Thursday, November 10, 2016

Plan B - family room

Okay, our plan to set up the upstairs bedroom to be Swe-cha's playroom has failed.

We started by moving all his toys upstairs but since we mostly stay in the living area, his toys would slowly find their way downstairs. It became too much trouble to bring them up again, especially the bulky ones that are difficult to move up and down the stairs like his Hot Wheels garage sets and race tracks - and I'm always scared that he might fall down the stairs if he tries to bring them down himself.

Now, our living room IS the play room. We really don't mind unless we get surprise visitors.

So we sort of designated the downstairs library/den to be the guest-receiving area but the seating options in that room really leave a lot to be desired and lately, we set up the Wii there (as per our original plan) and so it has become a pseudo-playroom as well.

We racked our brains and came up with an add-on to the plan. We'll move in to the upstairs BR with Swe-cha as well. That's where we'll hang out and if we're there, he'll spend more time there and hopefully we can keep the living room in reasonable order. Tamang-tama, we don't really have a family room so perhaps this can be it.

*fingers crossed*

Monday, November 7, 2016

Fall updates

A blog-worthy weekend:

(1) Hubby found our Wii which has been unused for 7 years. He plugged it in and Swe-cha loves Wii sports. He's been looking for basketball games and we might pick a used game from Gamestop - Wii games are so cheap now as we are probably the only ones still playing.

(2) I realized that my face and my usual orders are well-known in several restaurants now - a Starbucks in Paramus, the Vietnamese restaurant in Belleville and a couple of Dunkin Donuts in Clifton. It's a huge advantage when there's a long line in the order counter and the guys behind can start making up your order before you even make it to the front. All they need is a nod from me to go ahead and make the same.

(3) My car broke down. I heard a clanging noise come from the direction of the engine and soon after, I could not steer anymore (I lost power steering!). Thankfully, I had not gotten to a busy road yet - I was just about to turn into the main road when I realized my steering was compromised so I put on the hazard lights and slowly backed my way away from the busy street. God was watching out for me. Thank you, Lord.

We had AAA tow the mechanic and I'm still waiting to hear back on whether the car would be done today, I'll have to pick up a rental car otherwise. Nakaka-stress

and an exchange I overheard between hubby & Swe-cha:
Daddy: Swe-cha, let's clean up here, can you get the vacuum ?
Swe-cha: [runs off and calls out] Roomba!

[someone farts]
Mommy: Who farted ?
Swecha: that was totot [giggles]

Swecha: [puts on his crocs and shows them to me] Mommy, is balih-tad  ? (baligtad).

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween 2016

We went with stickers again in terms of pumpkin decorations this year.

I'm hoping that we might actually try our hands at carving out a pumpkin next year. We'll see :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Home Office

Found these $1 whiteboard-surface sheets a while back and thought they'd be great as a temporary writing board for my home-office-slash-Swe-cha's-study-room.

I didn't use them right away so I forgot I even had them until last night when I quickly needed some scratch paper to keep track of my weekend re-indexing for work.

As soon as the "whiteboard" was up, someone immediately commandeered half so I decided to stick that extra piece that I had below my board so Swe-cha can use it too.

Poke-gym realizations

So hubby and I have joined the latest craze, Pokemon-Go .

I've been reading up bits and pieces but it just goes to show that you learn more about a game and think up best strategies while you're actually playing it.

Last weekend, some friends organized an attack on a nearby gym. We all went there, attacked (it was super easy to defeat the gym defenders!) and took over the gym. I didn't really know what I was doing, just kept tapping on the screen and whatever icons happened to come out. At one point, one of the kids who were with us glanced at what I was doing and said "you're not even attacking, Tita Popcorn, you're just moving around.".

Haha, kaya pala akala ko madali lang.

They showed me how to get to the store and check out the gold coins you earned for defending the gym.

After that get-together, I sort of had an idea of what to do now. But it wasn't until afterwards, when I started going out and attacking gyms myself when it dawned on me what A said previously. She had made a comment on how we should've entered the weaker pokemons first, that would give a chance for the stronger ones to kill them.

I didn't get the point because we were on the same team, why'd there be a need to defeat the defenders ?

It wasn't until I actually went out and attacked gyms myself and tried to hold them when I realized the A's point.

- You can't fight in a gym until you get to level 5 and pick a team - red, blue or yellow.

- When you see a Pokemon Gym, there is a level indicator. The level tells how many pokemons are currently defending the gym. For example, a level 5 gym will have 5 monsters defending it. A level 2 will have 2 defending it and so on.

- A gym can either be unclaimed (soft gray / white color) or claimed, in which case it will show a badge in the color of the team currently holding it.

- If you have a pokemon parked in a or defending a gym, you earn 10 coins for every day that you hold the gym. Coins can be withdrawn once every 21 hours (there is a timer), you can only get coins for gyms you are currently defending. This means that even if you have been in the gym for a long time but was defeated just before you got to withdraw your coins, you lose them all.

- When you have a pokemon assigned to a gym, you cannot use that pokemon elsewhere. This is where I realized that having 1 strong pokemon of each type isn't enough. You'll need more than 1 if you plan to use it to defend a gym.

- There's no use attacking and holding a gym if there's just you. 1 pokemon isn't enough to hold on to a gym if someone starts attacking. It's better to look for a gym that's currently being held by your team already and when you initiate a friendly fight, it is a training session. Defeating pokemon(s) in a friendly team's gym will increase the prestige points of the team in that gym and eventually will level up the gym. This adds a spot which you can then quickly claim.

And yes, there is nothing stopping someone with very good timing coming in at the last moment and claiming that spot for himself even if he wasn't the one who worked to create that spot.

and this brings me to the next part of my post....

Remember that gym I mentioned attacking and claiming at the start of my post ? Anyway, at some point while I was still there, someone started attacking me. It wasn't difficult because it was only a level 1 gym and only had 1 monster defending it. I watched my pokemon die and saw the gym turn white / gray color that indicates it is unclaimed.

I clicked on it and then that little icon on the corner that lets you put someone inside and was so surprised to see that I actually got to claim it again! As I watched the gym get attacked again, I quickly healed my other monsters and got ready to step in and claim the gym again right after it gets defeated.

Hubby and I were cackling with glee and were so amused at what we considered to be pure evil genius moves. It was super fun.

Repeat 15x +++

It did get tiring after the nth time. And seriously, I did wonder how long i was going to want to sustain it ? But pride pushed me to stay. Eventually, the attacker gave up and I left too.

I defeated 2 other gyms afterwards, held them for a short period of time and realized that I was wasting my time because I was going to get defeated again as soon as I left. So I went and looked for a gym that was already being held by my team. It was a level 5 with 1 pokemon that I could defeat (all the others were too strong!). It took me more than 10 training sessions because since I could only defeat one monster each time, I was only increasing the prestige points a little at a time. I eventually got it to level up and was able to enter a monster.

Let's see how long this lasts.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Free checks

Received an email from my bank with the subject line "Important Information about your Account" this evening. Normally, I'd ignore these but tonight, I decided open it and read it. Boy, am I glad I did! I write a lot of checks (mostly for my child's daycare fees) and enjoy the free checks I get from my bank.

The email states that any check reorders after a certain date are not free anymore, we'd just get a few dollars off.

It's actually great timing because I'm down to my last booklet so I'm about to ask for a reorder in a few weeks anyway.

So I quickly call my bank's hotline and requested new checks. The agent asks, do you want 100 or 400 ? We can actually give you up to 400 new checks for free.

I want the free 400 checks, of course!

and now, I am going around the house with a wide smile plastered across my face. It's nice when life hands out freebies every now and then.

It almost makes me forget the shame I felt when I stalled the car on my way home today. I was so smug when I drove hubby's manual transmission car to the office (my regular car is off for a service) this morning and things went smoothly. I felt that driving stick-shift again after more than decade was just like getting back on a bike - easy, instinctive and uncomplicated so long as you don't think about it.

Bawal mayabang. Lesson learned =)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Glass shards

A little over 2 weeks ago, I had a small wound on the side of my foot. It seemed more like a puncture than a wound, I squeezed to let some blood out  ( thinking that it might cleanse the wound ), bathed the wound in alcohol and then sealed it with some liquid bandage. I didn't even notice when / where it happened and only felt the wound when I applied pressure on that part of my foot, I didn't know where and how I got it so it quickly went out of my mind.

A few days later, I got wounded again. This time, a little bit of skin/flesh was sliced off from my little toe. I was at the kitchen when it happened and it happened when I stepped on something sharp. After I'd controlled the bleeding and bandaged my wound, I got down on my hands and knees to look for the culprit. I found a glass shard.

That night, I showed it to hubby who responded with a "aaah, so that's where it went". Ayun pala, he was washing dishes a few days before and dropped a drinking glass. The glass didn't completely break but the lip was chipped and he's been looking for the pieces ever since.

And yes, he forgot to tell me about it.

Fast forward 2 weeks, my 2nd wound had already healed nicely - the one that had the skin sliced off and was the more painful one - had already healed and was dry. I was even able to get a pedicure and never felt anything at all. But the first one (the one that felt & looked like a small puncture) was still bothering me. I still feel a sharp pain every now and then when I step and put pressure on that area.

Reminded of a story that friend E told me about his wife having been injured when she stepped on something at the beach and the wound had not healed nicely even after several weeks, it turned out that glass particles were still left behind INSIDE the wound and the doctor had to open it up again and clean it up. I began to suspect that my first wound might have been caused by glass shards too and that it might still be in.

I disinfected some sharp implements with alcohol, braced myself and proceeded to break the skin on Wound 1. I poked around  with the tweezers and felt something  - it was tiny piece of glass splinter. I've pulled it out, rewashed and rebandaged my foot. I feel much better now.

Hubby has been reprimanded.

Next time, pag may nabasag, magwalis/vacuum/swiffer/whaever and to tell me! Thankfully, it was me who got injured and not our child.

Friday, June 17, 2016


Yesterday afternoon, I saw Swe-cha playing with his Thomas & Friends Miniature engines - Rex and Mike - and realized that Bert, the 3rd and last miniature engine, might be available now. When we got him Rex and Mike last year, hindi pa kasi available.

I checked only and saw that the die cast version (we prefer the take n play compared to the wooden ones) has already been released so I ordered it for delivery next week.

Kaya lang, Swe-cha didn't seem to realize that he will have to wait. I explained that we'll haveto wait for the mailman to come with the box next week and he immediately rushed down and started going through the boxes I have in the foyer (my other purchases which I have not opened yet). 

When he didn't find Bert, he came to me and asked,.. 

And because I couldn't make him understand that he has to wait until next week, I decided to lay it all on the husband's shoulders and told Swe-cha to wait for his daddy.

He then stopped bothering me, pulled a chair to the bay window to wait and declared "My Daddy's coming home, where's the Bert ?".

I called hubby and gave him a heads up. Thinking that today, Friday, is Swe-cha's graduation day and that we don't have a present anyway, he decided to drop by the toy store to see if he can get one quickly. Bert wasn't available so he got Oliver, a different train.

When he got home, he was rushed by Swe-cha who opened the door for him and immediately started searching in his bag.

Hubby says "We don't have Bert, you have to wait. Do you want Oliver instead?"

Swe-cha says "No."

Hubby: "who do you want ?"

Swe-cha says "Bert"

Hubby: "how about Oliver?"

Swecha: "No"

and that was the end of the Bert discussion/conversation and he moved on to a different toy. 
No tantrums. Okay rin, he made me so proud.

As for Oliver, he's going back to the store.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Losing our marbles

My friends and family know how much I hate to throw things away.

I have this mindset that things are "sayang" if they're still usable, I cannot bear to just throw them out. I save and save and hope to be able to reuse/recycle and/or give them away to someone who needs them later.

For the longest time, I've been racking my brains as to what to do with old prescription bottles. Between hubby and I (okay... mostly me), we do rack up a lot of these empty bottles over time.

I have various sizes and they have child-proof caps too! If you want a few, give me a hollar!

Am so happy today that I hit upon this idea -->
I use them to store my son's marbles. The 1st one are small marbles that go with his Q-Ba-Maze, the 2nd one are plastic marbles that go with Hungry Hippos and the last one are ceramic (I think) marbles that go with his Marble Run set.

Obviously, we're still missing a lot of marbles. I'm going to vacuum in and around furniture this weekend to see what we find. The best part of this is that they're child-proof containers, Swe-cha won't be able to play with them without my or his dad being aware that he is doing so. We can keep a closer watch and make sure he puts them back when he is done.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Today, I realized how much of a blessing rain is.

I grew up in the Philippines where our days are either rainy or sunny. We don't really look forward to rainy days because rain brought flood.

It wasn't really until I am all grown up and have become a homeowner with a yard that I realize how much easier rainy days are because I can skip watering the lawn and our vegetable garden. my days are when it rains because it means I can skip watering the lawn and our vegetable garden.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Scoop vs Shovel

While scooping some ice for my drinking water...

Swe-cha: (points to the scoop) shovel

Me: it's not a shovel, it's a scoop.

Swe-cha: shovel

Me: scoop

Swe-cha: shovel

Me: scoop

Repeat 100x. Nakakaloka!

Me: It's okay, I'm not going to talk to you anymore if you don't want to listen to me anyway.

Swe-cha: scoop.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Tweety & Sylvester

We spent part of our weekend at Six Flags Great Adventure (yes, again). As we were walking back, Swe-cha started dragging his feet.

Ayun pala, he saw Tweety and Sylvester at the Six Flags Characters meet-and-greet area. He said he wanted to get a hug. Thankfully, kalalabas pa lang yata because the line was short.

When it was our turn, I braced myself for carrying Swe-cha again (I had to do that last December at Disney else he'd run) but he was really good. He didn't need me at all. He ran to Tweety, gave a hug and got hugged, he then looked at Daddy, posed and said "Cheese!".

Then, when we were done taking pictures with Tweety and I tried to get him, he ran back to stand next to Sylvester. Onga naman.

Again, "Cheese" raw.

Big boy na siya.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Field Day 2016

Swe-cha's school is having their field day today.

Yesterday evening, I opened Swe-cha's homework folder and found instructions for field day. It listed a bunch of items:
- Wear sneakers and a shirt in your team's color - YELLOW
- blanket that can be put on the ground to sit on
- 2 bottles of drinking water with name written on it
Label and place all items in a drawstring bag.

I rummaged in Swe-cha's closet and could not find anything in yellow so I had to call his Dad and he found a yellow shirt at TJ Maxx's on his way home.

I also could not find a drawstring bag until I remembered getting one as a loot bag during a training I attended earlier this year.

I sure wish that teachers / schools would give out instructions like these at least 2 days before the event to give parents a chance to prepare, especially if there are very specific requests.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


It's such a treat to have a neighbor come knocking at the door and offer to mow our yard for $20.

$20 seems like a reasonable price. I was so happy, ni hindi ko na tinawaran, I just said yes and asked him if he was willing to come do ours every other week - okay lang rin!

The husband is so lucky, he gets a break from yardwork this season.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Field Trip Feedback

Swe-cha's class went on a field trip to Turtle Back Zoo today.

Me: Did you go to the zoo today ?
Swe-cha: Yes

Me: Did you go on the bus ?
Swe-cha: Yes

Me: Did Mrs C (teacher) go with you ?
Swe-cha: Yes

Me: Did you see lions?
Swe-cha: Yes

Me: What did the lions say ?
Swe-cha: Hello, roar!

Me: Did you feed the goats ?
Swe-cha: Yes

Me: Did you ride the train ?
Swe-cha: Yes

Me: Did you have fun ?
Swe-cha: No


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Middle Age

I took the husband's new car out for a ride this afternoon.

Someone told me that this car adds pogi points, you'll look more "gwapo" when you drive one.

Me ? I didn't feel gwapo (nor pretty) but rather, I felt young. I don't know if it's because it had a manual transmission and driving stick-shift brings back my earliest driving moments or maybe it's high-tech gauges and graphics in the console, all I know is that it made me feel younger.

So all this stuff I've heard about guys going through a middle-age crisis and getting themselves sportcars? I get it too.

BBQ and Java Rice

We had perfect grilling weather today and by that, we really mean that the day was slightly cloudy with just the barest hint of a chill in the wind.

I've had these pork skewers marinading since Friday night and by today, they were very flavorful already. Definitely the best bbq I've made so far, according to hubby, at par or even better than the ones we buy at restaurants.

Sarap rin to pair it with "java rice". :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Philippine Elections 2016

I don't usually get involved with politics. I'm interested and like to join discussions (mostly to expand my knowledge of current events) but when things start getting heated, atras na ako.

These days, I've seen a few former schoolmates post statements regarding the VP candidates.

Schoolmate 1 posted that she was angry because

"A strong solid 14.9M people who voted for Duterte WILL NEVER vote an LP for VP. That is as good as not wanting Duterte for President at all. So where did Leni's numbers came from? If you will eliminate cheating employed on this result her true standing will either be behind Chiz Escudero (who happens to be more popular and known than her) or ahead of him by a small margin. Similar to Mar and Grace numbers. Sobrang obvious! Saan mo hinugot ang numero mo Leni?"

I left a comment that said plenty of people I know voted for candidates from different parties, myself included. Why would people who voted for Duterte not vote Robredo ?

The response was "It's okay if you're a Robredo supporter, my spouse likes her too."

It wasn't really an answer but I didn't pursue it. I had the feeling that we'd end up nowhere.

Next day, I saw another post from another schoolmate. This time,it was a shared post saying,
"Mga Duterte supporters, ibinoto nyo ba si Leni ? Dalawang tao lang ang pwedeng iboto ng Duterte supporters, si Marcos lang or si Cayetano. Saan nanggaling ang boto ni Leni?"

At this point, I still haven't learned my lesson so I left a message asking "why does it not make sense for Duterte supporters to vote for Leni ? bakit raw ? "

And her reply was "Ang point may be... Majority ng mga duterte followers would be voting for marcoa and cayetano its like 40 40 10 10 ang labanan which is 40 kay caye 40 kay bong 10 10 would be for the rest."

"Ano ulit? San galing yan ?" ,I asked

"Yung 40-40-10-10 yan.", schoolmate 2 emphasized, as if ako yung malabong kausap.

Medyo nakakapikon.

Para sigurado at baka naman ako lang talaga ang mahirap makaintindi, nag google ako ng "40 40 10 10", wala namang lumabas na relevant hits.



Obviously, hindi nila alam ang pinagsasabi nila, post lang nang post, share nang share at reklamo nang reklamo, pero hindi naman kaya i back up.

Parang nagulat pa nga si Schoolmate 2 nung nagtanong ako. Haha!

and then there is Sandro Marcos who claimed that there is dayaan kasi raw bakit iba nang total # of votes for President compared to the total # of votes ng VP. Then later, aamin rin siya that he was one of those people whose vote for president got invalidated because he made a mistake with the form.

Minsan, think first before you post para hindi mapahiya o magmukhang tanga.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mothers' Day Nightmares

Had the most awful nightmares last night.

Swe-cha couldn't sleep on his own due to his cold and moved to sleep beside me on the big bed. He kept tossing and turning and essentially  kept me awake most of the night.

Despite waking up several times during the night, I'd go right back to a similar-themed nightmare as soon as I fell asleep - someone keeps kidnapping Swe-cha!


The first few nightmares, we were able to recover him.

We have not been able to find him yet when I woke up from my last one this morning. At one point, I remember feeling very depressed, I just wanted to die and I planned to do that if we didn't get him back. I remember thinking, I didn't want to live if I didn't have him.

Please keep him safe, Lord.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Roomba meets the Croods

Swe-cha: "Off you go, little robot!"

It's nice to see that Roomba is making new friends by giving them a ride.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Out with the old...

Today is the day we say goodbye to an old and faithful friend.

For 13 and a half years, you've brought us places and kept us safe.

Thank you, Impreza, for the good service.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Six Flags Great Adventure

Given that Swe-cha enjoyed the theme park rides when we went to Sea World & Universal Studios last December, we decided to splurge and go for a season's pass to Six Flags Great Adventure this year.

It also seemed like a good deal because with the following price matrix, we figured that if we went twice, we'd already be ahead with the Season Pass. What cinched the deal was the additional free Season parking pass that we were able to get. Sobrang sulit na to get the season pass because we'd already be saving ourselves $50 (cost of 2 days' parking) by our 2nd trip.

Daily tickets (gate price)$69.99
Daily tickets at discounted price from SixFlags website$44.99
Daily tickets from Working Advantage$41.99
Parking (gate price)$25
Parking (pre-paid online)$23.75
Season Parking$65
Season Pass$81.99

We went for the first time this morning. The weather was great, temps were in the mid 60s so it was just the perfect day (for us) to be walking under the sun. The only fly in the ointment was that the allergy index must have very high today because we were all sneezing and suffering itchy eyes and runny noses before we even got there. Hubby and I we a bit luckier because I had an emergency stash of Claritin (allergy meds) in my bag. I didn't have any for kids (note to self, bring some!). It didn't take long for Swe-cha to become slightly sungit because he was very uncomfortable.

When we looked at the time when we were leaving, we were surprised that we had stayed there 3 hours - it was exactly what I had predicted that morning when hubby asked me how long we planned on staying. I had told him "3 hours, maybe. we'll just play it by ear"

Rides taken:
- Carousel
- Skyway (cable car)
- Air Safari
- Road Runner Railway
- Taz's Tornado
- Bugs Bunny Camp Carousel
- Runaway Mine Train
- Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train (soon to be renamed the Harley Quinn Crazy Train)

I think there are one or two more rides that we did which aren't on the website,

Looking forward to our next trip, we plan on getting on Skull Mountain, The Dark Knight and the Safari ride.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Insurance costs

So we're trying to decide what to do with our older car - it's the very first car I purchased, a 2003 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport Wagon. At 136,000 miles, it works great as we do maintain it religiously.  Being that it's well-maintained, we also have a hard time letting it go.

Yun nga lang, the value of the car is down to maybe $2k-$3k (if we're really lucky) and it costs us $1k in insurance every year. Parang hindi na sulit. No wonder, I see a lot of cases on court tv involving uninsured motorists. Used cars are so cheap, you could get one for several hundred bucks, but insurance costs so much so they just opt to drive uninsured.

Ano kaya ?

edit* nasa $5k+ pa pala yung value. Merong hindi nag research nang maayos, wag na natin pag usapan kung sino. Grrrr.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Frosted glass doors

We have these sliding pocket doors that separate the foyer and the den / family room.

They have clear glass panes and sometimes, it drives me nuts when I imagine how people standing just outside our front door can peer inside and see all the way through our house.

I've been looking at different window-frosting solutions and found a roll of window film from DC Fix which you can use to cover glass panes and make them appear frosted - there's different designs available. Each roll cost me around $7, a roll covers up to 12 panes and each door as 15 panes - to save you a bit of calculation, I bought 3 rolls to cover both doors.

Now, when I hang out in the den and want the place to feel open, I just slide the doors open and when I want a bit more privacy, I close the doors.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Let's Keep It Real

So the internet has been buzzing about Manny Pacquiao's statement about the LGBT community.

All sorts of people have given their opinions and syempre, may comments rin ako:

- Tama ba namang icompare ang LGBT to animals ? Napaka harsh naman nun. Mas masakit pa kung iisipin mo kung ano si Manny. Kala mo kung sinong napakabanal na tao na walang kasalanan, e kalat na kalat naman yung infidelity nya. Hindi ba ipinagbabawal sa bible ang kumaliwa sa asawa ?

Kunsabagay, am sure na tinawag rin siyang hayop ni jinky nung times na kumakaliwa siya ;)

- Some people say that Manny is a hero, he's done so much for our country and he's even bled for our country - napaka super duper OVER naman nito. Yes, he excelled in his sport and has given our people so much to be proud of. Pero di naman tama na i-compare siya sa mga servicemen whose lives are on the line every day.

Boxing is Manny's sport / livelihood, it's not a service to his community/countrymen.

He is NOT a hero.

- In fairness to Manny Pacquiao, I have to admire his commitment. He apologized for his words but he remained committed to being against same-sex marriage. He's surely lost a lot of votes already, he even got dropped as an endorser by Nike, but he remains steadfast in his resolve.

- It's true that the Catholic Church is against homosexuality but it's also true that the Catholic Church tenets have been around for a long time, baka dapat nang ma-update ?

One time, I had a discussion with a friend about same-sex marriages. Sabi ni friend, against raw siya dahil "Katoliko ako eh and bawal sa simbahan yan". Immediately, I pointed out, "e diba ipinagbabawal rin ng simbahan ang IVF ? bakit nag IVF ka ? " Natahimik at napaisip si friend. Eventually, nung nakapagsalita na siya, "you have a point" ang sagot nya.

- May relative ako na feeling ko LGBT pero hindi naman siya nagladlad pa. Siguro ayaw rin bigyan ng sakit ng ulo ang parents/family nya. Sana someday, may chance rin siya ilabas ang totoong pagkatao nya in public. Can't be easy having to keep your real self a secret.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Maki Mi

I've been craving Maki-Mi for the longest time but we can't seem to find any restaurants in our area which has it - I don't remember seeing it in any of the Chinatown (NYC) shops either. My Aunt in CA makes it and so does my bro-in-law (in CA too) but I've never gotten the chance to ask them how to make it.

Today, the stars came into alignment. I had extra lomo (pork tenderloin) left over from a dish I made a couple of days ago. I wanted something maasim and got a pack of sinigang mix from the Asian store. Then, thinking that it is also Chinese New Year, I went back and got black vinegar too. The black vinegar really pulled everything together and made me think maki-mi.

I started browsing through the net to look for some interesting recipes. The actual cooking process took me a bit longer than usual so we didn't get to sit down for dinner till around 9:30p or just past that but this was so worth the wait.

Honestly, na surprise rin ako that it turned out great. Somewhere in the middle of the process, I tasted my maki soup and medyo nagduda ako and started worrying that I was wasting food.

Hubby loved it so much, he even asked for seconds, nagluto pa ulit ako ng noodles. Nag request pa siya ng wonton noodles for next time (sabi ko sure, sa next Chinese new year ulit).

*pats myself on the back*

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Winter storm Jonas

I was at Walmart earlier today to pick up an equipment mat for our treadmill (oo, seryosong exercise na ito).

While waiting in line, I spied several customers picking up bags of ice melt so I decided to pick up a couple of bags too on my way out. I figured there must be something coming our way.

Good thing I did, looks like we're in for a lot of snow this weekend.

I remember the last time we got a forecast of a foot of snow - my car was entirely buried, including the radio antenna!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Peter Sam

So I got Swe-Cha a Peter Sam train today and when I took it out of the bag, he immediately exclaims, "PETER SAM!".

Now, he's been very good at remembering the Thomas & Friends trains. He could identify them by their pictures long before he can even communicate his basic needs to us.

I asked him, "How do you know this is Peter Sam ?" I didn't really expect him to answer a "how" question yet but I was curious and I thought I'd ask.

He points to where the packaging says the name, "See ? P, E, tersam" as he pointed to the letters P and then E and then the rest of the name.


He looked out the window this afternoon and saw snow falling. He says "Oh, it's snowing!".

Caza Trail Sweet Iced Tea (KCup)

The Sweet Iced Tea k-cups I ordered arrived a few days ago so hubby and I amused ourselves brewing some iced tea on our Keurig machine this afternoon. We've been experimenting on the different combinations that we'd brew just so we could get the iced tea to our taste.

The manufacturer recommends a 6oz or 8oz brew.

The first one I tried was an 8oz and it turned out too strong, despite being watered down by all the ice I put in. We brewed a few more cups from the same k-cup, mixed them all together and eventually got the desired taste but we lost track of what we did.

This evening, I did a 10oz strong brew followed by a 6 oz strong brew, it tasted too watered down. Next time, I'll try and 8oz and a 6oz - this is actually the purpose of this post, so I'd remember what combinations I've tried already and how it turned out.

Interestingly, these k-cups aren't Keurig 2.0 compatible but the first 2 we brewed worked! The machine didn't complain until we were on our 3rd k-cup, sabi siguro nya inaabuso na namin. And so we took out our secret weapon - yung FREEDOM CLIP. It's a clip that you install on the keurig to bypass the DRM checking.

Conclusion, "not bad". Don't know if I'll buy more of these in the future - mukha namang matagal tagal mauubos itong 24 pcs if we can brew a lot from a single cup and share it. Hubby finds it too sweet so we might opt for just regular breakfast tea. I do like it naman. Note that this is sweetened with Stevia and has 18g of sugar per serving.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Last weekend, we brought Swe-cha to the salon for his haircut, mahaba na kasi hair nya.

Since he does so well these days (during haircuts), we save time by having our hair cut at the same time. 

Most of the time, it works out well. Kaya lang, medyo palpak last time. The hair lady must have misunderstood me because she cut my hair too short. 

Now, I look like this (see below). Buti na lang may sense of humor ako. =P


I've always tried to engage Swe-cha in conversation and we're getting some progress lately. Katuwa because he used to just ignore me when I ask follow up questions but these days, he really makes an effort.

Scenario 1:
Swe-cha: Potato Sticks please mom.
Me: Why do you want the potato sticks ?
Swe-cha: I need eat!

Scenario 2:
Swe-cha: Florida, Seaworld
Me: What will you do in seaworld ?
Swe-cha: the shamu ride
 Me: What will you do in the shamu ride ?
Swe-cha: do you want to scream ? ahhhhhh! (and raises his arms the way people do on roller coasters)

Scenario 3:
Swe-cha: Coke, Mom
Me: (I pretend to misunderstand) Okay, what do you want Mommy to cook ? Do you want egg ?
Swe-cha: Coke!
Me: Yes, I'll cook for you, what do you want to eat ?
Swe-cha: I drink the Coke, Mom.
Me: How about you just drink milk ?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Having fun

Sometimes, I look back at our conversations at home and I just have to smile. We live a simple life, but we do have fun.

Just this afternoon, we were watching a movie we had recorded on the DVR - "The Mighty Ducks". I referred to Joshua Jackson (I could not recall his name until I googled it a few seconds ago) as "that Pacey guy who later starred in Fringe" and this was how it went from there:

Hubby: sya rin yung nasa Dawson's Creek diba ?

Me: (thinking "aba, naintindihan nya!") oo, sya yung isa sa mga bida doon

Hubby: related ba yun sa Melrose Place ?

Me: Hindi, baka Beverly Hills 90210 iniisip mo.

Hubby: oo nga pala. Anong story nung Dawson's Creek ?

Me: Meron kasing creek...

Hubby: tapos ?

Me: hindi ko na alam, hindi ako nanood ever eh. Baka similar plot doon sa tagalog series na "Tabing Ilog"

Both of us laugh at this point....


Me: oo, I'm not kidding.

Hubby: e anong story nung Tabing Ilog ?

Me: Meron kasing ilog...

Hubby: tapos ?

Me: nasa tabi sila

Hubby: tapos ?

Me: hindi ko na rin alam, hindi rin ako nanonood nun eh.


Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Eve 2016

This is our new year's eve spread pamahiin/pampa-swerte spread.

For the first time in many years, we actually had 13 types of fruits as opposed to just 13 pcs. I didn't intentionally set out doing it this way, it just happened.

We have:
  1. pineapple
  2. apple
  3. orange
  4. kiwi
  5. avocado
  6. cantaloupe
  7. honeydew
  8. asian pear
  9. strawberries
  10. blueberries
  11. mandarin oranges (halos)
  12. red seedless grapes
  13. bananas
Then, as my friend K has taught me and because I like doing these little pamahiins whenever I can, I prepped 3 containers and filled them to overflowing with 
  1. rice (bigas)
  2. salt
  3. water
I put coins in at the last minute to symbolize financial blessings. As K taught me, the containers have to be filled to the point of overflowing to show abundance, the containers do not have to be very big. I happened to have bread and ham (in the box) so I put them out as well, nothing to do with pamahiin.

These preparations become the subject of a long discussion between my and my Achi every year. She always asks kasi what to prepare and when I give her the list of things, ang dami nyang objections & questions. For example:

Achi: Nako, now I'll have to buy salt pa kasi konti na lang yung nasa bahay. kelangan ba puno? ang hassle. E kung bumili na lang ako ng container and then yung buong container ilalagay ko sa table, pwede na ba yun? Ang hirap kasi ibalik sa container ang salt if na pour out mo na. E kung kanin na lang na cooked gamitin ko? Marami kasi kaming naluto, para di na ako maglalabas ng bigas.

... and ... so ... on.

And this goes on every year. Nakakaloka no ?

And as a response, I go through my own long-winded explanation / sermon with the following bullet points:

  • these are pamahiin, you don't have to do them if you don't feel like doing it
  • I did not invent them, tinuro lang rin sa akin. Don't ask me to give you different variations. 
  • So far as superstition goes, my belief is that you do what makes you feel good. For example, on most years, my 13 fruits are all just a combination of apples, oranges and grapes and I was okay with that because I was too busy to do more shopping.
Now, if you're asking me for things that you can or cannot do or what to substitute, hindi ko masasagot yan. That is all you. As I keep repeating, "Do whatever makes you feel good". If you want to put the whole salt container on the table instead of pouring it out, edi sige. Do that and be okay with it. Do not ask for my approval kasi hindi naman ako ang nag imbento nyan.
On a different note, Swe-cha decided to end the 2015 with a bang. 

I'd already prepared the fruits and these containers and set them out on the kitchen peninsula. 

While I was upstairs prepping the bedrooms, I hear clinking noises. I called out to Swe-cha and he came running, when asked what he was doing, he said "eat strawberries, yum!"


I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I ran downstairs and this was what greeted me. He decided he wanted to eat strawberries and that was what he did. Ewan ko why he had to mess with the platter - the apple, salt, rice and water, naglaro lang siguro.

So I washed some strawberries and gave it to him. Surprisingly, kinain! Hindi marami kasi hindi matamis yung strawberries eh, sayang :( He has not eaten strawberries before today, hanggang drama lang and saying "strawberries, yum!" as if he really tasted them.

After this, he ate some blueberries too. Hindi nya nagustuhan. Pero at least he tried willingly.