Guest Post: How you can start investing in the stock market

Sunday, November 25, 2012

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I don't always come up with posts that makes a lot of sense. Primarily because my intended audience is always just myself, hubby, and our children (when they are old enough to get embarrassed by my posts hee hee). I also would like for my son and daughter to have an idea what their mom 'sounded' like back in the day.

So, sometimes it amazes me why certain demographics (don't get me wrong they are still a very few) outside my family bothers to read my musings at all. Okay, so now to my point. You may not want to read this little blog BUT I urge you not to let this one pass.

My husband is my guest blogger. And he will talk about something that might change your outlook when it comes to your finances. No strings attached just pure unadulterated sharing for the sake of passing on something good. Read up. ;)

Note to hubby: I hope you can do more of this to add more sense in this blog. Haha. As always I am prouder of you than anyone else in this earth could ever be.


How you can start investing in the stock market


Introduction

I believe that the fear of the unknown is what prevents many Filipinos from investing in the stock market.  I think the two most common misconceptions about the stock market are: (1) too technical for ordinary people to understand and (2) too risky to put your money in.

It has become my personal advocacy to reach out to as many friends as I can and introduce them to stock market investing.  I started with it when I came across Bo Sanchez's book "My Maid Invests in the Stock Market... and Why You Should, Too!"  Catchy title right? 

But first let me just get these things out of the way: I'm doing this for free and I won't get an income out of this (well probably a little if you use the affiliate link I provided at the end).  I just want to make people aware of this option on how to grow money.  Also I'm subscribed to Bo Sanchez's teaching on stock market investing, so what I'm telling here is just my interpretation of that.  His teaching made a lot of sense to me, and my purpose is to just relay the message.

So how can you get started?  Read on.

What You Need to Get Started

First you need to understand and appreciate the following simple concept, discipline, and attitude in order to do stock market investing:

  1. Compound interest
  2. Consistent, regular setting aside of a portion of your income for stock market investing
  3. Knowing the difference between stock market trading and stock market investing
I’ll discuss items 1 and 2 first, and then proceed with item 3.

Compound Interest and Consistent Saving

Albert Einstein once said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.  He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it.”


Did you know that that P50 can become P50 million and make you insanely wealthy because of compound interest?  Consider the following tables:


Above are different investment vehicles.  You need an investment vehicle to grow your money. 

Some people put their money in banks under a time deposit account, like in table (i).  As you can see, the initial P50 becomes P50 million because of compound interest, but it takes 469 years.  However, smarter people put their money in, e.g., government-issued bonds (table(ii)) or invest their money in the stock market (table(iii)).  They use a faster vehicle to grow their money.

The investors in the tables above ONLY made a one-time investment of P50 and let compound interest do its work.  But are you only capable of such a similar move? 

I’m sure you can do better than putting in a P50-savings once in your lifetime right?  You can instead put in P50 every year, yes?

But you can do better than P50!  Why not put in P100?  Why not put in P1,000?  Why not P2,000?

And of course you can do better than a once-a-year saving!  Why not instead of putting in P2,000 every year, you do it every quarter?  Or why not do it every month?

Let’s say you decided to put in P2,000 every month which makes P24,000 per year.  Using the rate in table (iii), see computation below how that very doable effort can bring you faster to a wealthy status:


Which is what drives the next point after compound interest – consistent and regular setting aside of a portion of your income.  It doesn’t matter how much you can set aside (but if you can set aside more, you can reach your wealthy status faster).  What matters is that you do it regularly.  If your age now is 40 it’s possible you still have another 42 years ahead of you, and if you start investing now, you will be P56 million richer by 82!

Knowing the difference: Stock Market Trading vs. Stock Market Investing

To earn from the stock market, as you may have heard, you need to buy low and sell high.  Both stock market trading and stock market investing essentially subscribe to this principle, but they differ in the time period wherein this principle is being applied. 

Stock Trading or Active Trading

In stock market trading, the buying and selling activities happen in a span of a month, weeks, days, or even hours.  Trading within these short time spans often necessitates a lot (really a lot!) of effort and makes use of very complex statistical analysis and forecasting tools.

Figure 1: Stock Market Trading
Figure 1 is as sample stock price movement.  The green bars mean that the stock price is in an upward movement, while the red bars mean that it is in a downward movement.  So to be able to use the “buy low, sell high” principle, stock market traders try to place a stock purchase at each of the bottom-most portion of the red bars, hold a bit, and then sell at each of the top-most portion of the green bars.  
   
In media portrayals, those involved in stock market trading enjoy very high returns or suffer very big losses.  To beat the market, they pour over a lot of data analysis on the fluctuations in stock prices.  They are celebratory when they beat the market or suicidal when the market beats them. 

I think this kind of media portrayal is what scares most people from being involved in the stock market. 

Stock Market Investing or Passive Investing

In stock market investing, the buying and selling happen in a span of several months, a year, or several years.  Short-term fluctuations do not matter and so one does not need to put in a lot of effort in predicting when to purchase or sell a stock.  

Figure 2: Stock Market Investing

Using the illustration above let’s assume that you don’t have time in closely monitoring the stock prices and decided to just passively purchase shares at regular intervals.  Let’s also assume a very unlikely worst case scenario wherein you placed all of your purchases at each of the bottom-most portion of the red bars.

If you average out all of these stock purchases in a span of several months or years, you still earn if you decide to sell in the end.  This is called “cost-averaging.”  The important thing here is there should be consistent stock purchases at regular intervals. 

As you can see, you don’t have to predict when the stock prices will fall at its lowest or rise at its highest (that is a very complex science).  You just have to pick big, well-managed companies that are very likely to maintain its profitability (can you imagine Ayala, SM, or PLDT not being profitable?).  Then you just do a piggy-back ride on their profits by buying stocks from them.

Parting words

Before you get to pick the right companies where you can buy your shares from, you should have a broker that will serve you with your stock market investing needs.  I use the online stock broker COL Financial wherein I have an account.  For details, visit this link: https://www.colfinancial.com/ape/Final2/home/open_an_account.asp

Understanding and appreciating the three items I have described above is I think already 90% of the strategy that you need to apply in stock market investing.  My goal in this write-up is to convince you that you can do stock market investing.  I hope I was able to do that.  This is the basic level – knowing that you can do it.

On a side note, I have and still am subscribed to Bo Sanchez’s Truly Rich Club which is where I get directions on how I can maximize further my stock investment earnings.  In this on-line community, members regularly receive stock updates that include which good companies to buy, when to buy, until when to hold, and when to sell.   This is the remaining 10% of my strategy.  You can visit http://bosanchezmembers.com/amember/go.php?r=19813&i=b0 for details.

Elijah 2nd Birthday: Jollibee Kiddie Party

Thursday, November 22, 2012

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This blog post has been delayed for over two weeks. I cannot even begin to describe how hectic our schedules have become. I am eight months pregnant very round belly, chasing after a now very curious and assertive toddler. You can just imagine. But I cannot let the season pass without talking about my son's 2nd birthday party. When he's twelve and he asks me what was his birthday like at least I have a reference hehe.

I cannot believe it's been a year since I organized Eli's Rockstar themed 1st birthday party at Centerstage (read about it here). The second birthday party was more low key. Party planning took only less than a week. For one, I had lesser suppliers to think about this time and I really had no actual theme I needed to stick by. I just knew I wanted the color scheme of orange, blue, and green.

Lower maintenance but equally fun nevertheless. The important thing is I felt the overflowing love for our baby boy. I mean that's what parties are all about right? To celebrate the precious gift that is the celebrant. I am really thankful to everyone who came to the party. It was simple and people went home happy. Thank you for your time, and precious gifts.

Here are photos to give you an idea on how the event went:


Photobooth courtersy of Fotostyle
Affordable and very professional. Party proper started at 11am
and they were at the venue as early as 9am. I loved the quality of their outputs.
(Thanks ninang Cookie and kuya Keith for your gift!)



Candy buffet: courtesy of Kendi Cart
This was a hit among kids and adults.
I highly recommend these guys as well. Sulit for the price.
(Thanks ninang Belet for this! =))

Another shot of the candy buffet.
Simple design just the way I like it.


Balloon centerpieces c/o Smile Party Events & Balloon Decor.


Balloonderitas and Balloon Pillars
also from Smile Party Events & Balloon Decor

We got the Jollitown cake from Jollibee.
Their supplier is Red Ribbon. This was a mocha cake. Yum!

Snap watches given as souvenirs for kids (gift of my mom).
The rest of the prizes I bought from Landmark and SM.

Daddy Jp and the very pregnant me.
Eli hated having his pictures taken!
Outfit me: Dress by Forever21, Cardigan from my friend Jen.
Outfit daddy: FUBU shirt, some jeans. =)

This was what the venue looked like.
Quite spacious in my opinion and easy lang magkita kita ang mga tao.
However, when the guests started pouring in (about 90 persons)
it became a bit crowded also. But it's all right in my opinion.


This was during the prayer.

Daddy and the birthday boy looking at his guests.
Outfit Eli: shirt by Mossimo kids, short pants by Moose Gear

Just because I love pictures of other people taking pictures of other people.
Haha.
 
Opening remarks by daddy JP.

The party wouldn't be complete without Jollibee's
signature balloon popping game.
Thank you tita Tanya and ninong Mon for being so competitive.

We did not have that many kiddie guests kaya the games was for the
kids at heart instead. The games were lively and fun.
Especially if nanood ka lang hehe.


One of the rare times na nagpakuha ng picture ang birthday boy.
With daddy and his lolo Oca.

Again competitive ang games ng adults.
Akala mo Olympics diba?

Since the girls lost they had to dance with Jollibee
to the tune of... "Gangnam Style" of course!
(Note to Eli: you probably won't remember what Gangnam Style is
but during your second year national anthem yan sa mga parties!)

Eli and 2nd cousin Enzo.
Eli just adores Jollibee.


I bought these non toxic bubble toys so that the kids had something
to play with when they are bored.

Here are the kiddie guests.
Aren't they all cute?
(Look at Jollibee naka beautiful eyes sa likod hehe.)

See? Love nya talaga si Jollibee.


I think he wants to take home Jollibee.

Sulit the Jollibee party just for this adorable picture.

I was saying to Eli:
"Anak, say good bye na to Jollibee because we can't take him home."

Kudos to the mascot assigned to us.
Super hardworking and kwela. I think he stayed for more than an hour.

He performed three songs!

Blowing of the cake. Mainit na ang ulo ng birthday boy.

I just love this candid shot!
Ayaw nyang paalisin si Jollibee LOL. =)


Kudos to the staff of Jollibee Sheridan. I know we had some issues at the beginning during the booking process but your guys made up for it in many ways.
 
Just send me a message if you have any questions on the suppliers I booked.
 
=)

 

Hooray for Two!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

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Hi Eli, you are 2 today! You hear that? Those are 2 wonderful years of getting to know you and discovering ourselves as your parents. From day 1 I just resolved into loving you in every way I know how. That is rejoicing every ordinary days that I get to be your mom and take care of you. Your dad though, was such a discovery.

I knew from the moment we married that he’s going to be a great dad. But he even surpassed my high expectations. Ever since you were born I see him becoming more and more devoted to you. I see you holding hands while sleeping and it’s enough for my crazy little heart to overflow with joy. He loved giving you massages (and you love receiving those), he reads stories to you that sometimes bores the two of you but you listen along anyway, you sing silly songs with daddy of lyrics and notes that only your souls understand.

So you see, every day has been filled with quiet contentedness like this. Oh, I can’t even begin to just express how happy you made us. But know for sure that we love and adore you unconditionally. We can’t wait to travel the world with you. To bring you to your first Disneyland adventure (HK perhaps? Or Tokyo or Paris if mommy and daddy gets lucky). To witness you take your first elephant ride. Or build your first snowman. For you to experience and see the world as your playground. Where you will work hard on your passion and at the same time have the best fun with things that excite you.

One more thing I am so excited to see you one day (and that’s happening really soon) as a big brother. With a little sister to care for. With a little sister to fight the world for. And a little sister to be with no matter what.

You made us better persons. You made me appreciate more the man that is your dad. You have expanded our world so much.

I love you sweet, silly, little boy. Someday soon, you will choose to build a family of your own but until that day happens we’ll cherish every moment that we have with you.

Love, Mom.
PS: I hope you enjoyed your simple party yesterday although you hated having your picture taken. Today, we'll go to the zoo to see animals that you are just so fascinated at. We love you and happy birthday. :))
 

 

 

To Party or not to Party

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

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Some mababaw nanay problems. But believe you me mga muthers, I have been having sleepless nights just debating in my head whether Eli should have a party for his 2nd birthday.

Filipino tradition dictates (dictates talaga?! haha) that normally the bonggels parties are during the 1st and 7th birthdays, then followed by 18th (if girl) and 21st (if boy). But not for this mom. I just love parties! I just love the thrill and stress of it all.

But. But. But. Since I will be going 8th months preggers by the time November rolls in I cannot afford any stress. Also, financially speaking mas practical din not to have a party anymore because the money that we can save can go to just buying Eli wonderful stuff and some of it can go to my panganganak fund (read: pang-CS sa The Medical City).

However. However. However. This is the last year na Eli will be celebrating his birthday na he is still our only baby. And his exact birthday fell on a Sunday, so I took it as another sign from the high heavens.

Oh but the stress of guests not doing RSVP.

But the happiness of me choosing what Eli will wear for his party.

And what if it rains and no one goes?

Pero, I already found this really nice location where he can celebrate a low-key party.

But hubby is being oh-so-strict with the 'budget'.

Seeing our closest relatives and friends on that day will be fun though.

See I am ever so torn.

This mama is so confused.

Nevertheless, I love our son that I am sure of. Ultimately, the day is about him. I know whatever we decide on he's going to be happy anyway knowing he is loved by his mom and dad primarily and so many more.

Will keep you updated sisters. =)

Adventures in Baking: Red Velvet Cupcake (dry run)

Friday, September 7, 2012

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My mama's birthday is on Sunday (I love you mama!). I plan to make her the moistest Chocolate cake with thick choco ganache and red velvet cupcakes. Between the two cakes I am more scared of the later. One can never go wrong with a chocolate cake. Slather anything with chocolate and it will automatically taste good.

Thing is cupcakes are so dainty. And I am far from dainty. And I am bit nervous, as this being only my fourth time to bake. (Super novice baker here!) Hence, I needed a dry run before my mom's actual birthday on Sunday.

As luck would have it, the cupcakes were a success. Judged by me. And because I can't go to Sonja's I brought Sonja's to me. (Lumi-level sa Sonja's promise. Hehe.)

Special thanks to my friends who sent their recipes Dits (mommy behind this awesone blog), Lia (she makes iCakes), and Oli. Ultimately, I followed recipe from Joy of Baking.

What I loved about it:
- The cupcakes came out moist, although I tasted a hint of baking soda so for my second batch instead of 1/2 tsp. I will reduce it to 1/4.
- The frosting was not too sweet. Just enough blend of tangy-ness and sweetness. I will reduce the amount of cream though from 2/3 cups to just 1/3 because I found the frosting a bit runny.
- Among all the recipe's I've read this used the fewest amount of flour and sugar yet it still yielded to a perfect equal 12 portions of 3 oz. cupcakes.
- It was yummy. Enough said.

Red Velvet Cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups (125 grams) sifted cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons (10 grams) regular unsweetened or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk
1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (I will reduce to 1/4 next time)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners' (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted
2/3 cup (160 ml) cold heavy whipping (I will reduce to 1/3 next time)

Red Velvet Cupcakes:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and line 12 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.
2) In a large bowl whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.
3) In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
4) In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
5) In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter. 
6) Working quickly, divide the batter evenly among the 12  muffin cups and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 18 - 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
7) Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes and them remove from pan. Let cool completely before frosting. Either spread the frosting with a knife or offset spatula, or use a large 1M Wilton open star decorating tip to pipe the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1) In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth.
2) Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to pipe.
3) Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.

Some pictures to show you:

Note - sorry for the crappy pictures. I am using a very old camera plus my lack of photography skills.

Some of the raw ingredients for the red velvet cake
(Hubby lovingly procured some of the ingredients for me from Sweetcraft)

Some of the raw ingredients for the cream cheese frosting
(Make sure that the cream cheese is at room temperature before whipping)

Le tools =)
(Nothing fancy there.)


The red velvet batter. So RED!
(do not over mix or you'll end up with bread instead of cake)

See I am a very messy baker.
(Kevs, di na halata pag naluto na.)

The frosting, a bit on the runny side. But very yummy!

Didn't get to take much pictures of the finished product because
my son was in a hurry to eat all of them. =)







Moist Vanilla Layer Cake with Fluffy Buttercream Frosting

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

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My, my, my mommies! August is about to end and here I am with just a second entry for the month. You will not believe it but time flies even if you are just a stay-at-home-mom.

But I promise to turn over a new leaf because it's already September. Why? Because I love "-ber" months. Why? Because it means Christmas is just around the corner. And there's no other bigger Christmas nut out there more than me. I am giddy over Christmas. I go through the motions of other months just so I can get by until 'the' season arrives again.

Okay so before I get carried away with the thought of the Holidays let me just give you a quick update that I've decided to conquer my fear of baking. Why fear it? Well, I am an excellent cook but I never liked measuring stuff (no wonder I did not became a chemist!). I have said so many times in my recipe series that I like eye-balling stuff.

And baking is pretty much like architecture. You have to be precise on your measurements or else the entire structure will crumble. And the mess (thank God for ate Conching). And the numerous instruments.

However, Martha Stewart is my peg lately (minus the insider trading stuff). So hey, I gotta give baking a try. I've been making butter cakes with my sisters for two consecutive weeks. So I wanted to change it up and make vanilla cakes this time. I know, know, they are almost similar. One thing you have to know though, me and hubby never liked chocolate cakes. For some reason we take a bite at any chocolate and instantly all we taste is bitterness. I know that's very weird of us.

The cake is what it is. It has a very moist vanilla chiffon cake and a fluffy buttercream icing. This is something that I'm sure a lot of you will love. I got the recipe here and tweaked it a bit. For one, I didn't use buttermilk. Also I suggest you reduce the sugar on the icing to make it less sugary.

Here it is mothers:

Vanilla Cake:
Ingredients
2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus extra for dusting pans
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 3/4 cups sugar (12 1/4 ounces)
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  (Note: it is quite hard to look for buttermilk so instead I used 1 cup milk mixed with 3/4 tsp cream of tartar)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
3 large egg whites, room temperature
  (Note: since most eggs on the groceries are medium I used 8 egg yolks and 4 egg whites instead)

Instructions
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch-wide by 2-inch-high round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Grease paper rounds, dust pans with flour, and knock out excess. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar together in large bowl. In 4-cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks.
2. In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With machine running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form, 30 to 60 seconds (whites should hold peak but mixture should appear moist). Transfer to bowl and set aside.
3. Add flour mixture to now-empty mixing bowl fitted with whisk attachment. With mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop mixer and scrape whisk and sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.
4. Using rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of whites into batter to lighten, then add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Lightly tap pans against counter 2 or 3 times to dislodge any large air bubbles.
5. Bake until cake layers begin to pull away from sides of pans and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with small knife, then invert onto greased wire rack and peel off parchment. Invert cakes again and cool completely on rack, about 1 1/2 hours.

Easy Buttercream:
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch table salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
  (Note: I suggest just use 1 1/2 or 2 cups depending on your sweetness preference)

Instructions
1. Stir the cream, vanilla, and salt together in a small bowl until the salt dissolves.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds. Reduce the speed to medium-low, slowly add the confectioners' sugar, and beat until smooth, 2 to 5 minutes.
3. Beat in the cream mixture. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.(If using a hand held mixer, beat for 8-10 minutes)

I also added canned strawberries as toppings and decoration. You may use blueberries or mangoes too. =)

Here is the buttercream icing in the process of being whipped :)

The very rustic looking cake, and the taste is yummy.
Not bad for my first attempt.

The layers of the cake turned out too thick.
I should have used used a wider pan.


Never again in 100 years

Friday, August 10, 2012

1 comments


Breathe first, then smile. Here we go.

I remember post-Ondoy that a real estate broker was trying to sell us a townhouse somewhere in Quezon City. Our first question was, how was the flooding in this property during the Ondoy calamity. The agent, brushed it of saying that according to "statistics" typhoons of Ondoy proportions will only happen once in a lifetime. Chances are it will never happen again in 100 years.

I dare not ask where the idiotic statistics came from, needless to say we turned our backs to that property and it turned out that the water was neck deep in that community during that typhoon.

Things should be getting back to normal now. I would just like to add how easily we tend to forget. I am not one of those doomsayers but open your eyes people! Our mother earth is a little kooky and we can never deny that climate change is for real. These torrential rains will happen again and it can happen sooner than we think.

Our neglect is the primary cause, therefore we are the ones that should offer solutions as well. Government people have to get up their butts and make our drainage systems more efficient. Those living beside the riverbanks need to be relocated. Bridges need to be repaired, walls of dams need to reinforced, roads needs to be safer (I mean open manhole?! Really? ). Yes, yes, don't blame everything on the government but the things I have just enumerated cannot be done by an ordinary citizen. People with positions of power: time to take your responsibilities seriously.

What about us, random citizen of the world? Okay, first help out. Everyone is in the position to help. Help one another. Help yourself, then help others, then go the extra mile.

Once, that's done say peace with mother nature and stop throwing garbage everywhere. Don't just shut up and go back to the daily grind. Make this calamity count by making a change in yourself. I am as guilty as everyone else is. But when I look at my son's eyes, I promised that I will never just forget all this ever happened.

If there's anything that I can do in my end to make this world a better place, I'd very well do it.

So should you.

For Eli before you turn two

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

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Dearest my boy,

Your mommy should have been blogging everyday. I could be documenting every mundane things that happen to us, or every petty emotions that would brew up each time. But instead I choose to savor every moment that I am with you right now. Your mommy is on house arrest for the time being. I am going through a very delicate pregnancy and this is our way of ensuring that your sibling Sammy stays strong and healthy while he/she is still inside mommy's womb.

Okay so back to you, our little man of the house. You are growing up so fast. You are beginning to exercise your independence in your own little way. You refuse to have your nose and ears cleaned unless it is by your dad. You have a unique sense of humor. You like to tease mom that you will throw things at the back of our headboard and you laugh each time I howl in an OA (means overacting - not sure if this acronym is still alive by the time you are old enough to understand this) manner. You think mommy is the funniest person on earth. You laugh at anything I do. You adore your daddy so much that you follow him around wherever he is.

You can make music too. You started humming the ABC months ago. Whenever you are playing by yourself, you like to hum songs you have created out of your heart. I want you to keep following these music, Eli. May you always have music in your heart, and be never afraid to dance to the beat of your own songs.

You like numbers and gadgets. We count your toes every evening to make sure they are still complete. You have made lots of friends already. There's Mika, Cody, Rapha, Miggy, ate Sam and Pat, and so many more. You make their day by just being you.

I have always prided you for being a behaved baby ever since you were born. You did not give mommy or daddy sleepless nights. One thing we are trying to solve though is your thumb sucking. Daddy had a brilliant idea of putting chilli oil on your thumb. Mommy hated the idea at first, but I was worried about your beautiful teeth so I relented. That method worked, and after two days we see you less and less doing that habit. Sometimes, I see you trying to sneak by putting your thumb in your mouth but the moment I see you, you make flying kisses instead (giving me a reason why your fingers were in your face in the first place - you're so smart).

You're favorite words are "tara" which means you want to play outside and "isa pa" which means you want more tickling. I will try teach you both English and Tagalog words. I do not want you growing up just well versed in the English language. Mommy after all was the Filipino editor when she was in high school.

Despite, your many adoring fans (us mainly and your grandparents) you remain grounded. You easily make friends but you are a bit shy at the beginning. May you never lose this quiet confidence that you have probably gotten from your dad. As for mom, I am happy already that you got my sense of humor.

You will turn out a great person I am sure. A great sibling, a great son, and someone who will be one of God's greatest champions. We whisper these words of prophesy to you every night and every mornings: you are a genius, a rock star, a God's champion, and you are loved by mom and dad.

All these words will hold true forever in my heart. I fell in love with you the moment I saw you. Because of you love overflowed in our own little home. Thank you for coming into our lives.

Your greatest supporter,
Mommy Love

Mad Hungry's Cheesy Baked Lasagna

Saturday, June 30, 2012

1 comments
I got the inspiration and recipe from watching Lucinda Quinn's Mad Hungry show at The Lifestyle Network. I love Mad Hungry because it is a cooking show by a mom who likes to take certain short-cuts to some of her recipes to make the preparation easier and more efficient without sacrificing flavor. Plus the dishes are simple and convertible enough for Filipino cooking.

I love preparing pasta dishes. Over the years, I have prepared so many of them. Except for lasagna. It has always kind off intimidated me, in a way. Last week our lovely neighbor prepared one, and was supposed to give me a portion but, alas we were out on a party. This made me salivate for lasagna all week, and around Thursday I stumbled upon Mad Hungry which featured lasagna. I took it as a sign from the cosmos that I should prepare lasagna this weekend. Hehe. #palusotlang

It is so easy to prepare. Believe me. Being a lazy mama, I think this dish is so convenient that next time we're having guests over I am preparing this one again. And it's super sumptuous too. Our guts had no more space for dessert after eating it (now, that's a first).

So enough of my rambling and here are the steps, slightly modified by me. If you want to see the original recipe that inspired me click here.

What you need:

1 pound lasagna noodles or packaged precooked lasagna noodles
4 garlic sausages
1 large egg
1 pound ricotta cheese
1/2 cut grated cheddar cheese (Note: Luncida recommends pecorino or parmesan since I want to be more practical I substituted good old cheddar it was yummy just the same)
5 cups Basic Italian Tomato Sauce (I made this on my own, see instructions below)
1 pound mozzarella cheese
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
for the tomato sauce: whole peeled tomato, basil, butter (optional) salt and pepper

What you need to do:

Basic Italian Tomato Sauce:
1.Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Swirl around the olive oil to coat the pan, and when the oil is hot, add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir constantly for 30 seconds, just long enough to release the garlic's fragrance and transform it slightly from its raw state. Don't cook it to golden.
2. Raise the heat to high and stir in the tomatoes and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the basil sprig, if using. Remove the basil before serving and swirl in the butter, if using.

Lasagna
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and a generous pinch of salt and cook for half as long as the package suggests. Drain and float in cold water. (Skip this step if noodles are precooked.) -> I used San Remo pre-cooked lasagna so preparation was made even easier.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, fry the sausage links until cooked through, about 10 minutes. With kitchen scissors, cut the sausage into disks in the pan and continue to fry over low heat until the cut surfaces are crispy, about 20 minutes. Drain off the fat.
3. In a medium bowl, stir together the egg, ricotta, and 1/2 cup of cheddar.
4. To assemble the lasagna, spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Overlap one third of the noodles atop the sauce to cover the pan bottom. Spread all the cooked sausage over the noodles and spoon over another cup of sauce. Lay down the second third of noodles. Evenly dollop all the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles and flatten with the spoon to make an even layer. Top with the remaining noodles to completely cover the cheese. Pour over 1 1/2 to 2 cups sauce to cover. Evenly lay all the mozzarella slices on top. Drizzle with olive oil.
5. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes, or until the lasagna is bubbling all over and lightly golden on top. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. (Let is set, patience is a virtue mga muthers!) =)

Pictures to show you:


My raw ingredients

Osterized whole peeled tomatoes with basil


Ricotta and grated cheddar with egg

The first layer of lasagna, brown garlic sausages

Topped with mozzarela cheese

Finished product

Dinner is served!