Monday, December 12, 2011

Abandoned!

I've abandoned my blog (and blogging in general including blog hopping) for quite a long time due to so many reasons.  But I swear to the magic scarf that is soon to be mine, this is not forever! One of 'em reasons is I got really busy preparing for our Manila December vacation plus work work work.  Anyways, I am writing a short note for all my blog sisters in Manila who'd want to meet us even for a short coffee chit-chat.  Is MOA a good place?  How about Dec 21 in the afternoon?  Send me an email sisters!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Why do kids learn so easily what they are not supposed to learn?

I try to be a good example with Little Spanish Pinay. I swear, I make the best effort. But I have this bad habit of uttering a vulgar when I get surprised or when something falls off. And the frequent word I say? Vagina! I don't exaclty say the english word vagina but the equivalent of it in my language. One dinner time, I was feeding LSP and trying to cool off the food from the spoon by blowing on it ::might be gross to others but hey, it's a Filipino thing:: and suddenly the food flew out from the spoon. Obviously, I blew too hard. To which I exclaimed puke! Pronounced puh-keh. It wasn't even loud and I said it just once! ONCE!


Hubby knows the word so he gave a quick disapproving look and immediately I felt bad that I said it infront of LSP but I thought, it's ok. It was just quick and she might not even heard it. Another be-careful-with-your-words-next-time-look from hubby.

So we continued with our dinner. LSP eats her dinner on her own now but I still try to sneak in some food in her mouth from time to time to make sure she eats something. She's still in a phase where playing with food is the same as eating the food.

Few minutes passed by, LSP was busy with her food while hubby and I was having out little chat while eating. Suddenly we heard it. She said the word. Puh-keh. Hubby and I exchanged looks of horror. My mouth open, I looked at LSP. Apprently while she was trying to fork her food, it slipped and fell off the floor and she said the word again.

I'm like ...No, It can't be. I must have heard her incorrectly.

We tried not to react and instead drive her attention to something else. But hubby and I were like OH.MY.GOSH mouthing the words without sound and with eyes wide in shock. She drank her water and it spilled off and she then said it again. It was kind of hilarious but...

MUST.NOT.LAUGH.

She can't see this as something funny nor she can't see us reacting on it or else the word will be forever engraved in her recording-like mind.

Then I thought it's ok, it's ok. I'm sure tomorrow she'll forget about it. I just need to make sure she doesn't hear it from me again.

The whole night we didn't hear the word from her again. The following day, she was playing with her toy caserole with few cereals in it to "cook". She took a toy spoon and started mixing the cereals in her toy caserole. While mixing, a few cereals spilled off and she said puke. We were so wrong. From then on, every time something from what she's doing falls off or spills off, she'd say the word.

I can't believe how fast can an 18-month old learn a word like that! She even learned the full concept use of it. Maybe I can take this positively and just be happy that she's a fast learner. Not. SHE.MUST.UNLEARN.IT.

I tried to use some other words everytime I'd "accidentally" drop something and let her hear me on purpose but she will just look at me like "mami, you're saying the wrong word". I tried to use books! bed! bear! and many other "cute" words but nothing works. She wouldn't repeat. I later on realized those are silly words to use as an expression. I know, I'm getting desperate. But the last thing I tried that seemed to be working is oooops! She'd say oooooosh! And she'd smile and sometimes laugh. There are still time that she'd say THE word but I really hope she'd completely unlearn it!

oooooosh!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Home made rice puffs

In the Philippines, rice is a staple food. It's like bread for Spain; will never be out of the picture in a meal.  Heck, we even eat rice for breakfast (or merienda).   Due to hot and humid weather in the Philippines too, food can easily get spoiled and rice is number one victim most often.  Getting food spoiled is my mom's number one pet peeves especially that many times, we wouldn't even have enough food for a whole day.  So my mom has some tricks under her sleeves to recycle left-over and not put them to waste.  One of which is making her own rice puffs.  She would normally do this in the afternoon and we'd wake up from our nap with the smell of rice puffs freshly made with a touch of sugar on top of it.  

These are normally done with the left-over rice; sometimes even rice that are already on the verge of getting spoiled.  The rice is extended on a bilao and let the rice dry up under the sun.  She'd normally put it on top our roof.... ahhh, the memories of drying things up under the sun... daing, pusit.... I gotta stop.

Bilao

Once the rice has completely dried up (hard consistency), she'd fry it in small batches in a deep frying pan.  Voila, home made rice puffs.  She'd sprinkle it with sugar and we'd gobble them hungrily.

I've been wanting to do this here in Spain but I have one big problem:  The moment I put the rice under the sun, they won't last not even for a minute.  The doves and seagulls would feast on it in no time.  So I kind of held back for a while until I discovered that I can dry the rice up in the oven too!  It wasn't bad at all.  Hubby loved 'em.  He ate 'em with his soymilk and his exact word was espectacular! (spectacular).  

Rice puffs freshly made

Close up

As for me, I love it just the way we used to eat them.  Plain rice puffs sprinkled with sugar.  Little Spanish Pinay loved them too!  She ate them like they were chips.  

Here's how I made them:

Preheat oven to 100ºC.  Extend the left-over rice (or even freshly made) on an oven tray covered with parchment paper and place inside the oven.  Lower down the temperature to 80ºC and let it bake for 2 hours or until it's completely dry.

Heat oil on a small deep frying pan. I used a small pot.  250 ml of oil should be enough.  Fry in small batches in over just a minute without letting the rice get browned (unless preferred).

That's it! Easy peasy breezy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pandesal!

I've been craving to have pandesal.  Pandesal is a staple bread in the Philippines good to eat anytime of the day but most especially on breakfast and merienda.  It's good to eat plain or with something else like corned  beef, peanut butter, butter (with a hint of sugar), liver spread, chiz whiz, cheese, spam,  and the list is longer than Santa's list.

It's been a while that I've been dreaming of being able to do make my own pandesal because in this part of the world where Filipino or Asian store is unheard of? One can only taste hot pandesal if he makes his own.  Although the name pandesal (pan de sal or salt bread) has a Spanish bread, there's really no pandesal here.... yeah, life's irony.

One day though (that was last week), I found some courage to dirty my hands with bread flour and make my own pandesal. Hubby cheered for me and I swear that really helped a lot.

I tried to search for a simple recipe where ingredients are readily available here and this is the best I found from Kusina ni Manang.

was really happy my pandesal rose! Don't ask me about the shape... rolling and cutting the pandesal dough is something I need to practice more :)

The whole house filling with the smell of fresh bread...

They are finally done.  Looks like a little bit overbaked but they are delish! 

It can still improve though... I believe I didn't give them much time to rise.  The recipe called for rapid rise yeast and I just realized I used a normal yeast so I should have let them rise for a longer time.  So that's lesson learned.  The next time I do them,  I'm pretty sure they'll be even better.

I told hubby to let them cool down a little bit before trying them but he sneaked behind my back this sneaky sneaky man.  But I am really happy he loved pandesal.  Yesterday he just told me he can't wait for me to make some more.  (His subtle way of commanding me to make some more)

home made pandesal partnered with home made peanut butter IS happiness :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The time I really blushed and was thankful I met this blog friend

This sweet lady I met in blogosphere has been beating the records of firsts... she's the first who grabbed my button, the first who has added me on twitter (among blog friends) and the first who has interviewed me and featured me in her blog!

Barbara, you are such a darling, really.  You know how I love to follow you on your blog but lately life is crazy (most of the time crazy-fun though so I am not complaining :) ) and I just couldn't find time to stay more time in front of my personal laptop and enjoy my blogging time.  Coz my blogging time? Was temporarily (I really, really hope it is just temporarily) to de-cluttering the house even for just a little bit, or spending more bedtime routine, or just sitting in the couch with my butt almost falling off the couch and arms wide spread to just breath. I seriously need to improve my time management skills or at least develop this skill as I have been thinking I don't have this skill at all.

Anyways my lovely blog friends, if you want to take a peak of Barbara's interview with yours truly, please go and visit.  It's in English so don't worry ;-) but if you feel like brushing up on your Spanish a little bit, go ahead and browse more on her blog as you will definitely learn something!  It's fun :)  



Photobucket

Barbara, thanks once again!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Should we punish?

I am a member of Circle of Moms but haven't been active.  I get a newsletter (daily I think) about the latest topics in the forum and would just normally delete it as I really don't have much time to read and reply - although I would want to.  Some questions by fellow moms are really interesting and many times, I'd like to share a piece of my mind but I just couldn't find much time.  Yesterday though, one question from a mom hit me and got me to reflect.

How do you punish your kid for hitting?

was the question.

I clicked on the link on my email and was automatically brought to the main forum page.  I started reading the responses.  One of the many popular response is that they give their kids timeouts.  Others say they'd pop or smack the hand a little.  Some talk about positive disciplining etc.  

Punish - I find this word harsh to be used for disciplining a kid more so for a toddler.   I know how important it is for children to learn what's good and what's bad; what's wrong and what's right and make sure they don't turn into bullies.  But with punishment,  could we be just teaching them to have fear of getting punished for doing what we don't approve of?   When our kid hit another kid out of frustration, and to tell him it is not good to hit others, we hit  our kid - wouldn't that just send them the wrong signal about hitting?   "It's ok for mommy to hit because I did something wrong and mommy was upset... but that kid took my toy and that's wrong and I was upset... isn't that the same?"

As I've said from a previous blog entry I was a disciplinarian on my younger siblings and have hit them more than a couple of times for behaving badly.  Before, I strongly believe about punishment, hitting on the hand, yelling to prove I'm the right one and I have power over them etc.  But I totally regret that now.  Since I've become a mom, I realized all those behaviors of mine towards disciplining were not right.  

I don't have a degree in child psychology and neither I've seen tons of kids raised differently by different moms to have a basis on the thoughts I have about punishment on toddlers or very young kids.  Time outs, I have never done it.  Light smacks or popping on any part of the body, not considering it.  And I do pray that a situation won't come when I'd lose control and hit LSP.  I am not even saying that hitting may have a bad psychological effect on kids as I do not have a way to prove that.  No, I can't do lab test nor have I read books and books about investigations on the effect of hitting on kids.  I am not even going to declare that not hitting kids is the best way of disciplining or parenting.  It's just what my instinct tells me to do.  

I can't think of any situation where my little one would deserve spanking no matter high light it could be.       There had been a few times when out of desperation, I have raised my voice and yelled LSP's name in an angry note.  Just by seeing her startled face, I regret I've ever yelled right at the moment.  So I can't really imagine how crappy I'd feel the moment I lose myself and hit her.

So, my question is do we really need to punish toddlers?  It may be effective on the surface since most probably punishments will remind them not to do whatever it is that would send them not to eat their meal, or spend minutes of time outs in a corner, or lose their most favorite toy.   So what happens when punishments are gone?  

I'd personally choose talking and discussing what happened, why my daughter acted as such and why we should not be doing the bad deed that was done.   I'd rather make her understand that hitting (for instance) is not good because it can hurt someone.  And we don't want to hurt anyone.  Nor would mommy want to see anyone hurt her dear daughter.  It may seem futile to explain things to a 1.5 yr old for instance but I myself would get surprised later on, on how it would impact her what I have told her a few days back.  Sometimes we just need to have more faith on our children.

As a child, I was hit several times (uhm, ex-bratinella anyone? ::me raises hand::).   And I turned out ok.  Neither do I have a shattered relationship with either of my parents.  I love them so much that it just aches right now that I am far from them.  But would I choose not to be hit at the time I was misbehaving when I was a kid?  Your bet, sir! I do.  My mom would explain to me why I was hit and what I did was wrong.  I accept the "I was wrong part" But never accepted the hitting.  Then later on,  unknowingly, I just started thinking it's the way to discipline and so I became a "popper" for my younger siblings.   I am glad motherhood has changed me.

Would I regret one day that I never spanked my little one to discipline her?  That I couldn't answer.  As a parent, I know I am going to make good and bad decisions.  And it can take a lifetime before I'd finally know if I have done well or not.   But right now, hitting her or making her feel bad to learn a lesson doesn't feel right - says my motherly instinct.  

Think I may be raising a bully?

Nah.  Anyone who has this smile can never be a bully :)



Friday, September 16, 2011

Uniform for Nannies?

I've seen them.  Nannies and helpers in uniform.  Maybe royalties or really rich families who have a number of nannies and helpers at home could see the benefit of having them in uniform (let's say because of a number of them at home, they want to make sure they can track them or identify them easily), I am not really sure it is necessary for normal families who has 1 or 2 nannies or helpers at home to be wearing uniform.  I feel like it's some sort of social status tripping.   

Yes, being a nanny and a helper is a profession and a respectable one at that.  And many other professions wear uniform like doctors, nurses, health aids, waiters, cooks, etc.  But in this, we go back to the idea like how it is with royal families or families of really high stature leaving in big manors with hundreds of helpers.  But of a normal family with one helper or nanny who stays with you at home, is it really necessary for them to use a uniform?  When I see a middle-class family out on a tour or a lazy walk, with the nannies tagged along in uniform,  it's like they're trying to tell the world they are so well-off they can afford themselves to hire someone who can "serve" them.  

The other day, while I was browsing some pictures from a social network, I've seen in one of the pictures  someone I personally know (very chic and always made up) having one of those normal walk in the park with her baby in a stroller being pushed by the obviously nanny - wearing a uniform.  I had to zoom in the picture 3 times and see if the nanny is really wearing a uniform.  Perplexed I was.  That is why I started having this thoughts about nannies, helpers and uniforms.  The question resonated in my mind.  What for?  Maybe to look more professional? To look cleaner?  There could be tons of reasons and perhaps many of them are valid... from where I stand? I just don't think it is necessary.

And it is sad because I've been seeing how nannies and helpers are being treated in some households and   I don't agree on many of them.  Not to mention being paid a measly salary.  Many would pay a very low salary and then expect that the nannies or helpers will be perfect in everything service related.  Tell me if there is no injustice there.

I do know of horror stories with some nannies BUT just because there are few who are probably disturbed, it doesn't warrant anyone to automatically treat the nannies or helper they'd hire as such.

Maybe I'm over analyzing things or maybe I am too cynical.  Maybe I am the one judging.  But  I sure wouldn't require our nanny to wear uniform.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Crashed Potato

Looks yummy? IT IS! 

Let me tell you a short story first...

Yesterday, I wasn't so sure what to prepare for lunch.  I wanted something really quick but not a blah if you know what I mean.  Hubby is still watching his diet (I suppose we all should watch our diet for obvious health reasons, yes?) so that also added some more challenge over the choice of what to cook for lunch.  And I must say, this scenario repeats itself everyday.  The never ending question:  What to cook today?

Somewhere along the way, between work, like a manna from heaven this recipe popped up on my screen.  It looked a bit complicated at first but as I was reading the step by step and looking at the photos, I realized it was totally on the contrary.  We love potatoes in this household and potatoes is one of those items in hubby's diet list (provided by the family doctor) that can be eaten daily.  Easy recipe? Favorite foody? Can be eaten daily?  We have a winnerie! I know there's no such word as winnerie, but I am trying to make everything rhyme ok? Just dig it.

It turned out so good it will be a crime if I do not share it.  While you can just follow the link above for the recipe, I have here my own version.  Sooo here we go!

Put amount of potatoes you like into boiling salted water.  The presentation will be prettier if you use smaller potatoes, so then you wouldn't have to cut them.  I only have humungous potatoes at home so I had to cut them into smaller pieces.  But I tell you, it didn't affect the taste of this recipe in a bad way at all.  No need to peel the potato.  The fun is in the skin!  Just make sure they are washed thoroughly :)  Let the potatoes boil until fork-tender.

Here you can use a cookie sheet.  I don't have a big one so I just used the oven tray and covered it with a baking sheet.   Then I poured over some olive oil.  This is the part where I wish I have an oil dispenser so I can pour the oil in a more even distribution and then it can look more professional.  But hey, no sweat... you can just spread the oil with the potato or a brush.

Line up the potatoes and make sure you put enough space between them.

Crash the potato.  This is the heart of this recipe.  If you have a potato masher, yay for you! Use it.  Crash the potato down in one swift movement then rotate the masher 90 degrees and then crash the potato down again.  If you are like me and you don't have a potato masher, be creative and use anything that can work to flatten the potatoes a bit.  I used a combination of the bottom of a glass and fork to give texture.

Using a brush, spread olive oil on top of each crashed potatoes.  Be generous, don't be afraid.  Or yes, be afraid and watch out the calories :-D  Don't say I am not promoting good health.

The original recipe called for Kosher salt to be sprinkled on top.  I don't even know what's Kosher salt so therefore, I don't have it at home.  But I have my pink salt and it was just perfect.  I am so loving this Himalayan salt.  Just like how Kosher was described, Himalayan salt adds pizzazz in your food but not making it taste like salt.  I don't know if that makes sense but it's just cool!  So sprinkle whatever salt you have at home.

Here you sprinkle some rosemary or whatever herb you like.  I used rosemary and garlic powder.  We love garlic here.  You can also sprinkle some cheese perhaps or even bacon bits.  Or if you want to go a bit wild on the health issue use butter instead of olive oil to spread on top of potato. You can choose healthier or yummier :-D  The possibilities are endless!

Ok, then finally, put the cookie sheet or the baking tray on the top most rack of the oven with high temp like 230ºC or 450ºF for about 20minutes or until you see potatoes turned into beautiful yummy golden brown.

When done, scoop them out, baby! and impress your hubby or loved ones at home :)  Eat them, they're really good!  Just by the smell, you'd know it's amazingly good.

This is a very good side dish.  With steak perhaps.  Or it can be your main dish too if you are a real potato lover... then add some cauliflower or broccolis on the side.. .again the possibilities are endless!

So here are my potatoes.  I know they are nothing like the first photo above.  That one is from the site where I copied the recipe from.  Remember, I didn't use potato masher? Coz I don't have one? So my potatoes turned out a little bit flatter.  But they're good.  I am not even sure I'd prefer it any other way.  Being flatter, it made the potato really crispy.... so I guess in the end, it depends on how you like your potatoes to be :)

I tell you, try this out! You won't regret it.  It's suuuuuuper easy and terribly yummy.  It was so good, hubby and I decided to do it again in the evening.  You know I'm talking about the potatoes, right? Yeah, the crashed potatoes ;-)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: The rearview mirror pleasure


The beauty of the rearview mirror... I can catch her unguarded moments.  

Then a priceless smile when she saw me in the mirror looking at her.

While we have this baby on board sticker at the rear window of the the car? I got this Philippine flag in front to say "Filipina on board" LOL

Monday, September 12, 2011

Is it time?


... for an anti-aging cream?  I turned 32 today and suddenly the thought hit me.  Is it some sort of 30s syndrome?  I don't know but I suddenly caught myself several times looking at the mirror closely to pay special attention on my skin.  Perhaps it's kind of getting dull and dry on some areas.  I didn't find any wrinkles yet (or maybe the light is just a bit a dim) but I feel like time is already showing.  I am not conscious about my age.  I openly tell people about my age without any hesitance - unlike many fine women :)  But then I do like to have good skin and would like that my skin will not be telling people that I have 10yrs more than I actually have.

And yes, mommy or not, we should be taking good care of our skin, yes?  Of course nothing beats a good 8-hour sleep, good eating habits and exercise and drinking 8 glasses of water a day to having good skin.  All of those are easy to do in a perfect world.  But while my world is a happy and perfect for me, it's not THAT perfect to give me 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Plus, I have special weakness on junk food.  Also? I hate exercising.  Another thing? I don't really count my water intake and through an intelligent guess? I don't think I'd reach 8 glasses of water a day.  So, yes, I am a total wreck when it comes to "being healthy"

That's why I need some help from these hydrating/moisturizing/nourishing creams... and now most probably a rejuvenating cream :)  

So maybe it's time to retire the current hydrating cream (a.k.a hubby's cream) I am using and use an anti-aging one? 

I've read that asian skins are lesser prone to early signs of wrinkles.  Age is shown first through discoloration and maybe sagging.  Maybe that is why I am not yet sporting some wrinkles and almost all of my asian friends that of the same age as mine.  Also? I look at my mom and it makes me hopeful coz at age 57, she doesn't have obvious wrinkles yet.   Then again, we don't have the same health habits so genes might not just work 100% on me. Sooooo there I go, contemplating on an anti-aging cream.

Thoughts girls? At what age have you started using anti-aging creams (if already using one)?  At what age should we start considering anti-aging creams?  Any recommendations? :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Air travel with a toddler - stroller; with or without?

We're spending C H R I S T M A S in my beloved Philippines! -ber months has started and I feel like I am already running out of time to prepare.  And since we are going with a 19-month-old-by-then toddler, I am kind of anxious on how I will be able to handle this.  It'll be my first time to travel (looooonnnnggg) with a toddler.  I'm sure things will be alright but I just can't help but get obsessed with how things would go.  There's just soooo many things to think about and consider.  This is going to be LSP's looong flight.  We flew to Madrid once and she was just about 4 months by then and it wasn't bad at all.  It as just an hour flight though so I can't really compare it to what we are about to experience.



So I thought perhaps, to start with "preparing" myself for the long flight,  I'd write some tips I find while I read articles about the subject matter and then my thoughts and questions as well, so I can get some first-hand tips from my readers.

Our flight is going to be about 20 hours in total including airport waits.  What I have been contemplating a lot for now is whether we should bring a stroller for Little Spanish Pinay or not.  Since this is going to be across continents flight and we don't fly to Philippines quite often, I am pretty sure we'll be packed up to the limits.  So the thought of having an additional stroller to think about and stash, etc is kind of pushing me back about bringing one.  Plus, we'd have to buy (or maybe borrow) a different one than what she already has since the one she has now is not precisely light.  

Still the thought of having another carry on apart from 2 carry-on luggages, my personal bag and a diaper bag, is making think back and forth.

This is what she currently has and it's not really good for bringing in the airpot as it is everything but a light stroller.

LSP is going to be just 19months by then.  Obviously already walking.  She loves walking on her own.  So I am imagining she'd prefer to walk around on her own than being in the stroller during between flights waits - especially that everything is going to be something to discover for her.  If that will be the case, then perhaps a stroller will be just be an extra baggage for us.  Then again,  I start to imagine scenarios like what if we need to run from one gate to another or LSP gets tired - a stroller will be handy.  Plus we can also use the stroller to put our bags if LSP prefers to run around on her own.  But then, I can also just bring our baby carrier.  With it, I can run with her from one gate to another.  Plus since she wouldn't have her own seat in the airplane, being in the carrier,  she can sleep on me and I'll have my hands free to do something else like hold my hubby's hand (hee!) or read a book or play DS.

I am still so undecided!  Hubby's first inkling is not to bring one but he's not really the type of sweating it out by trying to imagine different scenarios especially complicated ones.  He's so positive about everything (even in life in general) that he doesn't really consider much whether it is best to bring a stroller or not.

So, my dear bloggers... any tips and thoughts and kind words? :-)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm not a part-time mom

I don't like labeling. But let's admit it, in this world, things or events or occupations and just about anything has to have their names, otherwise, it'll be a complete chaos or texting would really be tiring. 

Imagine everytime you need to mention your job, you'd have to say,  I take care of  keeping and inspecting the financial accounts of a company.  Instead of just saying I am an accountant. 

You get the jist.

But when it comes to motherhood or being a mom, I am uncomfortable about the terms full-time mom for moms having the privilege of being able to spend their 24x7 with their kids to mother them. If they are full-time moms, what does that make someone who has an 8-hour job? A part-time mom? 

No, ma'am.

I work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week (and sometimes a few hours on a weekend) but while I work, that doesn't mean I stop being a mom. Jobs can be full-time or part-time. Full-time if you work at least 40 hours a week. 40 hours because that is what's (theortically) just necessary for someone to do his work duties according to their job description and according to (in general) labor's law (at least to most countries I know). Part-time if it is anywhere less than that because someone else (another part-timer) would replace you in order to fill up with the remaining time in a week or in a day necessary for the same job to be done.

But what is the schedule needed to be completed for a mom to be considered full-time? When I am at work, I don't cease to be a mom. Being a mom is not a role for me that can be removed and set aside while I sweat my forehead to bring home bread. When I am not with my child, I am still her mom. Even when she gets married and move out our house, I'll be her mom. When I am not with her, she is still my responsibility even if someone else is caring for her in my absence.  My day job? I am only responsible with the databases when I am on duty... otherwise, if there's any problem that would occur, I'm not required to do anything or work, so to speak.  Being a mom is not like a job or profession where you can forget about being so when work schedule has ended.  So no, I beg to disagree that one is a full-time mom and then others would fall into the part-time mom category just because we leave the house to earn a living.

I'm not criticizing moms that use the term full-time moms being when they are stay-at-home moms as this term is not something they invented.  The term has just been there and I am 100% for sure it's not being used to mock working moms like me.  But nonetheless, it does make me reflect on what does that imply about moms who work.  Call it being guilty?  Maybe I am guilty that I spend time working isntead of being with my child every minute she needs me - just like how I'd imagine myself doing in my perfect world - and so hearing another mom declaring she's a full-time mom gives me that defensive feeling? I don't know but I just strongly believe it isn't fair.   More than a profession or a vocacion, motherhood IS relationship with your child and that relationship is not and cannot be "temporarily stopped" while one is not with her child to do her way of helping with the house bills.  So it can never be part-time.
I am a mother. Full-time and for a lifetime.  Period.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Facts of me from A-Z


I'm generally a shy person and more of the listener rather than the talk-about-one's-self kind of friend.  But Lexie of voiceboks has created this ABC's of me event and I thought I just have to participate as everyone's having fun.  Voiceboks is really a wonderful and helpful site for moms (and everyone else) to build network and traffic.  If you haven´t joined voiceboks I really suggest you join.  It´s a fun site and everyone´s just friendly and supportive.

I am actually enjoying reading everyone's ABCs than creating mine :) but a girl's gotta participate too and not just stalk ;-)  So here goes mine.

Artist.  Escape artist, that is.  Having a little one that only sleeps with the boobies and holding on to THE mami, I learned to become a very good escape artist freeing myself from her clutch and not wake her up in the process.

Breastfeeding enthusiast.  We've been breastfeeding for 16months and 2 weeks now!

Contortionist.  See letter A.

Devoted to my family.  My family is my life.

Environmentalist.  At least, I try to be.  We cloth diaper for instance :)

Filipina and a very proud one at that! 

Green.  No, not green as in dirty mind! Green as in earth-friendly.

Homesick most of the time.  I do have a new home now as I have formed my own famiy with a doting husband and a perfect daughter but I still miss my first home all the time.  It's really hard to be oceans away from the people you love.

Introvert in general.  I love mingling with people, I love making friends but I was never a big fan of having night-outs though I enjoy them once in a while.  Most of the time, I just love spending the weekend at home cuddled to hubby while watching our fave movie or tv shows. 

Jolly.  I am generally a jolly person... but yeah, sometimes I do have my dramas too.

 Keen on smells. I am very sensitive on smell inspite of having a very small flat nose.  I consider it a blessing.  But when I got pregnant?  Doomsday for me.  Or rather doomsdays. Everything smells sooooo strong and irritates me to no end.  The coffee smell that I am so inlove with?  It was unbearable for me. 

LOL.  I love to laugh out loud and I do laugh out loud.  Even in public.  Sometimes, I scare people.

Married to the man God has chosen for me. 

No sense of direction. Gosh I swear, I am terrible with directions and I just wish I am the other way around.  I get lost ALL time. 

Oceans away from my parents, siblings, relatives and friends.  But they are always and will always be close to my heart.

Passionate about motherhood.  It's a dream that has now come true.

Queer.  I can be odd sometimes like I love to sleep with a pillow on top of my head (especially in the eye area).

Reserved most of the time.  I'm gnerally a shy person (anyone would like to disagree?). Except when I laugh.  I love a good laugh. 

Second to the eldest in the family.  I have 4 sisters and a brother who's the youngest.

Tearjerky.  I'm quite the emotional type and normally would have a hard time controlling my tears.  I would cry when I get really, really angry.

Unavailable. Sorry, boys!

Verdant when it comes to baking (and maybe to so many other things in life heh!).  But I am really enjoying baking especially when hubby loves  what I bake. 

Wide-eyed, which was often the cause of me getting teased a lot by kids when I was young.  I was called by different names because of having big and wide eyes.  Kids can be really mean, you know.

eXuberant when it comes to showing and giving my love to my daughter.

Yummy to my husband. No one can dispute that!

ZzzZZZzzzZZ'ng is my favorite past time.  I can practically sleep anywhere.  In a bus, in a jeepney, in tricycles, in a metro, in airplanes,in taxis, in cars, and any moving vehicle I guess :).  The movement lulls me to sleep!

Wow, that was tough!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Your toddler is not a liar.

How many times have I seen and hear this, in movies and in real life.  Parents telling their toddlers: Don't lie to me. I know you broke that vase!   Stop lying, and tell me where you hid Mr. Teddy we need to wash him!  Why are you being such a liar at a very young age? 

Isn't it frustrating and disappointing whey they lie? 

How can they learn to lie at such a young age?  If I catch my toddler lying this early, does that mean he's going to be a professional liar when he grows up?  Help!

Stop.

It doesn't really mean they're lying and that they are masking the truth because they want to avoid being punished or simply because they didn't want to upset us.  Don't we do this adults?  Don't we lie because we want to avoid hurting people we love? Don't we lie to avoid getting fined or punished?  I am not saying it is OK to lie but I am just saying that in reality, lying is part of life and if we adults can't avoid this many times, why expect for toddlers to become stronger than us and not lie at all?
I read a blog article of a mom (who shall not be mentioned) about her 2yr old girl playing with other children in a park.  One playmate (a boy slightly older than her) approach the girl and asked for one of her favorite doll.  The 2yr old girl quickly hid the doll behind her and said she doesn't have it. Seeing this, the mom hurried to her girl and said "What did I tell you about lying? I told you not to lie.  Your hiding your doll behind your back.  We can all see her legs coming out from your back.  Let your friend play with it for a while.  You're not just becoming a liar but also a selfish one".  Embarrassed about her 2yr old girl's behavior,  she proceeded on commenting to the parents who were also watching the kids play; "She's terrible. I don't know where she learns how to lie. I kept on telling her that lying is bad.  I guess she's in that age.  But I really have to put a stop to this".
I don't know if I am the only one seeing something wrong with this. But I didn't agree on how the situation was dealt.  The 2yr old girl loves her doll very much.  She might have known how this boy treats toys.  She might have seen him play with his action figures being thrown up in the air and letting it fall - which is how boys would normally play with them.  But for her, this is no way how to treat a beautiful doll... much less her doll.  And it terrorizes her to see her much loved doll to be thrown up and in the air and fall flat in her face.  So to protect her doll from this rowdy little boy,  she said she doesn't have it.  Not telling the truth is her only way to save her doll!  In her small mind, it was her only escape.  Won't adults do the same given a similar situation?  Of course with something more valuable than a doll. But for a 2yr old, her doll is more valuable than an iPhone or than a Prada dress.  She's not being a liar.  She's protecting something precious for her.  
Sometimes we do need to stop and try to see the world the way our little ones see it, to understand their behavior.  Why they acted one way and not the way we'd want them to.

Another classic example is when a child breaks the mom's favorite vase.  The mom would see the broken vase in horror and would ask her child if he broke it and the child would say no with the flower still in his hand.  What could really have happened is that the child was admiring the flower and wanted to touch it but was too clumsy and pushed the vase accidentally.  Obviously, it fell on the floor and broke. The mom normally ask the child "Did you break the vase?" and the child would adamantly say no.  So what happens next?  Mommy says "Don't lie to me, I know you did it! Stop lying because I know you did it".

Why does the child can't just say he did it?  Naturally, he's scared of getting punished and most of all, he's scared of upsetting his mom with his own doing.  He didn't want to be "the cause" of mom getting upset.  For obvious reasons, he loves his mom.  And children more than anything else, loves to see us happy. They love to make us smile.  And so realizing that being the probable cause of mommy becoming sad is not acceptable to the child so he tries to cover up what happened.  This is all his small mind can do best to protect his mom from being sad.  And most probably to avoid getting punished.  Who wants to be punished anyways? Wouldn't we do something as well to avoid punishment?

I am not trying to justify thy lying per se but I am just trying to know where the lying is coming from and how and why these little minds resort to this.  And this way we can better deal with the situation and not just attack the kids with the words lying and liar and other not so nice words.  They don't even know what's lying and a liar and we are already making them believe that they are those words.  Much more, they don't even understand their own emotions.  When a 3yr old boy broke mommy's vase, he could be feeling sadness or disappointment with himself or fear of mommy's punishment but he doesn't even know what are those. 

I just don't like name calling on kids.  Kids believe in what their parents tell them.  So if we constantly tell them they are liars or they are being bad, they'd believe that and they'd think they ARE these things.

So what am I suggesting to be done when faced with a toddler that is not telling the truth in a given situation?  Talk to the child and help them identify what they feel and then recognize it.  Cryptic? Taking the first example above, the mom could have asked her child why she doesn't want to let the boy play with her doll.  The girl might not even able to express her fear of how the boy would treat her doll but the mom can tell her child something like "I know you don't want Lani (supposed name of the doll) to get hurt.  But you can still let your friend play with her while you supervise her.  We'll tell Carl (supposed name of the boy) to take care of her and treat her well, otherwise, we'll tell him he cannot play with Lani.".

Just omit the word lying and the phrase your're being a liar.

On the second example, the conversation can probably go like this:  Mommy:  Mommy is really sad about the vase.  It's my favorite vase.  It was a gift given to me by your grandma.  I know you're sad too.  You didn't mean to break it, did you?  Child: (would most likely nod in silence with a worried face)  Mommy:  Let's see how we can fix this. (Offer something that the child can help mend what has broken or if it's beyond repair let the child help in cleaning up by holding the plastic bag or the garbage can while mommy collects the pieces)

This way, we are teaching the child to do something about what has been done incorrrectly and be able to feel adequate on correcting his clumsiness.  And most importantly, we can show them that it is better to tell the truth and that by telling the truth, they don't get punished (and then we have to be true to our words - we should set a good example, yes?).

Preachy me?  No, I'm not trying to preach, just offering some alternative avenue on dealing with this kind of situations.  I believe toddlerhood is a sensitive period of child development.  In this period, they are very maliable and their brains absorbs just about anyting we teach directly or indrectly.  And we'd want to be really careful about what we tell them (or say when they are around) and show them. 

I've heard a 3yr old say "I don't want to sing because I don't sing well."  Do you really think a 3yr old would already know the standard of good singing or not?  Children at this age, should just be enjoying singing on their own way, their own style.  Oblivious to judgement.  Because they too, don't judge.  Children loooves the way their parents sing to them no matter how bad their parents sing.  Simple because what they appreciate is the attention, the fun spending time with the people most important to them at that point and most of all, the love behind those tunes or mistunes.  So how can 3yr old say he doesn't sing well?  He's heard of it from someone he trusts and thus, believed it.  And that is sad.

 redhanded on munching those sweet yummy cookies

So mommies, I know it's tough to control our nerves when after a long day of hard work, we'd be greeted with a broken vase or empty cookie jar just before dinner and our toddler would vehemently shake their head to deny they weren't the culprit inspite of the flower from the vase is in their hand being hidden at their back or the cookie crumbles on the side of their mouth and on their shirt. But we do need to try and control ourselves not to utter words that may be harmful to their crucial development.  Let's try to remember that the next time this kind of situation occurs, our toddler is not lying because they are little devil liars at such a young age but because they are trying to tell us something in their own clumsy way.  Remember, their vocabulary and perception about their feelings are still very limited thus, they can't just explain things to you and would resort to pretending that the misfortune that happened didn't happen at all or hide the obvious in order to save something or someone very important to them.

Your toddler is not a liar. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy birthday, amor mio.

You're 37.  Am I allowed to say that?  Don't worry because I am pretty sure that what you'll get is all what?? you're 37? You look much younger! There's no doubt about that.

It's been 7 years and 6 months since the first time we've known each other but it seems like I've known you all my life.  Like you've been already a part of me ever since.  That is because you are my destined other half.  Thank you for finding me.  

Sometimes at night when sleep shies away from me after getting too tired the whole day, I would recall our early days together and marvel at what we have already built together.  And then I'd look at our wonderful treasure between us, with her legs wide open like a frog and arms stretched as if reaching for each one of us, I'd feel really, really lucky because life is so good because we are together and because we have formed a family.  

And what's even better that's making me smile just by wondering about it? Is that we'll have each other for a looong time.  You know forever? Longer than that.  Oh, you bet.  And I am pretty sure that by the time my hair's all white and my skin's already saggy all over, you'd still be hot all over me. Although maybe I'd be grumpier than I am now, you'd still undoubtedly hold my hands just every time you'd get the chance to - walking on the street, sitting by the sofa watching tv, seated in a restaurant waiting for the food to be served, in the car on a red light, on the cashier's line waiting for our turn, etc., etc., etc.

I know it'll always be you and me.  And now with Little Spanish Pinay.  And maybe another little one. Or perhaps another? LOL and then it'll be back to just you and me.  Because you and me? Forever.

he's goofing around when I took this photo but look at him, makes me wanna strip him down and procreate right about this minute. Oops, did I just say that out loud?

I love you, my love.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Drunken Cake

As hubby's birthday was getting near, I've been already thinking about the cake that I'd want to prepare - what design this time, what flavor, etc.  I'd like it to be different from the cake I did for my sis-in-law's birthday and I didn't feel like using fondant as I have even lesser spare time these days.  Fondant just require considerable amount of time although they are really very pleasing in the eye.   And the cake becomes really, really personal because the design will be unique.

But, this time, it just won't be fondant.  I was not in the mood for it.  So I searched around but couldn't find something that tickles my fancy.  But the irony of life is hard rock solid.  You'd normally won't find what you're looking for when you are actually looking for it and would accidentally stumble upon it when you're not looking for it.

That's what happened with this cake and I.  But it wasn't love at first sight.  Coz really, stout in a cake?  And then it was love at second look.  I found the recipe from this caprichosdecocinablog and was just convinced at how the blogger raved about the recipe.  Hubby loves dark beer.  Guinness in particular.  And this recipe calls for a Guinness as the star ingredient in it. So I thought, cake with guinness? Spells hubby's name in it.  

The verdict? We got a winner!  I've never blushed so much with compliments and raves with the other cakes I did compared to this one.  Even the coldest person I know expressed his ravings about THE cake.  So there's no way I'm not gonna share this to the world wide web.  TRY. THIS.  You can thank me later.

Ingredients:

For the cake:
250g cake flour (regular flour should be ok too)
75g of unsweetened chocolate powder
400g sugar (I used 350g)
2tsp sodium bicarbonate
250ml of stout beer (guinness for e.g.)
250g butter
150g heavy cream
2 eggs

For the topping:
300g cream cheese
150g sugar confectioner
350g heavy cream


How to for the cake:

1. Pre-heat oven to 180ºC. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl: flour, powdered chocolate, sugar and sodium bicarbonate.


2. In a pot, heat the dark beer.  Don't let it boil.  Once the beer is hot enough, put the butter in chunks and stir slowly until beer and butter is thoroughly mixed.  The original recipe where I copied it from, has a different way for this step but I've seen other recipes and this one is easier and more convenient for me.  And it worked quite well :)



3.  Remove the butter and beer mix and put it in a mixing bowl.  Add the beaten egg and the heavy cream and mix.

4. Then slowly add the mixed dry ingredients.  The recipe didn't mention about using electric mixer so at the beginning, I just tried to mix it with my spatula but figured it might take me forever before getting a homogenous mixture so I ended up using the electric hand mixer.



5. Take the mixing bowl with your two hand, stand near the oven and ask your hubby or anyone from the house hold who knows how to operate a camera to take a picture of you and your raw masterpiece.

Ok, this step is optional.


6.  Put the batter in a molder. I used a 23cm round pan.

See the rich color?  Black beauty.
7.  Bake for 50 minutes.


8. After 50 mins, take it out from the oven and let it cool down before removing from the molder.  And then be happy and be very excited and admire your work!

The silly smile can be omitted.

How to for the topping:

1.  Using a wire whisk, mix the cream cheese and sugar confectioner until they are totally mixed and smooth.  Tip:  Use cream cheese in room temperature.

2. Whip the heavy cream and carefully mix this with the cream cheese and sugar confectioner.  Tip:  If you want a voluptuous topping,  do not completely mix whipped cream and the cream cheese mixture.  


left: whipped cream.  right: cream cheese mixed with sugar confectioner 

The blog where I copied this recipe from, has this cake with a majestic beautiful topping in it... all cloud-like and spongey.  At first, I thought I was able to achieve it but then later on,  the topping kind of settled down a bit.  I blame it on the room temperature so I immediately put the whole cake inside the refrigerator.  It kind of stopped it from flatting out.  Then again, I looked at other recipes and pictures of this cake and almost all of them has the toppings kind of flat and some look like a melted cheese on top of the cake.   So I was already happy with how mine turned out.


This was how it was at the beginning.


After a few minutes it turned out to this.  Still not bad.


Reminds me of a foamy dark beer in a glass.


 Seriously I didn't expect the cake to be THIS good.  Its darkness is magnificent.  It's thick and moist and has a certain tang that can make one just ask for more.  The topping completes the cake.  They're soulmates.  So perfect for each other.   Although the cake itself can stand out on its own.  If one is watching the calories, the cake is just the same majestically yummy on its own.  It got me hooked.  I know this black beauty will frequent our household from now on.

And it got me those you should-put-up-a-business comments.  Plus hubby was really happy about it.  It's love.  Wait till you see the other details I add to complete his birthday cake.  Tacky.  Corny.  But I tell you it's love :)

We celebrated hubby's birthday last Saturday although his birthday is still on Tuesday, August 30.  Weekend is the best day to celebrate birthdays, agree?  We were in the countryside near the mountains and it was perfect for barbecue as well.  We had a blast.  

see? isn't it obvious that the candles and the happy birthday card are DIY? 
They're like child's work ha. ha. 


A birthday cake wouldn't be complete without a candle and a happy birthday card, yes?

p.s.
The cake's original recipe is called chocolate guinness cake
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