Friday, December 15, 2017

Bigay-Bawi

We gifted Baby Marco with this one last Sunday. I know that he's only one-year old but I am sure he'll be receiving a lot of "baby toys" (the Vtech ones) already so I thought of getting something that he could enjoy when he's a bit older. Mabilis lang naman kasi ang panahon. I have a 3-year old so I know what the birthday boy will like in the near future.
Pic taken from the net (credits to the owner)
But I have a confession to make. I bought it the last minute na kasi hindi naman talaga yun ang plano kong iregalo.

Ito talaga:


So cute noh? I've been eyeing this trolley at the Disney Store since forever. Then one day, it went on sale. $19-off! Parang naging $35 na lang siya (plus tax). We were looking for a gift for Marco that time so I thought this would be perfect, especially since his party theme is Cars. Again, I wanted to give him something that he could use later on pa. As a mom, mas gusto ko kasi na pang-advanced age ang gifts eh, be it clothes or toys or any other things.
Pic taken from the net (credits to the owner)
But just a few days before the party, I had a change of heart. Parang mas gusto ko ito for Nathan haha! I mean, he's older and can use this na by next year. There were only three stocks left when we bought it so I am sure wala ng ganito. Kung meron mang bagong stock, hindi naman sale.

Naisip ko rin that Tess wouldn't mind kasi hindi naman niya alam haha! Ako ang nakakaalam so ako ang manghihinayang. Ang sabi ko rin kay Ford, Marco will have a lot of gifts so hindi na mapapansin na "ordinary" lang ang gift namin lol!

That's the thing pala when you have a son and you are buying for other boys, gusto mo meron din ang anak mo kaloka! Mahina talaga ang EQ ko.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Baby Marco's First Birthday Party

Nathan only has three friends here in BC (and I got two) so imagine how excited we were because one of them celebrated his birthday with a party last Saturday, December 9.

Baby Marco's birthday is actually November 30 but his mom Tess was only able to get a slot at the Queensborough Community Centre (in New Westminster, BC) for December 9. They live in a townhouse so they opted for a bigger venue for the party.


Tess' invite said the party is at 1 to 5pm. We reached the place at around 2pm (we were so busy that morning plus she asked me to pick the cake up from Safeway) but they were still decorating the place. The food wasn't even there yet. It was perfectly understandable because they rented the place for 1-5pm and they could only start fixing the place by 1pm. Tess also lacked manpower who could help her full-time. That's the thing here in Canada, inasmuch as your friends would want to lend a helping hand, they are restricted by their own situations din. We either have work, other appointments, some familial/household obligations, etc. Like me, I couldn't come early because I had to take a language exam at 10am. Juris couldn't come early too because they have a scheduled heater cleaning at home. Tess only had herself, her husband, and mother-in-law to fully rely on that day so it was really challenging. I am glad though that some of her other friends arrived earlier than us and they helped her arrange the place.

As expected, Mommy Tess went overboard haha! Super dami ng handa and echos. In fact, Juris' Caucasian husband was so shocked, saying that it was so extravagant. In Canadian standard, talagang bongga na ito. Juris' reply to her husband was: "This is how we Filipinos do parties."  Haha!

The place itself was super expensive na for $400/4-hours, if I remember correctly.


The food was overwhelming. Canadians typically serve pica-pica lang for children's parties. Filipinos have it all -- from appetizers, to main dishes, to desserts, to kung anik-anik pa.


Such a long table for the food.


And what's a Pinoy party without a lechon? But yeah, ganito lang ang lechon dito sa Vancouver. Roasted pork na Chinese style/tasting. It costs around $240-280 siguro.


Most of the party decorations were from Pinas. Tess and her family went home last October so they were able to hoard a lot from Divisoria.


So many goodie bags, souvenir items, and prizes. The kids were so delighted!


I am a "cake person" though I generally don't eat cakes (except for plain chocolate ones). Baby Marco had two cakes that day.


This one is nice. It's hard to find a nice-looking fondant cake here in Canada. Very pricey pa. I forgot to ask Tess where she got this.


This is the cake that we picked up from Safeway (a grocery/supermarket). It's worth $30. Ganito lang talaga ang mga normal cakes dito, mas maganda pa ang cake sa Pinas na nabibili sa panaderya sa kanto (objectively). I guess Tess bought this for dessert. The main cake wasn't sliced eh.


At around 2:30, the party hasn't started yet and the kids were getting hungry. It's good that they had green grapes, may nakain ang picky-eater son ko.


Nathan loved his party hat haha!


Feel na feel niya. Bata na talaga siya.


I am now enoying kiddie parties because of this little guy.


It was almost 3pm when the party began with a prayer. Marco's dad wasn't there yet because he went home to take a shower. Sobrang nangarag siguro. But people were starving na so kelangan ng magpakain.


Here's two of my many many plates. It was a total cheat day for me. Aside from rice, I ate a lot of pancit, spaghetti, and puto. Carbs overload talaga. I was super hungry din kasi, my last meal was just a sausage and egg mc muffin from McDonald's.


I really loved the lumpiang shanghai. I must have eaten 20 pieces, seriously. Carbs din ang lumpia wrapper kaloka. But I didn't mind. It was the first time since I was diagnosed with diabetes that I splurged on carbs. I felt that  I deserved it din because the language test that I have just taken that morning stressed me out the past week (I'll blog about it later).


I was expecting a lot of guests, given the size of the venue, but not so many came. It's really hard for all people to be free at the same time, especially here in Canada. Everybody's busy. December na rin kasi so maraming ibang events and parties. Yung ibang friends ni Tess ay humabol na lang yata sa bahay that night.


Nevertheless, we had so much fun. This little tikes inflatable bouncer was a perfect entertainer to the kids. It was lent by Tess' friend.

 

Super enjoy si Nathan. First time niya, lol. If only we have space, I would consider getting one kasi for sure masusulit sa bagets.


While eating, Tess started the "bring me contest." Nathan didn't want to participate at first but when I took him in front with me to bring the Philippine peso that was asked, ayun natuwa sa prize. Nagready na sa mga susunod pero hindi na kami nanalo uli haha.


It was Nathan's first time to join party games. Clueless talaga siya haha.


But he learned fast!


I am glad that he has overcome his anti-social behavior. Though still a bit shy and reserved, hindi na siya takot sa tao, especially to those who he sees often.

His favorite part of the party was the blowing of the cake's candle. He enthusiastically sang the happy birthday song for Marco.


Kuya Nathan and the birthday boy. Nathan sincerely cares for Marco and treats him like a little brother.


Mommy Juris, Mommy Tess, Mommy Ces. I am glad to have met and made friends with these two.


 After much eating, time for endless selfies!

My face looks so thin haha! Anggulo lang yan. I naturally have malapad face and even though I've lost a couple of pounds already, malaki pa rin talaga in person.


Juris took this photo. It is very rare that there's someone who can take our family picture. Medyo pangit lang ang lighting that day.


We stayed until the end. We helped in the clean-up. This is actually the most difficult part of throwing a party here, you'll be the one to clean the mess. Walang waiters or waitresses, walang helpers. Kaya mostly disposable ang gamit -- from utensils to table cloths, etc.


Buti na lang we didn't have to clean the floor and fold the tables. Yung centre na raw ang in-charge dun.


I felt sad when they started bursting the balloons. Nakakapanghinayang. Ang daming bata sa Pinas ang gustung-gusto ng lobo. Though I am now living in a land of plenty, where kids are very much privileged, I still can't help but think of my less-fortunate kababayans in the Philippines. Ewan ko ba.


We were able to bring home a lot of food, sobrang dami nga kasing natira kaya lahat kami sangkatutak ang uwi.

The boy was so happy with his loots. He particularly liked the McQueen plushie.


I loved the Goldfish crackers naman. Ang cute! Sakto, hindi nako bibili nito pambaon sa Pinas.


***************

Thank you for inviting us, Baby Marco! I am sure that this is just the first of your many birthday parties that we'll be attending! =)

Two Balikbayan Boxes: Check!

It's still a month before we go home to Pinas but we're already done (as of December 10) with the two balikbayan boxes that we'll be bringing there.

Since there's two of us who are flying (Nathan and me), we are allowed a total of 4 baggages of 23kgs each. I always use balikbayan boxes, kahit jologs haha, because they are lightweight and could contain big items that would not fit in a trolley luggage. The disadvantage though is that when you've already closed it, hassle ng buksan uli.

I actually promised myself that I won't be bringing any pasalubong this time pero hindi rin talaga maiwasan. Syempre masarap magbigay. Hindi lang ako makapag-all out because I am not working and solely dependent on my husband financially. Buti na lang he's a good man, wala namang reklamo haha.

We brought the boxes in the storage muna because our place is small and cramped already.

Actually, nanay ko lang naman ang immediate family ko na dapat pasalubungan. But she always tells me na wag ng bumili ng kahit ano. She's the most unmaterialistic person I know at talagang wala lang sa kanya yang mga yan. Enough na na umuwi kami (naks!). Kaya isang grilling pan at decaffeinated coffee lang ang uwi ko sa kanya haha. The rest of the boxes' contents are just small items for my tita, our kasambahay, our secretary, my cousins, my barkada (for exchange gift), and some kids (nephew, godchildren, children of employees, etc). Puro mga sale lang yan at good deals. Nothing big, really.

I also included sa box nga pala yung mga gifts na binigay samin na hindi naman namin magagamit. Bahala na kung kanino ibibigay.

I also anticipated yung mga children's parties na aattendan namin in 3 months that we'll be there so I also bought toys which were on sale. Grabe ang mahal ng branded toys sa Pinas eh, dito mura lang talaga kapag naka-sale.


Ayan, nakaka-excite na talaga! The two trolley luggages that we'll also be bringing will contain most of our personal stuff na lang like clothes, toiletries, shoes, and bags. I am glad tapos ng iempake ang 1/2 ng bagahe namin para less hassle this holiday. Ayaw kong mag-cram. I want to enjoy the remaining days that we'll be spending with Daddy Ford before Nathan and I go on a long vacation.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

#CessieEats 6

1. Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken. Ford and I rarely like the same food. Incompatible talaga kami. But this popcorn chicken of Yougo Chicken (Aberdeen Centre Foodcourt) is our mutual love. Lagi namin itong inoorder kasi ang sarap talaga, albeit medyo salty (kaya kailangan ng Diet coke).


2. Crispy Pata and Caldereta. After watching the Santa Claus Parade in downtown Vancouver last December 3, 2017, we went to Aling Ening Restaurant in Fraser Street to have late lunch. Aling Ening is a turo-turo restaurant. Wala ng gaanong food nung dumating kami kasi past 3pm na yata nun, wala na kami halos mapili. We ended up with one whole crispy pata (cooked na, ininit na lang) and caldereta. Masarap naman ang caldereta, sobrang konti nga lang. Ok din ang crispy pata kaso walang sauce na kasama. I just made my own by mixing soy sauce and vinegar. We paid $23.65 for these, including 2 cups of rice.


3. Taho. Halos katabi ng ng Aling Ening ang O! Taho so we bought na rin 2 liters of taho for take-home. We paid $12.

It's August pa since we last bought taho so talagang nasabik kami. Ang sarap! However, we realized na sobrang nakakataas pala ng sugar kaya dapat konting-konti lang per meal (na ang hirap gawin). My husband didn't eat the remaining taho that I left for him, natapon ko tuloy.


4. Fresh Slice Pizza. I know that I am not to eat pizza pero kapag wala na talaga akong makain for dinner at ayaw ko ng rice, I would end up buying a slice of all-meat pizza sa foodcourt ng Guildford Town Centre (the mall just across our place). I've tested my blood sugar level at hindi naman tumataas kapag one slice lang. Also, whenever I eat only this for dinner, bumababa ang weight ko kinabukasan haha.
5. Mother-and-Son's late Lunch. I was too lazy to cook lunch last Thursday (Dec. 7) so I brought Nathan to the foodcourt of Guildford. As usual, KFC fried chicken for him and 1 slice of pizza for me.


Too bad, sayang ito. My son only eats the chicken eh (ayaw niya ng fries ng KFC). Di ko naman makain kasi nga carbs ito. If only I could just order chicken, kaso meal yan eh.


6. Some greens, finally! We've been eating a lot of meat lately, di ko na talaga ma-take. I am getting old na talaga, di na ako ok sa puro karne. I only had pechay (bok choy) in the ref kaya I cooked nilagang pork neck bones. Tsk, karne pa rin.


7. La Meza Grill's Sisig. I have yet to find sisig here in BC that I like. Hindi ko masyadong type ang lasa nito eh, pero gusto naman ng asawa ko (sabi na eh, magkaiba kami ng gustong pagkain). Pero $9.95 lang ito (plus 5% tax and tip) kaya ok na rin na pamatid-craving.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Dad's Christmas Party 2017

Hello, hello! Sorry for the lack of posts this December. Sobrang naging busy lang the past days, ang daming ganap! Sana magkaroon ako ng time na makuwento lahat dito haha.

Anyway, let me start by posting about Daddy Ford's company Christmas party last December 7, 2017. I am not posting the party per se, kasi hindi ko naman business yun lol. Haha gusto ko lang ikuwento how bitter I was! HINDI KASI AKO NAKASAMA, waaah!

This was Ford's second Christmas party in that company and like last year, he went alone. This year, the party was held in a high-end steakhouse and cocktail bar in Downtown Vancouver. As usual, employees were asked to bring their respective spouses/partners. Sayang, chance ko na sanang maka-attend ng party. I've never been to any of my husband's work-related events (be it oath-taking, etc.) kasi natataong hindi kami magkasama pag may mga ganyan (we used to be in a very long LDR). Kaso nga this time na nandito ako at magkasama kami, we have no one to leave our son Nathan with naman. Ang hirap dito kasi kaming tatlo lang.

Hay, naging bitter talaga ako! Aside from the chance to eat a very expensive steak (I love steak!!!), opportunity na rin sana ito to dress up and mingle with adults. Ikaw ba naman makipagchika sa toddler 24/7, masasabik ka rin makakausap ng matatanda noh. Sayang nga lang kasi strictly adult-affair yung party, hindi puwedeng magsama ng bata. Bar nga rin kasi yun.

I am sure that next year, absent na naman ako. Four years old pa lang si Nathan by that time kaya hindi pa rin pwedeng iwan, unless bumisita samin ang in-laws ko.

I also felt bad for hubby, kasi dalawa lang daw sila na walang kasama. He works in an engineering consulting firm so most of the employees were males. Yung isa daw na walang kasama ay single at bata pa. Everyone asked him about his wife, sinasabi niya na lang na walang baby sitter.

Before he left, kinunan ko na lang siya ng pictures. I knew na hindi siya magte-take ng pictures during the party kaya ito na lang.


Haha, ID picture daw.


The attire was semi-formal. Semi-formal na ba ito? Nagulat daw siya kasi talagang mga naka-tie pa ang nagdi-dine in sa restaurant na yun. They were served with a 4-course meal saka on-the-house and wine. Too bad he couldn't drink because he has to drive pa.

He later asked me kung gusto ko raw ba kumain doon some other time, I uttered a loud "NO!" Sayang ang pera. I am not into high-end dining kasi. Mas nakaka-high sakin ang shopping haha!

He's lost a lot of weight na rin talaga =)

In fairness, before he left that night, iniwanan nya naman ako ng famous steak niya para steak din ang dinner ko. Ang sweet, di ba?


Ooops, here's his pang-exchange gift nga pala. Worth $20 raw.


Ang corny niya, gift card na lang daw ang bilhin. But I insisted that we buy (kasi gusto kong mag-gift wrap haha!).

We got something similar to this one. Admittedly, medyo under-valued yung gift haha. Kasi it was worth $15.99 lang. Original price was $24.99 but there was a $9-off coupon available ka naging mura. Tapos no-tax day pa that time sa Superstore kaya we were able to save an additional $3 pa. Sabi ko ke Ford hanap ka kami ng pang-dagdag kaso tinamad na. Kunwari raw nabili namin sa original price haha.
(Pic taken from net, credits to the owner)
Here's what he received naman. Kaloka, "malas" talaga kami sa exchange gifts. This is something that we couldn't use/consume eh. Nilagay ko na lang sa balikbayan box at ipamimigay sa Pinas.

Pic taken by Daddy Ford

Some thoughts, why can't people just choose tangible objects for gifts? House/kitchen items are always a safe choice. Kung hindi man type ng receiver, at least walang shelf life at pwedeng ipamigay later on. Mahirap kasing magbigay ng chocolates (and foods in general) kasi nga iba-iba ang preference ng mga tao (unless kilala mo talaga ha) at concerns. Katulad namin, very picky kami sa food tapos diabetic pa. Kung hindi kami uuwi sa Pinas next month, I wonder ko paano ko madi-dispose yang Godiva na yan.

I also do not like receiving toiletries (unless the brands that I use), for the same reason that we have different preferences when it comes to products that we use on our skin and body. Maikli lang din ang shelf life ng mga lotion, body wash, etc. kaya kailangan mai-dispose agad.