Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Don't Forget This in Your Wellness Journey

I must admit, at one point in the past few years while battling chronic illnesses, I let myself go. I stopped putting on moisturizer and lotion. I didn't even bother to put VCO on my hair which I do every few weeks to keep my hair shiny. I had been religious with moisturizer after a friend in Japan got me face mask. She said I needed to moisturize more.

After that, I asked help from a high school classmate to teach me how to properly take care of my skin. She gave me a list and since then I religiously used the products. During the pandemic though and when I had my second PE, I slacked off. I was not motivated to spruce up since I was feeling unwell and just cooped up at home. 

A few months ago i told myself I had to work on my looks. They say, "If you look good, you'll feel good." So I started religiously moisturizing again. I've also been putting some VCO on hair every few weeks. I also shifted to organic (and earth friendly) soap shampoo and conditioner. I only noticed yesterday when Sweetie and I stepped out for errands that my skin and hair look better. 

My doctors have also been complementing how I look. They say I look healthy and not like someone with chronic illnesses. I told my doctor, "If you can't perform, japorms!" (A quotable quote from Marc Macalua circa 2008). Well, I guess that's why Grab hasn't approved my PWD discount application...

Don't forget to take care of your skin and hair. Aside from using moisturizer/lotion/VCO, don't forget to hydrate, sleep well and eat nutritious food. 

#BeKind #StaySafe 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Organizing My Craft Room

My craft room had gotten very messy the past few months. We stationed my sewing table in the family room so I've been working on my projects there. My craft room soon became a storage space. I finally got around to organizing it last weekend and removed the gardening stuff that accumulated on my table (former dresser, now cutting table). 

I asked our decluttering coach to skip the craft room since I want to organize my supplies myself. I organized my fabric stash by "category". I'm the only one who understands how it's categorized, haha. I remember where I could find each fabric. Sometimes I just sit in front of the cabinet and look at the fabric for inspiration. 

I know there are better ways to organize my fabric stash. I just sorted them and folded them to fit my cabinet. I recently joined a "quilting/sewing room" group to learn how others organize their rooms. I learned that a lot of quilters use comic book boards to store their fabric. Apparently, fabric fits the board perfectly when you fold it.

I took a look at my stash and realized the best approach I could take is to do it by section. My boys won't allow me to stay in there until the wee hours of the morning (haha). Miggy even reminded me not to do so much when he saw me folding some fabric yesterday. Here's what I have so far folded.

And here's the fabric I'll be using for my next project:

I realized I have a threshhold for mess. I can tolerate some, but when it piles up I have a hard time thinking. My sewing table in the family room is also messy. I use the table for sewing, pulmo rehab, writing and sorting through Mom's stuff. It's been cumbersome to measure and cut fabric on it. I cleared my sewing room so I could also work there as needed. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, January 29, 2024

Sulit Buys

I gave in and bought some stuff this past week. I've been careful with my purchases and determine whether since I don't want to accumulate things that would just clutter our home. I usually add items to the cart and let it sit there for a few days before I buy anything. If it's still there after a week then it's something I don't really need. 

Well, I gave in and bought some items (some online, some in-person). Here's some things that have been useful:

Solar Lamp/Flashlight

I got this for PhP114.40 and have been using it for a few days now. My gardening corner loses light as soon as the sun sets. I got this to help tide me over when I go overtime re-potting plants. It's small, but provides a lot of light. Since it's portable I can also bring it around the garden with me when I need to check something at night. 

Planter Stand

This is my third time to buy this item. It's easy to assemble and has so far been sturdy. The other two I bought more than six months ago and it's so far stable (even with random cats fighting). You can buy it from PhP84 to 99 depending on the shop where you buy it. I might buy more soon. 

Cute Cat Bed

I originally thought this was a bad buy since Grogu and Mando ignored it when they were tiny kittens. We kept it inside and just brought it out again last week after Brimsley and Mando got spayed. Surprisingly Mando liked it and has been using it everyday. Grogu, Pikachu and Eevee usually join her whenever the weather gets cooler. (Got this for PhP287.74)

Rechargeable Akari Fan

The Ace Hardware staff had to do some hard-selling of this to me, haha. I was looking at a cheaper Ace Hardware fan that doubled as a flashlight. I wanted it since it could get warm whenever I do some gardening. Sweetie bought the Akari fan for me (that's why I ended up buying the solar lamp). A neighbor warned me though that it's not good. So far it's been working well for me. The fan lasts 5 hours on medium and I used it for two gardening sessions already. I guess maybe the others didn't check the batteries first when they bought it. 

No Brand Butter Cookies

We gave this out last Christmas and got good reviews from our friends. We opened a can last week and was surprised to see that the cookies are packed by eights. We actually liked it and told the boys that it tastes a bit like animal crackers (remember those that can in red and green packaging?). The canister will be useful for me once we finish it. The No Brand cheese balls are also addicting, haha. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Happy Sunday Everyone!

I spent the weekend tending to my plants and organizing my craft room, so I ran out of energy to write, haha. 

Have a restful last few hours this weekend!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, January 27, 2024

My Soil Mix for Succulents and Cacti

I used to buy special succulents potting mix from an online shop. I found it a bit expensive. While buying some materials at the nursery, I asked the manong assisting me if they had potting mix for succulents. He said they didn't and told me I could just make my own. 

So since then I've just been making my own potting mix for succulents. I just mix regular loam soil with pebbles and perlite. That's it, that's all you need for your succulents. I noticed also that the succulents and cacti I've been re-potting grow quickly. 

Ate Rose gave me several pots of succulents in June 2022. I've since re-potted them three times. It's either they outgrew their small pot or produced pups. To be honest, I used to buy succulents, but more often than not I end up overwatering them and they die. I learned from trial and error and this is what worked for me:

  • If you are a beginner, use store bought succulent potting mix. Using regular soil doesn't work since the soil mix has to have good drainage. 
  • Best way to water is from the bottom. I use cake trays (the ones from Goldilocks/Red Ribbon) and place water in the bottom. I let the succulents sip in water for about 15 minutes, then I discard any leftover water. Sometimes I forget to remove the excess water, but if you put only about 1/4 inch of water the plant would be fine. 
  • If it's a rainy week (or when the weather is cool), I water only every 10 days. I normally water them weekly on Fridays, except when it's rainy. They are very forgiving, so it's not an issue if you water them after two weeks.  
  • Place in a sunny spot. Succulents love the sun. I put them on a table in the garage where it gets direct sunlight in the afternoons (I don't have great sun spots in my house). 
  • You can add a bit of perlite every few months so that the plant can get enough nutrients. So far though, I end up re-potting them every six months because they soon outgrow their pots.

It was my Mama Lola who liked collecting succulents and cacti. Mom preferred flowering plants. I honestly thought I'd never get the hang of taking care of succulents, but I eventually did. Best way to take care of them is to have good potting mix and then water sparingly. Just make sure to check if they've outgrown the pot so you can re-pot them. 

Happy gardening!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, January 26, 2024

Level-up Laing!

Our family's hometown is Bicol. That's where my parents grew up, so naturally most of the food served at home when I was growing up had gata in it. We also had adobo sa gata, laing, pinangat, kuhol etc. If laing was made, we'd always have a spicy and non-spicy version since Mom couldn't tolerate spicy food. Dad though preferred spicy food. 

I like laing and eat it whenever it is available. I don't know how to cook it though. Last week, part of our meal plan was laing. I was so excited since it's been awhile since I had laing. Sweetie though doesn't really like food with gata, so he gave his share to me. Since I had extra laing I decided to turn it to pasta. 

It was my cousin, Ate Odette, who taught me how to turn pinangat into pasta pinangat. She accompanied me to buy pinangat and just hurriedly told me what to do to turn it into pasta. I only so far eat pinangat as pasta and thought why not do the same for laing. 

I followed the same recipe to turn laing into pasta. It tasted really good and I was really lucky because I had the whole batch I cooked for myself, haha. I hope my meal plan provider will serve laing again soon!


Try it soon! Nomnomnom.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Mom's Tea Pot and Cups | Vintage

Sorting through my Mom's things continues. I had the decluttering team pack fragile items in separate boxes. Mom had this huge cabinet in the basement with fragile plates, glasses, cups, saucers, serving dishes etc. We brought the boxes with glasses back with us together with the beads (which took me a month to sort!). 

I finally opened the boxes of glassware last Sunday since we spent our day in the living room. I've been eyeing the boxes for awhile now because it's been sitting in the living room. I had a fairly good idea what I'd find in it, Mom's collection of drinking ware for her parties. I was surprised though that the numbers had dwindled. She mentioned the helper had broken most of it (gaaah). Anyway, there's still a lot and they'd be useful since I shamefully don't own that many drinking glasses (sorry to visitors who've had to drink in mugs!).

Mom had been telling me what to keep through the years, so I know more or less which ones have value. I surprisingly found glasses for wine/alcoholic beverages. Some were not familiar to me since I don't drink. I had to take photos to check via Google Lens whether they were for drinking or vases (hahaha). They were all for drinking, so I guess the decluttering team are more familiar than me. This set of glasses I wasn't very familiar with since Mom rarely brought them out (they rarely drank alcoholic beverages). 

What surprised me was the collection of tea pot and cups (haven't found the saucers yet). I vaguely remember seeing the tea pot when I was a child. They soon disappeared and was kept in a cupboard. I checked with Tito Louie if the tea pot and cups were Mom's, my Mama Lola's, or Titay's. He said it was my Mom's. I told him I never saw my Mom drink tea! Haha. He said she probably collected them. 

I spent some time doing research on the tea pot and cups. All were made in England. The sets were incomplete, so I guess some broke already. I couldn't pinpoint the manufacturing date since info on the pot and cups were all over the place. They were all tagged vintage already, so it's not safe us to use. I suspect Mom got the tea pot and cups from an estate sale. She and Titay loved going to those whenever she was in the US. 

I'll keep the tea pot and cups. They look really nice anyway and would remind me of my Mom (even though I never really saw her drink tea), haha. I'm thinking I might put some succulents in the cups as a salute to my Mama Lola. She loved growing succulents and cacti. Mom would probably grudgingly agree. I need to check if I have more pups I can re-pot. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Breathe, My Pulmo Rehab Journey

Breathing well whether asleep or awake has worked wonders for me. I started pulmo rehab last September. I'm expected to finish my first set by next week. I should have been done in November, but I got sick and missed 2 months of rehab. I resumed last week. 

My lungs are scarred due to various illnesses I had in the past. It started in 2008 when I had pneumonia. Five years later my doctor said after OHS my lungs looked like it had gone through surgery. It got worse after I had two PEs. I was lucky because my former physiotherapist who was working on my back is also an expert on pulmo rehab. She had to work on my breathing before we could do any exercise for my back. Even though it wasn't the focus of our sessions, the exercises for my lungs helped me a lot. 

I've been advising friends who had COVID to get their lungs checked. I send them the post-PE exercise video which I followed before. Exercising your lungs will help prevent scars. Scars in your lungs cannot be removed. The best way is to save and strengthen the healthy part of your lungs. That's what our focus is on right now for me. 

My stamina dwindled since mid-2022. My body went through a lot and it was frustrating because I could barely do anything. I can't cook. Can't clean. Can't do any gardening. Going out is a huge challenge. So I asked my doctors what should I do to improve my stamina. They prescribed pulmo rehab, had me do a sleep test, and work on my nutrition. 

It's been a lot of work, but I'm seeing the fruits of our labor. Sweetie and Miggy play a big role in my health activities. They take turns to spot me while I do my pulmo rehab sessions. Make sure I eat well and on time. Miggy has been strict about getting us to the bedroom earlier (he has to because Sweetie and I tend to hang out downstairs past midnight). 

What changed my game was when I started using a CPAP machine. Pulmo rehab + better nutrition helps, but I needed better sleep. My doctor explained that breathing well in your sleep is important to restore your body. Good sleep + my daily gardening exercise has so far kept me stable and I've become more active at home again. Maybe this year I'll finally be able to organize our home better (together with my boys of course). 

 "Even as little as 10 to 15 minutes a day to deep breathing can help reduce stress and tension, lower blood pressure." - Harefuah Medical Journal#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Made a Cute Wonder Woman Tote Bag

Started this year's crafting activities by making a cute Wonder Woman tote bag. It was inspired from a jute bag a friend used to send a gift. I super liked the size of the jute bag. In fact, I use it everyday to transport my stuff from room to room. I carry a lot of stuff whenever I leave our bedroom, so it's worked perfectly for me. 

I've had the jute bag for awhile now, so thought I'd make a similar one, but with a twist. I still have some Wonder Woman fabric, so I thought I'd start strong this year with an iconic character. I also want to give the piece as a gift to a friend who loves Wonder Woman. 

I immediately cut the fabric after I figured out the sizes of the pieces. Piecing them together was easy. I learned a lot through the years and made sure to use fusible interfacing to stabilize the fabric. What I didn't count on was not finding my stash of bag handles. I brought home some from Singapore and was counting on using it for this project. 

Ahh, another learning moment for me. Did some research on how to make bag handles, so I just made a basic one. Next time I'll try making it rounded. I'm actually surprised I got some good views on my post on "how to make bag straps". I guess I was just on the same boat as many other people. (Go watch it yes?). 

I love how it turned out. Holding onto this until I finish two more for my food train crew. I'll make something different for the other two. I'm sure my friend will see this when I post this! Haha! No worries! It will be with you soon! 

More info about this project:

Happy crafting everyone! 

Monday, January 22, 2024

Doing Some Decorating

We took down most of our Christmas decors last week. The only one left standing is our ginormous Christmas tree. I originally wanted to remove it in February, but I told Sweetie I'm fine to take it down earlier. I have a bit more energy now and I want our home to look a bit more presentable. 

I spent a few hours last Thursday working on my succulents. Last time I cleaned them up was in August when Ate Rose gave me a couple of plants. Most of them survived and some had babies (pups). I guess I used the right soil mixture because I haven't had to do anything except water them every 7 to 10 days (depends on the weather). 

I've been wanting to add plants indoors, so that's what I've been working on in the garden. I started with the philodendron and I'm letting the cuttings adjust to it's new home. I'll soon bring it inside after we take down the Christmas tree. I re-potted some of the succulent pups into tiny pots so I could put them around the house (I'm still experimenting to see if they'll survive indoors). 

I completed the set of cute vases I had my eye on for awhile. The tiny pots fit the head perfectly. I wish though I had white tiny pots, but I'll do that next time if this batch survives and grows. I chose really small pups to give them room to grow in the tiny pot.

Placed them on the piano for now. They'll get some sun from there and I will hopefully remember to water them every so often (succulents are best left alone). I put the square vases on the piano too. I get the vases for PhP8 in Daiso and thought they'd be perfect for small succulents. I hope the succulents also grow. I'll move them eventually when I have a proper table for the sala. 

My aim for our home is to decorate sparingly. I just want to have carefully curated pieces that are important to us or something we like. I started with the succulents since they're a gift. I will take awhile before I reach what I have in mind for our home. It's going to be epic!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, January 21, 2024


"I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn't receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it." - Mark 10:15

For a long time before I met Jay, I was nicknamed the ice queen. I did not entertain suitors and kept a small circle. I focused on Miggy, work and my community. It took years for me to heal. It wasn't a smooth road since when I was finally ready I kept meeting the wrong guys. Ugh. 

I was telling a friend the other day to just let go and love fully. When I got fed up with meeting the wrong kind of men, I just gave up and prayed for God to navigate my life. He must've heard me pleading so bad, He answered in less than 24 hours. 

Sweetie asked if he could court me. I immediately said yes. I felt it was His Will. He was writing our love story from the moment we met. It was a good thing I took time to heal. I was ready by the time I met Sweetie and we became friends first. I went into our relationship like it was my first time. 

I abandoned the baggages I had from previous traumatic relationships because I trusted God would navigate me to the right one. I know it's hard to move on and not be scared that bad things could happen again. That's why you have to remember that God is always there for you. You are His child and He will always take care of you. Let go and let love and believe God is guiding you. 

Happy Sunday everyone!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Nth Attempt to Grow Lettuce at Home

A week ago, I finally got around to planting some seeds. I got covered seed trays online since I felt I needed to make the environment more humid. I already tried the tissue paper route. Using seed trays placed under the sun. In the shade. Via the vertical garden. Throwing in a lot of seeds in a pot (this worked). Hydroponics. None of it worked though for lettuce. 

I realized it may have been the seeds, so I got some Ramgo lettuce seeds. I mixed loam soil, compost and rice hull and prepared the seed trays a few days before. The seller in Mahogany Market told me that's the best way to grow veggies. Saturday last week I got working and planted 4 different lettuce seeds: romaine and grand rapids lettuce (from a Lazada shop), and curly lettuce and plain lettuce (Ramgo).

I check the seed trays in the afternoon. I put some water in the bottom to keep the soil moist, then I spray some water once a day. I change the bottom water every other day. 

Day 3

Both ends start sprouting.

Day 4

Almost all cells are growing something.

Day 5

Growing longer.

Day 6

Oh wow!

I forgot to request from Ramgo for a planting guide. I just emailed them since I'm not sure if I should remove the tray cover already. I'm just afraid if I do that the cats might get to the seedlings! Uh-oh!

Wish me luck!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, January 19, 2024

Bottomless Salmon Baked Sushi for Us!

I'm delayed at everything, including making baked sushi at home! I've been meaning to make baked sushi since the lockdown! We've just been ordering via Grab, but we always end up bitin, plus it's expensive! I always have trouble also since most baked sushi being sold has kani in it. My allergies get triggered, so I thought it's time we learn to make it at home. 

I watched several videos. For this recipe I combined Chef RV and Panlasang Pinoy's way of making baked sushi. I couldn't find Kikkoman when we made it, so I used Lee Kum Kee first draw soy sauce. I discovered this soy sauce when we ordered North Park once. They give out free Lee Kum Kee soy sauce, so I thought I'd try it out. I think I'm hooked because it's very smooth. I'll try it on adobo next time. 

Anyway, baked to the baked sushi. I got some smoked salmon from Landers and thought I'd use the whole thing for the baked sushi. It was a lot and that meant bottomless baked sushi for us! What we forgot though was to get more nori packets! Doing grocery shopping during Christmas is hard!

Yes, we finished both pans, hahaha.

So, to remind us how to make it, I filmed it! Here's how we made it (first time!) -

Next time, we'll try tuna baked sushi. I'm excited!

Recipe at:

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Old Metro Manila Paper Map

Found an old paper map while sorting my Mom's things. It was a map published by National Bookstore in 1988. Only street names could be found on the map. To find a street you could follow the designated grid from the list on the back of the map. 

Of course, if you look closely, the map features more of Manila, Pasay, Mandaluyong, San Juan, and Quezon City. My city, Paranaque, is at the bottom of the map and just covers half of it. Marikina, Las Pinas and Alabang are nowhere to be found. Apparently, Alabang used to be a farm land. Las Pinas used to be part of Manila. Marikina, on the other hand, was part of the province of Rizal (same as Paranaque). I'm not sure when their status changed. 

The map also shows Taguig as an empty lot. It's where BGC is now located. When I was growing up, the area where BGC is now used to be part of "Fort Bonifacio". Most of it was empty and just housed the American Cemetery, AFP buildings and golf club, and the Libingan ng mga Bayani. I used to go with my Mom there to visit Tito Ben and eat yummy pancit at the AFP golf club. The area is now filled up if you look at Google Maps. 

Aside from this paper map, I also found a thicker street map book-slash-magazine. Sweetie was excited to see Marikina in the map. Unfortunately, half of the book was missing! Haha. Maybe we'll find it as I go through more boxes. I told him, we almost never went to Marikina even though Tito Bert lived there. My parents thought anywhere outside of Makati is far

Kids nowadays would be surprised how we used to find places. Google Maps was only introduced in 2005 and I worked on getting more things mapped only in 2007. Back then smart phones were also not rampantly available yet. I remember I used to print maps from Google Maps before going out (and yes I found a few print outs while sorting). 

There's no need for us to keep the paper map and the street map book (and it's missing pages) since online maps have richer information. Things also change a lot. The main thoroughfare near us has changed a lot since I was a child. And I'll save that story for another day. 

Do you still have paper maps?

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

How My Stamina Improved!

I finally resumed pulmo rehab yesterday. My PT asked for updates first. I haven't seen her since the first week of November, just before I got very sick! My doctor had me rest first before I resumed. I told my PT I improved a lot after Christmas. Here's what I've been doing since mid-December which helped improve my stamina:

(1) Use the CPAP machine - I've been using it for 6 to 8 hours daily. My doctor explained, it's been helping me get the right amount of oxygen while I sleep. Getting proper sleep helps the restorative process. My Fitbit sleep score has improved a lot too. 

(2) Meal plan - I'm on a 1200 calorie deficit diet. I chose the heart meal to ensure I'm eating the right kind of food. Eating kutsinta sized brown rice shocked me in the beginning. My tummy has since shrank, the tiny sized rice has since become very filling! 

(3) Daily exercise - my neuro advised me to exercise. She said, "Do something you like doing." I'm doing pulmo rehab so I could progress to biking. I'm months away from reaching that goal, so I garden daily for now. I started watering plants for 15 minutes in mid-December, I now garden at least an hour everyday. I read it's a good workout since you use most of your muscles while working. 

(4) Doctor added supplements - aside from vitamin D3, my doctor added vitamin B to my daily supplements. It's helped me be more stable. The late afternoon gardening sessions also help with my vitamin D insufficiency. 

(5) Grow in faith - I still get stressed out sometimes. It's usually from things I cannot control. I'm practicing mindfulness and so I could control how I react to things. Read more about it here.

My quality of life has improved a bit. I'm able to do a bit more stuff everyday. My doctor reminded me to check my oxygen saturation especially when I'm gardening. This is to make sure I'm okay, so I could stop when needed. Miggy has been on-point when it comes to stopping me from over-working. He's very strict and I appreciate that since I have a tendency to keep doing stuff when I feel I have more energy, haha. 

I'm happy with the improvement. I have to ensure I stay stable so I can improve more :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Starting the Year with a Fun Project

I'm so excited to start sewing and quilting again! I usually start the year with something useful and fun. I've been wanting to make my own version of the popular jute bag used during the holiday season for gifts. I like the shape and size. 

A friend gave me one and I've been using it to carry my stuff around the house. My tablet and phone fits it perfectly. I also bring around some essential oils in case I get a headache or need to stop an allergy. I have a collection of character fabric, so that's what I experimented on. 

As I happily assembled the bag, I told myself I could finally use the straps I've bought in the past. When I started assembling the bag I couldn't find the straps! My craft room is currently in a bad state. It's messy because I'm also sorting through boxes from my childhood home. Since I couldn't find the straps, I challenged myself to DIY it!

Good thing I had materials to make straps. It was quite easy to make (see video above). Next time, I'll try to make the rounded ones. I'm happy I was able to add a new sewing skill! Will share next week, how the bag turns out!

More info about this project on my sewing blog: 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, January 15, 2024

Cat Leaves a Surprise for Us

It was just the beginning of the year when we got a huge surprise from a stray cat who started visiting us a few weeks ago. We think she was abandoned by her previous owner (they moved out). She's a noisy cat and does not shy away from hoomans. She's also friendly to other cats. She's managed to get in our door a couple of times. That's how we figured out that she's domesticated and not part of the feral colony.  

We aptly named the cat, Meredith. Her markings though are different from Grey since she has spots. Soon enough she allowed us to pet her. The other feral cats that have been visiting us for 2 years now, still don't want to be touched. They would just sniff our fingers and then turn away. Anyway, we soon noticed Meredith had a strange bulge. She was pregnant and would meow loudly whenever she visited to eat. 

On the third of January, Sweetie and I stepped out for some errands. When we got back we were surprised to see something red on the garage floor. It didn't have any hair and wasn't breathing anymore. We were not sure whether it was a bird, a mouse or a cat. Took a photo and sent it to a friend studying to be a vet. She said it was definitely a mammal. 

Check the shadow of her mouth.

I mentioned to her about Meredith, the stray cat that had a strange bulge. My friend said she likely experienced dystocia. CCTV footage showed it was indeed Meredith. She gave birth across the street and carried the baby to our garage when she got spooked when our neighbor went out. She left the baby on the floor and then disappeared for a few days. She probably stayed in the house where she usually disappears to after eating.

When Meredith came back she was obviously unwell. We noticed she wasn't eating her usual pellets, so Miggy gave her some wet food. She immediately perked up and moreso when she was given water with some sugar. I remember that's what we used to do for our dogs whenever they were unwell. We didn't bring her to a vet since we're not sure whether she has an owner. 

It's amazing how animals could bounce back so quickly. The next day, Meredith, gave us a gift. Near where she left her baby were two medium-sized rats. Ugh. They stank! She probably brought it in from another property. The boys immediately removed the "gift". Hopefully, she doesn't bring any more "gifts", haha. 

Meredith is well now. My friend mentioned that dystocia is also risky for the mother. I'm glad Meredith made it. Her noisy nature though seems to have scared Kaley away. I haven't seen Kaley for a few days now. Looks like she's friends with Brimsley since she hasn't been chased out. Will try to bring her to the vet soon so she can be spayed. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Grow in Faith

My Mom was a very strong person. Nothing fazed her. I don't recall her getting scared of anything. What was her secret to living without fear? I thought about it for a long time. A few months before she passed, she had to change helpers. She insisted on staying home alone. I couldn't sleep and worried a lot if she was eating properly. We brought her food several times a day. 

On the third day, I had her "kidnapped". Brought her to our house since we saw she wasn't eating well. She insisted to go home everyday. Those with elderly parents would understand how hard it is to extricate your parent/s from their home. I got sick with worry and it was a good thing a replacement helper soon arrived. Mom went home as soon as the new helper arrived. 

That week was very hard for me. It took months for me to recover. I asked Kuya to take over managing Mom's home needs since I had become frail and I fell into depression, again. Mom went home and slipped back to her routines. She was happy and content as long as she could work on her garden. She would call to check on me, but most of the time kept busy with her garden. 

Mom's secret to being strong came to me while I was gardening. I've been able to start gardening again this year. My doctor told me to move more and exercise by doing what I like to do. I never saw my Mom exercise, she just did gardening. I figured I could do the same since I enjoy it and it's considered as exercise according to the CDC. Gardening also stills my mind, it's mindful movement. 

And so it came to me while gardening why my Mom is a strong person. If not gardening, my Mom would be sewing, working on crafts or most definitely, praying. Growing up she told me to lift up all of my problems to God. Whenever I rant, she'd just tell me to pray. My Mom's faith is solid. She never worried because she believed God would always protect her. 

To the end, she got her last wish granted - to not to get sick and just go in her sleep. She wasn't sick, in fact, she spent several hours gardening (2 hours in the morning and several hours again in the afternoon). I told myself, that's what I need to work on this year. To grow in faith and be secure in God's love and protection. 

Happy Sunday everyone!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Trimmed Jack the Philodendron, Now I have 3!

I nicknamed the philodendron Ate Rose gave me as "Jack". It kept growing taller and reminded me of Jack and the Beanstalk. I planted the philodendron cutting Ate Rose gave me last June in a huge pot. I put the two cuttings together since I wasn't sure it would survive. 

It survived and eventually surpassed the plant pole. I added a longer bamboo to support it. Jack strangely grew much taller during my 3 week hospital stay. He probably got a lot more watering from Sweetie. I also had added some soil and compost to it before I got sick, so that's probably why it grew a lot. 

Jack the Philodendron, June 2023 (newly planted) vs. early January 2024

By early January, Jack had reached the roof. I had to act fast since I didn't want the roots to attach to the roof. Since we were planning to add some plants indoors, I thought I could trim Jack and plant it in a new pot. That's what I did last Monday. One stalk was really long, so I cut it in two and planted them in one pot. This is what I'll put indoors. The third stalk I planted in another pot. This one will stay outside my craft room. Hopefully it won't burn since it will get a bit more sunlight. 

And, if the three pots of philodendrons grow tall again I'll just give away the cuttings. Jack the philodendron has been easy to manage. Just water daily and add soil plus a bit of compost or fertilizer when you remember to. I spray it with neem oil once a week since critters love to eat the leaves. Just make sure it only gets indirect sunlight since the leaves may burn.

There's still so much to re-pot. I'll fix my succulents next and then I'll deal with the pothos. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, January 12, 2024

First Attempt at Making Lengua de Gato

We had to do something about the leftover egg whites from making leche flan. I found out that lengua de gato is made from egg whites. I super love lengua de gato, so I studied how to make it by watching videos and reading recipes. I combined two recipes when Miggy and I made our first attempt. 

The batter was perfect! The cookie tasted really good even though I forgot to add salt (since I used unsalted butter). One thing we didn't realize though, we own a fan oven and most recipes assume you're using a gas oven. We adjusted the baking time, but the middle part would be soft. Most of the cookies ended up that way and the edges were browned. It still tasted good, so the boys finished the whole batch in no time. 

Here's how we made it:

Next time Miggy makes leche flan, we'll attempt to make flavored lengua de gato. Actually, if you notice, some of the fingers are a bit tanned. It's not burnt. It's because I added coffee to half of the batch we made. The boys said they liked it a lot, so next time I'll do half and half again. Miggy has also taken note to make sure we use fan oven temperature next time we bake. No wonder my baked goods haven't been turning out well, haha. 

Full recipe at:

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Fischer Price Movie Theater | Vintage Toys

I remember we brought home the Fischer Price Movie Viewer from the US. The "theater" comes with a small screen where you can watch 8mm images stored in a cartridge. It also allows you to project the images. Fischer Price introduced this to the market in 1977. They previously made a viewer in 1973. I don't remember if my parents bought it for me during my first trip to the US with the whole family. It may also have been a gift from one of our relatives in the US. 

I still remember using it and would watch the film on the screen. I would also project it on Daddy's cabinet. I only had one cartridge and that's what I watched over and over. They probably couldn't find additional cartridges here, so I soon got tired of watching the same show.

One issue we encountered though is plugging it. Since it's US made, the plug required 110 volts. Back then we had some outlets at home where you could plug 110 volt appliances. My parents fussed over it. We found the gadget while decluttering my childhood home. The plug was gone. I think they may have tried to use batteries to get it to work. 

You can watch how it works through this video:

Too bad, it probably won't work anymore. I saw there are some being sold on eBay. Not sure what we'll do with it at this point since it's not working. I also thought it was long gone, but Mom apparently kept a lot of my toys. Nowadays, kids can just easily watch a film from a mobile phone/tablet. TVs are also huge nowadays, so no need to project stuff. This was fun to have when I was a child. It probably planted the seeds on why I become interested in tech stuff. 

#BeKind #StaySafe 

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Wellness Goals for 2024

I improved a lot health-wise last year. I just had a big slip when I picked up some germs while doing some errands. We have an idea where I picked it up. It a resto that was very humid and their a/c wasn't working, so ventilation was very bad. A vlogger who also ate there got sick a few days after. So taking precautions and improving my immunity will be at the top of my list. 

Here's what I need to work on to be well this year:

1. Improve my immune system. I pick up germs/viruses easily whenever we go out. I'm immuno-compromised, so this is something I've been discussing with my doctors about how I could improve my immunity. They added supplements and I'm back to a meal plan to ensure I'm getting proper nutrition. Plus drink more water.

2. Sleep and wake up in Philippine time zone. I thought I was able to correct it already after my hospital stay, but it got worse. Boo. 

3. Meditate and try yoga. This is something I had on my list last year, but failed to do. 

4. Continue pulmo rehab. This has been very helpful for me. 

5. Consistently use my CPAP machine. So far I've used it every night the past 30 days. 

6. Make sure to keep my doctor appointments and do the tests!

7. Get some sunshine everyday. This will help my vitamin D deficiency and my mental health. 

8. Less social media (I lessened it last year, need to lessen it more). 

9. Do things I love doing. Focus on finding solutions over stressing over issues. My neuro also suggested to exercise and do what I love to do. I used to bike a lot when I was young and that's what I'm working towards. 

10. Pray and strengthen my faith like how Mom did. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Creative Happy Goals for 2024

I've been busy enjoying my newfound stamina doing some gardening. It's become part of my exercise regime and I get a good workout watering plants and checking if they're healthy. The cats have also been extra sweet and have been a good distraction. This means though I've been inconsistent with my blogging duties. 

Anyway, I've been thinking about what creative projects I want to do this year. I have a tendency to procrastinate if I don't write things down. I've decided to include non-sewing projects since there's a few things I want to try. 

Here's what I plan to do this year:

1. Make covers for our benches and sofa set. I know this is a huge project, so I really need to plan this well. 

2. Seat covers for our dining chairs. I already have an idea what I want to do for this. 

3. Throw pillow covers for the sofa. 

4. New curtains. (I already have the fabric, just got busy last year!).

5. Experiment on using beads and loom bands as part of my quilting projects.

6. Work on Christmas projects earlier. 

7. Another retaso project season.

8. Covers for other kitchen appliances.

9. A t-shirt blanket.

10. A fun project, maybe a bag and wallet. 

Plus! Set-up my design wall! 

My list is ambitious, so let's see what I end up completing :)

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, January 8, 2024

Goals for Our Home this Year

We missed meeting our goal to have our home ready for visitors by a small margin. We would have met it if we didn't lose a month and a half to a medical emergency. Well, that's on me. Anyway, we tried and managed to clear up the boxes in the living room. I also managed to clear the boxes I got from my childhood home. It's not so bad now, but we still need to clear up some stuff to make our home more presentable. 

We had major works done on our home last year. There's still a few things to do, but nothing major. Now that my stamina is slowly coming back, I've been able to make rounds at home to see what needs to be done. And yes, improvements never end when you are a homeowner. 

I took a look at my 2023 home goals and it looks like we completed everything I listed. Yaaas! This year I think we'll focus more on maintenance and work on our frontage. Here's our goals for our home for 2024: 

1. Finish all electrical related tasks: complete capacity upgrade and complete solar net metering application. Fix service kitchen lights and some plugs. Add more outdoor lights.

2. Make sure the water filter is changed on time. 

3. Organize our living room to make it presentable. 

4. Organize the collection cabinet.

5. Make sure canopies for the sliding doors are installed before the rainy season. 

6. Cat proof the garden. 

7. Fix our frontage (make sure it doesn't look like a jungle). 

8. Organize our family room to have proper spaces for everyone, but have the flooring changed first.

9. Declutter more. Keep only what we need and will use. 

10. Be on point with home requirements (RPT, insurance, regular cleaning, a/c cleaning, car maintenance etc.). 

We will have to step up work on my childhood home. We will be busy sorting through all the items. It will be better to donate/sell items that we don't need. I don't want the things just to rot away, it's better used elsewhere. I'm glad we got the major works done last year. This year will be about maintenance so we could focus on creating more happy memories and wellness. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Goal Setting, Let's Do This

What are your dreams and plans for the year? I have been thinking about it since the end of December. To be honest it's still percolating in my mind. Yesterday's Didache reflection though had me thinking. It reminded me that it's easy to "lose focus when things get to high or too low". People tend to focus on oneself and forget that we are supposed to be "bringers of His light". 

The reflection threw out this question, "Ask why and for whom you are doing them. Are they all about you?" I couldn't sleep last night thinking about the question. I have to be honest, most of my goals have been about me. Things I want to do, memories I want to create with my family. 

I had a hard time thinking about what goals I can have that will be for others. What I can do physically is very limited. I can't really do things for others since it's risky for me to be out and about, plus I don't have the stamina. 

I finally drifted to sleep when I realized I shouldn't be measuring what I can do with what I used to do. I have to be creative and adjust to my capacity. That boils down to what I wrote on the header of this blog, "Home, Hobbies and Inspiration". 

As a light of Jesus, I have to craft goals that would be helpful and inspirational for others to deepen their faith. And that's what I'll be mindful of when I craft my goals for the year.

Have a blessed Sunday everyone!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Learnings from Gardening

Before I detail my goals for gardening, it's useful to review last year's goals. This will give me an idea what to prioritize this year and understand what kind of energy I may need to reach my targets. 

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

Our pocket and side gardens have been fixed. We had planter boxes installed and replaced the grass with turf grass. We were hesitant to use artificial grass at first, but it's been good so far and low maintenance. 

2. Address drainage issue in the garden. 

Fixed! No more flooding and mud.

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

We had two vertical gardens installed. Got some veggies going, but didn't realize the kittens would climb the vertical garden! Have to re-think this option.

4. Assign an area for ornamental plants. 

Yes, it was useful to understand whether the plants needed direct or indirect sunlight.

5. Get some indoor plants that are low maintenance. 

We have some, just need to move them in!

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

Got some herbs and veggies from Tagaytay. Most are alive and I have been using some for cooking. Yay!

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

Yes, I have stopped buying from online shops. I just now buy Ramgo, but have stopped buying for now.

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

Yes, I have a spreadsheet!

9. Be consistent with fertilizers and pesticides. 

So far have been consistent, except when I was hospitalized.

10. Be always well so you can take care of your plants!

Slipped once!

Most important goal last year was to clean up our garden. It got really unruly. I'm happy our garden is more organized now. Only thing we need to do is rake the bamboo leaves that consistently fall everyday. It's now part of Sweetie's exercise regime, haha, and he gets to play with the kittens whenever he does it. Here's what I learned the past year:

1. Before buying plants, consider the requirements for its upkeep. That includes sunlight and fertilizer requirements, pruning, adding soil and re-potting. The bamboo came with the house. It was pretty at first, but it requires a lot of cleaning and trimming. 

2. Feral cats. One of our issues is keeping up with feral cats. We had to learn different ways to keep them from turning our garden into their toilet! Also had to learn how to protect our plants. I can't use the area where I was supposed to grow veggies because of the cats. 

3. Understand how vining plants grow before potting them. I had pothos in Singapore before, but they didn't grow long. A friend suggested to plant pothos in a shallow pot so it's easier to trim.

4. Ornamental plants are easier to manage than veggies. No wonder my Mom stuck to ornamental plants. 

5. Like cats, plants should be fed and watered at the same time everyday.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Friday, January 5, 2024

How We Make Pineapple Glazed Ham at Home

How I wish Purefoods can make their fiesta ham available all year. It's one of our favorite dishes especially during Christmas. We always had it for noche buena. I learned to eat macaroni salad because of pineapple glazed ham. It matches perfectly!

I learned how to magically turned the ball of ham into a sweet one through Mom. She told me to just add 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Of course, I had to figure out what she meant. My Mom doesn't cook, but she knows all the processes and just directs whoever is cooking, hehe. 

I experiment every year on what to do with the ham. What's important for us though is to have a lot of sauce. My boys like adding some of the sauce to their rice whenever we have this. This year I added two cans of pineapple juice (the one you drink) and a can of pineapple chunks plus brown sugar to the ham. The ham drowned when it was plated. So just use 1 can of pineapple juice. It turned out alright for us though since we still had extra sauce until we finished the whole ball of ham. 

You can also add cloves. Just add it sparingly to the ham while cooking or baking. It adds flavor. We couldn't find any cloves, so we'll just do that next year. Oh, and you can also opt to bake it instead of simmering it in a pot. I find it easier to simmer since baking takes sooo long, haha. Purefoods also now pre-slices the ham, so it's much easier to serve. It was hard to slice in the past when it was one whole ball.

Plated by Sweetie :)


I'm keeping one more fiesta ham for Valentine's day, haha. That or maybe for the Lunar New Year. Or maybe a random weekend when we're off our meal plan, LOL. I'm actually thinking of getting one more since I could keep it in the freezer for a special occasion. I'll get one if it's still available in the grocery, hehe. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Stories from Old Treasures

We finally started to clear my childhood home. It took me months before I could start working on it. To be honest, it did not feel right to open Mom's cabinets and drawers. She had kept the things in our home organized and she always told me not to touch things that aren't yours. I knew though I had to get things going since the items stored in my childhood home are better re-homed. I'd rather give stuff away so it would be useful. 

The process is hard, even more since I can't really do the sorting in person. I got help from Ally Canita. She's the decluttering coach who helped us last year go through and organize our home. I couldn't bring myself to open the cabinets and drawers I know Mom organized. Ally and her team went through each of the rooms for several weeks. I'm now doing the painful process of going through each and every item. 

It's quite therapeutic TBH. I've been coming across toys and items I used to cherish when I still lived in my childhood home. Miggy also found some of his favorite childhood toys. I realized Mom kept our things she thought was important for us. I had thought most of those items are long gone. I even found giveaways from my previous jobs, lol

So I thought on Thursdays, I would write stories about my old toys and things. It's been interesting to read up on some of my old toys (now vintage!) and Miggy's toys. Sweetie said some of them have value. Quick look on eBay confirms there's a lot of vintage stuff being sold online. It's just fun for me though to go through the items and reminisce. 

I started this last month on Mom's birthday. I sorted through some of her craft supplies and found 26 pairs of scissors! I'm not surprised she has so many because I'm the same. She believes it's important to have several pairs of scissors in each room of the house since you'll always need one. It's true! In our kitchen we probably have at least 2 used for food and a couple more for opening packages. 

#BeKind #StaySafe