Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cooking Diaries: French Bread and Carbonara

I am no cook. I've said this over and over in my other blog, Lifetime of Togetherness, and my family can attest to that. But, I am not giving up, oh no, I'm definitely not.

The other day, to satisfy my craving of Carbonara (which lasted for days), I went online to search for a recipe. Since we still have spaghetti noodles and a can of sliced mushrooms left in stock, all that were needed to buy were cream, ham and cheese. Since, I was already at the grocery, I decided to buy some ingredients for the French Bread as well.

Come on, these are very easy to make.

For the Carbonara you will need:

about 175 g of spaghetti noodles or any pasta noodle
2 boxes of Nestle Cream
3 slices of Cooked Ham, cubed (mostly will use Bacon but I prefer to use Ham)
1 can of sliced button mushrooms
Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper
Parsley for garnish

How to:
1. Cook the spaghetti noodles until al dente (with this task, I had to ask the help of hubby, I don't know when to tell if the noodles are cooked already, haha! I told ya, I am a cooking dummy!)
2. In a skillet, preferably non-stick, melt 1/4 butter, saute the garlic and onion, put in the ham and mushrooms then slowly put in the cream, stirring continuously. Add salt and pepper.
3. Add the spaghetti noodles in the skillet and toss until the noodles are evenly coated with the sauce.
4. Transfer into a plate, add Parmesan cheese and top with parsley.

Easy right?

Now on to the French Bread. Here are the ingredients:

4 slices of bread
1/2 cup Condensed Milk
1 Egg
1/4 cup of water
Cheddar Cheese

How to:
1. In a bowl, whisk the egg, 1/2 cup condensed milk and 1/4 cup water.
2. Place about 2-3 slices of cheese on a slice of bread and cover with another slice.
3. In a skillet, melt some butter.
4. Dip both sides of the sandwich on the egg-milk-water mixture and fry in the hot butter until brown. Turn over to cook the other side.
5. Drain in paper towels.

No sweat, right? I told you, these are fairly easy to make that even a kitchen dummy like me was able to cook these.

Here's my end product.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mommy Moments – Mommy’s Favorite Photos

mommy moments

This week on Mommy Moments, we're going to be posting some of our favorite photos.

Johan's first ever photo right after being born - taken by my sister

The wackiest pic of Johan which never fails to make me laugh

His most "kawawa" face

One of the last photos of him with long hair

My handsome little boy with his new haircut

See more pictures from other mommies here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Something for the Wall

While browsing Pinterest, I stumbled upon this photo that inspired me to do something much like the same on the wall above our headboard.

Pinned Image
Click for photo credit

If only our wall has the same color as that wall, that would be awesome. However, I immediately searched for photos that I can use and went to work with editing them and tried to copy the design above and here's what I came up with:

Now, I just need to have these printed out and mount them on our wall. I hope it would look nice. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Big Rocks Come First

Ever heard of this story?
One day this expert was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration I'm sure those students will never forget. After I share it with you, you'll never forget it either.
 As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered over-achievers he said, "Okay, time for a quiz." Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.
 When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, "Is this jar full?" Everyone in the class said, "Yes." Then he said, "Really?" He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks.
 Then he smiled and asked the group once more, "Is the jar full?" By this time the class was onto him. "Probably not," one of them answered. "Good!" he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, "Is this jar full?"
 "No!" the class shouted. Once again he said, "Good!" Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, "What is the point of this illustration?"
 One eager beaver raised his hand and said, "The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!"
 "No," the speaker replied, "that's not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in at all."

Don't you agree?

In our family, it has been a constant discussion fight between the husband and myself the way he manages his time. Yes, he is the sole provider of the family and he goes to work 11 hours a day (travel time included) for 5 days a week, but it is during the weekends when I find him in front of the computer playing games for hours that drives me to the edge. I think me and our son deserve at least a day of uninterrupted quality time.

I'm not going to rant how this pisses me off but I just want to reiterate that we should always make time for the people that matter. Time is something we never have enough of and it flies by so fast you will never get back a day.

Work, hobbies, extra-curricular activities - these are just the pebbles and the sand in the jar we call life. Family are the rocks and our jars should always be filled with rocks first before the pebbles or the sand. Otherwise, the jar will be filled with all the small things while all the things that have significant value will be left behind.

Banana Morning Smile

Dole Fresh Philippines is hosting a great promo through their Facebook Fan Page entitled Banana Morning Smile. The said promo aims to help the kids at Operation Smile Phils because for every entry that you send, Dole Philippines will donate a cluster of DOLE® Bananas to Operation Smile Philippines’ missions and on top of this, it will sponsor one child’s operation per week for four weeks.

In addition to that, you also get the chance to win Fitness First Free Memberships during the weekly draws and the grand winner will take home a brand new Blackberry Playbook (16G).

Here's how to join:

Promo runs from October 24 until November 21, 2011.

Head over to the Dole Fresh Philippines Facebook Fan Page to know more.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mommy Moments – Mommy’s Unforgettable Stories

mommy moments

This week on Mommy Moments, the mommies are sharing some of the unforgettable stories about themselves. I decided to start posting my Mommy Moments entries here in my new blog since this one will concentrate on me being a mom. 

There were a lot to share from my life, mostly stories of strength and family bonds but what I'm going to share is most probably the one story that I will be telling my son (and future kids) over and over. The story of how I knew hubby is the one I'm going to marry.

Hubby and I met in college, we were classmates. Our love story may be considered a whirlwind romance because there was no formal courtship that happened. We just hung out, realized we clicked and as they say, the rest is history. 

Like most girls, I am one who asks for signs. Be it signs that I will pass the exams or that I won't be late. Not surprisingly, I asked for a sign that Deck is the one. One day, just before Deck arrives at my dorm, I asked Mama Mary for some signs - that Deck should be wearing a white shirt or that he gives me a white rose. The first one, the white shirt, is easy. Deck always wear a white shirt and the possibility of that happening on that day is almost 100%. The second sign that I asked, the white rose, now that will be close to impossible. He never gives flowers. 

So, when he arrived. Guess what color his shirt was. A loud, color red! Does he have a rose in his hand? No.

I was so bummed out, I was not myself when we went out for a date. I kept talking to Mama Mary in my head,  I don't want to start over again and meet other guys. I want Deck (my second bf) to be the one.

While strolling the mall, Deck went inside this certain novelty shop. I followed halfheartedly because I didn't know why he suddenly had the interest in stuffed toys and poop-looking thingies. 

Suddenly, he appeared behind me and insisted that I look at something he was holding in his hand. It was a test tube with fluid. I didn't mind it at first but it took my breathe away when I saw what was inside.

There it is. The sign I was waiting for. My single white rose, floating in it's beauty. I don't know what Deck was feeling during that moment but when I looked up at him, his facial expression is so thoughtful, like that of a little boy's. And that's when I knew. I'm gonna marry this guy.

Read more unforgettable stories here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Product Review: Vapor Soove

When Johan got sick, there were some nights when my husband and I would stay awake to watch over him. Johan had difficulty in breathing because of his colds and I would, once in a while, use a nasal aspirator to help unclog his nose. I didn't want to use the local vapor rub on him because I think the product is too strong for a small baby. Luckily, I was able to read some great reviews about Vapor Soove and was able to order online and had it delivered immediately.

I tested it on myself at first. The balm does not smell like the local vapor rub but smells more like the well-known White Flower Analgesic Balm that my mother used to put in my bag during field trips in school to get rid of nausea. What's even better is that Vapor Soove does not contain Camphor. Camphor is an aromatic compound that is traditionally used in mothballs and other anti-itch products. Ingesting of Camphor or even absorbing Camphor through the skin may cause neurological and respiratory problems along with seizures.

When I rubbed Vapor Soove on Johan's chest and back, the results were immediate. He breathed easier and was able to sleep through the night. Vapor Soove is so effective that even my husband and I would use it on ourselves whenever we had stuffy noses.

Vapor Soove indeed is a great, natural product that every home should have in their first aid cabinets.

A bottle of 30 grams only costs Php 295 and is available at Pacey's Closet.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

To dos for the Super Nanay

I cannot really say that I am the Queen of this household because I share the title with my mother-in-law. However, when it comes to making decisions, I would say that I am King.

I decide what makes the grocery list, what to buy from the market and what to cook daily. Recently though, hubby has made it very clear that he wants a different meal every day and we should not repeat the same dish at least for two weeks. Hence, my quest for recipes.

I have turned to my ever-reliable yahoo group, Newlyweds at Work, searched the archives and jotted down what everyone else is cooking at their own homes. Then, I searched for easy recipes at Casa Veneracion, copied and pasted them to a word document and had them printed out.

So far, so good. Though the dish that we cooked today, Pork Spareribs with Honey and Mustard Sauce, is by far the least favorite, I hope that the rest of my chosen dishes will be a huge hit.

I am also planning of redecorating the interiors. Well, I'm planning to just have new curtains made and reupholster the sofa and maybe customize our headboard and add a few pretty touches. I'm sure that'll make a huge difference to our seemingly boring interiors.

The month is almost over and it'll be Halloween in a few weeks and I still have to convince hubby to let Johan come to their company Trick or Treat to let the little boy experience the tradition. I still have to find a costume for my little boy, though and I'm still thinking whether to put up some Halloween decorations or not, I'm worried Johan will get freaked out. Maybe, some pumpkins are enough.

I've got so many things I wanted done that I don't know where to start. Christmas is also just around the corner so that's one more thing up my list. Whew! Aren't we tired already?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tiger Mom or Dragon Mom? Just Mom.

Less than a year ago, Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother, hit the shelves and raised violent reactions from mothers around the world. There were varying discussions about the book and Amy Chua's manner of raising her two daughters. Many found it compelling and barbaric how she forces each daughter to violin and piano lessons even if the kids are too tired to practice, how she forces them to be extremely competitive and here's how she explained herself:

"Unlike your typical Western over-scheduling soccer mom, the Chinese mother believes that (1) schoolwork always comes first; (2) an A-minus is a bad grade; (3) your children must be two years ahead of their classmates in math; (4) you must never compliment your children in public; (5) if your child ever disagrees with a teacher or coach, you must always take the side of the teacher or coach; (6) the only activities your children should be permitted to do are those in which they can eventually win a medal; and (7) that medal must be gold."

Now, I recently stumbled upon an article by Emily Rapp, mother of Ronan who was born with Tay Sachs disease and won't probably live to celebrate his third birthday. According to her:

"But the day-to-day is often peaceful, even blissful. This was my day with my son: cuddling, feedings, naps. He can watch television if he wants to; he can have pudding and cheesecake for every meal. We are a very permissive household. We do our best for our kid, feed him fresh food, brush his teeth, make sure he’s clean and warm and well rested and ... healthy? Well, no. The only task here is to love, and we tell him we love him, not caring that he doesn’t understand the words. We encourage him to do what he can, though unlike us he is without ego or ambition."

These two mothers have different approaches to parenting because they are not in the same situation. Amy has the opportunity to look into the future of her daughters and do what she can while they are still young and mold them into the best individuals that they can become. Emily, however, does not share the same advantage. The most that she can be with her son is three years and in that short span of time, she is doing the best she can for Ronan and that is to shower him with love, care and affection.

Personally, there is no bad parent unless you literally shove your children to do bad things. But if your parenting style is different from the standard, I don't really think that defines you as being a bad mother or a bad father. It just shows that we all have individual differences - we see things differently, we don't have the same beliefs and traditions but despite those differences, I truly believe that all parents only have one ultimate goal and that is to be the best parents they can be for their kids.

This quote by Emily Rapp hit me the most:

"Parenting, I’ve come to understand, is about loving my child today. Now. In fact, for any parent, anywhere, that’s all there is."

So, what kind of a mom are you? Tiger mom who raises her kids for the future or Dragon Mom who lives in the moment?

Me, I'm a bit of both. I am a Dragon mom who lives each day with my son, savoring each moment but I can also see myself as a Tiger mom who will push my son to be the best that I believe he can be. But, truthfully, I don't want any titles to my parenting style. I'd rather just be known as mom or to my son as ...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Making the Decision to Bear a Child

When I was 17 and with my mom,  a fortune-teller outside Quiapo Church told me I will be "swallowing a watermelon" (slang for getting pregnant). But, she failed to say when and I was so close to telling her off, "Of course, I will because I am MADE to bear a child." Yes, I am but during that time I was sure I don't want any anytime soon.

When I graduated from college and already earning my own money, all I was thinking then were the things I wanted to buy and the places I wanted to see. I was enjoying the company of my then boyfriend (now husband) and we loved the financial freedom that both of our jobs brought us.

When we got married, we were not in a hurry to get pregnant. We were both selfish then, I guess. Thinking only about our movie dates, shopping sprees and night outs with friends and having a kid, well, we know will keep us from doing all that. So, we put getting pregnant in the back seat.

Personally, I didn't want to get pregnant because of my over-the-top fear of needles. I always have a panic attack whenever I had to go through the annual vaccines or if my blood has to be drawn for the CBC. I am deathly scared of hospitals and I believed that I am going to die in one, I still do.

Everything changed though, when my Asthma has gotten worse and I was diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). I was forced to resign from my job and that got me to thinking and the realization hit me - I am not getting any younger and I am not getting healthier. If I waited a few more years, the chance to bear a child might not be possible anymore.

That's when hubby and I had a serious talk about trying to conceive and considered a lot of things before making a decision.

Are we ready? Financially and emotionally?
Am I ready to go through the whole process of going back and forth to the hospital on a monthly basis then weekly? Will I be able to handle my fear of hospitals and needles?
Are we ready to let go of  the freedom to do everything we please any time, any day?
Are we responsible enough to bring a kid out into the world and raise him to become a good person?

After much thought, we decided to stop taking the pill and prayed really hard that we be given the opportunity to have our own child.

Making the decision to get pregnant is not easy. Like us, there are a lot of things that need to be considered and for me, the most important is the emotional readiness of the couple to become parents.How did I know we were ready emotionally? When I have accepted and welcomed the idea of bearing a child despite my fear, when we let go of all the benefits of being single brings and when my husband told me he will support me all the way - that's when I knew we were more than ready to have a child and after that, everything just fell right into place.

How about you?

The Realization of my Dreams

When I was four, I dreamed of becoming a pediatrician so "I can take care of children."
When I was ten, I dreamed of becoming a president so "I can rule the country."
Twenty years later, I am a "pediatrician" with no degree, taking care of a son.
I am a "president" ruling the small country that is our home - with the garden weeds, the dirty kitchen tiles and unswept living room floor yelling for my attention.
Yes, my dreams came true, more or less in the same sense taken in a whole lot different perspective.

This blog is the realization of my dream of becoming a blogger mom. I know I am not an expert, neither do I think of myself as near-perfect. I only pray that through this medium I'd be able to reach out to other moms, who like me, are cautiously picking their way to motherhood.

Cheers to all mothers!