Trip to Jamie’s

From his shows and cookbooks, I began to like Jamie Oliver’s style of cooking – simple, fresh and the end products look naturally tasty. So, when the husband suggested that we try his restaurant, I had to say a loud, “Yes, please!” :)

A few weeks ago, our little family went to the city and had a taste of a few of his dishes. I love that they all had simple flavours, nowhere near other restaurants we’ve tried, which uses enhancers that mask the natural taste of the meat and vegetables. The husband enjoyed his squid ink risotto, I had a serving of salmon pasta, the kids had fish fingers and spaghetti bolognese. My favorite though is the starter, polenta chips. Wish I could make them myself. Hee.

Along Pitt St.

Kids’ menu can be seen via this view master.

Polenta chips, gone in seconds.

Happy tummies.

Gratitude Sunday

Today is one of those Sundays when I wished that all my family and friends were with me at church. The worship was so moving and the message was definitely anointed. Spiritual revival is truly in the air!

I love God. I will die loving Him. I love my Hillsong church. Together with my husband and kids, we will serve Him forever.

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Photo was taken by my friend RVA during our worship service at Stamford Grand Hotel, North Ryde, Sydney.

Clouds on Display

We have been living in Sydney for over five years now and there are still a gazillion of places we haven’t seen. The hubs and I agreed that moving forward, since our little boy is now more ‘travel-friendly’, we’ll try to see more of this beautiful country.

When we learned that Canberra is having its centennial celebration this month, the hubs and I thought that it’s worth another look-see. It was our fourth family trip there. We were there last weekend and stayed at the Crown Plaza Hotel. Since it was just an overnight stay and the event highlights were either late in the evening and very early in the morning, we were all very tired heading back to Sydney. We thank God that we, including three other families/friends, traveled to and from Canberra safely.

Here are some of the photos I took using my iPhone. Look at the beautiful cloud formations that accompanied us during our whole trip.

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Cotton candy clouds.

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Soaring bird cloud.

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Feather-like clouds.

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Big wave and three big fishies.

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I’ve never been so captivated by the beauty of clouds. These were indeed a sight to behold.

Heart Like a Canvass

There are a few impending decisions that we have to make in the coming days (and months!). Big decisions that will greatly impact our family life. The old me would analyze my options and its pros and cons no end, stress over them and in the end I’d be all irritable, crabby and unhappy. But the Lord has opened my eyes to the truth that I should not waste a single day, worrying about my life and future. Instead I should present my petitions to him and completely trust Him in the process. It is such a liberating feeling!

At first, it wasn’t easy to fully lean on to Him with every single detail of my life because the analytical and strong-headed side of me believed that there are things that I can take care of myself. But I think the key is to fully surrender. It is only then that I have learned to let go of myself and let God.

I used to plan a lot then ask God to bless them. But we all know there is something wrong with that picture. He is God, all-knowing and all-powerful. I should be trusting and keeping my heart like a canvass for him to paint his plan for my life on instead of me providing the sketches and God just adding color to them, making them come true.

I’ve been there so many times. Holding wishes and desires so strongly in my heart that when I pray, my mind and heart are clouded with what I want. At times I thought my prayer was answered but I would soon discover that I find no peace in my decision. With that, I can imagine God lovingly shakes his head and tells me, “I’m here my child, I’m your Father, let me take care of you.”

Life is exciting and full of changes and surprises. It is just like the coming and going of the Seasons. There is no use of thinking so much about tomorrow (and being enslaved by it) because if we truly, truly have Him in our lives, we should be secured enough to live for today.

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Different Seasons

Do you believe that people are brought to our lives for a purpose? That we don’t meet people by accident? Well, I do. I think that we are destined to be where we are because someone out there need our help. In the same way that we too, need to learn a thing or two from others.

This holds so much truth for me right now as I write about our neighbors. In my whole life, I have never met such lovely people. People who I know God has chosen to teach us so much about our faith and this life. I believe that God orchestrated for our paths to cross to enable the hubs and I to grow and be better people. Such impact, no?

It was in 2010, we were on our second year here and with our apartment lease ending, the hubs and I decided to look for a bigger place for our growing family. I was pregnant with my youngest at that time. As I was checking the property website, I saw this ideal house for us and yes, this lovely family would be our neighbors! I remember, another friend who expressed interest to apply for the same house jokingly said to me, “May the best man win.” And yes, she was right. We got the house and we got the best deal. All because we would live with the best neighbors on this earth.

This family have so many great qualities that endeared the hubs and I to them. They are genuine people, very helpful and so humble. Also, it is the first time that I have met a young family who live a full on life for God. They don’t have to shout out to the world that they are believers. Their lives speak of their faith and the abundance of His grace.

But just like any story, there is an end. Just as when we have found comfort in having an extended family here in Sydney, they have left. They have moved to a different suburb (about a 30-40minute drive from our place), to live in their very own home. As selfish as it sounds, I wish they’ve never left. Our kids are so familiar with them, they’re like a pseudo aunt, uncle and cousins who just live close by. Our day to day lives for the past two years involved them. We shared so many meals and stories. They were like our primary support group for anything.

But I know this is just but a start of a new season in our families’ lives. It seems their family’s role needs to end to pave the way for bigger and brighter things to happen. Them helping another family and us, doing the same. I wish them nothing but God’s best as they start to make new memories in their new home. But it can’t be denied, we miss them so.

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May 2011: Instagram Love

There’s something about the old music that I’ve been listening to tonight that made me go through my old photos and these Instagram layouts. These photos have been sitting in my computer for so long, somewhat abandoned.

But oh how nice it is to see these pages. My kids were still babies here! My youngest was still on a highchair on the first photo I ever took of him with my iPhone.

I really, really, really have to get on working on these, before my memory fails me completely.

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More Greens, Please!

During our holiday break, one of the major things that my husband and I was able to accomplish on our to-do list is dental check-ups. We are so blessed to have had Dra. Day Tormo-Montano do all our procedures because she did not only do awesome work but we gained a lot of learning from her as well as she is now a Bio-dentist. Aside from her orthodontics practice, she is a raw food chef (she studied in America) and is a health minister (trained for Hallelujah Diet). In fact, she has a healing center in Tagaytay City, Philippines called the Home of the Living Hope. From my understanding, she takes in cancer patients or anyone who wants a lifestyle change and guides them to eating raw and whole foods.

I am in awe with the passion I see in Dra. Day’s eyes whenever she talks about health and helping out people. It is through her passion that my husband and I also got interested to introduce raw greens to our family. She also helped curb my ‘addiction’ to coffee. Yes, addiction. I craved for it so bad that I sometimes have four cups a day! And I am happy to share that I have been coffee-free for almost two months now, thank God!

Our meetings with Dra. Day to talk about whole and raw foods diet were so short yet I am glad that the wisdom she shared did not return fruitless as I now make green smoothies for my family!

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Sharing with you Dra. Day’s promotion material for her healing center in Tagaytay City, Philippines.

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Vitamix is the highly recommended machine for making green smoothies but because the price is too steep, we went for a copy. It is serving its purpose so far. :)

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My first ever green smoothie. It’s got strawberries, mango, banana and spinach.

I Heart Google

Can you still imagine life without Google? Well, in all honesty, I don’t think I can. :) When I need to research about sickness/symptoms, recipes, restaurants, online shopping sites, reviews, educational materials, Google is right there, 95% of the time giving accurate (really helpful) search results.

And tonight, while I searched for fun home activities I can do with my kids to develop their fine motor skills, I found an awesome site Hands On As We Grow. It’s got heaps of games that I am sure my kids will love.

I am so excited to try each one of them with my 6 and 3 year old. My eldest need help to write her letters better, she complains that her hands get tired after writing a few sentences. While my youngest needs encouragement to correct his pencil grip and to doodle more. I think these areas are largely attributed to their weak fine motor skills. What better way to teach them than to encourage them in a fun way!

I also recently discovered Study Ladder, an Australian educational website. So far, my little girl enjoys the variety of doing online and printed activities and so far, she’s loving the Maths!

So, thanks Google, from the bottom of my heart. :)

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Here’s A working on a sheet which I printed from the Study Ladder website.

Book of Remembrance

I was so inspired by what Joyce Meyer shared in her message “Spending Time with God” on Youtube tonight. One of her points is keeping a journal of prayer points and the answers. She said that it’s good to help us remember where we came from and how, through God’s grace, we are where we’re at now.

I agree with her on this because we tend to easily forget certain blessings that came so timely for us. Although I can’t commit to keeping a journal right now, I think updating this blog with more life stories will do. And in the process, I hope the people who will stumble upon this blog will see His goodness and faithfulness. And I too, can always come back and re-read my entries and see His manifestations of love in our lives. So, watch this space.

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Our little family has gone through a lot the past years. We never thought that we’d come this far.

Such Powerful Love

I wish I could be able to tell my kids now how much they are helping me to become a better person. They have been guiding me towards maturity, to grow more in love with God and this life. While I still am a work in progress (and will remain so until I leave this earth), there is so much joy in me knowing that I am no longer where I was and that I am on my way to where I should be. I feel that I am changing every day.

It is a privilege to have these kids in my life. They truly are gifts, proof of His unending grace.

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One Little Word for 2013 – Freedom

I copied this idea from a wonderful mom-blogger, Ali Edwards. I started ‘stalking’ her blog late last year and got hooked ever since. Who wouldn’t be pleased to follow a blogger whose writing is so beautiful, raw, honest and positive. I can only dream to write like her and maintain such an awesome blog.

Now, back to my One Little Word. I thought it is a great idea to have a meaningful word as a guide or some sort of reminder. And as I pondered about this, it didn’t take long for me to discover that my One Little Word for 2013 is FREEDOM.

Freedom from unforgiveness. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from my little ‘addictions’ such as to coffee. Freedom from being too self-conscious. Freedom from many attitudes that I have been praying for the Lord to set me free from. Freedom, oh, sweet freedom.

So, by God’s grace, I will be able to conquer things this year that hold me back from enjoying my life fully. Thanks Ali, for the inspiration.

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My Little Man in Preschool

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My 3 yr old S, has started preschool three days ago. While I am impressed with how he matured in the 2 months that we were away on a holiday, I still got a bit anxious if he will fit in right away in his new class.

His first 3 months in daycare last year were really tough for him especially. He went to the learning centre twice a week and he cried during drop-offs and his were eyes usually swollen when I pick-up him in the afternoon. He didn’t eat the lunches served in the centre but ate some snacks every now and then. His teachers remained so supportive, they gave me tips on how we can help him eventually settle in. And true enough, after those 3 gruelling months, he finally ate lunches and snacks and we had better drop-offs. I discovered then how S loves wraps!

Now that he is in preschool (in the same centre), he has a new set of teachers. All of them I have met on the first day and they were all nice and positive. S cried a bit on the first day but the succeeding days were much better. We are on a 2-week potty training program right now and it has added more work for me in the house but I’m happy that the little boy is cooperating. It seems he is also eager to be off nappies!

I hope he will enjoy his first year in preschool fully. I know that there are many things that he will learn and I am so excited for him. In 2 years, he will be joining his sister in big school. Imagine that? I will have two kids in primary school soon! Yes!

New Year, New Adventures

I can’t believe January 2013 is almost over. We have made lots of beautiful memories and reached more milestones this month alone. I hope though that this year I would be able to blog more about these precious happenings in my little family’s life. Let’s see how it goes.

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