Thursday, January 29, 2009

What I Was Really Writing

Up until recently, my regular work-at-home gig involved writing for super affiliate marketers. I didn't really understand how the entire process works, but my visits to various WAH websites of late have greatly enlightened me.

Taming the Chicken (Pox)

So, most of Marguerite's scabs have fallen off. I thank God for the really tame chicken pox experience. Of course, the little girl in herself is always wildly energetic, but she didn't go through any insanely itchy episodes. She also didn't get a lot of spots. I have been very vigilant about her diet the entire time - no eggs, no seafood, nothing fried, very little dairy, and very little sugar... Last night, however, I made fish and chips for Husband and myself. Husband hadn't come home yet (honestly, we follow a European meal schedule - dinner at 9 to 10 - around here not by any intended design, but simply to cater to Husband's hours.) and the first batch of food was already on the table, I turned to look from my cooking and saw Marguerite calmly feeding herself chips (french fries). I debated with myself whether to stop her, but ended up just shrugging and letting her have at it. When I added the first set of fish, I told her not to touch the fish because they're hot. She nodded and continued gorging on the chips. Of course, later on when she felt that the fish had cooled, I found her also eating the them. What was I supposed to do? I thought I'd just deal with whatever possible itching that was going to happen, although I did begin to worry that Husband and I wouldn't have anything but crumbs to feed on at the rate Marguerite was going. Fortunately there was still more than enough for us when she filled up. Anyway, as of the wriiting of this post, no itching has yet occurred.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Where to Get Mortgage Leads

Live Mortgage Leads can help brokers obtain as much information as they can about Mortgage Leads, Loan Modification Leads, Loan Mod Transfers, etc. To keep its clients abreast of information, Live Mortgage Leads provides voice broadcasts and robo calls. It guarantees accuracy and excellent results, as well as allows clients to save money geared towards marketing and advertizing. It covers all 50 states and does not have minimum purchase requirement for mortgage leads.

Ants in Our Pants

Marguerite is getting antsy about being cooped up indoors. Fortunately, I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve to distract her, although I do say that we can't go out because of her chicken pox (scabby stage now - do you think I'm next? lol). Anyway, markers and fingerpaint are losing their allure. Frozen fruit juice cubes are always a welcome treat. Looking out the balcony and waiting for fireworks work at night (with the Chinese New Year, we've recently been treated to numerous fireworks displays we could watch from our balcony, plus there's a place in the horizon that has fireworks every night, I think. Will have to find out what place that is.). Letting her wash her hands by herself and letting her arrange the chairs (she's all about lining things up) sometimes work. Treasure hunts are attractive only if she gets to look for something she thinks is interesting. Playing "fort" is usually effective... Messy and noisy activities are guaranteed to appeal. Sigh. Hopefully her chicken pox goes away before I run out of ideas.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Real Deal Detox

Thanks to Hollywood and some of its notorious personalities, checking into rehab has become almost trendy. These supposedly rehabilitated stars’ behavior upon getting out makes you doubt the effectiveness of the expensive treatment facilities that handled their rehabilitation. Pat Moore Foundation, on the other hand, has 23 solid years of experience in helping people recover from their drug or alcohol dependence. It has a “real deal” approach to drug and alcohol detox and treatment, so there is none of those infamous characters whose supposed rehabilitation leaves us wondering as to the efficacy of the process. Pat Moore definitely is an authority when it comes to medical detox with its pool of experts, but it also provides non-medical treatment and support as part of the process.

What's to Be Jealous of Jalousies

Marguerite's room is still a mess of boxes and things that need to be stored or restored. She has her toy and book shelves more or less fixed (unless she has just been in, in which case everything would be on the floor), but that's basically it other than the window. When we first looked at this place, I was turned off by the kind of windows they have. They remind you of classrooms from the '80s. Anyway, I still don't like them, but I'm doing what I can to beautify the window area. This is Marguerite's window. I've hung pink and purple tulle, the beaded portiere that my sister made for me when I was still living in Subic (it hung in the entry to the hall leading to the bedrooms), and an old sparkly lavender shawl. I'll embellish it some more, but at least, the window looks less hideous now.

Getting Ready to Promenade

It’s that time of the year again when high school junior and senior girls set forth to seek out prom dresses advice from fashion gurus, magazines, websites, etc. This task requires time and effort. After all, how many times does a young girl get to go to a prom? For many, they get exactly one chance and that is it. Prom night is one of those occasions that need to go perfectly because of their rarity. It happens at a particular stage in your life and even if you force to go through one again later on, it’s just not the same. It’s representative of a certain time and it needs to happen the way you have always imagined it. This is an event that girls really look forward to, after all, pretty much in the same way they look forward to their sweet sixteen, their debut, or even their wedding. That’s why prom dresses matter. Prom dresses are not ordinary pretty dresses. For many girls, it’s like walking the red carpet. Prom dresses contribute a lot to making the night a success. Smart girls start looking for prom dresses early to make sure that they end up with the best pick.

Money through Blogging

I'm posting my reply to my churchmate's comment here yesterday because I think other people could be wondering about the same things he inquired about.

I wonder if I can do that thing (blogging) also.

You can blog, of course. Anybody can, but it takes know-how to create a blog that would hold the interest of readers as well as generate a lot of hits. Personally, I blog more as a writing exercise, so I'm not really very strategic about this. I think it's safe to say that blogs that are helpful and informative should be popular among readers of the same interest. Case in point, I know that most of my readers are mothers like me.

I just want to learn something about making money online.. maybe you can give me some advice that I can use.

Right now I don't have a regular writing gig, so I'm not earning that much. I basically have my blog and that's it. I earn through it by means of Google AdSense and paid posts.

Google Adsense is the banner or box of ads you usually see on websites. In my blog's case, this appears on the right margin of the page. When people click on the ads there, an amount is added to my account. It's not much, so since not a lot of people visit my blog (unlike the ones that get 1000 hits a day), it takes me a while to generate the minimum payout amount which is $100. It actually took me a year to generate my first hundred bucks.

As for paid posts, I've signed up with a few sites that offer opportunities for this (PayPerPost, SocialSpark, Blogsvertise, Smorty, etc.). You basically write a post that follows all the requirements indicated in the opportunity (number of words, hyperlinks, positive tone, etc.) and then submit it for approval.

In what way do you receive your income in the internet?

I mostly use Paypal to receive payment, but I've also used Xoom and Western Union in the past.

Hope this helps. :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

WAH Tips

As a WAHM, I’m always on the lookout for ways to make money online. I think I’ve tried almost everything and have ultimately avoided being scammed by refusing to shell out any amount of money no matter how great a program sounds. On the other hand, I have wasted some of my precious time having a go at some worthless online endeavors. The thing is, you have to be smart about your time online as well. Tips from WAH veterans are always helpful, so Timon Weller’s website, Buyers Web, is a great place to consult regarding earning money from home. It has everything from affiliate marketing tips to blogging how-tos. Weller has been doing it for over three years and his blog is there to help others who wish to do the same thing. Those who are interested can subscribe via email rss for regular updates.

We Play Distraction

Of course they're smart. Every second is a moment of learning. That's why we call them little sponges. The thing is, I was still amazed to realize that that was what Marguerite was actually doing. I've mentioned a gazillion times that I'm following a positive/gentle discipline style with my daughter (and yes, even with the conscious decision and the great effort, I HAVE snarled at her and used words I try to avoid, but it doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying because I've slipped before. I wake up every morning praying for wisdom, guidance, patience, and self-control. Lots of 'em.) but what I've mostly been doing to avoid any unpleasantness is the distraction technique. Anyway, I've noticed that whenever I got upset or tried to talk to Marguerite about whatever it was she had been up to, she'd start acting cheerful and waving "Hi! Hello!" at me. Sometimes, she'd even point excitedly at something really boring (that ought to tell me that she had long been on to me with all my "Look at that black ant! Look at that blue speck!") and yell "Look!" The thing is, she wouldn't pay attention to me or even let me talk, until I've said "Hi" back at her or I've looked at what she was pointing at. When I've shifted from my initial intent and mood to do that, then she'd let me talk, but of course, my momentum has been lost. Very clever technique, that distraction thing. Honestly? I think she's better at it than me.

Easier to Be Social Online

Social network sites abound, but it's fun to hook up with people you have something in common with, even if something trivial as the phone you use or movies you love. The best kinds are the ones that let you promote your blog. :)

Drying Up

Marguerite is beginning to itch more now. I think it's mostly because her spots are turning scabby and scabs are usually itchy. She's being wily, that little one. Sometimes, when I stop her from scratching, she'd immediately stop and then nonchalantly go to a corner where I can't see her or to another room entirely to continue scratching there. My MIL was forced to celebrate her birthday here in our apartment because of Marguerite's chicken pox. The little munchkin isn't aware that she's some sort of VIP, lol.

Now, does anybody have any tips on preventing chicken pox scars? I came across posts on sandalwood oil and Vitamin E oil, but I still have to research on them further.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Have Your Own Shop

Many SAHMs have decided to sell items on eBay to help augment the family income. Many of them have actually flourishing businesses that started out with just an item or two sold online. A virtual store may have different requirements, but it’s a more feasible option for mothers who want to stay at home. Those who want to pursue this kind of endeavor can avail of services from I.M. Online to help them come up with an eBay store design. Virtual store pages can be customized so they are more attractive, functional, and accessible.


Rules of a very short meme:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag 5 people.

The nearest book is Alexandra Stoddard's "Mothers, a Celebration". The sixth to eighth sentences are the following:

"But how, you may ask, do we find this copious free time, this luxury to nurture and develop ourselves, to take time out to meditate or be solitary? One of the things we can all do is take a good, hard look at all the things we do and ask ourselves, do we need to do them all? We mothers can learn to build minibreaks into our schedules to ensure private time, no matter how demanding or hectic life becomes."

I tag anybody who's interested in doing this. I'm really very bad at the tagging rule, lol.

Inching My Way to the Great Outdoors

Speaking of spending time outdoors, I regret that I’m not more outdoorsy. I was when I was younger though. In fact, all through grade school I was a member of the Scouts and was even a patrol leader my last year. Come high school, my interest dwindled to practically non-existent. I still liked reading magazines and books about the great outdoors, but I more or less remained a couch potato. I also still liked browsing at mountaineering stores or going shopping with cousins and friends when they buy North Face or Arcteryx stuff; mountain gear is always fascinating after all. In college, I finally decided to dip my toe in outdoor recreation since it seemed to be the thing (mountaineering, rock climbing, naturalist activities...). Anyway, it may not have been a solid attempt at being more outdoorsy, but I still enjoyed being a spectator. I remember watching climbers scaling the face of this cliff in Yosemite (not El Capitan, I forget which), their Rock Climbing Shoes-clad feet sticking to what appeared to me as smooth surface and just holding my breath. I still like to read about these things and marvel at having such an experience. Maybe I’ll be more than a spectator someday.

We Are Determined Not to Start an Epidemic

With our self-imposed quarantine, Marguerite and I are really trying to be resourceful when it comes to entertainment. I hoped to be completely unplugged, but I admit I've had to resort to the TV sometimes. Poor Marguerite has been more or less understanding about staying indoors, but there have been moments (sleepy ones) when she still demanded to "go OUT!!!". I tended to compromise and just blew bubbles in the balcony. Fortunately the other day, Marguerite found this bug in the kitchen.

When we explore outside, bugs are usually some of the main fascinations. Marguerite has a scratched plastic magnifying glass that she usually brings with her when we go outside (along with a broken pink film camera, a squeaky board book, and a stuffed frog purse). Anyway, when she found this bug, she went to get her trusty lupa (I resort to the Spanish word because the English one is too long, lol) for closer inspection. I went online to google it, of course, and found this. I thought it looked like a ladybird bug except that it was that tan color and had no spots. Funny how it's supposedly called (if I researched right) 10-spot ladybird. I guess spots aren't in season. When I told Marguerite what it was, she started singing the "lalalalala ladybug" song (bububububuh butterfly, doodoodoodoodoo doodlebug, we are the dribbly dell singers, hehe) from Miss Spider.

So yeah, I just need to be more creative and inventive and we can really be more unplugged.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Online Mixers

The virtual world continues to grow in magnitude to completely parallel the actual world. Where people used to leave the house to interact with others, they now have LAN parties available to them. Gamers and other online aficionados in Kansas City, for instance, can look up call of duty cheats at the KC LAN Party Source website. It is a blog that reviews hardware products and other related gadgets.

Baking Soda Is Where It's at

It would be really amazing if I still don't catch chicken pox this time. I've ended up several times having food Marguerite had been eating stuffed into my mouth (a slice of apple or cracker she didn't want to finish). Also she has been very sweet lately, sidling up to me for hugs and cuddles and I happily oblige, of course. Anyway, she's absolutely normal except for the spots. They don't seem to be bothering her that much. Sometimes she'd see them and would want to pick at them, but they don't seem to be itching much at all. When she'd start scratching, I'd simply remind her that the doctor had told her not to scratch and she'd stop right away. So, basically I mix baking soda into her bath water (day and night) and that seems to do the trick. My game plan is to dab at itchy spots with cotton soaked in water with baking soda, but that hasn't been necessary thus far. I have a list of natural remedies for chicken pox stuck on my fridge door too, most of which I have here at home, but the occasion to try them out has not risen yet. Of course, we're not giving her eggs and dairy at the moment (except for a little milk. We really don't give her chicken yet, so that one's not a problem.) so as not to aggravate any itching she might feel.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Now Understand "Car and Driver"

I think I’ve mentioned before that I used to have a regular work-at-home gig writing for a car-related website. It was an interesting job and I really learned a lot. I used to know zilch about the automobile industry and I would just nod absently every time my husband, the car nut, would go on and on about models, makes, vintage styles, trends, blah, blah, blah… To quote a recently popular literary character, “I don’t speak Car and Driver.” Nowadays, car talk in our home has become a two-way street with myself contributing to the conversation, and more importantly, actually listening to what my husband is enthusing about. Anyway, one of the things I learned (and wrote about actually) is how the economic crunch has affected the automobile industry, especially the Detroit Big 3 and how they now have declining market shares. According to several of my sources, this isn’t going to get better for them as the entry of cars from China in the US auto market is foreseen. China is quickly and steadily establishing its presence and import in the world of cars. Those involved in the auto industry should take heed. One of the biggest car-related companies in China is BYD and reading on BYD Stock is definitely worth the time.

I Need Me a Key Finder

... or something that does the job - like an organized mind. I can never find them just when I'm about to step out the door. The thing is, I usually had put it somewhere convenient just minutes before so I don't forget them. However, with making sure that I and Marguerite, plus all of our effects (Marguerite insists on piling toys into our tote, toys she usually forgets about, making them unnecessary extra weight) are ready and that the apartment is safe (everything but the fridge unplugged, all the windows close, the balcony door locked, etc.), my mind goes in a million different directions and buries that tidbit of information telling me where the keys are somewhere where they're not easily retrieved. Even more annoying is that I usually find them at the last second in one of the places I first looked, but hadn't seen that time. So yeah, I couldn't find the keys the day Marguerite and I went to her pedia to confirm the chicken pox. They were in the tote, of course, but I only saw them as the intercom sounded announcing the arrival of our cab. Sigh. I think it's relevant to add that I used to find the house key inside the fridge when I was living alone, so...

Halloween Costume for Non-Halloween Occasions

Costume parties are great. I think it would be fun to do Arabian Nights next. You can come in a genie costume. Belly dancers, sheiks, camels, etc. will also work. I already have a muzak playlist in mind (“Midnight at the Oasis”, “Caravanserai”, “Ojos Así”…). Before my sister got sick, we were always coming up with excuses to put on costumes. We used to throw themed birthday parties for our cousins (just small affairs with just the cousins and a fistful of close friends). One time, we did Alice in Wonderland for Cheska, another time it was Peter Pan for Luigi. I think the last one we did prior to the most recent October 31st Sale we had was Chipi’s Mexican telenovela-themed birthday party. Anyway, this proves that costumes come in handy any time of the year.

Costumes are always fun and usually relevant to creative spirits who like to make ordinary days more exciting. Go to online stores and you’ll soon start devising a way to wear a costume before Halloween. In any case, you can just go shopping for Halloween early, get several costumes and resolve to hit various parties this year. The Costume Cauldron is a great place to do your shopping. It has a secret HAUNTED HOUSE backdoor on the website that can net you a good discount. To get to this backdoor, go to the homepage halfway down on the right and click on the brown comma in the line that reads “Our Store now has over 10,000 masquerade items for you to choose from!”.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Elizabeth Pantley's Latest No-Cry Book

One of my favorite parenting gurus, Elizabeth Pantley, has come out with a new No-Cry book, “The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems”. The following are the description and an excerpt from the book:

The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems

Foreword by Tim Seldin, President, The Montessori Foundation; Chair, International Montessori Council
Introduction by Meir H. Kryger, MD, Chairman of the National Sleep Foundation


Will your child only nap in your arms, in a swing, or after elaborate rituals? Does your child take cat naps -- or none at all? Let world-renowned, trusted parenting author Elizabeth Pantley help you. She’ll guide you with the same sensitive expertise and gentle approach used in her other No-Cry bestsellers about sleep, discipline and potty training.

Research proves that daily naps improve health, mood, growth, intelligence and well-being. Yet children often resist the naps they need and parents don’t know how to make them happen. The results are fussy, crying babies and cranky, grouchy kids who also have trouble sleeping at night!

In The No-Cry Nap Solution Pantley explains to parents of children ages newborn to kindergarten the importance of napping to both behavior during the day and sleeping during (and through!) the night. She then shares with you her gentle, loving child-friendly techniques--tested on families of all sizes and circumstances--and shows you how you can customize her solutions for your own family.

Pantley addresses issues such as children who resist naps, dealing with schedule changes, turning short naps into longer ones, helping a child go from needing motion for sleep to “stationery” sleep, nursing at naptime, daycare-related napping problems, newborn “in-arms” or “in-sling” napping issues, and much more.

(Excerpt below)


Dear Reader ~

I thought I knew everything there was to know about naps, since I’ve written two other books and countless articles about children and sleep, but I was shocked and amazed at the new information I discovered while writing this book.

I set out on this venture knowing that parents struggle getting their children to nap. Everyone knows that children need naps, but the biological reasons behind this will convince you, without a doubt, that you should do everything you can to provide your baby or young child with daily nap time. It is common knowledge that when a child misses a nap he gets cranky, but you will be intrigued to learn the actual reasons why this happens.

Naps take only a few hours of time, but naps - or lack of naps - shape all twenty-four hours of your child’s day. The quality and quantity of your child’s naps influence his mood, behavior, health, and brain development. Naps can affect how happy your child is when she wakes up in the morning and how easily she’ll go to bed at night. An appropriate nap schedule is a vital component for your child’s healthy, happy life. When you consider all of this, you’ll also understand that your child’s naps - or lack of naps - can affect all 24 hours of your day, as well as your child’s.

While all experts agree that naps are important, and while they all know that nap problems can be a challenge to parents, what’s often missing are gentle, sensitive, loving solutions. Every idea I present is kind and respectful of the needs of both children and parents. In addition, I know that all children and parents are different, and cookie-cutter solutions are not what parents seek, so I include many options that can be customized to your own needs.

I have included excerpts for you below. For a complete set of excerpts please visit my website here:




The Volcano Effect: Why Skipping a Nap Results in Meltdown

By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of The No-Cry Nap Solution

From the moment your child wakes in the morning he is slowly using up the benefits of the previous night’s sleep. He wakes up totally refreshed, but as the hours pass, little by little, the benefits of his sleep time are used up, and an urge to return to sleep begins to build. When we catch a child at in-between stages and provide naps, we build up his reservoir of sleep-related benefits, allowing him a “fresh start” after each sleep period.

As shown on the sleep chart below, as children age, the length of time that they can stay “happily awake” increases. A newborn can only be awake one or two hours before tiredness sets in, whereas a two year old can last five to seven hours before craving some down time for a nap. When children are pushed beyond their biological awake time span without a break that’s when they become fatigued, fussy and unhappy.


“Happily Awake” span of time between naps


1 - 2 hours

6 month old

2 - 3 hours

12 month old

3 - 4 hours

18 month old

4 - 6 hours

2 year old

5 - 7 hours

3 year old

6 - 8 hours

4 year old

6 - 12 hours

As the day progresses, and the sleep pressure builds, a child becomes fussier, whinier, and less flexible. He has more crying spells, more tantrums, and less patience. He loses concentration and the ability to learn and retain new information. The scientific term for this process is “homeostatic sleep pressure” or “homeostatic sleep drive” . . . I call it The Volcano Effect. We’ve all seen the effects of this on a baby or child, as it is often as clear as watching a volcano erupt; nearly everyone has observed a fussy child and thought or said, “Someone needs a nap!”

As a child progresses through his day, his biology demands a sleep break to regroup, refresh and repair. If a child does not get this break the problem intensifies: the rumblings and tremors become an outright explosion. Without a nap break, the homeostatic pressure continues building until the end of the day, growing in intensity - like a volcano - so that a child becomes overtired, wired and unable to stop the explosion. The result is an intense bedtime battle with a cranky, overtired child, or an infant who won’t fall asleep no matter how tired you know he is.

Even more, a child who misses naps day after day builds a sleep deprivation that launches her into the volcano stage much easier and quicker. If she is missing naps and also lacking the right quality or quantity of nighttime sleep…watch out!

Newborns and young babies have a much shorter span in which their sleep pressure builds. They rapidly reach the peak of their volcano in one to three hours. This is why newborns sleep throughout the day, and why young babies require two or three or four daily naps. Over time, as a baby’s sleep cycle matures he will be able to go longer periods between sleeps. It is not until age 4 or 5 that a child is able to go happily through the entire day without a nap, and sleep research suggests that even through adulthood a mid-day nap or rest break is extremely beneficial in reducing the pressure in all human beings.

The Volcano Effect is not something reserved only for children! This biological process affects adults as well. Understanding this can help you interpret what is really going on in your home at the end of a long day, when children are fussy and parents are grumpy - resulting in a whole mountain range of volcanoes.

Sleep pressure can be exaggerated by environmental issues such as the previous poor night’s sleep, on-going sleep deprivation, or daily stress. What's more, each person’s moodiness feeds off the others, causing contagious crankiness. And then you’ll find yourself losing patience and saying to your child, “I’m sorry, honey. Mommy’s just tired right now.” (This is a very telling explanation we don’t often stop to analyze.)

This Volcano concept brings to light one more important point: Quality naps can make up for lost night sleep - but extra nighttime sleep does not make up for missed naps, due to the homeostatic sleep pressure concept. Therefore, no matter how your child sleeps at night - great sleeper or poor sleeper -- his daily naps are critically important to release the rising sleep pressure.


This is a copyrighted excerpt from The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, December 2008).

If you would like to read further, more excerpts are available at Elizabeth Pantley's website.

Cluck-cluck Pox

Guess who's got the chicken pox? My sweet Marguerite, that's who. Her spots broke out yesterday, but since she has been absolutely normal (if she ran a temperature, I couldn't be sure because some irresponsible parent left all the thermometers in her parents' house. I thought she felt a little warm a day or two ago, but since she was her normal energetic self, I didn't make a fuss about it.) we thought she was just bitten by some hateful little creature. However, I remember wondering out loud to Husband if it could be chicken pox. Husband was regrettably very self-assured in his negation. Anyway, this morning before I gave her a bath, I noticed that the bites have multiplied, so I called up Husband to offer him the chance to reconsider the chicken pox possibility. So, since I couldn't very well go around knocking on doors in hope of finding a knowledgeable creature (they came in the form of Mom, Dad, aunt, helpers where we used to live) who could verify whether the spots were chicken pox or not, we made an appointment to visit Marguerite's doctor. Dr. Cricket took one look at a spot and confirmed it as chicken pox. If you must know, I've never had it. The summer of '87 or '88, my two uncles and my sister came down with the disease, but I got spared (this is also always the story with pink eye - everybody would get it but me... one time, my friend slept over and got it from Chip - I was a sniveling, asthmatic weakling, but those diseases couldn't touch me somehow. My dad's theory is that I was so fried with asthma medication that I'd become mutant-ish.). Anyway, the plan is to deal with the chicken pox with baking soda in bath water and a supportive diet. The big question is whether I'll get it this time, sleeping in the same bed as my little one. Oh, and yes, we opted against the varicella vaccine, and no, we don't regret it.

I Need to Find My Inner Creative Freak

I get paid posting gigs from Payperpost and SocialSpark, both under IZEA, a company founded by Ted Murphy, who is in his 30s like me. That really makes me think. When am I going to come up with an idea that will make me loads of money? Hopefully that happens before I have another baby (essentially because I need the money to be able to afford another baby).

When I Grow Up

I've been reading Sue Grafton's ABC mysteries since I was a teenager. Kinsey Millhone is easily my favorite private detective (if you don't count Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot). Anyway, I recently bought a copy of "D Is for Deadbeat" and it occurred to me while I was reading it that I'm the same age as Kinsey in the early novels. That was unsettling, although the fact is that it had happened before: when I was 18, it occurred to me that I was the same age as Nancy Drew. I remember comparing myself to the fictional sleuth and finding myself light years more immature. Now, I evaluate my life and still find Nancy Drew way more mature, so... forget comparing myself to Kinsey Millhone.

A Trim Tummy

Ah, mothers like moi. Remember when our chest area was bigger than our tummy area? Nowadays, I sit and watch the layers fold before me. I believe I can count three. You won’t be able to distinguish which from which except for the positioning. Of course, I have not been very vigilant about keeping the pounds at bay. In fact, I have started many attempts, but I just can’t seem to manage any consistency when it comes to diet and exercise. I have a record of my new year’s resolutions since 1995 and there’s always mention of toning the tummy. Since my current list still includes that (except that the level of necessary toning has been amped of late - and I point the finger at having a baby), it must mean that I haven’t had much success in that department. Is there no hope then? Of course, you can go the easy route and get a tummy tuck. This is a procedure that includes the removal of fat and the reduction of fat cells in the body. It can help women in such a way that they’ll be less self-conscious about their shape. For many, it gives them the confidence of a new beginning brings, like getting a second chance at maintaining a good figure. MYA (Make Yourself Amazing) Cosmetic Surgery offers such a service and you can always call in first for a free consultation any time of the day, any day of the week. They are an established institution with 25 years of experience behind them, a variety of services available, a pool of trusted professionals, and packages to cater to varying budgets.

Farewell to Sleeves and Pants

Alas, the lovely weather is gone. We'll have to go back to limiting our daytime strolls to early mornings and late afternoons. More regrettable is the fact that we have to start using the AC again. We just get too warm with us co-sleeping and the AC off. Actually, Marguerite and I are fine with just the fan on, but as soon as Husband gets in the bed, there's suddenly this big mass of heat source that not only makes it warmer, but also blocks the breeze from the windows and the fan. Since we can't very well kick him out, turning the AC on is our resort.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fun Toddler Investments

Marguerite has earned quite an amount this past Christmas (doing what? Well, just being gorgeous and related, lol). Anyway, when it comes to her money, Husband and I are far from the miserly beings that we usually are. It’s probably smarter to save the money for the future, but that was not the intent of the people who gave the money. They meant for Marguerite to have fun with the money and whatever saving for Marguerite’s future there is should be done by her parents, at least while she’s this little. Anyway, while we may be splurging (her money), we still need to be smart about which fun toddler items to get.

The idea is to get something fun, but still really beneficial in terms of her development (and hopefully, something she can use for a long time). Toddler games and toys would best fit the bill. Since it’s pretty much summer weather here all year long (unless it’s wet), toddler travel and outdoor fun stuff would be a good idea. This obviously needs some deliberation, so even if we're having fun with the money, we still mean to get great value from it. Anyway, is a great place to search for just the right stuff as they have a more comprehensive index of stores and items sold online.

Check Out the Weather

The weather has been really lovely lately (how banal can we get, writing posts about the weather). It has been consistently cool throughout the day. Before, we'd experience some coolness from dusk until about mid-morning, but lately Marguerite and I would go out for a stroll at noon and we'd feel the sudden chill every time we step out the door and I'd actually shiver everytime a breeze blew (can't seem to get out of tropics mode, so even with the lower temp, I still wear shorts and tank top out even though I make sure Marguerite has sleeves and pants on). Standing out in the sun is actually nice. Thoughts of skin cancer do not even cross our mind (normally we stay out of the sun for a variety of reasons - the plainest one being that being hot is just uncomfortable). It has been a plus in terms of power consumption too. ACs and fans have not been turned on for some time now. Anyway, I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Ford Legacy

My last regular writing gig was related to cars, so I really learned a lot about the different models out there. Not only did I have to write reviews, but I also wrote about the general history of different car makes. The car world definitely has some fascinating people in its history, say, Henry Ford, for instance. You can really appreciate the contribution he has made to society and not only in terms of automobiles. His legacy lasts as the company he founded continues to produce impressive lineups of new Ford models.

Not about My Hair

As usual when I when I want to post pictures here, the tools I need are not available, hence pictures of my daughter's recent activities will be available another time. Yesterday, it was pretty hairy. I made her some non-toxic, washable fingerpaint and when I thought she was beginning to get wild with it (like she would start smearing the furniture any minute), I suggested going to the bathroom to wash up (an activity she enjoys). She was down with the idea, but first she had to touch one hand to her hair. I immediately removed the hand from the hair, but I wasn't quick enough. In the afternoon, she wanted some cheez whiz (yes, I made the mistake of introducing her cheez whiz) and bread sticks. Again, she began to get wild with them and I invited her again for a wash-up; same thing with the hair. Okay, if this happens a third time, that might mean I'm a little slow. On second thought, it had already happened once before. I let her feed herself the remainder of her oatmeal while I did the dishes. When I looked up again, she had her hair already smeared with oatmeal. What does this mean? I wonder if I'll blog about it if I let it happen again or I'll be worried that my readers will start to question my intelligence.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yours 'Til the Kitchen Sinks

Now that I operate without house help, I can appreciate the size of our apartment. New as I am to housework, it’s really better (easier, anyway) for me to take on small spaces. I’m not really obsessive-compulsive about neatness (with a two-year-old in the house, I can’t be; I’d be a nervous wreck), but I do like seeing gleaming floor tiles (which last in that state all of five minutes before my daughter starts spilling sticky stuff on them again), smudge-free things (TV, fridge door, walls, etc.), crumb-free tables (especially since with the crumbs come those minuscule ants), and shiny metal stuff (mostly from the kitchen). Not to refute the claim of being non-OC, but I really enjoy the look of an empty kitchen sink, the dishes recently washed and the stainless steel of the tub and faucet scrubbed clean and shiny. A clean kitchen sink really gives me a sense of accomplishment, lol. I don’t know if you would agree, but kitchen sinks can be an important focal point in the room. Most people would probably dismiss them as purely utilitarian, but they can complete the look you desire for your kitchen. They can come in different shapes, sizes, and number of bowls, but they are always best when you know you’ve just used and cleaned them.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Daybook - Jan 12 '09

(The Simple Woman's Daybook)

For This Week...

Outside my Window... grayish clouds, but with a line of orange in the horizon; flocks of trained pigeons flying past every so often; sparrows resting on my balcony ledge
I am thinking
... of activities for Marguerite this week

I am thankful for
... the life testimonies I heard last night (it was our evangelistic night at our church)

From the kitchen
... just french toast (Husband was excited to make breakfast today for some reason, but he's still sleeping, so...)

I am creating
... homemade fingerpaint (one of the activities involve fingerpainting, I guess, lol)

I am wearing
... a ratty brown shift

I am reading
... Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman

I am hoping
... to accomplish a few things from my writing list this week

I am hearing
... the elevator pinging every five seconds or so (time for most people to get to work)

Around the house
... three weeks worth of laundered clothes still to be put in closets. I have no excuse.

One of my favorite things
... a lighthouse tealight/votive holder that my mother gave me several birthdays ago

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week
... paint toddler bed, sand and varnish vintage medicine cabinet, write a couple of stories, try out new activities with Marguerite

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

Please. She is not shy or bashful or any other label. We don't approve of labels.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Finding Coupons

How many times have you heard the phrase “times are hard” over the past months? Forget the past months; how about in your lifetime? If you could only have a dollar for each time, right? Even in good times, people would not dare say “times are easy”. Are they ever really? Unless we can find a tree that moolah does grow on, we’ll always know that money is something that we have to be careful about. We need to find ways to save it. Frugality is actually kind of an art and a science combined and I have a great admiration for thrifty women who are able to manifest their creativity and resourcefulness when it comes to financial matters. Do it right the way like they do and you will never seem cheap or miserly. You will also be able to enjoy life completely without depriving yourself. Moms are often the bastion of frugality in the community and they have ways of squeezing a penny until it begs to be spent, but when it is finally spent, you can be certain that it is for an amazing deal. Frugal moms are fans of Promotional Codes and they are forever helping each other out by trading coupons and tipping each other on great websites such as that offer these resources for saving money. At Dealsharks, you can quickly and easily find the deal that can work for you by using their great search, directory, and query features. Remember, the more systematic you are about coupons, the bigger the difference they can make in your budget.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Season's Over

Haven't had the urge to blog much lately. Nothing's wrong, but I've basically been on slacking mode when it comes to online things. I don't really do much except check my mail. However, I've decided that vacation's over and time to catch up on a couple of things I've neglected over the holidays.

So, did you know that on Christmas Day Marguerite hurled with impressive force my almost full bottle of Escada Magnetism on the floor? Of course, it broke into shards (nobody was hurt except the perfume and probably my nerves, as usual) and to this day, I can still smell the scent every time I enter the bedroom. It was my fault. I actually gave the bottle to her to distract her during a tantrum. Talk about moronic ideas...we were getting ready to go out, she wanted to get into my makeup case and I wouldn't let her. She usually likes sniffing my perfumes, but she was in a fit, so...

I have some pictures to remind me what transpired during the season... actually a lot happened, but I can never get around to fishing the memory cards out of the camera before Husband clears them. Pictures end up in his laptop and since I'm always on the verge of popping a vein every time I try to log in there, I do not bother (yes, I can make a big production out of logging into my husband's computer since the passwords he gave me never work! I guess I'll never make a hacker.). The following are pictures from my dear friend Leila's party (wherein we arrived more than fashionably late... sorry about that again, Leila :D) with friends from the UP-Le Club Français some of which I had not seen since college days. Leila (who's another homeschooler, btw :) ) herself has just come home from her diplomatic stint in the Netherlands, so I was really very happy to see her and her family again.

We also went to Tagaytay with my inlaws. My sister had a party (26). My SIL had a party (27). My allergies tried to trample me that one time and they were semi-successful. Husband abandoned us on his penultimate day of vacation (the last day didn't count either because that was Sunday and our Sundays are all church stuff) to shoot a wedding. Oh and there was that fiasco at the Mall of Asia wherein Husband broke a glass and I ended up drenched with orange juice (separate incidents but the same restaurant and we can all thank the terrific twos for the decision to just get our food to go and eat at home, which we still didn't do because we were just sooo bone-tired) Anyway, the season is always over too quickly and blah blah blah here are some of the pics (Tagaytay ones I stole from my SIL; Leila's party ones Husband emailed me)