Wednesday, August 31, 2011

yogurt parfait

It only takes a couple of minutes to create this guilt-free treat. Start with a cup of plain yogurt, preferably fat free, and sweeten it with honey to your liking. Crush some fresh strawberries and add to the yogurt. Put scoop of the strawberry yogurt mixture in a cup/bowl/glass then add a layer of bittersweet chocolate chips. Put the remaining yogurt on top of the chocolate chips then chill in the freezer for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle with granola before eating. Bon Appetit!

Monday, August 29, 2011

fall looks for boys


I've never really given much thought about Bud's outfits in the past but then I stumbled upon this last weekend. Now I'm totally smitten with the idea of making him wear suspenders and cardigans for fall. Not only do the suspenders look uber cool, they're also a practical solution to keeping his pants from falling. Just in time now that he's outgrown his current pairs and will be transitioning to the bigger sized ones for fall.

I already did my research and found some reasonably priced suspenders in amazon. I 'm thinking of getting them in blue and red. As for the cardigan, I was pretty sure H&M would have some since I already got one in gray for Bud last Spring and true enough, they do.

Now, I wonder if Bud can pull off wearing red pants?

Friday, August 26, 2011

mommy musings: photo diary

Is it just me or do you also feel the need to capture your child's every milestone, laughter and crazy antic on camera? If only it's possible to immoratalize every single moment from the day of their birth. Thanks to digital photography it's so much easier to do that these days. Gone are the days when the first 3 years of your life is summarized in one measly album(yeah, I'm talking about me and my treasured collection of baby photos).

Bud is only two and we've already amassed thousands of photos of him. True, not all are great so every now and then I sort through them and choose the ones that are facebook quality, so to say. I like adding captions when I post pictures on facebook or when I send them to family back home. I feel even if a picture is already worth a thousand words, writing a couple more words just makes it more meaningful.

Before Bud's Christening we never brought him with us to social events. He only went out of the house to go to the doctor or to go to UP (University of the Philippines) for early morning walks. Only our close family and friends visited him for the first 3 months he was home from the NICU. On the 4th month we decided he was ready to meet everyone else and that's when we had him baptised. Since most of the guests would be seeing him for the first time, I thought it would be a good idea to show them how he has grown from the time he came home until his baptism.

Each table at the reception had several postcards with different photos and captions. Having printed photos of Bud seemed more personal than just having a slide show. I also wanted the guests to take their time getting to know him through the photos.

I was very pleased that all the guests wrote meaningful and lengthy messages for Bud. When he's old enough, it would be his turn to look at those photos and read the messages for him.

For my latest project, I borrowed this idea from Trisha of Playtime Break. I'm thinking of blowing this up to poster size and hang it in his room.

What about you? How do you organize your photos? Do you make scrapbooks or photobooks? Please share.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

layering for fall

With summer officially coming to a close in less than 2 weeks, I'm already putting together outfits for fall. I won't lie to you. I really enjoy playing dress up and I especially like the challange of coming up with stylish ways to use the same pieces of clothing for four different seasons.

Fall is all about layering and texture. Have a look at the first of many ensembles I have already thought of.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

toddler-approved recipe: strawberry cream cheese

You probably noticed by now how much I love strawberries. It's a pantry staple in our household and I find such pleasure in discovering different ways of incorporating it into our breakfast and snack fares. Here's another simple, healthy and yummy strawberry recipe.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Spread

2 wedges Laughing Cow Swiss Cheese

5 pcs Strawberries, hulled

Mash the strawberries and the cheese together. Spread on a piece of whole grain toast or bagel. Enjoy!

p.s. More strawberry recipes here, here and here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

books we love: the little mouse, the red ripe strawberry and the big hungry bear

It's the end of the week again, bunnies. Will you be shopping around for books this weekend? How do you choose what books to buy your kids? Do you do an advance research online or do you just browse at the bookstore? Me? I love browsing at the bookstore. I could spend hours looking at books and that's just at the children's section. Another thing I do is to borrow a ton of books from the library that way I get to test out the stories first then I buy the ones that Bud really enjoys.

I thought it would be a nice thing to share with you one of the books that we love to read over and over. Have a look and just maybe it would be something you could enjoy reading with your little one as well.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

mommy musings: let's talk about breasts

I am proud to say that I nursed my son exclusively for the first 16 months of his life.

I made the decision to breastfeed long before I even got pregnant. It's a no-brainer really. Breastmilk is all-natural, all-organic. Way before formula was invented, breastmilk was the only source of nutrition for babies. All formula advertisements claim that breastmilk is still best for babies. Not to mention, breastmilk is FREE. Why wouldn't I breastfeed, right? It just seemed like the most practical and logical thing to do.

Bud was born two months before his expected due date so as soon as he was delivered he was brought to the NICU right away. We didn't have that special moment when I would hold him close to me and he would latch onto my breast like I had hoped if he was born full term. At the recovery room all I could do was worry and pray. Is he going to be okay? Could he breathe on his own? What was his chances of surviving? Please God, let him live. Nursing him was the last thing on my mind.

A few hours after I was brought back to our hospital room, the phone rang. It was the nurse from the NICU informing me that they already gave Bud a few drops of breastmilk. My heart sank. I felt cheated. He's supposed to be drinking my breastmilk. I asked where they got the milk and the nurse said they gave him breastmilk that had been donated. At least they gave him breastmilk. I had to stay positive. I was determined to give my son my breastmilk. I asked the nurse if they had a breast pump so I could express milk right away. Good thing they did. I was knocking at their door in no time and started to pump. After 30 minutes with the breast pump, all I had expressed was 1 oz of milk. By thay time I was already worrying about how to stimulate milk production without Bud actually latching on my breasts. In a way it was a good thing that Bud was only drinking a few drops of milk every 3 hours for the first few days.

When I came home after being discharged from the hospital I was close to a breakdown (maybe I did have one and just won't admit it). I realized we had not bought a single item for the baby. We were not prepared. I haven't even started reading parenting books. Thank God for my friend, B, who lent me her What to Expect The First Year with all her notes and my sister-in-law, Jack, who lent me her breast pump. I gathered my wits and made a plan. My strategy was to pump every 2-3 hours to stimulate milk production. And that's what I did for the next two months. Even at night, I woke up every 3 hours to express milk. I was a milk machine. It worked! I was able to express more than enough milk to feed him during his 2 months in the NICU. In fact, I was even able to donate a coolerful of breastmilk to the NICU as a way to pay it forward. Maybe a tiny baby would also need a drink while his mommy is still recovering from the delivery.

Some other things I did that I believe helped stimulate milk production was to eat A LOT and drink Natalac malunggay capsules.

So, if you're a new mom and you're concerned that you don't have enough milk, trust me when I tell you that you do! Our bodies are genetically programmed to produce milk when we give birth. How do you think women in the early ages fed their babies? If I was able to make my breasts produce enough milk with just a breast pump, imagine how much you could produce when your baby is actually latched onto your breasts.

I know, breastfeeding is not easy. It's a commitment. Welcome to motherhood.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

no fuss picnic

Bud and I have been taking full advantage of the warm summer weather. Our daily routine includes a trip (or two) to the park and a picnic lunch. Oh how we love picnics! We just lay a blanket on the grass, et voila, a picnic! It doesn't have to be a big production really.

Here's my no fuss picnic checklist:

1. Food that doesn't easily spoil. I put it on a paper plate and wrap it with foil so I can dispose right after. Today's play date picnic menu....

2. I always bring cold beverages, fresh fruits, napkins and plastic utensils.

3. A blanket big enough to lay on for storytime after eating.

4. Relax and enjoy every moment. Take mental photos of your little one basking in the sun and running in the grass.

Monday, August 15, 2011

happy monday

Today I am channeling J.Crew - animal prints paired with neutrals and accented with a pop of red.

Have a fabulous week, bunnies!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

fall wish list: colored pants

I seem to have developed a fondness for bright colors over the summer and I'm just not ready to say goodbye yet. The search is on for colored pants for fall! And yes, I mean all the colors!

What's in your fall wish list?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

playground style: lace

Taking a cue from this outfit from my favorite lifestyle blogger, this is how I styled my lace tank top this morning. I layered it on top of a white button down with puffed sleeves and paired it with striped shorts. Now, who says you can't wear lace to the playground?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

toddler-approved recipe: sandwich rollups

cream cheese and cucumber roll up

Wanted to share with you my new favorite way of preparing a sandwich for the little one - rolled up and cut up into bite size pieces! It's a healthy and convenient snack to bring to a picnic at the park or when you're simply on-the-go.

It's really easy to do. First, flatten the bread with a rolling pin or any glass. I just used Bud's plastic cup from Ikea. You can opt to slice off the crust before you flatten if your little one prefers his/her sandwiches crustless.

Then spread on your favorite sandwich filling. We love peanut butter and raisins and cream cheese and cucumber. Feel free to let your taste buds guide you to so many possible filling combinations.

Once you have finished piling on the yummy filling, roll the sandwich to resemble a log. Then cut up into 1" pieces. Pop in the mouth to taste then serve to your loved ones.


Friday, August 5, 2011

have a crafty weekend

I love this idea of repurposing duplo blocks into letter blocks! I think for now what I'll do is to label the blocks by its color to help the little guy learn how to read. He can definitely identify the colors but it would be a good exercise to associate the word with the color.

all photos from filthwizardry

Thursday, August 4, 2011

mommy musings

Inspired by the words of my favorite bloggers, Topaz Mommy and Cup of Jo, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you my thoughts and feelings about motherhood - how it has changed my life; it's joys and challenges. I don't get to talk to other moms as often as I would like to and maybe, just maybe, with this weekly post I would like to call "mommy musings", we could exchange insights and experiences.

Let me start this series by saying, no matter how cliche it sounds, motherhood really did change my life. If I had to choose just one word to describe how I have changed, I would say I have been empowered.

I've had a really delicate pregnancy. Doctors were already discussing with us the possibility of losing the baby. Miraculously, I gave birth to our son on my 30th week. He was a fighter and a survivor. Even while he was still in my womb, I could feel that he had the will to live and see the world. He was only 2.5lbs when he was born and he stayed in the NICU for 2 months before coming home with us. I could say he's the most determined person I know.

Just the fact that he was born, I know that God has amazing plans for my little boy. I always tell him that he could be whatever he wants to be. There's a scene from the movie The Pursuit of Happiness when Cris Gardner (Will Smith) told his son "Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something. Not even me". Maybe when Bud is old enough to understand (and not misconstrue my words), I would use that line with him.

I would like to ingrain in my son's mind that he can do whatever he puts his heart and mind into. I figured, the best way to teach a child is by example. So here I am, trying to teach by example and practicing the "can do" attitude. I am trying to be the best person I could be. I make the most out of the situation I am in and I try to be the best at what I do.

Relocating to the US was no walk in the park for us but we did it anyway because it was the right thing to do for our family. With only 5 suitcases and our closest family 400 miles away, it was a challenge. But even without any help we overcame. With a little less complaining and a lot more "can do" mentality, our little family is thriving and happy. There's nothing I wouldn't and couldn't do for my two boys.

I've always wanted to run a marathon but I always thought it was a lofty dream. My perception changed when I became a mom. I don't want to live a life of what-ifs and could-haves. I want to tell my children about stories that inspire. That's why I've been training for a half marathon for 2 months now. I want to be able to tell my children about it and inspire them. If other people can do it, then so can I and so can you.

What about you? What life lessons would you like to share with your children?


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