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!

Friday, August 02, 2019

We're purple and pretty at Welch's 150th anniversary party! Plus, Grape Salsa with Goat Cheese Crostini recipe


Welch’s is 150 years old this 2019 and we celebrated with a purple party last weekend! I'm so happy to tell you all that Welch's has partnered with my blog to help in their mission to "Share What’s Good." So that means you can expect me to write about healthier nutritional choices from now on, mamas!

For 150 years, Welch’s has brought the natural goodness of grape juice to millions of homes around the world. But did you know that the Philippines is their biggest market in Asia? Ang lakas pala natin sa grape juice! The real good news there is Pinoys chose 100% real grape juice vs powdered juice or flavored juice. 


To be honest, I've been buying fake juices for a loooong time. Yes, nakakahiya man aminin but that was how I was raised and I continued that tradition with my family. But a few years ago, my husband told me to try real fruit juice. Pagdating sa grape juice, favorite niya ang Welch's. So that was the start of my slow transition from powdered juice drinks (which was mainly sugar) to real juice. Now, because of Welch's 100% Grape Juice, I feel better about giving my kids juice, knowing that I'm giving them real natural goodness that's healthy!

My new friend Erika Rodriguez is the VP for Marketing of Gemco, the Philippine marketing agent of Welch’s International. We met late last year when Iñigo and I worked together to promote our favorite Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice. Erika is very much what Welch's stands for—giving her family and friends good and healthy food. She's so wholesome and good for the heart and soul! I loved her immediately! I want to be just like her! 

Anyway, Erika says that Welch’s wants to remind mommies like us the value of making better choices at home and how our wise decisions on nutrition can impact the family’s overall health and well-being. "Welch’s is an advocate of better nutritional choices for families all over the world. To celebrate its 150 years, we continue the tradition of encouraging more people to lead a healthy lifestyle, and it starts with the food and beverage that we consume," Erika says. "Even amidst our busy lifestyle, moms must make sure that our family – especially the growing kids – only get the best when it comes to nutrition."


The Philippine distributor of Welch's is Fly Ace Corporation—another company close to my heart! Remember when I was a Jolly Mommy a few years ago? So happy to see Fly Ace President Lucio 'Jun' Cochanco Jr. again at the Welch's party! Sir Jun said that they're proud to carry Welch’s as it's not only a heritage brand but also one that is popular among Filipino families. He said, "We celebrate with Welch’s as it marks 150 years. It is a product that we are proud of since it is well-loved because of its nutritional values and the natural goodness that it gives to consumers. Moving forward, we want more Filipinos to share in the joy of drinking Welch's together especially during special occasions and family moments."


At the event, I shared the stage with gorgeous and super fit and healthy mommy Aliza Apostol a.k.a. @mustlovemom on Instagram. She's really been drinking Welch's since she was a child, and since her husband is a chef, their meals are always fresh and healthy. She's such a good example to me! I was so inspired to work out after being in her presence!

Anyway, one concern of health-conscious mommies that Aliza raised was the sweetness of Welch's. Well, we need not worry at all. Unlike other beverages that contain huge amounts of sugar and artificial coloring, Welch’s is vitamin-packed and 100% natural. Scientific studies show that grape juice made from Concord grapes contain natural sugars but compared with other forms of sugar, sugars in grapes are considered to be low in the glycemic index. Thus, grape (or grape juice in this case) is unlikely to raise one’s blood sugar significantly.

Erika says, "Each bottle of Welch’s is made from Concord grapes, assuring moms that they give their kids a large, concentrated amount of polyphenols which a natural plant nutrient that plays a key role in supporting a healthy heart. These same polyphenols contribute to the antioxidant power of 100% grape juice."

Another thing Aliza and I love about Welch's is it's not owned by a conglomerate. It's lovingly harvested from over 900 family farmer-owned vineyards across America. They then use the entire Concord grape – skin, seeds and all – to release the plant’s true polyphenol power. In fact, at least 20 grapes are squeezed into each 4-ounce glass. Imagine the vitamins and minerals in each glass of Welch’s that has nurtured generations of families not only in the Philippines but all over the world!

Speaking of families, here are a few of my favorite mom influencers that attended the Welch's event:

The Casa Mamas
April of Daily Dose of Brie and Feliz of Today with the Lucas
Louise of Mommy Practicality and Ina of The Asian Parent

Of course, since we were talking about good nutrition, there was a cooking demo!


Chefs Peachy Mathay and Trisha Ocampo shared delicious recipes with us, all of which had Welch's 100% Grape Juice as an ingredient! We had an appetizer, salad, dessert, and sangria! But the recipe below is my favorite:


Grape Salsa with Goat Cheese Crostini

Yield: 6-8

Ingredients:

Grape Salsa
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ cup Welch’s 100% Grape Juice
1 cup seedless grapes, quartered (red, green or a mix)
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp jalapeño, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
½ cup red onions
1 tbsp lime juice
salt and pepper
Goat Cheese Spread
8 oz goat cheese
225 grams cream cheese
¼ cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
1 loaf baguette
cilantro

Procedure:
In a sauce pan, pour the balsamic vinegar and the Welch’s 100% Grape Juice. Reduce in half or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Cool down and set aside. 

In a mixer (using a paddle) or bowl, mix the goat cheese, cream cheese, and heavy cream together until light and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside in the refrigerator.

In a bowl, add the quartered grapes, tomatoes, jalapeño, cilantro, red onions, lime juice, and the reduced grape juice. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Slice the baguette into ¼” thick slices and arrange on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Flip and repeat the process. Bake in a 350 F oven until golden, about 5-8 minutes.

To assemble, spread the goat cheese on the crostini. Add a spoonful of grape salsa and garnish with cilantro.

For more information about the 150 years of Welch’s and how to know the different ways to enjoy 100% natural grape juice, visit www.welchs.com or follow Welch’s PH in Facebook and IG. Welch’s fruit drinks and snacks are distributed by Fly Ace Corporation and are available in leading retail stores nationwide.

*This post was brought to you by Welch's 100% Grape Juice.