Holidays and Events

Alexa Turned Two

My little girl, Alexa, has turned two (last month — another late post)! Time flies just like that! We also had welcomed our new bundle of joy, Luise, a few weeks back. Hello, sleepless nights!

Just like Alexa’s first birthday, we had another DIY party for her. But she had fun this time because her friends were there too! We did not have any games like other children’s parties (due to my poor hosting skills and space constraints), but we had lots of food, non-stop Barney videos, and kids running around, laughing, and screaming. It was such a fun chaos!

Now let me share with you my labor of love for Alexa for this year…

The cake.

It’s a funfetti white cake with rainbow petal buttercream frosting. I did enjoy doing the frosting. I got both the cake design and cake bunting printable from posts in Pinterest.

cake1

cake2

12074858_10152952739430876_7611765512122995656_n

The cupcakes.

They are rainbow cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and rainbow rice sprinkled on top, also from a post in Pinterest.

cupcakes

May this year be as colorful as these cakes for our first princess.

Thanks for dropping by!

Alexa’s Mom

Advertisements

DIY: First Birthday Party

Oh wow! I can’t believe it has been more than 2 months since my last post! Things have been busy at home and in the office. My new job is great so far.

Our dear princess, Alexa, turned ONE year last month. At first, I was hesitant about giving her a party. Reason is, she won’t remember anything about her first birthday. I, myself, only remember my first birthday party through pictures.

Then, looking back at my childhood, our parties are all prepared by my Mom (and we remember her for that!). We don’t have event organizers, 100 or so guest lists, or anything fancy — just homemade food, simple party games, cake blowing and loot bags for the guests. On my 3rd birthday, I had a costume party, with all my friends dressed as super heroes, and myself dressed as a metro aid (street sweeper). It all happened at our humble home.

So I thought, why not I do the same? A party prepared by us, for Alexa, with LOVE!

Everything was DIY.

The cake. It was my first time to make a fondant cake, and I can say it was a success! It is a one layer chocolate cake covered with white homemade marshmallow fondant and the owls and letters are made of store-bought sugar paste.  The owl designs are adapted from YouTube

The decors. Since we’re on a tight budget, I made the decors out of colored paper. Simple yet it has brightened up the living room. Thanks, of course, to Pinterest!

These are photos of her from birth to 1 year. How time flies!

The food. All were home-cooked. We had spaghetti, chicken lollipops, and spring rolls, just as what Mom used to serve our friends during our birthday parties. Of course, we have the dessert table in addition. My sister K from Manila sent over a cake she made especially for Alexa. We called it the “mini me” cake, see why..

Isn’t it pretty? It’s got Alexa’s nose and chubby cheeks!

Here’s the dessert table…

The banner design is a free printable from Pinterest. Sorry for the poor photo quality, the light is too bright outside. Here’s another shot, with the birthday girl.

And the cupcake stand — vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting…

We also had chocnut (chocolate + peanut, from Manila), red hotdogs + heart marshmallows, and a bowl of grapes.

It was very simple yet a whole lot of fun! I hope our princess enjoyed herself too.

 

Thanks for dropping by,

Alexa’s Mom

 

 

Homemade Flour Tortillas and Tacos

Hello everyone! A very nice and relaxing Labor Day to y’all!

Since today is Labor Day, I made soft tacos for lunch, all homemade — I call it labor of love!

Tacos has always been a part of every celebration we have back home, together with pasta and pizza. We always buy taco shells from the supermarket. I’ve never thought of doing it from scratch, not until now.

I’m very proud of myself today! While I was heating the flattened dough on the skillet, my heart was filled with excitement as I saw the bubbles forming. And then I flipped it over, I almost jumped for joy! I did it!

Thanks to Pinterest, I found this very easy but great recipe.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 3 tbsps olive oil

Procedure:

  • Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Stir in water and olive oil to form a soft dough. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 8 or 12, depends on the size of tortilla you want, and roll each piece into a circle. If you’re making tacos, I suggest dividing it into 12, 8 pieces if you’re making burritos or fajitas.
  • Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat, and cook tortillas, turning when bubbles start to appear. The whole cooking process should take between 2-3 minutes per tortilla.
  • Wrap tortillas in a towel to keep warm. Serve immediately.

For the taco filling:

  • Ground beef or pork with taco mix. Cook as per taco mix’s instructions.
  • Cabbage or lettuce
  • Homemade salsa
  • Grated cheddar cheese

We usually do it the “serve yourself” way. That way, you can put whatever you want, and how much you want.

Enjoy!

Thanks for dropping by,

Alexa’s Mom

 

Mini Spring Rolls

This week is Valentines week. Hubby and I haven’t thought of what to do or where to go yet on Valentines Day, but it definitely has to be baby-friendly ‘coz the little kiddo is coming with us. That means, no movies or dinner at a fine dining restaurant, but what’s for sure is it will be very special because we are sharing this love-filled day as a family.

Valentines Day related post will be shared soon. For the meantime, I want to share another very simple recipe with you.

Chinese New Year celebrations for this Year of the Horse end also on 14 Feb. So before it officially ends, I tried to make this crunchy treat that my family loves.

Mini Spring Rolls

Recipe from Rasa Malaysia

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet (40 pcs) frozen spring roll skin (medium size)
  • 100g ready made fish/pork/chicken floss (whichever you prefer)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash
  • Oil, for deep frying

Method:

  • Cut each of the spring roll wrappers into 4. Lay the skin on a flat surface.
  • Put 1 teaspoon of the meat floss at the center of the skin. Fold in the two sides and roll it up tightly. Seal the edges with the egg wash.
  • Heat up your wok with enough cooking oil. Once the oil is fully heated up, fry the mini spring rolls on medium heat until golden brown. It takes about 3-5 minutes.
  • Dish out and drain the oil. Leave to cool. Make sure the spring rolls are completely cool before keeping it in an airtight container. This will ensure that the spring rolls remain crispy.

Btw, the Chinese Walnut Cookies that I made was quite a hit! Especially to my coffee-lover friends. You should try it!

Enjoy!

Chinese Walnut Cookies

… and the 4-day weekend is over!

I love Chinese New Year because of its festive feel. Our neighborhood was lined up with lots of red Chinese decors, families and friends gathered together, and oranges and ang baos were given out for good luck and wealth.

Our family don’t usually celebrate CNY, but we do enjoy being work-free for 4.5 days! We got to spend quality time with our little one, and catched up with friends over a great meal and some desserts/coffee.

During the weekend, I also thought of doing some Chinese cooking/baking to theme up with the season. I made some walnut cookies which I will be sharing in this post.

Chinese Walnut Cookies

Recipe from Rasa Malaysia

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup walnuts, (grind 1/2, the other 1/2 cut in halves)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
30 g butter
1/2 teaspoon water
2/3 cup cooking oil

Egg Wash:

1 egg yolk plus 1 teaspoon oil

Method:

Mix flour, baking powder, ground walnuts, salt and sugar in a bowl.  Rub butter into flour until resembles crumbs. Add in water, oil and mix until the dough forms and becomes soft. (I added a little more oil until the dough came together.)

Mold the dough using a spoon or a small ice cream scoop, and flatten it a little with a fork. Top with half a walnut. Brush the top with egg wash.

Bake at 170 C (340 F) for 30 minutes or until the top is slightly brown. Let it stand on the baking pan to cool before serving or transferring in a container. Makes about 40 cookies.

They are nutty and yummy, perfect to eat with a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Alexa @ 4 Months

My baby is 4 months old today!

Mommy and Daddy is having so much fun playing with her. She would laugh and make a high-pitched “aaaaahhhh!!!” when she’s happy. She’s is starting to imitate sounds around her, and the one she imitates best is Mommy’s cough! Lol!

Alexa loves it when people notice her and talk to her, and cries when nobody does. What an attention-seeker! Just like Grandpa, haha! She also likes watching TV, those shows with people talking because she thinks that they are talking to her. While watching, she would smile and respond.

At night, she can sleep for 5 to 7 hours straight, which is good because Mommy and Daddy gets some rest too. No more sleepless nights! I hope her sleeping pattern stays that way.

When awake, she doesn’t like lying down. She would try to pull herself to sit up, which she can’t do yet. She can lie on her side, though. And she loves eating her fingers! (I think she’s sucking on her fingers to pacify her hunger at night, she doesn’t want to wake us up!)

If only I could just spend the whole day cuddling this cutie pie. *gigil*

*Gigil n. 1 tagalog word; trembling or gritting of the teeth in response to a situation that overwhelms your self-control. 2 when seeing a cute baby, one gets overwhelmed that it’s hard to resist from pinching the baby’s cheeks.

Olive Oil Lemon Cake

Christmas is just around the corner. It’s our 3-month old baby Alexa’s first Christmas and what’s the best way to celebrate it but with our big family back home. Everyone’s excited to bite those cheeks!

Yes, THOSE CHEEKS!!! ^^

As early as the first week of December, everybody’s calendars are already booked for Christmas parties and a lot of Christmas shopping. Lighted trees and decors are up, and Christmas music fills the air.

“The tree is up, and the bestest gift is underneath it.”

Two weekends ago, we had our yearly Christmas gathering with friends. It was a potluck dinner. Our share of food were pancit palabok, brownies, and olive oil lemon cake.

This post is to share with you the Olive Oil Lemon Cake that I made. I love lemon squares, so I thought I could give this cake recipe a try. You can check out the source in my Pinterest board, Desserts.

Olive Oil Lemon Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • fresh squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon, strained
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar for topping cake

Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 180 C. Line an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Place 2 inches of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. In a heat-proof bowl – preferably the bowl of a stand mixer – combine eggs, sugar and zest, and place bowl over pot of simmering water, whisking until egg mixture is warm to the touch.
  • Remove bowl from pot and attach to mixer fitted with whisk attachment. If you’re not using a stand mixer, place bowl on counter and use hand mixer. Beat on medium until mixture thickens and becomes pale, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together olive oil, cream and lemon juice in a small bowl.
  • When the egg mixture has reached appropriate thickness, drizzle olive oil mixture over it and mix until combined.
  • Turn mixer to low and add dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Stir in melted butter.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan, smooth batter and sprinkle with tablespoon of sugar.
  • Bake until top of cake is golden, about 50 minutes.  A bamboo skewer inserted into the center should come out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes in pan, then remove to rack to cool completely before cutting.

It’s an easy and delicious recipe. I love the rich, lemony flavor, and that it sounds so healthy (lemon + olive oil!). You should try it.

Gotta go, Alexa’s about to wake up… feeding time!

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Thank you!

Today, on the other side of the world, is Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving is actually not celebrated in Singapore nor in the Philippines, but this is a great time to look back on the things, and people, to be grateful for.

Some people may just be passers by in our lives, but somehow, they have touched us in one way or another. There may also be those who have hurt us, but have made us stronger persons in the end.

Every experience we have are little stepping stones to what we are to become, every pain and failure are moulding us into what God’s plan is for us. We just need to have faith in Him.

This year, I also had my share of hurts, a big chunk of which is from people who I trusted most. Because of that, I felt how much I am loved by my family, and I am very grateful for that.

The biggest blessing that I am greatly thankful for this year is the little person who those little toes belong to, the one who have tested our patience, strength, and capacity to love unconditionally. I will forever be thankful to baby Alexa for coming into our lives and for bringing more happiness into our family.

What are you thankful for?

Enjoy the turkey and Happy Thanksgiving!

Alexa @ 2 Months

image

Alexa turns 2 months old today. Isn’t she lovely in that little dress and pink headband?

Daddy and I were amazed the first time we heard Alexa’s “ooh” sounds like she can understand what we are telling her. She would look at us in the eye as if she’s trying to remember every detail of her parents’ faces. And those little giggles? Priceless!

At night, we sleep next to each other, and I would wake up with her lying on one side facing me. In a few weeks, maybe she would already be rolling over to lie on her tummy. Another milestone of hers to look forward to!

We can’t wait to see how she is as a toddler, a school kid, and as a grown up. But of course, we’re taking things one step at a time and we would not want to miss her “firsts” for anything.

A great weekend to all!