May 31, 2020

My Birthday Came Two Weeks Early

Happy Sunday, my few dear readers! :D

It's gonna be June tomorrow and just like that we are already halfway through 2020. June is my birthday month and also our anniversary month so it's easily my favorite time of the year. In 2 weeks I am turning 32 and dang, my age is gonna be off the calendar! >_< More on birthday musings in the next few days but for now, I'm gonna share my happiness because I got an early birthday present from my husband!

You see, since we still cannot dine out due to COVID19, I've been planning a DIY romantic lunch for our anniversary (which is 4 days from now *panic mode*). Why not dinner, you say? Well, we will celebrate with our housemates over kBBQ for dinner so we thought we'll do a more intimate one mid-day. We're just thinking of ordering steak via GrabFood but to make it a little more special, I need a pretty table setting. And where to get all the paraphernalia but my [pre-circuit breaker] favorite place to be, Ikea! I also learned from one of my former colleagues that Ikea delivers small parcels in 2 days so I immediately went to their website to do dinnerware-shopping!

I was vigorously scrolling up and down my phone when hubby saw me and asked what's keeping me busy. Nonchalantly, I told him "Online shopping" and without expecting much, I followed it up with a "Will you pay for it, please?" I almost jumped out of bed when he said he's gonna pay whatever I will add to my shopping cart! Like, seriously? I kept asking him if it's for real and he gave me that straight look and I knew right there that he's not kidding! Who am I to say no, right??? :D

photo credit

Sooooo, like a kid wandering in a candy store, I happily navigated the Ikea site while mentally crossing out all the items in my table setting list. I was palpitating, I tell you! I think it's the first time I'm shopping without worrying about the total bill, LOL! Now enough blabber and on to my loot! Do you wanna see it? Here you go!

I got carried away so the damage was a little bit over $200 >_<
Thanks, babe! Love you forevs! :-*
Note: Click the image for high-res version

I told you, most of the stuff that I bought is for table setting except for our candles, my chopping board and our wooden tray for breakfasts in bed. But, my favorite's got to be this 18-pc service because it's so simple yet so classy! I've always had a thing for square plates! :)

Now I just need to pray that the delivery is indeed 2 days to make it to our Anniv celeb. Otherwise, boo!

I'm excited! If my plan works out well, I'm gonna show you how the lunch date went.

Till then!

May 29, 2020

My Last Normal

Hello there!

I saw the news just now: Metro Manila will be on General Community Quarantine starting June 1st. It's worrisome that we are transitioning to "the new normal" way before we are ready. Despite the many warnings from the government, people will go to out just for the heck of it. There will be a surge of people on the streets and you cannot tell apart the healthy and the unwell. Public transport will be more crowded than it was before the pandemic and social distancing will be close to impossible. People will go to malls, the movies, eat out, meet friends. They will visit relatives, grandparents included, and they will not even realize the risk they bring to their folks. People will go out because dang, they've been confined in their homes doing nothing but TikTok for the past 3 months.

This scenario scares me. Not only do I fear for my family, I fear for our healthcare system if cases blow up after re-opening. I fear for healthcare workers who will need to work more than their bodies are capable of. I fear for the military, the supermarket staff, the cleaners, those who keep our lives steady and going. I fear for the young, the old and those with existing medical conditions whose immune system may not be able to handle the virus, or any sickness at that. I fear that if the cases in the Philippines get worse, I may not be able to pick my daughter up anytime soon and eventually, I will not be able to get her back here with us.

My anxiety is rising as fast as the numbers do. I stay up at night always asking my husband the same question: "When will Maddie be with us again?" My husband usually has answers for everything, but for this one he would stay quiet, let out a sigh, and say, "I wish I knew."

For the moment, I will console myself with this photo of our last normal. This was on February 23, a day before we flew back to Singapore. I brought Maddie to the hair salon to cut her hair short right after her successful flower girl stint. We had a nice dinner at Yabu with the whole family. We went home, had a huge slice of my favourite Mango Bravo and ate our hearts out not knowing this will be the last that we will all share a meal and some good laughs in many months, maybe a year even.

I will close my eyes tonight with this image in my mind and a prayer that one day this last normal will happen again. We may not know when, but we trust in one great God that it will happen.

Miss you fam :'(

May 25, 2020

Maddie's Activities while on ECQ

Even though I am mostly sad about being far from our daughter at this time, I am also quite thankful that she is in our family home in the Philippines because she has a bunch of company there. In the first month of the ECQ, my mom and 4 sisters were there with her full time so she never runs out of playmates. Even now with the MECQ, she still has her two aunties left because both are students and school hasn't resumed since. Unlike here where hubby and I have to work and do chores ourselves, we only get to really spend time with her in the evening and that too limited because we are either tired or sleepy.

To make up for the distance, I always try to plan activities to keep her busy in this #stayhome period. Sharing with you some of them :)

We try to do a little bit of homeschooling. Before the circuit breaker in Singapore, I got to buy a workbook to help her learn high-frequency words. I must say, the exercises are peanuts to her because she's been reading since she's 5 but at least it helps her to get more familiar with the spelling of these commonly-used words and also keep her writing so she won't have to adjust again when school is back. I also try to teach her a math lesson or two, and very recently, we had a run through of common nouns and proper nouns. It helps that Maddie is a fast-learner so she's able to pick-up even though some of our sessions are via Facetime :)

She also plays board games with her aunties. Among their favorites are Uno and Toy Story 3 Monopoly. These make her quite the competitive kid, and it also trains her to accept defeat (wow ah! haha!)

We also indulge her need for gadget time, but only once she's done with her learning sessions. She is quite addicted with an app called Roblox where there are a million games within a single app. Because of it, she's now the one calling us once in a while to check if it's already "Roblox time" with Mommy and Daddy. Playing with Maddie helps us to be virtually together as well -- look, I have screenshots! :D

Musical instruments. Maddie loves music so my sisters gifted her with a keyboard on her 6th birthday (oh, I need to write on this soon!) and she also got a toy ukelele last Christmas. She tries to play these instruments with the help of her Aunt Haley and this weekend I was so happy because she said she wrote her own song! She shared with us the lyrics and sang it to us while on video call and even though it's only a few lines I have to say, wow, we have a Taylor Swift in the making!

Swimming sessions. Yesterday, we finally got her an inflatable pool! Even before the lockdowns, Maddie loves swimming, so she was pretty ecstatic when she saw it and can't wait to dip already! Needless to say, she spent some 2.5 hours in the water and afterwards already said she's gonna have another pool session today (and she did!).

We try to engage her in oldie-but-goodie challenges like Categories and P.A.N.T.S (90's babies, raise your hands if your remember this!). In P.A.N.T.S, a player chooses a random letter and all the other players write down a place, animal, name and thing that starts with the chosen letter. After each round, everybody shares their answers and whoever has unique ones gets the S -- score that is! :) This game is fun and it also adds to her general knowledge and vocabulary.

Online Cathechism classes. Here in Singapore, the Catholic churches hold Cathechism sessions for kids every Sunday but due to the circuit breaker, the face-to-face sessions were cancelled. Thanks to technology, they were able to commence it this month via Zoom. Maddie learns more about Jesus in each session and she also gets to interact with kids her age. Special mention to the Church of St. Teresa and the very dedicated cathechists who make this happen.

Listed above are just some of the things keeping our pre-schooler occupied while staying in. Well those and eating a lot! And like most of us grown-ups, she's already gained more than 2 kilos in the last 3 months! Pwera usog! :) But look at the photo below, she's getting really chunky and her clothes are quite snug now so I am already looking forward to to spending some time with her shopping when life goes back to normal, or at least what they call "the new normal."

Oh well, let's all continue praying that this virus ends soon. Until then, keeping our kids healthy, safe and happy remains our #1 priority! So fellow mommies, if you have your own quarantine activities to share, please leave them in the comments so that we can try them too!

I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend and have a good week ahead!


May 23, 2020

[Maude's Quarantine Kitchen] My Baked Salmon a la Conti's

Everytime we are in the Philippines for vacation, I make it a point to visit Conti's Bakeshop and Restaurant. I mean, who doesn't love Mango Bravo, right? Luckily there's already a branch in Ayala Malls Feliz (East fellas, represent!) and it's now so convenient to satisfy our dessert cravings.

This one though was in their Trinoma branch during our Manila trip last February. 

However, Mango Bravo isn't the only reason I am a Conti's fan. I also love their Baked Salmon which is so cheesy and succulent I am now salivating as I type.

Imagine my delight when I found the recipe at For easy reference, I have copied the recipe here but I give full credits to them. Thanks guys, you're heaven-sent!


  • 500 grams salmon fillets
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 pieces calamansi, juiced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ block (125 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Sooooo, without further ado, let me show you my version of Baked Salmon a la Conti's.

In an oven safe dish, marinate salmon with 5 cloves minced garlic calamansi juice, salt, and pepper for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping. Mix softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, minced garlic and parmesan cheese. Here, I substituted the parmesan with 3-cheese mix (mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan) because I like mine gooey. You will still need some pure parmesan cheese though for later.

After marinating the salmon, pat it dry with paper towels.

Spread the topping over salmon and sprinkle the parmesan cheese that you set aside earlier.

Bake it at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until topping turns golden brown.

Okay, don't be like me. You don't want the top to be this burnt. Haha. This is how I learnt that 30 mins is perfect (the recipe says 30-40 mins and I let it bake for 40). Even the doneness of the salmon is perfect at half an hour mark.

It still tastes good! Just put your favorite veggies on the side et voila!
Baked Salmon a la Conti's from Maudey's Quarantine Kitchen! LOL!

Try it this long weekend, y'all! Happy baking!

May 22, 2020

Continuing the 100 day photo challenge 9 years later

While browsing my archives, I saw posts about the 100-day Photo Challenge. It was a thing for bloggers circa 2011 where you post one photo a day for 100 days to keep the blogging habit. I find it so funny that 9 years later, I'm still not done with it. So now I thought, let me just try to finish it for the Nth time (honestly, I lost track! >_<) Anyway, it's also a good way to share random stories about the past few years =)

Day 76 - A picture of you drinking something 

November 2017 | My Starbucks staple, Java Chip <3

Day 77 - A picture of you and friends making silly faces

February 2020 | One of my girlfriends, Nikki, married her beau of 10 years, Donz.
And here's the whole gang doing the obligatory wacky shot ;-P

Day 78 - A picture of you in the dark and
Day 79 - A picture of you in the water

June 2018 | Sands Skypark, Marina Bay Sands, where I chose to celebrate my big 3-0 :)
Lovely city view especially at night.

Day 80 - A picture of you and someone you love being silly
May 2020 | Maddie and I playing with FB Messenger filters. Does she take after me alr? ;)

Day 81 - A picture of you with a character

June 2013 | We had our honeymoon in Hongkong and of course, Disneyland had to be one of our stops.
Dang, I miss traveling already. Can this virus be over now? :(

Day 82 - A picture of someone you love asleep

January 2020 | Few days after the new year and there I was watching my two loves being very sweet even in their sleep.

Day 83 - A picture of you and a teammate

December 2019 | I'm not singling out one teammate, I'm showing you the whole team on our holiday celeb.
Three Filipinos, two Sri Lankans, one French, all awesome! :)

Day 84 - A picture of a school project

April 2019 | Since I'm already too old for school projects, thought I'm gonna show you one
of Maddie's instead. We take Kinder1 projects seriously here, you know! :D

Day 85 - A picture of your favorite holiday

December 2018 | This Boracay trip is our first family holiday just the three of us
and it was really one for the books. It's quality time at it's finest. And the island is just
breathtakingly beautiful after the 6-month restoration. I can't wait to be back!

Day 86 - A picture of someone who helps you with school

February 2020 | Our college barkada's smart kid, Noreen.
We would always joke that she's the major reason we made it out of the uni alive! Haha!
Thanks, babes! Love you forevs x

Day 87 - A picture of someone you grew up with

December 2019 | Me and my cousin. We literally spent every day of our childhood
together, most of those were in our Grandma's house where this photo was taken.
So much memories! :)

Day 88 - A picture of your dream car

[Note: This is obvs a googled photo so ctto :)] Mangangarap ka narin lang eh itodo na!
A Lamborghini Aventador, folks! ;)

Day 89 - A picture of you at a hotel

June 2018 | Also at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. So grateful to have spent my 30th birthday
with the whole fam here in SG. Well except for Dad, but he's always in my <3 so yeah.

Day 90 - A picture of you wearing your favorite color

January 2020 | Pink, corz! :D
This day I marked my 8th year working in the Lion City. How time flies!

Last 10 photos, guys!

I have a strong feeling I will really finish it this time! Fingers crossed!


May 16, 2020

[Maude's Quarantine Kitchen] Filipino-style Spaghetti

I said in my 2020 comeback post that I will try to write about what keeps me busy during the #circuitbreaker in Singapore. And since most of my free time is spent in the kitchen these days, the first dish that I wanted to share with you is my Filipino-style Spaghetti. It's one of hubby's favorites so I know it's quite shareable :) Thinking about it now, I realized that this is my original recipe pala. Maybe my one and only original recipe, meaning I didn't tweak right after googling. Haha! So I am very happy to put it here.

Imma write it down along with the pictures ha, I'm not yet in the vlogging level eh! LOL

First, prep the ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • about 6 cloves garlic (or more, there are no hard rules here! :)), minced.
  • 6-8pcs Purefoods TJ hotdog (because it's not Pinoy style spaghetti if your hotdogs aren't red! haha), sliced diagonally
  • 600g ground beef (looking at the pics now, bakit parang pork to?! hahaha maybe it's not available that time. So yeah, use beef as much as possible because it tastes so much better. ok, enough blabber >_<)
  • 500g pasta of choice. I often use vermicelli but since the COVID19 hoarding episodes here, I've never chanced upon it in the grocery
  • Del Monte Filipino Style spaghetti sauce (the largest pack, i wasn't able to check the size, sorry!)
  • 2 slices of processed cheese
  • 2 tbsp of condensed milk
  • Olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • more grated cheese for toppings

Sooo, first step, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Aim for al dente, or better not cook pasta at all. Wow ah. haha! Make sure to add salt in the water. And as I learned over the years, there's no use putting oil while boiling it, just drizzle it with olive oil after draining so it won't stick. But you all know that already, right?

Then, saute the garlic until light brown and add in the onion till it's translucent.

Ground meat, in (channeling Gordon Ramsay!). Cook till it's brown.

Add a little bit of water (maybe 1/4 cup), this will help to soften the meat.

Add in the hotdogs, stir and cover.

Once the water is gone and you can see the meat cooked through, add the spaghetti sauce. Stir it well.

Season with salt and ground black pepper then wait for it to boil. Stir constantly so it won't stick.

Add the cheese and the condensed milk. Oh, I remembered I got this little secret of putting condensed milk from my Tita A some 20 years back! Thanks, Ta! Mix and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Get a serving of pasta and top with the sauce and voila, it's done! Hey, don't forget some grated cheese too!

Serve with a smile to the husband who always requests for it :D

I also made Baby Back Ribs that day, but that's for another post ;-)

Note: This sauce recipe is actually good for more than 500g of pasta. It's just that we are only 2 people here and we like our spaghetti saucy, so 500g it is.

Let me know if you are able to give this a try, ok? :)


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