewing machines. I can even operator an edging or zigzag machine. Let’s see if this thing will still work with me.

5. Of braids and other crafts. This summer, everyone raves about braids and we're jumping into the bandwagon.
What used to be a simple french braid in the 80's now gets complicated but more creative. I know a simple french braid and recently learned the waterfall type. This type of braid is pretty simple to do actually. I still need a lot of work on the different french braids, it's just so complicated. Good thing I have a model to practice on. If you want to learn about braids, Youtube is a best source.

The waterfall braid, pretty but not kid-proof. This style can stay put in older kids or adults. 

We love the new bead-making set Sophie got for her birthday. Good thing too that they're in blue so we can make one for Sam :)
Care to share your summer enriching and fun activities? :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pamora Farm: Better Option For Our Family

We always say that a commodity is a result of a need. When there is a need, some genius out there will think of creating a product to meet the need.
For the case of Gerard Papillon and wife Tina, all they wanted was a perfectly roasted chicken, just like how they do it in Gerard's hometown in France. Living in Manila, sadly, he couldn’t find a good chicken for his roast recipe. Then, with all the light bulbs lighting in his head – he and his amiable wife combined age-old technique and  technology (Gerard having a background in construction) established Pamora Farm.

This couple is truly a force to reckon with. They started out selling 50 chickens in 2002 and now  supplies 6,000 chickens to different parts of the country. There is increasing demand from other countries like Japan, Thailand, US. Why? Because they are the only company that produces genuine free-range chicken in Asia. You do the math.

photo c/o Pamora
So how to they do this? In their farm in Abra, they practice the old ways of rearing chicken feeding them only milled yellow corn and other organic food found in the farm (grass, insects, etc.). When the chickens get sick, they are treated the natural way too with different type of herbal medicines that the farm grows. No pesticides, no chemicals as much as possible. Honest to goodness organic farming, that's what Pamora Farm is all about. It brings organic free-range chicken to our tables and a livelihood for the locals of Abra.

Their chicks take about 3 months to grow and ready for the market as compared to the genetically grown chickens. They don’t  shortcut the process, even their spring chicken takes longer to grow – 56 days. It's always quality over quantity for them. They truly deserve the approval of BFAD and NMIS (National Meat Inspection Service and be certified with GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices)

Why all this hassle when they can take the quicker route to money-making? Because these entrepreneurs think like consumers too. They want to deliver products that they know they will serve their families too - safe, organic and fresh. They even have the individually quick frozen (IQF) chicken products in which each chicken part is frozen individually to make small cooking more convenient for consumers. Much like the frozen peas and carrots we find in the market, notice how they never bunch up in one ice block when frozen? Same concept is used to IQF chicken. The advocacy really is endearing and admirable.

The couple were such great host to a sumptuous meal last weekend at Brasserie Cicou in Greenhills. They served dishes using only Pamora chicken and eggs. The pates were to die for (I particularly liked the chicken liver pate). This product is another fusion of local products and French recipe (from Gerard's grandmother).
medium-sized free-range chicken eggs

Just a few of the pate selection - chicken liver, chicken breast and chicken liver and gizzard. The mangoes among other fruits, herbs and vegetables are organically grown in Pamora farm. 

We were able to enjoy their spring chicken, seasoned simply and roasted to perfection. The crème brulee selection of green tea, vanilla and chocolate were to die for, perfect dessert to cap off a lunch of engaging stories and new insights. Honestly, I came home inspired to do my part in making a better future for my kids. I cannot help but wish that the passion and advocacy of this couple rubs on me.

 Compliments to the chef. The creme brulee won our hearts :)

Now, Gerard and Tina cook their perfectly roasted chicken. No fuss, no worry.

Pamora chicken,eggs and pate can be purchased from these stores:
Santis Delicatessen, Rustan’s and Shopwise, Terry Selection, Market! Market!

 Visit their site too:
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