Makati Parks Review: Jaime C. Velasquez Park

Before all this maddening rain began, Elon and I had the chance to spend a sunny Monday morning at Jaime C. Velasquez Park. More popularly known as Salcedo Park, it is one of the more well-maintained outdoor parks I’ve been to. It has pretty spacious grounds and a big playground area.

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I think one of the key selling points of the park are the coffee shops scattered nearby: The nearest being Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Starbucks. I mean, you KNOW mama needs her caffeine! So you can sit on one of the benches, sipping your java, as you watch your little angel play peacefully with other children.

LOL just kidding. You probably won’t be sitting down, but at least you have coffee to keep you sane, right?

If you’re okay with walking a little, Wildflour Cafe + Bakery as well as Toby’s Estate are on Leviste street as well. I’m usually so desperate for coffee though that i’d probably take 3-in-1 from a JolliJeep if there was one nearby.

Okay so back to the playground – it’s big enough to keep your little critter occupied for a while, with lots of climbing apparatuses, including a pole! And yes, I have done a couple of tricks on it. But no, there are no photos. I am just glad my son is still too young to feel embarrassed by his mother, hahaha.

My favorite part would be the one and only swing that’s pretty safe for tiny toddlers. It’s pliable so it follows the shape of my little guy’s bum-bum and cradles him pretty snugly. He enjoys it very much, as you can see.

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The area is maintained pretty well, and even the restrooms are decent. You have to pay 5 pesos to use it though, and there’s no hand soap or toilet paper, but hey, full bladders can’t be choosers! I’m just glad there are no shoe prints on the toilet bowl. And they clean it after every use so that’s always a plus!

Here’s the downside: There are no dogs allowed in the park, and there is no ball play allowed. I’m assuming they banned the pets early on when owners weren’t cleaning up after them, but I don’t understand the ball play ban. It literally has more than enough space for a little game of catch. I do wish they allowed it in the open space, but it’s not a deal breaker for me.

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On Saturday mornings, the Salcedo Market is set up in the parking lot beside it. It has great food choices and fresh produce, so if you feel like having an interesting breakfast while the little guys run around and play, then this is your place! All in all, the park is nice and convenient enough to be our regular go-to when we’re feeling a little cooped up and need some extra sunshine and fresh(ish) air. It’s also a good area for an afternoon jog, a great relaxing spot for the family, and a lot of food choices nearby to end your day with.

The Deets

Address: Jaime C. Velasquez Park, between LP Leviste and Tordesillas street, Salcedo Village, Makati City

Operating Hours: 6am – 10pm (apparently, dubious things used to happen here at night so they started closing it early. This is why we can’t have nice things!) On Fridays the park closes at 5 pm to make way for the Saturday Market.

Parking: Street parking is allowed until 5 pm on weekdays. You can park along Leviste street, although Tordesillas usually has more space.

Rating: 3 / 5 poopy diapers (Because no dogs and no balls!)

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Makati Parks Review: Legaspi Village

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One of the wonderful joys of being a work-at-home-mom is having the ability to spend my days with my little adventurer. BUT! It is also one of my biggest challenges. “Seriously, WHAT DO PEOPLE DO ALONE WITH KIDS ALL DAY??” Those were my thoughts early on, when Elon was nothing but a little worm squirming inside his swaddle, staring at me and cooing / complaining.

He’s 19 months old now, and boy oh boy this little guy NEVER STOPS. And he can’t stand being indoors all day either, just like mommy. This means we are constantly on the go, looking for things to do, places to invade, restaurants to disturb. This is why having parks and outdoor playgrounds is so important to me – it helps my kid get exercise, lots of sunlight, and then eventually be so exhausted he sleeps for two hours during his nap. HE HE HE.

So I’m starting off my review with two parks in Legazpi Village, which I only discovered a few days ago, thanks to Facebook crowdsourcing!

We started our morning in Washington Sycip Park on Legaspi street, Legaspi vilage, which is of walking distance from Greenbelt 1.

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It’s a great place to stroll around or relax in, since there are a lot of benches and it’s covered in trees! It’s nice that they have signs on the trees with the names, so you get a little education with your relaxation. There are a few sculptures and installation pieces, and a lovely little pond with fountains and a waterfall.

The park would be a good place to let the little one nap in the stroller, if you’re lucky enough to have a kid who would do that. Haha. We didn’t last too long in there because there really isn’t much for a toddler to do, except poke things with a stick and try to jump into the water. Which probably isn’t such a good idea.

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Good thing the Legaspi Active Park is right across it. This park is a liiiiiittle bit better for toddlers, since there are wide open spaces where they can run in, and a small playground set. The area is clean, quiet, and there are barely any people around.

However, they obviously planted the playground area and then forgot all about it. The thing is covered in graffiti, and not the artistic kind. Just some love notes and scribbles from bored people.

Plus, one of the slides has a huge hole in it, so yeah. Don’t let the kids get on it.

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All in all, we spent around 45 minutes in both parks. It’s a nice and safe enough area for a little stroll, but not a whole afternoon of family fun. Maybe after merienda in Greenbelt you can walk it off there and let the kids get dirty and active before heading home and going to bed.

The Deets:

Parking: Street parking in the surrounding areas are available until 5 PM. You can also park at Greenbelt 1 if you’re in the mood for a little walk.

Address: Legaspi Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City.

Rating: 2.5 / 5 poopy diapers

{Toddler Crime} Crayon Scribbles EVERYWHERE

A couple of days ago, I gave my son a bunch of crayons, an empty notebook, and some freedom. I left him for a bit to wash dishes, and I come back to this: A bunch of crayons, an empty notebook, and a floor covered in crayon scribbles.

This is his “Mommy I did something” look. He also has this look whenever he’s chewing on toilet paper, receipts, or anything else he probably shouldn’t be chewing on.

I also found scribbles on our doors. I didn’t get a chance to photograph it before cleaning them, but I would say his style would fall under abstract. Haha.

My son admiring his handiwork. Thank God I didn’t give him markers! *Shudder*

Anyhoos, I wasn’t quite sure what to use to clean the “art” up, so I grabbed the spray bottle nearest me, and it was my homemade dusting spray. I found the recipe from this site, which is filled with ah-mah-zing DIY, all-natural things! I sprayed it on, scrubbed a little with a microfiber cloth and voila! No more crayon scribbles! Worked on the tile floor and the doors too. IMG_4023                      IMG_4024 It has 4 ingredients, it’s perfectly safe for little children, and I’m pretty sure you have at least 3 of the ingredients in your house right now.

So here’s all you need:

– 1 cup water

– 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– 10 – 15 drops essential oil of your choice. I used peppermint because, well, peppermint!

Just mix them all up in a spray bottle and shake before using! The vinegar is a fantastic disinfectant, the olive oil will keep your wood furniture conditioned and the essential oil is antibacterial (tea tree is also a great option, as well as lemon or orange) and smells great. Plus as we just discovered, it’s great at cleaning up toddler crimes too 😉 Now go mix one up and enjoy a dust-free, crayon-scribble-free (for now) home!

Love For Leftovers

Ever since we moved to the new place I’ve been challenging myself in different ways. During my first year of mommyhood I was pretty much held back by post-partum anxiety (more on this next time, when I have the words to explain).

I focused on getting better, moving past it and staying sane while taking care of my son. Not much got done around the house, which, I think, actually added to my condition. When I’m not moving or creating, I feel really useless. This year, by God’s amazing love and grace, that’s gonna change.

My first challenge we can call, hmmm, Going Natural. Basically I’m trying to remove unnecessary chemicals around the house, starting with cleaning solutions. It’s amazing how much you can do with distilled vinegar, blue Dawn dishwashing liquid, baking soda, essential oils and Castile soap. I’m going to update on my favorite mix once I decide which one cleans best for what! I’m working my way towards more natural skin products too. God knows I need to show my sad, sad skin some love.

But what I’m currently excited about is my No Man Gets Left Behind challenge. Which basically is my effort to not waste food and find creative ways to turn leftovers into yummy, simple dishes. Emphasis on simple because cooking is not my forte :)) However, I have to say, it’s been going pretty well so far, and I haven’t burned the kitchen down. Yet.

I took leftover dory and mixed it into Thai fried rice, with tomatoes, pineapples, eggs and garlic, a splash of soy sauce and a dash of salt. It was surprisingly yummy!

Tonight I’m using the leftover pineapples, corn kernels (from a previous dish), shredded fish, and adding shredded chicken, tomatoes and cucumber and pitas to make a wrap station for dinner. I’ll just cook the proteins in some herbs and spices (yay for Mrs. Dash!) and then let the husband choose how he wants to mix and match. This will leave my fridge free of leftovers! Yay!

And finally, the Blog It Good challenge, which I’m sort of failing haha. I will write at least one entry a week, using nursing time to do so. This one is the toughest, because I am itching to just drown myself in Impossibly perfect Pinterest projects and play Cookie Jam on my phone. LOL.

Those are starters. I want to take small steps first, remind myself how capable I am as a mother, a wife, and as Kris. At the end of the day, that’s the real challenge.

Arsenal of Distraction

You’ve seen it before: Wild-eyed parents, one inhaling food, the other running after a tornado cute, adorable toddler.

This is our life every time we go out to eat. Having an incredibly energetic one year old with an insatiable zest for sockets, trash cans and industrial fans, leaving the house is always one big production. I’m talking Broadway razzle dazzle here folks, not just local theater.

Which is why we have been forced to find ways to distract our little guy whenever he is in the car seat, high chair, or the great big outdoors. Sometimes these tricks work, sometimes his desire to grab the server’s apron is just way too strong. But here are our favorite manipulations tips for going out with an ultra-curious toddler:

Timing Is Everything

E hates being strapped down. He doesn’t last long in the car seat, stroller or high chair, and it can make leaving the house a stressful ordeal. So I try my best to time our trips with his nap time, that way he falls asleep in the car seat (after a little drama crying) and then by the time we get to our destination, he’s well rested and in a good mood. Make sure you get on the road during (somewhat) predictable traffic hours, so usually after lunch and just before rush hour are good times.

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He’s also in a better mood when he’s in a dry diaper, has a full tummy and the temperature in the car is just right before we strap him in. It also helps that Sophie the Giraffe keeps him occupied for a while. Speaking of Sophie–

Designate Toys

There are certain toys / gadgets / teethers that we only bring out during strapdown. A toy steering wheel for the car seat, a toy tablet and some coloring materials for meal times, and chew toys for when he’s in the stroller. Mind you, these are just the main events– you have to have little things for the trailers! Random things work, like pamaypays, small travel bottles, old remote controls. Anything with buttons and switches and things that are NOT TOYS. I swear, kids are so weird.

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Let Them Participate

These little critters are sometimes super excited to be all grownup. My guy HAS to have his own spoon, plate, and drink from a cup– just like us. He also takes the broom, mop or vacuum away from me when I’m cleaning. So now I make it a point to give him non-breakable, little versions of these things to make him feel like he’s participating and part of the group. This kid has major FOMO issues. You can just imagine what cooking time is like in our household.

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Music Calms the Beast

Elizabeth Mitchell is a fantastic musician and and a favorite in our family. She writes children’s music that even I enjoy, very folky and cute. I play her songs during the start of the trip or our walk (when he’s in the stroller), so he associates her music with going somewhere nice or fun.

Eat Fast and Wear Comfortable Shoes

Sometimes you just have to give in to the fact that you will not be eating a proper meal. During fussy phases, my husband and I take turns eating and then running around with the little man. It’s tiring, it’s frustrating sometimes, and it’s sad that you’re left alone at a table that’s covered in mess and crumpled place mats, but hey, at least you’re out of the house and those 3-week-old yoga pants, right?

In the meantime, I’m trying to enjoy this chaotic time in our lives. I’m thinking of it as collecting great stories to tell, and a personal test of character. My patience is at an all-time high, thanks to my son! Ha! Hope these things work for you, even for a little bit 😉

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The No Coffee Experiment

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The past two weeks have been pretty horrid for us, sleep-wise. Naps are awesome, but the night time brings with it a ton of wakings, frustration and obviously, lack of sleep.

I’ve been attributing this madness to his teething (4 little buggers are coming in), and we’re giving homeopathic teething gel and Camilia to help with his discomfort. His first stretch of sleep is the longest, from 2.5-3 hours straight. After that, it’s hourly until I finally bring him to bed with me. But even bedsharing no longer guarantees straight sleep like it used to. It does, however, guarantee me being kicked in the vagina, punched on the boob and spending a few minutes in the bathroom crying out to God and asking Him why I’m being punished this way.

Now during the day, my son is the sweetest, funniest, smiliest, cuddliest little ball of energy. Which is why the nights are harder still– I can’t seem to figure out what turns my lovely fella into an MMA fighter at night. Which is what has brought me to this point. Yes, this rambling has a point.

I love coffee so darn much, but today I decided to lay off it (one week at a time) to see if there is any change in Elon’s sleep habits. I doubt it actually has any effect but this is how desperate I am.

Today all I’ve had is two cups of chamomile tea and one long, throbbing headache. Withdrawal is the worst. I’m also really pissy and I want to kick a kitten. The worst part– elon kicked me a million times before finally falling asleep. I put him down in the crib but now I am currently nursing him back to sleep for the third time tonight– and he’s only been asleep two hours. UGH. This experiment better be worth it.

I’m giving it one week. Then I’ll try to extend to another week. I will try my best to diligently write down the effects to see if caffeine has been the culprit all along.

So here we are, day one caffeine- free. And I want to stab somebody.

Nautical Birthday Bash!

I feel like such a grown up with the passing of this milestone- planning and executing my son’s first birthday party! It was tiring, it was so much fun, it was full of food, love, awesome presents and noisy kids and hugs and kisses too. Just the way it should be 😊

We originally wanted a picnic style birthday party, but none of the outdoor venues we wanted were available! I guess that’s the first lesson I learned: book early. Especially since Elon’s birthday is in December and people are having parties left and right.

So we settled on Blue Whale Grill in Fun Ranch in Pasig. It’s accessible, spacious and laid out well. Plus there was a play area for the kiddos which made them very happy.
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Since the decor was mostly ocean- themed, we ran with it and went nautical. Simple, clean and easy to find decor inspiration!

The service of Blue Whale Grill is AMAZING. I went there early with my husband and one of my best friends so we could set up, and ended up barely lifting a finger. I took out all my DIY stuff, gave instructions and their super helpful team set everything up for us. It was so efficient! So that was definitely a huge factor in my happiness that day.

It was a really simple set up though! And everything was handmade 🙂

For the backdrop I just used crepe paper and balloons. I cut the paper into small strips and pasted them on to corrugated board which made it easier to transport and later on thumb tacked it onto the backdrop. Balloons of the same color were tacked on to the top part. There were supposed to be more balloons but people started coming in so we only ended up with one layer!

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I found some great printables online and made some nautical buntings.

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My super talented and generous friend, Reggie Mendoza, offered to make Elon’s cake. She did a SUPER job with it too! Three layers of awesomeness right there! I also found the cardboard letters from Invitation House.

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For the grown ups’ giveaways, we had nautical cupcakes in chocolate, vanilla and carrot flavors. My mother-in-law is wonderful and she ordered these lovely babies for us.

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For the kiddos, I put together “edible fishbowls”. Basically, it’s a glass jar with lid, filled with crushed graham crackers for sand, blue sprinkles for the water, some rock candy and white chocolate knick knacks for the fish. It was simple, easy and cute! Yummy too 😊

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That’s it! We kept the program simple – dedication ceremony, eating time, a couple of games and then singing and giveaways. I think everyone had fun and went home full 🙂 we definitely did!

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In fact, the little guy was so tired he was totally knocked out, and when he woke up it took him a while to reboot, haha.

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This was super fun to do but I think I’m waiting til he’s 7 before I plan another big party for the little guy! 😂