Monday, November 28, 2016

Delicious DIY: The Chef's InstaMug Cakes

What if I told you that you can make a cake whenever you want?
And what if I told you that you can make said cake in under 5 minutes?
Would you call the authorities on me and have me strapped in a straightjacket?
Oh, wait 'til I tell you that you can do all this in a mug! YES, A MUG! I must sound painfully crazy to you right no.

But with the innovative genius going on at Rebisco, this kind of astronaut treats technology IS possible. In fact, it exists and it has an awesome name: THE CHEF'S INSTAMUG!
You can make the cake in your own mug. But if you don't have one on hand, the Chef's InstaMug has you covered. The package comes with its own cup and tiny packets of delightful cake-making ingredients.

We chose the Creamy Chunky Mocha Cake to work on. Work --what am I talking about? It was practically play time. The kids had a blast in 6 easy steps.

1. We pulled out the microwavable cup from the box.

2. Then, using the tiny spoon that comes with the pack, we scooped 9 spoonfuls of water into the cup.

3. We added the cake mix and the cake flavor and stirred until the mixture was nice and smooth.

4. As soon as that's done, we microwaved our cake batter at medium-high for one minute.

5. DING! We carefully pulled the cup out and --lo and behold!-- we have a nice fluffy cake in a cup! Like magic!

6. We poured and spread the cake fudge on top of our freshly-baked cake. And, as a finishing touch, topped the delectable masterpiece with cookie bits and choco chunks.

After that, nothing left to do but smack our lips and gobble down our home-made treat. And it tasted fantastic! Fluffy, sweet, and Martha Stewart perfection have never been this effortless.
I guess a demonstration is in order, hmm?

Best DIY ever, right?!
If you're like me and you struggle with baking, The Chef's InstaMug is the cake for you --and your kids. Believe me, they'll love you a thousand fold for this incredible baking breakthrough. Try The Chef's InstaMug today!

Oh! And did I mention that it also comes in a Gooey Chocolate Fudge Cake flavor? YUM!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Canvas Cake Studio: From Conceptualization to Cake Perfection!

I don't know how many times I've blogged about Canvas Cake Studio (formerly Midnight Snacks), but I'm letting loose another one!

Except this time, I'm doing a step-by-step --from Conceptualization to Cake Perfection. Wouldn't that be neat! This way, you can take a complete walkthrough on how you can order your personal, ultra-creative cakes from Canvas. It's really super easy.

STEP 1: Squeeze out those creative juices.

Think of what the celebrant wants. Make your cake idea as personal as possible --from the design to the flavor. Taking my boy Kenji's birthday cake as an example, Miro and I went for a Mr.Bean/Peanuts Crossover design inspired by Kenji's very own Go Animate channel, Can of Beans Productions. He does Mr.Bean and Peanuts funny video edits. How personal can you go, right?
For the flavor, we went with Kenji's all-time love, Oreos and Cream.

STEP 2: Send visual pegs.

This can just be the OC in me, but I'd like to scour the internet for visual pegs that would bring out my idea all the more. It helps the chef, too --especially when I have a tendency to be all over the place when I'm explaining in an excited fashion. You don't have to lay it out, but I do so when my design idea tends to be a little complex. That's mostly my fault. Haha!

STEP 3: Incoming... Canvas Cake Studio brainstorming session.

Canvas Cake Studio will email you back with a price list and a flavor chart. That's the challenging part. All of Canvas' flavors are to-die-for! That's the part where I usually take forever to decide. Canvas chief baker, Larisse, will also send you inputs that can make you cake design even better. That's the amazing part! That level of teamwork hits me all the time. :)

STEP 4: Wait with bated breath until the magic is ready.

Depending on the gravity of difficulty your cake design has, Canvas can finish their masterpiece for a minimum of two weeks. Sometimes even less. They can deliver your cake at your doorstep or you can arrange a pick-up point. See how flexible that is? All for your convenience. Let me warn you now that the first time you see your cake idea as a full-on reality, the emotional impact can be quite severe. get tissues ready for uncontrollable tears of joy. Hehe...

STEP 5: Serve the awesomeness!

What's absolutely cool about Canvas' cakes is that they are centerpieces on their own. Even when you have a too-plain set-up, the whole room just lights up with excitement with the cake sitting there. For example, Kenji had his birthday at his school canteen --his special day falling right smack into a school day. Even with very minimal decor, his cake (and HIM!) became stars of that mini-party.

STEP 6: Save (and Savor) the moment.

I'm big on surprises. So Kenji had no idea what his cake would look like. I'm also big on catching that expression my kids make when they first see their cake. And here is that perfect moment. Look at that smirk! You can tell he's all giddy inside but hiding it in a fluffy blanket of smugness. Haha! He's my boy alright!
I would've taken a picture of the kids eating the cake, too, but that never really happens when I'm serving Canvas cakes. They're so delicious, they disappear waaaay too fast!

There you go! Was this post helpful? I bet it was. Reading through it and it makes me want to order another cake for no apparent reason. :D

If you want it personal, if you want it special, get in touch with Canvas Cake Studio!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Ten Telltale Signs That You're Flunking Parenting

Just a few off the top of my head.

1. When people ask you 'How old are your kids?', you provide figures from 5 years ago --and believe them to be true.

2. When, on the rare occasion you buy a present for your children, you buy them something they've outgrown ages ago.

3. When you try and strike a conversation with your kids, there's this air of unnecessary stranger-to-stranger cocktail dinner awkwardness hanging above you all.

4. When you're not around, your children don't look for you. When you're around, they'd feel better if you weren't.

5. When major school events and extra curricular milestones come around, your kids don't even ask if you're attending. They immediately assume you won't.

6. When you break a promise, your kids are fine with that. It's not like it's the first time.

7. When you engage in some physical interaction with your children, your kids give you that look that screams 'Child abuse!'

8. When you FINALLY try to parent them, your kids give you that look that screams 'Who are you to parent us?!'

9. When you look for yourself in your children, you don't find even the slightest smidgen. It's as if they were never your children at all.

10. When the Developmental Psychologist asks your kids to draw a family picture. your image doesn't even make it on the paper. And yet to your kids, the picture is complete.

It's a given that parenting is one tough business. But the simple act of BEING THERE --being a familiar, warm presence in your children's lives --means you've already succeeded most of the way.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Kodanda Archery Range Hits the Mark

Painfully late post, I know. But this is worth the wait, believe me.

So last summer break, my son decided to wade out of his 5-year Robotics Camp comfort zone and dive into the unknown that is Archery. We had no idea what we were about to face doing that, but it was summer so we said 'What the heck!'.

So, off we went to Kodanda Archery Range.
And, lo and behold, a discovery: My boy's hidden talent is sharpshooting! Channeling his inner Arrow-HawkEye-Daryl Nixon combo, he went through each session with the drive of a survivor in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. He's pretty good! He was just claiming each target sheet like a boss! (I say this as a proud mom and as a totally impressed spectator sitting behind the glass-covered bleacher)

Of course, it helped loads that he has some really welcoming range mates. Some of whom have already leveled up from hobbyists to legit athletes who compete out of the country.

It helped all the more that he has a coach who saw potential in him and gives him the best kind of training.

My boy did so well in his first few sessions at the range that he was invited to take part in the Kodanda Fun Cup-- an event that puts together all three Kodanda branches for a target challenge. Cool stuff! It was a friendly competition of skills with trophies and a helluva lot of food!

It was his first competition ever and he loved every minute of it. In fact, he's training right now for the upcoming October Cup. :) Talk about drive, huh?

So if you're ever in the mood to change things up with your kid's usual activities, try Archery. Hey, try Kodanda! But I'm telling you now that you gotta prepare yourself for the long haul. When your kid starts getting into this kind of focus... it stays.

You can find the Kodanda Archery Range in Makati Cinema Square, Mall of Asia, and BF Homes.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Finding Originality in Finding Dory

Finding Dory is basically Finding Nemo with role reversals and character changes.

1. Instead of Nemo, the lost one this time around is Dory. With this flip, Nemo and Marlin have taken on the role of the searchers.
2. Instead of a friendly pelican, the necessary air transport for these sea creatures is now a deranged seagull named Becky.
3. Instead of a jowl full of water, Becky conveniently carries an orange water-filled bucket.
4. Instead of the dentist, the accidental abductor is now Sigourney Weaver and her band of marine biologists.
5. Instead of Gil, the daredevil in this sequel is now a stealthy little octopus named Hank.
6. Instead of three sharks, we are gifted with three seals on a rock.
7. Instead of a band of surfing turtles, we have a couple of huge-ass whales and echo locating helping our fishy friends find their way to their missing friends.
8. Instead of a fishing boat climax, it's a delivery truck --with an intense car chase scene, I might add.
9. We got a double treat for the destination of choice in this movie though. Instead of returning to the ocean, there's Cleveland Zoo for Hank and going home to her parents for Dory. But just like before, everybody ends up in the ocean and live happily ever after.

The plot is still the same: Going through great lengths to be reunited with family. I suppose this concept is just so beautiful that Pixar just had to repeat it. It's just disheartening that the sequel feels like an alternative version of the first film instead of a continuing sage. But that's just me. Your kids will still like Finding Dory because the familiar characters are there. And kids love familiarity.

Oh, one last thing. Instead of a cute, bull-headed Nemo, we are presented with a cute, scaredy kitty baby Dory. Baby Dory is the movie highlight for me. Not just because she's so darn cute, but because she managed to really bring the hardships and realities of short term memory loss to light. And that being alone as a child in a strange world can be really heartbreaking. Made me want to hug my kids.
So with all the trappings that went with this movie, Baby Dory is what made it for me.
Other than that, Finding Dory is Finding Nemo. Only Finding Nemo, being the original, is better.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Papier Macheniacs: Turning Lucy Into Heather

When McDonalds bundled their Happy Meals with Peanuts figures during the Peanuts' movie debut, the popular fast food chain never really got around to including the mysterious yet lovable little red-haired girl in the toy mix. Whether the reason was because she was overlooked, or McDonalds just wanted to preserve her enigmatic personality, is beyond us. And we don't really care.

We can make our own little red-haired girl! So there, McDonalds!

It's pretty easy as long as you have doubles in your Happy Meal Peanuts stash. And we kinda do. We have 2 Lucys. Now, who would want two of these sassy, cranky chicks, huh?
So off we go to transform one of our Lucys to Heather, the little red-haired girl.

We whipped out our handy dandy paper mache kit for this project. From there, it's all a matter of sculpting. The big challenge --and I mean, literally BIG-- is Heather's hair. The redhead's hair is all sorts of different compared to Lucy's. So we used a bunch of rolled-up paper to make that mane happen.
We also slathered a layer of tissue and glue for every part of Lucy that we'll need to re-paint to create the perfect Heather figure. You can tell Lucy isn;t exactly happy about the makeover. :P

From a permanently scrunched-up face to a smile of complete and utter sweetness!

Just some quarter turns for your pleasure.

Look, even Charlie Brown approves!
Ah, we are such suckers for puppy love... :)

Do you have toy doubles? Are you tired of one particular toy? Do your own toy transformation with paper mache! You know you want to.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Papier Macheniacs: Something Original from 2D to 3D!

My boy came up with an original character for his comic blog. And I (being the awesome mom I am --haha!) decided to surprise the creative spawn with some paper mache goodness!

This is a mask and a top hat for Miro's self-designed character, The Storyteller. And they're both made out of paper, cardboard, glue, and... love.
(Oooohkaaay... that was way too cheesy even for this blog. Moving on!)

As usual, we went with our favorite basic tool for mask-making: The Unassuming Paper Plate. Just a little cut here, a little sculpt there, and we got a semblance of a face. A creepy one at that.

Slathering on the tissue paper and PVC glue happiness! This, by far, is my favorite part of the process.

And I think I may have said that fact a gazillion times. Hehe...

And then, paint! By this time, I got the boy in on the supposed surprise since I don't want to make any mistakes with the colors. You know these young artists and their OC-ness. Sheesh.

And then the top hat came in.

Followed by these interesting embellishments. A flower made out of strips of cardboard and a Pringles cap!

Paper bag vines reaching to the stars.

I think the top hat deserves a Before-and-After, so here it is! Miro did the flower's smiley face himself. I mean, he would know how yo do it than I would, right? :P

Okay, now that we're done creating 3D reality out of a 2D design --what do we do next? COSPLAY, OF COURSE! Believe me, he has a big smile underneath that mask, too. :P

If your kid has a knack for drawing original designs, give them the surprise of a lifetime by paper macheing that baby into reality. He or she will love you loads for it. And for that, we tip our hat to you. :)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Papier Macheniacs: Embellish!

Ah, your teenager's first Masquerade Ball.
This is the perfect time to get your creative juices going in the area of mask-making. Sure, you can buy masks for a dime a dozen in any department store or party nook. But that's too easy. Where's the fun in that?

So, here is where I teach you easy embellishments that should only take a couple of hours of your time. Heck, you can even do chores in between! :P

We start off with something that's already there. A plain white mask. This is your canvas. You can get it cheap since it isn't dolled up yet. You're handling the dolling up department after all.

Now, think of your masquerade concept. We went with the Phantom of the Opera, so that meant cropping the mask to size. And, because it's a ball after all, adding a bit of zing to it. By zing, we mean texture of the paper mache variant. It's pretty simple. Just cut strips of tissue paper and shape them according to your whim. Stick them on the mask with wood glue. Don't forget to sculpt your design with curves, dips, and rises. Like I said all about texture.

And then, PAINT! We went with a nice, shimmering gold --you know, the kind with the glitters in the paint --to make our sunburst explode throughout the party.

And just like that...
My boy masqueraded dat shizz!

So why not you and your kid start dolling up those white masks to the high heavens? I mean, these canvases aren't gonna artsify themselves. :)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Papier Macheniacs: Turning Charlie Brown into Linus

Very, very late post.

Flashback to last month: We've been trying our darnedest to complete our Peanuts character collection from McDonald's --and failing miserably, thanks to some people who keep beating us to the Linus supply. So we have everyone except Linus and that's totally got my little man bummed out. Good thing the little man had a spark of genius:
"Mimi… why don't we just turn one of our Charlie Browns into Linus?"

Well, hot damn, why not!

And just like that, the Paper Macheniacs' Toy Transformation Project was so on!

We needed to do a bit of re-shaping and a ton of re-painting so we slathered one of our Charlie Browns with the basic foundation of glue and tissue. We used the paper mache to add embellishments on the 'new' toy as well. Notice the little blanket sticking out his hand there?

We were using water-based paint so it was easier to paint on Linus' clothes on top of Charlie brown's with the paper mache base.

Now… for the hair.
We twisted some glue and tissue --quite messily, I might add-- to create Linus' wiry locks.

It's a total score that Charlie Brown has a nice shiny dome, too. It gave us more wiggle room to plant Linus' hair onto it. And when I mean 'plant'… I do mean PLANT. And here you go… planting! :) This was so much fun!

Just a little trim off the top and sides and a date with some hair dye (er, black paint, I mean), and…

TADAH! Charlie brown has officially turned into Linus!

No more seeing doubles here.
"Goodness grief!", says Charlie Brown. Haha!

So if the mainstream market can't give your kids the toys they want, then by all means, do a little toy transformation. It's cheaper, more fun, and more fulfilling. And, THAT is how we roll. :)

If you've done any toy transformations lately, with or without the use of paper mache, you can share them in the comment box below.