DIY Halloween Dessert Table

I LOVE LOVE LOVE it when a good plan comes together.

Whenever Gia and I start pinning ideas on to my Pinterest boards for themed dessert tables, we get so excited for all of the fun things that we can do together.

Truth is, Gia and I LOVE to be in the kitchen together…it doesn’t quite matter much if we are baking or cooking or dancing or listening to music. We really challenged ourselves this Halloween to come up with some nothing short of fantastic for the SoKids and their Mommas. 

SoMom Kris of OC Mom in Manila had asked me if I could make some Oreo pops for our out of town “Trips and Treats” activity. Seeing this as an opportunity to have some fun, Gia and I started coming up with desserts that were easy, would look great on the table and that provided a variety of tastes and textures for everyone who would be attending our Halloween party.

Because we knew there would be a huge age range of participants enjoying the dessert buffet, we knew we had to keep the theme of the table playful and not too scary. I also had to stay within the prescribed budget (as we know DIY is always on a budget) as well as work as many OREO treats into our buffet as possible.

We also considered that the desserts we chose to make needed to be easy enough for us to prepare up to two days in advance, and that could keep that long as well. We considered the weather. If it turned out to be really hot, we might run into a problem with the chocolate covered desserts. After all, a dessert table isn’t a dessert table unless it’s overflowing with treats for everyone! 

Here are some close ups of the treats that were inspired by this Pinterest board, which Gia and I were able to put together. Some of the pics that I took during the event, weren’t so clear so I was able to “borrow” some of my fellow SoMoms’ photos with permission of course.

Oreo Push Pops were made with Devil's Food Cake, 7 Minute Icing, and Crushed Oreos. I was able to pick up the little candy pumpkins at our local bake supply shop.

Oreo Push Pops were made with Devil’s Food Cake, 7 Minute Icing, and Crushed Oreos. I was able to pick up the little candy pumpkins at our local bake supply shop. Previously, I had ordered a big box  of 100 pcs. of the Push Pop containers from Amazon and my mom shipped it to me via Balikbayan Box. (Photo Credit: Tina Ong)

Cake Pops were made with our Cake Pop Maker. We used a vanilla recipe to make the balls, trimmed the excess and then dipped in Tulip Chocolate Compound that we got from our local bake shop supply as well as our Halloween themed paper straws that we used in place of sticks.

Cake Pops were made with our Cake Pop Maker. We used a vanilla recipe to make the balls, trimmed the excess and then dipped in Tulip Chocolate Compound that we got from our local bake shop supply as well as our Halloween themed paper straws that we used in place of sticks. 

Rice Krispy Treats are super easy to make. However, Gia said she would like to change the recipe the next time we make them so that they are a little more chewy. We dipped these treats in Tulip White Chocolate Compound and then decorated with colored sprinkles.

Rice Krispy Treats are super easy to make. However, Gia said she would like to change the recipe the next time we make them so that they are a little more chewy. We dipped these treats in Tulip White Chocolate Compound and then decorated with colored sprinkles.

Our friend Didi made a colorful contribution to our table by bringing sugar cookies. They were really so cute and perfectly matched our theme.

Our friend Didi made a colorful contribution to our table by bringing sugar cookies. They were really so cute and perfectly matched our theme.

I LOVED this idea when I saw it on Pinterest. It's a nice snack for those who are looking to munch on something but without all the extra sugar. Look at the cello bag topper and the tent card that Tina designed! SUPER cute...

I LOVED this idea when I saw it on Pinterest. It’s a nice snack for those who are looking to munch on something but without all that extra sugar. Look at the cello bag topper and the tent card that Tina designed! SUPER cute…

Since the star of the show was OREO. I thought it would be cute to include OREO inside the cupcake as well as part of the decoration on top.  I was super excited to find the Brach's Candy Pumpkins at our local Rustan's Fresh too! The cupcake is a simple Vanilla cake (where I cut back on the sugar) with OREO bits mixed into the batter. The chocolate buttercream icing brings enough sweetness to the cupcake without it being overly sweet.

Since the star of the show was OREO. I thought it would be cute to include OREO inside the cupcake as well as part of the decoration on top. I was super excited to find the Brach’s Candy Pumpkins at our local Rustan’s Fresh too! The cupcake is a simple Vanilla cake (where I cut back on the sugar) and added OREO bits mixed into the batter. The chocolate buttercream icing brings enough sweetness to the cupcake without it being overly sweet. Plus, I was able to find this Oreo Crumb at the local bake shop too! It made doing the topping so much easier!!

This is definitely a great find. Now that I know where to get it (Carla's Bakery Supply on Sucat Road) I can go back for it anytime.

This is definitely a great find. Now that I know where to get it (Carla’s Bakery Supply on Sucat Road) I can go back for it anytime.

I knew I wasn't going to be able to make Caramel Apples for the buffet. So I enlisted Althea over at The Bad Apple to make some Ube flavored Caramel Covered Apples for me. I wish I got to taste one!! The apples were P160 a piece.

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make Caramel Apples for the buffet. So I enlisted Althea over at The Bad Apple to make some Ube flavored Caramel Covered Apples for me. I wish I got to taste one!! The apples were P160 a piece. (Photo Credit:  Michelle Lim)

It's been two years since Gia and I made our last fondant cake. This was so super hard!! I was even texting my teacher over at Cuppy Puppy because I didn't know what to do! Of course, we are very hard on ourselves because it didn't quite turn out the way we wanted, but I know that working with fondant is NOT easy...They are like pieces of art. I don't think my teacher would be very happy with the job that we did here...but I'm sure she would forgive me given the time constraints and lack of practice that we had.

It’s been two years since Gia and I made our last fondant cake. This was so super hard!! I was even texting my teacher over at Cuppy Puppy because I didn’t know what to do! Of course, we are very hard on ourselves because it didn’t quite turn out the way we wanted, but I know that working with fondant is NOT easy…They are like pieces of art. I don’t think my teacher would be very happy with the job that we did here…but I’m sure she would forgive me given the time constraints and lack of practice that we had.

See the cockroaches and ants munching on the OREO?  Cai made a platform for the cake so that it would be a little bit higher than everything else. It was perfect to give the cake a little bit more height. Check out the cake stand…It’s two melamine bowls that I glued together with my handy dandy hot glue gun. It doesn’t look perfect…but I’m not sure anyone really noticed…

I also forgot to take a pic of the cake once we sliced it. Gia wanted to make a polka dot cake that would be orange and black when you sliced it. It worked, although, I think the next time we do it, we will add more cake balls…

I wanted to add desserts that would be cute, fit our theme, and not take up too much time to put together. What's easier than throwing some vampire teeth on the inside of a Krispy Kreme doughnut?

Adding desserts to the table that would be cute, fit our theme, and not take up too much time to put together are a must. What’s easier than throwing some vampire teeth on the inside of a Krispy Kreme doughnut? (Photo Credit:  Michelle Lim)

The tricky thing with dusting a pumpkin cake bite with confectioner's sugar is that by the end of the day, the cake sucks up all the sugar! Here is a shot that I snapped as soon as I put the treats on the table. You can clearly see the jack-o-lantern stenciled confectioner's sugar. You can find the recipe for the pumpkin cake here.

The tricky thing with dusting a pumpkin cake bite with confectioner’s sugar is that by the end of the day, the cake sucks up all the sugar! Here is a shot that I snapped as soon as I put the treats on the table. You can clearly see the jack-o-lantern stenciled confectioner’s sugar. You can find the recipe for the pumpkin cake here.

These treats can be made days in advance if you have the time. All you have to do is make sure you store them in a cool place. Best not to put them in the fridge because chocolate always sweats after it's been in the ref. We just kept our chocolate lollipops in a room where the aircon was running.

These treats can be made days in advance if you have the time. All you have to do is make sure you store them in a cool place. Best not to put them in the fridge because chocolate always sweats after it’s been in the ref. We just kept our chocolate lollipops in a room where the aircon was running.

I love the attention to detail that Gia has. She made this tombstone like display out of styro that she shaped with a bread knife. Then she covered it in board paper, painted it, and added the lettering details. Then we asked Nino to put the holes for the lollipops so that they would be as straight as possible. It then, became a clever way to bring height to the table in a different way.

Lemon Tart made by Gia. She used Ina Garten's recipe.

Lemon Tart made by Gia. She used Ina Garten’s recipe.

Gia and I thought that the adults might want something different. I suggested she make a lemon tart. Truth is, we usually serve this lemon tart COLD. We realized since it had been left out of the fridge since earlier that morning that it was really sweet. Maybe next time, we can try making mini versions of this and cutting back a little bit on the sugar. 

Not everyone wants sweets. This little Spider Kit gives someone the opportunity to put together a protein rich snack with crackers and peanut butter.  Instructions were carefully placed on the back of this cello bag topper by Tina.

Not everyone wants sweets. This little Spider Kit gives someone the opportunity to put together a protein rich snack with crackers and peanut butter. Instructions were carefully placed on the back of this cello bag topper by Tina. (Photo Credit: Tina Ong)

We can’t have all these treats without MILK! NOTHING goes BETTER TOGETHER with OREOS, than MILK!!!

How cute are these milk bottles decorated to look like playful mummies done by Cai?

Cai did a great job of pulling together mummies in a clever way while incorporating our colors too.

Cai did a great job of pulling together mummies in a clever way while incorporating our colors too.

See those little witch shoes? I picked those up at Uniwide for P15 each! I love it when I can work bargain finds into out themes!!!

 When it comes to designing the printables that go on the table, I am at a complete loss. I only now learned how to use Lightroom and Photoshop to edit my photos…so you can imagine what kind of pickle I’m in when I try and create printables for a table. Asking a printer to design these tent cards, focal centerpiece and details in the shapes of stickers and tags can easily bring up the cost of a dessert table, so I enlisted fellow SoMom Tina Ong from The Phenomenal Mama to come up with designs in our color scheme.

Screen shot of Tina's FREE Printables available on her blog. Click the photo to be directed to Tina's post.

Screen shot of Tina’s FREE Printables available on her blog. Click the photo to be directed to Tina’s post for the free printables.

She knocked it out of the park! The designs she came up with in between her own busy life and playing coach, driver, and cook to her three big kids were nothing short of fabulous. You can check out her designs on her blog. She even put together the files so if you would like to download them for FREE!!!

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Paper Bats, Plastic Ghosts, and Garlands all downplay the scary spider… P.S. Gelli hates that spider. (Photo Credit: Michelle Lim)

The decorations and other things were a facet of the table that I knew Cai over at Apples and Dumplings could totally handle. We discussed the colors, the possibilities of her working some of the straws and other things she carries over at The Paper Chic Studio to coordinate with our theme. She was even able to find some plastic mice and cockroaches that weren’t too scary…in fact they almost looked cute eating their own OREOS. (almost) She came up with the punched color garland, some bat cut outs, and incorporated OREOS into our BOO sign.

I super love the BOO sign made from OREOS!!! It totally brings it back to where all the inspiration from this whole table come from....

I super love the BOO sign made from OREOS!!! It totally brings it back to where all the inspiration from this whole table come from…. (Photo Credit:  Michelle Lim)

 Putting this table together would have been impossible if it weren’t for all my friends who helped me BEFORE the actual set up on the day of the Halloween celebration in Hotel Kimberly in Tagaytay

Here is what we came up with using the above peg for our inspiration.

Here is what we came up with…What do you think?

Thank you Oreo for supporting the SoMoms and our desire to become better people through our #BetterMe sessions. The Trips and Treats bonding session with our families was the perfect way to kick off our Semestral Break. Thank you Hotel Kimberly Tagaytay for having us and an all our crazy kiddos for such a fun celebration! Thank you YBS for organizing the entire thing, and thank you to Stan Ong, aka Photographer Extraordinaire for documenting it all. I can’t wait to see the shots you were able to get of the table…

The SoMoms #BetterMe sessions are not just a gift for me. They are a gift for my whole family. If I improve upon myself and my character it just doesn't benefit me. It benefits everyone I love. Thanks Stan Ong for this incredible family shot!

The SoMoms #BetterMe sessions are not just a gift for me. They are a gift for my whole family. If I improve upon myself and my character it just doesn’t benefit me. It benefits everyone I love. Thanks Stan Ong for this incredible family shot!

Thank you Maricel from A Sweet Cottage for lending me your backdrop so that we could make our buffet spooky black with spider webs. Thank you Rowena for lending me all the fun paper punches, rollers, and dies in case I needed them. Thanks also for the banderitas that took center stage on the table and helped with bringing more color to our very orange table. Thank you Vangie for always being so generous with whatever supplies and advice you have in bringing a table and a party together. You are my DIY inspiration. Thank you Nenette from My Little Attic for always heeding my requests of paper and where to find and do things that I am not familiar with. You are a stylist that always comes up with classy tables and parties that I admire you and look to your creative tablescapes for inspiration as well.

Thank you Tina and Cai, for helping execute what we envisioned together so that everyone on our OREO Trips and Treats #BetterMe could enjoy the fun and excitement that Halloween brings.

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I think we should do this again…but maybe not on such a grande scale? Thanks again Cai and Tina! MWAH!

And LAST BUT NOT LEAST…

Thank you to my darling daughter for being so smart, resourceful, and helpful in pulling together a fantastic TREAT table that we could share with our friends. Thank you for continuing to bake even when you were tired and when Dad and I had to leave for a little bit on Sunday for our inspirational talk. You are so much more than I imagined you would be. I LOVE YOU.

We are definitely BETTER TOGETHER when we work on projects like these. Great job Babe!

We are definitely BETTER TOGETHER when we work on projects like these. Great job Babe!

The Pastry Studio supplied the sugar cookies. You can reach them by text or phone (0917-5339275 and 633-0949) Their cookies are also sold in S&R.

The Bad Apple supplied the Ube flavored Caramel Apples. Check out their Facebook Page

Stan Ong Photography was our official photographer for the day.

Hotel Kimberly was our venue sponsor for the day filled with fun. I will write a separate post about all the fun things to do there! We will definitely go back. It was quite affordable AND a perfect place to stay with the kids because they will NOT get bored. Promise.

 

Colgate for a #CavityFreeFuture

I can hear my dad saying it now…

“Ignore your teeth and they will go away.”

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Instilling healthy habits starts at a young age. Gelli already knows that she has to brush her teeth every morning and every night before bed.

This was something he said to all of us. I used to laugh at him because he would always repeat this over and over again if any of us got lazy with our brushing…truth is, he knew what he was talking about.

We teach our children healthy habits by modeling them. If we brush our teeth, our kids (usually) will follow suit…they learn from what they see us doing, and not necessarily by what we say.

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Dr. Jay Millonado looks after our whole family’s oral health.

So, imagine my surprise when my cousin Dr. Jay Millonado explained to me all the problems my youngest son has with his teeth. I don’t know how it happened (actually, I do-but that’s a story for another post) but he has a terrible habit of trying to sneak out of the house without even brushing his teeth! It’s so hard to impress upon this kid just how important it is to take care of your teeth!

Studies have shown, that oral health contributes to non communicable diseases. This means that if you take better care of your teeth, chances are you are healthier, as well.

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My kids all learn in different ways…when I saw this book in my cousin’s office, I told Diego to start reading… 

Colgate has quite a few initiatives that help promote healthy smiles in countries all over the world, and they have made strides in promoting healthy oral hygiene with their Bright Smiles Bright Future campaign. By enabling children to care for themselves through good oral hygiene and continuing education, Colgate helps set the standard for a brighter future with these students. Why should we spend time educating children about oral health care?

Here in the Philippines:

  • 9 out of 10 children have cavities (regardless of socio economic status)
  • Low % of population even visit a dentist
  • Importance of daily oral care and public health programs is shifting
  • We can all make a difference
Screen Shot of Colgate's Bright Smiles app. Visit the website by clicking here.

Screen Shot of Colgate’s Bright Smiles app. Visit the website by clicking here.

I have always said that teachers change the world one student at a time. We touch lives, shape perceptions, facilitate learning, and when the school year is over, that student goes on to another teacher who will help him reach his potential.  Dr. Medina shared how dentists are much like teachers. They change the world one patient at a time. Community dentists can change communities by helping guide their patients to a healthier way of living one check up at a time. Teaching their patients good oral health by starting healthy habits while they are young, dentists are empowering them to make better decisions for their teeth.

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Photo taken during the launch of Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection plus Sugar Acid Neutralizer. From L-R: moi, Kris De Guzma, Tony Ahn, Jackie Go, Tin Dychiao, Marc from the agency, and Cherish Acosta.

One thing that stuck with me during the talk of Dr. Vicente O. Medina, during the Colgate Launch of their new toothpaste was this, “Oral health is an integral part of general health and wellbeing and is a basic human right.” Dr. Medina is the DEAN of The College of Dentistry at the University of the Philippines in Manila. He stressed that GOOD oral healthcare should be preventative. Flossing is preventative. Flouride treatments are preventative. Brushing is preventative. Brushing with Colgate plus SUGAR ACID NEUTRALIZERS provides the best preventative choice for kids and adults alike.

Couple this breakthrough technology in toothpaste, with public awareness, and continuing health education, and the Philippine goal of children born in 2026 being completely cavity free might actually be possible.

Here’s the thing: We all know that eating sugary food can cause cavities. But food which isn’t even high in sugar content can lead to cavities as well, and to prove this point, during the launch of Colagate’s NEW toothpaste, we were served an appetizer of both veggies and (would you believe) blueberry cheesecake? 

We were all a bit puzzled as we started our dinner with dessert...

We were all a bit puzzled as we started our dinner with dessert…

At any rate the point made was that both of these foods can affect the health of your teeth with sugar acids. Even if the crudite and garlic ranch dressing doesn’t seem high in sugar, the sugar acids left behind from eating a healthy snack can also lead to cavities. These sugar acids set into plaque and can weaken teeth which leads to cavities. SUGAR ACID NEUTRALIZER helps deactivate sugar acids in plaque proving that Colgate’s NEW toothpaste plus SUGAR ACID NEUTRALIZER to be the best choice in cavity protection for the WHOLE family.

As mothers, there are so many decisions we make for our families. Choosing the right toothpaste is not only important for ourselves, but it sets the stage for a life of healthy choices that our children will eventually make on their own. If I am trying to encourage my children to live a life of wellness that is balanced, I not only have to facilitate healthy choices in eating…I have to promote good oral healthcare AFTER they eat, as well. With this new breakthrough technology in toothpaste, Colgate for a #CavityFreeFuture has made it even easier for me to keep my kids healthy when it comes to their oral healthcare. 

SoMoms Tin Dychaio, myself, Kris DeGuzman, and Jackie Go

SoMoms Tin Dychaio, myself, Kris DeGuzman, and Jackie Go

Website:  http://www.colgate.ph

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ColgatePhilippines

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ColgatePH

 

Shell Fuel Save Challenge

When I 16 years old, I had a car waiting in the driveway for me to pass my driver’s license test. My dad bought me one of the safest cars on the road at that time which was a Saab 900. My soccer teammates would fondly call my car “The Tank”…simply because it was. 

In order for me to enjoy the privilege of driving by myself, I had to learn a few things and pass a few tests in which my dad would determine my grade. My dad had always stressed the importance of being safe and the weight of the responsibility one bears when behind the wheel. Well, when I was young and stupid I didn’t quite fully understand that responsibility and felt as if Dad was being all serious for something that wasn’t that serious at all. 

All of the kids had to learn how to drive a manual transmission, and had to pass Dad's driving tests as well as the requirements for Driver's Ed and the NYS license exams.

All of the kids had to learn how to drive a manual transmission, and had to pass Dad’s driving tests as well as the requirements for Driver’s Ed and the NYS license exams.

Of course, driving is a very serious matter. You just don’t take your life in your own hands every time you get behind the wheel, you are responsible for all who are riding with you and all those people you might encounter on the road. So, in order to drive the car that my parents had gifted me with I had to learn the basics before I could tool around town.

  • I had to learn how to change a tire.
  • I had to learn how to check the oil.
  • I had to learn how to check the coolant and windshield washer fluid.
  • I had to learn how to gas up my own tank.
  • I had to learn how to drive manual.

Ok, driving a stick shift wasn’t the easiest thing on the planet, but that’s how I learned. My father said that a girl needed to know how to drive anything so that at any time…if she needed to…she could get herself out of a sticky situation. You can bet, that when it’s time to teach my kids how to drive, they will need to know all of these things and more because Nino and I take driving and the responsibility of driving very seriously.

Truth:  I don’t drive for myself very much since I moved here.  

BUT…that doesn’t mean that I have forgotten all of the helpful hints and tips that have been passed on to me from my husband now that we are married for over 16 years. In fact, since Nino and I used to own a speed shop (many years ago when we first got engaged to be married) I have learned a lot more about cars and how to maintain them, and of course how to drive safely.

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This is why when I was contacted to team up with another mom blogger for the Shell Driving Challenge I was totally up for the learning that would take place and the fun that would be had with another like minded mom. (Plus, since Sarah is a fashion blogger, I look to her for posts on things like “Where to find Boyfriend Jeans.”)

All the participants enjoyed a hearty breakfast before departing Mango Tree Restaurant for Batangas.

All the participants enjoyed a hearty breakfast before departing Mango Tree Restaurant for Batangas.

The Shell Fuel Save Good Choice Driving Challenge started in Fort at one of my favorite Thai restaurants, Mango Tree.  We were invited to come a bit early to eat a hearty breakfast which was sponsored by Slappy Cakes, get to know the other driving challengers and  prepare for the long haul that we would be taking in our Ford Ecosport. I researched a little about the car and was excited to get behind the wheel because I knew it would be an easy car to drive. 

Fuels Brand Manager, Jeff Chan opens up the event and welcomes us to the challenge.

Fuels Brand Manager, Jeff Chan opens up the event and welcomes us to the challenge.

Seven teams were to compete for the title of the Driving Challenge winner. Two teams were from the media. Two teams consisted of mom bloggers. Two teams were professionals who really drove for a living like taxi and FX drivers. And the last team was made up of Shell Celebrity Endorser, Bianca Gonzalez and one of her twitter followers Rio Umali.

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Photo Credit: Official Shell Photographer

It was nice to get to know the other personalities who get behind the wheel all in the name of learning and good fun. In fact, I really enjoyed getting to know Lito Cinco who is a sports columnist from one of the leading local newspapers. We talked about team building in competitive sports and everything under the sun from parenting, special needs, and the value and wisdom of experience.

My driving partner Sarah Tirona and I had met once before for another event, and I was excited for the time we would have together in the car getting to know each other. When Sarah and I got into the car and started talking strategy, (YES, we are both quite competitive.) I realized that we were the perfect match to go on this road trip together because we were both willing to do what it takes to win. Sarah had researched on her own, and found some ways to save fuel while we were driving, while I had gotten some tips and tricks from my husband before embarking on our driving adventure. We shared our pointers and together we agreed that we would do our best because we both were “in it to win it.” 

Driving Team No. 4. (aka The Renegade Moms)

Driving Team No. 4. (aka The Renegade Moms)

Sarah had decided she wanted to drive the first leg going to our destination in Batangas, which left me of course driving back to Fort for the second leg, later in the day. We were given tasks and tests along the way to Cintai Corito’s Garden that would foster new understandings on how to save fuel and drive more efficiently…in essence we were taught to make GOOD driving choices while on the road. At each pit stop, Sarah and I, of course did our best, in hopes that we would take home the title of Champion later on that evening.

At each pit stop we were given challenges to accumulate points.  Shell Fuels Brand Manager and Communications Manager, Reggie Regala outlines our task for the first stop.

At each pit stop we were given challenges to accumulate points. Shell Fuels Brand Manager and Communications Manager, Reggie Regala outlines our task for the first stop.

Lunch was followed by a short talk on how Shell Fuel Save extends the life of your engine. While I had developed an understanding of the engine of a car and how Nino and I could make cars faster by changing the exhaust manifold, the intake and of course adding an aftermarket turbo charger or factoring nitrous oxide into the mix, I had very little understanding how the type of fuel you put in the car can help it run cleaner and or even more efficiently. 

When we arrived at Cintai, however, we realized that the real competition would not start until the second leg of the trip. PRESSURE!!!

When we arrived at Cintai, however, we realized that the real competition would not start until the second leg of the trip. PRESSURE!!! L-R Kris De Guzman from OC Mom in Manila, Sarah Tirona from Fashion Eggplant, Jackie Go from Go Jackie Go, and moi.

Before we sat down for lunch we were able to explore the beautiful garden and installations on the premises. There were plenty of photo ops for me and and my other mom blogger friends.

Beautiful nooks and crannies of Cintai offered great photo ops for the mommy bloggers.

Beautiful nooks and crannies of Cintai offered great photo ops for the mommy bloggers.

Enter: Shell Fuel Save Scientist Mae Ascan

Mae taught explained to us how Shell Fuel Save has detergents that help keep the engine clean, and how this type of fuel can not only extend the life of your car, but it can help it run more efficiently. She explained all the work and the study that goes into developing such a superior type of gasoline, and the benefits to using this gasoline in your car.

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She also taught us how to compute fuel efficiency. One can simply divide the total distance traveled by the number of liters of fuel that is consumed on said trip to find out how many kilometers per liter you have used.

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As we explored the Gardens we all kept saying how picture perfect some of the places were…and how nice it would be to get married in a place like this.

There are other things you can do to help run your car efficiently and save on gas, too.

  • Always make sure that your are running the correct psi on your tires. You can find the correct pounds per square inch on the inside of the door of your car on the driver’s side.
  • Eliminate any excess weight in the trunk of your car. If you don’t need it for the trip that you are embarking on, then store it at home. 
  •  When driving, if possible shift to a higher gear and keep your RPM’s below 1800.
  • Make sure your gas tank cap is tightly screwed on! (I never thought of this one, but it can account for evaporation!)
  • Use Shell Fuel Save Gas when possible because it keeps the engine cleaner and runs more efficiently.
  • Run your aircon at a comfortable temperature. Keeping it on high makes the engine work harder. Engine working harder = more fuel consumption
  • Regularly service your car. Check and change the oil based on the kilometers driven, maintain fluids, and have regular tune ups.
  • Maintain a steady speed, (if on the highway 80 km/hr is good) of course we know that when we are in traffic-y situations, we consume more gas because of the stops and starts.
  • Don’t let your car idle. If your car will be idling for more than 10 seconds, it’s better to just shut it off all together.
It was a treat to have a quick massage so that we could relax a bit before getting back on the road! Shell thought of everything!

It was a treat to have a quick massage so that we could relax a bit before getting back on the road! Shell thought of everything!

Truth: I was a bit nervous. Not because I was nervous about driving…I just wanted to do my best to win for my teammate!

Getting back into the car this time, Sarah and I realized this was it! Gas tanks were sealed!

Getting back into the car this time, Sarah and I realized this was it! Gas tanks were sealed!

Of course there were two more stops on the back to Fort from our lovely lunch in Batangas and truth be told I was pretty disappointed after the first stop because I thought I made a terrible mistake when we had to finish one of our challenges. Essentially, I got two of our four questions WRONG in our pit stop. IN FACT, I was so sure that I was right, I even began trying to make my point as to why my answers should be accepted as correct. (Of course to no avail.)

I really love how everything was prepared for us. Can't we have this done for every road trip?

I really love how everything was prepared for us. Can’t we have this done for every road trip?

At the last pit stop (which was the Shell station on C5) I even OVER shot the entrance thereby using MORE of our precious fuel which would be measured! Even if Sarah and I were both disheartened at my mistakes we of course wanted to see how much fuel was consumed by my driving skills. We were even more shocked when we saw the best fuel consumption of 4.013 liters drop down to 2.032 liters. 

How the heck could we beat 2.032 liters of gas? That is amazing? And I kept asking myself, how did she manage that AND run the car with aircon the entire time?

How the heck could we beat 2.032 liters of gas? That is amazing? And I kept asking myself, how did she manage that AND run the car with aircon the entire time? I wanted to Congratulate Bianca and her teammate Rio already, but the competitor in me just couldn’t bring myself to do it until it was official.

HUWAT? I was already shocked at the 4 liters…then to drop down to 2 liters? AND on top of that Bianca and her team mate RAN THE AIRCON the entire time. Here my partner and I were sweating profusely looking like messy children on the playground, doing Bikram yoga in the car, and essentially losing weight because we sweat so much. We over shot the gas station. PLUS I got two of our four questions wrong at our earlier pit stop. 

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I was disheartened along the way because I knew that I had made at least two errors that could affect the outcome of our Driving Challenge.

BUT…

The most weighted category was on the fuel consumption from Batangas back to Fort.

When Mae began clicking and fueling our car….I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES. I thought there was no way we could have beaten Bianca and her driving partner.

BUT LOW AND BEHOLD….

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I think even Mae was surprised that we came in just under 2 liters!

I think even Mae was surprised that we came in just under 2 liters!

I know Sarah and I could have been more gracious once we saw our consumption at the gas tank…But gosh darn…we were so happy, high fiving, jumping around, and celebrating in hopes that our consumption would bring home a victory for us…

AND IT DID.

What an incredible learning experience.

Bringing home the title of CHAMPION was a great birthday gift! And to imagine, this gift was given to me here...through my blog...and on my birthday, which is also my blogiversary.

Bringing home the title of CHAMPION was a great birthday gift! And to imagine, this gift was given to me here…through my blog…and on my birthday, which is also my blogiversary.

Thank you Shell, for asking Sarah and I to take the Shell Fuel Save Good Choice Driving Challenge, and for awarding us the title of CHAMPIONS. It not only felt really good to win, but it was equally satisfying to meet new people who took the challenge with us, and to learn more about how Shell Fuel Save is a GOOD Choice when filling up the tank.

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ULTIMATE GIRL POWER WITH SHELL FUEL SAVE GOOD CHOICE DRIVING CHALLENGE

One of the BEST realizations of the entire night? The final count being that the honors of First, Second, and Third place were all taken home by GIRLS. TALK ABOUT GIRL POWER!!!

One of the BEST realizations of the entire night? The final count being that the honors of First, Second, and Third place were all taken home by GIRLS. TALK ABOUT GIRL POWER!!!

 

 

 

 

Mind Museum’s Halloween Celebration

It’s almost Halloween!!!

Y’all know how much I love Halloween…right?

Well, Mind Museum is putting together a really fun celebration filled with learning and exhibits perfect for you to use even at your own Halloween celebrations if you will be hosting one for your friends and family.

The kids LOVE going to Mind Museum and while it will just be the girls who will be with us on Sunday at MM, I know that even I might get a little creeped out because I’m such a scaredy cat.

You know what the best part is? I get to share 5 tickets with one lucky reader so the whole family can come in costume and play and learn in science!

MindBurst Halloween

 

Simply follow the mechanics in the Rafflecopter widget so you can enter for a chance to win 5 tickets for the Mind Museum’s Halloween Celebration! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yumi Century City Mall

I have been wanting to visit Century City Mall since my Instagram feed has been buzzing with new and exciting places to visit. From Toby’s Estate, to the cute little shop Chibi Momo, and the beautiful interiors in Blue Carreon’s place I knew I would enjoy the time spent in Century City Mall exploring.

There are so many nooks and crannies to discover in Century City Mall.

There are so many nooks and crannies to discover in Century City Mall.

When my friend Jane invited us to the new restaurant of Donny Impyre, Yumi, I knew it would be one that both Nino and I would enjoy because we love Japanese food that much. I had visited Kessaku in Alabang a few times before and if it was anything like that, I knew we were all in for a treat.

One has to accessorize for a date night with the hubby. I LOVE my Serafina clutch.

One has to accessorize for a date night with the hubby. I LOVE my Serafina clutch.

Yumi parnter, Donny, really loves Japanese food. Just like my hubby, he finds that it is his comfort food. He looks for the flavors and the textures that Japanese cuisine is known for and when asked, can shared he can even eat Japanese food every day. It’s always nice to sit and talk with the owners of these successful restaurants because it’s easy to see the passion behind serving up honest to goodness good food.

  • Kani Amuse Bouche
  • Tamago Sashimi
  • Sake Sashimi
  • Tori Chiisu Maki (P240)
  • Chirashi Moriawase (P490)
  • Sake Tepan (P390)
  • Foie Gras Roll (P395)
  • Unagi Foie Gras Sushi (P350)
  • Sake Sashimi in Shoyu (P320)
  • Chirashi Ikura Sake (P450)
  • Green Tea Tempura Ice Cream (P165)
  • Crispy Banana and Jackfruit with Mango Ice Cream (P155)

Yumi is not as big as Kessaku in Alabang but don’t let the size of this joint be the measure of anything more than keeping it small and intimate. The only thing I would say I was unhappy with was the LIGHTING! This is completely from a blogger’s point of view because of course I want to try and share the best photos I have of the food. But if you wanted a cozy, intimate place to dine the lighting fits the bill. It’s the perfect date place if you wanted to enjoy some time alone with the hubby.

One of the many bracelets my mom has made for me to help me with my BLING factor when I'm on for a night on the town. Thanks Mom!

One of the many bracelets my mom has made for me to help me with my BLING factor when I’m on for a night on the town. Thanks Mom!

There is an art to serving Japanese food. In fact, I feel like many sushi chefs can be considered artists. Have you ever watched the way a sushi chef prepares and serves his dishes? Nino and I were watching the sushi chefs down below while we were waiting for our food and one thing we noticed is the attention and detail paid to every piece of fish and the thought that went into placing the food “just so.”

Nino and I enjoyed watching the Sushi Chefs prepare our food...we both believe that Japanese food can be considered one of the more artistic cuisines.

Nino and I enjoyed watching the Sushi Chefs prepare our food…we both believe that Japanese food can be considered one of the more artistic cuisines.

At any rate, I made sure to edit my photos as best I could because while mood lighting is great for me and Nino when we are on a date, it was not so good for the pics here on the blog.

Thank you Donny for graciously hosting our little group of ladies who like to have fun, make chicka, and enjoy good food!

Thank you Donny for graciously hosting our little group of ladies who like to have fun, make chicka, and enjoy good food! From L-R Moi, Joei, Donny, Jane, and Patty

Would I visit again?

Most definitely, YES. Nino and I enjoyed our dinner with the gang, and we were already looking forward to visiting Yumi’s sister resto Kessaku after this yummy dinner.

If you would like to visit Yumi in Century City Mall check out their Facebook page or their Instagram account.

Open Monday-Sunday 11:00am-11:00pm

For more information or reservations please call 02-403-6507.

 

 

New Beginnings and Beautiful Weddings

With every ending comes a new beginning…

I have always liked that saying…it takes what possibly could be a negative situation and turns it into a positive.  

But I believe that weddings are ALWAYS positive….

This weekend we were able to witness Nino’s cousin and his fiance tie the knot. It was a beautiful wedding that was thoughtfully planned and executed with the help of the couple’s loved ones. You could see that so many of the guests were really celebrating WITH the couple as they were clearly caught up in the love and affection that these newlyweds share.

I LOOK forward to weddings. I love the details that go into planning such an elaborate celebration because I feel as if it’s the bride and the groom’s way of sharing bits and pieces of themselves with the lucky few who are chosen to be invited to such a momentous celebration in their lives.

I think about how it was for me and Nino when we were planning our own wedding all those years ago. I become nostalgic. I remember how it was when I saw him at the end of the block-long aisle and the butterflies that were dancing in my belly. I remember the excitement leading up to our special day where all my cousins flew in from all over the world, and my mother’s house was buzzing with laughter, love, and overflowing with food and drink.

I enjoy the dressing up…I relish in all of the picture taking…not just of the newly married couple but photo sessions with the family that we don’t always get to see…

I LOVE the children who dress the part as well and are included as flower girls, ring bearers, and junior bridesmaids as it is a sign of what’s to come once the couple decides they are ready for the blessing of children.

I love the pretty colors of the bridesmaids’ dresses, the experience and wisdom that Ninongs and Ninangs are ready and willing to share, the toasts that come from loved ones who know the couple oh so well, and the clinking glasses that encourage the couple to kiss and kiss again…

It’s all one great reminder how LOVE is grand…how LOVE can conquer all…and how much of a romantic this girl is…

 Congratulations Mars and Nikka! We are so honored to have been included in your celebration. Both Nino and I only wish blessings and abundance for your as you begin this new chapter of your lives together!!! 

 

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Whenever we attend weddings, it’s so easy for me to recall exactly how I felt when we stood before the priests who married us. #marslovesnikka2014

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Crimson Hotel

Checking the family in for a staycation is always fun. It’s a break from the “norm,” and a chance to bond with the kids in an environment different than being at home for the weekend. On this particular weekend we had a jam packed schedule so we were all happy to have a place to relax and enjoy some time with some friends.  

Check in was easy and painless.

Check in was easy and painless.

I was really excited to spend time with Jane who invited us on this fun filled weekend at Crimson Hotel. She had also asked some of our other friends from the area to join in on the fun so I knew that the kids would have a great time, and that I would be able to relax for a little while.

These lovely ladies let me know that we would be able to avail of the special services of the Executive Lounge.

These lovely ladies let me know that we would be able to avail of the special services of the Executive Lounge.

I think the thing I enjoyed most was sitting around a table that I knew I didn’t have to clear, nor fill. I love entertaining at home. I love cooking and presenting food to my friends and family to enjoy, BUT I also love it even more if I can enjoy the chicka around a table that I’m not responsible for cleaning up. That is the beauty in staying in a hotel with your friends and their kids.  

Family photo op in our living room. The suite had a sitting area with a t.v. and even a little kitchenette.

Family photo op in our living room. The suite had a sitting area with a t.v. and even a little kitchenette.

Of course the kids were excited to explore the suite once we arrived. Nino and the boys actually had to prepare for a bike show that they were participating in on Sunday, so they would stay with us until it was time to go to bed.

Perfect for the sleepover party that we would have...a King Size bed to snuggle. Can you find The Bean?

Perfect for the sleepover party that we would have…a King Size bed to snuggle. Can you find The Bean?

Of course this guy was looking for the mini bar. He was excited when he found it because he wanted to eat the chocolate right away.

Of course this guy was looking for the mini bar. He was excited when he found it because he wanted to eat the chocolate right away.

After the kids explored the kitchenette and ran around the room (as they always do when we check into a hotel), it was time to meet up with our friends in the Executive Lounge. The Executive Lounge is located on the 28th floor and has a full list of extra amenities for guests to enjoy.

Jane and Patty had already gone downstairs to freshen up for dinner, but we did run into Joei from Joei & Me.

Jane and Patty had already gone downstairs to freshen up for dinner, but we did run into Joei from Joei & Me.

   

       

We were so happy that Cathy was able to assist us while we were in the Executive Lounge. You see children aren’t allowed in the Executive Lounge. It is really meant to be a place where you can take your afternoon tea or cocktails and relax and unwind from the day. However, since there was not anyone else in the facilities to disturb, the kids were allowed to stay and enjoy a glass of juice with us. The snack buffet was chock full of healthy snacks that I didn’t mind noshing on before we freshened up to go down for a Mexican dinner!

Kaye and I with Cathy before heading downstairs for dinner.

Kaye and I with Cathy before heading downstairs for dinner.

In fact, if you wanted to book a staycation on their Executive Floor you can take advantage of their promotional packages found on their website by clicking here.

Screen Shot from Crimson website.

Screen Shot from Crimson website.

After our snacks we prepared to bring everyone down for a Mexican dinner. Check out the post on what was for dinner here. And like I said before, it’s always more fun when you’re with friends!

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Kaye, Patty, Kar, Jane and I having a drink with our Mexican dinner.

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My two boys are getting ready to go back to the house to the prepare for the bike show. Take note :-) They won Best Retro Bike the next day. And of course, if I have my friends, my friends’ kids are friends with my kids too! Talk about family fun!

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Mrs. C and her crew :-)

After we sent the kids up to bed so we could enjoy each other's company some more. When I finally got back into the room, this is what I found. Three snuggle bunnies ready for a cuddle.

We sent the kids up to bed so we could chit chat some more without little ears around. When I finally got back into the room, this is what I found. Three snuggle bunnies ready for a cuddle.

After arriving in my room, the first thing I wanted to do was wash up and get ready for bed. With everyone in bed, and yaya asleep, I was sure I would not have the pitter patter of little feet visiting me while I was in the loo. The only problem was, that when I went to enter the bathroom, it was locked from the inside.

After I spent some time trying to figure out who was the last one in the bathroom, and who locked the door, and all the he said she said, I called downstairs to see if housekeeping could come up and fix the problem that I had.

After sending two different teams to try and open the door, the front desk called to ask if I would like to move to another room. This was not an option at 1am, so I asked if they could just send another team up with another set of keys to unlock the door no matter how much noise it would necessitate.

LUCKILY, three times is a charm, and the staff assured me that the door knob was broken and that it wasn’t something one of the kids did before closing the door. I’m sure they will have already fixed that door knob by now!

Keep in mind, that when I sent the big kids up, it was a big fiasco because yaya fell asleep with the door bolted when she was putting Gelli down for the night. We had to bang and bang to wake her up so that the kids could even get into the room to wind down for the night!

AHHHHH, THE BEAUTY OF HAVING LOTS OF KIDS AND THE CHAOS THAT COMES WITH IT!

Good thing a restful sleep (which came after 1am because of the locked doors) on a comfy bed left me refreshed for the next morning. Jane had scheduled for all of us to have breakfast together, but since the Cafe 8 was so packed that next morning we all sat separately and made our way to finding breakfast together after the crowd died down.

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I was so out of sorts these two days. I realized while editing my photos that I didn’t take any pictures of all of the food that I ate! Considering I ate plates and plates chock full of food from two different buffets, that’s a little out of character for me. As you know, breakfast and brunch are my favorite meals of the day because I get to start my day right. In a breakfast buffet like this, I was able to indulge in imported cheese, freshly made omelettes, all the Filipino breakfast meats you could crave, rice, waffles and pancakes, freshly baked breads, fruit, cereal, congee, and so much more.

To make up for the lack of food pics in this post I do have a ton of pics for the facilities. I was so glad that my little photographer was able to get some great shots of key places you would want to take advantage of when you are staying in a hotel. Thanks Gigi ;-)

Everything that you would want to do is all on the 8th floor. The Swimming Pool and Deck Bar, which is only open to registered hotel guests is just a stone’s throw from The Fitness Center, which is very close to the Lobby Lounge, and of course all within a close proximity to Cafe 8 and the Pastry & Sandwich Corner.

But before checking out (which was just as super easy and painless as it was to check in) we had a little pow wow with the girls again so we could make chicka in The Executive Lounge before we all went our separate ways for our busy Sunday.

How much fun was it to spend the weekend with ABC + K? Thank you Jane for arranging such a lovely relaxing weekend for us!

How much fun was it to spend the weekend with ABC + K? Thank you Jane for arranging such a lovely relaxing weekend for us! L-R: Moi, Jane, Joei, Patty, and Kaye.

Thank you Twinkle Lacsamana and Karina for hosting our families! We had a wonderful time bonding with each other and the kids. Crimson made the weekend one to remember!

For more information on packages and promotions you can visit Crimson’s website

www.crimsonhotel.com

https://www.facebook.com/CrimsonFilinvestCity

(02) 863 2222 

You can also check out Crimson on Twitter

     

 

 

Birthday Blessings

I have been wanting to catch up and write about a few things quickly because I have had an eventful week. It will continue to be busy all the way through the weekend and that’s ok, because there are lots of fun things coming down the pipeline.

 

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Forty-one. #blessed

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If you didn’t know already, on my birthday, two years ago, I started this blog. So every year on my birthday it is also my blogiversary. It’s really so wonderful, because I get to celebrate my birthday and the birth of my blog on the same day. 

I said I wanted to give a gift to myself two years ago and share my story about raising Gelli and what it is like to live in Manila, (since I grew up in New York and moved here) and make a life with my husband. So, starting this blog was my gift to myself.  

Through out this learning process I have been given gifts many times over by my readers, by brands who found what I say to be interesting, and by children whom I have met through parents who reached out with questions for advice.

It has been another year full of learning, gifts, and giving, and all the while trying to remain present in my parenting and life. That’s not always easy, (as you all know) and sometimes it takes a lot more effort than others.

I had so much fun this week and I’m looking forward to the weekend too. Will just make this a quick post to fill you all in…

On Tuesday, I was able to participate in the Shell Fuel Save Good Choice Driving Challenge. While I will write a more detailed post about the entire experience I will share that my driving partner Sarah Tirona and I were able to snag FIRST PLACE in the challenge! It was a day that was filled with learning good driving tips, how to save fuel, and the practical experience of driving in a convoy with others to see exactly how much gas we could save driving from Balete, Batangas, all the way to Fort.  We were so excited to take home the title of Champions together, and I have to say it’s the first time I won a contest like this so it will forever be remembered!

 

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OH YEAH BABY! 1.966 Liters from Batangas to Shell C5!!! @maeascan #ShellFuelSaveGoodChoice

 

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It was a wonderful day filled with so much laughter and learning that I didn’t even realize how exhausted I was until the next day (which was my birthday.)

I think I also experienced what I think was my first migraine. This was not fun. I was texting my friend Neva some of my symptoms and I believe it was an honest to goodness attack that was only alleviated by drawn curtains, pitchers full of water, and sleep. I was finally able to get out of bed for a simple birthday (albeit belated) dinner with Nino on Thursday night.   

I didn't get out of bed all day, but I enjoyed a slice of my new favorite cake, once I was feeling a little better.

I didn’t get out of bed all day, but I enjoyed a slice of my new favorite cake, once I was feeling a little better. Creme Brulee Cake by Camille Ocampo. If you would like to order this delicious treat you can email her at thepastrycart@gmail.com. Go. Order. Thank me later.

Today will also be a busy day, but again…filled with lots of fun stuff. Gelli will be participating in her Halloween Parade this afternoon with her classmates so be sure to look for the IG posts with The Bean in her Kangaroo gear.

Celebrating Halloween is made even more fun by enjoying Halloween Sweet Treats. Check out these Krispy SKremes! Aren't they adorbs! (and they are just as good as the every day donuts too)

Celebrating Halloween is made even more fun by enjoying Halloween Sweet Treats. Check out these Krispy SKremes! Aren’t they adorbs! (and they are just as good as the every day donuts too) We will bring these to share with Gelli’s classmates later for a pot luck party.

This Saturday, October 18th, marks the start of The Urban Food Collective here in the south. I will surely make time after my parenting talk, that I am giving in Southville International School to stop by and see all the treats from some of my favorite vendors.  

 

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@tufph is a weekend lifestyle market that is coming to Alabang! @bakedbyanita will be there so we don’t have to travel all the way to Megamall for Anita’s delicious goodies. The Urban Food Collective Marketplace will showcase good food, great finds, and artisanal arts and crafts. What’s more? The socially responsible people behind the market will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the market to the Taguyod Bayan Foundation, which helps rebuild communities affected by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan. To become a vendor or learn more about what will be offered, check out The Urban Good Collective on Facebook at tufcph!

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Hope to see you at The Urban Food Collective! I will be there for sure. 

Oh and guess what…only 9 more weekends till Christmas…Have you started your Christmas list?

 

Oktoberfest 2014 Manila at Sofitel Philippine Plaza

I have this friend, Vangie. She’s one of my closest friends here in Manila and she is married to Dieter.

Why is this important when I’m writing to tell you about Oktoberfest???

Well, because Dieter is GERMAN, of course!

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Oktoberfest 2012 at Sofitel Philippine Plaza with my buddies

More than a few years ago, Dieter and Vangie invited us to Oktoberfest and we have enjoyed celebrating with them on and off ever since. We haven’t gone every year since then but we have certainly made it a point to go when it jived with our schedule.  To say Oktoberfest is a fun filled evening for adults is an understatement.

There is beer. IMG_7207 copy There is delicious German food. IMG_7182 copy There is great music. IMG_7195 copy There is friendship. IMG_7249 copy “The German Club Manila has been around since 1906, and ever since then, they have helped the poor, underprivileged, supported victims of natural calamities, and stood by the Filipinos in times of persecution and war.” 

This means that a portion of the Oktoberfest ticket sales goes to help fund their charity projects.  Dine and Eat and Party in Bavarian fashion with thousands of Oktoberfest goers, and at the same time help fund a cause? I say, YES. 

At the press launch for Oktoberfest this year, Sofitel shared that over four thousand guests showed up in 2103 to drink 30,000 liters of beer, and eat 1,000 kilos of German sausages, 300 kilos of pork knuckles and 250 kilos of sauerkraut. ( I think we missed out on not attending last year!!)

Each year for the past four years, The Harbor Garden Tent has been converted into an authentic Beer Garden where party goers dance in friendship, rock on benches, and dress in dirndle and lederhosen and enjoy the free flowing beer from San Miguel for the two day celebration that is marked by tapping the first keg.    

Check out this menu! I’m getting hungry just looking at it!

76th Oktoberfest 2014 Menu

October 17th and 18th 

Cold platter

Assorted German cold cut, sausage salad, smoked ham, salami, fish platter 

Assorted cheeses

Cheese mix with brie, fresh cheese, butter and spices

Fresh cheese with fresh herbs, Emmental cheese cut into cubes 

Salads

Assorted fresh farm salads, dressings and condiments

Potato cucumber salad, Radish salad, Cabbage salad 

Soup

Potato soup with vegetables and bacon 

Sausages

Three kinds of German sausages

Hot dishes

Meat patties, Oven fresh meatloaf

Boiled brisket with vegetables and horseradish, Breaded fish fillet with remoulade sauce

Sauerkraut, Bread dumplings

Potato puree, Boiled potatoes 

Vegetarian

Mushroom stew with parsley cream sauce, Apple red cabbage 

Carving station

Grilled pork knuckles, Crispy roast pork with beer gravy, Parsley filled roasted chicken,

Roasted steamship (beef leg) served with pepper jus, mustard and horseradish 

Condiments

Mustard, Pickled onions, Capers, Cornichons, Sweet pickle relish, Sugar glazed onions

 Bread selection

Pretzel, Laugen rolls, Rye rolls, 4-grain rolls, Ciabatta loaf 

Dessert

Bavarian cream with raspberries, Apple strudel, vanilla sauce,

Emperors pancake with apple or plum compote, Freshly sliced fruits 

Midnight snack

Beef goulash, Assorted bread and rolls, Pretzels      

 

Tickets are from P3,200-P3,300.

If you would like to know more about Oktoberfest 2014 Manila, contact:

The German Club Manila (02) 818-4236

Sofitel Philippine Plaza (02) 832-6988

Gratitude Challenge 5

It’s my birthday week, and I have so much to be grateful for. 

Each passing year is another Blessing. I am GRATEFUL for being given another year of life, love, and learning.

Each passing year is another Blessing. I am GRATEFUL for being given another year of life, love, and learning.

Last year, I wrote this post about 40 things I was grateful for because I turned 40. Life begins at 40. Forty is the new twenty…or so they say…but truth is, I wouldn’t mind looking like I was 30 again.

In the recent months I have noticed a few more wrinkles and quite a few more gray hairs. I have also realized that the damage I did to my body when I was a teenager and even in my 20’s has finally caught up with me.

But I digress, because I want to share a few things I’m grateful for here, instead of bringing in my ego, vanity, and how to age gracefully.

100 Revolving Restaurant offers quality food with a 360 degree view of the city. The kids were in for a real treat because their grandparents chose this restaurant with them in mind.

100 Revolving Restaurant offers quality food with a 360 degree view of the city. The kids were in for a real treat because their grandparents chose this restaurant with them in mind.

My husband’s family always likes to celebrate our birthdays by going out to lunch or dinner together. Even as we have all gotten older and added our children to the list of celebrations, that does not leave their parents (me and Nino) out in the cold, because we are still asked where we would like to celebrate our special day.

I started with Caviar Pie, which when after sharing and enjoying, I realized it's a recipe I should look into because I just love it so much.

I started with Caviar Pie, which when after sharing and enjoying, I realized it’s a recipe I should look into because I just love it so much. (P500)

Last night we had dinner to not only celebrate my birthday, but my brother in law’s birthday which actually falls on October 10th. He is in New York with his beautiful wife and their two children having a celebration of his own, however, even if we couldn’t eat together, we surely said a little prayer of thanks while asking for yet another year of blessings for both of us.

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Our yaya (nanny) for Gellibean has had the last few days off. She had asked to take a couple of more days off than usual this month because she had some friends visiting from the province. I also thought it was important for her to recharge, despite our plans for a nice night out to celebrate. I wanted my kids to be with us, because celebrating my birthday wouldn’t be the same without them. However, I knew it would be challenging to eat out with Gelli that particular evening because she didn’t have a nap, she has been fond of yelling in restaurants recently, and she insists on feeding herself which often leads to a big mess.

I asked my MIL if the restaurant was fancy. I wanted to dress the kids appropriately. She said it wasn’t so fancy but that she was wearing slacks and a nice top. In knowing this, I had an idea of what kind of restaurant they wanted to treat us to.

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Bacon and Cheese Souffle (P500)

Truth: Gelli is three years old. She is loud. She screams when she gets frustrated. She eats by herself and lots of food ends up on the floor. When we are out to eat, the iPad usually goes with us, because she eats just a little quieter in a restaurant while she’s engrossed with Elmo. (Yes, I know, this can lead to another discussion about kids and technology…but let’s leave that for another post.)

I understand all of these things about my daughter. While there might be some times that I wish she wouldn’t scream, I wouldn’t have it any other way because she’s verbal. She is trying to express herself. I know she hasn’t fully found her words yet, so this is why she gets frustrated and often yells when we are trying to ask her to do something she doesn’t particularly want to do. I remind myself that she is three and that it’s ok if she is still learning social cues and when it’s acceptable to be loud and boisterous and noisy…but I also forgive her when she isn’t fully aware…

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Charcoal Baby Back Ribs with Barbeque Sauce (P700)

I am GRATEFUL that Gelli has a voice, that she is verbal, and that she is beginning to express her needs, wants, and feelings.

Truth:  There are also times when Nino and I enjoy a quiet night out for dinner. If so, we make sure to choose a restaurant that will provide that. 

While I know that 100 Revolving could be the restaurant to choose for special occasions and celebrations because of their higher price points, it’s not one that is uber exclusive. I liked that everyone was dressed casually, and it does have that vibe where you CAN come and eat with your family. There were other children Gelli’s age who were running around (of course being chased by their yayas) and it didn’t feel as though they were a disturbance. When I looked around the restaurant I saw mostly families dining…and all had at least two kids or more…

My husband knew that the couple behind us might have an issue once they sat down at the table that was just to our backs. He’s very intuitive that way, and I have referred to his “feelings” about people and how certain situations may unfold. He can often read a situation before it gets ugly, and has warned me in advance of the potential dangers or hazards when it concerns our kids.

At some point during our meal, my MIL pointed out that the couple behind us was getting annoyed by Gelli’s yelling. I was trying to get her to eat more pasta, and of course once she decided that she was done, there was no forcing her to eat anything else. I could tell that patience was running thin around our own table, but to be honest-I thought Gelli was doing great, considering the circumstances. She had been sitting already for an hour and was more than squirmy and wanted to get up and explore. Because Nino and I understood this fact, we offered her ice cream so that she would sit just a little while longer while we finished up our main course.

Unfortunately, the ice cream didn’t come fast enough. Gelli had a melt down while waiting. The couple got annoyed and moved tables in a huff and puff manner, and an uncomfortable silence fell on our table for about a minute. 

I could tell that everyone was thinking about what had happened. I myself, was a little bit tense, but then I realized when the couple moved, it must have been their energy that I was feeling. As they moved to find a table that suited them better I had a few thoughts running through my own head.

  • I was glad that I didn’t feel their energy anymore.
  • I thought for a quick second that Gelli must have felt their energy too, because as soon as they stood up, Gelli was able to quiet down.
  • Other things ran through my head, but mostly, I was just happy that I could continue to eat my salad.

Those other things that ran through my head? I’m not so sure I want to share them here. I have always tried to turn the negative into the positive because that’s what helps me get through…I don’t have my head in the clouds, I just try not to dwell on negative stuff. I’m not always good at it, and my husband can vouch for that, but it’s not the kind of stuff I want to perpetuate by writing about.

SO INSTEAD…

I am GRATEFUL for family and friends who understand and love and appreciate Gelli for exactly who she is. I am GRATEFUL for the patience they have for her in difficult situations like when she hasn’t had a nap all day, is out of sorts, and is even a bit naughty. I am GRATEFUL that whether Gelli is having a bad day or not, they love her just the same…even if she yells sometimes, causes a commotion or causes people to move tables in a restaurant where we are all out to dinner.

No one said parenting is easy. We all know it’s the most difficult thing we will do in our lives. There are no days off, you are caught off guard, and you are constantly challenged and pushed to your edge. Parents of kids with Special Needs? Well, that’s a different kind of club and that’s a different kind of edge…but still, we know we are all in for the long haul, and we also know we are in it together.

Ritual Birthday Picture with the fam bam.  Pictured here are the most important 5 blessings in my life.

Ritual Birthday Picture with the fam bam. Pictured here are the most important 5 blessings in my life.

Truth:  This is the first time that someone had expressed some kind of adversity or animosity towards my daughter openly.

And I am GRATEFUL that it took exactly 3 years, 1 month, 2 weeks, and 3 days for me to experience something like this…because I expected to feel it much sooner than this. I thought that my daughter would be subject to so much more judgement and negativity in her life because of her special needs, so the fact that I’m only feeling it now is actually O.K.

If I can put in a special birthday request To The Big Guy up Above? I would like it to be at LEAST another 3 years plus before I feel the way I felt last night again…and if I can pray for one more thing on top of that…it’s for my daughter TO FEEL NONE OF IT. EVER. AMEN. 

 

If you would like to read about some of the other things I’m grateful for check out my first, second, third, and fourth posts for the Gratitude Challenge.