Friday, September 30, 2011

Bond. Cake Bond.

Economy (and a pinch of challenged creativity) pushed me to self-decorate our kids' birthday cakes.  Decorate. Not bake.  Hell will have to freeze over before I learn how to bake.
I wasn't too sharp with my first decorating attempt either.  If you've seen my near-complete failure with Miro's Wiimote cake last July, you should be shaking your head right now and doing a tsk-tsk sound.

This month, it's Kenji's turn.  The boy whose all about spies these days.  He hasn't seen a single James Bond movie, but snippets from Youtube (the action parts) lead him to idolize the guy.  So for his birthday, it just has to be a surprise Bond Cake.

Doing the un-Martha Stewart thing, my husband and I headed for the bakeshop to get a round choco fudge cake and some red sprinkles.  The red sprinkles will be the 007 gun barrel design on the cake.

Armed with a pen and a spoon, I started drawing and sprinkling.  Jing started snipping and art directing.

The final touch was putting on these absolutely neat birthday words which Jing thought of (and which I secretly wished I had thought of.  Lol!).


Ok, the gun barrel design didn't come out as good as I had wanted.  Sprinkles are darn difficult to manipulate and I should've already learned that this second time around.
But... Kenji's a happy camper (I mean, SPY!) so I guess we really ARE getting better at this particular DIY.  :P

Confidence pumped, thanks to Kenji's very positive response, I decorated (again, decorate... not bake) an I-Really-Wanna-Eat-Duckie! baby cake for Alpha who celebrated her birthday the week before.  It is in honor of her daily attempts to eat Miro's pet duck.  Nice.

To all Do-It-Yourselfers, Happy Decorating and Happy Eating!
(At least with this kind of DIY, you're sure the cake will taste great.  Score!)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Inspire Lego Exhibit: No Photos Allowed!

I would've wanted to write about this almost awesome Brass and Bricks exhibit by metal sculptor, Michael Cacnio, in partnership with Lego.  But the exhibit had a strict No Photos Allowed policy, so what's the point?

Stolen. Obviously.
Instead I'll just do a short rant about exhibits and their silly No Pictures rules.  Please... I found out about this exhibit because of its photos scattered all over the internet.  Isn't it a little too late to stop people from taking a few snaps for posterity's sake?  Isn't it a little too weird to realize that they don't need the added publicity and marketing power?

Wait, maybe they were worried about plagiarism!  I hope not though.  Artists shouldn't shy away from the possibility of being copied.  That's flattery.  If you're the original and you know your work stands out, a little confidence will do you good.

Vandalism, maybe?  People might make goofy poses beside the art pieces and upload them on Facebook?  Come. On.  Confidence.  If your art is good, not even a team of kids making 'Rock on!' hand signs around it can destroy it.

Last guess --the art pieces are alive!  They will die when exposed to round-the-clock flash photography like those Ocean Park fishies! 

Ok, I'm stumped.  The guard who followed us around the whole time to make sure we stuck to the sacred No Photos Allowed rule didn't know the answer either.  After a while, it got a little annoying being hounded so we decided to just let the kids play in the exhibit's tiny Lego building area.
Then again, we already have Lego bricks at home... so, like I said, what's the point?

We stayed at the exhibit a grand total of 8 minutes.  Geez, have we overstayed!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Doodles. I do.

When we moved here, we left a wall in one of the rooms for our little toddlers to doodle on at their own free will.  No manila paper.  Just plain wall.

Guests who saw this were immediately aghast.  'Don't Draw On The Walls!' has been one of the most basic house rules and parenting commands in the glorious Parenting Handbook since the beginning of time.  And we have... THIS???

Once, a friend even took to the wall with a scrubber and a bucket of water and detergent.  Thank goodness I managed to stop her!

4 years later, Kenji inspects his old doodles.
You see, this wall isn't just a dingy wall allowed to perish by irresponsible parents.  This wall is a mural documenting our children's innocence.  When they're adults themselves, they'll look back to this wall and a flood of wonderful memories will wash over them.  It's far better than a photograph.  This one wall is the real, original deal.

I guess what freaked out most of the guests was the fact that the act was completely consented.  The higher drawings were in fact done by the kids while perched on their father's shoulders or sitting on their high chairs.  Plus, that I don't clean the wall of old, dirty little hand prints and foot prints.  Again, those are documentations!

Now that our boys are bigger, they don't draw on that wall anymore.  They prefer paper --like boring, responsible adults.  Lol!
But, once in a while, I do catch them getting in touch with their irreverent youth ...all over again.
A little comic strip doodle on the inside of Miro's pencil case.

Johnny English ReBean... I mean, Reborn

How we missed Johnny English I is beyond me!
*kicks self on shin*

Well, the sequel is on.  And nothing was going to make us miss Johnny English Reborn.  After all, Kenji loves James Bond.  He also loves Mr. Bean.  So Johnny English is the perfect combo meal.
The line to the theater and the popcorn took forever... but it was well worth it.

Hilarious to the hilt, Rowan Atkinson delivered his very unique brand of comedy smashingly.  It was Mr. Bean with audible words and more depth.  In fact, there were scenes in Johnny English that reminded me of some snippets from Mr. Bean's sketches.  But because of the spying, the explosions, and the treason to foreign allies components --my boys found themselves liking Johnny English more.  Mr. Bean is now considered 'Blah!  It's for kids!' by these, er... kids.

Co-starring Rosamund Pike and Gillian Anderson (who aged gorgeosuly, btw!) of X-Files' fame, this action-packed laugh-a-minute flick definitely gets 5 stars from this mom.  Kids and adults with a healthy, noisy sense of humor will have themselves LMAOing all throughout its 2-hour run.
And did I mention that it has a bunch of moral lessons?  Trusting yourself.  Trusting others.  Mind over matter.  Loving your age.  But that's just me overanalyzing the concept of fun again.

Go ahead.  Watch Johnny English.  It's high time you laughed in the face of danger.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Book Day

I love it that my sons' school --although just as high tech as a lot of schools nowadays-- still champions the printed word.  In this day and age when kids mostly read from Macs and V-Techs, you don't see kids running around with books in hand.  But today, I saw these kids.  Lots of them!

The school's Oral Communication class asked each child to bring their favorite book to read to class.  This was a lovely idea on so many levels.  First off, through this exercise, a child hones his reading skills.  Also, his communication and presentation skills (which my boys sincerely slayed at!).  Lastly, this became the venue for each child to share a bit about themselves to their peers.

Miro chose books that he wrote himself.  The teachers and the students already knew that Miro wrote books 3 years ago but never have they actually seen him read these originals to them.  Although Miro was shy at first, it was empowering to be able to tell a story that's more personal to the author than any book he may have gotten from a bookstore.  His books got passed around after his storytelling session.  He wouldn't admit it, but this made him proud.

Kenji's exposition was a lot different.  He chose to bring his treasured Complete Thomas Trailways Collection.  A box of 4 Thomas and Friends classic episodes.  Not only did he present each story with calculated expertise (and a huge, beaming smile all throughout, according to his teacher), he also managed to reveal a side of him that's mature for his age.  More than a book reader (and a very animated storyteller), he's an avid collector.  

To cut the long story short (Get it?  Story?  *nudge-nudge*), Book Day was a success!
I can't wait for more self-enriching gems like these from my boys' school!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Monster Pizza Night

Our traditional (and somewhat disturbingly habitual) Pizza Night was graced by Jing's latest discovery:  Jugno's Monster Pizza.  Why settle for a regular when you can have a monstrosity, right?

Monster Pizza isn't really popular.  It's just outside the ShopWise Mart along a long row of shawarma, peanuts, and siomai stalls.  Nothing special.  But my husband has always been known for unearthing gems from rubble.  This time, the man did it again!

Imagine... impossibly huge slices, fabulous flavor, and each piece coming at you with a tub of hot sauce and some dip that's a delightful cross between sour cream and curry.  For only Php39.00!
"Filling and satisfying!", said my practical mommy brain.  Everyone listens to the mommy brain.

One gigantic slice is a meal in itself so we got us each our own flavor and munched away over HBO, slowly feeling the carb work its magic.  Lol!  No doubt about it, Monster Pizza will be back on the table again soon.
In the meantime, congratulations, honey --for another great discovery!  You should be in the talent search business, you know that?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

An Anti-Dengue Do

With the Dengue Scare still looming all over the metro this rainy season, it's best to be the overprotective mom.  THAT is why I slather my boys with Off Lotion every morning before school!
"It's greasy and sticky and hot!" --says my little whiners.  BUT there is no arguing with safety and my paranoia.  These mosquitoes are killers!

That's when my good friend, Annie, introduced me to 21st century mosquito defense.  Apparently, mosquito repellents nowadays come in the form of buttons, wristbands, and patches!  (I'm late to know this, ok?  Bare with my tardy enthusiasm.)

I got our MoskiShields at National Bookstore.  Pretty patches that emit a mix of citronella and lemon eucalyptus scents that pisses mosquitoes off.  It's like an invisible force field.  How high-tech is that?!!  (I just said 'high-tech', didn't I?  Dayam.)  And it's absolutely DEET-free --which I just learned meant it's devoid of chemicals so it's environment-friendly.

I just stick them on my boys' clothes and they're wearing anti-mosquito armor to last them the whole day!  Without that sticky feeling.

But, of course, my husband just has to go for the overkill and insists on giving them a daily combo anyway.  So who's paranoid now?  Lol!

Thanks, again, Annie!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cars 2: 2COOL4U?

Car races, car chases, spies, guns, bombs, killer ray gun, conspiracy, mayhem, death --Cars 2 owned the perfect formula for your testosterone-riddled young lad.
(I'm speaking as a mother of 2 boys.  If you have a cool, kickass daughter whose world doesn't just revolve around unicorns and rainbows, she'll like this, too.)

Cars 2.  The 'buddy movie' poster.
So I was a little irked when a review said Cars 2 was nothing more than just another buddy movie in crisp cartoon form.  Sure, there were the goodies expected of a children's movie.  Like friendship, forgiveness, trust, love.  But let's not ignore the fact that all these were in a tight bundle of action and adventure of unimaginable proportion!  Well, imaginable... to a child anyway.

Cars 2.  The ominous 'Oh my God!  This looks unkiddie!!!' movie poster.
In complete contrast, another review said that Cars 2 was just too violent for kids.  Cars exploded left and right, there was a lot of shooting, there was gang bullying, there was a torture scene, there was an intention to kill.
Really?  We're talking about automobiles, right?  And not real ones at that.  Lighten up.

As a mom, I'm giving Cars 2 5 stars.  For good, responsible, moral messaging in an exciting execution.  A good balance, in my book.  It's a fine sequel.  I didn't even expect myself to say that because the movie trailer kinda sucked for me.  But as they say, never judge a movie by its trailer.

Another surprising thing is that I actually liked Mater here.  That tow truck has seriously annoyed me in the past.  In Cars 2, he stole the limelight.  The story was all about him.  The comic relief back-up to Lighting McQueen, the funny guy who's only there for kicks and giggles, took the lead to play up yet another important message in the movie --self-confidence.

See?  If you look beyond the mushy, corny part and beyond the so-called violent part, you'll see Cars 2 as a complete, awesome package.  Miro and Kenji loved it!  Not just for the firepower, but for how it empowered.  Ka-chow!