Sunday, April 30, 2023
Saturday, April 29, 2023
Things weren't going right for our garden. Experienced flooding, all the grass died and nothing seemed to flourish, even the bamboo trees started to look sad. With all the grass gone, it soon became muddy and it became harder to keep the sliding doors clean. A huge rat also burrowed and we got scared it might gain entry to the house.
After a month of work, the drainage issue has been addressed. The bamboo and other plants has been corralled. We were lucky that the foreman who led the team had extensive gardening experience. He really took care of the plants and properly transplanted those that were "in the way". He also made sure that the plants were watered twice a day. The plants all look greener and happier now.
|Downspout water had to be directed to the drain and drain pipes had to be re-aligned.|
The biggest change we did was to prep the garden for turf grass. We don't exactly know why the grass died, but we suspect it may be because of the bamboo and the soil. Maintaining grass is hard and expensive. You need to be really committed to maintain grass. I even tried growing grass to fill up the bald patches, but it didn't work. We decided to use turf grass so we can spend more time tending to growing plants. Also, no more muddy garden.
Things are slowly taking shape. I'm really happy with how the refresh turned out. They added drains, realigned the pipes, fixed the downspout and even moved the faucet for me. The plants are also happier and we saw new bamboo growing after proper loam soil was added. We still need to finish the other mini-projects before we have the turf grass installed.
Maybe I can finally start planting again :)
Friday, April 28, 2023
I used to visit Bacolod often. It's one of my favorite places to visit in the Philippines because there's so much to do. It was my first time to go for a vacation and just spent two days in Bacolod. We spent our limited time there eating, haha. We were glad though to discover new places to visit again. This is my updated list of places I'll visit again when I get to visit Bacolod again -
1. Calea because cake is life. It's been years since I last visited Bacolod, but my friend Anne always brought back chocolate cake for me even when I was in Singapore! Got to try out other flavors when we were there, but I made sure to eat my favorite chocolate cake for our last visit.
2. Chicken inasal is something you should eat when in Bacolod. Nena's Rose has branch just a kembot away from Calea. We got our inasal fix on our last night, but next time I want to go to their main branch.
3. Lanai by Freshstart Organic is a new restaurant. Our friends brought us there and I super loved the food. I tried the guava grilled pork belly. It took me awhile to realize that the guava they used is the guava jam I love spreading on crackers. Sweetie had blue marlin and it looked really tasty too. I want to go back to try their other dishes.
4. We were told about the new ensaymada place near L'Fisher. Promptly forgot the name, but we saw Chef JP's vlog by chance where he featured V&W (Victoria & William). It was a few minutes walk to V&W from L'Fisher, just go to the street where Bongbong's is located. We got ensaymada and cheese roll and brought it to Manami. Of course, I forgot to take photos of the ensaymada and cheese roll. It means I have to go visit again because I also want to try their polvoron.
5. First place we visited when we arrived was the new Cafe Bob's. It's I guess the fancier version of Bob's Restaurant. We headed straight there from the airport to have lunch with a friend. I'm not really sure how different the menu is from the original place, but I was nonetheless mesmerized by the variety in their menu. Next time I want to visit again the original Bob's restaurant and have dessert at Cafe Bob's.
6. Buy pasalubong at Bongbong's or Merzci. They are both just a stone's throw away from L'Fisher and Avenue Suites on Lacson Street.
7. We also found a hidden gem on Lacson, a toy shop named Patrick & Patrice. We visited it twice (before and after Manami). They have a wide array of toys, both new and old. I managed to buy 2 Yoda figures and a Wonder Woman figure for a friend.
The list above is from our recent visit. Would like to add the following from previous visits:
8. A visit to Bacolod can only be complete if you visit The Ruins. It is the remains of the ancestral home of Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson and Maria Braga Lacson. It is a beautiful site to visit. I've been there a couple of times and one thing new visitors must do is find the hidden lake.
9. One favorite place to visit when in Bacolod is El Ideal Bakery. It's in Silay City and what I like about it is the rows upon rows of baked goodies you can bring back as pasalubong. It's on the opposite side though where we went, so this is one place I'd like to visit again. If you want to take a break, you can also go to Cafe 1925.
10. Carbin Reef is truly unforgettable for me. It's located in Sagay and you can just do a day trip. Make sure to bring your own food since it's just a reef (not sure if there's any improvements since my last visit). I love going there because you can just simply enjoy the sea.
Oh wow, I intended to limit this list to 5! It grew though because there's so much to do in Bacolod! I know my list is mostly about food, but that's what I've always enjoyed experiencing in Bacolod. Maybe next time we can explore other places :)
Thursday, April 27, 2023
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
I know I'm an extreme example of a heat sensitive person, but here's a few things you can do to cool down this summer to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke -
1. Stay hydrated! Drink more water, but make sure you get electrolytes in. I've taken a liking to drinking buko juice. It keeps me well hydrated, protects my kidneys and makes my skin healthy.
2. Stay in a cool place. A friend suggested to use block curtains instead of regular curtains. This helps keep your room cooler by keeping the sun out. Block curtains are expensive, I just made ours by buying the fabric (here's a tutorial how to make curtains).
3. Eat in-season fruits. My Dad told me that fruits come out based on the season it's best eaten. Fruits that are usually available now include duhat, mango, watermelon, melon and pineapple. Save for duhat, most are used for shakes! We have busted out our blender so we can make fruit shakes at home.
4. Stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. according to a doctor who was interviewed in the news. If you have to be out, best to use an umbrella, or push your appointment earlier or later in the day.
5. Be mindful of how you're feeling if you're exposed to too much heat. Go to a cooler place at the first sign of feeling warm and drink water. Do not wait to feel dizzy because that may easily progress to heat exhaustion.
6. Always have tools on hand to help you cool down: (a) Water, (b) A pamaypay or handheld fan, (c) Umbrella, (d) Shades (yup, protect your eyes too!), and (e) A bimpo (face towel). I always wear a mask when I go out and I found it useful to put a dab eucalyptus radiata essential oil at the bottom of my mask. It makes the mask feel less stuffy and helps me breathe better.
7. Wear summer clothes!
8. If you could, stay by the sea! There's always a breeze by the beach. #sanaol
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
I wanted to learn odd-shape quilting. I see a lot of advanced quilters doing this. I wanted to learn because I want to explore making themed quilts. I also wanted to improve my skills outside of making block quilts. I started my learning journey by making mug rugs. Eventually, I looked for something more challenging on Pinterest.
A cute cat quilt caught my eye on Pinterest. I liked the colors and it looked like something I could make. I couldn't access the website associated with it and couldn't get a pattern. My "drawing" skills was put to the test when I made the pattern. I wanted to make a bag out of it. I hand quilted the project and it turned out okay. I still use the bag every so often.
|The inspiration on the left and the bag I made on the right.|
I'm working on the projects I listed early this year and thought I'd try making the cat design again. I'm going to use it as the face for a kitchen project. It was much easier to make now since I've had practice. I really enjoy doing some embroidery in my projects. Here's how I put it together -
I plan to try other pins I picked on Pinterest in the coming weeks. Hope to finish my kitchen project by end of summer. After that I'll move on to other projects I listed on my wish list.
Pattern and measurements available at:
Monday, April 24, 2023
I grew up experiencing days where we had no running water. My parents eventually had an underground tank made so we could save water for days when Nawasa wasn't able to provide. I think most houses in our area have water tanks.
|Before and after cleaning|
Master plumber, Rod, is truly heaven sent for us. He said he'll gladly include cleaning the tank for a more affordable price. He also gave great advise on how to keep it clean so we don't have to do the painful task of cleaning it. He shared that most water tanks in high end villages use filters. The filter cleans the water before it goes in the tank. You also have the option to use disposable or washable filters. We're going for the washable one so we can save more.
We got lucky last week when the tank was cleaned. There was no water interruption, so we were able to fill up the tank quickly. We were warned it might take two days to clean it. It would have been problematic if there was a water interruption. There's always the balde system though, haha.
Sunday, April 23, 2023
Saturday, April 22, 2023
Installing a simple self-watering system on our potted plants was a gamble. Miggy and I did several experiments for a week to see how it would work. We were quite satisfied with the results, so we planted water bottles in all our potted plants. My worries for our ground planted plants vanished since it continuously rained due to the typhoon. The potted plants though were sheltered in the garage, so I had to rely on the self-watering system.
Our flight got delayed, so we got home past midnight. I checked the potted plants and was relieved to see they were all alright. The next day I checked each on closely and was surprised that most of them still had a lot of water. I guess they really just sip the water they need.
The biggest pot in the lot is my curry tree (not neem tree as what the nursery told me). I thought it would finish the water in just a few days. It just drank about 40% of the water in the bottle.
And the flowers have started to become curry berries. It's really interesting to see since this is my first time to grow a curry tree. I also noticed it grew more shoots towards the bottom of the plant. I'm just going to keep it in the pot since I don't know where I could plant it to grow bigger.
The aglaonema is the only plant that finished it's water. When Miggy and I did our experiment it barely drank any water. I guess it got really thirsty during the week. The petunia in the same pot when we got home was about to bloom some flowers. I'm glad they were both okay even though the bottle was empty when we got home.
The other potted plants fared well. I think I'm going to leave the bottle in for the rest of the summer. This way I don't overwater the plants (which I tend to do). I'll just refill the bottle and water the pot when the soil is dry.
Friday, April 21, 2023
We recently had a short vacation in a newly opened resort in Sipalay, Negros Occidental. Manami Resort (softly) opened on March 18, 2023 and was on its third week when we visited. A friend found out about the resort and she organized the trip together with a few more friends. To fit all of us we got the 2-bedroom villa and a one-bedroom villa.
It took almost 5 hours by land from Bacolod. We stopped over in Kabankalan to grab a quick bite. The ride was pretty bumpy (van suspension issues) and we were surprised by the many zigzag roads (haha). I obviously never traveled by land in this area of Negros (the opposite side was very different). The road was long and winding, but we were blown away from the entrance of the resort. Like, WOW.
Here's top 5 reasons on why you should go on vacation at Manami Resort:
1. The views are AMAZING. The beach is essentially a cove and flanked by three islands, Maasin III, Maasin II and Maasin I (hidden behind Maasin II). I could just stare at the beach all day.
2. The villas are perfect. You could tell that they did not scrimp on costs when they built the villas and common areas. We loved the 2-bedroom villa because the rooms and bathrooms were big. It also came with a kitchen area, a dining table and a huge living room. We were also surprised because it had an infinity dipping pool and a long balcony where we got to enjoy the view.
3. You will also certainly be distracted by their restaurant, Lingaw. The menu was limited, but the food is delicious and filling. You should certainly try their adobo, seafood pasta, the tomahawk, waldorf salad, their fries and I also really liked the kid's bolognese. The staff were all very helpful, friendly and courteous*.
4. The sunset and their flora and fauna. The sunset was beautiful all the days we were there and the sky was painted with hues of orange, pink and violet. The resort is a plantita paradise. All the plants and trees are well cared for. They even had variegated alocasia odora plants and the calatheas outside our villa were super healthy. I mentioned fauna because they had peacocks and peahens across the resort. There were also a lot of beautiful birds we don't get to see in Manila.
5. It is the best place to rest and relax. There is no telco signal, but they have internet**. Sorry if I missed any calls/SMS last week! I spent most of my time offline and I enjoyed doing nothing. Spent my time chatting with friends, staring at the view, swimming and eating. We also had a relaxing body massage and body scrub in the most beautiful spa I have been to in my life.
How I wish we didn't have to go home! The fresh air was really good for me. Maybe we should vacay more often eh? Heehee.
It's very hard to choose photos for this post, so please go watch my vlog to see what I'm writing about!
Thank you to all the staff for taking care of us! :)
*They were still a bit nervous since they just opened a few weeks ago. I'm sure they'll get the hang of it soon.
Thursday, April 20, 2023
The summer heat reminded me about the time I visited Cambodia. The country is near the equator and I was warned about the heat. I went there to run an event. The people in Cambodia are so lovely and friendly. It was pretty hard to communicate since very few spoke English, but I felt very much welcomed.
I stayed at Heritage Suites Hotel. It is a boutique hotell in Siem Reap and came highly recommended by locals. I remember the room was very unique and it smelled good. It was a great place to stay at, unfortunately I don't have any photos of the room! I think I spent most of my time outside and just literally used the room to sleep!
Most common mode of transportation in Siem Reap are motos and tuktuk. That's also how I got around except when I was brought to the airport by a car. The interesting thing though is you have to pay in USD if you want to buy something. Yup, I paid in USD for a few souvenirs.
Aside from the event and meeting a lot of people, getting to visit the Angkor Wat was truly memorable. The place is so massive! We were told to avoid the monkeys and not to feed them because they can get very excited. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to go around the complex since I had a plane to catch. Of course, I managed to have my photo taken with the Angkor Wat behind me. I got lucky because everyone else went on the tour, so I got a nice photo without anyone walking around.
I promised myself I'll go back someday with my boys. I was advised to go at the end of the year when it's much cooler. They said the rest of the year is just hot. Ahh, someday :)
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
I spent many summers by the sea when I was growing up. Back then the internet wasn't available for consumers yet. No TV at our place. During the day I would spend many hours swimming and building sandcastles. Mom also encouraged me to spend more time in the water to strengthen my lungs. My Mama Lola would sometimes accompany me and she'd be covered from head to foot, wore sunglasses and use an umbrella so she won't get dark (how I wish I had a photo!).
I promised myself I have to go to the beach at least once a year. During the difficult pandemic years, the closest I got to the sea was when we walked to the end of the West Coast Park. That helped me cope, but I always wished we could at least walk by the shore. I told myself we'd pick up our annual beach ritual once things got better.
I was honestly very apprehensive when we went to Bohol last year. I did not know if my body would be able to cope. I was sad with the thought that I might not be able to have the stamina to spend time in the water. I was also anxious that I won't be able to endure being under the sun.
Surprised myself last year when I suddenly had extra energy when we arrived in Bohol. I was able to spend time in the beach. The fresh air made me feel so much better and I think that's what vitamin sea is all about. The same happened when we recently went to the beach. Of course, I took afternoon naps after frolicking* under the sun in the morning.
Maybe we should live by the water noh? I need more vitamin sea! Maybe somewhere nearer and away from angry volcanoes :)
*Translate to "babad in the water" + 10 minutes paddle boarding
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
One thing I had to learn to make on my own is binding (bias tape). My Mom used to just fold her quilts on the edges. She liked adding lace/flange to the edges.When I started quilting again, i would purchase ready made binding. It's expensive, so I worked on figuring out how to make it.
I first made it by hand. I didn't have proper tools back then and I'd just use my nail to fold it. Yup, it eventually got painful. After some research I found there are tools for making bias tape/binding. I found one from an online shopping app which was pretty inexpensive. I bought it without the knowledge on how to use it, LOL.
Made a couple of mistakes, before I did more research to understand how best to use the tool. The tool did not come with instructions when I bought it (hehe). Thought it would be useful to make a short video so others like me can learn to make it. Here's the video:
You'll save a lot by making your own bias tape. A pack of 12 mm x 5 m costs SG$11 and I remember it being expensive also in Divisoria. Color options are also limited, so it's really better to make your own. I always feel happy when I'm binding my quilt. It means I'm just a kembot away to finish it!
Monday, April 17, 2023
Sunday, April 16, 2023
Saturday, April 15, 2023
I experimented on different methods of self-watering systems for plants. I first tried the string irrigation system. It didn't work for me. Then I bought self watering spikes. It was hard to use since I had to find a water bottle that would fit the spike. It worked, but the water would usually be used up in a day. I had terracotta watering spikes. It didn't last that long too.
I just gave up and I would just overwater my plants before leaving. We got lucky a few times when it rained. It's bad though for the plant since it makes it unstable. It's been very hot the past few weeks, so I thought I'd try again. I researched again and found an easy alternative - just stick a water bottle in the pot.
I first asked Miggy to bore some holes on the bottle cap. Filled up the bottle with water. The secret though is to water the plant well before putting on the bottle. The soil should be wet when you add the bottle for this to work. The soil would take a sip of the water when it starts drying up.
|The bottle starts crumpling when the plant sips the water.|
I noticed there were some plants that easily get more thirsty than others. I switched bottle sizes depending on how much water the plant wants. Best bottle are the ones from Wendy's. They're pretty sturdy and doesn't crumple easily when the plant starts sipping the water.
With the summer heat, I think adding self-watering bottles to your plants help keep them healthy. I used it on a plant we recently transplanted and I saw how fast it adjusted. The plant was severely dehydrated because it was too hot where it was located. The leaves were drying up already and I thought it would not survive. After adding a water bottle, it started to grow new leaves. I'll keep the self-watering bottles on the plants even when I'm just home. The heat has been really bad and it's a good way to keep them hydrated.
Friday, April 14, 2023
One of the things I missed a lot when we lived in Singapore was the macaroni salad usually served in reunions. It's pretty common in the Philippines, even fastfood like Wendy's* and Kenny Rogers has it. Max's Restaurant used to have it, but they sadly removed it from their menu.
Chicken macaroni salad is a staple in Filipino Christmas reunions (and any house parties for that matter). I remember watching it being prepared at home whenever Mom had parties. I don't recall if we had a recipe for it. I just tasted my way through it when I made this recipe and Sweetie seems to like it (Miggy doesn't like mayo).
I am pretty sure every household in the Philippines has their own recipe. It really boils down to what your taste buds prefer. It may be salty or sweet. You can also use tuna instead of chicken, or ham, or you can also add boiled egg. You can also add raisins and/or pineapple tidbits for added oomph. You can also use the same base for potato salad. It is a very flexible recipe :)
Recipe is available here: https://recipesformyson.blogspot.com/2023/04/recipes-for-my-son-chicken-macaroni.html
*Wendy's macaroni salad with thousand island dressing
Thursday, April 13, 2023
Oh boy, it's almost the middle of April and I haven't made a recap of March 2023! I have this ongoing challenge to complete a one second a day video for the whole year. I'm happy to say that I've completed the first quarter. It's been a nice way to document a glimpse of what happens everyday.
March was a better month than February even though I had food poisoning twice. Yup, twice! The second time had to be resolved by a doctor. I lost a third of the month to tummy issues, gaaah. It was still a good month though since we were able to go on a staycation. I managed to get a haircut and a foot spa. I was also able to cook a few times.
Fixing our home was still our main focus for the month. We got help from a coach to declutter and organize our home. Improved our home's ventilation to lower the heat. Work to fix our outdoor drainage has begun and will hopefully finish soon. We were gaining some traction with decluttering, but had to prioritize lowering the heat at home and for me to get well, so the organizing part slowed down considerably (again). Also started tending to my garden again. Here's my #1SE for the month of March 2023.
I hope April will be a much better month than March. We're now working on organizing our bedrooms and making other parts of our home more functional. We've been working hard to make our house cooler. It's key to keep me up and about. A cooler environment allows me to have more energy which means I can do more things like cooking. I told Sweetie I hope to learn more seafood dishes, so we can make more nutritious meals at home.
Just taking things one day at a time. Have to make sure I don't overdo things on good days, so it's not followed by a bad day. I'm just happy we're able to make new memories everyday :)
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Taking a break from your daily grind is important. While I enjoy staying home, I still need a break from just being home. I realized this when we were stuck at home due to lockdowns. When things eased up we went on a staycation. We also jumped at the chance to walk to the park since cabin fever is real. I remember the first time we got to eat at McDonald's with our friends. It was a simple meal, but we couldn't stop smiling since it was our first meal outside of our homes.
We've managed to go on a real vacation once last year. It was refreshing and amazing to be out and about. I was honestly very wary and I wasn't sure if I'd survive being away from my comfort zone (home). I was pleasantly surprised that I felt so much better breathing fresh air and eating fresh food. I was worried I'd feel unwell if I stayed out in the beach for long periods of time. I had nothing to worry about because being by the beach was the best thing I did for my well-being.
We shied away from traveling far again after our Bohol vacation since we all fell ill (picked up the virus on the way home). We've done a few staycations not far from home. A change of scenery really helps in resetting yourself. No wonder there are those who travel for a living. I wonder though what they do to reset from too much traveling? The opposite I guess.
"Schedule your vacations," was an advise a previous manager told me. He noticed I rarely took breaks and my available leaves would pile up. I'm following that advise now and have scheduled vacations. Who knows, maybe in time we'll finally do land trips. Have you scheduled time off in your busy schedule?
Tuesday, April 11, 2023
I've been meaning to make an essential oil case since Ninang Jane gave me my first one a few years ago. I use the EO case whenever I go out and I set it aside two weeks ago so I could measure it. Of course, it promptly went MIA. Well, it pushed me to finally make a new one.
After finding some leftover fabric from my KitchenAid quilt cover project, I decided to hand quilt the case. My craft room is still a mess, so sewing by hand was my best bet to finish it. The first one I made took two days to finish. I had to figure out how to piece it together properly. I was quite satisfied with my prototype, so I made three more for friends. It took me two to three hours to finish one*, but I could only make one a day to save me from joint pain (hehe).
I enjoyed making this project. Small projects that are easy to finish is really satisfying. I needed to do this to relax and calm down (March was quite challenging). I also needed to get back in my quilting groove since I haven't quilted since January. I set up a sewing corner in our bedroom and soon enough our floor looked like a craft room (sorry Sweetie).
Here's how I made the essential oil case:
Pattern available at https://www.needleadventures.com/2023/04/hand-quilted-essential-oil-case.html
*Depends on distractions
Monday, April 10, 2023
I could have used my craft room sooner, but I gave in to my wish to makeover the bathroom. Yes, the craft room has it's own bathroom. Our home has more bathrooms than bedrooms (seriously). The craft room bathroom though felt very awkward.
|Old bathroom fixtures looked like they were leftovers from another project IMHO.|
When you open the door it closes off the shower area. You also have to close the door so you could use the sink without bumping into the door. The sink was too big and it made the toilet area cramped. I got bruises from the sink whenever I used the toilet (I have flat feet so I don't have good balance). The faucet was also not appropriate for the sink. Water would spill over and I had to install an extender for water to flow into the sink. The bathroom also made me feel like I was in a cave since the theme was very morose. I'm also not fond of round bathroom sinks since it's harder to clean.
This is what I had changed for this indulgence (for my sanity):
Changed the door to a barn door (the original door made me feel like I'm in a hospital)
Removed the shower area to open up the space
Removed the sink and it's cabinet, moved it to the shower area. Also replaced the sink and faucet. We re-used the sink from the master's bathroom (the other one went to the family room bathroom).
Built a mirror cabinet
Added an accent wall, originally planned to use tiles but since I couldn't find the one I wanted, I decided to try limewash paint
Repainted the other walls to white
Kept the toilet bowl, but had a bidet installed
Changed the lights
Re-tiled the floor
Removed the tissue holder because it kept nipping me
Drainage was also fixed since there was some water dripping from somewhere
|Small space = severely cramped bathroom|
|Pipes, drain and electrical re-work|
|Walls made smooth. You can gauge from the small ladder that the space is small.|
|First attempt at limewash. It didn't look like limewash :')|
|Kuya Roel's limewash version before adding sealer.|
|Final look. Resort feelz.|
|A friend's gift broke the overwhelming "salmoness".|
I just realized I didn't take any photos of the old bathroom except the one with the Hello Kitty rugs. It was a feeble attempt to make it look a bit happier, haha. I even installed a pink shower curtain, but the area just always felt heavy. The renovation was done in March, but I wasn't satisfied with the paint job. The things I flagged were finally tweaked last week.
The limewash turned too "salmonee" because of the sealer. It was lighter before they added the sealer. I guess sealer is like varnish when you add it on paint. I decided to keep it as is since I could probably change it to another color in a few years. A friend gave me a nice poster which Sweetie installed for me last weekend. It was perfect for the wall and made the wall look less overwhelming.
I'm happy about the makeover. It was a good decision to downgrade the bathroom to a powder room. I am able to move around freely and I have more storage. It's also easier to clean since the floor area is more open. The gloomy cave-like atmosphere is also gone, now replaced with a refreshing vibe.