Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Four-Day Birthday Affair


    A week ago I celebrated my ___th birthday J (just fill in the blanks – the lower the number, the better! Hahaha!) It was practically a 4-day affair and I honestly had so much fun! I was able to do what I loved doing best – spent time and celebrated my birthday with my loved ones, had a family day out with my husband and girls, and ate! Hmm, make that capital A-T-E – I love eating ;P hehehe!
    We started off the celebration on the day of my birthday with an early dinner at our house. I made roast chicken and pasta, and my family brought so much more food. Can’t really complain about that! ;) Also had my favorite cake of all time to complete the menu – Estrel’s caramel cake! Sigh! It’s been years since I had this cake so I tried my best to wipe out the main course quickly to get to dessert (to no avail hehehe). Everyone literally waited in anticipation just to get a bite of this cake. Needless to say, our mini party was a lot of fun, especially for the kids who were playing together the whole time.
    The next day, my husband said it’s time for us to try out Sambokojin for my extended birthday celebration. Our friends have been raving about this all you can eat Japanese Korean grill buffet and it didn’t disappoint. I had my share of unlimited sushi and my favorite salmon sashimi, so with this alone I think I pretty much covered what we had to pay for for me hehe. They also had all these Korean appetizers, and a lot of selections for the seafood and meat that you can grill right on your table. There were also cooked Japanese dishes available and the dessert buffet was quite generous. I loved the mocha and chocolate ice cream the best (with rainbow sprinkles and gummy bears!). And although Audrey could eat for free, I think she would have made the most out of her meal even if she was charged for it. We went home full and happy, not to mention sleepy J
    Day 3 was my favorite. We planned a day of swimming and outdoor fun! Since my husband was swimming with Audrey, I was able to sneak out a little “me time” hahaha! This not so usual me time was just a couple of laps in the Olympic sized pool. I just wanted to have some serious cardio exercise done after all the eating I did hehehe. After that, I went back to the kiddie pool to join my family for the rest of the morning. We had snacks and ate a late lunch, and just basically hung out as a family. It was the perfect day. Spending time with my three favorite people in the world is what I consider fun J
     Afterwards, we visited my sister in law Patty who just had surgery done almost two weeks ago. Our merienda plan turned into early dinner with our in laws who brought my other favorite cake – Polly’s chocolate cake! This is the best moist chocolate cake that you could possibly have (I’ve tried others and they don’t quite measure up hehe) And so yes, the celebration wasn’t over yet. We had fun hanging out and playing bubbles with Audrey. Natalie was her usual jolly and easy self so Mommy was relaxed and stress free ;)
     As our weekend came to a close, there was just one last place that we wanted to try. Yushoken had just opened in Alabang so we decided to try out their ramen for dinner. The four of us went out again and ordered ramen, gyoza and chahan (Japanese fried rice). The ramen was good, but Santouka ruined every other ramen for us! It’s this small ramen place in Vancouver, BC that we went to last summer, with the best miso ramen we’ve tried. But… the gyoza and chahan here was really good! I would go back even just for the gyoza alone hehehe. It’s the best I’ve had here in Manila (almost as good as the one that I had in this small resto in Shanghai J I’m happy I’ve finally found something very close to how that one tasted). So we capped the night off with a pearl milk tea for me and then headed home.
    My four day celebration was really a lot of fun. Spending quality time with those who matter in my life and celebrating my birthday with them means a lot to me. I am one who enjoys the simple pleasures in life and having my family around me is what makes me really happy.

    

Celebrating (and eating) with family!


Fun outdoors! :)


My three favorites! The most important people in my life :)



P.S.
     So based on what you’ve read, you can probably conclude that I’m a foodie. Why, yes I am hahaha! In fact, if I wasn’t an architect, my dream job would be to be a food critic J


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bondi Beach

     I just happen to love the beach. And Bondi is no exception, despite the crowds that are always present and the sea water that's just about as cold as ice. On a trip to Australia a few years back, my husband and I were lucky enough to spend a week in North Bondi, where a good friend of mine lived. Her apartment was just a ten minute walk to the beach (it's actually not that close by Filipino "walking" standards but close enough hehe). But since we would practically walk there every day, it just seemed to get closer and closer each time. 
   When I first arrived at Bondi Beach, I just loved the atmosphere. It was laid back and easygoing. Shops and restaurants lined the street fronting the beach and people would just picnic by the grass. The views from both the North and South sides of the beach were spectacular. The sand was nice (though Boracay for me is still the best hands down) and I loved the smell of the ocean and the sound of the waves. Everything about Bondi was just what I wanted to experience while I was on vacation then and I wish it didn't have to end.
  

Bondi Beach is just a kilometer long but there's a lot of sand where people can just hang out and sunbathe.

We spent as much time as we could on the beach - we swam, surfed (though we encountered a lot of wild and unruly waves!), and ate and shopped in Bondi whenever we had the chance (got our favorite Australian brand board shorts and swimsuits here - lots of choices and better priced than in Manila - it was swimsuit heaven!).


View from the North Side of the beach


Walked to the beach with my friend Aya and her dogs before sunrise almost every day.
We would stop by one of the small cafes to get a hot cup of cappuccino and some pastries for breakfast. Yum!
I also loved the houses that we would pass by while walking. 

They were small modern houses in muted earth and neutral colors. 


On the South side of the beach, you can go on the Coast Walk from Bondi to Bronte beach. 
The walk starts right as you go by the popular Bondi Icebergs Club (that small white building by the sea - 
over at the upper left photo).

 It was such a scenic walk. The views were amazing and the cliffs were really a work of art.

A view of the houses and apartments on the North Side of the beach is shown above.
There were always picture worthy backgrounds in this walk.


This is my favorite candid photo on the Coast Walk. Thanks to our handy tripod and camera on timer mode! :)



Monday, February 25, 2013

Paint the Day Away

       One of my favorite activities with Audrey is painting. I think toddlers make great abstract artworks! They're not afraid to use different color combinations or apply them one on top of the other. I just love seeing the finished product every single time. 
       To make painting as hassle and mess free as possible you may want to get your little ones a smock to protect clothes (and it can double as a cover for haircuts done at home) and make sure the paint you use is washable paint. I also have tissues and wipes handy in case Audrey wants to clean up her hands asap (like she always does!).

I taught Audrey to experiment with different brush strokes so she can come up with different designs and I let her do it all by herself. I also let her pick the colors that she wants to use and ask her the name of the color each time so she can familiarize herself with them as well. All of Audrey's artworks are made based on her own ideas and style! I am just her coach and assistant :) (and mess patrol - thus, the clean table in these pictures)

Ta-Da! One of Audrey's paintings! It's a good idea to put the date on your toddler's artworks so that you can check and see how their work has evolved through time... that's if you decide to keep them like what I'm doing :)

The happy artist!



Friday, February 22, 2013

'Snot Your Average Wipe

     Have you ever heard of Boogie Wipes? Our friends brought this product in from the US and gave us some packs as gifts. Audrey loves it and so do I. These wipes were extra soft and we especially love the grape scented one (smells like candy or juice hahaha!) 
   

    So let me tell you about these wipes. The Boogie Wipes tagline says it 'Snot Your Average Wipe! And they aren't! They're made with natural saline to help dissolve boogies or mucus caused by the common cold, allergies or just plain crying tantrums. What's great about these wipes is that they're very gentle and an effective alternative to dry tissue - helping to prevent dry and chapped noses! (I tried it myself when I had an episode of allergic rhinitis and it worked pretty well.)

    So how are Boogie Wipes different from a regular baby wipe? Let me count the ways:
    1. As mentioned earlier, they're made with natural saline (to give instant relief from a stuffed up nose)
    2. They're hypoallergenic
    3. Alcohol free!
    4. These wipes moisturize with Vitamin E, Aloe and Chamomile
    5. Lightly scented (and comes in unscented too)
    6. Suitable and gentle enough for all ages
    7. Phthalate and Paraben Free 

Curious about Boogie Wipes?

    Tried it on Audrey, and she loves these wipes. I already made it a point to hide it from plain sight lest she finds yet another excuse to use them and finish them altogether in one day! (i.e. for dirty hands, for her nose, for her mouth, for her feet, for her owee...)


   She's found quite a couple of other uses for it too... After using it on her hands, she uses it to wipe our furniture... 



      And to play with Natalie!


Peek-a-Boogie Wipes!!! :D

     And because of this article in allure.com which is featured in the Boogie Wipes website www.boogiewipes.com, I got curious and tried it on myself! It's pretty good for taking out eye makeup and it doesn't sting :) (no wonder those moms they were talking about in allure would steal these wipes from their kids! hehehe)




    We especially love the 10ct travel packs that were given to us. It’s great for traveling and fits in my purse without making it bulky! It will be on stock soon so you can check them out as well.

Travel Packs


   Boogie Wipes can be purchased at Toys R Us branches in Greenbelt 5, Glorietta, Bonifacio High Street, Trinoma, Shangrila Plaza, Galleria, Eastwood Mall and at their Rockwell branch soon! You can also get them at http://www.zalora.com.ph/boogie-wipes/

     They are available in 30ct Flex Packs (with a great flip top cover), 90ct Canisters (great for home and classroom use) and  10ct travel packs (which are still on their way) that all come in Fresh Scent, Grape Scent and Unscented.


     And the best part is, we're GIVING AWAY (yes! our first giveaway haha!) a 90ct Canister in Grape Scent, a 10ct travel pack in Fresh Scent, plus 3 sachets of assorted Boogie Wipes scents to One Lucky Winner! 




     Here are the Giveaway Mechanics:
     1. LIKE the Boogie Wipes facebook page at www.facebook.com/BoogieWipesPH
     2. Follow Boogie Wipes on Twitter @BoogieWipesPH and The Daily Audrey @DailyAudrey
     3. Tweet us @DailyAudrey @BoogieWipesPH with 
         "Boogie Wipes 'Snot Your Average Wipe! #boogiewipesph”
     4. Email a photo of you and your kid/kids together with your Name, Shipping Address, 
        Contact Number and Twitter Account Name to thedailyaudrey@gmail.com.

    Contest ends on March 7, 2013. The Winner’s Photo will be posted by our friends from Boogie Wipes on their Facebook page on March 8, 2013 by 5pm.
  
                                                                            www.boogiewipes.com

Thursday, February 21, 2013

It Counts

       Being a mom can be quite a challenge. Since I chose to be more hands on with my children, I have taken on responsibilities that were unknown to me before - changing diapers, breastfeeding, giving baths, preparing baby food to mention a few. And now that my firstborn is a toddler, I get to relive the days of my childhood - playing with toys that I used to love myself, solving puzzles and stacking building blocks or things, drawing and doodling, reading books, and even dancing and singing to Audrey's favorite tunes. Yes, extra energy is definitely a requirement, especially now that I have two wonderful girls to take care of and raise. And even though I feel a sense of fulfillment and joy every time I do these things for my daughters, I can't help but wonder if each and every task counts as part of my work for the Lord. I am glad I came across this poem to encourage me that my efforts do count.

Loving Jesus
I started my day early,
Before the room was light.
I lifted my son from his crib
And wished it was still night.
But as I held him close and said,
"Hi, Kenneth, precious one,"
I knew that as I greeted him,
I greeted too God's Son.

When my daughter woke up later,
Calling, "Mommy!  Mommy!  Down!"
I picked her up and hugged her
In her worn Elmo nightgown.
I know she felt the closeness
That a mother's touch affords.
I welcomed not just Ellie,
But so, too, the Lord of Lords.

That day, I mixed some formula
And opened jars of peas.
I fixed some "pizza butter" bread
When she grinned and said, "Pleeeeease."
I heated up some leftovers;
I had to nuke them twice.
And when I fed my children,
I was feeding Jesus Christ.

I made some funny faces,
And "played puzzles" on the floor.
I dressed kitties, ran around outside,
And played with them some more.
We laughed and jumped and tickled,
Making memories to be stored.
When I spent time with my children,
I spent time with my Lord.

I wiped up sticky cereal
And washed the dishes clean.
I straightened, picked up, put away,
And dusted in between.
I did six loads of laundry
And folded it like new.
When I cleaned for my children,
I cleaned for my Savior, too.

When my children were both crying,
I held them in my arms.
I cuddled them and whispered
That I'd keep them safe from harm.
I told them how their Father saved them
With His perfect Lamb.
When I comforted my children,
I comforted I AM.

Later on that evening,
I put them in the bath.
I washed their little bodies
As they kicked around and splashed.
I dried them in soft towels
And put their jammies on.
When I had washed my children's feet,
I'd washed the Holy One.

I cooked and cleaned and rearranged,
Made beds and taught and played.
I made sure that we had food to eat
And that we often prayed.
I died to self.  I made a home
From ordinary things.
But when I served my children,
I served the King of Kings.

To some, I have done nothing,
But to two, I've done the world.
I made eternal difference
To my precious boy and girl,
And to the One who watches over
Every pathway that I've trod.
For when I've loved my precious children,
I've loved Almighty God.

 - Megan Breedlove (www.MannaForMoms.com)



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Great Gift for a New Mom

     A couple of days after Audrey was born, one of my good friends from college paid us a visit with her DSLR camera in tow. She's not actually a photographer by profession, but she loved taking pictures. And she certainly knew how to take good shots. 
    She didn't tell me what exactly she was up to, but she just kept taking pictures of Audrey. A few weeks after that she said she had something for me. And this is what was waiting underneath the wraps! 



                        Collage photos by Carrie Arnaiz-Alejandrino



     It was a wonderful collage of photos of Audrey's face, eyes, nose, lips, ears, hands and feet! It was framed nicely and came with a cd of the photos as well. It was truly a wonderful gift for a first time mom like me! And whenever I look at it, I can't believe how time has flown by so fast and how tiny Audrey's feet and hands once were.
     And so when Natalie came, I made my own version of this collage. I tried to take similar shots and laid them out in almost exactly the same way. Thanks so much for the idea Carrie! :) I really love looking at these photos and even if Natalie is just a few months old now, so much about her has already changed physically. Babies really grow up so fast!



Took these photos with a DSLR camera as well, and I'm not a pro :)




Tuesday, February 19, 2013



                                      www.earmarkinvitations.com

Monday, February 18, 2013

Trips and Travels


   I don't know exactly what it is that just fascinates me about traveling. Maybe it's the idea of seeing something new... experiencing different cultures... admiring the architecture... seeing nature's wonders... tasting the food oh yummy food!... exploring and going on adventures... learning new things... the making of unforgettable memories... having a collection of pictures that tell stories... 
  Whatever it may be - and it could very well be all of the above, I just hope I won't ever have a reason to stop traveling. 
   Hope you join me as I share most of these stories and experiences here soon :) 


Here are some of the many pictures that were taken during trips that my husband and I went on together -
and Audrey and Natalie (while in the tummy) was able to go with us during the most recent one!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Quiet Time


    Yes! I finally woke up extra early today. And I didn’t just wake up, I actually GOT UP. My alarm is always set to go off at 4am. Yes you read that right - 4AM hahaha! Pretty early huh? Well, the primary reason that my alarm is scheduled to go off at this time is because I don’t want to miss a feeding. Natalie can sleep through the night, and by this I mean not just for 5 straight hours, but up to 6-7 hours already ever since she was 3 and a half months. I know most of you would say that that is great, and it is J but I was blessed with petite babies and my pedia always says that they could use the extra calories. So if Natalie doesn’t wake up to feed, I just pick her up and feed her in bed while she’s asleep. If she’s not hungry and won’t budge, I simply go back to snoozeland or pump the milk out if necessary.
    This morning though I just couldn’t go back to sleep right away. And it turned out to be a blessing. I usually try to wake up early to do a couple of things that require more concentration and focus, but before I know it, the girls are awake. But today I was extra early so I had more time on my hands. It felt good to have more quiet time. The day is just so full of things to do and has its share of distractions, both good and bad. So to me, silence was a welcome sound.
    I have always wanted to make a habit out of waking up super early, not just because of the peace and quiet that would be available to me, but for a more important reason - to pray and plan.
    My day just gets so busy and much as I’d like to get my thoughts organized or shut the door and pray, I just can’t help but attend to the needs of my family and household. I do have a toddler and a baby whose needs can’t be met by just anyone else. If only my husband could breastfeed even just on the weekends, it would be really great hahaha! But he wasn’t made for that, and I alone can do the job. And there are so many other things that I was meant to do, so I do it - even if it eats up my own time.
   No wonder the Proverbs 31 Woman (my peg) would “get up while it is still night, she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.” (NIV) and translated in The Message Bible as:

"She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast
 for her family and organizing her day." 
                                                                                                    - Proverbs 31:15

     Waking up before everyone else is up just gives us a good head start. I believe so much more can be accomplished if we start our day off by praying and then planning. So I’m just going to make waking up really early a goal and a habit once again. (Yes, I was successful once upon a time, but I’ve gone back to my old ways of loving sleep. And I’ve tried countless times to get up earlier than usual, but again sleep and tiredness always wins). Hopefully this time I will be able to do it again. (Discipline is key. If I could just bring myself to always sleep earlier than midnight, I know waking up would be easier!)
      I wrote a list in my little notebook this morning to help remind me why I need to do this. I thought of re-typing it but that will take up even more time, so I just took a pic of it so I can just upload it here hahaha! (time is precious you know!).

Hope this helps you too :)
    



Friday, February 15, 2013

Audrey for Suelitas






    
     Photos Courtesy of Lemarc and Sheila Limosnero


Shoes, shoes, shoes! 
My little entrepreneur and shoe model 
Audrey now has her own shoe line for little girls like her! 

       My very good friend and now sister-in-law Patty Laurel-Filart and I partnered with the girls of Suelas 
to come up with fun, fashionable and comfortable shoes for little feet. 
They are available in four colors - two with glittery bows and two with sequined toes. 
       You can get them online at www.suelasonline.com or at the Suelas Kiosk in Alabang Town Center.




           Collage Photos Courtesy of Sheila Catilo of Catilo Photography  



     Audrey for Suelitas is also available in:
     Centrio, Cagayan de Oro City and at Suelas Headquarters at 
     Unit 204, Doña Consolacion Bldg, 122 Jupiter Street, Makati City.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Hearts Day

The other day, Audrey told Dada that we made him a Valentine card - except he wasn't supposed to know yet! 
My little artist was so excited that she had to tell Dad right away! 
Here is what we made...

The making and giving of the suh-prise Valentine card for Dada :)

The artist with the card and cutout hearts prepared by mom


Audrey pasted and put together the cutout hearts, and added some colorful finishing touches!
(pointillism with her paintbrush!)



Somebody's happy with her work!


Daddy's little valentines!

The not so surprised Valentine card recipient with Audrey the artist!

Goofing around! Sure looks like we've got some happy hearts right here :)


Wednesday, February 13, 2013



                                         https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/206056_10150871296426237_36274282_n.jpg

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Foiled Again

       Thinking of a surprise for your loved ones this Valentine's Day? Parents of Toddlers...Beware!!! Toddlers can't keep secrets! Hahaha! You might as well just tell your loved ones what you're up to if your toddler is involved in it or if he or she somehow knows about it.   
      Just yesterday, Audrey and I did our usual arts and crafts activities - but we made something extra special... A surprise Valentine's Day card for Dada. I helped Audrey by cutting out different colored hearts, and she put them all together in a construction paper card of her chosen color - red  (how appropriate hehe). She then spiced it up some more by painting on it. (Will post pics of it on Thursday J)
      But in the afternoon, while Daddy was busy checking out his phone for messages, Audrey just kept blurting out repeatedly, "Dad, have a Valentine's card!"...and she didn't stop until Dad finally figured out what she was saying and went "huhhh??" with a smile. He was so amused he had to tell me he already knew! (and that's why I'm able to write about it now too hahaha!) She even told him what color it was and what we put in it. So much for the surprise! ...Foiled again!!! (just like the birthday card we made for him before hahaha). Oh well! :D
       

Monday, February 11, 2013

Baby Boo!

This is baby, boo! 
One of my favorite books ever since I was a couple of months old. 
Mama used to read it to me a lot and when I learned to flip pages on my own, 
I would look through it myself.

Mama even made me my own version of baby, boo! Check it out :)


The cover page





Mama loves my giggles!






Haha! I love playing peek-a-boo!


That's actually a mirror on the last page! I can see me! :) 


You can make your own baby boo book too! Go to www.amazingbaby.net