Sunday, June 29, 2014

An Unexpected Blessing: How I Celebrated My Birthday "Unexpectedly"

I just noticed that since the time I told myself to be grateful even for simple things, I have also started feeling blessed. Last June 9th, I celebrated my 39th birthday (yes, I am not ashamed of my age, haha). And although I (and my sister) sponsored a birthday giveaway, I didn't have or buy something for myself, and that's totally fine with me. On that day, my husband and I didn't prepare a special menu or the usual "handa", no plans whatsoever. I was simply glad and grateful to wake up to another day given to me by God, that in itself, for me was already noteworthy. That day was also made one-of-a-kind by the hugs, kisses and untiring "Happy birthday, Mommy!" greetings of my daughter, my husband's bear hug and sweet kisses (of course), sincere greetings from my family and the 100+ greetings and wishes on my Facebook wall from friends. How could I ask for more? :)

Then on that same day, three minutes before two in the afternoon, an unexpected text message came. It was unexpected because this person, I know, is a very busy one. I didn't expect she'd greet me on that day, that she'd remember.She was my head pastor in Laguna. She was a mentor and friend. :)
Unexpected text message :)
So, after our exchange of text messages, we came up with a decision to meet that night for she and her husband were already in the metro (Ortigas, to be exact). We met and dine at Tong Yang in Megamall. To tell you honestly, that was the first time (again) my husband and I have been to Tong Yang. The last time was when our baby was not yet here. It was our daughter's very first time and she enjoyed the food, the company and the experience. We all did, actually. It was truly a blessing, an unexpected one.
With Rev. Virgie Hernandez and her husband Bro. Bong
After hours of eating (haha!), I was greeted by the waiters and staff of Tong Yang, which by the way came also as a surprise. I know a lot of restaurants are doing this but at that moment, I was oblivious to that fact, heehee. For some reason it didn't enter my mind that such thing was going to happen. Surprise! Surprise! :)
Yours truly
With my loves
I'm blessed beyond words for all the good things that God has done and continues to do in my life. My life may not have been a luxurious one, still I find myself blessed. I guess it's in the simple things that one can really find bliss. So blessed, so grateful. Grateful to God. For everything. For His wonderful servants, Ptra. Virgie and Bro. Bong Hernandez. For my husband and daughter. For my family and friends. I am not a saint but the Lord has blessed me with undeserved favor (that is, grace) and unexpected blessings.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Special Palabok and Pritong Lumpia: Lopez Canteen's "Birthday Treat"

I celebrated my birthday last June 9th. It was a simple day, really. My husband and I didn't cook for the usual "handa". But before that day ended, something unexpected happened. I will be writing another post about it. :)

This one is also an unexpected blessing. My blessed and blissful day was not yet nearly over when a Facebook (fb) message suddenly popped up on my phone (It was around 10pm, if I'm not mistaken). It was from JLo. She was looking for someone to do a food review for Lopez Canteen's Special Palabok and Pritong Lumpia. And because it was my birthday, I was chosen. Yay! Isn't that a treat? :)

So, after a number of fb message exchanges, Jlo and I came up to a decision to deliver it on the 12th. Then I realized it was a holiday. I was hoping to share this blessing with my husband's office mates. But since it was not possible, I shared it with other people who I believe also deserved to taste this delicious treat.
Lopez Canteen's Pritong Lumpia and Special Palabok

Lopez Canteen's Special Palabok
Palabok and lumpia to share
Our apartment's day guard and one of the tenants' saleslady
Our "Lola Belen"

Of course, I tried these scrumptious "birthday treats" from Lopez Canteen. I called them "birthday treats" since they were given for my birthday without me even asking for them. I really felt so blessed!

After :)

So, what's my take on Lopez Canteen's Special Palabok and Pritong Lumpia?

The palabok tastes so good. I was not the only one who said it. Every one who got to eat it said the same thing. There was even someone who was not really fond of palabok until that day and his comment was like, "Wow! This is really good!"

It was her son who said, "Wow! This is really good!"

One of the things I'm being intentionally aware of in foods is of course the ingredients. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that food to be tasteful should have extravagant ingredients. On the contrary, I like simple food, which means, food that will not trigger my daughter's skin asthma. I have been breastfeeding her for 2 years and 9 months now. Everything (that is edible, heehee) I put inside my mouth will definitely affect her. That is why I give extra effort to look at my food first before I take a bite. I was so feeling blessed that day because I found out that Lopez Canteen's Special Palabok doesn't have the usual ingredients like squid and shrimp. Yay! Instead it only has pork, eggs and a very crunchy chicharon which even after several hours had passed, still remained crunchy.

How about the Lopez Canteen's Pritong Lumpia? Can I just say this in Filipino? It's "panalo"! Haha! It's big so you won't feel "lugi". It's so "yummy", that's according to my daughter (we know that children don't lie, di ba?). And it really is! Again it's not just me and my daughter, the others said it too, they didn't use the word "yummy" though. ;)
My daughter, making funny faces but too excited to eat the lumpia

The lumpia comes with a dip (sawsawan) which is a concoction of soy sauce and vinegar. It really is "swak" to "panlasang Pinoy". May I also say that as good as the dip was, the lumpia could stand on its own. Even without the "sawsawan", it's still very tasty.

A dozen of "yummy"
If you noticed, I was able to share the palabok with lots of people, 8 actually and there's still some left for me and my husband. Since the lumpia was a dozen pieces, I gave one to each one including my daughter. My husband had 2 and he still felt "bitin". Haha! That's how good the lumpia was!

Sad to say, my husband was not able to taste the palabok although I saved some for him. Because I was not really familiar with how to take care of some food like palabok, I left it on the table thinking that I would still eat it for dinner. After dinner time, I transferred the palabok to another container then put it inside the fridge. Apparently, this kind of food spoils easily so if you would order palabok, please make sure that you keep it inside the fridge after everyone has eaten within hours or so, that is, if there will still be some left. :)

If you want to know and experience what I'm talking about here (heehee), please feel free to contact Lopez Canteen. They would be more than willing to accommodate you and give you too a delectable experience.

Oh by the way, don't just take my word for it... just do it! ;)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Blessed to be a Blessing: The Gifts Reveal

Hello, dear readers! Thank you so much for dropping by and taking time to read my posts. As I have said in my previous post, In celebration of my birthday I would like to share some gifts to you; my own way of thanking you for joining me here in my blog journey. I am sorry if it took quite sometime before I reveal the gifts. A lot of pondering moments happened as I looked for meaningful gifts I would like to give you. These are just simple ones but as I have mentioned, they are meaningful, at least for me. :) So here they are.

One blessed reader will receive a Hand Treats from Marks & Spencer. I love Marks & Spencer products! Every time I enter the store, I feel like I want to get everything since they have all that I want and need; from lingerie and underwear, fashionable clothes for men and women to colognes, perfumes, lotions, soaps and talcum powder. My daughter loves the biscuits and cookies because they  are dairy-free (some of them) and therefore good for her.

These hand treats are perfect for any woman's tired hands. Whoever gets this, I hope you enjoy it. :)

Marks & Spencer's Hand Treats

Another reader will receive a simple yet elegant notepad from PostScript Design. This is perfect for a mom or a woman who loves to write thank-you notes to friends and loved ones.
Notepad with Envelope

The third and last chosen reader will have a chance to attend The Learning Basket's upcoming seminar/workshop Planning Your Literature-Based Preschool Homeschool on July 12th for free. This will be very helpful for mom/dad who wishes to homeschool their young children.

There you have it, my simple thank-you gifts. This blog give away is open for all readers who reside in the Philippines. It started on June 5th and will end on July 5th. If you would like to join, please go here. Winners will be announced here and on my Instagram account on July 6th.

Again, thank you so much for visiting and joining my very first blog give away. Hope you are blessed. I would love to hear from you.

Note: This is not a sponsored post. All the prizes are paid by yours truly and my sister. ;)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Glad and Grateful You Are My Daughter's Dad

When I saw you held Wynona in your arms for the first time, I knew you'd be a great Dad to her. You did an awesome job that day and you continue to do so until today. Happy and blessed Father's Day to you, Babe. I'm so glad and grateful you are my daughter's Dad. Butchik and I love you to the moon and back! :)

Mommy and baby's art & craft for Father's Day

My Loves

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Blessed to be a Blessing

June is my birthday month. As a child, I didn't like my birthday. It was either raining or some unfortunate event would happen on the day itself. I had always thought that it's not a "lucky" day and I was not a "lucky" person. My siblings would always have a more-than-simple-although-not-too grand celebrations because their birthdates fall on or a day before payday. Such fortunate ones, haha!

Well, that was before. Things have changed as I realize what really matters most. Of course, I would love to have balloons (at my age, haha!), cake, ice cream and gifts on my special day. However, deep inside me, I really know what I want. There's a gnawing desire in my heart to make a difference in other people's lives; to be a blessing, if you will. I know I am blessed and have always been blessed by the Lord. I no longer look at myself as some "poor, unfortunate soul", but rather a "beloved and blessed" by Him. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a millionaire, I'm not even rich. I simply want to be a blessing. I believe that blessings come in different packages; some are big, others are small, nevertheless they are all blessings. 

So, in celebration of my birthday, I would like to be a blessing to you, my dear readers. I am giving away three special gifts to three blessed readers of my blog. It's my simple way to thank you for being with me in this blog journey. As for those who will not be chosen, please don't lose heart, you will be receiving a special note from me. :) I have just one simple wish though, that is for you to write your comment/s below. You also have to let me know three things:

1. How did you "find" me?
2. What is that topic that touched/blessed you in one way or another?
3. What topics would you like me to include in my blog in the not-so-distant future?

Pretty simple, isn't it? I would really love to hear from you. Please stay tuned for my next post for the gifts reveal. :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Blessed Beyond Words

This should have been posted a month ago but because a lot of things were happening all at the same time, I wasn't able to do so. However, I feel like this is just the perfect time to do it. Hope you enjoy reading this post and find yourself also, whatever circumstance you may be in right now, blessed beyond words.

I saw this in my Instagram weeks before May 16th.

It was a contest sponsored by Mommy Mundo. My first thought was, "I want to join this one." Then a second thought comes, "Nah. I'm not a lucky one in this kind of contest. I will only get frustrated." So, I just ignored it. But on the night of May 15th, I saw in my IG feed that it was the last day of submission of entries and I only had 9 hours left for my entry to be counted in. I knew I really wanted to join. At that time, it was not for the prize anymore. Deep inside me, something was telling me, it's more for being a blessing to other moms; moms who have chosen to stay at home to run the household, take care of the baby/babies and breastfeed her/them, moms who maybe feeling that "her time has passed and she's already left behind", moms who are feeling downhearted for not pursuing the career they have always dreamed of... I did it for "us".

Then without any expectation, the Lord surprised me with this.
I really couldn't believe it. I was literally jumping for joy as I told my husband and my daughter, "I won! I won! Yay! Thank you, Jesus!" I remember our baby even asked me, "Mommy, [what] happened?" Haha! It's really when you do something without expecting anything in return that you are being blessed.

On May 17th, a Saturday, after coming from a workshop (another post), I went to the ExpoMom Bazaar together with my Alemars Nadia.
Holding my Php5K - worth gift certificate

Came with my bag only. The You the Mom tote bag from ExpoMom was the only thing I was wishing for even before I joined the contest.

With Alemars Nadia
Let the shopping galore begin!
Of course the first one in my mind was my daughter... I've been dreaming of buying this for her. At last, it's now a reality.

Wonder World's 50 pieces of blocks

Look how happy and excited she is!
Cycles for my baby's clothes

Eye candy goodies from Paper Chic Studio for mommy and baby's arts and crafts

My daughter so loves the sand's texture. This is also one of the things that I would like to buy for her before. Glad I was finally able to do it.

No, I don't have a son. But it was my prayer to be able to bless a certain baby boy from Nazareth Home. I just thank the Lord for allowing me to be His vessel.
This is baby MJ. I bought him two rompers. Hope he likes them. 
As I have mentioned above, I came to the bazaar holding only my bag. But because of God's goodness, I left the event with my hands literally full.
Blessed beyond words
The stuff I brought home

I am so blessed beyond words. My heartfelt gratitude goes to the organizers, staff and sponsors of ExpoMom bazaar.
So thankful to this lovely and magnanimous woman (and mom, too) behind Mommy Mundo. You the Mom, Ms. Janice!
Thankful to Ms. Sam and Ms. Gemma (not in the picture because she's too camera shy) for the assistance.
Yes, I'm the mom! :)
In case you're wondering what my winning post/picture was, it's this:
'After 4 years of marriage and 2 miscarriages, I have finally become a mom. Opted to be a stay at home mom (SAHM) and breastfeed my daughter. Childhood comes only once and I want to make sure I am with her throughout this precious moment in her life. May not be a popular choice for others but it is for my daughter. One day I'll look back and say, "No regrets. I gave my very best." And that's what matters most. #youthemom #expomom'

Grateful. Thankful. I am simply blessed beyond words.