Monday, December 29, 2014

Another Impromptu Party (Very Affordable)

Back in August, my cousin, Cathy celebrated her 20th birthday. She actually didn’t have any plans for a big party but the day before birthday, we had a chat and decided to make a party happen. If you can remember, we also had another impromptu party for my son back in June.

I had a few hours to plan and I came up with this.

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I made some mini sandwiches for the guests. I made the toppers, printed them and cut them using my circle punch (which I miss so bad because it broke).

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I bought different chips and put them in these pink cups.

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We didn’t have a real cake and I didn’t have the budget for it anymore so I decided to make these bars. They are Fudgee Bars which I dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkled with nuts.

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These candles are very cool. The flame is the same color as the candle.

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I wasn’t able to taste this but apparently the guests loved it! They were actually asking for more!

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My grandmother was so kind as to cook some fried spring rolls.

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The birthday girl ordered some pizza.

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We also made a photo booth. They printed “Cathy @ 20” and the date on some bond paper, taped them together and placed them on some boards. I made the flower fans. Her theme was Fairy. She likes to pretend that she’s a fairy queen. I also made some props using my computer, some cardstock, ribbons and a few craft supplies I have on hand. I used chopsticks for the handle. =D We had a lot of different props.

I already have all the supplies on hand, even the candles. I just made a quick trip to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for the sandwiches, the snacks and the faux cake.  I already have the pink cups. They are leftovers from my Valentine’s projects.

It didn’t matter that we had a cheap party. We had fun and we celebrated as a family. Some of her friends came over too so it was a great birthday for her. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mommy Survival Kit

Back in October, my cousin gave birth. I decided to give her a Mommy Survival Kit. It’s a simple gift that I know she will find useful.

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Again, I started with a pouch… and filled it with goodies.

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I put some nail polish because I know she loves to get her nails painted. I put some antibacterial gel because new moms need to sanitize their hands often. I made the case out of Rainbow Loom. The candies are for a quick sugar rush. The cherry clamp is to keep her hair up while nursing the little one. The bracelet is to remind her to stay pretty even with lack of sleep. The green headband is for he little one.

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I put everything inside and put it in a gift bag. I already had everything on hand so this was a very easy gift.

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And that’s my version of a Mommy Survival Kit.

Tip: I collect gift items all year round so that I am never caught without a gift for unexpected events. If I see something nice and it’s on sale, I immediately buy it.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Toddler Activity – Shoot Those Marbles! (14 Months)


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First off. I’d like to apologize for the lack of photos in action for this activity. My son ripped off the tubes as soon as I stuck them on the wall. After several tries I finally managed to stick them without him interfering. I showed him how to play the game but after 2 tries, he got bored and moved on. He never played with it again.

Moving on. This activity is super simple. Just get some kitchen towel tubes. I wrapped ours with pretty Duck Tape but you can leave yours as is. Apply some double-sided tape on the back and stick them on your wall. Make sure that it’s a height your child can comfortably reach. Give him a container of marbles, pompoms or small balls. Shoot them one by one inside the “pipes”. Make sure that you have another container waiting at the end of the tube to catch all the balls. A lot of kids do this activity for at least 30 minutes. It might not have been very successful with my child but that does not mean that it will be the same with yours. There’s nothing to lose anyway. This activity is cheap and simple. If your child likes it then you get 30 minutes of “me time”.

Safety Notes
1. Skip this activity if your child likes to put things in his mouth. Marbles, pompoms and small balls are a choking hazard. Remember, anything larger than a pea is a choking hazard for small children.

2. Always supervise your child while doing this activity. Count the balls before and after the activity to make sure that  you don’t get any accidents.

3. Older kids will have fun with this game too. Just connect more tubes together and make a maze. You will find many inspiration on Pinterest.

If you liked this post, please subscribe to my mailing list on the right. You can also find more toddler activities in my archives.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Mommy Must-Have – First Aid Kit

My son rarely gets a boo boo but I want to be prepared. There was one time when he put his fingers inside the fan. Oh, yes, he did that! I was able to pull it out immediately but the tips of his finger got hit by the blade and so he got his first major wound. I am very thankful that his doctor responds to text messages so I texted him if I can put the medicine I have on hand. He suggested another brand and it’s very effective. I forget what brand though but we still have some leftover.


Anyway,  after that incident, I was really thankful to have this kit around.

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I got it at True Value for Php250+. It includes a few bandages, antiseptic wipes and antibacterial ointment. It includes some fun stickers to distract your kid while you apply first aid.

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I used to bring it with me all the time but I have learned to relax a little and so I leave it in our car organizer. I am planning to buy another one to keep in our room. The case is plastic and is the size of a glasses case. Love it, buy it!

For more mommy posts and tips, please subscribe to my mailing list on the right. Feel free to Pin this on your Pinterest board for future reference.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Toddler Activity – Play-Doh (24 Months+)

Hey everyone! Merry Christmas! How is your day coming along? Today I will be sharing with you one of our favorite activities in the house. Most of you want more toddler activity ideas so be sure to subscribe to my email list so that you can get them right in your inbox! I will be posting more of them soon!

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Play-Doh is for toddlers aged 24 months and above but my son started playing with it when he was around 10 or 11 months, I  always supervise him whenever we play with it. From the start, I made it clear to him that Play-Doh is for playing and not for eating. Sure, he tasted it a few times but when he was satisfied, he stopped doing that. So, keep an eye on your child if you give him Play-Doh. If your child is still putting random things in his mouth, Play-Doh may not be a good idea. Browse my archives to find more suitable activities.

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This is the starter set (which is a great gift idea, by the way). It’s very affordable at Php300. I had the same thing when I was a kid so I was excited when I saw this at Toys R Us. I told myself that my son has to have this.

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It comes with a few accessories and 2 tubs of brightly colored Play-Doh.

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I love Play-Doh because it forces my little one to use his imagination. We spend a lot of time playing with different colors, cutters, etc. This is an open-ended toy so the possibilities are endless. You are only limited by your imagination.

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It’s also a great learning tool. I will share with you some of our Learning Through Play-Doh games and lessons soon.

You can use Play-Doh to teach about colors, shapes and simple objects and animals. It’s also great for finger and hand strength to develop his fine motor skills. It’s a great activity if you know how to utilize it. We have acquired quite a few sets already in the last few months. Even my husband got our little one a set from Hong Kong.

So, yeah! Play-Doh is fun for the whole family! If you have more toddler activity ideas, please share them in the comments below. Include a link to your site so everyone can visit it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

This Cleanser…

is great!

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I was allergic to Clean and Clear Products when I was a teenager. I saw this cleanser in one YouTube video or blog and I fell in love with how it looked. Yeah, I’m shallow like that.

I like the beads as well and I was intrigued. I thought I won’t be able to try it because it’s not available here. Lo and behold, after several months, I found it staring back at me in the supermarket. I immediately grabbed this bottle.

The scent is mild strawberry. The bottle says the beads pop on contact but they take some time to dissolve. I was really surprised that a drugstore product didn’t give me allergies or anything. The beads are not tiny but they don’t hurt my skin.

A bottle costs around Php140 and I’ve been hooked! It’s also available in lemon which I didn’t like as the scent reminded me of toilet cleanser.

IMG_0085 My son decided that he wanted to be part of the shoot and put random objects in the frame

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Gift Idea – BFF (Drugstore Finds!)

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I know tomorrow is Christmas but for all of you last-minute shoppers out there, here is a quick gift idea for your best gal pal.

I put together this on-the-go kit in just 5 minutes. I already have all the items on hand so it was easy for me. But you can simply just go inside your favorite drugstore and find all these.

You need:

a pouch
some bracelets or any accessories that you like
lip gloss
nail polish
eye shadow palette
candies
pocket tissue

Make sure that everything is functional. You can go into Watsons and find all the items there. Mercury also has these with the exception of the bracelets.

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Put them all inside the pouch and put in a gift bag! Voila, you have a gift that looks like you spent several hours in the mall looking for each piece.

Tip: Watsons regularly has promos where you can get a free pouch for a minimum spend. That’s a score because then, you wouldn’t have to pay for the pouch!

If you liked this post, please subscribe to my email list on the right. I will be posting gift ideas throughout the year!

Feel free to post the photo above in your Pinterest board for future reference.

15-Minute Organization with Daiso Items

I am constantly trying to organize our house. I’ve realized that in order to do this, I need some help from organizers and such. So, my goal for 2015 is to accumulate organizers in every shape and size. Here are a few items from Daiso that will help you get a few things in your house organized in just 15 minutes.

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2 Minutes – Wrapping paper

Get all your wrapping paper and supplies and dump them all in these cute bins. Now you will never have to look all over the house for that leftover roll from last year.

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3 Minutes – Vanity

This is too pretty to use as a trash bin. I think it’s better suited as a catchall on your vanity. Get all your nail polishes and put them inside or your cotton pads and even your bracelets. Even if you don’t have the time to spruce up your vanity, it will still look pretty.

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5 Minutes – Command Center

Does your family have a command center? I am currently making one. You can use any space in your house as a command center. We have a small house so I utilized one portion of the walls to make as a command center.

You can use this hanging organizer to corral bills, receipts, notes, etc. You can put pens, homework, school notes, art projects and whatever it is that needs your attention.

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2 Minutes – Your purse


Put all your loose makeup in this pretty pouch. Get several to store receipts, shopping bags, etc. I have several pouches in my bag. That way, I know exactly what to pull out when I need something. I don’t have to fish around looking for my pocket tissue.

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3 Minutes- Your freezer


When you come home from grocery shopping, separate meats, seafood, etc. into one meal portions. For example, if you bought a kilo of ground meat for 2 separate dishes, portion them out into two freezer bags. This way, you only have to thaw one bag and still keep the other fresh inside the freezer. You can also label them – what kind of meat, date bought, for what dish, etc.

That’s 15 minutes in total! Quick and easy! Now you can start the year right! If you want more organization posts, please subscribe to my mailing list on the right. I will be posting more affordable organization finds in the coming days.

Simple Hair Care

My hair… Where do I even begin. My stylist said that my hair needs some rest. Giving birth and stress have wreaked havoc on it. It became weak. He refused to curl it. so I got a keratin treatment instead. Sadly, it’s not lasting as long as I want it to last. We figured it will last until around Feb but it’s only December and I’m getting frustrated with it already.

I am a very busy mom/wife so I have simplified a lot of aspects of my beauty routine. My hair included. Here’s how I manage it.

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I use my trusted Denman round brush. This product is really awesome. I love it and I will probably buy another one to put in my travel bag.  I hate combing my hair but this brush makes it tolerable.

Next is the Dove Daily Hair Vitamin. At first I was afraid that it will ruin my hair but one day I was really frustrated so I used it. I got great results. Just apply like how they show you in the commercial. I can’t really say that I had a good hair day but it was better.

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I’ll try using this daily or every other day and I’m crossing my fingers for better results.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Have Pasta, Will Travel

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I love making meal times fun for my toddler. He likes to eat and he likes cars so when I saw this bag of travel pasta, I immediately grabbed it. It includes trains, cars and airplanes – all the things that he likes.

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I made a basic recipe of pasta and topped it with mozzarella cheese for that cheesy goodness.

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This pasta is more expensive than the average ones but they are fun and delicious so I don’t really mind.

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I served it with some mango juice. We definitely had a great lunch!

Other pasta shapes are available. Check out Rustan’s Fresh.

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Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Toddler and Dad

Wow, only 3 days to go and it’s Christmas! Are you done with your Christmas shopping? If you are looking for ideas for stocking stuffers for your little one and husband, here’s what I packed this year.

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This one is for my son. I got him some crazy straws, 2 pairs of eating utensils, a tub of Play-Doh, a Crayola Stamp Marker, some toothbrushes, a HotWheels and a set of flash cards. I originally planned more but I decided to keep the others for other occasions next year. Besides, the stocking was already filled to the brim.

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This one is for my husband. Not included in the photo are several packets of instant coffee and razors. These are shirts, shorts and socks. I always give him things that he can use. I am practical like that.

So, there you have it! hope you find this post helpful. If you want more posts like this, don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list on the right.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Best Sweet And Sour Chicken Ever!

That I cooked anyway. I suck at cooking this dish so this was really a surprise.

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I got the recipe from a cheap cookbook. Readers in Manila are familiar about this. I got this from “Manong Books”. Hehe, I think you know what I mean. I got a few good recipes from that book. I just gathered them and put them in my Recipe Binder.

As always, I tweaked the recipe again but it’s fairly easy.

Ingredients
1 small can of pineapple chunks
soy sauce
vinegar
brown sugar
grated fresh ginger, about 1 teaspoon
tomato sauce
oil
chicken fillets (I used breast)
cornstarch
water
red capsicum
spring onions

Let’s get cooking!
1. I cut the fillets into bite-size pieces and seasoned them with salt and pepper. I then dredged them in cornstarch. Shake. Fry until golden. Set aside.

2. Drain the pineapple chunks and set the juice aside n a bowl. In the same bowl, add soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ginger and tomato sauce. You can also add some lemon juice. I didn’t put the measurements because I added more as my husband likes more sauce. Mix well. Adjust according to your preference.

3. Stir fry vegetables in a wok. Add chicken and sauce. In a cup, mix together some water and cornstarch until dissolved. Add to the mixture to thicken. Serve hot with rice.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family did!

If you want more recipes, subscribe to my email list on the right. Feel free to pin the photo above for future reference. Us moms need to help each other, you know.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Never mind the Burnt Bacon

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I had a tub of cream cheese waiting to be used. I already used half of it for a recipe I wanted to make. I was stuck with another half. Cream cheese is very expensive in Manila so it’s not really very popular in our daily menu. One day, I needed a quick breakfast idea so I tried using it with some sliced bread and baguette slices. I drizzled some honey on top. I served this to my son and I’m really glad that he liked it. Now I know what to do the next time I get stuck with half a tub of cream cheese.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Encourage Your Little One to Eat

I am blessed because I don’t have any problems feeding my child. He eats almost anything. He especially loves my cooking. He is also fond of eating out so we make it a point to dine out as a family at least once a week. We are on a tight budget but for me, food is important. Building relationships is important and eating out, bonding with my family is something that I cherish every single time it happens. Plus, seeing my son’s happy face while he gobbles up food is priceless.  So, I make room for it in our budget.

For the rest of the days that we are at home, I encourage snacking. Some parents don’t like the idea of snacking because it curbs their child’s appetite come meal times. But I believe that kids need snacks so that they can have the energy to get through their busy day. My son plays a lot and has lots of different activities all through the day so he really needs fuel.

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When I still didn’t know my son’s preferences, I would give him several things to choose from. For example, in this plate, there are 2 small cups of gelatin, a cup of Mandarin oranges and some grilled cheese stix. I know for sure that my son loves grilled cheese. He liked the gelatin at first but then after a few more tries, he decided he didn’t like it. The same thing happened with the Mandarin oranges. He loved them when he was 7 months old but he decided that he didn’t like them anymore when he turned 1.

Until now, I like doing this strategy when feeding him. I discover the foods that he likes so I make a mental note of them. Here are a few more tips to encourage your little one to eat.

TIPS
1. Serve him at least 3 food choices. Let him decide which ones he likes. Don’t interfere. At first you’d think my son wouldn’t eat one food but in the middle of the meal, he would try that new food. Sometimes he would spit it out but before he finishes eating, he will try it again to see if he might like it.
2. Encourage him to try something new by doing the same thing. When there’s new food, I show my son that I’m eating it and tell him how delicious it is. Of course, it might not be delicious for him but this act alone makes him want to try it too.

3. Make meal times fun. Some parents and experts disagree with distractions. I have no problems with it. I serve his food on a fun plate. He likes the divisions. Sometimes he puts one food in another part and move them around. I don’t give him noisy toys during meal times but he can hold his favorite cars. Sometimes the TV is on, not for him but for us and if it catches his attention, that’s the time I strike. Sneaky… He would open his mouth when the spoon is in front of it all while watching TV.

4. Do not be discouraged. Keep trying. When my son says no to food once, I try again for another 9x. That’s because kids don’t really know what they want. It takes some time for them to decide. My son does not like oranges but he likes kiat-kiat. Go figure.

5. Be okay with it. If my son decides that he only wants to eat 2 bites or 3 tablespoons then it’s okay with me. Children have an innate sense of knowing how much fuel they need for the day. Yes, the day. Somehow, as they grow older, they lose this ability because of outside factors such as parents telling them to finish their food or peer pressure,  etc. So, I’m okay with it. He will ask me if he needs more food anyway. On the other hand, I don’t stop feeding him until he says stop. If he does this, I get ready for a crazy day because I know he has a few things planned. 

So that’s it! I hope these tips have encouraged you to look forward to meal times. Feel free to pin the photo on your Pinterest board for future reference.

If you want more tips like these, don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list. Just enter your email address on the right side. You will never miss my mommy tips again!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chicken and Potatoes

If it’s just me and my son, I don’t stick to rice and a viand for our meals. My husband is the rice person. I’m not. I can survive without rice for several days. I am trying to make my son like me so that he can eat even without rice. Here’s one of our meals.

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This is chicken parm and baked potatoes. The baked potatoes are filled with cream cheese and crispy bacon bits. The chicken parm is just a regular chicken parm recipe. Actually, I don’t think this is strictly chicken parm. I think I just cooked some chicken and dumped some tomato sauce on top, sprinkled it with some parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. This is a fairly easy meal to make and my toddler enjoyed it a lot.

My Recipe Binders

I have been in a lazy rut. This happens to me during December….always! This is the reason why there has been a lack of posts. In December, I just feel so tired and so overwhelmed that I often just veg out. So yeah, sorry if posts will be absent most of the time.

Anyway, here is a post that makes you wanna be productive. A while back, I shared with you my meal planning strategy. I also mentioned my recipe binders. Here they are:

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I got them for only Php99.75 at National. During the warehouse sale, I got a couple more.

You see, I have a ton of recipe books and magazines and I just didn’t have the space for them anymore. So, I decided to compile all my favorite recipes together in this binder. Be warned, this involves hard work.

I first leafed through all my magazines and books. It took me several days to do this especially with a toddler hanging around. It’s also very dusty work so I ended up with a lot of hives for several days.

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I cut the recipes so that they could fit in my binder. I also included the photos. I like this binder method because it allows me to add notes.

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If it’s a new recipe and I end up not liking it, I just paste another recipe on top of it. That saves me paper and space.

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Some recipes, I write. Yeah, I copy them and write in my binder. I do this for very long ones. I use some shortcuts so that they can fit in one page.


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For shorter recipes, I just paste them on these cards and put them in this pouch that is included in the binder.

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It has been a while since I last used my binders. I’ve been too lazy to cook anything fancy. But, I have been craving for some good sweet and sour chicken and I have a mean recipe for that. So, my binders will probably see the light of day again next week.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

More Crochet Madness

Here are more projects I’d like to share with you:

cat's blanket
T
his is a blanket I made for Cousin C for her birthday. I call it my Pina Colada blanket. The colors are just screaming summer!

crochet pencil case

This one is a pencil case which I did on a whim. I just thought that it was cute and the directions were easy enough for a beginner.

I’m doing another project now and I can’t wait to share it with you when I finish.