I started writing when I was 8. My mom got me a journal where I could rant (prob so I won't be an annoying brat). I stopped writing for 8 years until the pen and then later on the keyboard called on me again. I blog because I like writing and that's just about it. Hope you get inspired though... Bite the apple!
Sunday, March 26, 2023
Sunday Miracles: Dealing with Trust Issues
Saturday, March 25, 2023
Plantita Saturdays: Bottomless Spring Onions Grown from Kitchen Scraps
Friday, March 24, 2023
Will AI Outdate You?
Thursday, March 23, 2023
Throwback Thursday: That Time I was a Fairy
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Wellness Wednesdays: Dealing with Food Poisoning
Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Creative Happy Tuesdays: Resting
Monday, March 20, 2023
Home on Mondays: We Hired a Coach to Help Us Declutter
It's been almost 15 months since we moved in our new home. We suspended unpacking all our boxes because we didn't have storage. We only got to install proper cabinets after 12 months. Works on the house was extended though since some serious issues needed to be addressed.
Merging two households is hard. We decided to get help from a decluttering coach because it was too overwhelming. It was also very stressful to see towers of boxes in our living room. We haven't invited anyone over because it's ugly to look at.
Our architect introduced us to Ally Canita. She is the founder of Align Your Home and has been working with us for a few months now. The journey started with some introspection on where we our in our lives. She advised it will help us while we sort through our things. True enough, we were able to donate 7 boxes of books, clothing and kitchen stuff just before Christmas.
After we finished addressing the issues, we finally had our first 2-day session to deal with the boxes. Ally and her team sorted the boxes, cleared out space for storage and organized our kitchen. I had been working on organizing our kitchen since we got back in February. It was helpful to have Ally's expertise since she was able to put in a system in the kitchen. I just told them how I moved around in the kitchen and then they took care of organizing it.
|There were more boxes and bags behind the counter before Ally's team organized the kitchen. |
It was a huge mess! (*Backsplash being replaced).
The contents of the boxes were sorted out. They found 7 boxes of bags (hand bags, eco-bags and travel bags)! They reduced it to three boxes after categorizing the bags. This is where I really trimmed down. Kept only a few bags that would fit in my closet. I even let go of bags that had sentimental value for me. I knew I wouldn't use them anymore and knowing where I am in my life made it easier to let go. After some overnight sorting, we sent out 7 boxes for donation.
The journey isn't over yet. Sorting items takes a lot of time. We sort in the evenings when it's not so hot. It's going to take time to finish. We will have another round with Ally to organize the items we decide to keep. At least the kitchen is now organized. Ally said we'll finalize how it was organized when they come back. Just need to see first if we're comfortable where everything has been placed. Still a long way to go for the rest of the house.
Sunday, March 19, 2023
Sunday Miracles: Kaley Boo the Calico Cat
Yesterday afternoon, Kaley Boo, a stray cat who's been frequenting our home hung out with us for awhile. It was Grey the Cat who introduced her to us last December. By February she was noticeably very pregnant and we panicked at the thought of having more kitties. My doctor had prohibited me from having pets, so having Grey and Kaley was a a good compromise. They only come to eat and they run whenever we come close. They are our socially distant pets, haha.
My friends who have been rescuing stray cats and dogs advised that we should bring them to the vet to get spayed. We've never dealt with cats since we've only cared for dogs and smaller pets (hamster/fish). Much as we'd like to bring them to the vet, they never come near us and we're scared to try to catch them. The cats also seem to have trauma from humans, so the most they do is hang out to eat.
A friend advised that stray animals come to you when you need them. Grey and Kaley Boo came when we needed them the most. They allowed us to show them some love by feeding them. We were originally scared about the thought that we might have to care for more kittens, but I realized it will come if it's meant to be. I thought we could get help from friends who are used to rescuing strays and then get them adopted.
We set up a bed for Kaley Boo to give her a safe space to give birth. Last weekend she was anxious and we knew she was about to give birth. We watched a few videos to understand how best to help her and to know if she would need a vet. She was gone for two days and showed up on Tuesday, visibly thinner. She looked like she didn't finish giving birth yet. She just came and asked to be fed and then left immediately. It was later in the week when she looked like she finished birthing. Unfortunately, we don't know where the kittens are.
Found her yesterday afternoon peering through the glass door. I opened it to greet her and then gave her a treat. Miggy gave her some food and she ate in her usual makalat way, haha. After eating she settled in for a nap and watched me while I planted some spring onions. The highlight of the visit was she slow-blinked me. Cat experts say that a slow blink from a cat means they love you. Awwww.
|Kaley Boo watching me do some gardening.|
We welcomed Grey and Kaley Boo in our home even though they are strays. We protect them when other feral cats try to attack them (yup, have witnessed scary fights!). Much as we'd like to pet them, we respect that they want to stay socially distant. Well, maybe in time they'll feel safe and allow us to pet them.
Saturday, March 18, 2023
Plantita Saturdays: My Garden Turned Into a Desert
My garden badly needs a lot of TLC. All the grass died and the bamboo and shrubs all looked thinner. It was Miggy who pointed out that concrete was peeking out from the soil. I always wondered why the grass died despite the fact we watered it frequently. There wasn't enough soil apparently. Architect Wansi explained that the soil likely went into crevices.
I held off gardening for a few months now because nothing was flourishing. We also need to install proper drains in the garden, plus have the base properly filled up. Work is about to start to fix our exteriors, so I got the help of the boys to gather up my plants. We have to organize them to make space for the work.
|Ornamental plants. They're gonna get a trim in the next few days.|
The only thing that survived all the movement at home are the ornamental plants my Mom and Ate Rose gave me! There's probably something in the soil my Mom uses that's kept the plants resilient. I've just been adding some soil when needed and I spray neem oil once a week. They are very low maintenance. Sadly some of my ginger and tumeric dried out. I'll just plant new ones soon, but will check if any of the roots survived.
It will take a couple of weeks to fix the drainage. Architect also advised to fence off the bamboo so they don't grow wayward. We'll also add soil since the soil has thinned out a lot. We're looking at using turf grass since that would be easier (and cheaper) to maintain. TBH I've browned my Mom's grass a couple of times already, so I definitely cannot be trusted with grass. Even the lemongrass turned to cogon grass under my care! Tsk tsk tsk.
I'm not giving up and will continue to work on my garden! Praying for good air quality so I can stay outdoors :)
Friday, March 17, 2023
Foodie Fridays: Pork Sinigang sa Mustasa
My mustasa plant was very prolific when we were in Singapore. I had to think about what other dishes to use it on. We usually had it with our favorite beef mustasa taco-like dish. After some research I found out you can use mustasa for sinigang. It was hard to find some of the usual ingredients so I just replaced gabi with radish.
It turned out well. Sweetie and I enjoyed the dish especially since the mustasa came fresh from our balcony garden. This is something I hope I could successfully do again here. Will try planting mustasa again soon.
Here's how we made the pork sinigang sa mustasa -
Full recipe here: https://recipesformyson.blogspot.com/2023/03/recipes-for-my-son-pork-sinigang-sa.html
Thursday, March 16, 2023
Throwback Thursday: Bag Memories
We've been working on decluttering our home. Our coach had 7 boxes of bags sorted by her team to make it easier for us to decide which to keep and donate. We sat down the other night to go through all the bags. Much as we'd like to keep some as souvenirs there's just a lot. So I thought I'd write about some of the interesting ones I've used through the years.
Here's a few I managed to take photos of. Most of it has been sent for recycling.
Thought I'd mark some that hold special memories. I finally gave up my super favorite backpack. I don't remember how I got it (haha), but this one traveled the world with me. It carried all the laptops I used for work for over a decade. I loved it because it was light and sturdy. It had a few tears, but I think it's still going to be useful for the Lalamove driver who picked up the boxes for donation. Goodbye Mr. Belkin, enjoy your new adventure.
Startup Weekend Davao schwag bag. It came with a mug and I'm still using the mug! I super enjoyed attending this Startup Weekend. Don't remember though whether I mentored or judged, haha.
The only schwag that Yahoo every gave me, an eco-bag and a handkerchief. I think this was a freebie from an event. The hanky was given to me by Jonas. It's still with Sweetie.
If you're a blogger from the 2009/2010 era, then this bag would be very familiar for you. The huge Geiser Maclang schwag bag was a staple for a lot of bloggers. We got all sorts of goodies with this bag. It was pretty sturdy too and we used it extensively to bring stuff around.
Do you remember Lola Techie? Well, this I think was a giveaway during the event when they launched the character in 2009 (see here). That was a super fun campaign.
I'm going to review the ones we decided to keep. I think we could downsize more and let others enjoy the pre-loved items (especially the cloth eco-bags). I didn't take photos anymore of the hand bags I gave up. I just kept a few since I rarely go out, plus I think others can benefit and enjoy them more. It also gives me the opportunity to make some new ones!
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Wellness Wednesdays: Anchoring Self-care Routines
To make sure I complete my 40-day self-care challenge, I anchored the routine to something I do regularly so I don't forget. I do some stretches before I get up. Skin care after my morning shower and drink my pre-breakfast meds before going out of the bedroom. Wall push-ups while I'm preparing coffee. I do the leg up wall yoga pose after brushing my teeth.
Part of my self-care challenge is to move more. There are days I do only 800-1,000 steps. Moving more helps give me more good days. There's still a lot to organize at home, so I anchored my movement to a daily target to fix something. Sometimes I overdo it and end up flat on my back the next day. I just rest until I feel better. Sweetie reminds me not to overdo things.
I've been more productive since I started the challenge. There are still bad days and I think I can still improve. It's just been hard to get an appointment from my doctor. My aim for now is to stay stable and be at least 1% better than the previous day. Anchoring my "program" on something I do regularly has helped improve my well-being :)
Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Creative Happy Tuesdays: Harry Potter Lap Quilt
I have collected some character fabric over the past few years. When I was about to leave Singapore I made lap quilts for some of my friends. A friend collected Harry Potter books, so I thought I'd make a Harry Potter lap quilt for him. It would be unique and one of a kind.
Made the design simple to make sure I finished it before we left. I matched the fabric with solid colors to make it eye catching. Quickly pieced the cut fabric together and worked to finish it for a few days. I focused more on the sewing and actually forgot to take a proper photo of the finished work, haha (also why the video tutorial is very short).
Gifted the lap quilt the day before we left. The next day my friend sent me photos of Lily, his pet dog. Lily had commandeered the lap quilt. She looked so cute on the quilt. He said she's a Harry Potter fan. I'm glad she liked it and hope she's still enjoying the quilt.
Here's how I made it -
More about how to make the lap quilt on my sewing blog -
Monday, March 13, 2023
Home on Mondays: Condo Renovation Tips
The best time to customize your condo unit is before you move in. We were first time home owners when we received our unit and we thought what came with the unit was enough for us. Well, we didn't really know what we wanted and just used bandaid solutions through the years. It made living in our unit a bit harder.
We finally got around to renovating our unit after 10 years! It took so long because we lived in Singapore for awhile and contractors required the unit to be empty. Eventually got around to emptying it and by that time we had a good idea what we wanted to do.
Here are some tips for those intending to renovate or customize your unit:
- Make a list of all the issues you want to be resolved, i.e. sink is too small, need more storage in the bathroom. Do this by room. We used this list to pick the brains of our architect for solutions to our problems, i.e. resolve heat issue in living room.
- Have a general idea for a color scheme or theme that your architect can work on. We're not very visual people, so we ended up describing to our architect that we wanted the unit to feel like a vacation home.
- Have a budget and stick to it. Keep track of all payments and receipts.
- It's good to know a bit about construction materials so you can tell your architect/contractor if you have preferred materials. Add'l tip: don't use flat latex, always go at least for semi-gloss.
- Research! There's so much info you can find on practical design ideas on Pinterest which can be useful for you. It also helps to read and watch videos on home makeovers.
- Make a detailed list of what you agree to work on. Use this as a check-list and it is best to use the unit after the renovation so you can make sure it's livable. Your condo property management office will also probably send their engineer to check on the unit. We had some items fixed post-renovation, i.e. had to add holes in the oven cabinet and some electrical work had to be fixed. Also had to have some things tweaked and covered post-renovation.
- Make sure everything works, sockets, plumbing (no leaks!), any built-in items like your stove and oven. We had to have the aircon frame done again because they locked in the aircon unit and the cleaners had to destroy the frame to get it out. It was replaced with a velcro frame.
- Replace appliances/gadgets and furniture only if necessary.
- Salvage any materials if still useful.
- Your contractor will probably do some cleaning, but it would be better to get professional cleaners to do a post-construction cleaning.
Sunday, March 12, 2023
Miracle Sundays: You Can Always Come Back to Him
It is not easy to be good. It is very hard to resist temptation. Succumbing to what we want is far easier than being frugal. It is easier to gossip than to hold your tongue. It is easier to keep everything we have to ourselves than to be generous. We all fall into sin one way or another.
I have had trouble sleeping for a few years now. It is a side effect of my illness and the medications I take. On good days, I can fall asleep by two in the morning. On bad days, it stretches to 5 and even 7 in the morning. Falling asleep late means I wake up late. Waking up at 11 is early for me, noon to 1 p.m. is normal.
I've been trying to correct this for a few years now. It only works when we're on vacation somewhere. It is frustrating because it means I spend less time with Sweetie and Miggy. I also end up being unproductive. Less movement has resulted in my condition getting worse. It also means I'm not meeting any of my goals for the year.
Today's Gospel is about the prodigal son. It is a good reminder that no matter how bad we get, Our Father will always welcome us back. With open arms and even a feast. I knew it's up to me to push myself to correct the issue. For this Lent, I resolved to do my daily exercises and work on moving more. It also means I have to wake up earlier to meet my goals.
I prayed for guidance and the will to complete my Lenten sacrifice. I must admit I haven't really asked God for much. I have fallen wayward and it shows in my health. The Lenten goal is one of my steps to go back to Him. I have so far been waking up an hour and a half earlier the past two days.
I tied waking up earlier to specific daily goals I want to accomplish. An additional push for me is to make sure I finish what I need to do before the temperature hits 31'C. I have to move to a cooler place before the temperature rises because heat is bad for those with CHF. Who knows maybe in time I can be a morning person again. :)
Saturday, March 11, 2023
Plantita Saturdays: Learning How to Make Soil Healthy
One of the things I learned about my failed gardening attempts is to make sure that I have the best kind of soil for my plants. It wasn't enough I added compost and coco peat/rice husk to it. I realized the soil I had in Singapore was a ready mix. The soil I have needs extra work so I could grow healthy plants.
I've been reading and watching videos on soil preparation. I haven't planted anything yet since our garden will undergo some work. I think it's also too hot to plant anything at this point. Here's what I've picked up the past few months about making soil healthy -
- Hot Water - pour hot water in soil that has been infested with pests. This will kill them and the eggs. Alternatively, you can also let the soil dry under the sun, the effect should be the same.
- Hydrogen Peroxide - another way to cleanse the soil is to pour water with hydrogen peroxide to it.
- Charcoal - I just learned that you can add charcoal to your soil. It will help keep the soil moist. I think I'm going to do this before I plant anything since I expect it's going to be a very hot summer.
- Compost - I've been composting the past few months. I look forward to adding it to my soil before I start planting again.
- Rice husk or coco peat - rice husk or coco peat acts as a soil conditioner. It helps keep the soil moist and adds nutrients as it decomposes.
- Rain water - we collect rain water whenever it rains because that's what our plants prefer. During the hot season, we use water that has rested for at least a day.
- Fertilizer - adding fertilizer is important. This is probably one thing I missed doing when I got home. In Singapore we used rice water at least once a week on the plants. I remember also pouring banana peel tea every so often. It helped the plants produce more flowers.
Friday, March 10, 2023
Lakwatsera Fridays: Angrydobo
Sweetie voted to dine at Angrydobo when we headed out for errands last week. Last time we just had takeaway during a staycation last year. We went at an odd hour to avoid the crowd.
I've tried the adobo twice already, so I thought I'd go for something different. The dish kaldedobo caught my eye. It's kaldereta and adobo combined together with cheese on top. I have not come across the dish and thought it would be interesting to try. I don't have the right words to describe it. The dish was flavorful and just simply delicious. Make sure to try it at Angrydobo.
Sweetie had the Angrydobo chicken thigh.
Miggy ordered adobo flakes.
The ripe mango shake was perfect for my order since it was a tad bit spicy. Sweetie had the tamarind iced tea. He loved it so much he got a bottle for takeaway. I like the branch at Westgate much better since it's more spacious and there's a lot of parking spaces around. You can also get some items for takeaway.
Thursday, March 9, 2023
Throwback Thursday: San Francisco with the Boys
A few years ago we tagged along with Sweetie when he went to the US for an event. We were in San Francisco for a few days and since it was Miggy's first time I thought it would be a good idea to bring him around.
I still have some fuzzy memories of SanFo from my childhood. I was 4 the first time I went. Tito Mon had a house there where we stayed for a few days. I remember visiting Fisherman's Wharf because it was so cold. I wanted Miggy to experience it, so that was our first stop when we arrived. We ended up dining at The Franciscan Crab Restaurant where we had seafood. We walked around for a bit after and we enjoyed the breeze from the bay.
After that we met up with some friends to visit a pumpkin patch. It was a fun experience for Miggy because I similarly visited a pumpkin patch with my scout brothers before. After that we hung out with our friends at a Vietnamese restaurant and had milk tea after.
The next day Miggy and I walked over to Ghiardelli Square. We had fun going in and out of shops because they would sometimes give free pieces of chocolate. Took a break at Lori's Diner then headed to the Presidio National Park. I wanted to see the Yoda fountain and walk around the Palace of the Fine Arts.
By early evening we headed back to the wharf to explore it a bit more. It was fun to hang out in the area because of the wildlife. There were a lot of birds and sea lions. Dined at Bubba Gump just to experience it and then met up with Jay. We checked out the Musee Mechanique. It showcased a lot of 20th century arcade games and artifacts. It reminded me of the Tom Hanks movie, Big.
We only spent a few hours going around the city. The only thing memorable was seeing a huge warship docked in the bay and walking around the Embarcadero. It was a quick trip. Maybe we'll get to go back someday :)
Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Wellness Wednesdays: How Decluttering Made My Life Lighter
Tuesday, March 7, 2023
Creative Happy Tuesdays: Huge Home Appliance Cover
Monday, March 6, 2023
Home on Mondays: Condo Common Bathroom Makeover
I almost forgot to feature the makeover we did for the condo common bathroom. It was used as is when we moved in and we just added a few fixtures through the years. The biggest complaint we had for the bathroom were the toilet and sink. The toilet was smaller than standard. It was quite uncomfortable. The sink was also too small. Of course, the bathroom did not come with any cabinets installed so even with the shelf add-on, it looked messy.
Here's what we changed in the common bathroom:
Removed the old sink, installed a new bigger one
Removed the old toilet, installed a new standard sized one
Added a cabinet under the new sink
Changed the mirror to a cabinet
Changed the ceiling light
Updated to a new exhaust fan
Kept the tiles and just repainted the walls
The space looks so much better now and got good reviews from it's original user (Miggy). Of course, don't forget to check for any leaks when the contractor turns over the finished unit to you.
Sunday, March 5, 2023
Miracle Sundays: Be Not Afraid
What Jesus is telling us here is that we should not be afraid of the unknown. The disciples got scared because they were not familiar with the voice they heard. We all get scared. I was terrified of reciting in class and performing on stage. I still felt the same way when I had to present in front of an audience. I also got the hibbie jibbies whenever I to present my quarterly report.
Survived all of it by praying. A lot of people asked me if I wasn't scared when I had heart surgery, twice. I was strangely very calm when I was wheeled in the operating theater both times. I had a decade to prepare for surgery and I just left it all to His Will. I had no doubt that the doctors would take good care of me. It was many years later when they told me they almost lost me. They said my Will was very strong and I fought back. I told them it wasn't my will, but His.
Today's Gospel is a good reminder for me not to be afraid. The past year has been very rough health-wise. I need to constantly remind myself that I should just live everything to Him and live my life the best way I can.
Saturday, March 4, 2023
Plantita Saturdays: Composting Coffee Grinds
|Composting coffee grinds.|
Friday, March 3, 2023
Foodie Fridays: Air Fried Cream Dory
Our kitchen is semi-functional again. We thought it would be a good time to learn more air fryer recipes. Our goal is to learn more seafood recipes since it's Lent. Found some cream dory in the freezer, so I thought that would be a good place to start.
It was very easy to prepare. Just sliced the fish, added salt, pepper, lemon and melted butter. Left it for awhile to marinate. The boys took care of frying it. I told them I'll leave the frying to them. Works for me since I'm not really fond of frying and I get anxious with using newer kitchen gadgets (those I didn't grow up with).
Here's how we made it -
The air fried cream dory was cooked perfectly. The boys liked it, but it was a bit too salty for me. Perhaps next time I'll use unsalted butter for the marinate. It would have been nicer too if we made some tartar sauce. Sweetie took care of plating it and we enjoyed eating it for dinner. Maybe next time we can try making calamares. A friend warned though that there are dishes better fried in oil. We'll see :)
Full recipe is at https://recipesformyson.blogspot.com/2023/02/recipes-for-my-son-air-fried-cream-dory.html
Thursday, March 2, 2023
Throwback Thursday: One Second Everyday | February 2023
February was a much better month than January. It went by so quickly though and has been the busiest month for me. I say busy because I was able to move more, but I still had a lot of bad days. Needless to say, I'm happy i was able to be more productive.
Here's a short highlights video of my month -
The highlight for the month was Sweetie's Valentine surprise. He brought me and Miggy to Nuvali to have lunch at Amare La Cucina. It was a joyous occasion because the last time we ate at Amare was during their soft opening in Baguio many, many years ago. I've wanted to try their pizza again for a long time now, so the surprise was a happy one. We were also finally able to visit Landmark again on the same day (not our usual branch though).
I rarely go out and it sometimes takes weeks before I get to go out again. I'm content when we go on a joyride around the park to spin Pokestops. Still need to be cautious since I'm immunocompromised. I've made it part of my Lenten 40-day challenge to go out at least once a week. That way I can move around more. So I'm really grateful we were able to go out almost weekly in February. I think that has helped me generate more steps at home. Yay!
March is here now and the biggest challenge would be the change in the weather. We need to make a few adjustments at home to keep the temperature down. Hopefully Architect Wansi and his team can squeeze it in their busy schedule because I don't want to be stuck in the bedroom all summer!
Let's all make March a grateful month!
Wednesday, March 1, 2023
Wellness Wednesdays: A Little Added Care a Day Goes a Long Way
I was having more bad days than good days the past few months. It's annoying since I'm unproductive on those days. I've accepted the fact that it's going to be that way. My doctors have helped the best way they could, but if I want to increase my energy and stamina I have to work harder.
For this Lenten season I have resolved to take better care of myself. For the 40 days of Lent I have resolved to do the following everyday:
- Exercise - to be consistent I tied the mini-exercises I do with some chores. Wall push-ups while preparing coffee and more movement through chores (i.e. dishwashing or cooking). The general aim is to walk at least 1,500 steps per day around the house. Stop when feeling unwell. Aim for a long walk at least once a week.
- Self-care - daily skincare. I realized that I've been so lucky because my skin has generally been unaffected by my medical issues. I have to take care of it though, so I have resumed my skincare routine. I also started to have more white hair, so I'm taking care off my hair too.
- Keep my mind working - found it easier to blog ahead. I feel a bit anxious if I blog on the same day, so I've been trying to write at least a day ahead. If my muse is in the mood I try to write up to 3 days ahead. This gives me time to do other things.
- Have a working goal - I have so many interests and hobbies. I sometimes get overwhelmed with everything I want to do. I now use the area on my planner where you can write out your weekly targets. I just write 3 priorities for the week and do what I can.
- Pause when needed - I know what triggers my issues, so things sometimes change in an instant. A good day can immediately change to a bad day. So I check the weather and the AQI before I go out of our bedroom.