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.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Master Bath

We picked up a Smycke wall clock from Ikea when we went there to pick up the shelf and baskets. Hubby, a Lego fan, was intrigued by the idea of building his own design. As for me, I just wanted to replace a misaligned clock that we have hanging in the bathroom. I didn't really care what the clock looked like.

And, yes, we do hang a wall clock in the master bath - I want us to be mindful of the time when we're there.

The Smycke clock box has been sitting out in the living room all this time so this evening, I opened it up and announced to my husband that it was time to put it together. He asked if I had a specific design in mind but I left it all up to him. Like I said earlier, I didn't really care what it looked like so long as it was there.

So hubby starts laying out the pieces, moving things around. There was a bit of drama during the assembly process when Swe-cha saw what he was doing and decided to re-arrange the pieces. But he did finish it and here is the finished product. (Note, the wall is blue and I do want to change it the color some day but I do like how it is showing up this shade of gray in the picture)

Do you know what it is ? This is what it's supposed to be.

What do you think ?

Patio Updates

I'm not really an outdoors person but I do love staying out in the yard because of the covered patio.

Since summer came, however, every time we go out and spend time in the yard, it seems like we're also providing a buffet for the mosquitos. Yes, we get eaten alive, I kid you not.

We've tried different repellents - spray-on types, citronella bracelets and stickers,off clip on - and nothing really seems to work. Last night, Swe-cha's ninong advised spraying the yard with insect repellent, they come in bottles that you could attach to the garden hose and they get sprayed on the plants and lawn as you water them . Hubby sprayed this on this afternoon.

We also decided to get some mosquito coils (check out the clay coil holder!) and citronella candles (oo, late na). After Swe-cha's last foray in the backyard this week, he got no less than 30 bites all over. They're still swollen now, 3 days later, so we're not taking any more chances

Not really sure which one worked or if our neighborhood mosquitoes were out for the day but I can say that we didn't get bitten tonight and that is such a huge relief. Next year, we will start spraying the insect killer early (you do it every 8 weeks) in the summer, before the mosquitoes start hatching.

While we were outside trying to tempt the mosquitoes with our delectable blood, hubby decided that he wanted to open up the ceiling light and clean the dome.

I convinced him to switch the incandescent bulbs with energy-saving CFL ones. I have been trying to get him to do this for the longest time and finally succeeded now, 9 months later - not too bad ;)

I am also happy to show that I did set up the el-cheapo Ikea Rusch clock that we purchased last week. I've been wanting to put a clock outside for the longest time as it is so easy to lose track of time when you're lounging outside.

Little things make me so happy, I tell 'ya. $1.99 to be exact. I don't feel the need to put up a nicer one because it'll be exposed to extreme temperatures and well... er... because I'm cheap that way.

This is it, I guess, patio-wise. We don't feel the need to put in any more updates at this time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


It used to be that when you say "FAMILY" out loud, Swe-cha would rush over to us and hug us. Family meant Mommy, Daddy and Swe-cha mixed in with a lot of hugs and kisses.

These days, Mommy and Daddy have been demoted and replaced with two other family members.

Family raw,... and then he kisses them.

Granted, they're super stars.

But hey, aren't Mommy and Daddy supposed to be super stars in your eyes too, Swe-cha ?

Monday, August 11, 2014


I'm WFH* today, Swe-cha has been sick since last Thursday when his daycare called us early in the afternoon to come and pick him up. We've been tending his fever since then and we have instructions to bring him back to the doctor should his fever not go away by Tuesday (ang tagal!!!).

We have been alternating between seeing Swe-cha in a great mood and having to deal with severe crankiness all weekend long - he's good when he's comfortable but gets cranky when not (i.e. when medicine wears off).

He's been sick a lot during his first year in daycare but it hasn't been this bad in a long time and the previous times he's been sick, his recovery is already very obvious within 24 hours of administering meds. Now, we're on our 3rd day of antibiotics and I still had to give him Tylenol this morning.

Poor baby.

In the meantime, I'm taking the opportunity to air out our house. All our upper floor windows are wide open and there's a nice warm breeze going through - warm enough to not feel cool but not too much to be uncomfortable.

Please help us pray for Swe-cha's recovery. Thanks!

*WHF - working from home

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Home organization

Our home has been a work-in-progress since the time that we moved in - roughly, 9 months ago - and given our very slow pace, each update is really an achievement in itself :)

So here's our latest acquisition - the Kallax shelf unit and Knipsa baskets from Ikea. It's really doing a good job of keeping the clutter down (not completely gone, but it's way better now).

It's really similar to the one that we got for my home office (Ikea just renamed the series) and admittedly, this wasn't what I had initially envisioned for our living space. Since we have an open concept house where the living room, dining area and kitchen flows right into each other, I was thinking of getting a nice buffet for this wall here. As it turns out, this is one of those times when I'm sort of grateful that we didn't rush furnishing the house as this is really more appropriate to how we use the space.

In the ideal world I envisioned, all the toys are confined to the playroom, however, that isn't really practical in the sense that how am I supposed to confine Swe-cha within his playroom while I am in a completely different section of the house ?

Anyway, we can always move this shelf into one of the bedrooms eventually when we're done using it this way  =)
This is a wider view of the space.

We have two more things on my list to get before I would say that this space is complete, I'd like to get a big clock that would also serve as wall art and a TV & media table so we can get our TV off the floor.

Wish us luck!

Sunday, July 27, 2014


After hearing mass, hubby and I ran through the list of errands that we needed to do...
- get milk and eggs from the grocery store
- pick up lunch (takeout) from our fave Vietnamese place

So we drove to the grocery store, I ran down quickly to get the milk and eggs and got back to the car.

Hubby then asked, "Vietnamese na lang no ? tapos uwi na ?"

I confirmed, "yes, Vietnamese then bahay"

and then from the back of the car came a small voice adding "and beach".
He had been asking to go to the beach for a while now.


Can't decide where Swe-cha understood our Tagalog conversation or he just has really good timing.

Bonding over Sharks

Hubby and I spent our Sunday bonding over SyFy Channel's series of Shark-themed B-movies.

- Dinoshark
- Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark
- Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus
- Attack of the Two-headed shark
- Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus

Had a great time bonding while making fun of the plot, special effects, cheesy lines and bad acting.

We find it interesting to see familiar names. For example, Stargate SG-1's Teal'c, Christopher Judge, is in "Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark" and Stargate Atlantis' Mr Woolsey and Star Trek's Emergency Medical Hologram, Robert Ricardo, is in "Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus.  Since we are both fans of the Stargate and Star Trek series, naka-relate na kami agad :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

High on Milestones

It's been a while since I blogged and I'm still exhausted from our recent trip but I cannot pass up this chance to record the milestones that we experienced today.

- In the morning, Swe-cha brought my shoes to me while I was getting ready for work and said "Bye bye, Mommy"

- Some time after dinner, Swe-cha went to the bathroom pooped in bathroom by himself. He's been good about going to the bathroom when he needs to and I let him go by himself but I do follow close behind to monitor him. This time, I saw that he sat down, did his thing and flushed. He did not wipe but immediately pulled up his pants, I intervened and gave him a bath.

- Hubby decided to mow the front lawn. *eyes wide* Yes. On a weekday!
Apparently, he realized that tomorrow is a Wednesday (our yard waste pickup day). We have 2 yard waste containers, the first of which I've already filled 1/3 - 1/2 when I started pulling out the weeds*** on Monday afternoon. Normally, we fill up both containers to the brim when we mow the lawn so it dawned on him that with all the weeds I already pulled, there was no way we were going to be able to fit the cuttings if he waited till the weekend. He decided to do the front yard and when he was done, he did part of the side yard as well. He stopped when it got dark just before 9pm.

As I told my friend this afternoon, "the one good thing I can see when you hit rock bottom is that from there on, there is really nowhere else to go but up..." =)


*** more on weeds later. Kainis ito.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


We had a very busy day today.

First, Daddy mowed the lawn while Swe-cha supervised.

Having NOT grownup with a lawn / grass at home, I had the realization today that grass does grow very fast, it has only been 2 weeks since it was mowed during our spring cleanup and when we mowed today, some sections seemed like they were more than 5 inches high. Thankfully, the mower I ordered arrived middle of this week and it was very easy to assemble. I swear, if it had come another week later, the grass might be unmanageable already.


Swe-cha also discovered the joys of running barefoot on freshly-cut grass. He went barefoot the rest of the afternoon - even when he was making mudpies. Boys sure do know how to make a mess. When I was able to get him inside the house later, I had to give him a bath and even had to scrape the dirt off of his toenails.

And remember Daddy's dream of having a ride-on mower before ? The one that Mommy quashed when she emphatically said no ?  

Swe-cha showed Daddy how to ride on this one. Cool, no ?

Now, if only good days like these come without the allergies....

Thursday, May 1, 2014


The hall bathroom toilet has now been unclogged.

I don't remember exactly when Swe-cha played in the bathroom and clogged it but it was shortly after we started toilet-training, that makes it around a month now. It was inconvenient at first because we had to walk a bit further away if we have to use the toilet at night but we quickly grew accustomed to that and got to the point where we didn't really care that we had an unusable toilet.

Getting the confirmed dates for the in-laws' visit prompted our change of heart. It would be nice if there's less broken stuff around the house when they come over so here we are. I called a plumber today and were fortunate enough to get an opening for the early evening, plumber came over with his super-professional-snake/auger and took a minute (or 2, tops!) to snake the toilet and voila, it's okay again. Damage was $99 + tax. Ouch.

Am wondering if we'll be able to get a new bedroom set purchased and delivered in two weeks ? Asa pa =)

Aside from us (and by "us", I really mean "the husband", shhh!) being slow to act and the husband being very particular and specific about what he wants and the lead time needed for delivery... uh... it would be nice but I wouldn't really put my money on it.

Anyway, also ordered the replacement under-sink hot water tank for our drinking water. In retrospect, I should've ordered it earlier in the week so it would come in time for the weekend - did I mention that the husband kinda moves slowly ? and has to be prodded along ? Hopefully, he'll do this w/o needing an extra push since it is his family who is coming anyway,

Monday, April 28, 2014

Shoe rack

Finally put up the shoe rack in the coat closet last weekend, I have been searching for a shoe storage system that fits this area in the closet and I couldn't find anything. I wanted the shoes to go in that nook because it was sort of hidden at the side and wasn't immediately visible when you open the doors. It was also a weird size (23 inches wide) so I needed something that was adjustable and stackable.

Unfortunately, adjustable shoe racks were usually the ones where you have to rest your shoes on two rods set at an angle and boy, I cannot begin to tell you how much those types annoy the husband - shoes keep falling off, Swe-cha's shoes aren't long enough to sit on the two poles, etc.

Eventually, the husband had a great idea, he said, "why don't we install one of those wire shelves ?".
And here we are :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


While shopping around for a refinance loan, Lender#4 quoted me $6800 for closing costs.

Incredulous, I repeated, "$6800 ???"

He replied, "Let me explain what goes into that cost... I know you didn't mean to offend me."

Duh ? I offended him ? Nakakapikon. 

If anything, I should be the offended party - especially when the next highest closing cost estimate I've received so far is only $2800 (and I thought that was high!).

Saturday, April 12, 2014


We had the fence put up today and we are loving it!

The installers came in bright and early this morning, they started around 8 and finished the project by noon. By then, they left the gate unhung and had to come back again later because the latch they brought was not the one that we agreed on.

I asked if installations typically go this fast or was ours just much faster because we were getting fewer sections installed ?

We were told that we got lucky today because they were not busy and were able to get double the crew (typical crew = 2 people, we got 4!).

 We had to have picket fences installed in the side and front part of the house due to city codes. Any fencing installed from the back houseline towards the front has to be no more the 4 ft high and has to be 50% open.

We chose the basic design (classic!) with a framed top and a New England style post topper.

And here is a picture of the privacy fence that was installed starting from the rear house line. We're glad we splurged a little bit and went for the privacy fence. It looks really nice.

In fact, we like it so much that Hubs is even talking about replacing the chain link fencing that goes behind the evergreens in our lot's back perimeter. I am saying "no" to that, of course. Why spend to replace the fence that is already there when it will be covered by trees anyway ?
We chose not to fence in the other side of the house. It wasn't much space anyway and has poor visibility from the patio - we didn't want Swe-cha running and hiding in that area and us not knowing where he is.

The installers came back in the afternoon to hang the fencing and install the child-proof locks, we were happy because they initially said they'd come back first thing Monday morning.  Apparently they finished another job early and were able to drop by again.

We took a break for lunch and afterwards, we started setting up the patio furniture. We got it last March and have been storing it in the garage since we don't have the fencing yet.

Guess who was so excited and wanted to have a picnic right away - even though we weren't done yet ?

Swe-cha went inside the house, grabbed his favorite black soy bean milk drink and a glass and came out saying "picnic".

... and when he woke up from his nap this afternoon, the first thing he wanted to do was to put on his shoes and come out to the yard.

Super sulit ang fence :)

And if I haven't said it before, I'll say it again. We love love love our yard and most especially, the covered patio. It's perfect for us and during our discussions, hubs and I agreed that it's probably not something I would've willingly spent money on building (if we had extra money, I'd rather pay extra on the mortgage) so we're really glad that we already have one.

Oh...and on a side note, hubs locked himself in the garage today (not really a big deal as he can just open the garage door and walk out), he got saved by "swe-cha" who opened the door and let him back in the house.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Message Center

Our message center is finally up.

It only took 3 Ikea trips - the first time was when we looked at it and took measurements, the 2nd time was when we decided to buy it but it was out of stock and the 3rd time was when we actually bought it - and another 2 weeks spent sitting on our counter because hubby decided that since our Craftsman drill charger is broken, we could not install it.

Today, I decided to just go ahead and screw it in myself. How hard could it be to drive screws into drywall ? Not hard, apparently. MEN! (roll eyes) - so helpless without their power tools.

Now, am happy that we have a place to post school calendars and note down appointments and reminders.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Answered Prayer

Ang galing ni Lord.

As always, all we had to do was ask.

As you know, we moved late last year. We had been house-hunting on and off for a while and didn't really have a timeline. We were just waiting until we find the one house that we really liked so we couldn't really put our condo up on the market as we didn't know when we'd find THE house.

We did buy THE house in mid-2013 and took our time moving. We had the new house painted, mold-remediation on the basement and some work done (i.e. attic stairs) before we moved in. It took us weeks and weeks to pack and when moving day came, we still weren't done. We would find ourselves "still packing" weeks later.

We set a target of January 2014 for ourselves, we wanted the condo to be market-ready by then. By December, we feared that we wouldn't make it as we were already very exhausted. Our realtor told us that the condo didn't really have to be empty, it just had to be neat. So we boxed and bagged the remaining stuff and put them in the hall closet - and they have been sitting there since.

It's been quiet all this time, we've had visits and inquiries. The slew of snowstorms we've had since putting the condo up on the market didn't help. A lot of weekends were snow-storm weekends and those were, obviously, quiet days. There was some interest and several said they would "think about it" but nobody got interested enough to make an offer.

Last week, I realized that aside from that prayer of thanks (that we were finally able to get the place show-ready) in January, I didn't really ask God to help us sell it and when that realization hit me, I prayed. "Lord, please don't forget the condo. Please let someone who will appreciate/love it find their way to us."

We got an excited call from our realtor on Friday. We got two offers. Yes, two! On the same day! God rocks! On Saturday morning, we countered one offer and got a response back within hours. The buyer has accepted. We signed the contract on Sunday afternoon and we go into attorney review for the next 3 days.

Praise Him! We are so thankful for the following:
- that we got not just one, but two, offers. It certainly made us think and helped us decide much quicker
- that the buyer accepted our counter-offer right away
- that the buyer is a cash buyer - no need to worry about appraisals and loans not pushing through and delaying things
- that the buyer can and wants to close in 30 days or less (saves us from having to come up with the next quarter of taxes which are due on May 1 *whew*)

I would say that our realtor is a very lucky one too. She pulled off being BOTH the buyer & seller's agent for our house purchase and it looks like she's going to pull off being that again for our condo sale :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Shoe-drying tip

So we've been potty training, right ?

Yesterday, Swe-cha had a pee-pee accident in school. He came home with his shoes soaked (he did have spare shoes in school), I washed his shoes that night.

Now, normally, when we wash shoes back home in the Philippines, we'd wait for a time when we'd be a couple of consecutive bright, sunny days so that we could set the shoes out to dry under the sun. Unfortunately, we don't have that luxury now - given that it's winter and we're experiencing frigid temperatures. If I set wet shoes out to dry, they'd just turn hard with ice and the shoes would be wet again as soon as the ice thaws.

The other alternative I could think of was the clothes dryer. I've heard of some sort of contraption you could get which lets you hang your shoes in the middle of the dryer so it won't be tumbled about. I was concerned about the adhesives and the material being damaged and when I googled it, sure enough, it was a concern.

I kept googling for toilet-training-friendly shoes and it turns out that jelly shoes (or crocs!) are a good option - it would've been nice to time toilet training with a nice & warm season.

Anyway, as I was about to give up, I came across an article on lifehacker.com on how to dry shoes with newspaper. I tried it and it does work! I did change the newspapers a few times, I did this last night and 24 hrs later, Swe-cha's shoes were dry!

Ayos :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Potty Training - Day 1

Today is the BIG day. We started potty training.

Kinda late, I know.

But if you think about it, we've kinda-sorta been potty training a while since we have been bringing Swe-cha to the toilet to pee every now and then and he has no problems going in the toilet. We just weren't doing this 100% till now. Now, we are coordinating this with his school so you could say that *this* is a team effort.

We've only been home half an hour and I am so nervous because I realize that this house is so not potty-training-friendly. We have a new sofa and loveseat, hardwood floors and we no longer have the plastic wraps on our dining seat upholstery.

I dropped by the home improvement store to pick up one of these - a toilet seat that has an integrated child-sized seat.

How cool is that ? I didn't even realize that there were contraptions like these until I saw this at Swe-cha's Ninang's house. No unsightly potty seats hanging beside the toilet bowl.

Installation was a breeze. I did get over the ewww factor of taking off the old seat by using disposable latex gloves.

Now, if only I can get Swe-cha to stop flushing every so often. We've only sat on the toilet thrice and he probably flushed more than 10x already. Boy, I'm not looking forward to this quarter's water bill.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Winter Storm Titan

We cleaned the garage today, in anticipation of Winter Storm Titan. We parked the Tribeca inside the garage so there would be 1 less car to clean afterwards.

Okay.... when I said "we cleaned", I really meant "hubby moved the bikes to the basement, swept the garage, threw away the garbage and moved the rest of the moving boxes into the family room". Swe-cha and I supervised :)

This is probably the most prep-work we've done all winter, labor-wise. As of last Friday, we expected to have between 4-8 or 6-12 inches of snow this weekend, depending on where you looked. I've been watching progress on weather.com all day yesterday and when I went to bed, the forecast was that we'd have snow from 8a Sunday morning.

Things seems to have gotten delayed as it is already 2:30p and while the skies are dark, we have yet to see a single snowflake. I just checked the weather again and seems like Titan has shifted south and we are only expected to have 1-3 inches.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

VDay 2014

Spent a wonderful Valentine's Day evening a "The Walking Dead" marathon with the hubby.

It's not exact conventional.... but it's so us :)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Winter Storm Pax

Despite only having gotten snow since last night, Winter Storm Pax is really giving us a beating here. This first picture was taken at 9 this morning and just to give you an idea, the snow blower that hubby is using can clear snow up to a 12' depth.  See how it seems like the snow is almost as high as the snow blower at certain points ?

This is what it looks like by 11a. Hope we can still see out the window by the time Pax leaves.
And while Pax is doing her work outside, Hurricane Swe-cha wreaks havoc inside.

I leave him to entertain himself for a 15 minute conference call and I come out of my office to this. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Happy Anniversary, Babe :)

They say that time goes fast when you're having fun and, boy, did time go really fast! I was surprised when we sat down, did the math and realize that it has been 7 wonderful years since we exchanged "I do"s.

7 years na pala, no wonder we've been itching all season long - we thought it was winter itch, hindi pala... 7-year itch pala etong nararamdaman natin.

Praise God!


p.s. Swe-cha would love to have an ice-cream cake to celebrate. Don't forget the crunchies!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Swe-cha has been addressing me as "You" a lot lately.

Yesterday evening, when we arrived home from daycare, we went into the house and as I was putting our bags away, he comes to me holding his jacket's zip which go stuck and said "you", indicating that he wanted me to unzip him.

Then, he sat on the steps, lifted a foot to me and said "you", indicating that he wanted me to help him get his shoes off.


This afternoon, he woke up from his nap, found me in my home office and said "you". Then he pulled me by my shirt, all the way back to the bedroom and pulled me back to bed. He went right back to sleep.

Thankfully, when he woke up, he came down, found me and said "Mommy" before giving me a hug.

It's nice to be upgraded from "you" every now and then.

Snow Thrower

Why, hello there, you handsome hunk of a machine....

For a while there, we thought you weren't going to make it today. Your delivery status said "Package delayed due to inclement weather" - kinda ironic, considering what you are :)

Imagine our surprise when UPS rang the doorbell and left you at our doorstep ?

I still have images of my husband waving lovingly to the UPS truck - TWICE! - and the UPS guy sounding his horn in acknowledgement. 'Twas a very sweet moment.

Anyway, don't worry about performing well tonight. We know this isn't really your element, you're more of a freshly fallen powdered snow type and what we have now is more of a densely packed half-frozen mixture of snow and slush.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I love you

Swe-cha has been opening our refrigerated drawer and leaving it open. Not only does it waste energy by making the refrigerator motor run more, it also makes our home heater waste more energy because as the cold air escapes and cools the house, our heater has to work harder to get the house warmer. It's not a simple thing these days as we are going through below-freezing temperatures.

I keep telling Swe-cha to close the drawer but he still forgets. Nearing the end of my rope, I point to the refrigerated drawer this evening and told him, "You have to close the drawer, okay ? If you don't close it, I palo you."

He looks at me with his big, round eyes and says "I love you".

With a response like that, how do I have the heart to follow through with my threat ? Hay.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I decided to work from home today and for the rest of the week so I don't have to waste time dealing with the traffic caused by commuters rubbernecking along the Giants Stadium - pavilions and tents are being erected for the SuperBowl this weekend (okay, am guilty of rubbernecking too,... what else was I to do ? I was already there and traffic was moving extremely slow *excuse*).

I told hubby that I was just going to lock myself in my home office so Swe-cha doesn't see me, he will not want to go to school and will just want to be with me otherwise. Now, I'm hearing Swe-cha recite "Brown bear, brown bear what do you see" while he is having breakfast and my Mommy-heart just breaks because I do want to step out and give him a big good-morning hug and kiss. I never could do that on weekdays because he is still asleep when I leave for work. Anyway, plenty of time for that tonight, I do not want him to start his day upset - we were told by his school that on days when I send him off to school, he is so upset and takes a lot of time to calm down.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Home Office, Part 3

Guess who dragged in his table and chair into the home office and set it up right beside Mommy's ?

Yes, Mommy is using a kiddie chair for a desk chair (just until we find one that I like) - it's quite comfortable, I swear =)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Home Office, Part 2

Before I share pictures of how the home office looks like now, I'd like to write about and post some pictures about our experience so we don't have to go through that again =)

When assembly instructions call for a carpet / mat underneath the pieces, there is a reason.

Other than the carpet thing, we followed all other steps faithfully and carefully.

Eventually, we got to the point where we had a fully assembled shelf on the floor and that was where it hit us. The shelf - all 137 lbs of it - was so heavy and slippery, we couldn't get a grip and couldn't lift it up!

For about 10 minutes, we did consider just leaving it on the floor as it does make a nice maze / play area for Swe-cha but we soon realized that this was just the crazies talking...

At this point, I wanted to cry. We did all the hard stuff - the choosing, shopping, heavy lifting from the Ikea shelves to the car, from the car to our home and eventually, assembling it in the yellow room, it frustrated me to think that THIS was where we had to admit defeat ?

We took a few minutes to rest and get our brains going and realized that between the two us, we can easily handle the weight (it was at an angle anyway,.. this is where you Physics fanatics can start calculating the force). We just needed to have a grip and be able to lift it off the floor.

As soon as we felt we had the strength for a burst of energy, we both worked on lifting a corner of the shelf with our hands while I slide a piece of cardboard underneath it with my foot. After we had the cardboard underneath both corners, it was easy to lift the cabinet off the floor.

I am liking how our home office is shaping up, now we only need to unpack / clean up the moving boxes currently stored there and get one or two desk chairs.

The original plan called for placing the table in front of the shelves just as if it was part of the same system. We'd place the shelf in the middle of the wall and we'd each sit on one side so we'd each have our own desk areas.

Since we still have boxes stored in the yellow room and since hubby really had claimed the built-in computer desk in the library, he suggested this layout instead and said that he doesn't really need an office space. And, really, I work more times from home compared to him.

I'm also glad that hubby suggested that we get the shelves anyway during our Ikea trip. We had gone there to check out the Expedit system (shelves + table) and after we found the Melltorp table and I liked it more, I was under the impression that the table was it. It wasn't until much later, when we were in the self-help area and were picking up the actual boxes when hubby remarked - but where will you file stuff if we don't have shelves ? That was also when we picked up the drawer inserts (the black cubes) and I think they look awesome. Note that the drawer inserts aren't great and I don't think you're supposed to put heavy stuff but they fit nicely into the cubbies and they do look cute.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Home Office

We went to Ikea this morning to check out furniture for our home office. Wasn't really expecting to come home with something but a "just looking" trip turned out to be quite productive.

While browsing through the Ikea catalog last year, we sort of liked the way that the Expedit Series was set up. 

This was further confirmed when our friends, the Vs, set this up in their family room. We loved how it seemed to give a lot of work space in a small area.

I also liked that the table is wide enough for both hubby and I to share, we can have our own desk if we sit across of each other. 

One thing I wasn't sure of was that the table only had legs on one end, the other end had brackets that are supported by the bookshelf - and this, I didn't really like. I was skeptical of how it would hold up.

Thankfully, we did see a nice alternative - the Melltorp table.

We chose a white table top and we got this, in addition to the Expedit shelving unit.

On our way out, we passed by a display which showed some drawer inserts for the Expedit series, at $20 each, we thought it was a great addition to the set. It also enabled us to reach the $250 minimum order required for a $25 off coupon.

We also had great timing, turns out that Ikea had a promotion for this weekend that if you get $150 worth of furniture (or more), you could get your restaurant bill deducted from your total =) We were able to apply this on top of the $25 off coupon we received when we moved.


Now, if we could just move the boxes currently stored in the room we designated as our home office (yellow room) and assemble the furniture this weekend, I'd be ecstatic.

Friday, January 10, 2014

D*** you, Solar Vortex

Our gas and electric bill arrived today. I had been dreading this.

Last month, we received a bill for $210.23 and I was flabbergasted because we only lived in the house 1/4 of the time (1 week out of the 4 that the bill covered).

and today ?  $366.23

I am seriously hurting and I just hope that this isn't our normal winter consumption and that this spike in the consumption is just caused by the extreme cold weather we're getting because of the Polar Vortex.


On a positive note, I got a message from our realtor this afternoon asking if pets are allowed in the condo - apparently, there is someone interested in our unit and they have a pet (a small dog) - I responded yes and said that the building allows up to 2 pets.

Sana eto na.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy 2014!

First off, I want to wish my readers a happy, blessed and very prosperous 2014 =)

2013 came and went by really fast, ours was filled with lots of blessings - my baby bro got engaged, Mom and Dad have taken countless trips with their barkada (enjoying their retirement, obviously), big sis and family finally getting their permanent resident cards, us moving to a new place (a house!) and Swe-cha starting to become verbal (nothing tops that!).

The latter part of 2013 - starting in October - was very toxic for us as we were spending every spare moment packing and moving. We moved to our new place just before Thanksgiving but we would be spending the next few weekends and holidays in the old place, frantically trying to get it fixed & packed up enough to be put on the market. We finally got that done yesterday, I think, and we dropped off the keys at the listing agent's office this morning. We are keeping our fingers (and everything we can) crossed and are hoping for a quick and smooth sale - please pray for us!

We saw our first big snowstorm in 2014 this weekend. NJ declared a state of emergency so both hubby and I opted to work from home last Friday, it was a blessing because school and daycare were both closed too and it was much easier (with Swe-cha) if both of us are home.

Hubby spent most of Saturday packing up the old place and hauled a lot of our stuff back to the new place. There are still some stuff left, sigh, but he was able to put them away in the hall closet so the house should still be ready to show, even with some of our personal stuff still left there.


On the (Breezy) home front, we unpacked a few more boxes over the Christmas and New Year holidays so we're doing okay. We're still chock-full of boxes for now but we'll get unpacked eventually. Hubby and I did a quick visit to a furniture shop one weekend and got to see different options but we didn't see a couch / sofa that we we both like yet but, again, we'll get there eventually, we're not in a hurry.

In the meantime, we're still tackling the lighting situation. We got a few more bulbs and switches replaced this weekend. I stopped tallying up expenses a long time ago but if my calculations are right, we have already spent close to $800 on lighting alone. These LEDs and switches don't come cheap =( I'm just hoping that they last long enough for the savings to catch up to their cost.

A few weeks ago I bought a motion-sensor switch for the basement, we always leave the lights on and then forget to turn it off. Unfortunately, the sensor switch didn't work with the ballast-fluorescent lighting currently installed there and since I've already opened the clamshell packaging and the product wasn't defective (we tested it out in another location), I couldn't return it and told hubby that it might be a good idea to install it in the garage instead. He said no and said to just keep it for when we refinish the basement.

Yesterday, hubby came to me and asked if we still had the motion-sensor switch, I said yes and he asked if it  wouldn't be a great idea to just use it in the garage ? Haha! I rolled my eyes, told him about a previous conversion we had weeks ago and he claims to  have no recollection. Anyway, it just goes to show that we do both agree on most things but it's just that sometimes, it takes him a while to get there =)

I love the convenience of being able to just step into the garage and grab a broom and dustpan (or whatever) and not have to fumble around for the light switch. We also replaced the bulb with a 40-watt equivalent daylight CFL but I think the space needs a brighter light, we'll replace that in the future and, yes, the garage needs a fresh coat of paint but this will have to wait till the weather gets warmer.

We also replaced the light bulbs in the master bathroom vanity this weekend. We planned to just get CFLs (cheaper) and replace the switch with a standard switch (cheaper too) but we couldn't find any decorative CFL bulbs that seemed suitable for the vanity light so we went with LEDs instead. The lights turned out to be dimmable so we just put in an appropriate switch. I'm happy to find that the old bulbs installed were 40 watts each (there were 5 of them) and the replacement 4-watt LEDs turned out to be much much brighter than the old ones even though they're supposed to be 40 watt equivalents as well.

All these lighting improvements we're installed make me feel so much better. I have less panic-attacks now whenever I see hubby and Swe-cha turn lights on full blast and leave them on.