Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Cracking Chestnuts!

It's that time of the year!

Okay, okay... I know you can get chestnuts (the Mandarin Castañas kind) all year round now, but you know what I mean! Mmmm... imagine walking past a stall where freshly cooked castañas are sold. Or remember how they used to actually cook it in front of you in Greenhills? I remember how this was such a treat for us whenever we'd spend Christmas in Hong Kong. Yes, cold weather + the smell of cooking chestnuts = Christmas.

So I was at the grocer's earlier (to get cake for an officemate) and right in front of the bakery was this stall selling castañas. Not exactly freshly cooked as it wasn't steaming hot, but fresh nonetheless. I was tempted to get a fourth of a kilo (more would always result in a sore throat) and was excited to start peeling my way to its delicious and meaty flesh. But they wouldn't crack right. Nope, they weren't hot enough to peel properly.

You know how frustrating it is to want to eat castañas when you can't enjoy the nut in full? Well yea, so I had to wait 'til I got to the office.

Here are two tips on how to get to the full flesh of it all without pulling your hair out:

1) HEAT OVER STOVE - They never tell you that you can reheat these things at home. Well you can. Just get out a pan, heat the nuts over low heat (so they don't burn) with NO OIL. Make sure you stir them around so you don't over-heat a particular side. When you smell them (should not smell burnt), take off heat, and peel 'em babies.

2) HEAT IN MICROWAVE - Just put one layer (don't let them sit on top of each other) in a microwable plate or bowl. Heat on high or medium high for around 20-30 seconds. Let cool for a few seconds before you touch them because they're going to be HOT! Then peel and eat to your heart's delight.

It's beginning to look and smell a lot like Christmas!

So yes, that's how you get the skin not to stick to the flesh. And that's how you get to enjoy those castañas at home.

Who said it should be difficult to crack and peel castañas?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hacking Filipino.

My daughter A has been having a mighty hard time in her Filipino subjects - mostly AP (Filipino History and Social Studies), so when I went to get her card yesterday, it wasn't a surprise to see a low final second quarter grade for this subject. Sigh. I promised myself I wouldn't be teaching any of my kids past the 5th grade (I started studying by myself when I got to 6th grade), so it is with a lot of frustration that I've decided to tutor A once again. At least for these two subjects and maybe, a little bit of Science and Math.

I don't know. I don't like the idea of having her think being "ok lang" is okay. I saw her write this beside her exam grades. I mean, it doesn't sit well with me to have my kids think mediocre is fine. Not to put a lot of pressure on them when it comes to schooling, but what parent settles for anything less than the best? Don't get me wrong, I am not pushing for perfect scores and excellent marks. I just want her to aim for better results. I know she can get Os and As, she was an academic awardee and even got an O in AP in the past. It's just that... she works so hard in school (extra-curricular work plus she takes her class officer role too seriously) that by the time she gets home, she hits the sack right away.

Is there an easy way to understand AP? I mean, take math for example, there are easy hacks to problems and these shortcuts help her understand math principles.

I saw this on my timeline today, and this is exactly how I taught A fractions.

But for Filipino and AP?!

Just yesterday, while talking to her dad about RL's birthday...

A: "When are you coming home?"
R: (Mentions day)
A: "What? Hindi mo aabut birthday ni RL!" 

Everything else to her is prefixed with a "mag-" ie. magkakain, magliligo, etc. Can you just imagine how her Filipino exam looks like?

So tell me, other than teaching Philippine History, Social Studies and Current Events in English, is there any other way I can help A understand Filipino and understand its context? Tagalog comics, maybe? Batibot? Jollibee Town Videos? LOL!

Help! I need a life hack for Filipino!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Richwell's Kids Craze 2013

Wow. I can't believe I missed the first day of Kids Craze this year. I have been soooo busy that all these sale and event schedules just flew out the window. So anyway, if you want to catch Kids Craze this year, their warehouse sale schedule is as follows:

NOVEMBER 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30
DECEMBER 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, and everyday from 12 to 22
9AM - 6PM (Saturdays and Sundays)
1PM - 6PM (Weekdays and Fridays)

#34 Scout Torillo cor. Scout Limbaga, Quezon City

~~~ * ~~~

Just this morning, Cai of Apples and Dumplings and I were discussing the Hi-5 event happening next month, and how we missed first dibs. Yes, I ignored the event calendar. Boo. It's just that I've been up to my neck with work, events, business trips and the like that I cannot even imagine adding more to my plate. So I skipped the calendar and missed out. Oh well.

In other news, CHRISTMAS IS AROUND THE CORNER! 38 days to be exact. WOW. Time just flew.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


...for another trip. Was out for a whole week last week, and the week after that, A was in the hospital with dengue fever.

I would have blogged, only there wasn't free wifi on the ship - yes, ship. Went on a cruise for work (I love my job!). You had to get coffee for wifi (two hours) but there were a hundred and one competitors vying for good signal so I didn't bother. Instead, i savored the seas and the free time.

Anyway, I leave for another 2 days of overseas work today. Meeting a principal at an airport. I know, right?

I'll be back on the blog soon! 

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