Monday, July 31, 2023

Home on Mondays: Typhoon Proofing Your Home

I joined Home Buddies FB group a few months ago to learn from other homeowners. Lately, a lot of homeowners have been complaining about water pouring in from their ceiling and walls. We experienced the same a few months after we moved. It started in trickles and eventually water started pouring from the kitchen lights!

The contractor who renovated the house just kept putting sealant on the roof. It would work for one to two downpours, but obviously it needed more work. The crew of the contractor knew what was wrong, butt the contractor didn't bother to work on it. We decided to get another contractor when the kitchen lights became compromised. Well, it opened pandora's box of house issues. 

Issue happened because roof flashing wasn't installed by the contractor.

Here's a list of what we learned from architect's and the master plumber's team:

1. Make sure your roof is installed properly. Have proper roof flashing and gutters. Part of our roof did not have flashing and that's why water was pouring in the kitchen ceiling. Sealant really won't resolve the issue. 

2. Make sure downspouts go to a proper drain. Water would pool in our back garden. The flood posed a risk to our family room. The master plumber's team re-worked our drainage and made sure the downspouts pointed to the drainage. 

This happened during the pandemic. 

3. Water can also pour through your sliding doors. We experience this whenever it rains sideways. Aside from making sure your sliding doors are properly installed (no holes and with rubber), make sure that there is a cut on the bottom track to allow water to pour out of. Also useful to have an awning to prevent water and rain to come in. 

4. Avoid tall windows because water can come in from the bottom track when it rains sideways. 

5. In my Mom's house, water comes in from the drain and toilet in the basement. This happens when water from the road slides down. We're having it investigated to understand why the pipes are compromised. I saw a comment from Home Buddies on how to cover bathroom drains, not sure though what he does with their toilet. 

6. One of the most common complaints in Home Buddies are walls that go moist. This is an issue with water proofing. Watched a video Architect Ed recently posted on how to resolve this issue. Make sure to scrutinize your contractor contracts if you're building a house.

7. Avoid installing polycarbonate or plastic roofs if you can. We have two areas where we have both. One come with the house when we bought it and then we recently had a polycarbonate roof installed in our laundry area. Both drip. They placed sealant on the plastic roof sheet multiple times already and it always drips. Maybe we'll have more luck on the polycarbonate roof. Also make sure to have downspouts for extra roofs.

So far unsealable, probably need to find a better solution. 

8. You can also install flood gates if you live in a flood prone area. 

A friend who owns a construction business told us that your roof gets compromised months before your ceiling starts dripping. It is hard to know if things have been done properly if your house was built during the summer (as with Architect Ed's experience). I learned from Home Buddies that you should withhold 5 to 10% of the full payment for a year to make sure the contractor will fix issues.

We always have typhoons and it's one thing we didn't miss when we lived in Singapore, but we're here permanently and as much as I keep complaining about our home, I'm grateful we are able to keep warm and dry. We have fixed most of the issues and I'm moving on to loving our home. I realized I had held off from doing that because of the issues, but it's our home and it's where Papa God led us. Bahala na si karma sa unscrupulous contractor. What's important for me is my family is safe now. 

Keep safe and dry everyone!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Not a Good Day

Unstable today. Will hopefully be better tomorrow.

Have a blessed Sunday everyone. Stay dry!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Lego Botanical Collection

Dropped by Toy Kingdom yesterday and was surprised to see the expanded Lego Botanical Collection. They started this collection a few years ago and I guess a lot of Lego fans liked it because the collection grew. 

Well, I've just been admiring it from a distance because it's expensive. I wanted to scrutinize it more, but there was a person obstructing the area and I soon got distracted by the Star Wars collection, haha. Oh, they also have a rendition of Birds of Paradise. 

Good alternative in case you give up gardening, haha.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, July 28, 2023

Foodie Friday: Pasta Pinangat

One of my favorite dishes from Bicol is pinangat. We always had it whenever we visit Mom and Dad's hometown. I first tried pasta pinangat when I visited Legaspi. It was so good I asked my cousin in Naga if there was a place that served it. She said, no need to find a resto, just buy some pinangat from the palengke or shop and prepare it yourself. 

It's so easy to make! Just saute garlic and pinangat, add some all purpose cream and add salt to taste, then mix in the noodles. My cousin taught me how to bring back pinangat from Bicol back to Manila. Just buy it, ask the hotel to freeze it for you. Pop it in the freezer when you get home. It lasts a long time!

I know only of one place here in Manila where you can get pinangat, JT's Manukan and Grille. I normally get a serving and freeze it. I cook it when I feel like eating pasta pinangat. Ummm, yum yum! Try it!

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Throwback Thursday: Do You Like Performing During Company Christmas Parties?

When you're a newbie in a company in the Philippines they usually group you with other newbies to perform at the year-end holiday party. I was a newbie so many times and that meant I had to embarrass myself x number of times too. I absolutely dreaded it. 

The streak ended when I finally joined an international company. I was so relieved it wasn't a tradition for them. I know that the activity is meant to help newbies meet other employees and develop camaraderie. I'm an introvert, so performing and dancing in front of an audience is not my cup of tea. Plus, there's nothing to be gained from seeing my ungraceful body dance. You cannot imagine the hours it took for Jap and Dave to teach me how to do the otso-otso

The memory popped up in my head when I was looking through Google Photos. For some strange reason I'm already thinking about Christmas. I guess it's because I wasn't able to mail cards the past two Christtmases! I also did not finish my Christmas quilt projects last year. So I guess that's why I started to thinking about Christmas.

Well, much as i didn't like the activity, what I enjoyed was getting to know colleagues. Of course, there would be a lot of practices you have to attend and that gives you time to get to know others. I also had the opportunity to be part of holiday party organizing committee. A lot happens behind the scenes and well holiday parties are meant to be fun and memorable. 

I wonder though, are companies organizing holiday parties again? 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, July 26, 2023


We're onto our fifth typhoon this year and it became a super typhoon (now downgraded). Thought I'd write about our experience so far. #EgayPH or typhoon Doksuri (international name) is very different from the other typhoons we've experienced. 

Past 1 in the morning last night, sudden intense torrential rain dropped on our roof. It sounded so different from other rainshowers we've experienced. It dropped so fast on our roof, it felt like we were in a tin can being pounded by stones. The strange thing is it didn't even last long. The cycle happened several times last night and this morning. I know because the strong rain would wake me up every time it fell.

Aside from the strange intense intermittent rain, there was also a lot of wind. We'd hear it howling every so often. My friends said they experienced the same in other parts of the metro. I can just imagine how scary it must be up north. 

I was in Baguio running an event when typhoon Yolanda hit. The wind rattled the windows of the hotel and I thought it was going to break. I didn't allow Juned to go home that day and had him stay with us in our room. I would not have been able to sleep if he traveled back by bus with the typhoon going on.

I hope and pray everyone is safe. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Keep Learning!

Just finished reviewing the goals I set for the year. I'm happy I've made a dent on some of my goals. One thing I forgot to list though are things I want to learn. I'm retired, but that doesn't mean I can just rest and do nothing. Well, I do have good days and bad days. 

I'm usually flat on my back on bad days. I rest, but I can still read and watch videos when I'm awake. One thing I've been meaning to do is start reading the books I've accumulated. I started reading again recently. I read while waiting for stuff. It's better than browsing on your phone. 

I'm currently reading the book "The Time Keeper" by Mitch Albom. I'm just halfway through the book, but it's already been a good reminder to me about being mindful of how you spend your time. Everyday is an opportunity to learn and that's what I try to do in whatever I get into. 

One thing I also learned through the years, especially with my career, is to treat everything as a learning journey. That helped me get through a lot of challenges. It also kept me grounded. So, keep learning so you could keep growing. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Lightsaber Quilt Blanket

I completely forgot about making this blanket! Found it when I was looking for a photo of a blanket Mom made. I wanted to make a compilation of some of the quilt projects she made. I instead found this cute Star Wars lightsaber inspired blanket I made for Jet when he was still a baby. 

I had just picked up quilting again when I made this piece. I made it with square and rectangular pieces. I wasn't too adventurous yet back then. Made it purely by hand and I remember it was quite hard to finish because of limited space.

Of course, I promptly forgot to take a photo of the finished product. Gave it to Carissa a few weeks later and she brought it back to Indonesia. I have no idea if it stood the test of time since I just hand quilted it. It's probably stuck at the back of a closet by now, haha. I think I made the lightsaber blue because I was planning to make a green one for Miggy. Probably got distracted with other projects since I haven't made a Yoda lightsaber quilt blanket yet. 

Still on sewing hiatus. I'll probably ask for Miggy and Sweetie's new ortho to take a look at my arm and vitamin D levels soon. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, July 24, 2023

Pregnant! A Big Surprise!

We were really surprised one night last week when we heard a tiny crying sound coming from one of the boxes in the garage. Brimsely, one of the feral cats that adopted us gave birth in one of the boxes in the garage. We didn't expect it because the other cats, Kaley, Cheyenne and Sandra, usually disappear for a few days when they give birth. We have no idea where they go. 

To be honest, we originally thought Brimsley was male. We only knew she was younger than the other cats. We only realized she was female when we noticed her tummy grow big. Well, we still expected she wouldn't give birth in our premises because we made our outdoor area unfavorable.

The day before Brimsely gave birth, Sweetie noticed she was scouting our outdoor area. We noticed also that she rarely left and hung out in the garage the whole day. She became sweeter with the boys. Aside from going around the house, we didn't notice anything out of the ordinary with Brimsely. Then she disappeared. 

It was late evening on Tuesday when Miggy found her squeezed in Sweetie's keyboad box. It was outside because he was about to throw it out. It was almost midnight already when she was discovered. The poor kitty looked uncomfortable, but we knew we shouldn't disturb her. By morning there were two kittens. She would go out of the box to eat and we noticed she delayed the birth of more kittens. 

Well, we have no idea how many kittens there are since Brimsely moved behind a pot holding bamboo sticks. I think she was alarmed that there were other cats in the area who were sniffing the area. And maybe she didn't want us to see the kitties too. It's also probably warmer where she moved the kittens. We could only hear them for now, but it's very hard to decipher how many are in the litter. Brimsley still goes out to eat and Miggy said she's been extra cuddly with him. 

The kittens are now almost a week old. We've been watching videos on how to take care of feral cat mamas. We have to make sure that Brimsley gets spayed before the end of August. The kittens have to be spayed before their 3rd month. Apparently cats can get pregnant on their third month! Yikes! We haven't been successful with the calico cats since they do not want to be touched. We'll get help from a friend so we can do it for Brimsley and her kittens. 

#BeKind #StaySaffe

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Went to the Coffee Home Brewers Grand EB!

The Coffee Home Brewers grand eyeball is the first event we went to since 2019! It was a great opportunity for us to go since it's organized by friends and we love coffee. To be honest, we almost did not make it! But we were meant to go because things got better and the weather cleared up! Yaaas! 

The event was set up on Paseo de Roxas in Makati. A part of the street was closed and that's where they set up tents. After registering we received a "passport" to get stamped by the sponsors. Once completed you're eligible to win some prizes. We're just still doing the pour over method to prepare our coffee, so who knows we might win a coffee maker. 

Thank you Ros, Raf and Jose Margo for organizing a very fun event!

What made the event fun for us was seeing friends we haven't seen for a long time. Saw some familiar faces from the group too (I was too shy to say hello). After going around to check out the different coffee shops selling beans, check out equipment and coffee add ons, we sat down to drink coffee (of course!). Well, here's a glimpse of the event -

If you're going to the event today, the organizers encourage attendees to bring their own flasks. Do bring a bag because some sponsors give out freebies (we received 5 cans of milk from Alaska!). We collected flyers too since we've been thinking of buying a coffee maker for almost 2 years now (haha). Don't forget to wear sunscreen! I forgot so my face is a bit sunburnt. 

Fully caffeinated!

Thank you Papa God for the great day! I was flat on my back as soon as we got home, but it was a happy day. Being around friends really helps with healing and I'm grateful we were able to go! :)

Coffee Home Brewers grand EB/event is open until July 23, 2023, 10pm (starts at 10am). Entrance is free! More information is available here.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Reviewing My Ambitious Gardening Bucket List

It was only in the last few weeks I've been able to properly work on my garden. It's been a slippery slope. Well, at least I have been able to protect my plants and I think I finally figured out how to care for succulents. Well, before I ramble on let me review first the ambitious gardening bucket list I made last January. 

1. Prepare the garden properly. Our garden is flanked with bamboo. They were the right size when we moved in, but didn't realize they'd grow so tall! Well, it killed the grass because it couldn't get enough sunlight. We'll have to tame the bamboo and do something about the grass coz it's gotten very muddy. 

This item was truly ambitious. Took a few months to get our garden cleaned up. We had proper planters installed to corral the bamboo and bushes. Then had turf grass installed.

2. Address drainage issue in the garden. 

The drainage issue involved directing the downspouts to a better system. The master plumber and his team like a sleuth traced the pipes across the house. It was like re-organizing a multiple line train system. It was a huge relief when it was fixed.  

3. Assign an area for growing veggies so they get enough sunlight. 

We had two vertical garden grids installed. One in the side garden and another in the laundry area which gets good sunlight. We had some progress with some seeds we planted, but something fell on them so we need to plant again. It's been raining a lot though, so growing something has been hard. 

4. Assign an area for ornamental plants. 

I have placed some outside my craft room and some that need shade under the bamboo. Realized though I don't have that much space, so I'm being very cautious about buying.

5. Get some indoor plants that are low maintenance. 

Haven't had the need to buy plants since I have friends giving me plants to take care of. I can also easily get from Mom since she propagated a lot of plants for me. 

6. Cultivate veggies and herbs that are useful for cooking (onions!). 

Just checked and the mustasa seeds I planted are starting to grow properly. With limited sunlight though growth has been a bit slow.

7. Don't get overly excited over acquiring seeds. 

Learned my lesson already. I'm sticking to just buying seeds from reputable sources. So far most of those I bought online haven't flourished. I also made a list of what I really want to grow. Just got a few veggie seeds a few weeks ago.

8. Study first before planting anything so your effort is not wasted. 

I have created a spreadsheet where I put my notes on what I research. 

9. Be consistent with fertilizers and pesticides. 

I have so far been pretty consistent and have been able to save my plants from the dreaded higad!

10. Always be well so you can take care of your plants!

Working on this really hard!

One thing I did also is to do bite sized gardening tasks so I don't get overwhelmed. This way also I'm able to provide the care the plants need. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, July 21, 2023

Mid-year Bucket List Check!

So... I got distracted last week while doing my mid-year review. I forgot about Friday and Saturday! Took a look at the list I made last January to see if I have made a dent on my bucket list. To be honest we're still very cautious about going out. We only do whenever there's a check-up and for very important errands that can't be done online. Well, let's take a look if I made any progress on my bucket list -

1. Monthly grocery run (or every 3 weeks is fine). 

More like every 6 weeks which is fine since I'm only able to cook once a week if I have good days. 

2. Brunch date with my boys. 

Yes, especially when we have check-ups, haha. We also do this the rare times we really go out to do groceries.

3. Get to dine at my favorite YouTube chefs restaurant (i.e. Chef Tatung, Chef RV etc.) and try out other interesting food places. 

We planned to visit Chef RV's resto in Binan, but apparently they only do take-away. The other one might happen soon. We so far got to explore some places in the south and BGC.  

4. A domestic destination that requires a flight (we still need to use Sweetie's travel fund!). 

We were able to squeeze in 2.5 destinations with Sweetie's travel fund! We were able to visit Bacolod and Bohol (2x). Not bad huh. 

5. The beach, maybe Batangas or Subic 

Well, we went to the beach in Bacolod and Bohol. This item though refers to a road trip. 

6. Baguio!

Probably need to set this to somewhere nearer. I still want to go to Baguio, but will have to get clearance for long car ride from my doctors. 

7. Celebrate special occasions somewhere nice. 

We were able to celebrate the birthdays of the boys in Bohol. Up next will be my birthday. Will probably stay put since the weather has been unpredictable.

8. Visit my fave malls! Glorietta, SM and Landmark (haha, yes, I've been home since 2021 but have not visited even the nearest SM to me!). 

We've been able to visit Glorietta very briefly, but not Landmark, SM Makati and the nearest SM to us. Funny thing is we've been able to visit their counterparts in the south, haha. 

9. Explore my home city more. 

Hasn't happened. Traffic is terrible so we've been exploring the south more. 

10. Of course, visit nearby churches.

Just so far our parish church. 

Score: 6/10

Have to do better about doing outdoor activities since I'm vitamin D insufficient, haha. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Throwback Thursday: Pikachu Parade

One of the fun things we did in Singapore was attend the Pikachu Parade. I heard about Pikachus parading around in Japan (usually in Yokohama if I remember correctly). I never had the chance to witness it in Japan, so we were happy it came to Singapore. 

We spent a few days in Sentosa after Mom arrived. The parade was walking distance from the hotel, so we took a walk (with Mom) to watch the parade. She was certainly amused because we were acting like kids when the Pikachus came out. They were so cute!

Here's a short clip of the parade. It might be a bit shaky, I was so excited to see them. 


#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Wellness Wednesday: Moving Forward with Grief

Grief is a short word that packs a lot of punch. They say you go through five phases of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I was a huge mess when we lost my Dad. I cried and cried and cried. With Mom I felt I had to face it with quiet grace. 

I purposely did not go inside Mom's home since she passed. My siblings took care of the initial checks. I still manage the house but I did not want to rush myself. I stretched the bargaining phase. I finally went back to my childhood home yesterday. I felt I was ready and anchored it with a structural inspection. I did it that way so I don't end up bawling. 

I spent a bit of time in Mom's bedroom. The first thing I opened was her craft cabinet. It was filled to the brim. Since we were still doing the inspection, I just took a photo. I also opened her clothes cabinet and saw she had put away most of her clothes. Bags were also organized properly. Her helper told me that she had been packing away her clothes. I also noticed that her altar in the lanai had less items. They were moved inside the house. 

I wondered why Mom re-organized her stuff. When I got home I scrutinized her craft cabinet. The sewing materials were carefully packed in boxes. It was arranged for keeping, not for use. I also noticed some of my piggy banks inside the cabinet. I realized she packed the cabinet for me. And she probably knew it's the first thing I would open. She knew that I treasured my piggy banks and she kept it for me. She wanted to give it to me already, but we were still renovating our house. 

And yes I think I'm sliding into the next phase of grief, depression. Mom won't be happy if I mope around. That's why I made sure I had a purpose when we went to the house today. We went with an architect and a structural engineer. We want to preserve Mom's garden, so we have to make sure the structure it's on is safe. We are on the right track because as soon as I mentioned to Sweetie the inspection plans and our plans to refurbish the sofa, Google Photos suddenly popped up an album of us three together. Finally, Mom learned how to use technology, haha. 

The next few months will be hard as we work on clearing the house. I didn't finish taking photos for my inventory, so we'll have to go back. I hope I don't slide back into what I battled the past two years. That's why I'm going to anchor it on a project. 

Love you Mom, we'll be back home soon. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Creative Happy Tuesdays: Retaso Essential Oil Holder

I've been itching to create something the past two weeks. I couldn't gauge though if my arm has healed, but since it's not been hurting I thought I'd do something quick and easy. The oil blend rollers in my medicine box have been rolling all over the place. I couldn't find anything that could keep it in place with my other stuff in the box. Got something from Daiso the other day, but that didn't work either. 

Thought I'd make something that could hold my oils. Found a strip of pieced denim fabric. It was a leftover from my food processor cover project. It was pretty useless for anything else, but I thought it would be useful for my mini project. It was too long so I shortened it. 

The scrap already had wadding and backing. I quilted it and binded part of it. Added some cloth and it turned out like this -

I know it's got a weird shape, but it worked. My oil blend rollers are now set in it's nook in my medicine box. It was a mini project that satisfied my craving to create something. Unfortunately, my arm started hurting again, so I have to work on getting it fixed and probably see an ortho this weekend. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, July 17, 2023

Home on Mondays: Let's Talk About Home Security

There were a lot of security related incidents in our village when I was growing up. Our area back then was still considered as a suburban area. Because of these incidences, the homeowners voted to put gates in place, add security guards and closed off some roads. It didn't stop the incidents and it was later discovered that the thieves would enter through the creek. It was eventually closed off and that helped a lot.

We also fell victim to thieves in the 90s. They ripped the back windshield rubber (good thing they didn't break it) and took the car radio (it wasn't working hrhr). Then there was a time when I was still a child, I saw a stranger walking around the empty lot behind our house. He was chased off. I also remember my new red bicycle was stolen. After that, my yellow bicycle was parked inside the house (bought a year after).

After the 90s, things quieted down in our village. I think that was when the grills were installed to close off the creek. The thieves became more creative and worked with helpers. Well, our biggest lose was from our long-time helper. She's still on the run right now and haven't been caught. And that made me realize that you really need to be mindful of your premises and who you live with. The helper was with us for almost 20 years, but she succumbed to temptation. 

There are many ways to secure your home. Most basic one is to ensure that locks are working. We check our gates, doors and windows before turning in at night. I had all of Mom's locks and doorknobs changed after the thieves left. It is common for houses to have grills. Getting a security guard is useful, but expensive. What also helped us though was  CCTV. We're able to see everyone who goes to our house. 

Some of the available CCTV cams out there.

CCTVs used to be super clunky and expensive. Some require servers and monitors. There are solutions nowadays that makes it easy for homeowners to install by themselves (and it's more affordable now). We read a lot of reviews and so far we like Tapo and Xiaomi. You can easily access it live and see saved footage on your phone or computer. Yup, that easy! 

Protect your home, protect your family. Your home should be a safe space, physically and mentally. Next time maybe I'll talk about protecting your home from the non-living. Awoooo...

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Sunday Miracles: A Grateful Week

I had quite a lot of bad days this past week. Had to postpone a test because I felt like I was coming down with something. After resting for almost a week I felt better. I think my body broke down mainly due to the bad AQI. I'm grateful though it didn't progress to an emergency and that's what is important. 

Sweetie re-scheduled my appointment and I was able to do the tests last Friday. It was a long day for us since we decided to wait out the Friday traffic in a nearby mall. It gave us an opportunity to meet up with a friend and we even bumped into some friends we haven't seen since 2019! Even with the long gap it felt like we just saw them last week. Perhaps because we always see their updates online. 

And that's one of the things I'm grateful about the past week. Being with friends helps with healing. With new doctors in place I feel a bit more confident now about going out. We still wear masks religiously and use Betadine once we get home. 

I'm grateful I'm able to move more now compared to a year ago. It was around this time last year when I was having breathing issues. My walk test results were really bad too. My body has gone through a lot and so little things like being able to go to the mall and have dinner with a friend is a huge thing for me. 

I always wondered why I survived. The illnesses I've been through have high mortality rates. I talk about it every so often to warn others and also to show those like me that there is life after. I'm not able to do much now, but I'd like to believe that I've been spared so I can help others to have hope and warn others not to push themselves too hard. 

And so I am grateful for another week that ended on a happy note. I'm also grateful for the blessings and the gift of friendship. The weather has been really bad, so stay dry and stay safe everyone. 

Have a blessed Sunday :)

#BeKind #StaySafe 

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Plantita Saturdays: Philodendron New Leaves

When I re-potted the philodendron given to me last month, I noticed it was starting to form a new leaf. It grew so slowly. TBH, it's my first time to have this variety of philodendron. I've just been winging it. The cuttings I received were big, so I immediately planted them in a huge pot. I just mixed loam soil with coco peat, perlite and a little home made compost. The first challenge was to make sure it would live!

Well, I left it for a few days with two bottles of water stuck on the soil. I knew though the water would just last for a day since it prefers soil to be a bit moist. Luckily it rained and it got some water. It adjusted well and it looked like it would leave. Eventually the node grew. Last week though the plant was attacked by critters. I made sure to spray the leaves with neem oil. I also mixed part of the mixture with water and watered the soil with it. I realized the critters probably laid eggs on it and wanted to get rid of them before they hatched. I did the same for the pothos. 

plus one more node on it's side

I guess the plant also liked the mixture I watered it with because it surprised me a few days ago with a new leaf! The huge pot is just outside my maker room and I usually check it out. At first I thought it was a dying leaf, so I went outside to check it. Realized it was the node that was growing since it arrived and it finally started to unfurl. It was still closed the day before, so I guess it started to open up when the sun rose. The rain may have also encouraged it to finally open up. 

and a node on the other plant

I noticed also that there were other nodes growing. I've been so busy battling caterpillars, I did not notice it was also growing other nodes. Perhaps, the 2-3x a week application of neem oil also helped. I have to check if it requires more or other kinds of fertilizer. The perlite I put in with the soil is probably gone by now. 

I never really planned to take care of ornamental plants. The ones I have came from Mom and Ate Rose. My Mom preferred ornamental and flowering plants. She didn't like growing veggies and turned Kuya's hydroponic system as a plant stand for her multitude of ornamental plants. She loved to propagate new plants and just gave them away to neighbors. I planned to do the same for the kalanchoe, but need to find time to re-pot!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, July 14, 2023

Lakwatsa and Food Friday: Busog in Bohol

Just remembered I made a travel diary on the restos we ate at in Bohol. Spending just a few days doesn't really give enough time to sample a lot of restaurants, but some have become our favorites. During our past 2 trips though, we limited our time outside of the resort. Hiring a car for the day costs a lot and we still avoid crowded places. 

Instead of describing the gastronomic delights we had in Bohol, I thought it would be better to show it visually. Here's a travel diary of how our tummies became happy in Bohol -


#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Throwback Thursday: Experienced Disneyland at 2'C

Disney has been losing money according to reports. Losses mainly due to their streaming platform, Disney+, and movies that didn't reach box office targets. I hope this doesn't affect their park. It reminded me of the last time we visited Disney in Japan. I always wanted to bring my family there since I have happy memories of Disney from my childhood. 

It was dead winter when we went to Japan. Uncle Fumio warned us that since it was the holiday season sometimes Disney would limit the number of people who'd come in. He was so surprised we were up and out before his advised time, haha. 

We had to get some coffee before we started going around because it was too cold for me. We got in around 6:30 am and we had some breakfast first to warm us up. By the time we were finished it got a bit warmer (5'C) and we headed to the Star Wars ride (priorities!). Hearing the main theme of Star Wars always gives me the happy shivers. 

It grew a bit warmer by noon. We rode just a few rides since the lines were very long! It was, after all, the New Year holiday week in Japan. Most memorable for me was the parade. It brought me back to the times I got to visit Disney when I was a child. And the fireworks were really amazing. 

Just one tip, don't go during winter, haha. It totally slipped my mind because the tickets were really affordable for that time! Well, whatever we saved we spent on winter clothes. Disney is one place you should experience at least once in a lifetime. Well, twice. One, when you're a child. And two, when you bring your child to experience it too. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Wellness Wednesdays: Wellness Check!

I think I can honestly say I feel better now compared to the start of the year. That's true for both my physical and mental state. I've also just changed doctors and had my initial check-ups with them. I'm working on completing the tests. My new doctors said I'm stable and that's our goal. Be stable and gain more stamina. 

So, let's take a look on how I progressed with my wellness goals this year...

1. Pray 

Of course, everyday.

2. Be grateful and be grateful for others. 

Always. It's where I gain strength from.

3. Eat well and eat more nutritious food. 

I was doing well early this year, but I slipped when Mom passed away. I turned to food to cope. My cholesterol is now borderline high. Have gone back to just eating fish/chicken. I also need to eat food that would provide me with more vitamin D.

4. Lose more weight. 

The scale finally started to move down last summer. I've also been weighing myself everyday to make sure I'm not retaining fluid. 

5. Complete daily exercises and increase exercise capacity (and try to go out more). 

It's been touch and go for me, but I'm back to gardening several times a week and doing stretches every morning. I plan to see an orthopedic doctor to have my back checked. 

6. Follow doctors orders and do the tests 

Started seeing new doctors in June. It was quite hard to find good ones. Glad we found a good set connected to the ones recommended by friends. Thank you guardian angels!

7. Drink meds on time. 

To be able to do this I need to solve my sleep issues. I'm able to drink my meds at the same time everyday, but I hope to start the regime earlier.

8. Re-start meditation. 

Not started.

9. Solidify coping mechanims. 

I think I'm better now compared to the past few months. I have improved a lot, but I know I still need to work on me.

10. Less social media.

I've been able to lessen my time on social media. I've started reading books again. So much time is spent waiting at doctors offices, doing tests and PT. I'm putting that time to good use by reading a book. Saves phone batter and internet too, haha. 

Score: 7/10 (gave some goals 0.5 points only)

I was afraid I didn't do well with my wellness goals! I guess I prioritized this over my craft goals, which I appropriately should! I still need to work on me so I can create more happy memories with my boys :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Creative Happy Tuesdays: Goal Check!

Have you made progress with your craft projects? I am still on pause right now. Discovered I have vitamin D insufficiency and after experiencing arm pain I thought it would be prudent to rest. I can't stop thinking about creating though, so thought I'd review my crafting goals for the year. TBH, I don't think I've made much progress, but let's see.

1.New covers for my kitchen appliances and O2 concentrator. 

I have so far finished making a new cover for my KitchenAid stand mixer and Philips food processor. The blender cover is in progress. Learned how to make cat quilts because of this project. I have not started thinking about what cover to make for my O2 concentrator (it's ginormous!).

2. Cover/blanket for the benches. 

Nope, not yet started. I think I might make it Star Wars themed. Hmm...

3. Finish the dining room seat cover and make a non-Christmas one. 

Errrr, it's stuck.

4. Throw pillow covers for our currently non-existent sofa (lol).

Still no sofa, so no throw pillow covers.

5. Make more pot holders. 

None yet.

6. New curtains 

So far, only for the kitchen. I used oatmeal colored Swissdot fabric which I thought was very cute. I got another color for the living room, but haven't got around to making it. 

7. Make essential oil holders (been meaning to do this since 2020!) 

Finally, something I completed! I also made several and gave it to my friends.

8. Key holders 

Nope, I cheated and used a duplicate Yoda lego key chain (hehe).

9. Oven gloves (I got this huge roll of heat resistant wadding which needs to be used!) 

Not started.

10. Experimental projects, a wall hanging and something that requires a zipper.

I'm still figuring out where to place it, so I can think about what to do. 

Well, one thing I should have included in this checklist is the maker room renovation! We finally completed it in early April. I've been working a lot more though in the family room. We moved my sewing table so we could save on electricity (use one aircon only). I also have to finish sorting through the plastic boxes of materials. 

Score: 3/10! Ugh, need to get moving!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, July 10, 2023

Home on Mondays: Time to Review Targets!

Last January, I spent an entire week listing down what I wanted to do this year. Since it's already the second half of the year, I thought I'll spend some time this week to review the goals I listed for the year. Here's what I listed for home life -

1. Make it safe by getting all electrical, plumbing and structural issues fixed.

Done! Thanks to Architect Wansi and his team. Updates are on my Monday posts. 

2. Declutter and just keep what we need. I was really happy we were able to donate 14 boxes of stuff especially our pre-loved books. 

Halfway there. We can now actually see parts of the living room, haha. Scheduling part two of decluttering with our coach, Ally Canita, since we have set aside a number of boxes again for donation. 

3. Make the kitchen ready to cook and bake yummy stuff with Miggy. 

Just started cooking and baking again recently with Miggy! Made some cookies last week. I'm glad my oven is working properly and so far we've been able to experiment on other pasta recipes. 

Our now lived in kitchen. 

4. Have a proper living room where we can welcome friends and family. 

Far from it at the moment...

5. A "stable" dining table. We realized that the glass table isn't for us. We're selling it and hope to change it back to a smaller wooden table. 

We were not able to sell the table. Instead we changed the base of the table. Used the leftover fluted panels and it's now stable. Glad we did that because we were able to use it to entertain family. 

6. Maybe get some art that would fit our personalities. We have collected a lot of toys though, so maybe we won't need art. 

Decided not to get any art. Not for now at least. We'll focus on what we have first. The only thing we have placed is the framed art card a friend sent. It was perfect for my craft room powder room.

7. Make our garden more manageable. We'll likely change to turf grass since most of the grass died anyway. I want to have a section for veggies and ornamental plants. It's a bit challenging though, but doable.

This is one major item we've crossed out from our list! We have planted some seeds and hope we'll be able to harvest some veggies soon.  

8. Make the basement our family hub where we can enjoy working on our hobbies. We've so far designed it to be our "playroom" and I'm excited to work on the display cabinet. 

Yes, the basement has become our family room. The toys are now in the display cabinet. We just need to organize the room. One thing we still need to do is replace the flooring (huhu) since the tiles have been popping out (really bad work by the contractor who renovated the house). 

9. Use the maker room to produce things I love to make. Hope to be more productive this year. 

Yes! My maker (craft) room is more or less organized. I just need to finish sorting the rest of the stuff from the plastic boxes. I've also merged all my craft books together. It didn't fit my maker room anymore. It's just outside the door.

10. Fill the house with happy memories so it could be our true home.

This is what we've been focusing on since renovations finished. We've already gone on two family trips (Sipalay and Bohol!). And a big plus we've done is get our home blessed. 

Score: 7/10! 

Really made some headway on our home stuff because Sweetie and Miggy helped a lot to make things happen. Let's see if I get a good score for my other goals. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Miracle Sundays: Dreamt of Mom

Dreamt of my Mom last night. We were somewhere sorting through her Christmas decorations. I was selecting some items to keep and the rest were to be donated. She didn't want me to keep a lot, but she kept pointing to one item. She said it was still good, but the "mountain" was missing. I didn't exactly know what the "mountain" meant, but it looked like a small part of the decor. 

Mom's garden.

I'm the only child who's here, so clearing out her house has fallen on my shoulders. I have a game plan already, but I just can't seem to get to it. Leaving the house as it is now makes me feel like she's just there. Busy with her garden, sewing or working on her crafts. 

It's probably her way of telling me to get moving. I originally targeted to start things after her 40th day. The most I've done is continue to manage the house and drop by every so often. I remember when I was a child, I used to ransack her cabinet often. I got a scolding and since then I have stayed away from her cabinet. I only open it whenever she asks me to get something. 

It's time and I guess my deadline is to finish things before Christmas. One thing I look forward to is finding her Christmas decors. Some are older than Miggy, so we'll see if they are still good. I'm thinking if we do one room per month, complete with sorting through the stuff I should finish by early next year. 

Pray for me. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Plantita Saturdays: They Like the Philodendron :(

The other night I noticed something different with the philodendron. It's only been a few weeks since I planted the stalks Ate Rose gave to me. It has just settled in and while checking the door I noticed something different with the large plant. 

The huge leaf I was admiring that afternoon when I watered it was halved in two. It was late already, but I headed out to check. A hungry caterpillar almost wiped out the huge leaf. My heart sank because the same thing happened last year when they almost wiped out all my plants. 

Since it's been a few days since I sprayed neem oil I decided to spray again to prevent further infestation. Noticed another smaller leaf being eaten the day after and I luckily caught the culprit. It had no chance of survival after I sprayed neem oil on it. 

They also like this variety :(

Sigh, really need to find time to hose down the area so I can sprinkle some diatomaceous earth around the pots. That way they won't get to the plant. Well, hopefully they didn't hatch eggs in the soil. I am hoping the neem oil spray will take care of it. Worse off I could probably water them with water with a bit of hydrogen peroxide. 

I hope I'll be able to control the infestation, so it won't be like what happened last year. Sigh.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, July 7, 2023

Lakwatsa Fridays: Bohol, Why We Keep Coming Back

Bohol has become our go-to family vacation place. It is less crowded and easy to reach since the resorts are usually just 15 minutes away from the airport. We also found a place where it is convenient to go to restos and buy water. 

We recently went to Bohol again to celebrate the family birthdays. I have lost count on how many times we've visited. The past two times we focused on just relaxing and skipped the usual tourist spots. Also, I don't think I'll be able to go up the stairs to see the Chocolate Hills anymore. 

We spent most of our time in the resort. Our first full day was spent... sleeping! We needed a good rest and that's what we did. I figured out during our last visit that 3 nights and 4 days wasn't enough. We ended up extending another day. So this time I booked for 4 nights and 5 days. It was perfect because we were able to relax, eat good food and swim. 

Here's a short compilation on why we keep coming back to Bohol -

This time around we only we out once. We really wanted to eat at AA BBQ, a favorite from Cebu. After that we went to Our Lady of Assumption church to pray and give thanks. Dropped by South Farm to buy some baskets and then had some merienda at South Palms Resort. After half a day out we just spent the rest of our time in the resort. We love the beachfront of Modala Beach Resort. There's always a lot of space to enjoy the beach and the water is always clean. 

The struggle to take decent family photos in the water is real! 

Grateful that we were able to celebrate family birthdays in Bohol. We'll probably stay put for my birthday and do something different.  Visit Bohol soon! 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Throwback Thursday: Bali with Mom

Mom loved to travel. We traveled a lot when I was growing up. We always went to the beach for family vacations. We used to go to Bicol a lot and spent summers by the beach. She particularly loved to go to the beach because that's where she grew up. 

We had a family vacation in Bali a few years ago. We got a villa since it was cheaper than booking several hotel rooms. Kuya, Ate Joy, Sweetie's Dad came too and Tita Rose decided to join us last minute. It was a fun, relaxing vacation. We enjoyed the private pool and spent most of our time in the villa. We were pampered since the villa came with helpers and they would prepare food for us when requested. 

Since we've been around Bali already, we just went out a few times. We went to Ubud and ate at a farm along the way. Skipped the monkey sanctuary since there were monkeys in the villa already. We just went to the market and walked around. It rained so we didn't stay too long. We luckily had a great driver to bring us around (a referral from a friend). 

It was surreal to eat by the beach again. We used to eat there a lot in 90s and only stopped going to Bali because of the tragedies that happened in the early 2000s. Also because the airplane we took crashed a week later. I remembered the family trips we used to do. The kids were all so small back then and it was always a riot making sure no one got lost. I felt sad that so much tragedy happened where we had so many happy family memories. 

Mom was so happy during that trip. It was our last big family vacation together. The year after we went to Tagaytay and then the pandemic happened after. We wanted to bring her with us to Bohol last year, but she didn't want to leave her house. It was a blessing because the boys were infected with the coronavirus from the plane ride home. 

Dinner by the beach.

We have good memories from Bali and I'm glad we were able to do it that time. I realize I never blogged about that trip since I was so busy at work and I faced a lot of health issues after that trip. I miss Mom and I know she's watching over us with Dad. 

#BeKind #StaySafe