A Simple Afternoon Snack: Banana & Kamote Cue On-stick


It is the Bikertoberfest weekend, so the family decided to stay at home to avoid a motorcycle-filled traffic. As we know, it can be a pain in the neck. We never know when that one biker who swerves around cars is on the same lane. Scary. But anyway – a Filipina friend gave me some saba bananas yesterday. It’s perfect! It made me crave for banana (and kamote) cue. The last time I had one was when I was in the Philippines a few months ago. I tried making one using plantain, but the taste did not cut it. Saba is way better!

To start with, here are the ingredients. Pretty simple, right? it!
Saba bananas
Kamote (sweet potatoes)
Brown sugar
Cooking Oil

Do not forget the barbecue stick. This is what completes it.

Heat enough cooking oil for deep-frying on medium temperature.
Peel the bananas and sweet potatoes. Cut to desired size.
Add bananas and sweet potatoes into the hot cooking oil.
Add brown sugar on top of the bananas and sweet potatoes for coating.
Keep it on medium to low heat not to burn the sugar.
When cooked, put to a plate with paper towel to absorb the extra cooking oil.
Serve on barbecue sticks with desired number of bananas or sweet potatoes.

Well, the husband and the daughter like it. I guess, I will try to cook it again. Hopefully, I can find the right kind of banana, specifically the saba variety, in stores.

Kids Academy FREE Educational Apps & Printable Worksheets


This blog has partnered with Mom Buzz Media to announce this exciting information!

Kids Academy Releases Preschool Education Center
for iOS and Android!

There are too many apps out there! As parents, we need to be more vigilant on what our children are downloading. As much as possible, we want it educational and fun. Also, we should minimize the amount of money spent on these apps, or much better, free or cost.  

Kids Academy – the team behind some of the top educational apps for kids with over 10 million downloads worldwide just released the long-awaited version of their flagship app – Preschool Education Center.

As the name suggests, Preschool Education Center is an all-in-one educational app for kids and toddlers. The app covers all aspects of early childhood education from the alphabet and reading to writing, building vocabulary and developing math skills. Based on the proven Montessori method the app offers a number of fun games that help master essential learning skills through play.

When the family relocated here in 2007 from the Philippines, my daughter was barely 6 years old. Since she already completed 2 years of schooling there, I requested that she be assigned to the 1st Grade. Much to my dismay, the school did not grant my request since my daughter is a non-English speaker. True enough, she was put into the ESOL program. She learned how to speak English by watching a lot of Dora the Explorer shows. The only issue was – we’re not Spanish. We do not speak the language. Though she eventually understand English better, double amount of effort was required. So when I saw these apps from Kids Academy, I did not hesitate to recommend it to my nephew and niece. Just like my daughter, they are struggling to speak English. My niece loves the games! She enjoys it, and not even realizing that it is actually intended for educational purposes. This is way better than Dora the Explorer. Teaching toddlers is easy breezy!  

Until now, Preschool Education Center has only been available on iTunes but today’s release makes it finally available for Android device on Google Play! This fun and free app is currently being featured in the Family section of the Android store in the USA, Australia and Canada.

Get the app free on Google Play!


iTunes Kids AcademyFor iOS devices:

Kids Academy have also updated the iOS version of the app: Preschool & Kindergarten Early Learning Games adding new games, books and educational cartoons and shows as well as printable worksheets.
– The update boasts a bunch of cute little monsters that will teach your kids about money and how to count it.
– Kids Academy TV now has a 24/7 Live Zoo channel offering web-cam views on real-life animals.

Grab your free copy of the update on the iTunes App Store!


free worksheets

Free Preschool & Kindergarten Worksheets for Kids

Kids Academy is also finding a way to expand beyond the screen and help master pen and pencil with free printable worksheets. You can get free preschool worksheets on a variety of subjects from alphabet to math (the library is being constantly updated). Download, print out and get start practicing with good old pen and paper in seconds!

Head over to to the Kids Academy to get your FREE PRINTABLE WORKSHEETS and get your kids busy!

A Life after Ovarian Cyst Surgery at 16

This is the first time I openly shared this personal medical journey of mine. But I guess, it is about time.

When I was 16 years old, I had a surgical procedure done called oophorectomy. One of my ovaries was removed. As we know, the said part of a woman’s reproductive system stores and releases eggs for fertilization. My parents were too intimidated to ask which side was taken or if I would still bear a child or not. They were just relieved to know that the humongous cyst was finally out of my body after a few months of lining up during wee hours at a free medical clinic operated by the Committee of German Doctors for Developing Countries and the Jose P. Rizal College of Medicine of the Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan. Yes, my parents were poor and indigent. We did not have health insurance or savings to pay for a medical surgery, especially a major one. The only means of treating me was going to a free medical facility.

At 16 years old. I had to pull up my pants up to hide the vertical scar post-surgery.

My journey was not all peachy at all. My mother and I had to endure, at times, the disrespect of some Filipino workers (not volunteers) at the facility. No choice, but to ‘suck it up’ and be a push-over. Oh yes, some of them were very strict and straight up mata-pobre (pompous). But hey, beggars can’t be choosers. As for the German volunteers, they were mildly mannered and compassionate. You could tell that, they were there for a noble cause…to whole-heartedly help others in need. Aside from that struggle, we had to endure the judgmental stares of the neighbors. Some even asked my mother if I was pregnant (my belly bulged due to the tumor). Remember, I was only 16 then. In a very conservative country, it’s a total taboo to be pregnant in your teens. Yes, they had the nerve to ask. But heck, we still kept the visits to the doctors and clinics as discreet as possible.

After a few months, I finally had my oophorectomy day! You know, what’s impressive. The organization actually hired a private surgeon from the Cagayan de Oro Medical Center to head the operation. Unfortunately, I could not remember her name. I heard, she was the best in the city that time. The ward at the Jose P. Rizal College of Medical Center was clean too. It felt like, I had a better deal than going to the regional public hospital run by the government.

I would like to end my post by extending my eternal gratitude to the Committee of German Doctors for Developing Countries organization, or commonly called the German Doctors. You help so many Filipinos in need of a quality medical treatment and service. Sadly, you have to close your door due to some socio-political issues in the area. But still I am confident that you will not cease in spreading the love and the kindness of humanity to the whole world. One day, some day, I want to be a part of this kind of a cause. It may not be with your organization, but somewhere else. If not me, my daughter will.

A Review on Apple & Eve Organic Fruit Juices

My household is a consumer of natural fruit juices, no particular brand. A juice product from concentrates is never part of my grocery list. On rare occasions, I am enticed to get some when the brands I prefer are on BOGO sale. Yes, I am cheap that way.

While perusing the aisle of Publix Supermarket the other week, I noticed a new offering displayed along the fruit juices section – the Apple & Eve Organics. The brand sounded familiar. I saw it first in Influenster wherein I am a member blogger or a product reviewer. Gladly, I was one of the many bloggers chosen to receive and review the product.

The Apple & Eve VoxBox arrived in my home last Saturday. It contained four (4) juice boxes of various flavors, namely tart cherry, berrylicious lemonade, fruit punch burst and raspberry apple splash.

Good timing. My husband was feeling under the weather. Fruit juices were the only beverage he wanted to ingest. As for my daughter, I pack her school lunch every day. The little fruit boxes were perfect! So it was just fitting to ask for their comments.

Husband’s Comment. He was the lone consumer of the 1-liter box of Apple & Eve 100% Juice Organics tart cherry flavor. His palate does not fancy any tart-flavored fruits so it was a stretch for him to drink it…so at first, he thought. Half-way to his first glass, he started to enjoy the tang. The absence (or minimal presence) of sugar made a massive difference. It successively diluted the tarty taste and saturated it with subtlety and pureness – the characteristics he wants in some fruits, especially he was ill. Anything mild flavored food or beverage was good.

Daughter’s Comment. I packed one fruit box for 3 school days. The very first thing she told me, “Hmmm, you can really taste lesser sugar in this!” I tell you, this is a big deal for me. My daughter does not have sweet tooth. She prefers her food and beverage with less (or no) sugar. In fact, I pack her bottled water for lunch. So this week was something out of the norm. Among the 3 flavors, she prefers the berrylicious lemonade the best!

My Comment. Since the word organics was boldly printed in the Apple & Eve boxes, I was disappointed when I realized that they were actually made from concentrates. The fine print says it all. This discovery prompted me to dig deeper on what this word means in labeling food and beverage products. Here’s what I found….

In December 1997, the USDA released its first proposal on new standards for organic foods. Since then, various amendments were passed. One of these modifications redefined the following labeling and marketing pitches:

100% Organic – a single ingredient such as a fruit, vegetable, meat, milk and cheese excluding the water and salt content.
Organic – multiple ingredients foods that are 95 to 100% organic.
Made with organic ingredients – contains less than 70% organic ingredients.

Will this change again, probably. So next time when buying organic products, read the fine prints first.

Working Up High: How to Safely Use a Ladder

Home ownership begets a sense of personal fulfillment and gratification. It is a realization of a status quo and a dream. However, it also amplifies the fear of the unknown and uncertainties especially when it is furrowed to a long-term promise of steadfast financial responsibility. Such feeling is not uncommon to middle-income earners, especially when the financial stability is primarily based on employment. As we know, economic strength is dwindling and constantly changing. But still, it remains an investment a number of us are risking our last dollar to keep.

Our household is one of the many American dreamers who acquired our residential dwelling by a mortgage or a loan. Obviously, our budget is tight right from the beginning. We bought a 4-year old home in a move-in ready condition. In order to infuse ‘our touch’, we repainted the whole interior walls and ceiling of the house. It was all originally painted in plain white, like a clean room. It has about 2,500 square-foot living space with high ceiling. Repainting was an arduous task. Fortunately, my husband is quite handy when it comes to home renovations. With some painting materials and a ladder, the project was set in motion. The most challenging part though….was working up high with a ladder. It poses some danger when not careful.

Working high above the ground is inescapable when painting a home. Good judgment, suitable tools and equipment, and some precautionary measures progress you through the project safely. Here are some tips on how to safely use a ladder:

Selecting a Ladder
Choose a ladder assessed as Type I (heavy duty, capable of bearing 250 pounds per rung). Wooden ladders are less likely to glide on a surface or be gusted over. They do not conduct electricity. However, they are hefty and grim to transfer without aid. Aluminum ladders are more convenient to move, but they conduct electricity and may be blown down or bumped over. Expensive fiberglass ladders are comparatively light and nonconductive. Select a ladder which is at least 15 inches wide with rungs that are 12 inches apart. The finest of them have non-skid bases and rope-and-pulley extension mechanisms.

Using a Ladder Safely
Working on a ladder is essentially hazardous. Perhaps the largest danger is becoming too comfortable when using it. It is easy to become cavalier and try to stretch just a little bit further to paint a spot without moving a ladder. Do not do it. Here are some other significant things to consider when working on a ladder.

Getting the Correct Angle
The angle at which the ladder inclines against the wall is very vital. If the angle is too excessive, the ladder is subject to tension and may break or bow. If the angle is too trivial, the ladder is likely to plummet backward. Station the ladder so that the feet are at least one foot from the house for every four feet that the ladder is extended.

Leveling the Ladder
If the ground is so soft that a leg of the ladder possibly sink and cause it to slant to one side, set the ladder on a piece of plywood or a flat wood. This should stabilize the hold of the ladder on the ground.

Climbing the Ladder
Always face forward and maintain your hips within the rails of the ladder. Let only one person on the ladder at a time. As a precaution, thoroughly sweep and maintain the dryness of the area where you are working and wear shoes with rubber soles.

If you do not have a suitable ladder available at home, try to look for ladders for hire. For a minimal fee, you can choose different types of heavy duty ladders from companies, like Lakeside-Hire. Renting is so easy and convenient. It can be done in a few clicks of your computer mouse.