December 3, 2016

Home Beautification and Christmas Decors


Almost a month ago, we started our home renovation/beautification. (Read: Groupon Helps Us Save With Our Home Beautification). Our home beautification involves wall repainting and some interior design, which Daddy A and I just think about, hehe. Anyway, let me share our almost finished living room that looked like this before.


And after some repainting and the addition of wood wall panel for our LED TV, it looks like this now.


Although we are not yet done, I am very happy with the outcome.Our living room looks so much better now. I just need a new set of curtains and sofa cover that I will make using my new sewing machine. Yes, I am so excited to play with my new toy, which I will share in the next coming days.

Anyway, let's take a closer look at our Christmas tree.


It's not yet done too as I will add pa these felt cloth bows that I made and will share a tutorial soon.


And also this crochet mini Christmas tree.


That is now half way done.


To complete our living room, Daddy bought a speaker with sub-woofer. And since we have a piano at home, I am planning to buy a yamaha mixer. Oh I can't wait to complete our home beautification. I would also love to show to you our kitchen and bed room.

Have you done home beautification too?
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October 17, 2016

Ginataang Bilo-Bilo


Typhoon Karen struck Central Luzon this weekend. I hope you are all safe.

I was thinking of a perfect afternoon snack that is steaming hot but still sweet. All in my mind is Ginataang Bilo-bilo. This is called paradusdos in our hometown.

Ingredients

This is also time for me to try Sugar Blend. A sweetener with same sweetness yet fewer calories. Check my post HERE.

Ginataang Bilo-Bilo

GINATAANG BILO-BILO (PARADUSDOS)

INGREDIENTS:
250 grams.glutinous rice powder, turned into dough and formed into about 1/8 inch balls.
5 pieces large banana Saba, cut into cubes
1 piece large kamote, cut into cubes
2 cups cooked sago
1 cup Sugar Blend powder
3 cup coconut milk
5 cups watet

DIRECTIONS:
Mix coconut milk, Sugar Blend, and water in a pot and bring to boil.
Drop banana and kamote and simmer until half cooked.
Add glutinous rice balls and simmer until it floats.
When the banana and kamote are done, remove from heat and serve.

This is also good to serve chilled.
You can also add with langka strips.

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October 5, 2016

How to Plan A Family Vacation


Who doesn't love taking vacations? If you ask a working mom like me, a vacation with the family is love. That's why I always look forward to holidays and long weekends. Aside from I get a chance to take a break from my work, it's an opportunity to spend quality time with my family, to bond together and visit the other parts of the country or the world.

Actually, we haven't experience a vacation away from home. But Daddy and I are planning to have at least one vacation a year. It's very important to plan a vacation ahead of time. Here's how to plan a family vacation.

photo source
Define a budget

Defining the budget is very important as this will determine the destination of the vacation. The budget should include transportation costs, accommodation, food, and activities or entertainment. Luckily you can fly to different parts of the Philippines like Boracay on a budget since there are affordable flights available.

Also, don't forget to include pocket money for buying stuff and pasalubongs, haha.

Pick the destination

As I have said, picking up destination will depend on the budget. But it is important to choose a place where your family can relax and make great memories by doing fun activities together.

Plan the date

The most popular time of the year for family vacation is summer during children's school break. But some also plan vacation on birthdays or anniversaries to celebrate or during holidays and long weekends. No matter what, choose the date that everyone in the family is available and comfortable of.

Book the flight

When you already have the budget, destination and date, it's time to book the flight. Booking in advance allows you to get the best fares and of course, save money. Like what I have said there are available affortable flights now. You can check Traveloka before your final booking.

Book the accommodation

Booking accommodation in hotel or resort ahead of time will save us time. You can browse online and compare prices and you can also look for good online deals to save money. Aside from the prices you must also consider it's location, safety and accessibility to city, malls, museums and tourist spots. For hotels and resorts, check if there's a free meal included and if there's a kitchen where you can prepare meals. Always dining in will be very expensive so if you can prepare your own meal, that's a lot better.

Plan your activities

Like what I have already said, family vacation aims to create great and fun memories together. So it's important that you plan your activities to make spend the most of it together. If you plan to visit museums or amusement parks, make sure you purchase tickets ahead of time. Ask your children what activities or places they want to visit because they are the ones who must enjoy the most, right?

Make a list of the things you need to bring

This is I think would be the last step but is as important as the above. Start to list down all the things you need to bring at least 2 months before the trip. The things you need to bring depends on the place and season, and also to the activities you will have. If you will travel in a cold place make sure you include jackets ans sweaters, or boots if it is winter. But if you will go to the beach, don't forget to bring swimwear, sunblock lotion and slippers.

Make sure to bring medicine and vitamins, and food. Before the trip, check all your passports and get visa if needed. Ask also your kids to make their own list and have it check. Remember to just pack just enough things you need and travel lightly.

That's wrap up how to plan a family vacation. Have I forgotten something? Please let me know other tips in planning a family vacation. I would love to hear it from you.


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September 27, 2016

Random Thoughts of A Working Mom


I have been working for 13 years now, and I have been a working mom for 6 years already. 

It's always been a roller coaster ride. There are so many times I have wanted to quit my job but still ends up choosing to stay. I have many valid reasons as a parent like me just want to give the best for our kids.

If you are like me who works full time outside work, you will understand how much time I sacrifice for my job. Though my job gives me financial security, I can't help but think if these are all worth it. I mean, being away from my son and those times I can't be with him to see his milestones and development.

Because time flies and one day, my son will be independent and will, but hope not, need my help. Just thinking about this makes me feel so sad already. Even if how much I tried to make up for the lost time, I could not get it back. That's why I always ends up feeling that mommy guilt when you feel you are failing as a mom. It's always the most painful feeling for every mother.

I thought I'll get over this feeling but now I am here again, caught between quitting and staying. In fact I never fail to browse on online job opportunities like the Triangle Direct Media jobs. I am giving myself a month or two to finally decide. For now, I have to leave it all to God because He knows what's best for us.


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September 25, 2016

Penne Pasta Pie



Mommy loves to cook pasta, especially during the weekends, either for snack or dinner. I had to admit, I am not good in making spaghetti.

Last Sunday, since Mommy had some tasks to do upstairs, I made the spaghetti.

Penne Pasta Pie

I used penne pasta instead of the spaghetti. To give more twist, I made it like a cake by placing every piece of pasta upwards in a spring-form pan and baked it the lasagna way.

Doing this needs a lot of patience and needs to ensure that the “cake” will not sag.

Penne Pasta Pie

PENNE PASTA PIE


INGREDIENTS:
500 grams Penne Pasta, cooked according to package direction
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

For the meat sauce:
1 pouch (250 g) UFC Filipino Style Spaghetti Sauce
1 pouch (200 g) UFC Filipino Syle Tomato Sauce
250 grams ground pork or beef
4-5 pieces hotdogs, diced
½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup sliced mushroom
1 medium-sized onion
Salt and pepper to taste

For the cream sauce:
¼ cup butter
2 tbsp cooking oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup evaporated milk
½ cup all-purpose cream
½ cup cheddar cheese, grated

Additional grated quick-melt cheese for toppings

DIRECTION:
Toss the cooked pasta in oil and cheddar cheese. Set aside.

Prepare the spaghetti sauce: 
Saute onion, ground pork or beef until meat turned brown.
Add hotdogs, bell pepper, and mushroom. Simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Add spaghetti and tomato sauce.
Add 1 cup of pasta broth (water where the pasta is cooked). Simmer for 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare the cream sauce:
Melt butter with cooking oil in a saucepan.
Add flour until formed a paste-like consistency.
Add evaporated milk, cheddar cheese, and all-purpose cream, simmer until thickens. Set aside.

Grease a spring-form pan with oil.
Fill the pan with penne pasta arranged in upward or vertical position.
Spread the cheesy sauce on top followed by spaghetti sauce.
Top with grated quick-melt cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven at 175ÂșC until the cheese melts and turns golden brown.
Remove from oven.
Remove the sidings of the spring-form pan before serving.
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