Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas!

Happy holidays to you all! We spent the last 10 months indoors, navigating what is perhaps the biggest change in our times. I hope you made it through with your loved ones. I hope you are counting your blessings - even the tiniest ones which often are the biggest ones, if you look at them again. I hope you are holding on to hope. 

Merry Christmas, dearest darling Loyal Readers! From all of us in our home to all of you in your home, may God bless us all.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Celebrate with easy cocktail recipes using Welch's Sparkling Juices

It's the holidays! All you need for these recipes is fruit juice, fruits, sweetener, and Welch's Sparkling Grape Juices. You'll also need a champagne flute because the tall and narrow glass and its small opening preserve the bubbles better. If you don't have a champagne flute, just choose your tallest, skinniest drinking glass (a.k.a. Collins glass).

Citrusy Sweet Chiller

This is based on the recipe for a French 75, which is basically gin, lemon juice, and champagne. I replaced the champagne with Welch's Sparkling White Grape Juice so that the effervescence remains. I used the White Grape because this is a clear, sparkly drink. The gin is still there but the sweet-tart taste will mask that. So be careful not to drink too much of this because it still has a kick!


1 oz gin
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ozs sparkling grape juice, chilled
Lemon twist


1. Put gin, sugar, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with a couple of ice cubes. Shake well until the sugar dissolves.
2. Fill a champagne flute with ice.
3. Strain the mixture into the flute and top with sparkling grape juice.
4. Garnish with a lemon twist. Enjoy!

Easiest Ever Christmas Sangria

When it's Noche Buena, there's always a fruit salad on the table. Why don't you grab 2 cans of fruit cocktail, one for the dessert and one for this simple punch? Sangria is a cold drink from Spain served with chopped fruit in the glass. It's traditionally a red wine but you can use white wine, sherry, brandy, rum, or if you don't want any alcohol, just a mix of fruit juice and soda water. I switched out the alcoholic bubbly with Welch's Sparkling Red Grape Juice for a sweet and merry drink everyone in the family can enjoy. 


1 can fruit cocktail, drained
2 bottles sparkling red grape juice 


1. Put the fruit cocktail in a pitcher.
2. Fill with sparkling red grape juice. Enjoy!

P.S. If you want it to be less sweet, add freshly squeezed citrus juice since the sour will balance out the sweetness. 

*This post is brought to you by Welch's. Welch's 100% Grape Juice, Juice Cocktails, Sparkling Juices, and Fruit Snacks are available in all leading supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience stores. You can have your favorite health drink delivered right to your doorstep! Visit the Ace Food Service website, or place your order in the following online groceries: Metro Mart, Lazmart, and Waltermart.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

How to develop your child's social skills while quarantined, tips from my sons

People ask me sometimes how my kids are coping with the longest lockdown in the world. They also ask if they're feeling sad that they don't see their friends and family. They are fine, I'm glad to report. I like to think my husband and I are doing a great job making them feel safe and happy at home, but there's only so much we can do. My kids need other people, too!

In one of my articles for the Wyeth website, Parenteam, I shared a few tips on how to develop our child's social skills. To write that, I tapped my dear Loyal Readers to share their tips so I'm really grateful you guys are always so happy to help me out. Thank you!

Well, I just want to share that even my kids were eager to help their Mama write her article. They gave me advice, too! My kids are always telling me how to do my job. I let them. It's a good way for them to communicate how they feel and how they think we should improve. Although some suggestions ("If you let me stay up till midnight, I can practice my drawing better!") get shot down sometimes. 

(Confession: said kid is actually beside me drawing and it's 11pm.)

Here are my kids' tips on how to develop social skills even while quarantined:

1. Let them go online, supervised of course.

My popular kid is Vito so he's the one who felt the loss of his friends the most. He sometimes plays video games with his friends after he told me this: "Mama, even Alfonso plays games with his friends and cousin. Fornite and Minecraft Realms. You have to let me play with them so I have someone to play with!" So I allow it as long as I'm in the same room.

You can also try Messenger Kids. My middle child, Iñigo, is a huge fan. He has to send messages and photos and videos he created to his friends and even their parents every day! Vito prefers Viber because he likes video chats.

2. Introduce new experiences.

Iñigo is an introvert so he's actually pretty happy to be home all day. He can always find something to do in our house! This is what he suggested: "Experience lots of things at home - tasting new food, playing new games - so your child learns new things that we can talk about together." Yes, he talks like that to me when I ask his opinion on some of my articles. So cute!

My youngest son Piero advises this, "Learning new things like when you taught us about the urinary tract in the penis and how it goes to the bladder and the kidneys." He says that was so amazing. Encouraging your kids to ask questions helps develop their communication skills so please talk with them - you're all they have in lockdown.

3. Get a furry friend.

We already have a rabbit but she's mine so my kids don't really interact with Bunny Blue. So when a neighbor who was moving out asked for people to adopt their hamsters, we took three! My sons are SO HAPPY NOW. There has been a huge change in their mood. Iñigo says, "Pets are important in lockdown. They keep you company, give you comfort, and play with you." 

The kids love their hamsters so much. Their play together improved, they babysit each other's hammys, and they've gained a sense of responsibility not only to their pets but to our home.

(Important note: Pets are a huge commitment. They are expensive. Your home will have animal smells no matter how clean you are. You will have to live with fur, poop, pee, and noise. I only recommend this tip if you can fully commit to a new family member - your pet!)

And those are my sons' three tips on how to develop social skills while in quarantine! 

By the way, I also wrote an article on how to help our kids with the stress of lockdown. If this is happening in your home, please take a look. Writing this article helped me manage my kids' stress. I hope it helps you, too!