Monday, September 30, 2013

Hello, October!

It's now the start of the fourth Quarter of 2013. Time really flies. People who know me, know that I'm such a futurist. Always putting myself ahead of the present, always thinking of what could and might happen next. As good as it is to plan for the future, I realised that my doing so was actually rooted in fear and impatience. Fear because it became my defence mechanism to dodge pain and disappointments. Impatience because I want the promise not the process.

I remember at the start of this year, my prayer was for His presence to go before me. I've always pushed what I wanted from Him to Him. It became the gauge of how He loved me or how I was as a Christian. I learned that I have to constantly go back to the foundations. I have to constantly go back to my First Love. I have to constantly go back to what the gospel is - which is the love of my life dying that I may live - live everyday with Him.

As I look back at this year, there have been endings but great beginnings. There have been pain, but the ever presence of joy. There have been failings but a lasting confidence in Him. And through it all there have been love.

The last quarter can be intimidating, I feel like I haven't accomplished much and how this year will end. Yet, I'm learning to live by the moment. To gratefully live one day at at time. To open my eyes to the littlest blessings and the littlest ways I can be a blessing. To learn to trust Him completely and surrender my fear and impatience. Because no matter what happens in the process, His presence is with me and with that I know I will finish this year strong!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

We're Back!

Hello everyone!  It's been awhile, half a year has passed since our last post in My Doolally.  How time flies! We've been so busy with so many responsibilities that we had to take some time off.  It's not easy being a single mom while managing a baking business and a young entrepreneur handling two growing businesses. We've learned so much though and are so excited with what we have in store for this blog. 

One of the main things we learned these past months is that part of maturity is realizing and going through different seasons in our lives.  Every season, weather it's winter, spring, summer or autumn or be it sunny, cloudy or stormy are necessary for growing.  There is a purpose for everything we go through.  Every season has its gifts.  

It is now nearing the last quarter of 2013 and it's a good time to assess what season we are at right now, where we are headed and how the lessons that the days passed have taught us. 

What we realized with My Doolally is that we as women, have so much stories to share.  We all have different walks in life, similar and relatable yet different and unique in many ways.  We all have beauty and strength to share and impart.  Thus, we decided to start featuring different women to contribute to this blog, for a common purpose of making sense of our experiences at home, work, life and love as we discover them.  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Heart of Gratefulness

Our good friend, Ava Samson, who regularly contributes to My Doolally, did an awesome activity that practiced gratitude.  Here, she shares about how she went about the project and the lessons learned...

Do we live a life of gratitude? How come it’s so easy for us to rant, complain and whine about our lives more than to be thankful for it? We have a lot to be grateful for everyday yet we tend to focus and magnify the negative things more than we should. We have forgotten how to be grateful. We have forgotten how to hope, to be excited of what life could bring us everyday.

This Christmas season, I wanted my class and I to practice a life full of joy and gratefulness to God. To be thankful for what we already have. In order to do this, I decided to do a mini project that involved the parents and their kids. I called it A Season of Thanksgiving: 21 days of Gratitude. I chose to do this activity using a tree as an illustration. The kids will each bring home a fall leaf every week and cutout/write or draw in it what they are grateful for each week. As the weeks went by, we filled up ‘our tree of gratitude’ with more leaves until it really looked like a magnificent tree in bloom. The students became more and more excited each week as they see the tree growing. This made them take home more leaves and present more gratitude leaves to class the following week.

This exercise was a great practice for the kids, admittedly even for me. It served as a great example of showing us that we could all be thankful for something not just every week but for something everyday. It practices us to think about how much life has to offer if we just stop for awhile and focus on the things that God has already blessed our lives with. I believe that an attitude of gratitude can have a significant impact on building and transforming a society where we can define our lives not based on our success and failures but rather based on knowing that God blesses us with gifts everyday more than we can ever realize. It is this kind of attitude that makes life worthwhile. This is the kind of life that we should show our family, especially kids. A heart of gratefulness where we are able to experience God’s greatest gift of life because Jesus died for us so that we would be able to have a life filled with love, joy and peace.

                                     We started with a bare tree until it gradually bloomed.

 Some of the works of my students
I am grateful for God
I am grateful for my family
I am grateful for the world

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pies for the Holidays or Any Day!

I love pies!  It's easy to make and a great addition to dinners or parties.

The great thing about pies is that you can make your own variation.  There are different kinds of pie crusts like graham crackers, digestive cookies, oreo cookie crust and flaky pie crust.  You can then use nuts, fruits, chocolate as the filling.

Some pies don't even need to be baked!  You just need to chill it for several hours.  You can also opt to make tarts instead by using smaller pans.

Here are 2 tried and tested pies I've made recently.

Pecan Tart (adapted from allrecipes)

1 cup butter
6 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs
3 cups brown sugar
4 tbsp melted butter
1 pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

1. Pastry: Cream butter and cream cheese.  Add flour and mix well.  Divide into mini tart pans and press out into a tart shell.
2. Filling: Break the eggs, but do not beat.  Add sugar, melted butter, salt, vanilla and pecans.  Mix well.  Fill the tart shells.  Bake at 180 degrees C for 30 minutes or until delicately browned.

You can substitute the pecans to pine nuts or pili nuts for this.  Add a scoop of ice cream to make it ala mode!

Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Pie (adapted from Rupert's Kitchen)

375g digestive biscuits
75g unsalted butter
397g tin caramel (wikihow shows how to make caramel with condensed milk)
1 tsp sea salt
300g 70% dark chocolate
25g icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Melt butter in low heat.  Crush digestive biscuits into crumbs and mix butter evenly until consistency is like damp sand.  Press into the bottom and sides of the tart/pie tin.  Freeze for at least 15 minutes.

2. Scoop 2 tablespoons of caramel into a small bowl.  Stir the teaspoon of salt in the remaining caramel.  Carefully spread it across the chilled biscuite base, leaving a 1-2 cm border around the edge.  Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

3. Break the chocolate into chunks and gently melt in a large bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally.  Add a tablespoon of the double cream to the 2 tablespoons of caramel, stir well to mix.  Put into the fridge.  Once the chocolate has melted, turn off the heat but leave the bowl where it is.  Add a quarter of the remaining cream and stir until combined.  Repeat, adding another quarter of cream and stir to combine until all cream has been used.  Add icing sugar into the chocolate, add the vanilla and stir well until combined.  Let the sauce cool for 10 minutes.

4.  Pour the sauce into the base, sealing the edges of the caramel layer.  Pour until you have a smooth, even surface.  Put back into the fridge and chill for at least 5 hours, until the chocolate is firm.

5.  Spoon the reserved cream-caramel mixture before serving.

To make Banana and Dark Chocolate Pie I added 2 large bananas in the middle layer of the pie.  It turned out yummy!

I'm excited to try out other pie/tart recipes and experiment on my own!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Review: Redeeming Love By Francine Rivers

There's always a lesson to be learned at whatever stage of life you find yourself in, but we need to be willing to learn. One of the areas that teaches me most about life is in my role as mother to my kids. They have brought me joy unlike any other, have taught me many things, most of all, they are a constant source of lessons on love.

One of the things I struggle with constantly is forgiving myself for past mistakes. I'm sure I'm not the only one. All of us have made mistakes, some of our mistakes have lingering consequences, and the devil likes to remind us of these things. Sometimes, when I see successful people, I feel that I could have been like her, I could have done things differently, and then I'm reminded. Sometimes the reminders come from other people through criticism and accusation, and again I am reminded.

Yet, when I see my kids, I am reminded of how God is my Father, that even when I don't meet the standard I am always welcome home. I'm actually not too far from how my kids act. When I tell them to do their homework, or shower, or eat their food, sometimes they don't understand, they even complain and rebel. Have I ever wanted anything harmful to them? Of course not! But they won't always understand. Why? They're kids!

That's how I am with God many times. Whining about His way, when His way is good for me.

And even when I whine and grumble, just as I keep caring for my kids and pressing them to do the right thing, God is patiently pressing me on.

Earlier this year, I read this novel by Francine Rivers entitled Redeeming Love (thus my title). It narrated the book of Hosea in a very relatable way. I saw God in a different light. I was humbled by His never-ending, always persevering love. Redeeming Love was the story of Hosea in different setting.

I'm not going to narrate the whole story here. It's a touching book that made me cry so so much and I definitely recommend it. I just want to point out something significant that I picked up from the book. Angel, the female character in the story, had a troubled past and was struggling also with her present life. She's a prostitute and that's her way of living. She didn't think there was an escape to the prison called her life. She didn't know any other life.

Then Michael Hosea, the male lead, rescued her. Literally bought her from prostitution and took her to live with him as his wife. Here was this hardworking farmer, a simple godly man, a good friend, a moral guy falling in love with a hurt, bitter, hardhearted, emotionally cold, physically abused lady.

There are more twists to the story than just a great guy rescues poor girl, but one of them is this: after being rescued by Michael Hosea, the girl, Angel, could not appreciate him. In fact, there were moments of resentment.

Michael took her out of her "bad" situation. But she was proud. She felt entitled. She was ungrateful. She could only see that Michael didn't give her pretty clothes, that he wasn't fancy, that he made her do manual labor, that he made her read her Bible. She only saw obligations. There's no joy in obligations.

Even Michael had his own trouble with the situation. He tried to be patient, but his insecurity started to show. He started to get impatient, even angry.

They say that the true mirror of our soul are other souls. How we act and respond when we come into contact with others reveals a lot about who we are. 

Redeeming Love showed two characters. One who was righteous and did everything right. One who was immoral and did everything wrong. While reading the book, I couldn't help but relate myself to both of them. I can be self-righteous at times and yet many times, most of the time actually, I feel like I do everything wrong. But that's not the highlight of the story. What the author wanted to point out was that whether you think you're good or bad, we need God to make our lives more meaningful.

Later in the book, God would touch Angel's heart, He would give her a new name, a new identity, and only then would she appreciate how incredible Michael had been. Michael, despite his own faults, understood that God was good to him, so he could be good to Angel. God didn't treat him as he deserved, so he didn't treat her as she deserved. She couldn't appreciate this because she saw the world as contest of survival. It was only until she realized that love isn't about what one deserves but about what one is willing to give, just as God willingly gave us everything, only then did she appreciate Michael.

If I, a flawed woman and a mom with a lot to learn, can love my kids so purely, then I know that this kind of love doesn't just exist in a story. I know that God who is perfect has given me His love and because of that I am redeemed - no matter my past mistakes and no matter what anybody says.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Restaurant Review: Yabu: House of Katsu

Here's my first attempt to write a restaurant review.  I should have done this way back, since I love eating out and enjoying a delicious meal.  For Yabu to prompt me to finally get me to write about a restaurant means that it deeply impressed me.

I'm a fan of Japanese cuisine, I love how beyond just taste, they infuse elements that speak of their culture and a unique identity.  Despite my fondness to the cuisine, I have to admit I never really enjoyed katsu.  Maybe because the many times I eat tempura or katsu, I end up dizzy because of the combination of oil and batter.

Since my friends have been raving about Yabu and how they serve Kurobuta Pork, my "duty" (so to speak) as a foodie obliged me to give it a try.  So one Saturday, my friends and I drove to Robinson's Magnolia to check it out.
Yabu with Ava and Harvard
We ended up waiting 2.5 hours to get a table.  I took this positively thinking that it must really be good but set high expectations.  The good thing was they had a remarkable staff, they evidently were under pressure from all those people waiting in line yet they remained friendly and accommodating.  When we finally got seated, a staff explained the concept to us from the different sauces and dressings to the unlimted rice and cabbage they offered.

Harvard Crushing the Sesame Seeds

My Meal!  Kurobuta Katsu

Some appetizers!

 I enjoyed crushing of white and black sesame seeds in the sauce bowl using a wooden pestle.  There was just a surge of aroma that resulted to it.  We then mixed it with some katsu sauce.  I of course ordered the Kurobuta which came with miso soup, unlimited rice, unlimited cabbage, some takuan and fresh fruits.  Upon sinking my teeth into the very first piece, my taste buds came alive.  There was just an infusion of taste.  The pork itself was flavorful and juicy, which makes the good quality evident.  The Katsu breading had its own unique flavor yet didn't overpower the pork.  The sauce was just a perfect blend to it.  The different tastes just came harmoniously together.  A dab of the mustard, a dipping of the sauce, a bite of the katsu, a mouthful of cabbage, and a scoop of rice (which my diet gladly tolerated) was just a gastronomical experience that kept me craving for Yabu for days.  What's great too was I didn't get dizzy from the oil or the batter!
Hire and Seafood Set Meal

I had my next Yabu experience just this week.  Since the branch in SM Mall of Asia just opened and it was relatively near my office.  I would say that despite the fact that they were just in their soft opening phase, they were consistent with my first Yabu experience.  I love their level of excellence.  This time I ordered the Hire and Seafood set.  The Hire pork is tender and juicy as well.  The seafood served were dory, prawn, scallop.  I love it!  It was such a filling meal but I finished the whole thing and the taste still lingers 'til now... Sigh! 'til my next Yabu fix!

Yabu definitely is one of my favorite restaurants in the city.  Yabu is currently located in SM Megamall, Robinson's Magnolia and SM Mall of Asia.  Munch Punch has their recipe online here.   Do try it out!

Our Advent Activity

In my last post (Read it here!), I talked about preparing my family for Advent by using an Advent Calendar. An Advent Calendar is basically used to do a countdown for Christmas. It usually starts on December 1 all the way to Jesus' birthday. I wanted my kids and I to do a little activity each day to remind us of Jesus' coming. I also saw this article about celebrating Advent with kids using the Jesus Storybook Bible and I decided to combine both. Read the article here.

So first I had to make our own calendar. I wanted it to be fun and memorable for the kids. I decided to make a Christmas tree using felt with different felt ornaments that represent each of the stories that we will read from the Jesus Storybook Bible.

Advent Tree Calendar

Different colors of felt cloth

Thread and needle

Different kinds of ribbons

Pins and scissors
Christmas cookie cutters

Lots of patience

1. First I drew and cut a tree on the green felt cloth. I wanted ours to be two shades of green. Here's Tali putting pins on the tree to hold them in place.

2. I sewed the two cut up trees together using a running stitch with a yellow thread.

3. I had my son trace some of the Christmas cutters unto the felt.

4. I cut them up and sewed some of the details on them using the ribbons. I also put a long loop on top of the ornaments so they can hang them.

5. I sewed on the buttons to the tree. These will be where the ornaments will hang.

Advent Reading Plan
We also read from the Jesus Storybook Bible using this Advent Reading Plan:

And for our activity, I downloaded this advent plan from YouVersion called Countdown to Christmas ( - You just have to create an account to use the reading plan). It has short activities to do with the kids to help prepare them for Christmas.

Or you can also try this other site:

They have a downloadable or printable Advent Activity Calendar.  It's also easy to use. You also just have to put your name and email address and its ready to download.

It was a good activity for us. I learned a lot and hopefully, they picked up the lessons too.

“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” —John 17:24