Friday, November 30, 2012


I was pretty busy at home the past few days, hence my absence. I finally got to finish fixing up my little crafty corner. I can't believe I got everything to fit in the cabinets. I have a ton of stuff. As in. So I'm very happy I squeezed everything in somehow. But you know what? I think I'm going to tweak the arrangement of all the shelves again. So I'm not ready for the big reveal just yet.

Speaking of fixer-uppers, how are you liking my blog makeover so far? Here's the before and after photo. The one on the left is what my blog looked like a month ago. And on the right is what it looks like today.

I completely DIY'd the theme. I don't have the funds to purchase even a pre-made design. So after a lot of trial and error with the code, I got to tidy up the blog a bit. I even gave it a new name! From Beadbaby, it's now called Saccharine: life's sweetest pleasures. More about that here.

And if you've noticed, I am writing more often! Yay! From the once in a blue moon posts early this year, this is a huge improvement for me. Haha. I also introduced two weekly columns: Eye Candy Mondays and Scrumptious Saturdays. Eye Candy is all about my lovely finds - pretty stores, cute things, gorgeous interiors, great design. I'm doing it on Mondays because I want to send you off to a brand new week with some sugar rush! Hihi. Scrumptious Saturdays are all about pigging out on yummy food. Perfect for the weekend.

You see, I'm trying to take blogging a little seriously. It's become my main creative outlet these days, so I want to do it right! I need the mental exercise - beecoming a good writer takes lots of practice. So my goal for 2013 is to blog more often.

I would appreciate any feedback about this little blog of mine! What posts did you enjoy the most? What do you want to see more of in the future?


Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Best Home Store Ever

Happy Monday people! Let's start the week with some eye candy! This weekend I did some errands for a writing and styling raket, so we visited my favorite source of lovely home accessories: Regalong Pambahay Outlet Store along Pioneer St.

Regalong Pambahay is my go-to place for chic decor. This is where I bought my beloved tea set, saucers, and pastry stand many years ago. I'll show you those in a future post. For today, let's take a look at this to-die-for escritoire! The store had a cozy living room set up when we went last Saturday. I wanted to live there! This is the only photo I was able to take. After I clicked, the staff asked me not to take photos. Sayang! There was this lovely striped couch I wanted you to see. Ok, back to the table.

This secretary table I coveted is in a yummy shade of cream, with the edges scuffed off to give it a shabby chic look. It would look perfect in my craft room. I get that warm fuzzy feeling everytime I look at this photo. I can imagine myself spending hours writing and crafting on this desk. So what's keeping me from buying it? The hefty price tag: Php40,000 (roughly $1000). OMG, right? So for now, I will file this on my list of Things-To-Buy-When-I-Win-The-Lottery.

You can find many Regalong Pambahay stores in leading malls, but if you're in the Pasig-Mandaluyong area, try to drop by the outlet store in Pioneer. From the outside, it looks like a crummy warehouse. Step inside and you'll be awed. It's one of the most beautiful home stores this side of the planet. I hate that I don't have more pictures to show you. But the outlet store isn't only for eye candy - it's one of the best places to do your holiday shopping! Regular items sold in their mall stores can be had here for a 20% discount on cash purchases! Best of all, no hordes of holiday shoppers or long lines here.

Next week, I'll show you some of my favorite Regalong Pambahay finds. Happy Monday!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Scrumptious Saturday: Cream Cheese Cupcakes


If I told you I baked these, would you believe me? Haha! For today's Scrumptious Saturday, let me share with you a favorite cheap thrill from the grocery! These store-bought cupcakes from Shoppersville in Katipunan are so yummy!

They call them Cream Cheese Cupcakes, but they look like muffins to me. Whatever they are, I love them. Nothing too fancy - they're like your regular, cheap cupcakes (think Lemon Square), only better! Light and fluffy, and almost melt-in-you-mouth. Yum yum yum! They're Php 205 for a box of 12. Other flavors are cheese and chocolate, but these cream cheese ones are my favorite. Perfect for merienda or your child's baon!


Friday, November 23, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

We finally put up our tree today! Yey! Little moon "helped" and ended up peppered with glitter. Naughty little girl! We had so much fun. Especially when Ally pointed and said "tree"!

We're not yet done - we're buying more ornaments. I thought we had enough since we were only decorating one side of the tree. Para tipid. Haha. But we decided to move the tree to a different spot, and now you can see it from all angles. So we have to get more decor.

You can see some of the stuff we bought in the pic above. Remember the eye candy I posted a few days ago? As suspected, the output is totally different from my pegs! Hubby wanted a traditional tree. I realized I wanted a "normal" tree too, since this is our first one. I really love the red and gold velvet ribbon we bought! Simple yet gorgeous.

The only thing that's bothering me is all the glitter. I'm crafty, but I don't like using glitter in my projects. They fly everywhere! Oh well.

That's my little Christmas update. Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My adventures in the kitchen

Don't laugh: I can cook. Hindi lang halata. I may not be a domestic diva, but I have a few dishes under my belt. I'm not amazing or anything. I just realized lately that I enjoy cooking! It's a welcome break from being glued to little moon almost 24/7. I love my daughter to bits, but sometimes one needs some alone time, you know? So cooking has become my me-time lately. It's therapeutic.

Cooking is a hit-or-miss for me. But I think the hits outnumber the misses, judging from my husband's and brother's feedback. I used to be scared to cook for my hubby. His mom is an amazing cook - they used to own a turo-turo famous for their Kare-kare and Bicol Express. So imagine the shoes I had to fill! But I thank God my hubby is one of the kindest people I know - he'll be frank with me if he didn't love what I prepared, but will eat everything anyway. If he didn't love it, he'll say the dish is "okey lang" but didn't make it to his list of favorites. The being frank part is important - I don't want to be deluded into thinking I can cook well! Imagine if I was told my pasta was delicious, and every time there was a party I'd volunteer to bring it! Cringe! So my husband keeps me grounded.

If my dish was a hit though, I'll know for sure. Like the Beef with Broccoli in Oyster Sauce I cooked for lunch today! Hubby said, "Gusto ko pa kumain kahit busog na ako!". Yihee. Kilig. :p

Another dish he likes is my Korean Beef Stew. That one I did bring to a party! Guests loved it.

So there, I think I can cook! Not all the time, but maybe most. Hehe. Every once in a while, I'll share with you the hits. This is the first post, and I hope it's not the last!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A sneak peek into my craft room

How's your week so far? I can't believe it's Wednesday! I've been pretty busy at home, organizing the monumental kalat that's been accumulating for months now. I am thankful that the hubby gave me yesterday off from yaya duty, so I took the time to tidy up my work area. I'm so happy!

Here's a sneak peek! I'll post more pics when my camera is cooperating.

What do you think? I'm not done yet - all those containers in the shelves need to be organized. I'll save that for another day.

How do you organize your work space? I'd love to see!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Let's talk about Christmas trees

We don't have any Christmas decor put up yet. I'm kind of in a panic already. Aren't you supposed to do that right after Halloween and Undas? Para sulit? Hehe. Well, we haven't even bought any ornaments yet.

This is our first time as a little family of three (plus two fur babies) to decorate the house in holiday cheer. We're putting up a tree for little moon - she loves balls and sparkly things. Good luck to us, let's see how long we can keep the ornaments out of her reach!

So since this is our first time, I want to make sure the pieces we'll buy are for keeps. They'll be part of our family tradition, after all. Isn't that exciting - starting new traditions of your own? Sigh. Life is sweet!

I'm looking for Christmas tree ideas online before we buy stuff. Here are my favorite pegs.

1. I like this simple non-tree. Very resourceful.

2. I love the colors in these paper trees. These are so me! Follow the link for a DIY tutorial. Lovely! But I don't have time to pull this off. Plus paper isn't really practical for what I have in mind. These are really gorgeous though!

3. I think I really want a pink tree like this one! How pretty. But we already have a green one. Maybe next year? (Asa pa ako.)

4. This whimsical tree is wacky. Ally would love something like this. Just needs to be toned down a bit.

Wow, looks like I'm drawn to a specific color palette. I wonder how I'll translate this from inspiration board to real life. Knowing how these projects of mine go, I'll probably end up with something totally different from my pegs.

Are you done with your Christmas decor yet? Would love to see what your tree looks like!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Scrumptious Saturday: My Bare Cupboard

Let's try something fun on this blog: why don't I do a few regular columns every week, so there's always something new to look forward to? Let's start with my favorite subject: food! I'll blog about yummy finds every Saturday - be it delectable desserts or savory dishes. I'm so excited!

For the premier edition of Scrumptious Saturday, I want to share with you the mouthwatering blog of my friend Anne Regalado - My Bare Cupboard. I met Anne through an online forum many years ago, and I fondly call her Tiyay Lisa. She's a Pinay working in Hong Kong. Anne is one of the kindest people I've ever met online, and I hope to meet her someday soon.

Her blog didn't exist yet when I met her online, so I was pleasantly surprised when the link she shared on Facebook led me to this delicious discovery. My Bare Cupboard is where you'll find magazine-worthy photos of Anne's adventures in the kitchen: from scrumptious-looking cupcakes and homemade ice cream, to amazing hand-kneaded bread and savory dishes like stuffed tofu. All photos in this post are from her.

The styling simply blows me away - it looks professionally done, it's hard to believe she isn't a stylist!

Anne likes to tease her friends by posting her work on facebook. She'll often say, "Hungry? Come and grab one!", to the chagrin of the likes of myself, who lives thousands of miles away.

Well Tiyay, when we finally get to meet, please don't forget to bring me a box of those brookies! Hihi.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Holidays are coming!

We were at Rockwell Powerplant Mall this weekend to support friends who joined the Global Pinoy Bazaar. I was excited to bring little moon there because I heard the mall had an amazing Christmas display. We weren't disappointed.

There were huge white reindeers and a sleigh by the fountain. My precious daughter was ecstatic. Even more so her mom and dad - seeing those oriental eyes sparkle and that tiny face crinkle up in a smile is the sweetest thing. Her daddy and I wished we had a better camera to capture these magical moments. I took these with my crappy camera phone. Missed a lot of big toothy smiles, but I'm glad I captured these shots, however grainy they may be.

There were pandas, tigers, polar bears, and penguins on the other side of the mall too. Ally was scared of the tigers and bears. I couldn't blame her - the polar bears were humongous. It looked like they were going to eat you, what with their moving heads and all. I was creeped out too. Teehee.

But she adored those reindeers and baby pandas. We're definitely going back there soon. I want to hear her babble and squeal excitedly again! I love being a mom!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Let's talk about high chairs

We're trying to get little moon to eat solids more regularly, so we've been looking for a high chair for the longest time. Mealtimes used to mean playpen time for her so I could enjoy a decent meal. She wasn't very interested in real food - a few nibbles here and there, and that's lunch. But that had to change, and getting her her own chair is one step towards that.
These modern designer chairs look lovely. But the price tags don't, so these weren't on our list. No way am I spending over 10k for something that Ally will outgrow in a year, or even sooner. But let's just drool over these pretties for a bit, shall we?
I love the Stokke Tripp Trapp designed by Peter Opsvik. The non-cutesy, no-frills design will blend well with your interiors. It was designed to grow with your child, as you can see in the photo. Peter Opsvik's idea was to create a chair that could seat people of all sizes and ages. The steps are adjustable, and there are accessories (like an attachment for younger babies) that you can purchase separately. It looks easy enough to clean. I'm not too sure about comfort though. If the hefty price tag isn't an issue (a whopping Php15,395), you can get your Stokke Tripp Trapp from Mothercare Philippines. It comes in gorgeous red and other yummy colors.
And how about this space-age seater? Fresco's Bloom high chair is very mid century modern - reminds me of Eero Saarinen's iconic Tulip chair. I want it. But it's $450. If you've got the cash to burn, get it locally from Hobbes and Landes.

Now on to the more realistic stuff. This utilitarian Rubbermaid high chair is far from designer. This was on our list. You're probably familiar with it, they're usually used in fast food restos. We figured we wanted something simple and easy to clean, and it looked like Ally didn't mind sitting in it when we eat at Jollibee. But we realized the Rubbermaid chair is only ideal for quick fast food meals. It isn't comfortable for longer, proper meals at home.

This is what we finally decided to get for Ally. The Chicco Polly 2-in-1 is as different from the Stokke and Bloom as one can get. I wasn't too keen on the cartoon character illustrations, although I like that it's blue. But little moon loved it, and that's all that mattered. She finds those huge googly eyes funny, and enjoys sitting in her new chair because it feels like play time! This will make meal times enjoyable and not feel like a chore for her.
It's easy to clean too - the tray has a liner you can remove (the blue thing you can see in the picture). The double cushions are easy to wipe clean. They're detachable, which is a good thing because the folds in the cushions are a magnet for crumbs. So every after meals, we take out the top cushion and shake off the tiny bits of food.
There are a number of adjustments you can make. The seat reclines, the tray is fully detachable, the arm rests fold up. The height is also adjustable - you can turn it into a low chair so baby can eat with you at the table. The chair folds up for easy storage, but it's not the most compact thing out there. So if space is an issue (it's not for us), this isn't the chair to get. But the best thing about this is the 5-point harness - very safe for my very malikot, wriggly toddler.
Ally loves it so much, it's growing on me. Thanks to the double cushions, it's very comfortable - and that matters a lot. Meal times for her are now almost 2 hours long. I discovered she's a grazer - she won't thrive when you shove spoonfuls of food in her mouth. So I set different food in front of her - cheese, slices of orange, cereal, baby biscuits - and let her eat at her own pace. She wants to do her own thing, even insists on using a spoon! It's so adorable how she tries to scoop up food with her little pink plastic spoon.
You want to know how comfortable the new high chair is? See for yourself.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bedtime buddies

Bedtimes used to be easy. Right after dinner, Ally would nurse and would fall right to sleep. She'd be off to dreamland before 8pm. But that was before her first birthday.

Now that she's a toddler, I'm lucky if she's in bed by 9pm. These days it takes more than a few rounds of breastfeeding, silly games, and bedtime stories before she dozes off.

Thank God for beautifully created interactive iPad books. It makes bedtime a little bit easier for a tired mom. We love the Playtales app - the books in there feature gorgeous illustrations, charming animation, and beautiful narration. Here are our favorite bedtime stories from the app. I don't mind playing these back over and over.

I fell in love with the painterly illustrations in Sleeping Beauty. Very whimsical and pretty. The background music is soothing - we keep the app running long after Ally has fallen asleep because of the lullaby.

Moon Secrets is perfect for our little moon. It came free with the app, I was delighted when I discovered it! Like Sleeping Beauty, the music playing in the background will lull you to sleep. It sounds like twinkling lights, or the music of the moon and stars - if they ever made a sound. Reminds me of the music box I had as a child.

Here are the other titles in our Playtales library. We only have a few in this app. All our other animated books are from Disney, which are not in this library.

Next time, I'll share with you Ally's favorite lullabies on Youtube. Kids these days - very techie! Haha.

Time for bed. Goodnight!

Friday, November 9, 2012

The best diaper bags ever!

It's time for some eye candy!
Mommy Roxi over at Mr. Jacob's Mom started a blog hop called "What's in Mom's Bag". Well I have a confession to make: I don't bring my own bags anymore. I just use Ally's. Haha. So instead of posting a photo of the contents of my bag, I'll show you the lovely diaper bags we use.
Carrying a separate bag for my things is too much of a hassle for me. So I opted for a diaper bag I could tote around in style. My requirements: it has to be roomy enough for both Ally's stuff and mine, and it should not look tacky.
I searched the net, and fortunately for me, I found ones that do not look like diaper bags at all! Look at these darlings, aren't they gorgeous?

These are from a brand called Nursing Mom. When I found them on multiply, I thought they were soooo me! Most of the fabrics they use are from Amy Butler, who just happens to be my favorite designer ever! And the funny coincidence? Their bags are called Amara! Just like my little moon. I found out later on that the collection is named after the brand owner's daughter. :)

The first bag I bought is the lovely little Amara Day Bag in the first photo. Don't you just love the damask print? I forgot who the designer is, but I will try to find out. I love how structured this bag is - it stands on its own but isn't too bulky.

I realized a few weeks after I bought it that I needed a bigger bag for out of town trips, so I bought the larger Kate Overnight Bag in Amy Butler's Pressed Flowers fabric (2nd photo). This was from Nursing Mom's old collection, so I was lucky to have found the last one in Robinson's Galleria last year! The overnighter comes with a matching diaper mat - love it! This bag is a bit slouchy though, so it doesn't stand on its own.

Both models have lots of pockets inside and out - perfect not only for diapers and Ally's thingamabobs, but for my stuff as well. The bags are so roomy I can stash toys plus an iPad in there.

The yummy prints and overall construction make these the best diaper bags ever! My cousin even commented once that she'd love to get one for herself. She doesn't have a baby yet. Teehee!

Care to share other lovely bags you've found? Please leave a comment below! I hope you liked the eye candy!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Our breastfeeding story


Nursing our little moon is probably the biggest challenge I have ever been faced with. I do it because I want Ally to receive the best. We've been breastfeeding for a little over 13 months now.

Our breastfeeding journey began the minute I gave birth to her, right there in the delivery room. I wish I could say I remember all the sweet details of our love-at-first-latch, but until this day, the details of my delivery are foggy. I think my subconscious is blocking the memory of that day because child birth is one of the most excruciating experiences ever. I do remember them holding her against my breast, all pink and new and tiny, but I can't remember how she latched on. In the recovery room, I asked the midwife who assisted the Unang Yakap, and she assured me Ally did latch on.

I also wish I could say she never had a drop of formula. But there was a medical complication that disrupted our plans to breastfeed exclusively. A few hours after her birth, the doctor told me she had jaundice. She had to undergo bili light treatment. Instead of being roomed in with me, it was the neonatal ICU for her. So I had to get out of bed hours after delivery, walk to the hallway, sit in a wheel chair (ouch!), and go to the NICU (which was on a different floor). This happened countless of times in a day. I would stay in the NICU nursing room for an hour or two, cuddling and feeding my sweet newborn. My ravenous nursling was so hungry that sometimes, on my way from the NICU back to my room, I would get summoned before I could even step into my room! There was very little rest for me. But I was very determined. Ally was sick, so all the more reason to breastfeed.

Jaundice isn't a cause for alarm, a lot of babies are born yellow - including me! But after a day of treatment, the doctor was concerned that her bilirubin levels weren't returning to normal. It was very scary. She needed all the time she could get under the bili lights, so my short mommy visits were cut even shorter. The lights could cause dehydration, so unlike most newborns who need only a few sips of milk, Ally needed a lot of it, and fast. A new mom doesn't produce milk yet, only colostrum - a nutrient-packed, sticky substance - in very little amounts. Enough for a newborn, but not in Ally's case. Because of the risk of dehydration from the treatment, she needed to be supplemented with formula. I was heartbroken, but there was no choice.

Ally stayed a few more days in the hospital after I was discharged. I'd like to think she was mixed-fed those first few days, because I was expressing milk and delivering it to the NICU. I forced my body to hurry up and produce milk with the help of the hospital's electric Medela pump. Do you know how hard it is for a new mom who just gave birth to produce a drop of milk? It's like trying to squeeze water from a rock! Milk doesn't usually come until a few days after you deliver. But Ally needed me, so I had to produce liquid gold.  It was excruciating.

I had to work hard. There was very little rest at home - I had to manually pump every few hours to establish my milk supply. I had to be diligent with that because breastfeeding works on a supply-and-demand basis. If your body thinks there is no demand (no suckling babe), it will not produce the supply. My milk could easily dry up without Ally directly suckling. Breast pumps are not as efficient as a real baby, so I had to work extra hard. I had to pump every few hours, round the clock. And everyday I would deliver my precious milk in milk bags. Very milk maid-ish, except that I was also the cow.

I am not sure if the nurses actually give her my expressed milk. Would they take the time to thaw frozen or cold breastmilk, when there was a can of formula readily available? Just to be sure Ally was receiving my milk, I would breastfeed her directly every time I visited. I had to limit our time together though, so she could go back under her bili lights. This happened over several days.

This was a very trying experience for me. I was feeling very depressed. I would cry on my way out of the NICU - I wanted my baby! I would cry when I got home - I wanted my husband! (He was in Seattle for work, he didn't have a choice.) It was the loneliest point of my life. If I ever had postpartum depression, that would have been it.  I will never know. Thank God I pulled through.

And thank God Ally was ok. She was discharged a few days later (after 7 days in the NICU), and we began our breastfeeding journey anew. 13 months later, we are still at it.  As the saying goes, if there's a will, there's a way.

So that's how our breastfeeding story began. Although we were off to a rocky start, things got better. There are many ups and downs, but there is nothing like the joy of being able to provide the best for your child. I will share with you more of our experience in future posts.

I would love to hear about your experience! Please share in the comments below!