Thursday, January 8, 2015

Nothing beats old school

While I was pregnant with our son, I had a grand idea. I thought photobooks were the way to go instead of going with regular photo albums.

I'm not crafty so while I collected mementos, I just put them in a box and didn't bother with a scrapbook.

Now, our son is 5 and the only thing I have to show are 2 photobooks. One covers his 1st bday celebration in Manila and the other covers a trip to California where we spent Christmas with my sister's family.


The trick is really to collect photos & lay them out as you go along. This is really something that's easier to do with old-school albums where you just print & slip the photos in and don't have to worry about designs, layouts, embellishments, backgrounds and captions. You can always go back to them in the future if you feel the need for captions but with photobooks, you really have to sit down and that is something that I have not been able to do.

Yesterday, I dropped by Michael's and purchased said albums.  I also picked up some photos that I had printed out in Costco, those are meant to go into frames and will go in the bookshelf. It's been a year since we moved and we can't keep putting off "unpacking" forever, sana maayos na namin yung library.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree!

I finally got around to buying an artificial tree for Christmas - I waited until after Christmas because I wanted to get them on clearance. As it was, I was almost too late when I went tree-shopping on Saturday (12/26), the seasonal aisles on the stores were almost empty when I got there - I wasn't the only person looking forward to the post-Christmas sales, obviously.

Hubby and I immediately set the tree up when I got home just to make sure that it wasn't too scraggly-looking. There weren't any on display and we all know how deceiving those pictures on the boxes could be. I bought one on sale after Christmas last year but had to return it after we saw how pitiful it looked. It was the most malnourished-looking tree I've ever seen. In hindsight, the unbelievably low price should've been a dead giveaway.

I also got some holiday-themed ribbons, they're called "Tree Scarfs" now (I learned something new). I don't quite know yet how I'm going to drape so it comes out looking elegant but that's next year's problem :)

In the meantime, I'll make sure to remind hubby to sniff in the smells from our real tree as this will be the last real one (unless we find an excuse) that will grace our living room for a while. Sayang rin if we keep buying a real one every year, they're not exactly cheap.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Our bldg cafeteria upgraded to an iPad-based payment system a few months ago and I was glad for it because the iPad setup they had also came with a credit card payment system. I can now buy meals even if I didn't have cash on hand.

Lately, something seems to be off with the system or the cashiers because my usual breakfast, which I have been paying $2.30 for every single day for the longest time, suddenly became $2.14 on Monday.

On Tuesday, I was charged $2.58.

On Wednesday, I was charged $1.84.

There was no personnel change, the cashiers have been there for months.

I find the changing total odd but I don't feel like making a fuss early in the morning.


Recently, I found myself thinking about latch hook rugs.

eHowPhoto from eHow

I remember helping out with a couple of these rugs at home long long ago. It was primarily a project started by our yaya but everybody - the other househelp and my siblings - helped. I don't know where the rugs are now, they were either thrown out, left behind or lost when we moved houses. 

I'm itching to start a project now but I cannot decide what type of kit to get. My first thought was a Christmas tree skirt but I also didn't want to wait a whole year before using my first project - besides, I may lose the momentum if I have a whole year to work on the project.

What to do ? what to do ? ...

Thursday, October 30, 2014


We've been dealing with broken stuff all month long and by "broken stuff", I really mean car repairs.

Our old car, it was the one I purchased when I migrated to the US, has started needing a lot of repairs. Not surprising, really, since it is 12 years old and already has 120k miles on it so the wear and tear is expected.

Thankfully, there is a Pep Boys just across the street where I work so it works out well for me if we need to bring the car in to the shop for repairs. I drive whichever car it is that needs something done that day and drop it off in the morning and it will be fixed and ready to go by the time I leave work in the afternoon. Before this, we'd have to wait till the weekend before we can bring the car to the shop and then we'd have to contend with the weekend rush.

3 weeks ago, hubby asked to switch cars because the car was misfiring and the check engine light is on. Upon checking, I was told by the shop that the spark plugs and ignition coil needed replacing (this confirmed hubby's suspicion as well) and since we also asked for a health check, we were informed that the brake pads are wearing thin, the tires are wearing thin and that we also needed a new drive belt and some stuff flushed and fluids replaced. We had everything done, except for the tires. Damage to our wallet was $1.5k, I went home telling myself that we should be good for a while (trying to make myself feel better).

The following week, hubby asked to switch cars again because the car was making a metallic whirring sound. It turned out to be a bad idle pulley for the fan belt and that was another $400.

Then this week, hubby drives the car to work and had to pull over because smoke started pouring out of the engine. When he opened the hood to check, the entire engine was wet as if something had burst and splashed fluids all over - this turned out to be the radiator. He called AAA for a tow and had it brought to a nearby shop, the repair cost $600.

Now, while talking to big sis about this, she gets all worried because the car doesn't seem to be safe anymore and she can always front me the money for a new car if I find ourselves strapped for cash (my big sis is so sweet and generous!).

I pointed out that technically, it is  "almost-new" because we've replaced the innards already and all those repairs are really maintenance-related jobs that needed to be done and aside from that latest one where hubby had to get a tow, we were able to schedule properly and have them fixed at our convenience. Yeah, it's a bummer that we have to spend all this money and if we had a new car, we wouldn't be spending so much money getting it fixed but we would have to spend money paying for that new car anyway.

This is when I realized how spoiled we are. It's not like we always have brand new cars and haven't driven old ones. Yeah, this car is old and needs a bit more TLC but I remember being back in Manila and driving my hatchback civic 6 km to the office - the radiator was leaking so bad that it needs to have the radiator filled in the morning before I leave else I'd risk overheating the engine. At one time, the brakes slipped and I had to do an engine break and turned the wheels towards the sidewalk so I could slow down and stop. I didn't hear anybody say that it wasn't safe.

Anyway, we're on a holding pattern now so far as big purchases go. Let's see what 2015 holds for us :)


On a good note, the ceiling fan in the master bedroom has not worked in months. Last night, the power in the whole house went off for a few seconds and then turned back on again. When I stepped into the bedroom later that night, I found the ceiling fan working :) It just needed a kickstart, apparently. Now, am glad we didn't get it replaced yet.

Friday, October 17, 2014


We were putting some things away a few days ago and it occurred to us that we might benefit from a reorg.

We've been living here a little less than a year and as we learn more about our home and its quirks - which areas are comfortable during the winter, summer and the rest of the year, etc... we've decided to move things around.

My office, currently occupying the yellow room, will move to the green room.

The blue room, previously designated as Swe-cha's future bedroom, will become our interim guestroom.

The yellow room will be Swe-cha's bedroom.

It'll be a while before we get things and furniture switched around and it's going to be chaotic (or rather, even more chaotic than usual) for a while, but I'm feeling good about it.

Hope we don't lose the momentum.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Labor Day Weekend General Cleaning

We didn't really have a great start to our Labor day weekend as Swe-cha has been out of sorts since Thursday afternoon. We already brought him to the doctor yesterday and doc thinks it may be viral though she did give us a prescription for antibiotics which we will be filling if Swe-cha's fever persists till Sunday.

He's feeling a lot better now than he did yesterday and was doing cartwheels (literally) all afternoon and if it weren't for his temperature and poor appetite, you wouldn't think that anything is wrong with him today. I hope that he feels much better tomorrow and we won't have to resort to the antibiotics anymore.

On a good note, hubby did great today.

He cut the grass, took care of the fallen leaves, applied fertilizer to the lawn and afterwards, he WOWed me and cleaned our bedroom.

He really got into cleaning when he decided to bring the leaf blower in and used that to clean. I have to admit that I was skeptical at first and thought it was overkill (hubby's normal mode) but I didn't say a word - hey, who would be stupid enough to complain when the husband cleans ?

But I should really share this next photo and let the results speak for themselves - a picture says a thousand words, I tell ya.

This cringe-worthy pile of dust bunnies, grit, dust and dirt is the last batch of what came out of the baseboard fins after using the leaf blower on them.

Yes, I said "last" batch, we had already swept out / vacuumed the earlier ones and take note, all these came out AFTER vacuuming.

And again, allow me to *cringe*, this picture really sends shivers running down my spine.

After all this was cleaned up and our room was left spic & span, hubby broaches the subject of getting more power tools. He had been wanting to buy an air compressor for the longest time and I didn't really think it was practical so I wouldn't say yes.  This time ? He used the magic words - "you know, if I had an air compressor, I could use that to clean our baseboards..."**

Oo na. You can start shopping around for an air compressor - basta ba kasama ang regular cleaning.

** the leaf blower is also a leaf vacuum, it's still brand-spanking new and haven't been used to vacuum leaves yet so hubby felt that it was clean enough and it was okay to use in our bedroom. He doesn't want to use this inside after it's been used to vacuum outside.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Photo hosting

Finally got scared of just keeping our digital photos stored all over the place - personal laptops, external drives, media cards, CDs and DVDs).

The grand plan was to keep multiple copies of the digital images and then print out photobooks so we have a hard copy of the nice ones. It was a good plan which we stuck to for the first few years after we got married... but the backlog started after the little one was born and it just became bigger and bigger from there on.

The other day, hubby (not really sure what sparked the interest) was looking into Amazon's cloud services as a possible backup location for us. After discussing what we really wanted and needed. We were in agreement that all we wanted to be backed up was photos and videos but NOT documents, hence, we decided to go with a paid photo-hosting service instead, one that is backed up Amazon's cloud services (so you know your photos are safe) and there's password protection and all.

We hemmed and hawed for a few days before I finally decided to just bite the bullet and created an account. I would not have forgiven myself if something happened to our photos now.