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.

When she came back in, my 3 little ones excitedly greeted her as she climbed up the stairs to our living room. Next thing I know, Sherry walked in the house with some food in her hands as well. The 3 of us chatted as I finished preparing lunch. Soon after, Cherry came in the door and walked into the kitchen bearing food as well!

My plan to just have a quiet birthday with my family feasting on my favourite food turned out to be a fun-filled afternoon with this crazy bunch! 😆 We had a good feast! And we all had a blast! 🤣🤣🤣

Since the day was warm, we moved our little party to my backyard. What a gorgeous afternoon! The sun remained our company. With some gentle cool breeze, the weather was just perfect to be outdoors. The ladies set the table outside for our appetizers and desserts while I made us my special hot chocolate-espresso, topped with homemade whipped cream and ground cinnamon! It was a hit! ❤

We were just about to start eating our desserts when Annie, who came straight from work, walked into my backyard. It was a lovely surprise! While we chatted and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon, the kids roam free, picked some apples from our apple tree, and played in the dirt.

Just before everyone left, we played a pin-the-pacifier-to-the-baby’s-mouth game that Cherry made. The objective of the game was simple – to stick the pacifier into the baby’s mouth. We mounted a cardboard baby onto my garden shed and then we each took a turn of being blind-folded, spun around thrice while holding a cut-out pacifier in our hand.

Mira, my oldest daughter, was the only one who got the pacifier right on the spot! Some of us got it on the baby’s mouth, shoulder, nose, and even on the baby’s toes. It was hilarious! 🤣🤣🤣

Eventually, everyone had to leave and my 2 younger kids went for their much needed naps. I took advantage of the warm, gorgeous day and raked our front lawn. 🍁🍂 Mira decided to stay up and helped me with raking. 

We were just about done when daddy pulled in the driveway. He handed Mira a bouquet of red flowers to give to me. Mira happily obliged and gave me the flowers. I asked her to bring them in the house, which she immediately did.

Ian grabbed the other rake and helped me finish the last leaf pile at the end of our lawn. And then we attacked the thick blanket of fallen leaves piling up in Al’s lawn until we ran out of leaf bags. 🍁🍂🍁 Our neighbor Al lives by himself and hasn’t been feeling well these past couple of years so we have been raking his leaves for him whenever possible.

When Ian took the leaf bags to the compost in Southampton, I warmed up some left overs for dinner. We were planning to watch a movie with the kids after supper but it was getting pretty late so we just put on the Mighty Pups for them. We all cuddled in the couch and let Ryder and his pups entertained us all.

When our kids were finally tucked in bed, he handed me a birthday card sealed in a pink envelope. I quickly opened it and soon found myself wiping tears off my eyes. One thing most people don’t know about my husband is that… drum roll please… He actually writes beautiful love letters! For someone who hates writing, and typically a man of few words, he’s pretty thoughtful and emotionally expressive when he writes me a letter. Hence, I started calling him ‘Sweets’.

I took out 2 wine glasses of chocolate mousse from the fridge after reading my birthday card. Ian has been making me this decadent dessert since we have been courting. After he found out how much I love this cake he’s been making it for my birthday every year! (Another reason why I call him Sweets! Because he can be the sweetest guy ever!).

We spent the rest of our evening enjoying our desserts while watching a movie and then reminiscing special memories and dreaming of the future. What a perfect way to end my special day! 🥰 I couldn’t have asked for more! ❤

❤ 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!

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!


And she’s 2!

Fruit Smoothie Recipe

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I’m back!

And I’m back with another smoothie recipe!

This week had been crazy warm, and so we’ve been having smoothies every day. It’s a sign that summer is coming… and it’s coming fast!

The beauty of making smoothies is you can pretty much use whatever fruits, vegetables and seeds/nuts combo that you want as long as the taste don’t clash. It’s also a good way to incorporate fresh and raw food into your diet if you are not into eating salad, which you should especially if you consume a lot of meat that makes our body acidic. We are big meat eaters in this house so I make sure we eat raw veggies and fruits to balance it.

Did you know that cancer cells thrive in an acidic, but not in an alkaline environment? Continue reading

Arroz caldo

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The past winter here that seems to be lingering has been rough for little ones. There’s a bug that has been going around that has made kiddos and their moms and dads sick on and off. It was towards the end of winter when this nasty bug made its way to our home. It was awful. Our first born got it first and then passed it on to her dad, and then to her baby sister. I was very much pregnant with our baby boy at the time. When I felt I was coming down with something too, I increased all our dosage of vitamin C, which kept me from getting sick, and helped my family recover from the cold much faster.

I’ve also made several big batches of arroz caldo to nurse my family and some friends back to health. I have just made this again today because our middle child has been under the weather lately, and I heard that my friend’s son has been sick too.

Arroz caldo is a Filipino dish I grew up eating. Some would call it Lugaw. It’s a Spanish-influenced rice soup, similar to a congee, that is often served to the ill and to the elderly because it is warm, soft, and easy to digest. But you don’t have to be sick to enjoy this hearty meal. It’s an awesome dish during the cold and wet months to keep us warm. Continue reading

Our oldest turned 3!

“The nights are long, but the years are short.”

I’ve read this once somewhere, and even though our oldest is just 3, it feels like the years are already slipping out of our fingers so quickly. I still distinctly remember when she was born like it was just yesterday. Now, not only do we have a 3 year old, we also have her 19 month old sister, and a baby due 2 days ago, but has decided not to come out yet.

Mira has grown quite a fascination with Paw Patrol so I thought it would be the perfect theme for her 3rd birthday party. She was pretty excited about it and helped me with some of the preparations.

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I worked on her birthday banner first.

paw patrol birthday banner.jpg Continue reading