Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Leji's 23rd at Hongkong Disneyland

Leji loves Disney Junior.  For her first birthday, we decided to have a Minnie Mouse-themed Boracay escape at Jony's at Station 1.  Seldom do I get to have vacations with my family because of our schedules. The last time I went to Boracay with my mom was 2003 when I passed the UPCAT & it was my sister's birthday; my in-laws on the other hand have never been there. Cancelling all my shoots/events was worth it as we enjoyed our island hopping immensely. Leji rolled in the hotel bed everytime she craved for it as the hotel was conveniently just across the beach!

For her second birthday, we decided to take her to Hongkong Disneyland. We only visited Oceanpark when I joined a leisure tour back in college; and for Ms. International 2008, we were too busy with dinners and shoots for HKTV so we didn't have time for theme parks.  It's also my first time in the most toddler-friendly Disneypark in the world.

My toddler loves trains & she was totally ecstatic that we allowed her to carry her Korean handbag on our way to Disney.  
We chose to have it a month ahead of her second birthday so she could enjoy her free ride via Cebu Pacific (infants younger than 2 ride free!) I'm also approaching my 7th month of pregnancy so I guess it's safer to travel this month than next (my OB mentioned that my 2nd might also be born a preemie just like Leji).

Since it was a really hot summer day with occasional showers, we opted to run to the airconditioned part of the park.  We decided to see "It's a Small World" first & it didn't disappoint.  

It was heartwarming to hear the dolls sing in Filipino in a bahay kubo!

Our favorite Stitch!

A well-lit pastel display for the finale
Leji loved the attraction so much, she requested us to do it again!

Candies from 711 helped keep us going despite the heat and rain.
Next, we joined the Lion Festival in the safari themed theater.  The characters were superb singers & the floats were spectacular; but Leji needed to nap.

The dimly-lit theater was perfect for her to rest.

Jungle animals!
We purchased our meal via Klook where we were able to get discounts & we enjoyed our ice lollies under the banyan tree serenaded by the playful birds.

Choco-coated Vanilla Mickey, Choco-crusted Strawberry Banana Minnie & Blueberry Stitch! Other food items from 711 outside Disneyland.

Dinnertime was magical too after watching Mickey's storybook show, strolling across the enchanted gardens & sailing with Pooh before the afternoon parade.
castle-themed foodcourt with international cuisine!
Leji finished everything on her plate!

We capped off the evening in Tomorrowland where Daddy got to enjoy his Star Wars ride.  Leji loved the orbiting planets and was amused with the red humidifiers.

At 9pm, I was so tired & sat on the pavement; Daddy and Lola were left to chase after hyper Leji. The waiting was all worth it; the fireworks display made me so sentimental I cried. Here's a snippet of it.

We left Disney icky and sweaty but with our hearts full.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Brush Your Teeth!

Leji loves Elmo. She started watching Elmo's World and Furchester Hotel even before she had teeth. And I'm very fortunate they have this music video of the lovable red furry creature brushing his teeth (or should I say black gums?) every day and every night. It's one of Leji's favorite songs.


Her first tooth erupted quite late at five months with the help of pedia prescribed fluoride water.  She hated tooth wipes & the teethers/pacifiers. Just like the baby bottle, she hates stuff which make her look like a baby. She finds them insulting :/  The song helped her to be comfortable with the idea of us massaging her swollen gums with a baby toothbrush and strawberry-flavored Sans Fluo.

We tried having her sit on a dentist's chair several times but she still wouldn't open her mouth in front of the dentist.  It's fortunate that at 23 months she's still partially breastfed; breastmilk helped keep her teeth healthy despite her love for juice and chocolate cake. I'm also grateful to the composer/artists/musicians behind Elmo's music videos.  I believe You Tube could still be helpful to toddlers when it's used under strict parental supervision.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Shoo Fly Don't Bother Me!

It's 4am...it has been raining for hours non-stop & I've just finished my mid-wee morning snack of stuffed crust Pizza Hut & Pfanner orange juice (while attempting to dry laundry indoors. tsk. Pesky rain. Thank God for Downy AntiBac).  Aya has a guesting later at Unang Hirit & being the stage sister that I am, not even a storm could dampen my excitement.

It's been more than a year that I'm on full mommy mode yet my body clock still goes for my former morning showgirl timezone.  I'm kinda used to just napping in the evening, waking up at 1 or 3am depending on the calltime (I had to go earlier when they ask me to cover fiestas/events in nearby provinces), and sleeping from 7am-10am then from 4pm-7pm.  It was such good practice; when destiny had it that I should breastfeed a nocturnal infant, my body clock didn't have to adjust so much (& everyone just thought that motherhood suits me haha).

Ugh, it's still raining. It's almost 4:30. I type like a preschooler.

Now that it's always raining, our house is undergoing some minor roof repairs, and the mosquitoes just couldn't resist coming in the house with the repairmen. We have installed screens all over but we still have the pesky visitors wuzzing in and out of the kitchen. They're too fast.

I couldn't spray Baygon because we have a toddler and a fishbowl (I feel it's too risky). I also tried organic insect killers but I only manage to kill tiny bugs and ants with it on contact. Again, the flies are too fast.

To top it all off, I've discovered recently that my sweet-blooded toddler is allergic to insect bites. Just a teeny tiny bite could flare up into a volcanic blur that would get swollen from scratching and end up ashen and ugly after a few days. We're now semi dependent on pedia prescribed Desowen and Band-Aid to prevent scratching & blistering.

 It's sad that my favorite Skinstation Naturepel refreshing insect repellants are phased out. I miss these great smelling products.

Here are my alternatives to prevent/relieve insect bites. We sort of alternate the products that I use to confuse the mosquitoes; I feel they somehow get desensitized over time.

1. Tea Tree Oil

This is effective in calming inflammations on my skin, not so much on baby's. Tiny Bud's anti-itch gel which has this as its active ingredient is also effective on me (even for my occasional facial rash/pimples now that I'm pregnant & I can't undergo full-blown facials) but sadly not on Leji.

I used to buy Giga's Eucalyptus cologne but I stopped using it when they repackaged and removed from the label that it wards off insects.

2. Mosquito Patches

We have always relied on this since we weren't allowed to use lotions or sprays before her 6th month. Nowadays though it's tricker for Leji to keep in on her clothes.  She loves playing with stickers; and with its colorful designs and delightful scent, she's always tempted to reposition it again and again until it gets misplaced.

3. Zen Nutrients Anti-Mosquito Collection

Oh I've tried them all. From the water-based lavender eucalyptus (goes on like cologne but you have to reapply often) to the oil-based citronella (effective yet it gets sticky when it's humid) to the mild insect repelling Spanitizers (they have two variants: ginger & lavender) I think I could say I'm a Zen Nutrients loyalist.  I just have to remind myself to keep on reapplying as Leji and I sweat rather profusely in this heat.

When all else fails, we have the All is Well Balm to soothe our senses.

 4. Insect Repellant Creams

We've tried Off for Kids and Guard insect repellants before.  Now, we're using locally made Bite Block.  "Daily" has a powdery scent while "Kids" has a mild fruity scent.  Again, we just feel like we should alternate the scents to increase its efficacy.

5. Human Nature Natural Nappy Cream

I use Leji's leftover nappy cream to soothe her blisters and lighten her scars.  It's safe and enjoyable for her as she now knows how to apply the cream on some of the ugly spots on her legs.

Hmm. Hope this list helps. Keep safe & dry! Now it's 5am...time to watch Aya!:)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Farm Life Musings


Leji loves the classic "Old McDonald" song. And yes, she loves making pig and duck sounds aside from her domesticated favorites (chicken, dog, and cat).  She gets thrilled whenever she sees/hears actual live animals-- she immensely enjoyed Ark Avilon Zoo in Pasig and the Night Safari in Singapore.

I dream of one day building our own animal farm; I'll work on this as soon as my children start schooling :) Exposing them to farm life might spark greater interest in biology, food production, and life in general.

I grew up amidst free-range chickens and a mini garden (with all the papaya, talbos ng kamote & sili in the world!haha) My Lola used to joke that my Lolo spent more time with his chicks (literally baby chickens) in their apartment (a.k.a. the garden) than with her.  When he was still alive, he would spend most of his time drawing water out of the deep well, watering the plants or feeding the chickens that provided us eggs and entertainment (esp. for my lolo who used to love Sabong).  It was fun watching the chickens and plants grow even if we didn't make much out of it.

I always remember our mini garden whenever I miss Lolo.

I'm grateful for companies such as Bmeg and Universal Harvester who help farmers and enthusiasts make their farms more sustainable.  They provide seminars and assistance to those who are interested not only in building their own farms and growing their own food but also to those who want to make a living out of it.

Watch out for updates on their respective social media accounts!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Leji Eats Out

My little girl is quite a picky eater.  We make her try everything we eat and her preference varies from time to time.  She used to love broccoli and mashed potatoes as a baby but now she hates baby food.  She loves adult vegetable soup though..I guess that's the trick, it has to appear like normal adult food for her to like it.

Anyway, here were her top three favorites from eating out last month:

1. Nobu King Prawn Salad

Leji loves mildly spicy food! She gobbled up 3/4 of the breaded prawns in this salad delicately seasoned with paprika, cumin, and yoghurt.  She avoided the fresh greens though.

2. Rustic Mornings Artichoke and Spinach Dip

She loves cheese! She also likes the one in Cibo but she prefers Rustic Mornings' chewier bread.

3.  Earth Kitchen's Ravioli

Oh this one is a sure winner for kids of all ages! They craftily hid the chopped kamote tops in scrumptious cheese!  Leji gladly had her greens that evening.

Dreaming and Playing Collide at DreamPlay

Fathers' Day was a disaster.  I threw up after eating all the good food in a cozy restaurant. Everything was fresh and great..but I dunno, probably the scent of the oil in the steak triggered the abominable nausea.  I never experienced throwing up after drinking alcohol in the car, but it seemed like I was in some tequila hangover frenzy after attending mass after the meal.  

It was horrible. We had to postpone our plans of going over DreamPlay because of my condition. I shall never eat that much again.

So we just headed over to the new place the holiday after that (with a go signal from the OB after recovering from nausea and LBM; apparently people in their fifth month of pregnancy are still prone to food sensitivities tsk).  A brilliant extension of Fathers' Day.

It was a bit cramped (just like how our actual dreams are muddled up) but every inch of it was a  well-made spectacle.  Leji adored the fountains.

The venue of the puppet show was very promising but Leji wasn't impressed with the puppets.  She says Dada could do a better performance.

They allowed food from outside but we decided to hangout in their foodcourt. Quite pricey but their curly fries were fun to eat (similar to McDonald's).  We were waitlisted for Gingy's Kitchen's cooking lessons right beside the foodcourt.

We didn't manage to squeeze in an earlier class so we decided to explore the grounds a little bit more while waiting.  Leji was braver than me in crossing the hanging bridges but we crossed anyway and conquered my fear of shaky steps.

Their interactive centers reminded me of the Arts & Science Center in Singapore.  It was harder to manage the colors here though.  They also have another room for editing and animation but it was Dad who enjoyed more in that area.

Afterwards, we went down to the Dream Theater to watch Dream Works latest animated flicks.  It was Leji's first time to watch an interactive 4D movie.  She raved about the glasses; it was pretty awesome.

We went over to the boat area after the movie to sail with penguins.  Leji decorated her own sail.  She laughed at the bubble effects of the pool; she really didn't care who won in the boat race.

Then, finally after waiting for several hours, we managed to get in a class at Gingy's Kitchen (good thing 2 kids cancelled; it's really better to come in early to secure a slot in their class on a holiday). Too bad we forgot to get our pictures inside but Leji had so much fun decorating gingerbread.

Just as she had fun playing pilot at the aerospace center.

She really loves to drive!

But the area she enjoyed the most was Shrek's Stump. It felt safer for toddlers compared to the other ball area. We were required to buy socks for ourselves in the gift area though as they were pretty strict about the "no socks no entry" policy.

Short but sweet (from 5-9:30 pm) we had a pretty awesome time.  We'll probably come in a weekday (when it's cheaper) with her grandparents (they can come in free for a period of time I heard) next time.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

No Yaya Club

No yaya? Watch my latest video to get some baby friendly tips!

People are surprised when they find out I choose not to have help around the house. But I managed to convince my husband that the privacy that comes with it during our honeymoon stage is worth it. 

I grew up in an extended family setup and my grandparents required constant househelp. There were issues here and there and most of my lola's dilemas sprung from the incompetence (or the boyfriend/tv addiction) of her current yaya/s.  I dunno, but somehow it seemed like it was more peaceful not to have one but her health deems it necessary to have someone watch over her and assist.

So when I got married and decided to move out, I wanted to try living like how they do in first world countries.  Not being accustomed to do household chores on a regular basis, I gifted myself with an automatic washing machine with a built-in spinner.  The ones I tried in Japan were more fun to use because they had built-in driers too, but I felt obligated to air dry for mother nature's sake.  Since we enjoy warmer temperatures here in the Philippines, we only professionally machine dry our jeans, beddings, and thick towels (to terminate possible bed bugs!)

Planning for meals was also quite tricky.  I'm fond of organic food items & even with proper storage techniques, they get spoiled even before we get to use them!  So I tried to let go of my "buy in bulk so it would be more economical" mentality and resorted to just getting what I need for the week each time I head to the grocery (yes, even when there's a sale).

Cleaning up the kitchen with a baby in tow is hard to do & it piles up (it grows by the minute even without adding fertilizer!) But when the food waste is disposed off properly before the dirty dishes are placed in the sink, washing plates and utensils is actually quite de-stressing.  I like the scent of antibacterial dishwashing liquid (when I was younger my lola said it was expensive; thank God now it's more economical!) 

I'm still learning and my husband still complains constantly that there's so much work to do around the house especially now that I'm pregnant again, but I think doing this helps strengthen our relationship and forces us to spend more time in the house.  My daughter also thinks we're amazing; she squeals "wow Dada!" everytime my husband manages to change the sheets.

We'll probably need helpers once I start working fulltime again or when we get older and have more responsibilities.  But for now, I really am enjoying this stage in our lives. Thank you Lord for all the comforts modern life brings!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

First-time Flower Girl

We were happy to be chosen as flower girls for my sister-in-law's wedding.  Leji was excited at first, until she found out that she would have to wear a poofy dress during the ceremony.  She used to admire tulle and lace when she gazed at them from store windows; but her opinion changed when she actually got to try one herself.  She hated the beads' and the tulle's texture. We comforted her with Elmo videos during the fittings.

At home she really refused to rehearse with the dress.  She said she would rather wear blue pants!:/ I made a compromise and cut out the petticoat built in the dress.  I replaced it with a skirt she used for halloween which I got on sale from Cotton On (October last year). She found it amusing to put the petticoats over our heads!

Leji had a grand time at church (even if she refused to wear her flower band); she also enjoyed the games and treats over cocktails.  After she napped, she got to try everything for dinner; she loved the Spinach and Zucchini Cream Soup! She proudly said "kaya Dada gawa niyan" after finishing two bowls of it (hers and mine).  Kudos to the chef of Manila Hotel for successfully making her eat greens that evening.

Congrats to Abby & Nikki! Thanks again for having us!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Craving for Sour Cream Potato Chips

It's 4am and it's already June. Wow, time runs so fast.

Lately I hardly even comb my hair or put on makeup. At home Leji plays with my hair anyway and thinks I'm the prettiest princess ever.  She's so cute; she thinks all the pretty models in full makeup look like me. If only I can freeze this stage forever.

She still has short hair and lovely doe eyes framed with long lashes.  So sometimes she "borrows" my hair and props a handful of it on top of her head, feeling the strands tickle her shoulders. She loves blue and hates frilly dresses.  She's both scared and delighted of dogs and cold showers. Unlike me, she's very active and she loves computers (I try my best to limit her exposure though :( ). To encourage her to sleep (she drinks cold milk in a cup at 1am; she usually sleeps from 9pm-12mn, 1:30am-12nn) she tries to stay up with me watching Netflix (giving in to her Elmo whim would just wake her up all the more).

It's probably my fault (heightened by her doting grandmas' introduction to sweets) but lately she's quite a picky eater. We take her to restaurants and she knows what she likes and doesn't like. Up to now, she hates carrots and beans in all forms.

She refuses to sit for potty training; she insists she wants to pee standing. Oh well. She knows how to poop properly though and informs me ahead of time when she does.

I still can't sleep. I'll probably wash the dishes. It's a blessing somehow that we still don't have a maid; we don't run out of things to do at home.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

A college buddy of mine based in Dubai got married in Bataan recently and we immediately grabbed the opportunity to check in Las Casas and bask in its timeless luxury. We booked a suite by the beach; our only mistake was we forgot to ask which floor we were checked in. We had a baby and luggage in tow and they don't have elevators or rest areas in between (I also didn't know I was pregnant :/) We also had to ride a jeep with our stuff to and fro the parking lot several kilometers away; quite inconvenient.  

But the pictures made it all worth it. My daughter thought the well-lit fountains were divine!

We also joined their free historical tour of the ancient city.  We got bits and pieces of trivia here and there; it was fun talking about the movies that were shot in this place (including the popular Heneral Luna-- the movie premier that hastened my preterm labor contractions haha).

They also have the first hotel in the country transferred here! But nowadays it's just a multi-purpose conference hall.

We never got the chance to ride the tram (it was always low batt); so we just reminisced our honeymoon in Italy. It looks and smells cleaner than Venice actually so it's a safer stroll for our toddler. I wish they had more pigeons though :p

The buildings are picturesque even without much lighting.

I super love Italian food; we ate several times at Casa Teodora (Jose Rizal's mom's ancestral home). They have humongous calzone!:)) Pretty neat stuff.

We finished off with Leji's first calesa ride! It was terribly bumpy though.

Thanks again Tim and Tricia for inviting us to your splendid wedding! We had so much fun :)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Insomia Intesifier

As a novice pastry maker, I summoned a lot of courage last night to bake my first ever rice cooker chocolate cake for my hubby's birthday.  I intended it as a surprise.

I'm happy to say it was a success! It's so moist and has a deep dark chocolatey taste. The only problem was it was a huge sacrifice for my daughter (who happens to be my number one fan when it comes to cooking) not to touch the oh-so-sweet icing before her dad arrived.  She got so excited when I finally brought it out for candle blowing when the clock struck 12; we both couldn't sleep for the next five hours after having a slice.

Here's the insomia intensifying chocolate cake recipe I used with my Breville Risotto Maker:


Cake Mixture
250g all purpose flour
100g brown sugar
150g confectioner's sugar
120g unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
200g unsalted butter (add 50g more if you want it more moist)
100g earl grey tea
3 eggs
60g all purpose cream

Fuss-free Chocolate icing
250g semi-sweet chocolate chips
1tablespoon Coke


Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Whip up the liquid ingredients in a separate container. Incorporate it slowly with the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Pour mixture in the Breville Risotto Maker and set it on "High Slow Cook" for 1-2hrs. (You can check if it's done by poking it with a fork or toothpick. It should come out clean) Glide it out with a spatula.

Melt the chocolate chips and Coke in a bowl (I did it in the microwave for a minute on medium heat). Smooth it out on top of the cake. Decorate it with fruit or cream if desired.

Hope you all get to enjoy this as much as we did!