Lessons on Frugality and Delayed Gratification

I learned frugality and delayed gratification through my husband. He is the modest and simplest person I know. His clothes can fit into one small luggage. He uses a mid-range Android phone and owns just half a dozen pair of shoes which I think is very few for somebody who can afford more. Back home, we own a third hand super old car. We don’t buy new because we don’t stay for so long in the Philippines. You will find him mostly in sando and shorts or white shirts and jeans. We don’t buy the latest gadgets and cameras and people would sometimes joke about his being kuripot (stingy). My husband has a nice, decent paying job that can buy so much but we opt to choose a frugal life wherein we live within our means and save more for the future or for rainy days.

Now that we are parents, we realized that Frugality and Delayed Gratification are one of the greatest lessons we can ever impart to Lia. We never spoiled her. You will often see Lia at home wearing this cheap white cotton shirt from Divisoria. And when she goes out, you can see her wearing just shirt paired with leggings or shorts or just simple dress that we bought on SALE. You can barely see her on a Sunday dress unless there’s an occasion because let’s face it, kids clothes are really expensive especially the dressy ones. And kids? They just wear them once! I buy clothes that I can easily mix and match so the people will say naman that Lia’s not wearing the same clothes over and over again – NOT! Actually, I really don’t mind what people will say. I mean, Lia, at least for us who love her, is cute and pretty and she doesn’t really need new clothes to show off every time. Her hair accessories don’t overflow in the box either. We buy her just enough. But she’s lucky, a lot of people love her and shower her with occasional Ralph Laurens, DKNYs and Calvin Kleins. 🙂

Lia’s favorite white tee from Divi

Really, she wears that everyday!

Pardon the kalat. We are just enjoying being happy. 🙂

Her usual outfit

 

She doesn’t have her own Ipad unlike other kids who at the young age of 2, have their own tablets on hand. Lia’s toys are carefully picked. We don’t buy her just because she wants a toy. We choose the ones that can boost her imagination and help her to learn new things because toys really cost us an arm and leg so why not buy them wisely, right? And toy shops aren’t always the answer, we take time to spend making DIYs with Lia to make her toys and everything that tickles her fancy. It means more savings and more bonding pa!

DIY-ing Monsters Inc constumes

Balloon Twisting all made with love by me.

I often see lots of fashionista kids with tons of pretty hairclips, headbands, really big collection of nice shoes and a wardrobe close to a real artista. They never repeat an outfit – these cute kids in their elaborate Sunday dresses just going to the grocery or princess gowns when going to malls. Don’t get me wrong! I adore these sugar-spice-and-everything-nice kind of stuff. It’s just that, sadly, I also witness how these kids when they grow up felt that they always need new clothes to look good and beautiful. Consciousness on how they look eat them up an early stage. I even saw kids forcing their parents to get something from a toy store and throwing really bad tantrums when they don’t buy it for them. I really, really don’t like that to happen! Instead of just being “kids” and be able to be happy with the small things, they insatiably wishing for so much more.

While many parents would say that they want to give their kids what they never had in life, my husband and I never believed in that. We don’t want Lia to think that worldly possessions constitute the greatest good and highest value in life. Buying them “all” that they want doesn’t always mean that we love them and yes, I think just buying everything is lame. It detours the road of teaching them self-sufficiency or ability to survive on their own, delayed gratification or their ability to resist something to give way for a later reward and something very important – living entirely within our means and wise spending. These things link to a positive outcome which includes academic success, high Emotional Quotient, good psychological health and social competence. And we want to instill these core values to Lia.

Moreover, there are things we don’t really skimp like books, good food, travel and education. The things we think what Lia really needs. In return, Lia’s growing up to be a well-behaved and a happy little girl. Trips to Toys R Us were never a problem because she won’t be throwing tantrums over a My Little Pony that we did not buy. She knows how to wait for the right time to get what she wants and if she doesn’t, well, she knows that Mommy will just cook her favorite Corn soup instead and she’s very okay with that.

We all have our own way of showing our kids that we love them dearly and it sounds so good to hear that we want to give the world to them. But raising them to be appreciative and grateful is what will make them truly happy for the rest of their lives and that, for us, is what really matters.

Happy Monday!

Xoxo, Annie

Advertisements

Of Being Thankful and Grateful

It’s Thanksgiving today for my family and friends in the US. We are not celebrating that here in China. But come to think of it, we don’t need to have Thanksgiving Day to be thankful for all the best things in our lives. My husband and I were just talking about this the other night, how we should be thankful and grateful for the things that make our lives fantastic!

I know I have so many blessings to be thankful for. I am thankful for my family who are all healthy and happy… For my Mom and Dad who love us unconditionally and raised us so well to become the person that we are today. For my brothers who are there to protect, make me feel good on a bad day and listen to any small chitchat though we are miles apart. For my husband and my baby who are the light of my life and inspire me to be a better person each day. For my grandparents, uncles and aunties and my dear cousins who remind me that I should never ever be afraid of whatever will come along the way because they always have our backs. My in-laws who are always supportive to whatever endeavors that we have. Argh!!! Families are the best! For my best friends, close friends, and friends all over the world (Yes! There’s such a thing!) who always listen, make me laugh and safeguard my secrets. For the strangers we randomly met but touched our lives through their good deeds of just picking up fallen hanky or offering a seat on subway. For the beautiful nature around us which remind us that the world we live in is such a happy place. For the cold, autumn breeze which makes us feel comfortable after a sweaty hot summer. For the kites and balloons and stars in the sky. For the birds and clouds. For the wishes, love and romance. For the modern technology that we have which makes our lives easier. For the abundant resources we have which able us to help in one way or another. For the warm and cozy house. For the strong mind and body which produces milk for Lia and keeps her healthy and smart at the same time. For the warm hugs and sweet kisses and cheerful smiles. For the hopeful dawns and promising dusks. I could just go on and on. Truly, life is wonderful depending on how we see it.

It feels great writing all these things. Really, it’s therapeutic! Only if we all see the beauty of the small things and be grateful, there’s no reason to be lonely and hate the world. Thinking about these make my heart full and inspired to live another day and appreciate life all the more.

More than the roasted turkey, may all the delightful moments of everyday bring us bliss and cheer to enjoy life a wee bit more.

Happy Thanksgiving from my side of the world.

Cheers!

Xoxo, Annie

The Day I Learned to Exhale

Lia’s already asleep as I am writing this. As I look at her, I say to myself “Oh, how much you’ve grown!” Can’t help but think about the days that we have been through. The days I have been stressing a lot over… Uhm… Well, practically, I was stressing about nothing too serious.

I am a first time mom. I almost lost my mind the time that my after giving birth glory faded. You know, when all the happy moments of “Congratulations” and “She’s so cute” moments are over. The time when the real life as a mother began.

I have always been so stressed about small things especially when Lia was starting to get older and bigger – when I felt we needed to do more things. I was worried about our schedule. Naku kailangan 8am gising na si Lia. Kailangan before 8:30 makakain na siya ng breakfast. Dapat 9:30 playtime na hanggang 10:30 tapos kailangan makapagbasa kami ng isang book. Kailangan makakain siya by 12noon tapos makaligo na then siesta. Tapos konting aral tapos laro. Pero kailangan by 8pm bed time na. 8:30pm impunto kailangan makatulog na si Lia, kailangan ma-complete ang tulog niya. I don’t see naman anything bad with schedules. Ako kasi, I grew up following a schedule. My mom’s a teacher, mahigpit sa oras and Papa would want us din to have a routine. Kailangan mag stick ka sa schedule talaga. The thing is, I get really frustrated and sometimes pissed pag di kami nakakasunod sa tamang oras. Not only I am stressing about schedules, Nastress din ako sa maliliit na bagay. Like if Lia’s bored ba, kailangan ko siyang aliwin. Kailangan walang idle time, lagi dapat busy. Imagine, ang bata bata pa niya… When we go out naman super stressed ako sa surroundings. What if someone sneeze? Tapos malanghap ni Lia? Paano kung mahawakan niya madumi tapos she’ll eat her hands, sumakit yung tyan. Naku kasalanan ko yun. Lagi akong maraming dala. Like 2 big bags because I always bring our house! Yeah, yun ang sabi ng close friends ko. Para daw akong magoovernight e check up lang naman ni Lia at magmamall lang kami. You know… those things. Sounds a bit senseless but if you’re a mom, you know what I’m talking about.

Things got worse when we moved in to Shanghai to be with my husband. When I told you earlier I lost my mind when I started taking care of Lia, I almost lost my sanity and I was overwhelmed when it’s just only my husband, me and Lia. Wala ng helper, wala na si Mama, wala na ang mga brothers ko and Papa. They were all left at home. My husband works 8am-5pm, sometimes extended because they need to beat a deadline. He works in a construction firm so he can be really busy pag may projects in the office pero there are times naman na relaxed lang din. So yung mga times na super busy siya at nasa office, I was left with Lia and all the chores at home. My goodness, hindi talaga ako domesticated. I know how to work at home but not with a toddler, and all the chores in the house. Yeah, ALL talaga. I took it on me na I will be the one to take care of the house na since my husband’s tired from work when he gets home. Of course, di nawala ang stress ko with schedules! Plus nadagdagan pa with other things. Do we still have rice? Milk? Salt? Sugar? I started thinking almost about everything – electricity due dates, menu for the week, lessons for homeschooling. Basta lahat. I think that’s what really a homemaker does. Ang difference lang sakin, I get too stressed.

 I thought it was still okay until my husband and I clashed. He told me I’m sweating too much on the small stuff. I get too tight kasi, I forgot how to really live. I barely enjoy dining out with them because I was too preoccupied feeding Lia and making sure she eats go, grow, glow food. I didn’t enjoy steaks and lobsters, fresh salads, creamy bisques and sparkling drinks because I was worried that Lia will be hungry because she wants to play with kids instead. We went on several travels and I did not enjoy the picturesque view of the Yantze Three Gorghes because Lia hasn’t been having her nap. Sigh! Poor me!

My husband told me to just relax and breathe and be easy on myself. Schedules if broken, then okay, there’s still tomorrow. Pwedeng magschedule ulit. When Lia doesn’t want to eat and just wants to play (which sometimes happen lang naman) we can try again later. The bills, stocks in the pantry, lessons for homeschooling, just do them one day at a time. It’s just a matter of perspective. How you see things, how will you react on certain situations. I then realized, I have not been living my life, THE LIFE! I mean, we have a beautiful one. We are together as a family, we have more than enough for our needs and wants, we are all healthy, we don’t have loans and debts, we can travel, eat whatever and wherever. I should be thankful, I should enjoy these.

That was when I started to exhale, relax and be more loose. I never realized that steaks and lobsters and bisque and salads were all that good until I ate them with peace in my mind, without any worries. The days became light and fun for me, for us. We now look forward to any travels and dining outs. My husband is extremely happy. We work hand in hand to meet all the schedules and make things work. And everything went so well. The stars are aligned, all in favor of us.

My loves

I am now having the time of my life! I enjoy each moment, each giggle, each meal with Chi and Lia because everytime I look at them, I am constantly reminded that my life is beautiful. And no broken schedules can ruin that thought. INHALE. EXHALE and SMILE.

 

 

Stamping with Pretty Bok Choi Butts

Don’t you feel Christmas is just so near? OMG, one month to go! Have you been doing your shopping already? I get so excited every time just about thinking about Christmas because it’s actually our first time to spend it altogether in the Philippines, with all our loved ones and friends. And because Christmas season also means gift wrapping season, Lia and I made a little DIY to add cheers to our gifts.

I cooked “Bulalo” sometime last week and used bunch of Bok Choi. Whenever I cut the bottom part of these, I always smile and look at the rose-like form of the Pechay’s stalk or their butts. Hehe! Actually, I always save them to use as stamp for our arts and crafts. And I remembered the brown paper bags that I got. Light bulb! Why don’t we prettify them, right?

I told Lia we will “stamp” some flowers to our bags so our gifts for our loved ones will be all nice and pretty and of course the little girl agreed with glee. Hihihi! Because my little helper is still so young, I use very simple but fun materials that we have at home. I also mentioned last time that I will be teaching Lia color mixing to produce secondary colors. We did that with this project, too. Talking about hitting two birds with one stone…

For this project, we used:

  • Finger Paints
  • Stalks of bok choi that we normally throw away aka bok choi butts 🙂
  • Mixing plate
  • Brown paper bags or any plain bags or paper! Yes, you can also make your own gift wrapper with this

Isn’t it pretty?

There are no rules on this. Just stamp away. Use your imagination and you don’t need to be perfect. For me, if it’s more rustic, then I like it better. Parang vintage lang. And pretty things don’t need to be perfect naman talaga. 🙂

Lia was so amused when we mixed the color together. “Oh Mom, it turned Violet. Oh this ones Orange!” We already have readily available green paint so I just showed her that when she mixes Yellow and Blue, they will make Green. 🙂

 

We are mixing Blue and Red!

After making the Secondary Colors, we started stamping. 🙂

Gee, this is fun!

 

image6

image4

I also made some. 🙂 It has been hours of fun with stamping. And I am sure our Aunties, in Lia’s case, her “Lolas” will be really glad to see these. We will be stuffing these bags with… Ah! That will be a surprise. Hihihi! Let me show you our finish products:

Tadahhhh!!!

 

Lia’s bag. So cute!

 

Orange roses are very pretty!

 

And Violets, too!

 

image3

This one, we painted using our finger tips. 🙂 Equally pretty, right?

You guys like them? 🙂

I am thinking of carving potatoes next time to use as stamps. And I like gold paints to use, too! Exciting!

Hope you guys liked our simple DIY. Till the next!

Xoxo, Annie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Notes on Steaming

Steaming is one of my favorite methods of cooking. Not only it’s easy because you don’t need a whole lot of specialty equipment to do it but it’s healthier, too. Steaming preserves the vitamins, minerals and all the antioxidant components of the vegetables which ensures that they get into your body and do what they are supposed to do to maintain proper health.

There are several ways to steam vegetables. You can opt to use some of these.

  • Steaming basket method, wherein you use a heat-resistant steaming container which has holes in it. It can hold the veggies, but the holes let the steam in to cook the vegetables.
  • Another one is a real Steamer, a special kitchen appliance specifically designed to steam food, and it makes learning how to steam vegetables a breeze.
  • You can also use the Pan Method, just add about half an inch of water to the bottom of the pan and when it boils, put your vegetables and steam away. Because there’s so little water, the steam will be doing the cooking. Just be sure to keep an eye on the water level – if it gets too low, you’ll need to add a bit more, so that you keep generating steam.
  • The last method that I know is using a Microwave. Just place your veggies in a microwave safe bowl, add a little water, cover the bowl with plastic wrap leaving a gap for the steam to escape. Microwave on high until they are cooked as you like them. Using a microwave is easy and convenient but I think it’s not quite steaming because steaming means cooking something using the heat of the steam. But the microwave doesn’t just heat the water – it also cooks the vegetables as well. So this is my least favorite method.

I always have vegetables in my fridge ready for steaming. My favorites are broccoli, cauliflower and carrots! But we steam almost all veggies whenever we need an easy side dish for lunch or dinner. While it’s best to use organic vegetables all the time, these stuff are not always available for grabs. What I do is just thoroughly clean the produce so I can steam them right away. And today, I will share to you how I do it.

  • First, I put them under running water just about a minute or so. Rubbing gently to much as it can withstand.
  • Fill up a large bowl with enough water to cover them. Add a couple of teaspoon of sea salt and a splash of vinegar. Apple Cider Vinegar is the best choice to use but if it’s not available, white vinegar will do. Mix them well.
  • Soak the produce in the mixture for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove from the mixture and rinse again under running water.
  • Please note that different vegetables require different methods of cleaning. This method is only applicable to veggies such as brocolli, cauliflower, and the leafy greens. For vegetables like carrots, turnips and potatoes, you need to use a vegetable brush to scrub the dirt away. You can also use this veggie soak mixture to clean your apples, grapes and berries.
  • When they are clean, they are now easy to be steamed. 🙂

Mix these two on clean water

 

Soaking these babies up

Just season them with a little sea salt and pepper and they are good to go!

 

Different kinds of vegetables require various cooking time. For broccoli and cauliflowers, I steam them for about 10-12 minutes. Carrots and squash about 12-15 minutes. Leafy greens and asparagus because they are softer, I steam for about 5-7 minutes. It will all depend on the size and kind of your vegetables. Just don’t overcook them.

Here are  your steamed broccoli and cauliflower. All clean, healthy and yummy! We usually pair them with grilled meats and we love them.

Dig in!

And because I just finished this post, I remembered I have fresh asparagus to steam in the fridge. Got to go, I have to cook dinner.

Xoxo, Annie

 

 

 

 

Mushroom and Cheese Frittata

There are just some important ingredients that I always make sure I have in our kitchen. Some of those are garlic, onion, carrots, cheese and eggs. If I have these, I feel “safe” for the rainy days already *laughs*. On the days that I feel I just needed to whip up something in a breeze, I always turn to any egg dishes that I know because they are so easy to make. And eggs are healthy!

One of the egg recipes I always turn to is Frittata. As defined in Wikipedia, Frittata is an egg-based Italian dish similar to an omelette or crustless quiche, enriched with additional ingredients such as meats, cheese, vegetable or pasta. The word Frittata is Italian and translates to “fried”. Ingredients in Frittata are usually added to the egg mixture when they are still raw unlike in Omelette wherein you fold in the cooked ingredients to the egg. But since I have a toddler at home and I am not comfortable to feed her with half-cooked food, I still cook the mix-ins before I add them to my egg mixture. So my recipe is much like of an omelette. It’s just that, Omelettes generally served whole to a dinner, a Frittata is usually divided into slices. 🙂

So, let’s get cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 eggs, depending on their size and the number of people that will eat. I used just 6 medium sized eggs
  • Diced fresh button mushrooms or any type of mushroom that you like. You can also use canned.
  • Diced white onion ( I used this kind because it has milder flavor that doesn’t over power the other flavors in the mixture)
  • Cheese. Parmesan is better or Provolone or Cheddar but since we ran out of Parmesan cheese, I used the ones that we put on sandwiches. Hehe!
  • Olive oil for sauteeing
  • Butter for frying
  • Splash of full cream milk (not in the picture)
  • Spring Onions and Sesame Seeds for garnishing (not in the picture)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper.
  • In a small skillet, pour in just enough olive oil and start sauteeing the onions until it becomes translucent. Add in mushrooms and continue stirring until both are nicely cooked. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  • Pour in egg mixture into the skillet mixing lightly to incorporate mushrooms and onions. While most Frittatas are baked, I cook mine on top of stove over medium – low heat; lifting outer edges to allow uncooked portion to run underneath, then cover and cook until just set. Turn off heat. Sprinkle with cheese and cover to melt cheese. I still flip mine just to make sure eggs on the top part are well cooked and safe for Lia to eat. But then, you can skip this part naman.
  • Tip: You can substitute 3 eggs and 3 egg whites for the 6 eggs to lower fat.
  • Transfer in a serving dish and garnish with spring onions and sesame seeds. Slice and serve hot!

My little helper all eager to whisk the eggs

Smells so good!

Eggs are a well known rich source of protein — an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. The body uses protein to build and repair tissues as well as making enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals. Unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no pool to draw on when it needs a new supply. Thus, eggs are the perfect sources and a smart food choice for those wants to reduce their intake of carbohydrates in a bit to lose excess weight. Eggs are also great for the eyes due to its carotenoid content and they promote healthy hair and nails because of their high sulphur content and wide array of vitamins and minerals. More reasons to enjoy them everyday. 🙂

Who doesn’t love eggs, right?

So easy.  You can enjoy this for breakfast, lunch or dinner – whenever you feel like it. Try this recipe next time.

Happy cooking!

Xoxo, Annie

PS: Thanks Jhanis for telling me to post larger pictures. They looked nicer nga. Hehe! Visit her blog at http://vanillahousewife.com/ 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting with Pompoms

When you have a toddler at home, you need to be really creative on thinking different activities to keep them preoccupied. That’s what I do. I keep on researching and I am always on the look for possible activity that we can do. I was like a real teacher. Hehe! In relation to this, whenever we go out, I always visit some craft shops to buy some art materials. So kailangan, laging may stock. Lol! Few weeks ago, I chanced upon this Divisoria-like stores near Yuyuan Gardens (a very popular tourist spot in Shanghai) where they sell all the things that you need for your DIYs. Bought some things for our future projects. One of the things I bought is this cute and colorful pompom balls that I thought we can use for painting.

The materials that we used are the ones we already have at home. Just papers, finger paints, wooden clips and the pompom balls.

Here are the things that you need.

It’s easy to make the brush. You just need to attach the wooden clips to the pompoms and that’s it! You now have a new paint brush!

It will look like this!

Small kids can do it too. Lia did her own.

Making her own pompom brush!

After clipping them together, you can now start painting. Let your kid’s imagination go wild. Let them have their own style, whatever they want. Just use safe and non-toxic paints and the washable ones so it will be easier for you to remove any possible stains that they may cause. If you have the painting robes to use, better. Lia has that, too but we already forgot to get it. We were so excited to paint! We used Crayola finger paints. We also love the Pebeo brand that we left at home. The colors are more vibrant so you make nicer paintings. 🙂

Pretty colors!

You can actually mix the colors to make more combinations but I will save that lesson for our future projects.

 

I love these Pompom brushes because it makes beautiful details, like this:

Rainbows!

And when they get tired of using brushes, they can always go back to basics – they can use their hands! 🙂

 

Dirty hands are happy hands. Well, only in this case!

 

Cute chubby hands doing some art

Of course, we need to put it on display to show it to Lia’s number 1 fan, her Daddy! 🙂

 

I should have them framed.

 

The proud artist!

We had so much fun making this project. So the next time your kid feels bored, you can try this, too. Let their imagination play and unleash their creativity. And don’t forget to reward them with a yummy and healthy lunch afterwards. 🙂

This is Adobo flakes, rice, brocolli and carrots. For dessert, she had fresh oranges and strawberries. 🙂

Have fun with arts and crafts with your kids!

Xoxo, Annie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Benefits of Giving Simple Chores to Kids

Hello Friends! How are you? Grabe I missed blogging, it’s true pala what they say. This can be very addicting especially when you’re madaldal like me. Hehe! I have been busy at home. Yes, even stay-at-home moms can be very busy. Weekends, we are almost out. You know, family day! We had hotpot last sunday. It’s one of my favorites here because Lia enjoys “cooking”. She helps putting meats and veggies in our pot. Parang “lutu-lutuan” of some sort. Hihihi!

Taken from our side of the table. So when you’re with a toddler, your table is always messy. Hehe!

Simple feast of meats and veggies. 🙂

We had pig stomach! Yes, I love to eat exotic foods. But my husband doesn’t. Hehe!

That black thing over there is fresh pig stomach 🙂 Hello Ate Meg! Hahaha

So going back, while we are out during weekends, chores pile up at home. That’s why Manic Mondays are quite true to me. But as they say, when life throws you lemons, make lemonade! I use this as an opportunity to teach Lia some simple chores that fit her age. It’s part of our homeschooling.

We grew up with helpers at home. But our parents wanted us to know how to do chores. Growing up, we were taught how to wash the dishes, make our rooms clean, fix our own things, sweep the floor, fold the clothes and prepare the table. And now that I became a parent, I also want to teach these things to Lia.

I believe in the importance of chores in developing Lia’s character. I decided to start her young because I want her to slowly understand the values that I want to impart. I don’t want her to think that chores are difficult or it’s a punishment and I don’t want her to develop the thought of resentment when tasks are given to her. I want her to do and accept tasks with much grace and diligence.

I began giving her simple tasks when she started walking, the time when I felt she kind of getting what I mean. I started with the simplest ones like asking her to throw dirty diaper in the trash can or put her toy in the bin. By and by, we progressed well. I now ask her to fix and pack all of her toys away, help me fold the laundry, help me get the vegetables I need in the grocery, so on and so forth. And I’m happy to say that she’s doing these without resentment or anger. She slowly understands that it’s a regular part of the family’s routine and she’s part of it. Whenever she sees me cooking or washing the dishes, she would say “When I’m bigger, I can help you with that.” You got that right, kid! You really need to help me when you grow up a bit. Hihihi!

Here are some simple chores that I assigned to her. Some, I don’t really ask her to do. We just want her to somehow “experience” how is it like when you do it. And some, well, siya talaga ang may gusto. Like this:

Mopping with Daddy. Hehe!

Loves to do anything with Daddy

Sweeping the floor is one of the chores I hate the most. I don’t know, it’s easy but I don’t like it. But Lia’s different. She likes sweeping. Maybe because the floor is already clean. *laughs*

Sweep! sweep!

Her i-will-make-the-house-clean face

Lia helps me throw the garbage. She picks up bottles or plastics and other stuff that she can carry. This one, I don’t tell her to do. When she sees me getting our big garbage bag, she will automatically get the bottles that won’t fit in the bag and will say “it’s time to tapon the basuwa.” Haha!

My very cute little helper

Good girl!

Cooking is also one of the fun chores you can ask your kids to help you with.

Lia whipping up Chicken and Macaroni Salad

Homemade bread pizzas!

We also bought a plant so she’ll have something to do in the morning. She waters it every time she wakes up.

Ipad Lipat October 2014 1730

We also ask her some simple tasks when we are out.

Lia paying for her books

And of course, one of her “biggest” chores to date: packing her toys away because there’s a lot! Well, Chi and I really don’t expect her to do it very neatly. We just want her to know the importance of completing an assigned job and we want to emphasize that it is nice to have a clean house and because her toys make our house cluttery, it is her responsible to pack them away and make the house clean again.

Lia in action!

It’s all your toys, afterall! 🙂

Studies show that that those children who do have a set of chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible and independent, and are better able to deal with frustration and delay gratification, all of which contribute to greater success in school and in life. While I know I can just do everything by myself, I don’t want her to grow up neglecting important values that she should learn at home. I want her to feel that she is an important contributor to the family. She’s part of our team. And this will make her feel that she has a stronger connection to us.

Not being taught the skills of everyday living can limit children’s ability to function at age appropriate levels, and we don’t want that to happen to our kids. By expecting children to complete self-care tasks and to help with household chores, we, parents equip our kids with the skills to function independently in the outside world.

We should start them young. Seeing them do things on her own, completing each task provides a different kind of fulfillment because after all, we want them to be prepared and equipped to face the beautiful but sometimes mad world that we live in.

Have a nice week ahead!

Xoxo, Annie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Current Beauty Empties (Nov 2014)

Ni Hao from Shanghai!

How’s your weekend so far? Been doing some spring cleaning and found some empty bottles in our dresser. Thought of gathering them together so I can show them to you.  Because they hit the pan, I say that I love them and I have been using them all the time. I don’t like the idea of hit and miss so I do a lot of research before buying any product. Ayoko ng may nasasayang. And luckily, because of the researches that I make, I always buy the ones that work for me. Yay!

Love these to bits!

My first product to show you is Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, one of their bestsellers! This is actually my second pot so yes, I super dooper love this moisturizer. What I love most about this is, it’s not greasy and it hydrates my skin oh so well! After months of using this, I noticed that my skin became brighter and more supple. I use this even on hot and humid days and it doesn’t feel heavy on my skin. I also share this with my husband during times his skin gets a little dry and he loves it as well. One thing I don’t like about this is, it doesn’t come with a spatula. You need to use your clean fingers to scoop out the product and I don’t like that so I still use a spatula that I got from Innisfree.

Thinking of buying another pot…

My multi-purpose spatula

Next is The Body Shop’s Beautifying Oil in Olive. I originally liked the Moringa variant but it’s out of stock when I bought mine in Shangri-La. I started using body oils because again, my skin got drier because of breastfeeding and I felt that body oil is more potent than lotions. What I do is apply it right after I took a bath, when the skin is still moist and a little damp because at this phase, skin absorbs better than when it gets completely dry. What I love about this aside from it smells divine, you can also use this in the face and in the hair so I bring this on short weekend trips because it does a lot of works. This body oil really makes my skin feel soft and smooth which my husband loves. Hehe!

Will try the Moringa variant next time. 🙂

Next on the list is Skinfood’s Avocado Rich Eye Balm. This was my first ever eye cream. I don’t really have issues on wrinkles forming around my eyes because I find ageing, beautiful. But because I continue to breastfeed Lia and I still wake up in the wee hours of the night, I got really bad circles around my eyes which make me look like a panda (A cute panda actually. Lol! Just kidding!) so I started using eye creams. This one’s actually a balm, and balms are richer and thicker than the usual creams so I only use this at night. After months of religiously using this, my eyes looked brighter and less-tired. My under eye area also looks smooth and hydrated. So, this one worked its wonder on me.

034

 

Next is the ever famous Carmex lip balm. I’ve tried so many lip balms in my life. Really! I’ve tried a lot, from the most expensive ones down to the cheapest but this one’s my favorite. I love how it deeply moisturizes my lips. My lips can be really bad and dry, as in you will see the dry skin peeling off. This one really saved my pucker!

I’m gonna cut this into half para simutin. Hehe!

The last beauty empty I have is not a skin care product but I really, as in I really love this a lot. It’s MAC Eyebrow Pencil in Lingering. I’ve heard tons of raves about this product so I gave it a try. Goodness, they are all right! It glides on smoothly in my brows and it lasts the whole day! It looked so natural when applied correctly. I use this together with MAC Brow Set in Beguille. Since then, I never loved any brow pencils in my life. 🙂

I am on my 2nd pencil. 🙂 Will try other shades next time. 🙂

So there, I saw some almost empty beauty bottles in my tray and will definitely show them again to you, next time. All the works in the house can really be stressful and tiring but let’s not forget to give ourselves some lovin’. Long hot showers and well moisturized skin can really give instant relaxation to us, mommies, so let’s take time to sit back and just stay in the shower for a little while longer. 🙂

Stay beautiful!

Xoxo, Annie

 

Mineral-Rich Bone Soup

I have been making this bone soup for quite sometime now.  Because the weather’s been so chilly, Chi and Lia always want to have soup! Whenever I’m making one, I don’t use readily available meat cubes or the ones in tetra packs in the market. I always want to make my own. And after reading so many health benefits of this, this became a staple in our kitchen. I do this in big batches and I sometimes freeze the remaining stock for future use or just put it in the fridge and whip up another hearty soup in the next days. This soup is very versatile because you can consume it as is. Just put meatballs or dumplings, add some greens and it’s an instant meal. I also use this as a base for other soups I make like Pumpkin Soup or Beef and Barley Soup.

Bone broth is known as a super food. The cooking process breaks down bones and connective tissues – including proteins, minerals and fat – that heal the body in various ways. When you ingest bone broth, it feeds the body with collagen, which is the building block of cells to bones, ligaments, cartilage and the brain. Chinese medicine practitioners use bone broth to strengthen the kidney and support digestive systems. Bone broth contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium and other nutrients that play an important role in healthy bone formation. And thanks to it’s gelatin content, it promotes healthy hair and nail growth.

There are many different ways of cooking bone broth and I think there isn’t really a wrong way. But here are the ways I cook it.

Ingredients:

  • Beef, chicken or pork bones
  • Clean, filtered water
  • One head of garlic
  • Onions, chopped
  • Celery
  • Laurel leaves

Just recently I read that adding Vinegar, maybe a tablespoon or two, helps to get the gelatin from the bones into the soup. You can actually put any vegetable that you like to add extra flavors to your soup.

Directions:

  • Fill up a large pot with clean, filtered water.
  • Add all the vegetable, then put in the bone of your choice.
  • Bring to boil and scoop out any scum that rises on top.
  • Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let simmer.
  • If using chicken, the meat will start to separate from its bones after about 2 hours. Just remove the chicken from the pot and gently separate the meat from the bones. Put back the bones to the pot and continue to simmer.
  • If using bones only, continue simmering it for 8-12 hours. The longer you simmer, the better because the longer we do it, the soup will be richer and we extract more minerals from the bones. But me, I just simmer it for about 8 hours.
  • You can add parsley about 10 minutes before finishing the stock.
  • Remove the remaining bones with a slotted spoon and strain the rest with strainer to remove any small bone pieces left in the soup.

What it actually looks like

Because it takes some time to cook this, I usually add dumplings or meatballs and some greens and we eat it right away.

Yum-Oh!

Try it next time because what’s better than a hot bowl of homemade soup during this cold Christmas season, right?

Happy cooking!

Xoxo, Annie