Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 90: My Soul Sister

Today marks a special day for someone whom I'm very proud to call my dearest friend and soul sister.  We first met at work back in 1998 when I moved to Cebu.  Hers was one of the first faces I saw upon being shown to my work area and her presence became more or less a permanent one in my life since then.  Allow me to pay tribute to one awesome lady whose friendship I cherish like life itself.

Dearest Aries,

As I wake up on this lovely Wednesday morning, I think of you and how you've made my life so much richer by simply being there.  When I first set foot at the SuperCat office, you were one of the first people who welcomed me.  With your strong presence and booming voice, I knew instantly that we were going to click.  Even then, I envied your strength and always seemed to be oozing with it and gosh, it was so natural!  Hmmm...I've always wondered how you did it.  Deep inside, I knew it was a special gift you had.  It wasn't to overshadow other people, rather it was so distinct yet subtle enough to just be something that inspired others to emulate or develop.  

You may not know this, but you were that one person whom I looked up to in terms of independent living.  As you know, my stint in Cebu was the only time in my life that I had a chance to live on my own.  Having had a sheltered life, I had no idea what freedom and independence was like until I met you.  I tried to be as fiercely determined as you were at work, as caring and supportive outside of it.  Being the eldest among my siblings, I had no one older to call "Ate" and God was indeed so gracious when he gave you to me...I found my real life "Ate".

We sure shared so much heartfelt laughs and even had several "Maalaala Mo Kaya" crying episodes.  When I didn't have anyone to watch those Pinoy "takilya" movies with, you gladly offered to come with me.  I can still remember how I converted you into a full-pledged Pinoy box office fan.  You knew how difficult it was for me to have no family around so you made sure I had one in you.  So you can just imagine how my world tumbled down when you decided to leave my side due to some sinister plot created then to destroy our friendship.  Of all the friendships I lost, yours was the one that really devastated me.  

Like a hurt cub, I retreated into my shell and went my own way.  I had that emptiness in me for almost two years and though at the time I already had hubby at my side, he knew there was a part of me that pined for my soul Ate.  There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't think about how you were and wondered about what was happening to you.  But I could only look from afar.  It was indeed the Lord's hand at work when he used another soul sister to reunite us.  That was in November 2001...a time that will forever be etched in my memory.  The minute I saw you, I wanted to hug you to make up for all the time we were apart.  I was aghast when I learned the trials you had to go through on your own.  I wished I was there to help you and give you support.

But God had a greater plan and His timing was perfect.  I was about to leave Cebu then to move to General Santos City and He gave us enough time to catch up with all that have been lost.  To say that our friendship became stronger is an understatement...I believe it was fortified, much like a fossil leaving its mark.  We knew then that this was a friendship that no intrigue nor evil plot can ever topple down again.

We may not see each other as often as we did before but because of modern technology, it's just as if we're beside each other, chatting away like we used to.  Of course, I do miss my movie date buddy and I miss all those times we just go on and on about life, share laughter and tears but I'm glad that we are updated with each other's happenings through the wonders of the internet. I can still call you "bru" and "timang" all I want and that makes me feel like as if we're just neighbors all the time.  I chose you to become Ninang to my firstborn because I wanted him to grow up having you in his life.  Knowing how much positive influence you've had on me, I simply couldn't deprive my son of the same opportunity, right?  As you'd been a great inspiration to me, I want Jarred to always look up to you as I did.

And so, after so many lines and some tears shed while writing this, I simply wanted to let you know how special you are and how thankful I am to God for giving me a great sister and friend like you.  There's of course, no better timing than this, your birthday.  

Happy, happy birthday my dear friend, kumare, "Ate"....soul sistah...together with my family, we pray that the Lord continue to bless you with good health, joy, success and of course, love.  May you never cease to make the world so much more interesting with all your feisty adventures and funny misadventures.  We love you and miss you so much!
(the inset photo was taken right after New Year's of 2000...shortly before our brief falling out)

Day 89: Summer Look

The scorching summer heat has prompted hubby and me to have our son's hair shaved down.  This was his usual hairstyle since he was a year old up to the time he started school.  He sort of asked not to have it done this way then because he felt his classmates might tease him or find it funny looking.

Well, it's summertime and a lot of young boys would probably have their hair done this way.  Shaved or not, he's still one great looker, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 88: Fresh

Cailie and I had to rush to the wet market today as my stock in the fridge is dwindling.  Since it's not the scheduled market day (it's supposed to be Wednesdays and Saturdays), I was a bit hesitant to go as the vegetables and fish there might not be as great as on market days.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that I still had bountiful fresh veggies and seafood to choose from so I couldn't help but take photos of them right away.  Because it's Holy Week already, I stocked up on fish and added more veggies than usual.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 87: My Fashionista

Upon seeing the mountain pile of new clothes and footwear sent by her Mommy Lola and Tita Tintin, Cailie became so excited to try on the items.  She went "oooohhhh" and "aaaahhhhhh" every time I showed her something new.  She especially liked the trench coat, matching jackets (younger sister CeeJae has one too), matching formal dresses and hooded shirts.

She handpicked this Radio Flyer jumper (a hand-me-down from cousin Tristan), printed blouse and pair of aqua sneakers to wear for Palm Sunday mass today.  As I look at her now, I give a sigh of relief...gone are the days she'd kick and scream every time I try to let her wear a dress or skirt or anything girly.  I've hidden most of her baseball caps so she's okay now with ponytails and pigtails.  I guess with little sister CeeJae around, Cailie was able to rediscover the fashionista in her.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 86: Election Fever

In support for a clean, honest and peaceful elections this coming May 10, the BCBP Butuan Chapter held a motorcade this morning to remind everyone of this: BUMOTO NG TAPAT, BUMOTO NG NARARAPAT.

Immediately following this morning's joint breakfast, everyone donned their special shirts and prepared for the convoy.  With posters plastered on all vehicles, motorists and pedestrians are enjoined to make intelligent choices this coming elections.  We joined Brother Jensen and Sister Grace in their van to go around the city.

Cailie and I had so much fun this morning and you can see just how much by looking at these photos.  I'm also sharing with all of you the National Prayer for Elections 2010 courtesy of COMELEC, PPCRV and BCBP.  Let us make this a part of our daily prayer until election day. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 85: Laag-laag

Since it was brownout again, we decided to go out and joy ride around the city.  I had some stuff to buy anyway so off we went.  Lunch was at Rose's Bakeshop/Cafe and it was there that we discovered a new find - Guava Juice in doy pack! It was good considering it was being marketed to compete with the big boys like Zest-O and Sunkist.  

While the boys were having their haircut, us girls were left waiting in the resto and made us of the time posing for the camera.
To relieve us of the summer heat, Cailie, CeeJae and I enjoyed Selecta Ice Cream Sticks in Quezo Real and Cookies n Cream flavors.  Here's Cailie, gamely showing off her love for ice cream.

Day 84: Christmas in March

The fam bam had a wonderful surprise today - after more than 6 months, the 2 balikbayan boxes sent by Shobe and Mom finally reached our doorstep.  It was only this week I was able to have them sent over from Manila even though they arrived from Canada last August 2009.

After unpacking everything from inside the boxes, our living room was strewn by mountain piles of children's clothes, toys, household items, toiletries and food stuff.  The three kids had so much fun exploring the toys they received and gamely posed to show off their loot.

To Mommy, Shobe and Ray and of course, to cousin Tristan....thank you very much for your unending generosity and kindness!  May you be blessed tenfold!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 83: The Graduate

March 24, 2010...a very special day for an extraordinary young boy closest to my heart...

Jarred Andrei, my firstborn, has finished the first chapter in his school life - he is now a full-pledged preschool graduate.

I can still remember like it was only yesterday when he entered the blue gate of BFCS for the very first time back in the summer of 2008.  We were "school hunting" and BFCS was the first school we visited.  From the start, he felt at home and accepted at Butuan Faith.  Even though we took him to two more schools in the city, he seemed to be set on choosing BFCS as his school.

To test the waters, he took summer classes there that year and it was very tough on him.  He would be in tears every time he had to write as he'd use both hands to do it since he wasn't used to writing.  I thought he'd give up but he didn't.  After a month, the teacher said he's ready to finally face Kinder I.

As I look back, it never ceases to amaze me how his learning development multiplied tenfold soon after that summer.  Oh sure, his English speaking ability was flawless, well, we made sure of that but he did lag behind in the other areas of development.  By the end of his Kindergarten I year, he managed to be within the top 3 of his class and survived his Filipino subject at the same time.

He faced Kindergarten II with greater confidence and even more excitement.  He worked twice as hard as he did in his first year in school.  As a result, not only did he end up acing his English Department subjects, he also clinched 5th place in the Chinese Department subjects.

Our heart was bursting with pride as he did his Salutatory address...

By the end of the ceremony, he had several awards pinned on his chest.  These blessings came as a result of God's grace and pure hard work.  I took this tough preschool journey with him and I know things weren't always easy but Jarred gave his best and reaped all the benefits in the end.

The synergy of his hardworking teachers, parental support at home and the small class size structure worked together to mold him into the wonderful young boy he is now.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 82: Kuya Jarred, the photographer

It was a restless and insanely warm midday stricken with the usual 5-hour brownout.  With nothing to do, Kuya Jarred brought out our trusty point-and-shoot and captured wonderful moments of us girls.

Hmmm....not bad, don't you think?  Photography as an art is in a league all its own nowadays and is getting to be a pretty lucrative business too so I wouldn't really discourage my son if he wanted to pursue it professionally in the future.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 81: Piaya

Mid-afternoon snacks was quite special today.  We had one of the family's favorite treats - PIAYA.  This sweet pastry is a popular Ilonggo delicacy.  It's like a flat bread or pita filled with a delectable filling, originally a sweet and sticky muscovado sugar base but nowadays there are other flavors like ube and durian. Best eaten hot, every morsel of this Filipino pastry leaves a lasting memory of home and family.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 80: Baccalaureate Sunday

My son, Jarred Andrei, together with the entire Kindergarten II and Grade VI classes of Butuan Faith Christian School had their Baccalaureate Service at the Butuan Gospel Church.  So dashing and pretty in their maroon (Kinder) and white (Elementary) togas and caps, the soon-to-be graduates marched into the church as they were welcomed by the school heads, faculty, their parents, family members and friends.  

Both graduating classes presented uplifting Chinese songs and inspirational English pieces.  The stage mother's heart in me skipped a bit when it was my son's turn at a solo part in their English song.

The highlight of the afternoon was the inspirational talk by Pastor Joshua Ong on the theme "Leaving a Legacy".  He noted that the best legacy we can leave our children is not the material wealth that we have but rather the legacy of God and how he works in our lives.  He focused on the very important role that parents have in molding children...the home is a child's very first school and his parents are his very first teachers.  He mentioned that we need to be the models for our children in showing and giving of our 100% to God.  It is the giving of love to God with all our heart, mind, soul and might.  Anything short of that is a failure.  This is the legacy we need to leave our children for them to truly succeed in their human life.

At the end of the ceremony, it was evident how inspired everyone was and how excited they all were for their upcoming graduation on the 24th. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 79: A Truly Pinoy Breakfast

I've always been a "dried fish" fanatic.  Even as a young girl, I'd be fascinated watching my Mom devour pieces of "hawot" (how dried fish is called in San Jose, Batangas) together with sinangag (fried garlic rice) drenched in hot barako coffee.  It was when I tried to taste it for myself that I became to love this same meal that my Mommy so adores.  

I guess it is really in the genes because even my 2 older children love to eat "tuyo".  The minute they smell the aroma of frying dried fish, you'd see them almost drooling to get their hands on their platter of fried rice and fish.  With some scrambled egg on the side, the meal was the perfect way to start a rainy morning.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 78: Practice

In a few days my son will be graduating from Preschool.  For the past week or so, he and his classmates have been busy practicing for their Baccalaureate Service and Graduation Exercises.  I was given a sneak peek during their final rehearsal today for their Baccalaureate this coming Sunday.

The excitement is evident in their eyes.  It was a wonder they didn't mind being asked to do their numbers over and over until they got it perfectly.  They were all bundled up with tremendous energy and vibe.  Everywhere else, the faculty and administration were busy putting up the finishing touches to the backdrop, checking the program sequence and perfecting the script.

Looking around, I was brought to my own memory flashes of graduation practice week...of which I had three: elementary, high school and college.  They all seem like a blur now but I can still remember the feeling of pride and accomplishment I had then.  I'm sure my son and his classmates feel exactly the same.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 77: Nutty

One of my former high school classmates made a wall post at Facebook, mentioning a brand of peanut butter.  It began a barrage of comments from her friends and she mentioned never failing to leave the grocery store without at least 3 big jars of it and with 2 smaller ones for "back-up".  I really don't know what it is with peanut butter that I also joined in the comments.  Growing up, I was more of a Ludy's/Lily's Coco Jam kind of kid.  And when I got older, I preferred cheese spreads for my bread.  My love affair with peanut butter probably started as a result of being around a family of nutty addicts.  My husband loves peanut butter and as it turns out, all three of our children inherited his taste bud for this yummy treat.  Since I'm the one doing the regular grocery chore, oftentimes I'd stock up on my fave cheese spread and seldom bought peanut butter.  However, over the last year, I noticed that I've been buying less and less of my cheesy favorite and have been choosing peanut butter instead.  Oh no!!! I've become a peanut butter convert!!! I've gone over to the other side!!!  

Whereas before I'd just try it on a piece of bread and not really be satisfied, now I can't imagine eating piece of bread or pan de sal without it.  Fortunately, there is a local PB manufacturer in my city for almost half the price of the commercially-available one.  It is similar to a Ludy's or Lily's type of peanut butter.  The kids love it on their bread combined with either strawberry or mango-pineapple jam.  Hubby and I prefer to partner it with guava jelly.  We've also learned to love it, the "Elvis Presley" way - lightly-toasted pieces of loaf bread, spread with PB and jam then topped with slices of banana.  With our family's obvious preference for this uber nutty spread, it's not surprising that we have a love affair with peanuts of all shapes and sizes - adobo, cracker-type, chocnut and even plain boiled in shell.  What's your peanut butter story?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 76: Play Kitchen

Adorning one corner of the family room is a colorful play kitchen set that we gifted our elder daughter a couple of Christmases ago.  It's so portable, all the smaller pieces can be conveniently placed inside the "oven" and it even has a handle to ease with carriage.

This has been my daughter's instant perk-me-upper.  She can spend hours in front of it, pretending to cook all sorts of delectable dishes. of these days, I shall ask her to cook for you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 75: Twogether@9

It's been exactly nine years ago today when hubby and I said our "I do's" to each other back in 2001.  On March 16, 2001 we capped our nearly three-year-old friendship by tying the knot in a civil ceremony at the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City.  Twelve years of friendship, nine years of wedded bliss and three children later, we are going strong in our relationship and family life.  It has been a great roller coaster ride - one I'd definitely ride over and over again.  Looking back, I can see how our marriage has blossomed and matured to what it is now - We've transformed ourselves to the best persons we could ever be to each other; we've tried our very best to become the parents our children need and deserve; and we're constantly evolving and growing spiritually as a couple.  I can't wait to spend decades upon decades of love and quarrel, joy and sorrow, and peace and chaos with that one person whom God has chosen for me - my best bud, my confidante, my financial guru, my lifestyle coach, my parenting partner, my dance instructor, the love of my life - my palangGA, Jerome...Happy 9th Anniversary!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 74: I'm a cutie!

My little Cailie is such a cutie! When presented with an opportunity to pose in front of the camera, she'll gladly grab it and offer her widest grin.  She loves to take hold of the camera too and tries to capture amazing photographs.

At the young age of three, she is exhibiting a very headstrong personality.  She rarely takes no for an answer and is relentless whenever she wants something.  What's even more amazing is her ability to endear herself to every person she meets. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 73: A Year Older

I woke up to a very beautiful Sunday morning today. For a perk-me-up, the fam bam had breakfast at the local batchoy shop.  The fresh noodles, pork bits and chicharon, garlic, leeks and glorious caldo (hot broth) made our tummies warm and satisfied.  We did a short joy ride around our small city before hearing mass at Sto. Niño Shrine.  For lunch, we hopped over to Mom's Finest Buffet to officially celebrate my natal day.  We arrived just in time for the much-awaited Pacquiao-Clottey boxing match to begin.  I was so happy to find my favorite Kare-Kare as part of the it!!!  So my birthday feast consisted of Kare-Kare, Garlic Chicken, Fried Tilapia, Spaghetti, Pork Sarciado and Steamed Rice.  Jarred insisted I should have cake since it's my birthday but I told him that older people don't really get birthday cakes anymore.  To this he wittingly replied, "Don't worry Mom...I know exactly what to do!"  He scooted over to the dessert table and filled bowls and saucers with yummy dessert fare.  When he came back to the table, he said..."Here Mom, for ice cream, you can have this cool sago and cream mix and instead of cake, here's some Maja Blanca and Ube Jello." It was so touching!  We were all stuffed at the end of the lovely meal.  And despite the boxing match being so boring and uneventful, it was a birthday lunch that I will never forget.

We went to nearby Gaisano Mall so the boys can get their haircut and looked around for some stuff that hubby needed.  He was able to score a nice pair of driving shoes and 2 pairs of Old Navy sweat pants for an absolute steal!  Since I've been sporting a slimmer waistline nowadays, I scouted for a nice casual belt which I found after some steady search.  Before heading back home, the two older kids requested to have some fun at the arcade and armed with 2 tokens each, they chose a car race video game and a rickety bus ride.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing at home.  When I opened my email inbox and Facebook account, I was floored by the amount of greetings and well-wishes from family and friends.  And so, for a great day filled with delectable food shared with loved ones, precious time being together and wonderful wishes from all over the world - THANK YOU! It is indeed such amazing times we now have to celebrate getting older. I love it!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 72: Mommy Piggy

Meet Mommy Piggy...she's the first of two "inahin" pigs we have in our small piggery business.  I remember how she looked like when we first got her...she was just a teeny weeny piglet back in August.

By next month, she'll be ready to have piglets herself...can't wait to see those little critters moving all over the pen. 

This is the real life Farmville!

Day 71: Playtime

Having three kids makes our home a full house.  It is chaotic and loud, messy and sticky, crazy and topsy-turvy but I won't have it any other way...these 3 rugrats + an awesome hubby make my life wonderful and exciting to live each day.

Day 70: Remembering MELOT

It was during the years between 1994 and 1996 that I have come to know a bubbly young lady uniquely named "Melot".  She joined ATS' QuEST through the Business Measurement Team (BMT).  From the moment she stepped into the Makati office, she has shone such magnificent light and vibe to everyone. Being petite and exhibiting such an impish smile, Melot clearly became the "baby" of the group.

Indeed, she was young when she first worked with us but she had displayed maturity and professionalism way beyond her years.  The different projects of BMT definitely excited and challenged her.  She loved all the traveling that came with the job.  If my memory serves me right, I might have taken maybe 2 or 3 SuperFerry trips with her while doing some Expectation or Satisfaction study.  I was from another team but there was a time I had to render an extra hand at BMT since it was the time of the WGA merger and everything was toxic!  Work surely became so much fun when Melot was around, she made sure of that.

I kind of lost touch with Melot shortly after I left the company in 1996 and although I made a comeback in 1998, she was no longer with the group when that time came.  My communication with her resurfaced last year through Facebook.  It was also that time when I came to know of her battle with ovarian cancer.  Browsing through her photos, you wouldn't really know of her painful and difficult physical journey because all you'd see are smiles and twinkling eyes.  If there's one thing I know about Melot, it's the strength of her faith in God.  And I knew it was God himself who was guiding her throughout her ordeal.  

It would be two weeks ago today that our dear MARIE ROSE - 'Melot' went back home to the Father.  I was shocked and sad to hear of the news but I was also thankful that her physical pain and suffering has ended.  She put up a great fight with her illness and it was time for her to finally be with our Lord.  The immense outpouring of love and prayers only showed how much Melot is loved by all her family and friends.  She will be missed greatly by us all.  I'd like to remember my dearest friend for her husky, booming and hearty laugh that would send everyone else in the room into a chorus of joyous laughter.

Melot, thank you for the memories, the laughter and the well, my friend...until we meet again.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 69: Scorchin' Hot

According to the weather news early this week, summer has just begun.  Wow! It's been like the middle of summer already for about a month or so now and that isn't summer yet?  I can't imagine what the middle of summer would be like for all of us then.

The regular power interruptions are adding on to the heat and discomfort at home.  Even my tiny garden is feeling the effects of extreme heat nowadays.
I hope the rains come in sooner so that the power crisis can be curbed and that the agriculture sector wouldn't incur so much loss in crops.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 68: Pechay Guisado (#2 in the "Lutong Tamad" Series)

My husband is a vegetable lover.  He probably loves veggies more than any other type food.  His favorite vegetable dish of all time is Pechay Guisado.  It is such an easy dish to prepare and cook so it's part of my "lutong tamad" line.  Some versions of this dish use ground meat as extender but I've managed to make this completely vegetarian and even my kids love it this way.

PECHAY GUISADO (Sauteed Bok-Choy)

7-8 big bunches of pechay/bok-choy, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, minced
1 boullion cube (chicken or beef) or 1.5 cups of chicken/beef stock
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp fish sauce (patis)
dash of pepper

In a deep skillet, heat oil until hot. Saute garlic and onions until translucent.  Stir in the pechay stalks and leaves.  Add in the boullion cube and water/stock and simmer for 10 minutes.  Season with patis and pepper.  Serve hot.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 67: A Comeback from Old School Days

I was buying some pencils for my son at the local craft store when I was presented with boxes upon boxes of an old school favorite - Bensia pencils.  It's the type of pencil with refillable lead tips.  When one tip gets dull, you pull it out and push it back into the pencil cavity at the bottom and a new tip emerges on top.

These were a hit back in my grade school days together with those big Sanrio magnetic pencil cases that had different compartments (I wish they'd bring those back).  Last year, my sister from Canada asked me if I remembered these pencils from way back and I said yes, too bad they went out of circulation.  Well, she'll be glad to know that it's back!!!  They come in cool colors and designs too plus refill packs of lead tips.  I got one for my son and couldn't resist to buy one for myself too!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 66: LaPiS - SEAFOOD

This week's theme in Lasang Pinoy Sundays is SEAFOOD.  I thought I should feature one of my family's favorite seafood recipe - Tahong Soup (Mussel Soup).  It is such an easy and no-fuss dish to prepare.  What I love about it too is that it's packed with so much nutrition and doesn't really cost a lot to make. Being a breastfeeding Mom, I know that consuming shellfish together with malunggay (Moringana) leaves can greatly increase milk production and so that's another great reason why I love having this at home.

TAHONG SOUP (Mussel Soup)

1 kg fresh tahong (mussels) *** buy them live at the market
2 pcs thumb-size ginger, julienned 
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 cup malunggay leaves
3-4 stalks lemongrass, pounded
1 liter water or hugas bigas (rice wash water)
2 tbsp canola oil
salt and pepper to taste
In a casserole, heat oil and saute the aromatics - onion, ginger, garlic and tomatoes.  Stir in the lemongrass and the mussels. Saute for 5 minutes then add the water, salt and pepper. Bring to a rolling boil, then add the malunggay leaves and remove from fire.  Serve.

Lasang Pinoy Sundays is a bi-monthly food photography meme, Pinoy style!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 65: Forty-Six

There was a Nestle Wellness booth at the supermarket today.  I saw that they had a weighing scale and thought I should go and have a consultation with the duty nutritionist.  Ever since my dramatic weight loss, I haven't really taken note of the exact weight difference as the scale at home has long gone out of commission.  I knew that the amount was somewhat substantial however I was still surprised when I figured what it was.  At my heaviest last year I tipped the scales at 213 lbs.  (96.6 kg). That was around a year ago when I was ready to give birth to CeeJae. At the Nestle weigh-in, the scale pointed to 165 lbs. (75 kg).  It means that in the last year, I've lost a total of 46 lbs. (21 kg).  Forty-six is my magic number.  The actual impact of this number only hit me when I got home.  Wow!  That is a lot of weight to lose.  I didn't think it was possible but it actually happened.  The feeling is I know what it feels like to be "The Biggest Loser".

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 64: Breakfast of Champions and a Champion Breakfast

I'm a breakfast person.  For some reason I can't explain, my favorite meal of the day is BREAKFAST.  So you could say that I "freak out" whenever I see a diner type of resto.  When the defunct Country Waffles was still the all-day breakfast place to go, my Dad would treat me to a huge platter of Sausage/Bacon, Eggs and Fried Rice plus my fave Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes on the side.  I was sad when the place figured in a major business scandal some years back.  Apparently, this love for breakfast has rubbed off on my son.  He too, looks forward to breakfast as the meal like no other.  He is happiest when served with Garlic Fried Rice, Chorizo Cebu and Eggs (either sunny-side up or scrambled).

Today, our breakfast consisted of Pampanga Longganisa, Plain Rice (but I placed some soy-longganisa cooking juice combo on top) and Scrambled Egg.  It sure beats any breakfast meal from the nearby fastfood chain.  It was so good, Jarred requested me to pack up the leftovers into his lunch box so that he could have a part 2 during recess in school.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 63: Milestone

Today is a very special day for my bunso...CeeJae took her first 3 steps unassisted. She'd been standing and cruisin' since two months ago when she turned 8 months old.  We noticed that every time she accomplishes a milestone, she gets even more daring and courageous in her actions.

She carefully stood up from a sitting position and held her balance before attempting to move her foot into a step.  Her Daddy coaxed her to come to him and ever so gracefully, she took that step 1...2...and 3...until finally reaching his outstretched arms.
Soon after this accomplishment, she became unstoppable! It was as if she found so much freedom in her new discovery.  As bedtime approached, she tried going up the stairs by herself while being closely guarded by Daddy. She was clapping her hands in glee upon reaching the very top step.  

Great job, baby girl!!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 62: Rain...

With the continuing rotating brownouts in the country, the all-day-and-night rain of Wednesday was truly a welcome sight.  Never had I felt so glad to see the skies so dark and gloomy than this day.  Looking out from our balcony, I could see and feel the sigh of relief from around the garden.  It was as if the grass and plants were in a refreshing feast even for just a short while.

I know it will take more than a 24-hour episode of rain to solve the current power crisis but I know that if we continue to pray for the rainy season to come sooner, everything will go back to normal.  I'm just glad for this brief respite from the harsh effects of the El Niño.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day 61: Way back when...

I chanced upon this photo while I was rummaging through some old stuff. This is an 11-year old photo, taken during the Sinulog in Cebu in 1999.  If I'm not mistaken, this was the first time I sported a very short hairstyle (I always had medium-length to very long hair).  This was my very first Sinulog as I had only moved to Cebu the year before.  I notice that this photo is shouting "freedom!!!" I just had started to live independently for the first time in my life.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 60: Mongolian Barbecue Feast

It's been quite a while since my family and I had our Mongolian Barbecue fix.  We usually had a yearly "date" with Kublai Khan's in Cebu but we skipped last year so you can say we're running on empty now.  There's just something about the delicious aroma of wok-frying ingredients that really get to us.  Of course, coupled with the Kublai Khan's saying "Don't blame cook, he only put in fire", every bowl of Mongolian barbecue is a feast in itself.

After surveying that I had enough ingredients to make our own Mongolian feast at home, I began chopping away.  There's no exact science to this kind of food.  You prepare whatever it is you want in your bowl.  Here are the 5 main groups of ingredients to a successful Kublai Khan meal:

AROMATICS - includes garlic, onion, ginger, Mandarin sausage, shallots/green onions, lemongrass

VEGETABLES - carrots, baguio beans, red and green bell peppers, sayote, bean sprouts, chinese cabbage, cabbage, young corn, bean curd, black fungus, mushroom

CARBO - rice, miki noodles, vermicelli noodles, bihon noodles

MEAT & SEAFOOD - chicken, pork, beef, squid ball, fish ball, quekiam, squid, liver, gizzard

SAUCES & CONDIMENTS - terriyaki, oyster, barbecue, szechuan, soy, coco cream, fish sauce, sesame oil, calamansi/lemon juice, sugar, sesame seeds, peanuts

It is really a "make your own" choose your veggies, carbo, meats and sauces...saute all of them in a piping hot wok and serve in a bowl.  For the homemade version, it was more practical to make a large batch for the family instead of letting each one do their choosing and individual wok frying.  I discovered that the secret to good Mongolian barbecue is the right size of the ingredients...small bite-size pieces of meat and veggies that are thinly sliced make for a yummy Khan feast.  

So, how did our family version of Mongolian barbecue go?  Even my 10-month old baby was drooling over the bowl we prepared for was that good!