Thursday, March 31, 2011

toddler-approved recipes: banana oatmeal bars

We had some overripe bananas sitting on our counter and I didn't want to throw them away so I decided to turn them into a healthy snack for me and the little man.

Today's Snack:


1 1/2 overripe bananas, mashed

2 egg whites

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup rolled oats

1/8 cup dried cranberries

1/8 cup raisins

1/8 cup chopped cashew nuts

Whisk the egg whites and mix to the mashed bananas and cinnamon. Fold in the dry ingredients.

Pour mixture into well greased baking pan. I used 2 flan pans and filled them 1/3 of the way.

Bake in 350F for 50 minutes. I baked mine in the oven toaster to be more energy efficient.

Cut into 2" squares and serve.

You can add honey or brown sugar to the recipe if you want it to be sweet. You can also try different dried fruits and nuts for variation.

Happy Snacking!

profession: stay-at-home-mother

I wanted to share with you this article about the Stay At Home Mother and Her Brain.

It's true, often times we stay-at-home-moms question the value of what we do day in and day out and fret over the lack of a "real" job with adequate monetary compensation. But just because we're not getting paid to do what we're doing doesn't mean we're limiting ourselves in terms of intellectual stimulation and activity.

In my opinion, we all have different roles to fulfill in this world and what really matters is how we challenge ourselves to do our best in every task and be our best in whatever situtation we find ourselves in. We can't all be lawyers, doctors, or aerospace engineers. Some people are meant to be professional athletes or fashion designers and by no means are they using their brains any less, don't you agree?

Parenting is no easy feat. It's an emotionally, spiritually and intellectually challenging job for everyone who has children. The only difference is working parents get some help from professional educators and caregivers when they leave their kids at school or in daycare while stay-at-home-moms have to take on the role of being the educator and caregiver every waking minute while juggling other adult responsibilities.

Stay healthy and happy, bunnies!

best drugstore beauty finds

I was just talking to some girlfriends the other day about hair care and I was surprised (and relieved) that I'm not the only one who's suffering from falling hair. The extremely cold and dry winter here in the midwest is to blame. Also, it doesn't help that I use hot (sometimes scalding hot) water to wash my hair.

One way I cope is to wash my hair only every other day. On the days when I don't wash, I use Tresemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo. It's effective at zapping oil and odor from my hair in between washes. My hair doesn't really get oily and I always tie my hair in a pony so styling is really not a concern. My major issue is with all the cooking I do, at the end of the day my hair smells like food! But since I started using Tresemme dry shampoo, I don't have to worry about that. I just spray a generous amount of the dry shampoo in the morning, brush out my hair to get rid of the powder and viola, my hair feels clean and smells citrus-y fresh.

What I love even more about this dry shampoo is its price. Most dry shampoos cost over $20 but this one is only $4.99 at Target. I didn't even have to think twice before buying it.

Another staple drugstore product I use during winter (and all year-round) is Aquaphor Healing Ointment. It's very much like petroleum jelly only better. I've tried and tested several lotions and so far this is the one that does the most amazing job moisturizing my (extremely) dry skin during the cold months. I slather it all over, literally. I apply it around my eyes, on my lips, on my hands and feet.

I initially purchased this to get rid of the dry patches on Bud's legs, upon the recommendation of the pediatrician. It's definitely gentle and effective for babies. It's fragrance-free, dye-free and preservative-free. I highly recommend this miracle moisturizer to everyone.

What drugstore beauty products do you love?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

chocolate and raspberries

After finishing the last piece of my Ghirardelli Dark & Raspberry chocolate squares I had a sudden craving for a chocolate pastry with some fresh raspberries. My mouth was watering at the thought of biting into moist chocolate cake with bits of tart raspberries. If you like Black Forest cakes, then you'd know what I mean.

Here's what I was able to whip up with the available ingredients in our pantry.

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 sections (1/2 oz. each) unsweetened chocolate baking Bar, melted
1/2 pint fresh raspberries

Heat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups.

Stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; beat with whisk or spoon until batter is smooth. Blend in melted chocolate. Fill muffin cups 1/3 full with batter then add fresh raspberries. Add more batter so that muffin cups are 3/4 full.

Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cupcakes comes out clean. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely.

I didn't have enough cupcake liners so I poured the rest of the batter in my flan pan and made a loaf instead. I baked this 10 minutes longer to make sure the center was cooked.

Bud was standing around and poking the loaf while I was trying to take a decent photo. Even the little man could not resist.

It did taste just the way I imagined it. Only next time I will be more generous with the raspberries.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

song in my tummy

Here's something fun and silly to lighten up the mood. I gotta song in my tummy and it wants to come out...

Just my kind of singing and dancing.

ignorance, stupidity and greed

I just saw this controversial video yesterday. Boy oh boy, was it upsetting in so many different levels! First of all, what kind of parents, in their right minds, would even encourage a child to dance in a lewd way? It's really concerning that they would find it amusing to see their kid dancing like a sexy male dancer and have him perform on primetime television. It's just utterly irresponsible and stupid. If parents can't protect their own children, then who will?

Willie and the production team are just as much to blame as the parents. If Willie really is a champion of the poor, as he claims he is, then why didn't he stop the child from demeaning himself? Willie even asked the boy to dance over and over as if once was not humiliating enough. This is clearly a case of child exploitation. For what, TV ratings? I can't, for the life of me, understand what Willie's appeal is. Why do the masses adore and revere him so much? Is it because they seem to think he carries wads of cash in pockets all day? He's so sly they can't see that underneath that fake facade is a greedy and manipulative a**hole? Pardon my language.

Then there was the studio audience who were cheering and getting a knack out of watching a little boy in tears gyrating in front of them. We've definitely hit rock bottom if this is what people find entertaining. To think most of the people in the audience are mothers and fathers too. Have we been so desensitized from all the sex that's being flaunted in our faces on TV and in billboards?

Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power. - PJ O'Rourke

So to my dear PNoy and the rest of our public officials, please give serious thought and consideration to the RH Bill. Clearly there are so many ignorant and irresponsible parents who are living in poverty forcing their children to do desperate acts. Let's not underestimate our youth. They know what's going on and all they aspire for is a better life for them and their families. If we educate them properly and give them access to the proper tools (ie. contraceptives) I am most certain they will do the right and responsible thing.

And to my dear Cardinals, Bishops and Priests, I ask this with much respect, please lay off the RH Bill. Religious men who vow to be celebate and have no financial responsibilities have no business meddling in matters that concern reproductive health and family planning, don't you think?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

toddler-approved recipes: monte cristo sandwich

We attended a birthday party yesterday and as expected, Bud was too busy playing with the other kids to give a second thought about food. He did have a few bites of hotdog, spaghetti and some pastry but in quantities far less than what he would normally have. He also stayed up way past his bedtime so I wanted to serve him something more substantial for breakfast this morning.



2 slices of wheat bread

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

olive oil

1 slice of honey ham (or any kind of ham)

1 slice of american cheese

dallop of strawberry jam (or any berry preserve)

Heat oil in pan. Beat together the egg and milk. Dip bread slices in the egg mixture and grill on the hot pan. Make sure to grill both sides of the bread. When bread has a nice golden crust, add the cheese and ham on one slice and jam on the other. Remove from pan and assemble into a sandwich.

Cut up and serve.

Don't forget to make one for yourself too!

Friday, March 25, 2011


Hooray, the weekend is here once again! The days went by so quick I didn't even have the chance to tell you about our trip to the Twin City Model Train Museum last weekend.

We thought a visit to the train museum would be a great activity for Bud since he's really into trains these days. Sure enough, he had a blast and a half!

The musuem houses an elaborate scaled model panorama of the Twin Cities railroad from the 1930s to the 1950s which were built by volunteer hobbyists and train enthusiasts. There's also a Toy Train Division where kids and kids-at-heart could tinker and operate the different model layouts.

Equisitely detailed scaled model of the Twin Cities historical railroad

Toy Train Division offers lots of activities for kids and parents

If you're ever thinking of visiting the Twin Cities, the Twin City Model Railroad Museum is a great activity for the family.

What do you have planned for this weekend, Bunnies?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

toddler-approved recipes: shrimp and veggies with pesto

There are so many considerations that go into planning a meal for our toddlers. First we have to make sure it's well-balanced and nutritious. Then there's the issue of taste. Our little ones are more opinionated now so we have to cook the food in a way that is appealing to them. And as if that's not already challenging enough, we have to prepare it in such a way that's easy for our little ones to eat on their own.

This is what I do day in and day out. I'm just thankful that Bud is not a picky eater. I guess it also has a lot do with modeling since we eat most of our meals together. The mister and I make it a point to eat well-balanced meals too and we always eat with such gusto. Maybe Bud is also picking up on our love of food.

Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to start sharing some Bud-approved recipes here in my blog. I have borrowed so many inspired ideas from the other blogs I read and I hope I will be able to inspire you too. Just my simple way of paying it forward.



3-5 pcs peeled shrimps

1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (thawed)

1 tsp olive oil

1 tbsp pesto

Heat oil in pan. Cook shrimp until pink. Move shrimps to the edge of the pan and dump in the mixed vegetables. Once veggies are cooked turn off the heat and mix in the pesto. Cut shrimps into smaller pieces for easy eating.

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

updated carseat guidelines

Hey Mommies, have you heard? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released new guidelines to consider when deciding what type of carseat to purchase and when to make the transition from rear-facing to forward-facing.

In a new policy published in the April 2011 issue of Pediatrics (published online March 21), the AAP advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat. It also advises that most children will need to ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until they have reached 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years of age.

“The ‘age 2’ recommendation is not a deadline, but rather a guideline to help parents decide when to make the transition,” Dr. Durbin said. “Smaller children will benefit from remaining rear-facing longer, while other children may reach the maximum height or weight before 2 years of age."

When it comes to our children's safety, it's always best to practice prudence.

cranberry orange cookies

It was only recently when I had my first taste of Cranberry Orange Scones and what a delight! I really enjoyed the tartness from the cranberries and hints of citrus from the orange. Since then I have been reading up on how to make scones but have not found the confidence to make them yet. Instead, I tried making something simpler, Cranberry Orange Cookies! I only made a dozen of this recipe to see how they will turn out and now I wish I had made more. They are just heavenly! And if I just cut back a little on the sugar and butter it could be a great snack for the little dude too.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

welcoming spring

It's finally starting to warm up - meaning temperature highs are now in the 40s (or 5 celcius). It's amazing how everything is relative, isn't it? 40s in Minne-snowta already feels like spring! The snow has started to melt and the sidewalks have reappeared. The coming days are only going to get better and brighter.

To usher in the season, I baked a batch of colorful M&M cookies.

We also spruced up the living room with some new pillows.

And I have brought out more colorful pieces of clothing to wear!

How have you been preparing for spring?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

pessimist or realist?

I was so shaken when I first saw the news about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan early Friday morning. I was heartbroken for the Japanese. I was sobbing while Bud and I watched the news together over breakfast.

The footage of the raging water engulfing everything in its path looked like a scene from a disaster movie. It was overwhelming. I could only imagine how devastating it must be for those who were there to experience it.

Hours after I heard he news, I thought to myself, I probably shouldn't worry so much. Japan is probably the most equipped country to handle this type of calamity. First of all, I was confident they had the funds and logistics for relief and rescue operations. Secondly, I assumed they have state-of-the-art infrastructure that could withstand earthquakes of such magnitude. Most of all, they are a nation of people who are very resilient, motivated and innovative. If they were able to grow their country to be the second largest economy in the world (until recently when they were overtaken by China) after Hiroshima, they could survive anything.

But days after the tragedy, I still could not stop myself from worrying. This time I worry that I am starting to believe the doomsayers. Maybe we will witness the end of our modern world during our lifetime. There are so many different scenarios being presented by the prophets of doom, all of which are plausible. Now with Japan struggling to contain a possible nuclear crisis, the more I am convinced that it's not a question of IF but WHEN.

Am I being a pessimist or a realist? The even more important question I ask myself is, can I survive?

Dear Bunnies, I hope my negative vibe doesn't dampen your mood. I just had to get this out of my system. Thanks for bearing with me.

stop forwarding hoax text message

Today in

(CNN) -- Filipino authorities sought to calm panic unleashed among some residents after a hoax text message warned that radiation from Japan may affect the Philippines.

Concerns persist about nuclear reactors in Japan in the wake of a magnitude-9.0 quake and subsequent tsunami that struck the nation Friday.

But "there is no immediate danger of nuclear radiation in the Philippines," the nation's Department of Science and Technology said in a statement Monday.

The text message, which appeared to be a news flash from the BBC, spread like wildfire on Monday.

It said that the Japanese government had confirmed a radiation leak at nuclear plants in Fukushima Prefecture and that "Asian countries should take necessary precautions." It went on to warn that radiation may begin hitting the Philippines by Monday afternoon and instructed people to stay indoors and apply Betadine, an over-the-counter topical iodine-based antiseptic, on their neck area where their thyroid gland is located.

The message also warned against being in the rain, telling recipients to use an umbrella or raincoat "even if it's only a drizzle."

It was not immediately clear how many people received the message. Although some Filipinos dismissed it as a hoax immediately, others rushed to drugstores in search of Betadine.

The message also spread to some Filipinos living abroad, who became concerned about their relatives back home.

"I contacted my family, telling them not to go out, not to go anywhere," said Rowena Acquino, a Philippines expatriate in Jakarta, Indonesia. "The one who spread that news should be punished."

In its advisory, the Department of Science and Technology warned against believing in "hoax messages" and "rumors." "The advice circulating that people should stay indoors and wear raincoats if they go outdoors has no basis and did not come from the DOST or the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Center," the statement said. It asked Filipinos to stop forwarding the message "so as not to sow panic among our people."

"It was an irresponsible thing to do, considering the anxiety and panic that it can cause the public," said Lyndon Daz, a resident of the Philippine capital, Manila.

But, like many, Daz said he is still concerned. "We know the dangers that this can cause when the spread of it and containment is unabated," he said. "I am not quite certain that the Philippines is distantly safe from the radiation effects of the Fukushima power plant."

Hoax text messages, warning of impending disasters and often quoting reputable news organizations like the BBC or even CNN, are not uncommon in the Philippines or Indonesia.

Some Indonesians also received the message on their mobile phones, on their BlackBerries and on social networking sites like Facebook, Indonesian executive Manda Azhairie said. "It's unfortunate that there are irresponsible people who take advantage of other people's misfortunes," she said.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

bread dumplings with mushroom sauce

design sponge

This is what's currently making my mouth water.... hmmm, yum! heavy...cream.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

weekly dose

Here's something you still don't know about me. My favorite day of the week has always been Thursday. Why? Because it means just one more day and it would officially be the start of weekend fun! The idea that the week is almost coming to an end thrills me. I guess I'm quirky that way. But I look forward to it even more so now because it's when the Mister comes home from his weekly business trips.

While I wait for Thursday and the Mister, here were some of my sweet companions throughout the week.

I have always been intimidated by the thought of making Leche Flan. It seemed like such a tedious task until I found this recipe and finally had the courage to make it. It was not as hard as I imagined except I still can't make proper caramel so I cheated and made simple syrup instead.

I've always been a HUGE fan of anything with chocolate and mint together so I was delighted to find this at the grocery store. Instant warm hug in a cup.

Oh my, these shortbread cookies from Honolulu Cookie Company are like little pieces of joy. Something you must try if you ever find yourself in Hawaii.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

home improvement: picture wall

We finally finished our picture wall project for our dining area! Up on the wall is a collection of photographs taken during our travels. We had our photos printed at Costco and mounted them on Ribba frames from Ikea.

I know the photos don't do justice to the collection but I was just too excited to share them with you.

Before you start your DIY picture wall, here are some tips I would like to share from our experience.
#1 Have an visual reference for the layout before you buy your frames and print your photos.
#2 Make paper mock ups of your frames that you can tape on the wall so you can easily measure and adjust to your desired layout.
#3 Start at the center of your wall so you can keep adding more frames on each side.
#4 You can drill through the paper mock ups to get a more accurate measure of where the hooks should be.

Happy nesting, bunnies!

Monday, March 7, 2011

a bud's life

It's already the second week of March and there is still snow outside. Despite the the not-so-ideal conditions, life goes on. I do my best to provide Bud with fun and enriching activities and Bud has likewise entertained me thoroughly.

A typical day for us would start with a hearty breakfast followed by a trip to an indoor playground. Wednesdays are extra special because he gets to see his classmates in school. It's an hour and a half in the week when he gets to be independent and I get to chat uninterrupted with other moms.

As soon as we get back from our morning activities, we have lunch then I put him down for a 2-3 hour nap, depending on how exhausted he is.

Afternoons are spent monkeying around the house, literally. He loves wearing his monkey costume from last Halloween. Here he's a monkey chef. Notice how he has a better looking cardboard kitchen? This is version 2.0, more polished and sturdy. We also got him some kiddie cooking pans from Ikea to complete the set.

To help Bud develop his gross motor skills, we do a lot of strengthening activities during the week. One of them is yoga. Just the mere mention of yoga and he'll immediately do a downward dog. Look at him trying to do a cobra pose, a bow pose and a dead bug pose.

We try to squeeze in some arts and crafts if we have time. Here's one of our latest projects inspired by paper leaves. I have a habit of keeping all sorts of used wrapping paper and magazines which came in handy for this project (and also explains the wrinkled paper).

Bud's cheerful personality never fails to brighten up even the most dreary of winter days. I always thank God for giving me such an amazing little boy!

“Children love to walk in their parent's shoes; make sure they have strong "souls".”

-Vanese Henley

Sunday, March 6, 2011


While I have great admiration for those people who support more sustainable food alternatives, I personally go by the rule eat in moderation and don't be wasteful.

Live, love and eat, bunnies!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

want to look like pepper potts?

If you have been following my posts you probably know by now how much I want winter to be O-V-E-R. One of my biggest winter woes is not having enough exercise. You see, finding time to workout is a real challenge for me especially since P is out of town most days of the week. The few quiet hours I get when Bud is napping I spend attending to my homemaker duties. By the time he goes to sleep at night, I'm too exhausted to even think about moving about.

When it was a lot warmer outside I brought Bud along with me when I ran. He would be sitting comfortably in his jogging stroller while I pushed him uphill and downhill. But since it got too cold and the sidewalks now all buried in snow, I have resorted to getting a membership at the community center.

One of the perks of going to the center is that they have childcare where you can leave your little ones while you workout (assuming they cooperate and not throw a fit when you leave them). The staff at the childcare are great! They engage the kids in play and are very patient with the ones who need more cuddling time.

As you might have guessed, Bud is one of those kids who need the extra cuddling and comforting from the staff. The first day I left him he did great, no crying. The second day and the consecutive days thereafter have been unencouraging (if there is such a word). I only get 20 minutes of running time on the treadmill because I know he is in the childcare crying and just waiting for me to come get him. Most days he would cry on and off but there was a day or two when he just cried non-stop.

It was only last Tuesday when we had a breakthrough. He was crying when I left but when I returned to get him he was playing contently! Even the girls were pleasantly surprised at his new found calm. I'm really hoping that he finally realized that mommy's always going to come back, as I have repeated over and over. Let's see how it goes tomorrow.

One celebrity mom who really inspires me is Gwyneth Paltrow. Here she openly shares her exercise and diet regimen for getting into shape for her role as Pepper Potts in Ironman2.

Here's one of the leg and butt routines designed by celebrity trainer, Tracey Anderson. Very encouraging.

Stay fit and healthy, bunnies!


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