It’s another baby girl!

November 20th

Today marks the 12th day since I last went on social media. For those of you who follow me on Facebook, you would probably remember my last post – a picture of our dark snowy drive at 5:55 in the morning to the hospital to have the baby. I know I left you with a cliff hanger there. Some of you sent me messages asking how I was doing… and if we had the baby yet….

I am doing well now (but it wasn’t the case in the beginning), and yes we had the baby on the 8th of November at 8:27AM, and it’s another beautiful and healthy baby girl! Thank you for all your prayers!

This was my very first scheduled C-section. All my other 3 births were natural without any medical interventions. Due to my 4th degree tear with my 3rd baby, I was highly advised to have a C-section. The risk of having another 4DT was too high and the complications could be dangerous and life altering if ever. Still we waited until I was on my 30th week to decide. After weighing the pros and cons, we opted for the latter.

My birthday!

(This post has been sitting on my draft box for weeks. I might as well publish it before our newborn joins our family. Here’s to another year God has blessed me!).

October 11. Friday.

It was a beautiful day! Quite warm for a fall day actually. The sun was out and you can definitely walk in shirt, shorts, and flip flops if you want to.

A bunch of lovely ladies came to my house today to throw me a baby shower! And what a wonderful coincidence that my birthday happened to be today as well! 😉 I was in the kitchen cooking some of my favourite Filipino dishes when my dear friend Sybil walked in the front door with a birthday heart balloon and a gift bag on one hand, and some decorative tissue paper pom poms on the other. She placed them down on the brown bench in the foyer and went back out to grab some food out of her car.

I’m back with an exciting news!

So I took a little break… Okay maybe, it’s more than just a little. I’ve been on a hiatus from blogging since May. And let me tell you, I’ve been aching to sit down, shut the world behind me, and come back here again.

But, when you have 3 little ones, doing some deck reno on the side, travelling to see family from distant miles, crafting, and homeschooling… carving a time to sit down and write has been pushed further and further down the bottom of my to-do list.

Today, I wish to change that.

Because I have an amazing news I’ve been yearning to share with you guys.

We are about to have our fourth baby soon! Yay!!! Even our kids are excited!

Some people are rooting for another baby boy to level the playing field for Edward since he already has 2 big sisters bossing him around and smothering him with too much hugs and kisses.

I know the thought of not knowing can be overwhelming sometimes. I get that there are some perks to finding out the gender of your baby in terms of preparation and all. But, there is also beauty in not knowing and just fully trusting that whatever God gives you will fit perfectly into your growing family. So I am choosing to wait (again!) and not spoil one of the best surprises in life.

It won’t be long…

Soon, I’ll get to meet this little person growing inside me and get to tell him/her that he/she is wonderfully made and incredibly loved!

❤ Zhi

The Best Carrot Cake!

Last year, a good friend of mine asked me to make her her wedding cake. I was honoured and thrilled about her request! I have braved making my own wedding cake the day before my wedding, so I thought, I can handle somebody else’s wedding cake too, especially now that I have more experience in baking and decorating cakes. When she told me what cake she wanted, I almost wanted to back out, or at least try to convince her to change it into something else… something that I have done before. But I did nothing of sort. I kept my worries to myself.

After I had let myself panicked at the thought that the wedding cake would turn out disastrous (of which of course I have not mentioned to her even till now!), I went on Google, Youtube, and Pinterest on a hunt for a carrot cake recipe! You see, I have not made a carrot cake EVER prior to her request. I’ve eaten carrot cake twice in my life and they were delicious, but it was never my favourite, so I dared not baking one myself, until a couple of months prior to my friend’s big day!

After much research, I found 3 carrot cake recipes online that I liked and started experimenting. After many (failed and so-so) attempts of making a fluffy carrot cake with just the right amount of spices, and the right combination of icing that is not cheeky sweet, I think I nailed it. I made the ultimate carrot cake for any occasion! I’ve made this exact carrot cake (in varying sizes, height, and decoration with great success!) about 9 times already just this year alone, and we are only in April. I’ve also used the same recipe to make carrot cupcakes (mini and regular sizes), and they turned out amazing!

Dangerous Journey (The Story of Pilgrims Progress), A Must Read!

I started re-introducing the book the Dangerous Journey to our girls last night. This is a retelling of John Bunyan’s 17th-century classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress, geared for a younger audience. Universally known for its simplicity, vigor, and beauty of language, The Pilgrim’s Progress remains one of the most widely read books in English literature. Often rated nearly as important as the Bible as a Christian document, this famous story of man’s progress through life in search of salvation continues to be one of the most entertaining allegories of faith ever written.

Oliver Hunkin used the original words of Bunyan in this abridged version of the timeless classic to present a riveting story of the pilgrim’s trials and temptations as he set on a long and perilous journey to the Celestial City, a City founded higher than the clouds, to escape his hometown’s inevitable doom. Along a road filled with monsters and spiritual terrors, the pilgrim named Christian, who was weighed down by a literal burden on his back, seeks deliverance, and confronts such emblematic characters as Worldly Wiseman, Superstition, Mr Blindman, Giant Despair, Ignorance, and the demons of the Valley of the Shadow of Death. But he is also joined by Faithful and Hopeful who are a great encouragement for him along his harrowing journey to safety.

I had read a couple of pages of this book to our oldest daughter a while back but clearly she wasn’t ready for it. The vocabulary, the concept, and the storyline of this book is quite advance even for her age now. My oldest is only 4 and her sister is not even 3 yet. But I thought I give it another try. So I included this book into our Read-Aloud basket among other books. For our Read-Aloud basket, I gather up a combination of chapter books, board books, reference books, and early reader books that my eldest reads aloud with me. By the end of the week, I put these books back in our shelves and restock our basket with a new set.

Last night, I read 2 chapters of Dangerous Journey to our girls before bedtime. The First Chapter of the book reads…

I
The Slough of Despond
As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place and laid me down to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a dream.
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Repurposing Antique Dresser

Many moons ago, I blogged about our buffet table that I repurposed from an antique dresser. You can read that post here. I was 5 months pregnant at the time with our 3rd baby and this was one of the many DIY “nesting” projects I’ve made. I wanted to write about my journey in repurposing this dresser, in the hopes of helping others, who, like me, had not done anything like this before. I wrote a draft. Unfortunately, that draft sat in my inbox of unpublished posts for over a year. I am finally revisiting it, and would like to share my experience with you.

Here it goes…

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Unicorn Birthday Party

March 5, 2019

It’s March already and yet we are still experiencing snow… lots of it! It’s minus 10 tonight but it feels like minus 17 with the windchill factor. We were out the door early this morning for Edward and Mira’s immunization shots. It was cold and snowy. The visibility wasn’t very good in some parts. But we made it to our appointment early and had the shots done with very little tears. My husband and I couldn’t be prouder of how brave they were.

During our visit to the doctor, Mira mentioned about her birthday party that she had yesterday. Our oldest daughter and our son share the same birthday month (February). Our schedule last month made it a little bit tricky to coordinate a birthday party with their church friends. So we just did something with our family on their birthdays and I baked some cupcakes for a treat. However, Mira never forgot about our plans to throw her a unicorn birthday party with a unicorn carrot cake. She had her mind set on this since December. And finally, after scheduling back and forth with some of the families from our church, we picked a date that worked for everyone. We did miss one family that ended up not making it because their boys got sick. Still everyone had a great time. They played well together and also played hard.

Mira wanted me to make palabok for her birthday. Palabok is a rice noodle dish staple during special occasions in the Philippines. It has most of her favourite food – noodles, eggs, shrimp and pork rinds. And since palabok is one of my favoutite Filipino dishes, I gladly obliged to her request. We also ended up having fried rice, vegetable spring rolls, a good variety of fruits, rolled up cold cuts, and other Filipino pastries like pande-ube (purple yam bread), poppy seed buns, and coconut rolls.

I made 2 different cakes. A unicorn carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for Mira; and a chocolate cake with cream cheese and peanut butter frosting for Edward. I’m pretty sure our son, who just turned 1, wouldn’t mind sharing a cake with his sister. But if you know me, you’d know I am a big chocolate fan! So to satisfy my chocolate desires, I made 2 dozens mini chocolate cupcakes and a small chocolate cake for Edward. I was quite pleased with how the cakes turned out and our guests enjoyed them too!

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