Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Her Own Space

I'm so excited I just can't hide it (Yeah I know, that sounds very 90's) that I was able to blog again after just 2 weeks! Yay! I feel this story is something so notable in my diary I just gotta write.

The past weeks, Sophie had been coaxing us to transform the other room into her own room. For a while, we weren't paying much attention. We co-sleep with both kids and honestly I can do that until they're both grown up and just abhor the thought of still sleeping with their mom. Honestly, the little girl's request didn't run through me that easy. I admitted I had bouts of separation anxiety when there were nights she slept in the other room even without her bed yet.

When friends asked how I got Sophie to like sleeping on her own, I had no answer. It was all her idea, she really has a mind of her own even as a toddler so all the credit to the little girl.

She's 7 and should have a room of her own but this poor mommy cannot endure the idea of sleeping without the kids. Their smell, their foot on my tummy and saliva-smeared faces are like my security blanket. They make the bed cozier and sleep sounder at night. On the first few nights that she slept in the other room I couldn't sleep, waiting for her to knock on the door and 'sleep with Mommy.'

We know we need to give in to a plea that had all the right reasons so 2 weeks ago we bought a double bed for the kids that's convertible to 2 single beds. The other bed's for the little boy because we now know, sadly, 'that day' will come :(

Both kids were so excited with their new lair. The little girl immediately prepped her space with all her kikay stuff and toys. She's so giddy and I started to feel excited for her too. I know this is what she wanted and there's no denying that. Now, she said, all it lacks is an AC. Yeah...right.

So this thing really comes to parents with 7 year olds along with teeth falling out and permanent ones erupting and all the other physical changes going on, friends evolving from toddlers and kids to preteen bffs. Stop! Wait! Prrrrt! I don't think I'm ready yet little girl. You're growing up too fast.

p.s.: Just so I won't get another shock, I asked the little boy if he's ready to sleep in the other room with her Ate Sophie. He said no and I know he really means NO (he wants to sleep with Mommy). What a relief :)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Gift of Forgiveness and Healing

If I wrote this post right after the accident, it would start with ‘why!why!why!’ or ‘life is so unfair.’Full of questions and negativity.

But that’s not how this post will run now. That’s not how I view the accident,in retrospect. We've moved on and looking at the bright side.

The gruesome accident involved my son Sam who accidentally punctured his left eye with a metal headband (he was playing alone and got hold of his Ate’s headband) and damaged part of his iris. It took the doctors almost 3 hours to save his eye. 

It was the most grueling 3 hours of my life and I didn't know then which hurt more – the waiting during the operation or being at the OR before the procedure to see my son being sedated prior to operation. At one point it was very thoughtful of the doctors to let me in the operating room because they wanted Sam to see me before he got knocked out by the meds so I immediately agreed but I wasn't prepared emotionally to see the prep procedure. I tried to remain strong and held back my tears for my son.

As the operation went on, I sat alone inside the hospital’s chapel and prayed while my husband waited inside the room waiting for news of the procedure. The amount of tears, the heart-wrenching pain we had to endure as a family, all the agony, it was so surreal and yet so real. As much I wished it was all a bad dream, it wasn’t. I thought I’ll go crazy! 

I prayed for my son’s safety, to bless the doctors who were operating on him, to provide our family with strength, with guidance and with humility to accept whatever He has planned for us.

I just had to ask why although I know we should never question the Lord but I pray for his understanding at that point. A mom who loves his children more than life itself was going through the most traumatic experience. I knew he understood me and heard my plea. 

In between my bouts of cries, I heard this message and it was spot on: 
‘Do not worry about Sam, I will take care of him. I promise you he will be okay. You must never worry and trust that I will take care of everything.’ Just like the sun on a summer sky, the message (and the voice) was clear and it was the most consoling words I heard. God never fails to give refuge to sorrowful hearts. 

Inner turmoil was another hurdle I had to overcome.

After our almost 1 week stay in the hospital after the operation, I took another week off from work to personally take care of him as he continued to recuperate. I was critical over so many things, overly critical if I may say so.  I was critical of the kids’ activities (Sam can’t jump, run, carry heavy things or any strenuous activity), of the things at home that may cause anymore danger even if it doesn't look it (who would've thought an innocent headband can do that to the eye) and most especially of the people who I entrusted to take care of the children while my husband and I work. I was full of criticisms, anger and distrust of anything, of anyone. I was more traumatized than my son, I think.

I was full of negativity but I knew I had to fight it. It was starting to consume me.

I read through chapters of the Bible and pages of devotional books hoping to find guidance and solace. To find the strength to forgive and to move on. Then His message came one day: 

‘If you seek complete healing for your son, you need to be able to forgive. Forgive the people around you and forgive yourself. With anger comes negativity and you must never allow these two in your home. You need to forgive in order to be forgiven, in order to receive the healing’.

The messages I received during those challenging weeks were so to the point and enlightening and I know that I need to obey. There is no other way although it wasn't the easy path.

Sam has regained his eyesight, not yet at 20/20 vision and he’s still on medication. Our regular visits have been cut down from weekly to monthly. He is scheduled for suture removal in the coming weeks which is good news as it means the wound has completely healed. All throughout the process, almost everything was covered by the HMO and medicine allowance provided by our company which another thing to be thankful for. 

God really is a miracle maker and a great provider. If we surrender everything to Him and listen to His message, His will make everything possible for us. 

By now, I can share this story with you. I feel that God has helped us to move on from this traumatic experience. I'm also thankful for the doctors and nurses who took care of Sam. They are the best and made sure my son was well taken care of.  His ophtha doctor Dr. Alejo is the best; so patient, so caring, visiting Sam even on Father's Day. Great thanks also to my family, friends, colleagues who sent messages, gifts and prayers. The simplest text message of encouragement went a long way. 

 I love this quote, it's so apt. 

p.s. pardon the long absence, you see my hands are full the past months. Hope the next blog post won't be 4 months from now :)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sam is 5!

A few weeks before Sam's 5th birthday, we asked him what he wants for his birthday. He made a quick rundown :
  • a chocolate cake with cherry on top
  • a trip to Dinosaur Island (he saw the pictures and videos of Ate's field trip here and couldn't get over them),
  • a trip to Thomas Land ( I almost fainted)
  •  new dinosaur toys (he's still into the dinosaur fascination stage),
  •  ice cream, spaghetti and chicken 
  • swim and play all day!
I was too confident we'd grant all his wishes until I heard Thomas Land. We explained to him that we can't go to Thomas Land (yet) as we still need to save for that trip because it's too far from home (in UK where Tito Ian lives) and we need to take the airplane. He understood pretty well. He's happy naman na we're going to Dino Island.

Kids, as they grow older and have a good grasp of what parties and celebrations are all about, should be part of the party planning. It's also important they understand where budget comes in and what is feasible and not. This way, they'll be able to know the concept of money, manage their expectations and still get to enjoy their day.

So we're off to Dinosaurs Island in Clark.

During the trip to the park, my husband kept on joking that were going to Baguio City instead and they both squealed 'NO!' (They can read the signs 'To Baguio' along NLEX) They're so excited to go to Dino park, even our fave vacation spot doesn't appeal to them. Lol.

Finding the theme park was a little challenge since we don't frequent Clark, Pampanga and there's not much human in sight save for the guards on-duty. Thank God for Google maps and GPS.
Just want to share too that we were saddened that the town looks too forgotten - unfinished construction, abandoned buildings, hotels and houses. I love driving along Subic and Clark because of the wide roads and organized traffic system. I hope something can be done with Clark.

Anyway, we finally reached the theme park. Our little celebrant was so mesmerized by the animatronics dinosaurs. He was simply starstruck the whole time! We couldn't get him to look at the camera, he was too busy digesting everything in site.

Every time we walked to a different dinosaur on display, he would demand for me to read and explain about the creature - did it eat meat or plants? why the spikes? does it have sharp teeth or not? etc. 

Ate Sophie finally got to try the T Rex experience. She wasn't able to do this during her field trip because of the long line. 

We also tried the Jurassic Jungle Safari ride. I bought the ride tickets online and since we availed of the safari ride, we got discounts on the entrance fee to the theme park. Sweet deal! Not a sweet ride for the kiddos, though. While ate Sophie was screaming and crying the whole ride, Sam pretended to be invisible and curled up into a ball on his seat once he spotted a dinosaur. It's his way of surviving daw so he won't get eaten. I don't know where he got that but it's really cute :)

Can you guess who's more excited to be here? My crazy husband! Honey, there's such a thing as underacting in theater and you need to learn that.

Next, we took the almost 1 hour drive to Subic for lunch. Long drive really but we were all hungry for Meat Plus Cafe's burgers and ribs. Once again, Meat Plus didn't disappoint. My grilled salmon was heavenly (I'm trying to eat more fish and glad they serve seafood on the menu) :)

The highlight of our lunch was a surprise ice cream sundae with cherry on top for our celebrant. He was too ecstatic to blow the candle and eat his ice cream which he shared with all of us. He is a kid who doesn't mind sharing his food. After he tasted his very first cherry he said, 'Mommy, I don't want cherry on my cake anymore.'

Those are few wishes off his list plus a little shopping for the kids and adults hihi. 

He went shopping for a new pair of cool shades. 

Across Meat Plus we found this wall of white and red. Kewl!

Sam showing off his new loot. 

And did he say play all day? Why not! Swim all day too, they did. Well, not really all day... :)

On the day of his birthday, we got him his chocolate cake. No more cherry on top but I placed all the toys (cleaned well) he loves in those five years - Thomas and Friends, Bumble Bee and dinosaurs.

Oh and, of course, that spaghetti and chicken and some more favorites like our homemade cookies, fruits and chips for the movie night.

Yep, as a bonus, a Dinosaur movie night and mini party with his friends.

My son has always been Mr. Entertainer. Such a goofball! 

 Happy birthday to our little Mr. Energetic! Thank you for bringing so much joy in our life and for keeping our brain cells working overtime with your mind-boggling, tricky questions :) We wouldn't have it any other way. We love you much much :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Late Birthday Post: Turning 38

I've been contemplating (too long it’s April na) on what to write as a birthday post. As I shared, I turned 38 last March. Honestly, I have so many drafts for a birthday post and, ironically, they ended up unfinished. Somehow, I just can’t find the right amount of inspiration to end it and publish. Plus, life offline is so so busy. 

So here’s another attempt. This time I’m writing 8 things I learned since I became 30, that monumental part of my life where everything just took a 5th gear to where I am now.
I was 30 when I got married and got pregnant to my first born five months later. It was also at that time that, consequently, I moved out of my parents’ house and started my own family. I was around that age too when I got promoted to managerial position. Overwhelming 3-0 really. 

After years of what seem to be a roller coaster ride (I have a love-hate relationship with roller coasters), I’m here now sharing the things I learned. Off course, if given the time, I’d write more but for now, let’s keep it to 8 important truths in life as I see it (in no particular order):
  • Motherhood is no walk in the park. Some of the most hair-pulling, grueling experiences I came across as a mom were never shared in books, on the internet; not even my mom was able to share half of the hardships of parenting. Each parent needs to experience the journey, learn from it and grow with it. There will be a time when trial and error is the only option you have but the end in mind is always what's best for the family. That is our battle cry in this chaos of parenting. It's a fun ride, nevertheless. I love kids so I enjoy the journey. 
  • Marriage is no walk in the park either. From experience and as what I have observed with other married couple, I believe in 3 things to keep the marriage together 1) you have to love and marry the person for who he really is, not who you want him to be, 2) make sure you see yourself growing old with this person. It's important that you develop a strong friendship bond as this will get you through past the romantic and horny stage, past the financial and household crisis. In the movie American Quilt, the question,  'Should you marry your best friend or your lover,?' was something that stuck to mind. I go for the best friend! 3) Most importantly, always put God in the center of your relationship and home and He will guide your hearts to make your marriage fruitful. 
  • Never underestimate kids’ perspective, intuition and intelligence. Everyday my kids amaze me with their question ranging from 'I-can-answer-that-without-batting-an-eyelash' easy to 'OMG-what-to-say' difficult and trick questions like ‘Mommy, why God is a statue? Is he dead? So many eyelash batting before we can think of a clever, kid-friendly and truthful answer. Then they go 'why Mommies know everything?' Endless conversation really, never a dull moment :) My mindset at raising the kids is that I am just a steward of God assigned to take care of Sophie and Sam. And being that, it is my responsibility to raise them well as good and God-fearing individuals but they are never mine, they are God's children. 
  • A mantra that I have embraced since I was young: ‘God grant me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference.’- Reinhold Niebuhr. This always helps me to get a grip on life especially when it just gets too frustrating. 
  • ‘Don’t worry, at the end of the day, it will all fall into place’ - something I learned from a mentor. You know what, it always does. So when I'm bound to hit a wall, I just hum these words and sing a prayer song (they say singing a prayer is like praying 3 times over). 
  • Invest is now one of my favorite words. Over the years, I learned that if you invest something - in friendship, love, in career, financial, etc. - there is always a return. Just as you cannot reap a fruit if you don't plant a single seed and nurture it, you cannot expect success if you don't sweat it out. My younger self was the impatient, hungry kind who like it snappy, always moving, no idle time, fast paced, go go go! But as I got older, I learned to wait and be patient - for kids to learn to walk and talk, learned to work hard and climb the ladder to a better and stable career, to invest time on a good friendship. There is always a time for everything and we need to start at something,work on it and be patient with God's sweet time because hard work bears beautiful fruits. On the flip side, I also learned that there are people and things that you just have to let go to declutter life. Those that just brings you down and cause you constant stress, as Elsa said 'Let it go'!
  • This is so me right now. It just comes with age, I guess.LOL. I somehow outgrew my inhibitions, speak words of wisdom which surprises even thyself. I find myself sounding like my mom, if that is a good thing... 

Maybe it is. A former staff who is now abroad sent an online card on my birthday with this message.  

I was overwhelmed by the birthday messages on FB and texts from colleagues, subordinates and friends. They were totally unexpected and heartwarming :)

         At this point too, I don't care much about the norm and decide based on what I think is best for            me and my family whether it be the brand of shampoo or the school for the kids. I'm also trying (yes trying) to live life simply, focusing only on what's essential and those that add value to life. I guess               this is why for the past birthdays, I can't think of any material gift I want for myself. What I cherish now are those immaterial things. 
  • Life is short. Carpe Diem! Live life to the fullest. Don't say 'yes' when you really mean 'no' and vice versa. Don't stress over little things, don't sweat the small stuff. This last part practically sums up all other things I live by for years and years now. Of course, with #7 in mind. 
Have a peaceful and safe long vacation everyone! :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Quick Update: Happy Thoughts :)

Just a quick post because work is hell crazy right now and as you know I don't do blogging on weekends because that's family time so this is a quickie and random post :)

I'm so happy to receive an email from thegomom.com that I won in the raffle. Yip yip hooray!!! I already called Learning Library branch near our area (Schola Progressio) for assessment schedule. I knew I should have joined #100happydays. So many happy moments to share (but it's not too late right?) :) Thank you thegomom and The Learning Libraries:)

This week, we gave the summer schedule of kids at home a breather because we got bakasyonistas. The kids coaxed two of their cousins to stay at home for a vacation. Their cousins excitedly packed their bags, jumped into the car and went to stay with us for days sans parents ha. I feel like a mom of 4 for days lol.

Anyway, as treat from their great grand lola because of kids' good grades in school, they were given cash gifts which they used to buy a new inflatable pool (our old one was screaming retirement already). A fruit of their labor which they are now enjoying almost everyday! Buti na lang we have a mini garden. The water from the pool is used to water the plants and clean the car. No wasted resources.  

On a different note, here's today's lunch: blackened kingfish skewers with brown rice. So good and only 306 calories. Try Joreen's place for healthy happy meals delivered to your doorstep. They have a FB account FB/joreensplace and instagram account @joreensplace. 

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Family Summer Activities and Goals

So it's summer time. Whew! So thankful for the ubiquitous S word. We survived exam weeks. Yay!

That's a week of review for my little Sam and 2 1/2 weeks for our Ate Sophie. Yep, it was that time of the year to be reunited with fractions, phases of the moon, etc. and dozens of written exercises we had to make for the kids. 

I met one teacher/speaker in a K12 seminar I attended and when she found out I have one child in progressive and one in traditional school, she asked: 'How do you manage teaching both?' (we don't hire tutor). I don't know how to answer. We (husband and I) just try to manage, I guess. I try to switch teaching technique based more on the kid’s personality than their school setting. One child embraces sit down tutoring while the with the other it has to be very casual. For both kids, though, I always stay in their zone of interest whenever I need to make an example - dinosaurs, meteor showers, all about the earth for our little boy while it's about all the kikay and princess stuff for our little Ate. 

Anyway, summer is up but that doesn't mean mommies get to rest, noh? This year, we decided to hold off the summer classes and want our little kiddos to enjoy the 2-month break.

That doesn't mean, though, that they'll be lounging on the sofa for hours and watching TV or playing on the tablet. No can do so I made a schedule of activities and explained both to the kids and to the helpers on how to manage the activities.

8:00 am - breakfast time
9:00 am - outside play
10:00 am - art time/ library or reading time
12:00 nn - lunch
1:00 pm -  rest/nap time/ TV off
4:00 pm - snack
4:30 pm - outside play or art time with friends
5:30 pm - wash up and get ready for dinner.
7:00 pm - TV time

They usually wait up until 830pm for mommy and daddy to arrive from work. That's when we get our family bonding time. We asked them how their day went and what art project they did. Last night we played 'concert stage' after dinner :)

To the helpers only, I tell them that the schedules does not have to be followed to the letter (I don't want to put pressure on the kids, it's summer after all) but it will guide them on the activities for the day. Like this morning, Sam wanted to do art time already at 8:30 am. His OC Ate reminded him that art time is at 10 am pa. I just love these kids! :) And surprisingly, they really nap after lunch which they don't do anymore with their age.

Now I'm thinking how to tweak the activities so it won't get boring. Maybe dance performance next week?

Art time is basically free hand art projects. They can use whatever medium them want - crayons, watercolor, oil pastel, etc. They learned new technique in shading during their recent art class in Global Art in Salcedo Village. Their Mama Joy ( my sister) gave them this gift for Christmas. This is a good time to enhance this skill.

Of course, the big ones has their activities as well. Husby and I have been working on a healthier body since last month. Mornings are better now that we don't have to rush the kids to school (even with 2 helpers, we're still very hands on) and that only means we have time for workout. Yay!

We've also been 'eating clean' the past months with more salad and fruits, less rice or carbs and fatty food. I, for one, ordered a weekly healthy diet meal from a colleague at work.

This is a sample of my lunch - grilled salmon with mango and kiwi served with brown rice. Tastes so good at healthy pa. Plus the meal plan includes calories per meal, so if you're big on calorie counting like me, this makes it convenient.

Only P140 per meal but if you order lunch and dinner each meal is on P120/meal. Another thing I love about this meal plan is that it's so much more cheaper than my lunch before which can amount to P200 to P300 per dine out. They deliver within the Metro.

In my post here, I shared our Biggest Loser game at work. We already awarded the biggest loser last December and mind you, I won third place. Haha! The contender with least pounds to lose and the oldest among the contender won third place pa. I can't believe it either.

Now, I'm just more focused on toning the muscles especially the core since I already lost more than 10 lbs. The goal really is not to be paper thin but as toned and healthy as any 38-year old can achieve. Yep, that's how old I am since last week.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

AyosNaSummer Giveaway: Win Summer Siren Tickets!

Guys, here's the best thing that can happen to your summ-ah! What's the best way to work on that tan and parteee but to be in the hippest gig ever! I'm so looking forward to the sand, sea and fun activities and they're just around the corner. 
So what are you waiting for? Wish away, hop on to AyosDito.ph and share your wish for that chance to win! Good luck to us all :)

Be part of the hottest 3-day beach party for FREE when you share your #AyosNaSummer wish with your AyosDito.ph barkada! Simply Surf & Share on AyosDito.ph to win FREE Summer Siren tickets for you and your friends!

A total of 35 Summer Siren passes and 10 limited edition AyosLoudbasstard speaker docks will be given away to lucky Ka-Ayos who will share their #AyosNaSummer wish on AyosDito.ph. Join to get the chance to meet great people at the Summer Siren Festival happening on April 4-6 at Crystal Beach, Zambales! It’s very easy to join and win the ultimate beach adventure for your barkada. Tara na!

To join:
1.       Search #AyosNaSummer on AyosDito.ph then click the Win Summer Siren Tickets ad.
2.       Reply to the ad with your #AyosNaSummer wish. The more replies you leave, the more chances of winning exclusive Summer Siren tickets for you and your friends.

Are you diggin' these cool bands and DJs? Me too!

The prizes:
Total of 15 tickets and 3 room accommodations to be won! (5 Super Ayos winners will win 3 tickets and 1 room accommodation each)
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Exclusive consolation prizes for music lovers up for grabs. (10 winners of Loudbasstard speaker docks)

Winners will be selected at random. The more #AyosNaSummer wish you send, the higher your chances of winning. Each ticket is valid for entry to the Summer Siren event at Crystal Beach, Zambales this coming April 4 to 6, 2014. For more info, go to http://blog.ayosdito.ph

Monday, March 17, 2014

Recipe Share: Roast Pork Pastries

I have to confess, I’m a sucker for recipe out of a box. Literally, that is, recipes printed on a box (or can) of whatever we bought at the store – flour, cornstarch, milk, etc.

Why not?

Over the years since I started cooking and baking, these recipes were proven easy to follow and really delicious. I found my best Thai lumpia recipe from a free booklet I got when I bought an oyster sauce. My embutido and lumpiang shanghai was from a can of tomato sauce.

A few weeks ago, I chanced upon a recipe from a box of cornstarch (Golden Harvest) I bought to make homemade dough for the kids. It’s a pastry dough recipe with only 3 to 4 ingredients tops – flour, water, shortening and egg. You can fill it up with whatever you like. I divided the dough in batches for hotdog, pork belly and cheese fillings. 

Roast Pork Pastry: 

Water Shortening Dough
300g. (2/3 lbs.) Flour
150g. (1/3 lbs) water
75g. (3 2/3 oz.) lard or shortening

Flaky Dough
225g. (1/2 lb) flour
112g. (1/4 lb) Lard or shortening

the flaky dough, a little more yellow than the water shortening dough
  1. Mix and knead the 2 doughs separately. Divide each into 25 equally sized portions. Wrap one portion of flaky dough inside each piece of water shortening dough.

2. Roll out each piece of dough until thin and fold into thirds. Repeat this process 2 more times. Roll thin.

I didn’t follow the recipe on the box of Golden Harvest cornstarch. I instead used my own pork belly recipe.

Pulled Pork Belly:
500 g. pork belly
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
¼ cup cooked green peas (optional)
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
1 ½ tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. fish sauce
2 bay leaves, crushed
whole peppercorns
pinch of salt
½ cup water
zest of lemon or calamansi (optional)
chopped basil or coriander

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a pot except for potatoes, peas and chopped basil/coriander. Place the pork belly in the middle of the pot and slow cook until tender and meat starts to fall apart. You may need to add more water in the middle of cooking if the liquid starts to dry.
  2. Add the vegetables – add potatoes once pork is halfway done and green peas a minute before you turn off the fire.
  3. Once cooked, transfer on a plate, add chopped basil and let cool. Shred the pork into strips with fork once it’s cool enough.
  4. Wrap some filling in each piece of dough and lightly flatten. Brush some lightly beaten egg yolk on the top of each pastry.
  5. Bake at 200 degrees C (390 degrees F) or until golden brown.
In the oven they go. I placed them in a muffin pan because I'm not sure if they'll hold together since it was my first time to try this recipe. Thankfully, they did :)
The finish product. I honestly didn't expect what would come out of a pastry recipe without egg and all the other ingredients I normally use. Now I know - pastry with a little crunch; texture somewhere in between a hopia and an empanada. 

I'm definitely doing this recipe again, probably put more filling as I now know that the elasticity of the dough can hold the filling in place. Plus the kids had fun doing their own pastry dough. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Schooling: Field Trip 2014

My little princess and I went off two weeks ago to join the school’s field trip. Seriously, I’m starting to become an expert on field trips. There’s even one itinerary that we visited for 2 consecutive years already (for different schools).

If there’s one thing I realized too from these activities is that we will never be the early bird. Call time was just too early for this poor soul plus I stress over things to bring in the morning even if I already stressed over them the night before. I just needed to make sure I have everything for the trip – pocket money, credit cards, health cards, baby book, insect repellent, barf bags just in case, meds, sunblock, first aid kit and all other 'just in case' stuff. Of course, lots of snacks and water for the trip. Like we will go to far off place where there's no source for any of these which is, of course, not the case. 

Here’s sharing our itinerary during Sophie’s field trip. 

I only learned about this place when I received the letter about the field trip. Honestly, the place is quite nice and seem to have everything in one roof. Nice for family day tour, not too far from the city. 

The students got to milk the cow. Visitors with cough or cold were not allowed to come near the cows as the management is careful not to get the cows sick. Sophie was starting to have a cold that day so I didn't let her join. 

Zipline and Wall Climbing which my daughter both tried for the first time (with a little coaxing from Mom). She was scared to try at first but after her first try, she wanted to go on and on. ‘It was so much fun Mommy. Again, again!’, she squealed after her first try. 

The farm also sells frozen fresh cow’s milk and other milk products in different flavors. We took home the chocolate flavored cow's milk and my kids chugged the whole liter the following day.
Visit the farm's FB page if more info. 

We also visited Creamline factory but unfortunately they have no ice cream production that day so there’s nothing to see. They gave each one an ice cream drumstick, though. We’ve been here last year so it didn't bother my little girl the she wasn't able to see ice cream making but I totally get the parents’ grunts and complains. This trip was paid anyway.

Dino Island
Last and being the highlight of the trip (although my daughter wants to stay at San Gregorio Farm for the rest of the day).

We saw animatronics of dinosaurs and visited a mini dino fossil museum. It was a good trip but a little dusty and hot because we got there after lunch and the place was packed with visitors from different schools.  

Click the link to see the dinosaurs in motion. This is a hit with the kids. 

entrance to the park 
my little photographer

I took videos of some of the dinosaurs and showed it to Sam when we got home from Ate's field trip. He couldn't wait to go there as he's so into dinosaurs, meteor showers and the whole Big Bang phenomenon right now. So now you know where we'll be on his birthday :)

Visit: http://clarklandph.com/ for more info.

Friday, February 28, 2014

DIY Décor for a Disney Frozen Inspired Party

During and after Sophie's party, I got a lot of questions on how I did some of our DIY party decors. Well, it's not just me. It was a collaboration of family efforts. Some were done by Sophie and Sam, some were done by my sister and I.

Since Frozen or the song Let It Go is still much a rave until now (have you seen Christina Bianco's diva mash up version, so hilarious! clap clap), I thought I'd share some of our DIYs with you. 

Olaf was one of my favorite DIY project. Makes me remember the Thomas and Train box I did for Sam. 
I originally wanted to do a 3D Olaf but I couldn't find a polystyrene ball big enough to match the dimension and height I have in mind. I also thought that this will be my first time to work with polystyrene so I settled for a 2D version. That’s trying to meet the expections.

First off, I got a polystyrene board big enough for the design to 1) have enough elbow room to draw and 2) avoid having to patch pieces and save time. I bought the boards at National bookstore. Olaf’s height here was in reference to my height. I imagined, if this standee came to life, how big should he be? Yeah, you need a lot of imagination to do this. 

Next, draw the pattern. The pattern is fairly easy because the circles of his body don't have to be perfect. I was holding out a photo of him for visual reference while drawing the pattern.I imagined the upper body as siopao and the lower body as a rock with flat base or a dough.

Time to cut! This is I guess one of the critical parts (the other one is painting the face). Use a cutter and if you have 2 sizes of cutters (one small and one big), the better. The big cutter will help you slice off the chunky sides and get you as close to the pattern. The small cutter will help cut through the curves and crevices.

Be careful here to avoid getting cuts. I wasn't so by the time I finished I got 3 or 4 mini cuts. I did this project for 2 nights after work and just wanted to finish to get some sleep.

I asked our helpers to paint the pieces with white acrylic paint (which I bought at SM) to give it a clean finish. Two to three coats to cover the texture of polystyrene. My helpers were so excited to do arts and crafts as well! Once dry, we painted it again with white glitter poster color and sprinkled some more with white glitter while still wet. 

Now for the face. Visual reference is important to get as much details into the pattern. This photo was my reference - eyes up, the famous wide smile of Olaf.

I used cream poster paint to shape the eyes (black will make him look like a rockstar) and black poster paint to make the eyelids and iris. For the mouth I painted the inside with silver/gray paint (white poster paint mixed with a little black) and the corner of his mouth a lighter gray. When you look into the picture reference, look closely into the shadows and other details (ex. Olaf's shadow on his teeth).

I used poster color because I'm very comfortable with this medium and in case you make a mistake, it's easy to wipe it off with wet clean cloth and touch up with white paint for a clean start again.

Olaf minus the 'eyelid'

Olaf with eyelids and nose. Can you see the blue highlight to accent his cheeky smile? I used crayon on that.
For the buttons on his body, I painted it with black poster paint and silver streaks as highlight. 

Once paint is dry, I assembled the body parts and head using barbeque sticks cut into two and glue. 

The nose was made of real carrot. I emptied the inside of the fresh carrot to make it lightweight and stuck it into the polystyrene board using bbq sticks and glue again. 
For the hair and arms, I asked Sophie and her yaya to search the neighborhood for twigs. 

So, that's how Olaf was made. I let him stand on a polystyrene board covered with epsom salt and glue for a snowy look. 

A little side story, I did Olaf about 5 days before the party and the morning of Sophie's birthday we saw that the carrot became dry and wrinkly. I had to change the carrot nose the morning of the party which I really didn't mind. At least I got to practice how to do the nose days ahead. 

Olaf on stage, making the kids happy to see him. We also did the same procedure of cut and paint on the standee letters. Really, this project saved me thousand and thousand of moolah.

Table Centerpiece - Snowman and Frosted bottles

materials needed for frosted bottle:
empty wine bottles or maison bottles, washed and wiped dry
epsom salt. You can find a bag at a grocery store under beauty and health section since this is usually used as a body scrub. I got one at Landmark Trinoma.
1:2 ratio of glue and water
paint brush

What to do:
Brush the bottle with glue mixture making sure all parts you want frosted is covered. Roll the bottle with wet glue on espom salt and leave to dry completely. That's it :)

We frosted almost everything! It was so easy and fun to do :)

materials needed for snowman:
round polystyrene balls, 2 different shapes
1:2 ratio of glue and water
wide and deep container for the glue mixture
paint brush
white and silver glitters. We also used colored sand and found it better to use on the bottom ball                   because it adds weight and makes the decor stable. It's a little hard to manipulate, though, when           wet.
cupcake liners for the hat (source: Chocolate Lover)
black craft paper for the eyes and mouth
toothpick to connect the head to the body
mini cake silver base for the base (source: Chocolate Lover)
double adhesive tapes

What to Do:
Same as the frosted bottle - brush glue mixture around the styro balls making sure all areas are covered.
Roll on a bed of glitters or colored sand. Let dry.
Once dry, connect the small and big ball using a toothpick and connect the body to the silver base with double adhesive tape. Decorate.

Happy DIY!
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