Sunday, July 25, 2010

Snack Attack!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of ampm. All opinions are 100% mine.

Without a doubt, breastfeeding is best for babies.

What doesn't always get mentioned is that breastfeeding is a very good weight-loss tool for the mommies too. I've blogged about losing 40+ lbs since I gave birth (and only 20 lbs of that is pregnancy weight) even though I eat like a pig all the time. While I have not lost any weight in the last two weeks, I'm very happy to not have gained any weight at all so I'm happy.

I mentioned that I eat a lot, right ? You see, I find myself ravenous a lot of the time and craving a lot of different things. Sometimes, it's something healthy like green veggies or fruits, sometimes, I find myself looking for sweets and other times, I just can't get enough meat.

And during those meat-eating phases, nothing satisfies the cravings better than a huge chunk of meat in ampm's Towering Inferno as offered in their secret menu tab on Facebook. Hubby has the same favorite but he likes it without the sauce as he is not a fan of spicy foods.

Check out that page and let me know which one is or could easily be your favorite, don't forget to go back on 7/26, 8/2, 8/9, 8/16, 8/30 to check out the new yums that are coming out on those dates.

And make sure to not miss coming back on 8/2 because you get to make your own concoctions! I know I won't miss it :)

As for me, I can't wait. Thankfully, ampm is just around the corner, about two miles from where we live.

Visit my sponsor: ampm Secret Menu Items

Coupon stories

Seems like I'm taking my couponing activities a lot more seriously than I thought.

The highlight of my day yesterday was when we went to the grocery store to get baby food. On the way to the baby aisle, hubby made a detour and found Chips Ahoy cookies on sale for $2 each, he bought a dozen of them.

We then went to the baby aisle, as planned, to get some jars of baby food which were on sale. We paid for our purchase and left. I knew that there was something off but I couldn't put a finger on it. We then went to the gas station to have our gas tank filled.

When we got to the station, I took out my my bag and saw some coupons I had tucked into the side pocket. Ayun! It hit me. I had picked up a mailer from this supermarket that my neighbor had discarded at the lobby and it had four $5 off a $30 purchase coupons - one for each week in July. We do not usually buy from this grocery nor were we planning to buy $30 worth of items so the $5 coupon wasn't really on my mind. It just so happened that we purchased .. okay, panic-bought... a lot of cookies and I had picked up some baby food jars that weren't on sale but were mixed in with the variety that was on sale. Add that all up and we were at $32 and change.

I wanted to turn back and try and get the $5 back from customer service. Hubby, on the other hand, was feeling so-so. He was okay if I wanted to go back, he was okay if we just gave the $5 up and just went home - it was my decision, he said.

Good sense won out and we went back. I explained the situation to customer service and the guy refunded me the $5 with no questions asked. I was happy, I felt that I was able to transform what would otherwise have been junk / trash into $. Diba?

Today, I had another couponing-deal experience. We wanted to get Swe-Cha a toy that moves around and has sounds so we went to Toys R Us to go and get one. It used to be that the local TRU in our area accepts Babies R Us and competitors' coupons, then they changed the rules and they still accepted coupons but only applied them to baby items.

Anyway, we found a suitable toy and tried to pay for it. That was when I found out that they do not accept any coupons anymore. It was only $15 anyway so I shrugged and paid for the purchase.

Then, we proceeded to Babies R Us next door, I needed to stock up on Lansinoh milk bags again. On a whim, we passed by the toys section (they have a few shelves with toys, smaller selection compared to TRU) and we found the exact same toy that we just purchased.

Seems like today is my lucky day too. So I took the toy, handed the cashier a $5 off $15 purchase coupon and happily returned the previously purchased toy next door.

Happy happy, joy joy.


This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hiltons of Branson. All opinions are 100% mine.

It seems like ages since hubby and I have gone on a vacation. The last trip we went to was in December 2008 where we went to California to spend Christmas with our family. It wasn't exactly an entertainment / leisure trip as we did not have any chance to go out by ourselves nor did we have any non-family-related-agenda. It was a purely spend-time-with-family trip.

Prior to that, hubby and I have only taken a few trips on our own. Once to Singapore and a few times to Boston - back when we were planning to move and needed to scout some areas where we can relocate.

However, we now have a baby to consider. With a baby in tow, it might be so easy for us to go on vacations. We should always make sure that there are adequate facilities, hotels are especially important too as we have to make sure that we'll be comfortable in our rooms at night. With that in mind, it might be time to visit my cousin and his wife in Missouri, we could always stay at the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel or the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing so that we don't have to put any of them out. We could go have a picnic at the Lake Taneycomo area during the day and if we're able to get a sitter at night, we can also catch a show at the Theatre District. Mommy (me) could also have some retain therapy at the nearby Tanger Outlet Mall.

Now, I wonder how I can tempt hubby with a vacation ? *smile*

Visit my sponsor: Experience the Summer Spectacular in Branson!

Swe-Cha and his milky

Several bags of breast milk picked up by Dr R this afternoon *whew*, this gave us some wiggle room in our freezer - which, hopefully, should give us a few more days' storage. I bagged (into ZipLoc gallon bags) the loose milkbags that I've stashed all over our regular freezer because the deep freezer was already full and I've filled up two more gallon bags. Somehow, I'm thinking that we should've given Dr R more - hubby tried to foist two more gallon bags off her but she didn't bring enough coolers to transport the milk. I'm sure she regretted not having more cooler room too.

Anyhow, I'm tallying up my son's feeding record for yesterday and his results bother me a little. He seems to have lost his appetite these past few days and his milk intake is down to 20 oz / day. Considering that his daily average is usually in the 25oz level and that on good days (growth spurts, maybe ?) he's been known to take as much as 36 oz and he gets 20 oz on his bad days, these few days are on the low side.

It's so frustrating for me to have all this milk and yet, my son is seemingly on a diet. I'm not complaining about the abundance - because I do get to share this with friends and I love being able to do that - but I'd love it if my son would drink a bit more. Thankfully, even with his meager appetite (especially compared to a friend's baby who drinks an average of 40 oz / day when she was Swe-cha's age), he does not look malnourished and while he does not look obese or siksik, he does have the requesite infant chubbiness.

Anak, what does mommy have to do ?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

On demand

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Charter. All opinions are 100% mine.

Having a 7-month old in the house and following TV shows does not mesh well together. For starters, a baby has his own schedule - feedings, naps, playtime - and your shows have their time schedule as well.

Then, it also does not help that my baby would occasionally throw a kink in my plans by wanting to nap/feed/play during the most exciting part of my show. What else is left for a Mommy to do ? Obviously, mommy has to let go of her TV and focus on her baby.

Thankfully, I still get to follow some of my shows during my 'me-time' (i.e. this is when Daddy takes over baby duties and I get an hour or two of me-time to recharge), thanks to the shows that are available via on-demand - check out the On Demand home page for a detailed list and description of the shows or You will ‘Like’ their Facebook page as well. This is also the only way I am able to catch up on movies that I've missed over the years, I'm so looking forward to seeing Avatar, Percy Jackson, Inglorious Basterds and Astroboy ;)

I'm thinking that I better get my fix of shows now while I still can, pretty soon, my son will be old enough to be watching TVs and for sure, he'll be competing with me for the TV so that he can watch his kiddie shows and cartoons on Nickolodeon.

Visit my sponsor: Charter On Demand goes WAY beyond movies

50 Random Questions

This is such an old tag from Mandy,... sorry for the late post but better late than never :)

1. What time did you get up this morning?

Which time ? My baby still does not sleep through the night so I woke up at 2:30a for a feeding, at 4am to pump breastmilk, at 5:30a to soothe a fussy baby and again at 8:30 am to my son's happy "ma ma ma ma ma".

2. How do you like your steak?


3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

I have not been to the cinema in years :( I don't even remember what movie I saw the last time.

4. What is your favorite TV show?

Nowadays, TV is a luxury. If I have time, I like to follow So You Think You Can Dance. Otherwise, Judge Judy entertains me - it's short, quick, goes straight to the point and if I don't get to finish it because I have to attend to my baby, it does not really matter to me.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

If the stars were aligned and all considerations became ideal, then I'd love to live in Manila.

6. What did you have for breakfast?

Granola bar.

7. What is your favorite cuisine?

I love Japanese cuisine - especially sashimi.

8. What foods do you dislike?

I don't like wet and slimy chicken. For example, tinolang manok or adobong manok where the chicken skin is still intact.

9. Favorite place to eat?

McDonald's (can't get enough of their sweet tea, chicken nuggets and Angus burgers) and Moe's (triple lindy pulled pork with guacamole).

10. Favorite dressing?

I used to always go for the caesar dressing but I am a recent convert to Asian dressing (citrus and sesame).

11. What kind of vehicle do you drive?

Subaru Tribeca, Subaru Impreza

12. What are your favorite clothes?

These pants that I got from Habagat (I love how the cool the fabric feels on my skin) & a baby tee.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?

Greece, Japan, Venice

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?

Half full

15. Where would you want to retire?

Manila, manila!

16. Favorite time of day?

Evenings just after we give our son a bath and before I go to bed, this is my "me" time where I get to take care of myself - shower, groom myself, etc - while hubby takes over baby duties and gets the baby to sleep.

17. Where were you born?


18. What is your favorite sport to watch?

Not really interested in sports, but I do love to watch speed-skating (go Ohno!) during the Winter Olympics.

19. Who do you think will not tag you back?


20. Person you expect to tag you back first?


21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?


22. Birdwatcher?

Only when they land on my balcony, I like watching squirrels from my balcony door too.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?

Night person.

24. Do you have any pets?

Used to have a gold fish till it died while I was away on a business trip and my family flushed it down the toilet and tried to convince me that the replacement they bought was the same fish I had for years - lumaki lang at biglang naging dalawa, haha!

25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share?

My son just turned 7 months old, yay!

26. What did you want to be when you were little?

A programmer, I used to call it a "computer scientist" back when I was small.

27. What is your best childhood memory?

Going for fried rice with my Dad - he used to reward me with fried rice (my favorite) if I get top honors in class. Ang cheap ko, no ?

28. Are you a cat or dog person?


29. Are you married?


30. Always wear your seat belt?


31. Been in a car accident?

Yes, I accidentally hit the car in front of me on my way to the gym one morning. Traffic was heavy and I was trying to eat my cereal.

32. Any pet peeves?

People who always like to top others (ayaw magpatalo). Like if you're buying a new item, meron rin siya soon after (or uunahan ka w/ the purchase). Or if someone compliments your child na gwapo, kelangan ring makisingit na 'mas gwapo anak / apo / pamangkin' nya.

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings?

Sausage, mushroom, bacon, spinach on alfredo sauce.

34. Favorite Flower?

Pretty much anything, really.

35. Favorite ice cream?

Anything coffee-based.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?


37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test?


38. From whom did you get your last email?

a high school friend

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?

I would never max out my credit card - probably not even to save my life. =)

40. Done anything spontaneous lately?


41. Like your job?

Not at first, but I'm loving it now - I'm currently in between jobs and I'm a SAHM.

42. Broccoli?


43. What was your favorite vacation?

I always loved going back to Manila.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?

My husband and son.

45. What are you listening to right now?

A Baby Einstein video

46. What is your favorite color?


47. How many tattoos do you have?


48. How many are you tagging for this quiz?

None for now

49. What time did you finish this quiz?


50. Coffee drinker?

Occasionally, because I breastfeed and when I do give in to the urge, I usually go for cold coffee drinks nowadays - fraps, iced coffees, iced lattes. Afterwards, I used pump & dump but one of the mommies who I donate breastmilk to asked me to keep the milk for her baby anyway and just mark the bag so she'll know if my coffee drink affected her baby.


This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of CryoCell International. All opinions are 100% mine.

Less than a year ago, hubby and I were in a dilemna - to bank or not to bank our son's cord blood ? We eventually decided on banking his cord blood because after all, we realized that cord blood banking was like getting an insurance policy - you want to have it in case you have need of it in the future but would rather not be in that situation of needing it anyway. What helped us eventually decide towards banking our son's cord blood is Cryo-cell's promotion at that time. The discount and incentives available at that time were such that it almost became a no-brainer to go ahead and enroll.

I am glad to hear and share cryo-cell's new promotion with you. Enroll Today and Cryo-cell now offers, for a limited time, a free baby Jogger City Mini to new enrollees. I tell ya, if I were offered a baby jogger city mini a few months back ? It would've made our decision making process even easier. A baby jogger is something I'd always wanted - I'm concerned about not being able to get rid of the pregnancy weight - but wouldn't want to splurge on, considering how much raising a child costs nowadays. But getting it for free ? Now, that gets a gold star in my book.

The info I received says that this offer is good till 6/30/2010, but try calling up Cryo-cell at 800-STOR-CEL today and inquire. Who knows ? These might still be available.

Visit my sponsor: Protect Baby, Protect Mom

Monday, July 19, 2010

Milk Stash - July 2010

It has been five months since I last posted a picture of my milk stash (click to see previous stash). Since then, I've moved the frozen breastmilk to a separate deep freezer - a 5 cu. ft freezer that we specifically bought to keep the milk.

The milk was filling up our freezer and we were running out of space for our food. Besides, I didn't really relish the idea of mixing the milk with the raw meat we keep in the freezer even though the milk is separately bagged in Ziploc gallon bags.

So how do I organize Swe-cha's frozen milk stash ?

1. We start off with 6 oz of milk for each bag. I normally use Lansinoh milk bags, they're the cheapest that I am able to find at $12.99 / 50 pcs from Babies R Us (but can use a 20% off coupon) or $10.99 at Walmart. Recently, I came across some Gerber Seal N Go bags that were on clearance at a local supermarket and needless to say, I cleaned out their shelves. Unfortunately, there were only 5 boxes left.

2. Each 6 oz Lansinoh or Gerber bag then goes into the regular freezer and is laid down flat to freezer. These bags get labeled with the date and the time when the milk was expressed.

3. When frozen, the milk bag then goes to a Ziploc gallon freezer bag, each gallon bag has 9 milk bags (with 6 oz milk each). Each freezer bag is then numbered. It's easier to keep track of numbered bags, compared to dated ones.

4. I keep a small notebook / memo pad with a list of the numbered bags and the dates of milk that each bag contains. I also have a column where I indicate where each bag went.

So far, I have been fortunate enough to have ample milk supply for my son to have fresh milk every day. I freeze the excess milk that I am able to pump and freeze it for the future. When my deep freezer gets full, I give the milk away and I mark these on my notebook - who got the milk and when they got it.

So far, I'm up to freezer bag #66, the first 24 of which have already been given away. As you can see, the freezer is filled up again, time to call for milk pickup :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Stir Fried Chicken with Pineapple and Peppers

This is a quick and easy to prepare recipe that I found on The only deviation that I made from the recipe is that I used regular vinegar instead of white wine vinegar and I did not put any almonds in.

This turned out so good and so easy to prepare that I have made this dish twice in the past two weeks already.

1/4 cup reduced-salt soy sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin (sweetened Asian wine)
1 teaspoon grated ginger root
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons oil, preferably sesame oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in 1-inch pieces
6 large green onions, cut in 1-inch pieces
2 cups fresh or frozen pepper strips
1 (20 ounce) can chunk pineapple in juice
1/4 cup sliced almonds (optional)

Combine first six ingredients; stir well.
Heat oil in a large skillet and stir-fry chicken until brown and done, about 5 minutes. Remove. Add green onions, peppers and pineapple to the skillet; heat through. Pour in sauce and stir until thickened. Return chicken to skillet; heat through. Serve with brown rice; top with optional almonds.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Teaching Career ?

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of USC. All opinions are 100% mine.

While checking out friends' profiles and updated status messages in Facebook, I noticed that one friend mentioned going back to school and that got me thinking about going back to school again to pursue a graduate degree.

If I am not mistaken, my friend has enrolled herself in a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from an internationally renowned research institution with a 100-year history of educating teachers to be agents of change. When asked, she told me that it all started when she accidentally came across some program information from the USC Trojan Family. When she combined the benefits of enrolling in an online course (you make your own schedule and no travel/commuting overhead) with the facts that USC Trojan Family's tuition reimbursement program, and that the new technology video makes the program highly interactive ... well, she just couldn't resist.

If all goes well, she should be able to complete the accelerated program little as 12 months! Fancy that, a new degree to jump start a new and promising teaching career - and all achieved from the comfort of your own home! How cool is that ?

This has definitely gotten me thinking about my own opportunities for graduate studies. Can I ? Should I ? If I could just somehow arrange my days to free up a couple of hours every day, I'm sure I could enroll myself into an online course too and in about a year's time, be on my way to a brand-spanking-new job :) What do you think ?

Visit my sponsor: Master of Arts in Teaching degree online from USC

Chicken in Peanut Sauce

It's been a while since I tried out new recipes and I claim the "new mommy" excuse for that. We recently had a new addition to the family, a baby boy, and our time has been taken up by our baby and we've decided to stick to the more familiar dishes in the meantime as they are easier and faster to make (because we have them often).

This meal was supposed to be chicken but I wanted something different as I was already getting tired of lemon chicken and fried chicken cutlets. I set out for a recipe and dropped by my favorite food blog - - and found this recipe for chicken in spicy peanut butter sauce.

Now, I do believe that I may have strayed far away from the original recipe as I had to substitute white vinegar for rice wine vinegar and I eliminated the chili as hubby isn't really fond of spicy foods. I also don't have access to Lily's peanut butter described in the recipe and I had to substitute Skippy's Chunky Peanut butter (we still have 2 huge jars that we got from Costco). Lastly, I also have to confess that where it says "season to taste", I didn't really have an idea of what it was supposed to taste like so I just seasoned till it tasted okay to me.

With that, here is my version (I halved the amounts, except for the peanut butter):
5 skinless boneless chicken thighs
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
1 tbsp of grated ginger (couldn't slice my ginger as it was still frozen)
2 tbsps. of light soy sauce (I used Kikkoman)
2 tbsps. of white vinegar
about 1/4 c. of sweetened peanut butter (I went overboard with the peanut butter because I wanted to finish the jar)
patis (fish sauce), to taste
cracked black pepper
finely sliced onion leaves, to garnish

- Brown the chicken pieces in a pan.
- Add the garlic, onion, ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce and vinegar
- Boil and let simmer till chicken is cooked
- seasoned with fish sauce to taste, added pepper
- add the peanut butter and mix till sauce is thick
- garnish with green onions and serve

Verdict: Hubby says that this turned out not-bad - "pwede na" was his term - but it didn't have the wow factor. He also wasn't sure about wanting to bring this for his lunch tomorrow to the office.

As for me, I agree with the "not-bad" or "pwede na" verdict at first and was a bit iffy because I am used to having peanut butter with bread but not with rice. Later, I realized that it tastes better and better with every bite and I even had a second serving. Ayaw ni hubby, akin na lang to bukas.

--- edit ---
had the leftovers for lunch today, it was way yummier than I thought it was last night. Masarap rin pala! Mauulit to.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Easy gifts

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of FriendGiftr. All opinions are 100% mine.

My nephew's birthday has come and gone and I have not yet gotten him anything to commemorate his special day. I've been claiming my baby as an excuse - can't go out to buy gifts because I'm busy taking care of Swe-cha - and frankly, though the excuse is true, it is getting quite old.

My original plan was to get something which I can send through my parents who are here visiting for a couple of weeks. They can bring my gift to my nephew as they will be dropping by sister's place before they leave for Manila. Not surprisingly, it's been a few weeks and I have not been able to drop by Toys R Us for a look-see. Nor do I have any idea what 10 year olds like nowadays. The only thing I know my nephew likes are Nerf guns and I do not think that toy guns are something Mom and Dad would love to hand-carry through airport security (they do not have check-in luggages).

With a little bit of reluctance, I decided to resort to FriendGiftr and just purchased a gift card. As much as I would love choosing a gift for my nephew, I simply do not have the opportunity to do so right now and his birthday is already a few weeks past. Though a gift card seems so impersonal, the convenience cannot be beat. I'm also sure that my nephew would have lots of fun choosing his own toy instead of me choosing it for him, thus guaranteeing that he will love it.

I decided to get him a gift card from his favorite book store, Barnes & Noble, instead of a toy. In case he prefers to buy something from another store, he can always have it exchanged at FriendGiftr for no additional charge. Pretty cool, huh ?

And what's even cooler is that you can use this service through Facebook, iPhone or even your blackberry!

Visit my sponsor: America's Favorite Gift Cards

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Milk Stats

According to my logs, the milk factory that is me has produced over 6,500 oz of milk in the past 6 months.

More than half of that - 3,300 oz - has been frozen and is stored in my freezer or has been donated. The rest have either been fed to Swe-cha or dumped (i.e. when I indulge myself and succumb to a cup of coffee).

If an average can of ready-to-mix formula say, a 23.2 oz Similac container, makes an average of 168 oz of milk. That would make my personal milk production equivalent to 39 cans.

With each Similac can of formula costing $22.49 at Babies R Us, that would mean that the milk I've pumped is now valued at $877. This means that my Medela PIS and milk bag costs are sulit na.

I've given away 1,200 oz of milk, roughly equivalent to $160 savings in formula costs. And if computed at the going rate of $3 for breastmilk (you can buy breastmilk that has been pasteurized and packaged for commercial sale), this is a $3,600 value!

No wonder, I have lost a lot of weight even though I've been eating ravenously these past months. Yay!

Right now, I'm patting my 'girls' for a job well-done. Keep up the good work :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mommy talaga...

My mom keeps gushing about Swe-cha and how good-looking he is. Of course, it makes me - the mother - very happy.

A few days ago, Mom was looking at Swe-cha laughing while watching videos.

Mom: Ang gwapo talaga ni Swe-Cha, sobrang gwapo.

Me: Yay! Thanks :)

Mom: Talaga, totoong totoong gwapo. I'm not just saying that kasi apo ko. Gwapo siya maski di ko apo.

Me: Heehee, thanks talaga.

Mom: Di ko talaga ini-expect. Di ko akalain na magkakaroon kayo ng ganito ka-gwapong anak.

Eh ?

Me: [thinks - teka, insulto yata yun ah] Mommy, ganon ba kami kapanget ?