Finding Balance: Can we Moms Achieve it?

Quote on BalanceHi guys!  I feel so bad I haven't written anything for quite awhile.  It's been super duper busy and crazy for me for quite sometime.

Did I tell you I'm working already?  After 12 years of being a full time mom with just some minor rackets on the side,  I am now back to work.  It is not an 8-5 kind of work though but it takes in a lot of my hours. My husband, brother and I got into business and now I have to contend with HR duties (level of stress: Red Alert), lots of coordination and accounting.  Of course,  I also have my commitment to you my buddies in motherhood here at TheGoMom.   And truth be told,  I would rather write hehe but my husband says we need to eat.

The adjustment is quite tough on me and I guess for my kids too. For my kids,  mommy is less available, always preoccupied and oh so cranky. For myself,  I am constantly wavering in between feelings of guilt that I'm not able to spend more time with the kids (especially my toddler) and trying to get some work done.

Right now,  I'm trying to find the happy balance between all the things in my plate.  Ang dami eh.  Work. Blogging. Social media chika update from Facebook, Instagram. Working out in the gym. Reading. Hanging out with family and friends. Spending time with the kids. Tutoring the kids. Household errands.  Spending time with the husbandry.  And of course, sleep.

In my crazy fanatical way to restore balance, I thought I could do away with removing some things off my plate ...

Like, sleep.  I tried cutting it down to 6 hours a day.  Oh men,  I was cranky and my tongue was biting off my kids every second.  Plus,  I spent more time laboring over a menial brain task because my brain was half dead.   Engk, can't cut back on this.  I need my full 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Gym.  Gym takes an hour for the work-out, not to mention the commute to and fro. But nooo!,   my weight ballooned to epic proportions!  And more than that,  I don't feel good. I feel sluggish and ironically constantly tired.  My body needs that work-out.

And then I stopped checking on the kids homework figuring they are already big.  Sadly,  their grades dipped.  I still have to check on them and monitor their homework and quizzes, especially for my 11 year old.

So I guess my ramblings has led me to deduce that everything in my plate, I do need.  I cannot just remove one or drastically cut another (ok, maybe I can radically cut my social media hours).  Everything there is what I am.  I just have to organize my priorities and give the proper time for each area of my life.   As I said in my New Year 2015 post,  "discipline and order" will be my resounding mantra for the year.

What do I choose to do today, tomorrow or next week?  How many hours should I spend on it? What time should I do it?  How much time should I spend on it?   And stick to it.

In the end, balance is making choices from the things in my plate. And being at peace with the choices I have made.

Finding Balance,

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Grand Baby Fair Year 5: What to Expect

The biggest event for expecting moms and moms with babies is ON!   Grand Baby Fair Year 5 is happening this today till Sunday at the SM Megamall Trade Hall. I had a preview of the sale yesterday and it was huge as always:-)

30-50-70% off items were all over, it would make any mom (particularly first timers) go into a shopping frenzy.  If you're planning to get a stroller, crib, baby toys or accessories this will be the best time to do it because you will get to save so much!

Enjoy ako sa semantics ng theme:-) Baby Company, the organizer of the event, knows that parenting can be a jungle out there hence the theme Grand Safari.  Cute! You will find the Safari theme all over which makes shopping more fun.

Here are some of the stuff I think you guys would like ...

First time is always big time.   Hand-me downs for the next cub:-)

SM grand baby fair

Aprica strollers are 50% off as well as Baby Company brands. Graco play pens and strollers are 20% off.

Cuddle bug cribs on sale at SM Baby Grand Fair

Linens come at 50-70% off.  They are sooo cute and soft to the touch.

baby linens for sale at SM BAby Grand Fair

Feeding bottles.  Avent 3 pack 125ml from P1249 to P750.  Playtex Anti Colic Feeding Bottles are buy-one-take-one P400 for a pair.

SM grand baby fair

SM grand baby fair

Cloth diapers from Baby Leaf, Charlie Banana and Bambino are between 20-30% off.  Huggies and Mammy Poko offer Value Packs.

Cloth diapers

Infant shoes and clothes are 20-30% off.

discounted baby clothes at SM grand baby fair

Developmental toys from Fisher Price and Lamaze are 30-50% off.   Fisher Price building blocks on the right is now P500 from P2,499.

discounted toys at SM grand baby fair

Attipas for SM grand baby fair

Found this novel shop, Attipas.  Their infant shoes are cute with soles made of lightweight and flexible material similar to Crocs while the top portion is like a sock. From P1,200 now P750.  The baby urinal on right can be left on the floor or mounted on the wall.  New kind of baby tub on the left.  It's supposedly more safe than the traditional baby tub.  On the lower right is a faucet extender so our little ones won't have to reach far.  Cute!

SM BAby Grand Fair 2015

Good quality baseball chair from P 1300 now P390.  The egg shaped chair on the right is also now P390 from P1300.

What's inside the SM Baby Grand Fair 2105 swag bag

On top of all those discounts,  shoppers who purchase a minimum of P3,000 worth will get this Swag Bag with all these items.  The zoo bin is so cute and the bag is made of durable canvas feel on the outside and plastic on the inside.  Medicines, vitamins and sachets from Lacatacyd, Nivea, Pro-lacta can be found inside the transparent bag.

SM BAby Grand Fair 2015

Happy shoppers at SM Baby Grand Fair 2015!

If you're expecting or have an infant,  don't miss this fair!:-)  SM Baby Grand Fair will run at at the SM Mega-trade Hall from January 30-February 1, 2015.  Have a SAFARI-ffic shopping time!

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Disclosure:  Thanks to Baby Company for inviting me to the pre-event sale and for sponsoring this post.

Give Gadgets a Break and Get Crafty

DMC Handcrafted Event 2015

My kids play gadgets and as much as I would want for them to just play in the great outdoors, socialize, read or maybe play a banjo, they are kids born to this world where tech is the air they breathe.

So I succumb, cringe and allow them some limited gadget time during weekends.  During their off gadget hours,  they spend their first 30 minutes complaining and wondering what in the world should they do?

As a parent,  I exhale, roll out my eyes and then give them a litany of things they can do instead.  As such, I am always on the look out for activities that would interest them.

When DMC, the manufacturer of those fine threads we used in high school HE, invited me to a "Handcrafted" afternoon,  I was delighted.   For me it's like a trip down memory lane when I made those cross-stitches and crocheted a small pouch while chatting away my high school besties. I was also curious to find out how I can add embroidery to the list of activities my daughter can engage in.

My "Handcrafted" DMC afternoon, opened me to the wonderful world of crafting.   7 amazing crafters shared their stories of how they have incorporated crafting into their lives.  Funky, Trey Ajusto of Ganstilyo Guru, hit a cord when she shared that she used to hide from her friends when she crochets.  Crocheting, embroidery and knitting have been associated for the old and the boring and she doesn't want that stereotype placed on her.  But as she grew older and wiser, she has embraced her passion for crocheting and proudly showed it to the world.

Gantsilyo GuruAs a mom,  we can help dispel this misconception about crafting with our kids.  For all you know,  our kids can find a good friend in crafting.

Take for instance Carla Quimsing, who after giving birth, lost her drive for her one true passion, writing.  As a writer myself,  I can imagine how disconcerting that can be.  She found her way back to writing by creating dream catchers.  While crafting dream catchers she discovered herself and her writing back.  Today she not only writes again,  she makes beautiful dream catchers, together with her young daughter and sells them in her online store Damgo.

In our work, we find ourselves. - TheGoMom

In our work, we find ourselves. - TheGoMom

Marielle Nadal-Reyes founder of CraftMNL loves crafting so much she has put up a crafting studio.  At CraftMNL, crafters meet and do workshops together.  CraftMNL also organizes small craft fairs for crafters to sell their handcrafted items.

Some of CraftMNL workshops.

Some of CraftMNL workshops.

Lenora Cabili,  has taken Filipino crafting global through her own fashion line, Filip+Inna.  In Filip+Inna she designs clothes inspired by traditional Filipino patterns from indigenous tribes.  Her brand gained recognitions as featured in Elle magazine and worn by Tory Burch and Amanda Hearts.

Love the detail and ethnicity of this Filip+Inna blouse.

Love the detail and ethnicity of this Filip+Inna blouse.

These 4 crafters, along with 3 equally notable and passionate crafters, have created unique and beautiful things.  They have discovered part of themselves and shared it with others.  It would be great if we and our daughter can discover it too.   In this world of fast paced gadgets, compounded with everyday stress, it would be good to sit down, savor time and get crafty.

This January 30 (Friday already!), DMC is holding a 3-day weekend craft fair, "DMC Handcrafted."   It would be on January 30 to February 1 at the Century City Mall Event Center.

DMC Handcrafted Event 2015

It is a good venue to introduce ourselves and our kids to different crafting options, from embroidery, knitting, dream catchers, string art, knitting, crocheting and cross-stitching among others.  Partner crafters will be at the fair to hold free workshops for those who want to learn a new skill.  It will also showcase and sell handmade pieces to inspire us to try our hand at it.

For complete schedule of free workshops and to get more crafting ideas, visit DMC's facebook fan page.  Slots are limited so please do sign up fast.

DMC, may actually mean Dollfus-Mieg and Company,  but its core is Daring our Minds to Create!

I'll be taking my daughter along on Friday since they don't have classes.  Excited for some mother-daughter bonding time.  Hope to see you there!

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Disclosure:  Thanks to DMC for inviting me to a delightful "Handcrafted" afternoon and for sponsoring this post.

5 Tips to Make Toothbrush Time More Fun for Kids and Less Stressful for Moms

My kids are not fans of tooth brushing.  My 3 year old, always asks me "Do I have to now? I just brushed my teeth last night?"  Everyday I answer their question patiently complete with actions of "Eww, do you want that?"  On my running low on patience day,  I just simply grunt and say "because I say so."

But I guess one step for me to cut the chase in toothbrush time is to make it fun and empower them to make choices.  Here are some tips I deploy (every battle needs a plan;-)) to keep those pearly whites clean and strong:

1. GIVE KIDS A CHOICE.  Of course,  it is not a choice whether they should brush teeth or not.  It is a choice, if they want to use the blue toothbrush or the yellow one?  You brush your teeth first and then mommy helps you after? Or Mommy helps you first and then by yourself after?  Orange or grape flavored toothpaste? Happee toothpaste gives them a spread of  7 flavors to choose from which delights them.  Will it be a bubble-gum pop morning or an tutti-frutti twist evening?

As basic as tooth brushing is, it is great that Happee Toothpaste takes the boredom of routine out with choice:-)

My 3 year old likes the tutti-frutti flavor, my 11 year old prefers the grape while my 13 year old likes all the flavors!   The 7 kid-citing flavors are Strawberry Bloom, Orange, Tutti-frutti Twist, Apple Crunch, Juicy Grapes, Bubblegum Pop, and Cookies & Cream Ahoy, all of which are available in leading groceries and drug stores.  BTW, don't throw away those toothpaste cartons.  They come with fun games for the kiddos.

2.   TALK, SING or ENGAGE KIDS IN SOME HUMOR.  2 minutes may be short (the required amount of brushing time) but for kids this is an eternity!  Happee Toothpaste comes in well-loved character design like Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Dora and Boots.  It's a jump off point of conversation to engage with the kids.  "Boots said he can smell your breath from the jungle!." I always try to add some humor to entice the kids to do routine tasks.

For my 3 year old,  it is a good transition toothpaste from his infant toothpaste because it still has that same fruity flavor but his time with the bubbles.  I assist him and remind him, that Cookie Monster toothpaste will produce bubbles and that he has to spit the bubbles out.  And my, does he enjoy spitting;-)

Happee Toothpaste has kid-safe fluoride levels, giving kids just the right protection against tooth decay.

3.   ALLOCATE ENOUGH TIME.  Often the battle begins when we parents are rushing (aren't we always rushing?!?) and don't give enough time for kids to settle down to the routine.  If bedtime has pre-bedtime routine and we can't expect kids to just plop down and sleep, so does brushing teeth.  Give enough time for the convincing, for the brushing and for keeping the toothbrushes and toothpaste back in its place.

4.   SET A ROUTINE.  Kids though they will fight it to death are creatures of routine.  After eating is bath time, and after bath is milk and story time,  after milk time is toothbrush time. Hopefully this routine will turn into a life-long habit.

5.   BE THEIR ROLE MODEL.  Sometimes allow them to see you brushing your teeth, flossing or mouth washing.  Remember monkey say, monkey do;-)

Hope the above tips help:-)  For more fun and exciting dental tips, visit Happee Kiddie Facebook.

With a little bit of creativity and Happee Kiddie Toothpaste, tooth brushing will be more fun and we will be creating good dental habits for our children;-)

Flash those pearly whites and say Happee!:-)

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Disclosure:  Thanks to Happee Toothpast for coming up with 7 kid-citing flavors and sponsoring this post.

Learning from Pope Francis: For Parents and Kids

The entire country was in Pope mania these past 5 days and for most the experience was surreal.  Whether you braved it out in Luneta, waited for the Pope mobile or just watched the entire proceedings in TV, it was an extra-ordinary experience. Pope Francis had the whole country on a 5-day retreat.  Everyone seemed transfixed with him.  His wave. His smile. His word. And, even his silence.

My family welcomed him on TV and my 3 year old was our happy "waver," vigorously waving whenever he sees the Pope:-)

My cousin and I planned to see him in UST but the 2am call time for his 10am speech would be too much for the kids.  My family decided to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis en route to Mall of Asia last January 16 instead.  Surprisingly, the wait wasn't long and wasn't as hard as we expected.  We arrived Roxas Boulevard cor EDSA at 2:30pm and we managed to get the front spot along the barricade nearing the mall.  Luckily, the weather was cloudy and cool which made the wait a breeze. When we saw the police on their motorcycles pass by and heard the happy rumble among the crowd, we knew he would pass by any moment.  And when he did, I was overcome by a wave of emotions. And I was teary-eyed.  Correction - I was crying.  Joy. Holiness. Peace.  At "bakit ang bilis ng takbo ng pope mobile?":-)

Encounter with Pope Francis at Mall of Aisa

For the rest of his stay,  we just caught him on TV.  But for the Sunday mass at Luneta, we were blessed when our parish offered to hold a mass of the Pope via live stream with Holy Communion.  The experience was different because I wasn't sitting down with my home clothes watching but instead I was in church, one with the congregation of other Catholics.

Live Stream of Pope Francis Luneta Mass

As we waved goodbye to our dear Pope and the reality of life after a 5 day retreat enters,  I ask "What's next?"  I told my kids we should keep the visit of the Pope alive by learning from his words and actions.  Pope Francis encouraged everyone to "Think. Feel. Act."

THINK. FEEL.  ACT.

As a parent,  the greatest lesson I learned from him as I saw him these past 5 days and as I read more about his person, is "Leadership by Example." He doesn't bore us with rhetoric instead he inspires us with his works.  The faithful follow because we see his actions.  We are drawn by his actions of simplicity, humility and compassion for the poor.  Maybe if we follow him and lead our children by example we might see small miracles in our home too.  I always tell my kids to put down their gadgets, but they always see me on the phone doing FB or Instagram.  Maybe if I also put down my gadget,  my kids will follow suit.  Walk the Talk.

Here are other traits I love about Pope Francis that we can share with the kids.  And since "Actions speak louder than Words" I chose to say it in photos:

Note:  None of the pictures are mine.  Please click on the picture to get the source and link.

1.    Think.  Feel. Act.

2.   Simplicity

From Day 1 of his Papacy, Pope has shown simplicity in his daily activities.

When he chose to wear his black shoes instead of traditional red during his inauguration.

Whenever he chooses an ordinary car instead of a luxury car.

When he chose to ride the shuttle bus with the cardinals.

We can copy  Pope Francis by being simple too.  There is no need to own the latest rubber shoe, latest cellphone or the newest Prada bag. Nor is there a need to accumulate all the Lego Mini-figures in the world or branded clothes.  Be simple.

3.   Humility

Following Jesus' gesture of humility, the pope washed and kissed the feet of 12 young offenders.

Choosing to sit at the back of the church while waiting for the mass (for the gardeners and janitors of the Vatican) to start.

We can be humble by not bragging about the material things we own or the accomplishments we have achieved.  For my kids they can be humble by respecting, listening and following their teachers, elders and of course, mom and dad:-)  It takes a humble spirit to follow.  For myself,  I can learn humility by saying sorry to my kids if I made a mistake.  By fanning down my arrogance by not constantly checking out how many likes I get in FB.  I know, how mundane,  but FB does bring out that evil in me.  Arghhh!

4.   Compassion for the Poor

According to Huffington Post, "Swiss guards confirmed that the pope has ventured out at night, dressed as a regular priest, to meet with homeless men and women."

To celebrate his 77th birthday, the Pope chose to dine with his Vatican aides and helpers and four homeless men.

He didn't have any qualms hugging and kissing a disfigured man.

We can be compassionate by helping a friend in need.  Give a friend time, listen to them, be their playmate or share a snack with them. Kids can further extend compassion to the needy by giving alms using some of their allowance.  For me,  I plan to be more compassionate and understanding of the plight of the people I'm working with.  My workplace is my extended family and my generosity and kindness should begin there.

5.   Balance

Pope Francis' schedule in the Philippines resounds of balance.  For instance on his second day in Manila, he met public officials then returned to his home to rest before proceeding to the meeting of families.  He took time to work, time to rest, time to listen and time to pray.

The kids can learn from Pope Francis by balancing their time between all the activities from studies, play, rest and prayer.

For me, as a parent, I have to practice balance too.  Only in balance will I find peace.

6.   Cheerful Heart

It is this sincere smile that spreads right through his eyes that has endeared many to him.  Smile and the world will smile back at you.  Smiling Pope Francis

Let's take a cue from Pope Francis.

Be simple.  Be humble. Be compassionate. Find balance. Be happy.

Think. Feel. Act.

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How to Make the Pope’s Visit More Meaningful for the Kids

Pope Francis will be here in Manila in 2 days and my family and I haven't decided if we are going to brave the crowds to see him.  Of course my husband said we get the best vantage point from the TV but somehow I feel something is remiss with this kind of involvement.  As a kid who camped the grounds of Luneta when Pope John Paul 2 was here last February 1981, I feel the experience is best felt out there.   Yes it was stinky and hot then, but the energy of the youth Pope John Paul so loved fueled my yearning soul.   I saw him (I have actually seen a saint!) on the stands of Luneta that day and it remains to be one of my best childhood memories.

Now, with children of my own, I want them to experience the same oneness, the same faith.  But then again this time,  6 million people is the estimated crowd. And the praning in me has the recent Paris attack looming in my mind.

And so I have resigned myself to watching the entire event from the TV.

My daughter changed my mind though.  In her CLE class,  the topic is but of course about Pope Francis.  Now my kids know what is a bouncer and that Pope Francis used to be one:-)  My daughter also recounted the insightful discussion they had in class (this is not a direct quote, just what I gathered from my daughter's thoughts).

The holiday the government gave the Philippine nation, a predominantly Catholic country,  is for us to take time to welcome Pope Francis.  It is not meant to be taken as a time to go out of the country for a vacation.  You don't leave your house when a very, very important guest is coming.  You stay and welcome him. 

I know all of you won't actually see the Pope, instead you will see lots and lots of  heads but when you go and take time to be there you get to experience something holy.  You see a nation united in faith.  You experience the holiness of One Body of Christ which is the Church.

The Pope represents Jesus' church.  If Jesus visited and all you would be seeing would be heads,  would you go?   Would you?

O di ba,  napa-isip naman ako ng todo-todo.  There are 2 windows where we can try to see the Pope, January 16 and January 18 (see Papal Itinerary).

Here are the options:

1.  Go and book a hotel near Roxas Boulevard.  This option should have been explored months ago.  Hotels are already fully booked.

2.  Go early and camp.  The school of my son is sending a small delegation.  They leave at 4am to attend the 3:30pm mass.  According to MMDA traffic enforcers,  he advises his uniformed men to wear adult diapers.  Ewww!  But practical.

3.  Try to get as close to his motorcade on January 16 en route to Mall of Asia.  Bring a disposable umbrella, take the MRT and walk from Pasay MRT to Mall of Asia.

4.  Try to get as close to the crowds on January 18.  Monitor traffic from the friendly Waze and plot where best to stand.

5.  Our main parish is going to do a live stream of the Pope's January 18 mass.   Communion will also be done.   This is actually a very, very good option for kids.

I also read a very insightful article of Voltaire Tupaz in Rappler controversially titled "Why I'm not excited to see the Pope"

If you didn't have time to read the whole article, the long and short of it is that he is not too interested in "physically seeing" the Pope instead he is more interested to hear and live his message.   We can take a cue from this as well by engaging our kids in a short, informal discussion of who Pope Francis is, the values he stands for,  the way he connected to the people (show the selfies he took - kids can relate to that),  the changes he has made in the church.  I'll try to do some research and share with this with you guys tomorrow - Snippets of Pope Francis Kids can Understand and Relate to.

_pope3

I'm still plotting out our strategy with 4 and 5 as the 2 probable options.  How about you?  How do you plan to make Pope Francis' visit more meaningful for the kids?

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Potluck Food Suggestion (with Recipe)

potluck food

Potluck.  Now more than any time of the year, I and I'm pretty sure you guys too, will be attending party after party.  And because CHRISTmas is a family affair and we have to bring the whole fam bam it's usually done at a friend's house, Lola's house, uncle's house and even at our very own house.  I love it that CHRISTmas has that way of opening homes to friends and family, iba ang mood if it's at home, more relaxed.  Plus the kids get to see their friends and can roam around the whole house without bugging us to head for home (hehe always happens in a resto) para tuloy ang chika ever!

And since it's at a house,  eh di ano pa ang kasunod, kung hindi potluck:-)  Nowadays,  people just don't expect the host to prepare the whole meal.  Everybody brings their own specialty.  Ilabas si Rachel Ray!  Actually, I think this is the time of the year that the most recipes are exchanged too;-)  If it's potluck I always try to bring something prepared from home.  Feeling ko mas special.  I'll cook my favorite shrimp pasta or lasagna for the kids and since my daughter is into baking, sometimes I'll ask her to whip up some dessert.  Sometimes,  I would like to bring my newest recipe find!

I got new food ideas at the MerryCrema 2014 Food Festival event at the Eastwood Open Mall.  Alaska Crema put together Metro's hottest and up-and-coming food merchants to sample and sell their food using Alaska Crema.  Super like! because second to spices like salt and pepper,  I think milk is one of the heavily used ingredients in our household. Macaroni de Sopas, lasagna, chicken pastel, pumpkin soup, chicken curry, mashed potato, cupcakes, all of it needs milk!

I'll take you through the food event and share with you my recipe steal of the day.alaska crema 2014Bloggers were asked to go through the booths, sample the food and grade the recipes according to their taste, creative use of Alaska Crema and food presentation.  Ang hirap pala maging judge! Lahat masarap!  But my favorites are the Panna Cotta from Blue Toque, the cake pop with Cheese Cake inside,  the balot with cream sauce and the meat loaf from The Serving Spoon.

christmas carol alaska crema

After all the food has been consumed, graded and we can barely move from fullness, we were serenaded by the "Hail Mary The Queen" Choir.  Reminds me of my UP days when I was active in ICTUS and we would carol from house to house.

chico and delamar at alaska cremas 2014

My favorite hosts in the world, Chico and Delamar, were there to host the event.  Recipes were shared by Alaska House Chef and the best food that featured Alaska Crema were awarded.

And for my recipe steal of the day, Meat Loaf ala Mary, from "The Serving Spoon," one of the food merchants at the Food Festival.

I didn't see the full meat loaf because it was in sampling sizes but I figured it would have looked this way.  Photo from TheCookingMom

I didn't see the full meat loaf because it was in sampling sizes but I figured it would have looked this way. Photo from TheCookingMom

Meat loafs would serve well as a potluck dish because it looks festive, can be eaten slowly aka papak espesyal for those long lunch potlucks, easy to prepare, can be prepared in advance plus it doesn't spoil easily.

meatloaf recpeFor more recipe ideas using Alaska Crema, download their Alaska Cremamoments Everyday App .  It is available to all Android users. Please also like the Alaska Crema Moments Facebook page and follow them on Instagram @Alaska Crema for more food ideas and inspiration.

alaska crema 2014

Smiles were big and tummies were full at the Merry Crema 2014 Food Festival of Alaska Crema.  Everyone got to try a little bit of food from all the food merchants.  Moms got to bring home an Alaska gift pack.  The photo booth was heavily used.  Children got to do some arts and crafts and shoot some hoops.  The usual no fail wise cracks of Chico and Delamar.  Recipes were shared and we were serenaded by the carolers.  It was a nice afternoon well spent.

Wishing you all a Merry Crema 2014!

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P.S.  Thank you very much to Alaska Crema for inviting TheGoMom to the event and for sponsoring this post.

S&R Imus, Cavite: Now Open

You know the feeling when your favorite chain opens a branch in your city, happiness, right?  That is exactly what Caviteno's felt when the popular and well loved S&R Membership Warehouse finally opened its doors in Imus, Cavite last December 19, 2014.

SNR Imus Cavite Grand Opening

Prior to the opening,  the FB account of S&R Philippines has been flooded with giddy anticipation from the Caviteno's.  Everyone is excited to have their hands on those well selected, discounted imported and local goodies.

SNR Sale

True to S&R fashion,  the warehouse was packed prior to opening.  S&R has been so famous for their rock bottom discounts,  nagkakagulo ang madlang people whenever there is a sale.  And that is how it was during the opening.  It was a happy, frenetic kind of chaos with very, very eager shoppers.

The opening ceremony was short and sweet because everyone is already eager to shop, shop, shop!   Starting off with a Thanksgiving mass at 8am and ending at 10:45am with the Dragon Dance and Marching Band.

SNR Imux Cavite Grand Opening

Gracing the occasion were S&R Philippines President, Anthony Sy, Imus City Mayor Manny Maliksi and Vice Chairperson for Puregold Price Club, Ms. Susan Co.

Like with other cities,  the Buy One, Take One offers went out fast.

Buy One, Take One

And because we Pinoys are bin addicts,  this was well received as well.

SNR Keter Bins

Chocolates filled the carts.

Chocolates

Lifetime tables went out fast.  S&R, I think is responsible for introducing Filipinos to this sturdy yet nice and clean table.

Lifetime Tables at S&R

When the shopping frenzy has died down,  people will go back to the basics.  Meat.  Laundry. Toiletries. Medicines.  With the widest range of products at discounted prices, from hard to find imported goods to local goods, Caviteno's will find shopping in S&R a real pleasure.

Shopping at S&R

Lastly, the Caviteno's surely can't pass up the famous S&R food service.

SNR Food Service

New York Pizza, anyone?:-)

SNR New York Pizza

To know more about membership shopping at S&R and be updated with their promos, please head on over to the S&R Facebook page or you can also head on over to the S&R Website.   Happy Shopping!

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Happy New Year 2015!

New Years QuoteHappy 2015 everyone!

The holidays has been packed and busy for me and it is only now that I have time to sit down to recollect on 2014 and plan on 2015.

2014 has been fun and very, very busy for me.

  • TheGoMom joined Nuffnang.  Joining Nuffnang has been monumentally great  for TheGoMom.  For 5 years I was writing posts and doing worksheets and advertisers would nary come by except for a trickle here and there.  Thanks to  Nuffnang,  TheGoMom finally has some sponsors.  Yay!:-)  I grew my circle of friends and met the wonderful people of Nuffnang and a few mommy bloggers. And my daughter and I had more bonding activities thanks to the numerous, mostly "crafty" mommy events.
  • Our family business is going on its second year and I'm finally taking a grasp of its ins and outs - taking care of clients, doing HR and finance work.
  • It was my highschool batch reunion and I had a great time reconnecting with old friends.  Preparing for the dance presentation, planning the reunion party - it was all a blast!
  • On a personal note,  I think I have become more tolerant and more accepting of the differences my kids and I have.  I have been kinder to others and more importantly, to myself.

With that, I can say 2014 has been very good to me.  However, because of the flurry of activities my life was in constant chaos.  Every year I have a banner mantra, my catchword for the year that guides me in my every step.  Last year it was "be present" this year it is "order and discipline."  I have to regain control of my life by creating realistic plans, both general and specific, and having the will and discipline to see through them.

2015. New Year.  New Beginnings.

Amidst the busyness of parenthood,  I wish that all of you will find your truest and purest joy this 2015.

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Making New Year’s Resolutions with the Kids

I thought I would make next year a bit different and more purposeful for my kids by drawing up a New Year's resolution list.  New Year's resolutions will provide a review of the past and a hopeful look at the future. Young as they are,  I think, kids have desires not limited to toys or gadgets but also to become a better person.

We shall do it as a family today, on the last day of the year, amidst the crisp cool air and with the New Year's eve a few hours away.

Here is how I prepared my family for this activity:

1.   Drum up the coming activity a few days in advance so kids can already mull over what they plan to put in their list.

2.    Set the stage.  Soft instrumental Christmas music at the background.  Their favorite snack on the table. Clean blank sheet and a pen. Champagne glasses filled with juice for the final toast (after writing the resolutions).  Toast in thanksgiving for past year.  Toast for the upcoming year and all the hope that lies ahead.

3.    Make it a Family Activity.  Everyone should be present to share and to listen.  Parents can start off so kids can take their queue.

3.    Look back and recount last year's blessings and successes.  Eldest showed responsibility finishing up all the projects. Middle child wasn't as hard to wake up in the mornings. Family took a vacation to Disneyland.  It is a moment to be thankful for all the blessings and also a good reminder of the good they have done.

4.    Draw up a general guide for their resolutions and let them fill it in.  Tempting as it is to list down 101 things you wish to improve on, you will lose them along the way.  Ask them to think, share with everyone and write down their own resolutions.  This way they can plan better and they will have full ownership of their goals.  The categories may be broad but underneath each "big" resolution should be bite sized ones that can be easily done.

Categories:

  • Self-improvement Goals (Punctuality (bite size: sleep at 10pm and wake up at 6am), Responsibility, Self-discipline (ex. gadget time), Be Kinder, Healthy Life Style)
  • School Goals (Reading More (bite size: read 15 minutes every night), No cramming, Participating in Class More...)
  • Relationship Goals (Family (bite size: speak kindly to siblings), Friends, Others)
  • Material Goal (Toys, Gadgets or Shoes they want to get)
  • Spiritual Goal (Daily Prayers (bite size: say short prayer in the morning and at night), Mass Attendance)

5.   Place the list in a public / visible place so the kids can be reminded of their resolutions.

6.   Touch base with the kids weekly on their resolution list.  Once a habit is hopefully formed, this periodic touch bases can be father apart.

Hope this short list helps.

Wishing you and your family abundance, peace, love and kindness this 2015!

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Advanced Noche Buena!

Say Noche Buena and family, food and CHRISTmas immediately comes to mind.  You can't have one without the other two nor two without one.  Through God's grace, I have always been blessed to have those three.  My family is here to celebrate it with me.  We have ample food to feast on.  And the meaning of CHRISTmas is present as we celebrate the Holy Mass before the main meal.

Not all families though enjoy the grace of CHRISTmas togetherness.  As a nation rich in manpower resources, we have our modern day heroes who are spread out all over the world working for their families back home. We have people working in BPOs and in hospitals working on night shifts.  These people won't be spending CHRISTmas with their family and their family would have an empty spot on the dinner table for them.

Lady's Choice, the brand that is a CHRISTmas staple in the holiday spread of Filipino homes and a mayonnaise of choice in making staple Noche Buena dish like Macaroni Salad, prepared a special surprise for some of these families by arranging an Advanced Noche Buena. Watch with me and feel the magic an Advanced Noche Buena brings, simply because CHRISTmas is "Mas Masarap Talaga 'Pag Magkakasama!"

Did you well up? I definitely did. I welled up because I'm happy for the families. After a long time, they finally get to spend their Noche Buena together albeit in advance. As a mom, I know how important the presence of each family member is and it is our joy to see the family complete, especially in this season of CHRISTmas. And dads, tough as they are, we see how they value and treasure the warmth family brings.
Lady's Choice surely warmed up hearts in advance and filled up tummies with the ever-present Macaroni Salad.
In this season of CHRISTmas may we all be enriched with the grace of family because "Mas Masarap Talaga 'Pag Magkakasama!" Spread the gift of togetherness by sharing this heart -warming video with your loved ones.
And to make that scrumptious Noche Buena spread, head on over to Lady's Choice FB page to score the perfect recipe for Macaroni Salad, Creamy Beef Stroganoff, Baked Salmon, and so much more.

Lady's Choice Advanced Noche Buena Pack

An Advance Noche Buena to everyone!

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P.S. Thank you very much to Lady's Choice for making CHRISTmas extra special for these families. And thank you for my Advance Noche Buena kit.

Nesfruta #RealnaReal: Make your Kid’s Drawing Come Alive

Nesfruta #RealnaReal

What can be a more joyfully heart-warming gift than telling your kid that you can make their drawing come alive!   Wow!  I can already see their eyes glowing with happiness and their heart's swelling with pride as they gently handle their "live" drawing, unbelieving at first and then with giddy excitement make it soar through the skies or dive in the deepest ocean.

Nesfruta, Nestlé's powdered fruit juice line, is going to make your kid's drawing come to life with Nesfruta's #RealnaReal contest.   Here's a look at what Nesfruta can do for your child.

Super aliw, right?!:-) All you have to do is let your kid draw, take a photo of it and then upload it at the Facebook page of Nesfruta.ph.   10 winners will be drawn through an electronic raffle and hopefully,  it will be our kids:-)  To get more details about the promo,  please click Nesfruta link.

Through Nesfruta's #RealnaReal contest we can make their drawings come alive.  We can also assist them, guide them or provide different mediums for them to create their very own.   My daughter's favorite character is the one and only Ice Queen, Elsa.  Her slippers are Elsa.  Her clips are Elsa. Her pillow is Elsa.  And of course she makes Elsa!

Over the months of Elsa stardom,  she has created an Elsa lamp, an Elsa Mine Craft figure, made Olaf melt, Elsa clay, snowflakes and sung "Let it Go" for the nth time.

The possibilities are endless as we let our kids stretch their imagination and let them create with their hands.  By using their imagination,  we help build our kids' creative problem solving abilities and let them explore beyond the box.

This CHRISTmas season, I think the greatest gift we can give our children is to make their imagination come to life and give them time as we soar with them in their great world of imagination.

Join the Nesfruta #RealnaReal contest,  post away and make all this come true.  One character per entry,  enter as many as your child wants:-)

Good luck and Merry CHRISTmas!

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P.S.  Thanks to Nesfruta for this wonderful campaign.

 

Yummy Promo Alert: S&R Holiday Feast

One of the things my family and I look forward to when we go to S&R is the must do side trip to the S&R fast food service.  I think everyone who goes to S&R orders a pizza because the warm and oh so yummy smell of pizza wafts through your nose upon entry and the memories of New York style pizza makes your heart flutter.

SNR pizza

S&R always, always delivers the taste of a good old New York pizza.   Starting off with the humongous 18" size New York Pizza is known for. The cuts are huge, your eyes grow big in excitement and then you grab and fold it a bit because you want every piece of the cheesy-gooey goodness!  The crust is puffy and bread-like from the end and tapers down to a thinner middle.  The overload of mozzarella cheese together with all the perfect spices, sauces and toppings are screaming eat me.  OMG!  I'm getting hungry!

This whole month of December, S&R is giving S&R members a Holiday Feast by throwing in one whole New York Pizza, 6 huge slices of their Southern Style Fried Chicken and three 22 oz bottomless soda for unbelievably, P 999!!!

SNR Holiday Feast 2014

My family and I tried the S&R Holiday Feast and we were so stuffed and happy.

Dining at SNR

The pizza of course was delicious, ever.  The bottomless soda is always a treat.  My kids always find the idea of bottomless soda very fascinating.  They are excited to be the one to choose and get their drink, fill it half way, finish it and try the another soda for later.

SNR pizza and chicken

SNR Southern Fried Chicken

For the Southern Style Fried Chicken, it is our first time to order it.  And it was gooood!!!!   You guys have to try it.  First let's start with size, haha, matakaw kasi that's why I want it big:-)  S&R's Southern Style Fried Chicken is big  and won't leave you "bitin."  The chicken is tender and juicy and has the right spice combination.  And the chicken skin, is not heavy on breading, is fried to the right crispness and has that perfect golden color.  My daughter who loves pizza was getting confused whether to wolf down the whole pizza slice or eat another chicken!

SNR-Fast Food - Food-Service

S&R Fast Food Service is available in all S&R Membership Shopping Warehouses and is available  to S&R members only.  I think, just to have access to the food at the S&R Fast Food Service sulit na yung P700 annual membership.  It's like getting a pizza card for a fee but this time you throw in access to exclusive and unique grocery products from all over the world at warehouse prices.  Check out how to be a member and get updated on new S&R Fast Food Service promos and new S&R products (they always have new products)  here.

Dining at SNR

Tara, kain na!

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P.S. Thanks to S&R Membership Shopping Warehouses for treating us to the super yummy, full to the max S&R Holiday Feast!:-)

My S&R 2014 Christmas Gift Guide

Tick, tock, tick, tock goes the clock.  Christmas is, gasp,  next week already and I'm still not done with my CHRISTmas gift list!   Are you?  I know right?  I think 90% of us moms are scrambling all over town looking for the perfect gift for our inaanaks, neighbors, friends, officemates and so goes the long list.  Usually reserving the last few days of precious holiday shopping time for the immediate family.

Last year was chaotic for me.  I was literally all over town going through malls looking for the perfect gift and didn't have any clue what I was looking for except a broad description of gender and age.  This year,  I told myself I won't beat myself up and worked on a theme for each group.  Friends all get a home accessory.  Kids, since most are tweeners, get their favorite sweets - sweets their mommies won't ordinarily indulge them with.  Girl clients get food and men clients get liquor.    Seems easy enough?  I had a caveat though, it should be extraordinary and unique.  Something they won't find in every corner of Manila.

S&R Membership Warehouse

With that in mind,  where else will I head to but S&R Membership Shopping Warehouses.  Know for their exclusive, wide variety and oooh so delightfully packaged treats.  I went last Sunday with the fam bam to finally finish off my CHRISTmas gift list. Here are some of my finds:

Everyone doesn't ever seem to have enough of CHRISTmas decors, so cute decors like these would surely be appreciated.

S&R Christmas Decors

Stuff toys to hang in your CHRISTmas tree.  Since I have children,  my CHRISTmas Tree has always been adorned with CHRISTmas stuff toys.  Price: 149.75

S&R Christmas Decors

Adorable and light CHRISTmas wreath.  My husband doesn't hang anything on the wall save for precious paintings.  With this light wreath,  I can just use my handy Blue Tack.

S&R Christmas Decors

Whimsy CHRISTmas decors perfect for homes with children like ours:-)

S&R Home Decors

These miniature topiaries are so beautiful that they would surely make any receiver smile in delight.  Price: 749.75

Hello Kitty Interchangeable Watch

This Hello Kitty Watch set is sooo cute!  It has interchangeable straps and rings.  Your nieces would be hugging you till next CHRISTmas.  Price: P1,429.95

Cute Trash Can

Functional but very cute trash bins would make kids happy and moms happier:-)  Price: P299.95

Dusty Rideable Toy Car

Your inaanak would have a blast riding Dusty, complete with rotating propeller and full sounding horn.  Price: P2,299.95

Cute Bins

Tweeners and parents will find this crate styled bin chic and handy.  Price: 399.95

Christmas Basket Ideas

Gift packs are meant to look like this.  Price: P 1,699.95. Check out their Christmas Catalog here.

Whenever I go to S&R I feel like I'm in the US.   Huge warehouse with tons of imported, hard-to-find items you would mostly find, well, in the US.  And the displays,  makes your heart and wallet beat a hundred paces faster.  Like,  vitamins don't usually excite me but with S&R's vitamin selection, I'm piling up the cart faster than you can say stop;-)

Jacobsen of Denmark Christmas Cookies

Mouthwatering Jacobsen's Cookies from Denmark.  They are nicely packaged in Christmas tins and they are a steal at P 99.95.  An excellent gift to bank tellers or your son's/daughter's favorite teacher.

Wrigley's in Tin Cans

I find these Heritage Tin Wrigley's gums irresistible.  Good gift to tweeners.  Price:  P249.95

Christmas Chocolates

You will drool in happiness with S&R's chocolate and sweets selection, all beautifully packed there is no need for the usual wrapping!

S&R Wine Selection

My husband's first stop --- the wine section.  I think S&R has the widest selection of wine at very, very good prices.   Classy gift for clients and for neighbors too.  Wine or champagne for New Year's eve.

S&R Wine Promos

Lindenman's Shiraz Cabernet at P 549.95 for 3, not bad, not bad at all.

I wanted to take a whole lot more of photos but it's better for you guys to go check it out by yourself.

The selection from food to home is extensive and are unusual, plus you get to enjoy S&R club pricing.    S&R Club Pricing means members get to enjoy a fine selection of hard-to-find products at a low, low price.  Membership is only at P700 a year and you get to enjoy access to sauces, meat cuts, unusual chocolates, Kirkland medicines, bath essentials pati tissue, aliw!    For me that's the beauty of an S&R membership, variety and access to otherwise not locally available goods at affordable prices.   Check out how to be a member and get updated on new S&R products (they always have new products)  here.  And I haven't touched on S&R's food service!

But that's another blog all together, for now shopping comes first:-)

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P.S. Thanks to S&R for inviting me to S&R and for sponsoring this post.

Best MOMent: What is your best MOMent?

best moments with kidsAsking this question is like opening a bottomless box of joy because I cannot put a pin to what would be my best.  There are just too many!:-)  Holding my baby for the first time is so precious while watching them take their first step is a joy.  Hearing their animated stories is a delight while traveling with them is an adventure.  Playing with them is happiness while bedtime routines spells peace.

As a mom to 3 wonderful kids,  I try my best to make as much wonderful moments with my kids.  For me those moments can run from grand (like exploring a new country) to the ordinary (like brushing teeth) and yet each moment, precious just the same.

Last Sunday,  PAMBATANG SOLMUX 200mg, the trusted cough partner of moms, gave a salute to Moms and our best MOMents.

Solmux Best Moments

Almost 300 moms, dads and their children were treated to an afternoon of happiness and fun at none other than the Mind Musuem.   PAMBATANG SOLMUX 200mg's Best MOMents Event is the culmination activity of PAMBATANG SOLMUX 200mg's Facebook promo where mommies uploaded their best moments with their kids and how PAMBATANG SOLMUX 200mg helps them to have these best moments.  Winners of the promo received an invite to the event.

The whole Mind Museum Special Exhibition Hall was filled with happy faces of both moms and their children (and dads too), all eager to have an afternoon filled with learning and bonding MOMents.  It was such a joy to be part of the event and be one with all the moms in affirming our overwhelming love and commitment to our children.

My daughter and I were delighted to see our favorite Lady DJ Delamar host the event with little Cooper close by (We always listen to The Morning Rush on the way to school:-)). And my daughter's eyes twinkled when a staff from the Mind Museum did a few DIY science experiments.

Solumux Best Moments at Mind Museum

PAMBATANG SOLMUX 200mg also gave away awesome prizes, four of which were Samsung Tab 3 Lite!   Winner!

When it was time to go around the museum,  you can see everyone in a jolly rush to experience the Mind Museum.  You can see kids pulling their parents to look at this.  And you can see parents calling their kids to experience that.  Truly,  experiences such as these are best when shared:-)

We had super fun at the Shadow Box doing all sorts of shadows.  Here we spelled L-O-V-E!:-)

We had super fun at the Shadow Box doing all sorts of shadows. Here we spelled L-O-V-E!:-)

Static Ball at the Mind Museum

It was unfortunate that my 3 year old couldn't join us that afternoon.  He is nursing a bad cold and cough.  I was trying to hold off the meds but yesterday when I brought him to the pedia,  he was prescribed, tada, PAMBATANG SOLMUX 200mg.

When I visited the SOLMUX FB page, moms attested that to have the "walang patid na best MOMents" they give PAMBATANG SOLMUX 200mg at the onset of cough with phlegm.  I'll surely keep that in mind.

Despite the absence of our little darling, my daughter and I still had fun.  And it is heart warming to share with her that the event is in celebration of MOMents, best Mom moments!  She smiled when I told her that and gave me a hug.

Mind Museum Taguig

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P.S.  Thanks PAMBATANG SOLMUX 200mg for inviting my daughter and I to an afternoon of MOMents at the Mind Museum.  Thanks also for sponsoring this post.