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Food, Glorious Food!

Everyone seems to be cooking more during this pandemic, and I am no exception. I’ve been inspired to cook more times in the last 3 months than the entire year of 2019 😂. Some firsts for me to try were bibimbap and kimchi rice, and some pastas. I don’t always have the complete list of ingredients, so I like to improvise. I like to use left overs, and I get inspired to make dishes out of them.

I was inspired to make lasagna last week because my lasagna noodles were about to expire. I was going to use my newly purchased italian sausage along with my ground beef, but then I saw pepperoni in the freezer and mechado (beef stew in tomato sauce) in the fridge. I decided to chop them up and mix them in with the ground beef to make the meat sauce. It was a hit!

But my meat mixture was just enough for half the box of noodles, so there were some left. My mistake cooking the whole box! Anyway, I think the following night was taco night, and of course there were leftovers from that too. And so in the next few days, I looked up some recipes so that my cooked lasagna noodles wouldn’t go to waste. I decided to make lasagna roll ups! I made meat sauce using left over taco meat filling and tomato sauce. And then I filled the lasagna noodles with my improvised bechamel (left over from the lasagna), and vivo gourmet’s fresh, delicious pesto sauce before rolling them up. I placed the sauce in the bowl first, then the rolled up lasagna, then I put more pesto and cheese on top, and then baked it. It was pretty good!

Soft tacos, leftovers from taco night!
Yummy pesto and bechamel, before rolling the lasagna up 🙂
Pesto lasagna roll up on taco meat sauce 😋

To finish off all the left over noodles and use more of the yummy pesto, I made roll ups again. I filled the noodles with cheesier bechamel sauce and chunks of mozzarella, and placed the roll ups on pesto sauce. Everyone liked it too, but I think I’ll make it with slices of cooked chicken next time. If only I had leftover chicken! 😂

Before baking….
Baked! 😋

I really believe that we get creative when we are left in a tight spot. We have all experienced pay cuts, job cuts, halts in the business. So we have been more mindful to make do with what we have. We have been getting more creative, stretching our ingredients to make more meals, to stretch our budgets. Now more than ever, we reuse and recycle, to minimize waste. More and more people are growing their own food too.

Kangkong from our yard!

I salute every Filipino who has cried his/her eyes out and who has lost sleep over the effects of this pandemic, and yet has chosen to get up on his/her feet and keep moving forward! You create opportunities for yourself to help your family! I salute you for rolling with the punches, for being willing to sacrifice just a little bit more, to tighten your belts just a little bit longer. I salute you for making the most out of a terrible situation, even extending help to those in need while you are also in need. I salute you for smiling, laughing through all the uncertainty, and encouraging others to keep praying. I salute you for believing still that God is good, that He is in control, and He will save us from this crisis.

May the Lord bless us and sustain us, and may His peace that transcends all understanding guard our hearts from worry. And as we grow in creativity and resilience, may joy and gratitude in our hearts grow as well. ❤️

My Kids

Crowded House

16996417_1579581138723242_7172769815017688550_nOur older girls’ school, The Sycamore, held their very first Music and Arts Festival last week. It was entitled Crowded House. Featured were their art work, which were mostly paintings, and each grade level’s presentation. They said it was first a small idea that blossomed into a full production. I love how the school and their teachers encourage and cultivate the kids’ creativity, while teaching them important life skills.

It was held in Victory Alabang, and so it was not my kids’ first time to be on that stage. Danae and Noelle have danced there at least a couple of times before as part of the VBC praise dance team and for special numbers in church events, but what they did last week was a first for both of them. Though Danae has sung with a group of other kids there a few summers ago, and she sang Sunday Morning with her class last week, it was her first time to be a co-host. She actually surprised me when she told me that she volunteered to do it! She co-hosted with Sophia, her classmate, and Carlos, a 10th grader. Noelle, on the other hand, sang Moana’s How Far I’ll Go with her class and the 3rd grade class. They were only 7 (part of why we love The Sycamore is the student to teacher ratio), and each had a solo!

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the 5th graders with Sunday Morning 🙂

I am so proud of all the kids. The Festival showcased the talents of many young artists. The opening prayer that was done in interpretative dance, the song numbers, the poems, the original music, and the play. Not to mention all the preparation that went to making it all happen successfully — planning, props, logistics, script among other things. I think it’s safe to say everyone was blown away by the excellence of the 9th graders’ play, Touch Me Not. It was an adaptation of Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere. It was apparently their project for English and Filipino. The acting was so believable, while none of them had any theater background. My mom said they were all so good that they could probably put up a small theater company! The whole event was a success, and I am sure every parent was happy.

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the 9th graders’ Touch Me Not 🙂

I am most proud, of course, of my girls. Yes, they performed well, but more than that, they showed so much courage! I don’t think I was ever as brave or as confident as they are. I am no singer and you would never catch me singing in front of a crowd using my own microphone haha. Noelle did, with feelings and without any hint of shyness! I would probably be squirming and not smiling at all if that were me (yes, even now at my age haha). I am not a host either, but with a simple script I might be able to pull it off. However, I would never volunteer myself to do it hahaha. Danae was comfortable on stage and she spoke very well. Not only that. They enjoyed it! King’s genes at work, methinks. Definitely ten times better than their mother. Thank you Lord!

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the hosts Danae, Sophia, and Carlos 🙂

They both constantly practiced at home. They were determined to deliver a good performance, so we endured a loooooot of singing and monologuing the past few weeks…well, okay, that’s not entirely accurate. We have girls, so it’s been this way ever since haha. Just more so recently.

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the 2nd and 3rd graders with How Far I’ll Go 🙂

Some things we reminded them about….Commitment. We commit, we work our best, and we see it through to the end. Prayer. We can’t do it without Jesus. Nervousness. It keeps us on our toes, to rely not in our own ability, but on the grace of God. Worship. Everything we do for His glory and not our own is worship unto Him.

Congratulations Sycamore teachers and students! Congratulations Danae and Noelle! You make us proud. You make us grateful. May the Lord continue to direct you, mold you, and keep you in awe of His love and goodness. May you always seek to honor God in all you do. May you be good stewards of the talents and opportunities that God continually gifts you with!

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 1 Peter 4:10

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Family, FEATURED, Parenting, THE BRAINY BUNCH

OUR VERY OWN HOMESCHOOL ROOM!

We converted my brother’s old room into our very own homeschool room! We used purple (Danae’s favorite color), pink (Noelle’s favorite), and green for the walls, ceiling, drawers, and cabinets. We also already had a white and pink desk to begin with, so we needed colors that would go well with that. King and our handyman did the painting.

I originally planned to hang strips of fabric on the curtain rod to make a striped curtain, but since I bought the wrong kind, I braided them instead and used them for Danae & Noelle’s corner, where they can hang their art work. (Yes, we included Noelle even though she’s not being homeschooled yet.) I put old rubber mats on the floor so they have a place to read. Then I opted for a solid bright pink curtain.

I used pipe cleaners to shape my daughters’ names and colored paper as background, and put them in an old picture frame. I tied nylon string at the back so I could hang it on a nail that was already there. I just added stickers to cutify it even more.

These two movable drawer sets have been with us for more than 15 years, and they’ve been idle for more than 10 years. I was inspired to have them painted and used as book shelves, somewhat patterned after a long shelf I saw online, except that one was hanging on the wall. These serve as tables as well, and the drawers themselves could be used as storage. Everything on top, by the way, is not new. We’ve had them for years, and were mostly given. The globe is probably 20 years old.

I was able to put my old letter creations to good use here. Those digital-looking ones date as far back as year 2000. Others I’ve used for parties. The rest are new ones made from old paper. I did not buy anything for this, except those dragon fly stickers on either side. Danae, Noelle & my friend Jo helped me put them up. Danae also commented that the letters are for Noelle since she already knows her alphabet.

It’s been fun creating a space for our daughters that is conducive for learning, for reading, for being creative, and for having fun. Can’t wait to build more wonderful memories with King and my children in here. This is just the beginning! 🙂