Posted in blessings, Closer to God, Faith, family life, journeys, photography, place of worship, silence speaks, tagged Closer to God, Faith, family life, life, photography, reflections, silence speaks, St. Padre Pio, St. Padre Pio in Libis QC on April 5, 2014 |
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Yesterday, my son, her girlfriend Jovy and I visited Padre Pio Chapel in Libis, Quezon City. This is Jovy’s first time to visit the place so we toured her around the gardens after spending some time inside the chapel and at the prayer room of St. Francis of Assisi. I always feel blessed and energized every time I visit this lovely place. Never mind that I am still dragging my left foot while walking. I haven’t been here for a year and I really missed the place. One thing that I enjoy and always look forward to is writing prayer petitions. It was a wondrous communion with God. Despite the knee pain, I found it easier to kneel and the flow of words kept coming. Mere thanksgiving is not enough, asking for more blessings seems a little selfish but that is what I did – praying for the family and for my health.
I took lots of pictures which I will use for my online apostolate. One thing that I found so amazing and so beautiful are the pictures of a dove perched at the statue of an angel in a corner of the garden. It seemed as if it was saying “welcome” to us. Don’t laugh but I said “hello” and it just turned its head the other way, maybe acknowledging our presence there in the heat of the morning sun. Doves have long been depicted as symbols of love, peace and as messengers. White doves are often used during weddings too.
Perched atop the head of the image of Padre Pio.
When I was a little younger, I thought doves always come in white. I later learned that there is a dove-gray color like this.
Oh look, it has turned its head seemingly saying, “Isn’t she lovely?” while looking at the angel figure behind.
Will post more pictures of Padre Pio chapel in my next blog. Just could not get enough.
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Posted in books, family life, guilty pleasures, Happiness, life, tagged a bit of myself, books, coloring books and crayons, family life, guilty pleasures, life, thoughts on April 4, 2014 |
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Four years ago, I blogged about my niece and her fascination for coloring books. Do you know that coloring books and the time you spend making a magical picture out of the pages are stress-busters too? A friend of mine swears that she gets to relax while coloring a picture and being busy with choosing what colors to combine. She suggested that I buy one too but I cannot find something that would suit my desire to color. Either they are too complicated or too simple for my taste which I think are understandable since they are intended for kids, right? There are times though when just like kids, we want to have a stress-free life and going back to old favorites (when you were five or six) help save the day.
This morning, Josef and I spent a few hours just relaxing at Eastwood City after visiting St. Padre Pio Chapel nearby. It would not be complete if we can’t visit a bookstore (that’s a given) so off we went to Books For Less and later at National Book Store. I found another book by Lincoln Child, an author I discovered a year ago. Terminal Freeze deals with climate change. I don’t even have to read the whole cover summary to convince me in buying it. I’ve been reading e-books for the past month and it is a nice change to be able to hold a real one again. The smell of a new book never fails to make me smile.
“I bet, when we reach home, you will start coloring this“, Josef said pointing to the paper bag from National Book Store. I laughed and told him, “You guessed it right”. You see, I was excited to start. I actually took a shot of the three pages that I started coloring. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, they are just simple pictures that probably a seven-year old can color but then it is the thrill of making those pictures more vibrant and lovely that counts. I was even in a quandary whether to use dandelion or apricot for the faces. Back when I was into cross-stitching about a decade ago, I have memorized the chart of colors for the thread that I used. There are as many variations of one color, different shades on the color wheel.
Some relaxing moments – priceless minutes spent coloring. Why don’t you give it a try? Unleash the child in you once in a while.
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Posted in Close to Nature, Closer to God, family life, journeys, Philippines, photography, road trips, silence speaks, tagged Close to Nature, Closer to God, family life, guilty pleasures, nature, photography on March 24, 2014 |
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I know, I know, this comes a bit late again but I just have to post these two pictures that I took of one of the lovely places I went to with the whole family. The Farm at San Benito is located in Lipa, Batangas, a three-hour drive from our place in Rizal. One thing I do remember so well is the night swimming at their Secret Pool with the lush green all around. It was so relaxing and it makes me smile thinking about my reaction to the place when I first saw it, the “oohs and aahs” and the excited anticipation of exploring it.
…then you wish you could stay here forever just absorbing the silence.
…and maybe a copy of a favorite book in hand.
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Posted in baking, family life, food, guilty pleasures, life, recipes, what's cooking?, tagged Apple Pie, baking, family life, kitchen adventures, recipes, the joy of baking, Vanilla Cake on March 10, 2014 |
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“There was a mood of magic and frenzy to the room. Crystalline swirls of sugar and flour still lingered in the air like kite tails. And then there was the smell-the smell of hope, the kind of smell that brought people home.” - Sarah Addison Allen
One thing I love about baking, be it a simple banana bread, moist carrot bars or cookies is the smell that permeates the whole kitchen once you place the baking pan in the oven. I love the combined smell of cooking raisins, nuts, vanilla or cinnamon or whatever ingredient a particular recipe calls for. This afternoon, I baked my second apple pie confident enough to tweak the recipe a bit and experiment on brushing just egg whites on top instead of a beaten egg with the yolk. The top part of the pie may not be as silky as when you use the whole egg but it adds a flaky feel combined with sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon. Whereas before I didn’t even know how to make a dough, it’s now as easy as kneading something for our local steamed bun called “siopao”. I also sliced half and half of Fuji apples for a natural sweet taste and the tart flavor of Granny Smith. It came out good, son said, “it’s yummy”. I laughed when he asked, “did you take pictures?” He knows that I document almost everything that I cook in the kitchen just like I do with my flowering plants when they are in bloom. He cut a slice even before it cooled down. I got three remaining apples, would love to try making apple sauce and use it on my next baking adventure.
Here’s one more that I experimented on a month ago, a simple recipe for vanilla cake. I didn’t put icing because I love the flavor without being too sweet.
I love the quiet, concentrating on the task at hand , the calming effect of kneading, measuring and mixing to make something yummy and scrumptious.
I got a lovely surprise this afternoon when a friend sent me a lovely tin of Fannie May Colonial Assortment chocolates via LBC. Aren’t I lucky? Can’t wait to take a bite. Thank you Ex. :)
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Posted in family life, journeys, life, ramblings, silence speaks, tagged family life, journeys, life, silence speaks, thoughts and ramblings on January 29, 2014 |
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Here I am, still thinking of the gentle days of January. It seems as if the month is in a hurry to shed its leaves and bid goodbye. The quiet days of January - the cold winds on my face each morning I stay in the garden, the balmy weather that hopefully will stay until the end of February, the surprise visits from friends whom I haven’t seen for a long time, Nate’s newly learned words that sometimes I still can’t understand but pleasant to my ears just the same, the delight in discovering new blooms in my garden, what bliss!
Today is my son-in-law’s birthday and Nissa treated him with a nice family lunch at Bag of Beans in Tagaytay City. They brought Nate with them of course and Nissa said the food was good. Gosh, it’s been three years since I last visited Tagaytay and my favorite place, aside from Breakfast at Antonio’s is the Mushroomburger house. I always have a takeout every time we pass by the place. They sell the yummiest mushroom burger this side of town. Tagaytay is a very nice place to visit. Aside from the lovely weather, it’s closer to home and the view of Taal Lake from the top of the ridge is just so beautiful.
My priest son, Fr. Lovell is going on a mission two months from now. Come to think of it, I haven’t heard of Babuyan Islands except in old history books during my younger years. It is even more remote and isolated than the beautiful Batanes. My initial questions were, “Do they have cell sites there, do they have internet connection? How long will you be staying?” He briefed me on how life is there. You can only reach the place from Cagayan province via an 8-hour boat ride with sometimes big waves (the size of a house) along the way. The islands are actually closer to Taiwan than the nearest island in Northern Luzon. Visiting the place when he was still a seminarian made him finally decide to persevere to become a Dominican priest. I found this lovely blog with lots of pictures of Babuyan Islands. Looking at the pristine landscapes and reading the blogger’s description of the place, this island paradise truly mesmerize.
Except for the party my close friends (at AFCC) and I had last January 11 and the family visit from my daughter Nissa, January was a quiet month but I love it just the same. My only regret is that, I haven’t finished my sixth book that I originally planned to read this month.
It is growing cold and I am here wondering what February will bring.
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Posted in baking, dates, family life, food, recipes, tagged baking, date bars, food, life, Pitted dates, the joy of baking on January 24, 2014 |
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Two weeks ago, a friend from Hongkong sent me three packs of pitted dates and a pack of dried yellow raisins. Eating the pitted dates direct from the plastic pack is not really an option because I find them too sweet to my liking. I searched the internet for a simple bar recipe for dates. What do you know, it came out really yummy. As usual, I reduced the sugar since the dates are naturally sweet.
If you want to try this, here’s the recipe.
You would need:
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar (reduced it to 3/4 cup since the dates are sweet)
1 cup old-fashioned oats (I always use rolled oats when baking)
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (equal to 1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Rub butter on an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Set aside. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to simmer in a saucepan. Add dates, simmer until very soft and thick, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature then stir in vanilla.
Combine flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl, stir to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until moist clumps forms. Press half of oat mixture evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Spread date mixture on top. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture by pressing gently. Bake until brown at edges and golden brown and set in center, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack. Cut into bars and serve.
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