Tuesday, September 16, 2014

At the BK Drive-Thru

When I picked up Jaden from school today, one of the first things he said was that he wanted spaghetti and chicken for lunch, and could we please drive through for these?

I said yes.

We went to Burger King and ordered his food. Alas, they don't have spaghetti on the BK menu! 

So we exited the drive-thru. Trying to appease and amuse a hungry boy, I said: "Wala palang spaghetti sa BK, no, Jaden? Let's just go to Jollibee."

Jaden dryly replies:

"Yes, because it's BURGER King."

Oo nga naman. Sorry na.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Getting Crafty

So I finally mustered enough guts to join a real crafternoon session! Whoopee!

My good friend Patty once again collaborated with her ultra-creative buddy Alessa of Life After Breakfast for a happy little craft event last month. I've always had second thoughts about joining things like this for the sole reason that I have no creative gene in me--so nahihiya ako makipag-sabayan sa mga crafty girls! Hehe :)

But Patty assured me it's gonna be short guest list (therefore my humiliation will not be too public haha) and that sent me skipping to PIPINO in Teachers' Village.

Here are the TOP 5 things I loved about Patty & Alessa's Japanese-inspired crafty afternoon:

1. The venue.
Aside from being my baptism of fire to the world of crafternoons, it was also my first time in Pipino! I've always wanted to try the food in this much raved-about vegetarian resto, but somehow it took me this long to actually go. All I can say is, I should have gone SOONER! Pipino in QC is very charming and refreshing in ambiance, and because of the food, you feel better about yourself for being good to your health!

2. Which brings me to my next favorite: The food.
We were served Kale Chips, Quinoa Sushi Rolls, tofu, and vegan ice cream with cookies! (Meron pang iba but I forgot na. Hehe) I also loved the chocolate chip muffin and the cucumber-ginger lemonade that I ordered before the event (early bird kasi hehe).

3. The activity.
I had a blast making my own scarf and furoshiki art!!! Super fun talaga! As part of this activity, we were given our own boxes filled with hand-carved rubber stamps and the coolest ink pads from Craft Carrot. After Crafts Queen Alessa showed us how to use them, I happily started my first semi-DIY scarf! Ang saya! All my fears about embarrassing myself with a preschool-level artwork simply disappeared because I was just having so much fun!

from pattylaurel.com

4. THE giveaway.
Patty and Alessa came up with the most swoon-worthy Japanese goodie treat for all the girls at the event: the Shiseido ULTIMUNE!!! I was so giddy about getting my hands on this wonder product, which I know is the result of real, honest-to-goodness scientific skin research. If only for that, I was sure that Ultimune is a marvellous product. Patty told me it's like "skin vitamins" that boost the immunity of our skin, which in turn fights the various skin problems we have or might have. I put it to the test that very night and guess what? There is actually an effect immediately after I smoothed it on my skin. It felt silky! I read the little paper in the box and it said that the best thing about the product comes after a couple of weeks, and then one month of use: skin will be brighter, softer, and ultimately, healthier! You can read more about Shiseido's Ultimune in Patty's blog.

5. The shopping.
What's a girly event without the opportunity to get trinkets and stuff?! I and the other guests satisfied our itch to shop--thanks to Craft Carrot! They had the coolest art stuff! As in, even a non-artsy person like me went crazy! Haha. (Head on over to www.craftcarrot.com and get your fix too!)

from pattylaurel.com

Congrats, Patty and Alessa! From all the photos I saw, everyone had such a good time!

Monday, September 08, 2014

The Wonders of Touch

I was reading my previous post on the benefits of massages when I realized they hold true even for my young babies. Yes, you read that right! I am convinced that kids--tiny people that they are--receive a lot of good from a gentle back rub.

I remember this powerfully beautiful TVC from Johnson's many, many years ago. It showed a fragile newborn in an incubator and a mom who was delicately and lovingly caressing him. A frame later, both mom and baby are smiling, and the brand enlightens the public about the wonders of Touch Therapy to a baby's development.

It is because of this advertisement that, years later when I visited a hospital nursery as a mom myself, I immediately understood why mothers of preemies would spent hours upon hours by the side of their babies. Sure, the incubator is a great aid. But I know in the hearts of these moms, nothing can replace a mommy's tender touch. Haplos ng ina, that's how we Filipina moms say it.

As mommy to two young kids, I firmly believe in the love language of touch. I make it a point to embrace my children several times a day, to carry and cuddle them, smother them with kisses or just play cheek-to-cheek or nose-to-nose with them. I also love giving them massages! (Even more than I love getting them! :P)

Jaden (by default as the eldest) is my first "beneficiary" of what I dubbed "baby massage". I even had our own little song while I rub his arms and legs. I remember he would look into my eyes and giggle while we did this routine before every bedtime. Precious moments!

These days, I enjoy the same routine with my 1-year old daughter, Sophia. At around 7:30pm, I would prepare her bath. Her yaya takes care of laying out her pajamas, while I make sure that the water we'll use is warm enough. I then line up her bath essentials: her Johnson's Baby Conditioning Shampoo, Johnson's Baby Top-to-Toe Wash, and Johnson's Baby Lite Baby Oil.

I've chosen Johnson's Baby for Sophia because I appreciate the brand's attention to clinical safety, mildness, and efficacy on a baby's skin. We were given Johnson's Baby products when I gave birth in Makati Med, and because I was happy with what I saw (especially on Sophia's super smooth skin), I never had a reason to search for another baby skin care brand. No wonder Johnson's Baby is recommended by the World Infant Care Authority (WICA).

Fortunately, I got this chance to share with fellow moms about Johnson's Baby--and with an awesome bonus too! I had the best-est luck to be chosen as one of the mommies to watch and learn from a midwife who will teach me the proper baby skin care rituals! Yay! Who was I to say no?!

Though my kids are both past the newborn stage, I vividly remember how I was so scared and nervous when I brought home Jaden for the first time--especially when it was time for his bath! How do I give this tiny, helpless baby a proper bath without dropping him or hurting him or otherwise harming him? How do I deal with the umbilical cord? Heck, the truth is, we even had to hire a midwife back then to assist me in bathing my firstborn! Hehe!

When Sophia's time came, sure, I was a little less scared and nervous. But I was still second-guessing myself. You know that feeling? I had this nagging thought in my mind that I might be doing something wrong! And because Sophia is my first girl, I was nowhere near calm about washing and caring for her.

I figured, many moms must be on the same boat as I was, so learning from a midwife will be such an enormous help for us!

The midwife Johnson's Baby sent, Merna, was very pleasant, and more importantly, knowledgeable about baby skin care rituals. (The rituals were developed in partnership with the Association of Women Health Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses [AWHONN] and the Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines [IMAP]). It was a joy watching and learning from her. I realized, baby skin care need not to be scary or nerve-wrecking after all.

She taught me how to bathe a newborn baby--a technique they call Swaddle Bathing. Of course, this includes how to care for your baby's umbilical cord. If you are a mom of a newborn, I invite you to click the links for the videos of how the techniques done. It should be worth your while :)

Swaddle bathing is perfect for newborns.

After bathing, Ate Merna showed me the Soak & Seal regimen, where a baby's skin is cleansed and then moisturized. This is an essential part of any bath time routine. A baby's skin is naturally sensitive, so we mommies must ever be conscious that we seal in the moisture whenever needed--usually after a warm bath. I have gone through the worst of dry skin problems and complications with Jaden, so I was really extra careful with Sophia. Thankfully, Johnson's Baby helped me a lot on that.

Complete your baby's bath with the Soak & Seal routine and Johnson's Baby lotion.

Another favorite of mine is the Diaper Care routine! Some can wash their baby's nappy area like a pro... but then again, other moms (and dads) think of it as a challenge. Johnson's Baby now shows us how it's done! Goodbye, diaper rashes! Hello, healthy baby bums!

Lastly, the midwife taught me how to give Touch Therapy. I surmise that there is no one correct way of doing this, but I do think there is the BEST way. The best way is one that is founded on research and perhaps, experience--and this is what I was shown during the midwife demo. (You can watch it too by clicking this link!) I so appreciated this part because it really jived with my mommy philosophy on healthy skin care development AND cultivating bonding times. As I said earlier, my "baby massage" times with my kids have become truly precious moments. I feel that through my touch, I am able to tell them that Mommy is here, and that Mommy loves them beyond words. I guess this is what Johnson's Baby means with its catchphrase, "Healthy Skin Galing Sa Lambing" :)

Ate Merna showing us how to administer touch therapy to maximize its benefits.

We all have different lifestyles and mommy philosophies, but I think we moms are bonded by one thing: our love for our children and our quest to see their healthy development. I am grateful that Johnson's Baby launched this campaign because it taught me new things, and showed me a fresh perspective on things that I already know as mom.

I'm sharing this with all of you because like Johnson's Baby, I believe in healthy skin care development and more importantly, I believe in the love language of touch.

Thank you, Johnson's Baby!

I hope you'll take time to watch the videos (just click the links on this post!). You can also visit the site that Johnson's Baby put up especially for this--just click HERE.

Happy motherhood!!! :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Jaden's Lego Birthday

My dear eldest Jaden turned 4 last week and we celebrated it with a "Lego Birthday Week"!

Since I prefer not to have big bashes for my kids' birthdays (milestone years an exception, of course), I previously told Jaden we will just have a small party with his classmates this year. He readily agreed :)

Presenting... Jaden's 4th Birthday (Super-Mini) Party!

It all starts with the invitation! I made these the night before we were supposed to give them to the kids. Talk about cramming! Hehe. But all's good. They turned out quite nice, don't you think? ;)
I wanted LEGO Bento Boxes for the kids, but because I planned everything in less than a week, I figured it was too late to get a bento pro already. Kaya eto... my 1st ever attempt at bento box making! LOL. Anyway, Jaden's teacher requested easy-to-eat snacks, so we made cheese sandwiches. To make them look interesting, I made shapes out of cheese slices and used them as toppers. On the side, we served Quaker Oats Twinkles cereals (chosen for their bright colors hehe) and halved grapes.

The party snacks came in these blue food-grade containers which I luckily scored at the supermarket! We also gave the kids mineral water--the safest choice! (Imagine the mess if I gave juice and the kids spill it!) I put Lego stickers to keep with the theme!
This is one of my favorite highlights of Jaden's mini-party. His classmates, led by his friend Riley, said a very heartwarming prayer for my little boy.  God bless these children and their families! (I blurred the faces of the kids out of respect for their parents who may not want their kids' photos published.)

What's a party without cake?! Little Lego cakes for our little guests! Everybody went crazy these treats from Swell Sweets! The kids were exclaiming, "Awesome!!!" when they got their favorites from the bunch!

Party scenes!

Loot bags for everyone! Thank God, I saved these yellow paper bags from Jaden's construction zone party last year! They went perfectly with this year's Lego theme! Again, stickers to Lego-fy them! Hehehe!

Me and my not-so-baby boy :)  We missed Daddy (in a hearing)  and Sophia (preparing for our road trip later in the day).
And just like that, I survived another DIY party! Yay! Hehe.

Kidding aside, I must say that beyond the relief, the feeling of happiness and satisfaction I got from this small event is immeasurable. I loved seeing Jaden's face light up when he saw all the party details--everything was Lego! His classmates' excited reactions were a huge bonus too! 

Throughout his birthday week, Jaden was so, so happy! It was like he was in Lego heaven with his Lego party AND Lego gifts! Hehehe! Everything is awesome indeed!

To my dearest son Jaden, happy 4th birthday!!! You continue to amaze me with your many milestones and antics. Witnessing your growth humbles me and makes me so grateful to God that He made me your mother. You are indeed my gift from the Lord, and my reward from Him.

I pray that you will grow up to be a man after God's heart--that you will always find favor in Him, that you will be great among men, that you will see the promises of Psalm 112 come true in your life. 

I love you, Jaden. Mommy is so very proud of you.

Happy birthday!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Benefits of Massage

I love massages. I used to think of them as pure, frivolous luxury until I realized they are actually good for my health and wellness.

It's especially beneficial now that I am more physically active. I've been running regularly and in between run days, I try to squeeze Pilates, barre3, or resistance training with our Journey Gym. According to various studies, a good massage after a workout aids in muscle soreness and promotes proper muscle recovery. Yay! :)

In fact, there are more benefits of a good rubdown. This article from Huffington Post is informative on these little-known advantages: (Click the link to find out more about them!)

  1. A massage manages anxiety and depression.
  2. It eases pain.
  3. It promotes healthy sleep.
  4. It boosts immunity.
  5. For ladies--It beats PMS.
  6. It raises alertness.
  7. It reduces headaches.
  8. It re-energizes your skin and scalp.
  9. It eases cancer treatments and the like. 

So don't feel guilty the next time you book yourself a massage treatment. As they say, prevention is better than cure. Better take care of yourself now than spend the money on medicines, right?

I usually just get home massages, but occasionally I get treated with the real deal at The Spa :) 

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