Saturday, December 29, 2012

Through It All 2013

 Few more days and we will turn our calendar to another year!

The year 2012 brought us so many things to remember. Things happened that caught us unaware, good or bad. I had triumphs in my personal walk with God as well as with my family and church. Our church is experiencing revival and spiritual growth. Although there are struggles, we have seen things happen that perhaps shouldn't have happened and we have no control for any of this. Because without a struggle, there can be no progress. Nevertheless, God has been so good, all things work together for good to those that love Him. Victories outweighs it all for those who trust Him! God is so good!

 Many prayers had been answered and some are still waiting for God's go signal. Last Christmas and New Year, we were able to be with our loved ones in the Philippines, a time to cherished and remembered. A priceless bonding with my precious children! An opportunity for me and hubby to go to Europe for our 20th Anniversary which is memorable and unforgettable. There are more friends added in my life too.

The past years is full of blessings and promises! and I believed there are more to come that are waiting for us. Yes, inspite of ups and downs, God did showed me many beautiful morning sunrises. There are sunset in the sky too, happy and sad days, both brings colour in life and an opportunity to see clearly God's amazing GRACE. I am so excited of what God in stored for us this coming year!

This year my goal is THROUGH IT ALL 2013. Plain and simple. It is a new beginning! 
Whatever this year may bring I pray that I will have more faith, build more trust, to be closer and deeper with my relationship with God, family and people around me. I will keep reminding myself that whatever life brings this year God will carry us through, sustain and supply our needs. A Peacespeaker in times of trouble mind, just as what He is in the past years and always be. I should live each day to the fullest, value each moments, cause life is too short to waste on things that are not useful. I will not keep trying to do things on my own, because it will oftentimes brings frustrations but I will declare and give in into God's will and loving arms to hold me and carry me through and my family to where He wants us to be.

This will also be a year to pick up an old interest, a hobby maybe? a project? :) who knows? God knows :)

So bear with me. This year will be a fruitful year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!! May God's abundant blessings, grace and mercy and love will follow us through the years of our lives. God bless!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas

Hello everyone! hope you all had a great Christmas!

We had a wonderful Christmas. I love this day so much :) not only because it's my husband's birthday, but also to remember the One who love us so much and gave His life for us! Jesus, our Emmanuel, the real reason of this season.

Each year, we baked cookies with kids, wrap it with other gifts and gave them away to new families and friends in our church :) Last year, when we were in the Philippines, we gave away goodies to street children on Christmas eve, to spread the love and giving to others.

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve with my niece, Renda and her husband Dennis. We had devotions and enjoyed our noche buena ( Christmas Eve dinner) with delicious meal and desserts. We squeeze every ounce of enjoyment that night. We had board games, fun till midnight and unwrapping gifts, then blowing of cake for my husband.

On Christmas morning, we had a wonderful breakfast and unwrapping gifts for little ones who can't stay up till midnight on Christmas Eve. It's so good to see their faces beamed with joy as they unwrapped their gifts. That is precious! The rest of the day spent with my dear hubby for this special day.

Kids had fun building their gingerbread houses...

...and decorating cookies

Looks nice :)

I baked cookies as well, most of them are new recipes. I think Martha Stewart will be very proud of me lol. All of them tasted so good.

Some of our noche buena meal. We had a big roast turkey!

Board games and fun all night long :)

Unwrapping gifts

more games...

Blowing of cakes. I made that mango cake specially for my hubby! He loves mangoes.

Christmas morning kids unwrap their gifts and stockings.

Eat, fun, eat...

...and the rest of the day spent to the most wonderful dear hubby in the world :)

Hope you all had a wonderful time of this year, just like we did :)
Merry Christmas to all!

From us to yours :)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Fun

It's Christmas time again! and this time we will be staying home for Christmas :) Two consecutive years we've been away. We went to Australia and Philippines and celebrated christmas and new years with our loved ones which is memorable and precious. It's good to see and spend time with them all!
But this year we are looking forward of spending time with our church family and friends. There is no place like home :)
I haven't decorated that much this year. I want it simple and easy :) We didn't even put up our outdoor lights. Just christmas tree with few gifts underneath and candle centerpieces. We did a little reorganizing in our basement, hubby's office is moved to our family room, so it means that I can't hang all stockings there in our fireplace, so I hang them all in our stairs which I think is not bad at all. Other than that everything are the same. My son gave me beautiful ornaments from his work, so that will add up a festive look.

Our Christmas tree. I go with blue, silver and white this year.

These are all for kids and my daughter add those extra socks down there for our dogs Coco and Jack :) I think we need a longer stairs lol.

Well, reds in our basement :)

and this one is given by a good friend. Aren't they cute?

More of my son's creations :)

So that's all folks :) May our hearts be filled and adorned with God's unconditional Love, the very reason of this season!

Hope you all have a great week!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Season of Change

As much as I want to enjoy the beautiful colours of fall, but this season is come to an end and winter is finally here!
I am thankful that I live in a country that will give me an opportunity to experience four different seasons in life. A season of change.
It’s been said that if there is anything certain in life, it is change. Many people don’t like that.  I am not a winter person, I love to see snowfall but the freezing cold is just too much for me. Season is inevitable, it will come whether we like it or not. It will find it’s way to our door. We cannot change that, but we can change our mind, our perspective, our points of view. If we could design our own lives the way we want it?, they would be filled with all the beautiful things we want. Life, however, doesn’t work that way. Life is about growth and progression, it is not stagnant. Flowers bloom and fade, seeds planted and grow. We must experience change. Life is change. Change for the better all brings something good and things to look forward to.  
Let’s be real. Change is not easy and one of the reasons why we have a difficult time dealing with it is the emotional factor that are attach with it.  Our foster children function more if they follow their routines, they are good at it. They know what to do and what to expect. Everything flow smoothly if they stay on their routines. But if routine change, they tend to get overwhelm, confused, anxious. Change brings emotional changes.
When there is change, our emotion follows. There is fear, discouragement, anxiety, insecurity, anger, confusion, anticipation, inhibited, disappointment,  concern, some get depressed, avoidance and excitement and the list goes on. We are feeling these things because it takes us out of our comfort zones, exposing some degree of our vulnerability. That’s why most people resist change.
We have moments of change in our life over the years and until now, some are good and some are challenges that needs to be fought with might, where our faith were shaken. Some are things I am not ready to face but I have to. When change happens, we have options. We can live with it, adapt it or  learn and grow from it. Some things we  have to let go,  and some things we have to embrace. For change is opportunity driven. It is a special invitation to personal and spiritual empowerment and growth. 
This season is a time to breath and relax to His promises. I can never alter God’s promises, just like season is inevitable. It will come through ups ad downs of your life. Instead of holding on to your “ own plans”, hold on His promises. Reset your goals and not worry about the lost time in the past and things that you cannot change but to make the best of the moment. From here, there is no looking back. Shake off the fog on your way and refocus for great things to come.
Embrace change and live abundantly. Enjoy every season of life.  May our journey be blessed in all that we strive to accomplish.
In II Cor. 5:17 “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; Behold, all things are become new. 

Winter! Years ago with my mom during her visit with us.

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Purple Yum Coconut Candy Cake or Ube Macapuno Cake

Got to give you a break from our Europe trip :)

Few weeks back, I craved for this kind of cake, but can't find any here in this side of the world. There is one filipino cake store where you can order but it will take few days before you get it, and I can't wait for that days lol. So I attempted to bake my own version of Purple Yum Macapuno or Coconut candy Cake or Ube Macapuno Cake. I've seen a lot of recipes online and tried it but cannot get the consistency I like. I'm kind of mixing all the recipes I found. I tell ya, I don't know how much flours and butter I've wasted just to suit my taste, and finally after many trial and errors, it turned out great!

After I posted it in FB, I received messages asking for the recipe. It gives me an idea of posting recipes once a week here. So if you're interested, you are free to get some of em here.

Some of the ingredients in this recipe are usually found in any Asian store, like purple yum powder or frozen purple yum and macapuno (coconut candy) So, you might want to check asian store in your area.

For the Cake:

2 1/4 cups cake flour
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
7 egg yolks ( don't throw egg whites, you will use it later)
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grated ube or purple yam
1 tsp ube flavouring
1/2 tsp purple food colouring
7 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar


2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick) room temperature
8 oz or 25o g of cream cheese (1 package) room temperature
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 jar (12 oz) of macapuno (coconut candy)

*Use 1/4 cup macapuno and fold in this mixture. Spread out the rest of the macapuno on middle and top of assembled cake.

*Preheat oven to 35o degrees F. Prepare two 9 round pans, line bottoms with wax paper. Do not grease.
*In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and combine well. Add egg yolks, cooking oil, milk, grated ube or purple yam, ube flavouring, purple food colouring. Beat with electric mixer or by hand jut until smooth and well blended.

*In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until frothy. Gradually add in 3/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Gradually and gently fold in egg whites into flour mixture  until very well combined. Divide batter equally into prepared pans.
*Bake for about 45 mins or until a skewer stick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Invert pans into wire rack immediately and cool completely.
*Carefully run a thin knife around sides of pans to release cakes. Using a knife, half each cake horizontally. Set aside one of the top halves for later use.


Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, whipping cream and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Use the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth and fold in the 1/4 cup macapuno.

To Assemble:

*Drain some of the syrup from the macapuno
*Place one of the cake layers (bottom half of one of the cakes), cut side up on your serving plate. Spread and level some cream cheese frosting onto the cake layer until it is about 1/4" thick. Scatter half of the macapuno on top of cream cheese frosting.
*Place second cake layer, cut side down on top of bottom cake layer. Spread the remaining cream cheese frosting and remaining macapuno on top of second layer in the same manner as above.
*Top the cake with cream cheese frosting to cover top and sides of cake. Remember to leave some frosting for your borders.
*Using the remaining frosting decorate your cake of your own likes

Enjoy and hope you all have a great day!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Paris (Europe Trip part 2)

Our third stop, Bonjour de Paris, France. It's fascinating and romantic. The fabled city of lights. It reflects off the white stone buildings in the most amazing ways. We visited Eiffel tower, which is awesome specially at night. The whole tower lights up and sparkles, just wow!
We went to Museu' de Louvre. At one point I am thankful that being short and petite has given me some sort of benefits :), easy for me to made way to a packed of people wanted to see the painting of Monalisa up close  just to take photos.
More places we've visited, Grand de Palais, Music Academy, Versailles, Notre Dame Cathedral and enjoy our night in Sienne River Cruise, stride along the best shopping avenue Montaigne. This is the glamourous side Paris. Walked in few neighbourhood and had croissant from the bakery first thing in the morning. Fresh warm bread available on most streets in Paris. I've noticed people dress well even just go around the corner to get bread :)

View from the top of Eiffel tower

Eiffel tower at night

Notre Dame Cathedral

Musee de Louvre

LV,  Avenue Montaigne

We had such a great time in Paris. Thanks to our wonderful tour guide Jeff in showing us around this beautiful city

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Europe Trip

We've celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, hubby and I thought of doing something "big" for this year, since that our children are more responsible now being by themselves without us plus we've never done any out of the country tour just the two of us. We usually travel a lot with our kids, so this anniversary trip is extra special for both of us :)

We visited five countries in 14 days! You know how crazy that was! But it was wonderful, exciting and full of adventures. We enjoyed it a lot! since both of us love to travel and explore places! It was like back packing in Europe.

We arrived at Heathrow Airport, London, our first stop.
London is a charming and welcoming city. It is one of the most exciting and interesting cities in the world. We stayed there for 4 days, it's an enormous place and you will never be able to pack everything you'd like to do in few days or weeks, so we've just visited some familiar and major tourist spots like Kensington Palace/garden, Hyde Park, one of the most beautiful park, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, London Tower, Westminster Abbey, London Eye, walk around downtown London and streets in notting hill gate, stop by for tea in tea gardens, shopped in West end, my favourite thing to do :) and dine in local french, chinese and English restaurants. We went to Isle of Wight which is 30 mins away by speed boat from London mainland. But the weather is not cooperating that time, it was raining and we're on time constraint, so we were not able to visit Sir Topham hat and Thomas the Tank Engine lol. My kids would love that!
So thankful for Mike and her mom for showing us around the city. They are our awesome tour guide!

We're also able to visit some of our longtime friends and spend Sunday with them. Hubby preached to our filipino churches there. We had a great fellowship with them. They showered us with love and gifts :)

Cafe Rouge

We enjoyed our morning coffee here :)

Hyde Park

London Tower

One of tea garden in Isle of Wight

Our brethren in London

From London, we took a 6 hour train to Llandudno North Wales, UK. I think Wales is now one of my favourite place. The town is unique.
Llandudno is a peaceful place. It lies on flat land between the main body of North wales and a huge limestone headland known as the Great Orme Peninsula. One of the things that I've noticed when we were there since day one, this place is packed with senior and middle aged elderly!  This place is a haven for elderly people. Serene and tranquility is obviously felt in this place, maybe that's why most  elderly folks live here. Maybe we will consider this place when hubby and I retire in the future :)
We took a day tour bus to show us around town. There are beautiful and cute holiday cottages, bed and breakfast houses, apartments and beautiful gardens,  The Happy Valley, and the award winning victorian pier, St. George hotel where the Prince of Wales stayed whenever he pay a visit in Llandudno. We went to Conwy Castle and spend half a day there. It's fun to see the colourful terrace houses and most of all, it's fun to shop :) I'd say I had a serious shopping here and had a difficult time deciding whether I will buy or not all their beautiful hats lol.
Seriously, I've never eaten a lot of fish and chips in my life, only in North wales! But on our last night, hubby brought me to a romantic restaurant in town.

Do you like my hat?

Victorian Pier, this is our view from our hotel. We stayed in Grand hotel which is one of the oldest building in Llandudno built in 1901.

Conwy Castle

Tired of exploring the castle :) had tea in one of the tea room there.

That was a wonderful time in London and Llandudno, Wales.

Have a great day!