Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Recipe: Tuna Melt Sandwich

Since it was pretty much an overcast day, we decided that today's lesson will be devoted to home economics / food prep / cooking :) That's the beauty of homeschooling, especially for this particular age...we can be flexible as we want to be, play as much as we want while incorporating lessons - life lessons in the every day living :)

Lucky that my daughter was really interested to help out in the kitchen. Well, it makes it so much easier when she has her own kiddie-sized apron, her "own" tools (borrowed from mommy) get the idea! 

We started by making sure our hands and tools were clean. Of course to a 2-year old, this needs to be emphasized all the time while preparing, cooking and serving. She was very attentive the first 15-20 minutes when I was explaining what the tools/utensils are for, what ingredients we will use and who we will be making these sandwiches for. 

Glad she was still on standby mode by the time I finished chopping the celery and onions - she was still able to mix everything together..yay! :) After which she proceeded to do her own "cooking project". 

Things hopefully she learned/absorbed/taken an interest in today:

  • Cleanliness - before, during, after..of ourselves, our counter, our food
  • Proper handling of utensils - demonstrated and explained how to open cans, use knife and that she has to ask us for assistance in the meantime
  • Measurement - that we can control for taste and nutritional value if we measure our ingredients. She was in charge of adding and mixing in the mayonnaise
  • Healthy food choices - that we can make healthy and yummy snacks...and not always look to opening a pack of eggnogs!
  • General awareness - I don't know how this should be classified but basically I hope this activity makes her a little more knowledgeable about kitchen / pantry items. That a tomato is called a kamatis, etc.
  • Fun fact - I was about to explain what the green leafy stalk was until she yelled, "Mommy, that's the celery crunch ni Jesse Bear"...hmmm good job on our BFIAR Before Five in a Row readings *thumbs up!*

Okay so I guess some of you came here for the recipe. I won't say it's the best but it was really delicious!! :) I was originally looking at around 3 different recipes online but when it came to it, we just improvised as we went along hehe :)

  • 3 cans of (6 oz) Tuna in Brine - we like to use Century Tuna
  • 1 jar (470 ml) Lady's Choice Mayonnaise
  • 2 celery stalks chopped finely (or more depending on your preference)
  • 1/2 onion chopped finely (or more depending on your preference)
  • 2 hard boiled eggs chopped finely
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Loaf of bread
  • Cheese slices - we used Quez-o, but you can use the Quickmelt variant
  • Butter
  • Optional: tomato slices, cucumber or lettuce

To make the sandwich spread
  • Drain the tuna, set aside
  • Add the mayonaise, chopped celery, chopped onion, eggs. Mix thoroughly
  • Season with salt & pepper to taste
  • Put in a jar / canister and refrigerate before use
To assemble the sandwich
  • Spread a thin layer of butter on slices of bread and toast for 5-7 minutes
  • Heat a skillet on low fire, scoop tuna spread ala patty and top with cheese. Let it "toast or cook" for a few minutes or until the cheese melts
  • Get the bread slices from the oven and top with the "tuna spread patty" and finish with the other slice of bread
  • P.S. You can add tomato slices, cucumber or even lettuce as desired

There you have it! I hope you enjoy your Tuna Melt Sandwich! Tasty, delish and really easy to make! :)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Learning about colors

Today we unboxed the Primary Science Kit we ordered from Timberdoodle.

Ever since our Preschool Complete kit arrived, my dear daughter has been asking to open the lab set which she so lovingly refers to as "Timberdoodle". I guess she finds it to be the most interesting among all the other fun stuff we'll be doing this year..uh, hopefully we can stretch this kit to next year too! :)

I have to agree with my daughter. If I were a kid, I'd love to have one of this too! It comes with a beaker, flask, funnel, goggles, magnifying glass, tweezer, dropper, test tubes and a few experiments you can safely do at home. All are plastic parts so definitely safe to use for kids. These are also appropriately sized for little fingers to hold on to. We also purchased the color my bath tablets and twisty dropper from Timberdoodle too as part of the Preschool  package.

Since it was our first time to use it, we decided on just doing the first and easiest experiment which aims to teach about primary and secondary colors. I helped her by setting up our table and all the things we'd need. 

She was too happy to learn what the different containers are called and was really excited as she dropped the color tablets as they mixed and fizzed in the water. 

She already knew the primary colors so it was easy for her to identify. She also recognized that the color changed to violet as we mixed the red and blue. The problem was when we mixed the red and yellow and there was too many red (my fault!) dropped into the turned into, uh, red! Hehehe..we then corrected it by adding more yellow into the mix and then it turned orange..thank God! :)

It was a good experience for us, learning not just about colors but also about mistakes and how we can remedy them. If this is any indication of things to come, then I'm all the more excited as we begin our homeschooling journey. 

She really loved this kit or making a mess or both. I'm happy that she's happy and learning. She didn't want us to pack away the kit just yet so she played some more and tried to discover what other colors would be created from her experiment.

Oh, I also had her try the pre-writing activity I purchased from Confessions of a Homeschooler. Why, I had them laminated yesterday and we just tried our Expo Dry erase markers to go with it. It works! I just have to get a picture next time because she was already tired when I asked her to do it again for picture's sake :)

Today's preschool homeschool? All good! :)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Video: Tagaytay Children's Choir performing "Dear Future Husband"

Early this year we came back a second time to Bag of Beans, the bigger branch this time, to have our tummies filled before heading back home to Manila. We were nearly done with our "merien-dinner" when a group of orange-clad kids, tweens and teens came garbed with their instrument of choice and suddenly performed Meghan Trainor's 'Dear Future Husband'. 

It was L-O-V-E!! I mean, can you see just how adorable they are? Everything (at least to my music-loving ears) is on point and the two kids having fun dancing were just giving it their all. Makes me reminisce back to the time we had our wedding in Caleruega. If only I've "discovered" them back then! Hahahaha..

Enjoy their performance! I hope you like this video and subscribe to our Youtube channel! :)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Video: Farewell, La Cocina de Tita Moning

Oh it is really unfortunate that they've closed shop...and I wasn't able to return for one last time..

I was put on bedrest for a month (more on that in another post) and this is just one of the many things I have missed out on. Anyway, I hope you get to enjoy La Cocina through my shaky video hehe. I'll truly truly miss this place.



Recipe: Home-cooked Hotpot Shabu-Shabu

Ever since A's friend introduced the Hotpot Shabu-Shabu dish to us, I've clearly been hooked! And that's a good thing, right? Right! :)

We first tried this in Golden Fortune Seafood restaurant somewhere in Soler Street, Binondo, Manila. They had *I think* unlimited soup and you just have to tick off the kind of meat, veggies and balls you want. They even have mushrooms and other dumplings you might want to mix in. The clear winner of course, which we've had almost 5 servings of is the CHEESE BALL. You'd think this is just light fare but complemented with rice and the satay sauce, no doubt you'll be full immediately :)

The novelty and the flavors really impressed me but the cost..oh my, a tad expensive when you have this in restos. And that is why, I'm so happy that we can still have this at home...a Hotpot Shabu-Shabu DIY-style!

There are actually just a few ingredients you'll need. Aside from the basic soup base and the sauce/condiment, how many (or actually how expensive) this'll be will depend a lot on you and on how many different kinds of balls you'd include.

Most of these you can get from your neighborhood grocery stores. Do check out SM's frozen section for the balls. If you live near Chinatown, you can brave Ongpin and go to Shopper's Mart (Yes, I've been there) or Wei-Wei Mart (Haven't been to, but highly recommended by our friend) near Arranque market 

Hotpot Soup Base
Leafy Vegetables like water cress, cabbage, even malunggay for nursing moms!

BBQ Sauce
Premium Light Soy Sauce
Minced Garlic

Egg or Vegetable Noodle
Sukiyaki cut beef
Bacon for grilling

Enjoy! :D

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Letter of the Week Preps

After a couple of years discerning our path and a couple of crazy months researching all about curriculums or whether we should or shouldn't start with one just I am, finally doing it!

Most days I ask myself, "what should I do with my toddler?" Of course we play and read books all the time. We even engage in sports activities. But still there are down times for me (as in zero energy na!) and she's still up like an Energizer bunny that's hop hop hopping! Seriously I always asked myself, if 2 years old is still too young for preschool then what should we do?? Yes, when we attended CFA Catholic Filipino Academy's discovery session, a homeschool provider (not sure if that's the correct term), we were told that Z has to really be at least 3 to be enrolled with them. 

I admit that was a downer since I thought we could start our homeschool with them as the DEPED accredited provider. But looking at it now, it became an opportunity for us to yes, still homeschool, but to do it ever more gently here at home :) 

So now I'm busily preparing our materials for the upcoming school year. And can you tell that I might be more excited than my child? 

I started with free preparatory curriculum from and we even have a Learning Board for that. This is where you have a theme for the whole week and it introduces one concept/vocabulary/letter/shape/color/number/poem per day.

However, I felt that it was a bit lacking in some parts and that I wasn't up to the Pinterest-challenge of making my own activities from scratch! So the next best thing was to purchase a download file from COAH for US $15.00 and that's what I've been busy with these days. By the way, all her printables are downloadable for free but really, who has time to collate and download 1,400 or so files individually? For me the price she charges is reasonable enough for her efforts. And hey, all these things Im printing and prepping could be used by our future children, right? 

Trimming the sheets so they'll be ready for when the Amazon laminator arrives. Seriously guys, it was good I had an open box for shipping in the US. Way cheaper to buy the laminator and pouches from there. The bonus is I learned how to make "tipid" (pagbigyan niyo na, kahit papano) by just using the laminate on the front part. Just watch COAH's demo, it's super neat! :)

And since we found out that it's only 'mandatory*' to enroll by 5 years old for kindergarten, I've more stuff coming so we can stretch our preschool homeschool for the next school year or so. 

We are also excited to receive our package for BFIAR or Before Five in a Row and also lots of fun manipulatives from

I literally can't wait to have the box shipped to us so I can at least share to you our first-ever "Box Opening Day" naks! :)

Ooohhh this should be really, really fun!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Timbuk2 for the mini you

Well if this isn't just about the cutest lil boy, awesome bag and s-s-s-swagger then I don't know what it is 😂

photos from newsletter

Talking about feelings

Hi, I'm still in the hospital and majorly bummed that I don't get to spend as much time with my daughter and especially about our abrupt weaning :( 

She seemed okay on the outside but would sob sometimes. So I decided we need to spend time and maybe process how she's feeling.

Using her book, I asked whether she was happy or sad..

She looked at it briefly, turned the page and pointed to this instead:

Yikes, but I'm not surprised. I understand her and would probably feel the same too if I had to go through what she's experiencing. 

So many things we've learned and are learning the past few days..taking care of one's health, vigilance, family, and basically not letting anything no matter how "small" it seems go unnoticed. Especially feelings of little ones. 

While I'm glad I'm out of the woods in terms of my health condition well at least for now..I'm heartbroken that I'm helpless in the homefront :( 

Looking forward to next week to better health and restoring relationships. God bless you all! :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

One fine evening at La Cocina de Tita Moning

Happy Easter everyone! :) Our weekend had been very hectic and so I'm only able to update you now. 

Today's post is an exciting one for me for many reasons. First - after much coordination, texting here and there, the Urban Champs brokers were able to finally (finally!) set a date and push through as we planned. Second - This one is a most romantic kind of affair (and not the kind you're thinking of haha), it's actually a bridal shower for our dear friend, Jel, as much as it is a celebration of this group's unexpected friendship. Third - a special dinner set at La Cocina de Tita Moning. Well I can leave it at that. Or...I can share more about this wonderful place and you get to salivate over our feast! Hahahaha :)

I've always believed that I'm an old-world kind of gal. I enjoy looking at old ancestral houses from afar and wonder about the history not only of the structure but the people who live and work there. How did life treat them? Was life simpler back then? Yup, I've always thought so. But I guess that kind of changed the first time we had dinner here (back in 2009?). Look just how grand everything was - from the Legarda mansion, the wide patio, all the eclectic collections of silverware, radios and camera equipment. It is really a surreal to get a glimpse of how life was back then. Makes me really want to time-travel and just see for myself just how much fun and glam this Manila district was back in the day.

But things change and unfortunately for us, La Cocina de Tita Moning will only be operating until the end of May 2016. Our group asked why and they said the owner/s were selling the property (personal property not included) for PHP 90 Million. It is really sad to see the seeming close of a bygone era. Yes, like how we still see the light from long dead stars. [Mental note: I should read that book.]

Melancholic thoughts aside, all we can do is to make the most of their last 2 months here. I mean, if I had that much money I'd probably purchase the property myself. Or maybe just have dinner there every night. Hehehe :)

So I hope you stay awhile and enjoy this simple retelling of a fabulous experience. Oh, and prepare to take in all the photos. As in I have posted lots!

First you have to travel to San Miguel district inside the Malacanang compound. You can pass through the gate near St. Jude or the one near Hospicio. Once you find the rotonda (which is actually triangular if try to find it via Waze), make a turn and La Cocina should be a few meters on your left.

Since this is a by-reservation only place, there is ample parking outside and inside the premises. The first thing you would notice once inside the La Cocina compound is the patio (and how there is not too much open space in Metro Manila). There is a small garden to the right which I did not dare venture to anymore. Well, mainly because I knew that welcome snacks and drinks would be waiting by the patio :)

The patio is something that I absolutely love about this place. For now this is what they use as a holding area as guests wait for their other companions. This is where you enjoy some snacks before you head off to the short tour and before you experience a gastronomic explosion in your tummy.

I don't drink but I guess this is also a good place as any to have your round of beer or a few glasses of wine. We spotted some diners here too who (and I'm making a guess here) might have ordered the dishes prepared for the day and not necessarily the set menu.

The lights and the entire set-up just ups the whole romance factor. I wonder, just how many brave men proposed on this spot?

From here you can also enjoy the architecture of the Legarda mansion.

And because this is essentially a garden, we can't help but have some bugs and some mosquitoes. Hence, this ubiquitous 'katol'.

The staff are really something. They are friendly, warm, accommodating. They made us feel at ease, no, really at home. And they seem to really know we wanted pictures. Lots and lots of them..Haha joke lang! :)

I did not notice it before but they have some antique furniture up for sale. Some really old aparador / cabinets / armoire go for PHP 250,000 - 450,000. Wow!

I know I'm posting lots of photos but believe me, it is really a different experience when you are there in person. Bring your friends, your significant other, your parents and even you grandparents. I'm sure they'll really have a fun time reminiscing.

The library and personal study of Don Alejandro

A man of many talents. Look at all these photography kits and lenses.

The guide shared that most photos in the house were taken by Don Alejandro himself.

Standing through the waves of time

The next part of the tour is probably the creepiest one for me. It is Dr. Alejandro Legarda's home clinic as an OB-GYNE. What makes me "Afraidy Aguilar" of this area are the jars filled with fetus. And a real person's skeleton.

On the flip side, this cements the fact that this is indeed a multi-faceted household and that probably too much socialization activities have been going on here in its hey days. Probably much too much for my personal temperament.

Now we move on to the second floor. I love the flow and shape of the stairwell. I can almost imagine a pretty debutante in cascading gown being introduced through a ball. Or of how many rushed steps it has taken to quickly meet someone. And let's not forget, heavy steps taken once you bid someone goodbye.

Paintings by masters like Luna and Hidalgo.

The radio room


And now the room of the kids..who are probably grandparents themselves by now. So much art deco details. It also holds pretty mementos like gowns, ballerina tutus, and wedding boxes of photos.

Writing about it now and I hear Meryl Streep's Slipping Through My Fingers song...

This is really a wonderful place and I do hope you would visit before they serve their last dish in May..And of course, they do a much better tour of the place :)

That wraps up the tour of La Cocina de Tita Moning.  Uhmmm...yep, I know I promised to share with you our meal. And I will in my next post :)  Oh and hopefully a more cheery tone, perhaps? Ugh it just makes me feel sad just thinking about not getting to visit and eat here anymore...Waaaaahhh!!

Dinner at La Cocina de Tita be continued ;)

To make a reservation, call La Cocina de Tita Moning

315 San Rafael Street, City of Manila, Metro Manila

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