day 708 | june 21, 2014 | Flow Anilao

I've been following FlowSurfYogaSamba for a while now. They specialize in running retreats hosted in various beach resorts in the Philippines (and expanding into Indonesia). So when they posted about a quick getaway from the urban jungle on the same weekend we were in Manila, I just had to grab the opportunity. The proposition was simple enough:

"Renew and refresh with a relaxing yoga class.
Learn the Brazillian martial art of Capoiera.
Dive and explore the colorful coral reefs of Anilao.
Learn how to prepare healthy eats.
Lounge and unwind on the resort's sun deck."

The little ones mostly did the lounging (and laughing at their mommy and daddy's attempts to be more flexible). The highlight of the trip for me was diving again after such a long time. I was nervous going into the water, and worried that I'd forgotten how to use equipment. It surprisingly came easier than I expected. But I'd have to say that doing yoga before diving seems to have lent me a certain calm. I don't remember being as steady and zen in all my previous dives as I did on this one. Will be trying more yoga before the next dive!

Definitely signing up for another retreat -- something with surfing and samba, somewhere in Palawan or Siargao...(and for a longer period!) :) Felt so re-energized after this trip!

day 707 | may 13, 2014 | Curious Little Chefs

It started from watching episodes of the first season of Junior Masterchef Australia, and falling in love with Pierre and Jack, and the rest of the little kids doing big things in the kitchen. Such grace, maturity, and culinary skills well beyond their years. This had fed my growing fantasy of having my kids prepare dishes like herb-crusted lamb chops with stuffed mushrooms,  or something like poached pear with cranberry syrup, vanilla mascarpone, and tuile biscuits. Or maybe a blueberry, passionfruit and banana pudding with butterscotch sauce. Not very demanding, huh?

For the month+ we didn't have a helper, I sought help from the kids to prepare simple lunches and dinners. They were excited by the tools from Curious Chef, and were very game in helping me create a humongous mess in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I couldn't offer them a better mentor -- as my skills in the kitchen are limited to 'survival.'

Red's knife skills are getting pretty steady now, and with some time, and a better mentor, perhaps the little ones will soon be able to cook me a sumptuous meal.

day 706 | may 31, 2014 | Holi Color Fight

With many thanks to Mommy E of Bottomsupblog, we were finally able to throw another color fight party -- something which we'd intended to do since the first time we tried it two years ago. I ran much less this time around, and was very deliberate in rubbing various colors into people's faces and bodies, especially the untarnished ones. Less wasted powder that way, as compared to throwing. :) The bigger kids definitely had more fun than the littler ones.

Won't babble on, and will let the images tell the story. Tons of fun. And if you want ideas on running this activity yourself, go ahead and check out these kid-friendly holi party tips.
Getting armed and ready

day 704 | february 15, 2014 | Tinysaurus Red: Scooter

Looking for Touch-me-nots
An episode out of many 'tales of tinysaurus red,' which chronicles Red's toddler misadventures. Sharing this piece because I love how the little ones look out for each other, to the point of sacrificing their personal agenda. That, and sometimes, mommies can be just as manipulative as the little ones.

Roo was scootering ahead of us, while Red and I took a more leisurely pace behind her. I could feel Red slowing down beside me, which meant it wouldn’t be long before she asked me to carry her. True enough, within a few minutes, she complained of leg pain. “My legs are so SO SOOO tired, mommy!” she dramatizes for my benefit.

day 703 | november 30, 2013 | Between Sand and Sky

I love outdoor weddings -- whether it's at the beach, on top of a hill, by a lake, or in a vineyard, it always gets me excited. So it's no surprise that I'm fondly remembering L&C's lovely Boracay wedding, and finally blogging about it. So much inspiration from this celebration. Lady L did an awesome job planning this (remotely!) and I really do think she can make a career out of wedding planning. :)

Sharing some of my favorite images from the day. What's more, I've broken down the elements that I loved, in hopes that perhaps this might be helpful to those who are planning their own outdoor wedding. :)

day 702 | january 26, 2014 | Frozen

The Frozen Fever still hasn't died down. Here's a snap of Princess Red's coronation, with gloves, a blanket/cape, and her makeshift orb and sceptre. The scene is completed with her Princess Roo playing along as Anna in the background. :)

The whole family's a "Frozen" fan and not ashamed of it. I especially love the Sami yoik they started the film with, which really brings me back into the Arctic Circle. The girls love the songs, the sparkly cape, and the hair styles; and I'm trying to make sure they pick up more than the frilly things.
Coronation scene from Disney's "Frozen"

day 700 | november 15, 2013 | Frantzen Experience

Slowly working on my favorite images and stories from Stockholm, and I'd have to say that the Frantzen Experience is definitely among the most memorable. It was my first time dining in a two star Michelin restaurant. We had carefully selected Frantzen, and were definitely influenced by the #12 position it holds among the Top 50 best restaurants as ranked by Diners Club International. We were on the waitlist for a while, before we managed to confirm a table a few days before our preferred date.

The first thing to know about Frantzen is that while you can expect a 21-course meal, there is no menu. Well, there is, but it's pretty sketchy. So we didn't really know what to expect. In Bjorn Frantzen's own words, the restaurant is about "finding the best ingredients the whole world has to offer." The final dishes that are served in the table are highly dependent on the availabiliy of produce, which are mostly sourced in and around Sweden. That said, you only truly fully appreciate each dish once you know where it came from. 

day 699 | january 1, 2014 | Naughty Mommy, Awesome Kids

2013 has been an amazing year of growing up with my little ones. It's a year we fell in love with Science, and hosted a simple joint birthday party where the kids did an equal share of the work. Roo's experienced ups and downs in her first year of primary school. Our efforts to toilet train Red have been in vain, and she's not showing any signs of readiness on that front. The rest of her is growing though, including her vocabulary. She can argue with her big sister expertly; and they can politely negotiate sharing arrangements. That said, screamfests still do happen. Both Roo and Red perform the most dramatic sing-alongs to most tunes in played in the radio; and dance merengue like nobody's business. They have also both started regularly correcting my grammar, word usage, and Singlish.
Roo and Red reviewing project financials for me in the office. :)
Yet again, 2013 was another year I overcommitted myself, and tried to juggle too many things at the same time. In my juggling, often times, I have pushed and stretched my kids to grow up a little faster. But they're still alive and bullying their daddy, so this naughty mommy hasn't completely failed.

 This first post for the year is a recollection of some of the amazing Roo and Red moments that are now part of my memory box of wonderful things. Their strength shine in my weakness, the cracks in my parenting when there's just too much for me to manage. And I love that they are capable, confident, and caring.