Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

It's late but I can't sleep with thoughts swirling in my head. Writing comes to me in peculiar hours, and so here I am typing this post. By the time this is edited, and submitted for all the blogging world to see, I'll be tucked away under my blanket fast asleep.

So, it's the last day of 2009, and what do I think of the year that has come and soon to be gone? Well, it was filled with many great memories and milestones but also tinged with loss and sadness. We lost a loved one in the family last May but then welcomed a newborn a month later. We've had our share of highs and lows but it's family - my boys that kept me focused and happy.

It was also the year I started blogging. Just want to say thank you to Annissa and Lindsay for the Lemonade Stand Award. (Please watch out for my post next year as I share this award with new recipients.)

And thanks to you, my blogging friends and readers for all the kind words, and warm comments. I've found many wonderful blogs, and I enjoy reading your posts.

Wishing you all happiness, good health and prosperity in 2010!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hugs and Kisses

It's a beautiful, sunny morning, and oddly the house feels empty. There can only be one reason why - hubby returned to work today. The boys love having him home but I reassured them he'll be back soon. Before leaving, hubby said he'd miss us, and departs with a hug and a kiss.

Over the holiday weekend, we found out J.P has allergies. We have yet to get him tested but we do know something is irritating him. He was quite puffy and Benadryl was his constant companion. No matter what the situation, J.P is still our little ray of sunshine. He makes us smile, and fill us with so much joy. He gives us the most hugs and kisses!

The other day, A.R was playing quietly with his new toy, and then out of the blue, he gave me a hug and a kiss. It took me by surprise. He's not as open and affectionate as he used to be. He outgrew all of that a long time ago. I almost choked up and cried when he embraced and kissed me. I asked him what was that for. A.R just looked at me, and answered me with a wide smile.

As for me, I give them as often as I can. I am, afterall, a mother. We comfort, dote, and encourage our children. But to have it reciprocated is precious and special.

It's amazing what a hug and a kiss can do!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Two Christmas Parties and a Bahama Mama

We arrived home late last night from my brother's place. I still can't believe we had two parties to go to on Christmas, and we managed to survive a crazy day! The first party was with hubby's side of the family. J.P's godmother hosted the gathering; we had lunch, opened gifts, played Bingo and watched movies. In the evening, we were off to Christmas party number two. It was at my brother's house. As you know, he has his annual Christmas party - dinner, meet and greet Santa, movies and karaoke all night long! We came late but we made it just in time for dessert! I placed the fruit tray on the dessert table, and stationed myself on the couch, where I relaxed and sang Christmas carols with all the kids. I could feel my eyes getting heavy and tired but I stayed awake. My sister-in-law asked me if I wanted a Bahama Mama. I asked her what is it, and she said it's a fruity cocktail drink. I happily obliged. I'm not much of a drinker - but I sure enjoyed that lovely beverage. The celebration continued in the wee hours of the morning. Luckily, we stayed overnight. If you asked me what time the party ended, I have no recollection whatsoever.

I think I missed the karaoke marathon but I had the best sleep ever! And like the year before, it was a great Christmas.

Now that we're back home, fatigue and weariness is setting in. I'm also dismayed at the mess I see before me. Shredded gift wrap, empty boxes, new toys and clothes scattered all over the floor. How did this happen? Did we throw a party too? What could remedy this headache?

I closed my eyes.

O, Bahama Mama, where are you?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

I've been quite busy these past few days to even write a post. And yesterday was no exception - but despite the madness the holidays bring, it's nice to have hubby, and the boys home. I love hearing the kids laughing, singing, and running around the house. Seeing hubby interact with the boys; playing games, and reading stories to them. The sound of Christmas music in the background, and A.R strumming on his guitar. Hope you're all creating wonderful memories, and savouring each moment of the holiday season.

Here's what we've been creating and discovering this week...

Simple but cute shortbread cookies, decorated by the boys.

Tiramisu is a lovely Italian dessert I've been making for years. This is a family favorite and a must have on Christmas day!

I found this childhood picture, and love it to pieces!

I'll leave you with this quote, "Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things not the great occasions, give off the greatest glow of happiness." ~ Bob Hope

From our home to yours, Merry Christmas and Have a Happy and Blessed New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Santa Bring My Baby Back

Every Christmas, Santa always pays a special visit to the young and old at my brother's house. Excitement erupts upon his arrival, and all the little boys and girls gather around him. Grown-ups look on, amusement and joy on their faces. Each child sits on Santa's lap, takes a picture with him, and shares a few magical moments to chat with him. Santa is patient, gentle and kind. He hands out their presents, and laughs heartily.

This Christmas, J.P won't be nearly excited to see him. Our little boy knows the truth now. One morning he said to me, "Mommy, I know you and daddy buy me gifts. I found out watching that commercial." He pointed to the television while my mouth dropped to the floor. What could I possibly say to him? I was left speechless by this turn of events. "I know Uncle A. dresses up as Santa too!" J.P continued. "We saw him getting ready."

* Sigh*

So while he grows up, I'll cherish this photo forever.

Look at J.P (top left) wide-eyed, and ecstatic to see Santa.

Santa, bring my baby back!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Last Minute Shopping

As expected, the mall was busy, and jam-packed with holiday shoppers yesterday. I, being one of them was glad to get some Christmas shopping done. Normally I get the shopping done, and the gifts wrapped in the first week of December but not this year. Hubby injured his lower back last week - while shovelling heavy, wet snow. So, I couldn't quite leave him alone; he needed help getting around. The funny thing is, he took a two week vacation this month, and spent his birthday (last Tuesday) - in pain and in bed! Poor guy! R.D was bedridden for a few days but now he's up and walking. At least, he's moving around without any assistance. The doctor said it will take another two weeks to fully recover. Hubby explained to me he's doing exactly what the doctor ordered. Somehow I can't help but think he's loving all this special treatment - no errands, no chores, no heavy lifting, and just resting all day. I told him that I'm praying for a speedy recovery, and life could go back to normal. However, I'm happy and thankful R.D's condition isn't serious. Things could have been a lot worse.
So before I leave, and return to the frenzy of last minute shopping. I wanted to show you this. A.R made this cute Christmas ornament at school. I love the arts and crafts my boys bring home. Wouldn't that be a fun activity to do with the kids over the holidays?

~ Check out for more holiday crafts and homemade gift ideas. ~

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Concert

This morning, J.P woke up with a very puffy left eye! I looked at him in horror. Today his school is having a Christmas concert, and he's performing with his class. Yikes! He can't look like this! "What happened to you?", I asked. "I don't know.", he answered. The barrage of questions began. Were you playing rough with A.R? Did you fall down? Did you bump into a wall? What happened last night? He shrugged his shoulders. I debated whether he should stay home, or go to school. His eye looked terrible. I decided it was best to keep him home. J.P broke down, and started to cry, "But mommy, I want to go to the Christmas concert! I don't want to miss it." I hugged him and told him to stop crying. Then, I remembered he ate a mango flavoured cake for dessert last night, and he might have had an allergic reaction. I said, "Okay, you can go. I'll just give you some Benadryl." J.P is delighted with my decision, and quickly runs off to dress himself. Honestly, I just didn't have the heart to say no to him. So, this afternoon, we'll see our little boy perform - slightly puffy but definitely happy!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Growing Appetites

There was a time when meals were carefully planned, and prepared to entice little, energetic boys. Nowadays, I receive special requests or subtle hints from my kids to make a certain dish. I just can't believe how fast they're growing up, and how much they eat! They eat like adults! Yesterday, I made a pasta dish for lunch - enough to last for Monday's dinner. It's practically gone. I just had enough to pack for their school lunches. Whatever happened to the picky eaters, vegetable haters; and dramatic outbursts? Don't get me wrong, hubby and I are thrilled they're eating well, and asking for more servings. We're just seeing more of our portions dwindle each mealtime. It's fine, they are, after all, growing boys. Did you hear that? Yes, it's my tummy grumbling - pangs of hunger strike now and then but for good reason.

It's only wishful thinking, but can I have that last morsel of pasta?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Holiday Baking

It's the holiday season, and although cookies are on the minds of bakers this time of year. I thought I'd try another muffin recipe. It didn't take long to decide what I wanted to make this evening. These chocolate muffins are not only tempting to look at but are so delicious! These treats were a big hit with the boys, and they now affectionately call me the muffin lady. I think it tastes good without the chocolate frosting - I was quite busy to make it but next time, it will be even more divine!

What do you like to bake during this time of year?

~ All muffins featured here on my blog can be found on website ~ Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Best Day of My Life

The first winter storm has finally arrived. For some people, it can mean travel delays, a long commute to work, school or home. The snowy weather brings out homeowners to shovel and clear sidewalks, and driveways. For others, it can mean experiencing a wide variety of winter activities - skating, skiing, snow boarding and playing hockey. For J.P, it can only mean one thing - pure bliss. The morning news of the first snowfall sent J.P to the window, where he happily declared, "Mommy, this is the best day of my life!" This little boy continues to warm my heart. I stood behind him, my hands resting on his shoulders. We gazed out the window, and admired the view. I couldn't help but remember my own childhood. This picture captured exactly how I truly felt.

Oh, to be a kid again!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

DIY - Do It Yourself Haircuts

One look at A.R's long and unruly hair, and I knew I just had to give him a haircut. I decided today would be the day to end all the shaggy hairdos , and that I would trim the boys' hair, including hubby's! I've certainly come a long way from shaky and sweaty hands - and giving terrible hair cuts. I started about fifteen years ago, when hubby bought his very own clippers and asked me to give him a haircut. I looked at him in disbelief, and told him I had no experience whatsoever, and I didn't go to beauty school. He suggested I learn something new. He even said he wouldn't be angry at me if it turned out awful. Can you believe that?! R.D reassured me I could use guards on the clippers, and gave me a brief lesson on how to cut hair. I was mortified but I agreed to try. What was I thinking? I was crazy after all! I was such a nervous wreck when I cut his hair - I was so slow and cautious! I bit my lip often, and reminded myself not to say,"Oops!" My first haircut session wasn't picture perfect. I was relieved I didn't snip his hair too short, and I didn't injure him! However, I think the more I cut his hair, the more I felt comfortable using the clippers. Yes, practice makes perfect! I have to thank my hubby for trusting me, and having confidence in me. I now give them a basic crew cut, nothing fancy - no styling required. I use the scissors, and clippers with precision and ease. It also helps if you have a good set of clippers. I use the Oster Classic 76 professional. It's heavy duty, and can cut the thickest of hair. R.D is grateful; he no longer has to wait at the barber shop, and spend thirteen dollars every month. It's free, and done in the kitchen. My young boys are handsome, and clean-cut within minutes. You need a haircut? Just ask! Now, if I can only have my own personal hair stylist. Hmm.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Family Traditions

Along with the other festive decorations I've put up for the holiday season, I felt it was important to incorporate our Filipino traditions as well. A parol is a traditional Filipino Christmas decoration - a star-shaped Christmas lantern; symbolizing the star of Bethlehem. Originally made of thin bamboo sticks, and covered with colored cellophane or rice paper (Japanese paper), and then illuminated with a candle or coconut-oil lamp. In the Philippines, you can see these decorations in homes, and in the streets. Here's our modern version of a parol, and it hangs in the boys' bedroom. They'll be so excited to see it when they return home from school. My boys were born in Canada, and so it's always nice to teach them their roots, and family traditions.