Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Recipe of the Day: Spaghetti!

It's Ella's 17th month birthday and I decided to cook spaghetti to celebrate! Here's my take on kid's favorite birthday dish:


1 tbsp minced garlic
1 whole onion chopped 
1/2 kg ground pork or beef
1 250g Del Monte Tomato sauce
1 150g Del Monte Tomato paste
1 cup milk
2 cups water
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup tbsp sugar
1 tbsp white pepper
2 laurel leaves
1 kg spaghetti
6 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp salt
1 can Reno liver spread
2 whole red bell peppers chopped
salt and additional sugar to taste

1. Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Add 4 tbsp cooking oil and 1 tsp salt while boiling. Drain pasta and set aside.
2. Saute ground meat in onion and garlic until cooked. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, milk, water, soy sauce, sugar, white pepper and laurel leaves. Bring to a boil.
3. Add bell peppers, liver spread, salt and sugar depending on taste. 
4. Serve with grated cheese.

Happy 17th month birthday my dearest!

your every woman,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cute Little Girl's Jewelry!

Liz, my mother, has something in store for everyone at Isabella's Box. And now, to add to her collection of wonderful gems comes her cute Little Girl's Jewelry line! I'm excited because now we can get to share the joy of showing off our cute little girls with trinkets made especially for them! Her inspiration came from my niece and my daughter whom she gave such gifts to. Oooh! The privilege of having a jeweler in the family...

Ella wearing the brown Swarovski bracelet she got for her birthday.

...Notice that I have a matching bracelet too!

Ella wearing the corales bracelet she got for Christmas.

Love 'em? Have yours customized now!

your every woman,

Spice Up Your MaLing on Recipe of the Day!

Been a bit lazy yesterday because my asthma kept me awake during the nights of my days off...Anyway, I resulted to just go "de-lata" for lunch and found Purefoods' Chinese Style Luncheon Meat. Got this recipe from my big brother Eric..

1 can Luncheon Meat (or any kind of meat loaf) sliced into rectangular pieces
1 cup batter (or see batter recipe below)
1 cup tempura breading
1 cup cooking oil

Batter Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp iodized salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 egg

-Mix all ingredients thoroughly to make batter.

1. Cover each luncheon meat slice with batter.
2. Dip in tempura breading.
3. Fry until golden brown.
4. Serve with ketchup.

your every woman,

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Recipe of the Day: Home Chicken Curry


2 cups cooking oil for deep frying
4 medium sized potatoes, each sliced into 6 parts
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp chopped onions
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp chopped ginger (or use ginger powder if you don't like ginger bits like I do)
1 whole chicken, cut into single serve parts
1 cup water
2 cups coconut milk (1 cup kakang gata, 1 cup 2nd squeeze)
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 small carrots
2 red bell peppers
salt (amount depends on taste)
1/2 tsp sugar (*to replace MSG)
chili peppers (optional)

**When I come home from the market, I usually marinade all our meat with salt and pepper before storing in the fridge to seal freshness and flavor. 

1. Deep fry potatoes with a dash of salt. Set aside.
2. Saute onion and garlic in cooking oil.
3. Add chicken and ginger.
4.When chicken is already golden brown, add 2nd squeeze of gata and water. Bring to a boil.
5. Add curry powder, pepper, kakang gata and soy sauce. Simmer for around 10 minutes.
6. Add carrots, red bell pepper, salt, sugar and chili pepper and cook for 5 more minutes. 
7. Serve with fried potates.

May serve 10 people. Enjoy!

your every woman,

Offspring Intelligence...Nature or Nurture?

I have been raised to believe that I was born with intelligent genes. Even so, my grandmother still continued in me, my siblings and cousins, what she had done for her kids whilst growing up --making the home the first school. I never knew how early she started it. One thing I'll never forget her account of me being able to write my complete name by age 3 (think: Bianca Helen Del Rosario).

Now while some people in my family tree did grow up as achievers...Still, some didn't really make it to the honor rolls, despite being trained the same way as everyone else. I'm not talking about honor rolls literally. I believe that this list as well as test scores don't really mean more than just an assessment of what one has kept in memory. My idea of intelligence is having what it takes to live through life successfully. A person blessed with genius DNA can flunk without good guidance. In the same way that a person who didn't have good genes can progress through the support of family and teachers. 

With this in mind, I am still in constant efforts to provide a good learning environment for Ella. I can say that she has fairly intelligent parents (Ehem! Ehem!). But, she still needs all the help she can get. So, I buy her toys, read to her and engage in proactive play with her when I can. But sometimes, I feel guilty whenever I'm not around during learning opportunities because, my being a working mom means I'd have to leave her to a nanny (Why not relatives[?] will be a different blog...). As a resolution, I decided to enroll her to a playschool! It's not like parents should enroll kids in some school at an early age...It's just that I don't have enough time and energy to come up with novel ideas to feed her growing hunger for knowledge. However, I haven't found a good school yet. Ella seemed to be a bit advanced compared to the kids at one Gymboree class we got to try.

Now let me share what my Ella has learned without school over the past few months...

1.Can do the close-open routine by 4 months
2.Can say mama and papa with meaning by 5 months
3.Can brush her teeth using The Angel Brush by 7 months
4.Changed mama and papa to mommy and daddy by 8 months
5.Walk by 10 months
6.Dance by 11 months
7.Recognize names of people and her favorite toys by 12
months. You can ask her to "love" (hug) each of them and she'll know who to pick! I remember when she was climbing my chair on day, I told her "Ella, don't climb. Are you a monkey?". She left and got back to me with her monkey stuffed toy.
8.Follow basic instructions such as getting something by 13 months.
9.Has an extensive vocabulary by 14 months:
-"mimi" for cat
-"bo" for ball
-"bu" for bird
-"babi" for bubbles
-"babu" for pig
-"bibi" for kids and babies
-"do" for dog
-"nono" for lolo / "nana" for lola
-"toto" for her favorite stuffed toy, Cow-cow
-"didi" for her kid friend, Jinjin
-"ona" for her nanny, Lorna
-"chu" for shoes
-"namnam" for food, "nami" for delicious
-"jijo" for Jesus. She recognizes Jesus in almost all His, the cross, sculptures, etc.
10.Continuosly updating sounds and letters and lots of additional words on her vocabulary.
11.Can name parts of her body, name every family member and say "please" by 16 months.

Considering how much she knows at this age, I feel it's negligence on my part to not nurture her God given intellectual capacity. I don't want her to look back when she grows up regretting not being able to meet something just because she didn't have what it takes.

Does anyone have suggestions for a good learning environment?

your every woman,

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ways To Get Constructive Criticism Across to our Husbands Peacefully...

I'm sure we all noticed something wrong with our husbands. And in as much as we want to voice them out, we shy away because of the thought of what he would feel. Or sometimes, we did let them out but it caused a sort of gap in the relationship...

So how can we really let them know? Let me count my ways:

1. Course it through a letter. Even when you think you can always tell hubby in the face, it's sometimes better that he reads them first. By avoiding conversation for the meantime, it allows him to contemplate and not be defensive of what it was you wrote. Be sure you it's detailed and you write it with loving words. Then when he's ready, he will either engage in conversation with you or respond with a letter. Either way, it already avoided unnecessary shouting and fighting.

2. Sugar coat it. Not like you should beat around the bush, but positive scripting works wonders in all relationships. You may first higlight the wonderful things about him and then provide the criticism as something you have just been noticing recently. A little praise sets a calm disposition and gives the impression that the bad thing isn't that great of a deal for you. However, make sure both of you come up with a resolution.

3. Do a self check. Inform your husband how much you understand how he feels whenever you do the negative things you do and then tell him how you feel regarding the negative things he does. This way, he'll think that it's ok to err sometimes because everyone does, and that you're talking about it because you want it fixed and not because you're pointing fingers.

4. Calm yourself down. If the negative thing you noticed made you upset, never EVER lay down anything when you're mad. It only makes matters worse because anger is contagious. Especially if your voice is going up, your husband, wanting to be heard, would also raise his voice. And another thing about being mad is that your mind doesn't select the right words to say. Keep in mind that something said can never be unsaid. Hurtful words would leave wounds on both your hearts which may affect your relationship.

5. Seize the moment. If you see something you didn't like and you're not angry about it, then say it right away. You can even make a joke out of it! Don't wait until you see several instances of it and do the confrontation when you've had enough. It wouldn't be too big for both of you the first time, but a pot full of boiling water would definitely be hurt went spilt.

Well...that's as much as I think I used on Drew. How about you, got other tactics in blurting out negative information? Please share them here!

your every woman,

Friday, April 24, 2009

How to Maximize Your Salary

For someone who doesn't have a family business, it's very difficult to budget one salary to reach the next isn't it? That is one major problem we've had as a young family. We decided not to live in either parents' house because we wanted to run our family on our own. Never mind the additional expenses of renting...It's better than a lost relationship!

Anyway, the things on my list are, rent, electricity, water, nanny pay, groceries, daily work allowance and transportation, Ella's milk and diapers, and tons of miscellaneous! So what's a mom to do? It's a good thing we both have work, but what about the other families out there? Well...of course, one is to have a really good side business (which I'm seriously thinking about having...) and another is careful and scrutinuous budgeting.

So for me, budgetting has become a science. I can't say that I don't run out of money, but these tip surely helped us live a somewhat comfortable life...hope it does for you too!

1. Write down all the things that are lacking or needs replacement in the house. This way, you prevent future unnecessary trips to the supermarket just to get them.

2. Make a WRITTEN menu of what you and your family would like to eat for the next couple of days and take note of the ingredients with the exact measurements. This should help you determine the things you really need when you hit the grocery.

3. Have a budget ready for a family weekend. You may not be planning one now, but who knows when the dad or the little one asks for one? Either they'd be disappointed by not being able to go because of lack of money, or there'd be a sudden difference in your budget if you obliged.

4. Plan big purchases ahead. If your planning to get one of those LCD tvs or that spin-dry washing machine, then make sure to plan it for when it is most "squeezable" in your budget . Since we're talking about salary, you most probably have a clear assumption of when you will be paid the most.

5. Buy in bulk. You not only do you save more but the supply will be enough for succeeding pay days, leaving you with extra money for that big purchase.

6. Save! Save! Save as much as you can in the bank, your personal vault, or a passbook account that would be more difficult to withdraw.

Do you have any budget saving tips? Please know!

your every woman,

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sleep Training Our Babies

My daughter is now 16 months old and I have seen the benefits of giving her as much sleep as she needs. Now I am editing and posting an entry from my previous sunmom blog to reiterate the importance of sleep in babies:

I've known of a lot of babies, even before I became a mother, who have exhausted their parents and caregivers with lack of sleep. Of course, we all love our little bundles of joy! But this lack of sleep not only lessens our energy but also IMPEDES LEARNING on our children!Babies need sleep because this is the time they process everything they learn during their awake time. If they miss sleep, precious information could just slip away. (source: The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley)

Another incorrect idea was to keep the baby active, almost to the point of exhaustion, so that come night time, baby would just sleep away 'til morning! I've learned this through reading and have proven it on my own daughter --that babies need to be well rested in the morning to be able to get a good night's sleep! And to achieve that, we must maintain naptimes in the morning as well as a very stable nap and bed time routine. Actually, I have mixed that style with another parenting secret I've learned back in college Psychology...I make my daughter's whole day routinary! Here goes her day:

6:00 wake-up time / breakfast
7:00-8:00 morning outdoor play
8:00-9:30 play alone / tv time
9:30-10:00 toothbrush and bath time
10:00-11:00 or 12:00 morning nap time
12:00-1:00 lunch
1:00-3:00 free time/play time
3:00-4:00 or 5:00 afternoon nap time
5:00-6:00 afternoon outdoor play
6:00-6:30 dinner
6:30-7:30 evening quiet time
7:30-8:00 toothbrush and clean up time before sleeping

This is practically the same schedule she started with when she was just 3 months old. We can add variety to this schedule on some days like when were sleeping over at her grandparents' house, but the key is CONSISTENCY. Babies like to know what to expect. This would change as they grow older, so we'd like to take advantage of the time they still stick to our daily plans.

There was a time when I and Drew got too tired at work and get home very lazy that we just played with Ella for a few minutes, slept and left her with the nanny. She developed separation anxiety and would cry 3/4 of the day! Because of this, she resisted sleep especially when we're awake. She became too restless to sleep the entire night and the next day will just be all tantrums, tantrums, tantrums! We resolved to balance my family and work life to keep up with Ella's needs and now we're back on track!How about other mommies? What do you do to give your little ones enough sleep?

your every woman,