Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

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Little Flower Girl

Little Flower Girl

This week’s photo challenge is all about sharing something that says FORWARD to you. We encounter a lot of peaks and uncertainties in our lives. It may come out as a nice surprise in the end or a huge disappointment. Either way, we will never know unless we try, right?

Just like this photo of Yui when she was one of the flower girls at our friends’ wedding. We came upon this very nice looking staircase so she immediately started climbing. Halfway through, the guard reprimanded us and told us that we can’t climb up those stairs. For a split second, Yui was disappointed but she turned the other way then looked for a new place to explore.

That’s how it’s supposed to be, right? When an experience brings us disappointment, no matter how promising it seemed to be, we should just turn around, move on and look forward to a better tomorrow. 🙂

Sweet and Spicy Pork Ribs

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Recently I’ve been experimenting more with the oven and trying out baked dishes. I stumbled upon a recipe that became an instant hit at home and even at the office. The slow baking time allows the pork to absorb all the flavors without drying out. It comes out oh so tender and moist  that it easily got everyone’s approval. So today I’ll share with you guys my most recent masterpiece. 🙂

Sweet and Spicy Pork Ribs

Sweet and Spicy Pork Ribs

Serves 4 Prep Time 30 minutes plus marinating Cooking Time 2 hours 20 minutes

 

For the Marinade

1 1/2 kilos American pork ribs

1 tbsp salt

2 cups pineapple juice

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

8 cloves minced garlic

1 tbsp grated ginger

2 pcs ground star anise

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

 

For the Rub

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

 

1. Make the marinade: Combine all ingredients in a small  bowl. Mix well and set aside.

2. Place ribs on a baking dish. Pour marinade over, making sure everything is well coated. Marinate for a 3 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

3. Preheat oven to 350F.

4. Make the rub: Combine all ingredients. Arrange the ribs on a baking dish, pour marinade over, and spread rub evenly over ribs.

5. Cover baking dish with foil. Bake for 2 hours in the preheated oven.

6. Take out the baking dish from the oven. Increase heat to 450F. Remove foil. Using the drippings from the bottom of the pan, baste the ribs all over. Bake again for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

7. Transfer ribs to a serving platter. Pour drippings into a small saucepan and cook over high heat for around 5 minutes or until slightly thick. Pour glaze over ribs and garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Serve with mashed potatoes and corn, if desired. 🙂

 

Work Life Balance

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My top career priority ever since I had a family has always been work-life balance. So I take every opportunity I have to take some time off from work. Late last year up until the end of January, I’ve been very busy at work preparing our team for a huge company-wide audit interview. I’ve been coming home late and promised myself that once this audit is complete I would go on leave. Which is precisely what I did.

Last week, my mom went on a week-long Singapore trip to visit my brother so I had to work from home since no one will babysit Yui. Despite the hectic schedule of attending meetings, cooking lunch and dinner, bathing Yui and putting her to sleep in the afternoons before going back to meetings, it was really fun and fulfilling! I took Thursday and Friday off to concentrate on looking after Yui and to have some QT (quality time) together. 😉

Because daddy bunny had to report to work, it was a two-day mother daughter bonding session. We started our Valentine’s Day by going to the mall as we needed to buy new formal shoes for Yui. When she was smaller, she hated getting new shoes since she insisted that she still has (those she was wearing) but now that she’s growing up to be a kikay girl, she enjoyed shopping already. Good luck to daddy! Haha!

Little fashionista trying on the pink and yellow shoes.

Little fashionista trying on the pink and yellow shoes.

Good thing she just tried those shoes on but didn’t insist on buying them. We got the formal shoes and that’s it. Yay for daddy!

We had to cut our mall tour short to attend her 1PM class and the birthday celebration of her classmate. It’s been a long time since I went with her to school and it was so much fun celebrating a birthday, catching up with other moms and watching the kids play and shriek to their delight!

Playtime at the Home Room

Playtime at the Home Room

Daddy bunny planned to take Friday off but had to attend a very important meeting that day so it was Yui and mommy once again. This time we spent a quick playtime at the Quezon City Memorial Circle. Within an hour, we were able to ride the go kart, some arcade rides and play at the fountain area. I’m really thankful that there’s a place we can bring Yui to play around – with very wide space, lots of trees, a huge playground and DIRTY ICE CREAM! 🙂

Go Kart: 15 minutes of fun

Go Kart: 15 minutes of fun

Little Driver

Little Driver

Simple Joys: Buko Shake and Dirty Ice Cream

Simple Joys: Buko Shake and Dirty Ice Cream

The nice sunset caps off my week perfectly. It was one of those times where you don’t have to spend a lot and go somewhere far to have fun. As long as I have an active and happy kid with me, I’m good. 🙂

Sunset at QC Circle

Sunset at QC Circle

Looking forward to my next time off!

 

 

On Teamwork

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Yui is an avid Disney Jr. fan but she sometimes watches Nickelodeon and knows the characters and shows as well (Dora, anyone?) There was a time when she and her aunties have been singing the Wonderpets‘ song all the time. Wherever they go, they would belt out, “What’s gonna work? Teamwork!” over and over again.

What's gonna work? Teamwork!

What’s gonna work? Teamwork!

I didn’t give this much thought until recently when we were preparing for a trip up north. The trip is Saturday but as early as Monday, Yui already had a bagful of toys ready. These are what she would bring to Pangasinan and even if she would play with the toys, she would always put them back to that bag. Yui kept on reminding us that this is her toy bag and she would bring this to Pangasinan and that we should never forget this. Two nights before the trip, she reminded me again that she already has her toys ready. Then I asked,

Mommy: “But what about your  clothes? Have you packed them already?”

Yui: “No mommy, you will be the one to pack it. I pack the toys, you pack the clothes, daddy will drive. We’ll have teamwork. Because we’re a team, mommy”

Wow. I was caught off guard again. Here’s my 3 year old talking about teamwork, when some adults don’t even seem to know what the word is. 😛

And so I packed our clothes. Coz we’re a team. 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique

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Recently, we’ve been busy with preparations for some of our friends’ weddings. Four couple friends have asked Yui to be their flower girl so we’ve been to gown measurements, fitting and hunting of a dress since January. When I read about this week’s photo challenge, my thoughts wandered to our own wedding. Daddy bunny and I love Japanese music and anime and these were incorporated into our wedding program.

One of our unique ideas which received very good feedback from our guests is our wedding cake. Getting this cake was sort of a last minute decision. We initially wanted to have just a simple cake from the friendly neighborhood bake shop but when I saw this baker’s site and the cakes she made, I just fell in love with her work. So despite pulling another arm for the cake, we went for it. And we were not disappointed.

Our Wedding Cake: Japanese personal style

Our Wedding Cake: Japanese personal style

Some of our guests, who were not familiar with the Bleach anime, were baffled why the bride and groom toppers were wearing black. Well, we patterned them from Ichimaru Gin and Matusumoto Rangiku who are captain and vice-captain of the Shinigami. Too bad we were not able to have a zanpakuto in the topper but it might scare some of the guests more so I guess it’s fine. 😉

Bleach Anime Toppers

Bleach Anime Toppers

The lower designs are Daddy bunny and me in some of our notable things. Daddy bunny was holding a laptop since he is very techie (our family and friends’ own tech support 24/7). Prior to the wedding, I was assigned for 6 months in Chicago  and the laptop was the bridge that linked us together. MSN Messenger and Skype became our best friends.

Daddy Bunny and his laptop

Daddy Bunny and his laptop

As for my topper, I’m wearing my signature school girl attire and holding my red guitar. I was learning how to play the guitar and bought this little electric guitar as a birthday gift to myself when I was in Chicago. It’s also the guitar that we used when we played at the wedding program.

Mommy Bunny and my guitar

Mommy Bunny and my guitar

This was really one of the unique ideas we had for our wedding which we will definitely keep in our memories forever. 🙂

Let’s Get Craftsy!

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I started my interest in crafts when I was in high school. I would create scrapbooks for my friends using “scrap” (cut outs from magazines and pictures). It was an era when cute scrapbook materials are not yet available (or are waaaay expensive for my high schooler budget :)) I also ventured into beads. I would go to Quiapo and buy cute beads which I would make into accessories for me and friends. I even made a small business out of it when my friends would start ordering necklaces and bracelets. I remember our class president ordering rings and gave it to all of our classmates. So we sort of had a “class ring”

Until now, I still keep a scrapbook toolbox which I take out whenever the crafting itch comes. That’s why I was ecstatic when Yui started showing interest in the craft kits whenever I’m tinkering with something. One time I was doing a diaper cake for the christening of her cousin, Yui helped me roll the diapers. After a while though, she was quietly cutting construction papers with the pinking shears and then asked me to cut some ribbon for her to make it into a necklace. That’s when I knew that we are going to share this fascination with crafting. 🙂

Yui's "Punched" Necklace

Yui’s “Punched” Necklace

The last time that we went to Daddy bunny’s province, I brought along this cupcake decorating set toy that was a gift to her last Christmas. We spent our Saturday night decorating the pretend cupcakes and had a lot of fun pretending to eat them too!

Cupcake Decorating Set

Before: Cupcake Decorating Set

After: Yui-decorated cuppies

After: Yui-decorated cuppies

Last week we went to our friend’s dressmaker to measure Yui for her flower girl gown this May. There we saw some gowns that they are making and putting beads on. Yui said she wants to have beads too. Good thing grandma was at Quiapo that time and bought some for us. It was sort of nostalgic to be making bead accessories again. But this time instead of making bracelets for my friends, we’re making bracelets for my daughter’s friends.

Bonding session over beads

Bonding session over beads

Yui's own bead box organizer and her first bracelet collection

Yui’s own bead box organizer and her first bracelet collection

I’m really enjoying these craft activities with Yui and I’m looking forward to more bonding sessions over beads, scrapbook materials and other craft stuff with my baby. 🙂