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Monday, December 31, 2012

Need Funds To Grow Your Small Business?

The first time I held my daughter in my arms, I knew motherhood was my calling. From that day on, I knew my family has become my first and foremost priority. With that in mind and an infant (most importantly)to take care of, I started considering the idea of being a full-time, stay at home mom. The husband and I contemplated on that idea for almost 2 years, but after studying our options we accepted the fact that  isn't really possible at this point in time. 

But I have known of (and are even friends to some) who gave up their day jobs to become full time moms and eventually ventured into being work at home moms by setting up their own businesses to help out with household finances. But we all know that setting up a personal business and running it isn't easy to do. Sometimes what really sets you back from pursuing a business dream further is the lack of capital. 

Thankfully, there are merchant cash advance systems that are available for small start up businesses. They could provide you with safe, secure and most especially immediate access to funds you need to help you grow your business.

Hmmm, with this new option on hand, it makes me think of reconsidering the idea of being a WAHM again.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Milestone: Studded

We just came back from a weekend with my in-laws. I could barely remember the last time went for a visit since it's usually my in-laws who have been coming over to visit us lately. But since my mother-in-law is not in the best shape to travel for 4 hours (it's from the north to south after all), we thought it best that we do our share of the long commute this time. The little miss couldn't be more ecstatic. She has been asking for us to take her home to her Lola Aida's for some time now.

And you'd think "how sweet of her to miss her lola that much" but honestly, the excitement was fueled by a totally different agenda. You see, eversince since she started obsessing on getting pretty (and was slowly putting together her personal definition of what beautiful is) she wouldn't stop bugging me to get her ears pierced. We opted not to get it pierced when she was still an infant because we thought body piercings are something that one has to decide on her own (and yes at 4, she is still in no position to decide for herself but admittedly the delay was mainly due to my paranoid nature - I was too scared she'd pull it off or ingest it or put it inside her nostrils).

I couldn't remember now when I got my ears pierced. But I am sure I was already in school then. The guns (what are they called exactly, would you know?) that most pedia would used these days are not yet popular in the province then so the nurses (not even sure if a nurse did it then or maybe it was just one of the elders in our small town then). In my teens, extra ear piercings became a fad I did my second ear piercing by myself thinking my parents would never allow me to get an extra hole on both ear lobes. Looking at them now, makes me rather 'un'proud of myself because they were a little lopsided. Yes, you most likely will pay for the reckless things you do in your youth (and this serves as a warning to you LITTLE GIRL).

Little miss had no idea what that trip to the doctor had in store for her. All she knew was a pair of earrings would make her extra pretty. So when the doctor pushed the trigger of the piercing gun and locked in the first earring on her earlobe, she cringed and stifled her cry of pain. That didn't stop her tears from falling though and soon she was sobbing and almost refusing to get the other earlobe pierced. Good thing, the doctor patiently waited for her to calm down and we managed to get the other earlobe pierced within seconds. After a few more minutes, she walked out of the clinic beaming like nothing happened. She proudly showed her dad her sparkling earlobes and happily trotted home.

Isn't she prettier indeed?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Welcoming Vanity!

The kid is into make up and all things beauty related lately. I can only deduce that most young girls go through this phase as I cannot really say that all this is due to my influence. I mentioned in one of my posts before that I do not have a single kikay bone in my body. That remains true to this day. But some days, yes I do try to make an effort to 'fix' myself by putting on face powder and a thin coat of lipstick on. And on those days, yes the little miss would stare at me and would even attempt to take the face powder off my hands and apply them to my face herself. I have a very curious kid in my midst. Yes, that is also true.

I've recently acquired a new set of make up brushes and decided to hand over to her my old ones. Pamana. Imagine how she beamed upon hearing my declaration. It was as if I agreed to get her an iPad or something  to that effect (not that she really knows what an iPad is). Imagine even more how her glee multiplied when I went home with the wonderful news that her Ninang Yette decided to gift her with a vanity dresser for her birthday. Well, her initial response really was: WHAT'S A DRESSER, MOMMY? But when I showed her the actual picture of what the dresser would look like, she immediately sported the beam of the century. 

The dresser took awhile to finish (because of the deluge of holiday orders we had to wait for 2 months to get it made) but the wait was all worth it. And this morning we finally picked it up. The minute we got the mini-dresser into the house, the little miss immediately grabbed a pair of scissors and started (carefully ha, mind you) peeling off the wrapping. 

I believe it is important to note here that this vanity is exclusive for kids only. I attempted to sit on her chair this afternoon and I was immediately told that I am not allowed to do that because I am already an adult.
Maliit lang yan eh. Nakikita mo ba mommy. Hindi yan pang BIG! (at least she considered me as somebody BIG! wahaha)
This entire thing costed Ninang P2700. Relatively cheap, no? If you buy a plastic toy these days, it might even cost more. And this one's made of wood so it's going to last longer than most toys would. We ordered it from Handicrafts, atbp. If this interests you, you can go look at their Facebook page as they do not only specially on dressers but a lot of other wooden stuff for kids as well. 

The vanity now happily sits on the only corner of the house that isn't occupied yet. She initially wanted it placed inside her 'bedroom' but since it doubles as our yaya's quarters and a storage area (yes i know, bad employers but really how do you manage space in a house as tiny as ours) she probably realized it isn't really a nice place for her to pretty up. So yes, she finally settled for this corner here:

Thank you, thank you, thank you again Ninang Yette!
For always being so generous to this little lady.

Handicrafts, atbp. Contact info:
Phone 0917.589.9488

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Affinity Dental Clinics

I think we just found our new doc dentist! 

With the kid showing no sign of discomfort on our previous dental visits, I decided to try and look for a dental clinic which is more accessible to us and more family friendly. I wanted to settle for the Dental Focus branch that was nearest to us (and it was just 15 mins away max) but unfortunately, they do not accept the dental insurance card that came with my company HMO so I had to look for other clinics that accept it. 

It turns out that Affinity operates its own dental clinic and they have a branch in Makati (which is near Makati Medical Center, own hospital preference and where most of our doctors are based) so I decided to schedule an appointment for the little girl there. 

look at how cozy the clinic's waiting area is
I was really impressed with how professional the clinic staff were. They promptly responded to my text inquiry and when we got to the clinic we were ushered into a comfortable and kid-friendly waiting area. They did not have any pedia-dentists on duty that day but the dentist who treated the little miss handled her well and seemed to be experienced at handling kids. 

The little miss came out of the clinic beaming proudly because doc dentist just told her she was her best patient of the day. 

kid and dra. villanueva immediately hit it off on their first meeting
***This is not a paid post. Opinion expressed on this post is entirely mine.
Affinity Dental Clinics
6th Floor, Angelus Plaza, 104 V.A. Rufino St., Legaspi Village, Makati City (across Medical Towers Makati)
Telephone No.:
(02) 751.8798, 751.8246, 703.0907
Mobile No.:
(0920) 983.3285, (0920) 983.3268
Mondays to Saturdays, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Santa's Gift Story v. 2012 and Other Holiday Tales

This bell is a wonderful symbol of the spirit of Christmas - as am I. Just remember, the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart. - Santa Claus, The Polar Express

This year's Christmas celebration didn't involve a lot of trips outside of our comfort zone (meaning no more parties, dinner dates and last minute shopping to rush to) and yet we were extremely exhausted. So what exactly did we do on Christmas day?

Everything started days prior to Christmas day. The daddy of the house decided to start 'spring' cleaning early and got everyone involved. The vacation days that we planned to dedicate to more arts and crafts, Montessori activities (thanks to my n@wie sister Clarice for sharing her ebooks to us), and review on reading/phonics turned out to be more of the physical kind and nowhere near the educational activities that I've mapped out. The cleaning spree lasted till Christmas day. The daddy only left us a few hours to prepare for Noche Buena. Thankfully, I was in no mood to work on a complicated menu plan so I settled for a simple Noche Buena menu of Spaghetti in Bacon and Cream sauce (thanks to Joey of for the sauce recipe), Fruit Salad, Spareribs in Bbq sauce (thanks to Maqui for the recipe), and Choco Walnut Banana Bread from Purple Oven. By 8pm I was already done with cooking, so I suggested that we watch The Polar Express with the kid (I was inspired by Maqui again hahaha, gaya-gaya puto-maya but what can I say, you are the goddess of traditions Maqui and you really come up with the best ideas) to start a Christmas movie watching tradition. The kid was really into it that when we took out her Christmas gift to strategically place outside of our door, she didn't see any of us move. And seeing how excited she was of the thought that Santa's coming with her gift, we decided to forego midnight and give the gift instead right then and there. Tibs sneaked out of the house and knocked on our front door just after the scene in the movie where Santa rode his sleigh and set off to deliver the gifts. If only I can show here how her face lighted up when she heard the knock. And she was repeatedly asking me: "MOMMY! Papunta na talaga si Santa? Dala na nya gift ko, Mommy?"

Our "Santa" knocked 3x and left immediately. When the kid opened the door, all that was there was her gift all wrapped up and waiting to be picked up. She was speechless for a moment. She didn't even move. I think she was still trying to convince herself that there was really a gift sitting right in front of our lawn. Then what happened after that took place in a flash. She grabbed the gift and dragged it inside the house. I read the note that "Santa" wrote on the manila paper wrapper and right after I finished reading, she tore off the wrapper. She kept saying: "I'M SO HAPPY, MOMMY! I'M SO HAPPY!" while tearing off the wrapper. I almost cried I tell ya! I didn't expect she would be THAT ecstatic.

We hardly buy gifts (as I've mentioned here) for this little girl apart from blocks and some sensory toys, I couldn't remember buying her anything else. But this time around we made an exception (as the grannies also 'pressured' us into buying since they weren't able to get her a gift themselves). I know she wanted that scooter as evidenced in most of her drawings these past few weeks but didn't really think we'd get this kind of response over that. But I guess, it does pay not to do this often because she gets to appreciate it tenfolds. Of course, she still believes it was really Santa who gave her the gift. And we will let her enjoy that thought till she finds out the truth about Santa in her own time. For now, I will let this kid bask in those happy thoughts. (I myself can't help but smile when I remember her face that night of the 24th)

I'm so happy, i'm sooooo happy!
day 2: sabihan mo si Santa mommy inaalagaan ko mabuti yung gift nya ha?
nililinis ko nga ngayon eh! (parang kotse lang mega punas pa ng alcohol)

Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see. - The Conductor, The Polar Express

Who would've guessed we'd bump into Santa right after hearing Christmas mass? 

Monday, December 17, 2012

First School Christmas Party

Dearest Little Miss Kulit,

As I type this, you're probably now preparing for first ever dance number in school. I feel a little sad that I'm going to miss it but I'm glad Daddy stepped up this time and happily volunteered to be the stage parent of the day. He said he's been taking videos of you since you arrived in school a few hours ago and I think I will have tons of videos to watch later. I'm giddy!

Can you believe it? We're just a quarter away from you finishing your first year in preschool. I am recalling how last year was and we were just half-heartedly considering sending you to school then. But you convinced us it's already time and who would've guess, you'll breeze through it like a pro. A few parents have already openly expressed their surprise at learning that this is just your first time in big school. You carried yourself well, albeit being a little bit on the shy side of the bunch yet you bravely come to school without a yaya while others would demand for the company of their parents and yayas. 

Of course, you would yearn (boy you can be really makulit) to be fetched by one of us on some days. But you now know how to listen to and accept reason. And we thank you so much for making things easy for us. You show so much maturity and independence beyond your years. 

I know you are extremely enjoying your school party today. I hope your classmates and school-friends will love the treats that we prepared for them. You had fun labeling those goodies with their names and signing them with your own. I'm glad you are finally feeling the real meaning of Christmas which is sharing and making everyone around you feel loved. 

Cookies from Dea (she also made Maia's wand sugar cookies on her birthday)
Red velvet cake pops from Maggie
(I had to resist opening a pack else I trigger the start of the rest of them opening a pack as well)
she labeled her gifts personally
proudly showing me her artwork on the wrapping of Teacher J's gift
Next year, we'll be more prepared for the season. I'll make sure of that. 



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Arts-N-Crafts: Recycled Wraps

Inspired by Pepper's showcase of her very creative wrappers here and as a catch up on our Arts-N-Crafts activities as well, let me just share with you a few samples of the gifts we've recently given away (mostly to the kid's classmates) which we wrapped using recycled materials. I hope you have not jumped over Pepper's site yet as these are not in that caliber. But I wanted to publish this post, in the hopes that many would take inspiration and consider more creative ways of reusing household trash to help save the environment. It's a tiny step but at least YOU are making one. 

Most of these are recycled paper bags from National Bookstore (reversed). I keep a boxful of used japanese/tissue paper, ribbons from cakes and gifts (and some from our past runs too, low budget fun runs would usually just use ribbons as a mark that you already went past a turnaround point), used giftwrappers,  used yarns, fuzzy wires, boxes, cardboards, stickers and other what-nots that my husband would otherwise refer to as GARBAGE. 

Necessity as they say is the mother of invention. And this reusing thing was really borne out of necessity at first. And mainly because since the kid started preschool we had to prepare gifts once or twice a month and there were times that I'd really forgot to buy giftwrappers. I already saved myself some time by stocking up on Adarna/Tahanan/Lampara books (and lately some workbooks that were also printed using recycled paper) so I thought why not save me some money and help out too by reusing the brown paper bags. And that started our recycled gift wrapping adventures and my primary mission here is to expose the kid to the idea of reduce, reuse and recycle (and somehow she understands now that paper comes from trees so we should make good use of them).

This was a gift for a classmate who had a Hello Kitty-themed class party.
I told the kid this was patterned after Hello Kitty's ribbon and she giggled (apparently she agrees).
The flower cut out from an old glass coaster that I had left over from the flash card reviewers that I made for her when she was still learning to write numbers.
Since the daughter likes to scribble and doodle, I thought it would be fun to let her draw on the wrappers. The one at the bottom was my silly attempt to make girly designs. Which of these two look better to you?
blue balls for a boy birthday celebrant
I first posted these here
Lastly, this was from last Christmas. I did this without the kid's help and turned out to  be my very first venture into gift wrappers from recycled materials.

old manila paper and used cartolina from our previous art activities
How about you? Care to share what your upcycling/reusing projects are? Would love to see them!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Arts-N-Crafts: Paper Wreath

We had fun tearing up the paper into tiny pieces. :)
I stumbled upon this art project in Pinterest (don't you just love this site) a few weeks ago. I've been meaning to do it for our weekend bonding time but I only found time this weekend. It was the perfect tantrum tamer after the kid woke up from her afternoon nap. I think holiday colors are perfect cheer givers. When the kid saw the red and green paper, she immediately went down on the floor and told me she's ready to do our project.

I miss our arts and crafts sessions. Last year, we did a lot of projects during the weekends. But this year has been insanely busy, for the three of us - me most especially - we're lucky if we can really squeeze in one project in a month. I know the kid misses those too but she contents herself with getting me to color a page of a coloring book with her. Some days I would bargain to just share 1 page with her as I'm already hurrying to go to a meeting. Sigh.What did I get myself into?

So anyways, back to our paper wreath it struck me the minute I set my eyes on it because I had all the materials on hand. It needs the following:

  • 1 paper plate
  • red and green paper (I used a mix of art paper, japanese paper/tissue paper, and construction paper)
  • glitter glue (I had gold on hand)
  • white glue


  • cutter/scissors


  • Make a hole on the center of the paper plate. I followed the dent on the plate and left the side where the corrugated design is.
  • Tear the green paper into tiny pieces (to whatever size you desire). 
  • Spread glue around the wreath base (i.e. paper plate donut) and start sticking your torn pieces of green paper. Layer them till you get your desired thickness (we did 3 layers, i think)
  • Take about 4 inches wide x 8 inches long red japanese/tissue paper and make a crease in the center (by pinching) to make a ribbon. Attach a 2 x 4 inch at the back of the ribbon for the ribbon tail.
  • Dot with glitter glue. And set aside to dry.
  • Punch a hole on your wreath and attach a string so you can hang your wreath. 
  • Hang in your fave spot and Enjoy!!!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kiddie Christmas Giveaway Ideas, Anyone?

Christmas has taken a whole new meaning for me the minute I became a mom. As a kid, I do have fond memories of Christmas and I guess, the spirit of the holidays really comes alive when there are kids around. In the past, my Christmases were always spent quietly with my family in Antique. But I do remember that even in my college years, we would get presents from titas and titos based here in Manila. I guess, Christmas is never complete without gift-giving. Although it is this commercial aspect of this holiday season that I dislike the most, with a kid in my midst and considering all the generosity that I experienced in my childhood I just felt compelled to indulge her even for a tiny bit and somehow give back. 

I've been cramming to search for more practical gifts to giveaway to kids for weeks now. And since the kid is now in school, the number of kids in my giftlist has tripled. It used to be just village friends, now I have classmates and school service friends to consider as well. Given a tight budget (actually,  the financier of the house wasn't briefed yet and that's makes it even more difficult for me), what options do I have?

I zeroed in on 3: something art related (since my kid is into artsy-fartsy stuff for the longest time now), something edible (and probably sweet) or something useful (like hand sanitizers). I would sweat out on the smallest details but I'm trying not to because I do not want to overwhelm myself and end up stressed. So I'm also going to make it generic for everyone. I don't think the kids will mind anyways.

For something art-related, I'm thinking of a cheap clay set/a box of crayons, drawing pads or colored pens. I'm planning to check out Uniwide and Dapitan Arcade (talk of last minute shopping) tomorrow or this weekend. Hopefully that plan pans out because REALLY, I don't have time to scour other shops anymore. Has anyone been there recently? I'm running on a very tight budget of P30-40/gift so I need to be very creative.

For something edible, I'm highly considering Maggie's cake pops. (By the way, she has an ongoing blog giveaway. Hope on over to her blog site to see the mechanics) I've decided to give those to the kid's village friends actually. I just need to make up my mind for the other kids.

Lastly, for something useful I'm thinking of either these hand sanitizers from Human Heart Nature or a study table organizer (anyone got leads on this one?). 

I am aiming to finish wrapping up my gifts this weekend. I'm dedicating two days for that. Wish me luck, okay?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Maia Travels: UP Diliman

One of the best years of my life were the years I spent in college. Those were very enriching and enlightening days in UP. I didn't graduate from UP Diliman though. I am a true blue probinsyana (and will remain to be) who graduated from one of the campuses in the Visayas area. UP Diliman, however, is a campus that is very dear to me because during the last few years of my college life, I got involved with the college publication and the university student council. That opened doors to me building friendships with fellow students from other campuses. And that helped me overcome my shyness and cliched as it may sound also instilled in me a sense of purpose. (insert light bulb) I was in this university for a reason. *cheese*

I've long lost touch with friends I made in UP Diliman but during my single unattached years here in Manila, I would come back to the campus and would sometimes still bump into one of them. But that was a long, long time ago. The last time that I was in the campus was a few months after I got married. The hubby and I went to witness what was to be our last UP Fair concert. That 5 years ago. Wow that long.

When I read Maqui's post about their weekend stay in UP a few months ago, I thought, we can do that too. I miss the fishballs at Vinzons. And the fresh air brought about by the abundant trees sprawled all over the campus. But I just couldn't convince the hubby to commute that far anymore especially with a makulit little girl in tow.

Thankfully when we decided to do the marathon next year, the Quezon City Intl Marathon race date coincided with the week we needed to complete our 13-mile long run. I finally found a compelling reason that he couldn't say NO to.

So Friday night, we (I meant the kid and me) giddily packed our bags and the following day, commuted our way to Quezon City (spell TIYAGA. South to North eh) albeit a half-day detour at Makati Medical Center to get the kid's ears checked as she was complaining of ear pain the night before. (I will probably make a separate post about that ear pain when I find the motivation to write it down). We took the MRT from Ayala to Quezon Ave and took a cab from there to the UP Campus. We got there just in time for check in at the University Hotel. We napped briefly to regain our lost energy due to the unforeseen activities of the day and headed out at around 5pm to find a place to eat. I was also after getting the kid to have a taste of this:

fighting over a fishball stick with her dad. she obviously liked it (sans the sauce, yes she didn't like the sauce) because she didn't want to share her stick. 
We spent a few minutes walking around the sunken garden while enjoying our fishballs but it wasn't long before Mr. Sun started setting. I forgot to pack mosquito patches for the kid so we got a little scared when I saw some mosquitoes hovering over her (Dengue Alert!). I so wanted to get a glimpse of Vinzons Hall (because that's the place I most frequented back then particularly that office down the basement) but since it was getting dark and the kid (who was still slightly feverish) was also a little restless already so we decided to look for a place to dine instead. As I am not a native of the campus, I really have no clue where to go. I tried to recall Maqui's post and remembered the UP Shopping Center. We rode a jeepney and alighted right in front of the shopping center a few minutes after. I was thinking of buying a few Diliman Republic shirts but the shop that sells them was already closed as most of the other shops which I think closes at 5 (or was it because it was a weekend, I forgot to ask). We walked the entire length of the area to scour for a place to eat and with the picky little miss in mind, settled for the safest one - which is Rodics. (Maqui! I forgot where the bookstore was located, nasa taas lang pala ni Zagu! Kainezzzzz)

We also dropped by the UP Coop grocery (which is located right beside the shopping center) to buy our water supply for the rest of our stay (1 big gallon of it) and I couldn't help but marvel at how sustainable this campus is. It provides everything that a student need to subsist. The coop sells fresh produce apart from the usual grocery staples. It saved me a trip to Philcoa since I also forgot to pack us some bananas for our pre-race sustenance. 

UP Sunken Garden, late afternoon.
I wish this place is just near so we can bring the kid here  to practice her kicking skills.
As our race starts early (assembly time at 3:30am) the following day, we decided to call it a day and walked our way back to the hotel which is just a few meters away. I wished we came a little earlier but as the circumstances didn't permit us to, I settled at the recollecting my fondest memories of the times I spent here walking with like-minded friends discussing (**scheming**) ways on how we can positively (or maybe violently) CHANGE the world (and MAKE it a better place, for you and for me...wehehe).

Wherever you are now dear friends, I hope you're all doing well and I hope somehow you too are taking (even if tiny as tiny can be) steps into making our 'plans' happen :)

Paid 2,300 for a triple room. It wasn't the best (yes, I've been warned so I didn't really expect much) but the room was spacious. My only wish is that they gave us room on the ground floor instead having informed them we have a kid with us and knowing we are there because we are joining a race (it was hard climbing the stairs after we did the race)

Finding Your Dream Home

A few months back, a neighbor who is also a real-estate broker asked us if we're interested to invest on a property at the newly developed subdivision at the other side of the fence. It's a rather plush one compared to where we're residing at the moment. Its clubhouse's ambiance alone is resort-like. Living there would probably feel like you're always in your 'weekend' home. So, it's not a hard-question to answer. Of course we're interested. But we'll have to pass on it for now for the mere fact that we're not even halfway through our current home's mortgage yet. 

When we brought this house, we admittedly failed to do our research. I wish we had something like the louisville homes here that would afford you with several options first just by the click of the mouse before you make big decisions like buying your dream home for instance. 

Well, we're not closing our doors most definitely. After all, dreams are free for the living. Who knows, we might just find the means in the near future to invest on a new home. 

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