Mother-Daughter Bonding Night

Ever since the school year began, Trixi and I had been looking forward to the Mother-Daughter Bonding Night in her school. It’s finally here! We were both so excited to have this chance to be together, just the two of us.

Our first task was to put up our tent. Trixi chose a spot and she soon got started. Her friend Sabrina helped her set it up. For a while it looked like it was going to rain. But the skies cleared up and the weather was just perfect. The wind was cool and the stars were out.

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There were different activities lined up. There were talks given by other AA moms regarding their experiences. A movie about a mother’s love was shown after dinner. To go with the movie, there was free popcorn and hotdogs for everybody. We laid out a mat and sat on the soccer field to watch the movie.

That's our Plants vs. Zombies mat :-)

That’s our Plants vs. Zombies mat 🙂

It was the first time for both of us to sleep in a tent. It was quite cold at night. It felt so good to snuggle under our blanket.

The next day, we were made to go through different Bonding Stations. Each station had a different theme. Our first station was named “Playtime Memories”, where we played different childhood games like jackstones, pick-up-sticks, jump rope, and hula hoops. Next up was the “What If” Station. Both of us were given a set of questions to ask the other. It was a chance to ask questions which, ordinarily, might be difficult to ask.

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In the “This I Promise You” Station, we took turns writing down our promises to each other.

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The next station was the “Kodak Moment”. We had our picture taken by a professional photographer in the school garden.  After that, we went to the “Believe in Me” Station. In this station, the daughters were made to undergo different challenges while blindfolded. This represents the difficulties that may arise during adolescence.

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The mothers’ task was to guide the girls and make sure they reach the end safely. In life, we parents try to guide and protect our children as they navigate the world. I hope that my daughter realizes that she can trust us always.

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Our last station was “You Are Wonderful”. The introduction to the station said: “Because of the ‘busyness’ of our lives, we forget to pay attention to what is essential. We forget to say affirming words, to say words of encouragement or to give a pat on the back for a job well done. This station will give you an opportunity to look into what is beautiful and good in one another.” We were given 16 cut-out hearts where we wrote words of affirmation and pinned them to each other.

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I am really grateful that Trixi and I were given this wonderful opportunity. We had a great time doing things together. I hope that we continue to be open to each other, even as she grows older. May this only be the start of more bonding activities together.

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The Best Crispy Pata Indeed!

Crispy Pata is one dish our family enjoys. I don’t like cooking it at home so we only get to have it in restaurants. A couple of weeks ago, I came across an article listing the Top Ten Crispy Pata in Manila. Number One on the list was from Livestock Restaurant and Bar. It is located in Sgt. Esguerra Avenue in Quezon City. We don’t really frequent that area so when we had a meeting in the vicinity, we made sure to have our lunch in Livestock.

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Their menu was very big with pork being very prominent in all types of dishes – appetizers, salad, soup and entrees. We were surely getting the Crispy Pata. We added an order of Bacon and Clam Chowder for our soup.

Their Melt-in-Your-Mouth Crispy Pata was the best! Indeed, it deserves all the accolades that have been heaped upon it. The skin was almost-paper-thin and very light and crispy. I’ve never seen anything like it before. The meat was soft and juicy that you can slice it with a popsicle stick. The meat was also very tasty that you can eat it without the dipping sauce. Very yummy indeed!

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For dessert, we ordered Salted Chocolate Fondue. Marshmallows and slices of kiwi and bananas you can dip in melted chocolate seasoned with brandy and sea salt. I think it would have been better if the chocolate was a little thicker to coat the fruits and mallows. Otherwise, it was good enough.

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We all enjoyed our sumptuous meal. We will definitely be back for more!

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East Meets West For Lunch

You wouldn’t think that there would be a steak place in Ortigas Home Depot. Hai Chix and Steaks is located at the back of the complex. Alnette and I had lunch there once before and I wanted the family to try it too. We went there on a weekday for lunch and only one other table was occupied.

Upon entry, they will show you the way to the counter, behind which is the blackboard where they have the menu. You place your order at the counter then you will be led to your table. We figured we’d go with their specialty – the Hainanese Chicken Rice and the US Angus Ribeye.

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The chicken was very soft and tender, served with the usual trio of sweet soy sauce, ginger sauce and chili sauce. It is definitely one of the better versions available in the Philippines. The rice, though, was quite bland.

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The steak was not as good. It was flavorful alright but the meat was quite tough. The steak was served with rice. They did not have other side dishes on the menu. I think they should offer more choices for sides. Personally, I think rice doesn’t go very well with steak.

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For dessert, we ordered the salted caramel ice cream and the red velvet ice cream, both of which were good. I would have wanted my salted caramel ice cream to be thawed less next time.

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We noted that they offer breakfast also. There are lots of interesting choices there so we just might come back to try that.

Breakfast at IHOP

I love pancakes and bacon. But I can’t seem to find a restaurant that makes pancakes the way I like them – fluffy and light. So I try pancakes in different places. Today, we went to IHOP for breakfast. IHOP stands for “International House of Pancakes”. I thought that my search for good pancakes would be over.

We went to the UP Town Center branch on this papal visit holiday. The other establishments were closed but IHOP was open for business.

IMG_1948aThere were very few people when we arrived a little before 8:00 am. I had a hard time choosing what to order because everything looked delicious.

IMG_1949aI was tempted to go with their sandwiches, but I thought I’d try their specialty – pancakes.

IMG_1950aI ordered the Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity Combo. It was described as “two buttermilk pancakes crowned with whipped topping and topped with your choice of cool strawberry topping, warm blueberry or cinnamon apple compote, served with two eggs, two bacon strips and two pork sausage links”. It was a lot, but one egg would go to my daughter while the other egg and the sausage links would go to my husband.

It took a while for our food to be served. By then more people had arrived and the place was getting crowded. Well, maybe it was because the tables are placed quite closely together. While waiting, I noticed the syrup selection on the table.

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There are 4 bottles of syrup on each table – old fashioned, blueberry, butter pecan and strawberry. I tried the butter pecan but found it too “buttery” so I went with the old fashioned.

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The presentation was okay, although I would have liked the plate to be bigger. The pancakes were fluffy alright, but too flaky. They crumble easily. I was disappointed that my quest for good pancakes has not ended.

The other things that my family ordered were okay. The kids liked their crepe and waffles. Bacon and sausages were okay too. Coffee was refillable. Service today was poor, especially when more people started coming in.

I wasn’t too happy with my choice but I am willing to give IHOP another try. Maybe I’ll have the omelette next time.

Lunch Date at Chelsea Kitchen

There are so many new restaurants in the Mega Fashion Hall. Chelsea Kitchen is just one of them. It is located on the Ground Floor of the Mega Fashion Hall, very near the main entrance. My husband and I decided to try it out for lunch.

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We were informed that servings were usually good for two to three people so we decided to split our orders. We started with the CK Chicken Salad, which consisted of char-grilled Asian pesto chicken, peanut plum dressing, fresh basil, cilantro and mint, and Asian slaw. We were later told that the peanut plum dressing was not available, only the lemon vinaigrette. The vegetables were fresh and crisp. There was a fair amount of chicken mixed into it. The dressing was light and was served in a separate container. I prefer this method of serving as it enables you to adjust how much of the dressing you want on your salad.

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For our main course, we ordered the 4-Hour Cola Ribs. The ribs were tender and tasty. The sauce was flavorful and sweet. The serving size was enough for the two of us, but maybe not for two really hungry people.

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The dessert was my favorite part. They had a lot of dessert choices on the menu and still more on the cake display. We ordered the salted caramel artisanal cake. The cake was moist and soft. It is one of the best salted caramel cakes I have had! The sweetness was just right, not cloying at all.

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We enjoyed our meal at Chelsea Kitchen. Service was a little slow, considering that there were not too many diners at that time. But all in all, it was a pleasant experience for us. We made a note to come back, especially to try their other desserts.

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Welcoming the New Year

In the past, we used to schedule out of town trips between Christmas and New Year because those were the days when all of us were free. This year, however, we had some family obligations that prevented us from leaving. So we decided to check into a hotel in the Metro and stay in. We had a leisurely lunch, went around the mall for a while before checking in and played some Charades in the room.

Playing Charades

Playing Charades

We had a lot of fun just being together. We don’t get to do this very often – at least not as often as we would like. So I am very grateful that we had this opportunity. I cannot think of a better way to greet the New Year than having fun with my husband and our children.

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