StartUp Book: French Kids Eat Everything

Hello 6 months! Well, Gummy Bear is 7 months already and has a voracious appetite for solid foods. My only problem is he is a bit of a picky eater. So far he doesn’t like bland cooked baby food so we always have to put in a little baby jar food mixed in just so that there is a bit of taste. Any body else with this kind of problem? I didn’t have any issues before with Baby Bear as she willingly gobbled up the cooked baby food.

I have had this book for awhile now on my bookshelf but I was waiting for the 6 month mark to really read this book. Wanted to time it as we start Food Training 101 for Gummy Bear.

french kids eat everything

french kids eat everything

I highly recommend this book. This is a book, not just for picky eaters but everyone who eats in general. Here are the highlights of the book:

french food rules

french food rules

I learned a lot from this book but what I want to harp on is MY biggest takeaway from this book. We have all been hearing about GRIT and how it is the key to raising good kids. Forming GRIT is something that is not easy to do. The book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character laments the fact that these days, kids have a strong sense of entitlement. We live in a very fast-paced world and since everything is within reach or literally at tip of our fingers, we are so used to having and getting everything that we want in just a snap. Our kids also have it lucky because our generation of parenting is quite different from the way our parents used to do it  before. We try to fill in the gaps of our parents who didn’t spend that much time with us since they were so busy working hard in order for us to have the luxurious life we have right now so we can afford more time to spend with our kids and have more money to splurge on them. In the book, How Children Succeed, Paul Tough states that the success of a kid has to do more with qualities that have something to do with developing skills like patience, perseverance, curiosity, self-control, and optimism. Going back to the book French Kids Eat Everything, kids are trained to sit through long dinners with adult conversations. We all know the adage that goes: a family that eats together, stays together. We may eat together but sometimes it’s either we are in a rush, looking at our cellphones, or nagging the kids to hurry up and eat. Dinner time should be a pleasant experience, a long affair (hello 3 course meals), and a time to bond over food and conversation. It also gives us the chance to bond together with the family and teach “life lessons”.

How does one teach life lessons over dinner:

Scenario: We are actually guilty of leaving Baby Bear to eat with the nanny because we feel that she eats more when we are not there. Typical girl, she loves chatting while eating – and when she chats, food is stuck on her mouth for a long time (read: babad) and it takes a longer time to swallow.

Life Lessons:

– Don’t talk when your mouth is full!

– The value of being patient and waiting for the all of the members to finish eating – While the essence of dinner time should be talking and catching up, this hasn’t worked for us since dinner becomes way longer and we are actually the ones without the patience to sit through it. 😦 I am learning to stop saying “hurry up and finish eating” and now, spend more time enjoying dessert and teaching stuff to Baby Bear over dinner.

– No one left behind and no gadgets should be used during the course of dinner –  – The few times that Baby Bear finishes eating before we do, she is itching to go down at once to play,  so this is quite a daunting task for me now. Especially when we are outside and the orders haven’t arrived yet, the default before was to let her play the iPad. We are training not just Baby Bear, but also ourselves to sit through our restaurant dinners without any distractions. We don’t allow iPhones or iPads during meals. We used to allow other distractions such as coloring, reading a book, stickers, toys, etc. but it was just the same as the iPad.We just substituted the distraction with another distraction, which just takes away the fun and interaction that supposedly came with dinner time as being the time to catch up on what is going on in each others’ lives. Consistent with another book that I read, Bringing Up Bebe, making them sit-through these dinners harps on the importance of letting kids sit down and develop patience by learning how to wait. I make Baby Bear sit through our dinners, let her listen to our work or household discussions. She doesn’t need to actively participate but she has to sit through them. In the long run, kids are supposed to learn from these adult conversations. This is where they get a chance to pick up “life lessons”. They can also simply be quiet and bored with the adult conversation. When they are bored they tend to daydream which sparks the creativity wheel in their brains.

– In line with our no gadgets policy, we have a strict no gadgets rule during weekdays. While Baby Bear constantly whines “unfair” because all her cousins can iPad anytime, we want her to have lots of free time to read books, play with her toys, spend time with Gummy Bear, go down to the park and play with her friends. She can also opt for alone time where she chooses what she wants to do by herself. The French believe that it is important that kids can play alone.

I think the French are really on to something when it comes to parenting their kids. Theirs may not be the perfect system but it is a good support to their belief in the importance of raising foodies and good children. To them, raising good kids start with teaching them to have good table manners. Having good table manners is a practice of good habits. Not only that, perfecting the art of eating and the habit of eating together, allows you to spend more time with your family members to bond over stories and life lessons. At the end of the day, it’s all about quality family time… it doesn’t hurt if our tummies are also happily satisfied in the process. Happy tummy, happy life! 🙂

 

 

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up

I have encountered a lot of how-to-tidy-up posts over the internet but none compares to the OCness and meticulous study that went behind this best-selling book. Japanese cleaning consultant (yes, there is such a thing), Marie Kondo, developed the KonMari Method of tidying up.

definitely life-changing

definitely life-changing

The key points stated in the book is already enough to spark a complete paradigm shift about the way we currently tidy up at our place. I would still recommend reading the whole book though because it is an easy read. You would probably finish it in just half a day, complete with some household distractions. It is a treasure trove of tips for decluttering and maintaining the order at home. Lastly, it is an insightful message of how our personal space affects our mindset, persona, positive vibes, inner peace and happiness.

 

What I’ve been doing wrong:

1.) Tidy a little a day and you’ll be tidying forever – Tidying up by piece meal. I schedule my tidying up duties when I have small pockets of free time. As there is no set schedule as to when I should do it, I sometimes end up not finishing the task, forgetting to follow through and procrastinating.

2.) Storage experts are hoarders – Don’t buy storage containers until you know for sure what you plan to put in them. Make sure that you pile every little thing into one group, discard and know where each remaining item should go to. Don’t just buy tons of storage containers only to end up just shooting everything back inside. Garbage in, garbage out.

3.) Keeping things because “I might need them next time” – If you never used it in the first place, then you never will.

 

In a nutshell:

1.) The art of discarding is the first step. It focuses on a category-by-category vs. room-by-room system. You are supposed to clean up in this order – clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and photos.

2.) Discarding is not about letting go of the things that we don’t need or haven’t used in awhile. It’s about letting go of the things that do not spark joy anymore. Leave behind only those things that bring joyful memories.

3.) Purging must be done in one shot. It shouldn’t be done bit by bit or when you have free time. It should be deemed as a major dramatic affair.

4.) Preventing rebounding is easy to do if you have a place for everything.

5.) Put your house in order and everything in your life will fall right into place.

 

I would totally recommend this book and I can’t wait for the other books in the next installment. I hope that she can tackle organization and tidying up for those families who have kids. I think people with kids have a tougher challenge when it comes to tidying up. Don’t even get me started on our toy storage boxes!!! For now, I am just glad that we have ONLY 2 seasons to deal with! =P

Monasterio de Sta. Clara

I went to Monasterio de Sta. Clara or St. Clare’s church the other day. I try to go there every other month to give thanks for the blessings I have received, to ask for personal favors and to pray in general. This beautiful church is situated in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s nice to find a quiet place amidst the noisy Katipunan area.

Church of St. Clare

Church of St. Clare

Monasterio de Sta. Clara is known to people as the church to go to when you need to ask for good weather during auspicious dates. People offer a dozen eggs to St. Clare. Clare means clear so praying to her has been synonymous to asking for clear skies and weather. Eggs are also associated with fertility so a lot of people also go there to ask for a baby. Before the entrance to the church, you will see vendors under the bridge who sell eggs wrapped in different cellophane colors. They have attached a meaning per color such as health, weather, etc. but if you interview the church staff they will tell you that there is really no meaning attached per egg color. Just ask what is in your heart and believe that it will be granted in God’s time.

It’s the wishing fountain. You will see here lots of people trying to toss coins into the top most tier hoping that their wish will be granted.

fountain

fountain

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DSC00087

After the coin-tossing-fountain-wishing ritual, people move on to this area where they pray to St. Clare for intercession. People offer sampaguitas here which you can also buy from the egg vendors outside. There is an area inside where you will see many people writing letters to St. Clare praying for blessings. I have done this process a lot of times and I find it actually quite therapeutic to write about your feelings and the desires of your heart. Writing things down also gives you perspective to the things you need and want in life. After writing the letters, you can give it inside together with your donation.
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Ask and you shall receive! I have experienced the power of St. Clare so many times already. I had a lot of answered prayers and have witnessed receiving things that I have written in my letter. Being the sigurista that I am, I even ask for signs to prove that what I am wishing for is truly being given to me by God. The signs can be as simple as seeing a violet flower that means it’s a YES or as obvious as being given or granted whatever it is that I requested.

I have also had my share of unanswered prayers. Sometimes I do feel bad about it but I just have to remember to be patient and wait for God to reveal his reasons later on for not answering my prayers at that time. We just have to put our trust in the Lord that He has a specific plan for us and He will always be there for us.

I love that there is a church in the middle of a busy highway. It is a venue for us to take a pause in our busy lives to stop and reflect – to thank God for all the blessings we have received. It is also a symbol of hope when we are feeling down with life’s troubles and it is a great reminder of the Almighty God, our purpose in life and our passion for living the faith.

 

Experience is the Best Teacher

Chanced upon this video uploaded by The Logical Indian. This video is timely for me now as I evaluate which big school I should send my daughter to. For her preschool, I also thought long and hard about the merits of traditional vs. progressive. Long story short, I tried Progressive and I liked it! This is a big thing considering I’m a trad girl by heart.

She goes to a Montessori school now and this video exemplifies what Maria Montessori espouses that children learn via imitation and example. Let them do it on their own, give them their own AHA moment so that they can discover for themselves what a joy it is to explore. Let us raise independent thinkers! This also hits home that we should always set good examples for our kids. How they live life will largely be based on how they see us live ours.

Here’s the insightful video. Have a great week ahead!

Welcome to the World, Gummy Bear!

Happy New Year, Happy 2015! New Year, New Baby! 🙂

I introduced Baby Bear in this blog 3 years ago, and now it’s Gummy Bear’s turn!

hello world! :)

hello world! 🙂

first time i opened my eyes

first time i opened my eyes

our christmas blessing

our christmas blessing

my first bath at home

my first bath at home – gummy bear was quite surprised but the next pictures will show how much he loves bath time!

all snuggled up

all snuggled up

happy 1st month, gummy bear! :)

happy 1st month, gummy bear! 🙂

Time truly flies! I was just blogging about the pregnancy and now he is a full month old!!!

Feeling so sentimental… so I had to take a trip down memory lane by also looking at Baby Bears’ pics. You can also view her pics here. I thought I was complete before when I met Baby Bear and never thought I could love another little human being. Now, my heart overflows with love for my whole family. It brings a whole new meaning to the line “you complete me!”. I can’t wait to share more milestones and adventures now that we are a family of 4 plus 1 dog! 🙂 I feel so blessed. Thank you Lord for all your blessings! Have a great year y’all! Let’s all have a wonderful 2015! 🙂

 

Kitchen Friends

Lately I have been seeing a lot of cooking posts on the world-wide web. The posts make me very hungry and makes me feel guilty about not spending more time in the kitchen. I look back at this post I made last year and feel doubly guilty for not pushing through with my promise. In fairness, thanks to the lovely airfryer I received last Mother’s Day, I have slowly eased my way back into the kitchen. Short-cut cooking but still cooking nonetheless. Did I mention again just how much I Love Philips Airfyer!??!!!

Here are other meals we’ve cooked up in our Airfyer.

bangus - baby bears' favorite

bangus – baby bears’ favorite

steak - family favorite!

steak – family favorite!

healthy fried chicken

healthy fried chicken

yummy liempo

yummy liempo

If you need more Airfryer recipes, you can follow I Love Philips Airfryer FB page.

For other drool-worthy cooking recipes, follow Christine’s Recipes and Bam’s Kitchen.  I have been following Bam ever since I started this blog. She is a lovely mom with teenagers – boys! Picky eaters who quite adore their mom’s cooking. She makes cooking seem so easy and always makes sure that healthy meals are on their dining table. I love how OC her blog is – with precise measurements and instructions.

I have 2 friends that I regularly ask for cooking or baking tips. For baking, I have my friend Reg Austria on speed dial. She has yet to make her own FB/IG page or website but she makes the best sweet treats. This creative baker is responsible for all our party needs. I have yet to post all of her beautiful creations that she has made for me through the years. The best cake she ever made for me was for Baby Bears’ 1st birthday party. Check out the eye candy treats she made for the 1st Birthday Ni Hao Kai Lan party I had 2 years ago and here’s another post that featured her classy creation – Air Balloon Birthday Cakes and Cupcakes.

For cooking, I have my friend, Zelda Ng. I’m happy that she finally decided to put up her own blog after much persuasion! 🙂  Not only is she a super mom but she is also a super wifey, making sure she prepares healthy dishes for the hubby. Hop on over to her new blog, Zelda Ng’s Kitchen. She takes great food shots too.  Just looking her pictures will surely give you that push you need to put your aprons on and bring out the pots and pans.

If I ever do get around to puttering around the kitchen again, I hope I can do justice to the recipes and teachings of my friends. Thanks for always entertaining my kitchen questions.  Looking forward to cooking or baking soon with you guys! 🙂 I hope to find the same passion for cooking/baking/food that you guys have.

I Love Philips Airfryer!

I can’t say it enough but I love my Philips Airfryer! I’ve added this to my list of things I can’t live without. It’s actually right on top of the list next to I-tunes, I-phone, Google, Waze and Spotify 🙂

I was gifted this wonderful gadget by my ever techy hubby. I normally don’t consider tech items from his as proper gifts. He’s such a tech freak that I think it gives him more joy to give me tech items than for me to receive it. I’m such a girly girl when it comes to this. He knew I had been eyeing this appliance for months. It has been out of stock for the longest time here in Manila. I even considered having it shipped from Singapore or Hong Kong, but then it would’ve been too expensive already.

I got this baby as a Mother’s Day Gift. Hint: Please cook more! hahaha 🙂

I Love my Philips Airfryer

I Love my Philips Airfryer

It’s from the Philips Avance XL collection. Look at this digital black beauty! 🙂

 

How do I love thee, let me count the ways:

1.) Shorter cooking time — busy mommas, this gadget is for you! 🙂

2.) Air is the new oil – it uses rapid air technology to circulate air around the food. It’s perfect for the health conscious – use very little or no cooking oil at all.

3.) You can fry to your hearts’ content without the guilt! (fish & chips, onion rings, french fries and potato chips — anytime you want!) 🙂

4.) Food still comes out crunchy and juicy.

5.) Wipe, wipe, wipe and it’s clean! Even easier to clean if you use an aluminum foil when you cook. No more oil splatter mess.

6.) Can be used for reheating — sayonara microwave!

7.) Very economical since you need to buy less cooking oil especially if you are just cooking for 2.

8.) I think this should also help us save on electricity since you now have shorter cooking time.

9.) Did I tell you can also roast and bake with this wonderful invention?

10.) With the timer feature, you can go about with your busy life and just come back for it when it’s done! Ready, set, cook!

11.) Your place won’t smell like fried fish anymore . This is especially important when you live in a condo.

12.) It has a divider so you can even cook 2 meals at the same time. Talk about multi-tasking!

13.) The XL is quite large so you can cook a whole chicken, liempo, or pecking duck in it!

14.) For the low EQ cook like me, you can open anytime to peek while it’s cooking.

 

Sharing with you my first 2 successful airfryer attempts. The only thing I experiment with is the length of time I leave it in the airfyer, depends on how crunchy or juicy you want your food to be.  I was too excited to use it that forgot to take a lot of pictures.

1.) Breaded Pork Chops

a. Season the chops with salt and pepper.

b. Dip each side of the pork chop in a mixture of egg, milk, flour and breadcrumbs.

c. Pop into the airfyer for 12 minutes and ding, it’s done! 🙂

Airfried Pork Chops

Airfried Pork Chops

 

2.) Lumpiang Shanghai

a. Mix lean ground beef, finely chopped carrots and veggies.

b. Wrap in lumpia wrapper.

c. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

d. Airfry for 10 minutes and serve with your favorite sweet chili sauce!

Airfried Lumpiang Shanghai

Airfried Lumpiang Shanghai

 

For more recipes, check out the following sites:

1.) http://allrecipes.com.au/recipes/tag-8594/philips-airfryer-xl.aspx

2.) https://www.facebook.com/pages/I-Love-Philips-Airfryer/163566940375180

3.) https://www.facebook.com/pages/We-Love-Philips-Airfryer/317979768221304

 

Happy Airfrying! 🙂

Color of the Year 2014

Happy 2014! This season’s hottest hue is RADIANT ORCHID! My mom is so thrilled with the color of the year because it’s her all-time favorite color. Finally she can whip out her purple ensembles and radiate cool confidence.

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I like this color also as it shrieks creativity to me. It’s such an enigmatic color. It truly brings out the fuchsia, purple and pink undertones that make it so captivating and vibrant. This color has a quiet subtlety but it catches the eye with its classy dazzle.

I’m so glad this is the new color of the year. It’s a good excuse to wear the purple pants the hubby gave me 2 Christmases ago. Hmm… does this mean the hubby has good fashion foresight? I should let him buy me more clothes LOL.

Happy New Year everyone! May we all have a radiant 2014! 🙂

Color of the Year 2013

Hello and Goodbye, Little Tomato

Been awhile since I last blogged. I’ve been MIA in the blogging world, twitter world and the real world. Last month, I had an ectopic pregnancy and had to have a Laparotomy. Last month was a blur. Everything happened so fast. I found out I was pregnant, it was ectopic, had a Laparotomy, and now in the process of healing (physical, emotional and spiritual).

There are 5 stages when dealing with loss but I seem to be stuck in the anger stage. I can’t seem to move on from the fact that a cruel joke was played on me. Why give me something if you’re just going to take it away from me? When we learned we were pregnant, for some reason everything was so peachy. We were even confident it was going to be a baby boy. We were already calling him shoti (baby brother in chinese). Even Baby Bear was in on the secret and she would constantly kiss my tummy and talk to shoti.

My little tomato was 5.5 weeks when we lost him. Since it was still so early into the pregnancy, I know he wasn’t a real baby yet for us to be so emotional about what happened. But for me, as soon as it’s a confirmed pregnancy, you start imagining life with your new baby.

I honestly still don’t understand what happened. I am ashamed to admit that I was angry with God the whole time. I felt it was unfair how I would always have a life-threatening emergency during my pregnancies. During my first one, I was on bed rest for 4 months and hospitalized twice. I thought everything was going well with my 2nd time since I didn’t have any bleeding or pain. In hindsight, I would’ve gladly taken the pain in exchange for my baby to be alive.

The doctors are telling me I can try at once within a few months and it is supposedly easier to get pregnant this time. I don’t think I’m ready though for another round of roller coaster emotions. I don’t know how long I’ll be in this stage. I hope I can heal soon. They say that God has a plan and there’s a promise of something better. For now, I don’t know what could be better than having my baby boy… but I would like to still believe that God has a plan for why things happened.

Dear God, I am hanging on to my faith in you that you are taking care of my little tomato. I miss him so badly everyday. I cry for the pain and the loss. I am still confused but I hope you can help me understand, let go and move on. As selfish as it sounds, I am holding on to Your promise that there is a rainbow after this rain.

I leave you with this song called “Hang on Little Tomato”. It’s my comfort song for what happened. It’s melancholic yet hopeful at the same time… perfect for the mood and what I am going through as I wait for my sunny someday to come soon.

(Instrumental intro is a bit long so just fast forward to 1:24 if you wish to hear the lyric part at once) 🙂

The sun has left and forgotten me
It’s dark, I cannot see
Why does this rain pour down
I’m gonna drown
In a sea
Of deep confusion
Somebody told me, I don’t know who
Whenever you are sad and blue
And you’re feelin’ all alone and left behind
Just take a look inside and you will find
You gotta hold on, hold on through the night
Hang on, things will be all right
Even when it’s dark
And not a bit of sparkling
Sing-song sunshine from above
Spreading rays of sunny love
Just hang on, hang on to the vine
Stay on, soon you’ll be divine
If you start to cry, look up to the sky
Something’s coming up ahead
To turn your tears to dew insteadAnd so I hold on to his advice
When change is hard and not so nice
You listen to your heart the whole night through
Your sunny someday will come one day soon to you

Til We Meet Again, Kitchen!

“When will you cook for me again?!!” Ever since I became a mom, err… ever since I became pregnant, the hubby has been begging me to cook again.  I stopped cooking way, way back. It started with me on bed rest for 4 months, then the baby came along, and now that the baby is 2, it’s now the getting my-life-and-work-back excuse.

So when will I cook again? I’m not quite sure… but for now, the hubby will just have to settle for old food pics I took when I used to cook. Pardon the pre-instagram/pre-iPhone food pics taken before. Maybe if I do decide to get my butt back to the kitchen, the food shots will definitely be better this time. (Hopefully the food will be better, too!) 😉

chicken tikka masala

chicken tikka masala

korean namul

korean namul

chx teriyaki

chx teriyaki

crab cakes

crab cakes

rosemary chicken w/ apple slices

rosemary chicken w/ apple slices

chicken adobo

chicken adobo

eggs ben w/ hollandaise sauce and german sausage

eggs ben w/ hollandaise sauce and german sausage

steak w/ peter luger sauce

steak w/ peter luger sauce

scallops in white wine sauce

scallops in white wine sauce

grilled beef w/ mushrooms

grilled beef w/ mushrooms

lamb chops w/ mint jelly

lamb chops w/ mint jelly

beef salpicao rice

beef salpicao rice

egg omelet surprise

egg omelet surprise

grilled salmon

grilled salmon

shabu shabu soup

shabu shabu soup

shabu shabu

shabu shabu

blueberry cheesecake w/ vaniilla ice cream

blueberry cheesecake w/ vaniilla ice cream

choco-banana pancake

choco-banana pancake

hickory spare ribs (salad?)

hickory spare ribs (salad?)

most requested: blueberry muffins

most requested: blueberry muffins

our version of banana split

our version of banana split

steak AGAIN! :)

steak AGAIN! 🙂

Hmm… I’m suddenly hungry and missing my cooking LOL.

Can’t wait to get back to the kitchen… or maybe for a change, hubby can cook for me! 😉