Thursday, August 31, 2023

Birthday Celebration Circa 2008

Found a bunch of old photos from a birthday celebration 15 years ago. I couldn't help but be bewildered over the length of time since this party. It seems just like yesterday when the get together with (mostly) blogger friends happened. It was held at SM's Taste Asia. I'm not even sure if the place is still there since we rarely visit Mall of Asia now. 

This is one memorable celebration since I had friends from other cities who came. The celebration also merged my friends from different eras of my life. My parents were both still very healthy and a few friends who are gone now were still around. This was also my last birthday before my body changed because of pneumonia. 

Well, happy days are meant to spur you to create more happy memories. Looking back serves as a reminder for me to be grateful for what I have. It also reminds me that I was strong enough to fight back whatever challenges I come across. 

To be honest, I stopped celebrating my birthday for awhile now. I just didn't feel like there was a reason to celebrate. I only started celebrating after I had my second PE*. I realized our time here is short and we should continue to make more happy memories. It doesn't have to be big celebrations like I used to have. Simple and with your loved ones will do. 

The only thing I want from 15 years ago? My perfect weight, haha. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

My Current Favorite Tsitsirya

TBH, I've been avoiding eating junkfood because it has too much sodium. A friend though introduced me to the No Brand Gorgonzola Cheese Soft Corn. I was hesitant to try at first, but it was so good. It's light, puffy and not salty. It also doesn't make your hands turn yellow like other kinds of chips. 

I could probably finish one whole bag by myself. I limit my intake though to make sure I don't go over my sodium intake. But it's hard to stop eating once you open a bag, haha! I just normally buy through Lazada, but discovered that No Brand has a shop in the mall we visit frequently. 

Just did a quick search and saw they have a lot of branches across the metro. I was given just five minutes to buy what I wanted when we went, but I saw they have a lot of ingredients if you like cooking Korean food. They also had Lotte luncheon meat which I like because it's less salty than regular Spam or Maling. We were going to buy lemon-ginger tea, but they only had it in gigantic jars. 

Today is supposed to be wellness Wednesday, but I think it's okay to indulge once in awhile. I've been looking for alternatives to my old favorites. Some like the no-bake variant of Lays is not available here, so I have to look for other options. Well, it would be interesting to see more what No Brand has to offer. Let me know if there's something else worth trying. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Missing My Favorite Fabric Shop

I miss going to my favorite fabric shop in Singapore, Spotlight. I used to go there monthly whether or not I needed anything. I just liked checking out quilting fabric and accessories. I discovered tools that could helped make my craft easier to do. 

When Mom taught me how to quilt she used scraps from Tita Maming's export business. The scraps were perfect for quilting. I was in Singapore when I thought about quilting again. I didn't have any materials so I went to Spotlight to buy some fabric. I realized that there was a lot to learn when I saw all the different types of fabric and tools. 

Spotlight though is a bit expensive, so I researched where to find craft materials. I found out that there were fabric shops in Chinatown. The fabric was cheaper, but the selections were different from what I liked. I also found a fabric center in the other side of town, but they didn't really carry patchwork fabric. 

So Spotlight became my favorite shop in Singapore. The shop is originally from Australia though and I got to visit a branch in New Zealand. The branch in NZ is at least 2x bigger than the one in Singapore. They had much more items! Too bad I wasn't able to visit any in Australia, they were just too far from where I usually stayed. 

I brought home some fabric I got from Spotlight. It will take me a long time before I use it up. I miss visiting Spotlight though, especially the aunties who are always helpful. Someday I'll be back :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, August 28, 2023

It's My Birthday!

It's my birthday today and the first time I'm celebrating without my Mom. I know though that's she's up there in heaven with Dad watching over us. I still always think about her and how she would react to things. 

Mom always told me whenever unfortunate things happen to just move on, learn and be grateful. And eversince I was young she would tell me she won't be around forever. She did that to teach me to be independent. I learned and I'm where I am now because of what she and Dad taught me. 

And so today I'm celebrating my birthday at home. I told the boys that I just want to stay home since we had a pre-birthday salubong lunch with friends already. I'll probably just do some sewing and will check on my plants. 

My heart is full and I am grateful for all the love and care from my family, my friends, and doctors. I have faced a lot of challenges and I'm just grateful to be alive and I have everything I need. 

Thank you Papa God for the gift of life and for my courageous Mom who drove herself to the hospital when I was about to be born. I only remembered that bit yesterday and I now understand why Mom kept reminding me to rest. It took them a month before they could bring me home because I was fragile and needed a bit more care. My only wish is to be healthy so I can also take care of my boys. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Birthday Wishes

Tomorrow is my birthday. I'm now near the end of my fourth decade. To be honest, I always thought I've already lived my life. The past 20 years has been extraordinary for me. I lived my best years in the last two decades doing things I never dreamed I'll be able to do.

I've been praying to God for my next mission. Whenever I tried to do something significant I would get sick. I tried several times and I realized He's telling me that I shouldn't live the same way I used to, busy and always doing something. 

I stopped fighting the urge to do something. I removed myself from a project I really want to do because I kept getting sick. I focused on my health and my boys. With nothing to stress about my overnight oxygen saturation improved. 

I'm focusing on the basics for now. I found an old post where I quoted Pope Francis when he said, "Don't lose the ability to dream." It made me realize that I should stop pushing myself from doing the things I used to do (and the amount of things I could do). I can dream new things based on my reality.

And so my birthday wish for this year is good health and more blessings for my family and for everyone. Better health is key so I could fulfill my goal to build more happy memories with my boys.

Have a happy and blessed Sunday everyone. ❤️

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Re-potted Mom's Aglaonema-Petunia Plant Pot

I scheduled to re-pot another one of the plants Mom gave me over a year ago. She combined (again) two plants in one pot, pink aglaonema and petunia. The plants have grown a lot and badly needed to be re-potted. 

4 plants in a small pot. 

I was surprised (again) to find out that there were 3 aglaonemas and a very, very long petunia. I bought two big pots because I thought there were only two plants, haha. Luckily, I was able to separate the four plants cleanly. I potted the aglaonemas in 3 separate pots, small, medium and large.

They look so pretty in their new pots :)

Good thing I bought a taller pot. The petunia had grown very long. I think it was looking for sunlight and trying to get away from the aglaonema. The tall pot I bought was perfect for the petunia. I just put a bamboo stick in the pot to hold it up. Now that it's been separated from the aglaonema, I can transfer it to a place where it can get better sunlight. 

I super love this set of plants Mom gave me. I don't mind having more aglaonema plants (also known as Chinese evergreen). I noticed there are other plants with pink streaks in the nursery yesterday. I'll check Mom's other plants first before I buy anything. I think it will be nice to have a row of variegated plants that have pink streaks in them. 

The petunia produces flowers often :)

Now that I finished the two pots I've been scared to re-pot, I'll work on the succulents next. I also need to tend to the orchids since I think I may have over-watered them (huhu). Hopefully I could still save them.

Happy gardening everyone. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, August 25, 2023

Homemade Greek Salad

A few years ago I attended a cooking class at the Maya Kitchen. The class was led by executive chef Robby Goco (owner of a couple of restaurants). He taught us some of his recipes used at Cyma. One of the recipes he taught us was how to make Greek salad. We make it often since it's pretty easy to make. The ingredients are also easy to acquire compared to the other dishes he taught us (well the other dishes are also hard to make). 

Through the years we've adjusted the recipe and learned to make it with the least amount of ingredients. Really depends on what we have in the fridge, haha. Here's how to make homemade Greek salad -

Complete recipe on "Recipes for My Son" - 

Best paired with homemade tapa!

Happy weekend everyone!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Grey Grew Up

Grey the Cat we think lived in our property even before we moved in. Almost a year ago, we finally noticed he would sleep in the laundry area. We placed a mat for him and he immediately claimed it for himself. 

It was about a month later when we got some cat food. Left it for him to eat. Sweetie placed a camera to see whether he'd eat it. He was very skittish and jumped away whenever he heard someone coming. It took several more months before he became comfortable with our presence. He'd just hang around whenever we were doing the laundry or do gardening. 

He still keeps his distance from us. The closest I've been to him is 6 inches and that only happens when he's watching me pour some food for him. He has Jedi senses and immediately moves away when he feels someone is trying to pet him. We think he has trauma because the other feral cats aren't as jumpy as him.

I thought about Grey today because I noticed he's grown so much. He is bigger, brawnier and he is more experienced. He fights with Mang Tux a lot since he's very territorial. He keeps away other cats from our home and just allows his girlfriends to hang out (haha). 

Sweetie has been posting videos about the adventures of Grey. We didn't mean to care for a cat, but he managed to wrap his paws around us. He comes and goes as he pleases, but we hope we'd be able to bring him (and his girlfriends) to the vet. You can watch his adventures here.

Grey's the father of Brimsley's kittens. We know because he's the one who brought Brimsley to us. He is the only cat she allows to get near to her kittens. Plus we caught them kissing the other day! Haha. Here's a photo of Mando meeting his/her father (she stepped on him and they both go frightened hahaha). 

Do you have a cat?

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Are Meal Plans Effective?

I've been having a hard time controlling my sodium intake. I have to be careful since when I go over it triggers heart failure for me. That's one reason why I have good days and bad days. After seeing my test results I decided to work on my nutrition. It's just also impossible to cook our own meals.  

We previously tried one company. We only got salads from them. It was okay, but I also have to be careful about eating greens since it will interfere with one of my medicines. My friends suggested other companies. One of them specializes in keto, but I need something that can take into consideration my needs. 

I previously tried cooking some of the recipes from The Sexy Chef cookbook. I liked it, so I thought maybe I should try their meal plans. I pinged their nutritionist a few weeks ago. I was asked to send over a list of my requirements, medical conditions and a list of food I'm allergic to. I sent over a long list. They reassured me that they could adjust based on my requirements. 

I'm on my fourth week now and I'm happy to share that I feel better. I feel lighter and my energy has improved. My overnight oxygen saturation also has improved. My weight has been so far constant and that's important for me. I monitor it daily to ensure I'm stable. An increase of a kilo spells trouble for me. 

To be honest, I had a hard time adjusting to 1,200 calories per day during the first week. There were days I'd feel dizzy and hungry. For those days I ate a sandwich. I requested for 1,500 calories for the second week, but it was too much for me. I guess my stomach grew smaller as I adjusted to the smaller servings. I've since been able to manage at 1,200 calories per day. 

One thing I was hesitant about signing up for a meal plan are the options for food. The first one we tried last year didn't work for me. They were very veggie centric. It is the better option for my blood type, but I need balance. So far I like most of the food that is sent to me everyday. When they send me something I don't like, Sweetie and I switch. It happens maybe one meal a week, but I reminded them about what I don't like eating (hehe). 

So far, so good. I'm taking a break next week though since it's my birthday week! Haha. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Little Twin Stars Quilt Project (Laptop Sleeve)

I looked for Little Twin Stars fabric when I found out from a friend that she likes them. I have fond memories of Little Twin Stars because my Ate used to keep her trinkets in Little Twin Stars boxes on her dresser. I eventually inherited one of the boxes because I kept nagging (I think Mom gave them to me when she left for the US). 

The Little Twin Stars fabric was a bit hard to find. I didn't have that many options when I found it online. I think more options are available in Tomato in Tokyo. Anyway, after months of debating on what I should make for my friend, I eventually decided on a laptop sleeve. I think it'll be useful and she can use it everyday. 

Of course, a quilt isn't a quilt if you don't add other fabrics to it. I asked Miggy for help since he's good with colors. After finding out what laptop my friend used, I then proceeded to design and plan the project. I just made it simple so that the Little Twin Stars fabric would stand out.

The challenging part was making sure that the wadding would be one big piece. I wanted the wadding to help make the sleeve stable. And I also wanted to integrate a pocket in the sleeve. That's something I've never done for the sleeves I previously made (about 5 years ago?). I also had to avoid doing any hand sewing since my arm has just healed. So my other aim was to have clean machine stitches (yes, I still usually make a mess of it). 

I think it turned out well. I hope my friend likes it and finds it useful. Here's how I made it -

Measurements, pattern and process at

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, August 21, 2023

Why We Hired a Decluttering Coach/Organizer

I realized we needed help a year and a half after we moved to our new home. Our living room was unusable because we still had unopened boxes. Yup, even after we had renovations done we still had unopened boxes. Mom and my siblings told me that it will really take time before everything is organized. 

We merged two homes. Our stuff from our Manila home and the stuff we brought over from Singapore. While doing our renovations we asked Architect Wansi if he knew an organizer who could help us. I personally needed help because I don't have enough energy and stamina to continuously declutter, clean and organize our home. We also struggled with choosing what to keep and let go. 

Architect Wansi recommended Ally Canita. We reached out to her in late March and did our first session in May. It took awhile because works were still being done and things kept getting moved around. The house was also constantly dirty, so it was useless to organize. Before work to organize and declutter our home we worked with Ally to set goals for the project. 

Ally and her team spent two full days sorting the contents of the boxes. They also worked on the kitchen and storage room. The work they did was really helpful because it was easier to sort through boxes that are marked "for decision" or "keep". We just had to decide whether to donate or keep items from the for decision box. (More about the first session, here).

We had our second session a few days ago. Ally visited us before she brought her team to assess what they needed to do next. She planned the program before the team came so they wouldn't waste time. I also like how she was able to use extra storage containers I had to organize our pantry. They also helped organize Miggy's closet and shelf. 

What I liked best about their work was what they did with our Christmas items. I requested for the Christmas decors to be placed in crates so it's easier to go through them when we decorate for Christmas. I thought we'd need to buy crates, but they were able to re-use my old plastic boxes (which we emptied in the past few months). They even re-used my old plastic shoe boxes to segregate the decors. Yay! 

Ally also has contacts with organizations that accept pre-loved items. The first set of books we donated were already sent by Library Hub Philippines to Bicol. Homeware was sent to another group. Ally is also knowledgeable on what junk shops would accept or not. This is a huge relief for me since Mom has a lot of stuff. I think we've already donated about 40 to 50 boxes of items. Our aim is to reduce more. 

Decluttering has become easier with Ally's help. Items we have left each have an intention and purpose. Much as I love stuffed toys, I really couldn't give each and everyone of them a hug everyday, so I donated most of it. I was on the fence though with my Android plushies, maybe I'll let them go on the next round. We're still not done, but at least we could see our living room floor now. Miggy is also happy with how his stuff is organized. He now has a system he could follow to keep his room spotless. 

Thank you Ally Canita and team for patiently helping us organize our home!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Life Cycle, Dealing with Loss

When my Dad passed away, Mom told me, "Ganyan talaga ang buhay." I cried harder because I also remembered other loved ones who passed away. It was hard and I wondered how Mom could be so matter of fact. She handled loss very well and was our pillar when Dad passed away. She did everything efficiently while I kept bawling my eyes out. 

After losing Dad, my titos and tita followed one year after another. It reinforced what Mom told me. It's a life cycle. She faced loss with so much grace and dignity. Mom continued to be steadfast and strong. I learned from her how to accept loss. 

We all go through grief differently. The first two months after Mom died I was very unmotivated and unproductive. By the third month I realized I had to start moving. I focused on our family's health. We spent every week in the hospital for consultations and tests. The boys did PT and I'm soon going to start pulmonary rehab. 

I worked on our health because I realized I have to get going in order to meet my main goal. I retired because I want to be able to make more happy memories with my boys. We've been spending majority of our time just home and I want to be able to do things for them like cook and do my share of house chores. And I hope we can step out of the house every so often. 

Live and make more happy memories. That's what my parents would want me to do. 

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Re-potted Mom's Tripartite Plant Pot

Mom loved to combine plants in a pot. She gave me two of these in late 2021. I was afraid to touch it since my brown thumb might kill it. I noticed though that the plants were starting to look unhealthy. Friends recommended to re-pot it.

Found some time and energy to re-pot it early this week. It was gnarly! The roots of the plants were deeply intertwined. I was only able to remove the aglaonema. I didn't risk untangling the other plants and just planted the whole root ball in the huge pot. 

I placed the aglaonema in a different pot so it could grow. There were also small orange spider plants growing, so I added on together with the aglaonema. I hope it will grow just like its mother plant. The process took me over an hour. I was hoping to finish two of the pots Mom gave me. Stopped at one since the sun was already setting by the time I finished. 

The plants are looking good. I think it helped also it's been raining, so it didn't experience too much shock. I have to read up again about what kind of fertilizer I should give it so it can be healthy again. :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, August 18, 2023

I had Pink Pancakes!

Met up with a friend today and we ended up at Shaka Cafe, a vegan restaurant. I've been on a meal plan for a few weeks now, but yeah, wanted to try something new too. We didn't want to bring him to the Ikea resto since they also have it in his country of residence. We were hungry and didn't want to look for another restaurant.

The menu was certainly interesting. Everything was plant based. We were eating brunch, so I got the pinkakes (aka pink pancakes). The pancake was pink and everything was drizzled in pink. I would have enjoyed it more if the fruits were not so sour. 

Our friend had a plant based burger. It was huge! And came with fries. He said he enjoyed it immensely. Next time I'll order what he had. 

Sweetie had big breakfast. Of course, I forgot to take a photo of it. He said it was okay except for the simulated scrambled eggs which didn't look like eggs (hehe). It was filling though because he didn't go for the third of my pancake I set aside for him (haha). 

I just did a quick search about Shaka and saw it has a number of branches across the country. I'm glad there are vegan restaurants available now. I remember that time I had guests from India who were vegan. We went across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and it was really hard to find food for them since most of our vegetarian dishes normally still have meat! So I'm really glad vegan options are being made available more now :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, August 17, 2023

The Orion(s) Ruler

Our chemistry teacher in high school, Mr. Pulmones, recommended that we only buy and use one ruler, the Orions Ruler. He said that among all rulers normally used for school, Orion(s) is the most accurate. Of course, we all got it since it was part of the requirements for chem class.

I recently organized my quilting rulers and found several Orion(s) rulers. I always thought it was just Orion without an "s". Even the National Bookstore price sticker tags it as Orion ruler. Never really looked at the brand name, apparently it's Orions with an S, haha. 

I remember I compared the ruler with wooden rulers and Mr. Pulmones is correct. The Orions ruler is more accurate. It matches Miggy's engineering rulers and my quilting rulers from the US. So if you want an accurate ruler, get the Orions brand. I have several and they numbers also don't fade away. It just gets scratched if you don't put it back in the cover. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

What I Do When Internet is Down

The internet has been wonky the past few weeks. I started writing this post on my mobile and will likely finish it on my laptop when connectivity is back.

To be honest, I don't mind the downtime because it forces me to do things I've been procrastinating on. Well, I'm also from that generation who grew up without internet. I also did a 3-month detox as mandated by a doctor. So, I re-learned to live life without internet. And I learned to manage my time on it.

Here's a list of what I normally do when the net is down:

1. Fold/keep clothes. This is probably the #1 chore I procrastinate on.

2. Work on my quilt projects. This is what I automatically do when there's no internet. 

3. If the sun is still out, I spend more time in the garden. Well, I re-potted some plants yesterday.

4. Bake when I feel like it.

5. Organize my Ghibli inspired craft room (a.k.a. perennially messy craft room).

6. Watch a DVD if I'm really bored. This only happens if Sweetie sets things up.

7. Read a book!

8. Take a nap. Which reminds me, I should get my hammock installed.

9. Wash dishes.

10. Check on the cats and kittens.

And when everything else fails, annoy the boys, haha.

In time, I could probably include "walking" in the list. That's what I'm also working on right now.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Mom's Craft Cabinet

Starting to work on going through Mom's things. This time we opened all the cabinets and drawers to assess how much stuff she left behind. Mom turned Dad's cabinet into a craft cabinet. I knew she did this a long time ago. That's where she stored the bead trays I left with her. 

I was in for a surprise today because she filled up Dad's other cabinets with her craft stuff! She had some unfinished projects which I'll finish for her. I know when it comes to quilting she loved to piece together fabric. She would procrastinate over sandwiching and binding just like me. I think she has a couple of unfinished projects, but I still need to sort and see if there's anything I could finish. 

The first cabinet of craft materials I opened a few weeks ago had some of my collections. I have a collection of pig piggy banks which I used to fill up with coins. I used to have this lined up in my bedroom. It was the only collection I had that didn't go underwater during typhoon Ondoy. Mom kept it for me and she'd bring a few every time we saw each other. She probably also slipped in a couple of things that's important for her. 

One of Mom's craft cabinets. She even kept all my birthday cake toppers.

Mom really loved crafting. It kept her busy. We found a lot of her projects scattered around the house. Aside from quilting she loved to make paper crafts. I never needed to buy desk containers because she made a lot of small items. She also had unfinished paper craft projects. If she wasn't gardening she'd be busy with her crafts.

I'm getting help from our decluttering coach, Ally Canita, to sort out all the items at home. Properly sorting everything is key so we can figure out properly what to do with Mom's things. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, August 14, 2023

How We are Helping a Feral Cat Grow Her Kittens

When we finally noticed that cats frequented our place, the first thing we did was to determine whether they were feral or stray. The video we watched said that stray cats usually look dirty. They are normally domesticated cats that got lost or let go by their hooman. Feral cats, on the other hand, usually look clean because they are independent and take care of themselves. Also, feral cats don't like being touched. 

Since Grey was always visiting us we started to give him some food. He'd just come and go. It's been 9 months since we let him adopt us, but we've never been able to get close to him. The closest he'd come is about 6 inches while we're putting food in his bowl. We think he has some trauma that's why he jumps away whenever we get close. The same is true with Kaley, a calico cat who also visits frequently. 

Brimsley is a younger tabby cat. We first saw her as juvenile last Christmas. She only came back last summer and has made our garage her home. Kaley has been pregnant a few times, but she always disappears when she gives birth. The only time she stuck around for a long time was after my Mom passed away. I think she sensed I needed a companion and stayed outside my craft room for a few weeks. 

The box where Brimsley gave birth.

Anyway, we didn't expect Brimsley would give birth in the garage. She squeezed herself in a box set to be thrown away. She just disappeared and we got worried. Miggy found her inside the box with a white kitten. We scrambled to figure out how to help her. Feral cats generally don't need help though. They know what to do, so we just made sure she had water and food. It took her 3 days to finish giving birth. We think she had 3 kittens, but only two survived. (No idea where she buried the third one).

Friends advised to give her kitten food. Brimsley didn't like it that much so we mixed it with her usual food. We noticed she only ate small portions of her food, so we made sure other cats didn't steal her food. It is true that feral cats would transfer her kittens a couple of times. We prepared other spaces for her to transfer to make sure it was safe for them. So far she transfers every 4 days. 

Adorable kittens.

We think Brimsley is in transition to becoming a domesticated cat. Since she gave birth she's been very malambing with the boys. She's been allowing them to pet her. We think we'll be able to bring her to the vet soon. One concern we had though is fleas. Brimsley and the kittens have been scratching a lot. Ordered some Frontline Plus and Miggy was able to apply on her easily (whew!). It's been a few days and we noticed she isn't scratching that much anymore. The kittens are too small for it, so hopefully the vet can help. 

If ever, Brimsley will be the first cat we'll be able to get spayed and treated. We arranged the laundry area so the kittens won't fall down the stairs. It looks like Brimsley is happy where they are now since she's allowed the kittens to run around the area. They are less wobbly now when they started to walk. Grogu, the grey tabby kitten,  is very curious and tried eating pellets! We got very nervous about it and we put Brimsley's bowl inside a basin so the kitten can't reach it. Also, reduced the water in the bowl so the kittens don't accidentally drown. 

I remember telling the boys a few months ago when Kaley was pregnant that it was up to her whether she'd choose our home to give birth in. I guess God waited for us to be ready and let Brimsley give birth in our garage. She is still a feral cat and that's what we have to respect. We're in love with them though and hope they'll stay. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, August 13, 2023


A friend sent me a heartwarming message yesterday. It was screenshot of a form he was filling up. One of the questions in the form asked who he considers his champion. He wrote my name and told me he admired me for my courage. 

That immediately brought me back to what I used to do. Everything I did was purposeful and meant to benefit the communities I was developing. It started with developers, then entrepreneurs, students, then teachers. My job didn't involve generating income, so I had to fight to get resources to meet my goals and targets. 

It was a good reminder for me to know that I was able to do good while I could. Now I have to dig up the courage I had to fight for myself so I can be well. I have a minor cold right now and the effect makes me feel like I need to go to the ER. So I have to fight this little thing so I can go back to working on my current goal. 

With courage and faith, everything will just work out fine. 

Happy Sunday everyone. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Mustasa Coming Soon

I made the mistake of planting mustasa seeds the week two typhoons hit. After that the habagat sent a lot of rain. They grew very slowly.

The sun finally came out this week. I took the opportunity to re-pot them since they became a bit leggy (looking for sun). I moved them also to another spot where I hope they'll get more sun. It promptly rained hard after, but the bamboo protected them from being washed off. Whew!

They're growing steadily now and I've been feeding them rice water. That's how I grew healthy mustasa plants in Singapore. My plants got morning sun there though, so we'll see if this one grows well here.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, August 11, 2023

Strawberry Smoothie

Spoilage has been one of the issues we had to resolve at home especially for fruits and veggies. We've been freezing some of the fruits that don't get immediately finished (i.e. bananas, strawberries). Recently ordered some strawberries from Session Groceries. It wasn't that sweet, so we experimented on making strawberry smoothie. 

Sweetie took the lead in preparing it since he's the knowledgeable making smoothies. We just used what we had at home: strawberries (used fresh ones), yoghurt, milk, chia seeds, brown sugar and ice. It took longer to make because Sweetie filmed it (haha). 

Here's how he made it:

Easy peasy :)

Complete recipe with measurements: 

And the YouTube shorts: 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, August 10, 2023

That Time I Rode a Camel

I was really surprised when I saw camels in Bali. It was an unusual experience since usually I'd see elephants whenever I visit countries across Asia. Even encountered wild ones in Sri Lanka. But camels? I always thought they could only be found in the desert or zoos. 

We had finished our event so we had time to hang out in the beach. My scout-bro, Henky and I thought it would be a good idea to ride the camel. It was a disconcerting experience since it was a bit hard to get on the camel. The way it stood was also very different from riding horses or elephants. I could only describe it as turbulent. 

Bali, July 2012.

I didn't want to burden the camel with my weight, so I immediately got off after taking photos. I took a video of the camel grunting/humming. Never knew they could make those sounds since they're always silent whenever they're depicted in films. I strangely uploaded the video eleven years ago and the funny thing is people still watch it! Haha. (Please forgive the title of the video, I didn't know back then that it was called grunting/humming). 

Were you curious and watched the video? Haha. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Sometimes You Need to Let Go to Live

I had done several tests in the past few weeks to see the status of my heart and chest. The good news is the huge clot that stuck around in my left lung seems to have finally dissolved after almost 5 years. Yes, 5 long years. Unfortunately, it has created more scars. My heart isn't leaking as bad, but it's enlarged. 

I have good days and bad days. I realized though I need to take better care of myself if I were to meet my goals. I reminded myself that unlike before, I could no longer do multiple projects all at once. Stress is bad for me. Just a tinge of it sets me back a few days, sometimes months. It is my reality. 

I let go of a project I volunteered to be in. I helped in it previously, but there's just a lot of things I've had to deal with the past few months. My productivity has been nil and I realized I have to focus on improving my health before I could commit to anything. 

So, I prayed and let go. I didn't sleep that night though. I had to find it in myself to forgive, me. I don't like letting people down. That's the problem in my personality according to my doctors. Sweetie reassured me it's the right decision since my health is at stake. 

Let go to live. Take care of yourself first so you can take care of others. I am streamlining my goals and activities for now so I can focus on getting better. 

Be well my friend. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

My New Blender Quilt Cover, Meow!

Started this project last May, but I finished two other quilt covers for my KitchenAid stand mixer and food processor. I saw on this project because I had to figure out how to make the tail and the bow tie. Took longer to finish than expected because I also had to rest my arm and exercise to keep the pain away. 

Told myself I have to finish this cat project first before I start another project. Surprised myself by finishing it in less than a week. Finally finished it and I like how it turned out. I realized though I still need to improve my sewing machine skills. It will save my arm from getting triggered. I still like hand quilting though, so many I'll just time myself whenever I sew. 

Here's how it turned out -

And how I made it -

Now that this is done, I can now check my list on what's next. Probably a bag I promised a good friend :)

#BeKind #StaySafe 

Monday, August 7, 2023

Co-Existing with Feral Cats

The only experience I had with cats was when Kuya had a cat named Valentino. Mom explained to me that he was called Valentino because he had a lot of girlfriends. My memory is fuzzy already about him since I was still in grade school then, but I remember he was white and grey. Kuya gave him up because he did something to his pet birds. 

So since then I was not interested in cats. Mom didn't like them also because they'd ruin her plants. It was in Singapore while visiting a friend when I had a really close encounter with her cat. During the visit her cat suddenly sat on my lap. He allowed me to pet him and he hung out for awhile. I actually enjoyed the experience. 

Grey, Kaley, Brimsley and kids

Months after moving to our new home, we noticed a grey tabby cat frequenting our place. It would sleep in the laundry area. We observed it and thought there would be no harm in providing a makeshift bed. Eventually that progressed to buying some cat food. We called the cat "Grey". Then came Kaley and Brimsley and some irregular visitors, Mang Tux, Cheyenne and Sandra. 

We learned though it's hard to get the trust of feral cats. It took more than 6 months before they stopped running away from us when we'd go out to the garage or garden. The older feral cats, Grey and Kaley, don't want to be touched. Brimsley allows Jay and Miggy to pet her when she's busy eating. We realized catching them to bring them to the vet to get spayed is easier said than done. 

As a family, we defined how we'll co-exist with the feral cats. One advantage of having them around is they help protect the house from rats and other pests. Second is they bring us joy. Our goal is to provide a safe space for them when they need it. We also hope we could bring them to the vet so they can be spayed. 

Feral cats are really different from domesticated cats. They have a mind of their own and follow a different code. There are very few videos on how to care for feral cats. One thing we learned is to co-exist with them with respect. The best you can do is to provide what you can and just let them be. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Happy Sunday

Here's a good reminder from today's Godwhispers -

Happy Sunday everyone!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, August 5, 2023

The Easiest Plant to Propagate: Mother of Millions

A year ago, Ate Rose gave me a pot full of kalanchoe pinnata. It's also commonly known as the mother of millions. I lost count on how many plants there were in the small pot she gave me. I re-potted them into separate containers with the intention of giving them away for Christmas. 

Kalanchoe as of July 2022

Re-potted kalanchoe

Well, I forgot to give them away. I water them just once a week since they're pretty resilient. They're the plants I least worry about when we go away for a few days. The tiny plants I re-potted a year ago is proof that this plant is indeed a mother of millions. 

Kalanchoe, August 2023.

I left it in the pots I put them in from a year ago and was super surprised they grew so big! I've been meaning to transfer them to bigger pots. I'll do that as soon as I finish re-potting another set of plants. Saw some videos though that this can grow big and maybe have flowers (?). I'm not sure, but we'll see. I probably need to get bigger pots so I can transfer them. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, August 4, 2023

Let's Make Homemade Tapa!

I love tapa especially when it comes as tapsilog. Most of those available though are too salty for me. I have to lessen my sodium intake for my health. It's been quite some time since I made homemade tapa. Found some sirloin in the freezer, so that's what I used. The meat is a bit more expensive than your usual lean beef, but it's much easier to cook. There's also no wastage because you don't get hard to chew ligaments.

Made 700 grams of tapa and we finished it in 2 meals. Paired it with Greek salad. I didn't cook egg anymore since we ate it for lunch. I went on a controlled diet plan after I made this, now I'm craving for it again, haha. Here's how I made it -

Maybe I should unearth my high school recipes for tocino and longganisa and make some. We never got around to tasting it. We marinated the meat and was supposed to cook it the week after. Unfortunately, there was a coup d'etat and school was closed. I think there were days when there was no electricity. The meat we marinated spoiled and we never got to try it. Next cooking project then :)

Full recipe at:

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, August 3, 2023

July, Health and Kittens

So far doing well with my one second per day for the year. July was our most productive month this year I think. After our beach vacation we decided to focus on our health. Fortunately found new doctors since my former ones went MIA, plus they were keen to do surgery. My doctors in Singapore repeatedly told me not to have anyone poke me since my body is truly extraordinary. 

It was jarring for me to go out often for doctor appointments and tests. I usually just go out once or twice a month and have been buying our needs online. I changed hospitals also and the vibe has been much better. The med techs don't freak out when they do tests. I like it there because people are more efficient. My new doctor also immediately gave me a certificate for disability. I think my other doctor was focused more on her research than taking care of me. 

Anyway, I did enjoy going for my check-ups and tests because it gave us an opportunity to try new things in the area. Got to eat things not available for delivery and even bumped into friends we haven't seen since 2019. Well, I must admit I had a few toy budols. I really need to work on fixing my Yoda display. 

The biggest surprise we had was Brimsley giving birth in our garage. She squeezed herself into a box set to be thrown away. She give birth over a span of three days. Three kittens I think, but one didn't make it we think. Never saw the third one. Two are now two weeks old and we hope they survive. We're getting a lot of advise from friends on how to care for them. 

We also managed to attend our very first public event. We went to the Coffee Home Brewers grand eyeball organized by Ros and Jose Margo. There was a typhoon, but the weather luckily cleared up on the day we went. Miggy also won a Breville kettle by correctly guessing the number of beans in a bottle. We're so happy about it because I was thinking we needed another one for our hot water needs. Rest of July was very rainy because of the typhoon and habagat. 

August will probably be full of adulting tasks. Of course, it's going to be a month long celebration of my birthday!

Keep safe and dry everyone!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

If You Fail, Write a New Story

We just started watching Grey's Anatomy again since we recently signed up for Disney+. There was an interesting story line from season 17. Dr. Schmitt, one of the residents, lost a patient during surgery. He immediately lost confidence in himself and became depressed. Dr. Webber tried to get him to go back, but he refused and just stayed home playing video games. He said he liked playing because he can do things over again without bringing harm to anyone. 

Several episodes later, Dr. Schmitt had an argument with his mother. She walked out, but fell down the stairs. Levi then called Dr. Webber for help and that eventually led him back to the hospital. It was during his first surgery when a new doctor, Dr. Marsh, told him that he should just learn from his failure and write a new story. 

That line struck me because I felt I failed when I had to retire early because of my health. It took me a long time to accept my new reality, but I eventually realized I had an opportunity to re-work my life. It was indeed a major path change, but I know and trust that God put me where I should be. 

This little kitty is just learning how to walk. It probably can't see properly yet, but it's been ready to explore the world since he/she was born :)

I'm now probably just 1% of how productive I was when I was still working, but I'm where I want to be. I wanted to be in a place where I can create new, happy memories with my boys. I blog everyday as part of my therapy. I make videos to document some of our memories and I make tutorials as a guide for myself when I want to do something again. 

Failure is always an opportunity to learn and to write a new story. And as Amelia said in the latest episode I watched, let it soak in and use that pain to do better. :)

Remember, Papa God loves you. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Picking Up Where I Left Off

It's hard for me not to work any quilt project. My day feels incomplete if I don't pick up a needle to sew something. I could spend hours working on my sewing projects, but my appendages don't agree with long hours. I haven't been able to see an ortho yet, so I started doing the arm PT exercises I learned a few years ago. I think it's helped and I'm also working on reversing my vitamin D insufficiency. 

I told myself I need to first finish projects I've started. I have a number I haven't finished. So yesterday i started working on the cat quilt cover for our blender. All it needs now is to be assembled. Decided though to add a pocket to the backside so I could put some stuff in it if needed. 

I timed myself so I didn't overwork. I just made the pocket and the backside. Started quilting on the pocket, but I started to feel some pain. I think the repetitive hand stitching isn't good for my arm. I immediately stopped and did some exercises. Pain subsided immediately and I rested after. 

Ending this post now because I'm excited to finish my cat quilt. :D

#BeKind #StaySaffe