Saturday, September 30, 2023

Kalanchoe Pinnata Gone Wild

I received a small pot of kalanchoe 14 months ago from Ate Rose. She told me to re-pot it since they were overflowing from the pot. I wasn't familiar back then about taking care of succulents and researched before I embarked on re-potting them. I previously overwatered the succulents I bought and just gave up, so I saw it as a chance to learn.

Here's the pot of kalanchoe Ate Rose gave me -

And how I re-potted it -

It seems I finally learned how to take care of succulents. They are best left "alone". I just watered them once a week and more during really hot weeks. I did well because they had gone wild!

I potted them in more than 12 pots. I intended to give them away for Christmas last year, but I forgot. We got busy with renovations and I was distracted with other plants I needed to take care of  (Ate Rose gave another batch of cactus hehe). They were just there and didn't need much care, so I let them be.

Finally got around to re-potting the overgrown kalanchoe. The ones that curved out of their pots were harder to re-pot. I have to remember not to let them outgrow their pots. I'm making a new batch to give away. What I'll probably do is give away one everytime someone visits me, haha. They grow fast! I'll never not have kalanchoe with how prolific they are. They are after all also called the "mother of millions". 

What I hope to happen is to see the kalanchoe produce flowers. I think I saw it in one video and the flowers are pretty! I hope the bigger ones I re-potted in larger pots would grow taller and produce flowers. Well, let's see!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, September 29, 2023

Tried Tatung's Private Dining

Part of my bucketlist this year is to dine at my favorite YouTube chefs restaurants. We attempted to visit Chef RV's resto in Binan, but discovered they only offer takeaway. We were set to go already, but postponed it for another time. Chef Tatung has several restaurants, but most of them are far. We are not so brave when it comes to going through traffic, so I thought the next best thing was to book a private dining experience.

And that's what we did to celebrate my birthday. A few friends came along with us and it was really a different experience. I opted to do that instead of travel since it's typhoon season and the weather  can get really nasty. Our Bohol trip was also just two months ago, so I thought an afternoon at Tatung's Private Dining was a good alternative. 

I'm not really good at describing food, so I thought I'd compile the experience in a video. I'll let your eyes feast on the sumptuous food that was served -

Chef Tatung's private residence is a place where you could relax. It was a long trek for us from our home, but the fresh air and rich foliage made us feel welcome and relaxed. It's no wonder Chef Tatung spends time there and it's truly generous of him to share his place for others to experience it. Maybe next time they can just use a catapult to bring me to the dining area. The stairs were challenging, haha. Chef Tatung was around, but wasn't feeling well after his trip. That means we'll have to do it again, maybe with Kuya and Ate Joy. 

Thank you Chef Chester, Elmer, Jay and the rest of the team for taking care of us. And thank you Elmer for assisting me going up and down the stairs (haha). 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, September 28, 2023

My Favorite Buffet Restaurant in Singapore

It's been a long time since I ate at a buffet restaurant (excluding hotel/resort breakfast buffets). I thought about our favorite Japanese buffet place in Singapore, Kuishin Bo. It unfortunately closed in 2020 during the lockdown. 

We usually headed there for special occasions (normally birthdays) and when friends came to visit. There was always something for everyone. What I loved about Kuishin Bo was the variety of delicious Japanese food. They had bottomless sushi, maki, ramen, yakiniku etc. They also offered some international dishes like pasta and different kinds of dessert. And ah, not to forget the bottomless milk tea and Milo aside from your usual ice lemon tea. 

The last time I ate at a buffet was in January 2020 (or December 2019) with relatives. We met up at The Alley at BGC. It was really good and I was hoping to come back again. We haven't had the opportunity since we've been taking a lot of precaution with me being immuno-compromised. I guess the closest would be the bottomless food at Sonya's Garden. I don't count hotel/resort breakfast as a buffet since I normally eat just a serving of silog

We have a lot of good memories of dining at Kuishin Bo. Too bad it hasn't come back. Their website is still up though, so maybe there's hope that they'll be back. I have no plans anytime soon to go to a buffet. I've been counting my calories and I'm on a meal plan. I need to watch what I eat so I can improve my health. 

But buffet restos are still fun. Maybe plan to go for a future cheat day noh?

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Unwell from the Smog

I was looking forward to doing groceries and trying a new cafe last Monday. Started feeling unwell on Sunday though. I think the smog finally got to me even though I've been staying indoors with the air purifier on. I also wear a mask whenever I go out to water the plants and say hello to the cats. 

I guess it was inevitable. I battled the infection with Betadine nasal spray, my usual inhaler and Avamys, plus essential oils. As much as I can I avoid drinking more medication. My cardio in Singapore told me that I was already immune to some antibiotics. He tracked all the meds I drank since 2003 and he monitored my blood twice a year. It's great he did that for me and my doctors here are grateful I was care for really well in Singapore. 

I was able to hold up really well until Saturday. On Friday though, the air really stung even though I stayed indoors with air purifiers. At some point Miggy and I smelled something like gas in the air. We're not sure if it was from a passing vehicle or particles in the air. I started feeling bad the day after that. I also kept waking up in the middle of the night and noticed my oxygen saturation kept going down. 

Haze in Singapore, c 2011.

Skipped pulmo rehab yesterday since I wasn't feeling well. I had slight fever the night before and was down most of Monday. I knew though it was different from a viral infection since it lacked the weird fluttering on my chest. Told myself if I wasn't better by Tuesday I'd see my doctor. I guess the mix of concoctions helped and I'm glad I battled the smog infection without additional prescription meds. 

Do take care especially if you have a lung impairment like me (or asthma). It's not fun to have weak lungs, but as my doctor said, there are ways to strengthen it. Protect yourself as much as you could to prevent a trip to the ER. Remember also, the virus is still around. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Retaso Project 3: DIY Essential Oil Pouch from Scrap Fabric

Found another leftover from a previous project. The scrap was pretty small and I thought it would be perfect to make another essential oil pouch. I like how this one turned out because I was able to use other scrap fabric for it. The black garter fit the look perfectly.

Here's how I made it -

Can't wait to see what I could do with the tinier pieces of scrap fabric. I want to utilize the scraps for something useful. I could also use my scrap project to practice and improve my quilting skills :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, September 25, 2023

Brought Brimsley and the Kittens to the Vet

The kittens are now two months old. We wanted to bring them earlier, but Brimsley hasn't weaned them away. We arranged though to bring them now since we're also wary that Brimsley might get pregnant again soon. 

Well, we never had cats before so it was our first time to bring cats to a vet. We watched a couple of videos on how to put them in the crate. We followed Jackson Galaxy's advise. Miggy left the crates in their area for a few days so they identify it as a safe space. It worked and Miggy just put some food inside to get them to go inside. He then covered the crate with a towel so they wouldn't get agitated. 

The boys took care of bringing them to the vet. Brimsley and the kittens were well behaved. The vet and her assistant also handled them well. They weren't fussy at all while they got their shots and treatment. The vet said it was common for her to treat feral cats. 

Brimsley though underwent a blood test to determine if it's safe for her to be spayed. Results show she has liver damage and has very low platelet count. We will have to give her supplements and check again in a month if she can be spayed. The vet also said that Brimsley is still a kitten based on her size. The poor kitten is a teenage mom. That's probably why she stayed with us eversince Grey brought her to us. 

Brimsley Marie

The kittens are healthy. They were just treated for ear mites (also Brimsley). The only other cat they so far interact with is Grey (their father). We'll probably get Grogu spayed before Mando since the vet advised to wait for 5 months (or when she reaches 2 kg). 


Mando Laura

So far Brimsley stays with the kittens most of the day. She only steps out to go to the toilet and rarely goes out of the premises. She's very protective of the kittens and she still breastfeeds them even though they've been eating solid food already. Her maternal instincts are very strong and she's very territorial. We closed up the side garden to keep the kittens in. Of course, in time they'll probably reach the gate. By that time we hope they complete their shots and de-worming. 

Brimsley and the kittens are still very much feral. They don't behave like domesticated cats. The most Brimsley and the kittens would do is brush up against your leg, but they'd never voluntarily approach you to be petted. What's important is they know they are safe with us. We hope Brimsley's health would improve so she can be with the kittens until they become independent. We'll take care of them as long as they want us to. 

You can watch the adventures of Grey the Cat and friends on his channel: (lots of super cute shorts!).

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Someone to Love

I really miss having a pet. Early this year, a friend offered to give me a puppy. The boys though vetoed it since I wasn't stable, our house was being renovated, and it was just not a good time. There were so many things going on and adding a pet was a huge responsibility. 

At that time we were just getting to know Grey. We noticed he slept a lot in the laundry area. He's a feral cat and he'd run away whenever we got close. We started feeding him, but he still kept his distance. He gave us joy just being there. We realized he adopted us and allowed us to feed him. We were just happy to see him everyday and gave him a box with a rug to sleep on. 


Then came Kaley. We initially shooed her away, but noticed that Grey would allow her to eat his food. Eventually she also adopted us. One day we noticed she was growing bigger. The three of us had no experience caring for the cats, much less a pregnant one. I told the boys back then that if Kaley gave birth within our property then they were meant to be with us. She's now on her third or fourth pregnancy this year and she's always given birth somewhere else. 

Kaley Boo

It was summer when Brimsley came to us. It was Grey who brought her to us. Brimsley was smaller than the other cats, obviously younger. We thought she was a he originally. We eventually noticed she grew bigger over a span of a few weeks. We didn't think much about it since the other cats would come and go. Brimsley though stuck around.

Brimsley Marie

One night in July, Brimsley disappeared. We got worried because of her condition and she hadn't eaten that day. Late in the evening, just before we moved to our bedrooms I heard a kitten like sound. I told Miggy to try to look for Brimsley and he found her inside a box that was going to be discarded. She had squeezed herself in the box to give birth. In 48 hours, she had two kittens. 

Grogu and Mando

The kittens came when we were all ready. I had just finished a medical review. The house was more or less done (no more workers zipping around). We also did not plan any traveling since it's the rainy season. Brimsley, Mando and Grogu have been a source of joy for us. Miggy is their main fur parent. Sweetie takes the morning shift with them. My role has been to spoil them and make sure they always have food. 

I realized the cats started visiting a lot more when Mom went to heaven. I remember Kaley stayed the whole day outside the craft room until I got better. That was the time Brimsley also stuck around permanently. I know realistically I can't be a full time fur parent, my condition doesn't allow me to handle pets directly. I'm happy though since Papa God sent us some cats who adopted us. They came at the right time when we were ready. 

No need to look far for someone to love. They may be just under your nose. <3

Also, happy 109th birthday to my Mama Lola. Have a blast celebrating up there with Mom and Dad and my titos and Titay. 

Happy Sunday everyone. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Grew Ginger By Accident

Last year, I experimented on growing ginger from the stock a friend sent me (there was a lot!). I let them root first in water and waited until a stem sprouted. Then I planted them in soil. Research showed that it takes 10 months before you can harvest ginger, so I left them alone. 

They died during when we did some renovations since we moved out for almost a month. I set aside the pots and was surprised to see the ginger re-grow. The pots got wet from the rain and I guess it woke up the roots. I moved them back under the bamboo and they've been growing steadily.

Nature finds a way to survive.

Noticed that there were a lot of leaves in one pot. I guess the previous occupant multiplied. Decided to re-pot them so they can grow bigger. The roots smelled so good when I pulled them out of the pot. I saw many grape sized ginger forming and realized I picked a good time to move them to a bigger pot. There were more grape sized ginger with roots at the bottom of the pot. 

I mixed loam soil with compost and put some egg shells at the bottom. I hope that would encourage the ginger to grow bigger. I put the huge pot in a shaded area first and will move it next week once it adjusts. It was fun to re-pot it since it smelled so good! It smelled like sweetened salabat. Ohhh, I hope we are able to harvest in a few months! I have others growing and will also re-pot them soon. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, September 22, 2023

How I Learned to Cook Pinoy Style Breakfast Eggs

We always had scrambled eggs with tomatoes and onions for breakfast and I absolutely loved to eat cheese omelette. The funny thing is I never really learned how to cook at home. The first dish I learned to cook by myself was spaghetti. My seatmate at OHSI, Maica, taught me her spaghetti recipe. She had to teach me several times until I got it right. I eventually adapted the recipe and adjusted it.

Anyway, back to breakfast eggs. Sweetie and I were newly married and we eventually ran out of food rations from Mom (leftovers from Christmas parties). Ordering food was expensive, so I finally tried to learn how to cook. One day I tried to make the usual eggs with onion and tomatoes. I even carefully sliced the veggies (my slicing skills were very circumspect back then). I know it's a very simple dish, but the veggies turned out raw. Ugh. 

I eventually asked our cleaner how to properly cook it. She said I have to saute it first before adding the eggs. If it's scrambled, you can add the egg as is. If it's an omelette, better to remove it from the pan once it's cooked. Ohhh! I was such a noob back then and didn't know the basics. During that time YouTube was still quite new. It was Dominic Ochoa (yes, the artista) who told me he learned how to cook by watching YouTube videos. Ahhhh! 

I could have probably learned how to cook if I paid attention whenever someone cooked at home. Daddy was really good at cooking, but his hands were really fast! The only thing I managed to learn from him was his beef mustasa dish. Ah well, I eventually learned more dishes by following recipes and watching YouTube. 

And that is the purpose of Recipes for My Son. I realized I should have learned what my elders used to cook for us, so I thought it would be useful to document how we cook things at home. It's been fun to make because Miggy and I have to tandem whenever we cook at home. Lately, a number of the dishes we've been posting were cooked by Miggy (I usually do the marinating). It's also useful for me since sometimes it takes me awhile to cook something again (also the same for my sewing tutorials, I make it for me). 

I'm hoping we'd be able to cook more. There's a long list of recipes I want to try!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Samal Island

Recently watched a video featuring a different part of Samal Island. I quickly checked my treasure trove of photos to see when was the last time I went there. It's already 14 years since I last visited Samal Island with my girlfriends. That was before Sweetie and I tied the knot. 


I loved going to Samal Island. Never stayed overnight since it was easy to just take the ferry and do a day trip. I brought my girlfriends there because I wanted them to experience it too. We stayed in Davao and just took the ferry for a day trip. It was a relaxing and chill trip where we just swam and ate and ate, haha. 

I'm thinking maybe we could visit Davao next year. I miss going there since I have friends there. I did think about moving there before. I love that you can easily go to the beach or go up the mountain. It's also easy to travel by land to Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro or go to GenSan. Air quality is great and there's a lot of seafood. Plus, LACHI's!

Now that I looked at my old photos, I want to go sooner than later! Haha. Have to save up first since I want to experience staying on the island. I'll also need more assistance now (#signsofoldage), so will need to plan it properly. It's also been awhile since I've been to Davao, so will need updates. I think a week won't be enough to explore, haha. We'll see :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

My 5th Clotiversary

Commemorated my 5th clotiversary the other day. Sweetie asked me, "What is a clotiversary and why are you celebrating it?" I explained to him that clotiversary is the anniversary date when your blood clot was discovered. Why is it important? It's important because it's the date you survived an illness that has up to 30% mortality rate. 

Patients who have had pulmonary embolism normally commemorate the date because we are grateful to be alive. Many do not and find out when it's too late. I had a huge clot in my left lung. It was misdiagnosed for a year that's why it grew so big. I had to fight to get a second opinion. A GP scoffed at me and said that I was just going to get the same diagnosis, asthma. I wouldn't be here today if I did not insist on getting a second opinion. 

Twenty eight months later I had a second PE. It was caught early, but it affected my right lung. By that time the clot on my left lung hadn't dissolved yet. My doctor couldn't give me a higher dosage of meds because I kept bleeding. I had a harder time recovering from the second one. In fact, I never did and we went for stability. That's why my doctors in Singapore advised me to retire. 

Since I've just been coasting along and my tests and scans aren't any better than those I had in Singapore, my doctor recommended me to do pulmonary rehab. We hope to strengthen parts of my lungs that are still healthy. I am still lucky that I don't need supplemental oxygen. I can get by as long as the air quality is good. I have an oxygen concentrator which I use when my oxygen saturation goes very low. 

Finally started my first pulmo rehab today. It took awhile to schedule. The center wanted me to do a pulmonary function test first. My doctor made it optional. I didn't get to do it because I couldn't last the night without my regular maintenance meds. I had asthma and had to take meds, so had to cancel the PFT. My doctor anyway said I didn't really need to do it since my last PFT shows my lungs do need rehab. 

First day exercises were actually very light. Just breathing exercises with some stretching. I was super tired though after the session and had to lie down the rest of the day, haha. I had grand plans to make homemade pancakes. Of course, that didn't happen, so many will attempt again later this week. My goal is to have more energy and stamina. I told the physiotherapist that I eventually want to be able to ride a bike again (originally wanted to run a marathon post OHS, haha). 

Let's work it, work it and pray. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Retaso Project 2: DIY Small Wallet

Going through the scrap fabric I've collected for a few years now made me think about how my Mom was very creative. She could turn anything into something useful. She turned my old magazines into useful desk containers and boxes. She did the same for the yellow pages, newspapers and other types of scrap paper. So I thought I'd test my creative skills and make some of my scraps into something useful. 

Last week I turned the leftover denim-like fabric I used for the blender cover into a potholder. The second piece of scrap fabric was a bit challenging. It was quite small, but after measuring it I thought I could make it into a small wallet. I just added additional fabric which I found in the scrap pile. 

Here's how it turned out -

And how I made it -

I have a few more "leftovers" which I want to "flip" (as they call it in real estate) to something useful. Let's see what I can come up with before I move on to my next project :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, September 18, 2023

What to Do With a Basement

My childhood home has a basement. Mom said it wasn't part of the original plan to have one. Tito Bert, the architect of our house, said that it was cheaper to put up walls than to cover it. Basements were also common during the era that our house was built (over 50 years ago). 

The basement was put to good use. We had several sets of relatives who lived with us. Miggy and I moved to the basement also and lived there for a few years. I had the opportunity then to fix it up a bit and it became my part of the house where I would entertain my guests since it had it's own living room. We stayed there until Miggy and I moved out to live with Sweetie. 

Basement birthday celebration, c 2008

The area was spacious. It's even bigger than some apartments we lived in. It was not without issues though since it would flood whenever the weather gets bad. Water either comes in from the toilet or when the creek overflows. I almost drowned during Typhoon Ondoy and was just rescued when the water suddenly gushed in. 

I'm now thinking about what to do with the basement. I've been consulting with Architect Wansi for a few years now to figure out how best to solve the flooding issue. He brought several engineers to look at it and the solution is for a house to be built on the property behind us. The house would effectively block the water from rushing down to the basement. 


Without a house though, the only solution is to build a firewall and properly waterproof it. We don't want to experience flooding again though, so we're really thinking about how best to use or not use the basement. Probably better to just leave it open and just have "abangs" for any future development. 

What would you do if you have a basement that's prone to flooding? 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Break Being Broken

The past week has been really challenging. I had more bad days than good days. I kept waking up and there were unfortunate incidents during the week. One thing that bothered me a lot was the construction beside us. Then we lost electricity because the truck that collects trash hit nipped the Meralco wire in front of our house. I woke up palpitating because the crew shouted when the line was cut. Thought there was an emergency. Got up to check what was happening, showered and promptly passed out because of the heat. 

Ahhh, the cycle repeated several times this week and it left me feeling broken. I fought it because I didn't want to fall into the abyss again. What helped was Kuya and Ate Joy's surprise visit. I had 3 asthma attacks on that day and they arrived when I was still recovering from the third one. It took my mind off feeling unwell and we had a good night. And that probably gave me the strength to survive the rest of the rough week. 

What helped center me was to spend time tending to my garden. Taking care of another living thing helps. It makes you want to feel better so you can do things for others. In my case, the plants need to be tended to live and grow properly. I also worked on organizing my garden tools so it's easier to get items when I work on the plants. 

I had a long list of things to do this week. The only thing I ticked off was paying bills. We attempted to do some of the errands last Friday, but my tummy acted up. I decided to call it a week and just focus on feeling better. We can just attempt to work on the checklist next week. 

I always remind myself that whatever happens Papa God loves me and whether it's a good or bad day I just have to pray because He's the only one who can heal us. 

A blessed Sunday my friend. <3

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Organizing My Garden Tools

I had all my garden tools in a chest when we were in Singapore. I managed to bring the chest home with some of my tools (I left most of it and materials with friends). My tools and materials though got scattered around the house because of the renovations. We've been working on organizing the plants and tools the past few weeks. 

Sweetie gave me one of his steel shelves so I could use it for my gardening tools. I worked on organizing it the past few days. I found an old plastic drawer. It was useful to store smaller items like fertilizer, measuring cups and disposable gloves. This will make it easier for me to find the items. I used to have it inside the chest and it was a huge task just looking for things. 

I organized spray bottles in homemade fertilizer in a crate. Glad I'm able to store it on the shelf now since it was occupying space in my maker room powder room. Now I don't have to go inside and out and inside again if I forget to pick up something from the maker room. I removed all the bottles I stuck in plants when we went to Bohol and kept them at the bottom of the shelf for future use.

I emptied the chest and sorted what we stuffed in it over the past few months. Found some materials I got last year which would be useful for some plants I need to re-pot. I washed the chest before I returned the materials. I just had a few succulent pots, some pot bases, succulent soil, compost and coconut husk. I realized I could use the chest when I need to pot and re-pot plants. Sitting on a stool would be easier than sitting on a bangkito. I'll try it out soon. 

I'll probably move around stuff. What's important for me is to remember where I put things, haha! I didn't realize I still had stocks of succulent soil, small pebbles and compost. I thought I didn't have any anymore, good thing I didn't buy anything yet. I probably just need to get more terracotta pots. I prefer them over plastic pots. I brought home some plastic pots from Singapore and they all disintegrated already (probably because of the heat). Mom also told me it's better to use terracotta or clay pots. 

Spending an hour or two gardening twice a week is good for the soul. It's been a good way to unplug and keep calm. I'm glad we were able to settle the issues we were having from the ongoing construction beside us. I couldn't stay outside because the workers kept smoking (and well they damaged our firewall too) :'( That's why we fought for my sanctuary. It's our home and we have to be safe in it. 

#BeKind #StaySafe 

Friday, September 15, 2023

Why We Cook Our Adobo with Lots of Sauce

Every household in the Philippines have their own version of adobo. I learned how to cook adobo from several people, my Dad, my housemate's ex and Gerry Alanguilan. I tried all their methods and eventually found the mix I liked. Like me, my boys also like our adobo with lots of sauce. I make several types of adobo: chicken and pork adobo, chicken or pork only adobo, Spanish adobo, and adobo with cheese. I haven't made adobo with cheese in awhile, so I might make that next time. I haven't made adobo with gata yet, that's something I want to learn.

I cook my adobo with lots of sauce, like really a lot of sauce. I purposely do that so we could have leftover sauce for adobo rice. I normally make a a kilo and a half and x2 if I send some to my FIL (and Mom before). We also cook lots of rice so we can have adobo rice the next day. Yes, we're gaga over adobo. It's also easy to just pop it in the freezer if there's too much. 

Here's how Miggy made adobo rice recently :)

Or maybe I'll make some Spanish adobo if we find dalandan :)

What's your favorite adobo?

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, September 14, 2023

The Month that was August!

August turned out to be a better month than the previous one. We took care of our health last July and last month was quite chill. Stayed home a lot. I managed to cook and bake. Baking though saps so much of my energy, hopefully that would improve. 

I think the highlight of the month was seeing our friend, Marcus, again. It was a quick visit for him, but I'm glad we were able to catch up after 3 years! I think the last time I saw him was when the office was still open in 2020. I'm glad we were able to meet up!

We also worked on further decluttering our home. We finally saw our living room floor after almost 2 years of being filled with boxes! There's still some and we're aiming to clear that up so we can decorate for Christmas. Also starting to plan now what to do with Mom's things. It will still take awhile, but it has to be done sooner than later. 

Here's the August 1-second everyday video

Of course, August is my birth month! We planned something that's on my bucket list. I'll blog about that soon. I preferred to stay home for my birthday. Luckily, Kuya and Ate Joy send this ginormous porchetta! It was so delicious! The serving though was so huge, it took us four days to finish (hahaha!). I think I'll get one for Christmas! 

The kittens have grown a lot too. Brimsley moved them around a lot and eventually settled in the laundry area. That was the first time we got to see them properly. Soon enough they escaped their box and started walking around.  They are now almost two months old and are due to be brought to the vet. The little rascals are now trying to climb everything. We had to close the side garden for safety. Let's see where this goes, so far Brimsley hasn't weaned them away. 

Someone asked me if I get bored just being home. I don't! There's so  much to do and I try to keep busy. I do things based on the available energy I have for the day. I think I was more active in August because of the meal plans. I got the right nutrition and was able to control what I eat based on my needs. I slept much better too. I stopped though for my birthday and plan to get back on it soon.

How was August 2023 for you?

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Make Your Garden Your Sanctuary

 "It is said that you are nearer God's heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth."

I randomly pulled out this card from Papemelroti's "Treat Yourself to Some Personal Time" card series. I had a pretty long day while writing this post and needed something to boost my mood. I immediately thought about Mom when I read the card (see below). She always spent a lot of time in the garden. It calmed her and she got her exercise from gardening. 

Just thinking of Mom's garden and my garden immediately calmed my nerves. I haven't been able to do proper gardening in the past 2 weeks because the construction beside us has been disruptive. The noise, the crazy thump thump of equipment and workers smoking non-stop triggers my asthma and destabilizes my well-being. 

Garden time for me is important. It makes me happy. I knew after enduring it for 2 months that it was time to complain. I had to protect my safe space (and our firewall tsk tsk tsk). I am grateful that our HOA took our complaints seriously because it's really hard for me (vog + cigarette smoke is really bad for people like me). Well, despite repeated reminders, the workers still try to slip in a stick. 

I learned though that you need to protect your safe spaces. My tiny garden is my sanctuary. It helps center me and it makes me feel Mom is just around. Protect your sanctuary, your safe space if you need to. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Retaso Project 1: Quilted Potholder

I've been collecting scrap fabric for a few years now. I set it aside since quilt projects don't require huge pieces of fabric. There are times also that I have excess pieced together fabric from projects. While cleaning up my sewing area I found several pieced together denim like fabric from the cat quilt projects I made last quarter. 

Looked at the size of the scrap (retaso) and realized I could make a potholder out of it. It's been awhile since I made potholders. The ones I have in the kitchen are still good, but they've been washed several times already and are showing wear and tear. 

TBH, I was tempted to skip filming, but the primary audience of my quilting/sewing vids is actually MYSELF. Yes, I watch my videos so I can re-learn from it and improve my skills. I recently re-watched my tote bag video because I had to figure out how to add lining to the pouch

Anyway, the potholder was pretty straightforward to make. Since it was scrap from the kitchen covers I made, it matches the kitties around the kitchen. Here's how I made the potholder:

I finished it in one sitting since it was practically ready to be quilted. I also used scrap wadding and scrap insulating wadding. The potholder looks thin, but the insulating wadding is really effective at keeping the head out. Maybe I'll make a mitten once my retaso (scrap) projects are done. 

Let's see what I can make next :)

More info on

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, September 11, 2023

Collecting Rain Water

My plants prefer rain water over rested* Maynilad water. We collect rain water for the plants and switch to regular water during dry months. We used to just place 2 drums where water would drip from the garage roof. It took awhile to collect water. When master plumber Rod saw our set-up he suggested a way to collect water better. 

Rod fixed the roof gutter and the downspout. Some of them were not draining properly. Since we don't really have space for another water tank, he suggested to collect water from the downspout. We originally planned to collect from the garage roof, but the downspout that was installed was not the round one. Rod said it'll be better to collect from the main roof! 

He added a tube to one of the downspouts. We can easily open it if we need to collect water and close it when the drum is full. We have two drums and Sweetie just moves the water when the extra drum is empty. My plants have been so far happy and we sometimes use it for cleaning. Actually, I noticed that the feral cats prefer to drink rainwater than faucet water. They know it's fresh water :)

Of course, we always cover the drums to make sure that mosquitoes don't lay their eggs in it. We also wash the drum every so often. We usually wait for awhile before we open the pipe to let the rain wash out roof debris. Sometimes there's some silt at the bottom of the drum. We empty the drum and wash it with Domex before we fill it up again. 

For our future home we plan to have a dedicated rainwater tank. It'll be used mainly for plants and outdoor cleaning. Rod said it can be switched to collect Maynilad water during dry months. It's useful since we've been able to keep our water bill low. :)

*Water left in a pail overnight before you use it for watering plants

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Guardian Angels

I was chatting with a friend the other day and she told me she was saved from getting into an accident. She got up late and was supposed to go somewhere to buy something. Few hours later she heard from the news that there was a huge accident in there area where she was supposed to be. She also missed getting stranded due to floods the day before. 

Miggy's drawing, 2008.

I told her, "You're guardian angel has been very busy!" I reminded her also that she has multiple guardian angels who watch over us. I don't know how many, but just know there's more than one. I think it was from a sermon where I learned about this. I always ask my guardian angels to watch over my loved ones. Mom taught me how to pray "Angel of God" and ask Jesus to bless my loved ones. I pray the same prayer plus, plus until today. 

After my chat with my friend, I pinged another friend for advise. He gave me very sound, expert advise and I told him, "Thank you for being my guardian angel today." The issue I asked advise on could potentially expose private information, so he explained to me that we should turn down the request. Whew! Good thing I really read what my friends post about because it helps me understand who I could reach out to whenever I need help. Anyone can be your guardian angel too. 

Mom collected angel figurines. I hope I find this set :)

The other night I also had a hard time sleeping. I ended up browsing through some groups I am part of and read about an agency Sweetie was considering to hire from. When I woke up he mentioned to me sent an inquiry and then mentioned the name of the agency. I immediately looked for the post I read in the wee hours of the morning and bam! the agency he was considering had bad reviews (looks like they were deleting negative posts on their reviews!). Sweetie immediately terminated his inquiry. My guardian angel was probably breathing down my neck to sleep, but lead me to that post, haha. 

Well, one thing I don't ask my guardian angel to do for me is to help find something I lost or something I cannot find. That's a special prayer to St. Anthony. It always works :)

You can read more about guardian angels here. Of course, always thank and ask Papa God for blessings and guidance.

"Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here, ever this day, be at my side, to light and guard, rule and guide. Amen."

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, September 9, 2023

Have You Tried Growing Calamansi from Seed?

I was so frustrated over the seeds I planted a few weeks ago. Only one carrot seed sprouted. It lived through the typhoons and the others just didn't wake up anymore. Among the seeds I've sprouted this year I only have a couple of healthy mustasa plants, one eggplant, one carrot sprout and a lot of bell peppers (I threw a bunch of seeds in two pots and they surprisingly grew). The ginger and tumeric I planted last year died because of the repairs we did at home, but they surprisingly grew again! 

Anyway, the typhoons were really frustrating. I couldn't grow anything. Without the sun you really can't grow anything properly. During that time I thought it was a good idea to buy a bunch of calamansi from a neighbor. Two kilograms for 100 pesos seemed really affordable. We drank calamansi juice everyday and I was able to try making calamansi muffins. A friend suggested to squeeze the juice out before the calamansi rotted. He said we could store it in an air tight jar in the fridge for a month. 

So that's what we did. I then had the brilliant idea to try sprouting the calamansi seeds. I watched a couple of vids and they all suggested to wash and put in a container wrapped in tissue paper. My first attempt failed. The seeds just rotted. The same happened on my second attempt. On the third attempt, I washed the seeds several times and let them dry overnight. The next day I placed them in 3 containers and accidentally sprayed them with Thieves cleanser with water. I only realized it after I covered the container. 

I didn't wet it too much like the first two attempts. Then I promptly forgot about the experiment. I only remembered it 7 days after! I was so surprised a number of the seeds sprouted! Ten to fifteen seeds sprouted per container. I hurriedly tried to plant them and ended up spreading them across 4 pots and my old sponge grower which I disinfected before the typhoon hit. I just practically threw in the small sprouts in the pots and left them in the garage to grow further. 

I was so surprised to see that they grew. I moved the pots to a sunny area when the rains let up. I was so surprised to see they started to grow properly. There's just something fulfilling about growing something from seed. I can't say I'm already successful since it will take more time to grow. 

I know grafting calamansi is faster than growing from seed. It will also take 5 years before they bear fruit! Well, I can wait. In the meantime, I'll look for the tree I left with Mom when I moved to Singapore. It was given to me by my neighbor and Mom said it's still somewhere in the garden. If I don't find it, I could probably ask my neighbor if he could spare me one again or I can just buy a grafted one and grow it. 

Well, if this batch doesn't work out, I have a new set of calamansi again from my neighbor! 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, September 8, 2023

Tried Ready to Cook Gyoza

I'm so glad Shirni taught me how to cook gyoza. I tried making it on my own, but her mixture is so much better so I gave up making my own. I just normally buy ready to cook from the supermarket. It tastes so much better than what I make. Maybe someday I'll try making it from scratch again, haha.

Anyway, we got some ready to cook chicken gyoza made by Tokyo Tokyo. We just chanced upon it at the grocery and thought we'd try it. Buying ready to cook stuff is a hit and miss, but we were willing to try since it's tedious to make gyoza from scratch. 

The package didn't come with instructions and I couldn't find any online. I decided to use the technique Shirni taught me many years ago when we lived in Singapore. Shirni is a Malaysian friend and she makes the most amazing gyoza (and gyoza sauce) on earth. She taught me how to cook and how to make the mixture. I never managed to get the mixture correctly, so I just wait whenever she sends me a tupperware of prepared meat. It will probably take a long time before I could sample her gyoza again, so have to make do for now with ready to cook ones available in the supermarket. 

Since I couldn't find any instructions on how to cook the Tokyo Tokyo pack, I decided to just use Shirni's technique. I asked Miggy to help document it since it might be useful for others who want to try. I don't remember if we were taught how to make dumplings in foods class and Daddy only made siomai at home. Gyoza isn't really a staple in our culture, so thought this video would be useful. Here ya go :)

The Tokyo Tokyo chicken gyoza was pretty tasty. We only realized later on that we should have halved the package. We finished all 24 pieces for dinner and we felt so full even after bedtime (hahaha). Also, probably need to find how to prepare the sauce. We just used black vinegar. Recos for other ready to cook gyoza is welcome!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, September 7, 2023

That Time I Went On the Hello Kitty Flight

I was so fascinated with themed airplanes. A few years ago I managed to book a Hello Kitty flight from Taipei to Tokyo. It was hard to find and I had to book it on a special page on the airline's website. I was so excited when the day finally came. Never mind that the flight was not too long (about 3 hours). It felt super short to me, probably because I was super distracted with everything inflight. 

Taipei airport had a special section dedicated to Sanrio and Hello Kitty. It was a delight to see! Head over to my travel blog, Lakwatsera Ako, to see photos of the airport. I want to focus on what I experienced inflight on this blog (I realized i never really blogged about it!). Do note, this happened back in 2015. I'm not sure if this flight still exists (I think it's Pokemon now?). 

Anyway, I was so excited to board the plane. I think the flight crew felt it and they kept visiting me (haha). I think I was the only one really excited about the flight because majority of the passengers were men in black suits! I guess they were mostly businessmen shuttling between Taipei and Tokyo. They didn't seem to notice that the plane was decorated in Hello Kitty.

Aside from the body of the plane, the inside of the plane had Hello Kitty all over it. The seats, pillows, the earphone case, screen, flight and safety info card and menu had the Hello Kitty branding on it. 

What caught my eye was the shopping magazine. It was full of Hello Kitty and Sanrio branded items. Of course, I didn't let the opportunity pass. I got an apron (the same one the flight crew wore) and a jewelry box with several pairs of Hello earrings. I just recently started using the apron (finally unearthed it) and I use the special Hello Kitty earrings whenever I travel. I was tempted to get other items, but held back since I was going to Tokyo where there's a lot more HK stuff. 

The food that was served was Hello Kitty themed, of course. I couldn't help but giggle over the fact that tight-lipped businessmen were forced to eat cute little things. I guess I was happy enough for everyone in the flight. It felt like Christmas for me and wished my boys were with me when I experienced it. It was a great experience and maybe someday I'll get to experience the Star Wars or Pokemon flight. 

I was one very satisfied customer. It was a great experience and I'm happy I was able to do it :)

Read more about the Hello Kitty airport theme at Lakwatsera Ako.

#BeKind #StaySafe