Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The New Chef

Just to show what a good sport I am, I'm officially lauding Jing for being a better cook than I am. *clap-clap*

This is a recent development, of course. Many, many years before, I have been the reigning queen of the kitchen in this humble abode. And then a few months ago, when Jing decided to pursue this new cooking interest, he has quickly upstaged me.

But...I would like to think I had a hand in his newfound greatness. After all, he DID ask for MY secret recipes and he just sort of built/added on/took away from there. So the foundation still came from me (LMAO! Bitter bitch!).

Oh I say 'greatness', by the way, because our neighbors LOOOVE his home-cooked dishes. In fact, they've been telling me how lucky I am for having a husband who cooks so well. Excuse me! I cook, too --and I cooked first!!!! (grrr....)

Anyway, I just look at this situation as the student finally surpassing the sensei. It was bound to happen and I should be proud. And indeed, I am. Yes...I am.
Jing...you have done well, little grasshopper. But there is no way I am teaching you my Creamy Tuna Pasta recipe now.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lovin' the extras

You know what I really like about my sons' school --it's the extras. 

Take for example...for Valentine's Day, the school invited the parents to a little get-together.  Naturally, the parents thought this would be the usual preschool party with the singing and the dancing, games and what-not.
Well --surprise, surprise!-- when we got there, there was a restaurant set-up.  REALLY!
For dramatic effect, our kids were taken from us and hidden in a room that was covered with a thick curtain.  When they emerged, they were all wearing these cute little aprons and handcrafted chef toques!  THEY WERE ALL SO FRIKKIN ADORABLE!
They sang a couple of songs, welcomed us to OUR Valentine treat, and then...proceeded to serve us!  Not kidding.  These tiny preschooler hands started setting up the tables, scooping food, and going table-to-table to hand us delicious dishes that they pre-made themselves!  Jing and I just went nuts when Kenji came to us with salad and juice, and said, "Enjoy your date, mimi and dada!"
Mind you, this isn't just a gimmick to turn the parents into a collective pile of vulnerable mush.  The kids learned responsibility, balance, care, and uh-huh...cheeziness alert...love.  In a fun, "I feel so mature today" way.
I've said it once and I'll say it again:  Moving my boys to this school is by far the best parenting decision I have ever, ever made.  Learning isn't just all about books.  It's about experiences.  It's about the extras. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Claps for the boys and Clipper!

Well, this is a good quarter for the boys.  Miro, despite his hectic schedule of basketball and musicale practices, actually had a wonderful turn-out on his report card.  All his grades skyrocketed!  Kenji had a stellar behavioral and performance evaluation, too.  In fact, he's all geared up to move up to Primary School next school year!
So...this calls for a celebration.  Aka, time to buy toys.
But we all know that budgeting is my master nowadays so I really had to do a lot of research before we went out malling.  And after a lot of snooping, stalking, and interrogating...we found Clipper.  
It's a novelty shop that has all these hard-to-find knick-knacks.  Like authentic Nintendo-made Super Mario Brothers toys (or dolls, action figures, I dunno...).  When we got in the store, the boys' eyes just lit up like traffic signals --I'm not even exaggerating.  They're so into Super Mario video games these days.  And when you're on a budget, you go for the next best thing:  Super Mario Brothers toys/dolls/action figures/I dunnos.
But what really got me giddy were the super LOW prices!  It was a major steal, I almost died!  So we bought about 6 pieces of these, sturdy, original colorful toys/dolls/action figures/I dunnos for only P1,700!  Everyone's happy.  Whoopee! 

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Birthday Bashed :D

It was my Dad's birthday last week.

So like I do every year, I took down his urn, set it up with some flowers, and surrounded it with 4 candles to symbolize me and my 3 brothers; and me and my boys (Jing, Miro and Kenji).
I called the family around. And as I started the solemn moment by lighting the candles...
Kenji, that cheeky dear monkey of mine, BURST INTO SONG!

At the top of his little lungs, HE SANG THE 20TH CENTURY FOX OPENING THEME!!!!

Obviously, that ruined the somberness of the occasion as we all broke into uncontrollable laughter. But now that I'm looking at the pictures, I can hardly blame the boy. Lol!

KENJI:  "Tan-ta-taaaan...bsssh!...ta-ta-ta-ta-tan-tararantantantan...tan-tan-tan...ta-ta-tan-tanaaaaan...bsssh!...ta-ta-ta-taaan..(tan-ta-tan)...ta-ta-ta-taaan...(tan-ta-tan)...ta-ta-ta-TAAAAAN...(tan-tan-tan-taaaannnn)....BSSSSH!!!!
Yeah, Dad, we haven't changed. We're still fabulous asses... and we still love you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Call me a B-movie lover but Cloverfield rocked for me.  Saw it for the first time on HBO last night and before then I never even heard of the flick.  But anyway, I just tuned in, bored, until one thing gripped me...the first person, handheld videocam treatment!
This is a directorial treatment that's slowly becoming the stuff of legends.  It started with the Blairwitch Project.  Followed by Paranormal Activity.  And now, Cloverfield.  
Hey, this type of video execution IS a big deal.  It's not easy to film 2 hours of video footage on a handheld camera while keeping in mind the flow of the story.  It's not just drag the cam and let's see what happens.  There's science to it.  Not one shot is left to chance.  Everything has to look like an accident when in fact, every single shot and angling and jiggle and shake and focus and defocus is absolutely planned.  In Cloverfield, the part where Liberty's head flies and crashes onto the street caught on videocam is 'ze bomb' scene for me.
Oh and the impromptu voices and sounds in the background --that's directed, too.  But in such a way that it has to come out natural.  Not regular actor-natural, but natural like when you're at home talking to friends with nothing but boxers on.  Imagine the challenge there!
Another thing that sold me to Cloverfield is the 'un-ending'.  Blairwitch Project and Paranormal Activity had the same thing.  You have an open-ended closure that really isn't a closure.  So that leaves you to speculate on what really happened to the story in the very end.  It opens it up for discussion and debates.  And boy, do I love debates!  This kind of movie makes you think.  And you got it...I love to think, too.
Final gush about Cloverfield is the freakishly huge alien monster.  It looks like a deformed demon cast from Constantine!  And that, in itself, rocks.

Tech Trauma

I vowed that the only piece of technology my boys will ever need is the mac.  Honestly.  It connects to the world wide web, for shit's sake.  So they would have automatic access to games, to music uploads, photo uploads, to school research, to social networking (for when they hit puberty!).  And the mac has loads of built-in programs like Powerpoint, Freehand, Photoshop, Garage Tunes, iMovie, iPhoto, everything that can spike their creativity and learning.  It's a powerhouse of excitement for a kid already.  So why the hell do I have to get them a PSP?!!
Aaand there's my dilemma.  Since Primary schooling happened and peer pressure set in, Miro has whined for a PSP.  I didn't budge.  But eventually succumbed to the whipped puppy look and got him a Nintendo DS Lite and a Gameboy Advance for Kenji.  After that momentary splurging, I vowed (for a goddamn second time!) that this is the only pieces of technology they will ever need on top of the mac.
Now, Jing (yes, the husband!) starts whining that the boys need the PSP or the PS3 in order to 'get with the program'.  He thinks I'm purposely pulling the kids back putting them way behind the trends --which would be detrimental to their socialization.  Well, duh!  You don't get tech for pennies, and I am not going to turn my kids into gamer zombie geeks!  It was a long, ensuing battle that followed.  With the boys pitting one parent against the other.  You cannot believe Miro's manipulation skills, and you cannot believe how easily Jing allows himself to get bullied (he actually wants to play with the PS3 himself --go figure.).
But I was an adamant wall.  And just like that, the argument ended.  I won the war.  And there was peace and quiet in the household once again.
And then the friggin wii gets invented.  Aww...crap...

For Love of Lego

Nothing beats the happiness that is LEGO.
Practically the best buy a parent can possibly make.  Possibly the best show of positive parenting a parent can display.  Ok, I overdid that.  But nothing pushes a child's imagination than the concept of building things from scrap --fueled by a parent's unconditional support, of course.  And since bottlecaps and empty tin cans aren't always sanitary, we have Lego and Lego Duplo blocks.  
They have been my children's best friends and creativity channels for many years now.  And I don't see these toys being forgotten any time soon.  Even with the Nintendo DS and the Gameboy comfortably available within reach, these boys will always go back to their Lego boxes to set their minds and hands to work.  It's the perfect exercise for any child's developing brain.  It helps their dexterity, too --but then, I'm overdoing it again.
Whoever invented Lego really has a smart, good, responsible head on his shoulders.  Not to mention a happy, fat ass sitting on tons of cash.  Lego is a gold mine.  Not just for him.  But for your kids.  And for parents.  Everybody wins!  Can I have a glorious angel choir at this point please?

Yo Gabba Nu-uh!

Between you and me, I think Yo Gabba Gabba is the work of the devil.

No, really.  It wiggles its way into a children's channel in the guise of some educational TV show, but it is neither educational nor entertaining.  In fact, it's downright gruesome.  The mascots look like candy-colored hell spawns, hiding their true evil nature in popsicle flavored skins.  The brown thing that looks so much like a walking turd fails to hide the truth though.  But the most cruelty to the child's eyes is the offensive black guy in bright red leotards.  How nasty!  He gyrates like a zombie on speed to a droning beat that's neither singable nor danceable.  It's just a 'Day of the Living Dead' invasion droning.  Like a brainwashing droning.  And this DJ Lance red-suited guy dances to it like there's no tomorrow.  Creepy shit, if you ask me.
There are no discussions on lessons on this show.  Just weird music about weird topics that wouldn't help a child develop into a fully-functional, well-mannered member of the society. All it has is pointless singing, and ickified dancing.  No, not really dancing.  All the mascots do is mindless swaying.  Like rainbow pendulums.  Tick-tock...tick-tock...

My boys were hooked on this show for a bit until I realized that it could be eating into their brain cells via monotonous sound waves and the dazzling display of colorful hypnosis.  Thank the stars they cut themselves lose of it.

Now they're on How's It Made on Discovery Channel.  Now that's educational.  And with the narrator's spunky British accent and impeccable wit --downright entertaining.
A word to the paranoid mom, steer your kids from Yo Gabba Gabba.  It's the devil's handiwork, I tell ya!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cruel Summer

Whenever summer comes in, I panic.  
I panic for summer programs.  
You must find that extremely laughable but hear me out.  A summer vacation stretches out for weeks.  What can you possibly do to entertain your kids in that so many weeks???  You can't expect us to travel.  Oh please, I can't even travel to my grandmother's house without carefully counting financial damages for transportation and meals.  I have a beach trip planned, but that's just an overnight stint (again, you can't expect me to plan for a week at the beach because of financial constraints as well as the lack of logic for such a plan --I mean, really, won't the kids eventually get bored of the same sun, sand and water in under 4 days?)
So that's where summer programs come in.  I was lucky enough to have my kids join their schools' summer programs last year.  They had an art exhibit of their works and the kids felt fulfilled about that.  This was followed up by our beach trip, and dotted by mall and park trips that don't usually beg us to spend more than a parking fee.
You must be gagging at my cheapness now.   I can retaliate and debate on budget and indulgence ...but that would require a separate blog entry.  I'll get to that.
Back to summer programs, this year cannot be another art show.  I want my sons to look forward to every summer program they get into.  I want them to be absolutely thrilled for summer to come because it means they get to experience something new and different each time.
Kenji is easier to please.  Any summer camp that would challenge his physical strength and speed would earn stars from him.  We're thinking of putting him into karate this year.  Or maybe some mad Survivor Camp --yeah!
Miro is a tougher nut to crack.  He's always asked me to take him to science camp, invention camp, a summer program that would teach him robotics (YES, ROBOTICS!).  All these, we know, do not happen in this country.
You see the source of my panic now?  It's not that I have to do everything my children say.  It's just that I want summer to always be ultra-special for them.  It's the break right after a hard life in school, and the break right before you get back to the hard life of school.  They deserve this!
Anyway...back to my research.  There 's got to be something out there.  Hey, I have a month more to panic, and I'll make full anxiety of it.