Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Preschool Bento!

RL came home with a circular from school the other day. Apparently, "Nutrition Month" starts next week and the kids will be required to follow a lunch schedule.

Monday: Cereals
Tuesday: Fruits (or any fruit-based food)

Wednesday: Vegetables (fresh or cooked as a viand)
Thursday: Sandwich
Friday: Rice Meal

And here I was thinking the usual Spam (with anything!) would do. Hahaha! Just kidding. Here's what he brought to school so far...

This was when Momma was thinking if she should start imBento-ing for the little boy.
| Tools | Bear Cookie Cutter and Ikea Cupcake Liner.

Hotdog pieces, rice and cookie - just because I wasn't feeling it that day.
| Tools | Sushi Rice Mold, Square Silicone Cup, Pick and Food Divider.

Star-themed imBento - Spam and Cheese Star Sandwiches and Honey Stars Cereal.
| Tools | Star Cookie Cutter and Mini Alphabet Cutter.

I thought he'd want more because he ate up the last imBento.
He didn't. LOL!
| Tools | Multi-size Heart Cookie Cutter, Mini Alphabet Cutter and Picks.

Cereal Day imBento: Cocoa Flakes, Honey Stars with Milk and a Cookie.
| Tools | Square Silicone Cups, Sauce Bottle and Mini Spoon.

Fruits Day: Banana Slices, Diced Fuji Apple + squeeze of Lemon,
Grapes and Strawberry Yogurt.
| Tools | Frog Bento Food Silicone Cup, Picks and Mini Spoon. 

And today's imBento for Veggie Day: Fresh Carrot Shapes and Broccoli with Caesar Dressing,
Sweet Corn Kernels.
| Tools | Mini Shape Cutter, Square Silicone Cup, Chick Food Silicone Cup, Picks and Mini Spoon.

I hope I don't get tired of making these for the little boy. Historically, I get tired after a month or so. Hehe. But it should be easier since preschoolers are so easy to please. I don't think I'd be waking up again at 430am just to make A one. Hahaha! Oops. Oh well, we'll see. Wish me luck! LOL!

How about you? Are you into making bento (imBento!) meals for your little preschooler, too? 

Monday, June 24, 2013

It's Complicated.

I know I owe you folks, but do bear with me a bit. See, I lost my Nana late Thursday night. And if you stumbled upon this post without any links (yay, regular reader!), then let me tell you why.

It's complicated. 

And although my closest friends admit there really are conflicts within families, it still makes me sad. In fact, ours is a little more than the ordinary family squabble. I am talking about lawsuits and warrants, custody battles, etc. And caught in the middle of that crossfight - my helpless, bedridden and unresponsive Nana (until she passed, that is) - probably screaming in her head, begging her kids to stop. 

It happened once, maybe twice (I forget). But once, sometime in 2011 (I think), my mom took us to see her. She had just gotten home from the hospital, had taken a turn for the worse, and my mom wanted us to visit in case she doesn't make it through that battle. But Nana had been living with an aunt, who came while we were visiting, and started yelling at us, A included (and traumatised after that). 

I cannot go into details, given it is a big, complicated and sad story - one I am not privy to even talk about. Sigh. 

So yes, she passed away. And as much as I want the whole world to mourn with me, and tell me things will be okay, I wonder... Will it? Be okay?

Saturday, I took the kids to her wake. And there she was, lying peacefully in her coffin, with a smile plastered on her face. She is probably waltzing with my Grandfather - happy to finally be back in his arms. 

Thankfully, we left without conflict. At least, everyone saw it fit that day to be civil and act like adults. My cousin, who refuses to come home from NYC, says funerals are for us to celebrate a life, a chance to commune, laugh, love and reminisce. That obviously won't happen this week.

And it's extra sad, you know, how my kids never really got to know their great-grandmother. Well, A met her a few times in the past, when she was well enough to have lunch or dinner with us. But RL had never even had the chance to see her - to think she lived just a couple of blocks from the office.

Meeting his Tai-Ma for the first and last time. :'(

I hate family conflicts. Life is short! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Grab 'Em Minions!

Hey kids, look at what's inside this month's Happy Meal! Minionssssssssssssssssssssssssss!

Collect all 9 Despicable Me 2 Minions! One FREE with every McDonald's Happy Meal you buy!

Yep, yep! I am talking about those small, yellow, pill-shaped creatures that work for Gru. Aren't they cute? I want 'em all!

Get a FREE toy with every Happy Meal you buy. Hurry on to the nearest McDonald's store and collect all 9 Minions from the upcoming movie, Despicable Me 2!

And hey, McDo, LOVE KO 'TO! Soooo cute!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

What He Doesn't Know...

You know how they say "What you don't know won't hurt you"? Well, I've been thinking about RL and what he doesn't know.

RL's been obsessed with having a dad lately. And well, the first 3 years of his life, he was okay with not knowing (or actively having) one.

First and only photo of father and son. Until RL turned 3.

Taken early 2012, during one of his visits to Manila. 

When R came home unexpectedly over the Christmas holidays, we were surprised to see how RL took to his dad immediately. He wasn't even shy, nor did he need warming up to R. In fact, he stayed up past 2am to watch his dad unpack. The very next day, he went out to the courtyard and announced proudly to our neighbors how he now has a daddy.

It bites. This innocent, little boy knows nothing of his father's sins.

And I write about this today because RL has been calling his dad a lot, sometimes more than 3x a week. I caught A discouraging the little boy Monday night, "Don't call daddy na, he will not answer" (and there are days when he doesn't, leaving RL calling and calling until I catch him and tell him his dad's probably asleep or busy). But RL is persistent and waits until R picks up, and he rattles off about school and how he wants to go to Jollibee and the palengke, plus all the usual stuff a boy normally tells his dad. I leave the room because I don't want R to think this was my doing. I've actually given up on him. It's true. I hardly ever answer his calls, and if I do, I make sure it's a minute long, tops (don't ask; let's just say this broken heart's tired).

A tells me later that their dad promised he'd be home by end-June. Ah, yes! Another promise waiting to be broken. The last time he spoke to RL about coming home, he did say "next week", which was over two months ago. And the last time I had a decent conversation with him, he mentioned he was busy and had to postpone coming home.

So anyway, here we were with another promise - a promise the little boy is holding on to. He says he's going "driving" with his dad - an activity that thrills him to no end. And yet, it is a promise that holds no promise (do you get what I mean)? It may not happen. Again.

Driving with daddy! The little boy's favorite Father and Son activity!

I am sure you are doing a "tsk, tsk" and are probably thinking - "K naman, you of little faith". Let me say it again. I am tired.

But RL knows nothing. He probably has no concept of time, aside from what happened yesterday and what happens later today and tomorrow. I know he'll most likely forget that his dad gave him a timeline. All he knows is that his dad is coming home, and that he isn't home yet.

So what happens tomorrow when he finally realizes the truth? Or when he finally sees that the basket he's holding is brimming with empty and broken promises?


In other news, A told me the other day that she thinks she doesn't want her Father's Day post published on the blog. I skimmed through her notes and see how she's gone from adoring and very forgiving daughter to an obviously bitter and hurting one. She's eleven now, and I guess it has finally dawned on her. It's funny how a few years back, she had the same unconditional admiration. Her dad was her hero, and like RL, nothing could deter her from feeling anything but adoration for R.

Right now, his dad is his hero.

So tell me, should I intervene? I promised myself once that I will not allow RL to go through what A has gone through. And yet, here we are - at similar crossroads - weighing the consequences.

What RL doesn't know will eventually hurt him. But I don't have the heart to take what little he has of his dad away from him. In the meantime, I guess, we stay still, pray, and wait.

Now, If Only I Had 750 Points...

So cool. I think I want one for RL. Vroom-vroom!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

School Boy!

This is it, I guess. The start of a new season in my life. I can't believe my little baby has started school. Okay, okay, four isn't exactly baby age, but sigh... time flew.

I guess it's true - time flies when you're having fun. But where did those four years go? Didn't I just give birth yesterday? When you think about it, we actually went through a lot since RL was born. And yet, aside from the fact that I probably have more gray hair than I would want to grow, life wasn't so difficult. And yes, the kids and I had fun - more than when R was still with us.

My tiny little newborn.

What are you looking at?

Momma, si ate o!

First birthday!

Bible bearer for his Ninang's wedding.


Playing navigator in Singapore...

Modeling for GetBlued!

RL started school last week! We had to prep him for this. He is so attached to me, and we were afraid he wouldn't adjust well to school. So to get him ready for the school year, we had him attend Art and Science classes at Gymboree; join Children's Theatre at Trumpets, and take swim classes at the village pool.

RL played Robin Red Breast for his Trumpets showcase.

First day of school was Thursday. KY and I took him to class, and he just walked away from us. Yes, just like that. He didn't even look back. So we didn't even get to take photos of him in school, save for that photo of him holding the teacher's hand and walking away from us. Sob! Momma has the case of separation anxiety!

My little school boy! SOB! 

And he didn't even cry! I remember crying 'til I was in 3rd Grade! Yes, I am a certified crybaby! LOL!

I can't believe we're here! My little boy is now a school boy! 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

New Carrot Fantasy Walkthroughs?

I have a couple on draft and will post them soon! I'm done with the new levels - have been since Day 3 (after the last update), actually. BUT! I have been playing Level 33 everyday since then, and the randomness of the hidden towers irritates me to no end! It takes about a dozen tries (or more) for the right towers to appear. Otherwise, the wrong towers are sure to let those pests get to the carrot. So far, I've probably gotten Golden Carrot about two dozen times only. Yes, since the update! Argh! So frustrating.

So if you're looking for a Level 33 walkthrough, I still need the right permutations. There could be a better way! So stay tuned.

Meanwhile, those other levels already have walkthroughs, and they're coming out soon!

| Need a walkthrough? Post your request and leave a comment!

Just Swish It!

Our old nanny has this habit of storing things in the attic. A few weeks ago, while looking for a pair of goggles, I found a paper bag with these inside.

Alcohol-Free and Sugar-Free Swish Breath Spray for the win!

Turns out, these were inside a goody bag I had received as a prize for one of those contests I had won on Twitter. Because I had not seen these, I completely forgot about winning anything. And so, when I saw the bag in the attic, I was excited to try Swish in its Breath Spray form.

I am a fan of Swish. I love it because unlike other mouthwashes, it is alcohol-free - a feature that's a must for me, because I hate the sting other alcohol-based mouthwash brands leave in the mouth. Now, normally, when I am on the go, I pop in a mint candy to freshen my breath. But because of the sugar and other ingredients in these candies, your mouth ends up tasting stale once the candy dissolves. That's the plus thing with Swish Breath Sprays - your mouth stays fresh longer. And nope, no stale taste or dull breath. Hehe.

But hey, don't just take my word for it - try it yourself. Just for fun, I had the folks in the office test the product for me. I wanted to see if they thought it was as good a product as I believe it to be.

Tester 1: RD, Sales Manager
"It doesn't sting, and I like it that it doesn't taste like bad toothpaste or medicine."

Tester 2: MB, Sales Assistant
"I just had lunch and yet, after just one spray, my breath smells good!"

Tester 3: JJ, Brand Manager
"Sarap! Bibili ako nito! I will use this instead of candy right before meetings with my principals."

Tester 4: NH, Brand Manager
"Mmm... Cool and peppermint-y. I'm an avid coffee drinker. I will use this to wash out the stale coffee smell. And it stays, ha? Matagal na o, mabango pa breath ko."

Personally, I love how Unilab decided to come out with the breath sprays. It is handy and that means, instant fresh breath. Swish Breath Spray has Surefresh that kills germs and bacteria in the mouth, thus eliminating bad breath in just one spray. It is very convenient!

Comes in two exciting Swish refreshing variants - Arctic Chill and Peppermint Fresh. It is also very economical because one spray bottle can last up to 100 sprays.

Swish Breath Sprays retail for P105.00, and is available in leading supermarkets, drugstores and convenience stores nationwide.

Fresh breath anytime, anywhere. Swish Breath Spray. Yup, folks, just swish it (had to say it).

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tagged! Old School Blogging... ABCs!

Thanks, Christine! That was sorta sarcastic, you know. LOL! Because I have a long, long, loooonnnngggg list of things to write about (and another list of posts to finish), and yet, here I am - choosing to do this because you tagged me. Haha!

The truth is, I am not much of a writer. I think I've said this many times in the past (and even my profile says so in a way), that I really disliked writing as a kid. There are days when my mind goes blank, and I write and rewrite a post over a dozen times, with no success. So I need this distraction. Besides, it does keep things interesting around here, especially since I have stopped blogging about the usual things (that being... having a womanizer for a husband, desperate women and that sort, hahaha). So yes, let's do this!

My Alphabet Meme

A: Attached or Single? Define attached. LOL! Seriously, single but attached (ang labo). Well, I still am married, but are we together? Physically, no.

B: Best Friend? Meaning the first person I will call about anything significant... KY.

C. Cake or Pie? Cake.

D. Day of Choice? Saturdays (I get to sleep in!). Also looking forward to that day when God restores what has been taken from us. :)

E. Essential Item? My iPhone. Hey, it has my Bible in it (the app, of course!).

F. Favorite Color? Red. I also like Black, White and Grey.

G. Gummy Bears or Worms? Bears! Red ones!

H. Hometown? Quezon City/ Walnut Creek, CA

I. Favorite Indulgence? Shopping for myself (which I hardly ever do now, sob!). Buying a bag. Eating a whole, white Toblerone bar, or a whole pint of Arce Dairy Macapuno Ice Cream.

J. January or July? January! New year, clean slate.

K. Kids? Yes, adorable ones.

L. Life isn't complete without? JESUS!

M. Marriage Date? February 2002

N. Number of brothers/ sisters? 3 siblings, if you count KY. Hahaha!

O. Oranges or Apples? Bananas! Hahaha! Okay, maybe Apples. With Peanut Butter or Cookie Butter. Nom!

P. Phobias? Frogs.

Q. Quotes? "When a believing person prays, great things happen." James 5:16

R. Reasons to smile? Grace. Sun peeking through clouds. Canopy of Trees. A baby's carefree laughter. Kids.

S. Season of Choice? Fall. Love the colors. And Black Friday Sale. Hahaha!

T. Tag 5 People. Thammie. Iris without the H. Ida, who stays up all night to catch Football on TV (and who needs to revive her blog so she has to do this). Ruth who runs her blog like the Energizer Bunny (saludo ako sa energy mo, Mare!). And Washi Tape Queen, Cai.

U. Unknown fact about me? I can bark like a dog. Meow like a cat. And M is my imaginary friend from childhood. Hehehe.

V. Vegetable? Tomatoes. Baby Carrots. Okra (steamed with Bagoong). Zucchini.

W. Worst habit? Staying up late. I'm a night owl. I can't sleep early, and I can't wake up early. I also like twirling my hair. So which one's worst?

X. Xray or Ultrasound? Uh... ultrasound. Instant results.

Y. Your Favorite Food? Japanese. Salmon and Uni Sashimi.

Z. Zodiac Sign? Gemini.

Yay! Now it's your turn! Don't forget to grab the button below, tweet about it (#OSBlog) and tag your friends.

Blogging the old school way. Now, wasn't that fun? 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Let McDonald's Spice Up Your Day!

Guess what's unveiling at McDonald's today! 

McDonald's Philippines finally launches the McSpicy - the freshest and most exciting addition to the well-loved McDonald's menu! Yay! It's here!

Ronald wants you to get spiced up!

I remember trying the McSpicy in Singapore and in HongKong. And although I remember it being a tad too spicy for me, it's a great sandwich that's guaranteed to hit the spot for lovers of spicy food. The good news is, McDonald's Philippines has adjusted the recipe for the Philippine version of the McSpicy, and I must say, its blend of flavors is just right for Pinoys.

Modeling the McSpicy. Hehe. 

Introducing the NEW! McSpicy! Yes, it is chicken spiced right! Nom!

A and I were given the chance to try the local version of the McSpicy, and we both loved it! Think 100% juicy whole chicken meat that is seasoned with just the right amount of choice spices, topped with fresh crunchy lettuce and flavorful dressing, all in a perfectly toasted sesame seed bun. Mmmmmm... Just typing this is making my tummy grumble, and I am writing this at midnight (in time for the launch!).

What goes into your McSpicy...

See how big that whole chicken meat is? The McSpicy hits the spot!

My McSpicy Value Meal - "Make it Medium!"

If you're up for a foodie adventure, break away from that favorite Cheeseburger or Quarter Pounder (or the Big N' Tasty!) and try the NEW! McSpicy! I am telling you, it is a sandwich like no other, and it comes with a kick - enough to wake up those taste buds!

PLUS! It launches today! TODAY! The 13th of June, 2013! So head on over to McDonald's and allow the McSpicy to spice up your day (yes, pun there, but you get my point).

Get Spiced Up with the NEW! McSpicy today! Only at McDonald's.

McSpicy (ala carte): P80.00
McSpicy Value Meal: P115.00
Make It Medium: P135.00

Let the NEW! McSpicy turn that dull day around! GET SPICED UP TODAY!

Share your McSpicy moments with McDonald's on Facebook and on Twitter

Hashtag: #mcspicyishere

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mustaches and Musings: Superbook!


I found out about Superbook a few weeks ago. My mom says I watched the classic version when I was little, but I don't remember. Anyway, my mom, brother and I went to a Superbook event. It was a Saturday. I actually thought that Superbook was just some sort of book fair, where you can buy books! Hahaha! But when we got to Galleria, I thought to myself, "Why are we at the theaters?"

The guy who hosted the event, Icko Gonzalez, was my mom's classmate in Middle School (that would be years ago! I will be in Middle School this year!). He had a short speech about Superbook. He told us that Superbook is a cartoon series that tells everyone about Bible stories. I got very curious. I thought, "Hmmm... this is something new." Then Icko had us watch an episode called "Let My People Go!" The episode is about Moses and the Israelites. I remember learning about this in Kid's Church. I loved how the cartoon made it easier for me to understand the story about the plagues and how the Israelites escaped Egypt's cruel Pharoah.

After the show, Icko announced that we can now watch Superbook on TV! That made me very happy. I told my mom right away, "Can we watch it?!!!" She told me I had to wake up early because it starts at 7:30am!!! You can watch Superbook on Saturdays and Sundays on GMA 7.

I took photos of our TV while I was watching Superbook!

Last Saturday, I woke up to my mom's alarm (very early! 7am!) so I got to watch Superbook. I was SUPER EXCITED! I was looking forward to it! The story they showed was called "In the Beginning", a story about Adam and Eve. The next day (Sunday), I woke up early again to watch Superbook Classic in Tagalog. The episode was "My Brother's Keeper", which was about Cain and Abel.

I really love Superbook.

My mom told me today that Superbook got high ratings when they first aired on TV. I am letting her post the news here for you to read:


It's proven and the numbers say it all!  Superbook's television come-back last June 1 was well received by Pinoys, young and old alike, as it took the 15th spot on the Overnight Data of the National Urban Top Daytime Programs list provided by Nielsen Audience Measurement.

Many Filipino families from different parts of the Philippines woke up early and watched Superbook Reimagined's pilot episode entitled "In The Beginning."  According to Nielsen, Superbook Reimagined got a 2.9% of the individuals watching during its timeslot, which earned it a spot on the top 15 tally.

The ranking was based on all daytime TV programs between that aired last Saturday and the audience covers those living within the national urban areas.

With all the support,  positive feedbacks and high ratings, kids and their parents can expect more fun, excitement and learnings from Superbook Reimagined.

CBN Asia’s Superbook Project Head, Icko Gonzalez, expressed his delight upon receiving the good news.  "The word to describe my feeling about the success of the first episode is 'Super!" I'm so happy that there were so many people who supported us, that they were excited about Superbook. We’re also very grateful to our friends, sponsors and partners.  It's definitely great to see that many kids are ready to go for more adventures with Gizmo, Chris and Joy so all I can further say is: 'Here we go!'"


I am excited to catch tomorrow's episode, "The Test". I am guessing it is about Abraham and Isaac. I found this preview on the Batang Superbook Facebook Page!

I really, really love Superbook!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mustaches and Musings: HELLO!

Hi, everyone! My daughter A has been bugging me about starting her own blog. As much as I want her to start her own account, she is only 11, and I think this is a safer, if not, easier way for her to start writing a few pieces (and getting an audience!). Yes, much like how Smart Parenting Mag started as a Good Housekeeping supplement and section! So please allow me to introduce A - my beautiful and talented daughter (wink!). 

This was really supposed to be her summer project, but then, summer workshops and volleyball classes got in the way.  I hope you encourage her to write some more by commenting on her posts. See, I was never really a writer until college, when my good friend EM complimented my writing style on a piece I wrote for English class - an essay about "telling the wind my secrets". It's been years since then, but I will never forget the thought that entered my head after he told me so - "I want to write some more!" (If only to impress him, haha)

So anyway, we've decided to call her section "Mustaches and Musings" just because these are her thoughts, and right now, she's into all things mustache. LOL! 

~~~ * ~~~


My name is A. Catral, and this is my story. Not exactly my life story, but an introduction. Hehehe.

This is my first time to make a blog, and I am not used to it. You know, I didn't have a blog before 'cause I wasn't ready yet. But now, I AM READY! :)

I love writing stories but you wouldn't know 'cause I write them for myself. ALONE. But now, with this blog, I can just write those stories here! 

OMG! I am so excited! Let's go! Join me! We're going to have lots of fun!

PS. Those stories aren't about me, so I guess that's what's going to be different now that I have a blog. I'm going to have to write about myself, too!

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