Stella’s first Halloween

When I was growing up, one of my favorite traditions was Halloween. My uncle would dress my older brother up in various reincarnations of either a headless horseman or a zombie (back when zombies were not yet in fashion), always just two alternating every year. The costumes were always a hit, and managed to snag my brother Best in Costume awards several times. When my brother outgrew that, my uncle, ever the Halloween fanatic, turned to his three hapless daughters and dress them up. We’d always go trick or treating around the neighborhood, then settle down and watch Magandang Gabi Bayan while munching on the treats we’d gotten from hours of hard work trick or treating. It was a fun time, and these little memories added to what I consider a simple, but really charmed childhood.

Now that I’m a mom, I want to start making family traditions for our little motley crew of three. Right off the bat, I knew I wanted Stella to celebrate her first Halloween. And not with dainty, cutesy princess outfits either. Nope. She will have loads of time to be a princess or fairy or butterfly. Now that she still can’t mouth off her objections, her father and I will have some fun. Thus was how Stellasaurus was born. I have to hand it to my DIY husband. He completely DIYed Stella’s costume using Stella’s pajamas, some cardboard, and strips of felt paper.

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For our costumes, I just bought a pink shirt and a red bandana (to channel our Jurassic Park costumes) from SM and tadaaaaa!!!!

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Stella’s face said it all: Moooom, you’re embarrassing me!” Why yes, my darling, and your father and I plan to embarrass you for many more Halloweens to come. Because really, what are children for, if not for parents to embarrass them? Happy Halloween!

Mommy favorites: the solid food edition

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I guess it’s safe to say that Stella doesn’t like carrots

We started feeding Stella solid food as soon as she turned six months. It’s exciting to see her get a taste of something other than milk, and it’s a joy to discover what food she likes and doesn’t like. So far, she loves squash, pears, prunes, bananas, peas, sweet potato, and cauliflower. She doesn’t care for carrots and brocolli. I don’t too, so I can’t say I blame her. Here are some of the things that have made this feeding journey easier for us.

1. Whole + Natural Baby Food Book

This beautiful book is a comprehensive guide to feeding babies up to one year. The book, written by Filipino moms, uses local ingredients and gives a step by step guide to preparing solid food for babies. The book is filled with recipes and beautiful photos and it’s perfect reference book for first time moms like me. I suspect even non first time moms will find this useful for their own children. I’ve tried many of the recipes already and most of them has been a hit with Stella! I even tasted them myself and the food is delicious. As it’s independently published, this book isn’t out in the bookstores yet. Try emailing wholenaturalbabyfood@gmail.com to purchase your own copy.

2. Munchkin suction bowls

The suction feature comes so handy when your baby is like mine, always grabbing things or knocking them over.

3. Chicco spoon
I’ve used other spoons before and this is my favorite. The spoon isn’t so hollow, unlike other spoons, which makes it easier for Stella to take the purees we give. It’s also made of silicon, which makes it soft on Stella’s gums. Love this and I’m so glad we switched to this.

4. OXO Storage container set
These are leak proof, watertight, and air tight and they have measurements to make portioning a breeze. We make Stella’s food in batches ( because who has time to cook baby food every single day?) and we store the food in these containers. We just pop them in the refrigerator and take them out for the next meal.

5. Ecomom sterilizer
I cannot rave about this sterilizer enough. It cleans all of Stella’s bottles, spoons, bowls, toys (even our cellphones!) and its drier feature saves us from the time consuming task of drying all her stuff one by one. Everything just feels so clean after a cycle in the Ecomom. We use it as storage too. I love multi purpose appliances!

6. Mamas and Papas baby bud booster seat
I was initially hesitant about getting a snug chair but this one has cast aside all my doubts. The chair feels safe when tied to a chair and though the fit is snug, Stella seems comfortable enough. It’s easy to clean, too. The removable activity tray that comes with it has also been a useful and most welcome distraction for Stella.

Where to buy children’s books on Instagram

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I’m only just now beginning to see the joy in reading and collecting children’s books. There is so much artistry that goes into making a really good children’s book that I never quite appreciated before, from the carefully crafted words to the matching illustrations. Kids are a really discerning audience. How do you make something engaging and still make it relatable to a preschooler? How do you even captivate the imagination of a 3 year old when most of them can’t stay still long enough to have their pajamas put on?

I’ve managed to get a hold of some really nice books for Stella. Some I’ve bought in bookstores, some are gifts, and some I’ve bought online from Instagram sellers.

Here are some of the book sellers on Instagram that I follow. They have a nice, well-curated selection of children’s books that I always check out.

1. Sunnypages
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2. Ben.and.lily.
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3. Beluga Dreams
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It’s a girl!

A while back, I wrote about our plan to throw a small gender reveal party during our family Christmas get together. It was a fun little pakulo and to this day I don’t know how we managed to keep the gender a secret for four whole months. There were some slip ups, but on the whole we managed to keep everyone in the dark.

We bought pink balloons, decorated our gender reveal box, and prepared prizes. I am proud to say that I prepared the “tally board” where guests can cast their vote. (Everyone who guessed right gets a prize, and then we drew one “grand prize winner.” That board, by the way, is really the height of “craftiness” as I can get. Jaime, on the other hand, decorated the box. I’m rather glad at least ONE of us is good at this crafting business. Boy’s got skills, I must say.

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See you soon Stella girl! Everyone’s excited to meet you!

Homemade ice cream

Everyone who knows Jaime and me knows that I can’t cook to save my life. Except for perhaps the usual adobo, tinola, and sinigang, and maybe fried eggs. I have never been and I doubt if I ever will be the domestic goddess of Jaime’s dreams. Jaime, on the other hand, one of his passions in life is cooking. That is literally the first thing he thinks of in the morning, and the last thing he thinks of at night. Not me, his darling, devoted wife, not anything else. Food. He told me himself. Ganong level.

I remember back when Jaime and I had just begun dating, he cooked this superb Chinese feast for my dad’s birthday. He prepared sweet and sour lapu lapu, steamed brocolli and beef, pork ribs, chow mein, the works. And in spite of themselves, I think my parents were thoroughly impressed. As for me, I think that’s when I first thought, hmmm… this boy, marunong dumiskarte.

During the pamamanhikan, my mom said “You do know na hindi marunong magluto itong si Mia, no?” My mom needn’t worry. I told him early on. Mabuting magkaalaman na habang maaga pa. He stuck around, so I assume that means my lack of domestic skills won’t be too much of a problem.

Thankfully, he still cooks for me (and for friends and family on special occasions) to this day. I’m only too happy to leave all the cooking to him, and I’m only too happy to be the guinea pig in his kitchen experiments.

So today I introduce to you a new category in my blog. Table for Three! Jaime’s homecooked dishes and their recipes.

First up, homemade ice cream, made without an ice cream maker. Very easy to make, even I can pull this off!

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Ingredients:

1 box whipped cream
1 small can condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 pcs Oreo cookies, crushed

Procedure:
1. Chill whipped cream for at least 24 hours
2. Manually whip the cream using whisk for 5-8 mins until cream becomes stiff
3. Add vanilla extract and condensed milk and whip until well combined
4. Fold in crushed oreo then freeze overnight
5. Serve

And voila!!!

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