Jan 28, 2014

How Many Headphones Do You See?

How many headsets do you see? That's right, four. I'm using four headphones when I'm working. Some headphones sound better than others depending on the file I'm working on. Headphones are very important to me as a transcriber, especially nowadays when a bulk of my income are coming from my transcription projects. When I have spare money, I buy not gadgets or beauty supplies but headsets. I am using the red one which my kids got as a gift for Christmas. I'm just borrowing it, hehehe. It's more expensive than any of the three headsets, because all three are free given to me by my brother. The kids love headphones as well but not as much as I do. I would join every giveaway I come across if the prize is a headset. I am very easy to please. Sometimes, I let the kids use the red and white ones and they pretend they're DJs carrying novation twitch case at guitar center. They use the headphones as well to block out the sound of the thunder during a  stormy weather. I am hoping that somebody would give me another set of headphones for my birthday. I can never get enough of them. :) 

Let's Google It Up #1: What's An Elephant Fish?

Sometimes out of the blue, my kids would ask me questions I don't have an answer to. Most of the time, I would answer "Let's Google it up," since I'm always in front of the computer, anyway. I wish I could say, "Oh let's look it up in the encyclopedia", but we don't have that. I wish I could say, "Let's take a walk to the library and find out," but that's inconvenient because the kids usually ask these questions after school, hence library's closed. So it's easier to say, "Let's Google it up."

The latest Let's Google It Up moment was last night when Sam asked, "Mama, what's an elephant fish?" Elephant fish, is there such a thing. So we searched for it. Here's what the search result page looks like:

The yellow one is a hoax,  they say. The real elephant fish according to Wikipedia "may refer to the freshwater elephantfish, the family Mormyridae of ray-finned fish or it may refer to the marine elephantfish, also called elephant shark, the family Callorhinchidae or plownose chimaeras, in the class of cartilaginous fish". 

And the freshwater elephantfish, family Mormyridae looks like this: 

Photo Credit
If you want to see another elephant fish (Callorhynchus milii), you can check out the Nat Geo Creative for a photo of the said elephant fish. 

By looking it up online and seeing pictures, the kids have a clearer idea and better understanding of the answers to their questions. Usually, this questions are followed up by other 'related events' the following day. Hence, I am not surprised that I was presented with this clay models this afternoon. The green one is from Sam and the yellow one is from Simon. I'm sure the elephant fish does not have large ears, kids' imagination, lol. 

And with that, I'm logging off for the day. Enjoy whatever's left of the day, everyone!

Jan 27, 2014

Where to Find Personalized Baby Blankets

When I saw this Manual Woodworks fleece baby blanket at the Personalize My Baby Blanket site, my heart skipped a beat. I knew I had to get this for my bestfriend's sister. You see, she announced her pregnancy on Facebook to all of her friends and family by using a photo of  Russian Matryoshka doll as her profile pic. I could never think of any other gift as perfect as this for her and her baby girl. I have to save for this and have to strategize on how to get this delivered to her. If I can't get this for the baby's baptismal, I'll get this for her on Christmas. My bestfriend's sister gave my kids most of the books that we are reading every night. I am super excited when I heard that she gave birth already first week of January.

As you may know by now, I love everything personalized. And so, I am happy to find this site specializing on personalized baby blankets. If you're looking for gifts for baby showers and christening, consider visiting this site, the PersonalizeMyBabyBlanket.com. Just take a look at some of the gift suggestions they're offering:

That monkey is so adorable! The Plush Monkey Magoo comes with a banana-shaped box with a personalized blanket in it.  And so does the Jo Jo Giraffe. I also put in my list the 100% cotton thermal receiving blanket because of their colors and because they look so clean and soft. 
If these photos are not enough to convince you that you should check out this site when looking for christening and baby shower gifts that are sure to bring delight to moms and dads out there, let me tell you more. 

Personalizing It Is Very Easy!
Once you've chosen the item you want, you will be directed to a screen where you can personalize the item you chose. Put in the name, choose the font and the thread color. You can also put in a gift message if you're going to give it as a gift. There's a preview window so you can check how it all looks like.  

Backed by Popular Brands 
Personalize My Baby Blanket offers blankets for swaddling, for bathing, for bedding and for other purposes. If you're brand-conscious, that's no problem. There are around 47 trusted and popular brands to choose from, Aiden+Anais, for example. 

Site Navigation
It's easy to find what you want as blankets are sorted out by gender, by use, by fabric, by color and print, and there's even a special category on baby shower gift ideas to help you decide faster on the best gift.  There are also neutral baby blankets for expecting moms and dads who likes surprises when it comes to the gender of their child. You can also choose organic and handmade items instead of the branded ones. And very, important you can choose by price.
I specifically love how it is sorted by fabric. There's cotton, Pima cotton, organic, fleece, muslin cotton, plus, bamboo, chenille, knit, flannel, velour and minky which are perfect for baby's sensitive skin. 

One thing good about this site is that they have flat rate of $5 for shipping and free shipping for orders above $50. Yup, savings again. As of now, they ship only to US and Canada. I do hope they would ship worldwide. 

Really, if I'm going to choose only three from their selections, I would have a hard time. Good thing, I have set my heart on that Russian Matryoshka doll blanket. I love their selection of baby girl blankets. All that pink cuteness is enough to make my heart melt. 

They also offer a great selection on baby boy blankets, though I love the girls selection more. You can't blame me, I've had enough of boys, haha.  

So, do you have friends or family who have babies? Visit out this site if you do. I truly had a fun time browsing their site for the items I'm going to put on my collages. There are so much much more to choose from, I almost got a headache, hahaha. If you can't decide because there's just way too many great things to see, then just give the moms and dads gift certificates. I'm sure they'll appreciate that, too! 

Have a great time shopping, everyone!

Gifts for Kids: Computer Accessories

The kids were ecstatic when they opened a long box last Christmas. Inside the box were a headset, a gaming keyboard and a mouse. They had been wanting a new set of computer accessories for so long. The old mouse and keyboard were not working like it used to anymore making them lose at some online games they play. You can imagine their frustration. There were groans all around the house whenever the keyboard and mouse malfunction. I let my kids play an hour of computer games a day, and sometimes none. This keyboard, mouse and headset were a gift from a dear friend (you know who you are, yeah?) Thanks to her cash gift, the kids were able to get what they wanted for Christmas. Well, Sam wants a tablet  (haha) but everyone agreed these are the next best things. Basti, the eldest, especially appreciate the headset as he listens to music everyday before going to sleep and spends more time on the computer than the two younger ones. 

I dedicate the picture below to the person who gave these gift of choice to them. My Basti usually doesn't want to pose in front of the camera, but this time he did, because he wants to show his appreciation and happiness upon receiving the gifts. Thank you, dear friend, for this gift of choice

I think computer accessories, in this age of technology, are also great gifts that you can give to teenagers and kids. It's a gift for all occasions, whether it's Christmas, birthdays or graduation. 

Jan 23, 2014

Preparing For Basti's Retreat

We're busy at the moment preparing for Basti's retreat. He's just going to Tagaytay for a retreat on Saturday and will be back Sunday. It's a big deal for us. It's the first time he'll be away from home. I am nervous but I tell myself that he'll be all right. Of course, he'll be all right. Other kids have gone on retreats before and it's time  we let him spread his wings and fly. He'll be in high school next year. 

It's cold here in Manila and it's colder in Tagaytay. I'm trying to pack his bag with jogging pants and jackets instead of pajama for the night stay. I may add in a bonnet, too. By the way I'm packing, you would have think he's going on vacation. I made a list of what he needs to bring - meds, clothes, snacks, toiletries, et cetera. Most of my worries are petty, really. Would he be cold out there? I hope he takes his meds before going to bed. Gosh, I hope he takes meds for motion sickness before they travel back to Manila. 

Basti and his classmates have far more important preparations, the spiritual kind of preparation. This morning they went on confession.

I haven't been on a retreat for the longest time. I don't know anymore how they do retreats nowadays. Of course, I expect there will a lot of sharing. There will be talks and lectures, a lot of praying, and a lot of looking deep within. I don't know if there will be games or if they will even be able hear songs played with guitars and other musical instruments. I doubt there'll be ibanez acoustic guitars in the retreat house, but I know there will be music. Whatever they do, I hope Basti learn a lot from the experience and I hope he comes out of it a better person. I hope he gets something good that he will take with him until he grows up. I say a little prayer each day for the success of the retreat and safe travel for the kids. 

Books We Read At Bedtime

B is for books. These are some of the books that my boys read during bedtime. These three were read, I think Monday or Tuesday evening. I usually read to them. But now, Sam is beginning to read on his own. Sometimes, the kids want one book for a whole week. And sometimes, each day, they choose a different one. It's like ice cream, they have what they call flavor of the month. Here, it's the book of the week.Or books of the week. 

Gusto  Ko Nang Lumaki! by Liwliwa Malabed

"Gusto Ko Nang Lumaki!" (I want to Be All Grown-up!) is written by my bestfriend's sister, young writer Liwliwa Malabed. Liwliwa already has a handful of books published and this is one of them. It was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2005 Philippine Board on Books For Young People - Salanga Writer's Prize. It's a story of a youngest child who wishes that she's all grown-up because she's always being badgered by her four older siblings. Later on, she realized that it is fun to be the youngest, despite all the badgerings. My bestfriend said this is a true story, hehe, the older siblings being them and the youngest child, her sister the writer. The book is written in Tagalog and English.


The Sun, written by Steve Tomecek, illustrated by Carla Golembe.My kids love this book. It is not a storybook but the kids want me to read it to them every night. I must admit that I love it too, especially that cat. It is part of the Jump Into Science Series of the National Geographic. It was given to us by the author of the first book, Liwliwa. It's an easy-to-understand book on facts about the sun and why it is important to us. The illustration really catches the eye of the young readers. Our favorite first lines:
It happens every morning. You jump out of bed, as you wipe the sleep from your eyes, you see it. The sun rises in the sky and a new day begins. Even on cloudy days, the sun gives us light.
Your child will learn how far the sun is, its composition, what solar flares are, why there's daytime and night, and why there are seasons, the planets in relation to the sun (It's copyrighted 2001 and so, you got to update your child in the new developments in the solar system.)  All that in one book of 32 pages. I can't find this anymore in the National Geographic store but it is on Amazon, together with two other books, The Moon and The Stars.


Bakit Matagal Ang Sundo Ko? (Why is Mommy Late) by Christine Canon is also a dual-language book that tells the story of a young girl who is waiting to be picked up from school by her mom. Her mom is late picking her up and she begin to imagine why her mom is late and how her mom would try to get to her in any way she can. This is a great story and very relevant to preschoolers as it happens that moms are late in picking up their children. Simon can relate to this, as I'd been late in picking him up from school a couple of times. Don't worry, dears, the school is just two blocks away from home and he stays with his teachers while he waits. He must have remembered this book every time I was late. The book won the 2001 Grand Prize in the Philippine Board on Books For Young People - Salanga Writer's Prize.

I hope to be able to write more about the books we read in the future. I am just so glad that my kids look forward to reading time before going to sleep. There are so many books that I still would really love to buy for them if I only have the budget. Good thing my brother gave us a Literati for Christmas and we now download epubs and PDFs of some stories. More of that in my future posts. But really, the kids prefer the smell, the feel and the beauty of printed words.

Jan 18, 2014

Personalized Teacher Gifts From GoodBuddyNotes

How time flies. In just a few months, my eldest would graduate from elementary school and move on to high school or Grade 7 in this case. This week, his class is having a retreat and I'm on jitters letting him travel to Tagaytay and stay overnight there without me and hubby. But we tell ourselves, he needs this, it's a retreat anyway. He will be safe. He is with his teachers and one of them assures me that she'll personally see to it that my son takes his meds and sleep early.

Speaking of teachers, I'm planning to give Basti's teachers gifts on graduation day as a way of thanking them. I've know some of them for years. I'm not decided yet on what to give them but I've been checking online. I'd probably go for my local personalized gift store or order in advance online. I'm so lucky to find personalized teacher gifts from GoodBuddyNotes.com. I was thinking of journals and planners but there are lot more that you can find at GoodBuddyNotes like stationaries, mugs, to-do list, teacher notes and brag books. I am going to explore this site more in the coming weeks.

If you're in the US, you should check this site out as well for your kids' teachers. I'm sure the personalized gifts will make their day. The designs of the products are illustrated by artist Shelley Dieterichs who had received awards for illustrating children's books. I can say that the designs are not something you see on just any other personalized products. I recommend to try them out. 

I'm also thinking of sourcing out gifts for Basti's classmates, especially the girls. I'm thinking of things that they can use in the years to come. The owner of the store where I bought the personalized pens months before Christmas suggested tags for bags that are appropriate to their age. I might just do that. It's less costly and I could give to more kids that way. I hope I'll get the budget for this soon. Work, work, I really must, lol.

How about you, where do you usually buy gifts for your kids' teachers and friends? 

OYGIF #73: The Orange Insect

Orange You Glad It's Friday

The kids and I found this tiny insect in our aloe vera pots. We don't know what it's called but I know I've seen a lot of this during my childhood.

I think this insect is so beautiful. It's orange and black and underneath, it has black and white stripes. Truly an amazing creature.

I made a little GIF of the photos I took. Hope you enjoy it. 

I haven't been blogging for days because of work and making two posts (one is on my other blog) about this insect is truly therapeutic.

 Have a great weekend, everyone! 

By the way, have you checked on PICMONKEY,
 the online photo editing tool? 
I am using it at this blog and that's what I used for my header above (it's transparent by the way) and for the collages on my posts, aside from MyMemories Suites. 
If you want to try it, CLICK HERE.
You get a day of Premium free and I get a week for every three who sign up. 
Thanks a bunch!

Jan 7, 2014

Wall Decals Kids Would Love

My friend, Rose, recently acquired some wall art decals and pasted them on their mirror, instead of on the wall. And it turned out so beautiful. I couldn't believe how a very simple mirror is transformed into something very striking. I suddenly wanted wall decals for myself, too. I want something that the kids would also love. For seven years, we haven't put anything on our walls to brighten them up or even make them look nicer. I guess, the time has come to add some colorful touches on our boring walls. Why wall decals? Wall decals are easy to set up and easy to remove. It's also convenient for us and people in our situation -- we don't own the house yet and we cannot repaint without getting permission from the owners. Plus, repainting would be such a hassle.

I'm not looking to do this in the very near future, given our financial situation right now, but I'd been checking sites out. Beautifying our home is definitely on one of my todo-list this year. I don't know any stores locally that sell wall decals and the best place to search for them is online. Incidentally, I came across this beautiful site. If you're looking for Removable Wall Stickers, this is the site to go. I'm talking about WallDecalsPop.com. Just head on to their site and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Wall Decals Kids Would Love
Their nursery wall stickers are breathtakingly cute. This one, especially, though my boys would not approve, lol.

And since my boys are already at the age where they don't prefer this blend of colors and the cuteness overload anymore, I had to find them something else that they'd be ecstatic over. This:

Basketball robot playing Basketball at walldecalspop.com
Aren't they the cutest? Honestly, I felt happy when I went to their website, all the wall decals made me smile. And that's what wall decals are supposed to do. To brighten not only your walls but to lift your spirits as well, day in and day out. 

What I love about the site
The site itself is very easy to navigate. I feel it's a happy place, with no clutter. You can easily find the kind of wall decals that you want (depending on where you want to put them) because they're categorized according to rooms: nursery and kids, living room,  kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and office).  You can also shop by the type of wall decals that you want (example, retro, birds and butterflies, nature and trees). And they have a good selection of lettering and quotes also. 

The products. The designs are really impressive. I have a few other designs I would like to buy given the chance. When it comes to the quality, of course I cannot vouch for that yet, because I haven't ordered anything yet. But if you look at the glowing customer reviews at the side bar, it looks like the quality is great because overall there's a high level of customer satisfaction. Everyone seems happy over the site, the designs of the wall decals and the delivery.

Also, the wall decals are custom-made. Every.single.order is made according to the customer's specifications.  
The Payment Method: Hear ye, work at home moms and dads, online workers, they accept PayPal as a payment method. Yiipeee!

Worldwide Shipping and free shipping over  $50. This is very important for us living in the other side of the world. I noticed that most of the products range around $30 and up so getting the free shipping would not be so hard to accomplish. 

They have sale or special offers! The wall decals above are actually on 34% and 33% off respectively. And they have special promo right now which says Buy 2 Get 3rd Free plus the free shipping over $50. Isn't that a lot of savings.

So again, if you're looking for wall decals that your kids will love, head on over to WallDecalsPop.com. I promise you won't be disappointed. 

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!

Jan 6, 2014

Happy Faces

There's nothing like seeing your kids having fun, that all you can do is gaze at their happy faces. 

"A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires." - Paul Coelho