Naming my children: celebrity and Christianity

I believe that it is our obligation as parents to give our babies beautiful and Christian names. Many parents nowadays get caught up in naming their children after celebrities, with no reference anymore to their Christian faith.

My own daughters are nicknamed after celebrities—Reese after Reese Witherspoon, and Cate after Cate Blanchett. But Reese’s real name is Therese after St. Therese of Lisieux. When I was pregnant with her, I used to pray frequently to Our Lady of La Leche whose image was right beside St. Therese’s at our parish. Once Jack and I had decided on the name “Therese”, we’d pray before both their images.

Reese and Cate
Reese and Cate

Cate’s Christian name is Catherine. She is named after St. Catherine of Sienna, a woman of great strength and courage. When I was pregnant with Cate, I was working on a book on teaching values and addressing common issues that teens have. During this time, I prayed to St. Catherine of Sienna—that I might effect change in the lives of the students for whom I was writing the book.

If I have another girl, I’m thinking of naming her Elizabeth. Then, she’d be nicknamed Elle. If I have a boy, we’re thinking of naming him Andrew. But I have yet to find him a celebrity nickname. Maybe Andy after Andy Garcia, whose character I absolutely loved in the movie When A Man Loves A Woman

This post was written by Meg Murrf Trinidad.

 

 

 

Preggy Belly Tale #2: My Very Big Belly!

For such a petite person—or maybe because of it—at about ten weeks, my tummy shows already! It literally pops out of my small frame! Look at how big I am. I should have shirts made that indicate how many weeks along I am and the line, “It’s big, I know!”

Ironically, when my back is turned to you, I don’t look pregnant. So, this presents a problem when I’m walking very slowly up the MRT stairs. The line behind me can get very long. So I need another shirt that has this printed at the back, “Buntis ako. Mauna ka na!”

The reason I show right away when I’m pregnant is because I actually have a big tummy even though I’m thin. When I’m not pregnant (which is every other year since 2007), I’m always conscious to “tuck my tummy in.” When I’m pregnant, I can breathe properly! So, there. My secret’s out of the bag. Once I deliver this third child, I better get cracking on my stomach crunches!

This post was written by Meg Murrf Trinidad.

Will your child pass the marshmallow test?

You all know about the Marshmallow Test done on children years ago to test their E.Q. If the test were done on my two girls today, they would fail instantly. Cate who eats everything but… sweets, and Reese with her love of.. marshmallows!

Seriously, I believe the best way to up children’s Emotional Quotient is to teach them to sacrifice in little things, everyday. Raise them to be tough from as early as they can remember. I do not keep a military-like home (no offense meant!), but neither do I give my little girls everything that they want. They do get their treats, but these are never stocked in the cupboard. I buy their treats once in a while. And they have to have eaten their meals first before they can dig into their favorite bag of strawberry mallows or bread.

When either child throws a tantrum, I adamantly refuse to give them what they want. I don’t care if they’re making a scene in the mall. Either I explain to them why what they’re demanding for is not good for them, or I ask them to calm down and ask me properly.

A few years ago, I attended a talk on E.Q. given by Dr. Esther Esteban. One of the things she addressed was teaching our children the virtues of temperance and chastity. And she explained something I never forgot. It went something along the lines of, “If you want to teach your adolescents the virtue of chastity, start them young by disciplining them in their love of food.” In short, we should teach our little ones to temper the pleasure they find in food (i.e. they don’t have to eat the whole bar of their favorite chocolate!) as preparation for teaching them later on to control themselves in more important matters.

I love my daughters dearly, and so I don’t want them to turn out to be soft marshmallows. By not giving them all the comforts of life and by teaching them to delay their gratification in the little things, I have great hopes that they will pass the big Marshmallow Tests of life.

This post was written by Meg Murrf Trinidad.

Alimango sa gata recipe

Alimango sa gata
Alimango sa gata

You can use crabs or any kind of shellfish for this recipe. I often use alimango because they’re cheap and easily available in the market. If you’re using crabs though, may I suggest you use the “female” crab instead of a “male” one? You’ll know that the crab is a girl by looking at its abdomen, which is located at the back. It’s circular compare to the pointed one of the male.

Ingredients

Niyog (a type of coconut)
Niyog (a type of coconut)

1 kilo of Alimango
2 cups of freshly-squeezed gata (usually the 1st squeeze is the best to use)
Siling haba
Onion/garlic
Salt and pepper

I don’t normally include ginger in this recipe since I usually pre-cook the alimango before sautéing them in the gata mixture. But if you’re cooking it straight, then half a head of ginger, thinly slice is enough to remove the “lansa” taste from the crabs.

Procedure

Steam your crabs with a couple of teaspoons of water and some salt sprinkled on top of them. After a few minutes, depending on the weight and number of your crabs, remove them from heat and let them rest for awhile. If the alimango or crab are too big, try to cut them in half, just so they’ll be easy to eat and the meat of the crab will also absorb the gata sauce.

Heat your saucepan with 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. Then add the onions and garlic (ginger if needed) then wait for the onions to turn translucent before adding in the alimango (crabs). Sautee the alimango for a few minutes then add in the gata and the sili. The pan should be on medium heat because you don’t want the gata to boil or else it’ll curdle. Stir once in awhile, have it simmer for at least 15 minutes. Don’t forget to add your salt and pepper gradually.

You can serve it as is or you can top it with fresh basil leaves and slices of fresh siling haba.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

When responsibility hits you unexpectedly

When I was in college, two of my close friends got pregnant unexpectedly. At first, both tried to continue with their studies but as time went by, the pressures of being pregnant and homework took a toll on them and they decided to just quit school and focused on their growing bellies.
After a few years, one of them decided to continue with her studies while the other opted to become a full-time housewife. Both are happy with their chosen paths, but not without regrets and difficulties along the way.

I may not know what they went through during those times, but every time we see each other, they always tell me that life has a funny way of making you grow up. These girls, who I’ve known all my life, didn’t experience any hardships growing up. When they had their babies, I didn’t know that they had it in them to be mothers, let alone raise a family.

That was 15 years ago. Now, they tease me that it’s about time I should have my own family. My answer’s always been the same. “I’m not in a hurry”. When we’re together, it’s as if they’re making up for lost time. I guess because only now that they can actually get free from their responsibilities at home. Their children are already in high school and they’re actually living a comfortable life.

But my friends are lucky. Most unwanted pregnancies don’t always have a happy ending. In a survey conducted by the National Statistical Coordination Board, 23% of Filipino teens are engaging in pre-marital sex therefore causing not just unwanted pregnancies, but also a risk of getting sexually-transmitted diseases.

Not every girl who gets pregnant can face this kind of responsibility. And sometimes, they just don’t want to. It’s a bitter fact. If I may be blunt here, but most kids these days can be a little bit selfish. They like to think that they can do everything, but they tend to forget that their actions have consequences.

I hate it when pregnant teens cry and say that they’re not ready yet to be parents that’s why they’re choosing abortion or giving up their kids for adoption. If you’re ready to have sex, you should be ready too with everything that comes with it. I’m not advocating anything here, but it takes a lot of maturity to do grown-up stuff, and if you think that you can’t handle it, then don’t do anything stupid.

An hour of pleasure is not worth a lifetime of misery. A child is always a gift, but that gift shouldn’t be abused or better yet taken for granted. Yes, I pity those girls whose parents can’t accept this kind of situation, but what I pity most is the kid inside the mother’s womb who will suffer the consequences of these people’s actions.

I don’t like that fact that my friends got pregnant at an early age and that their education and dreams were put to a halt because of it. But I’m proud of them for not giving up and facing their problems head on. When things got rough for them, they kept on going. They transferred to a new “school,” learning more about the depth of life since they started raising their kids.

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

What’s for breakfast?

I’m not a morning person but because I work at home, I’m tasked to cook breakfast. Well ok, not just breakfast, but lunch and dinner too. Of all the three meals, I always find breakfast to be the most difficult. Half of our household eats rice and the rest prefer bread. And it doesn’t help either that my family are picky eaters. With lunch and dinner, I have no problem preparing for a meal plan for a week 😉

Eggs are a staple in my breakfast menu. I either do scrambled, or sunny-side up. When I was still in culinary school, we spent one day just cooking eggs. I’ve never had so much egg in my life ’til then. I can’t say that I’ve perfected the craft of cooking perfect scrambled eggs, but I do know a few tricks on making your ordinary scrambled eggs look appetizing.

Typical Scrambled Egg

Ingredients

4 medium eggs
1 medium onion/2 shallots
3 cloves garlic
½ cup milk (Whatever type of milk you’re drinking will do. You could also use evaporated milk.)
Salt and pepper to taste

I usually sauté the onions first since I don’t like the burnt taste of garlic in my food. When the onions begin to turn translucent, add the garlic. Beat the eggs with the milk. I don’t salt my eggs, but if you want, you could. I usually add the salt and pepper when I pour the scrambled eggs on the pan. Slowly mix it to avoid burning and to incorporate everything. A scrambled egg is good when it’s still a little bit runny. It’s not advisable to serve dry scrambled eggs, but my family prefers it a little dry, a little over-cooked.

You may want decorate it with snippets of chives or basil. You could also add in tomatoes and mushrooms to make it extra special. I don’t suggest a throwing in mayo, since that’s too much cholesterol. Maybe once in awhile, I add in parmesan cheese, just to make it luxurious.

Enjoy eating your breakfast!

This post was written by Rita Salonga.

The unexpected break

I was supposed to start my new teaching job on the first of February, but because of delays in the new school’s construction, I had an unexpected two-week break.

I urgently needed to start working, but I figured God had His reasons for allowing the delay. On hindsight, I am nothing but grateful. For one, I got to spend more time with my girls. That in itself would have made the two weeks worth it.

But God had more in store. I was able to take one day to have lunch with a bunch of single ladies at my alma mater. And then, that same afternoon, an impromptu dinner of ribs and nachos at a new resto in Kapitolyo—with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time.

Two days later—a Saturday—my friend Marie treated me to a mani-pedi for the very simple reason that she didn’t want to be on her own when she had her nails done. How delightful! To top off all these simple joys, I was able to attend a three-day retreat. And that helped me view many things in their proper perspective. The retreat likewise gave me a short breather from my two girls. (Ever since I became a mom, I always tagged along my nursing child. This time around, it was just me…and I was so happy!)

The unexpected break brought many surprise blessings. A delay in my plans, yes, but not according to Him…

This post was written by Meg Murrf Trinidad.