Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mommy and Me Monday: Family Time in Tali Beach

Two weeks ago, hubby and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary.  I thank God for the eleven blessed and blissful years with my former officemate (and buddy), now my lifelong mate.  We usually spend our anniversary in a place significant to us as a couple.  And since our special ‘I do’ day falls in the summer month of May, what could be more significant to us than being in a place where our friendship bloomed into a romantic love affair (LOL) – that’s in the beach!

This year, together with our kids, we hit it off to a private residential resort called Tali Beach in Batangas.  Thanks so much to our very good friends who blessed us with a generous accommodation to their humble and charming abode, our family had a grand time swimming in the calm beach and relaxing in the quietness and breeze of a private resort, away from the crowd.  And on our second day, we were all ecstatic because we had the entire Palm Beach (I think the best beach in Tali) all for ourselves!

View from Tali

Some snapshots of Batangas beach (in the Philippines) from a private residential resort called Tali Beach.

View near "The Cliff"

Monday, May 30, 2011

For Moms #2 - Want to Get Rid of Your Flabby Belly Fat?

To continue my month-long special topics dedicated to mothers, I think here’s another interesting topic that is a common concern to all mothers who have given birth.  Well, after giving birth twice via C-section, it’s kind of a personal concern of mine, too.  Although I’m proud to say that I have lost a lot of weight (and fats, too!) since I last gave birth 4 years ago, there’s still a bit of this fat in my belly that I need to work on.  Yeah, this stubborn fat on the lower stomach can really be embarrassing and frustrating especially when you are trying to wear tight pants or swim suit (especially 2-piece) or anything tight and body-hugging.

Of course, we know that one of the helpful benefits of breastfeeding is contracting the mother’s uterus to help her get back into shape sooner.  And this is one great natural remedy to shrinking down the belly faster.  But most of the time, during the course of pregnancy, we tend to gain more weight, thus gaining more of those unwanted fats especially the gawky fat in our belly.  This flabby belly fat is also called “mother’s apron” because the fat deposits make the lower stomach hang down over the pelvis like an apron!  It is more widespread in mothers who have undergone a cesarean birth.  Losing this unwanted “apron-like” fat may not be easy, but with sheer determination to go on a proper diet and regular exercise, you may see some positive outcome on regaining a more fit body and toned belly.  Here are some interesting sites that you can visit to help you get rid of this stubborn flabby belly fat:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Healthy Recipe #2 - Homemade Herbed Tomato Sauce

A few weeks ago, my whole family visited our family orchard in the province north of Luzon (Philippines).  Veggies there in the province are quite cheap this time of the year, especially tomatoes.  And since summer time is the peak season for tomatoes, they can be bought at a very cheap price.  So Mom bought crates of tomatoes and other local vegetables to be distributed among her children. (How sweet and caring of her, really!)  When we came home from the province, I just thought I needed to make use of all those veggies, especially the bunch of tomatoes I got from Mom.  So I decided to make a basic homemade tomato sauce with different herbs to add flavor and aroma.

My fresh tomatoes which I made into sauce
Tomatoes, by the way, are rich in nutrients and provide lots of health benefits.  Some of these benefits include an abundant source of antioxidants and reduces cholesterol and protects the heart because of its large amount of lycopene, improves vision, keeps the gut healthy, lowers hypertension, prevents gallstone, and a rich source of vitamins and minerals.

This is another simple recipe you can make at home - all-natural tomato sauce without preservative and food coloring.  It's so simple that I don’t even keep track of the measurements!  I just go by my own personal taste and preference.(LOL)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mommy and Me Monday: The 1st Philippine Homeschool Kids Fair

With proud Teacher Mama
Just last Saturday, my daughter and I attended the very first Philippine Homeschool Kids' Fair organized by HAPI, which stands for Homeschool Association of the Philippine Islands.  It was a fun-filled day of celebrating the homeschool children's passion for music, arts and science.  And boy, was I amazed at the exhibit and performances of those children!

My daughter and I had to wake up early that day for the early ingress of the exhibit.  I drove all the way from Sta. Rosa, Laguna to Pasig City (Philippines) and back.  The weather was hot but perfect for the occasion.  It was a very tiring day for me and my daughter, but I must say it was really worth the effort joining in this momentous event.  Seeing once again some homeschool parents I know and meeting new acquaintances, viewing all the wonderful art displays and science projects of the children, looking at the educational books and toys and some yummy baked goodies of the kids, and watching the live performances of those very talented young children have all really made my day.

My 5-year old girl really loves arts and crafts.  She's always fond of drawing, painting and doing some crafts at home.  In fact, this summer she didn't want to enroll in any sport clinic or dance lessons.  So I enrolled her in an art and craft class, instead, which she really enjoyed.  For the homeschool kids' fair, she exhibited some of her art works which are a showcase of different art medium - water color, oil pastel, paint and collage.  Teacher Mama (that's me) chose the theme for her oil pastel and collage art works, which are about homeschooling and taking care of Mother Earth.

Friday, May 20, 2011

My "Barangay's" Mother's Day Celebration

Other than birthdays, Christmas, New Year, my parents’ anniversary, Valentine and Easter, there are two more special occasions that my family celebrates, and these are Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  (Oh, and I remember one more…Grandparents’ Day!)

Last May 8, the whole “Barangay” is at our parents’ house once again to have a different kind of Mother’s Day celebration.  I wrote “Barangay”, by the way, because that’s what we label our family since we’re big in number, quite an exaggeration, I know…but we’re really a bunch.  Anyway, I mentioned that this year’s Mother’s Day celebration in the family was kind of different from the previous years’ celebration mainly because Mom didn’t do any of the cooking, which is so not her.  Instead, we agreed that each of us (her daughters and daughters-in-law) would prepare a dish for her and the whole family – kind of like a pot bless - so Mom can just relax and take a day off from cooking.  For my contribution, very different from our usual Sunday get-together lunch menu, I decided to cook a Thai cuisine called Tom Yum soup, similar to the Filipino "sinigang" dish except that it’s spicier and is made up of shrimps and squids specially flavored with lemon, tomatoes, ginger and cilantro.  Even though may be a little bit of mucus oozed from their noses (LOL), many of the family members liked the soup’s spicy taste.  It’s actually a favorite soup of mine which I discovered from my frequent trips to Thailand in the past.  It’s just too bad I forgot to take a photo of my dish. :(

Anyway, here are some of our photos…

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Earth Celebration at Nuvali

In its commitment to environmental awareness and appreciation, Nuvali Evoliving pays tribute to Mother Earth with its I ♥ Earth: Nuvali Earth Celebration.  This 15-day event started last Saturday, May 14, and will end on May 29, 2011.  Various activities and displays have been lined up all through out this Earth celebration event, which include aerobic and yoga sessions, wellness cooking, bonsai and flower arrangement workshops, nature photography workshops and photo exhibits, and more.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

For Moms #1 - Prevention and Natural Remedy for Stretch Marks

For this whole month of May, I am dedicating all my health and wellness-related posts to all the mommies out there reading my blog by writing about topics or common problems and concerns typically faced by mothers like me.  As a believer of going “natural and organic”, I am in pursuit of finding natural ways to curing all sorts of health-related problems and concerns that I encounter in my life.  Some, I have already discovered and used, but for many, it looks like Mother Nature has so much gifts and wonders that I have yet to discover to find health cures.  Such an interesting journey to discover…

Well anyway, for a start, here’s one common concern I think any mother who has given birth would be interested in.  Well, it’s a personal concern of mine, especially when summer time comes…Would you believe I have been dreaming of wearing a two-piece bikini in the beach?!? (LOL)  But because of this problem, I feel so awkward to flaunting my body with these marks all over my tummy.  What are they?  STRETCH MARKS!
We all know that in pregnancy it is common to develop stretch marks because the skin stretches very rapidly that the fibers in the deep layers of the overstretched skin tear.  Unfortunately, once the marks appear, they are permanent, but they do become much less noticeable with time.  And I learned that the best way to avoid stretch marks is by preventing them.  How?  Here are how.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Different Mother's Day Giveaway

In celebration of Mother's Day, my good friend Mommy Chris of The Mommy Journey in partnership with photographer par excellence, Tracey Heppner of Tracey L Heppner Photography, are giving away a free family photo shoot to one blogger mom and her family.  I rarely join giveaways since I started blogging three months ago (yeah, pretty new!) and this is my very first time to join a local giveaway.  I do not want to pass this one because I think it's different from all other blog giveaways I've encountered so far.  For one, we do not have a really nice camera to capture a complete family photo.  And every time the four of us go out, either mom or dad is not in the picture with the two kids because she or he is behind the camera taking the picture.  So this giveaway would be a great chance for me to be treated with a very nice photo opp with my family - all four of us in the picture this time.  Also, I am enticed to join this giveaway because I do not only get to receive something out of winning (in case I do win), but what's more important to me is I get to participate in a worthy cause and give something to others, especially to the less fortunate little children of Gentle Hands, a ministry (located in Quezon City) dedicated to helping the urban people, especially children, of the Philippines.  In effect, I will not only be blessed with a treat of an excellent photo shoot with my loved ones by an international photographer (again, only in case I get to win this giveaway, haha!), but I also get to become a blessing to the ones very dear to my heart - the little children.  That to me is already a reward not here on earth, but in heaven...I just hope I could get to visit Gentle Hands with my children sometime in the future, and be a blessing to the little children there once again.

If you want to know more about the giveaway details, check them out here.  There are only four more days to go before the giveaway ends.  And if you want to be a blesser of Gentle Hands, too, you may visit their website here to get more information on how you can donate.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Remembering Mothers

Oh, I hope this is not yet late…A few minutes from now and it’s going to be another special day to celebrate in our family.  Even though there are many material gifts that we can think of giving on Mother’s Day, I think the simplest and most inexpensive yet profound and eternally-meaningful gift that we can offer our Mothers is a special prayer.  So this is my prayer to all the women who have been blessed to raise God’s children and heed the high and noble call of motherhood.  Happy Mother's Day!

Lord, you brought someone special to this world for a purpose –
Not just to birth and to raise your children, but to nurture and train them in godliness and righteousness.

I pray that you will bless her with the many ways she’s been a blessing to others.
Surround her with your love and with the love of those who care so much for her.
Grant her strength daily to fulfill the high and noble call of motherhood.
Grant her courage to face all trials and tribulations; hope and encouragement to not grow weary because laboring in the Lord will not be in vain.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Releasing Our Children Into God's Hands

I mentioned in my previous post that our two little angels are products of an answered prayer.  After five years of marriage and waiting patiently in prayer and expectation, God, in His perfect time, granted the desire of our hearts to have children of our own.  Even though it was difficult and high risk for me to get pregnant, God did not only bless us with one child, but two – a girl and a boy!

When our first child was born, I was so concerned about everything in her life.  I wanted to give her the best care and did not want to put her life in jeopardy that we even sought the service of a private-duty nurse to help me take care of my newborn baby as I recuperate from cesarean operation and recover from eclampsia.  And even when she was growing up as a baby, I was still too concerned with a lot of things in her life that all my strength and efforts were exerted much for her and that my life practically evolved around her.  Not until my husband and I dedicated her to the Lord through a simple ceremony in December 2005…My husband and I learned that dedicating our child to God is not just offering her back to her God and Maker, but part of it is releasing her into God’s hands.  I know that we, as parents, are merely God’s stewards and that our children are not ours, but His.  So from that point on, whenever I had fear about anything, I take it upon myself to immediately pray and trust God.

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