25, A Quarter Century Reflection

I turned 25 last week. I expected myself to have a set of words that I was eager to share here… Something something enlightening something or other. Yet, between the dizzying mornings of entertaining a toddler and meandering through Los Angeles, the afternoons are beginning to weigh down on me and once the evening rolls around and I’m able to get a reprieve, I just want to sit. I want to sit and bask in silence and shed all the worries of motherly expectations and simply be.

So instead of a wordy reflection, I bring you a series of portraits. I usually abhor taking selfies; if you ever see my Instagram account it’s mostly Josephine, food, and sometimes Chris — the people and things I endear so much in this world. Rarely do I feel comfortable posting a picture of myself (minus a beverage). I think the discomfort of seeing my own image stems from knowing that I often neglect caring for myself. If I’m being honest, I feel like the most striking feature I wear are the bags underneath my eyes.

I’m realizing more as a mother that caring for myself is becoming increasingly crucial as the demands of others take precedent in my life. I’ve learned, sometimes the hard way, that taking intentional and meaningful time for myself is essential to be able to love and care for my small family to the best of my ability.

In a personal exercise of self-love, awareness, and growth, I decided to set up my camera on self timer over the changing table and take advantage of the subtle morning light that pours into the bedroom every morning.

So here’s me at my quarter century best. No makeup, bedhead, tired bones, and a smile with my little sidekick. I want to remember this next year as being somewhat restful. I want to care for myself more and rest my muscles so I can take us all further.
Solo 1
Joj and mommy 2 Jojo and mommy 1 Jojo and mommy 3 Jojo 25

Thanks for all the greetings and for celebrating with me. Cheers to another year!

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Chicken Arroz Caldo Recipe

The lingering ghost of a cold/cough/flu still resides in our household. We’ve tried everything to evict it, from prescribed antibiotics to essential oils. Nothing seems to work. So I turn to the one thing I know for a fact will make me feel better: chicken arroz caldo.

Much like Chinese congee or Korean juk, chicken arroz caldo (literally translates as chicken rice soup) is the cure-all, hodgepodge bowl of comfort . If you grew up in a Filipino household, you know what I’m talking about. That glutinous sweet rice with tender chicken falling off the bone. The way your lola shoves a giant, steaming bowl in front of your congested face. The gingery warmth that coats your throat a few degrees too hot, which is actually the perfect temperature to will that infection away. We whip it up for any ailment, whether it be heartbreak, bronchitis, or even a funky rash. It’s made with heaps of love and browned garlic. Lots of browned garlic.

Since I can’t go crawling to my dad with my sick puppy face and plead for his special arroz caldo — he always obliges — I had to call him and inquire about his specific recipe. It was absolutely pertinent that I make it the exact way he does to unleash it’s true healing potential.


Chicken Arroz Caldo, Serves 4-6 | breakfast, lunch, dinner, or merienda (basically whenever you feel like it.)

Ingredients:
1 head of garlic, minced
~ 2.5 lbs chicken parts*
1 cup sweet glutinous rice
1 onion, diced
~ 2 inches of fresh ginger, sliced and smashed
1 tbs fish sauce (patis) + 1/2 tbs more to taste
2-4 cups water
2 tbs oil
salt & pepper to taste

Optional garnish:
Hard boiled eggs, sliced
lemon or calamansi
green onion, sliced

Directions
1. In a medium pot, add a cup of rice with two cups of water and let simmer over medium to low heat. Add water in increments of 1/4 cup if rice absorbs water too quickly — you want to make sure that the rice doesn’t cook all the way through just yet. Simmer about 20 minutes.**
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and slowly brown, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. When garlic is light brown and crispy, remove half and set aside for garnish.
3. Add onion, ginger, chicken, and 1 tbs fish sauce to the garlic in the large pot. Cover and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. When rice has absorbed about half of the water, add rice and water to the large pot with chicken. Stir and let simmer another 15-20 minutes, or until rice and chicken are cooked through and sticky. Continue to add water in small increments if rice gets too thick. Add salt, pepper, and fish sauce, adjusting to taste.
5. Serve with slices of hard boiled egg, crispy garlic, green onions, and a squeeze of lemon.

Notes:
*You can use whatever chicken parts you prefer, or even a whole chopped up chicken. However thighs, wings and drumsticks yield the best taste (IMO)

**You can also opt to add the rice and water straight to the large pot after cooking the chicken for a few minutes, just adjust cooking times accordingly. Cooking in separate pots is my dad’s suggestion for cooking the rice and chicken evenly.

Everything at once copy

Sides copyChicken Arroz Caldo finished copy

Happy cooking! And if you’re sick like us, wishing you a speedy recovery! Bon Appetit 🙂

P.S. #wifeloreealready

Feature on OSHITBRITT’S “Mother The World” Segment

This week I’m featured on vlogger OSHITBRITT’S 3rd installment of her weekly “Mother the World” segment, watch it below:

I was excited to collaborate with Brittany and be very candid and open about my experience as a young mother and the topic of self worth. She’s not a mom herself, but she’s using her platform to shed light on the stigmas young and/or single moms may face and encourage us be supportive of women who choose to be mothers, especially young moms.

OSHITBRITT writes daily about feminism and life on her website, which you can check out here. She also has a fictional book called Stars Melt to Milk about a young, single mother that’s coming out soon.

Thanks for watching!

If Motherhood Were on My Resume…

Photo From StockSnap.io
Photo From StockSnap.io

EDUCATION

Some prestigious 4-year University that remains irrelevant for the job, 2008-2012 (GPA also irrelevant)

EXPERIENCE

Motherhood, August 2013-present

  • Demonstrate the ability to work under extremely stressful and time sensitive situations  with ease, including emergency diaper explosions and temperamental public outbursts
  • Orchestrate weekly grocery trips, restocking inventory in a timely manner while keeping client in a manageable disposition
  • Outpace erratic client behavior and make well-calculated maneuvers in order to ensure client safety
  • Redesign playroom space on a daily basis to maintain a pleasing aesthetic and enhance optimal performance
  • Supervise client in completing daily tasks, including meal consumption, hygiene maintenance, educational activities, and bedtime routine
  • Diagnose unpredictable illnesses and treat them according to their unique symptoms, successfully dispensing prescribed medications to client despite outright reluctance and frenzied limb jerking
  • Partner with a diverse group of caregivers in a collaborative effort to ensure client growth, execute milestone goals, and accident prevention
  • Resolve unexpected conflicts among other toddlers with minimal to no damage, avoiding toddler inflicted cat scratches due to unwillingness to share toys
  • Sustain an overall positive disposition despite chronic sleep deprivation, unreasonably high-pitched demands, and lack of privacy

SKILLS

Fluent in incomprehensible fragmented babbling; Single handedness (including but not limited to single handed cooking, butt wiping, and carrying up to 7 grocery bags);  Wildly entertaining storytelling ability


What skills would you put on your resume?

Weekend Warriors 2: Easter Sunday in LA

Having a kid reintroduces you to all the wonder and excitement that comes with holidays, such as Easter.

Jojo hates the bunny copy

Save for the first bunny scare (she warmed up fast to all subsequent bunnies) we had a blast re-exploring our childhood and Easter customs in Los Angeles. On Saturday we braved the crowds and visited The Grove, where we waited over an hour to see the Easter Bunny (not the one pictured above). On Sunday we decided to do something on a smaller scale and visited our local Motor Avenue Farmer’s Market that goes on every Sunday. It turned out to be a neighborhood kid’s Easter wonderland without the intensely long lines equipped with a puppet show, egg hunt, and bouncy house. She caught on quickly to the whole concept of finding a glossy egg and shoveling it in your basket (taking things other kids want, an already inherent desire). We kept sneaking eggs out of her basket and putting them back down for other munchkins to find. Shhh, don’t tell her we told you that.

Jo and Dad egg hunting copy

JOandMom copy

Jo in Jump House copy

Celebrating Easter kind of made me miss the good old days when my mom used to adorn me in the foofiest dress on the market topped with a gargantuan bow and drag me to church at the crack of dawn. Dresses, scary bunnies, nice bunnies, bows, egg hunts, farmer’s markets — it’s fun to forge new and old traditions together.

The Past Week Summed Up in One Picture

I’ve been hit with a nasty, lingering bout of bronchitis. Waking up every single night for the last 2 weeks hacking for at least an hour has caused my energy reserves to deplete at an astonishing rate. I’m so exhausted, I’ve been in constant mombie mode reminiscent of those lovely newborn days. And sadly, I haven’t found the time to update this past week. This pretty much sums it up:

Jo sad face

Josephine had a little tickle in her throat too, and we were both on antibiotics. I’m ecstatic to say she’s pretty much back to her normal self. I, on the other hand, am forgetting what life without a cough was like.

Just so I don’t neglect my tiny space here on the internet, here’s a few links from some old posts in the spirit of #throwbackthursday :

The hardest part of being a SAHM

That time I drove to the store and this happened

That time Chris won us a trip to Belize on The Price is Right

All the free things you can do in Los Angeles during the summer (hint: it’s ALWAYS summer)

And in case you were wondering, yes, that is an Elsa princess dress from Disney’s Frozen. This sickness hasn’t stolen our swag. Wishing my cough away, and hoping I can get back to writing and sharing new stuff with everyone next week!