When It Comes to Cooking, Cheating is Allowed

A few years back, you would never catch me using shortcuts for cooking.  Often, I would prefer (and even enjoy) taking the long way when prepping and cooking.  I thought I’d be shortchanging my family if I do it the easy way, imagine that!

But there is one Filipino dish that I enjoy cooking now with the help of a great shortcut. The famous peanut stew from the province of Pampanga, KARE-KARE.

peanut stew

kare-kare of the Philippines

Read more about my shortcut in this blog I have written: Cheating is Allowed.  What shortcuts do you use when cooking?


Things I Wish For Dad

I wish Dad…

could be more patient with the kids.

would always remember that the kids are still just toddlers, and well, they would act like toddlers.

would know that the kids look for him everyday when he’s at work.

would realize that the kids will not be toddlers forever and soon will not need us as much.

would know that (having said the 4th statement) he would lots of time for himself as soon as the kids hit grade school age, and more so when they enter highschool.

would listen to me more.

would think before he speaks.

would have more initiative.

would be more considerate.

would be more of a team player.

would read this, reflect and understand…


i’m not a washer, i’m a kid!

Me: you should wash your own plate.

washing dishes

from gomommygo.com

JBboy: why?

Me: ’cause you’re taking too long to eat and finish your food

JBboy: i’m not a washer, i’m a kid! somebody should take care of me, mom and dad!

Me: ……..

— later in the day, i recount the story to JBdad.

JBboy: diba? diba? (isn’t it)

Me: ………

i’m not just a mother, i’m also a wife

i enjoy reading a lot of parenting blogs because it’s fun knowing how other parents handle very familiar situations and i also get a lot of tips and also, because it’s nice to know that you are not the only one who feels that way about something. however, i just realize now that it’s also great to read about marriage blogs; after all, i’m not just a mother, i’m also a wife.

us in college

dad and me in college

i want to write about this blog and a particular blog post i really liked today by Pamela King. i’m so thankful that she found my blog first when she checked out my post “and just like that it was 2002 all over again” yesterday. i headed over to her blog Still Dating My Spouse and absolutely loved it! one post touched me though, it was Creativity in Marriage. sure, it was written beautifully by Pamela and her tips were great but most importantly, it got me thinking (don’t you love it when a post gets you thinking?)…about my own actions, about my complaints, about the things i wish that my husband would do, and finally, about what things i can do differently.

i realized that there are a lot of things i could be doing. despite our hectic everyday life, there are a lot of things i could be doing to have even just five minutes of sparkle with my husband. i have also realized that these tips Pamela mentioned…we used to do all of that. and somewhere along the way, we just lost track or we just started waiting for the other one to start.

out of town

out of town for our 3rd wedding anniv

recently, i have been spending hours and hours online. yes, i work from home but even after my work, i would still be in front of the computer for several hours more. i even think, the internet is now my bestfriend but then again, it would be very easy to delegate even just a few minutes from all those hours to sneak in some QT with hubby.

i am really glad i was able to find her blog around the same time hubby expressed his feelings about us and or family. that way, i know exactly what to do to add on to what he initiated: letting me know how much he still cares.

new yr 2012

dad & me new yr 2012

The Grudge and Me: Parenting Politics

There comes a time in your life as a parent when you need to employ strategic politics.  It has come to mine several times already and one in particular happened some months ago.

Both my kids have always been so active, always lively and very loud. I know, most toddlers are like that and when I see a mild-mannered kid it can feel like, “oh, now that’s new.” But my kids are like most toddlers who can turn the house from tidy to what-the-hell-happened in seconds. My eldest is only a year and a half older than his sister so they would always be partners-in-crime or worse, they’d be rivals. Our house is always noisy, we can’t watch anything properly, it takes me forever to get work done because I’d always have to check what they’re up to when they’re unusually quiet or break them up from a riot.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly complaining. I am very grateful that they are lively, healthy, happy kids. I am merely recounting events that have become “facts of our lives” as parents of these two active kids. Sometimes though, you need even just a few minutes of peace and quiet to finish something; or today’s episode of your favorite soap is just too juicy to miss; or you need the kids to sleep so you can have some time with your partner already.

So some months ago, I think that was September, JBdad decided to unlock our emergency secret weapon #1. After dinner, he made the kids watch The Grudge. (oops, stop. a disclaimer for would be critics: i’m not saying that this is a great thing to do and I am in no way telling other parents to do the same. and this is not a “perfect-parenting-blog). The objective is for them to get familiar with “The Grudge” and maybe the name can be strategically used in the future to get them to listen.

taken from trailers.apple.com

The actual movie watching was uneventful. They were pretty brave and sat through the whole movie quietly. JBboy (3) would ask occasional questions and JBgirl (not even 2 then) was either quiet or not at all that interested. But it has since then given us a great convincing tool; you know like, when they are getting too loud, when it’s way past siesta time and they’re still jumping about, stuff like that. I don’t really think they’re scared, I think they just take it to mean like “okay, they’re serious now.”

When I was a child, parents here used almost the same “strategic secret weapons” and a lot of them were scary creatures (our culture has lots of them that I wanna mention now but it’s 4am and I’m the only one awake). Others and equally popular were unfortunately a bit racist or derogatory, the most popular of which is the “bumbay.” During the 90’s, there were a lot of Indian nationals who ride around neighborhoods in their motorcycles and there are the go-to’s of those needing cash and fast. They were really friendly, tolerant and at times “abused-for-their-kindness” men who unfortunately, because of their wardrobe became an easy target for parents who need a convincing tactic for their kids. So popular tactic #1: Don’t get out of the house, the bumbay will carry you away in his motorcycle. I know, not very nice; but it worked really well for parents back in the days. (for possible Indian nationals that may come across this blog, please do not get offended, our parents loved the jewelry and the umbrellas and all the other stuff and they tried to keep up with the installment payment because you were all really nice and understanding. it’s just that, sometimes, parenting was hard and lack of imagination prompted them to do that).

"a man in need will cling to the bumbay." taken from geekofalltrades.wordpress.com

another one would be the neighborhood eccentric. i think this would be popular everywhere and each one would have their local version. ours was this young man (then) who used to walk around pushing his cart to collect pig feed (i was also scared of him).

neighborhood eccentric

taken from emilovesshushi.deviantart.com

I think using The Grudge is us staying away from the racist and the derogatory. I know you have strategic secret weapons of your own. Care to share?


every mom is also a daughter

i found another blog post i wrote years ago and i just wanted to share it…

ON MOM Sep 7, ’08 4:48 PM
for everyone

Written: 03 September 2008 17:19

I went back to Manda last Sunday night feeling a bit closer to my mother. I was sure then visiting was a great move to have done last weekend. Although my relationship with Mama still isn’t at its best, I feel that we both have greater respect and understanding for each other now. I can only imagine the pain she is going through as a mother to live each day with her family torn apart, not to mention all the lies, the embarrassment, the denial, and the betrayal of trust. She doesn’t realize how strong she really is to have gone through everything and to still have her spirits intact. It just hurts me that she still has to undergo more pain; it seems to me that there is still more to come until she hasn’t found enough strength to heal. As much as I try to maintain my respect for my father, I can’t deny the fact that he has been and is still being so unfair to my mother. Seeing Mama now, at first glance you’d see a strong, indifferent, even intimidating woman… but look closer for even just a minute and you’ll see that she truly is soft and still hurting inside. She has but simple wishes in life; she wants her family whole, her husband thoughtful, caring loyal…  she has her eccentricities  but who hasn’t? It doesn’t change the fact that she has cared so much for her family. I have gone through so much pain in the hands of my mother, but now, being married myself, I finally understood (almost completely). I now know where all the “hostility” had come from. It isn’t easy being a wife and a mother. You always have to give, give, give, and if you’re not careful enough, one day you’d realize you have nothing left for yourself. That probably was what happened to my mother. Now, slowly, she has found a way to experience the caring, the attention, and the “love” she so longs for… but for how long? I now know that it should be from us, her children. I wasted no time and texted her “I love you” last Sunday night. I didn’t expect the burst of emotions. Before I knew it, I was confiding to my husband about my guilt feelings. I regret having to leave my mom during the time she needed me the most. I could have been the one to support her, to pick her up. But now that I have a family of my own, I am pressed with my own obligations to be there for her as much as I would hope to. For now, I can only offer emotional support, which I do plan to give. I know that even if she tries hard to hide it, she embraces all the love and support we can give and appreciates everything. She is my mom, and I’ll love her forever.

mama is doing much much better now. she has been enjoying herself with her sisters, friends and of course, her grandchildren. : )

when wives turn to food

so this afternoon i was talking about how my hubby’s always so busy training his shogun army to pay attention to me. guess what i did: yep, i wasn’t kidding, i went and got myself french fries and ice cream. nothing like comfort food to cheer a girl up.

my sister and i went to Greenhills Shopping Center which is a haven for bargain shoppers, party-goers and foodies. at first, i thought this was a bad idea; i’m walking around aisles and aisles of shoes and bags (at bargain price at that!) knowing i can’t buy anything, it was making me feel worse.

Greenhills Shopping Center

Greenhills Shopping Center (Photo credit: Ced)

but then we went into this novelty store i’ve loved since high school and found this:

me in a mug

(which i think was totally made for me); my mood started to lighten up. but the main attraction of the day is none other than a girl’s bestfriends–not diamonds, silly, i meant ice cream and fries! (or in this case, hot fudge sundae and fries)

comfort food!

so why do women turn to food when they’re feeling less than great? According to a medical/health website, comfort foods usually contain fatty acids that:

“provide the positive benefits for enhancing moods and brain function which improve our thinking, feelings, and behavior [and] are becoming recognized for their mood-stabilizing and antidepressant effects as well as satiety”

of course, we know that succumbing to all those oh-so-yummy comfort foods increases our chances of becoming overweight, or worse, obese.

if that is the case, i think emotional eating can be best resolved by unrooting the actual problem: our emotions. until we learn to accept that there is something else we are trying to gain rather than the pleasure of ice cream in our mouths, we would never stop reaching for that next pint of rocky road.

restlessly invisible… invisibly restless…

it’s Saturday and i’m bored.

yeah, i know,how can i still be bored when i have two toddlers to take care of and a home to manage. i don’t know, but i’ve been feeling bored lately, almost restless…like i’m looking for something or something’s missing, i’m not sure.

well, alright, i don’t exactly not know. it may be because i didn’t set up a family-day-out budget this month so i can’t take the kids out. may also be because i, of course, do not have a personal budget this month so i can’t take myself out either. or maybe, it’s because the hubby is not interested in anything else these past weeks other than Shogun II Total War.

what do you do when you feel invisible?

should you nag, bicker, demand? (tried)

should you go sexy and distract him from the daimyo? (not in the mood; not deserved either)

should you send a message to an old crush? (maybe)

should you rant about it to your girlfriends?  (who may or may not care)

should you just leave him with his personal time and space? (probably..but then again…)

i know what i should do. i should take a bath and get myself some fries and ice cream.

lazy mom, hungry kids

you know those days when you’re feeling so lazy you wanna just stay in bed…oh, the thought of just sleeping in, not doing any chores, just dosing off in complete oblivion of two kids tugging at you to make sandwiches…wait–what? oh yeah…breakfast. so you grudgingly get out of bed to make peanut butter sandwiches (oh, but JBgirl likes cheese sandwiches, not peanut butter) and then try to sneak in a nap on the sofa. but JBboy is asking for water and the cat snatched JBgirl’s sandwich and the requests just go on and on and on…….

sometimes i really miss being able to eat a meal that I did not cook. or to be waken up just in time to eat lunch. but when you’re a mom, it feels sometimes that if you don’t cook, then your family will starve. or if you don’t cook then nobody will and again your family will starve.clipartof.com

during the months after my resignation in august, i was back to cooking everyday and i made sure JBdad, JBboy and JBgirl would all have a delicious (and healthy) meal to eat. but since i started home based teaching, sometimes i get so sleepy in the afternoon that i take a nap until i don’t already have the time to cook. so my family would settle for canned-good meals or easy-to-cook meals but i don’t like that. i want them to have great meals everyday but i am not always able to do that.

what do i do when it’s one of those lazy days?

1. when i don’t want to get out of bed, i just do it. – now that doesn’t sound like something right? (LOL) but really, just do it. just get out of bed and wash your face or something. because the more you entertain the thought of wanting to stay in bed, then you wouldn’t really get anything done.



zany holidays2. when i’m still sleepy but my kids are asking for breakfast, i will make them each of their favorite, prepare milk or water and place them on their desk near the sofa. i turn on the TV while they eat and i’ll sneak in a nap for myself on the sofa. it works for me most of the time and gets me refreshed and ready to prepare lunch.



Living Room Couch

3. when i can’t think of anything except to climb back to bed but i have chores to do then i don’t linger around by the sofa. because it will just make me wanna sit down then later to lean back and soon to put my legs up and just give in to temptation. i usually keep working at the kitchen and i have time like when something’s simmering on the stove, i just look for other things to do like wiping the counter top or sweeping the floor.


oh, i have more but unfortunately i made the mistake of leaning back and now i’m putting my legs up and…………………………………..

Note: when writing this post, i have decided that from now on, i’ll refer to my hubby as JBdad, son as JBboy and daughter as JBgirl when mentioning them in my blog. and yes, the 3 of them have the same initials.

oh, i gained weight after child birth (two years after!)…

i went downstairs after my nap this afternoon and found my mother in our living room visiting with good tidings (meaning bags of food items). after i set the pork nilaga to cook on the stove, i decided to eat the 1-piece chicken meal waiting for me on the table (my first student’s class was in thirty minutes, the nilaga won’t be ready by then).

after my second class of the night, i ran to the bathroom downstairs just in time to see my mom just getting back from the convenience store with my toddlers. oh, and were there lots of goodies! chocolate-chip bread loaf, kariman and a late night staple–ice cream!

my next classes after that were spent (quietly) munching on bread and ice cream while my students practice their English. it was definitely a treat.

so why tell you this? why do i have to write about me munching on food while on class? oh, and did i mention i’m overweight?

the women in our family are the type who gain weight after child birth. or who gain weight-period. and i’ve had struggles with weight since i was in grade school. i managed to gain control towards the end of high school but that doesn’t mean i never had ups and downs with weight gain again ever; but at least it was more or less under control then. then i had my first baby and it was still good (guhhdd…); gained some weight then lost them easily with breastfeeding. my second pregnancy was a different story, though. unlike my first one, i was eating fast-food dinners (and i mean french fries, sundaes…), instant noodles, fried stuff. and i attribute that to the fact that i was working in the night shift at the time (yeah, right).

now my youngest daughter is two years and three months old and all the weight is still there…with extras. i know i’m way past the “i-just-had-a-baby” excuse. and it’s not like i’m using that either. oh, i tried the 4-minute exercise (10 jumping-jacks+10 push-ups+10 squats+10 lunges repeatedly for 4 minutes). it was great, until my aunt from NJ went back home for a two-week vacation and started yet another family eating spree.

so now i’m back to my old ways. do i want to lose the weight and get back to my hot mummah body?–of course. but i just can’t seem to muster enough will to do it. it’s not that i don’t know what to do–but i cannot make up my mind to just do it. am i in denial?–maybe. i haven’t stepped on the scale for god-knows-how-long (the horror!)…

i’m sure weight struggles are anything but new to mothers. and i think now being able to talk about it in an outlet such as this is a step (maybe) towards inspiring the change in me. sure, eating is a way for us to bond, but if i want to, there are “work-arounds.”

how did you lose your childbirth weight?