Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dade’s 2nd birthday party

Dade turned 2 last August and as thanksgiving for our little one’s successful trigger thumb surgery (i know, i’ve yet to blog about it!), we decided to throw a little party as he finally turns terrific TWO.

welcome sign.  that's my handwriting & drawing there!

We wanted a low-key party for Dade so we booked Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen in Deira for the celebration. One thing I love about Popeye’s is their party hall which is located at the second floor. The hall is spacious and brightly painted with ample natural light coming in through their windows. They also have a play area in one corner where the kids could enjoy the slide and playhouse. Food is affordable, too. A meal costs AED 25 only and that includes half a portion of roasted chicken (yes half!), rice or cajun fries (which I so love, btw), a biscuit and drink. and you can order the same for kids, too instead of getting their kiddie meal which costs the same. the best thing about their party package is that you can also bring in food from outside. So on top of the food from Popeye’s, we also served Birthday Noodles (courtesy of my kumare’s Mom), Dinuguan (courtesy of my Pinay colleague) which is a blockbuster hit, Caldereta (ordered from Salt N’ Pepper), hotdog on stick for kids (courtesy of another Pinay colleague) and some macaroons (courtesy of Dade’s Ninong A). Chafing dishes were borrowed from my friend’s Mom who made the noodles so our food were laid out presentably in the buffet table.

The theme of the party was jungle safari so we pretty much had an easy time sprucing up the place. I sourced some of the balloons from Manila through a friend, then ordered the birthday boy’s hunter costume from my party planner back home, Jacque Tan of Partyboosters.  For the additional balloons, we bought them from Party Centre, as well as the table skirting for the buffet table and the lime colored Japanese lanterns for the sweets table. Meanwhile, we sourced the jungle cloth and periwinkle backdrop from a fabric store in Satwa.  My friends who are into party planning business here in the UAE helped us in decorating the place. They spent lots of precious hours for free as a gift to our little one. isn’t that sweet?

my little jungle explorer

stage area

balloon burst

party area

cutesy centerpieces

As for the prizes, most them were bought from Divisoria in Manila by Dade’s Ninang S while the activity sets were purchased from Border’s. Some of the plush toys were from bought from a stall in Modhesh World in Dubai Airport Expo. We got the brown lootbags from the Japanese thrift store, Daiso, while hubby and i pasted a DIY thank you note to make it more personalized.  Inside the bag were a small packet of juice, some jungle-themed candies, elephant shaped chocolates, a pack of biscuits, animal stickers and jungle-printed blowouts.  I was quite pleased at how the lootbags turned out.

prizes and give-aways


The printed stuff were all DIY care of our trusty printer. We were able to buy a set of jungle animal printables from Mygrafico, an online digital arts and crafts store.  Credits to Blackleaf Studios @ for the downloaded jpg and png photos and layouts were used for the save-the-date, invites, table centerpieces, cupcake toppers, water bottles, buntings, food labels and lootbag thank you tag.  This made things a lot easier for us. plus it made the party look lively and jungle safari-looking, which is what we were aiming for.

DIY invitation


personalized water bottles

DIY table skirt

The pompoms were also DIY.  Thanks to my li’l sis, B (who’s also Dade’s godmother) who bought the Japanese Paper from National Bookstore in Manila, I was able to make several pompoms through the help of Martha Stewart’s website.  These lovely pompoms made such a statement when they were hung from the ceiling. the name DADE was lovingly done by the Daddy who painstakingly cut the styrofoam using a cutter.  My contribution was to nail file the edges to make them smooth before painting them with blue acrylic paint.

sweets table

We ordered the cake from Sugarbox, and this time, we chose a new flavor.  It is a rainbow cake that’s really moist.  However , I was very disappointed with how they decorated the cake because they didn’t stick to my submitted pegs.  In my opinion, among Dade’s special occasion cakes (baptism and two 1st birthday parties), this was the ugliest looking cake he’s ever had.  In the end, I just decided to let it go since I didn’t want to ruin my party mood.


Thank goodness we also had cupcakes made by our friend.   Her home-made baked chocolate-marshmallow cupcakes were so delicious that both kids and adults enjoyed its yummy taste. I provided the jungle safari cupcake liner that matched the sweets’ lootbags and placed them in our ever-reliable cupcake stand. As for the sweets, we bought them from the grocery and labeled them with funky safari names. I borrowed some containers from my friend who also bought the swirly lollipops for the party.   The chocolate crinkles were home-made by the baker Daddy which was also a hit to the guests.


sweets and baked goodies

take home station

We also prepared “Jungle Juice” for the party for those people who prefer to drink juice than soda. It  was a toss between fresh lemonade or calamansi juice, but the Pinoy lime won us over. My bessie B who was in charge of the video of Dade’s party prepared the juice and added lots of ice to make it more thirst-quenching. In a matter of minutes, B had to make a refill because people just couldn’t resist its refreshing taste.

calamansi juice

The party was hosted by Dade’s Ninang S who prepared 2 unique games for the guests. It was a lot of fun! I got compliments from our guests later after the party because the games were really entertaining. finding items that start with the letter ‘D’ is apparently not easy at all! haha!

party game

As a souvenir for our guests, we also hired a photobooth run by our friend, S and her hubby, L.  The quality of the prints were really good and the colors looked so vibrant. S also designed a nice backdrop, as well as an adorable layout of the prints. I didn’t get to see the final layout but was so happy when I had a glimpse of it during the party.  It was more than what I imagined it would be. We used a photo from Dade’s 2nd pre-birthday pictorial for the layout where my little boy was wearing the hunter costume and gave S copies of the safari animals to remain consistent with the theme.

family pic

We could never thank enough our family members and friends who took time to come and celebrate with us. Without them, the party for our little boy wouldn’t have been a success.

Big, big thanks also to our friends, A (Dade’s Ninong) and G who took the beautiful pictures and for Ninang B who took the video. They’re priceless!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Baby # 2

They say every pregnancy is different. One cannot claim that their experience with their first is the same as their next one’s. And boy, do I agree with that!

My pregnancy with Dade was a breeze. I only had two episodes of vomiting during the first trimester and had almost zero nausea thereafter.  I was eating fine and had no problem with my appetite. I had no food nor smell aversions. I was energetic and always on-the-go.  I guess it’s also because of the excitement knowing that we’ll finally have our first baby in a few months’ time. But I've heard of other first time Moms who went through a terrible time in their pregnancy. So no matter how excited you are, sometimes, the symptoms just overshadow your thrill and you can’t help but bear the misery.  And that is what I'm feeling right now with this second pregnancy.

Every morning is a struggle for me.  I wake up with dread knowing that the moment I enter the bathroom, my stomach would hurl and my face would turn red from throwing up.  Not a pretty sight at all!  Thankfully, I get driven to work by the husband on a daily basis. I hop on the car with all the energy that’s left of me and I try to get some extra shut eye during our 45-minute rush hour drive to work. During good days, I get to savor some drive thru breakfast from McDonalds. But on tough days, like today for instance, I bow my head to a small plastic bag on my hands and wish so hard for the nausea to finally go away.

At work, it’s a completely different story.  I am always hungry so I keep a stash of crackers within reach, plus some date bars, raisins and sweet candies, too.  Lunch time used to be a much-awaited break for me, but now that I could barely finish my food, I realized that it’s not as fun as it used to be. I’d rather chat with my Pinoy colleagues or take a nap to kill time.

To make matters worse, I got sick a week after coming back from my brief holiday in Manila.  I caught my son’s virus and since I’m expecting, I could not take any medication.  I relied on warm water, lemon and honey to relieve myself, but my cough persisted for weeks.  My team felt bad for me because I sounded like a sick puppy barking madly at my workstation. Wednesday last week, I decided to head to the ER just to make sure I don’t have any infection (eeeps, just thinking about it gives me the shudder!).  Thankfully, I don’t and was just advised to rest. Since September started, I've taken 3.5 sick leave days already.  That is so unlike me.

I am on my 10th week now, and couldn’t wait to finish the first trimester.  I hope to get over this feeling soon. I miss my usual perky self.  I look pale and lethargic everyday. Oh I wonder when I'll rock the pregnancy glow!