Posted in Lifestyle

Thoughtful Mother’s Day Gifts From My Family

I know this post about Mother’s Day is a little late but that doesn’t bother me because for me every day is Mother’s day. By the way, before I go ahead I just hope all moms had the best Mother’s day.

I had a really wonderful Mother’s Day. I didn’t expect anything from my family, in fact, on that day I totally forgot that it was Mother’s day. I was fixing coffee that morning while attending my little boys eating breakfast. About thirty (30) minutes later, Sean woke up and he was being so sneaky. He called the boys and then they called me. Seriously, I just realized that they got me something and that explained all the sneakiness around the house the day before Mother’s Day, hahaha!!

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When I opened the gift bag they gave me I was like……..YES!!, Everything that was in there was the stuff that I saw and really liked at The Spice & Tea Exchange store a few days before Mother’s day. Hmmm, someone was being really sneaky. Anyway, I love them! My boys were more excited for me to finish reading the message on the card so they can have it and play with it. They found those chipmunks in the card really entertaining. Oh, kiddos!

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The Spice & Tea Exchange of West Monroe is located
229 Trenton St, West Monroe, LA 71291

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A Kid’s Imagination Is Amazing!

I have been missing in action (MIA) for days in my blog. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. It’s just that I’m feeling so drained and feeling so sleepy all day – every single day. Isn’t that weird? I have so many things on my head to blog about, but I couldn’t focus on which one I’m going to write about first.

While I’m sitting in front of my computer at this very moment this one thing in my head popped to the front of the thoughts. This is about my youngest son. He is only 7-years-old. Like his big brother, he was a premature baby as well. We didn’t know I was pregnant with him until I was three months pregnant. However, the day before I found out that I was pregnant we went to church. Our Pastor’s wife called my name out and I went forward towards her to join her where she was standing. In front of the congregation, she shared her vision about a little boy that looked exactly like my eldest son. That little boy in her vision was about to fall off of a cliff. Thank God she was able to hold his hand and saved him. At that time the church prayed over me and my eldest son (who was only 2.5 years old that time). We all prayed for his protection and health. We asked God to cover my son with His mighty hands.

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A couple of days had passed. While I was at work, it was between three and four in the afternoon when I had difficulty breathing. I felt nauseous and weak. I called my boss and asked her permission if I could go home. Fast forward, I went to see my doctor. Unfortunately, she was out of town, but fortunately, there was a nurse practitioner available at that time, thank God! After all the necessary check-ups were done, she revealed that I am three (3) months pregnant and I was at risk of losing my baby that day. From the Women’s Clinic, I was checked in to the hospital right away.

It was a crazy day! It’s like I was just at work but with one blink of an eye I was at the hospital; was put on complete bed rest. The craziest part, I was only three months pregnant and we (me and my family) just found that out. Crazy things happened throughout my pregnancy with my second and also youngest child. I can tell you this, God never left me nor forsake me throughout the whole pregnancy thing. Not only was God was with me but to my entire family as well.

My youngest child with his treasure chest.
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Fast forward to this week being full of surprises. All of a sudden, my youngest child decided to play with his treasure chest (Actually mine but he now claims it as his – haha). I’m not sure how long that box has been sitting in his room. It’s been a couple of days now that he has been carrying it around non-stop. He brought it with us to church yesterday. Inside the box is his alarm clock. We had a conversation yesterday before we went to church. This is how it went:

Me: What is that?

Him: My treasure box, mommy.

Me: Where are you taking that treasure chest? You can leave that here because we are going to church.

Him: No, mommy! I need this.

Me: What for? and what’s inside it?

Him : It’s my alarm clock. I will bring this with me and I’m getting ready.

Me: Getting ready for what?

Him : I will go to New Orleans with my treasure chest.

He has been to New Orleans for the very first time a couple of weeks ago and now he is thinking about that big city. He is loving New Orleans. By the way, our conversation didn’t end there. I asked him questions after that.

Me: Why do you wan’t to go back to New Orleans?

Him: Because it’s fun!

Me: What do you like about New Orleans:

Him: It’s big and so many tall buildings.

Me: Oh, okay. You love those tall buildings, huh?

Him: Yes!

After that, we stepped out of the house to Sean’s truck to go to church. While inside the truck, out of the blue he asked me something totally unexpected.

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My son and his treasure box.
He loves his treasure chest.

Him: Mommy

Me: Yes, Phillip.

Him: Mommy, can we go to New York in July?

Me: (Shocked) Hmmmmm, huh? Say it again?

Him: Can we go to New York in July?

Me: Why do you wan’t to go to New York?

Him: I wan’t to see New York, New York.

Me: Wow, that’s very big city!

Him: I wan’t to see the tall buildings in New York.

Also, he asked Sean about it too as soon as Sean got inside the truck. I was totally caught off guard. I didn’t even know how to answer him. I don’t want to say something that could ruin his imagination about going to those places. It’s really amazing how a child imagines things, I mean big things!

Well, this morning, I thought he was done thinking about the cities I mentioned above. I was wrong, he wasn’t done yet. When I told him and his big brother to grab their backpacks and get ready for school. the youngest one put something inside his backpack. I was so curious so I checked his backpack. When I opened it, I saw his treasure chest with his alarm clock inside it. He also has a ball in his backpack. I asked him these:

Me: Why are these things inside your backpack?

Him: I’ll take that with me, mommy. I’m going somewhere.

Me: Yeah, you have a school field trip today.

Him: No, mommy, I’m going to Tampa, Florida.

Me: Oh wow! That’s a beautiful place. Why do you wan’t to go there?

Him: Because it’s warm.

I was really ready to crack up, but I tried my best not to. Hey, I do imagine being in different places sometimes. The difference is, as an adult I know I’m imagining. But to a child imagining like that, it’s a whole new world. A child imagines great things and it’s amazing how serious it is to a child.

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Posted in Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Filipino Grocery Shopping At Saigon Asian Market

You guys know that when you are craving for something you will do everything to satisfy that craving, am I right? Being a Filipino I know that I’m not the only one that is always craving for some Filipino foods, snacks, and etc. Before, we had to travel for 2 hours just to shop at an Asian market in Shreveport. There were also plenty of times that we drove four (4) hours to shop at a Filipino grocery store called Kababayan Asian Food Mart in Tyler Texas. Driving that far for grocery shopping means I had to make sure that everything I need was written down on my list. Honestly, driving that far is exhausting! Thankfully, we have a new Asian Store in our local area now that carries a wide variety of Filipino goods. This store is called Saigon Asian Market. I’m sure the Filipino community here in Monroe and West Monroe are very happy just like me. Now, whenever I’m craving for my favorite snacks or something else I’m grateful that I can finally get it, enjoy it, and the cravings are satisfied!

By the way this store is located in Monroe, La.

Saigon Asian Market: 5202 Desiard St, Monroe, Louisiana 71203

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THANK GOD I PASSED MY U.S. CITIZENSHIP INTERVIEW

Living here in the United States for a decade is a wonderful opportunity, but becoming a citizen of The United States is beyond amazing! I applied for Naturalization in May of 2018. Three weeks later, I received a notice for my Biometrics which was done in Jackson, Mississippi. After my Biometric appointment was completed, I waited a whopping eleven (11) months for my naturalization/citizenship interview. Not everybody waited that long though. Some Filipinos I know waited for four (4)months, others waited for six (6) months. So, If you don’t receive an interview notice within four months don’t panic. It will happen, just be patient and be positive. Also, keep on studying.

By the way, I’m residing in Louisiana and my interview was in New Orleans. Now, back to my unforgettable experience. Honestly, I was so nervous (it’s normal for everyone to feel nervous). My interview time was 1 p.m. ( Note: Make sure to arrive at the office no earlier than 30 minutes before your interview. This is to avoid the office from getting too crowded). When you are already inside the office make sure to check in and give your appointment notice to the person in charge at the service window and then have a seat. An officer will come out from the interview room to call your name when it’s your turn.

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Listen carefully, when your name is called, you need to pay attention to the officer that called your name because that same person will be the one conducting your interview. Before your actual interview, the officer will ask you a question about yourself like “How are you today?” That is one way the officer is testing your English skills by your response. In my case, I answered, “I am well, thank you for asking. How about you?”

When entering the interview room, don’t do anything unless the officer instructs you to do something. Just relax! When I entered the room with the officer I remained standing. Then she told me to pull out three (3) things from the envelope I was carrying and put them on the table and place my purse and the envelope away from me once I had those three things she required (so I placed them on a chair beside the door).

THREE THINGS SHE ASKED OF ME

  • Passport
  • Green Card
  • Driver’s License
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I remained standing and then she had me swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. After that, she told me to have a seat (she was testing my communication skills). The interview itself only took 20 minutes and then I was done. When the officer told me I passed, I gave her a big hug and thanked her from the bottom of my heart. To GOD be the glory!

If you are still waiting for your interview, don’t worry, it will come.

XOXO,

Ester

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Posted in Food, Lifestyle

WHEN CRAVING FOR FILIPINO FOOD

Being away from home and not able to eat your favorite Filipino dishes is not easy. Now and then I crave for Filipino dishes. Yes, I’m not kidding! I’m sure many of you can relate to this. Lately, my friends and I decided to have a Filipino dinner together at my place after their work is done. Guess what we had?

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Fried Marinated Bangus
Bangus ( Milkfish )

This fried, seasoned marinated Bangus (Milkfish) is so good! We called this Daing na Bangus in the Philippines. Daing are usually split open, gutted, salted and air-dried. This is a preservation technique. For others, I’m sure this doesn’t look appealing at all. However, for us-Filipinos, we could eat lots of rice with this dish.

Grilled Skipjack Tuna
Inihaw Na Tulingan

Inihaw Na Tulingan is one of our native dish in the Philippines. This is one of my most favorite dish growing up. I love eating this fish when it’s grilled, friend, or stewed.

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Fried Galunggong

Galunggong when crispy fried is the best! You’ll never see even bones on my plate. My friends, Melanie and Odette both love the crispy friend as well.

Ginisang Ampalaya na may Itlog
( Sauteed Bitter Melon with Egg )

Now, when it comes to cooking bitter melon you need to make sure you know the technique on how to lessen the bitter taste of it before cooking.

Steps:

  1. Cut melons in halves. Remove all the seeds and slice it thinly.
  2. Soak the thin slices of bitter melons in a bowl with warm water and plenty of salt for 30 minutes. The salt helps the bitter juice to come out.
  3. After 30 minutes, wash the slices really good and give it a squeeze to help get the bitter juice out more.
  4. Now, it’s ready for cooking.

Pancit ( Stir Fried Noodle )

There are numerous variants of Pancit in the Philippines. This savory dish is very easy to prepare and ready in less than 30 minutes. In this one, I added fried slices of chicken breast and fried shrimp and mixed in the noodles before I seasoned it all together.

Halo-halo

The word “halo-halo” means mixed. This cold dessert is a mixture of crushed ice, evaporated milk, enough sugar, and other various ingredients including fruits, sweetened beans, topped with ice cream.

Puto ( Steamed Rice Muffin/cake )
My Friends are hungry 😉

Now, who’s hungry? We are going to do it again soon and we are going to cook another Filipino dishes. Stay tuned!

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Posted in Lifestyle

FUN DAY AT KIROLI PARK

We had fun at Kiroli Park on this day. We (my family ) were a little surprised when we saw this new little playground. This playground is actually for the toddlers but my boys love playing there anyway. This playground is so adorable! The last time we came here, we went directly to “The Smiles Park” which is located on the other side of the park. That’s why we didn’t realize this specific original play area was reconstructed into the new little playground that is here now. We drove by at “The Smiles Park” but that area was crowded. It’s really hard to watch the kids playing when it is overwhelmingly crowded. So, we slowly walked around and found this little playground. It was just perfect! We stayed in this area for an hour and the boys really had fun.

Kiroli Park also has a trail. Walking on the trail was a great idea too! I’m a nature lover. Walking around the trail not only relaxes my mind, it also makes me appreciate the beauty of nature more and more. It’s just beautiful!
The trail is good for all skill levels and is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on a leash.

ABOUT KIROLI PARK

Kiroli Park offers 150 acres of nature’s beauty. Within the park, you can enjoy several playgrounds, a unique conservatory, a dog park, tennis courts, numerous gardens, picnic areas, fishing ponds, and hiking trails. Most of the park is wooded and accessible through paved streets and trails that hold surprises like a suspension bridge, covered bridge, observation tower, and elevated walkways… ( Read More ).

WHAT DOES “KIROLI” MEANS?

Kiroli Park’s name combines the first two letters of the Kiwanis, Rotary and the Lions clubs who purchased the land in 1925 to give to the Boy Scouts of America as a camp.

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Ouachita Live Friday Featuring Emily Musolino

Today was the first Ouachita Live Outdoor Concert hosted by Downtown West Monroe Revitalization Group featuring Emily Musolino. The event was located at Miss Kay’s Sweets & Eats in Antique Alley – West Monroe. For me, the location was just perfect and relaxing! This is my first time listening to Emily Musolino. I was so amazed at how good she is vocally and how she rocked her guitar. She’s incredible!

This FREE Outdoor Live Music Event is going to be every last Friday from of the month March – October so don’t miss out!

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She is amazing!

WHO IS EMILY MUSOLINO?

Emily Musolino is a singer-songstress, producer and multi-instrumentalist from Durham, NC. A Berklee College of Music graduate, Emily has performed, recorded, and collaborated with various local and nationally-recognized artists, including Vinx, Shelley Nicole, Shana Tucker, Anna Wise (Kendrick Lamar, Cunnylinguists) and Eric Hirsh (The Beast, Orquesta GarDel).

ABOUT HER MUSIC

Her music is a mix of soul, rock and blues that has been described as a “Soul Diva Mind Explosion” and “Adele and Joni Mitchell playing with an ouija board in the deep south.” Emily released her newest album “Jealous Girl” in November of 2014. Emily has been featured on NPR’s the State of Things with Frank Stasio and Durham’s own Clarion Content. She currently fronts the Emily Musolino Band and regularly performs as both bandleader and soloist around the country.

Emily Musolino

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Posted in Lifestyle

Tasty Jamocha Shake At Arby’s

Arby’s in West Monroe, La location opened not too long ago. I love the interior look of this place. I also love their wood-paneled wall. So far, this place is very clean! Now, If you haven’t tried their Jamocha shake yet, don’t wait too long, go there and try it now!

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Jamocha Shake – Chocolate and coffee flavored shake.

NUTRITIONAL INFO

Nutrition KeyNutrition Value
Serving Weight (g)369
Calories440
Calories from Fat110
Fat – Total (g)12
Saturated Fat (g)8
Trans Fat (g)0
Cholesterol (mg)40
Sodium (mg)350
Total Carbohydrates (g)75
Dietary Fiber (g)1
Sugars (g)68
Proteins (g)11
I love their high, red wooden bar chairs.

Very interesting interior lighting.

Arby’s in West Monroe, La.
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Posted in Lifestyle, Photography, Reviews

[ Review ] FRENCH PRESS COFFEE MAKER

So, I’ve been hearing a lot about this French Press coffee maker for months and the reviews are overwhelmingly great! Even with those reviews, I was still a little skeptical about it. Lately, I broke my coffee maker and so I needed a new one. While I was shopping for a new coffee maker I happened to see this French Press coffee maker. I was debating for probably over thirty minutes whether I should get this or get the same coffee maker that I had. Apparently, the debate on my head ended and the French Press won and I checked out.

When I got back home, I couldn’t wait, I was too eager to give it a try and so I did. You know what, the first thing I said to myself was ” girl, you should have tried this the first time you heard about it”. I continued talking to myself saying “dang, this is good!”. Anyone else can relate? Do you talk to yourself sometimes? Anyway, I’m so glad I got the French Press.

SO WHY FRENCH PRESS COFFEE MAKER?

For me, my coffee using this French Press coffee maker tastes much better compared to my old coffee maker. Paper filters in drip machines absorb much of the oil in your coffee grounds. French Press doesn’t soak up the flavor and adds tiny bits of coffee grounds in the coffee that percolates flavor and that’s why the taste is even better.

HOW LONG SHOULD FRENCH PRESS BREW?

The brewing takes only four ( 4 ) minutes. First thing, I boiled water. While the water is boiling I put coffee grounds on my French Press. Then, I slowly poured the hot water over my coffee ground inside the French Press filling to the desired level. Cover it and let it brew for four ( 4 ) minutes.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE FRENCH PRESS?

French press retains more of the natural oils from the coffee grounds.  It allows the oil based flavors in the coffee to remain. I’m telling you now, I’m obsessed with it. This is a must have coffee maker.

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