Sunday, May 19, 2024

Yummy recipes made from leftovers

My family does not like leftovers. So I try to cook ulam that's just enough for all five of us. But sometimes there are still leftovers. Ang hina talaga namin kumain!
So the leftovers don't get eaten and then on weekends, I clean out the ref and I find forgotten leftovers of I don't even remember when I cooked them and of course, I throw them away. It is a terrible thing to throw away food kahit na it's not a lot of food. Madalas it's just a half-eaten chicken nugget or a cup of spaghetti sauce or two matchbox-sized pieces of adobo pero wala ng sabaw. Yung tipong "Isang kagat na lang, hindi pa inubos," or "Nahiya pa sa last piece!"

To minimize throwing out perfectly good food, I have a few ideas on recycling leftovers:

These are pizzas my sons made out of leftover spaghetti sauce, hotdogs and chicken nuggets.

I used leftover rice to make this cheesy chicken and rice casserole. Recipe here.

I used leftover rice and chicken to make this delicious risotto. Recipe here.

Leftover spaghetti noodles can be used for chicken noodle soup.

Cook leftover lechon, which is mabilis mapanis, into yummy lechon kawali.

With jam, peanut butter, cookie butter or Nutella, we turn bread crusts into tasty rolls.

Crumble leftover chocolates onto ice cream for added texture and flavor.

How about you? What do you do with leftovers?

*This is a post from my now-unpublished blog, Topaz Mommy.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

I'll always be special

I love this video of an experiment involving blindfolded kids picking out their moms in a lineup. Using just touch and smell, the kids all accurately picked out their mamas.

I remembered this documentary I watched a long time ago, on emperor penguins coming back from the ocean, their tummies full of fish. On a vast expanse of ice, thousands of baby penguins wait, and they're all the same kind of fluffy and white, and I thought there's just no way the parents can find their baby. But they do, they do. They find their very own!

I love how special each mommy felt. How unique and how loved!

But did you also feel each mommy's apprehension that their child won't recognize them? I did. I felt the real fear behind the worry. How many of us moms think that we're all taken for granted, pushed to the side, hidden in the background, always in the supporting role, forgotten, unappreciated, unseen?

I feel that sometimes! But that's silly really. I must never forget that I'll always be incredibly special to three precious boys and their Papa. And that's more than enough for me. Really. That's more than I deserve, and I am grateful.

Happy Mother's Day, mamas! Thank you for all that you do. We're not invisible. They know what we do and they love us. Remember that!

*This is a repost from my now-unpublished blog, Topaz Mommy!

Sunday, May 05, 2024

Tanglad tea is good for everybody

Let's make tanglad tea! For you Thai food aficionados, that's lemongrass tea!

So off I went to the market and bought some tanglad leaves. And here's a photo essay on how to make some:
Wash leaves. You can steep it in white vinegar if you like.

Cut leaves into 1-inch sections.

Bring water to a boil.

Oh, this is just a pretty shot. Love all those green hues!

Boil leaves for 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Then steep for
5 to 15 minutes. It depends on how strong you want the tea.

Serve with calamansi and honey!

Easy! Vince loves lemongrass tea. I should always remember to make pitchers of this! I strongly recommend that you brew this tea for your family, too. With all the health benefits, this is one refreshing drink you and your family will most definitely enjoy.

*This is a post from my now-unpublished blog, Topaz Mommy.

Monday, April 29, 2024

I have lived in the goodness of God

Wow, I blinked, and it's already the end of April! How did that happen? This year is going so fast, so before I blink again and find it's already Christmas, let me tell you about last year. 

My horrible year. My blessed year. 

Yes, it can be both things at once and I hope one day, when it doesn't feel like a fresh wound anymore, I will only see 2023 as blessed. 

Handa na ba kayo? I don't think I am. So I think this will be a rambling post. It's a year I'd rather forget, that's why I hardly blogged last year. That's also why I'm having a hard time telling you about it. I'm still processing.

Everything actually began months before, in 2022, when I had menorrhagia. I had to have all these checkups and tests and finally a D&C. All that was an unexpected expense so I realized I needed health insurance and a regular source of income. Then nung pandemic, nag-homeschooling kami but yung panganay ko, gustong bumalik sa school so we enrolled him na. He was happy to be back in school and medyo nainggit mga kapatid niya and so we all agreed that in 2023, babalik sila sa brick-and-mortar school. Kaso ang mahal ng tuition. Hindi na kaya ng income namin - my husband's job as editor and mine as freelance writer and editor for a content agency. I loved that job because our clients were fashion and home decor. So easy and so fun. Unfortunately, I was paid by the hour... and I worked fast. 

So I started applying. That was not a happy time for my ego. I kept getting rejected or offered a low salary, but I figured it was okay since I was still homeschooling my two younger sons. The plan was to finish the school year (that's May) and get a job in June. But then in December, an offer came along with a higher-than-average compensation package. I couldn't say no so I got the job, very exciting, and I started work in January.

My office desk

It was supposed to be a good thing, right? But I didn't anticipate the huge shock reemployment was going to be to my system. I've been a work-at-home mommy for 10 years and then quarantine meant I had my sons with me 24/7. Suddenly, I was away for 11-12 hours. I suffered withdrawal like you cannot believe. I was crying every day of January. Literal na umiiyak ako sa MRT, sa office and then pagdating sa bahay, iyak ulit, then iyak bago matulog. In fact, I cried till September. No joke. Hindi na naman araw-araw, siguro weekly na lang. I was that miserable. It took me so long to get used to not being with my family.

That working-mom guilt? I now know what it feels like. I never felt it before because I worked from home. Now, I'm endlessly plagued by the thought I'm not a good mother. I'll tell you just one incident of several but this was the one that iniyakan ko talaga. Near the end of the school year last year, so in May, liniligpit ko yung school shoes ng anak ko when I noticed sira na shoes niya. I asked him kelan pa and he said mga one month na siguro. Sabi ko bakit di niya agad sinabi and he said, "Because you're busy, Mama."

Naiiyak na naman ako typing this. Hindi ko man lang napansin. For a whole month! And isn't that what makes us good mothers? Our ability to notice everything? To anticipate needs, to be alert to the slightest cough, to swoop in before disaster strikes. Hindi ko man lang napansin. 

Now I know some of you will say I don't have to do this. Well, my kids want to go to school. They don't want to be homeschooled anymore. So here we are. 

Anyway, new job, new life arrangements, new everything - that's what was happening outside me. I'm usually okay with external forces. Anyone who knows me knows I can be a bad bitch when it comes to challenges. I always have a "Bring it!" attitude. I call it my "invincible summer."

Unfortunately, internal forces were at play, too. I was going through perimenopause (let's do a whole 'nother post on that!) and I had begun a hormone treatment for my menorrhagia. I was in hormone hell. Still am actually but my treatment is over so I'm feeling lots better. That invincible summer? Gone. I was suffering anxiety and crazy mood changes. I was worried all the time. Afraid, stressed out. And did I tell you I cried all the time? Baka kasi di ko nasabi na umiiyak ako for 9 months.

It was so illogical and very unlike me. I have been through worse things in my life. An unsafe childhood. An abusive relationship in college. Job losses. Theft. The deaths of my parents. But I was never this deeply unhappy. For what??? If you take away my feelings, ang ganda kaya ng buhay ko. Good job, good home, great family, getting-better health. 

Some days I was happy. Most days I was sad. Some days I was fun. Most days I was a miserable mess. So it was a tough year for me and my family because we never quite knew which me they'd get on any given day. 

Then just for fun, I took this online test and... SURPRISE!

And here I thought I was just going mad and being ungrateful. 

I talked to a few friends about this. My sister recommended her therapist. My husband knew, too, of course. But he was also going through a bad time. Not my story to tell but it was hard for us because we were both drowning and we couldn't rescue each other. 

On top of all that, I got ugly. My hormone treatment made me break out into huge pimples. Chin, jaw, cheeks, nose, temples, eyebrows. Stress made me gain 12 lbs. Perimenopause made my hair frizzy and my skin itchy. My cholesterol skyrocketed and xanthelasma appeared under my eyes. It was bad enough I felt ugly inside, but ugly outside, too? 

Without makeup. This was in December when I actually looked better!

Like I said, it was a bad year.

And yet, I don't want to think too badly of 2023. 

It was my youngest boy's first time in a big school. He started going to chess club, too. My eldest boy graduated from grade school and then he entered high school. I started seeing friends and family again. We went to Manila Zoo, Dreamplay, Manila Ocean Park. I finally got Covid but I didn't die - it was just a bad headache and a loss of smell and taste. I've suffered worse with ordinary coughs and colds. Lean In Manila had its first face-to-face event. And despite my husband and I struggling with our separate issues, together we were fine.  

So 2024, I believe you'll be better! I already feel better so that's a start. With my hormone treatment done, my pimples have subsided so I look better, too. I'm getting my cholesterol and asthma under control. I'm not crying at work anymore because I really do like my job. I just couldn't appreciate it last year with everything else going on. 

So what got me through 2023? Listening to these songs on repeat:

My co-workers hear me singing this all the time. And when I get to this part, nagdadasal talaga ako for deliverance:

I just want to speak the name of Jesus
Over fear and all anxiety
To every soul held captive by depression
I speak Jesus

'Cause Your name is power
Your name is healing
Your name is life
Break every stronghold
Shine through the shadows
Burn like a fire

I lived through 2023. I am alive and getting better. My family and my friends helped, but most of all, it truly was God who saw me through. I don't think I've ever prayed so much and so often in my life in a year that was, in all appearances, a wonderfully blessed year but I couldn't appreciate it because of my hormones. My hormones are still there, wreaking havoc on my body and mind, but I'm taking it one day at a time. I really really hope I've gone through the worst of this perimenopause, but please pray for me anyway. I want to keep living in the goodness of God because He should be my invincible summer, the something stronger and better pushing right back at all the darkness.  

P. S. 
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression or other mental health conditions, please seek the advice of a qualified mental health professional. That's another reason I hesitated to tell you this story because my faith and these worship songs, while they helped me, are not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Empowerment Alert for Moms and Kids: Join the Self-Defense Workshop to Bond and Become Unstoppable!

Lean In Network Manila, in collaboration with Origins Athletics, is excited to announce a groundbreaking event designed exclusively for moms and their children: The Moms and Kids Self-Defense Workshop. Set to take place on Saturday, May 18, 2024, at 3 PM at Origins Athletics San Juan, this event promises to be an unforgettable adventure of strength, solidarity, and empowerment.

About Lean In Network Manila and Origins Athletics:

Lean In Network Manila is part of the global Lean In community, inspired by Sheryl Sandberg's book "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead." It's dedicated to encouraging women to pursue their ambitions and offering them the support and resources to help achieve their goals. 

Origins Athletics is renowned for its commitment to fostering a community of strength, health, and empowerment through fitness training and martial arts like jujitsu, judo, and kickboxing. As a pioneer in promoting physical well-being and self-defense skills among all age groups, Origins Athletics creates a supportive environment where individuals can learn, grow, and thrive.

Together, these organizations are joining forces to empower mothers and children with the skills, confidence, and bond that will serve them in every aspect of life.

Why You Should Join:

Learn Vital Self-Defense Skills! 

In a world where safety has become a paramount concern for everyone, especially children, learning how to protect oneself is a valuable skill. This workshop offers practical self-defense techniques in a fun and supportive environment.

Strengthen Bonds! 

What better way to strengthen the unbreakable bond between mother and child than through learning and growing together? This workshop is designed to enhance your connection with your child, while both of you gain confidence and empowerment.

Join a Community Movement! 

By participating, you and your child become part of a larger movement toward safety and empowerment within the community. It's an opportunity to be influencers of safety in your circles and champions of your own stories.

Who Can Join:

Lean In Manila and Origins Athletics are calling on 15-20 dynamic pairs of moms and kids (ages 5-12) to join this empowering activity. If you're looking for a unique opportunity to bond with your child and learn essential skills that could one day protect you and your loved ones, this workshop is for you.

More than just a class, it's part of a movement towards a safer, empowered future for our community. It's a chance to stand with us, learn with us, and grow with us. Be part of this life-changing experience!

Event Details:

Date: May 18, 2024, Saturday  

Time: 3:00 PM  

Location: Origins Athletics San Juan | 606 General S. De Jesus, San Juan, Metro Manila  

Registration fee: Php 1200 for a pair (Mom & Kid) via Gcash and BPI 

(Session is free for past attendees of Lean In events!)

Sign up here!

Spots are limited, so secure your place in this transformative journey today. Let’s embrace empowerment and make safety a shared adventure!

Join us at The Moms and Kids Self-Defense Workshop and take a significant step towards creating a safer, empowered future for yourself and your child. We can't wait to welcome you into our community of strong, empowered families.

For more information, join the Lean In Manila Facebook community and visit Origins Athletics.