Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Chocolate Hazelnut Peanut Butter SMORES

I know I'm supposed to go on a diet, but I could not resist this recipe from the Pioneer Woman.  I'm not trying to justify my shameful act, but being at home and breastfeeding kind of pushed me to be a couch potato... ha!  And I'm only either tuned in to E!, TFC, HGTV, TLC, or Food Network.  And on Food Network, my favorite shows are Pioneer Woman, Chopped, and Diners, Dive Ins, and Dives.  I know, it's dangerous for a woman trying to lose the pregnancy weight!  But heck, I was very pleased with Ree's latest sweet creation - it was so easy, and I had all the ingredients!  Here's a photo - not the most photogenic, but heck was it good!  I tried making a variation by using Speculoos, but quickly realized that there's nothing like the real peanut butter!

I'll be a good girl in the next few days. :-)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wednesday Slob

Staying at home due to my extended leave has its perks of course (Madi at the top of the list), but sometimes I feel like such a big slob that I have to drag my whole body to do something more productive.  Besides, this kind of life will not be for long - I'll be back to work in less than two months.  Ugh.  Help me God.  Anyway, yesterday was one of those days.  I have this routine of browsing this daily deals shopping site, Zulily, starting at 8AM when they refresh their stuff.  The featured deal yesterday was TOMS shoes, and OMG were they cheap!  Definitely cheaper than the usual retail price!    So practically the whole day, if not breastfeeding, I was lying on the couch, browsing and shopping away!  The thing with this site, you have to be super quick as items sell out just when you're about to add them to your basket.  And since these were shoes I was eyeing, it's almost like I was playing habulan with other buyers as sizes come and go so I had to be extra vigilant and go back and forth to the styles I wanted.  At 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I ended up buying six pairs of shoes and feeling so guilty as I felt so unproductive and yup, such a SLOB.  I had to create something.  I whipped up a baby headband in thirty minutes.  Another post on that.

I also had my daily walk, and this time to the grocery store so I can buy ingredients for two dishes I've been planning to cook since a month ago?  Haha.  Hubby and Madi joined me.  Here are products of my couch potato-ing on food network.

Barefoot Contessa Lobster Salad
(Recipe here)
I used Farfalle instead of shells.

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti
(Recipe here)
I used fresh red bell peppers instead of canned pimiento.

I went to bed not feeling like a slob anymore.  Thank you God for helping me get on my feet and turning my day around.  And more importantly, having this kind of life where "turning a day around" was not really such a big deal.  I feel so blessed.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Our First Walk in the Park

I've finally gotten the confidence to walk alone with Madi around our neighborhood! Yahoo!  It was just a short 25 minute walk because it was still too hot, even at ten in the morning.  I thought I'd give my baby a healthy dose of vitamin D and myself an exercise (in line with my MLW goal).  I almost procrastinated (again), but I thought the weather was nice and forced myself to get out of my PJs and do some walking!  It took me probably 10 minutes to prepare, in my fear of laziness settling in, ha!

Here's my baby with her summer outfit.  I just bought her shorts last week and I'm now thinking, I should've bought some more... ugh.  Isn't it just too cute?  And yup, I just had to match it with a headband which I lovingly made myself.  My baby should always look fab (like mama) even during these short walks.

We actually just went around the park and didn't sit on the benches as it was way too hot and sunny.  I noticed that a lot of mothers and old ladies walked around at this time.  And they had smiles on their faces - it's almost like they're welcoming me to their secret club. :-)

Madi fell asleep towards the last few minutes of our walk.  She was a good girl.  I'm lucky.  She even held my hat as my forehead was getting so sweaty hehehe!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What to Do with Leftover Ketchup Packets, etc.

When I was on my third trimester of pregnancy, laziness and exhaustion ended up in food delivery and takeouts too many.  Grubhub was my best friend as it was so convenient - Chinese, American, Thai, Italian, Mediterranean, Vietnamese - name it, we ordered it!  And along with the food were too many condiments - ketchup, soy sauce, mustard, salt, pepper, etc.  Excessive really.  I never threw them away, knowing that one day I might use them, but it took me a few months to finally do so!  We had a good stash I kept in a plastic container - just see below!  Last weekend, I thought I'd make my own barbecue sauce out of these little packets of goodness.

Barbecue Sauce Ingredients for 5 Chicken Thighs:

- 12 packets of ketchup (any kind)
- 2 packets of soy sauce (usually from Chinese/Thai restaurants)
- 1 packet of hot mustard (Chinese)
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder (or 1 packet of hot sauce)
- 1 tbsp of sugar
- 2 tbsp vinegar (I used cider)
- Salt and Pepper to taste


1. Combine all ingredients until barbecue sauce consistency.
2. Marinate 5 chicken thighs with the sauce for at least one hour.
3. Bake in 400 F oven for 45 mins to an hour.  Brush with sauce every 15 to 20 mins.
4. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.  Also good with chimichuri, but good as is.

I did this also with baby back ribs - unfortunately, I was only able to take a picture when there was only 1 rib left!  Husband loved it.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Simple Good Life

I've been meaning to go out for a walk last week but the weather wasn't conducive for a nice stroll downtown with my innocent little baby (hehe).  Today was an unusually cold summer day and since it's Saturday, hubby joined us for a walk and a little shopping!  Michigan avenue is the place to be in Chicago downtown for some serious shopping and though we live a 15-minute-walk away, I rarely go there.  So today was the day... and hopefully more days to come.  Better make the most of summer before we head back home.

As we walked down the famous avenue with our decadent Ghirardelli drinks, I thought, God has been good to me.  Wow.  Looking at my dear little family, I felt all giddy and proud.

And just when I started thinking about what our life would be like when we move back to the Philippines, what challenges await us, blah, blah, blah... Heck, it's a great day.  I chose to just soak it all in.

And Madi agreed with me. :-)

Friday, June 28, 2013

DIY Headbands for Madison

So really I was supposed to go out today to start my MLW goal.  But it rained.  Really, it did! :-)  So no  walking done, but I was productive.  Being the kikay mom that I am, I love dressing up my little girl!  I have been browsing practically everyday for baby headbands, but I find them very expensive.  What's the big deal?!  Then I saw some headband materials lying around the living room shelf screaming for me to use them - they are left overs from the baby shower and already gathering dust, tsk, tsk.  I wanted to make something that would not look like a school project, so I found myself browsing for tutorials on youtube, starting with the very basic bow.  Good thing I have all the materials on hand...

This video did it for me.  It's really super easy - it got so addictive and I could've done a lot more if only I had no other chores, and of course, my model needed some attention too!  I made three today since it's my daughter's third month birthday!

The one in the middle had ready made flowers, so I just added another bow for a more girly touch.  I have yet to let Madi wear all of them, but here's a photo of her with the very first one I made.  I have a feeling I'll have more posts like this.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Must Lose Weight.

My daughter is turning 3 months' old tomorrow and I'm happy how she turned out to be a happy, healthy baby.  Really so happy with that.  With all the challenges I've overcome in the last three months, I'm quite proud of myself (and my husband of course).  The journey is definitely still on, but I'm in a place where I now think I need to do something about myself.  I must lose weight.  As I've been breastfeeding exclusively, I know I could not go into crash diet mode, which I've proven as effective several times in the past. So what I will do, is to gradually lose weight - starting with eating healthy and doing a little bit more walking.  I have yet to gather the guts to go out alone with my daughter as I'm used to the security I have with my husband being beside me all the time.  I think I'll start by going to the park tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I hope I get through the end of this post...

Why hello, blogger!  Yes, I'm still alive and glad to be since I've never been so exhausted in my life for the past two months - and counting.  If you're one of the few who've been following my posts, well... our little angel has finally arrived!  Our baby was already overdue by a little more than a week, and after our final ultrasound, it was found out that she was a whopping 10-pounder baby!  So... after 10 seconds of convincing by our doctor (ha!), little Madi said "hello world" on Maundy Thursday, March 28th, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.  She came out 9 lbs 10 oz and oh so perfect (why, of course).  Our doctor called her "Pudgy". :-) Yup, I had C-section which I thought was such a blessing for my fearful, low-pain-tolerance self, but it turned out to be even worse during recovery.  I'm so glad I that's all behind me now.  Alleluia!

Our baby is now on her 3rd month.  And now as I type this, she started crying... I guess my post title didn't hold up.

Unicorns, rainbows, and all those cutesy stuff all day long are pure myth.  Having a baby is hard work, but it's also true that it will be worth every sleepless night, headache, breastfeeding scab, and tear (lots of them) once your baby starts smiling and cooing and just being her healthy happy self.  Even the thought of her being all ours already puts a smile to my face every 15 minutes or so... then she cries and my heart beats a little faster.  Great, what does she want now?  I just fed her 15 minutes ago.  Did she get enough breast milk?  Do I have enough breast milk? These are just few questions that run through my tired brain 24X7.  And speaking of breast milk, breast feeding is one big battle altogether.  I almost gave up the first week, especially when Madi lost a lot of weight.  Thank God for friends and family who cheered me on and gave me hope that IT DOES GET BETTER.  And after the third pedia visit, which by the way was always nerve-wracking for me, Madi finally gained back her birth weight -- plus more.  I almost did a happy dance in front of the nurse.

Our world practically revolves around Madi - she always comes first.  Gone are the days we have peaceful uninterrupted meals and spur-of-the moment movie nights.  We don't have schedules now - they're never followed anyway.  I don't shop 'til I drop anymore (hurray for hubby).  Forever 21 was erased from my list of top sites - it was replaced by Zulily (a mother and baby shopping site).  Okay, so I take back what I said about me not shopping!  It's a different kind of high getting cute stuff and deals for my baby.  So it's still fun.
I can go on and on about my experiences being a first time mom, but one thing's for sure... you can never be prepared for it.  I knew it will be hard, but I never thought it would be this HARD.  Coupled with post partum depression and recovering from surgery, I found myself sobbing every day during the first few weeks.  No amount of help and encouragement from my mom or my hubby can stop the emotional toil and physical pain of taking care of a newborn.  Self doubt, exhaustion, and my own innocent little baby were my nemeses.  Yes, my baby.  Having to deal with her limitless and sometimes inexplicable cries is SCARY.  Checking if she's still breathing every few minutes during nap time is still a habit of mine - thanks to my fear  of SIDS.
I am very lucky though that Madi has such a wonderful father.  My dear husband has exceeded all my expectations.  He's hands on, and so much in love with his little girl.  He's better at swaddling and putting her to sleep - I've conceded since day one.  Oh, and Madi looks just like him!  I've conceded as well!  I can just imagine how our daughter would grow up to be a Daddy's girl, and I am totally fine with that. :-) As long as he lets me dress up Madi in whatever way I want!  At least until she's old enough to impose her choice of outfit and accessories... so I got a few years...

I still have so much more to learn and go through in this new phase in my life.  Motherhood brought out the worst, then the best of me.  Just look at that smile - it's all worth it!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Preparing for Madi: Almost There!

Madi's Crib Mobile & Changing Pad...
(thank you to her titas and titos)

Her first playmates...

Her little wardrobe...
(Hers looks more fashionable than mine now, hmmmm)

Hand me down swing from Kuya Eli and girly blankets...

Her first car seat, also from Kuya Eli... "girlified"!  This will be her first "ride".

At 38.5 weeks, I'm ready to pop... life can't get more exciting than that.  How I love preparing our little home for our daughter.  Can't wait 'til I see your face little one...

Friday, March 1, 2013

A shower for Baby Madi

At last, here finally are photos from the Baby Shower held last February 16.  My dear friends organized this event (with my inputs of course as I couldn't help it) and it turned out a-m-a-z-i-n-g.  Not that it's my own, but I really thought this was the best shower I've been to! :-) The theme?  Sugar & Spice and Everything Nice, that's what Baby Madison is made of...

The Candy Buffet courtesy of my BFF, Czar

Love, love, love the diaper carriage, courtesy of Janice and Donna

Pink and Blue Lemonade with customized mason jars as lemonade containers.  You can actually write on the lid so you don't (unintentionally) share your drink!

Customized coffee and hot choco sleeves

Small table centerpiece topper

Food, food, food - the smores buffet was a hit!

My super adorable cake with matching cake pops!

Arts & Crafts section...

Games, games, and more games... we had so much fun.

My closest friends who flew, drove from different parts of the USA!

Tired, but super happy and grateful mommy and daddy.  We'll never forget this day.