31 March 2014

Day 8: 30 March - Family Time at Home

Before leaving for work in the morning, Hubby and I sat down to pray together.
We received a delicious cake when the General Manager of Riviera Hotel came to the office for a meeting.
After so many evenings of being busy and going home late, Hubby and I finally had a free night to bond with our daughters.
Caila led the prayer again before going to sleep. She asked Papa God for the same thing (to give her a good dream), but it was longer and more elaborate.

30 March 2014

Day 7: 29 March - Happy Day at Work and Caila's Prayer

Wearing my yellow pants and pink blouse to work helped make my day look more bright and vibrant.
 Caila and Hubby dropped by at my work for a short visit after she took her entrance exam for Grade 1 at one of the schools. She told me that the exam was “lots of fun.”
Celebrated my birthday with the rest of the February, March and April celebrants at work.
Caila initiated and led our prayer before sleeping: “Papa God, please give me a good dream tonight because I don’t want to be scared anymore. And please tell Daddy to come home soon (he was attending a seminar in Deira) because I miss him. Good night, Papa God. Amen.”

Day 6: 28 March - KFC RCCC

The actual conference of the RCCC.
Beautiful song number by the kids.
Heard many inspirational messages during the sessions:
• Be a “Plaster” Head: Bring people to Christ for their wounds to be healed.
• Being an evangelized couple is both a CALLING and a PROMISE.
• Whoever the Lord owns, He takes care of.
• "Hang on because I hung on for you"
• I am blessed because my wife/husband is beside me.
• Failure is success postponed.
 Sophie’s antics (and her nonstop talking) kept Hubby and me laughing and awake during the journey back home to Dubai.

Day 5: 27 March - Family Day and the RCCC

Our family day! The 27th of every month is always a reason for us to celebrate.
Amused by Sophie’s antics during the ride to Al Ain.
First day of the Regional Couple Coordinators Conference at One to One Hotel & Resort.
The spacious villas were a very nice surprise.
Enjoyed watching the creative presentations of the various delegations.
Thank you and farewell to the Gamboa couple.
Hilarious pics taken by our brothers shared in Whatsapp.
Even more hilarious initiation of our cluster’s new Parent Support Teams.

Day 4: 26 March - Hungryness and Sharice Kulit

My order of a 6-inch Subway Seafood Sensation finally arrived at 1:40pm.
When you’re really, really hungry, that’s when you really, really appreciate and enjoy that first bite into your food.
And because I was so hungry, I didn't take a picture of my sub =)
In the evening, while I was busy sorting out the clothes in my closet, I heard a giggle behind me and saw this:

29 March 2014

Day 3: 25 March - Coffee Date

Morning conversations with Hubby while sharing a cup of cappuccino.

Day 2: 24 March - Selfie with Caila

A selfie shot of Caila and me before going to sleep.
I was reading the newspaper when she suddenly sat beside me, put Tisay in front of our faces, and said “Mommy, let’s take a picture.

Day 1: 23 March - My Birthday

Mama woke me up at around 4am to greet and remind me that at that same time 35 years ago, I came out into the world screaming my lungs out. She never fails to call me around this time every year. She told me she had prepared several of my favorite viands and invited her siblings, my brother and his family, and my cousins over at our house (in the Philippines) for my birthday. Nakakatuwa because even though we’re far apart, she made an effort to celebrate my birthday.

I always want to go to mass on my special day, but because of the timings and/or lack of time, there are years when I don’t get to do this. Fortunately, because I’m allowed to leave work 1 hour earlier than my colleagues, I was able to arrive at St. Mary’s Church for the 4:30pm mass and give thanks to God for another year.

That night, I celebrated with dinner at Andiamo, Grand Hyatt with my family (Hubby, our two daughters, my sister, my nephew, and Yaya Jovy).
It was our first time to dine there and we enjoyed the delicious food and fresh air outside.
grilled chicken breast
mozzarella beef pizza
pizza andiamo
spaghetti ala carbonara
 Sophie was her usual bibbo self, drawing lots of attention from the servers who found her adorable.
After eating, Caila and Sophie saw a duck wandering around the lawn and they would either chase it, or it would chase them. We couldn’t help but laugh at their excited shrieks and giggles. The rainforest-themed landscape in the hotel lobby was a great place for us to take a stroll, enjoy the greenery, watch the fish swim, and take pictures to capture that day.

100 Happy Days

Ever since the new year, I’ve seen several of our friends on Facebook joining the 100 Happy Days challenge. It’s a nice concept, and a good way to help us appreciate the things that brightened our day...and look back at them during the times when we need some cheering up.
I like their purpose of why people should join…and the after effects of successfully completing the challenge. It’s pretty inspiring…and who wouldn’t want to be happy, right?
And because I want to be happy, I’ve decided to join the bandwagon. Since I don’t have an Instagram account, I’ll be posting pictures or short posts in my blog on what made me happy each day. Actually, I started last Sunday…simply because birthdays are (and should be) reasons to be happy.

There may be days when I don’t post anything, but this is simply because Tisay doesn’t have 24/7 internet and I can’t get a wi-fi signal to post or upload. So to make it easier to track, I’ll just mention the day number and date.

Fingers crossed I’ll be able to complete this until the 30th of June 2014.

Let’s start being happy shall we?

24 March 2014

music monday: the journey

I now consider this my personal national anthem for my 35th birthday (which was yesterday, in case you’re wondering).

17 March 2014

music monday: frozen and hello kitty

If you have a young daughter, it’s inevitable that whatever catches her fancy, you’ll be forced to watch or listen to it over and over again. And since I have two girls, that craziness is doubled.

Take for example my eldest. Ever since we all watched the movie Frozen at home more than two months ago, Caila likes to watch it every other night (well, almost). And if she doesn’t, she borrows Tisay and watches the movie’s music videos and sings along. Her favorite? Let It Go of course. She likes to claim that she’s Elsa, with powers to make ice and snow.

Sophie likes Frozen too. But she’s more into Hello Kitty. Whenever she can, she gets Tisoy from Hubby and flicks through until she finds what she’s looking for: a Hello Kitty game. She doesn’t know how to play it, but she loooooovvveeesss listening to the song at the beginning of the game. So of course when the song ends, she closes the app and opens it again to hear the song. Repeat this approximately 5 times each time Tisoy is in her hands. Just recently, I made the mistake of downloading the video of The World is Saying Hello, and now we hear the song being played twice as much as before.

So naturally, hearing Let It Go and that Hello Kitty song countless times, you can expect that these are the songs that are constantly in my head. And because I want to share my last songs syndrome and make you crazy as well, here are the videos that my kids just can’t seem to get enough of.

Ok, ok. I like the songs too.

Admit it, they’re rubbing off on you too =)

15 March 2014

oreo cupcakes in vanilla and chocolate

For the second time this month, I baked Oreo cupcakes. The first was for Caila’s Hi-5 birthday celebration at school. And the second one was for our monthly KFC activity that was held this morning.

Caila’s birthday cupcakes were in vanilla, and today’s cupcakes were chocolate.

Actually, they’re pretty simple to make. You can search the internet for the recipe, and it’ll bring you pretty much the same procedures; the most common of which is making your favourite cupcake flavor recipe (usually chocolate or vanilla), placing an Oreo cookie at the bottom of the cupcake liner, and baking it as usual.

However, I did something else for mine: I mixed in chunks of Oreos in the batter before putting them in the liners. It made them more…umm…err…Oreo-ier! Hahaha!

For the chocolate Oreo cupcakes, I used normal cream Oreos all throughout. I separated the cookies, placing the sides with the cream at the bottom of the liners, and the other sides in the batter. For the vanilla Oreo cupcakes, I used the cookies with chocolate cream for the bottoms of the liners, and the normal cream Oreos for the batter. All cookies were used whole, meaning I didn’t twist or separate them.

Here are a few pictures of the steps I followed when I made the chocolate cupcakes. As mentioned earlier, you can use your favourite chocolate or vanilla cupcake recipe to make the batter. So I’ll just skip that part and fast forward to when I used the star ingredient.

Separate the cookies. Place the sides with the cream at the bottoms of the liners.
The sides without the creams are to be chopped into quarters and mixed in the batter.
Divide the batter evenly into the liners.
Bake as usual.

Fresh from the oven.
And because I have a mixer, I used the recipe from CenterCutCook.com to top off the cupcakes with yummy Cookies and Cream frosting.
The cookies mixed in the batter don’t really show in the chocolate cupcake.
But you can see them in the vanilla one here.
Definitely a great recipe for Oreo lovers like me!

13 March 2014

thankful thursday: mama undo

I’m finding it a bit hard to think of something for Thankful Thursday today.

You see, the guardian/caregiver who looked after Hubby and his younger sisters for around 30 years passed away yesterday.

She had spent most of her life with their family, choosing to stay with them and love them rather than to get married and have her own children.
She treated the three of them as her own, taking the responsibility of raising them up and disciplining them well.
In their words, she was their mother more than their biological mother.

I guess this is a reason for me to be thankful.
I’m grateful at how she selflessly sacrificed her own happiness and dreams for Hubby and his sisters.
That she was the one who taught them the many things they needed in life.
That she raised all of them to be the sensible, responsible, and God-fearing persons they have become.

I am thankful for the life she lived…for the life God gave her…and for the opportunity to have had her in our lives.
Paalam, Mama Undo. Maraming salamat po sa lahat-lahat!
May your soul rest in peace.

10 March 2014

turning 5 with a hi-5 celebration

Although the celebration wasn’t until 3 days after her actual birthday, I couldn’t let her special day pass without doing something for our eldest daughter. So on the morning of the 27th of February, we made a number 5 pancake, prepared a banner, and stuck it on the wall.
And thanks to my co-n@wies for the reminder, I sent all the information needed to E-Junior more than a month earlier, and on her special day, Caila had a nice surprise when she saw this on our television screen:
She was so, so happy! Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take a picture or video of her face when she saw the greeting, but I could see it really made her day. Even until now, she likes to look at that greeting on Tisay, and show it off to our friends.

That night, our family celebrated with dinner at Texas Roadhouse, along with my sister and Gabe. However, when the servers came to sing her Happy Birthday, Caila just wouldn’t cooperate…because her birthday party is on Sunday pa. She didn’t want her picture taken either. Haaaay! Kids! Go figure!

Sunday finally arrived on the 2nd of March and this was the day that she was looking forward to. As expected, I had been the busy one preparing for that day. Since there are absolutely no Hi-5 themed stuff anywhere in Dubai, I had to make-do with whatever I could find (again…for the second year in a row).

I designed and printed the toppers for the cupcakes almost a month in advance, and whenever I had the free time, I would cut them out and stick them on toothpicks.
Hi-5 cupcake toppers
I had also downloaded song videos of Hi-5 episodes from Youtube, and burned these on CDs for each of the kids’ goodybags. Except for the candies and jellies which we bought the day before, the non-edible stuff and paper goodybags were bought a week earlier from Party Centre, Day to Day, and Daiso.
As for the cupcakes, I made them as soon as we finished having dinner on Saturday night. The little girl wanted vanilla Oreo cupcakes for her classmates, and since it was her birthday after all, that’s what I baked…with cookies and cream frosting…all from scratch. Whew!

one of the extra cupcakes for our consumption
The only thing that I didn’t prepare was the cake. I left that to the expert. When I showed Caila pictures of several Hi-5 cakes that I got from the internet, she sat down with me and explained what she wanted her cake to look like.  After sending the draft and exchanging several messages on Facebook, Tita Rina made the perfect cake for our girl

vanilla flavoured with chocolate ganache filling
all-edible...even JupJup and the Hi-5 logo!
That morning, our little girl wore one of her pink dresses. She told us that whenever her classmates would celebrate their birthdays at school, they were allowed to wear something else instead of their usual uniforms. So that’s what she did. She rode on the bus, excitedly looking forward to her celebration later.

By 9:30am, all of us (Hubby, me, Sophie, and Jovy) headed to the school, and at 9:55am, we were setting up everything in front of the kids in the classroom. It just so happened that almost all of them liked Hi-5, plus the program had just returned on E-Junior a few days ago, so they really appreciated the cake and cupcakes.
the celebrant with her Hi-5 cupcakes and cake
As they began singing Happy Birthday, Caila started cutting the cake. She just put the knife in the cake, then cut, then stuck the knife again in the cake and cut again, over and over. She didn’t or couldn’t wait! Excited lang masyado. After the kids stopped singing, that’s when she stopped cutting to blow the candles.

Right after that, the kids were asked to sit down at their tables while I helped Caila as she handed out the cupcakes to each of them. I’m happy to say the cupcakes were devoured in minutes! The kids and teachers found them really yummy. Hurray!

The entire celebration was over so fast, and before we knew it, it was time for us to pack and leave. We left the goodybags by the door for Caila to give out before they all left later.
family pic
A small celebration, but one that put a big smile on our 5 year old’s face.  All the effort was worth it.

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