A 9-day Cycles Giveaway!

Remember my post about Cycles Sensitive's line of insect repellents? Well, they have a whole line of other skin sensitive baby products on top of that.
(Clockwise from top-left: Head-to-toe body wash, Baby lotion, Natural Insect repellent, Non-Deet insect repellent, Diaper Cream, and Insect repellent patches

SoMoms with Cycles brand ambassador, Cheska Garcia Kramer & Gavin Kramer

Here's for the good news! Cycles Sensitive is giving away 3 gift packs containing all of the abovementioned products to 3 winners! It's so easy to join.

Log-in to the Rafflecopter widget below in order to earn raffle entries.
(1) Follow @cycles on Twitter
(2) Follow @densfan on Twitter
(3) Tweet about the giveaway
(4) Like Breakfast with Tiffany on Facebook

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to all Philippine residents and will run for 9 days from February 19 to 28. Winners will be announced on this blog during the first week of March.


Sacrificial Love

I have been sick the past week. I stayed in bed for four whole days and it was just awful most of the time. I say most of the time because I have to admit - this forced rest can be good for me sometimes. I slept for hours guilt-free and spent my waking hours watching the kids play on one side of the room, catching up on the telenovelas that i've missed and reading my Bible. But the stomach cramps and the endless throwing up was just a pain (literally and figuratively).

During those 4 days, I saw how my two little kids went out of their way to take care of me. My 5-year old diligently got me water, answered phone calls, and fetched things for me from all over the house since i can barely stand most of the time. My 2-year old is a little too small for chores but she did something that also melted my heart. If you have been reading this blog the past week, you would have read about my clingy little girl whose daily plea was to stick with me. On Day 3 of my house arrest, my daughter contacted fever. Since we knew my immune system was down, we didn't want to risk contaminating each other with whatever virus each of us had.  After waking up from her nap and discovering her high temperature, my daughter called me from her brother's room. This was how our conversation went.

Me: Hello?
Dawn: Hello, Mom?
Me: Hi Dawnie!
Dawn: Mom, i have fever so i can't go to your room.
Me: Aww...okay anak.
Dawn:  I'll just drink medicine so that i will feel better, okay?
Me: Okay
Dawn (almost in tears): I miss you, Mommy!

If you know my daughter, you will know how much of a sacrifice this was for her. When she woke up middle of that night (usually to breastfeed), i went to her bed. Then i told her i cannot feed her tonight. She just said 'Embrace only, Mommy'.  And embrace her i did. In tears.

Looking at all the things my two kids did for me during my 4-day confinement made all those days sacrificing my own enjoyment for them oh-so-worth it.  As young as they are, they understood the meaning of sacrificial love.

This made me think of a lot of Christians these days. A lot of us go through life without appreciating the sacrifice that Jesus Christ did on the cross for us. We know it happened. We know what it was for. But the level of appreciation it commands just isn't there.  I have been reading the book of Matthew the past weeks and it was just a wonderful eye opener for me. I cannot imagine how God would sacrifice His own son to die a harsh death just so people who have yet to know and love Him will be saved. Such unconditional, extravagant, sacrificial love.

Think about it. For what the Lord has done for us, how much have we been willing to sacrifice for Him? That 10 minutes of your day to read your Bible and morning devotion? That 5 minutes of prayer time before going to bed? Skipping that telenovela once a week for prayer meeting? Or even the 'humiliation' of raising our hands when we worship Him in church. Remember, the humiliation that Jesus went through for us goes way beyond just raising those hands up.

John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. That whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life"

On this day of love, i pray that our appreciation of God's sacrifice goes beyond words. May our actions reflect the gratitude in our hearts. He deserves all honor, glory and praise. Thank you, Lord. We love you!


My 5 Bag Essentials

Have you seen that mini Chanel purse or that neon MK Selma bag that's all the rave these days? I have been on the search for the best small bag since last year and was forced to downsize the contents of my bag in order to go with the trend.  So I went through my stuff and identified 5 essentials that must fit inside the bag before i declare it a winner. 

1. Wallet
Even though i rarely bring a lot of cash with me, my wallet is still an essential item in my bag. It's important that i have my Driver's License, credit card and ID inside at all times.
2. iPhone
Smart phones are called such because they're not just for calling or texting anymore. I use my iPhone to read e-books, connect with friends over social media or entertain the kids on days when i'd like to eat in peace.

3. Tissue
Don't you just hate it when you wash your hands only to find out that there's no tissue in sight? So you try to wipe them over your jeans or wave them in the air [like you just don't care]. I always bring a pack of tissue (or two) since my kids need to frequently wash their hands when we're out in the malls. You never know where those little hands have been.
4. Mints
Mints will be your breathsaver after that large order of onion rings or garlic-ridden Aglio Olio pasta. If you're not a fan of onions and garlic, you can always offer them to the friend who is. As they say, when someone offers you mints, do not refuse.

My favorite mint of the moment is RioMints. I like that it's very compact and fits well into my mini bags. I also like that it's sweet at first before it gets really really minty and does not leave any after taste.
5. Mini brush
I honestly seldom brush my hair since it's naturally wavy. Brushing will just make it more buhaghag. But i still carry a little brush in case my hair gets really unruly and i need to tie it back into a bun or just brush it away from my face. 

I use the one from The Body Shop which is also perfect for fixing my little girls' hair.

What about you? What are your top 5 bag essentials?


There is No Compromise

I want to start this post by telling you two true stories.

Story 1: The mom had two little girls. One was four and the other was 3. One day, the 3-year old came home from school with a fever. The parents treated her with the usual care until she got well and went back to school. A few days later, their 4-year old daughter came home from school with a fever too! Immediately assuming that she was just infected by the same virus as her sister, the parents were not initially alarmed. But days and nights passed and the fever did not subside. They brought her to the hospital for tests only to find out it was Dengue. Unfortunately, they were already too late. They lost their little girl.

Story 2: She was a tough woman that was highly respected in the corporate world. She was smart and organized and did things systematically. On top of her blossoming career, she was also a mom to a little boy. She was well aware of the dangers of Dengue so she took no chances. She asked the yaya to diligently put insect repellent on her little boy several times a everyday. Years later, the boy developed some blood disorder. After some tests, they discovered DEET in his blood. He had such an increased level of DEET toxicity in his blood from overuse of insect repellent as a child. The boy did not survive.

Stories like the ones above can scare any mom. The first story probably made you want to run to the nearest grocery store and purchase all the insect repellents available. But the second story probably stopped you in your tracks and made you more selective in your purchase.

All of us are so afraid of Dengue.  With all the horror stories out there, we have every right to be.  Two weeks ago, i was invited to a launch of Cycles Sensitive where they invited Dra. Donna Marie Leelin-Sarrosa, who is one of the few Pediatric Dermatologists in the country, to give a talk. Among other things, i learned that not all insect repellents are created equal.
In the past, I used to think that Citronella Oil is my best mosquito-fighting option. This can still be true but i realized that with the above information, I have not been protecting my kids enough! Unless you know that they will only be exposed to mosquitoes for 20 to 30 minutes, that Citronella Oil might just not make the cut.  Products with DEET will obviously win in the duration factor but after hearing about the dangers of frequent usage of DEET, i am honestly quite averse to using them on my kids. Leamon Eucalyptus Oil is not a bad option with 2 to 5 hours coverage but Picaridin wins with 6 to 8 hours of protection!

I did my own research on Picaridin and found that it's a synthetic compound developed from a plant extract from the genus Piper, the same plant genus that produces table pepper.  If you're still concerned about it's absorption, it is comforting to know that only 6% of the Picaridin applied to the skin is absorbed. It is also easily broken down by our bodies and any amount absorbed will be excreted through urine within the same day.

The good news is that Cycles Sensitive has a line of Insect Repellents that are safe yet effective for the whole family!
Cheska Garcia Kramer as Cycles' endorser with her baby Gavin
Cycles Sensitive Natural Insect Repellent (can be used from birth up) and Non-Deet Insect Repellent (for babies 6 months and up)

For protection of the face, you can just put a patch near the collar area
5 Things you need to know about insect repellents:
1. Do not apply on the face directly
2. Do not saturate the skin
3. Apply only to exposed skin and clothing
4. Frequent reapplication is rarely necessary (see above chart for duration)
5. Do not leave insect repellents overnight

Cycles is available in most leading department stores and supermarket chains. Check out the link below for the complete listing - http://www.cycles-sensitive.com/index.php/wheretobuy

Okay, now that we're armed with the right information, it's time to run to the nearest store and purchase our own Cycles Sensitive Insect Repellents. Ready? Get set! Go!

Cycles Baby
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cyclesbaby
Twitter: @Cyclesbaby
Website: www.cycles-sensitive.com 

Ongoing CYCLES GIVEAWAY happening at http://densandfan.blogspot.com/2014/02/a-9-day-cycles-giveaway.html 


The Day I Became a Person and a Half

It was around six in the morning when the nurses came and wheeled me to the operating room. After waiting for over 38 weeks, I was very excited to meet my little girl...and, quite frankly, also looking forward to relieving myself from the weight that has been causing me sleepless nights and lower back pains. After a little over an hour, our beautiful baby girl was born. 72 hours later, i felt pregnant again.

Being our second baby (technically 3rd but that's another story), we felt like seasoned parents. We knew how to fix our breastfeeding schedule and prepare ourselves for the midnight shifts. But my daughter was different from her brother somehow. She was so attached to me (and no one else) like a stick to a glue.  When she cries in the middle of the night, she only wanted me to carry her. When i let her co-sleep with us on the bed, she'd prefer to sleep on my tummy instead. When we're out, she'd cuddle inside the sling 99% of the time. It was, in a way, easier for me since she was quick to pacify. The only problem was, the only effective pacifier was me.

Almost three years later, nothing has changed. Last December we had a 2-week vacation abroad and my daughter only wanted me to give her a bath, feed her, brush her teeth, carry her [sling or no sling], and even push her stroller.  That's right, push her stroller!  She'll check the back every now and then to make sure no one else has 'taken over' the stroller. I must admit feeling so loved and needed by your child is awesome in a lot of ways. But during those times when i just wanted to rest, it can get pretty stressful and literally back-breaking. Like i said, with the sleepless nights and backaches, it didn't feel too different from being pregnant.

I remember trying to shop in H&M with Dawn. I didn't want to let her walk around (and have to run after her) so i carried her most of the time.  There was an ongoing sale so the crowd was tight and the lines were long.  It was challenging to say the least.  So one afternoon, Dens decided i needed a break.  He took Dawn from me - amidst the tears and all (Dawn, not me) - so that i can go shopping for an hour with my sister. We excitedly ran to the nearest H&M to continue our shopping - leisurely this time. When i got there, the excitement started to fade away. I saw the clothes that i tried on when Dawn was with me and remembered how excited she looked when she said 'Mom, you look like a princess!' Then i saw the little hair accessories that Dawn diligently collected the first time we were there. She said some of those were for her and some were for me. Suddenly, my afternoon of leisure shopping wasn't as fun as i thought.  It truly felt like giving birth. Once the baby is out, you somehow feel like a part of you is now missing.

This made me realize to enjoy the present. Being a mom will surely limit my shopping habits once in a while. I may not be able to shop to my heart's content in factory outlets anymore. I may need to say goodbye to a  restful 8-hour sleep until they're all grown up. I may not always get to enjoy my meals as I make sure the little toddler is eating enough. But that's all right. The perks of being a mom far outweighs the challenges. The smiles you get each time you open your eyes in the morning. The embraces at night before you sleep. And the 'i love you's' that they so sincerely say.

I wonder how long my daughter will be this attached to me. But i will stop analyzing how to 'detach' her anymore. I will embrace this moment for as long as i can. Because not too long from now, she will have her own life...her own schedule...and she may not need me as much as she does now. And i will look back to this day with fondness and a deep sense of longing. Hoping that time did not have to move so fast.


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