Friday, April 30, 2010

Fotos del Sábado de Gloria

We're about a month from ending our lease in our current apartment and somehow that has put me in anticipating mode and I just can't seem to function properly... like I can't do anything until we're starting that new stage.
Anyway, here are some pics of Marguerite and myself at the resort where we stayed on Black Saturday. Marguerite was mostly looking for shy grass on the front lawn of the lodge and I was mostly mooning over the darling little blue cottage with the wire Eiffel Tower ornament on the side lawn (the ferris wheel must be the Jardin des Tuileries one). Obviously, the pics are a few weeks old since my hair is still long there.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Seeing Old Friends

Met up yesterday with two of my dearest friends from college. Had a blast. We really should do it more often, ladies. And renew our definition of frequent (which for us currently means once in two years) while we're at it, lol.:)


Husband, Marguerite and I dropped by my SIL's afterward where Marguerite proceeded to pester their dogs.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

N/M Sounds, Coloring within Lines, Kit Kittredge

I'm not really worried. Everything about Marguerite's development seems to be in order. If there are advances and delays, they're really pretty much still within the standard time frame. Anyway, I just can't help but remark on a couple of things. I notice that she has some tendency to substitute the "m" sound for the "n" in some words. Just some. For instance, she says "Dismey" instead of "Disney; "happimess" instead of "happiness" (she loves the songs from "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown"); and "meed" instead of "need". However, she has no trouble saying the "n" sound in other words like "Nannie", "no", "candle", "knee", "funny", etc. My guts tell me this is nothing, but I very seldom listen to my guts, so I did a little research and found this list of mispronounced sounds. It does not include m and n. My guts are really trying to convince me to just chill and, fact is, I am pretty chill about it. I'm just the kind of cool person who likes to look up things so maybe I'll research some more to see if the "m/n" thing is indicative of any disorder.
The other thing is that some time ago, Marguerite started coloring within the lines.

Now, the thing about it is that I never taught her to do that. For starters, I felt she was too young to worry about staying inside the lines. Besides that, I also felt that staying within the lines is limiting to creativity. I just pretty much let her draw, paint, color... as she chooses to. I asked my sister if they just really learn to do that by themselves and she said, not really, and jokingly added that it might signify a little bit of OCD (mild forms run in the family).
I'm really, you know, cool, a statement which is only negated by the effort to convince you of this, lol. It's just that maybe besides OCD, paranoia also runs in the family, hee. Anyway, I like to research, so nobody's going to stop me from doing so, right? (Flashback: I am a new mother. I just read something about some baby illness. I am wondering out loud if the symptoms didn't apply to Marguerite somehow. As I get in the beginning stages of fretting, my mom yells at me, "Stop reading things on the Internet if you're just going to be paranoid about everything!")
One other homeschool-related thing: I'm really excited to watch Kit Kittredge on HBO (they're showing the making now and if what I read in the website is accurate, they'll show the movie in May). I just love the American Girl Stories (FYI, the first and, so far, only Asian American girl in the collection is named Ivy :D). My cousin Cheska (Tita Patch to my daughter) collects the books. I plan to collect them too for Marguerite. I also love reading stories set in the Depression (lots of great and inspiring children's books are; see here, then add "Thimble Summer" by Elizabeth Enright, another author I love.). Anyway, Kit Kittredge is portrayed by that delightful Abigail Breslin (known to my daughter as Nim from Nim's Island). It also has what I think to be a likeable cast with Julia Ormond, Chris O' Donnell, Jane Krakowski, Stanley Tucci, Joan Cusack... You can tell how cool I am by the things I get psyched about, lol.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Un Festin de Ratatouille N'est Pas Pour Marguerite

We made ratatouille for dinner yesterday. With a Nikon DS90 in the house, I don't know why I insist on taking pictures with my phone. So basically I'm forcing you to look at blurry pictures again.

Basically it's eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, tomatoes, onion, garlic and provençal herbs cooked in olive oil - all good stuff. Okay, I cannot lie; I also used butter. I'm sorry, but I think I'm in love with the thing! I cooked the thing on the stove top, but since I wanted the Ratatouille arrangement, I had to sauté the aubergine and the zucchini separately (and since I had to do that, why not in butter, right?) and then do that "domino" arrangement with them. Marguerite "helped" as usual. One minute she was making the zucchini and eggplant slices talk to each other and the next she got hold of my Sustagen Premium and was sprinkling it on the floor. She was getting sleepy around that time and a sleepy Marguerite, I'll have you know, is a thoroughly wild child. Anyway after flipping out as expected, and cleaning up the mess, I sat her down at the table with moringa and egg noodle soup, which kept her busy and out of mischief for several minutes. Sigh, and after all that ratatouille hype, when "le festin a été sur son chemin," the little one wasn't interested in eating it. I just gave her some more soup for dinner. I ate mine with buttered bread, but such a thing was not dinner for Husband, so he had the usual rice+viand meal and just had the ratatouille as a side dish.
Hey, maybe this picture will be clearer than the first...

Or not.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Where I Date Myself Talking Basketball

I have been an on and off basketball fan through the years. Locally I followed the PBA when Jaworski was still a playing coach and throwing temper tantrums on the court. That was also the time when the Loyzaga brothers were barreling their way through the games, their chests always on the brink of a charging offense. I was still a tween then and the basketball shorts still showed thighs, lots of them. I ditched the PBA when I was in high school to focus on the UAAP. I supported La Salle during the time when they were claiming a three-peat, but the official records state that FEU was the champion that third year. As for the NCAA, I was more aware of what was going on in the States. The March Madness is pretty exciting a rule. I guess I was unofficially supporting UCLA through the years, but I really wouldn’t know enough to engage in basketball betting. Locally, I went to UP but not during the time of Paraz and Magsanoc, so I pretty much focused on our poor standing in the UAAP and had no idea what was going on in the NCAA. As for the NBA, I watched it during the time when Michael Jordan and his tongue dominated the sport. After that I would try to follow the playoffs, but not religiously. I think I only started being truly interested again when Yao Ming came on (you know you’re Asian if…). And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I date myself.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Maybe Francophilia Is Inherited

I've long admitted to being a francophile so it's quite understandable that I occasionally post French stuff here. The thing is, I'm waiting before teaching Marguerite (yes the mania carried out to the naming of my daughter) French (and in the process get to reviser old leçons because all I can manage maintenant is the most atrocious Franglais as you can see). Spanish is the priority in this multilingual endeavor because, well, I'm better at it, lol. However, it cannot be denied that Marguerite is already getting exposure - lots of it - to francophilia (is this even a word? it's getting the red underline). For instance, the Disney channel has periodically been showing "Ratatouille", so when we chance upon it, Marguerite and I give matching delighted squees of "Ratatou-weeee!!!" Anyway, I fell in love with the theme, so as usual when this thing happens, I consulted YouTube for proper nourishment of a potential musical obsession (omg, I just had a flashback of how things were in the '80s when I was growing up - it was soooo much harder being a fan back then). We've been watching videos with the song in the background and we're gradually learning to sing along. Marguerite's "Le Festin" is mostly gibberish (though she stays in tune way better than I do - or my mom, for that matter, as proved by an incident with "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"), but, oooh, she has the most delightfully French pronunciation of "chemin". "Le Festin" is so typically parigot that it leaves me sighing and flipping through my Paris pictures. When I was teaching, I would have French café music playing in my classroom in between classes. My students would come in and beg me not to turn off the CD player, lol. I remember, when Marguerite was but an infant, my husband who's a techie would ask her, "Do you want an iPod/some other gadget?" and I'd answer, pretending to be Marguerite, "No, Daddy, I'd rather go to Paris." Brainwashing starts early obviously,lol. Anyway, going back to "Le Festin", did you know the singer Camille Dalmais also did the dubbing for Colette in the French version of the movie? Just a little trivia. Before I stray from the actual topic again, here's a Ratatouille video with "Le Festin" in the background:

Les rêves des amoureux sont comme le bon vin
Ils donnent de la joie ou bien du chagrin
Affaibli par la faim je suis malheureux
Volant en chemin tout ce que je peux
Car rien n'est gratuit dans la vie.

L'espoire est un plât bien trop vite consommé
À sauter les repas je suis habitué
Un voleur solitaire est triste à nourrir
À nous, je suis amer, je ne peux réussir
Car rien n'est gratuit dans la vie.

Jamais on ne me dira que la course aux étoiles, ça n'est pas pour moi
Laisser moi vous émerveillez, prendre mon en vol
Nous allons en fin nous régaler

La fête va enfin commencer
Sortez les bouteilles, finis les ennuis
Je dresse la table, de ma nouvelle vie
Je suis heureux a l'idée de ce nouveau destin
Une vie à me cacher, et puis libre enfin
Le festin est sur mon chemin
Une vie à me cacher et puis libre enfin
Le festin est sur mon chemin

English lyrics:

Dreams are to lovers as wine is to friends
Carried through lifetimes, (and) spilled now and then
I am driven by hunger, so saddened to be
Thieving in darkness; I know you're not pleased
But nothing worth eating is free

My hope is a banquet impatiently downed
Impossibly full, now I'll probably drown
Many thieves' lives are lonely with one mouth to feed
If giving means taking, I'll never succeed
For nothing worth stealing is

Free at last; won't be undersold
Surviving isn't living; won't eat what I'm told
Let me free, I'll astonish you; I'm planning to fly
I won't let this party just pass me by

The banquet is now underway, so
Bring out the bottles; a new tale has spun
In clearing this table, my new life's begun
I am nervous, excited; (oh) just read the marquee!
A lifetime of hiding; I'm suddenly free!
My dinner is waiting for me

A lifetime of hiding; I'm suddenly free!
My dinner is waiting for me
*** One of these days, Marguerite and I will have a Ratatouille party. :) 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Realizing the Worth of Store Brands

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of PBM Products. All opinions are 100% mine.
I have always been of a frugal turn of mind. That comes from training. On the other hand when I was single and earning good money, I was able to ditch my frugal ways and live it up a little (very much within reason). Nowadays, frugality has not only become a way of life once again, but more of a necessity.
With the crazy plunges the economy has been experiencing, finances have become a constant worry for many. To cope, we have had to wise up about spending. And it does not look like the economy will experience a miraculous rise anytime soon, so frugality is a habit we might as well all get into. I’m not alone in this opinion. At least, studies say that 8 of 10 supermarket shoppers see no improvement in the economy, and 40% say things have actually gotten worse in recent months. In fact, shoppers have now realized the worth of store brand products more than ever. The PLMA Consumer Research Report, Recession, Recovery & Store Brands , shows that 62% of consumers plan to buy more Store Brand products as they deal with the tough economy. At this time, shoppers who identify themselves as frequent buyers of store brands are at an all-time high (57% of shoppers) while 43% of shoppers are trying Store Brands for the first time in categories where they used to buy only national brands. Take for instance, the case of infant formula. Many parents are now realizing the incredibly value for money Parent's Choice offers. Fortunately, virtually all (97%) of shoppers who switched to a Store Brand are happy with their new choice. In fact, 49% say their new Store Brand selections compare “very favorably”.
We all want great quality for as little money as possible. In this case, store brands really seem to be the prudent way to go.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution

Marguerite is now three and while I can leave her with certain people she feels comfortable with, she's not totally above separation anxiety. As I've mentioned here before, I practice mostly attachment parenting and when it comes to matters of independence, my position is that I am raising my child to be independent, but levels and degrees of independence occur at developmentally appropriate intervals. I am here to make her feel safe, but not in such a way that makes separation from me trigger insecurity. I also encourage safe explorations and social encounters, but do not force her into them. In the relatively short time I've parented, I have fortunately come to see (with much relief) that Marguerite does let us know when she's ready for something. I am not about to push down her natural inclinations and reactions just because it's more convenient or I'm paranoid about criticism.
In the practical world, of course, there are times when I do have to leave her with somebody else. I have a few tricks on how to go about things free of tears, but I'd love to get more ideas. Thankfully, I can count on Elizabeth Pantley to come up with no-cry solutions for this parenting situation as well. Elizabeth Pantley is a trusted parenting author who has written ten books, six of which belong to the No-Cry series. Separation Anxiety is the latest parenting issue she has tackled. The book has thus far garnered excellent reviews from child care and development experts and parenting websites.
Here are a few excerpts from her newest book, The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution (Gentle Ways to Make Good-bye Easy from Six Months to Six Years)".

Making Daycare or Preschool Good-byes Peaceful
Tips from The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution

You've spent months finding the perfect daycare. It's a wonderful place with kind and loving caregivers, an abundance of toys, lots of new friends, and a great play yard. Then . . . your child cries and clings to you whenever you drop her off, and it breaks your heart. What can you do?

~Understand the significance of the milestone

Heading off to daycare or preschool, and leaving Mommy or Daddy behind for the first time is a colossal milestone in a child's life. There is no way to predict which child will happily run off to play and which will take one look at the surroundings and superglue himself to a parent's leg. If yours is one of those superglue kids, here are some ideas to help him loosen his grip and enjoy his new experience.

~ Have a very specific morning routine

Children feel more assured when their life has a very predictable rhythm. Set up a specific routine for the beginning of his day, since how the morning starts can set a pattern to the day. Waking at the same time seven days a week and then following the same routine for getting dressed, having breakfast and early morning playtime can get your child started with a calm feeling that "today is normal."

~ Encourage friendships with home playdates

Set up a few playdates with one or two children from the group at your home. Plan ahead, and have a craft and a snack ready, since some kids will find a session of free-play difficult to navigate. Once you've had a few successful sessions at your home, branch out to a playdate at a friend's home. These playdates that occur away from school allow children to develop a more personal friendship. Having a deeper friendship with another child or two at the daycare center or classroom can create more security for your child when he's away from home during the day.

~ Coordinate arrival with other families

If you can, coordinate your daily walk or ride to school with another family. Set up a carpool and offer to drive the kids together. If you can't arrange to walk or ride to school with a friend, then set up a meeting place at school to connect. Try to meet at the front gate, flagpole or entry door so that you can all walk a short distance together. Having a friend to walk with into the building can change the dynamics of the drop-off routine dramatically.

~ Stay calm when your child is anxious

When other adults are waving goodbye to their confident children, and your little one is crying and clinging to you for dear life, it's easy to become flustered. It's that time, however, when your child desperately needs you to be calm and reassuring. Put on blinders and tune out the other parents and children so that you can focus on your child only. You can be most helpful when you convey your peaceful demeanor to your child.

~ Create a project for together-time

Some children resist going to school because they see it as the end of your days of playtime together. Show your child that it isn't the end - just a change in routine. Set up an ongoing project you can work on for a short time each day to help bind the two of you together. You can refer to this project when dropping your child off so she has something to look forward to. Spending even fifteen minutes on this when you arrive home makes it the focus for a lovely bonding opportunity. Good ideas for these projects are puzzles, crafts, hobbies, gardening, or reading a book series together.

Five Ways to Reduce Your Baby's Separation Anxiety
Tips from The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution

From the time that babies become aware of the world around them they begin to form important relationships with the people in their lives. They quickly learn that certain people are vital to their happiness and their survival. Babies don't have the ability to understand how the world works, so they don't know what makes these people appear or disappear. When their special people are out of sight they have no way of knowing if their beloved ones are gone forever, and they express their concern: usually by crying and clinging. Here are a few tips to help your baby learn to adapt to separations -- without the anxiety.

~ Practice with quick, daily separations

Over the course of your usual days together take opportunities to expose your baby to a few brief, safe visual separations. This process is particularly useful for the little super-glue babies who need you to be within arms reach at all times. Begin by getting your baby started with playing with an interesting toy or another person. When your little one is happily engaged, walk slowly, and go briefly into another room. Whistle, sing, hum, or talk so she knows you're still there, even though she can't see you. Carry out these brief separations off and on throughout the day in a variety of different situations.

~ Avoid the in-arms transfer

It's common to hand over a baby from one caregiver to another. The problem with this is that your little on is leaving the safety and warmth of your arms and physically whisked away to another less-familiar person. This physical parting is the ultimate separation-anxiety producer. To reduce the physical anxiety-producing sensations of an arms-to-arms transfer, make the change with your baby in a neutral place, such as playing on the floor or sitting in a swing, highchair or baby seat. Have the caregiver sit next to your baby and engage your child's attention as you say a quick, happy good-bye. As soon as you are gone is the best time for the caregiver to pick up your child. The advantage is that your baby's caregiver will be put in the position of rescuer and can help them with their relationship.

~ Allow your baby the separation that she initiates

If your little one toddles off to another room, don't rush after her! Listen and peek to make sure that she's safe, of course, but let her know it is fine for her to go off exploring on her own. A child-initiated separation is a brilliant time to allow your little one to know what a happy separation feels like. This practice can help her deal with longer separations that she won't be in control of.

~ Don't rush the parting

Give your baby ample time to process your leave-taking. A rushed period of chaos, as you get ready to leave and then head out the door can easily set your child up for an episode of anxiety. Instead, create and use a short but pleasant good-bye ritual - certain words & actions you always use when leaving. Be relaxed and pleasant. Allow ten or fifteen minutes for a proper, peaceful send-off.

~ Embrace separation anxiety as a positive sign

It's perfectly okay - even wonderful! - for your child to be so attached to you and for her to desire your constant companionship. Congratulations: It's evidence that the bond you've worked so hard to create is holding. So politely ignore those who tell you otherwise.

When you relax your expectations of independence you can actually help your baby be more relaxed and less anxious about those times of separation.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Time to Make Crazy Crayons

I decided yesterday that all the broken crayons in our house were driving me crazy (yes, I had to be all drama queen about it, lol). Anyway, far be it from me to throw out something that's functional, so I had to come up with a way to recycle them. I thought the easiest way to go was to make crazy crayons. Unfortunately, my muffin pan is at my mom's (or maybe it's actually hers, although I think she bought it for me back when I was a new wife and was having a baking spell), so I had to find an alternative mold. I didn't want to use dixie cups or other disposable objects, so I had to make do with an ice cube tray.
First, Marguerite and I gathered all the broken crayons we could find (I'm sure there are lots more hiding under beds, inside hampers, inside a gazillion canisters and boxes, etc.). Then, we peeled the paper off of them. After that, we broke them into little pieces so they'd melt faster and put them in the ice cube tray (microwavable). We microwaved them on high for five minutes, set them out to cool, and then put them in the freezer.
Marguerite loves them and loved making them. :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

This One's for the Birds (Literally)

And now, here are some pics from our super fun weekend. Saturday morning, we went to a christening (err, we actually only got to the reception part). After lunch, off we went to get a new camera for Husband. At 4, we met up with other participants for a guided birdwatching trip courtesy of the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines at the Petron a couple of blocks from SM Mall of Asia. Then off we went to the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area on Coastal Road.
I found out about the birdwatching trip via one of my homeschool egroups. I only got to read the post about it the day before the event, so I quickly emailed the contact person to see if we could still join them. I want to again thank the club, especially Mike Lu, for accommodating us on such short notice. It was truly enjoyable and educational. I've actually always been a backyard birdwatcher. I was, in fact, fortunate enough to have lived right next to a rainforest, so I could at that time satisfy my penchant for birdwatching right on my patio (or looking out my classroom window). Miss that house. Anyway, I'm sure I came across many personal lifers (first sighting of a bird species) last Saturday and then again, I'm also certain I'd also come across many of them previously, only I had no way of recognizing them. Honestly? Watching them with your bare eyes, they all look kind of the same. Upon closer inspection, you'll be able to tell what makes a species distinct from the others. That's why I really want to know more about birds. I've always been fascinated by them and I find that they just grow more fascinating as you learn more about them. I must say, my spark bird must have been my first ever hummingbird (from many years ago, in California). It didn't actually set me out going off on regular birding trips, but it did give me the intent to do it someday (guilty of being that kind of person, lol). Hopefully, last Saturday was just the start of many more birding trips to come. Anyway, Marguerite was also kind of a distraction, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. This is just the kind of activity I want her to be exposed to. I want to start her out early, lol. Anyway, voilà les pics:

I'm also adding a couple of pics from Sunday. It was the first day of our church's sports fest (more of a game fest really, unless you consider word factory, sungka, trivia quiz bee, scrabble, etc. sports - we did have darts though). Outdoor games next Sunday. Anyway, these are just pics of Marguerite playing in the dirt.

Talking Football

What do I really know about football? Other than Glee’s McKinley High football team’s fluke win thanks to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies”, not much. I do know that Gisele Bundchen married the Patriots’ Tom Brady, that Kim Kardashian has an “on again off again“ (off at this time) relationship with the Saints’ Reggie Bush, that the Cowboys’ Tony Romo dated Carrie Underwood before dating Jessica Simpson (and then dumping her), and that Brett Favre led a Viking’s victory celebration with the singing of “Pants on the Ground”. It doesn’t really mean that I know my football. It just means that I watch too much TMZ. On the other hand, as a Christian, a homeschooler and a Filipino, I’m also quite interested in Tim Tebow (born in the Philippines, homeschooled, Christian quarterback). I guess I have what you call a nodding acquaintance with the game. I can follow it when I watch it. I can also evidently name some teams and some better-known players (it obviously helps for them to date entertainment celebrities), but I can’t make nfl predictions or identify good plays. I know when they score because that’s pretty obvious, but I don’t know what gives a team the edge. On hindsight, I’d like to add that my football knowledge also extends to scenes from Forrest Gump, Remember the Titans, The Longest Yard, etc.

How Do I Get Rid of Those Pop-up Ads?

First things first... I noticed a few days ago that opening Spinning Lovely Days garnered me a message from my pop-up blocker that it had just blocked a pop-up. I mean, from my own blog. How did that happen? I then remembered receiving a message from Bidvertiser saying that they were enabling pop-under ads, which supposedly were much less intrusive than regular pop-ups. Anyway, certain that that was the culprit, I disabled the pop-under ad option in my account. Imagine my dismay when I realized this morning that the pop-ups are still there. I think the last widget I added was the carbon neutral one, but I don't think it's causing the pop-ups. Let me know if you can figure this out; I'd appreciate any advice regarding this.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

One Time I Was a Basketball Fan

I had basketball for PE when I was in high school. What a joke. Good thing that was just for a class or two. We almost had our teacher tearing his hair out (only I think he was bald at that time). Most of us couldn’t dribble and walk at the same time, our free throws landed several yards short of the basket, we made the sissiest passes, etc. Naturally, we were also consistently committing traveling, 3-second, 25-second (does this even exist or did I just invent this?) violations. The one time somebody made a basket, she did it in the other team’s side of the court, so, yeah, the score was pretty much 0-0 the entire time, 0-2 if that dumb basket counted. We might have been pathetic players, but we were fans of the game. We just preferred to cheer at the stands. I was actually a big fan of basketball, college basketball specifically. I would actually watch the games live at their venues (remember, I was a silly teenage girl at that time so you can pretty much deduce WHY). I got pretty knowledgeable and could discuss things such as ncaa college basketball predictions and game plans. That was a fun time. It’s pretty thrilling to be actively supporting a sports team. Nowadays, I mostly find myself rooting for reality show contestants, lol.

Red Dogs and Orange Cows

Hello, we are duck, cow, dog, rooster and pig. Obviously I added a cow and a dog to the ensemble. If only I had the right yarn colors! Marguerite did say the dog was Clifford, so I could pretend I meant to make the dog red. I just thought a red dog was more believable than a blue one or a green one. And I don't care what you say; cows can be orange... and roosters blue-eyed (that was the first one I had made and it hadn't occurred to me yet to just use regular sewing thread for eyes). Anyway, Marguerite has naturally been singing Old McDonald a lot lately (she has a hard time making the rooster sound fit into the song - and she doesn't do cock-a-doodle-do either, but a very authentic rooster crow).

Friday, April 16, 2010

Learning the Trade

I have never, I am very sad to admit, had any head for business and money matters. I can be frugal, which is actually my nature and training, but I don’t really have what you call business acumen or investment savvy. I suck like anything at selling. I lack innate charisma (oh how!) and do not bother exercising social skills beyond what civilization expects of me. I bet I can sell if forced to, but it’s hard for me to find a balance between passive marketing and hard sell techniques. This is actually funny since I write sales letters, press releases and marketing articles quite well if I do say so myself. Writing is an entirely different skill however. Should we ever be blessed though to have a business that requires me to channel the business greats, I’ll gladly rise to the occasion. What I lack in natural abilities, I know I can make up for in will. Times are hard and I can’t just go on dismissing financial matters as beyond my aptitude. I think I’m a quick study though, especially now that I’m older. I’m also a homeschooler so I believe in honing the ability to teach one’s self. Having said that, I’m thinking about learning about online trading. I should really learn how to invest. It could even prove to be fun. It could also be knowledge that I could pass on to my daughter, give her more options as to how to go about her finances when she’s older.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Getting My GLEE Fix

Gleek Alert! I have to talk about it. After missing it for months, I have to go on and on about it now. So, basically I watched the satellite airing simultaneously on two channels. JACK was a little bit ahead of ETC and most of it was timed that when one went on commercial, you could switch to the other channel for a kind of quick rewind. I'm not objective, so I'll say I totally loved it even though it felt a bit rushed, like too much was packed into one episode. At the same time, it also left me hanging, as a soap opera would. I'm trying to remember if GLEE did that before. I remember it wrapping up episodes neatly before with a definite resolution for something, but I may just be forgetful (blaming the epidural... for every flaky thing I've ever done... even the ones I did before giving birth - nice to have an excuse). Um, maybe it did have some sort of conclusion and I was just too confused by there being too much going on (and watching it twice at the same time, whatever that means). I'm glad that Jonathan Groff got to sing twice (although I wish his duet with Lea Michele wasn't "Hello" - looking forward to his other numbers and I hope they pack the remaining 5 episodes he's in with his singing). I also found myself waiting for quotable quotes from Sue Sylvester and Brittany. Sue naturally delivered and Brit's "dolphins are gay sharks" bit was pretty precious. I can't wait for Idina Menzel to sing (I'm assuming she's going to sing because how can you have her on a musical and not have her sing - oh wait, there was Enchanted, of course). I have two (can probably think up more later) questions though: Didn't Emma resign? And where does Quinn live now?
And yes, I watched the replay in the evening. And intend to watch other replays that Solar throws our way. And maybe go through videos on YouTube (no, we don't get Hulu here).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Science of Being a Sports Fan

I’m not much of an athlete… is an understatement. I’m not any kind of athlete at all. I played as a child and then puberty came too early and I decided to stay on the couch for the most part of my young life. That’s not to say I don’t like sports. I do… just the watching part though and not really participating. I’ve been a fan of several professional teams. I avidly tune in to the Olympics when it’s on. I’ve had huge crushes on athletes. I was also the kind of student who had a fair amount of school spirit. I suppose it’s safe to say that if I’m ever involved in a sporting event, my role would that be of a cheerer. Not the cheerleader kind of cheerer because that requires athleticism too, but the kind of cheerer that raids the concession stands, brings several trays of snacks back to her seat, and then happily shouts abuse at the rival team. I’ve, however, hung out with diehards who religiously follow the game of their choice whether in the high school division, the NCAA or the pros. They talk about rookies and recruits and handicaps. It’s pretty impressive actually, how much knowledge they have on matters of their sport. For instance, when the football buffs deliberate on their ncaa football picks , it’s a very erudite discussion involving math, history, general info, etc. It’s really very impressive. Calculating odds, assigning advantages, predicting stuff... It's a veritable science. You're pretty impressive too if you can keep up. :)

Our First Brush with Earache

Two days ago, Marguerite was complaining of an earache. I promptly told my husband about it and asked him to check on his way home if there's any place we could bring Marguerite to as I really didn't want to wait until the next day. It was already after 6pm and our appointment with the pediatrician would have to take place the following day. Marguerite was fretting miserably about the pain in her right ear. Now, two things about her: she can be very theatrical, and she was also getting sleepy, so crankiness from that compounded with the irritability brought on by the earache. It was actually all so sudden. One minute she was fine and then she came running out of the bedroom to say she had an owie in her ear.I inspected her ear. The canal was red, but I assumed that was because she kept on touching it. I got a Qtip to see if there was a wound or discharge or even an ant... Nada. I repeatedly asked her if she stuck something in her ear, did it feel itchy... she didn't give a straight answer. I asked her to touch the part that hurt and while she mostly pointed to the inner ear, sometimes she also pointed outside the canal...
Now, Marguerite has never had an ear infection. I waited for it to happen the entire time she was a baby as I thought that babies inevitably got them at one point or another. I'm really thankful that she never got one, but after more than 3 years, it occurs to me that I'm totally green about earaches while my contemporaries are now veterans. At that time, there was nothing for me to do but pray with Marguerite for God to remove the earache.
Marguerite fell asleep and while she slept, I quickly went online to google earaches. I opened several sources and then went back to my sleeping daughter to check for symptoms. Her right ear appeared normal and dry. It didn't smell funky when I sniffed it. Fact though, she 's had a sticky mucus kind of cold for about a week now. Other than having crusty nostrils though, she had been perfectly normal until then.
She was fussy in her sleep, but didn't seem to be in too much pain. My husband got home and upon discussion, we decided to simply observe and just bring her to the pedi the following day. Marguerite, however, woke up and started fretting up a storm again. She'd even scream in pain sometimes (she's known to be dramatic, but I wasn't about to ignore any manifestation of pain). Husband and I quickly piled all three of us in the car and went to the nearest ER. While we were driving, I noticed that Marguerite had stopped complaining.
The doctor who attended to Marguerite said that her ears were dry, but that her throat was a little congested. He prescribed antibiotics and ibuprofen. Now, I'm really leery about giving Marguerite any kind of drug. Since Marguerite had already calmed down and was no longer complaining of pain, we decided to wait before giving her anything. We essentially just wanted to make sure that the earache wasn't indicative of anything more serious. We did buy the ibuprofen though in case the pain came back. However, we have yet to give her a dose of any of the prescribed drugs to date, which is something I'm really relieved about. Thank God yesterday was completely pain-free. Prayer obviously did the work.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Munk Fever

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Alvin and the Chipmunks. All opinions are 100% mine.
I watched a lot of The Chipmunks when I was a kid. I wasn’t really a fan of animated shows even as a little girl, but Alvin, Simon and Theodore were just so cute. Incidentally, we also had their Christmas album so my sister and I learned to sing a lot of the Christmas songs chipmunk style. We’d even try to harmonize in chipmunk voice. Lol, that was a trip. Anyway, The Chipmunks have a happy association for us since they were a part of our childhood. The new version naturally appealed to us too. The three are still as cute as ever and it’s really awesome to be able to share this with my daughter. If you want to have your own copy of that adorable "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel", it is already available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital Download. The Double DVD Pack includes "The Squeak Along" Bonus Disc, with is perfect for those who love karaoke. This would be a great addition to your home DVD collection. The deal gives you twice the fun for the price of one, so it's a good idea to buy it now while available. Something that I intend to try with Marguerite is munking ourselves over at . It’s pretty fun and educational for kids. The customized audio message part is great. For More Munk Mayhem, you can also visit

Ready to Ship off Some Hair Again

The time came for me to hack off more than ten inches off the hair on my head once again. The last time I did this was almost 2 years ago. I guess that means it takes me about two years to grow about a foot of hair. This time, my mom cut my hair for me as I really don't care to go to a salon for a haircut ever again. I declared my hair hopeless a long time ago as salons, expensive and otherwise, have not really done anything to tame it. Anyway, again I'm sending the chopped off portion to Locks of Love, happy in the idea that no matter how frustrating I find my hair, it can still serve purposefully even after it leaves my head, lol.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Handy Mommy

I’m a frustrated - um, okay, I am NOT a carpenter in any sense of the word. I’d love to do woodwork though. I wish I was one of those kids who ran around with a pocket knife and could whittle like nobody’s business. The thing about me is that, instead of being that kid, I was the kid who didn’t learn how to handle a knife or even nail scissors until she was embarrassingly much older. My mom warned me to stay away from sharp objects when I was young and the admonition lingers to this day. That’s one of the reasons why I also didn’t learn how to cook (I wasn’t allowed near the fire or hot objects either) until, well, also embarrassingly late. This is all really funny though because I was a rocking girl scout, patrol leader, Philippine flag bearer, yadda yadda… Let’s go back to my initial point. I want to do woodwork. I want to build stuff. I want a tool shed with stuff like a diamond saw blade, a jigsaw, a drill, etc. I want to make Marguerite’s toys for her. I want to make our own furniture. I want to be able to fix stuff myself and not rely on my super busy husband to do them. I suppose I could learn. I learned to do all those other crafty things and handle all those unfamiliar gadgets, so why not carpentry and its tools as well?

Hey, Do Your Irises Have White Rings Too?

Okay, here's a post that's obviously a filler. I'm sharing with you, against my better judgment, these pictures of my eyes. The pictures are so bad that they won't really support my point and just show you that my eyes are kind of uneven and even more so during the early morning when I decided to take these. The first time I learned about the white rings edging my irises was when my husband (boyfriend at that time) pointed them out to me. His grandmother had just the cataracts in her eyes fixed and he had cataract on the mind. The white rings looked highly suspect to him. He, of the astigmatism and nearsightedness, etc., etc., was questioning my uber-clear visionedness (WARNING: these words I'm inventing are not be used at home - or anywhere for that matter - without the company of a silly adult). Since I wasn't even aware of them, I naturally panicked and endeavored to make my mom panic about it too. She calmly told me that she had the rings as well as did her father. They were not cataracts, just a variation of the iris. She wore glasses, but my grandfather enjoyed perfect vision until a certain age when he started wearing self-prescribed reading glasses. Anyway, when I finally thought about it, other people had tried to tell me about the rings. I know a few people had remarked that my eyes looked gray (when they were clearly dark brown). My mom's eyes are hazel so the white rings aren't as obvious, but mine seemed to have become more pronounced when I became aware of them. Suddenly, more people were noticing them too. Little kids would point them out to me, demanding why I had freaky white-ringed eyes. Since I can be full of bull sometimes, I'd tell them it's because I can see auras (hahahaha... I can't, but ... okay, secret here: my mom can! hehe). I asked an eye doctor and she told me that it's really just a variation. The thing is, I haven't met anybody else besides my mom and my grandfather with the rings. Anybody out there have them too?
In hindsight, I do think I should have waited until my eyes were less puffy and I had curled my lashes before taking those pictures.

Financial Order

You know, when I care to think about it, I do realize it must be funny in a rich man’s world. I have never really experienced poverty. Even when I was unemployed, merely freelancing while I attended graduate school, the culture here allowed me to shamelessly depend on my parents’ financial support, lol. I never really had to worry about food, shelter, etc. Then again, I’ve never really been rich either. I’ve had some great-paying jobs, but they never really made me what my perception of rich to be. I don’t think I even want to be rich. I blame my parents for this since they taught me too well not to put much value in material things. I do want more money though. I want a big chunk of dough going into savings each month. I want a portion of the income to go safely into mortgage without compromising anything else. I want regular opportunities for travel. Do I have to be rich to achieve these things? I don’t think so. I can happily go without the usual luxuries or the lifestyle of the rich, but whatever. It could all just lead into a definitional challenge. The thing is, we could simplify our lifestyle more, but in general standards, we’re pretty frugal. What we’re not is financially organized. Or consistent. I admit I find it super frustrating. We actually lack teamwork when it comes to money matters. I’m a planner, so I don’t get to do much since I spend all my time measuring , assessing, strategizing, foreseeing potential troubles, checking, doublechecking… My husband on the other hand has always been the easygoing type and I have a suspicion that he finds sitting down and thinking things through boring. He does accomplish more than I do, although usually leaving me with plenty of room to point out how something could have been done more efficiently (it’s so easy to sit back and criticize when you’re not doing anything yourself, lol). Man, it was so not my intention to air this out when I started this post. My point is that, we need some financial order around here. I think we could really use some financial calculators, something to do with savings, investment, personal finance, maybe even retirement. Not being the main breadwinner around here, it’s hard for me to assert control (essentially my personality) over the financial steps we take, but if we’re working with calculators, perhaps our options would be clearer and we could be guided more properly.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Accidents and Finger Puppets

There was a horrible accident in our apartment complex a couple of days ago. One of the custodians tried to free a kite that got caught in that power box thing at the top of the post (no idea what the correct term for it is). Um, he also used a metal rod to fish the kite out. Suddenly there was a huge explosion and the power went out. It was very fortunate that nobody else was hurt, considering that it was around 8 am and there were people milling about. The custodian was on the fourth floor two buildings down. One of the cars parked at the foot of the post suffered damages as well, but pretty minor ones I believe. A bolt of "lightning" almost got somebody as he was getting in his car, but he was able to run away just in time. Thank God really that there were no other victims. The poor custodian is alive, but half of his body is suffering from serious burns and he's bound to require intense therapy afterward. It would have to be one of those things that one goes "If only..." about. I don't think anybody asked him to retrieve the kite. From my conversation with resident plumber (he was one of those who took the victim in a makeshift stretcher to the company shuttle service to transport him to the nearby hospital), it seems the victim just got a little OC about the kite and decided to remove it right there and then. The poor guy. I'm not sure if he's the really pleasant, always smiling one (we have a few favorites around here, but we're not familiar with all of their names). In any case, we're praying for him.
While the power was out, I decided to take advantage of the lack of electricity to crochet (I usually feel guilty about this since I could be working or doing chores). Anyway, I thought finger puppets would be fun to make and to play with, so I got to work on a rooster. Since then, I've made a pig and a duck as well. If you're wondering what marker I'm using, that's actually an earring. :)

Covering the Potential Trek

Husband recently bought a mountain bike and has excitedly been going for rides around Marikina any chance he could. We don’t live in Marikina now (but how I wish we did), but my parents still live there and our church is located there, so we’re there pretty often. Marikina has bike trails and bike paths, so it’s a very bike-friendly city. That doesn’t mean that cyclists can go without the extra care. Accidents can happen even if you’re simply sitting at home and not doing anything daredevil. Of course, we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of life’s thrills. We just need to be careful and take the necessary steps to cover possible eventualities. In Husband’s case, should he go for a really arduous trek, I’d insist on getting a short term insurance. I’m actually thinking of taking up the hobby myself, but instead of a mountain bike, I’d like one of those vintage bikes with the wire basket in front. And then I’d put a baguette and a little wheel of cheese, maybe some fruits, in the basket and ride through town until I reach a pretty little sun-dappled spot and have a picnic… Obviously, I’m envisioning a totally different biking experience from that which my husband might be hoping for. Whatever. The last time I rode a bike was close to ten years ago and I’m sure it would take me a while before I can stay on the seat for more than ten minutes.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Collecting Postcards

I used to collect postcards when I was little - scratch that, at 4’11.5”, I’m still pretty little - I collected them when I was a young girl. I was the kind of kid who was a member of an international correspondence club (I’d say “penpal”, but over here, the word has a connotation - usually involving house helpers writing to convicted felons. I’m sorry, but I’m only sharing what I’ve observed…). That was a really fun and educational hobby, something that I’d encourage Marguerite to pursue. I corresponded with people of all ages and cultures. One of my regular writers when I was 12 was a 55-yo woman from Sekiu, Washington. There was practically zero common ground, but I loved hearing from her and learning about her life. I also got some really awesome postcards out of the deal. Postcard collection is actually something I want to revive. I have some really neat vintage ones that I bought, but it would be cooler to actually receive them from the mail with a personal note from somebody, a new friend preferably. I’d love to have Spinning Lovely Days postcards and send them out to readers and blogging buddies. It would be fun to design the postcards, a general one and special ones to suit the seasons. It would be a good idea to sign up with postcard mailing services to get this done. It would definitely be great to actually have something to regularly look forward to in the snail mail system again. Email's convenient, but I love me some snail mail. :)

Gems, Pure Gems

Oki, yadda yadda... This is just some aimless rambling about my daughter. And maybe a bad picture I took with my phone. The thing is, Marguerite does/says them so fast and really quite frequently that I fail to write them down... you know, precious little quips and funny little antics that will probably meet with a puzzled "wha-?" from the regular person, but to me, they're absolute gems.
Like when she gets this crafty and wary look and nonchalantly inches her way to some spot out of my line of vision, I know she's up to something. I usually let her get to it (curiosity is my undoing) and follow after a minute or so. Confronted with chaos or the beginning of one, I dumbly ask what is already obvious, "What are you doing?" and am answered in a matter-of-fact way, "I'm making a mess." At least, now when I go, "Well, you better put everything away when you're done," I know there's a good chance that she would on her own and if she wouldn't, it's easier to prod her to do so.
Or the fact that she loves dancing so much that make any series of sounds that produce any sort of beat or rhythm, she would dance to it. Case in point was an almost empty maple syrup bottle I was squeezing. It made horrid little farting sounds, but apparently there was some beat to it, so Marguerite got up from our picnic blanket (just here at home, on the floor beside the dining table) and started doing a funny little jig.

She also, btw, won two ribbons from camp (I didn't even get one - although I did lead my team to triumph in the quiz bee - hooray for Double Jeopardy and that happy bunch of bluffing gamblers who agreed with me to go for broke... CHARLTON HESTON is the answer, lolz... and ya-hess it was a church camp). She was "discovered" to be the next tambourine dancer (pics sometime soon because they're all in Husband's laptop and well, sigh, I'm already getting stressed thinking about how to upload the things and, sigh, my BP's climbing just thinking about it. Bad pic there. Bad camera and the ribbons are already in Marguerite's homeschool portfolio... Wow, I do ramble on and on. I'll quit now for the time being.

Happy Food from Hormel

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hormel Foods. All opinions are 100% mine.
We try to eat fresh as much as we can, but it’s practical and prudent to have a supply of canned and other instant products as well. In between deadlines and, ahem, bouts of laziness, my stock of canned goods can really save the day. Of course, I’m the one with happy memories of spooning chili straight out of the can into my mouth and calling that dinner (that’s okay if nobody could see, right? lol), so that’s no big surprise. Naturally, when shopping I opt for the wholesome brands. I grew up on hormel products, so among my “happy foods” number their Chili and Dinty Moore products. I also love recalling their commercials for a bit of nostalgia. It’s so amazing how the product lines have expanded to include new varieties, options, sizes, etc. It’s great that the more health-conscious are catered to in this way. Now that I’m responsible for my own family’s nourishment, this is something I’m really aware of. Nowadays, Dinty Moore Hearty Meals are a good choice for my lazy dinner prep moments since they contain no preservatives and noodles are usually acceptable to my picky eater. When preparing them, I just add more vegetables (moringa is a favorite since it’s subtle and packed with all the good stuff I want, esp iron since my little one’s vitamins don’t include it) for extra nutrients. As for Hormel Chili Masters, I don’t need a good excuse to plunk my rear down on the couch and spoon lunch, dinner, or whatever you call that meal you have at 3:30pm right out of the jar. If I’m feeling all classy and kinda gourmet, I use dishes and eat it with nachos, fries, baked potato, etc. at the table. :D Since my daughter doesn’t eat beef or pork, we usually go with the chicken and turkey products. To make things fun, we pretend we’re camping, so we go get the tent out and make a fake campfire. There are more ways to add fun little twists to your chili or Dinty Moore experience; check out for ideas.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

This Blog Is Carbon Neutral

I was contacted by Christin Gericke from a German initiative called "Make it green!". Their goal is to take part in reducing the carbon footprint by raising awareness of the severe environmental damage caused by carbon emissions . One of their activities is to raise awareness of the carbon emissions resulting from the use of the internet - specifically of blogs. Christin's letter best explains what this is all about, so I'm pasting part of that here:

A blog with 15,000 visits a month has a yearly carbon dioxide emissions of 8lb. To neutralise these emissions we have created "My blog is carbon neutral" buttons so bloggers can demonstrate that they care about the environment and the carbon footprint of their blogs. We present them a small but nontheless worthy solution to contribute to environmental issues. Our idea is to show possibilities to make a contribution to protect the environment.

To find out how you can participate please visit

And how do we actually neutralize your blog's carbon footprint? We are planting trees in cooperation with the Arbor Day Foundation in Plumas National Forest in Northern California for our project to neutralize the carbon footprint of blogs. Thousands of wildfires burned down many national forests over the past ten years and 88.000 acres of Plumas' were destroyed by two fires in 2007. To help replanting we need the support of bloggers all over the world! For every participating blog we plant a tree. One blog - one tree.

carbon neutral coupons and shopping with

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Off to Church Camp

Hello, blogosphere! First, it was work, work, work.... And now I'm off to our church camp. Won't be back 'til late Easter Sunday. Hope you all have a meaningful and enjoyable Holy Week! :)