Sunday, July 8, 2012

60 Things About My Mother

Friends of mine are always in awe of how youthful my Mom looks. What can I say? We're Asian. Asians age pretty well!  I'm not kidding. I still get carded, and I'm *ahem* 36 years old!

I cannot believe my Mom turned 60 on Saturday. She does not look a day over 40!

In honour of my Mom's 60th Birthday, we threw her a 60s themed birthday bash.  Family and friends gathered for fun, food, and laughs.  Au lieu of presents, she asked that donations be made for a charity back in her hometown in the Philippines. The money would go to feeding children in her hometown who have little to no food or money.

Yes, my friends. I'm part filipino, and filipinos do things BIG! We rented the hall, cooked up a feast, dressed up in 60s outfits, and even had a disco ball!

In keeping with the 'Eating a Rainbow' lifestyle Hubs, Little One and I have, I made sure there were LOTS of rainbow foods! Check out the fruit (and cucumber) arrangement I made!

Check out the groovy cake The Cake Lady made!  This is the coolest psychedelic, tie-dyed, VW van cake EVER!

I'm sorry, but I had to laugh. Check out the license plate at the back! Mom's initials "E.V.L." spell "EVIL"! Too funny!
My brothers, some aunts, a cousin, Dad and I pitched in to get Mom an iPad. She has wanted one for a while and I thought it would be nice to get her one. My brother, a teaser, asked me to tape a cotton make-up remover pad into the birthday card and write "Here's your EYE PAD. At least we made a donation (to the charity of her choice in the Philippines)!" Oh! We had her going for a while. It was pretty funny! I couldn't resist (I felt badly for her), so we gave her her iPad soon after! She was thrilled!

Here are 60 things about my mother:
  1. She's very youthful
  2. Her laughter is contagious
  3. She is very friendly
  4. She is a great cook, even though she claims otherwise
  5. She was very strict with us when we were kids, but is super lenient with her grandkids
  6. She loves the Beatles, the Bee Gees, and the Lettermen
  7. She desperately wanted an iPad, but kept calling it an iPod!
  8. She makes the best pancit (Filipino noodles)
  9. She is ADDICTED to Facebook
  10. She is obsessed with taking photos of her four amazing little grandchildren
  11. Her first grandchild was born on her wedding anniversary
  12. She hates being in the sun
  13. She doesn't like to swim
  14. She's got family photos all over her house (and I mean ALL OVER)!
  15. She's a neat freak
  16. Okay, maybe more like obsessive compulsive when it comes to the cleanliness of her house :)
  17. She loves onion rings
  18. She loves fish and chips, but it has to be British style fish and chips
  19. She has 'theme songs' for each of her grandchildren
  20. She has a bucket list
  21. She'll do anything for those she loves
  22. She stands up for what she believes in
  23. She's very stubborn
  24. She's really funny!
  25. Up until a few years ago, she didn't know what "Cut the cheese" meant :)
  26. She can crochet baby blankets
  27. She taught me how to crochet and latch hook
  28. She loves doing dishes by hand
  29. She hates scary movies
  30. She loves romantic comedies
  31. She loves grocery shopping
  32. Traveling is one of her passions
  33. She's extremely organized
  34. She loves her three kids very much
  35. She's married to her best friend
  36. I'm just kidding. I'm not going to make you read SIXTY things about  my Mom! I'll stop right here :)

Happy 60th Birthday, Mom! 
We love you very much!

{60s themed costumes from}

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Sunday, January 29, 2012


 Check out how tiny she was in that infant car seat!

Today we celebrated the anniversary of Little One's homecoming.  It may sound silly to most people, but when you're a parent of a preemie, every little miracle (like being able to finally take your baby home from the hospital) calls for celebration.

Three years ago today, we brought our little bundle of joy home to the Island.  After seventy days in the NICU, two weeks in the Level II Nursery, and a transfer to the biggest regional hospital closest to us, we were finally able to have our baby home with us and in our arms.

No NG tube, no CPAP, no leads, no ventilator, no incubator/isolette...nothing.
We were flown from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto to Sudbury, where Little One had to stay at the hospital for a few more days before we could take her home.

That was three years ago. 

This is now.
 Just to give you some perspective, Hubby pointed out that this cheese weighs just a little less than Little One did at birth. I think this was 800 g or so. Little One was 980 g. That's just over 2 lbs of butter (or in this case, cheese)!

Now Little One is a very busy, active, happy girl.
Time seems to have flown by at the blink of an eye.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Total Paranoia & Addicted to #PresidentsChoice

Hubby: So, you mean we wasted over $1000 on getting a new water purifying system installed in the house?

Me: No. We didn't waste money. You drink the tap water. I trust our tap water. I do! I know it's perfectly good for us to drink! I just feel even better if it's filtered even more.

Hubby wasn't too happy when I came home from the Superstore with a PC universal water filter system/jug and a pack of 5 filters. I had been on him about getting a new water filtration system in our house with UV filter, etc, etc, etc. We ended up getting the works done last year. Living on a farm, I wanted to spare no costs when it came to our drinking water. I was so happy and felt so secure in knowing that our drinking water was absolutely, positively safe to drink.

Then I bought a PC universal water filter system and filters! They were on sale and I had been wanting to get a [insert name of popular drinking water filtration pitchers] for a long time. A pack of 5 filters for $7.84 (on special) was a much greater deal than the "other" leading brand. I went with the PC brand. The price was much better and I love and trust PC products.

I do realize this whole thing with our drinking water is a bit excessive and is entirely psychological on my part, but I cannot help it. Hey, and if this makes me drink more water, then that's a good thing! Right? Yes, I have noticed that I've been drinking A LOT more water since I purchased it. I've been drinking more than a pitcher of water a day!

Maybe because she sees me drinking (and loving) the water from the new pitcher, Little One has been drinking more water too.

It looks so pretty too, no? Check out those sleek contours! It's aesthetically appealing, right?

Because I am a President's Choice fan, check out just one of my tea shelves in my "tea pantry"!

Among my favourites are the PC Chocolatey Mint Black Tea, PC Chai Tea, PC Green Tea, PC Rooibos Tea, PC Mulled Apple Herbal Tea, and PC Organics Jasmine Herbal Tea.

See? I told you I was addicted!

President's Choice really is worth switching supermarkets for!

Disclosure - This is not a paid/sponsored post. This time I'm just sharing how much a absolutely LOVE President's Choice products! All the opinions on this blog are  honest and my own.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Kid on the PTPA Blogaholics Block

We've got some exciting news brewing! One of the coolest things I wanted to share is that I am the newest member of the PTPA Blogaholics! {doing the happy dance}

Many of you are already familiar with PTPA. For those of you who aren't, let me give you a brief introduction. PTPA (Parent Tested Parent Approved) has parents (Yes, parents!) as their product testers. Real life parents test and evaluate products and give their honest opinions. That's how the products earn the PTPA seal of approval.

For me, doing research on what products are the best and the safest for my Little One is really important.  What I value the most is honest opinions from parents just like me. Let's face it. Parents know what's best for their kids. With PTPA, it's just like getting feedback on products from your best friends or from other parents at play group. Very cool.

Whenever you see the PTPA Winners Seal, you know it's a product you can trust for your family.

Want to browse the some of the PTPA Winners? Click here for the list of all the winners.
You can join their growing community of over 40,000 parents and test products too! Just head on over and register!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


We celebrated Chinese New Year with friends and family last night.

I hosted a Chinese New Year dinner at our house and we will definitely be hosting one every year. With Little One being Chinese-Caribbean-Spanish-Filipina-Scottish-English-Irish, I really wanted to teach her about her cultural background and for her to embrace each aspect of who she is.

Getting the veggies ready for my Chow Mein. Little One loves noodles (aka: "Noonuls")!
Garlic ribs! I was supposed to use pork ribs, but since we live on a beef farm, we had beef ribs on hand. That, and one of my friends doesn't eat pork, so I thought I'd make sure there was a meat dish that she could eat.
I have to admit that I had the help of VH for our New Year's celebration. The ribs were made with VH Garlic Rib Sauce.
Check out the awesome spread! I made four dishes (sweet and sour pork, garlic ribs, chow mein, and Hoisin Garlic pork, plus steamed rice).
Guests also brought Chinese New Year-inspired dishes. Among them were sesame dumplings, soup, pot stickers, fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, and homemade fortune cookies!!!

Can you believe it?! HOMEMADE FORTUNE COOKIES, people!!! I was totally blown away! My friend said she just went on YouTube, found a video recipe, and made this with her 3 year old! She made two batches. One regular and one gluten-free!
 Apparently, I'm going to live a long and happy life.

Hubby's favourite dish of the evening: Hoisin Garlic Pork...also with the help of VH!
Artwork and decorations were made by my lovely and talented friend.
Happy New Year, everyone! May the luck of the Dragon grace you all this year!

Disclosure - We were given an assortment of VH products to help celebrate Chinese New Year. All the opinions on this blog are honest and my own.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

#TimHortons - I Love You, but I'm SO Disappointed

Driving home from Guelph (where Hubby was speaking at the Beef Symposium at U of G), I was really looking forward to stopping at Tim Hortons. We were six hours into our drive back home and Hubby asked which location I wanted to stop at.

I wanted to go to the one just off the highway on our way into Espanola. I really like that location. There's a lot of parking space, everything is fresh and tasty, and I can always expect the same friendly service each time I go there.

Not this time.
Hubby stayed in the vehicle, since our 3 year old was sleeping. It was just after 11:30PM. I went in to get us some beverages to keep us awake for the r  emainder of our drive home.  The place was empty. There was just one other customer apart from me.

I stood at the counter, ready to order. I was really looking forward to our beverages! I waited....and waited...and waited. The woman behind the counter was standing at the cash right in front of me! I smiled, cheerfully said hello, and took out my wallet. Still nothing!

No acknowledgment of my presence, no hello, no "How can I help you?"...NOTHING!

I stood there in disbelief. Is she really ignoring me? Does she not realize there is a paying customer standing at the cash? Hello!?!?!

No. She didn't even serve me or speak to me. It's not like she was incredibly busy. There was only one man sitting at a table and waiting for her to make his sandwich! She surely could have at least taken my order.

She turned her back to me and proceeded to do something else.

Fine. I loudly zipped my wallet shut and stormed out.  I did entertain the thought of saying something, but was too worked up and knew that I may not handle it so well if I did say something. No. I'd just fill out a comment card, stating my disappointment. Okay, initially, it wasn't disappointment. It was sheer anger.

I do know that this is not indicative of all Tim Hortons locations and I did mention that this is the one we frequent most often. Will I stop going to this particular location? No. However, I do hope that this is just an isolated incident. I hope I was just the only one this Tim Hortons employee disregarded and ignored.
  Photo via Google Images

A paying customer! I am in shock and am completely stupefied! I understand that maybe she had something on her mind. Perhaps she was  having a bad day. It was pretty late, but they have late hours of operation. Who knows? But, to send a paying customer storming out the door without even ordering? No, you're not going to lose business, but I do hope staff is trained how to work with the public. This was totally uncalled for.

Hubby knew when he saw me storming out the door, that he wasn't going to get his coffee. On the 74 minute drive home to the Island, thoughts reeled through my mind.  "I HOPE this was being videotaped and that her manager saw how terribly her service/performance was!" and "That was the rudest thing that has EVER happened to me!"

Bottom line: I still like Tim Hortons and I will likely continue to frequent that location. I just hope this is dealt with and that the manager makes sure that employees treat their customers the proper way. I can't even say that the service was horrible, because there was no service!!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Celebrating Chinese New Year with VH Sauces

I am sad to admit that though I am part Chinese, I know very little about my heritage. Growing up in Quebec, my parents chose for us to focus on French and not Chinese or Tagalog (my Dad is Chinese and my Mom is Filipina).

We sort of celebrated Chinese New Year, but we didn't really know much about it. Not knowing the language, the history, or anything about our background left me feeling a disconnect from my culture. Now that I am older, I'm saddened by this.

This is why I want to celebrate the Lunar New Year. I want Little One to appreciate, embrace, and learn about her Chinese background - even though she's Scottish-Irish-English-Filipina-Spanish-Caribbean-Chinese (in other words, "Canadian"!), I would love for her to be in touch with that part of her.

On January 23rd, we are ushering the Year of the Dragon with a Chinese New Year dinner. I am so excited that we are celebrating the Year of the Dragon. The Dragon is supposed to signify power, luck, success, and happiness! What better way to celebrate than by sharing a meal with friends and family?

VH is playing a key role in our celebration this year.

We were sent VH sauces to help in the creation of our festive meal. We received VH Garlic Hoisin Stir-Fry Sauce, Sweet & Sour Stir-Fry Sauce, and  Medium Garlic Rib Sauce.  

I'm really excited about preparing our meal, but won't share what's on the menu yet! You'll have to find out about it after our New Year's celebration on Monday! I promise to include recipes and photos of the festivities!

In the meantime, here is one of the many recipes VH is sharing with you. I hope it inspires you to create dishes for your family that include a little Asian flare and a touch of the Orient with the use of their Sweet & Sour sauce.

Exposing children's taste buds to a variety of different ingredients and tastes is a good thing! Get them to try new flavours like a touch of ginger or something tangy or with garlic! Exploring a wide range of tastes may keep things interesting at the dinner table and maybe even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy their meal once they smell how aromatic everything is! Plus, sampling new foods is a great way to introduce kids to different cultures and teach them about the world around them. After all, food is a universal subject! Everyone enjoys talking about food!

Chicken stuffed with Broccoli and Goat Cheese

Serves 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
½ cup (125 mL) plain goat cheese (cream cheese can also be used)
2 cups (500 mL) frozen broccoli florets
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
1 bottle VH Sweet & Sour Sauce

1.       Place 1 chicken breast between 2 large pieces of plastic wrap, carefully pound chicken breast with the flat side of a meat tenderizer or rolling pin. Flatten breast to a 1/4 inch thickness, taking care not to tear the chicken. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts.
2.       Place broccoli in a small glass and add just enough water to cover the florets, microwave for 4 minutes. Drain and chop finely. Stir warm broccoli into goat cheese until well combined.
3.       Place ¼ of the cheese mixture at the base of the first piece of chicken, carefully roll the meat over the cheese, tucking in the sides to enclose the cheese. Use 2-3 toothpicks to secure. Repeat with remaining 3 breasts.
4.       In a large sauté pan heat oil over medium-high, brown chicken on all sides, about 7 minutes. Add VH Sweet & Sour Sauce to the pan along with ¼ cup (60 mL) water. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes.
5.       Slice chicken and serve with sauce poured over top.

Tips: For a cheesier version stir ¼ cup (60 mL) finely diced cheddar cheese into the broccoli and goat cheese mixture before stuffing. Also, for ease of preparation veal scallopini or store bought tenderized chicken can be used.
 For some Chinese New Year inspired recipes to try at home with your family, check out the VH Facebook page here!

Disclosure - We received an assortment of VH Sauces to facilitate this post. All the opinions on this blog are honest and my own.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's Official! #FisherPriceMoms

I'm a Fisher-Price Mom!

Is it wrong to get so excited over a fantastic new blog button?  I hope not, because I am excited! I get to learn more about the Fisher-Price company and its products, as well as share lots of exciting things with readers! For example, did you know that Fisher-Price has a Play & Learn section on their site that offers lots of activities for your kids (that you can do as a family) and they've even sorted them for each age group? Yes, all the activities are age appropriate for your child/children!
Not only that! You can follow along with the rest of the Fisher-Price Moms on their blogs. This is a group of fabulous writers/mothers/ladies! Meet the original Fisher-Price Moms (Lisa, Lena, Tammi, Jen, Ilissa, Danielle, Caroline, and Nadia) on the Fisher-Price site here.

This year, some  new additions were included to this dynamic bunch! Want to get to know them? Check them out!

Christine (me!)