Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Growing up

Last year just when I was coming off from my previous employer I was caught off guard about the income protection insurance I had subscribed to. It did not cover maternity reasons. I suppose I should have read the fine print and must have taken note of this. One good thing that that experience has brought me is that I pay more attention to details as such. Since then, I have taken out a few things (medical insurance, membership and other contract agreement) at which I have made sure I read all points, headings, sub headings and fine print at least three times. I also asked the other party when I had questions relating to the service or product I was subscribing to. I can now proudly say that I am better at it, and more confident in asking relevant questions! I suppose that is part of growing up. Learning from previous experiences and moving on.
Speaking of growing up, I cannot believe my little one just passed the nine months mark! She is growing too fast, and learning so many new things! I am glad that the Australian dollar to US dollar conversion is good now, so I can do more toy shopping for the little girl!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ideally this would be me

Ya, ya ya, the picture I wish was me working at home. Poised, composed, neat.

But not!

Since officially starting work at home last week, I have been calm, but not poised. The house is a mess. I guess I am just about to make my (our) routine. Not as easy. A baby does not have the best routine. But I suppose that should not throw me off my goal. Working from home would work, and I will make sure it does.

Although it means being able to time my calls in B's good, silent moods. Checking and replying to emails quickly. Doing my research with one hand feeding B, while the other is typing away.

Well of course this only happens in the beginning. Things will be better. Before I know it the little one is not so little anymore, and I would have mastered the art of juggling my time. For now, I look at the photo above and feel hopeful that everything is possible. After all, (its my secret) I am supermom! Hahaha!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I still keep coming back

No matter how busy I am I will always be back online sooner or later. Whether that is to update my online journal, search the net for Venetian Masquerade masks, do some travel works, etc. Much of my world revolves around the internet, just like more than half of the world's population today. Hubby and I were talking the other week about how much the world relied on technology, particularly the internet. Should the entire internet 'network' fail there would definitely be chaos everywhere. Truly there is more to the net than doing online shopping and searching for Venetian Face masks.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Yes, finally

Finally I will be working my hours, wherever I want! Yipee!! Yes, whether I am in Sydney or in Manila for as long as I have my laptop and mobile I will be able to do business. I know I make it sound as if that's easy but really it will be hard work. I will have distractions everywhere... tv, nice weather, laziness, etc.

But I suppose being with my little B the most challenging, since I will need to work my time management. I anticipate times when I will be unable to resist her charms and would like to play with her, in spite of a big First Class enquiry or some random package.

Oh well. Such is life. I wish I can have everything all at once. I wish I could update my blogs as often as I want. Oh, and bake lots and lots of cake and goodies. Hmm.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In between cakes

Oh yes, I have been busy lately. I have baked numerous cakes, cupcakes, mini cakes, muffins, bread, etc. Since my last entry my sister has visited me, stayed for a good month and left. And, my other sister has arrived and leaves next week. So, yes I have been busy. Baby B is still a baby, and we are enjoying quality time with aunts. I wish I can have them stay here for good. SOON, I hope and pray my sister would decide to relocate to Sydney just so we'll have family here and would no longer consider going to Manila for good. (But then again, who knows?!)

This week I am attending a travel agent's workshop for my business and I am hoping to start my own soon thereafter. *Cross fingers* With an infant in tow it will be hard to start my business and even the workshop on it's own is a challenge. My hubby is taking the day off from work so he can stay with bub outside my workshop. So I can still feed Baby on demand. Oh, and we would be checking in into the hotel where my workshop is held.. Ah life. Adjustments with a baby. No complaints. Just adjustments.

I hope to update this blog again soon. For now, it's back to baking. Oh and feeding.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Next one macaron

So, recently I have been into baking .. or should I say sweet little things. The next one I want to try and make are French Macarons! I found a recipe in Paris Pastry's blog, which I could probably use. I can't wait! Maybe when my sister comes over I can have her take care of the little one for a while, while I make the delice!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How about that fondant?

Yesterday I made my first fondant!! Yes!! For some reason I have been obsessed with the thought of being able to do my own fondant, so I finally did my research some 48 hours ago, and then decided I would try. Well, it was quite successful if I may say so, given that I had only 45minutes to complete the whole thing. I had to make use of a ready made sponge cake though coz I was in a rush. The fondant was for my brothers who we were taking to the airport within the hour of making the fondant. Still. It was fun. I think some sort of like a therapy thingamathing.

So here is how I made it:

Marshmallow bag
Icing Sugar/Confectioner's Sugar
Food colouring (optional)

Mixing Bowl
Rolling pin
Ziplock Bag

1. Grease all utensils, including hands, with shortening to avoid marshmallow sticking on it.

2. Microwave a big bag of marshmallows in a bowl for about 30 seconds at a time. Drop about 3 spoonful water in the bowl. Keep microwaving/adding water until a gooey consistency is reached.

3. Transfer the mixture onto a clean flat surface and knead the mixture while adding the sugar gradually. Do this until the mixture has a play-dough consistency (firm but not hard).

4. Take a portion of the blob, and keep what you wont be needing in a ziplock container. And then roll the remainder of the fondant into your desired shape. Should the fondant stick onto the surface, just add more sugar. Add food colouring if required. Just a tiny drop of colouring would go a long way. Knead the fondant again to attain the colour desired.

5. Put the fondant over the cake. Smoothen and make sure that the fondant and cake are firmly together. Pop air pockets with a pin and smoothen.

6. Trim the edges from the cake/fondant.

7. Decorate!

See, so simple! If I knew it was this simple I would have made my own wedding cake. Seriously!!

Now, I can't wait for Bella's 5th month celebration so I could make her her first fondant cupcake :)

P.S. Nope, I don't have all the time in the world, believe me this was squeezed during B's short nap!!! Yes, I hope I am turning into a supermum! :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What are little girls made of?

Sweet things
Cute post-it notes
Pink dresses
A bunch of daisies
Heart shaped cakes
Cupcake sprinkles
Soft lullabyes
Pretty dollhouses
Fluffy fuschia ballpens
Muffin playsets
Ceramic tea cups
Huge brown teddy bears
Rose scented perfumes

Photo from : http://www.art.com/products/p10201572-sa-i1650187/laura-monahan-little-girl-with-pray-rock.htm

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Half Year

In two weeks time I would have been not working for six months already! I cannot believe how quick that's been. It seems only like yesterday I was filing my maternity leave application....

Where did time go?
Well, surely it happened in between my early morning feeds, staring at my little one, celebrating bella's first month, second month, etc., manila trip, bella's christening, hot summer days, cool afternoon autumn strolls, and countless baby photos and videos of our bub... There have been a lot of milestones in between then and now, a huge collage of events both trivial and memorable.. We are halfway through 2010, and I am just wondering what the remainder of the year will bring.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Tagaytay in my Dreams

In a rushed and often times stressful daily life that we live in, we sometimes come up with a private dream land where we go to when we need that one second refuge from reality. It is my family's recent trip to Tagaytay which I recall and relive. Even for just a moment.

I wonder what about our Tagaytay overnight trip made it so special. Was it because we stayed at the Discovery Country Suites and got pampered so much. Or, was it the lovely massage we had at Nurture Spa. Perhaps it was the Filipino luncheon we had there? Let me relive the moment..

At the Discovery Country Suites..
The minute we stepped into bliss, a refreshing drink welcomed us. Perfectly enjoyed by the table overlooking our home for the night. Breads, cheeses and wine (off limits for me though) delectable as can be. Hubby indulged, while I resisted a bit. Baby slept soundly in her capsule, giving hubby and I a bit of time to breathe in Tagaytay aroma and scenery. Our suite opened onto a great view of Taal lake, and the lush bed invited us to sleep in longer the next day. Our little one cooperated, all the way through breakfast by the same table that welcomed us the day before. Ah, the morning meal was the best. A number of choices that all appealed to us, and when our meals finally arrived we enjoyed every gram served. The quick tease of heaven ended too soon.

At Nurture Spa..
We arrived at the reception area with tense muscles, but as soon as the swishing of the breeze and humming of the wind reverberated through the afternoon sky we were instantly feeling more relaxed. We were dreaming of our own gazebo with high ceilings on a clear, breezy summer day. Plus personal masseuse. Calming. Relaxing. Perfect. Only for a good moment, we were able to enjoy serenity and the time while it lasted. It couldn't have been more perfect to end our special treatment with sweet and spicy warm tea. Perfect actually is a word that doesn't quite come close to how we felt at that time.

The food..
The food was great, as hubby and I enjoyed Filipino cuisine served to us any day, every day. Tagaytay offered us more than just dreams, but a chance to play pretend reality for a quick while.

We will be back. Soon. For now we will bottle up all the memory and seal it tight. Release a bit of that perfect scent every so often when we need rejuvinating from the real world.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Cooking up

Well, for the past 25 years of my life I did not cook. The recent 7 years I now have. Tried. Really, truly tried. And, it's only recently that I admitted to this. Or maybe it's only recently that I have enjoyed cooking up a meal. Not that I am a good cook. If there was an award I could come up for myself in this department it is the most ambitious and persevering trying-hard cook.

When I was in Manila last month I had a a good thirty or so must eat food listed down. I was able to accomplish eating about 25 of it which was good enough (well, if only I had eaten street fishballs!!). One food which I got to eat  but did not really crave was : bibingka. I saw that in the mall they were selling the old style ones and I was wanting to buy them (but opted for dunkin donuts' munchkins instead-hihihi). So, one time when I had lunch with my mum at C2 in Shangrila I ordered their Bibingka souffle for dessert. And, it was heavenly!!! Seriously! Now, having been back in Sydney I can still savour the taste. I even googled a Bibingka Souffle recipe, which I hope to make soon! And, hopefully it would taste at least close to C2's. The recipe I copied below: (photo from clickthecity.com)

Bibingka Soufflé

4 c coconut milk
2 c sugar
4 whole eggs, beaten
1½ c cornstarch
4 pc salted eggs, chopped
Combine coconut milk and sugar. Slightly heat until dissolved.
Combine the cornstarch with half of the warm coconut milk. Put back into the mixture, cook until thick, stirring continuously.
Off the fire, temper the eggs into the mixture and cook until thick.
Set aside to cool. Add the salted eggs.
3 c egg whites
2 c sugar
6 tbsp cornstarch

For garnish:
1 tbsp queso de bola
1 tsp toasted coconut
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar.
Fold in cornstarch and mix well. Fold in base to egg white mixture.
Pipe into buttered ramekins and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350Âș F.
Garnish with grated queso de bola and toasted coconut. Serve with Creme Anglaise on the side

Creme Anglaise:
2½ c fresh milk
½ c egg yolks
½ c sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Scald milk, combine sugar and egg yolks. Temper egg yolks mixture into the milk.
Cook until thickened, stirring continuously. Add vanilla.

Bibingkang Galapong
1½ k rice, soaked for three to five hours
8 whole eggs, beaten
1 tall can evaporated milk
1 c coconut milk
1 k sugar
½ c butter
, melted
¼ c + 2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp active dry yeast
Salted eggs or cottage cheese

Coconuts, fresh and grated
Drain rice. Add water one inch above the rice then grind very finely to produce thick consistency.
Blend all ingredients together. Strain if the mixture becomes lumpy. Let the mixture rest for about 30 minutes to one hour.
Pour about ½ c mixture in a banana-lined round bibingka pan. Top with salted eggs or cottage cheese or combination of both.
Cook in bibingkahan, charcoal or electric bibingka oven.
Spread each bibingka with butter. Serve with fresh grated coconut.
Yields 18-20 pieces

Teaching the little one

The little one is now nearly 4 months old! We are trying to teach her to use the bottle, but she is just not responding to the well known brands (avent and tommy tippee). It's good we went to the baby expo and found Dr. Browns' bottle! She is sort of liking it and chewing on the teat (i guess that's better than nothing!). Too bad we only bought one set, which was a real bargain. Imagine A$3 for the entire bottle set (60mls). Wish we bought more, but of course we weren't sure if she would like it so we got one instead. I really wish she could learn to drink from the bottle. But then again, part of me wants to continue breastfeeding for as long as I can, and I am so attached to her now (figuratively and literally). Dad and I have noticed that Bella is also undergoing separation anxiety. She cries when she cannot see me, and she really prefers to be carried by me and me alone. This would have been fine by me, but it keeps me handicapped most of the time. The house is a mess, I can't run errands, etc. How I wish I could just keep her close to me all the time but it will be for her benefit as well for her to learn to be just a litttttle bit independent and more trusting of others too. By others I mean her dad.

Now now, since my family is visiting us soon, I should get more of those Dr. Browns bottles! I wish I can still get a good deal even after the baby expo. Oh, it is worth checking out how cool the bottle system is (inetrnal vent). No drips on the side, and apparently less colicky baby!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Past expiry date?

Got back from our 15 day Manila trip last weekend and I still haven't fully unpacked yet. I'm still undecided whether to unpack or just wait for our next Manila trip. Not that we have one planned. Yet. The past trip confirmed our intention of moving home again. This time back home.

Like most 20something person I longed to leave home and live overseas. I've done so, now for almost 7 years calling Sydney my temporary home only to realise that it's no longer suiting its purpose. Now, seeing my family in Manila gave me purpose which hubby and I believe would be right for our baby Bella too. Purpose now is to be with family, spend quality time with both our parents and just 'BE' with them, one with them. We told our families our intention and plans. We now just have to move towards that goal and live happily ever after.

So, has life abroad reached it's expiry date? Well, for me/us, if it no longer serves its purpose then yes. On to more meaningful existence.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Castle on the Hudson

I never thought there were old castles in America. But there is!
Castle on the Hudson actually even belongs to the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels list! A true five star accommodation which offers a unique experience of being a king or queen for the night. They've got great rates for stays (USD195 and up) to suit any budget. Whether you are wanting to splurge or not.

What really blew me away was the fact that one can get married on this historic landmark. Even just for a day one can be royalty. Imagine great architecture, fabulous backdrop for that perfect wedding. The place on its own is beautiful, adding the flowers and decors would make it even better. The location is good, since it is very accessible to New York couples wanting that special day but not having the time to travel too far to get to the wedding venue.

Their website does not give justice to the marvelous landmark, although it is notable that they do have a sample wedding package available on their website. Not as pricey as one would expect. I just hope that they are able to deliver a grand affair.

Castle on the Hudson
400 Benedict Avenue
Tarrytown, NY 10591
For Hotel Reservations, please call:
Toll Free: 1 800 616-4487
Telephone: 914 631-1980
Fax: 1 914 631-4612

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Province Plans

My friend from the province is currently researching about house floor plans, as they have just purchased a huge lot next to the creek. She has got quite a big family (she has 4 children and another one on the way!) so my friend and her husband are quite particular about their house plans. Two of her requirements are : for the children to have their own rooms, and for the overall ambiance to be country style. One time when I spoke to her husband, he was looking for cabin plans to suit his pregnant wife’s dream house, I referred him to HousePlansandMore.com. I was talking to both of them and told them that they are lucky to be able to afford their dream house! They are both the same age as me and have a well established business in their province. I told my husband that maybe we should just go to the countryside and establish our own business too! It might just work! My husband and myself have always indulged in our province dreams, saying that we would put up our own resort by the beach, and have our own animal farm, and grow our own crops. Well, who knows! I have given my siblings a few years to migrate here otherwise we are considering a move back home!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Attempting again..

For the Nth time, I am attempting to make an entry! :)

I have given birth already about a month ago, bubba is 4 1/2 weeks now....... a GIRL! We've named her Bella. Not that I am a fan of the Twilight series. Neither is hubby a fan. I actually have not watched the movie/s yet. Nor have I read the book. I'll post the story behind her name in my other, more personalised blog. (Message me if you want the link!)

So far, I have had no decent sleep.. longest is about 3 hours straight! I try to catch some zzs during the daytime when I can and she is asleep.

So much has happened between a week before I gave birth, up until .. well, now. Short story: Was in the hospital for 12 days in total before/after giving birth. A few complications again, before and after birth.. All good now, though! I still have to fully recover, with my massive blood loss, but aside from mumma dramas, bub is well and good and healthy and heavy! Hehe.

I have been trying to find out how to restore my time/date stamp onto this blog but for some odd and annoying reason I can't seem to.. *sigh*

I will be back for more .. that is, I hope at least before we head off to Manila! (Oh yes, to add excitement to my already exciting life!)

The big 4-0

Turning 40 soon has had me thinking about a few things lately. One, major one is whether to have another baby. Hmm. I guess this is partly n...