Life by Cynthia

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Creating New Family Traditions: Baking With My Boy

Thank goodness for Thanksgiving break. My little guy got sick right before his break and missed a couple of days of school. We have a little bit of school work to make up but I am so glad that he is feeling much better now and that he is very excited for the holidays. I myself have been a bit run down, but I too am looking forward to some quality family time. Tonight was a GREAT night. With the help of Betty Crocker Cookie Mix, my little boy baked cookies for me instead of the other way around!

Our plan was to bake a batch (or two) of cookies then set up our Christmas Tree. Our son has been asking relentlessly to set up and decorate our tree! He fell asleep before the cookies cooled... so we will save the decorations for tomorrow!

This tuckered out child baked his first batch of cookies.

Before I share our baking experience, I must ask: What are your all time favorite cookies? Or are you like me and have an appreciation for any and all cookies? As long as it is fresh from the oven, I'm in! To be honest, we don't often bake sweets so this was an extra special treat for my little guy! It was fun and super easy.

"Oatmeal for Mommy, Chocolate Chip for the Kid, Peanut Butter for Daddy, and Sugar Cookie for Santa" ~ The Kiddo

The most recent school project that my son worked on was about sharing Thanksgiving traditions. He knows that my sister, my mom, and I all help each other to prepare our Thanksgiving meal. He wanted to help out by more than just setting the table this year. He and I have cooked together many times so his request didn't surprise me. We do our Turkey Day in a bit of a pot luck style. Each of us is takes on a dish (along with sides). My little guy is on board for cookies. I absolutely LOVE that he wants to be involved.

With the help of Betty Crocker (and some from mom), this kid is set. He read the directions out loud and then took off running. I am impressed that this kid can crack an egg into a mixing bowl without getting any eggshell in there!

What started off as his desire to help turned into a total take over of the process. I did not mind at all. I supervised (a little) while he ran the show! I like watching cooking shows, especially when the show is put on by my kid! He did a great job. I didn't bake my first batch of cookies until I was about 10 years old. This guy is 6.

I would say that from start to finish it was a total success. We made a run to our local Walmart store to scope out the flavors. There were so many choices! We picked out our favorites. I am now wishing that I tried some of the other flavors. Gingerbread and Pumpkin Spice! Doesn't that sound good? I talked myself out of it because if my child didn't go for the flavors, then I would have been forced to eat the entire batch all by myself. Maybe that could be a good thing! I'll go back for some!

Update: We got the decorations on the tree the following day. All is well and we are ready! From our family to yours, we wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful Holiday season with your loved ones! Make those memories and create your traditions!

A photo posted by Gerald Labrador (@geraldlabrador) on

Your turn! I would love to know how you celebrate your family traditions. Share!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Celebrating Universal Children's Day With IKEA San Diego, Let's Play!

My favorite people in the world are children. I admire their honest, curious, and resilient nature. I am soaking up every moment of childhood with our only child. My favorite thing to do is to watch our boy play and enjoy life. I wish this for all parents and children. Every child should have a life filled with play.

We attended a blogger event at IKEA San Diego and I wanted to share our experience. First off, my son and I absolutely LOVE when we have the opportunity to attend events like this together so my thanks go out to team IKEA and Kylie @Made by a Princess for including the kiddos.

The event was appropriately held on Universal Children's Day, Sunday, November 20, 2016. We gathered with blogger families at IKEA San Diego 2149 Fenton Parkway San Diego, CA 92108.

We got to play! At the event we learned about the new IKEA Good Cause Campaign "Let's Play for Change". The campaign focuses on children's right to play and develop. We fully support our child and encourage play in his life! It saddens me that there are many children in the world that are not afforded the opportunity to simply play in an environment that is safe. It is heartbreaking. From children with disabilities that may feel left out, children that are struggling with poverty, or those living in nations in conflict - it is a terrible plight for the youngest, most innocent people of our world. I was happy to learn that the IKEA Foundation is seeking to help organizations that are focused on the little ones in need.

Here is how we can help when we shop at IKEA from November 20 - December 24, 2016:

For every toy, play furniture item, or children's book sold, the IKEA Foundation will donate $1. Funds raised will support children's right to play and develop. Some soft toys are only $.99, they still qualify, $1 will go to the campaign! Organizations that benefit include: Save the Children, UNICEF, War Child, Special Olympics, Handicap International, and Room To Read.

Playing with the Garcia Boys! Blogger Buddies!

In countries from all around the world, children were invited to a drawing competition in which the winning designs were chosen for a special limited soft toys collection. My son is a budding artist and is thinking of entering in the future!

These soft toys were designed by children!

IKEA Blogger Breakfast

The 6 children’s rights groups that will receive funds are organizations that support children affected by disabilities, the Syrian conflict, unsafe migration and poverty. To learn more visit IKEA Foundation and please watch the video below.

Disclosure: We attended the IKEA Blogger Breakfast as invited guests. We enjoyed a hosted breakfast and received a gift bag for our participation. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Thanksgiving Weekend: Sing Saturday At AMC Theaters

Illumination Entertainment, Universal Pictures and AMC Theatres announced a Thanksgiving weekend event for audiences of all ages: “Sing Saturday,” ‘Sing Saturday’ marks the biggest advance-screening program in the history of Universal Pictures. Sing officially arrives in theaters on December 21, 2016, but you will have the opportunity to see it this weekend!

FREE nationwide screenings on Saturday, November 26th at 10am! Click here for a list of participating theaters.

Important details:

  • Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis
  • At least 200 free tickets available at each theater location
  • Free tickets available at the box office starting at 9:00 AM
  • Doors will open at 9:00 AM

Check out the official trailer!

The film stars Academy Award ® winners Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, alongside Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Grammy Award- nominated Tori Kelly.

Who's in? Watch the trailer and comment with one of your favorite songs! There are a lot!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Comfort Food, Filipino Style! Kare Kare (Oxtail Stew) + GIVEAWAY!

My fondest food memories come from what my mom prepared for us in the "big pot". When I was a child and saw the biggest pot that we owned on the stove, I KNEW that I would be having one of my favorite foods at meal time! Thinking back, my favorite comfort foods (Filipino food that is) always came from that large pot on the stove. Kare kare, adobo, and nilaga to name a few!

My favorite pot. Fond memories for sure! I brought out the "big pot" to cook for my little family of three! The other day our  6 year old son asked me to make kare kare, one of my favorite Filipino dishes from my childhood. First off, kare kare is a savory peanut sauce based stew. I was elated when my son asked me to make some.

World Kitchen sent me their REVERE 10 Piece Cookware set AND want to give one of my blog friends the chance to win a 2-piece frying pan set. I will list the giveaway information below.

There are many ways to make kare kare and I've seen it made with varied meats. I am a fan of good old oxtail. Some folks add tripe, but I have never been a fan so I just skip it. Veggies do get loaded into my version. I can't always find the "right" beans (sitaw) but I make do with what is available.

I wish that I could say that I had an exact recipe to share with you! They simply don't exist in my world when it comes to Filipino dishes. I have asked many a Filipino elder to share their recipes. ALWAYS the same reply... add: this, that, and the other then cook until it's done. Cryptic. HOW MUCH of each ingredient? Measurements? For how long? At what temperature? Forget about it! I've learned through trial and error and now I just wing it to too. You'll "just know", they say. My suggestion: find a recipe online, follow it loosely and make it your own. They do sell flavoring packets for kare kare, but to me it just isn't the same!

6.5-quart stock pot with lid

Tenderizing the oxtail takes time, but it is worth it. I've tried methods to rush the process but have found that the way that Mom used to do it is best! Take the time to build this dish with love! Look closely below and you can see the Quick Measure Marks inside the pot! Cool right?!

While the oxtail continues to tenderize, I prep the veggies and saute them a bit. You can easily skip this step, but I don't.


Legendary, reliable and long lasting REVERE cookware delivers more than 130 years of expertise and the freedom to cook with confidence. With a nod to the famous line that dates back to 1930s, the Copper Confidence Core™ cookware helps heat quicker and more evenly, heating up to 50 percent faster than hard-to-handle heavier gauge cookware. The new REVERE cookware also features the patent pending Nest & Protect™ interlocking handles. Pots and pans store efficiently, seemingly floating above each other, without touching or scratching the interior or exterior surfaces.

The 10 Piece Stainless Steel Set (MSRP $229) includes the following:
  •   8-inch fry pan
  • 10-inch fry pan
  • 2-quart sauce pan with lid
  • 3-quart sauce pan with lid
  • 6.5-quart stock pot with lid
  • 3-quart sauté pan with lid

There are so MANY features to fall in love with! I am most impressed with Nest & Protect™ – The interlocking handles elevate pans for scratch-free, space saving storage!

  • Copper Confidence Core™ – Aluminum encapsulated stainless steel base features a copper disc at the center for quicker and more even heating to help cook foods up to 50 percent faster than heavy gauge pans
  • Nest & Protect™ – Innovative interlocking handles elevate pans for scratch-free, space saving storage (patent pending design also compatible between stainless steel and aluminum)
  • Quick Measure Marks – Laser-engraved easy reference measurement marks included in sauce pans, stock pots and Dutch ovens
  • Stay Cool Handles – Dual-riveted stainless steel and phenolic handles stay cool for maximum comfort and safety
  • Classic Stainless Steel – Resists discoloration, does not react with food or alter flavors
  • Cooktop Compatibility – Compatible with all cooktop surfaces, including induction
  • Tempered Glass Dome Lids – Lock in heat and moisture and make checking cooking status quick and easy
  • Interchangeable Lids for All Vessels – Compatible between both stainless steel and aluminum; Sauté Pan, Dutch Oven, Stock Pot and 10” Fry Pan can share the same lid
  • Oven Safe – Up to 350 degrees; Dutch Oven and Braising Pans up to 500 degrees without lid
  • Drip-Free Pouring Rims – Transfer liquids or food without making a mess
  • Dishwasher safe – For effortless clean-up
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

Enter to WIN: REVERE® Copper Confidence Core™ 2-pc Stainless Steel Medium Frying Pan Starter Set using the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck! Giveaway open to U.S. Residents 18+ and ends 11/21/16.

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Get social with REVERECookware!

For more GIVEAWAYS from other bloggers, I suggest  visiting Running with SD Mom and Erica Finds! They host a Wednesday GIVEAWAY Roundup and you can enter to #WinAllThePrizes!

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