The Importance of Cooking with Kids

Last week, I had the pleasure of baking some Filipino bread rolls, called Pandesal, with Evie’s transitional kindergarten class.  The whole experience is so important for my family and I not only to share some of our culture with her school, but also to aid in her development. I have this memory of being in the second grade and bringing a Filipino steamed pork bun to school that I tell people often.  Kid’s can be mean when they don’t understand, and I was ridiculed for bringing such a thing to lunch.  Once home, I asked my mom to pack me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because I was so mortified to bring more Filipino food. Years later, my daughter is in school and I am making her lunches.  I am pleased to say her school encourages having various fare, encouraging families to share their culture to give students a sense […]

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Who Doesn’t Love a Good Family Out-of-State Wedding?

What’s not to love about out-of-state family weddings.  Especially if you have a large family as I do.  Of course, I miss them and I jump at most opportunities to see all of them, but weddings are on a different level for us. My family on my dad’s side has pretty large clusters of relatives all over.  Chicago, Toronto, and southern California are some of the larger clans and I have early memories of traveling to these cities for different weddings throughout my life. My cousin, Sheena (on my dad’s side), moved to Seattle a couple years ago and I was so excited because it just happens to be where my mom’s family lives, and she doesn’t have much family stateside.  Evie’s first time to this beautiful city was when she was about 2.5  years old, and she was excited to go back. It seems like forever since I’ve had some quality […]

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Brothers, Motorcycles, and Some of our Fave Day Trips in Cali

I was lucky to have a surprise visit from my brother last month.  He was really just in town last February for Evie’s birthday and I kinda gave him crap for not staying.  He basically came to town only for the party and left soon after, so it was barely enough time to catch up with him at all. My brother, Josh (whom I call by his middle name, Bernie), is owner of a couple motorcycles back in Illinois and wanted to go ride somewhere new.  He was lucky enough to have a couple days free from work and decided to see if he could arrange that time to ride around California for a bit.  To be honest, I am a little jealous of that carefree life, so I got really excited when he told me his plans. Whether he wanted me to or not, I totally crashed the beginning […]

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Sharing Daddy Daughter Pandesal

In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I would share a special recipe that has a lot of daddy attachment to it.  Last December, Evie had her first trip to the Philippines, and one of her favorite memories there was the freshly baked sweet bread rolls called pandesal.  My dad (her Papa Benny) would make a special trip to his favorite bakery every morning to satisfy Evie’s craving. Once back in the states, Evie was constantly talking about it, she would go to sleep and wake up talking about them.  Being the superhero he always is for her, my husband Peabe (who doesn’t usually bake) decided to try to help her learn how to make them.  He looked up different recipes online and had a good two months just experimenting on different rolls, until he deducted his own winning recipe. Peabe and Evie rolling out some of their first batches. It […]

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The Deeper Meanings Behind My Batek Tattoo (Part 3)

Featured image: finding symbols similar to my batek hand-tapped tattoo in some woven Ilocano fabric that I brought home with me from my last trip to the Philippines in December 2015.  Some of the tattoo images have been lost through colonization but are survived because they were found in weavings and pottery. As more and more time goes on, the old ways of Filipino tribal cultures are lost.  Having the markings of my batek tattoo are not only helping me to reconnect with my own ancestry but also bring some light to an ancient culture.  The colonization of the Philippines has affected the country and it’s generations of people in so many ways, and I’m just scratching the surface of it’s effects on me. The experience and the markings were powerful and affirming, I wish I could repeat all the knowledge that my mambabatok Lane Wilcken shared with me.  I just […]

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Unveiling My Personal and Ancient Story Through My Batek Tattoo (Part 2)

As I mentioned in my previous post, Part 1 of my Batek Tattoo, I split this portion of the experience up to talk about the process, the rituals, and the ceremony.  By the end, I felt extremely thankful to have the support of my family, and these amazing cultural practitioners around me to help me understand so many things about my own history.  I don’t know exactly what I had in mind, but the whole thing went totally beyond my expectations. Woke up around 2am that day after falling asleep putting my daughter, Evie to bed around 9pm. Unsurprising for myself as I suffer from regular bouts of insomnia and has a little one to tend to during the day.  Maybe it was nerves, but I sat in the living room on my laptop that morning scouring for any more information that I could find on my family.  I had done […]

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Learning History for My Batek Tattoo (Part 1)

I had recently received a tattoo that I feel has such a personal story behind it, and I knew I needed to write about the whole experience.  As I gather my thoughts on it, I have found that (much like my time spent on moving forward on it) it was going to take a lot more than just one sitting to get it down.  I have decided to split this up into 3 parts: Learning the history My own personal and ancient visual story and my photo story Deeper meanings behind my tattoo Hopefully, it will make sense why I have split all these up.  These tattoos aren’t like the normal flash graphic on a wall, where one sees an image that means ‘mountains’ and says to oneself, “yeah, I like mountains… this is for me.”  There is a larger story that is missed, I feel it’s something one needs to […]

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Happy Birthday to my Dad

April 12th has always been a date that keeps popping up in my life.  It started off as my dad’s birthday.  Then as I got older, it became the age on my first fake ID.  Once I became of age, I met someone who would become a very good friend and roommate.  This friend, Jennie, also shared the same birthday.  Some of our best friends, Jessie and Grizz, also got married on this day. This year, I will be in Thailand, and scheduled to be washing baby elephants today.  I can’t help but think the universe has me tied to this date somehow. In either case, I wanted to wish the first man in my life a very happy and healthy year.  He’s been retired for some time now, and living most of his life in the Philippines, so I barely get to see him.  We haven’t always gotten along… but […]

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Celebrating Evie’s 4th Birthday Without Breaking the Bank

How can I incorporate my family’s love for the outdoors and a preschooler’s active and inquisitive nature into a birthday celebration without spending too much? As a kid, my parents really didn’t throw any of us birthday parties.  I mean, there were 5 of us kids, and birthday parties get expensive.  Most times, our birthdays were just celebrated at home where my mom cooked up some Filipino noodles, called pancit, and we had a homemade birthday cake.  She believed in most Filipino superstition, and eating long noodles were a sign of long life.  Unfortunately, I never learned how to cook pancit as well as mom does, so I haven’t really continued that tradition. Last year, when Evie turned 3, we decided to throw her first co-ed friends and family birthday party.  It was her first year in preschool and she was pretty close to all of her buddies, so we […]

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Thoughts of Having a Daughter During International Women’s Month

Personally, I think my own mother was the hardest working between both my parents.  She would work 12-16 hour nursing shifts, then end up going out to home care visits on the side just to make a better life for her family.  Of course this meant that she wasn’t around regularly.  From not spending Christmas together to not going to school conferences, I was used to not having her around, a typical immigrant parent’s story.  I think this was just the beginning of seeing first hand how hard a woman’s job really is. As you grow, there are so many instances that you start to question your strength as a female in this world.  Living up to society’s unrealistic physical standards and having to deal with sexism and misogyny on a regular basis.  There are too many instances to name, but i’m trying to stay on topic.  We live in a world where […]

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