Tuesday, August 31, 2010
So here I am, (window) shopping around for toys that we can bring along with us on our succeeding trips back to Dallas. I'm very discerning when it comes to picking out toys for Bud. For now, I'm on the look out for toys that meet the following criteria: 1) something educational, 2) should encourage development of hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, 3) must be convenient to tow around, 4) must be something Bud can manipulate with ease or at least motivate him to learn
Bud has been showing interest in puzzles lately. I like this set of basic peg puzzles from Melissa and Doug. The pegs make the puzzle pieces easy to grasp. Very ideal for teaching numbers, letter and colors. This Melissa and Doug Joey Magnetic Dress Up also caught my attention. Who says playing dress up is exclusive only to girls? I think this is a great toy for pretend play and will definitely enrich Bud's imagination.
They have this Melissa and Doug Deluxe Latches Board at our local library and Bud just could not get enough of it. He's very passionate about opening and closing doors and is attracted to just about anything mechanical. I'm positive this would keep him entertained for a significant amount of time.
Here's another one Bud would definitely be interested in, the Melissa and Doug Magnetic Hide and Seek Board. It's a fantastic toy for teaching associations. The pieces inside are also magnetic so they don't fall all over the place.
Now it's time to pitch these toys to P.
photos courtesy of amazon.com
Bud has been slowly recovering from his ear infection and is steadily eating his way back to health.
little boy can't get enough of Pretzel Crisps
Finally saw the movie version of one of my favorite love stories, The Time Traveler’s Wife, on HBO. The movie version was not as good as the book though. The tonality of the movie was very melancholic and by my standards it fell short in capturing the essence of their enduring love. Nonetheless, I was extremely pleased to see it dramatized on screen.
After consecutive days of buffet breakfasts and dining out, I was ready to throw in the towel. I felt like I was on the verge of having a coronary what with the (Texas-style) gargantuan portions of food we’ve been eating! I craved for light and healthy alternatives so I tried the route of frozen dinners. The microwavable meals from Marie Callendar’s were a revelation! The Chicken and Mushroom Risotto was exceptionally yummy. I probably couldn’t cook risotto that good even if I tried. I’m thinking of stocking up on those microwavable meals when we get back home. At 300 calories a box, you can’t go wrong.
Fried Okra from Dickie's BBQ Pit
Tempura and Katsu platter from Toshio's
Aside from the meal allowances, another perk of out-of-state assignments is the chance to earn rewards points. I’m so excited at the prospects of free vacations with the amount of hotel rewards and airline miles we’re racking up! It pays to be points-savvy.
Speaking of hotels, the managers and staff here at the Hilton Garden Inn have been tremendously helpful and friendly. Maybe because Bud has charmed them all? Everyday at breakfast, we are greeted and served by an unbelievably chirpy lady. She’s too perky to a point that P gets annoyed with her cheerfulness early in the morning, haha! I love her positive energy though. And I love that she’s so smitten with Bud. Since we’ve become good friends with her, we set a playdate with her and her little one when we come back to Dallas in two weeks.
Janika aka breakfast lady with Bud
What's made you smile lately?
Friday, August 27, 2010
I don't know if I could ever write about what happened last night. I did find another mom who went through the same ordeal and she put into words exactly how I felt. I'm sure she wouldn't mind that I'm sharing her story here.
To my mom friends, please do take time to read her story. I don't wish this on anyone but it is best to be well-informed and prepared.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Instead of dreaming up my fall ensembles, I have been playing dress-up in my head with these summer dresses from Tibi.
Low maintenance is how I would describe my style and these dresses are just perfect. They seem very wearable with their simple yet flattering silhouettes. I also love the flora and fauna- inspired prints punctuated with vibrant colors.
Hoping for cooler days ahead.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Free concerts are held at the Harriet Lake Bandshell daily (Mon-Sat at 7:30pm and Sun at 5:30pm) until the end of September.
Mommy's little helper
I’m still very lucky though as I couldn’t ask for a better travel companion/partner than P. I’m so thankful I married a man who takes charge and still manages to be very thoughtful. P is such a boy scout! Geez, I can’t believe I’m blushing like a schoolgirl while writing this!
Better end this post now. Will be writing more tomorrow. Good night!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Bud has been out of sorts the past couple of days. He's been having trouble sleeping through the night due to a nasty cold. And you know what lack of sleep does to a baby. He's terribly whiny and cranky during the day. To add to that, he's also gone on a food strike. He wouldn't eat any of his meals except for some saltine crackers and fruits. Hopefully he will feel 100% better tomorrow and be back to his usual cheerful, happy self.
On top of my mommy duties, I've also been busy with the preparations for our business trip to Dallas, Texas. Dear hubby's new project is based in Dallas which means he will have to be there 4 days of the week, every week until the end of the year. No way we're going to stay behind here in Minnesota so we're tagging along. I'm actually looking forward to the change in scenery and I'm pretty excited about the prospects of new adventures in Dallas.
In between juggling my many hats this week, I've been diligently sending out birthday greetings to family and friends who are celebrating their birthdays this month.
Speaking of birthdays, my friend, Faye, who is also an August celebrant, is having a blog blowout. She's giving away a Fossil watch and some Kate Spade purses. Visit her site to find out more.
Last but not least, P introduced me to www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com 2 years ago but I was too busy with being a new mommy back then that I totally forgot about it. Good thing I stumbled across it again today. It's really hilarious. Gave me an idea about making a list of Stuff Pinoys in America like. Haha. #1 cooking Pinoy dishes #2 having potlucks #3 shopping at the outlet mall #4 buying Coach bags #5 wearing Ralph Lauren. Feel free to add to this list if you have any more ideas.
2 garlic cloves
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 slice bacon
a handful of broccoli florets
2-3 pcs of sundried tomatoes (chopped to smaller pieces)
bowl of cooked pasta
Cook pasta. Blanch the broccoli. You can blanch the broccoli in the same water you used for cooking the pasta.
Cook the bacon in low fire to render all the unwanted fat. You'll be surprised at how much fat you'll get from 1 strip of bacon. Chop bacon into smaller pieces when cooked.
In a separate pan (you can also use the same pan that you cooked in bacon in just make sure you take out all the bacon grease), cook garlic in olive oil over low heat. Better to take it slow than to burn the garlic. Once the garlic starts to change color, add the broccoli, sundried tomato, bacon and pasta. Saute until all the ingredients are coated with the garlic oil. Add as much parmesan cheese as you want. Season with salt and pepper if you wish.
Not to brag or anything, but this dish could definitely win me a quickfire challenge. It was quick, easy and definitely very tasty.
Monday, August 16, 2010
I like the the sparkly jewel embellishments on these snakeskin flats from Steve Madden and Sam Edelman...
I'm also considering this cap-toe flats from Penny Loves Kenny because of its uncanny resemblance to the bejeweled cap-toe Miu Miu flats.
What do you think?
If there's anyone out there who can suggest other fabulous (and affordable) pairs I would really appreciate your help.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Bud is not a picky eater and has a very healthy appetite. However, he's at a stage where his curiosity and his eagerness to practice his newly discovered skills take precedence over food. These days it's hard to keep him in his chair during mealtimes without being distracted. So instead of stressing over it, I decided to just embrace the situation and make mealtimes an opportunity for learning and playing.
One thing he likes to do these days is to point and ask "ah dat?" (translated: what's that). When it's my turn to ask him to point to parts of his body, objects, animals and food he eagerly obliges. And so every mealtime we play "show mama". I would ask him to show me where his spoon is or where the banana is (or whatever food is on the table). Once he points to it I would then ask him to show me how he puts it in his mouth. yes, score!
Another thing that keeps him interested and entertained is having Mr. Bear (aka honey bottle from target) as a meal buddy. He shares his food and his drink with Mr. Bear. When I sense that he's getting distracted, I would say "Mr. bear is still hungry. Can you give him more food, please". After he gestures to give Mr. Bear food, he would put the food in his mouth. mommy wins this round again!
And because mealtimes are so much fun, here's how my little guy looks like when we're done....
Just seeing him this happy makes everything worthwhile.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I got excited when I found out that the base for the cream sauce was just mayonnaise. One recipe used a mayo and cream cheese combo while the other used mayo and parmesan cheese. The one with the cream cheese seemed very promising but unfortunately I didn't have any cream cheese so I opted to do my version of the mayo and parmesan combo. The recipe was surprisingly simple and easy to do for such a decadent dish.
2 salmon fillets
1 lemon wedge
salt and pepper
for the creamy topping:
4 (heaping) tbsp mayonnaise
1 lemon wedge
2 cloves of garlic
for the vegetable siding:
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (thawed)
Season the salmon fillets with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Pan fry the salmon with some olive oil and butter until it is half cooked. We don't want to overcook the fish when we bake it with the cream sauce so take it out of the pan when the bottom half of the fish starts to change color then move it to a baking dish.
In the same pan where you cooked the fish, add more butter and saute the mixed vegetables. Once cooked, transfer vegetables to the baking dish with the fish.
Prepare the cream sauce by mixing together the mayo, garlic and lemon.
Smother the salmon fillets with the cream sauce. Be as generous with the cream as you wish. Then sprinkle as much parmesan cheese as you want on top of the cream.
Bake uncovered for 10-15 mins or until topping is sizzling and golden brown. That should be enough time to cook the fish through without drying it out. As for the oven temperature, I suggest 400f. I actually baked my dish in our oven toaster in toast setting for 20 mins just because I had prepared it in advance and put it in the refrigerator. Otherwise, 15mins would have been fine.
Verdict: This version of Baked Salmon is delectable on it's own but not as rich and bold if you compare it to Conti's Baked Salmon. Will probably try to add some garlic powder to the topping mixture next time. Or better yet, try it with cream cheese. Nevertheless, I was pleased that P found it palatable, in fact he said it was good, despite his seeming distaste for salmon.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
It was a good thing I heard about the Annual Uptown Art Fair in the evening news last week and so we went last Saturday. Apparently it's held every first weekend of August (better keep that in mind for next year). There were over 200 photographers, painters, mixed media artists and other artisans who participated. And even more urbanites who came to appreciate the exhibit despite the scorching heat.
My favorite pieces from the exhibit were from John Booth and Dolan Geiman. John Booth's paintings are like bubble gum art with attitude. I can imagine his paintings as wall art for Bud's room. On the other hand, Dolan Geiman's mixed media artworks remind me of pages from Nick Bantoc's Griffin and Sabine series. I love his use of birds and prints in his pieces.
Too bad I couldn't showcase John Booth's prints here in my blog. I do hope you check out his website to see his quirky artworks.
Here's another one of my favorite budding artists at work...
Saturday, August 7, 2010
I was so excited to catch up with Susan again after a long time and left the house in such a hurry that I forgot to bring my camera (as usual, right?). Good thing she's such a girl scout and had one in her bag. Here are some snapshots from this morning taken from Sue's camera:
Friday, August 6, 2010
Last week was paper plate art week. We made a fish bowl (with cutout fish, of course), an elephant and a lion. They were very crude (so I didn't bother to take photos) but Bud enjoyed playing with them nonetheless. And mind you, he could identify the animals even if they were not professionally done.
This morning I stumbled across this blog where I got my inspiration to make home-made finger paints for Buddy. The recipe I used was:
2 cups white flour
2 cups cold water
Put water into a large bowl. Slowly add the flour, while the children are stirring. Once it's all mixed together, divide into smaller bowls and add food coloring.
The finger paint idea was amazing! It was so fun yet very easy to do. I wasn't able to take photos with my hands all messy from the paint mixture. Will try to take some shots when we do our painting session again tomorrow.
It was funny how Bud was more curious with the new sensation and texture in his hands. He was dipping his hands in the paint then he would open and close them. Maybe tomorrow he will be more comfortable with the idea of painting with his fingers.
Here are more great ideas that we will be trying out very soon....
Thursday, August 5, 2010
skirt: Forever 21
sandals: Forever 21
bracelet: Dorothy Perkins
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Last Saturday, we started our little city adventure with lunch at Champps Americana. It's a sports bar chain that looked more like a restaurant you would find in Napa Valley if not for the large tv screens scattered around the dining area. The interior looked very bright and relaxed with its high ceiling, glass walls, brick panels and natural wood finish. Food portions were very generous. The Pulled Pork Sandwich exceeded expectations, yum! Definitely a place where we could bring guests to enjoy American food.
After the hearty lunch, we hit the mall for some shopping. I wasn't really looking for anything to buy for myself. My only agenda was to get new toys for Bud. But then I found these ballet flats in Gap for $5 a pair! What a steal, right? They were so darned cheap that I got 2 pairs, one in silver and another in blue denim. Bargain price aside, they were great shoes. Chic and comfortable. The leather was really soft plus it came with rubber soles which is a preference for me these days. I was giddy with delight when I walked out of the store.
To cap off the day, we went to Lyndale Park Rose Garden. It's the second oldest rose garden in the country with more than 250 varieties of roses and other flowers. The garden was so vibrant and lush yet serene. The atmosphere was so relaxed and unpretentious. It's like stepping into a secret garden in the middle of the city.
And because Bud loved the water so much, the next day we took him swimming in the sand-bottomed lake in in Bryant Park. It's the next best thing we have to a beach. Again, we forgot to bring our camera.
The days just go by so fast. Before I know it, it will be the end of the week and the start of another adventure.