Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Special birthday gifts

My littlest boy isn't so little anymore. Suddenly, this July, when he turned 4, he decided he was ready for school and he was going to use the toilet "like a big boy." All throughout summer, he insisted he wasn't going to do any of that because "I am still a baby, Mama. I'll always be your baby, right?"

So we thought, okay, no pressure, he can stay our baby for one year more. But we don't know what happened. Maybe the birthday triggered it but Piero changed his mind and we're so happily surprised this whole of July! What a gift to us that he made us so proud!

My darling Piero. This is his tiny birthday party at 6 o'clock in the morning. It was a weekday so his older brothers had school and had to go.

I wanted to celebrate properly after school—with all of us dressed for the pictures, the table set, the gifts out, more time. But the boys woke up shouting, "Happy birthday, Piero!" "Is my birthday, Mama!" "Where's the cake?" "Where my gifts?" "What's your wish?" "I'm 4! I'm FOH!!!"

Sooooo... We just had to do the tiniest party we've ever done as the sun was rising on a most wonderful day!

That blurry image to the right is my hand trying to get him away from his candle. That boy. He always gives me a heart attack. But that's his gift to me: the gift of endless surprise and humility.

We had Piero because we thought ourselves so amazing at this parenting gig. But Piero—a surprising combination of Vince and myself in temperament and wilfulness—showed us that every child is different, and what we may think we can't handle just requires a change of thinking, a firmer resolve to try again, and that humility before your own children is always best if you want to have a good relationship with them.

Piero's also given his brothers the gift of patience and understanding. And though he is always annoying them, they are protective of him, always thinking of him, always adoring him. And also always annoying him! They bicker like an old married couple, day in, day out. I don't even know if they actually enjoy fighting each other since they do it a lot.

But they love him, that they do. They always wanted a baby and so we gave them Piero and they always dote on him. They think he's their baby.

For his birthday, they told me and their Papa what Piero wanted. They shopped for his gifts. They counted down the days. They chose and bought the cake. They made him so excited for his birthday! They are the best kuyas. They are a gift to Piero, too.

Happy birthday, dearest darling baby boy! You are what our family needed. You are the happiest baby we've ever known. You are thunder and sunshine and kaiju and jaeger and passion and tenderness  and a gift. We love you so very much! May you grow in wisdom and love, may you always have that fire in you, that stubborn will, that quick laugh, that sharp wit, and that fierce love for me.

Happy birthday, dearest bunchokoykoy! God bless you for always and always!

* * * * * * *

Every birthday of my children, I donate a gift to World Vision in their name. This is one of the children that World Vision sends to school. I hope you can join this little birthday cause of mine. Please donate to World Vision, too, when your child celebrates his birthday and make another child happy, too! 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Take a look at the cute bento baon we made with Gold Seas Tuna Chunks

I'm a silent follower of baonserye and bento box groups on Facebook and Instagram, but I'm just an observer. I'm inspired and I like noting down baon ideas and combos but actually putting together a bento box for my kids? Not really into that.

So when I made this last week at the bento box making workshop by Gold Seas Tuna and Bento By Kat, I was honestly so surprised that I enjoyed making the baon! Behold: My first ever bento box baon!

Gold Seas Tuna Chunks, which I discovered last year and got forever hooked, has the best canned tuna. Meaty, chunky, masarap, fresh. Gold Seas Tuna Chunks also throws the best parties! Intimate, fun, educational, and laging masarap and plentiful ang pagkain. I love this tuna!

Tuna is rich in Omega 3 and protein so it's a healthy and light meat for families to enjoy. What makes me like Gold Seas Tuna Chunks specifically? Here are my reasons:

1. It's just tuna meat. Real tuna meat—no extenders!

2. It's made even healthier because it's canned in healthy olive oil. Olive Oil is rich in good fats that helps protect your heart from disease.

3. It comes in many flavors na masarap talaga. My favorites are the Mild Indian Curry and Lemon and Pepper.

4. I love the easy-open can and that the tab is found at the bottom. My Tita Fe who has a sari-sari store said this reduces exposure of the lid to dirt and pollutants. That said, hinuhugasan ko pa rin yung lid because I'm OC like that!

5. Gold Seas Tuna Chunks uses responsible fishing. They catch the tuna using the Purse Seine Technique. They avoid over-fishing. They don't harm young tuna fish, and dolphins and sharks which are usually found around tuna (because tune is yum!). They also make sure they comply with local, national, and international fishery management regulations.

As a mommy, I really try to make choices that will ensure that my kids will still have a world to grow up in. This is not easy! For example, reducing our use of plastic is my goal this year pero mahirap pala talaga siya kasi halos lahat ng binibili ko is packaged in plastic! But I still try to make more environment-friendly choices (like walking and commuting, choosing brands that have sustainable efforts, etc).

Anyway, let me show you a few photos of the moms who were at the bento baon workshop...

Denise Rayala of the original #BaonSerye fame and the mom behind Royal Domesticity lovingly prepares food for her daughter.
Michelle Lim, the blogger behind My Mom Friday, fixes the food in the new personalized Yumbox we all got at the workshop.
Shari Poquiz of The Misty Mom, a blog on beauty, style and motherhood, arranges her food for maximum impact on IG.
Businesswoman Ginger Arboleda of Mommy Ginger trying to get the perfect photo of her bento baon.

I know I said it was a super fun event but all the photos above show super serious mommies. Akala mo naman may contest at ang pinakamagandang bento box ay may prize haha

Kasi naman when it comes to making baon for our kids, it truly is serious business! I wake up at dawn just to make their baon and ang sarap ng feeling kapag uwi ng mga bata at simot lahat ng food nila. Diba, mga mamas?

Our baon for the workshop consisted of rice shaped into a snail, its eyes and bowtie were cheese. It rested on a bed of broccoli. We sliced grapes and skewered them to make heart shapes. Our ulam was tuna patties. The chocolate sandwich was cut into a cute pig head shape.

Here's my son Iñigo enjoying the bento box baon I made for him:

And that smile made it worth it! While at the workshop, the other moms and I were talking about how nice this all was but we just can't invest the time to make these intricate lunches. But after I saw Iñigo's happiness, I resolved to put effort into making my kids' baon more fun.

Happy weekend, mamas! I hope you try Gold Seas Tuna for your kids' baon. For more information and recipes, like their Facebook page, or follow them on Instagram.

*This post is brought to you by Gold Seas Tuna Chunks.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

What I wore last week

I don't know how to dress for rainy weather. Yep, that's all you'll find out in this edition of OOTDs from last week. So if you can share tips on how to look fashyon in stormy, windy, flooded to the calves, muddy, and yet hot and humid weather, do tell!
Zara shirt, Topshop pants, Mango ballet flats, Kate Spade bag
For a meeting with the L'Oréal team at Lazada (where we shot a promo video for a giant lipstick sale on National Lipstick Day this week), I wore pink trousers to liven up the gray day. I'm usually in black, white, gray and navy, but it's been dark and dreary for weeks now so I wanted to wear something bright.

Casual Chic Manila blouse, Uniqlo jeans, Cole Vintage belt, Dune London loafers

Oh, this was a really stormy day! I went to a Gold Seas Tuna Chunks event and wore blue because that's the Gold Seas brand color (I try to match the brand color to show my support). I wished I wore my rain boots because I was up to my ankles in flood water when I walked the final block home! (Thanks for the ride and the fun chat, Denise of Royal Domesticity!). Plus, I think the water destroyed my loafers. They're a really old pair and I love them because they've become incredibly soft. Oh well.

Topshop shirt and slacks, Skechers sneakers, H&M backpack
I wore this at the start of the week, yung binabagayan ko pa yung weather. Gray everything! I love this outfit. It's soooo comfy.

Uniqlo hoodie and eyelet shorts, Zara knit shirt, Bata flats, H&M backpack

But this is the comfiest! Kasi nakapambahay lang ako! This was the day when classes were suddenly cancelled and we had to rush back to school and get the boys before lunch. So walang ligo, walang suklay, walang makeup, walang bra!!! I just basically threw on a jacket and went! Wag tularan, mamas.

Aaaaand that's all for last week's outfit recap! I'll try to put together a more chic rainy-weather fashion look this week. I dunno if I can do it but you judge next week! Have a good week this week, mamas. Stay safe and dry!