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Sunday, April 29, 2012

On Rocket Spaceships and Picnic Galore

As I've mentioned before we are not fond of buying toys for our little miss. But whatever toys Maia has, have all been put to good use. And I mean really used. Despite how ruggedly beaten up they may look now and some probably already missing a piece or two, Maia refused (and still refuses) to let them go. No matter how mad (albeit, faking) her dad would get at her, she would stubbornly hold on to her old torotots (trumpets), old party hats, old blocks, pieces from an old shape sorter, broken mechanical toy.

Yes, she probably took after me. Loving trash and holding on to them as if they were destined for greatness in this materialistic and commercialized world.

A couple of weeks ago, Tibs realized what these pieces of trash are to his daughter. And as the mother in me have always thought, she never indeed saw these old toys as trash. In her imaginative world, they became a spaceship and picnic accessories one delightful evening.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Farm Life According To Maia and Gogol

I was archiving my camera photos and came across these. These were shots from a day we spent in Bantud (a farm where my dad spent most of his childhood in). He's planning to raise goats here and we might just join him in this venture (crossing our fingers). For now, this place houses coconuts, an eggplant lot, and some fruit trees.

Maia and Gogol had fun climbing up and down the carrosa (a popular carriage/farm transport in my hometown, usually pulled by either a cow or carabao).

They also went crazy over the makahiya plants that were all over the place. They dismissed our plead to take cover despite being subjected to the scorching summer heat. They wouldn't hear of it. The makahiya plants are just to irresistible, it appears.

I was testing new settings on the camera app so I apologize for the inconsistent filters and messy resolutions. But the sentimental in me just had to document these photos because I could still hear the kids' unadulterated laughter and giggles while looking at them.

Leaving you with a shot of Maia just resting after a game of tag with his manong Gogol.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day Special: Tree Planting - A Family Bonding

April 4, 2012
Hamungaya Sugarmill,
Durog, Belison, Antique

A few days before we left for Antique, my dad (Maia's lolo) called to tell his apo that he's already prepared the seedlings that they will be using for their tree planting project. For several years now (three if I remember correctly), my dad made sure the little girl and her cousin Gogol plants something to commemorate their summer together. Planting a tree is I guess my dad's way of celebrating lent. And Earth day after all is also celebrated in April so everything is just so timely. And trees and plants have played a big role in our agricultural family so it's only fitting that we always give back.

In the past, the kids would just plant their trees in my parents' backyard. My dad has been growing fruit trees since we were little kids and each time he anticipates our home coming, he would set aside a fruit tree for Maia and her cousin Gogol to plant together.

This year was different however. My dad prepared something that we could do as a family. And it turned out to be one great familly bonding experience for all of us. I just let the photos speak for themselves

top (left to right): me digging a hole for my banana plant, maia kissing her banana before we moved on with the planting,
Gogol digging a hole to plant his own tree.
bottom: our very own Kalumpit tree. hopefully next year it's going to be bigger and stronger (rawwwr hehehe sorry can't help it)
Lolo's treeplanting 101 with the kids
lolo's idea of a perfect bonding activity with maia
And here's a funny clip of my sister and dad teaching Gogol and Maia how to plant a tree. Maia was initially hesitating to touch the soil because she found it 'icky' and 'yucky' (a city kid eh?) but when she saw Gogol handling the soil like a pro, she dove right in and started throwing in some soil unto the pit too (such a competitive kid).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hey There, Manong! Pabili Pan De Sal

Starting this week, the kids have another morning ritual. Their twosome would patiently sit on our front steps and wait for the pan de sal delivery manong to pass by so they could shout PABILI, PABILI PO!!!!!

You see, we now have a door-to-door pan de sal delivery in the mornings. It's a development (of sorts) that we dearly welcome (and have been looking forward to) because we used to have to ride a jeepney to and fro just to get our morning pan de sal fix. Bless you dear neighbors who come up with services like this! Hehe. :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Recipe: Maia and Ghab's Choco-Banana Pancakes

Pancakes were supposed to be in yesterday's breakfast menu. But I was rushing to be in the office early so I had to beg the kids for a one-day extension. This morning they didn't let me get away with it. Maia forcefully dragged me out of bed the minute she woke up. 

"Pancakes, Mommy!"
"Okay sige, I'll call you when I've prepared the ingredients already. You can still go back to sleep"
"Pero gising na ako eh! Hindi na ako inaantok. At gusto kong mag-mix! Ako ang magmi-mix!"

Okay, I rest my case. So we were up and about by 6am getting everything we needed out on the table. Then she called her Ate Ghabby to help us prepare the pancakes. "Crack the egg Mom and I will mix" My little commander just took over my kitchen kingdom. She actually feels like the expert pancake maker in our home ever since she learned to make one herself so I usually give her the free reign during pancake days. Her dad had to hurry up with his breakfast so we can have the entire dining table to ourselves.

Here's what we needed to make the pancakes:

1 pack 250g pancake mix (I used Maya, my pancakes usually turn out a lot fluffier when I use this brand)
1 tsp chocolate power (I used Goya here since that's what I have on stock)
a pinch of cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten till fluffy
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 pieces ripe bananas, sliced thinly
chocolate chips/shavings

How we did it:

1. Beat the eggs till they fluffy. 
2. Add in the remaining wet ingredients (oil, milk, water) and mix well.
3. Mix in the dry ingredients (cinnamon, pancake mix and chocolate powder)
4. Whisk till there are no more lumps. 
5. Add in the chocolate chips/shavings and mix.
6. Heat a non-stick pan (over low fire) and scoop out about half a cup of the batter unto the heated pan. 
7. Top with bananas and  flip over when the mixture start to bubble.
8. Serve hot (you may slather with butter or maple syrup, whatever you prefer to garnish it with. The kids had fun with the butter and the syrup this morning. They finished their pancakes with great gusto).

Enjoying the fruit of their labor. :)
This recipe yielded about three mickey pancakes and four 5-in circular pancakes. It might have tasted better if I dropped some vanilla syrup unto my pancake batter too but I ran out so I replaced it with cinnamon instead. It didn't came out cinnamon-y though because the chocolate probably was more overpowering. I plan to make colorful pancakes next and maybe make some traffic light pancakes just like what my friend Erlaine did with her cutie daughter (and Maia's friend) Kelsea. Pancakes are indeed fun to make with kids! Next time I hope to make my pancakes from scratch (and maybe experiment with other ingredients too). 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Honing Their Cutting Skills

The past few days (turning to weeks soon) has driven me to leaving the house earlier than usual. Things have been kind of hectic (some days manic) at work and I just really want to finish everything the soonest time possible so I can finally breath and get things in order at home before we set school preparations into full motion. I anticipate that things will get even crazier then so I wanted to start getting the kid used to schedules - feeding, sleeping, playing. I know that somehow clashes with my desire to practice Waldorf ways at home but I just see life at the home-front to be a lot more easier if we (by that I mean Tibs and me) have more grasp on these things (again feeding, sleeping, playing). I just wanted to set a routine of sorts so that her body gets use to a certain schedule and I'm sure the rest will just follow. Maia is very adaptable to routines anyways so I'm confident things will get better in (take or leave) a month. What I need now however is the TIME. So I'm doubling the effort just to make that. 

When I temporarily shift my attention to work however, I get awfully obsessed with how the kid's day is going. I am even more worried with the hours she might be spending with the TV (which admittedly becomes more frequent when I don't set or leave a list of her activities for the day). I am very thankful however that these past few days she's been spending more and more time playing actively outdoors. Her cousin (Tibs' niece) Ghabby is staying with us for a few weeks and having her around definitely eased my worry. Since she arrived Maia has been busy with play and this morning I caught them happily cutting away paper scraps. Light bulb moment hit me again: I decided to make it even more fun and challenging for them. I drew shapes and had them cut it out for me. I told them to keep the shapes they cut and show it to me later when I get home. 

I am sure I'll have two proud girls waiting for me later. And I can't wait to see what they have for me.

to each her own

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Maia, The Kikay

I was born with no kikay bone in my body. I didn't learn to be one either. My mom was a busy working woman who despite having 4 girls never ever attempted to sit down with us and teach us how to be kikays. To be honest, I didn't mind really. I was happy being nerdy and just drowning myself in alternative music. I guess I could say my sisters felt the same way. Not till we were all grown up anyways and make up was something that became inevitable. Many times we had to pretend to be real adults and come out of our anti-social worlds. I actually learned to do my own make up (nerve-wracking as it was) when I was already starting to work. To date, I still don't know how to properly use eye make up. I'm lucky I usually get away with experimenting (probably because I put on a very thin layer of make up you can hardly tell anyway I had anything on) as I've never gotten to the point where somebody had to come up to me and tell me I look ultra pinkish or very reddish or too brownish hahaha. 

But with kids nowadays, make up is no stranger than cereal (sorry weird analogy. but that's the first word that popped in my mind hahaha). Last night, Maia's five year old cousin Ghab took out her eye make up and while me and my mother in law get busy fixing our dinner the two girls kept themselves busy talking all things make up. I didn't catch what exactly it was they were discussing but they definitely were engrossed over the topic.

And when I came over to help them clean up and get ready for dinner, this is what I saw.

i know the photo doesn't look cheery at all (not with the darkish background that's making the photo more eerie than cheery wehe but that's the best effort my phone cam can deliver for now)
Little girl found it amusing as well, having eye make up on. For the longest time now (since she saw me put on my own make up, I guess) she's been wishing to try it on herself so I  she's just delighted she finally got away with coloring her face. She just couldn't stop laughing. And me and her dad couldn't help but laugh along. I'm happy she's turning out to be more interested in girly things than me. And wherever this takes her, again, I'd happily support it as long as it won't do her any harm **inject drama** (sorry can't help it lolz).

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Let The Children Play

When we finally get the resources to fix the other bedroom and turn it into Maia's own, I will have this printed and framed. Hmmm or maybe I'll just print it now and hang in our living room as a reminder for Tibs and me what PLAY really is.

Download the poster for free here.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Summer and Bike Rides

I don't know what it is with summer and bikes but they always usher nice (the giddy kind of nice as a matter of fact) thoughts for me. I love looking at photos of kids on bikes. With rays of sunshine gently touching their tanned skin. Pretty, pretty sight aren't they? Photos like never fail to put a smile on my face. I wish Maia and I will have photos like that. 

Well, as I've mentioned in a previous post, I never learned to ride a bike. I planned to learn it but almost a year after, I have yet to hatch that plan. But yes, I will ride a bike before I reach 40 and I have a plenty of time to bring that dream into fruition. 

This bike was a gift from her maternal grandparents to her on her 3rd birthday. This has been parking in our maid's room
for months now I thought she'd never gain the interest to ride it frequently. But that has changed for the past few days.
Maia on the otherhand can almost ride her bike effortlessly. And for the past few days, she's been putting that skill to work by hitting the pedals first thing in the morning. She and her Ate Ging would round up our block. Ate Ging would attempt to push her at times but she would retort and throw a glare at her. 'STOOOOOOOOOOOOP! I  can do this!' So Ate Ging has no choice but to let her go and she would pedal away leaving her yaya scrambling and panting to catch up on her.

They would take a short break in between to grab a pandesal while waiting for me to get ready for work. Then the three of us would head to our village gate - me and yaya on foot while Maia is on her bike. We've been doing this since Monday and I'd love to make this a summer ritual. We always keep the guards amused with Maia's trademark good-bye: 'I LOVE YOU MOMMY. WE ROCK! SWEET KISS! BABAAAAAAAAAAAY! (some days she'd add in a TAKE CARE! or a SEE YOU!) Things like this keep me inspired and gives me enough fuel to survive a full day at work.

In two months, things are going to be changing a bit in our household with this little kid finally going to school. Ahhhh but that's another story worthy of a separate post. Till then, I am going to enjoy the undivided time I have with this irresistibly pretty little miss.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Trekking in Antique (and few tips I picked from this instant trip)

Taking in the awesome view
One of the things that make me look forward to our Antique vacations are the spontaneous activities that we would come up while lazing around the house. Last Friday (yes Good Friday) for example, we took the kids trekking. It's was a spur of the moment thing but then these hills are just a few minutes away from our place so with my dad volunteering to drive us we set out to put our legs to test with very little expectations of what we might see. It's been years since I last set foot in that place so I really don't know what to expect. I honestly didn't think the kids would enjoy but I still thought it to be a great experience for the kids since we also once climbed those hills as kids and the single photo of us five siblings during one of the rest/stops proved to be one very memorable photo for us. My mom had that photo framed (I wished I had a scanned copy of it to document in here) and we often would stare at it and exchange memories of that trek. That one piece of photograph had so much stories to tell and memories of that hike remained fresh in my mind up to this day. I hope when these two kids grew a little older we can take them to see the caves in those hills (mini-mountains?) because we weren't able to go this time in fear of getting lost (it was already almost dusk).
I was lagging behind. The cam-whore in me was hard at work.
brief stop. enjoying the view of trees on the other side of the mountain
trees are still plentiful on this side of the country. i fervently hope it stays that way for a loooooong time.
Refreshing sight, isn't it?
While most people would spend thousands just to enjoy the outdoors, here is us communing with nature for free. We decided to stop by this area overlooking the sea and the view is amazing. Maia marveled at expanse of trees that her eyes is feasting on. She would point here, there and over there --- "ANO YUN DADDY? ANO YUN MOMMY?" "SAN NA TAYO?" I honestly thought of telling her that place is going to be our new home but I wasn't ready for a tantrum in case she wouldn't take to my teasing. She might after all be missing home (Cavite) already and the kid gets really intense when she expresses her feelings. 

my dad really enjoyed the company of his apos during this holy week break
she loves riding on people's shoulders. probably makes her feel powerful.
"i am taller than any of you!"
The downside of spontaneous trips however is the unpreparedness. So we all took a trek and not one of us was dressed appropriately. We wore slippers. The kids were in shorts. It was a good thing though it didn't rain that day and the days before so the road we trekked on wasn't slippery. Still, there were several occasions of us slipping and literally eating dust (well, Maia did). Yet, despite a few scrapes the kids walked/climbed almost the entire way. We were just scared for the kids when we were going down so my dad volunteered to carry the little girl on his shoulders. Well, she obviously liked it so much she was shrieking in delight.

two naughty kids asking for lolo's full attention
yuck yuck ang dumi-dumi (hay naku anak, wag ka KJ)
I wonder where our feet will take us next year. Well, I'm sure it's going to be equally pretty wherever that is. My hometown and home province still has lots to offer in terms of outdoor fun. 

p.s. Here's what you might need in case you decide to go on a short trek with your little one:
(I only came up with this list with our short 30 minute trek in mind. I am not a professional hiker or trekker so best to check other lists if you're planning something more serious hehehe)

- at least a liter of water (it wasn't very hot when we started our trek but we were all thirsty when we got to top and that was about 20 mins of hiking)
- candies, nuts or chocolates
- wear leggings to protect your legs in case you slip
- better if you can wear trekking sandals or trail shoes or any footwear that can prevent you from slipping
- anti-mosquito repellents 
- flashlight
- wear a sunblock too (although it wasn't hot anymore when we set out to hike)

We only had the water bottle on hand. My sister and I had long pants (leggings) but that was just coincidental. I wished I had Maia wearing the pants instead but at least I know better next time. 

One thing that I would love for Maia to have is a passion to become an instrument in preserving and conserving our natural resources. I hope that all these exposures to the beauty of nature would eventually plant in her THAT passion. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Arts-N-Crafts: Family Of Bunnies (Recycling Tissue Paper Tubes)

The day before we left for our Antique trip, Maia and I made a nice, easy project out of tissue paper rolls. I got the idea from (yes!) Pinterest and we just tweaked it to make use of the materials that we had on hand. The general idea was -- really -- to make use of the paper rolls that were already fast collecting dust in Maia's (future) bedroom-turned-storage-room. 

I showed Maia what our project was supposed to look a bit like and since she's had this thing for bunnies and rabbits for a few months now (she's been bugging us to get her a rabbit for a pet), she got really ecstatic about it. In fact, she got too excited she even took out all of the books she had about rabbits. I guess, she wanted to be more inspired so the more surrounded she is by bunny-related items, the better. 

I got about 5 tissue paper rolls from my stash. I surveyed my craft box for other stuff that we can use and eventually came out with this list:

- poster paint/tempera paint/watercolor
- pompoms
- used cardboard (this one was from a package of wooden clippies that Maia and I used for our picture hanger project)
- a pair of scissors
- white glue
- googly eyes (about 5 pairs)
- paint brush
- construction paper/scratch papers
- a few sheets of old newspaper 
- cotton balls
- felt fabric (for the nose)

First I asked the little girl how many bunnies she wanted us to make. She told me she wanted to make a family of bunnies. So I painted 2 brown, and cut about 2/3s of the other remaining two tubes and painted them orange and white. We set those aside to dry for about 10 mins.

Then I cut out ears from the scratch papers (2 pairs of big ones and 2 pairs of smaller ones). Then I also cut our 2 big pink noses and 2 small pink noses (heart-shaped). Maia also requested me to cut the remaining unused tubes into smaller pieces so she can paint them green to use them as grass. We also painted the last tube brown and I cut out a cloud shaped piece from the used cardboard to use as tree leaves. I painted it green and dotted it with yellow (according to Maia all trees have fruits so the yellow part represents the fruit). 

I'll just let the pictures speak after this. When we got back this afternoon, the entire thing is still intact so the little girl still intends to play with her bunny family tomorrow. 

lined the floor with used newspapers because i know it's going to get a little messy

majority of the materials we used
down on her knees. hard at work????
tadah! finished product :))

see we even made carrots for them to enjoy. and maia cut out these cardboards and stuck them on the paper herself.
they are apparently grass for the bunnies to roll and sleep on. 

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