So you think you can bake

Yes, I did think I CANNOT BAKE!

Not until I saw the Oven Toaster Brownie Mix at the grocery!

My cousins bake, and for that I envy them. I’ve tasted their cupcakes, cookies and cakes, and I can only dream of making those myself. When my daughter grows up, I want to teach her how to bake. Now that she’s arriving any minute, I should start practicing.

I do not have an oven! I have an oven toaster, though.

So, out of curiosity, I tried.

First steps to that yummy brownie

Tedious as it may seem, it wasn’t. The Brownie Mix has it all. Just soften one-fourth bar of butter then add one egg, a tablespoon of milk (instead of just water), and the mix. Mix everything and place the mixture in a disposable aluminum tray greased with some oil and lined with wax paper. Then cover loosely with aluminum foil. You may have to spend a little for the baking equipment but nevertheless, you can use them next time should you crave for more.

Ready to bake!

So the mixture looked like this. Just by mixing alone, my right arm got a good workout. Then it’s a ten-minute trip to the oven toaster. Turn it to the other side and add another six minutes. Check if the middle is cooked by inserting a toothpick and if it comes out clean, your brownie is done!

Thanks, oven toaster!

Let it cool at room temperature for a while and voila, you’re ready to eat your brownie!

Brownie goodness

Hubby said it was yummy. So I think I fared good in my first baking experience. I ought to try other oven toaster delights like the Banana Cake and Bibingka. So it’s off to the grocery for me!

Now I can say, I HAVE baked.

Happy Baking!

– Touringkitty

The Rainmakers are back!

Catch the Rainmakers in their Reunion Concert entitled “Like a Love Song” on September 3, 2010, 9.00PM at Teatrino, Greenhills.

If you enjoyed their hit “Binibini,” you’ll definitely enjoy their mixed repertoire of old and new love songs, English revivals, and their original compositions.

The group is composed of Joel Macanaya (my uncle), Joseph Lansang, Ramon Villanueva and Jojo Grospe.

See you there! (That is, if baby’s not yet arriving 🙂

First shopping splurge and spring cleaning

As I approached my last month of pregnancy, the Schatzi household is preparing for the arrival of our new tenant.

I told myself, I will not buy anything unless it’s only a month until I give birth. So last weekend, my husband and I finally took the courage to hit the infant section, took advantage of the sale, and bought everything we’ll be needing for our Aria Baby.

We were both overwhelmed with the stuff we saw, because being first-timers, we don’t know if we’re buying the right stuff. I have listed down the more important items, such as clothes, diapers, and toiletries. I set my eyes on that, but hubby decided on buying a playpen and tub also. So we did.

Seeing this every time I wake up makes me more excited and nervous at the same time

Not only that, I already packed my hospital bag (the black one) so I’d be ready just in case D-day comes unexpectedly.

We didn’t buy much as I expected.  This is because my family and some of my friends threw two baby showers already last month. Two baby showers mean twice the gifts, thank you. But more than the gifts I received, it is their company and thoughts about parenthood that I appreciated the most.

Just some of the gifts I received during the party. Sweet, indeed!

So we ran a total of… (do I dare mention? NOT!) for Aria’s first things when we welcome her in this world. I know it’s all worth it, especially when we get to hold our precious angel.

Now, we need space for these. That’s why this week, we started arranging/disarranging/rearranging the Schatzihaus. We’ve given away old clothes and items to charity. My husband is discarding unused books (for more of the books, visit his blog). I’ve filed papers and music sheets in neat ring binders. We’re practically dusting every nook and cranny along with my mom and our house help, which we haven’t done for quite a while. I never thought having a new tenant in the house would make us this busy!

Still a work in progress

There’s still a lot to be accomplished. We have barely a month to finish. And the dream of creating a perfect abode for my baby is slowly taking shape.

– Touringkitty

First writing collaboration with hubby

Finally, it’s up!

We have actually made this piece together. Well, he asked me to make this and be guest blogger for his site. I think I wasn’t able to finish this so he added some more, polished it clean, and voila! Our first writing project together!

Please view his blog and see how you can invest in the stock market. We’re trying this now, and I must say, it works. We’ve earned 1/4 of what we invested after two and a half months! You just have to be really patient.

And don’t forget to check out the site of the online stock market we introduced in this piece.

Happy marketing!

– Touringkitty

Movie night, with prizes on the side

When there’s a really good movie we wanted to watch, the movie team is usually four – me, my hubby, my mom and my sister. But in this case, we only had three tickets. So it was a choice between me and my hubby.

Rocks, papers, scissors. I won. Great thing I did, because we were off to a blocked screening of “The Last Airbender” at Powerplant Mall in Rockwell.

Ahhh... the pleasures of getting free movie tickets

Several companies sponsored the said blocked screening, one of which was the bank where my sister works. The company allotted six tickets for her department, and she was able to get three. So off we went to Rockwell in the midst of heavy rain.

The movie started an hour later than what was printed on the ticket. But it was worth the wait. While people started falling in line, freebies were given – yogurt drinks, shampoo sachets, and sample bottles of mouthwash. You also get to pick a prize in a fishbowl. I won this:

Except for the Men's Shampoo, everything in this pack went to my sister

And while inside the theater, my sister won a kiddie vitamin syrup with watch. She’ll give the watch to my daughter. The vitamin, well, goes to whoever has a toddler in our neighborhood.

Okay, enough of the prizes. On with the movie.

I had no idea what The Last Airbender was about, but my sister seemed to know a lot about it. She had been watching the cartoons where this movie is based on Nickelodeon – Avatar, the Legend of Aang.

I was amazed by the characters’ superpowers. Imagine using your bare hands to manipulate air, fire, water, and earth? The effects were equally outstanding, especially when there’s wartime. What I didn’t like was the very loud audio of the theater. It probably woke up the baby in my tummy.

Did I tell you this is not really a movie review? So I suggest you watch the movie if you want to understand element-bending.

I thought avatars were blue. Wrong movie and storyline.

Loved the freebies, though. Thanks, my lovely sis! Until our next movie night (and I hope I can write a decent movie review next time).

Clean Air for our Aria

Dear Baby Girl,

Much as I am excited to welcome you in the world, I suddenly got worried.

Each morning as I wake up and look outside our window, all I see is the cruelty of mankind to Mother Nature. Polluted air, that is.

Do we really want you to inhale this air?

This is the air Mommy and Daddy are inhaling. And so do the other people living in this city. Whether rich or poor, educated or not, we breathe the same smog-filled air. If there’s a common denominator among all men, it’s polluted air.

If only I could filter all the air into its cleanest, I would. If only I could shelter and protect you from dirty air, I want you to stay inside Mommy’s tummy. But in two months, you’ll inhale the same air we breathe.

I feel helpless. I know that this is mankind’s wrongdoing. We abuse Mother Earth. We know that this is bound to happen yet we still let this happen. I want to tell all people to reduce their carbon footprint, rally in front of vehicles emitting too much pollution, beg people to quit smoking, and teach everyone not to just throw their trash anywhere.

We want you to see and live in a perfect world. But in the meantime, we’ll do our best to make this world a better place to live, in our own small way.

With much love,

Your green-minded parents

Got Milk?

Dig this: a classroom full of moms and expectant moms (and a handful of dads as well) who are total strangers exchanging knowledge about breastfeeding.

It was a breast-opening, I mean, eye-opening morning for me and my husband as we decided to attend a breastfeeding seminar. We were totally clueless about what to expect during the seminar. I knew about the seminar in an email group where I belong, started texting the contact person signifying our interest to attend, and found ourselves sitting in the Play Area in one of the posh malls in Makati. Interesting, I said, as we were heading our way to the venue, seeing even more beautiful, not to mention, expensive, baby stuff that I will just dream of buying.

Upon arriving, some fifteen women were already seated. Some of them chatting, others just silently waiting. And then, the facilitator came. She is Abbie Yabot, a leader of La Leche League Philippines, an organization of nursing mothers who advocate pure breastfeeding to their babies.

Back in high school, I remember commercials of milk formulas for babies telling us that breastfeeding is good for babies up to two years old. Yet, I was surprised to find out that some of the moms in this group breastfed their babies up to four years old! Now, that’s saving a lot of money for buying formulas.

The topic of the day was about pumping and going back to work. I also learned about different types of breast pumps. There are manual or electric, single or double breast pumps, you take your pick. You’re supposed to use them if you are a working mother who needs to store extra milk for your baby.

That morning, I didn’t have any breast pump yet. But I was surprised to receive one at the end of the day during the baby shower given by my family and friends. It was a manual single breast pump which uses forearm power to extract breast milk. Great, I said. At least I don’t have to buy one, which can be quite expensive, by the way.

I don’t know if the men felt awkward being in the midst of women talking about breasts. At least I know my husband wasn’t. He was even taking notes about the lecture. I’m happy that my husband shows his full support in my quest for breastfeeding. Oh, if only men could breastfeed!

Got milk? Then start breastfeeding. As what I’ve learned in this seminar, all mothers have milk. There are exceptions, though, like you cannot breastfeed if you have certain conditions. Breast milk has a long list of health benefits for your newborn. Being closer to your child is added bonus. As they say, breast is best.

– Touringkitty

How our baby named herself

How much time do you really need to spend thinking about baby names? Well, you’d probably stop until your own baby(even in utero) “dictates” what she wants. And in our case, our baby girl did.

We’ve started thinking about baby names long before we thought of making babies. My choice for a baby girl’s name was Tala (star). My husband thought of naming our baby boy Arjuna, a character he read from the book Bhagavad Gita. Unfortunately, they’re out of our list.

During the fourth month, we shifted to either Maristela or Aaron. I opted for Maristela because it has a Marian touch to it, and it’s a mix of my father and grandmother’s names. Aaron, on the other hand, means High Mountain and is a biblical character. Options are still open, not until after we determined the gender.

I had my routine ultrasound during the fifth month of pregnancy. We were glad to see that the baby is doing fine, doing all those kicks and punches and even swallowing. I am content seeing her arms, legs, hands and feet complete, and heart in steady pumping action. We’re even more elated to know the gender bythis time. At least I know I’ll be buying more pink stuff. Yes, the baby is a girl, and she is expected to come out September 17.

It’s easier to play the name game this time. We trimmed down our options. It has to start with A. So, being opera buffs, we want to call her Aria (Italian for Air, a solo piece sung by the lead opera character). It can stand alone as her name, actually, but it’s much cuter as a nickname. Still, wes earched for other options, so we added a third syllable. It could be Arianne or Arianna, until I saw the German Ariadne (from another opera, Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss). I almost considered Ariadna, which is the Spanish variation, and is the real name of Mexican star Thalia aka MariMar. In the meantime, I settled with Ariadne.

The name Ariadne (pronounced as ar-YAD-nee) means holy woman. She was the daughter of the Cretan king Minos in Greek mythology. As far as the website is concerned, this was the only info available. So I looked for other baby name websites, until I found out about Saint Ariadne.

Saint Ariadne of Phrygia was a slave of a Phrygian prince and refused to participate in a rite intended for a pagan god that involved flogging. As she escaped from the authorities, a chasm opened miraculously and she was entombed.

As I clicked on the link, I found this: her feast day is September 17,130 AD. I was crying while my husband was speechless. Both of us cannot believe that somehow our baby was telling us she already had a name. I remember the Ilocano epic Biag ni Lam-ang where the young boy Lam-ang named himself as well. Now my baby’s a record breaker. It all happened on the evening of May 6th.

If this is not Divine Intervention, then I don’t know what is. All I know is that my baby spoke to me, telling me that everything will be fine despite the risks of my pregnancy. Now, my husband and I are praying for the intercession of this unknown saint. And I shall not cease to seek for her intercession.

Saint Ariadne, pray for us.

– Touringkitty

What I like and don’t like about my pregnancy


Like: I can eat twice the amount (or more) of what I was used to, especially now in my seventh month
Dislike: No coffee, tea, softdrinks

Like: I have all the reason to shop for new clothes
Dislike: I can’t wear heels

Like: I can use my pregnancy rights when traveling, i.e. using the service cart in the mall, hopping on the first cab in the MRT and LRT, and being offered a seat anywhere and a ride home by friends
Dislike: I can’t travel too much and too far, can’t ride anything three-wheeled, and I walk like a former president

Like: Nightly massage courtesy of my husband to alleviate leg cramps
Dislike: Sleepless nights because of a heavy tummy

Like: Everybody’s concern towards your safe delivery
Dislike: In two months, I will miss being pregnant

Nevertheless, I love pregnancy, and I look forward to the blessing that is to come.

– Touringkitty

Hello blog!

Aside from my singing and musician duties, little do people know that I write.

Since Grade School, I’ve always been into writing. I started as a news writer for our school paper. I’ve also contributed essays and poetry. I’ve written a lot before I entered college, where writing took a side step and music moved in the forefront.

After taking a degree in music, writing came in again, this time as a full-time job – a writer for the country’s military organization. On the side, I’ve accepted other writing jobs like emcee scriptwriting.

Now that I am a stay-home expectant mother, I would like to spend more time in writing, and here in this blog, I wish to share more of my experiences as a musician, wife, and mother-to-be.

Why the blog name, you might ask. Two things.

First, I love traveling. Being with a world-famous Filipino choral group for five years showed me how wonderful God’s creations are, and this great group brought me to Europe, USA, Asia, and around the Philippines.

Winning the 2007 European Grand Prix for Choral Singing is that sweet precious cherry on top of the icing

Second is I’m a self-confessed Hello Kitty lover since childhood. I have some of that pink stuff at home, some gifts from my friends. I even have this magic wand toy that lights up and plays music when you press a button. More of that wand and her travels at this website.

Touringkitty in Trocadero overlooking Eiffel Tower

Enjoy! And welcome to