December came and whizzed past us so quickly! It was a month dotted with a lot of busy happenings and special events. It was a time filled with a lot lovely people and fond memories. While it was the busiest, it was also the most exciting time of the year! I had two birthdays in the family, traveled to two favorite places, hosted a number of special dinners at home, tried a lot of new restaurants in the metro and ate a hundred and one things from my table and from others. With all these wonderful experiences in the bag, it goes without saying that I have quite a number of favorites from December that I want to share with all of you.
So here is the roundup of TSM’s Favorite Things for the month of December :
The Birthday Cake from The Delightful Miss Joyce
Even though my birthday was in the last week of November, my celebration happily continued on until the first week of December! Last December 5th, I hosted my first Christmas lunch at home with just a few of my good friends and they surprised me with this tall and gorgeous looking birthday cake. It was made by Joyce Urieta Dizon of The Delightful Miss Joyce fame. She is widely known for her well- designed and exquisite wedding cakes that are beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. So it comes as no surprise then that her Birthday Cake is extra special made with layers of soft and fluffy chiffon cake, filled with Swiss buttercream inside and smothered all over with her homemade and fresh marshmallow frosting. This was one birthday cake that brought back a lot of happy memories from my childhood!
The Delightful Miss Joyce
0917 577 8365
A Christmas Picnic Party – DIY style
Right after my birthday, it was my little girl’s turn. Last December 1st, my little girl turned 4. Since her actual birthday was on a Monday, we decided to celebrate on the Saturday after that (December 6th), so more friends could come. She said that she wanted a picnic in the garden. And since it was the beginning of the holiday season already, I chose to combine two ideas : Christmas and Picnic — and so we ended up with A Christmas Picnic Party for her! 🙂 We had picnic tables decorated with fresh flowers in mason jars and pinecones strewn all over the place, red and white gingham ribbons and snowflakes on her cake and giveaways, Olaf the Mascot dancing to cheery, Christmas songs! It was indeed a unique combination but a very happy Christmas birthday party for her!
Most of you who have been reading the blog for sometime now know how I love throwing children’s parties. With my previous bigger parties, I asked the help of my stylist friends. But since this 4th birthday party of hers was really just a small one with 15 kids in total, I decided to try my hand in organizing and decorating it on my own, using Do It Yourself (DIY) pegs from magazines and Pinterest for my style inspirations! And what a proud moment it was to see that I can do it after all! But most importantly, what a relief to know that I can throw a nice birthday party at half the cost of professionally styled-ones!
I ordered my DIY Kit from Party Starters (yes there is such a thing — so easy and very practical!), gave them the ideas (color, design and theme) that I wanted and voila! I had nicely done and creative party supplies and materials for this Christmas Picnic Party. All in all, the party turned out to be prettier than I had ever imagined it to be. But more than that, my little girl was happy and I felt more fulfilled seeing her and her friends truly enjoy what I myself worked hard on.
Party Starters (Maan San Buenaventura)
0922 – 871-1117
Salmon Caviar Pie by Kaye Yao
December is a busy time for hosting and entertaining at home. And if there’s one thing constant in most of my dinner parties this past month, it is this Salmon Caviar Pie by Kaye Yao of Vb Kitchen. It is not like any other caviar pie because it has chunks of smoked salmon sandwiched in between the layers of her deliciously whipped cream cheese! This pie has been my favorite appetizer ever since I discovered it. It pairs well with a cold glass of bubbly that helps get the party started! The bonus part? It can be had any time of the year and looks very festive on any dinner table.
0917 – 536 – 7230
Bibingka and Puto Bumbong
Even though December was filled with many exciting desserts and sweet things going around like cakes, cheesecakes, cookies, cupcakes, chocolate bars and everything else in between, I say nothing beats going back to the traditional Filipino Christmas dessert of Bibingka and Puto Bumbong during this festive time. You can just imagine how for the whole month of December, I was deluged with boxes of cakes and other new and exciting desserts to try. I didn’t mind this of course – in fact I loved it – as I happily indulged in each one of them, which explains the weight gain sitting on my hips right now! 🙁
So for our family’s Noche Buena (Christmas Eve Dinner) at home, instead of ordering more cakes or eating the usual desserts I already have in the kitchen, I decided that for that night alone — all I am going to offer, ie. the only thing I am allowing everyone to have for dessert that night — was the Bibingka and Puto Bumbong I ordered from Via Mare. I was afraid how my family will react to this change in my usual menu, so I didn’t expect that they would all welcome and actually enjoy it!
The oldies reminisced and said it brought back a lot of happy memories to them, recalling the days when they used to have this combo after every Simbang Gabi. Meanwhile the young ones and kiddos were more than excited to try this “yellow rice cake on leaves and weird looking purple thing“! 🙂 Since everyone liked this idea, it was suggested that we do this again in the coming Noche Buenas — since as we all know by December 24th, everyone is just tired of the usual cakes and desserts that have already gone around during the Christmas season.
Entertaining at Home
As mentioned, December is my busiest time of the year, as I am sure it was for most of you. This is also the month I look forward to the most since this the time I get to see a lot of family and friends and have them over for an extended period of lunch or dinner at home. Entertaining is one of my passions and something I truly enjoy. And doing it at home gives me more freedom and flexibility to play around with different themes, styles and decors both on and around the table.
But more than the table setting and the frills surrounding it, what I really enjoy the most are the stories and laughter shared amongst family and friends, most of whom I don’t see quite often during the year. I love the bonding, the camaraderie seen throughout the meal, and the friendships that are renewed and strengthened over delicious food and good wine. These are the things that are rarely seen or captured in photos and Instagram but are definitely imprinted in our hearts and memories now.
As I write this post in the quiet of the night, I happily reminisce how the past month here at home has seen a flurry of activities. I remember how the house was constantly in a state of mess, since there was always another lunch or dinner to host the next day — all while wrapping hundreds of gifts to give away. The house was chaotic to say the least, but it was the kind of happy chaos I enjoyed, the kind that was felt and heard through endless chatter and hearty laughter.
December was surely one busy and exciting month — tiring and stressful even — but it was a month filled with good cheer and happy memories. Recalling them now warms my heart and makes me miss them all the more. December is the time of the year I wouldn’t mind having all over again…
What about you, how do you feel about your December? Share with me your favorite things from the past month here!
If you would like to go back a bit, and see what were my favorite things from November, click here.