Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

My very first pumpkins in the house. 

Back when I was in the Philippines, Halloween was not really celebrated the way people do here in Canada or the US. What I can remember is that this holiday is mainly regarded as " All Souls' Day " and  "All Saints' Day"  and is equated to families going to the cemeteries to spend time with the departed loved ones.

Yesterday afternoon, me and my friends at work were talking about how All Souls Day in the Philippines  is such an effective way to reunite families in one place as they gather around the graves of their loved ones. As a kid, I remember that we all rise up early in the morning to get ready for this big day. My father, me , my two brothers, a number of cousins, my titos and titas all prepare to leave early just so we can avoid extreme heat of the sun during our commute to the cemetery.

Armed with our packed lunches and drinks, we all load a jeepney going to the cemetery, and we arrive there to meet more of our relatives. We stay day there for about half a day with lots of eating, chatting,catching up with relatives and praying. Graves we visit includes that of my mother, who passed away when I was 4, that of grandmother, grandfather and a few other elders. Before heading home we always stop by and dine at this one favorite little eatery to have noodles ( pansit) and burgers.

This time of the year was a special time and we never missed practicing our traditions. Nowadays, the Philippines has also become westernized in that they observe the Halloween too, in terms of American practices like dressing up in costumes and doing trick or treat.

When I arrived here in Canada, I really did not care much about the Halloween traditions- pumpkins, costumes, decorating  the front yard with spooky things, although I enjoyed a bit giving out candies to little kids during trick or treat. But now that I have a daughter, that all changed.

Yesterday, I find myself picking out pumpkins in the supermarket. I find excitement in picking out the costume for my little girl. Suddenly, it's is different.

Suddenly, Halloween is exciting. Suddenly, I am involved.

Oh the joy in her eyes when she sees me and her ninang carve those pumpkins! And her amazed look when she saw the pumpkins all carved and lit!

These things, that sight of her face. They are all priceless.

And I know I will be looking forward to this every year from now on, And it is all because of her.
It is all for a rich childhood. It is all for my daughter.

Don't you find Halloween exciting because of your kids too? I bet you do!

Happy Halloween from my three pumpkins!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sweet Weekends

Hello all! 

The week has started  and before we know it, the weekend is alluring us again with it's promise of rest, late nights and idle mornings. I love weekends that even as early as Tuesday, I find myself dreaming about it already. I know, I sound like somebody who does not have weekdays life, but I do. It is just that I love how on weekends, we have less time constraint and I get two whole days to spend with my cuddly ones.

But weekends go by fast, don't they?

Before I can take a breather, It is Sunday afternoon again and I have to get ready for another workweek. In translation, that means I have to prepare 3 days worth of work lunches for me and Adrian; I have to organize my planner for the week; I have to plan my daughter's daycare lunches for the next days; Don't forget the sky-high laundry that needs to be folded and sorted. All these while trying to have early Sunday night bedtime to avoid lazy Monday mornings, when I snooze the alarm a hundred times and contemplate whether it is time to get up or not.

Such is the weekend. Do I sound like complaining? Actually , I just wish weekends are a little bit longer. But whether it is short or long, It is always a guarantee that weekends are well spent in our household. We can spend the whole time being idle at home,or we can be out and about spending time in our little laid back city, or even  watch movies at night while snacking on  yummy homemade chips  and so so much more activities on the weekends.

Here, in my day dreaming about weekends, I have gathered a few photos that were snapped on weekends. So while I am waiting for it to arrive, I will be looking at these until the weekend is here again.

Have a happy week you' all.

Ube cake I made for a friend last Thanksgiving long weekend

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Design A Smile Campaign For SSCY

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I feel honored to share about a very worthy cause here in our city. It is called Design A Smile campaign for SSCY or Specialized Services for Children and Youth . SSCY  is a center  that is being established here in Winnipeg, Manitoba and it aims to be a  facility dedicated to attend to all the needs of children with special needs and disabilities and their families.

The fund raising campaign invites all schools in Manitoba , students from  K to 12 to design a smile out of the most creative raw materials, be it recycled products or crafts. It runs from  October 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014, and the deadline of submission is Nov 14. Smiles are uploaded into the Design A smile website. Prices will be generously sponsored by Boston Pizza, The Enns Brothers ltd and Think Shift advertising.

logo: Design A Smile

This is such a heartwarming way to get even the smallest kids to participate in a very good cause. It is so wonderful educating small kids that they design a smile so they can help kids with special needs. It is such a beautiful way to teach them compassion at an early age. To see samples of smiles uploaded into the site, click here.

All proceeds will go to the development and enhancement of the SSCY center which will take residence  on the Historic Christie building in Notre Dame in Winnipeg.

Another cute way to donate is to simply upload your pictures with smiling faces into the Share A Smile website , and the friends of SSCY will donate $5 to the center for every photo uploaded. Here, you dont have to be from Canada to donate. Its totally cost free- all you need is a smile.

Simple ways can mean a lot. I personally hope that the Design A Smile campaign will take off sucessfully, for the love of all the beautiful children that are physicaly or mentally challenged.

They are very special and they need to feel that. All of these kids, they bring value to the world. Let us help SSCY with their mission.

Compassion- this is what our world needs more of.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Simple Creole Chicken Wrap

Okay, one solid fact about me: I  have been taking this  chicken creole wrap for  lunch  for  the last three weeks.

And, another one, I can eat one wrap in less than five minutes. Now, I don't know if that is fast eating, or slow eating compared to you, guys. What I know for sure is that come lunch time, I am always like a hungry bear waiting to get my hands on my prey, each time. Yes, that is how hungry I am.

For the last three weeks too, I have been steering away from having rice for breakfast, which I normally do. I have been successfully sticking to a yogurt-dried fruits-sunflower seeds -chia seeds mix in a bowl breakfast because I kinda want to get away from the bloated, overstuffed feeling I have in the morning because of eating too much. And ....yes, because I am trying to eat healthy, wanting to lose some weight and.... just trying to be healthy in general- so don't give me that look.

So at lunch time, you can imagine my eagerness . You see because my stomach is used to eating heavy in the morning,  It feels very empty as  we approach lunch time because it is not used to having just yogurt with nuts and fruits thrown in for breakfast.

But let me clarify, I still can see straight, talk straight and my hands are not shaking as I wait for lunch bell to ring. I am just...plain hungry but I am still a normal person with the right mind, okay?

This chicken creole wrap though, is so worth the wait. There is perfect blend of savory meat and crunchy vegetables in a delicate and warm tortilla wrap. It is the perfect lunch that it does not leave you overstuffed or the opposite. It just fills me enough to go on with my day.

Just perfect. Especially if you are trying to eat healthy, like me.( wink*)

please click continue for the recipe..