"Blessed are the Mothers who love to fight life's battles bravely with a strong and steadfast faith in God,
for their children shall know where to find strength in time of need."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hip-Hop Day

It's Day 3 of my kid's Summer Program which was DANCE and MOVEMENT DAY - HIP-HOP!

Hip-hop dance refers to dance styles primarily performed to hip-hop music or that have evolved as part of hip-hop culture. It includes a wide range of styles notably breaking, locking, and popping which were created in the 1970s and made popular by dance crews in the United States. What distinguishes hip-hop dance from other forms of dance is that it is often freestyle (improvisational) in nature and hip-hop dance crews often engage in freestyle dance competitions.  Hip-hop dance can be a form of entertainment or a hobby. It can also be a lifestyle: a way to be active in physical fitness or competitive dance and a way to make a living by dancing professionally. -Wikipedia

They had a guest teacher, a hip-hop dancer currently studying in San Beda College.  Kyle and his group has joined and won many dance competitions. 

Teacher Kyle taught them the 4 basic steps of Hip-Hop
4 Steps were named as such so that the kids will easily remember them. 
1. Right-Left arm movements
2. Swim
3. Sway
4. Punch

Here's T. Kyle's video...

More pictures of the kids enjoying the dance class...

Belle with Kuya Kyle and Nicole dancing...

Sample of Breakdancing
And this was the ultimate moment... Moms and yayas joined in the fun too!
Ready, Set...
Up Up Clap!
Sway, Sway, Sway
We all had a wonderful time. Thanks Teacher Kyle!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kid's Summer Activities

The fun began last Tuesday, April17 at D' Center Optimal Group Inc.  Matt and Belle are currently enjoying the activities below which will last until May 12.

Day 1 : Getting to know each other.  
The kids enjoyed indoor and outdoor activities.  Most of the students are from Optimal but the fun part is their siblings and cousins also enrolled so they get to bond for several hours with very exciting activities! 

Caterpillar game

Day 2 :  Team Building and Free Play at Fun Ranch, Westgate Alabang
The pictures below just show how much fun they had that day. (Courtesy of T. Lanie)



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

From my Kitchen: Banana Bread

I've been wanting to make Banana bread since we always have ripe bananas (lacatan) at home.  I got time yesterday so I tried making some.  I am sharing the recipe I got from Chef Len Santos-Ding of Feed 5000.  She taught this very simple recipe to the kids (including my son Matt) enrolled in her cooking class just recently. The chopped walnuts was not originally included in her recipe, I just added it for texture.

Matt's banana bread
  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3 Ripe Bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/3 cup Heavy Cream (or All purpose cream)
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped Walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 2 loaf pans or 2 muffin tins.

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together eggs, cream and oil until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mash the banana and add sugar.
  4. Using a hand mixer or a whisk, whip together (2 & 3) until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add in the wet ingredients and whisk again.  (The students didn't use hand mixer, they only used hand mixing)
  5. Add the flour mixture (1/4 cup at a time) and mix together with a whisk or rubber spatula.  Add walnuts. Pour into the baking pan and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes (mine was already baked after 50 minutes) or until inserted wooden toothpick comes out clean.  Set aside to cool for an hour. (Bake 15-20 minutes if muffin tins are used.)
Freshly baked banana bread
I really recommend adding walnuts
Happy baking!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

1st Violin Lesson

I'm so excited when my little girl expressed her interest to take up violin lessons although I'm not surprised because it runs in our blood (father's side.)  My grandfather was a great sax player, my brother is a classical guitarist and some of my cousins play the piano, violin and sax.

Even if it's too far away from Alabang,  I am committing myself to drive her twice a week (for the next six weeks) to UP Diliman to attend Creative Music Appreciation class and Violin lessons. So far, she's very happy with the first session of both classes.

College of Music Bldg.
Very first lesson with Teacher Silke Hipolito
Playing the violin or any other musical instruments requires patience, discipline, hard work, perseverance, passion and love for music.  I want these qualities developed in Belle as I was not able to continue with my piano lessons when I was a child. I can read notes but I can say I am not really meant to be a pianist.

Here's a short video during her lesson (this is the very first time she played a real violin)

We all look forward to hear you play beautiful music in the near future, Belle!  Enjoy all the opportunities coming you way.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Red Velvet Cake

"A Red Velvet Cake (RVC) is very dramatic looking with its bright red color that is offset by a creamy white frosting.  If we look beyond the striking appearance of this Red Velvet Cake, we will find that it has a mild chocolate flavor with a moist and tender crumb. The mild chocolate flavor comes from adding a small amount of cocoa powder to the batter and buttermilk gives it a moist and tender crumb. Buttermilk has a nice thick creamy texture with a rich tangy buttery taste that makes baked goods tender. The type of frosting used on a Red Velvet Cake can vary but the most common is cream cheese frosting."

I can't count how many times I baked RVC. It has become an all-time favorite of family, relatives and friends who were able to taste this not so common and very intriguing cake. I'm not sure why famous bakeshops do not sell RVC.

1st RVC - Birthday cake for my father-in-law
I read that RVC is best topped with fresh fruits so I tried it with strawberries and kiwis.  It really tasted so yummy!

I sometimes fill it between layers...

Friends keep on requesting for more....

and more...

and more!

I even tried to decorate it for Valentine's day...

Here's the good news! I am seriously considering of accepting orders this summer (just in time for Mother's day.)  I just need to sit down and do some costing.  I will announce as soon as I'm ready!

*I would like to thank my good friend and fellow baking enthusiast Maidz for sharing her recipe with me.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

A Blessed Resurrection Sunday

Everyone needs compassion
Love that’s never failing
Let mercy fall on me
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Saviour
The hope of nations

He can move the mountains
For my God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender

Shine Your light and
Let the whole world see
We’re singing
For the glory of the risen King

We sang this song during worship earlier in church.  Indeed a powerful song which is just perfect for Easter Sunday.

Our Lord Jesus Christ has risen and has fulfilled the Father's will -- to offer His life and bear the sins of the world.  He deserve our worship, a gift of love, service and faithfulness not for a dead but for a living Saviour.   

Thank you Lord for saving me!  As the song says, 

So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Good Friday Message

We are quietly spending the Holy Week at home to just rest and spend time together as a family.  Some of our closest friends were here yesterday and there will be a family get-together tomorrow. It's the best time of the year to spend time with the most important people in our lives but more importantly, reflect on God's amazing love for us. 

Earlier today, we attended (we always do every year) the Good Friday service in Church.  Three of our pastors gave messages and I would like to share our senior pastor's sermon.

One of the seven last words mentioned by the Lord before he died on the cross can be  found on John 19:25-27 (NIV)

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. 

There are three lessons learned from the words of Jesus for John and Mary.

1. Personal pains should not cause us to neglect the welfare of our family.  
Let us remember that Jesus went through so much pain when he was tortured the previous night and when he was crucified but during this time he would like to ensure that Mary, his mother will be taken cared of when he's gone.  We are reminded to rise above our pains and it should not be an excuse to compromise the welfare of our family. The hierarchy of our priorities should be God, Family, Ministry then Others.  

2. Preserving the welfare of the family requires knowing the people who can be trusted with the life of family members. 
Out of the 11 trusted disciples (excluding Judas,) Jesus chose and commanded John to take care of Mary.  As parents, we should get involved in our children's choices of friends (even the ones who they will eventually marry.)  We might be very protective of our children but they will still end up making mistakes if they are with the wrong people. For the children,  listen to your parents, let them know who you are with for they know what is best for you.

3. Promoting the welfare of the family requires knowing how to prioritize our attention.
Jesus prioritized his mother, his family. We might have our careers, businesses, friends and other people to attend to but ALWAYS prioritize our husband or wife and children.  Never allow any of them to feel neglected. They deserve 100% of our attention especially during the time when they need us most.  Let them know how important they are to us.

Thank you Lord for the very timely message we heard today. I thank You for my family for they are the most important people in my life.  As a mother and wife, I pray that I will always be sensitive to their needs and that I may be able to serve them the best way I can, the way that would be pleasing to you. Amen.
Juanita Bynum

You did not wait for me to draw near to You,
but You clothed Yourself in frail humanity.
You did not wait for me to cry out to You,
but You let me hear Your voice calling me.

And I'm forever grateful, Lord, to You.
And I'm forever grateful for the cross.
And I'm forever grateful to You,
that You came to seek and save the lost.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Barbie Doll Cake

I just made my 3rd Barbie doll cake for the daughter of a friend from the office.  See my previous creations here.  It may be very time-consuming but really fulfilling to create something that will make a birthday celebrant happy on his or her special day.  

I was not able to take pictures while working on the cakes and cupcakes because I was rushing (again!) so I'll just post whatever pictures I have from my I-Phone.  The design of Barbie's dress was inspired by a picture I saw in the internet.  I fell in love with the pink skirt so I challenge myself to make my own version.

I baked 2 batches of my most requested moist chocolate cake with rich chocolate frosting.  I'm very pleased with my work this time! I think I am getting better! My fondant looks smoother compared to my previous cakes. 

Felt so good after sticking Barbie's body on the cake after hours of working on the fondant!

I can't wait to work on the details of the dress. I cut plenty of white and dark pink flowers and placed them in a line around the skirt. I just had to use my tiny white dragees to make it more elegant looking.  Do you agree?

The 5-layer skirt took me more than an hour (maybe 2) to complete
More flowers on her waist and shoulder straps. What a pretty face!
Can't resist making her a pearl bracelet too!
She's done!

Then a batch of red velvet cupcakes with whipped cream cheese frosting. I just bought some girly stuff cutters (dress, hat, shoe and bag) and thought they would perfectly match Barbie cake.  I made the toppers ahead of time.

Shades of pink toppers with silver and pink dragees
with the birthday celebrant's name AINA, she turned 9 today.
This picture was taken few minutes before they were picked up by the celebrant.  I was so excited to see the look on her face.  It took me 2 days to finish but I really enjoyed doing these!

As I always say, my creations (maybe gift or paid order) are all lovingly made and given away.  

I am getting a lot of inquiries from friends who would like to order for the kids' birthdays. I told them I won't commit and still have to schedule first. If I have the time and there won't be any conflict with my kid's activities, I will be very willing to make something special for their little ones.