Cardboard Box Playhouse

by she said

Halloween is a big thing in our village! Kids (and even grown ups) dress up in all kinds of costumes and it's really fun to go around and get lots of candy. : D

We've been thinking of making a playhouse made of cardboard for my little cousin when he comes to visit us today. It took us about a day to make this. All the materials we used, we found around the house. We ran out of glue so some parts aren't done yet but we're so excited to show you how it turned out!

3ft x 2ft cardboard box
construction paper
double sided tape
paint brush

How To:

 1. Cut out windows on two sides of the box.

2. Cut out a door, but not all the way through. Leave one side still attached to the box so you can swing the door to open and close.

3. Raise the flaps of the top part of the box to resemble a roof and secure with double sided tape. We had some help here from my Tito Sonny, who is crafty like us : )

4. We have lots of construction paper at home. We cut out circles in different sizes and colors.

 5. We mixed regular glue with a little bit of water and used a brush to paint the glue over the box. Arrange and stick the circles on.

6. Create a doorknob out of an old wine cork. Secure with superglue.

Now we're all ready for our little guests : ) It can even come in handy as a photo booth for me and my friends!

Trick or treat? : P

I'm really looking forward to the rest of today, 'cause I'll be seeing some family and close friends. Hope you all have a very happy Halloween!

Kitchen Stories- Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

by she said

I'm on my term break, which means I can finally switch my 6 A.M. alarm off. I recently changed the alarm tone to 'Stop' by the Spice Girls and I think my mom is secretly rejoicing that she won't have to hear the starting bars of the song over and over because I snooze my alarm, like, fifty times before I finally get up.

I've been spending my vacation getting some much needed rest by sleeping in almost every day. My mom and I have also been eating out and constantly feeding the monster which is our macaron addiction. I went to see 'Carrie' with my friends and it gave me the spooks, putting me in the right mood for Halloween.  It's a welcome change from the exhaustion that the school day brings! : )

I also have more time to help out in the kitchen. Mom and I were craving pancakes for breakfast so we used this super simple and easy recipe. The pancakes come out crepe like - crisp around the edges - which is how we like ours done.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes (adapted from Jamie Oliver)

1 cup flour
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 apple, peeled & grated
pinch of salt
butter for cooking

Cinnamon Sugar

in a small bowl, blend together:
2 tbsp granulated white sugar
1 tsp  cinnamon

Mix flour, baking, soda, and salt in a mixing bowl with a whisk. Add milk and beaten egg to the flour mixture and combine until smooth. Fold in grated apple to the mixture and stir with a spoon.

Put a non stick pan over medium heat and add some butter. Once butter melts, pour about 1/3 cup of batter to the hot pan.  Carefully flip the pancake when the top begins to bubble and continue to cook until other side is golden. Serve hot, with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.

Makes about 8 pancakes.

We hope that you get to try this recipe too. It definitely made our morning : )

The Way We Ate- J.Cuppacakes

By She Said, she said

When we received an invitation to the grand opening of J.Cuppacakes' newest branch in Makati, we just couldn't say no. You all know we love all things sweet. Who can resist an evening of unlimited cupcakes? Not us!

J.Cuppacakes in SM Jazz Residences, Bel-Air, Makati is a testament to all things girly and dainty. It's a perfect venue for birthdays, baptismal parties, and bridal showers, or just for hanging out with friends. They also have a mezzanine area for private functions, where you can have themed cupcake decorating sessions.

Chef Julianne Bernardo, a graduate from the College of Saint Benilde is the culinary genius behind J.Cuppacakes while mom Chona handles the day to day operations of their three store branches in Megamall, Eastwood, and SM Jazz Residences.

What endeared us to this mother and daughter tandem is that they are very much like the mother and daughter team we are over here at our blog. We got a chance to chat with both Julianne and Chona and we found ourselves nodding in agreement when they told us about the challenges of running a business together. Just like us, they argue and have their disagreements on how things should be done. But at the end of the day, mutual respect, trust and love for each other is what matters most.

We had our fill of their savory and sweet dishes and enjoyed spending the night with some of our good friends - we've already been back for a second time when we had a craving for macarons one afternoon : )

Creamy Grilled Chicken Pesto- homemade pesto cream and bechamel sauce on penne with grilled chicken strips.

Cupcake assortment. Clockwise, from top: Tiramisu, S'mores, Brazo de Mercedes Cheescake, Salted Caramel, Strawberry Cheesecake, Cookie Butter

Hazelnut Macarons

Chocolate Crinkles

Chocolate and Fruit Shakes

Snickerdoodle French Crepes- cinnamon, butter, brown sugar, and caramel sauce

We were happy to meet Chona, Julianne, and their family and admire how they support each other in all things. No wonder their business is a success. Congratulations, J.Cuppacakes! : )

Art In Your Cravings

Love for the Elderly

By She Said

We went on a short out of town trip with some of our friends recently, to spread some cheer to the residents of Mary Mother of Mercy Home for the Elderly in San Pedro, Laguna.

All the lolas warmly welcomed us for the short program we prepared for them. And we truly enjoyed their company, with some of them even showcasing their talent for singing and dancing. They all love to sing and dance!

We were moved by their stories and the circumstances that brought them to be in this Home, in the care of complete strangers who they now consider as family. To grow old and to be separated from your loved ones can be sad and lonely,  but their smiles and laughter showed us their joy to live.

The Missionary Sisters of St. Francis Xavier lovingly care for all the elderly and treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve.

We would like to invite you to visit Mary Mother of Mercy Home for the Elderly and spend some time with the lolas to help them take their meals, take them for a walk in the garden, care for the sick, or just simply talk to them and listen to their stories. They are always happy to have guests over : )

Mary Mother of Mercy
Home for the Elderly and the Abandoned
San Pedro, Laguna
Tel Nos. 869-1529 & 869-0636

The Way We Ate- Bizu Patisserie

By She Said

About a week ago, I came across my reminders list about Bianca's report card day.  Her school actually provides online viewing of grades making it convenient for parents to access their child's report card without having to take a day off from work. It saves me time and effort to view her grades online and just schedule a parent-teacher conference if I have any concerns. Since it's paper free, it makes it eco-friendly too!

I was actually resigning myself to receiving an average report card. I've been on Bianca's case for not spending enough time studying, and my constant reminders for her to get off Twitter and just being on the internet in general are always met with groans and grunts.

"I'm already done with all my homework, mom," is her constant reply. And "I'm doing my homework online," which I never believed since I have this old-school concept that studying meant books and paper on a study desk.

We both viewed her report card together and I was  surprised to see a lot of A's. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that she was trying her best not to show me her I told you so face. ; )

I was so happy and proud, and because good grades always deserve a celebration, I treated her out to some afternoon tea.

 We both love Bizu in Alabang Town Center. It's always quiet, cozy and conducive for long talks and relaxing. The cool rainy weather was perfect for tea.

 Soleil Rooibos-  Rooibos tea with hints of orange peel, strawberry bits, raspberry, coconut and cornflower petals.

 Omelette aux Champignon- Wild mushroom ragout with cream cheese. Served with a side of mixed greens, candied walnuts, cherry tomatoes, raspberry vinaigrette.

 Croque Madame- Forest ham and cheese brioche sandwich, topped with Gruyere cheese and sunny-side-up egg.

It's good to know that Bizu's herbs and vegetables are freshly harvested in their very own organic farm in Batangas.

Of course, one can never leave Bizu without having some of their famous macarons...

 Salted Caramel & Pistachio Macarons. We had two rounds of these crisp chewy pastries. So good!
Congratulations, Bianca! keep up the good work : )

Bizu Patisserie & Bistro
Corte de las Palmas
Alabang Town Center
Muntinlupa City
Facebook page

Long Weekend

By She Said

Wow! We had a super long weekend that started last October 11, Friday. It was parent-teacher conference day in my daughter's school so she had no classes.  October 14, Monday was an unexpected holiday with the late announcement of class suspensions in Metro Manila due to an Iglesia ni Cristo event followed by Eidul Adha (Muslim holiday) on October 15, Tuesday. So, all in all, we had a five day weekend! Had we known in advance, we could have planned an out of town trip!

Nevertheless, it was a welcome respite from our busy schedules and we were able to catch up on some much needed sleep : )

We spent the week by first celebrating Bianca's excellent report card in Bizu.......

On Saturday, we were invited to the opening of J. cuppacakes newest branch in SM Jazz Residences in Bel-Air, Makati.....

We capped off our long vacation by spending some time with the sweet and funny lolas of Mary Mother of Mercy Home for the Elderly in San Pedro, Laguna.

All these stories deserve a separate post each! We're so excited to share with all of you what we did this weekend. Please stay tuned : )

Hope you all had a chance to recharge as we did. It was actually hard to get started with work and school again today but hey, just two more days and it's the weekend again so it ain't so bad : )


By She Said

Ever since she was a little girl, I already sensed that my daughter was going to be in the performing arts. Beginning at age 5, she was into dance, music and acting lessons. She spent most of her summers in workshops and performing in recitals.

I was feeling nostalgic today and look what I found! My best Throwback Thursday photo to date.

Repertory Philippines' 2006 restaging of The Sound of Music.

My daughter, Bianca (second from left, first row), played the role of  Marta Von Trapp.

Repertory Philippines very first production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The Sound of Music was way back in 1980. The original cast included then nine year old Lea Salonga and Monique Wilson, years before their Miss Saigon fame.

In 2006, Repertory Philippines' Ms. Baby Barredo held open auditions for children to be cast as part of Rep's restaging of this well loved musical. My daughter was fortunate enough to be given a chance to audition and eventually got the role as one of the Von Trapp children. I accompanied her to all her rehearsals and hung out with all the moms of the other children in the show. The show ran for an entire month, and I watched every single show she was in, acted as her personal assistant, make up artist and manager, so my daughter fondly called me and still up to now calls me her "Momager".  She was only 8 years old at that time and since this was her first professional performance, I was wary to leave her with just anyone.

She was blessed to have the unique opportunity to  perform along side theater veterans and an entire cast of talented performers. She learned discipline and professionalism along with the value of hard work and experience which certainly built up her confidence.

Repertory Philippines' production of The Sound of Music circa 1980.

photo source
 Cast members- Menchu Lauchengco Yulo, Raymond Lauchengco, Risa Hontiveros Baraquel, Javier Arriaga, Monique Wilson, Lea Salonga, Angela Adams.

She hasn't slowed down on performing since then. She's at least in one show (school production or otherwise) every year.  I'm more relaxed now that she's older. I don't go with her to rehearsals anymore but I make sure I pick her up when it ends late in the evening. And, I watch only on the opening night instead of all the shows.

Now that she's a teenager, she really prefers for me not to hang around her so much and I know it's because she's practicing her independence. But I always jump at the opportunity whenever she just so much as slightly hints that she needs my help or my presence because a mom will always be a mom no matter how old your children are. Right, moms? ; )

The Way We Ate- Wee Nam Kee

by she said

We recently celebrated my Tita D's birthday at Wee Nam Kee. Famous for their authentic Hainanese Chicken rice, they opened here in the Philippines in 2010. I remember celebrating my mom's birthday in their newly opened branch at Ayala Triangle Gardens back then. I love the food here, which is super addicting! It's one of the places we can all agree on.

Roasted Chicken- we also liked the steamed version.

Salt and Pepper Squid

Pork Chop Noodle Soup

After dinner, we had coffee in Starbucks and tried out the Salted Caramel Frappucino. So good! We loved the balance of sweet and salty and the crunchy salt bits on top of the whipped cream : )

 Before dinner and after dinner. : D (Bloated, hehe)

Thank you, Tita D, for such a yummy birthday treat. Happy Birthday! We love you!

Wee Nam Kee
Ground Floor, New Wing
Alabang Town Center,
Muntinlupa City