28 October 2014

This is how you eat a #doughnut

Purchased a box of Krispy Kreme Halloween themed doughnuts the other night. Riley loves eating chocolate doughnuts and I was thinking he will love the design on these.

Look how cute they are!

Looks good, tastes yummy too!

He wanted to try the pumpkin one and then he said the orange tasted yucky. Weird because they all tasted the same, it was just the coloring that was different. Silly boy! He ended up devouring the cobweb one as he deemed it a normal doughnut.

And here is how he ate it.

First, carefully taste it if it is a 'normal' doughnut


Second, open wide to place more of the yummyness inside your mouth

That funny face...

Finally, say 'Mmm, good!'

He's my little drama prince!

27 October 2014

#Halloween Carnival 2014 at Verdana

After weeks of preparing Riley's costume (I only work on it during my spare time, like 30 minutes a day), he will finally get to wear it in public. He had some dry run on wearing it inside the house just so he can get accustomed to the feel of carrying it on his shoulders. And so far, it was a success. He almost broke it apart but after a few strengthening tricks (double-sided tape and glue were my best friends) all of its parts held on after a few rough handling.

Happily wearing his Thomas the train costume!

This year, we took part in the #halloween festivities in my relatives' village in Laguna. We attended last year and found it satisfying so we decided to go there again this year. I would probably try other places next year like in Fun Ranch or the hotel parties but since Riley is still young, I did not want him to get crushed in the crowd in those places.

This is giving me a heart attack...

It was held in the village clubhouse and since we were quite early, we spent our energy in the nearby playground. It is very seldom that Riley experiences playing in an outdoor playground. Aside from the play area in Alabang Town Center, this is only the second time he was able to run around an actual playground.

Love the bright red pants from Mothercare

We were seated up front so the kids will have more room to walk or dance around. They were playing Pharell Williams' Happy song and since he loves this song, he was dancing in the front with his balloon sword. So cute!

The theme this year is Halloween Carnival and they had face painting, balloon sculptures, photo booth and was hosted by McDonalds. They served the one piece chicken meal with rice (the chicken was mostly skin so thumbs down for this). There was a nachos booth but you had to pay additional for that. I find that the food choices were lacking this year. They had ice cream last year and with the heat that afternoon, it would have been a hit. The loot bag was better this year though as they gave away happy meal toys (doraemon and scooby doo) and kiddie giveaways from a pharmaceutical company (sample medicines, flash cards, origami paper, kiddie chopsticks, lunch bag, pouch, and pens).

Grimace and Ronald Mcdonald made an appearance and boy, was Riley scared! He jumped into my lap when he saw them come out. And take note he was still wearing his costume so imagine the chaos! We had to step out of the covered area just so he would stop crying. After seeing the 'scary' mascots, he would not go down from my arms. He kept telling me he only wanted to be carried. Oh dear...

Still in shock from seeing the 'scary' mascots
He quickly wore his costume again when he saw another boy wearing a truck costume. Riley said he wanted to go racing with him and kept following the boy around the place (even though the other boy did not want to play with him).

When they were announcing that the costume contest was about to begin, Riley promptly stepped out of his costume and ran to the pool area. I tried to coax him to wear it again and have him line up the judging area but he was having none of it. Sigh. Better try our luck next year!

After the event, we were divided into two groups and started trick or treating. It was fine for the first two blocks. But since Riley did not want to walk or ride his stroller, we had no choice but to carry him while going around the village. And we did that for almost two hours! Luckily, my husband was there to carry him too or else I would have gone home early. If we are doing this again next year, I would definitely consider bringing a car with us because it was just too tiring to walk around the village.

He only walked one block and we carried him all the way

Riley may still be young to really enjoy this holiday but I think he had fun. He loved choosing which candy to take, he carried his pumpkin filled with treats, and did not even want us to touch his loot!

He did not stop taking from the candy bag until his pumpkin was full

Even though we were so tired, it was all worth it seeing how he enjoyed himself. Me munching on the candies while Riley was sleeping is just an added bonus! Ha!

24 October 2014

Trick or treat candy alternatives for #halloween

Now that Riley can verbally express his likes and dislikes, it is a challenge for us to explain to him why he cannot have certain things. We will be joining the Halloween trick or treat in our relative's village this weekend and while I cannot control what people will be handing out, I can at least make a list in case some people are looking for other things to give kids when they come to their doorsteps.

Happily handing out candies last year as he still had no clue he can eat them!

Raisins - Small packs of raisins is a healthy option. Riley loves snacking on these and although they are sweet, I feel less guilty handing them out to him as a treat.
Popcorn - Pop a couple of bags in the microwave, pack them in small plastic bags, and you're done!
Small toys - They don't have to be expensive. As long as they don't break in tiny pieces!
Tetra Packed Drinks - Dutch Mill yogurt drink is one of Riley's favorite.
Fun size chocolates - It would not be halloween if there's no chocolate! Standard sized chocolate packs are confiscated by this mommy for immediate consumption!
Small packs of crayons, coloring books, light-up sticks are also great alternatives to giveaway this halloween. For me, I would probably handout popcorn if Riley does not eat all of it!

18 October 2014

#DIY Thomas the train halloween costume

I have been browsing the shops (both online and physical ones) for a costume that Riley would like to wear. The #halloween costumes they have in SM are too large for Riley. Even though the salesperson was insisting it will fit him, the pant legs are too long and the sleeves are tight. I found a cute firefighter costume at Mothercare but the price made me hesitate since he would not wear it often. I searched online to see if someone is selling a dinosaur or Thomas and friends costume but all of them are overseas.

Then I saw this site that made a kick-ass #Thomas the train costume for her boy!

I'm thinking it looks like I can do it (not the 3D face though!). Not perfectly but I can try. Why not?! We have tons of carton boxes at the back and I only need to buy a few supplies to color and make Thomas come to life.


I have chosen a box that is the right size for Riley. Something not too heavy for him to carry and has a double wall of carton to make it sturdy. I followed the pattern shown from Little Red Window, or at least I tried to make it close enough since our box dimensions are not the same. I taped the edges to close them and made sure that it would not break apart easily.

cover from Chef Tony's popcorn
I cut some circles from the carton to form the wheels. I only needed three circles as I only needed a half circle for the wheel.

The last wheel did not exactly fit perfectly so I had to trim it a bit. A bit lopsided, I know! I tried not to let it bother me as I am sure it would take me a while to make it perfect. I used a combination of glue, double sided tape, and packaging tape to stick those wheels under the carton. First I inserted the half wheel in the space between the double carton and the double sided tape is used here. When it is in place, I glued the edges to seal it. When the glue was dry, I taped it to make sure it is attached. Sinong segurista?! Me! 

At this stage I let Riley try out the train by letting him push it around. Well the wheels did not hold up from the abuse so I had to reinforce the wheels so they are 3 times thicker. I left the glue to dry overnight. After another round of testing to see if the wheels are better, I asked my husband to spray paint the body for me. I bought this can spray paint from the bookstore for around P250. And it did not cover the print on the body! It was transparent. Apparently, the carton was so porous that is soaked up the paint even after 2 coatings. Shifting to Plan B, I carefully cut colored paper (you can buy them in big sheets) to cover the whole body. Then using styrofoam and a styrofoam cutter, I made the circle for the face. I used black poster paint for the outside area of the face. And silly me. I forgot how poster paint transfers to your hand/body easily! So I had to cover the paint with packaging tape to prevent a messy situation.

Looking good!
I made long strips of styrofoam for the red bumper and attached it using glue all around the bottom portion. For the details, I made the pattern and number using Adobe Illustrator. The funnel was made from toilet paper roll. Finally, I downloaded the face from this site (thank you!).

Meet Thomas the train!

Cute right? My husband was asking if I can make him a Percy costume so he can match Riley's Thomas costume. Is he kidding me?! Luckily, he is...

So far he is playing with it by pushing it around. I have not placed the ribbons to make the carton hang from his shoulders yet. But so far, he is happy to step inside and make choo-choo noises as he goes around the living room. And it is still in one piece! Hopefully it will last until the Halloween festivities.

This actually took me almost two weeks to make as I only did it on the weekends. I'll try and get a decent image of Riley wearing it. So far it is hard as he is too fast for my lagging camera!

Hopefully, I can make him another DIY costume next year.

17 October 2014

H&M Wishlist

H&M has finally opened their doors here in Manila! As much as I would love to be first in line (hello P6,000 GC!), I don't have the patience to wait and I don't know what to say to my boss when I file for my leave. Queuing for a clothing store opening is not really acceptable in the corporate world.

Since I am sure there will hundreds of people during the opening weekend (and the coming weeks), I could only lust after their adorable clothing for toddlers. I find it difficult to find nice clothes for boys. The shirts have to be made of light, breathable cotton material so Riley would not sweat too much while running around. The design has to be approved by his Papa so that means superheroes, specifically Batman and Superman. Riley has to know and like the character too as he has started to become brand conscious when it comes to his shirts and shoes. If he is not in the mood, he would refuse to wear anything unless he likes the character printed on it. And for me, my criteria is that the price is reasonable and the quality is durable.

Browsing through H&M Philippines online, I saw some items that passes all those criteria mentioned above in flying colors!
Riley's papa has shirts like this so if Riley had this, he will look like his papa!
I love the built-in suspenders. No more falling down pants!
This Batman sweater will go well with Riley's other Batman clothes
A cool jacket that will transform your toddler into a dinosaur!

Riley loves dinosaurs and the print on this shirt is awesome!

There are tons more to choose from at their online site!

Please be available when I visit the shop!


It’s my favorite day of the work week as it ushers in the weekend.

I used to look forward to unwinding from the busy work schedule that I had. What will I be doing? Getting pampered by having my nails done, getting a massage, eating a meal from that new restaurant everybody has been talking about (we’ll meet soon Tim Ho Wan!).

But since having Riley in my life, I have to think twice before spending on anything that is not a necessity. The weekly mani-pedi has become a once every two month schedule. Massages are reserved for a birthday treat. And fine dining? If they don’t have a kiddie menu and a high-chair, then forget it. You can’t make Riley sit down for a meal without strapping him in the chair.

What has replaced my pre-baby weekend rituals? Playgroups, playground, grocery shopping for Riley’s favorite drink (Yakult and Dutch Mill yogurt drink), or just goofing around while staying indoors. Somehow he knows when it's a weekend as he will say he wants to go to SM as soon as he wakes up! If I tell him it's too early to go, he will tell me to go to ATC instead. Silly boy!

Listening to the soon-to-be classic Let It Go with Thomas and Friends
Sure I miss seeing my friends and just hanging out. I miss watching telenovelas from sunrise to sunset (sometimes from sunrise to sunrise!). I miss eating without being rushed. I still get to do all those things, just not as often as before.

But honestly, I look forward to my weekends with Riley more than I used to with my pre-baby weekends.

Now, if only he will let me sleep in on Saturdays, I will be the happiest mom alive.

13 October 2014

What kind of a playground Mom are you?

Riley playing by himself at the corner

It’s another weekend, and it’s another playground visit. We try to go during off-peak hours so there are less children fighting… err… playing on the grounds. As much as I want Riley to have the social interaction with kids his age (who is not a relative), it is hard to control the environment when there are too many children running around. Call me over-protective. How can you stand it when you see your own flesh and blood being pushed out of the slide or being hit by misbehaving kids?

Last Sunday, after having lunch, Riley stayed at the play area while there were only a handful of children inside. I am always on the lookout for children who might be a threat to my son and I will try to keep a wide distance from that kid. I spotted this 4-5 year old boy who was dismantling the wheels of the toy trucks and throwing them outside the fence. I was looking around for his guardian but no one was telling this kid to stop especially when he might hit unsuspecting people with those things. I walked over to him and told him sternly that what he is doing is not nice and he should stop immediately. This boy frowned, gave me an evil stare and just continued staring at me for like 10 seconds! I guess my job (dealing with headache-inducing clients) prepared me for this because I also stared back and gave him a scary stare of my own. Then he slowly let go of the truck, placed the wheels inside the container, and ran quickly away from me. It worked! I felt guilty for an instant but it quickly vanished when I saw him doing the same thing at another area! Roar!!! I caught his eye and widened my eyes at him so he can see that I am watching him. After that, he stopped dismembering the trucks and played on the ball pool instead.
Where in the world are his parents or his guardian? And why are they not stepping in and stopping their kid from hurting other people? I saw his grandfather sitting at the corner reading a newspaper and neglecting his naughty grandchild. I am mentally stopping myself from going over and confronting the old man. Maybe he is intentionally ignoring the kid since he knows he misbehaves a lot and he is letting other people handle it.

If you are this type of parent/guardian, please do not get upset when another parent/guardian will step in and try to stop your kid from wreaking havoc. It is better that you stay at home and your kid will not influence my kid to become naughty. We all know how children are like sponges; they can soak up a lot of things, good and bad. I don’t want my kid to soak up your child’s bad behavior. 

I am Riley's mom and I am a protective parent who is not afraid to talk to you or your kid if his/her actions will directly harm my child.

09 October 2014

Current cartoon fave - Peppa Pig

I find it difficult to let Riley watch television. He learns new things so quickly nowadays that I have to make sure that he is learning good things whenever he is glued to the tv. The Disney Junior channel is on most of the time so it is no surprise that he loves Mickey and friends, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Timmy Time... everything actually!

We (yes, I also watch these cartoons! You know what they say, if you can't beat them...) were watching an episode of Jake on YouTube and when the video was done, it recommended Peppa Pig. Seemed harmless enough and I clicked it. Oh my, Peppa is so adorable! I'm not worried that it is a bit girly with all the pink hues and the main character being a girl. I don't think Riley has the concept of gender yet.

The storyline is simple with abrupt endings (I find that they end so suddenly with no closing or resolution to the issue being tackled in the episode) but I don't mind. It's less serious that way. I love the British accent on the characters. Not sure what accent Madame Gazelle has though. I can't understand her sometimes. Riley's favourite is George and Peppa. He keeps saying, 'Mama, roar!'. Cute! Until he repeats it 100x in a day. He keeps roaring at everyone, even at his toys! Funny kid. He will even wake up his papa just to say 'ROAR!'. Kulit lang diba?

Everything about Peppa pig is fantastic. Riley will sing along with the characters. He now has a concept of Christmas (he calls Santa Father Christmas). And he can recognize a lot of different animals from watching this. Plus, I find it funny when he rolls on the floor and laughs when they do at the end of the episode.

One morning though, while watching Peppa, he turned to me, pointed and said "mama, pig." Hmmm... maybe I should find another show for him. Any recommendations?!

From #playschool for the little boy to toys and #comics for the big boy

It is not often that we get to spend the weekend together. The husband usually works during weekends (and holidays!) because of the nature of his job. So whenever he gets the weekend off from work, we plan a whole day activity para sulit.

Riley had playschool in the morning and that was the first stop for the day. He has been attending the Saturday playgroup at Toddlers Unlimited for the past three weeks already. And I have definitely seen the improvement in his social skills since starting. We signed up for a total of six sessions lang. I wanted to test the waters before enrolling him full time. He is not even two years old pa so I didn't want him to feel pressured to learn a lot immediately. The six sessions are focused on teaching the children ABCs and parts of the body. Hindi naman strict yung mga teachers, the children don't have to follow them to the letter. Para ka nga nanuood ng kid's tv kasi they do everything while singing (packing away the toys, washing hands, and even forming a line to go to the romp area). Even when we are at home, I try to extend the classroom learning para may continuity siya and Riley will not forget. The good thing is that he loves being there! He will ask me everyday if we will go to school and I will tell him not today bukas pa. Until Saturday comes and I will tell him,"We will go to school today' and he will tell me, "No, Mama, bukas pa." Toinks!

We headed to SM Megamall after playschool so Papa can go to the Collecticon 2014 at the Megatrade hall and have lunch na din. The little boy always asks for pizza and spaghetti so guess what we had for lunch? Yep, pizza and spaghetti. He can also eat on his own already though it gets messy real quick. He doesn't like wearing a bib pa naman. So papalitan na lang ng shirt after eating. At least we can also eat without having to pacify him every minute. We missed Nando's back in Singapore so whenever we are in SM Megamall, eating at Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken is a must. The chicken is still moist, not salty and cooked throughout. And even without the sauce, malasa na sya. In Riley's words, "Mmm... Yummy!" And luckily, they have pizza and spaghetti too! 

While the husband was enjoying himself at his playground, we strolled around the new Fashion Hall wing. Para kang wala sa Megamall kasi upscale ang shops and eateries. Bongga na ang mega! I love the Cotton-on for kids lalo na the pants kasi it has adjustable waistband, funky color, and relatively cheap for an international brand. Riley saw this wall and he kept saying yummy burger, bite bite!

Never a dull moment with this little boy. 

We proceeded to Bonifacio Global City when Papa was finished buying (looking lang daw) his toys. Comicon naman sa Fully Booked. We stayed in the children's section so Riley can freely browse the books. When he saw a lot of books scattered on the floor, he started picking them up and placing them back on the shelves! He was also telling me, "Mama, messy! Pack away!" Namamana pala ang pagka OC. He loves browsing through books and seeing the characters that he has been watching on the tv printed on the books. When he saw this Doc Mcstuffin book shaped like a bag, he picked it up and shouted, "Balooooot!" Funny! It was around 5pm so we decided to grab some Krispy Kreme donuts before going home. Riley was watching the machine make donuts and his face was so precious talaga. Amazing daw. 

I love it when kids see normal everyday stuff as something extraordinary. It makes me appreciate the simple things. Like spending time with your family every chance you get. Precious.

08 October 2014

Fitness level = zero

My colleague and I went to the gym yesterday for a trial workout. It is located beside our office building so it is pretty convenient. I have mentally prepared myself for the workout. I should have physically prepared myself too!

About the gym. It's not really a gym per se since they have zero machines (except for the Power Plate). You will find suspension cords, kettlebells, weights, medicine balls, jumping ropes, and resistance bands. They define their gym as a functional fitness circuit training. They have 20 stops in the circuit and it is indicated on the rubber mats. You have to do 20 different workouts in the span of 10 minutes (30 seconds per stop) to complete a circuit. It has level 1 to level 5 depending on your fitness level (or how hard you want to punish yourself). It's like cadet training back in high school!

It started out easy as your body is warming up. And then it gets intense as you go along. I was thinking this was easy and I would definitely get bored after one round. And man, I was so wrong! Halfway into it, I was panting and sweating like crazy! Squatting, pulling the cords, and swinging that kettlebell gave me a workout from my chubby shoulders to my also chubby toes. We took a break after and I honestly felt like fainting. It's embarrassing. I thought I was more fit than that. Imagine, a ten minute circuit training drained all my energy! I stopped after the first round as I did not want to go to the hospital.

After catching my breath, I realized two things: one is that I underestimated the circuit training and two is that I really, seriously need to prioritize my health asap.

Thank you to 360 Fitness Club and Coach Carlos (Ortigas branch) for kicking my butt. I'll definitely be back very soon!

07 October 2014

#Weight issues of a post-pregnancy body

Exactly a year and 10 months after giving birth, I am still carrying my pregnancy weight. It's like a bad haircut–everyone can see it but you can't until you look in the mirror (that's why I avoid using full body mirrors!). Wearing big clothes can only hide so much. Litaw na litaw pa din ang fats ko.

After my one year work hiatus, I decided to join a fitness company as their in-house designer hoping to get motivated into losing the excess pounds. They had an active policy that all their employees set a good example of living a fit and healthy lifestyle. For three months, I lived and breathed fitness. I consumed proper meal portions, had a regular eating schedule, and was mandated to go to the gym regularly. I've tried most of the group exercise classes even though I looked like a beheaded chicken while trying the moves. I walked to the mall and browsed the shops during my break. Sometimes, I even use the stairs. Every one around me were all fit and went to the gym almost everyday. True enough, I lost around 6kg. The tummy is still hanging in there though. Matigas din kasi ang ulo tulad ng amo.

Then I transferred to a different office. In one month, I gained all of the weight I lost and more! Anak naman ng tokwa! My fault really. The nearest stores are fast food. It's too hot to walk anywhere. And my colleagues don't have weight problems so wala ako kasama or kasabay mag gym. I tried to reel back my appetite and ate salad from Earle's Deli during lunch breaks. And get tempted by Krispy Kreme doughnuts for dessert. Diet fail talaga. I've been trying to find the time to go to the gym but leaving the house at 6am and reaching home at 730pm does not really give me time to bond with my boy. Tapos I'll go to the gym pa? Nakakasama naman na ng luob yun diba. Pero, I guess, mas nakakasama naman ng luob to see other mommies (with kids the same age as mine) who are so slim. Nag overflow ang bitterness level ko. Kaya ikinakain ko ng twister fries. Fail nanaman!

Kaya ko din to. Kakayanin ko din to. Challenge accepted!
I've already signed up for classes in the gym nearby my office.
If I don't update in the coming days, my body is probably too sore to get up and type my thoughts in.

01 October 2014

A toddler's independence - the beginning

This comic from Grant Snider sums up my parenting experience with Riley so far.

INCIDENTAL COMICS: Declarations of Independence

He's a very picky eater but when he sees someone eating a dish that is entirely new to him, he will eat it. Try serving it again to him, he would spit it out. Spaghetti has been the running favorite for the past year now. He eats this at least 3 times a week. We put in yogurt drink, Yakult, Coco Crunch, and popcorn as staples in our pantry in case he refuses to eat anything we serve him.

Riley loves playing with water but hates bath time. He has to be bribed with toys to take with him while he showers. Lately, this has not been working. Kung papayag lang ang papa niya eh every other day na lang siya maliligo!

He prefers me to carry him especially when he is sleepy or feeling sick. And he will scream the house down if his papa is near him during this episode.

He is starting to have a preference in footwear (always his batman shoes). Slippers are a form of torture for him. I'm thinking he does not like it when his toes are separated.

Naptime? Someone has to lay down beside him because if he wakes up and no one is there, all hell breaks loose.

Whew... Riley is not even two and the demands are that high already. This is why God made toddlers very, very, very cute.