My Blog on Paper

I am homeschooling Lia. Everyday we make some fun things of arts and crafts or I make her do some simple chores at home. If we have plenty of time, we go out to pick up beautiful autumn leaves, look at interesting stuff around and just play outside. But today, I told her we “put” my blog design on paper. “The balloons, Mama?” She was excited! Because who doesn’t love balloons, right?

“Are we going to do some paper balloons, Mom?”

 

Arts and crafts don’t really need much, it just needs a little creativity and imagination. And kids? they are not so hard to entertain. You just let them use kiddie scissors or make them stick strings on paper and they become happy na. This also helps develop their motor skills and encourage them to imagine.

So this is how we make it. We get our art materials at Daiso and some local bookstores in our neighborhood.

A beautiful mess

We put embossed shapes on our paper but since it’s textured already, you can barely see them. Oh well! We must find plain papers next time. 🙂

Sooo cute!

Love this. 🙂

Lia loves arts and crafts. 🙂

Stick, stick, stick!

There are lots of sticking to do. 🙂

“Wow, Mom! So pretty!”

After all that cutting, tracing and sticking, this is our finished product:

My cute endorser

“Do you guys like it?”

I love anything colorful so I love how this project came out. 🙂

We put it in our photo wall. It is so pretty with all the photos of the people that we love. ❤

This makes me smile each time I look at it. 🙂

This is especially dedicated to our friends who happily reads our daily adventures in this blog. We hope that in some ways, we also paint a smile in your face. Watch out for more projects in our future posts! 🙂

Xoxo, Annie

 

PS: Arts and crafts don’t need much but it needs much patience… And energy to clean the aftermath. Haha!

The Aftermath

 

 

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Tips&Tricks for Travelling with Kids

Hi guys! How’s your week so far? Here in Shanghai, it’s getting colder and colder each day. And we are so excited that Christmas is fast approaching because we are going to celebrate it with our families back home. Wuhoo!!! And going back home means travelling again with a toddler. Today, I will share with you some tips when travelling with your little one. 🙂

I brought Lia to China when she was still 5 months old. I was so stressed because I don’t know what to expect. And honestly, that was the first time I did not get excited to travel. But as time goes by, I learned so much every time we go somewhere. I now find travelling a little pleasurable than before. Hehe!

My Mom and Lia. Her first ever plane ride to Beijing at 5 months old.

Tip No. 1: When you are travelling via plane with an infant, you can request on check-in for choice or priority seats. These are found just at the back of business class seats. Priority seats have more spacious legroom so you will be more comfortable carrying your little one. Some air crafts also offer bassinets if you are flying for a longer period of time.

Tip No. 2: Bring something to entertain them. Like for example, their favorite toy. Or maybe you can also bring a new one so you can always surprise him whenever he feels a little cranky. For older kids, you can bring something to keep them busy like a pack of crayons with drawing pads, stickers, story or activity books. Remember that you don’t need to bring a lot, just things that you think your kid will like.

Lia and Daddy at Beijing International Airport

Tip No. 3: Bring healthy snacks or lunch. You don’t want them to be hungry during delayed flights or whenever they feel like eating so having some carrot sticks or raisins or bread sticks will come in handy for times they need something to nibble on.

Tip No. 4: Landings and take off are very crucial for small children. Because they still don’t know how to swallow, their popped ears due to high altitude might be a little painful for them. Give them something to chew on or have them drink their milk. Remember that not all kids experience this, some just don’t mind so, relax! 🙂

Lia on the way to Cebu! She was 1 year old here. 🙂

Tip No. 5: Keep them hydrated at all times. Give them water or freshly squeezed juice frequently. I always prepare all natural orange juice on Lia’s tumbler before flying so she’ll have her daily dose of Vitamin C to combat possible viruses in the airport and on the plane. OC mom. hehe!

Tip No. 6 Pack a lot of patience. Travelling can be really tiring, what more with some hyper kids, right? Okay, I lack on this but I am working on it. Who’s with me on this? Hehe!

We conquered 8 long hours of train ride. Believe me, you just need to be ready. 🙂

Tip No. 7: Make your travel educational and fun. Remember we all learn a lot when we travel so this is an opportunity to teach them different things.

Tip No. 8: Encourage them to make their own travel journal. Start them young! I will try to do this with Lia on our next getaway. So excited!

We already tried travelling by land, air and yes, SEA! 🙂

Tip No. 9: Avoid sweets! You don’t want to go to a new place with kids who are in the height of sugar rush.

Tip No. 10: Don’t forget the medicine. Having a small first aid kid is really vital. We never know what’s going to happen so we better be ready at all times.

Enjoying our Yangtze River Cruise. 🙂

Tip No. 11: Always, always check the weather so you know whether you need to bring a rain boots, umbrella or a sun hat!

Tip No. 12: Relax and Enjoy the trip! 🙂

Don’t forget to be hip and fashionable, too! Hahaha!

So now that you are travel-ready, I’ve seen this .01php fare at some local airline. Book na!!! 🙂

Do you also have some tips to share? I’d love to hear them as well.

That’s all for now.

Xoxo, Annie

 

Steamed Tofu with Minced Pork and Carrots

My family has a happy appetite. We love to eat together and I love cooking delightful dishes for them. But there are times I get so tired from other chores that I feel lazy to cook so it’s good to know simple dishes that can be served in a snap! For my first recipe, I will share with you one of my family’s favorite – a tofu dish.

I actually learned this from a friend who invited us for dinner. And in Shanghai,  I always see this kind of dish so I guess this is a local food here. I tweaked it a bit so it’s now my recipe! Hehe! This recipe is very versatile because you can interchange the ingredients depending on what’s available in your pantry. I sometimes use ground beef instead of pork and mushroom instead of carrots. The variety is endless.

Whenever I cook, I barely measure the ingredients. I just eyeball everything and adjust the taste according to my liking. So the measurements that I will give you is not really accurate. Oh the beauty of cooking, you can modify everything if you want to. Okay, let’s get it started! For the ingredients, you will need:

  • about a cup of minced carrot
  • 1 cup of minced onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ground pork
  • soft tofu
  • chopped spring onions (for garnishing)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

I get so excited at this point.

Steam tofu for about 12-15 minutes. Set aside. Saute garlic in olive oil until it becomes fragrant. Add onion and continuously saute them until the onion becomes translucent. This time, add in the pork. Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until pork is no longer pink. Lastly, mix in the carrots. Put a dash of light soy sauce and a little oyster sauce. Cook for another 4-5 minutes until pork and carrots are cooked. Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare the steamed tofu in a serving dish and top it with the pork and carrot mixture. Garnish with spring onions and serve it hot! I pair this with steamed bokchoy or any vegetable available in our fridge.

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The finish product

Tofu is a good source of Vitamin E, Calcium, Energy, Total Fat, Carbohydrates, Fiber and Isoflavones which scavenge free radicals responsible for deteriorating cellular function. It also has Iron, Copper, Manganese and Omega 3. These are just some of the benefits Tofu has. Apart from this, we love Tofu because it is simply delicious! Haha! Who doesn’t love Tofu, ‘di ba?

So the next time you get lazy tired from work or other chores and you need a simple dish to cook, try this recipe. It’s easy peasy, healthy and oh so yummy.

Try it and let me know if you like it. Enjoy!!!

Xoxo, Annie

PS: Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures. I am still on the verge of learning the art of capturing photos of sumptuous food. Hehe!

Zaha and Me love…

We are very happy. My heart is so full with all the warm wishes and welcome that Automatically Sunshine are getting. Thank you, guys! I am trying my best to make every entry as informative and as fun as it should be. Thank youuuuu!!! Words are not enough but really, you guys make me happy and kilig.

Anyways, let me introduce a section in my blog – Zaha and Me love… This part will talk about anything that our family love – a kind of review. It will be about everything under the sun. So for my first “Zaha and Me love” segment, I will talk about baby products. Bath products and some creams that Lia currently uses.

Lia’s army of toiletries 🙂

When Lia was still infant, we use Cetaphil cleanser on her but when she gets older, I dont like na cleansers without scent. So I tried Mustela 2 in 1 Hair and Body wash from their Bebe line. Oh goodness! It was love at first smell *laughs*! It smells heavenly. Amoy baby talaga! So from then on, we have been loyal to this. What I love most about Mustela is all their products are Paraben-free. Parabens are synthetic preservatives used in foods, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and personal care products such as deodorants, moisturizers and shampoos. Parabens allow skin care products to survive for months or even years in our medicine cabinet; however, they also enter your body through your skin when you use these products and it can be harmful to our little one’s delicate skin.

 

Li’l Lia lovin’ Mustela 2in1 Baby Wash

But recently, a friend gave us this Aveeno baby Wash and Shampoo. It became my second favorite! It’s my first time to ever try Aveeno, and it’s equally as good as Mustela. This 2in1 wash has a very light and subtle smell so it doesn’t overpower the natural scent of your baby. Yes, I still love to smell Lia even when she’s pawis. Hihihi! It’s Paraben-free and it’s so gentle, it doesn’t make Lia’s skin dry.

Our second favorite soap 🙂

Second is Mustela Hydra Bebe Body Lotion. They say that breastfed babies have nice skin. While Lia’s skin is clear and white, it gets dry from time to time due to weather. Whenever the season changes, her skin gets a bit rough so I religiously apply lotion to help her skin stays nourished and hydrated. And of course, we use lotion that is safe for everyday use. I like that this isn’t greasy and it smells really good on Lia. And all you need is a small dollop on each part of the body. It goes a long long way. 🙂

Our favorite lotion of all time. I sometimes use this, too. Hihihi

Third on the list is still from Mustela, Mustela Bebe Agua de Colonia. I started using cologne to Lia when she turned two. Actually, babies don’t need cologne. But because Lia’s mom is a little kikay, I gave in to this temptation. Hehe! Lia uses this on hot summer days and because it is alcohol-free, it doesn’t sting. We don’t mind the humid weather because we are still feeling fresh and mabango. Yes, I said “WE” because I use this a lot, too. Hehehe!

Our almost empty bottle

Next is Pigeon Eczema Ointment. Lia’s having an occasional eczema especially on extreme weather conditions. This ointment is just an okay. Nothing too special. It aids a bit pero matagal mag heal ang rough patches on her skin. I was looking for Mustela Dermo-Pediatrics cream here in Shanghai but I couldn’t find it. I heard a lot of good reviews of that online so I know I should get one. Maybe when we go home soon. 🙂

 

The next one is a gift from my husband’s officemate. It’s something that you put for insect bites. Too bad I cannot read the label because they got it in Japan. I am a fan of anything Japan made so even though I can’t read anything, I still use it. And it did not disappoints! It magically heals bad insect bites. As in it disappears agad without any marks and Lia doesn’t scratch her bites when I apply this to her kaya I super love, love this. So mommies, if you have friends or family living in Japan, have them find this for you. It is super galing!

Anyone can read the label? 🙂

The last product is something that I really really love. It’s called Vicks Baby Rub Soothing Ointment. This is a gift from my bestfriend, Lia’s Mama Ninang Charlaine. Lia barely gets colds and when she does, her pedia doesn’t prescribe any medicine (more on this on my future posts). So what I do is I give her all natural remedies. Aside from freshly squeezed juices, I massage this Baby Rub on Lia’s chest and back and she instantly feels a whole lotta better. One trick I also do is I apply this on Lia’s feet, put on socks to help decongest her nose. And guess what? It works! It’s crazy, right?

One thing I can’t live without. Exagge! Hahaha

Lia and her Mama Ninang Charlaine. Don’t forget my Baby Rub replacement when it hits the pan, okay? Lol

So there… These are the current products that we use. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed reviewing them for you. How about you? What are the products that you and your baby use?

Till next time!

Xoxo, Annie

 

PS: Please note that these reviews are not paid. 🙂

PPS: Zaha and Me love you… All of you!!! Hehehe

Thoughts on Motherhood

Truth be told, I never liked having my own kids. Growing up, I witnessed how difficult it is to raise little critters with non stop energy making the house all filthy. Little boys wrestling each other, one crying out loud and the other is having an evil laugh. Not to mention endless quarrels over toys, food or just about anything.  Yes, I am talking about me and my brothers. My mom, a public school teacher, would go home, very tired and still would check on our notebooks for assignments and would make “reviewers” for the 3 of us. She would cook dinner, clean us, put us to bed and will go back making her lesson plans.  Of course, I didn’t then realize how hard it was. But I know, I can see it that my mom gets tired every single day. Every. Single. Day.

I remember a tragic story years back when I was still working in a bank. I cannot remember her age but a young girl, walking on the sidewalk was hit by some drunk, irresponsible guy driving a very fast car and sadly, she died. She was my brother’s highschool classmate, and also our neighbor. I was shocked! We went to her wake and I saw her mom weeping, crying her heart out because she lost her very precious daughter. Sigh!

That’s when I told myself, I never would want to have kids of my own. I don’t want to experience such terrifying incident in my life. I will not be able to take it. I cannot lose someone I love! Thoughts that linger in my mind that time. Imagine all the sacrifices, the efforts, the memories… All will be put into waste in just one blink of an eye. I was convinced, having kids is not for me. I don’t want to have kids! I wasn’t sure though if I was just afraid. But one thing is certain, I am being selfish.

Fast forward to January 23, 2012, my life has changed. We were blessed to have a baby girl – a very cute and healthy baby girl. I couldn’t believe it, I now have a kid! She’s mine. My very own.

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What an angel!

 Things weren’t so easy. My husband works in Shanghai, so after some weeks after I gave birth, he flew back to work. I was left with Lia. From day 1, we were together. We were never apart. This is when I told myself, this is it. I have to do this.

Lia at 8 months

My little gremlin

I didn’t know where to start, I have never been a mother! But luckily, things went on smoothly. I never had any “major” hassle since then. Ang dali lang talaga. Well okay, hindi talaga madali. I just said it was easy because I was able to do it. I was able to take care of Lia, the best way possible. Because I breastfeed her, I was awake most of the time. I couldn’t catch an hour nap. I was really exhausted! I should be there when she gets hungry, when she gets wet, wants to play or just when she needed a hug. From towering heels, crazy night outs, endless shopping, bonding with cigars and beer, my life just turned upside down. I am now somebody who sings lullabyes, makes healthy snacks, reads Dr. Seuss’ books, recites These Little Piggy and tucks a little girl to bed. That is when I realize, doing these things made me a different person. I never thought I could be that someone who would think less of herself and just do everything for someone. I never thought I could love someone I knew for only a couple of months. I became unselfish, I loved deeply, I laughed genuinely. And that made me a better person.

How can you not love her?

This is me and Lia

Like my mom, I get tired each day. I clean and mop a dirty house, I prepare meals 3x a day, I homeschool a toddler, I do the laundry, iron the clothes, attend to her needs – all of her basic needs… But because I do this for love. I am happy, genuinely happy – Every. Single. Day.

Xoxo, Annie

Hello World, It’s Me!

After hours and hours of setting up, studying WordPress, choosing a template and thinking of a blog title, I finally made it! I actually thought of writing a blog years back but I was too lazy to do all “the works”. So the idea of blogging slowly flew away. But my love for writing, seeing beautiful and interesting things and sharing it to friends just keep on being afloat. I cannot just let go of such wonderful thing.

It is my husband who wants me to write a blog. Being the ever supportive half, he knew I wanted to share my life, stories and insights to everybody. So this blog will be all about the world, being our playground.

I find blogs very helpful, you learn a lot from it. I learned a lot from it. Whenever I have questions or something that I need to know, one click on the search engine and voila! Answers are ready. So I thought it is time to give back, to share what I know… What I see… What I think. Who knows, it might be of great help to someone, somewhere, sometime.

So dear friends, let me share with you my life as a mom, a wife, and a dreamer – one blog entry, one day at a time!

Xoxo, Annie

Fun Fact: I wrote my second entry before this. It was a lot easier.  So technically, this isn’t my first. Hehe! And yeah, I already have my second story. Watch out for it!

PS: Let’s make this blog as fun as possible. I want also want to hear what you think. Feel free to ask anything, let’s exchange stories!