This is pretty much what I looked like the entire month of March:
… and what a ride it’s been!
I have two sons graduating this month and embarking on new journeys: one is going on to university (can you believe it? Am I feeling the creak in my bones? Uhm… yeah. 😆 ) and one is going on to high school. Of course we are incredibly proud of them and we celebrate this additional feather on each son’s cap. Never mind if that means that there are a ton of only-in-March obligations to attend to (all school-related: baccalaureate masses, enrolment in the new schools, buying new outfits, getting the required medical and dental sheets filled up by the pedia and dentist, attending all these “no, they are not optional” parents’ meetings which are included in the acceptance requirements of the new schools… and wait, I’m not even half done, but let’s end it there before you doze off).
But hey, that’s not too much to attend to, right? So let’s throw in a number of family reunions (ah, now we’re talking really happy stuff!) My darling brother, two years older than me, whom I have not seen in almost 10 years, finally came home with his family for a couple of weeks, and because there’s just so little time before he has to fly back, naturally we’ve been trying to get together as often as we can. My aunt, whom I haven’t seen in just a little less than the time I haven’t seen my brother, also came home with my cousin, so it was just totally wonderful to get together with family this month. (The only thing I regret about my brother coming home is that I just know I’m going to miss him and his family soooo much when he flies back in a week’s time. >sniff<)
Since in my family I have the most kids, and most kids = most home space, it was decided by majority (we’re a democratic family 😉 ) that the reunion dinner be held in my home. I love having visitors over. I love having family over. I love having friends over. I love having company over. I love hosting dinners, impromptu or planned.
But wait. Did I mention that our home is currently undergoing *major* renovation?
So. That’s why I’ve been absent for such a long time. I received your sweet, sweet emails and notes, my dearest friends, asking why I’ve been quiet… I am so grateful for the hugs you sent my way and so moved by your sweet concern, and I am so so sorry for having been unbelievably remiss in keeping up with my new year’s resolutions. (Yep, No. 5 – I will blog at least 3 times a week. I am so pathetically behind. Tsk tsk.)
Lots to catch up on.
Home on the Range
… or should I say Range in the Home?
Remember the photo of the undone kitchen some time back? Well, work on it is finally done. (Yay! Score 1 for the rooms in the home!)
The kiddos’ room is also done. Score 2 for the rooms in the home!
Finally found another use for all those beloved (accumulated) figures.
Monsters, Inc., anyone? 😆
None of the other rooms in the house are completely done yet, so this is all I’ve got on the homefront for now. 😛
This Week’s Funny
Preface: We walk around our home in bare feet because we’ve got wooden floors, and then there’s the fact that the kids (and I) will jump at any excuse to walk without shoes 😆
So a couple of days ago, I was feverishly working on my latest kit while my newly-7-year-old J and my soon-to-be-5 S were sitting on the floor of my bedroom a couple of feet away, playing with toys together with their nanny.
Suddenly, J half-screamed in shock and distress: “AAAACK! Mama! Yaya’s feet are bleeeeding!”
I turned around and said, “Whaaaaat?”
Yaya (their nanny) was totally calm, and with a very embarrassed look on her face, she whispered (loud enough for me to hear): “That’s nail polish. I polished my toes.”
Without missing a beat, S ran to me, anguish written all over his face: “Mama! She punished her toes!”
This is probably the biggest disadvantage of having a mom who keeps her fingernails and toenails short and unpolished. My poor boys have absolutely no exposure to such feminine toys of vanity. hehehe. (Seriously though? I can’t grow my nails simply because I find they get into the way of everything I love doing: working on my compy, taking photos and changing lenses, holding my kids’ hands without fear of scratching them accidentally, giving my scalp a good massage as I shampoo my hair… ya know, those kinds of things. 😆 )
Humor and Cuisine, Filipino Style
Two things that are very basic Filipino food fare: adobo and puto (though not necessarily eaten together).
Wikipedia says this about adobo:
When Spanish colonizers first took administration over the Philippines in the late 1500s and early 1600s, they encountered an indigenous cooking process which involved stewing with vinegar, which they then referred to as “adobo,” which is the Spanish word for seasoning or marinade. Dishes prepared in this manner eventually came to be known by this name, with the original term for the dish now lost to history.
Thus, the adobo dish and cooking process in Filipino cuisine and the general description “adobo” in Spanish cuisine share similar characteristics, but in fact refer to different things with different cultural roots. While Philippine adobo can be considered adobo – a marinated dish – in the Spanish sense, the Philippine usage is much more specific.
Typically, pork or chicken, or a combination of both, is slowly cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, crushed garlic, bay leaf, and black peppercorns, and often browned in the oven or pan-fried afterward to get the desirable crisped edges. This dish originates from the northern region of the Philippines. It is commonly packed for Filipino mountaineers and travelers. Its relatively long shelf-life is due to one of its primary ingredients, vinegar, which inhibits the growth of bacteria.
The standard accompaniment to adobo is white rice.
Outside the home-cooked dish, the essence of adobo has been developed commercially and adapted to other foods. A number of successful local Philippine snack products usually mark their items “adobo-flavored.” This assortment includes, but is not limited to nuts, chips, noodle soups, and corn crackers.
This is what adobo looks like:
(image courtesy of rasamalaysia.com)
Then there’s puto.
Wikipedia says this about puto:
Puto is steamed rice cake popular in the Philippines. Rice, the main ingredient in this dish, is an important staple in the Philippines. It is typically eaten in most meals and has been known to be featured in all types of sweet and savory Filipino dishes. Puto is usually eaten as dessert, but can also be eaten for breakfast dipped into or paired with a cup of hot coffee or hot chocolate.
There are many variations to the recipe ranging from the type of rice used to the method in which the rice is prepared. In its traditional form, puto is of a plain white color. Adding certain common Filipino ingredients like ube and pandan (made from pandan leaves or Pandanus amaryllifolius ) slightly changes the flavor and completely changes the color of the finished product. Likewise, food coloring can be added to change the puto’s color but still keep its original flavor.
Most varieties often include the addition of coconut milk and this influences the flavor.
This is what puto looks like:
(image courtesy of Wikipedia)
And here is the reason why we have this little lesson on Filipino cuisine. Because it’s the preface to this showcase of Filipino humor at its finest.
I was riding the car on my way to a dinner hosted for my brother-back-from-abroad and his family when I looked up and saw this little diner with the funniest name. And I had my camera with me, whoopee-doo! So of course I turned around the block just so I could come back to this little resto by the roadside and snap a photo of it.
Isn’t that such a hoooot? 😆
I am so inspired to travel around the city, heck even the entire country, searching for more of these hilarious signboards, showcases of the ever-amazing sense of humor of these people on my side of the world. 🙂
Okay. Time for bed. It’s 4.30am and I’m going to crawl through tomorrow if I don’t hit the sack right now. But it was just *awesome* sitting with you on this blog porch after such a long time! I have totally missed you and am so glad to be back!
More tomorrow, including a wonderful announcement about an upcoming course or two (wink, wink, wink!).
Have a happy day, my sweeties! (((hugs)))