Monday, November 23, 2015

Kids and Sand

Why do kids love playing with sand so much? Could it be the feeling of lush between their fingers? Or the ideas they play in their head of the things they will build? I love sand as much as these kids, but today was a mobile type of activity kind of day. I was picturing running around and going down the slide with them. It's sunny, but cold... and my youngest is once again having tummy issues. Of course, he isn't running around. He is playing with his cars on the sand, totally being immobile. I guess at least he's happy.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Cooking as a Petite Mom

I have a confession to make. I didn't know how to cook until I had my second child. I've never attempted as a single woman. I tried, but horribly failed as a mom of one. I never really cared for it until I started eating cleaner (organic, non-processed, home cooked). After I erased fast food restaurants out of my diet, with the exception of Chikfila, I was at a lost as to what I would actually eat. So, I started cooking. The downside? My prep takes twice as long as everyone else and leave the kitchen a mess. So total cooking time is double what the recipe calls for. I also can not see what I am cooking when I am using a Stock Pot. And, I am so close to the frying pan because my arm can reach so far, that the oil pops all over my face! But the rewards? I hope it's long healthy life for me and mines. Although, my grandpa drank soda everyday and lived to 94... But one must try to eat clean, right?

So what recipe books do I actually use? I only use two actual books and two online sites.

The Philippine Cookbook by Reynaldo Alejando started me off with the basic things I would actually eat. I grew up eating everything in this book and it would be terrible to not be able to introduce them to my own children.  My favorite recipe here is the Maruya, which is a banana fritter.

Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld is awesome. I hated vegetables and picked around my food a lot growing up. I bought this to trick myself into eating more vegetables way before my first child came along. Funny, right? My favorite recipes here are the beef stew, meatballs, and Banana bread. They are so delicious.


I love the Panlasang Pinoy blog. I've started using his blog when my first one was a baby; just random Filipino dishes I wanted to learn to cook. Then a friend showed me that he also had vlogs on YouTube and my cooking game reached a higher level. His recipes are on point and the dishes taste authentic once you are done. I absolutely love his Siopao recipe (steamed bun).

And lastly, I love the comment section on all the recipes on this site because many people comment on how they made it better, etc. At first it was kind of hard for someone like me who needs the recipe to be to the tee, but it helped me learn how to improvise. Initial dishes were not very good, I won't lie. Eventually, I got my groove in the kitchen that I finally want to taste them before I serve them. Was I really the only one that never taste the food while cooking? Anyways, they also have an app. I go by stars for their recipes. I find myself recooking their homemade Alfredo sauce and their Crockpot dishes.

By no means am I Chef quality in the kitchen. I can read and follow instructions well, though. I just wished my counter was at a level where I can actually see what I am cooking.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Public Restroom Woes

Let me start off by saying, I am very particular when I use a public restroom. I dread every visit to one. I always try to help my children in them. My eldest is almost as tall as me and I still insist she lets me take her. There are times she will see another child in there and tell me she is a big girl and can do it on her own. I say, okay, let me at least make sure it's clean for you. 80% of the time, the seat is wet/dirty or the person prior did not flush it. I overlap the cover so her skin never touches the seat. When she allows me, I do try to carry her up to the seat or at least hold her skirt up, so it isn't lying on the ground. When she wants to be independent, I back off, but remind her what she needs to do: don't swing your legs, don't let you skirt drop, and put your hand on your lap. Many people have commented to me that I am hindering her somehow because in school she would have to do it on her own without toilet seat covers (mostly). To that, I say, thank you for your opinion then I go about and help my child, anyways.

When I absolutely can't avoid it, these are the things I do:

1. In long travels or overseas flights, I would buy toilet seat covers in advance for my kids (specifically, the ones below). They fold flat and small. They cover the entire seat and then some. So when they swing their legs, their thighs won't touch the seat at all. I just fold it up and throw it in the trash.  

2. I have an antibacterial spray for our hands in case the restroom is out of soap. 

3.  If we were on our own and I need to use the restroom, I tell my kids to stick a foot under the doorway so I can see them at all times. My daughter tends to sing. She said, so I know it is her foot and that she is still there.

4. With infants: I always buy a stroller that folds completely flat so I can just change him on there. If I need to use the changing table, I bring the Goodnights pad (for the bed). It completely covers the table. 

Yesterday, my daughter and I were alone in the bathroom. She insisted on doing it all by herself. I checked. She did her thing. As we were washing our hands, I told her, "That's pretty cool you can do all this by yourself now. I know mom always wants to help, but it's my nature. I will always try to help you as many times as I can while I am here with everything you do, not just in restrooms." She somehow understood that it wasn't because I thought she was a baby. She replied, "I know mom" and gave me a hug.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Friendly Encounters

When I was pregnant with my first child, I read an article that outlined the different types of friends a mom should have. It listed building relationships with a variety of friends that range from being single or married, to young, same age, and older. I remember reading it and thought, easy enough. I need a single friend for when I want to party downtown. I need a stay-at-home mom for when my kids get sick, she'll be my backup babysitter. I need a working mom for aspiration or someone to relate to if I am working. I need a younger person to teach me of the new gadgets. I need an older person to teach me about life. Then, I had children. I thought, boy, was the article out of contact with reality or what? Or maybe, it was describing the ideal life of a mom. Either way, mines is an odd mixture of crazy people, but exactly what I need for this moment in my life.

For me and mine, I am content with the amount of social relationships I do have. I rarely go out with friends nor do I spend hours on end talking to or about them. I rarely talk about my friends, actually. Except for now, because I feel like I owe an ode to those who I can call or text late at night about random things that eventually end up being free counseling sessions for hours. I feel lucky to have people I can truly call my soul-humans.

Looking back, I have always kept my circle tight. I think there's a special type of people to not just get or accept me, but truly love me. As I got older, I realized that friendship does not take work at all. I noticed that relationships that I had to put a lot of effort on, were not the relationships I ended up keeping for long term.To me, relationships are like mirrors. I say friendship is effortless because when I bend over backwards for a friend, it's not forced nor rehearsed. It's an automatic reaction. When I sense a resentment or jealousy coming from the person I am genuinely happy for, I can feel it throughout my 4'11" body and I go on defense mode. I let the relationship go and I move forward. I don't believe in dragging relationships along for the ride if they don't want to be there.

I realized that some people come into your life only for a moment to slap you silly and show you different paths that are ahead. I've had the best and worst people come in and out of my life so quick, I feel like a revolving door. Some, I was excited to never see again, some, I shed tears for. I've had people who loosely used the word "friend", but talked behind my back for fun or pity. I have friends who will be frank with me out of love and not turn to the next person and replay the event. I've had people who stole my ideas and used it to compete with me unknowingly. I don't use the word "frienemy" because if you are in my life, it is either you are a friend or you are an acquaintance. I don't keep my enemies on my soul-train. So it's either you support me from the sideline as an acquaintance or you are on this crazy ride with me holding the barf bag. 

To say friends are not important is a lie. Friends are important. Whether or not they are young, old, single, or with children, my soul-humans are important to me. They come as innocent as the uninvited person to your party or as awkward as meeting them at a playgroup you didn't really want to take your child to. Some of the best humans I know actually came to my life this way. Many years ago, an older lady approached me while I was changing in the locker room after swimming with my family. She wanted to introduce me to her daughter. This daughter of hers remains as one of the best humans I have in my life now. So these friendly encounters should not be strictly followed according to quotas: oh I already have enough married friends or I need a stay-at-home friend who can babysit. Your soul will connect and attach itself to those who are meant to stay for the long haul, past the babysitting stage. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pock It Stroller

The new Pockit Stroller from GB Child USA. The smallest stroller fold in the world. #abckids15
Posted by TheBabyGuyNYC on Sunday, October 18, 2015

I know I am supposed to just strictly be researching for a Child Carrier at the moment, but look what Jamie Grayson aka TheBabyGuyNYC posted fresh off ABC Kids 15 expo. I am almost at the end of the stroller phase, but this is super exciting to me. I won't be salty and ask where it's been the past 8 years, but I will celebrate all of you who would be able to have this for their lil' ones. Cheers to their R&D. I wonder if the seat reclines all the way down. If you don't follow Jamie and Angry Baby in social media, I suggest you do. He is a hoot and is a baby gear guru.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

These Days Exist

I know how you feel. I have had days when the 3rd cup of coffee was not enough. I've had those moments where I would put my earphones on when my kids would argue about toys. So, when this day happened, I was in shock of how I didn't even yell at him.

My eldest came to me speechless. She took me by the hand and told me she couldn't find the words to explain it, but I had to come quick. I took one glance at him, let go of her, and walked the other way. I sat where I was sitting just seconds prior and just stared at the wall. I wasn't frustrated, or maybe I was too frustrated that it numbed itself out. Whatever it was, I was emotionless about it. She followed me back and asked if I was angry and all I could mutter back was that I quit. She looked at me so confused and asked, quit what? Again, I muttered in a monotone voice, I quit and reached out to hug her. Then we just started laughing like two crazy souls who understood each other. My son came running with a handful of Styrofoam pieces and asked what was funny? I took the pieces and pretended it was cold and the snow fight begun. We threw them up in the air and lay down and made Styrofoam angels. And once it was over, I looked at him and said, it was time to clean up. All, but four was left and he pretended they were a family of snow. He even put them to nap.

So, yes these days exist. Most days, I let my tired self get the best of me. But some days, we play snow in the field of Styrofoam singing Frozen songs.

Disclaimer: Do not use your Dyson to clean up these bad boys. Use a wet vac. Hide all the Styrofoam away from your mischievous children.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Travel Memorabilia Overload

We just recently got back from the North Georgia mountains. It was the first time in months that we took our beloved Hello Kitty along with us on a trip. We took her to our hike so we can snap her picture in front of the waterfalls. I have to admit that I miss taking her to our trips. When my daughter was just a baby, I had this crazy idea that this brown stuffed toy will travel everywhere with us so I started taking snapshots of her. She's become my daughter's companion through the busy subway stations of Rome, croissant-filled-air of Paris, and fireworks-lit-skies of Disney World. She even has her own album of adventures. And this is the first idea I will throw out there if you are wondering of a tradition you can do while on the go. Aside from taking family pictures and selfies while traveling, here are some tips to preserve your memories.

 1. Take pictures of your kids lovey or toy at every place you visit. Hello Kitty is almost a ruler length, but super light. Think of luggage space when deciding which toy to take. If only my then-baby would not swallow a Lego, it would have been my choice of toy to photograph. You can also take pictures of your own baby up close. In my experience, this is a much harder option because babies tend to look horrified when bright lights flash at them and you will go to jail for holding your baby out onto the bridge with one arm.

2. Write a postcard to your child. When I started doing this, I used to opt to have a collectible stamp affixed to it before sending it off to my home. By the time we got home, the postcard would be waiting in the mailbox with the post office stamp making it official. I would write to them telling them of the places we visited and how it was. I then put them in a shadow box type frame with the rest of them near the front door. I imagine my kids reading through the experiences they had growing up someday.

3. Journal/Agenda. If you already keep a planner, write a quick entry as to how your travels are going on each day. If you journal, write away. I also like to sketch different pictures.

4. Buy some cool Magnets. One side of our fridge faces an entrance, so it's where we stick all of our magnets. We move so much that I try to only buy the ones with non-breakable materials. If I only had the front facing door available, I would opt to buy a frame like my postcard shadow box to make it more uniformed.

5. Shot glasses and Mugs. We did this for ourselves. I have tons of mugs while the husband has tons of shot glasses. There is only one mug I really want to add to my collection and I told myself, I won't buy another one after it. It is the Starbucks Disneyland Anniversary mug. These are not just for decor, I like using them from time to time for the purposes they are for - coffee and shots :).

You probably wondered in the beginning why I titled this overload. These are literally the things I do every single time we go somewhere. It's a bit of a stretch, but I've gotten used to it that now it's become a habit - sans mugs. In addition to pictures to sort through, I reserve time and money for these, especially the postcards, every single time, because I want to pass them down to my children one day. What about you? How do you keep the memories of your travels?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Favorite Vacay: Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola

For someone who is barely learning to swim in her 30's, I love vacationing in places where I can easily drown. Living in the south, Florida remains the easiest choice for this crazy activity. We found this gem of a spot because we are loyal Holiday Inn fans. Wherever we are in the world, we almost always stay in their franchise. It's within our budget and we like earning points. We've racked up so many points that we are able to stay in hotels like this for a fraction of the regular going price. This is the Holiday Inn Resort in Pensacola. We just love the Pensacola's white sand and turquoise water.

During the 4th of July weekend madness, one can book this for free. IHG's breakdown is so easy to calculate and does not change whether you are staying during the peak weekends or midweek. We are card members by choice after we've used up all of our points last year. We always opt to use the least amount of points and just pay the difference. While our stay, rooms were going for around $300.00, we paid $70 per night.

I have no clue what is in the area because this is one of those spots we like to vacation to just relax without any type of itinerary. The only things off our checklist are food, sunscreen, beach, drinks, pool, food, nap, and sleep. Throw in the jacuzzi somewhere in there to make it sound more exciting. This is one of those vacation places you take after a vacation somewhere fancy like Walt Disney World, where you walk endlessly.

As far as this awesome hotel? Well, it has a lazy river that we went around on more than 100 times. It boasts 3 jacuzzis. They also provide activities to kids such as the appearances of mermaids and pirates. This specific hotel also feeds every child free throughout the entire day. All of this without a resort fee. My frugal self couldn't contain myself. Using your points does not provide free breakfast, but if your kids eat free, then you really only pay for all the margarita's you choose to partake in poolside. Don't mind if I do. Cheers.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Favorite Stroller: Chicco Liteway Plus

So for my comeback post, I wanted to write about my favorite Chicco baby gear: Liteway Plus. Yes, I know. I no longer have this stroller. However, it remains my favorite stroller to this day. This is the only stroller I recommend to my friends who aren't looking for a jogging stroller. If you like to travel like my family does, this is hands down the best one to buy.

Just a quick overview of this gem in the order of my priorities:

Transitions from Carseat Caddy to Umbrella type stroller
Seat folds flat
No snack tray (1 of the 2 reasons why I switched. The other reason is it isn't a jogging stroller)
Roomy undercarriage storage
Adjustable sun shade

The Liteway Plus came out towards the end of 2012 when I was getting ready to transition out of the Chicco Carseat Caddy.



In my opinion, it revolutionized this part of the industry. It transitions from carseat caddy, to stroller like some of the more expensive options. The cherry on top? It folds just like an umbrella stroller - one of its kind. I won't rewrite the description Chicco has on its site, but let me tell you why this stroller was a lifesaver for a shortie like myself.

The transition. Whenever I went somewhere with my kids, I switched back and forth between wearing my baby and my 5-year old being pushed. If the baby was sleeping on the way to the store, I let my older kid walk and just snap in the car seat. If my baby was staying home, I didn't have to switch strollers to take the other one.

Seat folds flat. This is not my second priority because it is a good tool for nap time. The real reason is for diaper changing time - which was often every time we were out and about. I've witnessed many moms change their kids on those things and I was grossed out. I won't tell you the different scenarios because if you are reading my blog, I am sure you know the different mishaps one goes through when changing diapers. If it happens within the four walls of your home in a changing table, yes, it also happens in public restrooms. I took the car seat out and opened up the stroller seat whenever he needed a diaper change. I wanted to avoid changing my baby in the public bathroom as much as possible. A flat seat allowed me to change him throughout his diaper phase (still to this day, but with a different stroller).

No snack tray. When he started snacking on his own, this became a problem for me. I used to just attach those spill-proof snack bowls with the daisy links.

5-point harness for seat belt. When my baby was younger, this was an absolute must. The scare of the stroller ever tipping over, I wanted a stroller that will hold him up.

Adjustable sunshade was awesome! Although the canopy isn't too big, it adjusts!

Folds like an umbrella stroller! Easier to tow and does not take too much space. I used to be able to fold this one with one hand and a foot. I wouldn't be able to tell you how since I forgot, but I know it can be done.

Sturdy frame, but so light to carry.

The height of the handle bars is perfect. Not to low and not too high. The design is like the one in an umbrella stroller where they are just bars on each side. If they were connected, I bet the top would be high. Since you can push it holding the bars sideways, it's a perfect height for petite moms.

360 Degree Turn with a push of a finger. This glides so easily.

Roomy undercarriage. 

I was bummed when I had to replace this stroller with a jogging one. Every parent I know that eventually bought this stroller (short and tall) cannot stop telling others to do the same. The best part is that many big box retailers sell this stroller. You don't have order it by phone and find out it isn't for you. You can fit it in your car and glide around the store before buying it.I just know you will fall in love with it as much as I have. Go and drive to your nearest Target or Babies R Us and try it out.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Break is Over, Shortie!

I apologize to the few readers who found my site useful and hoped for more. I plan to be back with how we are doing now and share some tricks and tips I learned the past months. Just a quick hello for now. I have not grown an inch vertically since I last wrote. My then baby, is now a toddler. He has great leadership skills like her sister; insert sarcastic emoji here. I also started working, so I had to bid farewell to my everyday fluffy hello kitty house slippers and polished up my heels.

So, two things to mention. I found the most perfect and budget friendly stroller for petite moms and my baby carrier is still as good as it was. I'll do a review on the stroller soon, but I have the Baby Jogger City Mini GT! This bad boy has a handle bar that adjusts! I know, I know, pretty exciting stuff!

Please stick around dear readers, followers, stalkers. I may no longer have to tow a baby around, but I am still short and these children still need me to do things for them. There are tons of adventures to be had! Big hugs!