Tuesday, June 30, 2015

KFC Pies

I really like the fact that the local KFC tries to come up with something new every now and then. I think out of all the fast food chains in Manila, McDonald's is the only one that's not too creative with their offerings.

I was surprised when I saw these pies on KFC's delivery website. I just had to try them.

Well, suffice to say that I was disappointed. The Ham and Cheese in the middle was 90% crust and 10% filling. The pecan pie was so-so. My son ate the chicken pie on the left. He finished it. I wasn't able to taste it so I really don't know if it was that good or if my son was just really hungry. Try again, KFC.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Toddler Meals

Here's another installment of toddler meals.

fried egg yolk // crispy Spam // rice rolls

grape jelly sandwich // hotdogs // pancit

fries // fish balls // chicken strips

watermelons // rice cakes // pancit luglug

Yakult // Nutella sandwiches // spaghetti

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Bento Finds at Daiso

For me, Daiso is the best place to find affordable Bento materials. They have the actual bentos and a whole lot of accessories to choose from. Even if you are a newbie, you will certainly be able to make wonderful creations with a little help from these materials.

I did bentos when I was still working. It made me look forward to lunch. I packed my lunch to save money.  I didn't do the whole kyaraben thing but I did made an effort to make my lunch box bento-ish. So, I have a small collection of bento items which I now find useful again for preparing my son's meals. My collection is small because Daiso (then Saizen) was such a far away trek for me. Now that they have a Glorietta store, I can buy Bento stuff whenever I need them. Here are 2 that I found.

I tried this sausage mold once, with a cooked sausage. It was a fail. I think I need to use this while the hotdogs are still uncooked so that when I fry them, they will take the shape of the mold. This is my first time using this mold so if you have tips, please leave them below. I'd appreciate them. 

This onigiri mold is something that all bento enthusiasts must have. It's a pretty basic mold. I like using this for my son's rice because he likes eating with his hands. He can use utensils but he prefers his hands. I think he got that from me when I was pregnant with him (or maybe the other way around). I used my hands a lot when I ate, even when I ate salads. Pregnancy makes one do weird things. 

Anyway, this is very useful and so easy to use. My son enjoys his triangle rice a lot. I am falling into a cooking/meal preparation rut so my kitchen helpers are sleeping a lot. I will try to make an effort to do more in the coming days so that I can take advantage of my investments better. Fingers crossed! 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Crazy About Minions?

We are crazy about Minions. I found this ad in my inbox. We don't have Walmart in Manila but if you are a Minions fan in the US, you may like this.

I think it's a really fun way to pay bills! Banana!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Celebrating My Son's 23rd Month Birthday

I was away for a few days because we celebrated my son's 2nd birthday. But before I share with you how we celebrated that day, let me share with your his 23rd milestone celebration first.

We are very simple people when it comes to birthdays and celebrations. We don't go all out having a party every month like some of my friends do for their kids. I have nothing against that. To each his own.

We are grateful and thankful for another month, another milestone in our child's life. It does not go unnoticed. Sometimes we give him a small gift such as a Hot Wheels car or two. Sometimes I give him a goody bag filled with small toys and snacks. Sometimes we just open a few Kinder Joy surprise eggs. Other times we just eat out.

For his 23rd month, I made an impromptu lunch. I wasn't planning on anything special. As a matter of fact, we were running low on supplies. I opened the fridge and thought I'd make pancit, one of his favorite dishes for lunch.

We had a simple pancit with a few vegetables and some fish balls. 

We ate lunch while watching his current favorite character, Spider Man. 

Of course, we needed to have some Cran-Rasp juice in his Lego Batman tumbler.

He took his usual nap after a few hours and when he woke up, he was greeted with a box of pies from Contis. His grandma got it for him. 

We ate ham and chicken pies for our afternoon snack.

Finally, I gave him this Agent P spoon and fork set because, well, he really likes Agent P. 

His 2nd birthday was also simple. It was no fuss. It was spent with family. I will share it with you soon. How do you celebrate your child's milestones? Do you go all out and party every month or do you have little celebrations? Share!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Milo Breakfast Cereal Balls

Filipinos normally eat savory breakfasts. In my family, we seldom eat anything sweet for breakfast so these Milo breakfast cereals are usually consumed at snack time.

My whole family loves this. Even my mom got addicted to it. She bought a box after tasting some. It's not overly sweet. It's like eating very crunchy Milo. Trust me, it's very addictive. The combination of sweet and crunchy is a killer. One box lasts for only a few days. It's one of my energy snacks. Really great for a busy mom such as myself for a boost of energy.

Another great thing is it's not very expensive as it's not imported. We all know imported cereals are mucho expensive here.

As always, these small balls are choking hazards. If you feel that your child is still not able to eat this properly, skip it. Wait when he is ready.

Pop Chips Original Potato

My son and I love Pop Chips but they are a hit and miss. Sometimes we get a good variant, sometimes we strike out. Like this one. This is very flavorful, very delicious but also very salty. We only eat a few pieces and drink a ton of water or juice afterwards.

I love Pop Chips because they are neither fried nor baked. They're popped, like popcorn. They are not greasy and are very crunchy. One bag is quite expensive but it's worth it if you get a good flavor.

Have you tried this snack? What's your favorite variant?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Merienda in Bed

I always look forward to Saturdays because that's family time for us. For many people, Sunday is family day. Ours is Saturday. We usually just hang out at home or go to the park. Sometimes we go to the mall but the important thing is, we are together and that my son is having fun with his mom and dad.

For this one Saturday, we stayed in and had merienda (afternoon snack) in bed while watching TV.

We had ice cream, Selecta I think in Almond Brownie. We also had Pringles and some chichacorn from Ilocos. 

These ice cream glasses are from Daiso, just in case you were wondering. I grabbed them immediately when I saw them. I just knew my son would get a kick out of it and I was right. He enjoyed eating his ice cream from this glass. 

The best things in life are free, cheap or simple. I love our family time. Tomorrow is Saturday and it's another family day for us, this time with our extended family. My best friends will be joining us to celebrate day 1 of my son's 3-day birthday celebration. 

By the way, if you don't catch me here, I am probably in my other blogs. I have started writing for them again because many of you guys still visit those sites. I hate to disappoint you. 

For beauty stuff, check out bits+treats. For recipes, meals and everything food, check out 240 baon

Baby Dedication Gift Basket

Last month, my niece had her dedication in church. This is like a christening. I wanted to give her something special so I came up with this basket. 

I'm sorry I don't have the individual photos of the gifts but I will list them all for you. 

The basket includes;
  • a pair of pretty socks 
  • 4 bottles of Earth's Best baby food
  • 2 bibs
  • 3 tops 
  • Sofia the First dining set. 
I just filled the bottom with tissue wrap, placed the items on top and wrapped the whole basket with 2 pieces of cellophane. I used two so that I can be sure that it won't rip as the basket was heavy. I tied a ribbon and attached a homemade gift tag.

I hope this gave you an idea/inspiration for a baby gift. Please subscribe to my mailing list if you liked this post. Thanks!

Monday, June 15, 2015

3 Simple Activities to Keep Toddlers (and Improve Motor Skills)

I love coming up with activities for my little one. I look for things in the house that we can use. I also keep my eyes open whenever we are at the bookstore, Daiso and toy stores.

Here are a few activities I've come up with.

Twisting and turning is a great skill for toddlers to learn. It helps their hands and fingers get stronger and also helps them with coordination. This is a cheap set that I got from the department store. 

Another simple activity is using clothespins. These are Mickey Mouse clothespins. There are so many things you can do with these. For now, I will share one with you. 

My son likes to line them up like this. I put them in a tin box and he uses the cover as a stand. 

He also likes connecting two together and says it is a motorbike. I will feature more activities when I get the time to actually prep for them. He is more creative in playing with these than I am. Be careful though as the pins can hurt little fingers. He's had his share of ouchies but I let him be so that he can learn from his mistakes. 

Finally, painting with water colors. My son just loves this activity. He likes to mix the colors altogether. I don't mind. I can clean each pan with a wet wipe afterwards. He also already knows the concept of how watercolor painting works. I give him his coloring book to paint. Warning: This activity can be very messy so prepare for it. 

I hope you liked these activities. Try them with your little ones. If you want more posts like this, please subscribe to my mailing list to get the latest right in your inbox. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

TimHoWan, At Last!

TimHoWan has been open in Manila for quite some time now but it was only last month that we were able to dine there. We were turned off with the long queues.

This is the menu which also serves as your place mat. The menu is very specific and limited. They do have seasonal specials though. 

If I'm trying out a Chinese restaurant, I always order hakaw and siu mai/siomai. I guess these are my benchmarks. 

The shrimp dumpling above was good. It had a generous serving of shrimps inside. I would have loved it with soy sauce and calamansi though. They only serve soy sauce in the restaurant. I'm not sure if they have calamansi though as I never ask. 

These are Baked BBQ Pork Buns which are my son's favorite. They are too sweet for me but my son can demolish 1 and a half in one sitting and he is only 1 year old. 

This is also another favorite of ours, the chow mien. It's just a simple pancit. Very flavorful and affordable. 

This is the siomai which I really didn't like. I'm sorry to say this but I like Hen Lin's better. 

I know this is a Michelin star restaurant but for me, the food is just okay. There is nothing spectacular about it. Even my husband's friends in Hong Kong are not big fans. They said that it's just over hyped. We eat there from time to time when my son asks for 'siopao'. That's what he calls the BBQ buns. The prices are very affordable so don't be afraid to try if you haven't yet. Service is also quick.  Let me know your favorites.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Cutex Cupcake

I like Cutex nail polishes. The colors are nice and the staying power is good when I combine it with my IsaDora top coat. I also like that it does not contain most chemicals associated with nail polishes. 

The Cupcake collection, however, is too streaky for me. The consistency is too watery. I need to swipe at least 3 coats in order to get good coverage. It also does not last long. I haven't been wearing any color on my tips so I think I need to visit Watsons to check out the other Cutex colors soon. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Toddler Activity: Pegs and Play-Doh

We have two sets of pegs and a ton of Play-Doh. One afternoon, I came up with this activity for the little one.

It's such a simple activity. You need pegs, a tub of play dough, a roller and a tray to control the mess. 

I just rolled out the dough and put one peg up. My son got the idea right away and followed suit.

When he got bored I got his shape sorter bits.

This is such a simple activity but my son enjoyed it. It kept him occupied for almost an hour! When he got bored with the shapes, I got his dinosaurs and made dinosaur tracks. The possibilities are endless!

He had so much fun with this activity that until now he still asks for it from time to time. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Family Mart Collection Snacks

A few weeks ago, I wrote about our Saturday Fun at the Park. I mentioned these two snacks I got at Family Mart. 

This first one is a bag of chocolate covered panda biscuits. They are what I would expect from a Japanese bag of chocolate covered biscuits. There was nothing special to it. I like these Japanese snacks because they are not too sweet. I did not bother taking a photo of the actual product as the chocolate was all melted so the biscuits were stuck together. 

This second snack is a bag of shoyu (soy sauce) rice crackers. Oh, my. This is super salty! My husband and I ate a few then surrendered. We really couldn't handle the saltiness of this snack. It's crispy though and could even be tasty had they limited the salt. I ended up just throwing it away which was such a loss as it was expensive. 

So, the next time you are in Ayala Triangle with your kids, get the chocolate pandas and skip the  rice snacks. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Go On a Cheap Date and Actually Enjoy It

My husband and I rarely go on dates anymore ever since I gave birth. It's something normal between couples who are new parents. So when we do, we make them special...and as cheap as possible. We usually go on quick dates so a movie and dinner date is always favored.

For this date, we watched a movie. We are lucky here because we can actually bring our own food inside the cinemas. I brought a bunch of snacks including the tub of Pringles above. My husband was actually surprised when I pulled it out of my purse. Cinema snacks are expensive especially drinks so I brought my own water bottle too. My husband wanted a Coke so we bought one can from the supermarket instead of from the snack bar because it is way cheaper there. Snack bars usually charge double than supermarkets.

After the movie, my husband wanted to have dinner. I wanted to eat somewhere more affordable but he insisted that we eat somewhere more special since we rarely go on dates. I said yes because we already saved a lot of money by going to a cheaper cinema and bringing our own snacks. And no, we didn't blow our budget during dinner. We still had a lot of saved money left.

Before going home, I got my son a box of mamon (90 pesos) as pasalubong. Without the dinner, our date only cost us less than 500 pesos (around 11 USD) including the pasalubong.

Tips to remember:

1. Search around the Internet for cheap tickets when you want to watch a movie. There may be special deals lurking around in your local cinemas. Also, you may want to wait a few days or even a couple of weeks before watching a major movie. That way, the prices have gone down already. 

You can also look for online deals for meals, drinks, etc. 

2. If your cinema allows it, bring your own snacks. You avoid allergies, you can stick to your diet and keep your cash in your wallet. 

3. If you can't bring snacks, drop by the supermarket before you go to the cinemas to stock up on snacks. 

4. If you really want to go somewhere fancy for dinner, compromise. You may want to skip the movies altogether if you are in a tight budget. 

5. Planning is key to be able to have a stress-free date. Talk to your partner about the "ground rules" before leaving so that you don't have to be stressed while you are in the actual date. You avoid telling him/her that you can't do or buy such and such because of the price. 

In the end, just enjoy your date and if you find yourself going over-budget, just charge it to experience (as my BFF Ahne always tells me). You can try again next time!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday Fun Finds

I've been busy the last couple of days that is why there is a lack of post. Anyway, we got some shopping done today and here are a few interesting things I found. 

We love ice cream in our family. If my boys had their way, they would eat ice cream five times a day. This yogurt ice cream from Magnolia is a good alternative. I bought a few and we tasted them this afternoon and they are really good. They don't have that sour and cardboard-y taste that other yogurt ice creams have. BFF Ahne, if you are reading this, you might wanna try it. I know how much you hate yogurt but these really taste like ice cream.  

Next is this Olay body wash duo. This is our current favorite body wash although not in these variants but they will suffice. The pack is a great bargain so I got it. Check out our favorite here.

Finally, this Johnson's baby wash. We try different body washes from time to time. We have tried this before and we really liked it. It is really great for active toddlers. My son stays fresh for a long time even with all his running, climbing, wriggling, etc. The pack contains a full size wash and a refill at Php20 off. 

What are your Sunday Fun Finds?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Banapple Lasagna Roll-Ups

We seldom eat at Banapple because of the line and there is almost always no available table inside. We prefer the Ayala Triangle branch, by the way. One afternoon, we were lucky enough to get a table. I ordered the Lasagna Roll-Ups

The portion is big so that explains the price a bit. They are also generous with the sauce. The  bread was okay. My son liked it. The lasagna itself was delicious although the herbed cream and Parmesan cheese filling  was a little bit overwhelming for someone who is not a huge cheese fan. If you like cheese, you will probably like this. My son and I were able to finish one roll-up. We brought home the other one for my husband. I love the tomato meat sauce though. I could just sop it up with the bread and I'd be satisfied. Make sure that you order a drink with this to cut the cheesy factor. What's your favorite Banapple dish?