Top Mom Picks

Monday, April 20, 2015

When I was about to give birth, my main problem was how to fit everything that I had to get for the baby all in one mind and all at the same time! I’ve read all the checklists- online, or those they give at the stores, and one from a book that I read, but it just seemed ridiculous to remember and even to get them all! More importantly, our friends who have been through their firstborns would tell us different things about what you need and what you don’t. Personally, I think the first is always hit or miss.

As parents we always come in different shapes and sizes. Our backgrounds and lifestyles and values aren’t the same! So naturally, our gears will also largely differ. Drawing from this, a useful advice I can give, especially to first time moms who are preparing everything for their firstborn, is to ask someone whose lifestyle is very similar to yours. Is she a working mom? Stay at home mom? Work at home mom? Traveling mom? Chic mom? Practical mom? And even before you get there you must also asses yourself- what kind of mom will you be? You also get to choose from that list.

To give an example, I would be a work at home mom who is very practical, which means, I have spending power but would rather choose wisely. I don’t like waste, and I want to make purchases that I would be able to tell others about as “value for money.” From time to time, I would be willing to splurge, just to make myself a happy mommy, but that happens only once in a blue moon.

The other useful advice I can give? Buy only as far as 6 months worth and reassess. Like the home, I think you can build your baby arsenal as you move along in weeks. (Consider things like are you having more kids in the future? Because if that is the plan then there are gears that might be worth spending a lot for.)

The other thing about me is that I am a curious shopper. I do not buy unless I think I’ve seen enough- which can be a problem, especially in this day and age when everyone seems to be inventing new things for the baby life left and right! But great thanks to Mommy Mundo, which is the country’s most extensive portal of mom and family-focused resources, for offering to take the guesswork out of everyday shopping by publishing the TOP MOM PICKS GUIDEBOOK.

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Finally! Survey that is within reach, which will lessen my tiring all day hunt in the malls and bazaars for the best mom and baby finds.

The Top Mom Picks Guidebook is a comprehensive guide of approved and recommended products for mothers in different stages of motherhood. It is listed by category, indexed for easy reference, and contains relevant shopping information. 

The meticulously curated list was borne out of years and years of testing and evaluating hundreds of items in Mommy Mundo shopping expos and events, and further edited down by a mom panel of discerning moms, namely Mommy Mundo founder Janice Villanueva, childbirth expert Rome Kanapi, blogger and mompreneurs Christine Dychiao, Neva Arboleda Santos and Candy Yaw, and seasoned editor and writer Jing Lejano

 

 

I browsed through the book already and I can say that it is, indeed, super helpful! It is categorized in stages and also topically so it is easy to find what you are looking for. Added bonus is the list of where one can find these products and their suppliers! How I wish I had this when Philip was just a few months old.

The book is priced at P220 and you can buy them by clicking this link. There, you can also find more information or you can also visit posts under #topmompicksph #topmompicks. Fully Booked, Mamaway, and Babyland branches also have it!

Really, hoping this helps all of us moms of today! Have a great week ahead of you!

Changes

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Every time a new year starts I make it a habit to take some time to sit down, step back from all the activities, and be still enough to get a good feel of the brand new year. I do this by praying and listing down some things that might already be clear to me, as well as asking for directions and guidance from the Lord, especially for things that come with a cloud of doubt.

Now for those of you who have been into this practice will have known by now that each year comes to us differently. Sometimes, at the onset, we already know most of what’s about to happen. Other times we come into it blank, clueless, and filled only with faith and trust that it will still be a great year simply because God is amazing. And other times are odd in that we think we know what’s going to happen until we realize He has other- and rather better plans! Oh but whatever it is, every end of a year only makes me say He is too good no matter what!

But this post really is to tell my readers about how my 2015 has been so far. It is only April, I know, and yet, I think, much has already been made evident to me. My life is steering into a completely different direction and it is making me both nervous and excited!

New Pursuits

Ever since I was 12, having a career, to me, meant to be in on television and to star in movies. I was about to pursue that same path again back in 2013 but somehow something inside of me said that this is not where I am supposed to go. After a few days of pondering I learned I was pregnant and saw it as a confirmation of what I was feeling. It was at that point when I began saying no to acting inquiries and concentrated on my writing.

So I wrote and wrote and wrote, on the blog, on Manila Bulletin, and for several magazines. I also shared and shared and shared on the blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. After a while, my habits started to generate inquiries and income. Little while more and this writing thing’s turned from mere passion into a career- a turn I am very happy about because as Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

New Manager

Since I’ve made that turn also came the burning need for guidance. Much as I wanted to stay with Star Magic, I was now sure that mainstream television is not where I want to be anymore. So after months and months of contemplation and talking myself out of the fear that comes with stepping out of the comfort zone, I finally bid them adieu and said hello to my new company: W Talent Management, where I am handled by Chere Gioskos.

New Roles, New Projects

As I turned over many things to Chere I also realized how much “difference” is on my plate. So many of these projects were things I wouldn’t have imagined 20 years ago, i.e. the two brand new shows I have coming up. One that I have already sounded off on Instagram- my new show with Cheska Kramer, with details I shall be blogging about soon. The other is something I am producing with my sister Paula, also coming soon. Then there are the writing projects, ambassadorships I have never ever thought of. I wish I can say more but I’d rather divulge more information at the right time.

What this is? Soon ☺️ #apieceforC #athomewithRandP #mamaworks @paulatheexplorer look @pattylaurel and @patrickfilart

A photo posted by Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio (@ricaperalejo.ph) on


All to say thanks to those of you who follow my online accounts and my blog. Some of you are carried over from my previous life as a Pinay celebrity, who saw me through the changes of teeny bopper-hood to adult roles and now back to a good and wholesome image, one of writing, marriage, and motherhood. Then I think many of you are also from a “new crowd,” those who really just got to know me when I started to share my life online. But to both I say one thing: thanks for sharing my joys and hearing out my opinions in life. Also, to let you know that because of your support I now have the courage to take on newer things, things I am excited about because they encourage, inspire, and serve others. (One of which is a newly designed blog, hahaha! This is already old and rusty, so please bear with me as I fix up a new one- easier and funner to use for all!) When I used to have a career to serve only myself, I now have one that is able to give to others, and surely this generates more fulfillment!

Before I end I also want to encourage those of you who are thinking along the lines of change, hope, future, mistakes…I say believe in the power of God and His redemption. I was once so hopeless, buried in my mire of mistakes, but here I am living through the unexpected outcome given by the God of second chances, filled with hope, joy, an expectant spirit. It is never too late for change, especially when it is working the very thing that God has set you out for. Oh really, His timing is perfect.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Have a great day everyone!

 

 

 

An Osterized Afternoon

Monday, April 13, 2015

I’m not so big on cooking. Actually, I wasn’t big on eating either! Although it found ways of warming up to me in the more recent months, food is a particularly new and foreign terrain to me. So really, when I was invited by Oster to do a “cook-out” with some of my loyal blog followers, I felt scared! Haha! :)

Gratefully they agreed to just make a menu for me and have Chef Marian right beside me to execute everything. Of course I helped a lot, too! I was actually the best vegetable tosser in the whole room, hahaha!

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With me in this photo are Rochelle Benlota, Kris Ambrocio, Joni Ang, Apple Gregorio-Ginacio, Gladys Remollo and Midz Ferrer! Rochelle, Apple, and Gladys are my readers who sent entries and were chosen as winners of our contest. Joni, Kris, and Midz were their “plus ones.” Funny story about Joni? She is actually the host for this website- isn’t that cool??? I was just as surprised to see her that afternoon!details

Oster made personalized aprons for all, as well as a nice and neat recipe book for every participant!people

 When the girls started to come one by one I began asking who liked cooking and who didn’t and started to pick out the “cookers” from the “eaters” in the group, hahaha! 

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Although we laughed much about how poorly I perform in the kitchen, that afternoon was surprisingly also very eye opening for me as a “young cook.” I actually didn’t expect it, but this simple arrangement by our friends from Oster was the way by which some of my kitchen fears were finally dispelled.

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These were their products- which also came as a surprise to me because I always thought that Oster was only a champion of blenders. Is it not that we’ve made the brand into a verb? When a baby can’t chew well, or a sick person needs a warm gown of soup, do we not say “Go and osterize something”? :)oster products 2

Breaded tofu always sounded so complicated for me until I saw Chef Marian using the Oster Rice Cooker as a deep frying device- she literally just dipped the tofu in and let it fry in there for a while! Then there is also their double contact grill which can handle big chunks of meat like the steak in our photo. Pardon my ignorance but I thought grills like that only made sandwiches, hahaha! 

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The oven toaster was so handy for making the corn and cheese spread! Actually, since I’ve had it I was already able to use it for roasting garlic and a couple of other things. Might even be able to make simple cupcakes in the future, why not!

So far, with all the loot I’ve received from Oster, it is the oven toaster, food processor, and a MyBlend unit that I enjoy the most. If you are kitchen-phobic like me who wants to overcome a little bit of that paranoia, I say that these three items are highly friendly and helpful! With these alone imagine that I am already able to do a lot- make smoothies, squash soup, garlic soup, some dips, and even roast onions, garlics, and herbs that make my kitchen smell fresh and nice!

And aside from the smell of a fully functioning, serviceable, kitchen, I also soon enough felt the “true rewards of a humble cook” with my beginner’s effort. My father and son especially loved the squash soup and as a result, is now a staple in our diet. Philip loves mixing the soup with his rice and my Sweetheart never fails to tell me how great his meal was. The tools plus the rewards of love and encouragement from my family are truly effective in overcoming my fear of the whole kitchen jargon! (I mean mince, what’s that??? 3 sticks – as in how does one measure a stick??? And sauté is different from frying and boiling is not the same as steaming, oh dear Lord!)

The other thing that made the afternoon so fun was just being simply with some of my blog readers. I have always wanted to meet you guys in batches to get to know you and for you to actually get to really know me, too! Which means, to see what I am really like in person. Truth be told, I never liked people who are so fanatic about me, BUT appreciate followers who celebrate me, approve of me, like me, but would not die if she didn’t get a smile, a hug, or a mention from me. Hahahaha!

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Seriously speaking, I look forward to having more this kind of meet-ups. That’s because I love learning from my readers and followers, too! I actually enjoyed and learned so much from these ladies and that was a big win for me!

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In between, the moms also talked about their babies and their lives at home, as well as their own jobs and careers. These women are so interesting and if we didn’t have to go back to our life of duties we probably would have lingered and talked on and on!

That afternoon was wrapped up with dessert and coffee and heartful hugs of goodbyes. Our tummies were satisfied and our cheekbones achy from all the laughs. Thanks Oster for giving us an awesome time, and for helping me become a different person when it comes to kitchen talks. And you, too, have got to thank Oster because they’ve allowed me to share these recipes which you will find below!

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Oster was also so generous to give my guests their own units of the MyBlend product, plus one more bottle to share with their plus ones! 

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Do not be afraid to try them- if I was able to do them, then EVERYBODY CAN do this thing, hahaha! :)

If you want to get a feel of all else that happened on that afternoon, please visit Apple’s blog about it by clicking this: 

Rica X Oster Kitchen Conversations

Where’s Jesus?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Two Fridays ago I was hit with bad viral infection. It was so bad that it kept me stuck to the bed for two whole days, moaning and groaning about how painful everything was.

Few days after that my son manifested the same symptoms and turns out that he got it, too, poor kid! I can’t imagine so small a frame going through the same levels of pain and discomfort! And it just felt worse watching him lose his usual perky self, replaced by eyes rolling, opening and closing, obviously tired but can’t sleep.

The moment Philip has developed fever, was also the moment I started to try and keep my cool (and sanity) as a mom. But much as I didn’t want to be overly nervous, that one time when he felt too hot I thought I just had to pray and declare the name of Jesus. While I could feel panic rising within me I claimed healing for Philip, and believed that the Name Above All Names had already come to touch Philip. And right after that short prayer Philip’s eyes opened and seemed to look better.

So I said, “Hey Philip! Feel better? See Jesus healed you!”

The boy just looked back at me, still quiet but now alert. Dubious, I asked, “Was Jesus here? Or is Jesus still here?” And his response was more than enough to prick a hole in the drum of tears waiting behind my eyes. Philip started pointing to his heart, telling me where Jesus is.

Philip started pointing to his heart,

A few weeks ago I taught Philip to point to himself when asked, “Where’s Philip?” Then immediately after I also taught him to point to the same area when asked, “Where’s Jesus?” (We’d even laugh about how his hand can’t quite reach the chest but always lands on his stomach and we’d say, “Oh you ate Jesus???”)

I am not sure why he still pointed to his heart even when I asked “Is Jesus still here?” instead of “Where’s Jesus?” Perhaps he must be a kid great at context clues or maybe Philip really just saw Jesus visit him, I don’t know, but he somehow knew the right answer.

Why I find this remarkable and touching is because really, many times, children seem to simply understand things that adults take to be complicated or difficult. “Was Jesus here?” implies so much. Like, Jesus was once on earth and now in heaven, in a place so far above where we are, so detached from the here and now. “Was Jesus here?” That Jesus is a figure who temporarily goes down on earth to heal people and go back up to His comfortable place in heaven when He’s done with His rounds.

But Philip knew better. He knew exactly where Jesus is, right here, right now.

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 

(1 John 4:4)

This Easter 2015 I pray you all will be reminded like I was, through the simple gesture of a child, about where the Living King is and always should be. He should be alive, burning, filling and guarding us deep within our beating hearts. This is the essence of knowing there is A Risen God. Not to revere Him merely in memory, or to vaguely know He’s alive somewhere far from earth, but to understand that in our hearts He stands mighty, sovereign, and triumphant, so triumphant that not even death can make us part.

He lives!!!

HAPPY EASTER.

The Brood in Bangkok (Part II)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Finally, here is Part II of my Bangkok post! (Click this for PART I) I am more excited about this one because it includes my MOST favorite parts of the trip. Again, I hope you will enjoy my little travel advice, as well as photographs. May you find everything enjoyable and useful in this post! :)

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Chocolate Ville

Thanks to one of Paula’s Instagram followers for suggesting this diner, restaurant, and theme park all in one! It was like being in some sort of Disneyland with different options for dining al fresco.

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Those who have children will really like this place because it is obviously loaded with stimulants, haha!

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chocoville

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The other thing that makes this such great stop is that entrance is absolutely free! It doesn’t even require you to eat there!

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DASA Book Café

Now we get to my personal favorite spots. Anyone who’s been following me around my travels know that my usual problem upon going home is that extra luggage space for, well, books, books, and books. Hahahaha! I didn’t think I was going to have that problem as I go to Bangkok, a city not really famous for book shops if you ask me.

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A tip on your itinerary, if I may.

Make a “BKK BOOK DAY” if you are a bookworm and one who likes to hoard books that are great at gathering dust at home, perfect for a few pages browsing every now and then, and probably even admittedly that you can’t read them all in one lifetime. So how do you do this?

TCDC (Thailand Creative and Design Center) is a top reco for an arts or humanties or literary kind of person  and my friend Patty has been to the place and tells me one finds the hardest books to lay your eyes on earth! It isn’t a shop but a library, so you might wanna turn it into a whole day thing so you can stay and just read long as you want or can inside. After which, to fill the void of not having bought at least a single book, do cross over DASA Book Café which is only a few blocks walk from the Emporium mall- where TCDC is actually located! Is that not such a wonderful logistical coincidence??? (Heeheehee. Only nerds will understand. Nerds unite!!!!) Then spend the rest of what’s left in your day there and find another corner if you must, to just browse, browse, browse, and then edit, edit, edit, before you pay, pay, pay. Breathe your last sighs of regret and longing, and then leave.

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But then again, we’d like to thank Paula’s IG follower for giving us this tip on DASA Book Café – a café that simply spells love and goodbye-clothes-and-good-food-shopping-money for me! (And my husband!) Simply, this is a shop full of used books, given at affordable prices!

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For parents of infants and toddlers, please don’t attempt to bring travel system type of strollers to Thailand. You will regret it when you try shopping through tiny alleys that make up their markets, and it can be a hassle when you try to board it up a tuktuk. Bring an umbrella type if you can, with a sun shade. And while we are at it, bring a hat for you, too! You never know how much protection this brings from burning your nose to keeping the cool in your head! And please don’t even try babywearing. Did it the first day, but it was just terrible for Philip, who would always be soaking wet as he gets off me because the very humid Thailand weather!

Chatuchak

What is? Well, the most popular weekend market in Bangkok which is famous for a number of reasons. One is that because it is just HUGE- imagine 8,000 stalls; then we know diversity is also endless! In every turn, something new. (No way to finish this in a day, I think.) Two, price points are reasonable and even bargain-able. You come away feeling both seller and buyer get a good deal after a few banters here and there. (Not all stores though, but there are still quite a lot who do.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA You can find even specialty coffee shops inside Chatuchak!

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Not your regular street food snack, I guess! closer look

Found these while going through the stores outside and not inside Chatuchak. These gutter street food people and shops stay there all day for snacks and some merchandise. Some polos I got were actually cheaper in that area and I am guessing it is because they don’t have to pay rent for a stall inside the shopping area.

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Tip for big groups: no way to find each other inside. It’s a bit of a maze, and to go back the way you came from is not a guaranteed way to really getting back as all halls kinda look the same after a while. Instead, download a map over here: and agree to meet each other at a certain time somewhere outside the gate where you entered. An example would be me finding my way back to the meeting place by simply asking people for directions going to Gate 2 or Children’s Museum or Park. Which leads me to next tip.

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Tip for moms and dads: If Mama wants to shop and Papa wants to stay behind with baby or kids, then you’ve got the best deal happening for you because right outside Gate 2 of Chatuchak is a Children’s Museum, as well as a public park! If Papa is willing, he can stay in those kid-friendly areas to play with, watch after, your baby/children when playing or napping! While Mama, can take her sweet while inside this happy shopping place. This has got to be one of the best worlds for me and Joseph, hahaha!

Park has gondolas and sellers of pellets to feed birds and fish with; bring a mat you can set up under a shady area if you like. 

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playground

The library is air-conditioned, so it is great for napping babies. Then there is an active play area for older children might like. Like the park, this has no entrance fee as well!

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Though on a budget, we made it extra special for our birthday dinner by eating at ANOTHER HOUND in the Siam Paragon mall with the rest of my family. When it actually gets too hot, malls are very convenient!another hound

Among all the other things I recommended here, please do not ever leave Bangkok without a sip of Thai Iced Tea, find good meals from their street food, get that famous Thai massage, and to buy their sugar-salt-chili combination to flavor their fruits to take home with you!

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