learn the secret to a winning musical performance

A corporate Christmas party is a fun and exciting event for many employees. Often, management would require their employees to participate in the program by sponsoring a Christmas caroling contest that would be open to all. Since this would usually involve a monetary reward for the winners, the employees would do all that they can to win by picking the right song and planning every single detail on how to go about their performance. Expectedly, not everybody can really sing that well, especially if they're picking a song with high-pitched notes. However, this should not be a problem if they are not using the standard minus one or karaoke to sing along with. For a winning performance, it would be a good idea to use a guitar accompaniment so that participants can make a good arrangement on a song. This way, they won't have to break their vocal chords just to reach a high note. After all, with a device  in the guitar, any high-pitched song or music can be beautifully arranged so that a song can be sung at a lower key. Certainly, the participating group with a member who has great guitar skills will have a good chance of coveting the prize. Well, that's just my opinion.


Activities for Preschoolers - Write, Color and Draw

What keeps preschoolers look forward to schooling each day are the fun activities they are made to do with other kids in school.  Besides playing, of course, writing, coloring and drawing are the usual activities that are being introduced to our kids in school. Prior to getting these kids enrolled in preschool, it would really help that they are also made to do these things ahead at home. Maximizing their learning potential at home would be a good preparation and training ground for them so that it would be a whole lot easier to undertake these activities later on in school. Teaching these things ahead, when we are at home with our kiddo, can really make a big difference in their performance at school. Also, doing these things at home not only strengthens the bond we have with our kid, it also keeps them busy that there would be no time for them to experience boredom.


on sending greeting cards that speak our minds

It's almost December - and then just a few days more of sleeping and waking up, it's already Christmas! I've been meaning to get my very good friends some greeting cards but it seems like there aren't new ones at the store anymore that can really send my thoughts and wishes for them during this season. An idea sprouted after visiting a printing website and seeing how easy it is to design cards through that site. Husband suggested we make our own cards and have them customized and printed. This way, it would be possible for us to send the greeting cards that really speak our minds. Yes, it's definitely not yet too late to send and receive greeting cards for Christmas.

this meant a lot to her

This is a late update but I want to make sure I have documented most (if not all) of my little girl's activities and progress in school. A couple of weeks ago, my daughter couldn't wait to tell me that she received a token during the school's awarding of their Sciematics and Sportsfest activity.

photo grabbed from the school's Facebook page

Actually, I saw pictures of her in the school's Facebook page where she participated in the game of Snakes and Ladders with other kids in school. I didn't think she won first place but, seeing the glow and delight in as her eyes when she proudly showed her award to me, I knew that award meant so much to her. In fact, when I was on the phone checking on my dad in Medellin, she wanted to also have a word with him so she can proudly share about her latest achievement in school.

the winners

As parents, we really appreciate it that, even in simple activities like this, the school has helped boost our kid's confidence.

moving on after the calamity

After surviving from that great typhoon, the greatest challenge of people in affected communities is how to get back on their feet. While victims are still trying to re-build their homes, most of them rely on tents provided by the government. But did you know that, in some parts of the world, there are those that make use of off trailers as temporary shelters? It would be interesting to find out how this can be possibly done, especially with texas pride roll off trailers, or whatever will work for them. However, in our country, some of us would have to make do with only light materials which are not usually typhoon-proof. :-(

Quite sadly, a lot of those affected who are in remote areas have lost their energy to live especially when there is scarcity of food and relief goods hardly reach them on time. For those areas that were badly hit, being able to get back on their feet is not likely to happen anytime soon if they are not getting help from our government, private organizations, companies and individuals. Obviously, they do not just need relief goods to get by because they know that pretty soon this kind of help will go away. That's the reality. What they need is livelihood to sustain them and to help them carry on with their lives in the real sense of the word. What's more important for them now is to make their lives better a day at a time. I heard that the government is offering some sort of a program to teach carpentry skills to the typhoon victims. That is such a good move because they can use these skills to re-build or construct their homes. Aside from that, they can eventually get a job from these skills.


sad but thankful November

November didn't feel quite as special like it used to. In fact, it was more like a nightmare to me. I didn't even try to celebrate my birthday. I just let it pass like it's an ordinary day. I thought it is just not right to celebrate while there are a lot of people who have experienced life's difficulties and challenges because of that devastating typhoon Yolanda. I have thanked the Lord, though, for all the blessings that I have received from Him; although I believe I got more of those blessings than I deserve.

I was quite relieved to know that dad and family are okay. Dad's place has been one of those areas that have been hit really bad in Cebu. Somehow, I felt a little guilty that I wasn't able to convince him to evacuate. Although I have already warned him about that super typhoon, neither of us thought about how "super" it is until it becomes too late to do what is necessary. At the height of the typhoon, we were communicating to let me know that the wind is coming too strong and that water got into the house. He also added that he is lifting everything to God. Then there was no more time to elaborate what was happening because he said goodbye and said "I love you" a number of times. Wow, he really said it plenty of times (and he hasn't done that before) until the communication lines went off. Yours truly got paranoid after that because I couldn't get in touch with him for nearly 24 hours. Overnight, I had been thinking about their plight and then I woke up at midnight because of a weird dream about my late mom visiting the house and looking too sad. I prayed that nothing bad happened to any of my family. Thank God, they're okay. I just learned later that dad's cellphone battery got drained and he didn't get the chance to charge the battery because power lines were off.

If there is anything good that can be derived from experiencing a calamity, that would be the love and concern of family and friends. You can really feel their genuine concern and effort to help in every/any way they can. It has brought families closer and at the same time have caused a lot of helping hands to come together for a common cause. There is still life after the super typhoon after all. I just hope those extremely affected areas, like in Tacloban and Samar, can say the same thing.

Anyway, November isn't over yet. People in the US will be celebrating Thanksgiving. I only have words of gratitude to them for the HUGE help we have received from them and their country. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.


been struck with calamities

I have almost been missing out updates on my blog but that's because our region/country have been struck with different calamities lately. Last month, we have experienced a high-magnitude earthquake and then lately, we have just survived super typhoon Yolanda. Today, I am just so glad that the storm has already passed; although I have yet to check on my dad back in Medellin for updates; although we have spoken earlier before the communication lines went down. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hope that they are all okay because their area is also one of those that are directly passed by the typhoon. I fully trust that the Lord has extended His mantle of protection to each and every one of them. It is quite depressing to know, though, that there are a lot of casualties in Tacloban, Leyte. I've watched the news and it saddened me even more. Many of us can't seem to understand why some have to lose their families this way but we'll just rest everything in God's hands.


the music in my heart

What should I get my wonderful husband? It is going to be his birthday in a few days. Suddenly, I thought about the guitar I've long been planning to get him. Yes, my quest for a good guitar to buy hasn't ended yet. I thought it would be nice to get him the kind of guitar that he really likes so he would be very eager to learn how to play the instrument. Hopefully, pretty soon, he would be able to play even just one song really well and serenade me in one of those years that we will be celebrating our wedding anniversary. It should be romantic, right? Wishful thinking! Perhaps I can write a love song and come up with a good melody and then he can play it for me. Hearts! hearts! hearts! :-) This year, though, I don't see it happening yet. And I think I'm going too far with my thoughts. After all, he said he needs more than just a crash course on the basics of playing the guitar.


long vacation for the little girl

Because of the earthquake and the continuous aftershocks that we've experienced lately, my Nursery2 student will have a long vacation from school. DepEd has already announced that their classes will resume on November 4. Now, we're thinking of what activities we can let her do to keep her busy as well as to prevent her from getting bored. She is anxious to go back to school already and she is not totally understanding why an earthquake can keep her from coming to school.

protecting important files

Yours truly experienced another horrifying ordeal (although this is not as horrifying as that earthquake experience we just had recently) today. This has something to do with my laptop acting up. I thought it was time to say goodbye to this hand-me-down gadget from my younger brother but, fortunately, husband came to the rescue and was able to figure out just exactly what is causing the problem. The trial version of the antivirus software that I used on my laptop has already expired! I didn't think I'd be having problems with my laptop later on but, according to husband, a virus has almost wiped away all of my important files! He said it's about time to consider using an avira professional anti virus software so that problems like this can be prevented. That was his recommendation. He said I had better protect my files and my second-hand laptop if I consider them very important. Yeah, right. I love my husband!

a horrifying experience

Can somebody get me on a blogging mode again? I so wanted to write something here on a regular basis but the desire to write just doesn't seem to be enough. A lot of things are still holding me back. And I mean A LOT of things -- they just keep adding up all together. Lately, it is because of force majeure. I remembered too well that I have been looking forward to this month of October as this was my/our wedding month, not to mention that it is also my husband's birth month. However, after a very shaky experience, I thought I might as well wish we would skip this month and not have to go through what we went through last week. That 7.2 magnitude earthquake last October 15 was really a horrifying experience. There are no words that can accurately describe how I felt that day. I was at work during that frightful day and I got so worried about not being with my family at the time that it happened. Although the epicenter was identified in Bohol, the intensity of the quake and the damage it has caused was just too strong to send us all in panic and fear here in Cebu. Still, what we went through is nothing compared to those who are in Bohol. I hope and pray that the aftershocks will already stop and that people can already start re-building their lives.


warming the feet for a better sleep

Can't sleep well and better at night? I've actually learned a lot of tips and ideas from my late mom when it comes to sleeping aids and preparations. When taking a refreshing shower, drinking a glass of milk and saying your prayers before bedtime don't seem to work anymore, you may want to check on your sleepwear, too. Sometimes, when you are not comfortable with what you are wearing, it may actually prevent you from getting a good sleep. Sometimes, a blanket is not enough because you will still feel the coldness and restlessness of your feet. As for me, because I am privileged to be in this part of the world where it is not really too chilly at home (we are not using aircon as well), I put on a pair of socks as foot warmers and these are already enough to warm and calm my feet. Depending on the temperature, others may need more than just ordinary socks to keep their feet warm.

a student is making progress

It's great to know that my daughter is making a lot of progress in school. I've seen how diligent she has been to learn how to write her name on paper. Thanks to her teacher in writing class (along with our guidance and assistance at home), she is now able to perfectly write her full name! And because we usually love our own, I really love her penmanship. At the age of 4, I thought it would take her long to memorize the actual sequence and spelling of her name. Practice, indeed, makes perfect. A lot of things have really changed when it comes to the educational system and requirements. As far as I can remember,  I wasn't schooling yet at the age of 4. I think I was 6 years old when I started kindergarten right away and skipped Nursery or fun school. I and her father are quite pleased that she's able to cope up with the demands of being a student at a very young age.


just a short breaking story

One time, I jokingly asked my 4-year old little girl if she has a boyfriend in school. Shyly, she said "Yes" and the name of the boyfriend was "Jacob".  I hope his mom doesn't get to read this. :-) My daughter actually mentioned the little boy's name with a giggle. LOL. Funny daughter!  Days passed, she talked to me about what happened in school one morning. She was teased by Jacob in school and made her cry. I listened to her story and tried to make her feel better. In our dialect, I then told her to break up with her boyfriend Jacob. :-) The next day, she told me that she already said what I asked her to say to her classmate. Curious, I asked what happened next. She said, they were eating their snacks during their "break" time. Hahaha.. Oh c'mon, give me a break! :-)


window shopping for guitars

Look at all these guitars. Can you help me pick one? LOL. Husband and I really don't have any idea which one to buy. We're not planning to buy yet as of this time, though. We just did some window shopping to please and satisfy our eyes and tire our feet. Actually, we just passed by the music area in one of the big chain stores here in Cebu while we were looking around for our little girl's costume some time about two weeks ago. Cebu is known for making great guitars, by the way. We just thought of taking a photo as a sort of a reminder that the budget for this is still on the waiting list. And it will still have to go through a lot of deliberation later on whether or not a budget for this should be released. How about a ukulele for the little girl? Hmmm.. Thanks to an alphabet poster, she now wants a violin (V for violin!) for herself.


the convenience of buying supplies online

When it comes to safety in the work area, companies need to invest in a lot of things to ensure that the hazards are well-taken cared of. That's what I learned from a friend who is now in the United States. In fact, even if the task is as simple as doing a minor painting job, an employee has to wear an appropriate mask even if one is using an odorless paint. With that, there is always a constant need to replenish their supplies. According to her, they use www.supplylinedirect.com/ for ordering all the stuffs they need at work from time to time. From safety equipment down to janitorial supplies, they are getting all of them without having to pay any shipping fee. Their company is truly benefiting a lot from buying online. I believe even if it is just for domestic and household use, if there's anything we want to buy from physical stores that we can already buy online for the same price, it should be wise to choose the convenience of online shopping.

proud of our nursery student

I am proud of my Nursery student. She is doing a good job in school. I hope it continues to be that way. I can really see she's improving a lot. She's also having a great time with other non-academic activities. She loves to dance and to sing. I can see the delight in her eyes when we ask her to perform what she was asked to do in school. Wow. And you think she only got that from me? No. Her father also has some artistic side. He is one proud father as well :-)


it is going to be merrier than the last one

We are still in the month of August but we already know that time can go by so fast. A couple of months from now, we would already feel how close we are to Christmas. Ahhhh, I am so excited about Christmas because I can see almost everyone taking every effort to be merry and to make others happy. As always, I'd like our little girl to experience the joy of anticipating Christmas. Pretty soon, she will be opening her Christmas gifts but before that happens, I would love for her to take part in decorating the house to create that Christmas-y feel. Hopefully, a Christmas tree would already be up by October or November. For sure, it would stand prettier with new decorations around it. I hope to get radko christmas ornaments at christmas place because there are quite a lot of great choices there. Ah, this year's Christmas is going to be merrier than the last one. Hopefully!

her version of her favorite song

As promised, I am going to share my little girl's video on her version of the song Reflection from the movie, Mulan. I think it's going to take awhile before she is able to pronounce all the words and lyrics right. As a mom, I am already proud to say that she has already overcome her shyness a bit because everytime I would ask her to sing in front of someone, she would happily do so. And everytime we would watch The Voice of the Philippines, she would tell me she wants to be there singing to the judges. Haha, if only I am one of the judges, she can be assured that I would turn my chair for her. :-)


what was that again?

Since yesterday, my daughter has been sleeping off her fever. Though, she's still showing some energy, I did notice that it dwindled a bit because of what she's feeling. When she's awake, she would ask her father if she can watch the Mulan movie again from the portable DVD player we bought her for her educational videos. Yes, she has watched this movie several times already. Now I think I already know the reason why. Apart from the fact that it is her favorite movie, she wants to watch it over and over again so she can master her favorite song "Reflection" which happens to be the movie's theme song. I'll let you in on her version of this song in another post. However, I have got to say that it sure looks like we need to add speakers to her player. I figured that playing the music with quality speakers might be able to help her pick up the right words. Hopefully, when the audio is already loud and clear enough, she will be able to hear and sing the lyrics of the song correctly.

unable to go to school

The little girl has been having slight fever and has been absent from school since Monday. I suspected she acquired something viral which started last Sunday, the day after we went to COMELEC. I remembered it was drizzling consistently that day; and although we did bring an umbrella with us, it wasn't enough to keep her from getting a little wet. However, husband said, she already had signs of a bad cold even before we went out on a drizzling Saturday morning. Oh, my poor daughter! Thankfully, she's getting better after a couple of days' rest. Still, husband and I get a little frantic sometimes because we are basically just observing and trusting our parenting instincts. Oh, how she loved to go back to school already but we thought she needed sufficient rest. Hopefully, she wouldn't be taking that medicine for fever by tomorrow. We let her drink medicine before bedtime tonight because her temperature is starting to go up again. Oh virus, if you're the culprit, please go away!


the musician's best fake friend

Being a music lover is something that daughter and I have in common. We both really love to watch concerts and gigs of my favorite bands, both local and foreign. Too bad, we can only get to watch these things on TV and in youtube. At one point, though, I was wondering how these musicians are able to play all the songs flawlessly in every performance. Not that it was really a big deal for me then to be able to find that out but a friend of mine who happens to be a member of a show band has once shared to me their secret. Aside from regular rehearsals with the members, they have got to have one thing to complete their music paraphernalia - the fake book! I was told this has been what's keeping their trade alive in every gig. Truly, musicians have found a real friend from what is called a fake book. :-)


going towards 100

My oh my, I am on my way to my 100th post for this blog! Thank you for many of you parents and parents-to-be who took the time to read my posts. My gratitude also goes to those who have liked Our Life As Parents on Facebook. Thanks for supporting me on my journey as a blogger throughout the years. I hope to do better with my future posts. In fact, I am planning to share with my readers how I am earning a little bit through this wonderful hobby of mine. You see, this hobby also requires diligence and dedication. Although it is not really necessary to do it every single day, it helps that you have some regular time to sit down and blog about your thoughts or ideas. Well, that's just a little information for now since our little girl has been begging me for the nth time to shut down this computer. LOL.


learning from soap opera

While watching my favorite Tagalog-dubbed soap opera, I suddenly got curious and wanted to know how the voice over was done. So, I visited my favorite video site to see it for myself. As I was watching the demo from a video, I saw this thing in front of the microphone. After a quick research, I found out that this thing is called a pop filter. I got this information by browsing these collections of unique and exciting pop filter at guitar center over the internet. This pop filter is being used to control loud popping sound which can ruin the voice dubbing recording. I found it amusing, though, how a simple soap opera led me to learn something new.

enjoying her preschool activities

We are so glad we had our 4-year-old daughter enrolled in Nursery instead of jumping right through Kindergarten class. To be honest, the school that Dippy was currently enrolled in wasn't the first school we had in mind for her. However, our prospect school at that time more or less focused on the age requirement of the K-12 program and not really on the readiness of the student. Although we already paid a small fee for the slot reservation (which was nonrefundable, by the way), we decided to back off from that school because we were having second thoughts. Besides, the location is a little farther away from where we are residing. Also, had she been enrolled in that school, she would have bypassed Nursery. Thankfully, we found another good school when we were looking to get her to join summer classes in writing. She actually liked being there and I've seen how she gradually became interested to go to school each day. That prompted us to let her enroll there so that she will not only learn her lessons but also enjoy the preschool activities that come with being a Nursery student. In fairness, they are also a competitive school and the teachers are also dedicated in their profession.


early morning thoughts

Just seeing my daughter getting a little bit older each day is already enough to get me to think of trying out new things that might possibly help us secure a better future for her. Sometimes, I'll just come up with a plan on my own (Ting! Ting! Ting!) and I would think about it over and over before I lay them all down to my husband. Today is just one of those times. While hubby and the little girl are still sleeping, I got the chance to surf the net and learned a few things about investing in gold and silver. I realized just how easy it is to buy gold or silver online and sell it later for a better or handsome price. The internet is definitely one of the best places to buy silver or gold. What really caught my fancy are the gold coins at goldeneaglecoin.com but I am not really sure if the gold coin trading is for me. I must admit I have yet to find out more information about this. Hmmm, it is time to quit thinking for now and fix some breakfast.


her first day of school

A few days ago, I was supposed to blog about her first day of school and how it turned out for our little girl. Obviously, I didn't have time to do that despite the fact that there are 24 hours in a day. LOL. Blame it partly on the rainy season because we practically wanted to have more hours of sleep now. Anyway, her first day of school was technically not her first day to experience school since she already went to summer school prior to entering Nursery2 this school year. Still, I felt the need to file for a leave of absence from work to support her official first day of school as a preschooler.

The mom in me was telling me I have to be there to make sure her first day is a good one. I had to be there just in case she feels uncomfortable. We all know a lot of kids cry on their first day of school especially if they are used to being with their parents almost all of the time. However, this was not the case with my daughter. The moment we entered the gate of her school, she cheerfully greeted everyone 'Good morning'. Just like most 'first days' of school, their classes did not formally start yet. In fact, the students were dismissed early. It was almost like we were there in school just to have her ID picture taken, bring all her books, and get her school-related requirements. We then spent the rest of the day buying her requirements. In the evening after taking dinner, I covered all her books and notebooks. I didn't even notice that it was already past bedtime that night.

Oh gosh, for someone who is already thirty-ish, I still can't believe I already have a preschooler. I thought I shouldn't be surprised because I am not getting younger as well. Even some of my contemporaries were already sending their kids to high school. So, there's still a long way to go for us. Indeed, it's time to work even harder so we can provide a better future for her.


keeping up with our morning chores

I can already imagine what our life as parents would be like when our little girl starts schooling. After all, like a sneak preview, I had a little taste of it when Dippy went to summer school. Since Nursery classes are held in the morning, we knew we need to get up a little early than usual so we can have time to prepare her for school. Aside from getting her to wake up early and let her take a shower and get dressed, part of our very mundane routine is to cook a healthy meal that Dippy would love to eat. As much as possible also, we need to have that extra time as she wants either her father or me to feed her even when the sitter is around. Cooking is definitely one chore that eats up most of the extra time we have in the morning before we are able to prepare ourselves to go to work. Our bottleneck is in the preparation of the ingredients for a healthy meal which includes the cutting or the slicing of vegetables. In fact, there was one time that I almost cut my finger while rushing to get the cooking chore done. Luckily, the blade didn't get through my skin but it was really close to an accident. There was also another time when I dropped the knife and the blade almost landed on my right foot. Obviously, we didn't have one of those utility knives that are much safer to use. I did wish to own one soon but, for the meantime, I resolve to be more careful when using this kitchen tool. More importantly, we're taking that ounce of prevention by keeping it away from our little girl's reach.

school time is almost near

Oh, how quickly the month of May has passed us by! I would have wanted it not to end yet since the start of June is already a hint that school time is almost near. While I am excited for my little girl going to school a few days from now, I thought we needed a little time to be able to take care of our little girl's school uniform. Yes, we still haven't bought the fabric yet so we can send them already to the dressmaker for sewing. Thankfully, our neighbor informed us that they have the exact fabric for Dippy's uniform. They just bought it recently but won't be needing it anymore because, for some reason, they are no longer enrolling their kid in the same school as Dippy's. Anyway, our nursery kid is so excited to meet her classmates for this school year. Every time we would ask her to practice writing before classes start, she would happily obey. Okay, I really can't wait for her to be in school because I know she will learn a lot and she will enjoy her time with kids in school.


should parents support their children's love for music?

While on our way to enroll the little girl to her school, I noticed two girls waiting to get a ride and carrying their musical instruments. I knew they were siblings because they look pretty much alike. I think they play clarinets. They must be going to a musical workshop or something. I thought they must be so lucky to have parents who are able to support their love for music. Or is this really something they love doing? Just wondering. As a parent myself, I know how hard it is to pay for a child's basic education but, in their case, I think they're just so fortunate to have parents who can also afford to send them to a music school. Oh, if by any chance my little girl is interested in music, somehow I hope to be able to support her the same way. Hopefully. :-)


enrolled her to Nursery

Here's a quick update on our little girl's schooling status come opening. Hubby and I finally decided to have her enrolled in Nursery instead of in Kindergarten 1. I thought we were not in a hurry and I want her to enjoy her time in school by not jumping on to Kindergarten just because her age is suitable for K1. So there you go. In less than a month from now, her classes would already start. I hope she'll learn and have fun at the same time while she's in Nursery school.


on keeping myself protected when traveling alone

When I learned about my husband's plan to resign from the company we are both working for, one of the many things that come to my head is my safety. I told him I am no longer used to traveling to work and to go home alone. It just won't feel comfortable anymore to leave the house and the office without him. I feel paranoid about my security as I am used to riding the motorcycle with him and trust his driving skills to send us both to safety. Now, what I am particularly worried about is when I would go home by myself from the office in the evening. After having experienced being robbed on the road many years ago, I would often feel paranoid that someone is following me whenever I am traveling alone. So, I asked husband that if he has no plans of fetching me at the office, he had better provide me with the best pepper spray so I can better protect myself whenever I feel like I am in danger and have no one to ask for help.

remembering my childhood through an old picture

I am so glad my mom took good care of our old photos, especially those pictures of my childhood. I want to show them to my little Dippy so she can see how I look like back when I was as young as her. There are photos that I can say for sure that she looks like me or I look like her. Sometimes, when she looks at one particular photo, she would surprise me by asking if it was her. If I would tell her that it was me in the picture, she would insist that it was her. Below is a picture I dug in my drawer today that kept me somewhat smiling today because I have remembered my childhood.

I believe mom was the one who took this picture (me in green)

Looking at this picture sends me back to the summer times when our family and some friends would usually go to the beach to unwind. At the beach, we would take a whole day swimming, eating, and singing along while someone in the family or a friend plays the guitar. This picture is just one souvenir from one of those enjoyable beach times I had with family and my parents' close friends.


preparing for a family beach outing

The other night, my husband received a call from mother-in-law. She called to inform him/us about an important itinerary that we shouldn't miss this month - the annual family beach outing. It was so sweet of her to have called to make sure that we could be available on a particular day. We were told we were going far South this month but the specific beach venue is still something that needs a final say. Wherever that is, as long as the family is together on this activity, I'm sure it's going to be fun.

When the little girl learned about the beach outing, she got really excited. In fact, last night, she has already decided what outfit to wear to the beach. Thanks to the little girl, husband and I realized that there are things we needed to prepare for this family beach activity. Last year, we forgot to bring our own sunblock. That's quite a major offense, indeed. It was a good thing that one auntie brought one with her - but it was just a small bottle that needs to be shared with everybody. Yes, that's how prepared we were last year. :-) This year, we need to be a little more prepared. It's definitely time to check on important stuffs we needed to bring to the beach . This weekend, we intend to score a kiddie life jacket for my daughter. I also wish our beach budget for this summer still has room for a marc jacobs sunglasses but I guess this can wait until the next scheduled beach activity or until all other priority purchases are made.


just another kiddie update

It's amazing how kids tend to grow up quickly. Seems like it was only yesterday when she still wants and likes to wear and change diapers. At 3 years old, we couldn't let her wear one anymore, even during bedtime; although, I know other parents successfully got off the diapering stage of their kids way earlier than we did. Anyway, we got even more impressed when she didn't pass the stage where she would pee on her sleep. Hubby and I didn't find it hard to wean her off from wearing diapers or to potty train her. It was something that we didn't force her to do. There was really no effort at all. Thanks to her cousins who are a couple of years older than her, she got herself interested to sit on her kiddie toilet seat as she saw them doing the same each time they would need to answer the call of nature.

Bonding with her first cousins
On the not-so-positive side, this 4-year-old is also at this stage where she would really insist on doing what she wants to do even if we told her it would do her good if she didn't. Also, it's hard to let her wear something she didn't approve of, even if we thought it's the more appropriate thing for her to wear at that moment. And if there is one particular dress she likes to wear but it is still hanging in the clothesline, she would insist on wearing them even when the dress still needs to dry. You can only imagine what a day is like with a little girl having tantrums because she can't wear her favorite dress. This is indeed the period that husband and I could use a little more patience. Now I remembered that this is what most parents refer to as "terrible-two's" stage. Now I wonder - what is it going to be like when she turns 6 soon? Still, it is something I'm looking forward to experience.

I guess we really can't stop our kid from growing up each day, can't we? Soon, a few more years from now, we will be parents to an adolescent. I wonder how we would fare to her as parents by then. I hope we can still be as close as we are right now.


a handyman for a husband

I remember back then when Stephen and yours truly are about to get married, the real estate agent we have been talking to asked me if my fiance is a handyman. This is in anticipation of home improvement and repairs that will be needed in the next few years. I wasn't really quite sure about my answer back then since I really didn't get to witness him personally how he fixes things in their own home; although I knew he used to watch his late grandfather do some minor repairs in his parents' house. I was told that if my husband is a handyman, we would be able to save a few bucks if he doesn't rely always on professional services for minor things that he can do himself. True enough, he is a real handyman. The self-help videos on the Internet have also been a great help to him. Curiosity always drives him to learn how to fix things here and there. In fact, just recently, he's done a great job attending to a plumbing issue at home. He said he has already fixed the leaks to our pipe with the use of band clamps along with other tools. This definitely saved us money because we didn't need to hire a  professional plumber. For this and other reasons, I can really say that the guy I chose to be my husband a few years ago is indeed a real keeper! :-)

on educating our children

We really appreciate it a lot that most schools nowadays are encouraging parents to work closely with their teachers when it comes to educating kids. After all, we are expected to know our kids' behavior better than they do. Because of that familiarity with our kids' attitude, we parents should know better how to discipline our kids and to get them to diligently do what is expected of them academically. In the case of our daughter who is taking a summer class in writing, we can't really expect her to quickly absorb all the techniques being taught by her teacher at once. Usually, it takes some practice for her to be able to write correctly. Her summer class is just for a month. This is certainly not long enough to cover everything. This is why we are also expected to polish what she has learned in school and to motivate her to improve her writing. With that, we are thankful for teachers who try to make sure that our kids have assignments to do at home so that we parents can also find the time to teach them and to monitor their progress.


practical remedies for prickly heat on kids

If there is anything I hate about summer, that would have to be because of the prickly heat it brings on my daughter's skin. After all, at her age, there is a good chance that her sweat glands might not be fully developed yet. The itch and discomfort she's feeling can be totally bothersome that it almost kept her up at night. This unpleasant thing she's feeling went on for a couple of days until I tried some of the tips I ran into while looking for remedies for prickly heat on kids.

Below are some practical tips I used to get her relief from prickly heat:

1. Switch to a milder soap. Prior to the prickly heat attack, she has been using the same brand of bath soap we are using. However, the harsh chemicals seemed to add more trouble on her skin. That's when we decided to use a mild soap which will not wash down her skin's natural oils and cause it to dry and itch.

2. Pat dry skin with a soft towel or fabric made of soft cotton. I learned that we should never rub it directly on to our child's affected skin after taking a bath or when she's sweating as this can be painful for her.

3. Let her skin breathe with loose clothing. A tight and thick clothing can trigger itching and discomfort when she sweats and perspires.

4. Let her drink more water to keep skin hydrated.

5. Use prickly heat powder as necessary to get her the relief she needs and to prevent her from sweating a lot.

6. Prevent her from getting long exposure to the sun's scorching heat. You don't want to aggravate her skin's condition any further. Use an umbrella if she must go out when the sun is up.

That's about it. If there are remedies for prickly heat that you might want to add, feel free to share them here.


something to smile upon

I love this picture of my late mom with her parents and siblings. They have don themselves as cowboys and cowgirls. I like it that they are putting effort to achieve this kind of look. Their picture together is really something I am going to show to my daughter again when she's bigger. :-)

Inspired by this photo, I think I am going to have to convince my siblings and my dad to have some pictures of us taken wearing equestrian outfit because that is probably the only time we get to wear something like that, unless there's a costume party we could attend with an equestrian look for a theme. I wonder if we could look taller in this kind of outfit. However we would turn out in the photos soon, surely it should be something that we and our next generation can smile upon.

a work in progress

My 4 year old is learning this song from that classic fairy tale movie "Cinderella". The title of the song is "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes". I love it that she takes the effort in learning how to sing the lyrics to the song. Hopefully, as she practices more, she will improve her diction and her singing. At her age right now, I am already happy that she knows how to project everytime she performs. Definitely, she is  a work in progress. One proud mommy right here. :-)


planning for that summer vacation

Last night, I noticed my husband looking at a leather briefcase for men at GotBriefcases.com and then I wondered if he ever thought of getting one. Unless he had a change of heart, I thought he's not into this type of bag because he is already comfortable with an old school backpack to get to work - comes in really handy for him because we use motorcyle as our means of transportation. Anyway, I asked him what he was really looking for in particular and that if he's thinking of getting it as a gift to a family or a friend. He said he was looking for a new laptop briefcase that we could hopefully use so we can safely bring our little piece of gadget when we're vacationing or traveling elsewhere. Hmmmm, that was quite a hint! I am so happy to know he's planning on a summer vacation for us. Yipeee!!! I now hope he finds what he's looking for; although, it's also okay to leave the laptop at home so that this won't interfere with any of our planned activities.

best cure for the gloom

One thing I like about summer, apart from having that fun beach time with family, is seeing a lot of flowers bloom everywhere. Despite the summer heat, plenty of flowers of varying colors are still poised enough to show off their beauty, elegance and radiance. These blooms certainly sends out a message of happiness to any onlooker.

Whenever a woman feels unhappy or uninspired, one can usually get her out of that gloominess and brighten her day with just a bunch of flowers. I guess, our garden would be a happy sight to see if it is kept really well and are filled with flowers of various kinds.

Seeing lots of flowers, especially orchids and gumamela, brings back good memories of my late mom. The garden is her favorite place at home. Among others, I remembered she used to collect different colors and variety of gumamela and she had each one named after every member of our family. In fact, as a way of welcoming my husband to our family, she had her yellow gumamela named after him. By doing that, she only had to look at her garden when we're not around and this would already be enough to keep her from missing us. God, I miss her. I wish she had the chance to hold my little girl in her arms.


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flowery thoughts in the garden of my mind

We left home last Sunday to visit the in-laws. It was great to see them again. My little girl was also happy she got to play with her cousins. However, I forgot to transfer our potted pink rose into a less sunny place when we left. So, when we went back home, it has almost withered and looks a little dehydrated. Poor little precious thing! I wish it was easy to bring it along with us. Otherwise, I should have asked or hired someone to water it for us. Good thing it has survived. In fact, I checked the garden today and look what I found - a blooming pink rose!

 I guess I am like that rose plant that blooms, loses petals and grow new ones. I am definitely a survivor; but without the love and care of family and friends, I don't think I will ever bloom or come this far.


when household chores get in the way of parenting

Are your household chores preventing you from spending more time with family? As for us, there are indeed times when they do and it can sometimes send a bad feeling of guilt from within. As parents, we want to be able to give more of our time on weekends with our kid. We feel like we owe it to our child to spend quality time with her whenever we are not at work. Because of our busy schedule, though, our time off from work is sometimes spent doing household chores. In fact, the way things are going right now (and if you have read my previous post about the unattended laundry), it looks like a brand new washing machine is already a practical and a long overdue expense  since doing the laundry by hand can eat up most of our time. Someone we know actually convinced us to buy their 4-year old laundry machine at a price 40% cheaper than what it would normally cost us if we bought it brand new. However, husband said that if we buy the used appliance, the likelihood of needing washer repair service earlier is obviously greater than we would normally do when we would acquire a new one. We figured it's going to cost us more in the long run if we didn't invest in a brand new appliance.


a lesson well learned

father and daughter outside the church
I know how important it is for us parents to model the right kind of behavior/attitude to our children. After all, kids will often copy what we do. This is what I and husband are most careful about. We want to make sure that we are setting a good example for our daughter to emulate one day. At her age of almost 4 now, we needed to be careful since she is quite observant of our actions.

There are times though when we would slip and show the opposite of what we are trying to teach her. Let me give you an example. I can't help but laugh at yesterday's little fiasco with husband while we were inside the church hearing mass with our daughter. At the start of the mass, the daughter can't help but be her talkative self - talking almost non-stop about anything she could think of. Naturally, I had to make her keep quiet since we are inside the church. I gestured to hush her up immediately. And she did keep her quiet and tried her best to pay attention to the mass.

During the homily, the priest said something that made me want to talk to husband and clarify it with him at once. Without really meaning to, we ended up talking while the priest was also talking. Naturally, our daughter noticed and also felt the need to make us keep quiet! She gestured her small index finger and placed it standing horizontally next to her mouth. Shhhhhhh!!!! It was a little embarrassing on our part but we just smiled and apologized to her. We realized our discussion could have waited outside the church or until the mass was over. Thanks to our daughter, we learned our lesson. :-)


the story behind a sad face

One day, we ran out of dishwashing liquid already; so I asked the nanny to bring the little girl along to buy one from the neighborhood's mini-store since this could no longer wait until the next day's scheduled grocery shopping at the big store. The little girl actually thought they are going to buy Coke. Coca Cola is one of her favorite drinks (sorry), aside from Tang which she calls "Handa, Inom Gawa" (words she copied from a jingle of the brand's TV commercial) and her milk, of course.

So, when she learned that they are going to buy only the dishwashing liquid, she was so disappointed and insisted that they buy Coke as well. The nanny wouldn't yield to her request. Besides, she didn't have extra money for that, anyway. And so, the nanny went back home with the dishwashing liquid and a broken-hearted little girl. The little girl then went upstairs to let me know they already bought what I asked them to buy. She also went to her father who was reading a book to ask money so she can go back to the store with the nanny to buy softdrinks. To her dismay, the father said No and told her that it's not good for her small tummy and she didn't even take her lunch yet. [We actually didn't want her to drink carbonated drinks; although, occasionally, we would allow her to drink but would remember to mix some water to it. LOL!] She was crying and felt so bad that her father said NO. She grabbed me along so we can go downstairs together with the intention of leaving her father behind, and blurted "Ma, ayaw na i-friend si Papa!" (Translation: Mama, do not be-friend Papa) :-) After that, she then turned to me and asked if I can give her money for the drink. When I also said No and explained to her why, she was a huge picture of sadness after that.

She really felt so bad but when I told her I'll take a picture of her so she can see how she looks like when she's not happy, she managed to compose herself - crossed her legs and faced the camera! Oh, my poor girl! :-)

We must have broken her heart at that time but we know it is for her own good.


on watching live band performances

I must admit that I was once the type who goes to concerts to watch my favorite local bands and to buy their albums. I would even find the time before to follow blogs with interviews about my favorite performers. I would also usually update myself with their latest hits by listening to the radio on weekends. That's how I love music and I can't wait to be able to tell my little girl about how much fun I had with my friends when we go to concerts and cookouts. I also have friends and family members who play musical instruments in their respective bands before and I have always loved to be part of the audience when they perform. Generally, I would love to be able to watch them onstage whenever they have gigs and performances. I realized that I am always drawn to watch and to listen to them and this is also partly because of the wise use of elation lighting controllers that would somehow make them look more charming and attractive onstage. Indeed, aside from showing off your musicality, sometimes you gotta play with the lights to be more appealing to the audience. Anyhow, this huge craziness to watch live band performances has gradually died down when I became a wife and a parent. I simply just don't have that luxury of time anymore for such an escapade. :-)

smiled at this story today

Nanay Thelma, the nanny, just told me today that my little girl complained about why I need to work. She doesn't do that all the time, though. According to her, my daughter said I shouldn't be working so I can be with her all the time. However, when she told her that Mama has to work so there is rice to cook and some clothes for her to wear, she quickly smiled, changed her mind and said (in our own dialect), "All right, Mama has to work!" I can't help but smile at this story as well. As young as she is right now, I was glad she already understood our situation. I know I am raising a good daughter.

amazed again at daughter's musicality

with my little girl, when we were younger :-)
Last night, I couldn't help but be amazed again at our daughter's fondness for music. While she was writing at her kiddie table, she was also singing. Although she's still not getting some of the lyrics perfectly right just yet, she seemed to be hitting the right notes. Even with the instrumental part of a song, she would also hum along. I guess she got this musicality from the genes of my relatives and from my mother-in-law. The little girl never gets tired of singing any time of the day and even during bedtime. Speaking of musicality, I also remembered that she was still a few months old when she started showing an interest in playing the piano. This was during the time when we visited the house of a relative. We thought it would be great if we can support her if she wants to be a singer and/or a musician. But how can we ever afford a real piano? We have been seeing a lot of well-known brands lately that have already lowered their prices. Perhaps they'll become even more affordable in the future. Crossing my fingers here. :-)


her birthday is coming

A couple of weeks from now, it is going to be my little girl's birthday. I think I am just as excited as my daughter who is already aware that her birthday is fast approaching - only that she doesn't know the exact date. All she knows is that her birthday is going to happen anytime soon. I've always wanted to celebrate birthdays the simple way. We are just not the type who throw big parties. Besides, we can't afford it. LOL. So hopefully, on her birthday, it's going to be a simple celebration still - going to church for thanksgiving and have dinner with family. What's important for us is to be able to grant our little girl's childish wish/birthday gift. I will have to confirm with her, though, if her wish is already final. It is actually not hard to please her. Sometimes (I think it would be safe to add that disclaimer here)! :-)

to keep or give it away

Ever wondered what a digital hygrometer is? Without looking up for these words using a search engine, somehow, it would give us an idea that it is an instrument or a gadget of some sort used to measure something. Why I brought this up on my blog is because we didn't realize what it was when a husband's relative mentioned that he is going to send one for him, along with other gifts he is also sending for the whole family. We only realized later that husband, being a proud non-smoker, had no use for it. Anyway, it is impolite to say no to a gift. Besides, he can always keep it without using it and not offend the giver. He can also give it away to anyone who will have some use for it. Anyway, what we were really excited about are the rest of the stuff (other than that digital piece of gadget) we would receive by then. Makes me wonder, though, why didn't this relative know he has no use for it? On second thought, maybe this digital instrument can be used for other things other than keeping a cigar's flavor/taste. We'll have to check it out again once it is already in his hands. :-)


got a post-Valentine gift

Just when I decided to go ahead and buy a jacket, a friend came to my office last night and brought a sweater for me. She said the sweater was given as a post-Valentine gift from our common friend who is now based in the U.S. The gift made me smile considering that it was like an answered prayer from my earlier post about the need to keep myself warm at work. At one point, though, I had thought that the sweater wasn't really intended for me since it almost didn't fit me and that the friend who brought the gift was just probably being too kind and decided to share her Valentine gifts for me. :-) Anyhow, I already thanked them both for their thoughtfulness. It was really something (apart from a jacket) I needed and had thought of buying lately. I so love the color but it looks like I would need to trim down some more so that I would look better in this fine piece of clothing. Anyway, I went home last night wearing this sweater and I was kind of impressed that my daughter was quick to notice the new piece of clothing covering my shirt. After that, she asked me where I got it and why I didn't buy her one like that; so I promised to get her one on her coming birthday.


the look of cool and the feel of warmth

Don't you hate it when it gets too chilly cold in the office and you are not armed with a really good coat? I do. Many times, I would end up with a really bad cold because when it's extremely hot outside, it can also get extremely cold when I get to the office. You can never get so lucky as well when there's a tropical depression as the temperature can get too cold to handle. On the brighter side of it, I think it is in times like this that you can look forward to the warmth of a patagonia downtown loft jacket. This just strengthens the idea that it's time to have one I can grab in my closet every time it feels like I could use some warmth. In a cold weather this, I know I can look really cool with this jacket and feel pretty warm inside. Reminds me, I need one for my little girl as well.

she is almost set for school

I think I am a lot more excited than my daughter when it comes to her first day of school. Hopefully, it's going to happen this school year. I believe that's how most moms like me feel. I wonder how she would do at school. Will she be intimidated with other kids around? I hope she can handle it pretty well. Husband and I agreed that we will be there to guide and help her so that she won't find going to school difficult. As parents, we have agreed we won't push her too hard that she will feel pressured about schooling. Instead, we just want her to have this willingness and eagerness to learn and absorb all the lessons. I look forward to her schooling as an opportunity for her to meet new friends and to enjoy her childhood even more. Right now, we're trying to get her to sleep early and wake up early so that she won't show up late in school.


how music lets me accomplish more

I feel like I have more energy doing all my stuff online if I am listening to my favorite songs. Next to coffee, music is my weapon against sleepiness and lack of focus. Of course, I am also aware that not everyone will go for my choice of music. That's why I would rather listen to my playlist all by myself rather than sharing it. By using a headphone, I'll have my music to myself and I can play all the songs I want to listen to. Unless I get carried away and unconsciously sing along, I wouldn't be disturbing people with my music. Speaking of headphone, I realized that it is already due for a replacement. I thought it would be great to own one with a noise reduction feature. It's definitely a good idea to wear a headphone while doing my tasks. This way, I'll get the job done faster and I can then catch up with my responsibilities as a wife and a mother. It is also likely that people will hesitate to approach or to talk to me when I have both ears covered with a gadget. :-)


some moments of nostalgia

Just recently, my daughter's face is a picture of loneliness every time she remembers her cousin. It is quite understandable because when we were at the in-laws' place, they were constant playmates. They've been the best of friends, although there were also times that they don't get along too well and one of them (my daughter usually) would provoke a disagreement or a fight. Last night, she said she misses her cousin. Thus, come weekend (hopefully), we are going to travel and pay the in-laws a visit.

A picture with her cousin

with her aunt and cousins
One of the things that I admire about my daughter is the fact that she didn't show any objection to the "moving back home" decision that we made. Even though she knew that moving means being far away from her beloved cousins and grandparents, it was like she was already mature enough to handle or get over her feeling of nostalgia to the people and places she became attached with outside our home for about a year. She seemed happy wherever we choose to stay. It was like she already has this orientation that she will be happy wherever her parents are.


window shopping for a jacket

Another must-have for me this year is a jacket that I could wear when I am riding the motorcycle with husband. Husband already knows about this need but we were still debating on which jacket to buy. I just learned though that there are patagonia jackets on sale and I would love to wear exactly the purple one that I saw on the website today; however, husband would insist on having me buy the one we saw at the mall last weekend. Should I give in to his suggestion? I told him I should think about it first. After all, I will be the one who will wear it, right?

not a sweet story

I can't help but remember what it's like last Christmas and New Year. Life had been very busy with parties, meetups and reunion with friends and classmates. These activities all had one thing in common - we were pigging out! Definitely, diet was put off again for the nth time. Husband is starting to worry for my health while I am again feeling awful about myself.

One of the many things I couldn't say No to are chocolates. Honestly, I wouldn't think about buying them myself but when they're given to me as gifts, I would definitely indulge (or overindulge even) and give in to my cravings. Haha!

An officemate gave me a handful of these chocolates. The next day, she again gave  me another handful. Like a second helping. :-)

She said the chocolates are for me; so I ate most of them and only shared some to husband. Next thing I know I ended up buying toothache drops at the pharmacy. Totally not a sweet story, right? Serves me right for being so greedy with chocolates.

on wearing prescribed motorcyle helmets

One of the challenges of being an employee is getting to the workplace on time. Tardiness is usually an issue  especially if you have to commute your way to the office and you are living far from your office. As for me and husband, it's a blessing in disguise that we go to work on the same schedule not to mention that we are working for one and the same company. Getting into the office on time is not a problem since we are practically riding the motorcycle to go to work. As parents, we also want to get home earlier; so, it only makes sense to own one. The only thing with driving motorcycles, though, is that it's not as safe as driving cars. Safety is definitely one of the biggest concerns with driving motorcycles. This is why this year, there is strict implementation about wearing the prescribed motorcycle helmets. The helmet I used is a prescribed one but, this year, I hope to be able to buy one of those ladies motorcycle helmets with ICC sticker on it. The helmet I currently use has an ICC sticker but it's hardly noticeable now due to wear and tear.

back in home sweet home

This update may be a little late but we are already back in our own home, sweet home! What a great start of the New Year. We were kind of busy with the moving back in. There were many things that need to be taken cared of yet such as the cleanup, and the laundry, most importantly. We simply just cannot do all of them in one or two days.

So, now, to address the problem with an almost unattended laundry, we've  planned to own a washing machine since hand washing our clothes takes a lot of time and effort. Hopefully, with the new laundry machine, we can have some quality time with daughter on weekends. After all, we're working on weekdays; thus, most of our time on weekends should be spent more on her. Don't you think so? :-)