Friday, March 27, 2015

Easter Gift Series – Giant Easter Eggs for Baby Girls and a Toddler Boy

giant easter eggs for baby girls and a toddler boy


This is the last post on my Easter Gift Series. Click here for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

My son loves surprise eggs. I actually got this idea from him. When I saw these giant eggs at the toy store, I knew I had to buy them. With the previous gifts, I really didn’t spend a lot. Most of the materials to build the gifts were already in my craft closet. The gifts were in my gift closet.

This first egg is for my god daughter who happens to be my namesake. His dad is a good friend and he named the baby after me.


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Inside:
  • Baby Elmo bib
  • Baby Elmo rattle
  • Baby Elmo socks
  • white chocolate eggs
  • speckled candy balls
The candies are mostly for the parents as this baby is only 5 months old.


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Next is for my niece who shares the same birthday with Baby Girl 1. How cool is that? They are both 5 months old.


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Inside:

  • Baby Elmo bib
  • Baby Cookie Monster socks
  • 2 board books
  • speckled candy balls
  • white chocolate eggs
I already gave her the same rattle for V-day so I put books instead.


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Lastly, this one is for my nephew/god son who is a month younger than my son.


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Inside:
  • Food keepers – 2 different sizes
  • Bubbles
  • airplane which I disassembled so it will fit inside the egg
  • a Fisher Price sippy cup
  • chocolate eggs
  • white chocolate eggs
  • speckled candy balls

I don’t have stocks of baby gift things in my closet so most of these things were bought a week before I packed them up.

I hope you enjoyed this series. Please subscribe to my mailing list on the right so you won’t miss any posts. Feel free to Pin any of the photos in your Pinterest board for inspiration and ideas.

Easter gifts for BFFs
Easter gifts for girls of different ages
Easter gifts for pre-school boys
Easter gifts for pre-teens

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Easter Gifts for Pre-Teens

This is part 4 of my Easter Gifts Series. If you’ve missed the other posts, read Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3 by clicking on the links.

Today’s Easter gifts are for pre-teens. We have two god kids that are 10 and 11. Here’s what I prepared for them.

easter gifts for pre-teens


The girl is 11 years old.


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Again, I wasn’t able to photograph the contents one by one as I was rushing since my son was napping when I did this. These are what I put in the pail.

  • stickers
  • headband
  • cherry clamp
  • loom bracelets
  • post-it
  • pen
  • speckled candy balls
  • chocolate Easter eggs
  • white chocolate Easter eggs
I’m pretty sure I also put some earrings in there.


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For the 10-year-old boy:

  • yoyo
  • Angry Birds correction tape
  • chocolate Easter eggs
  • white chocolate Easter eggs
  • speckled candy balls
  • loom bracelets
  • crystal soccer keychain
  • highlighter

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It’s going to be really tough to give this boy a gift when he turns into a teenager!

So, that’s it for today. I hope you liked this post. If you missed my earlier posts, just click on the links.
Easter gifts for BFFs
Easter gifts for girls of different ages
Easter gifts for pre-school boys
How I made the Easter cards
Information about the pails

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Easter Gifts for Pre-School Boys

This is Part 3 of my Easter Gifts Series. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 for more Easter gift ideas.


easter gifts for pre-school boys


We have a nephew and a god child who are pre-schoolers. Here’s what I packed for them.


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They have the same contents:

  • stickers
  • tub of play dough
  • shape sorters that can also be used with the dough
  • loom bracelets
  • a bottle of bubbles
  • chocolate eggs
  • white chocolate eggs
  • speckled candy balls

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For information about the gift cards that I used, read here. For information about the cards, read here

Easter gift ideas for best friends
Easter gift ideas for girls of different ages

Stay tuned for more Easter gift ideas!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Easter Gifts for Girls of Different Ages

This is part two of my Easter Gifts Series. If you’ve missed part one, you can check it out here.

Today, I will be showing you gifts for our god daughters. They range from ages 4 to 9.


easter gifts for girls fo different ages



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I got the pails from the supermarket a long time ago. They are no longer available in the supermarket. They are so hard to find! Anyway, they are plain pails with covers. I just embellished them with stickers, scrapbook paper and other scrapbook decorations. I hot glued the decorations on the pail.


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I also made the cards. You can see how I made them here.


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This one is for the 4-year old. I wasn’t able to photograph the contents one by one because I was rushing. I photographed these while my son was napping. I had very little time to do a lot so I will just enumerate them here:

  • stickers
  • girl figurine from Doraemon
  • a bottle of bubbles
  • some play dough
  • 2 loom bracelets
  • speckled balls
  • white chocolate Easter eggs
  • chocolate Easter eggs
I also lined the bottom of the pail with some shredded crepe paper.


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For the 8-year-old:
  • stickers
  • a tub of play dough
  • earrings
  • animal keychain
  • speckled balls
  • 2 loom bracelets
  • white chocolate Easter eggs
  • chocolate Easter eggs

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The 9-year-old got the same contents but with more “grown-up” colors and stickers.

I hope you enjoyed this post. For ideas on what to give your BFF, click here.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s gift ideas. If you haven’t, subscribe to my mailing list or follow me in Bloglovin’!

Easter Gifts Series – Best Friends

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I am starting my Easter Gifts series today with these gifts for my best friends.


bff easter gifts


What’s inside the pink pen holder?



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Let’s start with the left one. The eggs have chocolates inside. I added this crocheted strawberry keychain from Baguio. The Silk Vanilla Cupcake Body Cream doesn’t fit in the holder so I just left it out. I also printed a gift tag.



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The one on the right has a pink crocheted strawberry keychain, 3 eggs with chocolates (from our childhood inside), a post-it and a red OPI nail polish. I also added the tag.  I contemplated on putting my regular chocolate gifts inside but I always do that. Then I remembered that my two friends would appreciate the cheap but memorable chocolate that I put instead.

I wrapped them up in clear cellophane and tied a pink ribbon on each. I will be sending them this week as I will be away for Lent.

For the tags, I just made them using Microsoft Publisher. Then, I used these materials:


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tags // scissors // colored straws // flower beads // glue gun


I cut the straws in half and hot glued them to the back of the cards. Then I hot glued the flower bead on the base in the middle. That’s it!

I already had these items and materials on-hand so I didn’t buy anything new except for the Easter eggs and chocolates. These are such affordable gifts to make that they will fit anyone’s budget. I am saving the rest of the eggs for other projects.


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I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Feel free to pin the photos in your PInterest board for inspiration. Stay tuned for more Easter gift ideas!

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Today’s Breakfast and Dinner Toddler Plates

Hi everyone! I have not been able to check-in yesterday because I had a little accident last Thursday night. I slipped and hurt my knee pretty bad. I’m better now though.

We went to my son’s regular doctor’s checkup today so there is no lunch plate. Here’s what he had for the rest of the meals.


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This plate consists of  adobo rice, pancit bihon and a few pear slices. He already ate 2 slices before I was able to take a photo. He finished about 3/4 of the pancit and all the rice and pears.


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For dinner we had rice, pork chops and corn and carrots. He finished the rice and got some more corn and carrots. He ate half of the meat. For dessert, he ate this.


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Avocados in milk and sugar.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Why I Meal Plan (and my latest strategy)

If you have been following my blog, you’d know that I’ve been trying different approaches to meal planning and grocery shopping. I plan our meals for a number of reasons.


why I meal plan


1. To save money

We have a very limited budget. We live on my husband’s salary. I am a stay-at-home mom so I really have to budget our money wisely. Back when it was just my husband and I, I would go to the supermarket and pick up whatever I fancy. Then when meal time came, I would stare at a fully-stocked fridge not knowing what to cook. The result was food got spoiled and money wasted.

When I gave birth, I had to drastically change my life and my habits, especially my shopping habits. I needed to think about the diapers and the formula and the books, clothes, toys, etc. I needed to be smarter.

Making a meal plan helps me come up with a grocery list that is on target. I am able to stick to our budget more or less every month. I say more because sometimes I just have to get a treat for us like a tub of ice cream or a pack of cookies, etc. I also go over budget when my son requests for a specific food which is fine with me because I can tweak our budget in other areas of our expenses.

2. To save time


You wouldn’t believe how much time I’ve wasted before I started meal planning. I would decide what to cook a few hours before lunch or dinner time and realize that I need to thaw out a piece of meat. If it takes too long, I get lazy and my husband gets hungry then we end up ordering take away.

3. To be more productive
 

I have been tweaking my meal planning strategy for a few weeks now and I think I’ve got the right solution.

Back in January, I did one huge grocery shopping trip. I stocked up on meat and veggies. I only needed to go to the supermarket to buy bread and more veggies or fruits. The food lasted until February. You can see how we ate through our freezer starting with this series. I didn’t do the groceries until I didn’t have enough ingredients anymore.

It was a great plan and I was able to save a lot of money but I ended up exhausted and burned out from cooking and planning meals. I just wanted to eat out after the last freezer meal. I got sick of cooking stir fries and simple dishes. Good thing we went on vacation and had my mother-in-law cook for us. Otherwise, I would probably have spent the rest of February eating out. It’s like being on a diet and binge eating.

So, I decided that that strategy wasn’t for me.

My strategy today is I buy whatever is on sale or in season at the grocery then I work our meals around those ingredients. I also don’t write out a weekly menu anymore. I write a daily menu. You would think that this is more work but it isn’t for me. Why? Because of a few factors.

First, I really don’t want to limit myself into eating chicken tomorrow or on Thursday because that’s what the plan says. What if I wanted to eat chicken now? What if I don’t want to eat chicken for a week?


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Next, life happens. There are unexpected things that happen daily. For example, we might decide to spend the day in the mall. That would affect our menu. If we come home late, it’s not practical to cook a complicated dish so that ruins the plan. Also, if we plan to go home late and wait for my husband, we usually just have dinner out.

Every day and night, I look at my crisper and see which vegetables I need to cook right away. Then I go through my recipe books/binder and the Internet to find the right dish. If I lack ingredients, I substitute, scratch that ingredient or just choose another dish. Then I think about the meat that would best go with the vegetable. I also think about the fruit that I will serve. I am trying to feed my family fruit with every meal. My son loves it and really, it’s just healthier. We’ve had less chocolate cravings ever since I started this.

I am also trying to serve at least 2 viands. Rice is a staple in every Filipino home so our meals revolve around it. Even when we serve noodles, rice always makes an appearance. My son loves the variety. I do too. Plus, I don’t get to eat the same thing over and over again. We used to eat the leftovers from dinner for lunch the next day. My son hated it. He does not want to eat the same thing twice or thrice in a row. Again, he wants variety.


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How do I become more productive?
 

For example, I will cook 3 dishes for lunch and 3 for dinner. The following day, I will choose a combination from the leftovers to pack in my husband’s lunch bag and for our lunch at home. This way, we all get to eat different meals.  Before lunch time, I will cook 1 dish or prep for a dish or two that I will cook for dinner. I always watch the clock whenever I’m cooking as I don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen anymore. So, with this strategy, I can do more with less time. When evening rolls around, I will just start the stove and start cooking. There is very minimal or no prepping. While I do the night chores, I get the meat that I need to thaw out and transfer it to the fridge. Sometimes I also do a bit of prep for breakfast. Come lunch time, the meat is ready. Sometimes I decide to add a side dish at the last minute but that’s okay as they are usually easy to prepare.

I’ve also decided to make grocery time date time. My husband and I rarely have dates so last Tuesday, I texted him to say to accompany me with the grocery shopping. We met at the mall that is near our house. I don’t like pushing the cart because it puts too much strain on me. I am petite and have fibromyalgia so that’s a big issue for me. I avoid going to the grocery if I know I will have no choice but to push the cart. (I also don’t like to go grocery shopping with my son as he still does not have the patience nor the temperament to stick with mommy the whole time.) So, he pushed the cart while I got the ingredients. We finished in 20 minutes! I left home at 7 pm and we got back home a few minutes before 8. We got to bond and accomplish an errand. Two birds and all that jazz.

So comes the question, “why not just spend one afternoon or a few hours prepping”?
 

Again, life happens. I don’t want to end up with spoiled chopped veggies in the fridge because I was not able to cook them. It’s a waste of money. I prep as the day goes. Sometimes I prep while doing the laundry. Sometimes I prep while waiting for the rice to cook.

A few personal notes


I buy fruits in bulk. For example, last Tuesday, I bought a whole watermelon. If you’ve been following my toddler plates posts, you may have spotted the watermelons several times. I just rotate the fruits so that we don’t eat watermelons 3x a day.

I have learned to be a little loose on the budget. If you can recall, I got a scare with my husband’s health. I’m a firm believer that food heals because it worked for me so now, I don’t follow a strict budget. I feed my family whatever we can afford. I feed them good food. I don’t scrimp anymore. And, I’ve seen results. My son eats a lot more. My husband also finishes/enjoys  his packed lunch more. He also gets to eat snacks during the day because I add several small snacks to his lunch bag. He looks better now because of this. I’ve also had more energy to tackle chores and blogging as evidenced by my daily posts. I’ve also seen them eat with more gusto during meal times ever since I started serving them different dishes. It’s true that it’s more work to prepare more food but it’s all worth it.

I stick to one supermarket and that’s Rustan’s Fresh because of the member rewards and the variety of products. I also choose a branch that is small so that I can get what I need right away, not be tempted to buy anything else and to finish shopping quickly. If they don’t have what I need, I usually ask my mom to check out other groceries.

So, this is the end of this post. I hope you learned a lot and have realized how important it is to meal plan. If you are already doing it, I hope I was able to let you see another aspect of it. You can also go through my archives for more on meal planning. For delicious, budget-friendly recipes, please visit my food blog.  Happy planning!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Today’s Toddler Breakfast Plate and More

I’m sorry I wasn’t able to post yesterday’s toddler plates as I was having an issue with our Internet. Our DSL has been out for almost 3 weeks now so I’m using a pocket Wifi. The Internet was too slow yesterday and I could not get anything done. So today, I will be featuring today’s breakfast plate as well as yesterday’s plates.

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This was yesterday’s breakfast plate. It consisted of half a cheese muffin which I cut into 4, some apple slices and spaghetti. Yeah, we Filipinos eat pasta for breakfast. My son ate 3 pieces of the muffin and about 2 slices of the apple. It wasn’t crunchy anymore. I didn’t like it as well. He finished the spaghetti though.


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For lunch, I prepared some scrambled egg with cheese and spring onions, quick and easy beef with broccoli and chicken adobo fried rice. My son ate about a fourth of the eggs, all the broccoli and some beef and about a third of the rice. I think he was still full from breakfast. He finished the mango juice though.


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For our afternoon snack, we had some leftover pizza. I wasn’t able to take a photo of the dinner plate as my husband was the one who fed him.


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For breakfast today, I gave him pancit bihon, some pear slices and two slices of toasted ciabatta with butter and grape jelly. He finished the pancit, ate a few pears and one slice of bread.

Stay tuned for today’s lunch and dinner plates! If you need the recipe for the beef and broccoli, head on over to my food blog or you can click the link up there which will take you directly to the post.

How To Wear MAC Russian Red Lipstick Every Day

MAC russian red lipstick


I think most Filipinas are scared of wearing red lipstick. I personally like red lipsticks. I have a few in my collection. I wear them whenever I feel like it, day or night. In today’s post, I’d like to show you how you can wear red lipstick every day with just this tube of MAC Russian Red.

MONDAY

Get ready for work and look fresh and pretty with this stained look.


stained look




stained look2


HOW TO:

Pucker up and use your finger to dab just a little bit of the lipstick in the center of your lower and upper lips. Smack them together and you’ve got a pretty stained lip look, reminiscent of Koreanovelas.

TUESDAY

Got a client meeting? No worries! Impress your clients with your go-getter attitude and your I-mean-business lips.


everyday look


HOW TO:

Get your tube of red lippy and apply with your finger all over your lips. Apply lip balm before or after for a lighter shade.
This is also a perfect everyday look.

WEDNESDAY

It’s hump day! Time to get together with the girls for a quiet (or fun!) night out. This look is perfect. Not too subtle and not too in-your-face.


going out with the girls


HOW TO:

Apply lip balm all over your lips. Apply lipstick directly from the tube. Just one swipe will do. If it’s too red, blot. You can also apply a thin layer of clear gloss.

THURSDAY

Are you going out with your sweetie tonight for a weekly catch-up/date? Here’s the perfect red lip for you.


date night look


HOW TO:

Apply two swipes of red lipstick on your prepped lips. Remember to always use lip balm with red lipstick as it can be very drying. Blot to get rid of excess lipstick.

FRIDAY

Thank God it’s Friday! Do you have to attend a party later in the evening? How about an event? Here’s the perfect red lip that will make an impression.

event look


HOW TO:

Swipe your red lipstick twice then apply red lip gloss. I used MAC Wonder Woman for this look. Remember to apply lipstick on the corners of your mouth so that you won’t have blank spaces when you talk or open your mouth. Use a lip brush to make this look.


Tools of the Trade




tools of the trade

MAC Russian Red // Nivea Lip Butter in Raspberry Rose // Bobbi Brown Brush // MAC Wonder Woman Lip Gloss

I hope, with this post, you won’t be afraid of red lipstick anymore!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tonight’s Toddler Dinner Plate

Sorry for the pic. I was in a hurry taking the shot as my son was too eager to eat.

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On the plate are pancit bihon, shredded fried chicken and catsup. I added some rice after I took the shot. He liked everything on this plate but he didn’t finish eating as his dad stopped him because he was making a mess. I really don’t mind the mess. He also ate some mangoes after this meal. Then we had some of these delicious chocolate wafers:

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Today’s Toddler Breakfast and Lunch Plates

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You ladies seem to be enjoying our toddler plates based on my analytics. Well, here’s more!

The plate above was our breakfast plate today. It consisted of pear slices, scrambled eggs with cheese and spring onions, one piece of bacon and some sweet potato fries. My son finished everything on this plate except for the bacon. He got it, went up to me and fed me the bacon. Sometimes he likes bacon, sometimes he doesn’t.

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For lunch, I gave him some shredded chicken adobo, rice, ginataang puso ng saging (banana blossoms cooked in coconut milk) and some watermelon slices. He liked everything in this plate. He even tried the banana blossoms but found it hard to chew. He tried it several times though. He seemed to like it. He finished all the chicken. He also asked for more watermelons.

I put the fruit on the biggest portion because he always eats the fruits first. Then he goes on sampling the other foods in a clockwise direction. He seems to do it every single time.  Stay tuned for tonight’s dinner plate!

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Healthy Snack My WHole Family Loves

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Most readers abroad are probably familiar with this product but here in Manila, I’d say that we only get this “once in a blue moon”. Pirate’s Booty is not readily available in the supermarkets. I got this bag from S&R.

These are baked rice and corn puffs. They have no artificial colors, flavors and preservatives plus they are gluten free, perfect for those who are allergic to gluten.


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They are not too salty. They taste just right. They are so good that on our first try, we ate about a fourth of the bag. I also gave some to my mom and sister. My son loves this so much that he kept asking for “more Pirate’s Booty, please” for the next several days. I didn’t see this product during my last outing there last week so I guess we have to wait again until it makes another appearance. I’ll probably snag 2 bags then.

My Top Makeup Tools

must-have makeup tools


I have many makeup brushes and tools accumulated over the years through my makeup gigs, shopping trips and collections but there are a few tools that I must have in my vanity. These are my non-negotiables. I can always use my fingers to apply liquid foundation, eye shadow and concealer but for other things, I must use these.


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First is this ELF blush brush. It is such an affordable brush but it really works well. Next, my Bobbi Brown eyebrow brush. I have tried several eyebrow brushes but this one is the best. Next is the Bobbi Brown orange brush which I use as a lip brush. I can apply lipstick with my fingers but a lip brush is essential for some lipstick shades such as red. Also, my mentor said that I don’t need to use a lip liner as long as I have a lip brush.

I also need this spoolie to groom my eye brows. I don’t apply mascara because I’m allergic so my Shu Uemura curler comes in handy.


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I also need the MAC Girl Boy eyebrow shaper. It blends nicely with my color-treated hair.

These are my makeup essentials. I always reach for them every time I apply makeup. What’s yours?



my top makeup tools