September 28, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I wanted to bake something but I can’t because we have no table for the last three days. We had a dining table make-over just this week. It is really hard to cook meals because of the limited space in our kitchen so I was not able to try new recipe.



The only thing I’ve tried this week is chocolate chip pancake, I always use Maya instant pancake mix but this time I tried new product “Bisquick”.

As per directions, mix 2 cups Bisquick, 1 cup milk and 2 eggs then I add ½ cup of chocolate chips. My son loves this because of the chocolate chips. Hehe!



Home Make-Over: Dining Table

I really wanted to buy new dining table but I know that this is not a priority because we can still use our present table. I wanted a table but we do not have the budget yet.

But I realized if I can’t buy a new one I can repaint our dining table so just this week we had a dining table make-over. I hire someone to do the work for me, hehe! I forgot to take picture of our old table but let me borrow this picture for your reference but we have 4 seater brown table.

I bought the following materials for the make-over.

1 quart Flat enamel wall paint
1 quart Quick dry enamel paint
1 roller
1 Sand Paper
1 Clear Gloss Top Coat
1 Thinner

Here’s the finish product. 


September 25, 2012

How to Develop Fine Motor Skills

My life has been changed ever since my son started going to school and now I have very limited time in blogging. I mentioned before that November would be the first card distribution but it was moved last Saturday, I finally saw the test result and his report card. I was happy with the result, perfect score in Math, 1 mistake in Cultural Arts and Science and 2 mistakes in English.

His teacher told me “Mommy, perfect din po sana sa English kaso hindi ko maconnect e”. Well, he was referring to the matching type, mukhang spider web kasi yung pagconnect ng anak ko so yung 2 answer dun hindi na maconnect kung san namatch. Hehe!

Anyway, at least I know that my son learned something in school and hindi sayang ang aming pagreview. Actually, I don’t need to be pressured because there is no top 1, 2 or 3 because the school believes that Pre-School is formative years, some kids are advanced, some kids are average and some kids are still developing their skills.


I really appreciate their report card because I can see the strength and weaknesses of my son. No grading system but you can see the progress level of your child in practical life exercise, sensorial exercise, language, math, cultural arts and personal evaluation in his works and social habits. 

Now we need to focus on his fine motor skills. My son needs to improve his writing and coloring skills, he doesn’t like tracing and writing talaga but whether he likes it or not he must learn to write.

Here are the different activities in developing fine motor skills. I’ve got this from “Mommy with Selective Memory”site click here to read more.

How to Develop Fine Motor Skills

Pouring sand, water, salt, sugar, rice, or beans using bowls, funnels, spoons, cups, tubes, rolls, colander

Sorting small objects with interesting textures like cotton balls, pastas, sponges, and rocks placing them into egg cartons

Pushing objects through a slot like pennies or buttons into a Piggy Bank or container with a slit in lid; pushing pegs into a board

Picking up marbles and putting them in a jar; for variety, have child stand up and drop marbles into jar or drop balls or other small objects into container or sack

Building with blocks, logs, legos

Lacing with lacing cards – poking string through holes and pulling

Grasping wooden puzzles pieces and placing correctly

Arranging rocks, leaves, beans, cards, pasta, sticks or whatever interests child

Picking stickers off page and successfully placing onto something

Playing with Play Dough and clay: pulling, pressing, stretching, rolling, pounding, squeezing, pinching. 

Read: DIY Homemade Play Dough

Squeezing glue bottles, water guns, sponges.

Shaking bottles of glitter

Beading necklaces with yarn or pasta wheels and lacing string

Pushing pipe cleaners into foam shapes with center cut out or push into colanders

Marking with fat pencils, crayons, markers, and sidewalk chalk

Cutting with child safety scissors which are blunt and fits hand. Opening and closing the scissors as well as cutting increases hand strength.

In addition we need to improve reading sight words and counting 1-100. Good luck to us!

September 20, 2012

Best-Ever Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Few days ago I baked The Best Brownie” and yesterday I tried the “Best-Ever Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies”. I guess this is one of the most pinned cookie recipe in Pinterest and I’ve read a lot of good reviews so I decided to try the recipe. This is the first chocolate cookie recipe that I’ve tried so I can’t really say if this is the best chocolate chip cookie for me. I guess I’m not a fan of chewy cookie and I prefer crispy chocolate cookie. The cookie turned out soft, moist and chewy.


I’ve got this recipe in “Apple a Day” site.
  
Ingredients:
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.
3.  Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chunks.
4.  Using a standard-sized cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges.  (The tops will not brown, but do NOT cook longer than ten minutes.)
5.  Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack for five minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely.  Makes approximately 3 dozen. 




September 19, 2012

Buying Food at Street Fairs


Street fairs and famers market have become incredibly popular over the last few years.  It seems like every weekend there is a different street fair or market where you can go and buy great things.   In fact, many communities have started regular weekly street fairs and farmers markets that draw large crowds.  Here are some things to think about when buying food at these events.


Support Your Local Community

The great thing about these local markets is that they really support the local community.  These markets are staffed by vendors who usually grow or produce their food locally, and the market may be the main way they sell their produce or other items.   As a result, when you buy from them, not only are you buying locally grown produce (which is very popular now as well), you are also supporting a local business. 


Great Fares!

Many of these markets also offer some great eats!  With the new trend of foodtrucks sweeping the nation, you can find some great gourmet food served out of a van at these fairs and markets!  Many vendors also sell their food, produce, and sauces so that you can take them home and make them yourself in the comfort of your own kitchen. 


The Drawbacks

The biggest drawback of these street fairs and farmers markets is usually the price of what you are going to buy.  Prices at these markets typically tend to be higher than at stores in town, or national chains.  The reason is that these vendors typically don’t benefit from cost savings that large stores benefit from.  The can’t scale well, and don’t realize a lot of cost savings as a result.  As such, you as the consumer pay more.

Also, you typically can’t find any discounts, like net voucher codes, which you could find for regular grocery stores or other online shopping.  This also makes the cost of shopping at a famers market higher than a regular store.  

September 18, 2012

The Best Brownie

It’s been a year since the last time I baked brownies. I found this recipe from food.com.  I checked the ingredients and procedures and it looks so easy so I tried it yesterday. 

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour

Directions:
1 Preheat oven to 350°.
2 Mix oil and sugar until well blended.
3 Add eggs and vanilla; stir just until blended.
4 Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
5 Stir dry ingredients into the oil/sugar mixture.
6 Pour into greased 9 x 9 square pan.
7 Bake for 20 minutes or until sides just start to pull away from the pan.
8 Cool completely before cutting.

I added chocolate chips
This is indeed a simple and easy recipe because I don’t need a mixer to mix all the ingredients and I can make this is less than 30 minutes. We all love the brownies and it is better than my previous recipe. It is so moist, gooey and not overly sweet. The only thing I notice is, it is a little bit oily maybe because I use vegetable oil. Next time I will reduce the oil to 1/3 cup and will see what will happen. One more thing I need to double the recipe because we ate 3/4 of the brownies in one sitting. 

I don't know why it is not smooth on the top. 




September 14, 2012

DIY Homemade Play Dough

Two months ago I’ve made my first homemade play dough and this is now the third time that I’ve made this. It seems that every month I’m cooking play dough. My son always reminds me to cook clay if his play dough runs out. I don’t know if it is a good idea that he knows that I can make this. Hehe! Again, I got my recipe here "Musings from a stay at home mom". 

Ingredients

1 cup flour
1 cup water
2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
food coloring

Instructions
Mix flour, cream of tartar and salt. 



Add water and oil


Cook over low/medium heat, stirring.


Once it begins to thicken, add the food coloring.


Continue stirring until the mixture is much thicker and begins to gather around the spoon.


 Remove the dough onto wax paper or a plate to cool. 



I put my play dough in air tight container for storage. 



or you can use Martha Stewart recipe

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp cooking oil
1 cup water
Food coloring

A repost from my old blog Michi's Home Sweet Home

New Challenge of Motherhood

Today was the last day of exam, finally I could rest now. I’m experiencing another challenge of being a mom. Preparing reviewers and reviewing my son is not an easy task and I notice that the tone of my voice was rising during our review; I keep on saying, “Listen to me” and “Look at your paper”. Waah! #superstress

I know I should not be harsh to him because this is just his first school experience, first exam and most of his lessons I’ve learned that when I was in Grade 3. Seriously, part of the tree, part of the flower, living things and non-livings weren’t my lessons when I was in nursery. But as a mom, I want him to learn these things and I don’t want to receive zero score.

Now, I’m just waiting for the result but it would be a long wait because I’ve talked to one mother and she said, I can only see the test result during the card distribution and that would be on November.

I've read this somewhere and I should post this to my wall.



"Childhood is not a race to see who can read, write and count. Childhood is a small window of time to learn and develop a pace that's right for each individual"



September 12, 2012

Family Quotes and Inspirations

Quotes and inspirations for parents and family.

“I hope my children look back on today and see a mother who had time to play. There will be years for cleaning and cooking…for children grow up while we’re not looking”

“No family is perfect…we argue, we fight. We even stop talking to each other at times, but in the end, family is family…the love will always there.”

“My home is filled with toys and has fingerprints on everything and is never quiet. My hair is usually mess and I’m always tired but there is always love and laughter here. The twenty years my children won’t remember the house or my hair but they will remember the time we spent together and the love they felt”

"It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings." -Ann Landers

“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only…to support the ultimate career” C.S. Lewis

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice—once for herself and once for her child.”

“Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for. – N. Anderson”

“Don’t let yourself become so concerned with raising a good kid that you forget you already have one”

“There is no way to be a perfect mother…but a million ways to be a good one”

“Having somewhere to go is Home. Having someone to love is Family. Having both is a blessing”

“The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are” _Jim Henson

“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them” – Richard Evans.

“Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life, no matter what.”

“A baby will make loves stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten and the future worth living for”

“Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big because to them all of it has always been big stuff” – Catherine Wallace

“If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them, and half as much money” – Abigail Van Buren


September 11, 2012

30 Minute Roll

I’ve been meaning to make my own bread so when I’ve found this 30 minute dinner roll recipe I did not have any second thought and tried it last weekend. Recipe from “Your Homebased Mom” site

1 C plus 2 Tbsp warm water
1/3 C oil
2 Tbsp yeast
1/4 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3 1/2 C bread flour (seems to work better but all purpose flour will also work)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.
In your mixer bowl combine the water, oil, yeast and sugar and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.  Using your dough hook, mix in the salt, egg and flour.  Knead with hook until will incorporated and dough is soft and smooth. (Just a few minutes)
Form dough into 12 balls and then place in a greased 9 x 13 pan and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees or until golden brown.

I don’t know why this is called “30 Minute Roll” because I finished everything in more than 30 minutes and it was not successful because I can’t form dough balls. The dough is really sticky, I don’t know if I need to use flour on my hands to form dough balls. I went back to her site and read some comments and I was not alone. Next time I will put some oil on my hands so I can form dough balls. I found a video and it looks so easy.

But I was having a hard time last weekend so I put the whole dough in the baking dish and increase the baking time. Hehe! The bread was too dense and some parts are not fully baked. It doesn’t look good but it was edible. We spread some butter, cream cheese and sardines omelette. 





September 07, 2012

Home Office

Few weeks ago my husband asked me if I want to have a vanity dresser and I said no. You may find it weird because I’m a woman and most of the women love to have a vanity dresser but if there is one thing that I really want to have is home office. Not because I really work at home but I want to have my own space where I can spend my free time.

A nook where I can read magazine and books, surf net and write blog posts, create craft or anything under the sun. It is a combination of library, home office and reader’s nook.

I was reading an article and according to Zimmerman, here are the important things that we need to consider in designing our home office.

Determine our needs – Do we need computers, storage, meeting space or project station?
In our case, we have our own laptops, one for hubby, one for me and one toy laptop for my son so we need at least two spaces for computers. We need storage for papers, mail, bills and a place for telephone.  A small square table will do in our home office just in case my son needs to do some project or group projects.

Pick a location - It is my dream to convert our guestroom to home office.

Develop a Plan - I’m saving this photo for my future home office. I want something like this. I’m not sure if I need to hire interior designer or I could hire someone who can do my own designs with less professional fee. But according to Zimmerman, it is good to hire professional designer to help you in planning. Some online shops like Office Furniture Express offer free consultancy service. How I wish we also have free consultancy here in the country.

Create a Healthy Environment – this is very important because my son will also use this room so I need to ensure that our future home office would be safe and comfortable to everyone.

Define a Place for Who You Are – I remember when I was still working we are limited to display 3 personal items like photo frame, pen holder and paper weight. One advantage of having you home office is you can personalize you working space; you can do whatever you want
How about you? Do you want to have a home office?



Things to Consider in Choosing Furniture

A house is not complete without furniture. I haven’t seen a home without single furniture. It is one of the important things that homeowners need to consider. Furniture brings function to a room, whether it is for the bedroom, dining room or living room. I know that choosing furniture is not easy but here are the things that you need to consider in choosing the right pieces.

Space and Size
The most important factor that you need to consider is space and size. Do you have a big house or a small house? If you only have a limited space, you need to choose furniture that will fit your room. It is a must to note all the measurements before buying one.

Material
Next thing to consider is materials, what type of material you want to purchase? Do you want plastic, glass, wood or metal? If you want wood, there are many types of wood so you need to know your wants and likes.

Photo Source
Style and Color
Styles and color is another important thing that you must consider. It depends on your taste and lifestyle. Do you want plain and simple or you want elaborate and richly adorned? Be sure that the furniture color will match your house.

Quality
Aside from size, style and material, you need to consider quality too. Quality is very important to ensure the sturdiness of the furniture. No homeowners want to purchase furniture every year. As much as possible they want to buy quality furniture that would last for many years. It is a waste of time and money if this happens because finding a replacement is not easy too.

Budget
Lastly, check your budget so you can narrow down your choices. Quality furniture doesn’t have to be expensive so if you have very limited budget, do not be sad because you can also find good quality furniture in reasonable prices. If you have limited time to look around, you can check the internet and look for possible sales, clearance sales or discounts at the comfort of your home. You will be amazed that even Tom Faulkner has their own clearance sale. They sell clearance pieces or ex-displays that you might be interested. Some online shops offer free shipping.

Choosing furniture may not be easy but if you consider these factors, task would be easy and you may enjoy the process.  Happy Shopping!



How to Apply SSS Salary Loan via Online

I’ve been a member of SSS since 2003 and even I stopped working I still continue paying my contributions but of course, the amount has been changed. I can’t remember the last time I’ve tried applying for SSS Loan, all I can remember is I was denied because of “mismatch name”.

It took me months before I asked our HR department about the status of my SSS loan and those HR staff did not bother to inform me that my loan was denied. 


The only good thing is I was able to fix the problem. Well, I only need to update my SSS ID to my married name. After receiving my new SSS ID, I did not apply for SSS Salary loan.



Last month, while surfing the internet I’ve learned that I can apply for SSS Salary Loan via online. I was so curious so I tried it and it was really easy. It took me few minutes to apply for my salary loan last August 14, 2012. I received an email last August 23, 2012 stating that my salary loan has been approved and my check was generated. 

Since then I’ve been waiting for my check. Almost 2 weeks had passed and still no check so I email SSS regarding the status but got no reply. Just yesterday, a postman came holding a notice card to inform me that I have mail at the post office. He said, “nung isang lingo pa ma’m yung mail niyo, wala kasi tao dito lagi”. I asked what time he usually dropped by. He said ‘11AM’. Well, I’m still in school at that time. 

He said, he will be back to bring my mail and he did after 5PM. #extramile. I check the envelope stamp and I saw Aug 24, 2012 Q.C. Post Office and August 31, 2012 our post office. I’m not sure if that was fast because this was my first time experience.

How to Apply SSS Salary Loan via Online? (Voluntary Member)

1. Make sure you are registered online. If you are not registered, click here.
2. If you are a member, just enter your user id and password



3. Then you will see this Welcome to My.SSS


4.  Click Transactions and choose Salary Loan Application



5. Then you will see this


6. Check the “I agree to the terms and conditions” box and click ok.
7. Then you will see this.



8. That’s it! if you have an employer, SSS will notify your employer regarding your loan application. Employer approval is needed.


Note: Check will be delivered to your home address. Pay your SSS Salary loan on or before the 10th of the month


Related Article: SSS Loan Salary Payment

A repost from my old blog Michi's Home Sweet Home
       

First Examination

I know that most of the schools already finished their monthly and periodical exams but in our case, next week will be the start of the First Trimester Examination. I just received the long list of “pointers to review”, but I haven’t received the books yet. I’m really excited to see my son’s books; it would be my first time to see those books after I submitted it on their first day of school.

Photo Source

I told myself not to expect anything and remember the reasons why we enrolled our son in school. We only want him to enjoy school and enhance his social skills. No pressure please! I will accept whatever result. Hehe! Good luck to our review and exam! 

September 04, 2012

Chores for Kids

I only have one kid but I don’t want to spoil him so even he is still in toddler age, we still give him responsibility. Simple responsibility or chores that is appropriate to his age and strength. I found this photo and so far my son is doing most of the listed chores.

He can keep his own toys even it took him forever to finish. I try not to help because in school they are responsible in keeping all their activities, snacks and others so consistency is important.

If he wants to sweep the floor, I let him then I will just do it again.

He can put dirty clothes in the hamper.

He can put clothes in the washing machine.

He can remove clothes from the hanger and sometimes he helps me in folding clothes but of course I have to repeat it again.

Every time I hang our clothes, he gives me hanger.

He always helps me whenever I bake, he helps me mixing the batter or he put baking paper in our muffin tray.

He helps his dad in washing the car.

He also helps his dad in removing weeds.

He knows how to wipe his own mess.

One month to go and he is turning four years old so I need to add more chores. 


September 03, 2012

Real Coffee ánd Tea Cafe Boracay

Real Cofee and Tea Café was listed on my Boracay food trip last year but we were not able to visit this place. Good thing that my husband went to Boracay last week for their company outing so I google and asked my sister-in-law for the location. I texted my husband to visit this café hence he could buy some calamansi muffins. I was just curious because Real Coffee and Tea Café is known for their breakfast meal and calamansi muffin.


I made calamansi cupcake before and I would like to know if there’s any difference. Well, for me the taste is close enough, Real Coffee and Tea Café calamansi muffin P45 is dense, soft and you can really taste the calamansi while my calamansi cupcake is soft and there’s a slight taste of calamansi. My husband likes this better than my calamansi cupcake. Huhuhu! But I will make calamansi cupcake again and add more calamansi juice.

ang liit ng brownies
My son enjoys the banana walnut muffin P45 and brownies P60 but I find it too expensive for the price or I’m just so kuripot. This muffin is really in demand so if you want to buy this as your pasalubong, you can pre-order and pick-up the muffin before you leave. 

Real Coffee and Tea Cafe is located in station 1, landmark is Astoria Boracay, enter the small alley on the right side and you will see the cafe.

September 01, 2012

Viaje del Sol: Café Lago and Sampaloc Lake

My mom wanted me to visit my grandmother every month so starting this year again I do visit my grandmother every month but because of busyness sometimes we only stay for few hours but if we’re not in a hurry we will sleep there, if you remember my term “eat, sleep and run”.  But before we go home we try to visit one place listed in Viaje del Sol so two weeks ago we were able to visit Café Lago and Sampaloc Lake.

Again, we don’t know how to get to Café Lago so we used the GPRS to get there. We’ve been following the GPRS but we’ve been running around in circles and we can’t find our destination. According to GPRS, we’re one minute away to Café Lago but we feel that we’re lost so we stopped using the GPRS and asked for directions, lagpas na pala kami. When we reached Café Lago, we checked our location in GPRS and we found out that GPRS is not 100% accurate but it is still helpful.

Sampaloc Lake, with circular shoreline of about four kilometers, is situated right in the heart of the city and a stone's throw away from the city capitol compound. It has a maximum depth of 27.6 meters at the center and an average depth of 20 meters. It has a calculated volume of water in storage of  14.1 million cubic meters. Its narrow water head is planted mostly with coconut trees. In an east side is an outlet with a low outflow of water while a number of clear springs mark the lake shore area. 


Café Lago is a small restaurant just in front of Sampaloc Lake. Good thing that we went there early because after few minutes, 21 people came in to eat their lunch. The group came from Casa San Pablo which I also plan to visit, someday. While waiting for our order we took some pictures.




We ordered Fern “pako” salad P150 and Crispy Binagoongan P245. My husband enjoyed his Fern Salad and even my son ate it. Crispy Binagoongan is just ok for me.




Café Lago
San Pablo, Laguna
Contact # (049) 573-7404; 0922-8217931
Weekends: 7AM to 10PM
Weekdays: 10Am to 9PM
GPS: 14*04'34.71''N 121*19'31.11''E