Friday, February 27, 2015

Ben's final year at Explorations

I recently had my last PTC with Ben at Explorations.  It was bitter sweet because he had come a long way since he started school and I will miss these opportunities of the school setting aside one hour to talk about your child. Over the years, Ben has learned to regulate his emotions better, be more sensitive to others and find creative ways to solve problems.  I hope these skills will help him do well as he moves on to big school next year.

I must admit, I was not a very "diligent" mom when I was scouting schools for Ben.  I mean, I didn't visit a lot of schools, but narrowed my choices only to a select few then relied on feedback from my mommy friends.  There no regrets, however :)  Explorations has become Ben's second home and I appreciated not only the things he learned from school but the genuine concern the teachers and staff have for its students.  I have grown and evolved as a parent because of the things I've learned from the people at school.  More importantly, with each chat with a teacher, I had come to know Ben better.  The same goes with the girls.  They really try to treat them individually even if they are twins.  I also like that they see teaching kids as a collaborative effort between school and the home.  One of the things I surely will miss about Explorations are the regular updates on how Ben is doing.

I admit, I am very nervous about Ben moving up to Xavier.  But at same time, Ben and I move up to big school with a grateful heart for everything Explorations has done for us.  Enjoy the rest of the school year, my little man!

(Photos by Lawrence del Mundo)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine Post 2015: Our Favorite Date Places

Bry and I love to eat :) We like trying out new restaurants and having date nights are a treat for us.  We try to have one each week but ever since we had the twins, it has been a challenge.  Still, here are a few restaurants that we've tried and loved over the years.  We'd love to hear your own version of your favorite ones so we can try them.  

So, In time for the day of hearts,I will attempt to share tidbit of our favorite restaurants.  Take note that we live on San Juan-Mandaluyong area so locations is a factor, hehe :)

Le Jardin
+63 9178176584
Penthouse, W Fifth Avenue Building, 5th Avenue Corner 32nd Street, Bonifacio Global City
Why we love it:  The ambience is very "maaliwalas" since it has a garden theme.  Very nice service, they even assign you a parking slot if you reserve ahead.  
What we ordered: Our favorite was the seared scallops with mashed potatoes from the hot appetizers, and the braised beef cheek with foie gras from the main course:)

Quirky Bacon
192 Wilson St. San Juan
+63 9279184189
02 5702494

Why we love it: Very convenient location for us, haha! (If you know us, you know how convenient the location is).  Also, the casual feel of the restaurant makes it ideal for an impromptu date night.  Plus, we are meat eaters so we are the target audience of the menu
What we usually order: Pork Panalo, Seared Wagyu Steak Plate, and of course, Chef Sharwin's drop dead fried rice.  Oh, and ask for the specials for more options from the menu.

La Creperie: 
Branches at the Shangri-la Mall (Mandaluyong); Robinsons (Ortigas); 403 F. Calderon St.,Bgy. Little Baguio (San Juan); New Manila, E. Abada and Salcedo Vilage
Why we love it: no matter how much we eat, there's always a space in our tummies for their crepe.  I like that they have thin crepes which are light on the tummy.  Bry thinks we can actually finish one each.  They have a variety of choices for their main courses, too
Our favorite in the menu: Mango Hazelnut au Chocolat - Choco crepe with Mangoes and Almonds.  Need, I say more? 

32nd and 5th Building 5th Avenue cor. 32nd Street Fort Bonifacio 1634
856 9888
Why we like it there: Classic restaurant for a very special occasion.  I can never get enough of Foie Gras!
What we order: Foie Gras Salad and the Surf and Turf

Chef Jessie
8906543  , 8907630
Ground Floor, Rockwell Club, Amorsolo Square, Amorsolo Drive, Rockwell Center
Why we love it there: classic dishes with a twist, lot of options in the menu from 3-4 course meals to a simple rice plate. Ideal for a lunch date :)
What we ordered: Bry liked the Poached Salmon with Tomato artichoke sauce.  I liked the Duck Confit in Echalote Sauce

Cafe Juanita
19 West Capitol Dr, Pasig, Metro Manila
632 0357
Why we like it: Unique ambiance and Lots of choices of Filipino dishes (and other cuisines(.  
What we ordered: Sinigang na corned beef is a winner.  They are famous for their Kare-kare, too

(02) 632 0357
Nielson Tower, Ayala Triangle, Makati City,
Telephone: 828-4888
Why we like it? Their ambiance makes going on a date there feels so grown up.  Fast service, too! Perfect for a couple like us who don't have the luxury of a long date night
What we loved eating: Yes, their steaks are delicious but their truffle oil lasagna with portabello mushrooms and asparagus is lovely, too.  For dessert try the burnt butter with vanilla seed ice cream sundae that comes with salted caramel, chocolate brownie and candied popcorn. Ok, I'll stop now :)

02 2176563  +63 9209744742
 Fourth Floor, Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City

Why check it out: This is a new restaurant by Chef Gene Gonzales of Vask.  They offer different kinds of rice dishes featuring different textures from soupy to saucy.  Their most famous dish is the paella valenciana.  They have a rice dish of the day, too.  We called ahead to pre-order our dish to save time.

What was interesting in the menu: the gambas was quite unique.  The shrimps are deep fried in squid ink batter. Yum!

So there you have it.  My labor of love this Valentines for family and friends who read our blog   My apologies for not having photos or more details.  As you know, I'm not a food blogger, just a mom and wife who loves to eat out.

(Finally) Nappy-free Ben :)

At last, Finally, Bry and I can say that Ben is diaper free for 2 months already.  Yes, I know this milestone for ahia is quite late compared to other kids but nevertheless we are proud of him (and of us), haha!

We've been planning Ben to be diaper free for the longest time.  It's hard not to compare yourself with other kids and parents who were able to do it earlier.  Ben has been toilet trained during the day and his naps for a very long time but during the night, it's another story.  It's actually my fault.  The twins still keep on waking up at night and I don't want to do anything to disrupt Ben's
uninterrupted sleep.  It was a good thing Bry decided to put his foot down and said that we might as well start already because that's the only way we're going to get it done.

We had many rough nights, and I'm sure there will be a lot more along the way.  I admit, I still feel bad that we have to wake Ben up in the middle of the night just to pee.  Still, I think he feels all grow-up with this milestone.  Just in time for big school, too.

Anyway, here is what we've been trying to do to help Ben stay happy and nappy free.

* Less liquids after 8:30pm in the hopes that he pees most of if before bedtime
* Making him go to the bathroom 3x as he gets ready for Ben to really empty his bladder
* Waking him up in the middle of the night at least once just to pee.  He has to be awake enough to walk to the bathroom to be able to pee something.

* Extra towels and a mattress protector for accidents.  Thank goodness, my brother and his friends import bed and bath linens! 

So that's basically it.  If you need to read more about bedtime toilet training, below is a link from Dr. Sears that I found quite helpful -

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sale Alert! Playroom Educational Toys

Hi, Friends!

If you are in the lookout for educational toys for kids, you might want to consider playroom educational toys :) most of their toys are card and board games so they are very compact and easy to bring along during trips.  Here are among my favorites which I think will be enjoyed by both kids and kids at heart.

I like this game because it helps one practice identifying left from right . Simple but can be challenging even for adults

This is a memory game.  You need to be focused because it might take a while before you need to identify certain cards

In this game, a player picks a card and expresses the emotion in his face for the rest of the players to guess.  Simple, but I like it because it teaches kids to be sensitive to other people's facial expressions.  

A fun group game! There are many cards with different color combinations of horses. You roll the dice to find out which color combination to look for and race who gets the card first.  It's quite easy to teach this to kids of Ben's age

A strategy card game where you protect your ducks from getting targeted and shot.  Ideal for kids 10 years old and up.

These toys are being distributed by my ninang Jeraldine Ching-Wu who are selling them now as much as 50% off.  Please feel free to contact her at +63 917 529 5358 for the list of available games and their prices.  You can also check out

I'm always on the lookout for activities for the kids that do not involve screentime (tablets, smartphones and TVs).  Should you have some ideas, please feel free to share them.

Hope everyone had a restful weekend!