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Archive for the ‘family life’ Category


I wonder if  you could really call it happy amidst the devastating news brought about by the destructive earthquake in Nepal.  Let us pray for the repose of the souls of those people who didn’t survive and pray too for the survivors who will pick up the pieces again – beneath the rubbles, destroyed homes, broken spirits.  May they have strength to carry on. I share your pain Nepal.

I attended the 6am mass at St. Jude Parish. The heat here is such that you either go out early or attend the last evening mass to avoid the humid feel of the day. I walked a mile, no  skip that. I walked back going home, a ten-minute-very-much-needed exercise, rather make that twenty because it was a leisurely walk savouring the scents and sounds of the early morning while my mind was busy with lots of thoughts that I need to write. Some people here are not really showy with their smiles unless you greet them first and smile at them, then they would have that lovely smile on their faces and you get  to be greeted “good morning”.  That’s an experiment I do to people I meet, it is lovelier though when you get to see familiar faces then it becomes a genuine gesture of smiling and greeting.

Funny how you could observe things while walking around the neighborhood. I could smell coffee and newly baked pan de sal in the air. There was  a lady in her front yard drinking coffee and the dogs patiently waiting at her side probably for a scrap of bread or what she is having for breakfast. I could smell fried tuyo while walking further. It is a staple in a typical Filipino breakfast paired with sinangag (fried rice) that maybe  has lots of diced garlic  and egg (cooked any way you want). Or maybe, there is that yummy (but sinful) longganisa . Longganisa is the Pilipino equivalent of sausage and it even tastier  dipped in vinegar with lots of chillies.

We make do with instant coffee every day. It is the fastest way to prepare it, a teaspoon of coffee granules with a teaspoon  of sugar. Ah wait, I just remembered that I baked cookies last night. It’s kind of nice to pair it with a favorite cup of Raspberry Zinger herbal tea.

Oatmeal Raisin cookies...

Oatmeal Raisin cookies…

These are your regular Oatmeal Raisin cookies, so soft and chewy but have that crunchy feel  to the bite. I used multicolored  chocolate candies and reduced the sugar by half. The sweetness of the raisins and chocolate are good enough.

How was your Sunday?

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Our big boy Nate....

Our big boy Nate….

Nissa calls this role reversal. I laughed out loud imagining a smiling Nate having this conversation with his dad.

Role Reversal
Nate: “Daddy, what color is this?”
Obet: “Yellow!”
Nate: “Very good!”

Hahaha. Smart boy.

Sometimes, I am amazed at the quick  way kids learn things.  He is two and a half-year old going on twenty.

 

 

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Saturday.

It was another lovely day spent with my daughter’s family. They came over to visit us after almost a month of not seeing each other. We survived on Viber calls and Skype messages. Nate has grown. He has grown taller and his words now are in a complete sentence. I haven’t taken any picture the last few months because my camera broke and always when they come over, we tend to be  busy catching up on news, playing with Nate  and just happy being together.

Last Saturday, I had  a chance  to take a few shots, pics of Nate and Mom, Mom and Nissa, the three of them, Josef and Nate. As always , I was behind the camera. He was thrilled to see his new book which a friend gave two weeks ago for his birthday.  I call him our little bookworm. He easily identified all the animals included in the nursery rhymes. I was amazed.  Maybe their various trips to the zoo helped a lot. We learn from a child right? Unafraid, ready to explore and always curious about things.  So trusting, so confident,  secured that he is loved.

Yesterday, I received a message from WordPress saying that I have made one hundred posts on Our Little Bundle Of Joy. I started it a few days before he was born last November 2012 with the thought of documenting every precious moment with him. I showed his pictures once and he said “Nathan, Nathan”.  Nissa is making an album of their trip last year to Dumaguete City and Siquijor.  I love those pics showing Nate enjoying the beach and the kiddie pool. Nissa has a way with words, the photo descriptions are just lovely. She’ll have it printed later. I wish I could make a similar one but I am not familiar with the program she is using.

Here’s a lovely book quote for kids  (using Nate and Josef’s pic which is included in my latest blog post). Our Little Bookworm The happiness of teaching a child to love books and reading. Someday, we would explore bookstores together.

Do you remember your favorite books when you were kids?

And did I tell you that Nate wants to be an astronaut? I asked Nissa how that came about. she said that he remembers the movie/pictures he saw of astronauts. Such a big dreamer for one so young, he is only 2 years and 4 months old.

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There is really no contest between the two. I love both and this is actually another experiment because it was the first time I used chicken as the main ingredient instead of ground pork. I haven’t baked anything in a while, desserts or recipes. I am not really that too busy  but the last few days have been so stressful that I have to think of a way to relax and cooking relaxes me. One morning while we were having breakfast, Josef and I discussed about what we used to prepare on the table and I told him, let’s prepare something for mom that she would surely like. My mom is turning 86 in a few days and she’s talking of going home to the province before the month ends. I told her to wait for her birthday here. There is no reasoning with our old folks once they decide on something. She just told me yesterday to call my brother so he could fetch her. One thing I like about her is that she is always appreciative of what I cook. When she is not familiar with it, she watches  me prepare the ingredients and asks questions.  We’ve been on mostly fish and vegetables since the season of Lent started and Fridays are totally “no-meat days”. Sourcing what is available in our pantry, here it is, a yummy chicken shepherd’s pie. It always tastes good with panini bread, just plain grilled slices.

Mom loves the melted cheese and mashed potato on top. Baked it just to melt the cheese.

Mom loves the melted cheese and mashed potato on top. Baked it just to melt the cheese.

Never been good at taking pictures of food. One more try, that is...

Never been good at taking pictures of food. One more try, that is…

P. S. And here’s the recipe,as promised Ren. You would need the following:

1 whole deboned chicken breast, boiled and cut into bite-size pieces

2 boiled potatoes

1/2 stick butter

dash of pepper

white onion, diced but it is better to cut it into small cubes

1 large carrot

1 cup of green peas

1 small can of Campbell Cream of Mushroom

grated cheese

Mash the potato with 1/2 stick butter, set aside. Saute onion, carrots, green peas and chicken then add in the can of mushroom last. Don’t put salt because the saltiness of the cream is good enough. Put in a baking dish, top with the mashed potato then grated cheese. A friend suggested that you can add bread crumbs to the cheese to make it crunchy to the bite  (it’s up to you). Bake for 30 minutes covered in aluminum foil or until the cheese melts. Serve hot with your favorite bread. I used the regular American loaf bread pressed on a Panini maker.

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I think Mom just gets bored playing solitaire so I opened the television early for her to watch but then she insists that I should switch it on at 5pm because that is when she starts watching her favorite programs. I am not really into it but I take a glimpse of each program she watches every day until she falls asleep.

Earlier on I was cooking dinner and she was watching.  Not for lack on what to do, I imitated a television ad by doing a few odd steps while watching the girls dance. She could not hide her mirth and I  knew she was smiling while covering her face with her two hands.  I smiled at her and embraced her on my way to check  the pork afritada  I was cooking for dinner. She said in our native dialect, “Oh, I seldom see you dance”. We looked into each other’s eyes and smiled.

What a nice feeling, going back to just being  a daughter sometimes. She’s happy, I am too :)

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Gosh,  how time flies!  I can’t believe that it’ll be summer in a week or two. Here comes the sun and probably a series of brownouts that the Department of Energy is warning the public since last year. And it is not a case of I hope we have enough supply because it will definitely happen (according to news reports). I am thinking of buying a rechargeable fan to beat the summer heat.  Despite these setbacks though, summer would always be welcome, never mind the heat, we are used to it. What I love about the summer are the varieties of local fruits you’ll find only during the season, mangoes (we produce the sweetest mangoes), star apples, santol (wild mangosteen) siniguelas (Spanish plum) rambutan, avocado, duhat (Java plum) and many more.  My annuals bear flowers during the summer months and I love the surprise I always see in my tiny garden during this season. I could now see a growing  kamantigue with its dark violet flowers.

This has been a productive week for me. I finished painting two spans of our fence grills, three more to go. I bought garden soil and did some repotting  and replanting of my prayer plants. I have three varieties of them. I found a white vinca growing outside and replanted it too in one corner together with the pink ones. Mom said I should take a rest because every day I am outside trying to refurbish our small garden. We have this old lampshade made of ceramics and  when the electrical wiring was not working anymore, I made it into a garden accessory and repainted it in black together with a water fountain that we no longer use but still a lovely accent piece in one corner. It’s hard work I know but the fulfillment one gets seeing a new look is priceless.

Of course the day would not be complete without taking a few shots.   Here’s a picture of my Shanghai Beauty.

Pretty in pink...

Pretty in pink…

 

It's called Mexican Firereplant or  Wild Poinsettia

It’s called Mexican Fireplant or Wild Poinsettia

 

How was your week?  Happy weekend to all!

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I guess my hands still smell of paint and varnish.

Ah, it was a long weekend but our scheduled painting job for the roof is finally finished. They were also able to paint our concrete fence the other day.  I love the “gentle peach” look of the latter.  The roof was done in Spanish red. Next weekend, when it’s my son’s days off again, we will retouch the  steel grills attached to it.  I repainted our grotto and the surrounding wall and had a grand time retouching our concrete garden chairs and table as well. Mom is amazed that I could also use a  paint brush…haha.  She hasn’t seen me before on my knees doing some hard job of repainting. She is always appreciative of everything saying “wow, ang ganda”. Josef retouched our two gates and made finishing touches on our dining set. I still have another DIY project to do. I have three rattan baskets that I need to clean. I am thinking of applying the same clear varnish to make it presentable. I do occasionally use them as fruit  and bread baskets. These remind me of those times that we used to visit Dapitan Arcade and tried searching for some home decor which are locally made but are export overruns.  When one is lucky enough, you can find cheap rattan accessories, table accent pieces and cute catch-all boxes which you could embellish with ribbons and such.

I have missed reading other blogs for the past four days, still trying to catch up and finish a book I have started a few days ago.  It’s the 29th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution today and they only declared no classes. Poor commuters and office workers are stuck in heavy traffic right now because of a few people joining  a rally  occupying the southbound lane of EDSA. They used to declare this day as a special non-working holiday, I wonder why it’s only classes which were suspended. The kids now don’t even know the meaning of the EDSA revolution.  They could never duplicate what happened in February  1986, they could never replicate the millions of people who went to EDSA  with one common goal – to oust a tyrant leader. It seems today, each has her/his own personal agenda.  Gone are  the  times when commemorating such event was a happy affair.

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