Friday, October 30, 2015

Easy Mushroom Tempura kids will love!

This post is brought to you by Jolly.

Hello mommies! Yesterday, I had a shoot for Jolly, the brand for quality, yummy, and affordable canned food. As a brand ambassador for Jolly, I was a guest at a soon-to-be-released online cooking show. We shot four webisodes with Chef Mitchie Sison and it was so much fun cooking with her... for you!

All the recipes we made yesterday was super quick to make. As in wala pang 15 minutes yata, we had hot, hearty, delicious meals ready. I was especially in love with the mushroom tempura we cooked. It's such an easy recipe! Here it is:

Chef Mitchie's tips:
  • The recipe says season the flour, right? Well, Chef Mitchie said season the flour, egg and breadcrumbs! Just a pinch each of salt and pepper in each ingredient.
  • When frying anything, the oil has to be super hot so that your food will be crispy. Kapag linagay mo kasi ang pagkain in not-too-hot oil, the food absorbs the oil and then it becomes soggy and oily.
  • No tempura sauce? You can just use Jolly Real Mayo or catsup or spicy chili sauce!
  • Vegetable tempura is a great snack for kids. If you want to make a veggie tempura platter, Chef Mitchie says to pick firm vegetables. That's eggplant, zucchini, onion, squash, broccoli, kamote, sweet bell pepper.   
  • Okay, so the mushroom tempura in the photo actually looks like breaded mushrooms. I know, I know but tempura requires a special kind of flour and ice cold water for it to be super fluffy. Chef Mitchie says you can buy tempura flour at Japanese food shops. You can make your own but then the recipe won't be easy anymore haha!

Can't wait to make this with my boys! They've been really helpful in the kitchen. Look!
Homemade pizza
Mushroom omelette with truffle oil 

I'll be talking more about food, nutrition and kitchen tips on Jolly's soon-to-launch website so please do watch for that! Meanwhile, here's a behind-the-scenes look at yesterday's shoot:
Chef Mitchie is sooo cute and super galing in front of the camera!
Chef Mitchie did the cooking because when I had to fry, I shrieked when the oil made talsik!
Lotsa people make a cooking show possible!

My Jolly family is so jolly!

Okay, if you don't follow me on Instagram, my new gig as brand ambassador of Jolly might come to you as a surprise. Yes, I forgot to tell my blog readers! I'm so active on Instagram and Facebook, I just assume my blog readers follow me there, too. Oops!

Well, dear mommy readers, last August, I joined the Jolly family as one of its brand ambassadors. The other brand ambassador is mom extraordinaire Janice Villanueva of Mommy Mundo. We were introduced to members of the press (naks!) at Movenpick Mactan, where we all learned about nutrition from Professor Luchie Callanta of Center for Culinary Arts, how to prepare fun and delicious baon from April Lim of the BentoMommas, and how to serve easy but gourmet meals to our family and friends from Chef Sau del Rosario.

Here is a news article about the Jolly junket: Breaking Myths About Unhealthy Canned Food.

Here are photos from that amazing weekend:

Monday, October 19, 2015

Review: Cetaphil Baby (plus a giveaway!)

This post is brought to you by Cetaphil Baby.

I was really happy when Cetaphil sent me two big baskets of their latest baby—Cetaphil Baby! Yes, two baskets. I'm either really special or they made a mistake! So I'm going to do a giveaway and share the love. But first, a review!

Cetaphil Baby is a skincare line for young children. It doesn't have parabens, alcohol, mineral oils—which can harm skin. It's not made of any animal ingredient. Just good and gentle stuff, just like a mother's loving touch. That's their official hashtag (#MothersLovingTouch), by the way, in case you have Instagram and want to see all the happy babies using Cetaphil Baby, like this little guy here:
Love you, my Piero! 

We're currently using Cetaphil Baby Ultra Moisturizing Bath & Wash for Vito and Iñigo and Cetaphil Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo on Piero. Both bottles are seen in that cute photo above. Here's my review:

What I liked:

  1. The easy-grip bottles. Really handy when you have a slippery baby!
  2. The price. Cetaphil Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo is only Php 242 for 230ml and only Php 77 for 50ml. I'll find out what the other prices are and will update this post soonest!
  3. The mascot—an elephant! All my kids have big ears and super tangos noses—just like their papa and mama! So we have a sprinkling of elephants everywhere in our home.
  4. Most of all, I like how clean, soft and smooth my kids' skin are! They're so touchable and kissable and huggable.

What I didn't like:
The fragrance. All the products have a strong scent. I'm highly sensitive to smells that I put on my skin and, of course because they're so close to me, on my babies' skin. So depending on your preference, you may or may not like it. Most moms on Instagram said they loved the scent. 

I actually like the smell, too, but when the kids are toweled dry na. They smell sooo yummy and their yummy scent lasts longer, which is a good thing when you have super active, sweaty, smelly boys haha. 

My takeaway:
The Cetaphil Baby range is great because it did keep my kids' skin and hair soft and smooth. Plus, they smelled so yummy! 

And yet, because of the fragrance, Cetaphil Baby said on their Facebook page: "Cetaphil Baby has a fragrance and may cause irritation to those with highly sensitive skin, so we suggest the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser and Lotion if you are 100% sure that your baby has sensitive skin. Cetaphil Baby is perfect for babies with normal skin."

If your child's skin is normal, then maybe you'd like to give Cetaphil Baby a try! The skincare line is available in many supermarkets and drugstores (scroll to end of post for more specific locations). You can also join...

My giveaway!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Traveling this sem break? Get SMART Surf Abroad!

This post is brought to you by SMART Communications.

Look at me being silly at SMART's recent event to launch their new and fantastic SMART Surf Abroad 550.

But seriously, traveling when you're not connected—especially when you're a mom!—is no fun at all. I've talked about the stress of traveling abroad with an unreliable mobile services provider (click here). Back then, I had a simple phone so all I worried about was making sure I can call home and emergency numbers, if ever. But since I worried about bill shock, I very seldom turned on my phone. But now that I have an iPhone 6 and many apps that connect me to everything, I need my Uber, my Waze, my Whatsapp, my Facebook, my Messenger, my Instagram. Plus, my kids' apps!!! I can't afford to NOT be connected!

Well, good thing I went to the SMART event at EDSA Shangri-La after my photo shoot for Baby Magazine because I learned that I can enjoy worry-free data roaming in 110 countries with SMART Surf Abroad 550!!!

Sabi ng SMART:
"Just how convenient is it to stay online while traveling abroad? Imagine navigating through the streets of Tokyo like an expert using Google Maps; being able to post your amazing shot of the Eiffel Tower in real-time on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter; hailing an Uber in Las Vegas to avoid the long queues at the taxi bay; or searching online for that elusive Spanish phrase at the tip of your tongue. 
There’s also checking your work email while taking a rest from your walking tour in Seoul; connecting to your Airbnb host upon landing in Sydney; and getting in touch with your loved ones and friends through popular chat apps like WhatsApp, Viber and Messenger wherever you are – among many other things."
I love it! 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Struggling with mommy blogging

Hi to all my dear mommy readers!

I know I've been sporadic here on Topaz Mommy. I've been blogging over at my other blog, the original one, the lifestyle one, Topaz Horizon. But to be very honest, I'm blogging less as a mommy blogger because I'm up to my eyeballs in motherhood—and yes, that should be the best reason to continue mommy blogging!—but I can't understand how to go about this!

It's been a struggle really. Three kids is a lot. A study showed that three kids is the most stressful number of kids to have. One or two, great. Four or more, great. Three? Crazy! So I should have another one, right? Oooh boy, I would love to have another baby but I'm turning 39 in a month. I'm done.

Lookin' for trouble? You've come to the right place.

While I would love to talk about how amazing I am as a mommy, I can't because I'm not. I yell every day. I didn't yell before! I was such a peaceful parent. How on earth did I do that? Well, for one, I didn't have three kids a few years ago haha. And I had a really good trick to prevent yelling: Establish contact with your child. Go to your child, get down physically to his level (kneel in front of him), look him in the eye, and tell him what you need to say. This is such a good tip, moms and dads! But now that I have three kids, I can't do it! For example, I'm in the bathroom washing one son's butt and then I hear a mighty crash in the living room. What do I do? Do I leave the pooping child to rush to the destroyer child, kneel in front of him and gently talk? Nope. I yell all the way from the bathroom, "WHAT HAPPENED?!?"

This is a stage in my being a mother that I want to forget. But this also happens to be the exact same stage in motherhood that I know I'll cherish forever. My beautiful boys, so curious, smart, talkative (they don't stop talking at all), active, makulit, malambing, ma-usyoso, matanong... These are the exact same reasons why they exasperate me. The exact same reasons I love them so very much. Dear God, help me be a better mother!

All these emotions! So giggly one minute, upset the next. Exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. Grateful for my life at breakfast, weeping with guilt and feelings of inadequacy by dinner. I feel like I'm going crazy. Laughing and crying in the space of an hour! Paano ba 'to? I hate being so emotional because I don't want my kids to see me so emotional. I want them to see Mama has it all under control. Mama is one cool cucumber, all rainbows and sunshine, a gentle stream in the chaos of life that they can come to for refreshment and calm.

Gentle stream. More like raging river.

My homies.

Okay. So now I want to delete this post because it's so honest and I don't want people to know I'm not a hundred percent wonderful to my wonderful boys. Okay, fine, they're not wonderful a hundred percent all the time either. So it's not like my meltdowns are for nothing. It's not easy being a mother to spirited boys, you know! Like, this whole defiance thing is not sitting well with me. I shouldn't be surprised because, first, children will always push boundaries as they learn about themselves, and second, they took after their parents so they're extra rebellious. And in a strange way, Vince and I are super proud that our boys are not quiet, wilting and bland. They may be a handful now but we can't wait for them to blaze trails, defy norms, and rage and fight the way their parents did, the way we still do now.

Okay. So now I want to delete this post yet again because I just announced to the world that my kids are extra rebellious. See how strange it is to be a mommy blogger? Honesty is what fellow mom readers love because we all need to feel validated, affirmed, not alone, not insane. And yet if I let it all hang out there, I'm opening us to judgment. I mean, I don't mind being judged. Been there, done that. Roll eyes and move on. But when the kids came, I suddenly minded not for me but for them. For example, I don't mind if people call me a bitch—true or not, it doesn't matter to me. But now I certainly mind if people tell my kids their mother is a bitch. True or not, it will affect them.

And then there's privacy. I'm obviously not a very private person. I don't care if I share my whole life! It's a fantastic life—yes, even with all my gnashing about and whining! But as my kids get older, they need their privacy and I've got to respect that. I've decided that when the kids enter big school, I won't post their faces on my blogs and social media anymore. I'll also limit my stories about them. Unless of course they inherited my total lack of discretion and decide to start their own #SalesVIP YouTube channel. But until that debut happens, I have to assume they want to be private citizens.

So there. My mommy blogging woes! Do you have any? Do you share the same concerns?

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