Sunday, June 28, 2015

DIY Crepes for Breakfast

I know, I know. These aren't healthy for you but everyone's got their vices and if I have one that's pretty serious, it is Nutella crepes :P I like to prepare these for my family when we have the luxury of a leisurely breakfast at home. My son helps me out and my daughter watches from her high chair :) My husband just eatsthe final product hahaha!

Read my DIY recipe for super easy and quick homemade crepes here.

Wow, I've been making crepes for many years already! I must learn how to do this from scratch. Any readers care to share their crepes from scratch recipes? My cousin shared with me one before with rhum. I will test in my kitchen and update you in a following post. For now, have a yummy breakfast!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Out of The Box Schooling: Cupcakes by Sonja HQ

My son Santi is at a very curious stage in his life. Now at 8 years old in Grade 2, he wants to know HOW things work. This year, I made a commitment to teach him things in a fun and creative way outside school. No, we aren't homeschooling or unschooling (just yet!) because I do love his Waldorf School and the kindred community we are a part of. To supplement his education, I am picking on his interests and using these as avenues for learning...because we never stop learning!

A visit to Cupcakes by Sonja headquarters was the perfect after-school activity because I wanted to show him how cupcakes are made - one of his favorite desserts! 

On our visit, we met Sonja herself! She told us that we're the very first visitors there, which made Santi extra proud. Then, we had a tour inside the "cupcake factory" and met the team behind all her current baked goods. More than cupcakes, they now offer personalized cakes, cookies and I hear they even have vegan (egg-less) sweets! Yay! 

Santi got to try icing a cake they were preparing for a client. Sonja was such a pleasant teacher! So kind and gentle. She reminds me of our favorite pediatrician on the planet, Dr. Crickette Palanca-Chen.

And then we went into another room where the fondant master was creating new masterpieces for Father's Day. They asked if Santi wanted to try making fondant toppers which he gladly agreed to!

Santi colored the fondant mix with food grade dyes and then used a rolling pin to flatten before using a cutter. "It feels just like clay!", Santi said.

Viola! Santi's handmade fondant toppers ready for take-home. They were so nice to pack one freshly baked cupcake and icing for him to assemble at home with his toppers.

Fresh from the oven macarons! I had to control myself from eating one!

When we got home, Santi put together his very own Under The Sea themed cupcake! 

"Next time, we do it from scratch", I told him. But first, we have to save up for an oven! Any recommendations? And fail-proof easy to make recipes, please!

Cupcakes by Sonja
Serendra, Bonifacio Global City
New Glorietta Mall, Ayala Center, Makati
Powerplant Mall, Makati

Friday, June 26, 2015

Dharma Reboot: 360 Fitness Club

After having received a heaven-sent yaya/nanny, my serious attept for a post-partum journey to fitness has finally begun! Growing babies in my belly and going way over recommended weight gain definitely took a toll on my body. They say that metabolism slows down in your 30's; sheesh that's my age range! 

"Very vigorous, high-intensity exercise is also the type that can help your body increase production of human growth hormone (HGH). HGH is naturally produced by your body in sufficient quantities until you reach the age of 21. After this, production starts to drop." - Dr. Mercola

So, I took the initial step of moving my butt to start trying alternate forms of exercise other than my usual watching over the baby (that counts as exercise too!), Yin Yoga and Slow Vinyasa practice. 

The goal? Remove unwanted flab in problem areas, regain strength and tone the body. (The flexibility I already get through yoga.) I'm calling this project #DharmaRebootCamp so watch my progress on Instagram and please do encourage me to "stick to the program!"

I checked out 360 Fitness Club in Ortigas to give their 30 minute circuit training a try. Read all the benefits of circuit training here.What I love about their philosophy is focusing on a functional work out to activate the muscles that you need on a daily basis. Strength, tone and flexibility- all that in the least amount of time. So efficient! I see how people-on-the-go like corporate junkies would appreciate this work out design. It also works for busy moms who have a gazillion things on their plate.

I was scheduled for a 9am trial session with one of the in-house coaches. The advantage of going at this time is that there is barely anyone else in the room because most of their clients are at work. Perfect for me who doesn't want to share breathing space and sweat molecules with other people (Yes, I'm a Virgo with a wild imagination).

After filling up a waiver and another form, I was given a short introduction of what the work out is all about. Then he proceeded to demonstrate before we began. In between lifting free weights and my own body weight, I was asked to either do jumping jacks, knee lifts or other cardio exercises for 30 seconds. Now I've tried a very intense session from a cross-fit inspired gym before and compared to that time, this circuit training didn't feel like I was having a heart attack or wanting to puke.

Inclined pull ups for core, shoulder and back strength

Not in my photos: proof of ALL the burpees I finished within the given time frame! Woohoo!

Verdict: I came out of session feeling ALIVE. Today, I am quite sore which is proof that I awakened many sleeing muscles in my body. That's a good sign!

Thank you coach Sheen for your guidance and for answering all of my questions. This day totally jumpstarted the road back to fitness for me. Thank you for my #PostPartumWorkoutOfTheDay!

Schedule yourself a free trial at the nearest 360 Fitness Club branch to you and let me know how it goes! Maybe you can inspire me, too :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

DIY Waldorf Playstand

I've been wanting a Waldorf Playstand for my son since he began his schooling years. Since we haven't lived more than 3 years in one place, I never got myself into making one! 

Now that we've rooted ourselves in Manila (in the meantime), and Santi has a little sister to share with. I thought it would be a good investment to have one made!

This is a fairly easy peg to follow. Thanks to another Waldorf parent, Samantha who gave me the idea when she had hers done!

You can choose to have just one made if you are on a budget but I really like the idea of draping cloth over the Playstand to create the home or castle effect. Remember that your children's imagination awakens when there is less of everything so don't over design or use any colors!

You may have yours made through any trusty local furniture maker, better if you know someone who does woodwork. If you want one just like mine, call Dante Azares at 0922-822-28-59 or visit Uni-Art Home Decors on Facebook. I paid 6,600php for this 2-set wooden playstand plus delivery fee. 

I can also recommend wood artist, Niccolo Jose +63 998 963 4337 who can do any wood work according to your design needs.

My next dream project for Maya. I've always wanted a miniature doll house!!!

I am now accepting pledges for her Christmas present fund! Lol :)

Photo credits to and Live Sweet Photography on Instagram

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Susi: 100% Vegan and Gluten-Free

My partners and I at FLOW like trying out healthy eats around the metro for our weekly meetings. Susi is one of the posh newer Vegan and Gluten-Free restaurants and we just had to try it!

The interiors are quite cool. I didn't get to take a photo of the bathroom which I thought was decorated so well for its small size.

For travelers like myself, this was a lesson plan.

Philippine-made bamboo bike hanging 

For appetizers we had the Moby Dip (315php), a three-dip platter of olive tapenade, sun-dried tomato and pesto on GF bread.

More GF bread, please!?


We ordered the El Chimichurri beet burger (475php) because I have this goal of trying out all the veggie burgers in the world. This was good, very filling. Loved the side of potato wedges, too!

You can ask them to slice the burger in 1/2 if you're sharing!
This is The Emerson (495php) which is a baked lentil mushroom loaf with zuchini-aubergine ratatoille and mashed potatoes. Wasn't too impressed with this one.
Looks like meat though, right?
And then there's Carb-No-Nara (425php), GF gettucini with mushroom 'bacon', roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and capers. I'm not too fond of regular carbonara so this didn't fancy me either.

You may also purchase healthy GF ingredients from their pantry shop!

My final verdict? It's probably one of the healthiest restaurants in the city, I'll give it that. Would I eat here again? Most definitely! But truthfully, not as often as I would like to because it can get pricey. This is a place to reserve for a special treat. Now, how to charm my husband to eat vegan food?! :)

Forbestown, Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City

DIY Chocolates: A Disaster!

So it started all fine... inspired by a recipe I saw online, I gathered my premium organic raw ingredients, most acquired from my recent Bali trip with FLOW Retreats and followed recipe as best as I could.

Yea, I'll admit it. I'm a Martha Stewart wannabe but half the time my food creations end up rotting in the fridge or chucked in the trash! So, this is one of those sad situations. Don't believe all recipes online will make your own experiments pinterest or Instagram worthy. Because mine right now is a complete disaster! I expected chocolates but it taste more like a half a candle layer and another honey layer. Yikes!

What shall I do with the waste? Can I make soap with this, Ana?! 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ysabel's Daughter: Skincare Products Inspired By Bees

It is rare that I get invited to an event launch that miraculously aligns with my personal values. That night, I was introduced to a whole product line made entirely from 100% premium natural ingredients, absolutely no toxic chemicals. Oooh, magic words! Ysabel's Daughter hit the spot. I officially have another homegrown brand addition to my bath and body collection.

Guests sampled an assortment of bath and body goodies
Kid-friendly events are so considerate of working mommas like me!
Ysabel's full product line gorgeously displayed
Coty and Carl, business partners of Ysabel's Daughter
Having co-founded INDIGObaby with Denise in 2009, I do have experience in formulating all-natural and organic products. I took time to speak to the woman behind Ysabel's Daughter because I felt we probably have similarities in our lifestyle choices.

Coty Cruz, the founder of YD shared with me an interesting story on how her skincare brand started. When her family decided to grow bees in their urban backyard for health reasons (loved her by then!), she had a regular supply of honey that she used to experiment on soaps and scrubs. (DIY queen, like me!) After sampling her homemade creations to friends, she started selling in bazaars like the American Woman's Bazaar which was very well received. Today, YD is being sold in The Green Company in San Juan and online through Canary Cosmetics, and Beauty MNL.

Coty pointed out her logo which she personally designed. "People think is a flower but if you look closely, it actually is a... bee!"

Inspired by the age-defying powers of honey, Ysabel's Daughter gives the promise of "the fountain of youth" through antioxidants and regenerative powers of its ingredients. Coty's firm and glowing skin is clear evidence of it!

WHAT TO TRY: Post-partum moms will definitely want to try their Lemon Firming Lotion and Green Apple Slimming Lotion (which also helps prevent stretchmarks!).

Maya is as obsessed as I am with lathering lotion on skin!

Ysabel's Daughter
Instagram @ysabelsdaughter

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

5 Step Journey to Potty Training

*Warning: this post uses descriptive language not suitable for imaginative minds.

1. Elimination Communication: Believe me when I say that Maya has been potty trained for pooping since birth. For pee, partially.

After reading about EC online more than 8 years ago and then reading this book given to me by my co-parent at the Waldorf school, I knew I had to try it on Maya because I didn't get to do it with my son. Having had a successful natural birth with Maya gave me the energy to be more on top of my game. With Santi's c-section, I was glued to my bed during the first few days.

Be prepared to turn into a hawk if you want to catch your baby's drippings because you'll have to watch and decipher their facial and body language for signs of elimination. Arm yourself with a tabo too for quick catches. The reason why I stopped it with catching the pee because it was a looot of work. And at that time (first few months of her life), I also didn't have a yaya or an all around help. How do others without yayas do it?! The pooping is fairly easy because babies have that poo face. Just calmly take him or her to the toilet seat and do the number 2 there. That's what I've been doing since. Yes, we've had a few accidents but we've been more successful than not.

2. Mamas and Papas Toilet Seat : I won this amazing child toilet seat during the Mom-Me event many months ago. It is so cool because when not in use, you may turn it into a bathroom stepper.

Honestly, I use the regular toilet seat for Maya whenever I catch her pee and poop because I get to hold her in a certain way that pressed into her digestive tract which helps elimination. However, the kiddie toilet seat is situated in our shower area so she can sit and play while pretending to pee or poop to get herself comfortable as it is perfectly suited to her height.

3. Cloth Diapering: We are all familiar with the obvious benefits to cloth diapering. Not only is it earth-friendly, it decreases the possibility of diaper rash. I make it a point that Maya wears cloth at home. Immediately after she wakes, her bum is actually free of anything so her private parts can also breathe.

The best one I have found so far is from Fluffy Pwets which I purchased from the last Mommy Mundo Bazaar. It is pricey at 1,100-1,400php per piece depeding on fabric but I just love the fit! The sizing is from newborn to toilet training-age; wish I had started using them earlier! For a budget-friendly option, you may choose to use Next9 cloth diapers available at INDIGObaby. It costs 1,000php for 3pcs.

4. Panty-like Diapers

Egad! Yes, it's true. I use Huggies diapers half the time at home and most especially when traveling because of its pure covenience. I'm known to my peers as an eco-conscious mother but I am also very practical, down to earth and truthful. I will not pretend otherwise.

The reason why I choose to use Huggies is because of their Dry Pants product which has a very economical design. It wears just like a panty would! When Maya signals to me that she needs to poo or pee, I simply pull her nappies down before going to the toilet. The nappy is clean and I am able to reuse without fuss.

5. Moonshine Baby Bottom Spray

This is by far my most favorite combat gear for nappy changes. Tried and tested for 8 years and counting! Not only is it all-natural, the lavender pure essential oil smells absolutely divine which can help mask poo or spit ups! Unlike wipes which can get very heavy to acrry, I bring this bottle with me wherever I go because it is also travel-friendly. I personally use it as an soap alternative when I do not trust the public toilet's soap ingredients (Yes, I'm that kind of person!). Purchase online from INDIGObaby.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Walking Barefoot to Teach Empathy

Before my schedule got real crazy with travel for work (which I looove!), I was able to attend the celebration of One Day Without Shoes campaign of Toms and spend some quality time with my son. I honestly didn't know that part of the day's program was walking BAREFOOT around Bonifacio Global City's cemented streets. When I accepted the invite, I thought it would be an afternoon of barefoot fun in the garden. Boy, was I surprised! If not for Carlos Celdran's mighty influence, I might not have done it. In retrospect, I'm glad I did walk with my son because that single activity taught an important lesson on empathy.

EMPATHY: (noun) 

  1. the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Just this afternoon, Santi told me that a few days before he dies he wants to collect all his material things and sell it for money. 

Me: "What will you do with all your cash?" 
Santi: "I will give it to those who need it, Mom"

I almost had tears coming out of my eyes. Oh, you make me proud of how you are growing up, my son! You have much love to give the world.  Remember to tap into your infinite wellspring of love and light and you will go places. 

Love always, Mom xoxo

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Realizations from the Waldorf Asian Teacher Training 2015

The Waldorf Asian Teacher Training 2015 was slated at the Acacia Waldorf School in Sta. Elena, Laguna. 

I signed up for the Grade 1-2 morning block to better understand my son's current developmental state and what appropriate lessons I can help him with. During the afternoon, I chose Blackboard Drawing and Counselling classes. Oh, it was so very difficult to choose classes because I wanted to take them all! It's true what they say about Waldorf Education, if you didn't get the chance to get one as a child, the next best thing is to become a Waldorf parent or teacher! And parents are our children's first teachers so that was my business there.

While I intended to complete the ATT training, other plans have materialized for my family. So, here are my top realizations from the short- two days training I attended at the Acacia Waldorf School in Sta.Elena.

1. When a problem arises, you solve it together- as a community, never alone! 

Here is a photo of the international mentors that sparked inspiration in both teachers and parents. 

All class lectures and exercises always involved working within a circle, a community. Waldorf teachers are so special because they do their own inner work processing and then apply to their practice as nurturers of the children. 

2. In Waldorf Education, less is more to truly open the faculties of learning. I remember someone teaching me this "We are not what we eat, we are what we assimilate" The same is true for education, we think that just because we feed ideas that the children automatically pick it up. Not necessarily. When you bombard information, some children clam up. What's important is how you convey your message across so that the student may digest it properly. Example: I was exposed to creative ways on how to teach math with movement and song!

Grade 1-2 teacher wrote a song on the blackboard for us to learn and teach our children

3. Everything is in NATURE.  Remember the adage, what you are seeking is already within?  And art imitates nature. This is why the Waldorf curriculum is heavy on the arts because it is healing.

A lecture on temperaments found in the arts.
Yay! I can draw a mouse!
Strengthening the will exercises for Grade 1
Beautiful mandalas (made by students?) outside one of the classrooms.
Craft project at one of the classrooms

My blackboard teacher's unfinished masterpiece!

I have also asked some of my training-mates their top 3 lessons.

Here's what Pam learned:

1. We have to teach the child to help the child overcome (obstacles/challenges). To deal with resistances, to help this child to grow into what he/she is intended to be. In short, "to solve the riddle of his life"

2. Adults should be conscious of their actions. Children imitate.

3. Teach the child that the world is good (0-7 years), the world is beautiful (7-14) and that the world is true (14-21 years).

Here's what Ina brought home from the training:

1. We are continuing the work of angels on earth when raising kids. We should guide them, strengthen their skills and help the through obstacles so that they, with their gifts, ca be who God intends them to be.

2. Early intellectualization is harmful for a child's development.

3. We all have a temperament that dominates our lives. We can develop these to overcome/temper its negative aspects and use it to achieve our purpose in life.

Interested in Waldorf Education? Visit a school near you!

Kolisko Waldorf School in Quezon City, Metro Manila

St. Micheal's Playhouse in Makati City

Manila Waldorf School in San Mateo, Rizal

Tuburan Institute in Davao

Balay Sofia in Baguio


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