Sunday, December 26, 2010

Having fun at Fun Ranch

I considered it an opportunity of a lifetime when during a bloggers' event, I was given a short time to spend with 3 children among many who joined us during the event and who I just got to know a little that morning. These children whose family live either under a bridge or in a cemetery were brought by a foundation/NGO as our special guests for the day. I was blessed to have been with them even for a very short time.

The Mommy Bloggers' Event was held at Fun Ranch which was a very fitting place to spend a day of fun and excitement for kids and kids at heart. Here, kids rule!

My kids (even my hubby) were so excited when they learned just the night before that we would attend a bloggers' event at Fun Ranch. We have been to many birthday parties held at Fun Ranch and no matter how many times we get to be invited here, I just know my kids wouldn't get tired of this place. Oh yes, to think that they've been here countless times before.

So, you could just imagine the excitement of my new-found friends - my 3 little companions - during the bloggers' event when they rode those nice rides, among them were Fun Ranch Express Train, Ferris Wheel, Plane, swing rides, and Carousel. I was a witness to how their eyes lit up each time they were about to board a ride. I saw the joy on their faces, it almost made me cry. It was the first time they saw and experience Fun Ranch.

I met my new found friends and all the other kids inside the Big Red Barn --a kid-friendly restaurant with free Magic Show at the Fun Ranch. There we all enjoyed the food, games, the mesmerizing and awesome Magic Show and the loot bags prepared by Fun Ranch. After that, I accompanied my 3 little companions to the fun rides, while my own kids and my hubby were having a blast at Go! Speed Racing. And by the way, it was also the "first time" for my youngest daughter (age 1.5) at Fun Ranch.

We all had a very enjoyable time here at Fun Ranch. This is really a great family bonding place! Well, my 3 little companions might not have their families with them but I know, they enjoyed the experience. As I write blog about this, I remember them -Kyla, Zyrel & Mark- and I'm smiling, thanking God for the opportunity of being their mommy, tita, yaya, friend, or just a companion. Thank you, too, Fun Ranch and the organizers for inviting me to this great event.

Fun Ranch gave these kids something that they will treasure in their hearts. The experience of being truly, really kids.

Fun Ranch is located in Frontera Verde Ortigas corner C5, Pasig City (across Tiendesitas). There is also a Li'l Fun Ranch at Westgate Center, Filinvest, Alabang. For more details and for party inquiries, call 706-3029 or 706-3031. Visit their website at

Friday, December 24, 2010

Enjoy While It's Here

What is impossible? I tell you...

It would be impossible to NOT see an ice cream inside our refrigerator. I am NOT kidding. The main reason I insisted of buying a ref with a big freezer was that I wanted to have a space allotted for at least a half gallon of ice cream. My hubby knows about this. Two of the things that make me happy are ice cream and cake.

I grew up in a family who loves having ice cream as dessert, as merienda, as comfort food anytime of the day. Magnolia Ice Cream was the ice cream my mom would always put into our grocery cart. I knew no other brand of ice cream then. In fact, when I was very, very young, I thought Magnolia was the only ice cream that existed in the world. To me, Magnolia was "ice cream" and "ice cream" was Magnolia. Ube has been my all-time favorite Magnolia ice cream flavor. While my siblings would often request for the Rocky Road.

This holiday season, I have tried two of Magnolia Ice Cream Christmas Limited Edition Flavors - Caramel Cheesecake and Apple Strudel. The other flavor that I have yet to try is the Vanilla Praline. Yes, Magnolia Ice Cream would surely be on our table for our Noche Buena and Media Noche. I wouldn't make a mistake of not having a limited edition variant for our whole family to enjoy and savor.

My daughters enjoying the Caramel Cheesecake

When I bought the Caramel Cheesecake and Apple Strudel, we still had one half gallon of Magnolia ice cream inside our freezer. But the moment I learned about their Christmas Limited Edition Flavors, I couldn't wait to buy and try them all. And yes, when my family and I tasted the Caramel Cheesecake and Apple Strudel, we were not disappointed. My kids love the Caramel Cheesecake that has cheesecake bits and streaks of caramel ripple in a vanilla ice cream base. The caramel taste is just right. It's not too sweet.

Caramel Cheesecake after being scraped by my daughters

My husband and I, on the other hand, love the Apple Strudel. I tell you, I've never tasted anything like it before. It was like eating a scoop of Christmas. It has a very unique yet very familiar taste. I just couldn't describe it. All I know is that I love it! Aside from its taste, one more thing that I love about it is its color combination - red and green, which is so "chrismassy". The apple cinnamon bits with crushed chocolate pretzels swirled with green and apple ripples are perfect for my taste buds. Too bad, it's only here for a limited time. But, maybe if I make a request to Magnolia to make it one of their staple flavors or signature flavors hereon, Magnolia will grant my wish. So, here's wishing that my wish will come true.

Writing about my family's Magnolia Ice Cream experience - then and now - makes me want to have a cup of ice cream now. Let's see, which flavor would I have???? Maybe, a combination of both.

On my next grocery list, I will surely not forget Magnolia Ice Cream Vanilla Praline. I'm sure it would be another great flavor! Hey, it's never too late to try them. Let's all enjoy them while they're here....

You, too, can share your Magnolia Ice Cream Limited Flavors experience by joining the Magnolia Ice Cream blog contest.

Check out this link to find our more:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Paving the road to her success

All our 3 daughters were born prematurely. Our eldest, Nisi, was born at 32 weeks gestation with her weight just 4.10 lbs. She was so tiny and looked like an old woman because of her wrinkled skin. She had to stay in the neonatal ICU for about 3 weeks, inside an incubator. Everyday, my hubby and I would visit her and deliver to her my breastmilk. Almost everyday then, I would go out of the neonatal ICU room with tears in my eyes. She was our first baby and I was just longing to hold her and bring her home with us. That was 10 years ago.

Today, our first baby is all grown-up, healthy and cannot be mistaken for someone born prematurely. She loves sports. She took up soccer lessons two summers ago and did good in that sport.

Now, she's into swimming and I couldn't believe that she would excel in swimming just as well. In fact, I myself, couldn't believe how good she was until I watched her in one of her swiming lessons. We decided to let her continue with her swimming lessons for the whole year because her coach says she definitely has potential to be a champion swimmer someday.

As parents, we want all our children to be God-loving and well-rounded individuals. When it comes to academics, we only have few conditions -- that she will maintain good grades and be a responsible student. By being responsible we mean that she should know her duties as a student and a daughter. At a young age, we taught her that her grades are her "own". Her grades are not for us, but for her. We DO NOT pressure her to study her lessons. What we are teaching her is to make correct decisions and face the consequences of her decisions, whether good or bad.

Nisi has also a passion for reading. One of our favorite family-bonding moments is going to bookstores and spend so much of our time inside just browsing over books. I remember that at a very tender age of 5, she had been reading pocketbooks already. Now, she has the complete series of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and is slowly building up her "39 Clues" collection. She's also fascinated with Kid's Almanac.

When she was in first grade up until she reached grade three, her study routine had too much of my involvement. By that I mean, before she would do her assignment, she would, most of the time, wait for me to come home first and teach her whatever assignments she would have. Now that she's in grade four, she's much much more independent in terms of studying her lessons and doing her homework. We're glad she maintains good grades in school despite the many distractions kids have nowadays, i.e. internet, computer games, etc. I have kept her certificates of recognition given every quarter to students with grades above 95% since she was in pre-school until now that she's in grade four and they were plenty. But what we love most about her school life is the fact that she has many friends and is well-liked by others in school.

From a very shy little girl, she's now blooming to be an active, healthy and well-rounded individual who happens to love God. And I'm proud of her.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Coke is still it!

I have a funny story to tell you, yes a funny, true-to-life story that has been passed on for generations, well, at least in our family. The story is this -- One afternoon, a certain homemaker who loves to bake cookies and other sweet treats asked her maid to get a COOKIE SHEET from their cabinet. Upon returning to the kitchen, the maid proudly handed to her "amo" a bottle of Coke. Surprised and puzzled, the "amo" asked her trusted maid why she was giving her a bottle of Coke, to which the maid answered, "Mam, diba sabi ninyo dalhin ko sa inyo 'yung kukisit??? Eto po."

Coke is it!
Remember the commercial?
Oh well, I remember laughing out loud every time I would hear that story. Until now, that story never fails to elicit laughter from my audience (may it be one or many) every time I would narrate that.

For us who grew up with Coke, this drink has become so much a part of our daily lives. It's not just a global brand or a product but it's now like a part of our family, something very close to home.

I'm a certified witness to how Coke evolved during the years. The look and feel of its packaging may have gone through several transformations but one thing remains the same- that Coke spirit! Yes, nothing comes close to its taste which is almost addicting and seriously satisfying.

If only cameras and blogging were already this popular way back in the 70's or 80's or even 90's, my family would certainly have lots of pictures with Coke in them.

In all our family celebrations, occasions, gatherings and outings, Coke is the one thing that surely has a place on the table. It's almost impossible not to have Coke during special occasions, right? But what about during everyday meal time? In our home, you could almost always see at least one bottle of Coke tucked somewhere inside our ref. Oh yeah, Coke is still it!

It's a fact that our small family of five (consisting of “tatay, nanay -that’s me, ate, smaller ate and bunso”) loves to eat. It is during mealtimes when we would sit down around our small dining table, more like a coffee table nook, at our kitchen. That table could not even fit four normal-size round plates. But you see, although we have a six-seater dining table in our dining room, we enjoy taking our family meals in that cramp table of ours. We really don’t mind bumping our chairs and yes, even each others' knees when sharing our meals there. The “crampness”, we believe, creates a more intimate setting for us.

When it comes to everyday kainan happiness, my hubby and l look forward to going home from work and have dinner with our daughters. Weekends are most special. We all sit down together (around that cramp table of ours) and enjoy having our usual Saturday lunch meal time at the comforts of our home. Our usual Saturday lunch fare consists of what my hubby and my kids love to eat. It can be a combination of: inihaw na liempo (just massaged with a little rock salt) and pakbet or vigan longganisa and chopsuey or lechon kawali (turboed) and ginisang repolyo. For our dessert, we would usually have fresh fruits such as mangoes or melon (whatever fruits are in season). Not to be missed is the 1.5 liter of Coca-Cola poured over some ice cubes into a clear glass for me and my hubby and plastic tumblers for my daughters. It’s like a mini picnic on our table. The refreshing Coke definitely completes our meal and never fails to make every meal in our household much more enjoyable. Not to mention, it gives us all a satisfying “burp”. :-) Oh, we just love that feeling!

Our Everyday Kainan Happiness with Coca-Cola

one weekend dinner time:

one weekend lunch time:

one weekday dinner time:

all alone one weekday dinner time:
(ordered take-out from a nearby Chinese resto)


When it comes to family get-togethers and outings, there's again that oh-so familiar bottle with that oh-so familiar red and white logo with that oh-so familiar lettering on sight. Paired with whatever food is available - healthy, junk, considered junk, considered healthy, Coke is sure to be its best partner.

family outing dinner time, one long weekend:

So, you see, any day of the week, anytime of the day, rain or shine, Coke is still it and is always sure to be a hit! Rhyming pa, diba?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What 10-10-10 taught me

Hello, is someone out there reading this?

They say 10-10-10 is a lucky day. I don't believe in numerology or feng shui or anything like that. I didn't even realize that it was suppose to be a "big deal of a day" until today, 10-11-10. Oh well, I really didn't want to write about yesterday because of the unpleasant things that happened. But, I'll write about it, anyway, without the details but more on the lessons I learned.

My hubby and I had a terrible fight yesterday inside our car with all our kids and yaya, on our way to Sunday worship. I totally blew my top and wanted to get out of the car. Well, I almost did. I already unlocked and opened the door, about to jump out of the car when my husband pulled me back. I heard my kids crying already and my eldest saying, "Mama, please don't!" I cried, too. I didn't wanna go to worship anymore...but I also wanted to go. Confused much? Yes. But, God still prevailed and I guess, whispered something both to us.

After a quiet break from what just transpired, still on our way to worship service, we were stopped by a policeman/traffic control officer and told us that we violated a law. I thought to myself how amazing that the traffic officer knew about what happened inside our car, that we were fighting. Duh? The traffic officer was actually talking about a traffic violation we committed, which was, "Cars in the inner lane must turn left." My husband and I both didn't notice the sign. This incident made my husband sigh in disbelief and remarked something like, "Malas naman talaga itong araw na ito."

Anyway, before the worship my husband made peace with me and said a sincere sorry. I was still hurt and told him that I wasn't yet okay. But, still we sat beside each other in the worship service hall, sang the worship songs and listened intently to the message. Our kids were happy seeing us together, of course. We even went to a baptism party afterwards and by then, I think I was already okay with my hurt.

When we got home, I hugged my husband and told him I was sorry, too, in front of our two daughters. He also said sorry to our daughters for making them feel what they felt when we were fighting.

You know, prior to my outburst yesterday, I couldn't remember the last time my husband and I fought. I swear it had been a long time since we had a misunderstanding. Maybe more than 6 months or 7 or 8 months. I really couldn't remember anymore.

What is funny is that we had a really fun time the day before yesterday, Saturday. Just us and the kids with no yaya in tow, we went to Bonifacio High Street and spent some good 1 hour playing with our kids at Gymboree; went to Fullybooked where the kids had fun reading at the kids' section; had dinner at our kids' favorite restaurant, TGIFriday's; had dessert at Krispy Kreme; and strolled around the park. It was a whole day of fun and bonding moment. And then, Sunday came and it was a different story altogether.

A great lesson I learned is this - Whether we like it or not and realize it or not, our children will always be greatly affected by what we say or do. That night, our 4-year old daughter narrated to us that unpleasant incident in detail, what she saw and heard when my husband and I were fighting. It made me realize how good a story-teller she is. But most importantly, it made me realize the impact of my actions.

What happened yesterday made me and my husband realize our mistakes and forgive and forget the hurt we caused each other and our children. I thank God for directing us to where we were supposed to be yesterday, with Him, despite our hurt.

Well, 10-10-10 turned out to be a "big deal of a day," after all.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What's for lunch?

There are days that I bring "baon" to work. It saves me money and I know it's healthier because they are home-cooked meals. But there are days that I do not know what to have for lunch. I bet you have those days, too. And when I'm experiencing those days, I often settle for just a drink and a piece of something like, bread or pastry or cookie or cake or donut or whatever. I call them my lethal combination because I'm quite certain my combo meals ain't healthy, except for some, maybe. Here, I've taken photos of them.

Starbucks green tea frap & butter croissant
CBTL's roast chicken & mushroom fusili pasta & iced tea
Wendy's side salad & KK's orange you glad
Seattle's Best ham & cheese croissant & mocha cupcake javakula
KK's mango cake & a Starbucks frapMachiavelli chocolate & Starbucks' raspberry drink
An empanada from a Marikina vendor & a Starbucks' frap
Seattle's best banana cake & a frapSeattle's Best ham & cheese croissant & ice-blended coffee
CBTL's lasagna & iced-tea
Salad Days' Caesar Salad & Delirance's Chicken Bourbon (sampler size)

Most, if not all, of those Starbucks drinks were courtesy of HSBC's promo. Those CBTL's meals, on the other hand, were mostly discount or meal combination coupons from my Belle De Jouer planner. While, the Seattle's Best meals were 10% discounted because I'm a VIP card holder. Yes, I'm such a "mom"! I love bargains and I use all those discount coupons you can find anywhere. Too bad, HSBC's Starbucks On Us promo ended already. I hope they bring it back soon.

A Happy Ending...Recovery in Progress

I needed a break. And so....God gave me not just one but a series of breaks.

It was last month when I had been mentioning to my husband about my unused sick leaves. I was bragging a bit about the fact that I still had eight unused sick leaves with just 3 months to go before the year ends. You see, in our company, unused sick leave credits can no longer be carried over to the next year. So, I was happy at the same time smug about the whole thing. Well, guess what? Just as I was certain that I wouldn't be able to use them, God had other plans.

I don't get sick as often as other people do. I may be small but I feel I have a strong immune system. Despite waiting for my hubby (we go to work & home together) to finish his overtime work which often lasts until around 7:30 pm every night for almost two months now, I still feel strong.

It was a Wednesday morning when I woke up feeling a little pain on my upper left jaw. I thought it was just a simple stiff neck or sore throat but I couldn't turn my head to the left. Then, I felt a small lump on my upper jaw and suspected it to be mumps. That morning, I called in sick. I dedicated my whole afternoon researching about mumps in the internet and found out that mumps cannot be treated. There are only supportive treatments, like rest, drinking plenty of water, refraining from eating too much sweets, or taking paracetamol if you develop a fever already, etc.

The following day, I woke up feeling pain on my upper right jaw, too. Oh no! The mumps were now two! This time, I really couldn't move my head. I had to turn my whole body every time my kids would call me or wanted me to see what they were doing. I moved like a robot. The mumps gave me a break from eating too much sweets, perhaps.

The Monday after, I woke up feeling a stinging, itching sensation on my forehead and saw a rather unusual red bump that appeared from nowhere. I dismissed it as just an insect bite. Nevertheless, I went back to work feeling recharged. The following day, three blisters erupted on the red bump and they were freaking itchy. Friday morning, I decided to have my forehead checked by our company nurse. She cleaned the wound and put a gauze on my forehead.

Thank God it's Friday -- That evening as I left my office desk, a friend texted and said that she had 2 tickets for me for the John Mayer concert that same night at SM MOA's open grounds. I immediately called my hubby and told him that our dinner date wouldn't push through anymore because of the concert. We had never watched a concert before in an open space, with no roof and walls. So, we didn't know what to expect. The heavy downpour, all the more, got us more anxious than we already were. But, the tickets were free (P8K each) so, there was really nothing to complain about, right? My hubby found it funny when he noticed that I was even wearing white pants and white sandals. Wow, what a timing!

A break from our usual Friday night date -
watching John Mayer concert at SM MOA

Just after the rain stopped pouring. Can you see John Mayer on stage???
My injury is far more visible or more evident than John Mayer, tsk, tsk.

We enjoyed the concert despite the rains. And yes, we still pushed through with our dinner date on our way home -- at Tapsi ni Vivian in Marikina. It was a nice experience after all and a nice break from our usual Friday night date routine.

Then, Monday came and I woke up this time with a throbbing forehead like it had a mind of its own. I felt my head exploding. I had to go on sick leave again since my forehead was all swollen. I learned later on that I was hit by a viral nerve infection called Shingles (remember those red bump with blisters on my forehead???). It's also related to my having mumps earlier on.

So, for a couple of days, I had been suffering from "stabs of agonizing pain" coming from my facial and cranial nerves and swollen face that made me look like Neytiri, the blue girl from Avatar. It was a painful and amusing break from my usual look.

See the similarity between me and Neytiri. Who's prettier??

I've been resting here at home for the past five days. Having been stricken by shingles has proven to be a nice break for me from doing office work and has allowed me to see the daily routine of my daughters.

My body is now busy recovering and my face is slowly getting back to its original form. It's been an adventure, really!

As I recuperate, I couldn't think of a better way to take a break from all these breaks which I've recently experienced than to watch a marathon of DVDs while lazing on my hubby's favorite and comfy sofa and savoring something luxurious, my Caramel Biscuit & Cream ice cream by Haagen Dazs. It's perfect for my "me" time when the kids are still in school and my toddler is having her afternoon nap. No disturbance, whatsoever, even from my hubby who is out there working. Ahh, life is, indeed, a bliss... especially with Haagen Dazs Caramel Biscuit & Cream.

Excited for my afternoon "me" time.
I have something in store for myself. Yes, stored in our freezer.
Can you see?

Let's take a closer look, shall we?
I'll prepare my teaspoon.
I couldn't wait to have a spoonful of it.
Here's where I would have to savor the pleasure.
This was "me" time. So, it was just me and nobody else. Even the picture-taking -- I had to take a shot of myself.
Perfect! both my shot and of course, my Haagen Dazs.

Don't you know that I'd die for caramels???? Oh, you don't know that? Well, now you know.

Haagen Dazs Caramel Biscuit & Cream is an elegant blend of caramel ice cream and real crunchy caramel biscuits. It's certainly richer and denser than other ice creams as it contains less air contributing to its signature slow melting creaminess. I just love it! It's very decadent and luxuriously creamy.

Having this ice cream almost automatically puts me into a state of nirvana. It's like my soul is being transported to another dimension, another world that is full of happiness and bliss...sort of a dreamland! It makes me forget that I still look like an alien.

These were the results of my futile attempts to have some perfect shots of me while savoring my Haagen Dazs.

Well, who knows, eating this ice cream might even melt away my Shingles scabs and wounds just like in fairy tales when all is pretty, well and sweet.

When I get back to work next week, all my sick leaves would have been consumed by then. But, that's okay. As I've said, I needed a break...and God gave me these breaks, unexpected breaks. Yet, I'm thankful for them, especially for this happy ending.

Having a Haagen Dazs Caramel Biscuit & Cream is my happy ending.

Full recovery in progress

Do not disturb. Slow melting in progress.