Dec 28, 2013

Finding Baby Steelers Clothing Online

I came across this baby photo of Simon while I was looking for a photo of Sam wearing a body suit that was given to him by his godfather when a few Christmases back. His godfather or 'ninong', as we call them in Tagalog gave him three types of bodysuits, a baseball fan bodysuit, a football-themed bodysuit and soccer-themed bodysuit. The baseball-themed bodysuit is the one Simon's wearing above. He got it as a hand-me-down from Sam. It was still in good quality. We lost the cap however. 

Anyway, this Ninong was a former boss who's really dear to me, because he's a kind and generous soul and had helped me a lot so many times at work. He reminds me of my father, actually, in his passion for life and work and in his love for wife and family. I think he's based in the US now and I know that he has a baby boy who is as adorable as my Simon. I don't know if he lives in Pittsburgh, I have to check again on his Facebook. But if he does live in Pittsburgh and if he's a Steelers fan, I'm sure he would have checked on http://www.babyfans.com/baby-steelers.aspx by now to order Steeler baby clothing, because I know he's a football fan. Finding Steelers bodysuits, bibs, and other infant gears and clothing is so easy at BabyFans.com. They have good quality clothing and durable materials that can withstand time and wash, and  can be handed down to future siblings, just like I did with ours in the photo above. 

I love receiving gifts of any kind. Baby and boys clothing are certainly much appreciated. I have three boys so they usually are handed down from one boy to other, especially the good quality ones. Sometimes, we even manage to donate them to the survivors of typhoons and such because they still look brand new. Baby clothes and kids clothing I think are perfect gifts.

Our Trip to See The Lights and Sounds Show

Finally, this year, I was able to watch the Ayala Triangle Lights and Sounds Show. The whole family, including our Mama Tess, trooped to Ayala Avenue two days ago to watch it. 

    
My mission
My mission in going to the Lights and Sounds Show is not to only to see the enchanting lights. I also wanted the kids, especially Sam and Simon, to experience how it is to ride the MRT (Metro Rail Transit). I also wanted to them to see the Makati Business District with its towering buildings and structures. 

How we got there
The Ayala Triangle where the show is being held every 30 minutes from 6PM to 9PM is located in Makati, which means it's a long way off from our place in Las Pinas. For a family who doesn't travel much, this is an ordeal, especially when the kids refuse to take a taxi (they get nauseated) or bus. And it's either we take our own vehicle (which we don't have, haha) or we take a jeep, then the MRT. Fortunately, the MRT is on the mission list. 

We thought it would not be jampacked on the MRT, being it the 26th already, but we were wrong. The kids almost got squished when we were trying to board at the Taft Station, and hubby and I decided we'll take the taxi instead, despite the protests of the children. We couldn't find any taxi because we're on the other side, the side going to the Mall of Asia. Simon wanted to go home. We went inside the nearby KFC to think what to do (should we continue going to Ayala and go to MOA instead?) and eat. After eating, Simon was in high spirits again and up to anything, thank goodness. 
  • We were able to board the MRT effortlessly on our second try, after our meal at KFC. There were not so many passengers anymore. - MRT ride, mission accomplished, CHECK!
We walked from MRT Ayala Station to Ayala Triangle. The kids are okay with this, since we went through four malls (SM, Glorietta, Landmark and pass by Greenbelt's walkway too) and there were lots of things to see. Still, it's a long walk and Basti complained after the show that his feet were tired.

It was raining and the show almost got cancelled!
We got off the walkway and it was raining. And with heavy heart, I said to myself, OMG this better be worth it. When we got there finally, there were already many people waiting, anticipating. Then it was announced the show is postponed for that hour until the weather clears up. I refused to go home and we waited for awhile. Fortunately, when the rain stopped, the show resumed. People clapped and cheered when it was announced the show would resume.

While waiting, I pointed to Sam the tall buildings surrounding Ayala Triangle. He's so happy to see them and he has so many questions, some of them I couldn't even answer. 
  • Mission number two, Tall buildings and skycrapers, Accomplished, CHECK!
It was worth it
When the show started, everyone were like children again. The Christmas spirit was there. For a few minutes, everyone was either smiling, silent and taking it all in, or dancing like Simon. Simon was dancing freestyle the whole time and soon afterwards. 




Sam was speechless while Simon danced to the music.

 
How did I know it was worth it?
 I asked the kids. After all the travel time, getting almost squished at the MRT, having a hard time finding a taxi, trying at the MRT for the second time, walking from MRT to MSE, and having the show almost cancelled and not to mention the same route back home, you'd think that they wouldn't want to go again next year. But they do! They want to go again next year. They were still excited even after we got home which was almost midnight. We slept at 2AM, with the kids still talking about it!  We were dead tired and woke up very late the next day. I think more than anything, it's the adventure that they loved. We got a pure family bonding experience that day. I am so proud of my kids for being on their best behavior and for just being kids enjoying the moment.

We would definitely do this again, next year, but on a more leisurely pace. We'd hang out at the mall first and then go to the show afterwards and hang out there. The earlier the better, I'd say. We were able to witness the show inside the garden, and outside the garden (from the entrance of the Makati Stock Exchange). You get to see a bigger, clearer picture of the show and appreciate the lights and sounds more as a whole when you're outside the garden. But beneath the lights and the trees, up close, the lights are more spectacular.

Ayala Triangle Gardens Lights & Sounds Show Schedule:
Nov. 20 - Dec. 31, Ayala Triangle Gardens, Ayala Triangle, Makati City every 30 minutes from 6:00 to 9:00 PM (we entered through the Makati Stock Exchange building)

Dec 25, 2013

Christmas Party 2013


Simon and Sam had their Christmas party last December 21st. Parents were also invited. I enjoyed this year's Christmas party more than last year's. I guess the kids felt the same way, too. The party was held inside the school premises, unlike last year when it was held in the subdivision's community hall to accommodate everyone. This year only the kids and a handful of parents attended. Holding the Christmas party inside the school, I think, is better because the kids were in their own environment and were more relaxed when performing their song and dance numbers.

Sam and Simon both actively participated in the games and even won the stop dance contest. My boys are competitive, I can see that. The kids were given prizes just for participating even if they did not win and that is good. Everyone went home happy.  The teachers bought the kids' gifts based on their wish list and but the money came from the parents. It's a good system because I did not get stressed at all over the kids' gifts. The parents were only ask to bring a gift for another parent, which is also not hard to do anyway.

I love the kids' school. The teachers are always thinking of ways to save the parents money and time. The school is not like other schools where you have to buy everything and spend for every project. I was recommending this school to my neighbor who has a one-and-a-half year old child, but her grandson is too young to go to preschool. She's looking for a play school which could accommodate babies her grandson's age just like that of Bullfrogs and Butterflies Childcare in the US. It's very hard to find that kind of school here. Although, there are some all over the country, there's none in our area. 

Anyway, back to the Christmas party, my kids went home with their stomach full, their spirits high and their bags full of goodies and toys. I let them play till they couldn't keep their eyes open anymore that night, because I can see that they were so happy with their new toys. It's really a joy to see kids so happy and merry at this time of the year.

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you love and joy this holiday season. From our family to yours, merry Christmas! 


Dec 22, 2013

Musical Shakers Made of Bottle Caps

My kids used these musical shakers during their Christmas party program. Seeing these every day brings me back to my childhood days when I used to go out with friends for Christmas carols. Do you remember this musical instrument, made only of soft drinks bottle caps and wire? How long ago was it since you've used one? 


Have you made one recently or do you just buy the ready-made musical instruments from the store? Christmas carolers are innovative these days. Yesterday, a group brought a sound system and played the CD instead and sang along with it. I'm sure the local band would be visiting on Christmas eve with their big and recently-bought  exceptional gator drums at Musicians Friend. They do that every year. So glad though that some children still used shakers like the one above. It's great also that my kids' teachers asked their students to make something like this. It's something they can use even after the Christmas party program.  

Dec 21, 2013

Shopping for Boys' Clothes

baby's clothes, not in Baclaran though
I went to Baclaran the other day to  buy a t-shirt for my eldest and a little bit of this and that for gifts. It didn't take me long to find what I'm looking for, since I know the area quite well and hubby tagged along before he went to work and already know where and what to look for. We found the perfect t-shirt for Basti in no time, hubby went to work via the Metro Rail Transit and I went on my way, window shopping (if you can call it that in a very crowded place such as Baclaran) as I made my way back to the jeepney stop. At this time of the year, there's no easy way in and out of Baclaran. There's too many people and there's too many things going on.

As I go from shop to shop, among the many stalls of the crowded place, I can't help thinking that I wish I have a girl and at the same time saying to myself, moms of boys have it easy when choosing clothes for their sons. The baby dresses are so cute that one will have a hard time deciding which one to get! Cuteness overload indeed! I found a store that sell Hello Kitty stuff and I was like in pink heaven, hehe. 

Some Gift-giving Tips
 Most boys would want toys. They wouldn't say, I want clothes. But they'd be happy with clothes also if  you find out what kids' interests are at the moment first before buying for them. When my boys were so fascinated with Angry Birds, someone gifted them with Angyr Birds t-shirts and they were so ecstatic about it! When the Plants versus Zombies was a craze, they wanted that, too! So whatever their passion is at the moment, they'd be proud to wear them. You'll be sure to get a beaming  face or toothless grin come Christmas opening presents time.

If they're still babies and can't decide yet for themselves and are not yet affected by such games and stuff, find out what the parents are into. Giving something like Yankees baby clothes to the baby of a New York Yankees fan would really make the day of the parents. Besides babies in baseball attire are always cute. Maybe the whole family can wear baseball uniform while watching the game.

Shopping in Baclaran (and malls) versus online
Of course, prices in Baclaran are way lower than the prices in the mall or anywhere else here in Manila, maybe except Divisoria. But it's a place I wouldn't want to be in at this time of the year. If I'm not super strict on my budget, I'd rather shop online at this time of the year. If you're an online worker like me who works by the hour, you would rather spend that hour at the comfort of your home and have the items delivered at your  doorsteps. For one, the traffic going to and from Baclaran is not a joke. The amount of time you go from shop to shop is lengthened because of too many people blocking your path. When you get home, you're super tired and can't get to work anymore. But I am on a strict budget and I had time to spare, plus the item that I want can only be found on that store, so off to Baclaran I went, hehe. For everyone else who are on a looser budget and who doesn't have the time, buying online is the way to shop.

But the best way to save, money-wise and time-wise, is to shop early and to buy in bulk. :)

*photo credit:  Image courtesy of Supertrooper/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Gift Ideas: Pens From Nikki Prints

I bought these cute personalized pens from Nikki Prints a month ago. We are giving them to special people in my kids' lives and hubby's friends, too. I love the orange ones the most. 

Pens from Nikki Prints

These are great gift ideas, I think. They also have personalized tags, notepads, and personalized planners.
If you wish to order you can check out Nikki Prints Online.
I know it's too late to order for Christmas but maybe next year, like Valentines Day, you may consider Nikki Print for gifts. I'm a happy customer.  

Dec 18, 2013

December 28th Weddings

My brother who is a photographer said that there are many couples tying the knot on December 28th. He and his team are fully booked that day. I wonder why there's so many couples who chose this date. I've read in a Feng Shui website that December 28th is generally an auspicious date for weddings. Maybe that is the reason why. One of my brother's friend it's because it's Los Inocentes Day celebrated much like April Fool's Day, and that there are many wedding ceremonies happening during that day, too. Whatever the reason is, I wish all the couples a blessed and happy marriage. I am looking forward to seeing my brother's albums on weddings on December 28th. Boasting aside, he takes really good photos. I like his perspectives on wedding rings, any kind, whether it's mens platinum wedding bands or the regular gold wedding rings. You can check out his work at weddingprojectsdotcom. 

Dec 17, 2013

Christmas Tree #4: At the Barangay Hall

There's this Christmas tree which we pass by every time we go to our mother-in-law's house. It's made of twigs. It's so beautiful  especially during the night when all of the white lights are lit up.

 

Up close. 
 

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Dec 13, 2013

Steps to Finding a Wonderful Chemistry Tutor for Your Child

Finding a good chemistry tutor is the key to your kid's good chemistry grades. Chemistry should not be taken as a subject that is only essential at the high school level. The chemistry grades your child brings home can decide whether your kid gets admitted to his college of choice or not. Solid chemistry theories help throughout life. Therefore your child needs to have a strong foundation in chemistry when it comes to his high school science subject. This is why you need help quickly before your kid falls way behind the class and never recovers. 

Many frustrated parents solve this problem by attending a good Chemistry tuition. However, each and every family has unique needs, and tutors have many degrees of experience and kindness. So it is vital to know what you want, then carefully investigate the skill, experience, commitment and personality of the Chemistry tutor.

Get to know your goals

Ask yourself or your kid’s Chemistry teacher the level of help you need. Get to know if the child needs help with the homework, intensive remediation or something in between. Identify whether your child needs to improve on the scores, study skills or even motivation. 

Try and understand your child’s learning styles. Does you kid learn better by listening, touching, moving or reading? Does he get along better with men or women? Does he need a lot of nurturing? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself. Additionally, you should have an idea of the amount of money you are willing to devote for the tuition.

Try and know your options

Call your kid’s school counselor or Chemistry teacher and share your concern. Good chancellors will have met with your kid and will have files on the kid’s progress in Chemistry throughout his school career, his scores on regular tests, and notes on possible personality issues. Majority of schools have a list of registered tutors on file in the counseling office. It is frequently in the form of resumes or fliers. These are mostly posted in a book for parents to look over before making a choice. 

Test Your Options

Carefully check the credentials on the potential chemistry tutors. Ask questions to see how well their skills match your kid’s needs. A chemistry tutor should have at least a college minor in Chemistry. A different education is necessary to teach first-grade reading. Look for a Chemistry tutor who has worked with students who have similar abilities and are of the same age as your child.

Meet a number of the candidates, with your child of course and ask them a couple of questions about their experience in Combined Chemistry Physics tuition or any other Chemistry related course. Find out whether the tutor will use school reports, standardized tests or other forms of assessment to discover your kid's strengths and weaknesses. A skilled tutor will do more than just answer questions and do problems with students. 

Partner up with the tutor for great results

Watch how your kid relates to the Chemistry tutor and join them sometimes, if possible. Remember that your kid must be comfortable if you want to see positive results. Monitor your child’s progress and see if his Chemistry grade gradually improves. If, after a number of sessions, you do not see any development or you feel a negative attitude in your kid, try and get another tutor.

Finding and keeping a great Chemistry tutor involves some work on your part. Whether you need him basically for chemistry tuition, Combined Chemistry Physics or any other subject, you need to do all you can to get the best tutor for your child. After all, your child is worth all the help you can provide. 

Lauren Wong is one of the tutors at The Educationist - Singpore's premier tuition centre. With years of experience and the highest and most relevant qualifications in engineering subjects like Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics, she was able to help hundreds of students improve from F9 to A1. The Educationist, after more than a decade of success in helping F9 students achieve "A1"s in Chemistry, Physics, A.Maths and E.Maths, is so confident of their unique and effective teaching techniques that they are offering all new students a FREE trial lesson! 

Visit Lauren at www.theeducationist.sg or call her at 81-888-009 for more details and to sign up for a free consultation.

Dec 12, 2013

A Typical Date With Sam


This post is linked to Kids in Doodles! 

A typical 'date' with Sam always starts or ends up in the health clinic at the third floor of SM. Don't worry, nothing bad happens during our dates. It's just that the health clinic is actually the destination and the visit to the doctor is the main purpose of these dates. Of course, in order to motivate the little boy to come with me to the clinic, I tell him we're going to go on a date. He's always at SM almost every weekend with his Papa  and brothers or his aunts and uncles and cousins, but it's not often that he's at SM alone with me. There's always something special about a date, don't you think? I enjoy this alone time with Sam, but I wish we don't have to go to the clinic often. We've been going a lot lately in the past couple of months, with him always getting sick due to coughs and cold. People tell me it's the season. I don't know, I really hope it is. 

Anyway, a typical date involves (after visiting the doctor at the clinic) checking out the toy stores. Sometimes, we buy, but only the cheap ones. Sometimes, we don't. Sam understands there are some things that he cannot buy. He loves to pose for the camera though and take shots of things he want and he'll show it to his brothers when he gets home. 

Sam in one our dates at the SM Toy Express stall
Next, we'll check out the usual stuff in the mall -- the music store, that black round thing (I don't know what it is called) where you drop the coins and you try to grab them before it spirals down the drain; and of course, the places where kids play.

Things to check out 
On our latest 'date', the Christmas tree is all lit up and of course, he wants to take a picture of that. :D

Christmas tree at SM
And as always, a date would not be complete without passing by Jollibee. Sam loves the spaghetti there. He's already happy with only spaghetti and french fries, the soda, and the sundaes are all bonuses. 

Jollibee is Love 
Sam is really enjoyable to be with. And I don't have to spend a lot. The only thing he asks for on this date is Jollibee spaghetti, hehe. I just needed to entertain him a lot by pointing out interesting things to him, and from this he learns a lot of things and ask questions about them even days after. I know he enjoys this alone time with me, too.  

How about you, what's your typical date with your child like? 

Dec 11, 2013

Eyeglasses For My Mom

Image courtesy of ponsulak/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net  
A few months ago, I won a code for a nice pair of eyeglasses and I was really excited to use it. I was thinking of giving it to a friend or using to buy for mom's eyeglasses, even if I have to pay the international shipping fee. I asked my mother about her prescription glasses and she texted me the numbers she saw on the receipt. We were both confused at first because the information is not as detailed as the information given to patients in the US. I did a lot of research based on the limited information she sent me through text and customized the features (if you could call it that) of the eyeglasses I want for her, and saved it to my cart. I said I'll let it rest for a few days because I didn't know if I already have the correct specifications that would suit her. Also, I began to question if it would cost the same if I just buy the glasses here, locally, or pay the international shipping fee. And then, so many things had happened in the last couple of months, and I forgot about it. When I remembered about the coupon, I then decided that I'll just use the coupon to buy an UV-protected non-prescription glasses for a friend's daughter in the US  and have it sent to her since I'm not sure about my mom's prescription. My brother also mentioned that she'd get my mom a new pair of eyeglasses, so I'd let him, lol. I decided it would be a surprise. But when I  came back, I saw that the coupon had expired. Boohooo! 

Now, I'm checking online for eyeglasses again so I can send my techie brother some suggestions on styles. My mom already has eyeglasses, but they're old, and we want something different for her. I chanced upon eyeglasses.com and checked out their site. The site is fairly easy to navigate with categories such Woman, Man, and Kids, and Prescription glasses. The site has very simple how-to-order instructions. And one thing I notice is that their eyeglasses have a lower price compared to other sites. I'm going to give the link of this site to my brother and the other site where I won the coupon so he'll be the one to do the ordering (if and when he decides to order online). My brother has an online store and is used to this kind of transactions. I'm sure he'll get the best for my mom. 

Dec 7, 2013

Christmas Tree Number 3: At SM City Sucat

I have posted about simple and recycled Christmas trees in my previous post. Now, let me give you a glimpse of the Christmas tree in our nearest hangout place, SM City in Sucat. This one looks very festive, indeed.


And since I have started this already, I am going to post pictures of Christmas trees every now and then, to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in this blog. I have this inspiration from a blog post I read and I forgot whose it is, but it's a pretty neat idea, so why not? 

Dec 4, 2013

Thinking of a Fruitful Career? Consider Taking O level Chemistry Tuition

Many are the times that a student thinks that chemistry tuition is only helpful in some certain fields and irrelevant in other areas. This reasoning makes the student either drop, or put less effort in the subject. Matter of fact is that chemistry applies in basically all career fields. It may be applied directly or indirectly. Anyone thinking of prospering in life may need to put more effort in the subject in high school or at O levels. Fields where chemistry is applied contrary to popular belief are as follows:

1. Construction Industry

A common fallacy is that builders or bricklayers require little or no chemistry knowledge. Unfortunately, this is not actually true. A builder needs to know how wet concrete will cure depending on the salinity of the water used. He also needs to know how the carbon or iron content will affect the strength of metal bars or rebar. These decisions are not purely physical, but also chemical. Lack of good chemistry skills may affect the structural integrity of the building.

2. Auto mechanic

When thinking of an auto specialist or mechanic, one may think of ability to diagnose engines, repair damaged cars, and carrying out regular service. All these do not require any chemistry tuition right? Well, this is not the case. The mechanic needs to know how the salt content will react to car paint; he also needs to know the chemical properties of the engine oil and how well it will protect the engines internals.

3. Woodworker or Carpenter

A carpenter definitely needs to have good woodworking skills. But he also needs to have understanding of chemistry. Different types of wood react to the humidity in the air differently. For instance, teak wood will turn grayish when exposed to the atmosphere for a long time. High quality sapwood from teak initially is light yellow, but may change to tan or brown with age. The varnish or lacquer applied on finished wood products may affect the durability of wood products. In order to produce high quality products, a joiner or wood specialist needs to have knowledge in chemistry.

4. Forensic Auditor

Auditing is about confirming that the entries in the accounting books are in order. This will not only require good knowledge in maths, accounting, and statistics, but also chemistry. An auditor may at times be required to confirm records that date back many decades. O level chemistry tuition will help the auditor understand whether a paper record is authentic or not. Aged paper will turn yellowish due to oxidation. Various types of inks also react differently to the atmosphere and also on the type of paper written on.

Gone are the days when O level Chemistry Tuition was viewed as a career specific subject. In today’s world, chemistry is finding its way in many careers as professions become more dynamic and versatile. This is making more people advance their education in other fields unrelated to their current profession. For instance, a banker may become a forensic auditor; a nurse may work as a laboratory specialist, or a chemistry teacher working as a lab assistant. A student who puts more effort on chemistry tuition stands a better chance of having a more fruitful future.

About the author:

Lauren Wong is one of the tutors at The Educationist - Singpore's premier tuition centre. With years of experience and the highest and most relevant qualifications in engineering subjects like Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics, she was able to help hundreds of students improve from F9 to A1. The Educationist, after more than a decade of success in helping F9 students achieve "A1"s in Chemistry, Physics, A.Maths and E.Maths, is so confident of their unique and effective teaching techniques that they are offering all new students a FREE trial lesson!

Visit Lauren at www.theeducationist.sg or call her at 81-888-009 for more details and to sign up for a free consultation.

Dec 2, 2013

Nameless and Photoless ID

There's definitely going to be changes in our lives in the next few months. My hubby had decided to resign from work. He had thought carefully about this, and I support him in his decision. I'd rather not go into details but I think it would be good for him to make that change. He would be surrendering his ID in the second week of January. It would be the last time I'll be seeing that nameless and photo-less ID and it will be the last time he's going to swipe it on their id scanner. A nameless and photoless ID means that security is really tight in this company, being one of the biggest companies in the world. My husband loves his company but he needed to make that move. There will tough times ahead for sure. But with God's grace and with my husband working hard to get us back on track again, we will overcome. 

*Image courtesy of sixninepixels/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net  

Origami Book

I found this Origami book at the National Bookstore at SM City Sucat. Sam had been asking me if we can do some origami and finding this book is just perfect timing. And it only cost 59 pesos (roughly $1.50).


It has detailed easy-to-follow instructions inside, papers to fold and stickers. I love that it has the stickers and the kid love the stickers, too.


The kids got to work and they eventually came up with these after a few minutes. The yellow one is a fox and the second one is a rooster. Simon put all of those circular stickers in there.


If you're looking for a gift for kids, I recommend this origami book. It's very inexpensive, instructions are easy to follow, have papers in it already, and it has stickers too. It's a complete set. The whole family can enjoy making origami with this set. 

Dec 1, 2013

Checking Out The Music Store


Every time we go to the mall near our place, we always drop by the music store. It's just in the first floor and near the elevators so we couldn't miss it. The kids always wander around the store and look at the different musical instruments on sale. The last time I and Sam went to the mall for a checkup at the private clinic at the third floor of the mall, we again drop by the music store. I was looking for a guitar that Basti and I saw online, the gibson es 175 at guitar center, (to see if it really looks as good as it looked online) but they don't have it in that store. Anyway, Sam was very happy to see the newest addition to their inventory, a blue drum and the violin. Sam is beginning to show interest in music, too. He's always singing aloud at home and his favorite game online nowadays is SCGMD 4.

Nov 30, 2013

Simple and Recycled Christmas Trees

This is the Christmas tree that's on the lobby of the Santo Tomas Municipaly Hall in the province of Batangas (Southern Luzon, Philippines). My husband and I went there a few days ago to pay our real estate property tax in person and to see if there's any development in the subdivision where the lot is. Anyway, back to the Christmas tree, I love this Christmas tree for its simplicity. I'm sure the municipal government did not spend a big budget on this and I applaud them for that. Nevertheless, even without the usual blings and glitters and colors, this Christmas tree looks very welcoming and warm, like the people we met and assisted us in the town hall.


And speaking of budget-friendly Christmas trees, the one above is a special Christmas tree that is made of recycled materials -- directory pages, syringes, empty medicine container and many other medical supplies. I found this last year at the Urology Center of the Philippines when I had my ESWL (Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) using sound waves to break a kidney stone into small pieces). It looks better when you see it in person. :)

Have you set up your Christmas tree yet? Leave your links on the comment section and let me visit over and see! Have a great weekend everyone!

Orange You Glad It's Friday

Nov 29, 2013

Tape Echo

I'm learning a lot from my nephew when it comes to musical instruments. It seems that music is such  a complicated thing. There are more to it than strumming guitars or beating on those drums. There are such things as amplifiers,compressors, sustainers and things like delays, echoes and reverbs. My nephew is checking on tape echo. He said that musicians use this for looping, echoing and other things I can't understand anymore (nosebleed). Found some images of fulltone tube tape echo at musicians friend but I guess I wouldn't really know what it does until I've seen it in action. I heard that many musicians are using this and are in demand. I am glad I am learning about these things. At least I would have something to share with my son who has his own guitar.

Nov 27, 2013

Flags Of Nations

 

The flags of nations. My boys and their classmates made them in the last week of October as a way to celebrate United Nations Day. Instead of having a United Nations Day program starting with a parade like other schools do, they just had a few activities lined up to celebrate UN Day, one of them was making paper flags. 

At first, I found these flags cute. But Typhoon Haiyan struck and these flags became much much more than cute. These photos became much more meaningful in my eyes and I saw what the words 'United Nations' really mean. Ever since I was a kid, we'd been celebrating it and we know what it means, but this month, with the outpouring of love and support from many countries, I saw the essence of  unity, in action. There was one goal, and that goal is to help, to share, to uplift people from the dreadful situation that they are in. Now, I cannot look at these flags anymore without being teary-eyed and thankful, thankful for all the nations that gave a helping hand, thankful for the spirit of kindness and selflessness. And my belief that there is still good in mankind and all is not lost has been reaffirmed. 

Nov 23, 2013

Leave No Child Inside

I first heard of the Leave No Child Inside Movement while listening to Dr. Mike's PediaCAST, a pediatric podcast for parents. If you haven't checked out the podcast yet, be sure to Google it and listen to topics that are close to hearts of parents, explained by a doctor in a way that you will surely understand. 

Anyway, the Leave No Child Inside Movement episode aims to get children outdoors and get them connected with nature. Instead of sitting in front of the computer everyday (estimated at 7.5 hours every day) , children need to unplug and get at least an hour each day outside in free play and outdoor learning. According to one of the guests, Dr. James McDonald (sports medicine specialist at Nationwide Children's Hospital), the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends an hour of moderate or vigorous activity for all kids everyday. The Leave No Child Inside movement aims to spread the word about the importance and health benefits of letting kids play outside for at least an hour every day. 

I love the idea behind the Leave No Child Inside Movement. And when I listened to this podcast, I began to be more conscious of how much time the kids are spending outdoors. Not that I'm able to send them outside everyday, but I'm getting there. There's a conscious effort now on my part to walk with them around the small subdivision we live in and point out things to them. 

Trips to nature parks and participating in nature camps are ideal, and creation of playscapes are recommended. But for me, since we don't have anything here in the subdivision, just a playground would do. It would be great to have that  within our subdivision. When I was a kid, we were at the playground every day after school. And of course, a safe playground is what we need, so if the homeowner association would try to build one, I would ask the HOA president to check out swing set hardware at SwingforSwingSet.com so she'll have an idea of what she'll need. 

If you want to learn more about the Leave No Child Inside Movement, listen to Dr. Mike's PediaCAST Episode 254 and check out the Show Notes to be redirected to their site. 

Nov 20, 2013

Definitely Musically Inclined

photo not mine, credits to the owner 
I've been blogging about my nephew, the band member/guitarist, here for sometime now. I am happy to know, seeing from his Facebook wall, that he is still very much into music. In fact, what you see above is his profile cover right now, Minion Slash. (This is a kiddie blog, so just ignore the cigarette, please)  I see all kinds of music instruments on his wall, links of reviews of the latest guitars, drums and even microphones like that of  heil pr40 review. There are also many posts about ongoing sale of musical instruments and fun times with band members and photos of gigs. I hope my nephew will be a popular guitarist someday. That'd be something I'll look forward to. I am a proud aunt. 

Project Hygiene Kit for Typhoon Haiyan Survivors

The devastation caused by the typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) has affected not only a few cities and houses in the Philippines but the majority of the Visayas region where the death counts has now reached thousands and number of families affected now millions.

A conscious effort is now being undertaken by the Davao Bloggers Society and Filipino Bloggers Forum to join the relief operations by raising a total of P100,000.00 to finance and produce 1,000 hygiene packs for the victims. Each kit costing to PHP100 or USD2.50 will contain toiletries and other essential goods for a week's use of one person. Hygiene kits were chosen to be donated as this is something that is not yet prioritized by many donors.

 photo HygieneKit2_zps351ce325.jpg

Each kit will contain the following:

For MALES – Total Cost: PhP95.60

•60g Soap
•Weekly pack Shampoo – 8 sachets x 4 mL each
•3 packs of 30 g Toothpaste
•Toothbrush
•40 Pulls Pop Up Tissue
•10 g Cotton
•75 mL Alcohol
•2 x 3 mL Deolotion
•12 mL Insect repellant
•Resealable Zip Bag

For FEMALES – Total Cost: PhP100.00

•60g Soap
•Weekly pack Shampoo – 8 sachets x 4 mL each
•3 packs of 30 g Toothpaste
•Toothbrush
•40 Pulls Pop Up Tissue
•10 g Cotton
•75 mL Alcohol
•2 x 3 mL Deolotion
•12 mL Insect repellant
•2 pcs Sanitary Napkins
•Resealable Zip Bag

If you are from Davao City and you wish to help or join the campaign, you may donate in cash (please seal in an envelope) or in kind (preferably hygiene products found in the list/picture) to:

Mam Bebs Bakery
CVA Building, CM Recto Street, Davao City
(fronting City Triangle, adjacent to Ateneo Claveria Gate)
Mondays- Fridays, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

If you are living outside the Philippines, you may send your donations via Paypal to
merchant@alleba.com

or simply click on the button below to donate using your credit or debit card:


Pledges for donation will be received until December 7, 2013. Please feel free to contact bloggersforreliefPH@gmail.com for all your inquiries and questions.

We are also asking donors to write down a positive message or words of encouragement (or email to us messages) for the recipients, one for every P100 donated, to be inserted in each kit.You may also include it as message when sending your Paypal donations.

Please also help us disseminate this information to those who are willing to help and contribute. You may share or link this post to your social media accounts with hashtags #bloggersforReliefPH #YolandaPH.

All kits and other donations will be turned over to Ateneo de Davao University for distribution.

Please LIKE Bloggers for Relief PH for more updates:

Bangon, Pilipinas!

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another” -Charles Dickens

Remembering Old Times


I was watching a morning TV program a few weeks ago, before Typhoon Haiyan hit the country, and one of the segments featured a tutorial on making Christmas balls and other decors out of recycled CDs. I thought it was a great idea and something that I and the kids can do because we have so many CDs that we don't use anymore and are already so scratched. Christmas is  near and in view of the recent typhoon, it is not practical to spend anymore so much on Christmas decorations, and anything handmade and recycled would do. 

Looking at the Christmas balls made of shattered CDs suddenly brought me back to the time when I was in college and my brother was just starting to be interested in anything electronics. I remember he made a disco ball and it hang in our room and looked so beautiful when light reflects on it. Even then, my brother was so interested in dj lighting and other lights and sounds effects. Now, he's in the technical department of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and an expert on these things. He loves what he's doing and he's a professional photographer on the side. 

I miss my brother, and I remember old times. Those were our carefree days when we have the same set of friends in the boarding house and we stay awake with them till dawn, just laughing and chatting and drinking to our hearts' content. We don't see each other much anymore nowadays with him so busy with his career and photography and of course, his family.

*Image courtesy of Digitalart/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Nov 8, 2013

Creating Mr. Owl, The Paper Bag Puppet



This is Mr. Owlie. Simon brought him home one day. Simon made him with the help of his teacher. Mr. Owlie is a paper bag puppet. It's very easy to make a paper bag puppet like Mr. Owlie. You just need a brown paper bag, button eyes (can be found in school supplies store), glue or tape, art paper, a pair of scissors. Just cut out the nose, the mouth, eyebrows out of art paper and and paste or glue them at the bottom of the paper bag, as as shown above. If you have kids under 5, they would surely be thrilled to have one. Then you can make a puppet show after you make some other paper bag puppets. 

Nov 6, 2013

The Beauty of Winter

Image courtesy of Dan/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Now that Fall is drawing to a close, and winter is almost here, I'm anticipating again the white Christmas photos from families and friends all over the Internet. I love to see pictures of snow, looking so pristine and picture-perfect. I love to see pictures of snowflakes hanging in trees, of people and kids in cozy warm fur coats and boots that go into hunting boot warmers, of skis and sleds, of kids having snow ball fights, of snow-covered roofs and snowman with stick noses.

I just hope that winter this year wouldn't be as harsh as it was last year. I hope it wouldn't seem to go on forever that its beauty almost faded in my eyes and I couldn't wait for spring.  But that's actually the beauty of winter. It could go on and on until you've had enough, especially those who are actually living it, and then you look forward to the signs of spring. And when spring comes, the buds and the blooms are ten times more beautiful in one's eyes.
"The beauty of winter is that it makes you appreciate spring." -- LM Montgomery. 
I live in a tropical country and would really love to experience winter, but I can only look at its beauty from afar. While I marvel at winter's beauty, I know its harsh and cold nights is something I wouldn't want to experience. I prayed for winter to be over last year, for the sake of friends who seem to be having it for so long. And boy, was I glad when spring came and we began to see green and all the other colors instead of white for a change. So, let's pray that Mother Nature a perfect winter for everyone this time around. 

Nov 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Tatay!


I want to share with you a little post that I have on my Facebook page for my tatay's (father) birthday. As I've said there, he doesn't have a Facebook page nor would he be reading this, but still I was wanting to put into words what I have learned from my father all these years. And I quote:
"Today, I'm taking the time to talk a little about my father. Today is his birthday 


I am my father's daughter and I am proud to have him as my father. From him, I got my temper, my loud voice, my stubbornness and close-mindedness on some things. But from him, I also got my generous nature, my love for family, my passion for things, my being inquisitive, my open-mindedness on most things, and the hunger for details. 

My father does not really tell us anything in words about friendship and family, but his actions speak louder than words for me. I learned from my father the value of friendship, I saw from him how to be giving to people who are in need, saw him go beyond what is expected to help family and friends. I saw how he would give to friends and family when there's barely anything left for us, because they need it more than us or just because he wants to give. For my father, when you're a friend, you're a friend for life. 

From my father, I learned how to be grateful for things I have and for people around me who makes my life happier and easier and who makes my world a better place to live in. I learned from him what utang na loob means. He does not easily forget people who have helped him in any way they can, and so do I. There are some people (like former bosses, friends, and family) that I love to pieces because they're like my father who gives without receiving anything in return and helps even without being asked. My father is so giving that he finds it difficult to understand why people wouldn't help when he knows they can, sometimes it hurts him deeply. 

Lessons of love, friendship, gratitude, passion for life, pagiging makulit -- that's what I got from my father. No material riches but wealth that money can't buy. 

Today is his birthday. He doesn't have Facebook, but I want to let everybody to know how special my father is. If he had finished high school and gone to college, he would have been an architect and engineer or even an inventor. heck, he made all our furniture, made his own electric stove and even an electric oven for Nanay. 

I wish my Tatay good health, and I wish many many many more years with him and Nanay. Tatay, happy birthday! We love you!
My father does not really tell us anything in words about friendship and family, but his actions speak louder than words for me. I learned from my father the value of friendship, I saw from him how to be giving to people who are in need, saw him go beyond what is expected to help family and friends. I saw how he would give to friends and family when there's barely anything left for us, because they need it more than us or just because he wants to give. For my father, when you're a friend, you're a friend for life. 
From my father, I learned how to be grateful for things I have and for people around me who makes my life happier and easier and who makes my world a better place to live in. I learned from him what utang na loob means. He does not easily forget people who have helped him in any way they can, and so do I. There are some people (like former bosses, friends, and family) that I love to pieces because they're like my father who gives without receiving anything in return and helps even without being asked. My father is so giving that he finds it difficult to understand why people wouldn't help when he knows they can, sometimes it hurts him deeply. 
Lessons of love, friendship, gratitude, passion for life, pagiging makulit -- that's what I got from my father. No material riches but wealth that money can't buy. 
Today is his birthday. He doesn't have Facebook, but I want to let everybody to know how special my father is. If he had finished high school and gone to college, he would have been an architect and engineer or even an inventor. Heck, he made all our furniture, made his own electric stove and even an electric oven for Nanay. 
 I wish my Tatay good health, and I wish many many many more years with him and Nanay. Tatay, happy birthday! We love you!" 
It has been my habit to dedicate a post for him every year on his birthday, but on my other blog. You can see one HERE and more of his parents HERE and HERE

If there's one thing your father had taught you by example, what is it? Please share. Let's give our fathers some love. 

*Thanks to a good friend to giving me the idea to feature this in my blog. :) Love you to pieces!

Dump Trucks And Trailers

Image courtesy of duron123/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Last week, while Sam and I were walking on our way home from his lola's/grandma's house, we saw the DPWH or waterworks men working on the street. There was a big truck dumping sand at the side of the road. Sam suddenly stopped, amazed at the movement of the dumping bed as it pours gravel and sand on the ground. It's his first time to see a dumping truck at work and it was definitely a wonderful moment to see such amazement in a child's eyes. 

Fast forward, of course, when we got home, we had to Google it up. My child is a very inquisitive child. When he ask about things, you have to explain everything -- how it works, what are the parts, who uses it -- and you have to back up your explanation with pictures just to validate the idea he has in his mind. We not only found images of dump trucks online. We also found a big tex trailer image and other huge trucks images, and he said there's no way those would fit in the roads in the neighborhood.  We learned that there are also dump trailer trucks that have dump beds on them. I wonder how big his eyes would get when he sees a big trailer truck one day. Now, that would be a moment I sure don't want to miss. 

Nov 1, 2013

What's On Your Wish List Giveaway!

.

What’s On Your Wish List Giveaway

Organized by Mom Powered Media and the MPM Blogger Network.

So what's on your wish list? I have already posted my wish list HERE and my hubby's wish list HERE. Please do check it out. It might give you some great ideas on what to give loved ones or friends (or what to give me, lol) just in case you're having a hard time figuring things out. 

Whether it's your own wish list or you'd want to be able to give to a loved one, this giveaway is for you. Who wouldn't want extra cash to buy anything you want for Christmas? In this giveaway, 

One lucky winner will receive $ 1,000 Visa Gift Card or Amazon Gift Card {choice}!

And that lucky winner could be you! 

Giveaway ends December 1st at 11:59pm, open worldwide, ages 18+. Please note if the winner is a non-USA or non-Canadian resident, they will receive $1,000 via paypal instead. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: MaiThankfulHeart  is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. Please contact teri@mompoweredmedia.com with questions or to see your business or blog featured on the next big event!

Oct 30, 2013

Getting Ready For Christmas

Christmas lantern/parol for sale at SM 
I was glad to see giant lanterns/parol for sale at the mall this early. They suddenly reminded me that Christmas is so near. They suddenly reminded me to make that list of gifts for godchildren, family and friends, and things to do before Christmas. 

Most of all, those "parol" for sale reminded me of food, though food is the least of my worries come Christmas time. After two birthdays the past week, and seeing the reaction of family members to the food that were prepared in these two birthdays, I already have an idea of what to prepare for Christmas. It's nothing complicated though, just the usual food, but this time the ideal combination is what will set the food apart from previous feasts. What's complicated is setting the table for visiting family and friends. This year, I want a festive table. I am thinking buying new table covers that has a Christmasy feel and new place mats and table runners to make the table appealing to the eyes of guests. I've seen a burlap table runner and I wonder how much that costs. I hope I will have the budget that I need for this setup. 

We'll start decorating after the first week of November. I am lucky to have a husband who's keen in this kind of thing. I'm sure he'll be suggesting some more DIY projects for Christmas decorations. I hope I can find the time and energy to follow through. Last year, he had so many ideas but none of them was done, because I can't seem to find the time. But this year, I promise to put a little more extra effort into it. 

Oct 28, 2013

The Kids' Halloween Costumes This Year: Recycled



I find it impractical for me to buy new Halloween costumes with the so many things on our budget list right now and with the thought that kids would only be wearing these costumes anyway not more than two times this Halloween season, so we decided to look for alternatives. 

Thankfully, with the help of our Tatay Poly who's a tailor during his younger years, we were able to recycle an old The Reaper costume to a Black Cat costume for Simon. The old one was much too long for him and Sam would not wear it because he already wore it last year. Tatay Poly added a tail on the Black Cat costume. Simon wanted something else because the contest is for the scariest costume and a cat is not scary. I said, my dear, if there's a cutest contest, you'd surely win in that outfit. (What can I say, I'm a mom, hehe.) 

For Sam, we bought an old Skeleton costume that one of his classmates had last year. Sam loved it so much. His classmate has grown so big and would not fit in the costume anymore and he needed extra funds to buy the new one that he wants. And so, we bought it for more than half the price of course, and not only did we save on Sam's costume but also helped his classmates get that additional fund. 


I'm thankful also that my husband did not go to work the day of the party. He bought some face paint and was able to paint the kids' faces for more dramatic effect. We did not have to buy masks or headgear anymore. 

What's your kids' Halloween costume this year? Or better yet, what's your Halloween costume? 

Oct 27, 2013

A Wish List For Hubby

 If I have wish list for Christmas, I also have a wish list for hubby. This is a list of things I know my hardworking hubby would love to get for Christmas.

1. High Quality Charcoal Pencils 
As some of you already know, my hubby loves to paint. His medium is charcoal. He goes online to look for new approach in charcoal painting and browse through galleries of famous charcoal painters. He often wonders what kind of pencil these artists are using as their painting appears more vivid and more alive than his sometimes. It could be that it has something to do with the technique, or the skill, but it could also be with the type of materials use. I hope he'll get high quality charcoal pencils this Christmas. 

2. A Watch 
My husband is not into jewelry that much but he's really into accessories like bracelets and watches. I'm sure he would love to have a new watch to replace the one he has for years. Right now, he's wearing a watch that a friend gave him as pasalubong in one of his trips to Singapore. Hubby likes expensive watches. Who doesn't? They look good on him. I found a watch much like the one on the photo below, that he would surely love. It looks so much like the Titanium watch he lost a decade ago. 



3. Remote Control for the Wii
He could buy this on his own but somehow it was never a priority. He always forget to replace that old one that mysteriously got wet and was never fixed. He and the kids love to play Wii games and they haven't played for months. It would surely brighten his Christmas day when he opens the box and find this. 

4. Drawing Table Or Easel 
He does not have a drawing table nor an easel. He uses whatever table he can find at home. He wants something that is positioned a little bit upright, so his arms wouldn't tire after a few hours. 

Image courtesy of smokedsalmon/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
5. A Gym Membership
I'm sure he'd love a gym membership. He loves to stay in shape. He just exercises at home and runs sometimes. He is health conscious and I love that about him. He knows he's family has a history of high blood and he's really taking pains to minimize the chances of him being at risk. I better check a gym near our place and see about membership. 

So that is my wish list for hubby. All attainable except for the watch. I would have to save for a long time for that one. If you check out the website, you'll see the price, and if you convert that to peso, you'll know what I mean. Good luck to me. :D

Oct 26, 2013

The Wounded Child and The Witch


I call this little boy The Wounded Child. He's not really wounded. That was his make-up/prosthetics last year during Sam's school Halloween event. Yikes, right?


And this is Sam with The Witch at the SM store. This is in 2011, I guess.


These two are examples of a Halloween look where don't have to spend a lot. Just a little bit of make-up, a messy hair and black shirt and you're good to go. The first photo is a little bit complicated but everything can be learned with the all the self-help tools and resources we see on the Internet.

I thought of posting these photos now, since it's Halloween and I have brand new Halloween photos again. Today is Simon and Sam's 2013 Halloween party at school.  I'll post photos of that soon and some other trick or treat activities.

Oct 21, 2013

Cleaning Rusty Coins


Most of these five-peso coins were rusty.  I got them inside our big lotion bottle recycled into a piggy bank. Hubby has this habit of turning empty containers into instant piggy banks, where all his loose change go at the end of the day. When they're all filled, we empty all the coins out and spend them or save them for future use. Sometimes he forgets about them but I don't, haha. He thought the bottle was all empty but the lotion residue made the coins look rusty. I had to research on how to clean them. I cannot take them to the stores (whether to exchange for bills or buy something) looking like that because the stores might not accept them anymore. How do I take the rust out of those coins? Most of the suggestions online were to let the coins rest in a container full of vinegar and then scrub. And that is what I did. Not all of the rust were scrubbed off but at least the details became sharper and the rusty color faded a bit.

But for valuable coins, like collectible coins, the military coins and those coins that are really old or what they say has valuable dates, coin collectors would say that the best way to clean them is NOT to clean them at all. Cleaning them improperly would decrease their monetary value. So the best thing to do is to determine if the coin has value (collector value) before you clean them. What NOT to use in cleaning valuable coins are: metal polish, sand paper, steel wool, vinegar, muriatic acid, silver dip type cleaner, silver polish, et cetera. If you have to clean coins for hygienic purpose, some coin collectors suggest to wash them with mild detergent and warm water, but do not soak.

There are many other suggestions on how to clean the coins that I have (i.e. not collector item coins). Some sites suggest Coca Cola, baking soda, soap and water, lime and water or lemon juice. Anyway, I didn't really put much effort into it anymore. The stores accepted my five-peso coins, anyway. End of the story. :)