Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Wellness Wednesdays: Breathe Power

I've been feeling antsy all day and writing something about wellness didn't come easily to me. Went to my craft room and found the box of "Stress Less Cards" I bought in Bacolod. I found it in the toy shop across our hotel. I haven't really used it since we got home and thought I'd try to see if it could help make me less anxious. 

Pulled out the deck and randomly picked one card. It said, "Breathe Power". This was the instruction -

"Close your eyes and breathe normally.. Whenever breathing in, imagine breathing in power and good feeling. You can imagine the power you're breathing in with a color or a light. Breathe this way for 5-10 minutes."

Kuya told me once that we sometimes forget to breathe. Like really breathe. My respiratory doctor had to correct the way I breathed after he discovered I had a huge clot in my lungs. He said I tended to mouth breathe and that's bad because you can easily inhale germs and viruses. It's also bad to mouth breathe when you're asleep because it means you're not getting enough air in. It took awhile, but Dr. Chan eventually got me to breathe properly. 

My physiotherapist also had a hand in helping me breathe properly. Inhale 4 counts, hold 7 counts, exhale 4 counts. Dr. Joe Dispenza further leveled this up and said you should gather your inner power and breathe it out by imagining light that goes through your body to heal you. I sometimes imagine it as white light or gold light and think of it as God's healing love. 

Yeah, so I digressed, but breathing made me feel stable and the anxiety soon went away. 

Breathe my friend, breathe. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Creative Happy Tuesdays: Trying to Quilt a Cat with a Tail

My goal is to learn something new everytime I create something. I came across this cat with tail design on Pinterest and thought it would be interesting to make. Instead of making a placemat I used the design to cover a kitchen appliance. I'm still working on it, but the base was pretty easy to assemble once I figured out the template. 

Here's how I made it -

I'm halfway done with the project and just need to figure out the eyes and bowtie. I also need to figure out how to add the tail between the quilt and the binding. I expect I'll be doing a lot of unstitching (tastas) when I come to this part. Mom did saw, if it's ugly, tastas!

Hope to finish all my kitchen covers before the month ends! We'll soon clear our living room, that means I can finally make some throw pillow covers. I think I've made enough cat quilts for the time being, so I might work on a new theme next.

More details about the project on my sewing blog:

#BeKind #StaySaffe

Monday, May 29, 2023

Home on Mondays: Why Home Fire Insurance is Important

We learned a lot in the past year about home management. We also experienced a lot in the year and a half since we moved to our new home. Last year, Kuya got fire insurance for our ancestral home. We also got for our new home since you never know what may happen.

True enough a fire broke out behind our house two months after we got fire insurance. We got very nervous because the fire was right behind the firewall. The guard told us the fire got 40% of the structure before firefighters arrived. We got lucky because the structure's walls were very thick. The firefighter said our firewall was pretty warm. 

We immediately had the firewall inspected. There were bulges in it. Good thing our agent was very accommodating. He helped us get it further inspected and saw through the claim. Inspection showed that the firewall needed some repair only. 

It took seven months for the claim and the firewall to be repaired. Architect Wansi's team took care of the repairs. They reassured us that the firewall is now safe. They're also working on finally adding a sampayan for us. Yay!

When you get fire insurance, they will only insure the cost of your house. So let's say you have a 100 sqm house, built at 35k per sqm, then your house is insured for PhP3,500,000. I don't remember, but I think we were also asked to list our appliances so it can be included in the computation. After the computations, we received several quotations from several companies. Our agent explained each one and then we selected what we thought was best for us. 

We also saw several fires break around our area. Some were really huge. We learned how to manage our anxiety over them by monitoring it closely. We follow TXTFire Philippines on Facebook. They usually provide updates about cases and that helps reassure us whenever we hear a firetruck pass by (we're parallel to a main street so we always hear whenever they pass by). PTSD is real, just make sure you're well informed so it doesn't get triggered. 

#BeKind #StaySafe


Sunday, May 28, 2023

Miracle Sundays: Missing Mom

Dear Mom, it's been four weeks since you joined Daddy in heaven. Most days I just think you're at home and busy with your garden. The most difficult is not being able to call you up and tell you stories. I dream of you often and as usual you just say you're okay and happy with Dad. 

My heart is heavy today Ma. I couldn't even  bring myself to wear the shirt I wore when we  brought you to MMP. The only thing that calms me is sewing and when I get to go out to tend to my plants. We've been thinking about how to preserve your garden. I told Kuya that we have to protect it at all costs because we won't be able to replicate it. 

I've been keeping myself from crying because I know it's not good for my heart. I remember you said the same thing when Mama Lola passed away. I don't know why, but today's different and the tears just keep falling. I'm just thinking my body needs to release more fluid (hehe). 

The past few weeks have been quiet. I got to see Ate and Kuya together after so many years. We celebrated Daddy's birthday with a Lucban feast. I followed your skilled cooking technique, ordered food (haha). The AQI has been really bad so I haven't been able to do much. Hopefully I'll be able to do the required paperwork this week. I just couldn't bring myself to do it because it seems so final. 

We're busying ourselves to clear out our living room in time for your 40th day. Kuya and I decided to do it in my home to protect me from the heat. We'll just have a private mass and then hopefully stream it so everyone can join. 

Miss you Ma. Kisses and hugs.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Plantita Saturdays: Berries in Our Garden!

The other day, Sweetie surprised me with news that the bushes in our pocket garden bore fruit! We recently had our pocket garden cleaned up. After the plant boxes were added, soil was added. Miggy also added some coffee grounds and a week later we were surprised with berries. 

We're not really sure what kind of berries grew. Google Lens said it's black chokeberry or California privet. The berries are quite small though, so we're just having birds eat it (we're also not sure if it's edible hehe). I found out after some research that berries like slightly acidic soil. Adding coffee grounds probably helped provide better nutrition for the bushes. 

It was a pleasant surprise since the bushes were already there when we moved in. We're just going to leave the berries for the birds. No wonder Mr. Bulbul has been doing his afternoon concerts again :)

Do let us know if you're familiar with this berry :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, May 26, 2023

Foodie Friday: Tuna and Mushroom Alfredo

This recipe is one for the books! Miggy and I almost aborted our quest to try making tuna and mushroom alfredo. I put too much butter on the pan, so the sauce turned yellow even though we added cream and milk! We looked at each other and almost stopped taking a video. We thought our effort would go to waste. 

"Let's finish it and see," I told Miggy after adding the tuna and mushroom. The sauce was still very much yellow. Lo and behold something magical happened when we added the parmesan cheese. The sauce slowly turned white. We didn't question the wisdom anymore and breathed a sigh of relief that it would turn out okay (we were certainly very hungry already).

Finished cooking and nervously presented what we cooked to Sweetie to try. We all liked it and our litmus test for successful recipes is... no leftovers! It worked out! Whew! I was certainly relieved since cream and the other ingredients are quite expensive nowadays. I didn't want anything to go to waste. I think the huge chunk of butter I used was the secret to making it tasty. 

Really happy the boys loved it! Recipe is available here:

Happy Friday everyone!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Throwback Thursday: Childhood Home Happy Memories

I lived in the same house until the day I got married. Sweetie and I immediately went home to our new home the day after our wedding. Living with my parents until I married gave me the grounding and stability I needed. I could also say I completed Mom's syllabus of life lessons. She didn't know how to cook, but she really knew how to properly run a household and get cars repaired. 

I have a huge bank of happy memories stored in my mind. In time they'll probably start to fade away, so I thought I'd write down some of them today. Here are some:

1. Celebrating birthdays at home

I always celebrated my birthdays at home. I had one every year until I was 13. Miggy also had his birthday parties at home and that was really fun. When we moved out we started celebrating in restos since it was easier to do. 

2. Parties

Mom and Dad loved hosting parties at home. Mom had huge platters for her parties and she had a gazillion plates, glasses and kubyertos. Majority of our family reunions happened in our home. When not hosting parties, they would host smaller dinners. Good thing at that time my metabolism was really fast, haha. Eventually, the parties extended to my friends. I was still able to host one just before the pandemic.

3. Welcoming New Year with a bang

It was Mom who loved to buy fireworks. She and Kuya would set up a drum on the street and throw in  whatever they got. They would also put swirling lights on the palm tree that used to be on the front lawn. I'd usually hide in the sala because I'm absolutely afraid of fireworks. 

4. Having pets

Much as Mom didn't really like having pets, she allowed us to have pets. I inherited Ate's dog, Cotton, who eventually gave birth. Kuya had lovebirds, cats and fish. I eventually had an aquarium and hamsters. That's why I'm so bummed my pulmo didn't allow me to have pets. 

5. Mom's garden as my classroom

In the afternoons, Mom would force me to hang out with her in the garden. She'd lay out a banig and that's where I'd play with my dolls. Eventually, she held craft lessons for me during summer. That's where I learned how to embroider, crochet, make bags out of plastic straw, quilt, bead and paint boxes. 

It's now time to sunset our old home and re-purpose it for our current needs. Everyone wants to keep Mom's garden as it is, so we'll see how that goes :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Wellness Wednesdays: Don't Forget Your Flu Vaccination

Feel ill with the flu right we brought Mom to Manila Memorial Park. It was probably a blessing in disguise because I would have probably been overwhelmed. Ate and Kuya took care of everything after I made the arrangements. I don't think I would have made it through that week in one piece. It also took me over a week to feel a bit better. That's how it is to be immuno-compromised, you can easily pick up germs. 

I saw a Watson's ad the other day announcing their vaccination days. The last time I had flu vaccination was just before we went home from Singapore in 2021. No wonder I easily fell ill when we went out. Told the boys I think it's a good time to get vaccinated. Promptly booked an appointment and prayed it would be a good day for me. 

Saturday came and I was unfortunately unstable. The boys though didn't want to leave me alone at home, so I said I'd go with them but will probably sit out the vaccination. We ended up going to the wrong branch (haha). I didn't know there were 3 Watson's branches in our area. We were just a bit late for our appointment, but didn't need to worry since there was no line and I don't think they even had a list of those who booked. 

I felt a bit better by the time we went, so I proceeded to get vaccinated. A doctor assessed each one of us. I showed her my prescriptions and she interviewed me a bit. After the review, we proceeded to the vaccination area. Paid for the vaccine and got the jab. It wasn't painful, but I felt the effect immediately. I felt woozy and a bit short of breath. From previous vaccinations, I was told to take my regular medicines and inhaler. The immediate effects were gone by the time we got home and I even watered the plants. 

Thought I was okay, but I felt my arm go heavy by the time we had dinner. Of course, I promptly conked out on the couch after eating dinner. It's not ideal to fall asleep after eating, but I just passed out, haha. Woke up two hours later and my arm felt so much better. I put ice on it as soon as I started to feel some pain. It's been a few days and I'm still feeling some effects. It may be the vaccine or the really bad AQI the past few days. Dunno, just resting for now. 

In case you're curious, the flu vaccine in Watson's is the quadrivalent Sanofi flu vaccine. My respiratory doctor in SG kept reminding me before to get it :)

Thank you Doc Bianca and the kind nurse who had magic hands (di masakit!). 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Creative Happy Tuesdays: My Quilter Mom

Mom taught me how to quilt. To be honest I thought it was hard because she loved to do the fan pattern. It looked terribly hard for pre-teen me. She made it very easy for me to learn. I started by piecing together squares. At that time I loved bags, so all the squares I pieced together ended up as bags. I pieced the fabric, Mom took care of sandwiching it in wadding, I did the quilting and then Mom took care of finishing the quilt. 

Mom quilting in Singapore

Mom continued to quilt through the years. Our favorite pasttime whenever she was in Singapore was to go to Spotlight. She quilts really fast though and would soon finish all the fabric we bought. Well, it was a good excuse to visit Spotlight again. She loved to make throw pillows and preferred to make it with lace and fancy ruffles. She wasn't fond of using bias tape even though I got her binding tools. 

My first quilt bag. It's still useful!

I'm not sure how many quilt blankets she made. I have one she made a decade+ ago. It's so pretty and I realized she has a keen eye for matching fabric. She's also very frugal and started quilting by using retaso from Tita Maming's shop. I won't be surprised if I find some of those retasos when we start decluttering her home. 

Mom in my craft room.

Kuya said he opened Mom's tiny vault. He asked me to guess what was in it. My first though was... scissors. And I was correct! She had three pairs of scissors in her vault! Yup! Now you know where I got my fascination of scissors from, my Mom! I've been seeing bits and pieces of her artworks in our home. There's an unfinished pouch which I was supposed to add a zipper to. A pad tray made of rolled up paper. Of course, the blanket. Outdoors, I have plants she gave to us, so we're surrounded by what she loved. 

Going to miss those quiet times we'd spent busy with our hobbies. She taught me so many things when I was growing up and that's how I came to love crafting. Her hands though are more nimble than mine, but I'm grateful she taught me because I know that part of me came from her. 

Miss you Ma. 

#BeKind #StaySafe



Monday, May 22, 2023

Home on Mondays: Look at Our Cleaned Up Water Pipes

We wondered why the pipes under our water tank looked so awkward. We had to be careful walking around it because it looked fragile. We also had no idea what the knobs were for and where the pipes went. Our heart would always skip whenever the cats would go under the tank. We eventually had it inspected and Rod, the master plumber, said that he'd fix it for us. 

Old system.

The tank was emptied to be cleaned. Rod also added a filter so the water coming in the tank would already be clean. Rod is truly very passionate on what he does. His team is the same and we were pleasantly surprised with the work they did for us. 

The tank was unusable when they worked on the pipes. Good thing they worked on the pipes just before Maynilad announced water interruptions. We used tabo system while they were working on the pipes. They worked on it really fast and it was done in just two days. The pipes now look like MRT lines (haha). Rod helped us label it so we could easily turn things on and off as needed. 

Revised pipe system. 

It's now safer to walk around the tank. We're no longer afraid of bumping into the pipes because it's now installed properly. I smile whenever I see the nearly lined up pipes. It's just so pleasant to see good work. We'll definitely be working with Rod again for future projects! 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Sunday Miracles: Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

I hope you had a blast up there in heaven when you celebrated your 90th birthday! You waited a long time for Mom to join you up there. The best miracle for the week though was finally reuniting with Ate and Kuya. We haven't been complete since December 2010. That was also the last Christmas we were all together. 

It finally happened, I was finally feeling better and asked if Ate and Kuya wanted to get together to celebrate your birthday. I used Mom's magical cooking skills and prepared (err ordered) a Lucban feast from Buddy's. I thought it appropriate to have pansit habhab, hardinera and Lucban longganisa, since that's where you were born. I wanted to cook your famous mustasa dish, but I didn't have the ingredients. Kuya said he missed it so I just gave the recipe to him. 

And we had a feast reminiscent of how we celebrate birthdays at home. Kuya also brought lechon manok, liempo and ice cream. I was so happy to see them together Dad and I know that was one of your bilins. Mom made sure it would happen at the right time and right place.

Kuya and I decided to move back to our home. I hope it's okay with you and Mom, we'll rebuild a new house since the current one is really too big for us. This way we can watch out for each other (moreso since my sibs are almost senior citizens already hrhr). Well, they also want to keep an eye on me. I also super missed having them around since Ate left when I was just 10 and they both soon married a couple of years after that. 

Well, you and Mom took good care of me. It was probably hard for you since you were both in your 40s already when you had me. I realized though that despite that you and Mom brought me up the best way you can. I miss you and I keep forgetting Mom is gone. We will be okay, but please continue to watch over us. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Plantita Saturdays: Trying to Grow Oyster Mushrooms

I've wanted to try growing oyster mushrooms for awhile now. I was so curious when I saw Inyaki post his successful experiment. Also saw his posts on cooking fresh mushrooms. I haven't had much success in growing veggies so I thought maybe I might have better luck with mushrooms. 

My interest got piqued again when Tobie posted his fruiting oyster mushrooms. He sent me information where got his growing kit. The time felt right so I immediately ordered. The order got delayed, but I eventually received the kit. It had 4 substrates (one was free). This is how the kit looked like when it was delivered -

Kit: substrate pack, spray bottle, cutter and katsa

I immediately pinged the seller (Pinong Farm) to get the instructions. Oh boy, they had a lot of resources since they also included instructions on how to make substrate. I just gathered from the video that you need to cover it with moistened cloth and not to be lazy (hahaha). 

I was a bit anxious about the item I received because it was very, very warm when it arrived. It was delivered that day when the heat index reached 41'C or 42'C. I left it on the kitchen counter to cool down and waited for the seller to ping back. After watching the videos, Sweetie and I discussed where to keep the mushrooms.

You need to place it in a place where there is no sunlight, humid and far from a fan/aircon. There are works still ongoing so we decided to place it in the family room bathroom which we don't use. It has a nice nook just beside the sink where it won't get any sunlight. I was relieved to see it was starting to be more white after 4 days. This is how it looked -

The instructions said it will take 30 days before you can harvest. And the instructions said not to be lazy! Haha. So, let's wait and see :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, May 19, 2023

Foodie Fridays: Sweet Honey Porkchops (Baked or Fried)

This is an oldie, but goodie recipe. We're fond of trying out barbecue sauces available in the grocery (aka S&R or Landers). We picked up a bottle of Kraft Sweet Honey sauce and was curious how it would turn out. We normally bake it, but ended up frying it two separate times. We were supposed to try out the oven in the condo since it was new. It did not turn on! And then it happened again in our oven at home. Needless to say we ended up frying it. 

It turned out well and the chicken macaroni salad matched it perfectly! Look -

And here's how we made it -

Complete recipe at

Try it! Yummm!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Throwback Thursday: Milestones with Mom

Mom never left me. She's always been there for me every step of the way. I looked through our photos and I'm happy I was able to share milestones with her. She was also the same for Miggy. Don't really know where to start, so I'll just follow how Google Photos saved the pictures chronologically. Skipped my graduation since I couldn't find a photo (sorry, it was pre-digital era!). 

Miggy's pre-school recognition day.

Mom was there when my first (and only) car was delivered. She drove it before I did!

Miggy's high school graduation.

Mom braiding my hair while I was recovering from heart surgery.

 Mom and Jet, her great grandchild. She was there for Carissa.

Of course, Mom got to visit both offices in Singapore. Dad would have never allowed me to leave.

Mom was already 78 years old when she took care of me after I had open heart surgery. She was there for everyone who needed her and let anyone in the family who needed a home to stay with her. That's how I got to get close with my other titos and titas. She was in fact stronger than me and was still busy gardening until her last days. Sister Lirio reminded me that I was lucky I always had her around me. Another friend told me it's really going to be rough, just remember all the happy memories and the pain will eventually ease up. 

Love you Mom and I miss you. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Wellness Wednesday: Always Stay Beautiful

I must admit, I am definitely not banidosa. I only comb my hair twice a day, after taking a bath and after showering before I go to bed. I generally dislike wearing make-up and most of the time forget to wear earrings when I go out. I prefer to wear comfortable clothes now and have heeled shoes that I only wear if it's really needed. 

I think I probably "dressed down" a lot after I had heart surgery. I prioritized comfort over everything else. It was Fumie (from Japan) who made me think about taking care of myself better. She gave me Matcha de Bihada. It's a type of mask that helps moisturize your face. After that I asked a high school friend to teach me how to properly moisturize. 

Cheyenne lounging around.
Photo by: JayDJ

My insides are a mess, but my outward appearance looks normal save for my very prominent vains. I've been lucky because my skin has been normal. It probably helps I drink a lot of water and stay indoors most of the time. Since the time Sunshine taught me, I moisturize twice a day and use sunscreen as advised by Anne. It's what I do after I comb my hair, haha. 

I did skip for a few months when my condition worsened. Managed to pull myself out of the rut. Making the effort to take care of my skin makes me feel good. I also wear a t-shirt during the day to signal my body to be more productive. It helps not to wear bed clothes all day, hehe. 

Make the effort and don't let yourself "go" as they say. My Mom even at 87 combed her hair more times than I do and she always looked presentable. She had days when she'd wear her favorite torn dusters. She was just like Dad who also loved to wear his butas butas shirts. Titay loved to pull at them to make the holes bigger, haha. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Creative Happy Tuesdays: Made Another Cat Quilt!

I'm on a roll making cat quilts because that's the theme I've chosen for my kitchen covers. I'm having fun trying out different cat quilt designs inspired by Pinterest. Decided to try out this cat design since it's expandable to bigger projects. I chose this since I'm using it for a medium sized kitchen gadget. 

My skills to recreate the design was seriously put to the test. I first drew the design on graphing paper to get an idea how I should set it up for my project. It took several pencil drawings before I was satisfied. After that I rendered it on manila paper. I'm glad I did because it looked very different from what I drew on graphing paper. It also took awhile and a lot of erasing before I was satisfied. 

Good thing I did a render on manila paper before I made the template on a chip board. The manila paper render helped me figure out how to cut the fabric and the steps how to piece together the quilt. It looked like a simple design, but I didn't count on how much brain work it required to recreate, lol. Here's how I made it -

I had fun making this. I'm on the hunt to make another one, but for a taller and slimmer kitchen gadget. Maybe I should find one that has a tail. That would be so cute! 

Just thinking though how Mom would react to these cat quilts... she would have scrunged up her nose. She doesn't really like cats since they ruin her plants, hehe

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, May 15, 2023

Home on Mondays: Got a New Cookbook!

We took a break from home renovations the past few weeks, so thought it would be nice to blog about something else. One of my favorite chefs on YouTube is Chef Tatung. I've been watching his videos since I was in Singapore and have been collecting his cookbooks. I also give them as gifts to my foreigner friends who want to learn how to cook Filipino food.

He came out with a new cookbook last week entitled, "Dishkarte". I felt ecstatic when it arrived and I immediately opened the package. I originally thought it would just be a recipe book, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it had pages dedicated to basic cooking techniques and know-how. 

As I leafed through the pages I felt like I was going through high school Foods class again. I suddenly remembered the four years where we were taught about managing your own kitchen. Our classes though were disrupted often because of coup d'etats, so there were certainly gaps. I also almost always volunteered to either do the dishwashing or marketing. I've been afraid to use the kalan eversince I remember. So, thank God induction and electric stoves were invented! 

I still have my Foods class handwritten recipe books with my teachers signature. She checked it to make sure we wrote down all the recipes she had us try. After high school I continued to use it to write down recipes. I still use it every so often and it now sits beside Chef Tatung's books. 

Going back to the book, I like how he gave a really good overview of Filipino cooking. There's a page where he discusses how to cook different types of adobo. How to make different types of pickles, salads, processed meat (longganisa, tocino etc.), soup and much more. There's even a section about pots and pans. It's a really good book for home cooks like me and Miggy. I will enjoy reading the whole cookbook to learn more :)

#BeKind #StaySafe  

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Miracle Sundays: Mom's Best Advise

I asked Mom what to do with individuals who perennially have been at odds with each other. I went on to tell her that I felt like I was dealing with fire and ice at the same time. The burden had grown so heavy and I was getting sick from the stress.

Mom advised to let them be and just pray. It took me awhile to understand what she meant. It was actually her secret to being so strong.

There are indeed things you cannot change and control. There are things you may have lost. Things you will never have. Things you will wish for, but never get. 

Remember, God only gives you what you can bear and what is good for you. Be grateful for what is given to you. Also, remember, you have the choice to be unbothered since it's not your responsibility to make everyone be friend with each other.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Plantita Saturdays: Caring for Orchids?

TBH I haven't the faintest idea about caring for orchids. My Mom lovedd them and she successfully got them to bloom year after year. She tried to get me into it, but I found it too complicated. She'd give me easy to do tasks. The only thing I remember is never to water the flower and leaves, keep them on pots with charcoal or bunot (coco husk). Give them fertilizer every so often and that orchids like egg shells. 

I received three pots of orchids last week. It came in a decorative crate. After a few days the flowers started to wilt and I knew they had to be re-potted and watered. Watched a few videos and did some research. I wasn't sure if it was safe to use coco peat only. The plant started to wilt and I thought it wasn't good for it to stay enclosed in plastic.

Found some unused terracotta pots and transplanted the two orchids. I filled it up with coco peat and they looked okay in it for a few days. I ordered some coco husk in case I needed to re-pot them again. Good thing I did because they didn't look good after awhile. Transferred the three orchids yesterday and hope they get better drainage in their new set-up. 

One thing I'm not sure about how much sunlight they should get. I read they should only get morning sun and should be protected from the afternoon sun. Mom used to place her orchids under a tree or some shade. They got morning sun, but would also get wet if it rained. They survived. Since it's been very hot, I have placed the three pots just outside my craft room. They would get some morning sun and I might put a net on the side to protect them from the afternoon sun. 

Here's hoping they would survive.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, May 12, 2023

Lakwatsa Fridays: Traveling with Mom

Mom was a pro at traveling. She told me I was just a baby when they first brought me to Camangui in Pasacao. That's where she grew up and she regaled me with a lot of her childhood memories. One, was how she got a scar on her leg from falling on the batis while playing with her brothers. That was one reason why she was very strict with me and my legs are scar free. Another, was how she learned how to drive. They'd "borrow" Papa Lolo's army jeep. That was why it was so hard to determine her real age (they made her older in her license). 


Mom was pretty adventurous and was game to do anything. We traveled yearly to Bicol and when Dad was assigned in Lucena, we'd hop on a bus on weekends to visit him.  It was Mom who called me lakwatsera. That's the reason why my travel blog title is "Lakwatsera Ako". She said I had itchy feet that's why I always wanted to be out and about. 

She loved going to the beach, shopping and, of course, gardens. She absolutely loved the Singapore National Orchid Garden and pointed out all the variants she had in her garden. In between, sightseeing, shopping and visiting churches, I'd always slip in some salon time. She always wanted her nails and hair done. Just before the pandemic we were still able to bring her to Bali, Singapore and a few days in Tagaytay. 



We're going to miss traveling with you Mom. Your packing skills are still unmatched, but I think I've improved a lot. I'm grateful we were able to travel with you before the pandemic :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Throwback Thursday: Mom and Dad's Journey

I stumbled on old family photos when I was looking for a nice photo of Mom. I found an album where I gathered scanned photos of their wedding and anniversaries. My parents spent 51 years together. Their love story spanned so many decades. They spent a very long, fruitful life. 





Aside from growing a family, my parents spent a lot of their time for social and religious causes. They were heavily involved in the building of our parish church. Daddy also used his skills to ensure our community was protected and had proper utilities (ie water). They were active members of the Knights of Columbus and CWL. I learned a lot from their activities and I guess that's also why I enjoyed doing projects that was going to benefit communities. 

I dreamt of my parents last week. We were on an outing abroad. They were so happy together and wore matching yellow outfits. This was how they looked (photo taken months before I was born). 

It's strange I dreamt of them months before I was born. I knew it was before I was born because there was another photo together with my cousin, Tina, when she was a baby (taken the same day). Oh! I just realized that I was probably growing in my Mom's tummy when the photo was taken. She said I was probably made on Holy Innocents Day (hehe). I guess they were sending their love from heaven and telling me everything will be okay. 

Love you Mom and Dad. Please watch over us from up there. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Wellness Wednesdays: What I Learned About Grief

I tend to keep things bottled up. I was always discouraged from being emotional. I was always told not to cry because it would be bad for my heart (well, now it is). I lost it when Dad passed away over a decade ago. I still cry whenever I miss him. My Mom though was always unemotional. She was good at keeping a cool head. 

It was my medical issues that eventually made a crack in my other stable demeanor. I was told I was a calming force in our team. Well, the medical issues I've gone through broke the lid and I had to get help. My doctor focused me to re-develop my coping mechanisms. That was important because there are many things you have to deal with everyday. 

When my Dad passed away, I was given time off, but by midweek after he was buried I went back to work. Mom told me again and again that it's the cycle of life and I just had to live with it. It took me awhile to understand it. Titos and Titas soon followed after Daddy passed and that was when I understood fully what Mom and Dad taught me about losing a loved one. Their mission is done and you should be happy that they are now in heaven. 

We all deal with grief in different ways. My only advise is not to keep things bottled up. Cry when you need to and reach out to your loved ones when you can't bear things. I'm lucky I have support groups that have been there for me this past week. I tried crying, but I ended up resting in bed because my heart went bonkers. I've been finding other ways to manage my grief. 

I'm not surprised I've ended up keeping busy. It's one of the coping mechanisms Mom taught me. I've been doing some sewing, some writing and I've been chatting with my support group. Our band of stray cats have also been keeping me company. They've stuck around since last week and Kaley usually sits outside my craft room whenever I'm there. 

Grief can truly be overwhelming, but as Mom kept telling me, huwag mo dibdibin. 

Miss you Ma. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Creative Happy Tuesdays: My New KitchenAid Mixer Quilted Cover

My summer project is to make new covers for my kitchen appliances. Thought I'd make it a bit quirky and my plan is to use Pinterest inspired cat quilts. I'm not allowed to have pets, but we've been feeding some cats who have been dropping by our house. It's been a good compromise. I call them my socially distant cats. We'll cross the bridge when they finally trust us enough to be brought to the vet. 

Anyway, I haven't had a pet for more than a decade now, that's why I thought a cat themed project would be cute. I finally finished the KitchenAid mixer cover. I thought I'd finish it within a week. As usual my timing has been off and I'm still recovering from flu. The project helped me to calm down in between napping on our tiny couch.

What I like about making my own kitchen covers is I can customize it for my needs. I put a pocket at the back, although I realized the mixer accessories aren't flat and better kept inside the bowl. Anyway, I can always switch the front and back when I feel like it. 

Now that this is done, I have to think about what to do next. I might make one for the blender, then the food processor. I'm still thinking whether I should make one for our grinder. We don't have proper furniture yet, so I'm holding off making throw pillow cases.  

Thank you Mom for teaching me how to quilt. <3

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, May 8, 2023

Home on Mondays: 10 Home Care Tips Mom Taught Me

From what I know, Mom has lived in at least 6 different homes. The longest was in our home where I was bred and born. She stood her ground and never wanted to leave it. She was great at managing the house and the household. She knew everything about managing and maintaining the house. It was only in the past few years when I stepped in to get help to fix things. 

The portal to Mom's lush garden. Say hello to Pops.

Our house was built by Tito Bert. He's the architect and helped get the house built. I wasn't around yet when it was built, but I must say the structure of our house was solidly built. From what I remember Mom only had it repainted once or twice. Only the roof has had major changes. Here's what I learned from Mom about caring for your home:

1. Don't wait for damage to grow before getting it fixed. 

2. Keep good relations with those who can help fix your house. Mom always had a long list of people she could call. 

3. Always keep your pantry full in case of emergencies. 

4. Take care of your things. Mom only had her furniture re-upholstered once due to wear and tear.  They still look quite new to this day. That's a mean feat for a 50+ year old house. Don't replace things unless it's damaged. I had to force Mom to retire her 25+ year old ref. it was still working, but it was guzzling a lot of electricity. 

5. Have your own tools, this will save you money from getting things done. 

6. Always clean your house. I would actually see Mom cleaning at 2 in the morning when she's not satisfied with how the kitchen was cleaned. 

7. Keep a garden. It will give you enough exercise and stable. Mom's safe haven was her garden. The garden gave back the love by blooming beautiful flowers. 

8. DIY what you can. Most of Mom's home solutions were DIY'd, even her furniture was made by our craftsmen. This is also what I did when I moved out.

9. Your home's center should be an altar. That's the first thing my Mom looked for when she came to our house after we moved in. Good thing we set it up as soon as we moved in! 

10. Love your house, it will love you back. 

Mom super loved our home. It is filled with many happy memories. She told me never to sell it and refused to have any renovations done, not even to fix her bathroom. I didn't give her a choice when I had the roof fixed last year. She grudgingly agreed because I told her the damage would grow. I managed to have all the locks changed last year for her safety (the front door locks were older than me!). 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Sunday Miracles: Reminders from Mom

I was conspicuously absent since I brought Mom to Manila Memorial Park. I picked up a viral infection and was ordered to rest. My fragile heart would not have made it. I think it's what Mom would have wanted. I've been either lying awake or fast asleep. It was worse when I started taking meds to combat the flu.

Well, Mom has been clear with what she wants me to do:

Help with Book 8 of the Mama Mary book

My college friends, Noemi and Marjorie, visited the wake and left 2 books for me. Book 7 of the Mama Mary book which I helped do last minute edits for and "Bring Your Book to Life" authored by Marjorie. I had been thinking about the book the past few weeks. Rowie said we should definitely start working on it.  Also, realized she's telling me not to stop this daily ramblings.

Learn to Take Care of Orchids

If you knew my Mom, you would know she has a gorgeous garden. She loved her orchids and whatever she grew always flourished. Meanwhile, many plants have perished under my care. The only ones that have survived are those that Mom gave me. I now have three moth orchids. I hope they live. 

Be Yourself

Kuya dropped off all the stuff from the wake since they're probably leaving this week. I was surprised there was a box from Casa Moderna (all the way from Naga!). It was my favorite childhood cake which I haven't eaten for a long time. Mom truly knows what makes me happy and the cake is a  reminder from Mom to be myself. 

I realized I'm an orphan now. My best friend, Darwin, said not to worry because he'll be my mudra from now on. I know he's just being funny (as usual), but I know there's many people around me who care. I saw this from the countless people who went to Mom's funeral the past week even though I'm not there.

Also wanted to take this opportunity to all the family and friends who helped and sympathized with us. We appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts. 

#BeKimd #StaySafe

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Au Revoir, Mom

Dear Mom, 

I haven't been to your wake and will also miss your interment today. I promptly got sick after I made arrangements to bring you to your resting place. I immediately took a nap after eating late lunch when we got home. Rested the next day and then I got sick. I guess you wanted to keep me safe since people in our circle left and right started to get sick too.

I would also not survive seeing you off and I never want to think about you being gone. I know, I know crying would not do me any good. It would make matters worse. So I will stay home, drink my meds and rest as you wish. I will come visit you and Dad soon. 

I know you're watching over us Ma, but please no more pranks ha like burning down your altar*. I already reminded your helper not to skip watering your plants. I also prayed for rain which came the day after. It was short and sweet, but enough to drench the plants. Honestly have no idea how to keep your garden beautiful Ma. 

Love you forever Ma. I know I'm your favorite because you knew you trained me well to take care of everything. 

Your favorite child,

*Yes, Mom's altar burned the day after she passed away. Surprisingly only one Sto. Nino was partially scorched because the candle fell over it. All her Mama Mary figures were okay. Luckily the fire was addressed immediately and no one was hurt.