Monday, September 16, 2019

My kids loved Harry Potter in Concert!

My kids had such a wonderful treat this weekend. We got to watch Harry Potter in Concert! It's like watching the movie but with a real orchestra playing the music. Yes, a real live orchestra accompanying the movie. They played the entire musical score from opening scene up to the end credits! It was fantastic!

My kids just discovered Harry Potter this year. We're now reading Prisoner of Azkaban. It's slow work but I guess that's better kasi nasasamsam talaga nila lahat ng details. Reading Harry Potter aloud to the kids is very tiring (their Papa does most of the work) but it's nice to revisit one of my favorite stories with three of my most favorite people in the world. Imagine watching it on the big screen with a live musical performance! We had such a fabulous time and it was also so nice seeing my other mommy friends at the Theater at Solaire!

Me with my little Harry!
Aliza Apostol
Marie Field-Faith
Kat Maderazo
Harry Potter in Concert is produced by CC: Concepts, a really young music production company with a mission to make music mainstream. I like that they chose Harry Potter because its fan base is kids. It's good to introduce orchestra music to young children. My father, grandfather, and my grade school music teacher did that to me and I developed a liking to identifying instruments while listening to classical music.



It sounds hoity-toity but it's not really. I think it made me smarter and calmer. More human. I'm not like my husband who can identify composers and symphonies and operas at a drop of a hat. He's obviously more sophisticated than I am, but we share the same love for music and how it sweeps through the soul. I think every human being should know how that feels, and if we start our kids young on a steady diet of music, it will strengthen their mind and soul. I really believe this!

I should apply it more, though. I'm always too busy to be more mindful of my kids' music education. But Harry Potter in Concert was a great experience for them. They loved hearing the music live. The performance was actually so good, the kids didn't realize the music was actually being performed right in front of them. Fantastic job to conductor Gerard Salonga and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra!

 
 

And congratulations to CC: Concepts for such a successful show. Please produce all 8 movies please! Then do a Disney one, too. And Avengers. And Star Wars. And Lord of the Rings!!! Omigosh, please do Lord of the Rings!!!

For upcoming CC: Concepts shows, please visit their Facebook page.

*mommy-and-kids photos from CC: Concepts Facebook page.

Monday, September 02, 2019

I list down what I need for my house right now

I've lived in our lovely little apartment for 12 years now. It's just a piece of heaven! And because we live high up in the sky, our big windows look out into either vivid blue sky and white fluffy clouds or crazy stormy weather so our home kinda literally feels like heaven.

Until the kids arrived hahaha

Now the house is almost always a mess and we are in a daily battle to keep the chaos at bay. So far, we are winning the war. Our sons are learning to control their mess and help around the house so I'm not losing my mind and temper so often anymore. Yey!

Anyway, I was at MY MC Home recently and I just wanted to share with you, dearest fellow mamas, what I found which my home needs right now.


Colorful stools
My husband will disagree and of course he's right but I kinda want these stools. I want them for my kids because our dining chairs are so nice and comfy, the boys slouch and even lie down when they eat! It's so annoying! Yes, I'm a mean mama when it comes to teaching my boys good manners and right conduct. Since they can't seem to stop themselves from eating like Roman emperors, lounging about the dining table, stools suddenly seem like a great solution.


Rolling crate.
Also known as the f@cketbucket* in our family. It's where my husband and I throw in all the mess we find around the house, like Legos, plushies, crayons, homework. We don't organize our kids' stuff anymore. We just throw those things in that crate and when the kids go, "Mama, where's my...?", I just nod towards the crate and they'll know their stuff is in there.

We already have a crate obviously but at the end of the day, the kids still have to sort and organize their stuff and they walk to and fro from the living room to their bedroom and this can take forever! But if the crate were on wheels... Brilliant!

*We didn't invent this, by the way. It's a term that means you don't want to care anymore about something. Then we saw a Scary Mommy article about a mom who made a literal bucket of stuff she doesn't want to care about anymore and it was a lightbulb moment for us!


Laundry drying rack
Here's something else I super need! My Loyal Readers know I love doing the laundry. Well, my current clothes rack is almost at the end of its useful life. Which of the above drying racks do you recommend? I'm thinking of the one on wheels so I can drag it around the house and wherever the sun is (#condoproblems). What you think?


Hampers
Because mine are not pretty anymore. These are light but sturdy and super affordable! The small ones, by the way, are better as stuffed toy organizers or maybe a towel holder for your bathroom. They're too small for a hamper (unless you like doing the laundry daily!).


Art
I adore these little sculptures! I believe every home should have art. It doesn't matter if they're pricey paintings or clay sculptures your kids made in school. Your home needs a soul and the physical manifestation of that is art!

To find out more about these unique sculptures, check out the MY MC Home blog post about them.


For more home finds, visit the store! MY MC Home has 2 branches: Level 3 MET LIVE Mall, Diosdado Macapagal Blvd, 1302 Pasay City, and at MC Home Depot San Fernando Interchange, Jose Abad Santos Avenue, 2000 San Fernando, Pampanga. You may also find more furniture and promos at their Facebook page www.facebook.com/mymchome and Instagram www.instagram.com/mymchome.

*This post is brought to you by My MC Home.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Check out the Buwan ng Wika Visayan costumes of my boys


I can't let August slip away without sharing with you the costumes my boys wore for Buwan ng Wika. Proud mama me is happy to report these were inexpensive and partly homemade. Also, blogger me is disclosing I'm blogging about this because so many people were saying they were Googling "Visayan costumes for boys" so - lightbulb moment! - nakakuha ako ng idea for an SEO-friendly post hehe!



August was super busy so I really wanted to buy a costume first kas wala talaga akong time! But everything I found online were either Katipunero/farmer costumes or Igorot and Muslim costumes. For my older sons, their assigned costume was Visayan. When I asked a costume maker about that, she said, "Naku, ma'am, ang mga Bisaya, mga nakahubad ang mga yan. Example po, si Lapu-Lapu. Bale, bigyan ko na lang kayo ng bahag at pambalot sa ulo tapos hubad na lang yung mga bata."

This is what I found on our hero, Datu Lapu-Lapu:

Visayans are also known for their fierce tattooed bodies. From the islands of Panay to Leyte, there are people called Pintados. Even Lapu-Lapu had tattoos. So we Googled Pintados and a lot of fabulous photos from festivals came up! As in. Nakakatuwa sobra. But here's the one in Wikipedia:


My sons weren't so hot about going naked and wearing a diaper. But I figured since taga-Leyte mga magulang ko and the fact that Visayas were their assignment, we should just commit to it. By this time, our costume supplier was fully booked so hindi na raw siya available so off I went to Megamall because they've got it all for you!


At the tourist-favorite shop Kultura, there were lots of parents buying Filipino costumes. And grabe ha, hindi sila mura. Basically mga P1500 kada costume. Parang OA naman. So I figured I'd buy a nude shirt, make a Pintados design, buy tela na may traditional print (kahit hindi na strictly Bisaya) and gawan ko ng paraan yun.


Sa SM Department Store kiddie section, nakahanap ako ng nude undershirts. If you're looking for the same, sabihin niyo naghahanap kayo ng pang-barong. Mga P150 lang sila. Yey! Sa Kultura ko nabili yung tela. P800 siya. So lumabas na wala pang 1K per costume! Super kuripot me was so happy!!!


The kids helped with the design of their shirts and, armed with permanent markers, sila na ang gumawa ng sarili nilang tattoos. Ayaw nila ng bahag so binalot na lang namin yung tela around their waists and they wore shorts sa ilalim. Super happy sila sa costumes nila!!! These photos were taken at 5:30 in the morning and buhay na buhay sila sa excitement haha


Of course, my bunso also had his own Buwan ng Wika celebration sa school niya. With him, sabi ng teachers niya na okay na yung Katipunero costume that he wore when he was in Nursery last year. We just needed a bigger shirt and binaba namin sa hips niya yung pants para hindi bitin. We just used a straw fedora instead of the usual straw hat para mas cool siya haha He's sooooo cute, diba???

So, mga mamas, I've been super enjoying all the Pinoy costumes I've been seeing on social media. Medyo nakaka-stress maghanap ng costume but the results are always worth it. Parang motherhood lang!


*Lapu-Lapu monument photo from Country Within a City; Pintados photo from Wikipedia.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Our favorite find at National Book Store: dotted journals!

Last week, a video that Vito and I made for National Book Store debuted (naks, debut talaga haha) on Facebook.



I love working with my son. This is the second video we've done for National. Last year, Vito and I starred in a back-to-school marketing campaign where we hawked lunch bags.




I really like that lunch bag. I still have the pink and purple of it. Vito's blue and Iñigo's red were so well used and abused for an entire school year, nabutas na haha. I was really hoping National would sell them again this year.

Anyway, we also did an unboxing of our shopping.



So some moms who watched our video this month asked, "What did you buy po? Sana may unboxing din!" Oo nga naman! Well, it's not very exciting kasi we bought ball pens, Spider-Man pencils, highlighters, bond paper... you know, school supplies!

But Vito and I did find a very nice and affordable journal. As in sobra kaming tuwang-tuwa sa kanya. Are we mababaw to get all excited about a notebook? Maybe. Pero sa pamilya ko kasi, we are writers and artists. We love to write down everything. As in everything! The kids love to draw. They draw every single day! So notebooks are a HUGE deal here in our home. So, mamas, check out our favorite National Book Store find: Limelight Dotted Journals!


The blue has subtle gold flecks.
Love the cheerful color and lines!
The journal is really thick. I can do 12 months plus notes and drawings pa!
Pocket at the back cover.
Empty pages excite me!
Vito uses his as a planner, gaming notes, and writing his stories and comics. 

Vito's dotted journal is already used but I'm saving mine for my 2020 bullet journal. Actually, we both want to buy more because there are more cover designs and P220 lang siya! Sobrang affordable!!!

We found this at the Glorietta 1 branch. The two branches near our house are small so very limited ang items available there so I think, if you want to buy this dotted journal, you'll have to go to a big branch like in Glorietta.

Now remember: Everything you need for school is at National Book Store. You can shop at their hundreds of branches nationwide or you can shop online at nationalbookstore.com. You can also call 8888-NBS (627) to order and have your shopping delivered! Follow @nationalbookstore on Instagram, and @nbsalert on Twitter, Viber, and YouTube.

*This post is brought to you by National Book Store.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

2 easy recipes to elevate your favorite tuna sandwich and Thai noodles


Admit it, more often than not, what you have in your pantry would be hassle-free instant food. As any person who’s lived independently (ahem, alone) knows, instant food is pretty painless and requires minimal to no cooking. That means not only do you get to eat faster, but you also lessen the potential damage you can inflict on your kitchen. 

But hey, eating shouldn’t just be about filling your stomach. Good food can work wonders for the soul – and your ego – since you’re actually going to do this. A quick scan through The Maya Kitchen’s trove of recipes has provided these 2 simple ways to transform your instant meals into tastier, healthier, and over-all, fancier dishes. Let’s get down to business!   

From canned tuna to Italian sandwich! 

This Chili Corned Tuna Salad in Panini Toast provides a yummy twist to your canned staple. And you can do this in just 3 steps! Start by mixing drained corned canned tuna with celery, onion, pickle relish, mayonnaise, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Lay thin cuts of cucumber and red onion on top of a slice of toasted batard bread. Lastly, spread the tuna salad mixture onto the bread. Enjoy it by yourself or share the hefty servings!

CHILI CORNED TUNA SALAD IN PANINI TOAST

1 can corned tuna, 380 grams, drained
2 tablespoons celery, chopped
1 piece red onion, sliced or chopped
3 tablespoons pickle relish
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
3 pairs prepared buttered batard bread slices, pressed in panini machine
cucumber, thinly sliced
red onion, thinly sliced

1. In a bowl, put and mix together drained tuna, celery, onion, pickle relish, mayonnaise, and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. 
2. Get a piece of toasted batard bread and lay pieces on top, thinly slices of cucumber and red onion slices. 
3. Scoop a dollop of the tuna salad mixture on top of the cucumber and onion, placing them alternately on top of one another, then cover with another batard bread on top. 
4. Serve with slices of lemon on the side.

Yield: 3 servings


Instant noodles to Thai stir-fry! 

Your favorite pack of instant noodles is filled with endless possibilities far beyond the instructions on the back. Use it to whip up this Thai Chicken and Peanut Stir-Fry Noodles recipe, a great (and healthier!) option to your usual instant fare. Pan fry pieces of chicken until lightly browned, then add in carrots, onion, garlic, mushroom, bell pepper, and oyster sauce. Cook the noodles together with peanut butter sauce for 5 minutes. Place noodles on a platter, then top it with the stir-fried chicken, vegetable mixture, wansoy leeks, and roasted peanuts. And voila, you’ve added a Thai dish to your menu! 

THAI CHICKEN AND PEANUT STIR-FRY NOODLES

3 tablespoons oil
150 grams chicken breast fillet, chopped
1 piece large-sized carrots, julienne
1 piece medium-sized onion, sliced
1 tablespoon garlic
100 grams sliced fresh shitake mushrooms
1 cup bell peppers (red, yellow and green)
3 tablespoons oyster sauce or light soy sauce
500 grams fresh egg thick noodles “miki”, blanched, washed and cleaned
prepared peanut sauce
1/3 cup wansoy, chopped
2 stalks leeks, sliced diagonally
freshly roasted peanuts, as needed


Peanut Sauce:

3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter 
2-3 tablespoons Chinese chili-garlic sauce
1 cup water
2 tablespoons rice wine/mirin
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated ginger
salt and pepper to taste



In a clean bowl, mix all ingredients together until all sugar has dissolved. Set aside.  

1. Heat oil in a sautéing pan and pan-fry chicken until lightly browned.
2. Add in carrots, onion, and garlic and continue sautéing until onions and garlic are translucent and aromatic.
3. Stir in mushrooms, bell pepper, and oyster sauce, give a quick stir. Do not overcook the vegetables. Set aside a little amount of stir-fried chicken and vegetable mixture for toppings.
4. In the same pan, toss in noodles and pour in the prepared peanut sauce. Cook no more than 5 minutes.
5. Before turning off the heat, mix in the wansoy and leeks into the noodles.
6. Serve noodles on to the platter, top with the remaining stir-fried chicken and vegetable mixture and sprinkle on top with roasted peanuts before serving.

Yield: 5-6 servings

Nothing beats quick, easy-to-follow recipes from The Maya Kitchen to help you turn your instant meals into everyday gourmet dishes. Learn more uncomplicated ways to eat well at www.themayakitchen.com. 

Like and follow The Maya Kitchen on Facebook and Instagram @TheMayaKitchen1 and follow us on Twitter @TheMayaKitchen.

Learn great recipes at www.themayakitchen.com. If you want to take your baking and cooking skills up a notch, check out Maya Kitchen’s course offerings at the website, email contactus@themayakitchen.com, or visit The Maya Kitchen Culinary Center every Tuesday to Saturday at 8F Liberty Building, 835 A. Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road), Makati City or call 8921185 or 892-5011 local 108 or +63929 679 6102.

*To be featured on Press Release Tuesdays, send it to frances@topazhorizon.com.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Here are photos of my fab finds for your home office at MY MC Home!


I spent one of the long weekends of this month at new home store MY MC Home, looking for stuff for my home office. I also went there with a special mission from my mommy readers: report on good sofas that are perfect for a small condo. Here's what I found for you! 


I especially like this living room set for your home office, if you have one. Its gray color recalls the professionalism of the corporate environment but that gingham print definitely puts a playful and homey feel, right?


Here's another option that will do well in your living room and also your home office. I like the Scandinavian design of sleek lines and simple wooden frames. They're quite comfy, too! But they're not long enough to accommodate your whole body so you won't be tempted to lie down and nap.


If you do like taking naps in between work deadlines (I indulge in power naps a lot!), then fold-out sofa beds are also available at MY MC Home. I found a streamlined piece that will fit into a small room and then fold out into a comfortable bed. Great for you and for guests!


Here's a multi-functional piece, mamas! It's a desk and a bed! It has tons of space for storage, too. Here is a closed one...


... and here's what it looks like when opened! The desk is specially designed to stay level so that even when you pull down the bed, you can leave your laptop or notebooks on the desk and they won't fall off. Love it!


Speaking of desks, we all need organizers to make sense of the mess that inevitably piles up when work gets crazy. Here's a desk organizer I found. Lots of compartments for pens, highlighters, folders, paper clips, et al. I was hoping for more feminine variants, though, like florals or pink.


There are other desk organizers that aren't black, don't worry! They come in different materials, too, like faux leather, wood, and wicker.


Another fantastic find for the office (or your living room and bedroom) is this corner shelf. Definitely a great space filler and perfect for books, picture frames, and scented candles to calm your frazzled nerves.


Last but definitely will be the pièce de résistance of your home office—this unique bookshelf!

For more home and office finds, visit the store! MY MC Home has 2 branches: Level 3 MET LIVE Mall, Diosdado Macapagal Blvd, 1302 Pasay City, and at MC Home Depot San Fernando Interchange, Jose Abad Santos Avenue, 2000 San Fernando, Pampanga. You may also find more furniture and promos at their Facebook page www.facebook.com/mymchome and Instagram www.instagram.com/mymchome.

*This post is brought to you by My MC Home.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Be a Denim Hero and declutter with a purpose!

Donate your denim! 

The Junior Chamber International – Ortigas Inc. (JCI Ortigas), in partnership with iconic fashion brand Mossimo, launched the Denim Heroes Project this August at the flagship store of Mossimo in Glorietta 4, Makati. The Denim Heroes Project media launch and press conference was attended by social media influencers, Grace Note band, and members of the press, who each donated a pair of jeans for the benefit of someone in need.

Inier Ponce says good-bye to his old jeans.

Denim Heroes Project is a "decluttering with a purpose" donation drive. It's a call to the public to donate their old jeans at any of the 42 participating Mossimo stores nationwide. Donors can avail on-the-spot 30% discount on all regular items on the day of his visit. The collected pre-loved jeans will be distributed to the chosen charity and beneficiaries of JCI Ortigas in partnership with JCI Local chapters in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Micah Austria enjoys the 30% discount she got when she donated her old jeans.

Through the Denim Heroes Project, JCI Ortigas, together with Mossimo, celebrates love and kindness by giving to people in need. Mixing active citizenship and fashion with purpose, the attendees of the event were first to step up as Denim Heroes, inspiring others to create ripples of positive change one pair of jeans at a time.

Clad in Mossimo OOTD that Kimpoy Feliciano got for 30% off!

Kimpoy Feliciano, a New Zealand-based Filipino social media sensation, shared his unexpected journey to online fame and connected it on how an ordinary person wearing jeans can become a hero in their own unique way. He also encouraged his online followers to support Denim Heroes and inspire others to donate for a cause. Marcelo Santos III, writer and influencer also shared his personal story and called on the audience to support this drive. Matt Nicolai, YouTube Vlogger, fully supported the event and shared his own personal story as well.


JCI Ortigas and Mossimo believe that it is in giving that one is able to receive more. Any person can step up as a hero. From the simple act of decluttering your closet, parting with a pair of pre-loved jeans for the benefit of another, Denim Heroes project aims to knock at the hearts of each one, to give back and these jeans will all find its way home to others who need it more.

REMEMBER:
1. Head to your nearest Mossimo branch to donate your old denim clothes.
2. Get a 30% discount instantly on your shopping at Mossimo!
3. The donation drive is until August 31, 2019.

*Photos from the Instagram handles of @inierponce@michsthemicha, @kimpoyfeliciano

*To be featured on Press Release Tuesdays, send it to frances@topazhorizon.com.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Piero is 5!


Everyone says Piero is my favorite. He's not. He's just my last. My last baby. That's really what it is. You push the first two out into the world. You hold back the last. It's a selfishness I relish while I still can. Sooner than I want, this littlest one will be launched into the world, too. And I'll be left behind. As I should. 


I mean, he just turned 5 last month! And in the one month since, he already thinks he's some hotshot conquering the world! This kid. Always hurrying up. Always thinks he's the biggest person in the room. Always thinks he knows best.


For his birthday, he wanted it at home. I insisted, "Don't you want to have a party at your preschool like your kuyas did?"

"Nope," he answered with derision. "Why would I spend my birthday with people I don't know?"

Why indeed.


He said he wanted an all-Oreo party because that's his name. "Don't you know my name, Mama?"

"I think I should know it given the fact that your Papa and I gave it to you."

"Well, it's not Piero. It's Pi-OREO!" Then he laughed at how clever he is. "I'm an Oreo Monster!"


So we had an Oreo ice cream cake, Oreos to eat with the cake, and Oreo ice cream sandwiches after! We had Oreos all frikkin' July because the Oreo Monster said so. And because he's my baby ("I'm not your baby anymore, Mama. I am FIVE!"), I buy him all the Oreos he wants. Every week.

(Send us Oreos please!)


For gifts, he didn't want a lot. Just some play clay and raccoon plushies. "That's also my name, Mama. Piero RACCOON Sales. Didn't you know?"

I didn't! What kind of a mother am I, I muse, as I take note that I have a wild animal as a son now. And just like a raccoon, Piero raids the ref and the cookie box all day long, he's aggressive, and he loves holing up in the dark like in his closet or in his pillow fortress with all his plushies.


Piero is, in many ways, the son who's exactly like his parents. It's fascinating—and worrying—how he has all our stubbornness, moodiness, and bad temper. But of course, right? He's our son. (How come the first two are also ours but aren't like us then?) I'm so glad Piero came to Vince and me because we know exactly how to deal with stubbornness, moodiness, and bad temper. Imagine if the stork had brought him to sweet and innocent parents??? He'd eat them alive. 

Well, to be honest, there were a couple of years back then when Vince and I also thought we wouldn't get out of this alive. This Piero! Our feral child! With our first two boys, they loved us immediately. With this littlest one, I always felt we had to earn his love and approval. How weird is that!


But we did it. We became better at parenting and now we have the sweetest little boy—just like his kuyas! Happy, loving, affectionate. We survived!!! Four is actually my most favorite age. And last year was wonderful! That was when we finally knew how to dance around each other and when I said to myself, "After 4 years, I think we've finally earned his respect!"

So 5 is fantastic! Piero still has a lot of moments when he'd say, "Why are you in my room? I want to be alone, Mama." Darling, you're 5! Why do you want to be alone? But because Vince and I are also loners ourselves, we understand and back off. He's the one most like Vince and me! 

Happy birthday, my wild one. You are the one who humbled me, who keeps me on my toes! You are exactly what our family needed and I wish I could keep you little forever because one day I will need to unleash you into the big wide world and they will think you are too much. Too honest with your words and emotions, too brave, too smart, too independent, too self-assured. And that's you at 5! Imagine that. What will you be like at 10, 15, 20 and beyond? We are already so proud of what you'll become!