Pin It, Pinas! Pinterest Philippines Is Finally Here!

I've been on Pinterest for more than three (3) years already.  I discovered it through a friend who's a social media guru in our company.  From the moment I signed in, I.FELL.IN.LOVE instantly!

I got hooked to it so much so, that sometimes, I would spend hours on Pinterest just looking at and pinning photos that inspire me.  I love the feeling of being inspired.  It's like nothing is going to go wrong with what I do after I finish Pinterest-ing.  That's the effect of Pinterest on me.  Endless feeling of elation like it took me to another world.  I'm sorry if I sound exagerrated right now, but this is my Pinterest experience.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, let me introduce Pinterest to you.  Pinterest is a Visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas on your boards.  In fact you could also upload or pin your own photos on your Pinterest boards, depending on the endless categories you could think of.  Anything that inspires you, moves you, affects you, makes you beautiful, or educates you, PIN IT Pinas! :)

I use Pinterest to get ideas and pegs for DIY projects and upcoming life events.  My most favorite board, which I could spend the whole day pinning ideas and beautiful photos, is the Wedding 
Inspirations Board.
Follow Mommy Practicality 's board Wedding Inspirations on Pinterest.

Back-To-School Safe Essentials For Kids

It’s back-to-school season for my older child and a whole new school experience for my little one!   I started purchasing their school needs for a good two weeks prior to their schools' class opening.  Shopping is not as easy as just buying the school supplies listed, but what makes it difficult is deciding which type or brand do you buy.  Why?  Because as a mom, I prioritize my children's safety at all times.

Let me share with you some of the items in our back-to-school shopping bag:

How To Successfully Disguise Leftover Food

Hello once again loves!  This is the third installment of my Electrolux PH's #DoMoreWithLess blog post series.  Let me just tell you that I love doing this because I like sharing a few practical mommy hacks I do in our busy humble kitchen.  If you missed the other two previous helpful posts on meal planning, you may find them HERE and HERE.

Now, what I would like to share with you are my simple tips on how to successfully disguise leftover food, and actually make the picky eaters eat them!  Haha!  I know you could definitely relate to this because most of the time, picky eaters don't like eating the same dish or menu for two consecutive meals or even days.  When this happens, we say hello to food waste, and we don't want to add to the daily household trash in Metro Manila.  Did you know that out of 5,600 tons of trash everyday, 75% comes from household and 50% of the household trash comes from food.  Sad no?  That's why Electrolux came up with a campaign to raise awareness of this alarming concern and encourage moms to be resourceful at home, in the kitchen to help improve the food wastage situation.  With this, I would like to share with you some practical tips on making our picky eaters eat some leftovers.

How To Successfully Disguise Leftover Food
  1. Make "it" (disguising the food) part of your meal planning.  -I've always had an experience with my family having leftover food.  So I make it part of my meal planning, such a contingency plan just in case there will be lots of left over food.  I plan it well.  I think this way: "If I cook Sauteed Ground Pork with Veggies and have some leftover, into what other menu I can turn it to?"  There are lots of other recipes I could disguise my left over ground pork.  Examples would be: Omelette, Almondigas Soup, Italian Spaghetti, Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Fried Meat Balls with dip, and the list goes on.  Buy the ingredients you may need during your food marketing day.

A Year Without You

Hello Mommy,

How are you up there?  I know you're going to answer me with "Ang ganda dito Issa!  I'm no longer in pain.  God is beautiful!"  Knowing how your eyes used to lit up and your voice raise to high pitch whenever you got excited, I can clearly imagine your exact gestures and tone while telling me how beautiful it is there in heaven.

If you would ask me how things are since you left, it's pretty back to how I would like to call normal now, except that you're no longer in the physical picture.  The first six months was really hard for me and more for daddy.  For a time, daddy wouldn't do his usual activities, like talk to friends on the phone, call the radio to comment on current issues, and hang out with his other senior radio commentator friends.  It was also the first time I worried about his health, the pain was affecting him physically.  His blood pressure was unstable as he complained about getting tired faster than before.  I felt his devastation when you left.  So we all struggled to put things back to normal, but you left such a big shoe to fill in mommy.  Slowly, Daddy adjusted to your absence.  Having Dandre sleep next to him every night since the first night we all went home after you were laid to rest, helped daddy cope with the sadness.  You must be proud of your apo Dandre for volunteering to stay with his lolo.  He's grown so big now mommy!  For sure, the three of you wouldn't fit in your queen-sized bed if you were still here. I remember how Dandre would always want to stay in your room and sleep with you.  Now, he's taking good care of daddy.  They both listen to the radio before dozing off to sleep.

Dad's back to his groove now.  He started going out again to social gatherings with his friends.  He's back to radio commenting on a daily basis.  He's now also enjoying his time with his apos.  Daddy is in tip-top shape, his health tests show normal on all levels!  We talk about you every now and then.  How we both miss you and remember you.  We talk when one of us dreamed about you.  He said he dreamed you were wearing a bikini and was just enjoying your time.  I guess that's how it is up there no?  You're enjoying your freedom from pain, worries, suffering, rumors, responsibilities, fears, and everything worldly.  But in bikini!  That's wow!

I am keeping my promises I whispered to you when you could still hear me, when you still responded to what I said, when you were still here, few days before your departure to heaven.  But the first three months without you was depressing.  I would open your closet and just look at all your stuff, your clothes and accessories I used to borrow, your notes here and there, your mobile phone, the things you last wore or used, then I'd cry.  I would sometimes come home really tired and stressed out then think of what we could've talked about, then I'd cry.  Every remembrance of you, I would cry.  I miss you terribly Mommy.  While writing this, I still feel the pain, but not as extreme as how it was during the early weeks.  I had to move on, we all had to.  That's exactly what we all did.

I'm sure, you wouldn't be happy to know that, your plants aren't as healthy as you left them.  I don't have a green thumb that even my new basil plant died on me only a few days after bringing it home.  The house had a little make-over by painting it brighter and re-arranging it to make it spacious.  I'm sure you would have been glad to use the big space for Zumba or your aerobics steps.  But, I admit, it's not as spic and span as you'd had it.  The clothes pile up in one corner because I don't organize them immediately.  You used to organize them yourself even if you didn't need to, and would get irritated at me for not attending to them fast.  Now I know why.  The kitchen.... it's still busy, but not as busy when you were still working your magic in it.  It's still for renovation because the cupboards are dilapidated and look like they're going to cave in anytime soon.  The weekly menu is not as vast as yours, I have yet to learn a lot from the compilation of recipes you left with me.  By the way, I plan to make a cook book out of it, I hope that materializes soon.

I'm sure you'd be excited to know that Dandre is already a graduating elementary student and Wes has started schooling.  DK still remembers you every now and then and looks for you too.  The little ones fight less often and they converse so cutely about movie characters and toys.  By the way, I now wake up earlier than how I used to when you would gladly do my duties in the morning to prepare Dandre for school.  You let me sleep longer because you knew how dead tired I was everyday.  My alarm is on snooze for thirty minutes with five minutes interval until I finally get enough will to get up.  I still have to improve a lot on my review time with Dandre when I get home, I don't know where to still get that extra time.  Indeed you left such a huge shoe to fill and I'm not even half as close as how you used to do it.

Yesterday, we commemorated the start of your new life journey.  The family's complete.  People came to our house to pray a short novena as our send-off to you.  Then we had lunch and the star of the buffet, the Lechon, was your siblings' treat.  We were all talking about you dearly, and had a great time seeing and bonding with each other.  It was a mini-reunion, I'm sure you're happy to witness that from above.

Right now, as I write this, exactly a year and a day since you left for your new journey, I'm coping well.  We've adjusted to living a new normal which is of course sadder than how it used to be with you around, but it's okay.  We all know you're in a so much better place right now Mommy.  I also know, that you'd want us to all move on and let you go.  You being such a worrier for all of us, wouldn't want us to think of sad thoughts and be depressed at every thought of you.  We're getting there Mommy.  Slowly the memories of you in the hospital bed fighting the big C are fading.  They are being replaced by happy remembrances of you!  You being a nagdadalagang Aero-Mom (I used to scan your outfit and make you change if it's too much to handle).  You being a upright Barangay Lupon who by the way still holds the record of having the most cases solved.  You being a dedicated servant of God as Mother Butler.  You being a certified Senior Citizen Organization leader who fought for those who couldn't stand up for themselves.  You being the most faithful and loving wife to Daddy.  You being the most caring, hardworking, diligent, and proud lola to your apos.  And you, being the patient, open-minded, understanding, supportive, strong, loving, and positive Mommy to me and my siblings.

A year without you Mommy, was indeed a tough road, and we're still getting used to it.  But knowing in our hearts that you're at peace with your Creator in heaven made it all easy for us to accept your absence and made it lighter for us to move on and let you go.

I miss you everyday Mommy.  I'm sorry because I don't think I will ever stop missing you.  See you again Mommy... but not soon, please not soon.  I LOVE YOU and I FOREVER WILL!

Love,
Issa

This Back-To-School, Go Back-To-Cool In Style!

School is definitely back!  My tweener had been excited for days before his school started last Monday.  For him, the best way to be back-to-school is to be Back-To-Cool In Style.  With the help of wide array of clothes and accessories choices in The SM Store, he definitely looked too cool for school (me, speaking his lingo!).

So, looking at what we had purchased for him in The SM Store, we bought these:
Cool and durable lunch kit and tumbler at the Children's Accessories section
Also at the children's section, you'll see wallet with chain for the boys.

100% Whole Mom Ph Launch

100% Whole Mom (#WholeMomPh) is a passion project of three beautiful (inside and out!) celebrity moms, Chesca Kramer, Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio and my co-blissmaker, Marilen Montenegro, focusing on "The Home, The Beauty, and The Heart" of a mother through series of workshops.

The series of workshops aim to inspire moms in making a happy home, remind her to embrace her own beauty, and not to forget to nurture the heart.  I agree with what Rica wrote that "we can't give what we don't have and we can't love if we're not loved."
A few weeks before the launch, Marilen messaged me about their invitation.  At that instant, I already felt blessed to be part of a very noble and purposely driven project.  A project By Moms, For Moms.  It clearly resonates my blog objectives which are to Inspire and Inform moms and women.  When I got the invitation, I knew the event was going to be a light and beautiful one, just like the invitation I got.

McDonald's Welcomes Back the Minions

My kids loooooove the Minions and they played all the Despicable Me movies on repeat for a time.   When McDonald's came out with the first Minions Happy Meal collectibles, we bought all in one go!   That's how my kids were so into the Minions!  If you weren't able to complete McDonald's first set, don't fret.  Now you can complete the set before everyone else by pre-ordering from June 15-20.

A Family Trip To Marikina City One Fine Day

I promised myself, to my kids, that we will be experiencing a lot of things and go to many places when we can.  It's the closest thing I could do to homeschooling method which other of my mom friends are successfully rocking!  One of the things I want them, myself and hubby counted, is to visit as many places near Manila, which we haven't gone before.  A few Sundays ago, we decided it was Markina City.

My brother lives in Marikina for decades already.  We only go to their part of the world whenever there are parties.  We never really got a chance to explore it.  So finally, after hearing and reading so much good things to see, good restaurants to try, beautiful places to see, we woke up one Sunday morning, prepped ourselves for a city adventure.  Here were five places we visited in Marikina:

Rustic Mornings
I've read awesome reviews about the food and the place in my friends' blogs and when we got there, it wasn't a disappointment at all!  In fact, my optical and oral senses were in its euphoric state!  Here are some of the reasons why:

My Actual Three-Day Practical Meal Plan


Last time, I shared the things I consider in coming up witha meal plan for our family.  Why did I do that?  To also encourage you household rock stars to also do your share in helping our environment reduce food wastage by being resourceful and creative in the kitchen.  One more thing you could do to improve our current waste management system is to recycle or upcycle food such as cracked egg shells, used coffee grounds, banana peels, used tea bags and many more.  I’ve shared in my IG and FB feed some of my upcycling ideas for coffee grounds and banana peels, which you could both use as your plants’ organic fertilizers.  

I’m really happy that Electrolux launched a campaign which empowers moms like us to be more resourceful at home.  As you can see, I’m actively taking part in this advocacy to #DoMoreWithLess.
Now, let me share with you how we execute our meal plan at home tied with the most favorite part ng mga mommies, the budgeting.  Let’s review first my meal planning considerations: Number of people to feed, average meal consumption, nutritional value and budget.

My Php 200 Mommy Challenge

These days, as prices of commodities and services hike great heights, it's indeed challenging to buy or get quality products or services when you're in a tight budget.  Let's say before, with Php100, I already could get a lot from my spending.  But these days, I wouldn't be able to get the same for that much.  So I'm raising my challenge to 200 pesos!

What can you still get with 200 pesos? Here's a list of how far my 200 went:

1.   7 Story Books - I love scouting for book sales to buy quality books for my little one.   Would you believe all these books cost only P200?   Most of these are bought at Book Sale bookstore.