Saturday, August 16, 2014

Audrey's 4th


     Another year, another birthday. How time flies... but I already knew that. All I can do is seize this moment and celebrate my daughter as best I can. Soon she will be venturing life on her own... but not so fast! I still want to hold onto her like she was the baby that I once carried in my arms - so dependent and so small. And so I do for now :)


    This year I asked Audrey what she wanted to do for her birthday (and yes, my husband and I had some 'suggestions' which she gladly chose from ;) hehe). We opted to celebrate her special day with her classmates in school the day before and with her cousins today, her birthday.
     As with most celebrations, we zeroed in on a theme - and Doc McStuffins was this year's winner! It was quite fun to plan and I tried to make it both creative yet uncomplicated (for me at least!). Check out our pics :)

Birthday girl Audrey smiling for the camera wearing none other than her Doc McStuffins shirt 
that Dada bought for her during one of his trips!

The sisters share sweet hugs! This always makes me smile :)
(Check out Natalie peeking at the treats!)

Here are the giveaway boxes for Audrey's classmates and cousins. We placed toy shaped pasta pieces 
with bolognese sauce, crazy straws, colored utensils, cookies and krispies inside! 
Oh, and I made Doc McStuffins name labels for each of them! :)

The birthday cake! :)

Cupcakes in our color theme!

Band aid cookies with a heart! These were pretty yummy!

Audrey's special request - Ice Cream cake pops and Popsicles (rice krispies)
with rainbow sprinkles!

Our little big girl!

Another shot with a different head angle hehe

Audrey in school! :)
She was pretty happy with her birthday celebration!


Thank you to Michelle Teves of Coco Cakes for making Audrey's birthday cake and treats! :)


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Let's Go Swimming


Who says you can't go swimming without water? :)

video

Thank you Natalie for being a reliable source of entertainment for mom
(and everyone else! :D)


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Quick Guide to Organic Produce

       For the past year or so, I've been trying to eat as healthy as possible and feed my family nutritious, clean and whole foods. However, choosing grass-fed, naturally raised and organic do cost more so I found the Dirty Dozen Plus and Clean 15 List really helpful when prioritizing what to buy organic or not when it came to produce.
        You can also check out the Environmental Working Group's website to read more about this.

        Below is an easy to refer to list that I got from www.thegreengrocermanila.com which is where I order most of my organic vegetables and fruits, and naturally raised meats. I take a look at this every time I make my grocery list.
 

Image taken from The Green Grocer Manila website


Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Potty Training Challenge: Look Who's Training Who

     
     With the challenge that we faced while potty training Audrey, it's good to have it easier with Natalie.
     We got a pleasant surprise a couple of days ago when Natalie kept insisting that we put her in the potty because she needed to make a "weewee" (with her finger pointing at the potty and a stressed look in her face). This little one meant business and she made no secret of it!

     We have actually been putting her on the potty from time to time since a couple of months back - to give her a feel of how it is and to slowly make her comfortable with using it. It wasn't hard to convince her because she would see Audrey using the potty all the time on her own. Audrey would place her potty seat on top of the adult potty and use a stepping stool to reach it and sit. Sometimes when we're in a bit of a rush, we just help Audrey by carrying her and little sis will follow in the bathroom, get the stepping stool, and place it underneath the potty to make sure Audrey can go down from it on her own (now that's what I call teamwork!). 

     Unlike the problem we encountered in the past, which was regressing from what we had already achieved (big sis wanted to be like little newborn sis), this time we had the right order of things: little sis wanted to be exactly like big sis. She wanted to use the potty just because Audrey always did and was basically a pro at it ;)

      This meant we skipped these two steps altogether:

     1. Convincing her that using the potty is good and necessary, by all means (and basically trying to entertain her to make her stay put if she agrees to sit)
    2. Making her get used to sitting on the mini potty (like making her sit on it even if nothing is going to come out until the time when she's comfortable enough to start using it on her own - this is actually good because we won't have to throw anything into the big potty from the mini potty and clean up! eew)

      So because of Natalie's desire to be just like Audrey, she's practically potty training herself! hehehe! I must admit, I wasn't really intending on beginning formal potty training just yet - after all, Natalie is only 22 months old and I didn't want to rush her. But she was more than willing to start using the potty and sit on the potty seat whenever she felt the urge. Now of course we are still working on 'number 2' (poopie!), but so far, she knew when she needed to pee and would be able to tell us before it came out. We just put her in the potty regularly - in the morning after waking up, before bathing and anytime she feels like peeing. And when she's finished, she'll just tell me, "Duh!" (meaning done! :D)

      I can't tell you what a relief this is! A willing trainee makes it sooo much easier for the trainers! We are still in the process of completing this training though, please don't rush us (and by us I mean mom and dad haha!). We still put Natalie in diapers (to avoid getting our bed and floors wet and dirty and this will most likely happen at this point) and will probably do so for the next few months until we are absolutely confident that Natalie is an expert already! :)
      I am just thankful that potty training wasn't so difficult this time around!

Here are more Potty Training Tips for parents of toddlers :)

       

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Magosaburo Lunch Date

      For no specific reason except to try something new (and escape from our kids hehe), my husband and I tried out Magosaburo at the Fort for lunch. We love Japanese food and we've heard that they've got something different and good to offer so we decided to find out for ourselves. 
     We were set on trying the Japanese Wagyu steak, and opted for the Magosaburo Degustation (which they usually only offer for dinner but placed on the menu for lunch that day to take the place of the unavailable local wagyu then). It was a good thing though because it included the Lava Stone Japanese Sirloin Wagyu Steak together with other authentic Japanese dishes and actually came out cheaper than if we just ordered the Japanese Wagyu by itself. The Degustation was an 8-course offering and I enjoyed trying every single dish ;)
       

We had the Mixed Sashimi Salad apart from the Magosaburo Degustation but it didn't stop us from finishing each course. After the salad, we started off with a small appetizer of Iberico Ham, Cream Cheese Tofu and Strawberry (it was quite interesting). We had the assorted cold appetizer next (see photo below) and it came with a salad similar to what we already had (but I wasn't complaining because the salad was pretty good!). The Foie Gras Chawanmushi wasn't available that day so they replaced it with a seafood and mushroom version which I thought was really good and surprised my palate! I actually enjoyed this very unique dish. 

The Assorted Cold Appetizer, Garlic Butter Fry Scallop, Broccoli and Cauliflower and
our Mixed Sashimi Salad with Tomato Dressing.

And finally, here's the much awaited Japanese Sirloin Wagyu Steak which did not disappoint! It practically melted in our mouth :9 After cooking it in the lava stone, it was served together with lettuce leaves and wasabi sauce. You can either eat it as is or wrap it around the lettuce.

As if the steak wasn't enough, the Degustation also included a Japanese Style Chicken Rice in a Hot Stone Bowl. We were kinda full by the time it was served so we were pretty slow with eating it haha! We chose Matcha Ice Cream to go with the Philippine Mango Mousse and I had it with a Latte Nespresso Coffee.

We sealed off our yummy meal with a light, sweet and fruity Moscato white wine
compliments of the resto! It was the perfect ending to our meal :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Counting and Sorting


    Although it may seem as if counting is pretty easy to grasp, it isn't so when it comes to young minds. It takes practice and the use of more than one of your senses to understand this concept fully. 
     We may think that if our kids can count from 1 to 10 easily, that they do know how to count... but we won't really know that until we put it to the test by making them count objects one by one :)
      
Here are my students! Ready and happy! ;)

My teaching materials for counting:
plastic shoe boxes and index cards, plus toy blocks

     We can teach our children to count not just by rote (which is by repetition or memorization) but by helping them use actual objects to match numbers. What I did for Audrey was prepare shoe boxes (plastic ones - if I had used carton shoe boxes, Natalie would just sit and stand on them and they'll be useless in no time!), index cards which I wrote the numbers 1 to 10 on, and toy blocks.


For the first two weeks of summer, we practiced mastering numbers 1 to 5. In the next two weeks, we added numbers 6 to 10. The girls had fun using different colored blocks as the objects for them to count - although I was really teaching Audrey, Natalie joined in and we let her of course :) It was fun for the sisters!

The first five numbers were a breeze! But not so with 6 to 10! The confusion began when there were a lot of blocks to count. Sometimes counting through speech was quicker than counting with hands! :P But this didn't faze us, we kept practicing until Audrey got every number right :)

We also did some sorting exercises with the same blocks.
We didn't just count but sort the objects by shape or color :)

Learning how to count is fun! :)



Saturday, July 19, 2014

Family Traditions by Little People

     Ah yes, I know what you're thinking - family pictures again??! :) That's what Dad says to Mom whenever she mentions to us that it would be nice to take our family photos! But I think it is a good idea! It's great to capture all of these moments especially when you have talented photographer Titas to take them for you ;) 
      Our photos below were taken by Tita Krissy of Little People Lifestyle Photography last December (Hence, my shorter hair and Natalie's single tooth heehee!). Our theme for this photo shoot was Family Traditions (especially during Christmas season), so you will see what goes on in our home during the holidays. The exception here is playing, reading and goofing around because we love to do that all year long! :)


Natalie and I love playing in this tent!

Buh!

Hula hooping!

Yup, that's the tooth I was telling you about!
Now she not only has one up there, but four! :P

Christmas in July! Come to think of it, 5 more months
and it's actually Christmas once again!

Natalie loves the lights on our tree!

And she loves playing tunnel with Dada's legs!

Decorating the tree is something that we look forward to! We helped
Mom put together our Rainbow Christmas Tree last year :)

Opening gifts in our pajamas!

We usually open gifts after all the busyness of family gatherings and dinners.
It's our way of unwinding and spending time together as a family - and wearing
our comfy jammies makes it more relaxing haha!

Playing with Dad!

Mmmm... hot chocolate!

Somebody wants some!

We sing songs together a lot of times! (not just during Christmas!)

And reading is one of our favorite things to do, especially before bedtime! :)

Mama and Dada look funny here! heeheehee!
They were trying to call Natalie and stop her from doing something...
I just can't remember what it was because I wasn't really looking! hahaha!

Having  a few laughs!
Natalie's a funny baby sister!

Goofing around is the best! :D

That was fun indeed! I think we should take more family
photos soon. I'm on Mom's side on this one heehee! :)


Friday, July 18, 2014

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary


     I have been wanting to post these photos for quite some time - believe me haha. I apologize though for posting pictures that are somewhat 'old' rather than recent. What I really wish for is just to document most, if not all of our trips and travels as a family - and this blog let's me do just that. I actually look at my collection of travel posts from time to time and I see how my girls and our family has grown - and how much fun we had on our trips. This really serves as my online journal and I'm glad I have a place to put photos and write about experiences we had. 
     And as I was shortlisting pictures for this entry, I realized that my girls have grown so much so fast. I really should be posting sooner than later! Audrey's hair is now much longer and Natalie is also much bigger! (And as for me, I hope I have also lost more mommy weight by this time hahaha!) 
     The photos below were from our Australian trip last year and it was fun visiting the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. My husband and I do enjoy visiting zoos and aquariums, even as a couple, but it's even more fun now with the kids because they get so fascinated by the different types of animals that they see. It's always a worthwhile and fun visit.



Deciding on where to go first.

Why walk when you can ride the train? haha! :D

Koala bears!
I remember 'koala' being one of Natalie's first words! :)


Ahh, the majestic peacock.


And one of my favorites - the red panda!
(yes, as in Master Shifu from Kung Fu Panda!)


Natalie didn't look as scared hehehe!

And if that were a real giant spider, I wouldn't even be there!!!

And finally, the kangaroos! One looks like he's ready to jump at the camera!

The roos were all in a huge open space and visitors can roam around by their side

Up close!

I love how the sun shone on these creatures that afternoon.

 Can't get enough of these kangaroos! :)

We met up with the Pats who were also exploring the sanctuary
before heading back home! :)