Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Reminiscing in the Wee Hours

Last night, I was so tired I was literally knocked out before the kids were even asleep. It must have been a little bit before or after 7, I don't know. We were ready for bed then but the kids wanted to stay up a bit more to play. I barely remember them complaining when I asked them to close their eyes and sleep and the rest was a haze. 

Early to bed, early to rise. True enough, it's just 12:30am and I am fully awake. Just like a character in the Sims I used to play when I was in college, once the energy bar gets filled up, he/she would wake up even though it's wee hours in the night. By the time the player has to go to work, his/her energy has ran out again. 

Usually, to make good use of the time, I would make the character do all sorts of things to seize the time, just as I am inclined to do something now. In the case of the Sims character, it could be reading, watching, having a bath, any of those activities that would raise a bit more of the mood. Even calling up neighbours who were naturally irritated just as in real life haha. But it increased a bit of the social mood so... Anyway, at first I tried to go back to sleep but once the brain starts thinking, there's no use even trying so I thought about seizing the time instead. Well, I realised I do not want to do any of the stuff my Sims character did, nor do I have the courage to them now.  But I am highly considering karaoke at the moment because I have been dying to do that yesterday on the way home but didn't get the chance to do it when I got home until I got really really tired and sleepy. So why not now instead? Luckily, rational thinking still got the best of me and I scold myself saying, don't be ridiculous. Not to mention, I am a bit frightened about what could go wrong with all those notions these modern horror movies suggest. After all, it's freaking 12:30am. 

So I just reminisced about my life for the nth time. At this moment, I think about the time when I used to wake up very very early in the morning, some time around 3am, to watch a movie I have wanted so much to see but missed and the only other schedule the movie aired out again is 3am before a new month began again. That was when we had cable TV and the set of movies usually change every month. 

I was so brave then! There was this one instance when the movie I was waiting for was called "Children of the Corn part 3." For info, Children of the Corn was one of Stephen King's short stories and he's very well known not for comedy as we could see. But yeah, I watched it, 3am, no stir. 

*** later that day

Actually, that wasn't the whole truth hehe. The reason I was so persistent to watch it was because I found the main villain cute. He's not a very popular actor though. Name's Daniel Cerny, and as I googled him now I realised how my preference somehow improved. I mean, he's okay, he's not ugly but it's just a bit weird now to actually see him as cute with his kind of character in Children of the Corn III. Later on, not later later but maybe months after or so, I discovered that he made an appearance in Fearless too. Naturally, I didn't get the movie's plot because I was too frustrated waiting for him hahaha. 

I remember I made a tiny list of the actors and actresses who caught my attention back then but that will be another story. As for the interrupted slumber, I shortly went back to sleep after this little bit if journey to my childhood... Hoping that I would be able to wake up in time for work. Thankfully I did. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Baking for Beginners

I would like to start off by saying that I am not an expert in baking. Quite far from it actually. But baking, as with any other creative hobbies, is on my list of things to do.

My last experience with baking was back when I was 15 or so. In high shcool, we have Technology and Home Economics subject and I really enjoyed the year when we were taught to bake. My most favourite then was baked mac, just saying. And around the same time, mom and dad bought our oven with stove top which up to now is still functional except for the oven that is. Being new, we were very excited to try it out and I remembered us baking a cake for tita Cel. She was the lucky person to have her birthday around the time we were so passionate with making cakes. I was the one who wrote the greetings. :)

Sad to say, the hobby vanished after that. This is the first time after 15 years or so that I explored baking again inspired by the cupcake day which my colleagues held at the office very recently. I realised that here in Sydney, a whole lot of baking stuff are within arm's length. For me, it was kind of overwhelming where to start but a good friend advised me that it is best to use the ready made packets by Betty Crocker when you're a novice on this thing. With a particular cupcake design in my mind, sure enough, getting started was pretty easy.

This particular frozen cupcake caught my attention and looked within my capacity.


For instructions on this very creative idea, please click here

But let me reiterate that I am in no way at that level yet so I just used the ready made Betty Crocker chocolate cupcake mix. The packett already includes chocolate icing and large baking cups but I didn't know this so I bought a 100-piece small baking cups and a Betty Crocker vanilla frosting on top of it. But I guess the extra purchases were necessary because I needed a white frosting and can only do small cupcakes for a start. 

It turned out that there was more than enough of the mix for the 24-piece small cupcake baking tray so I put in the rest of the mix on an 8-inch round tray. Didn't want to bake in two batches. 

As for the icicles, I grabbed the recipe from the link above but had to make modifications as mine turned out gummy the first time I used too much corn syrup. I added up sugar in mine and it crystalised just fine in the end.

And here are the finished products! Didn't nail it totally, but wasn't all that bad either. :)


It was extra fun for the kids because they iced and designed their own cupcakes, 2 of each. Of course, they ate them too! It was yummm!

*The cake as of this moment is still untouched. The icing was quite messy because I was too excited to put the white frosting along the sides before realising that I should have frosted the whole cake first. Oh well, next time, God willing... :)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mesothelioma Cancer Awareness

While we are currently freezing from winter here in Australia, I am very glad to be invited to join a summer campaign for Mesothelioma Cancer Awareness from the US which is run by Heather Von St. James, a brave survivor of the disease herself. Not only does this give me the opportunity to virtually escape from winter (which is my least favourite season as recently realised) but this also gives me the opportunity to write a post for a good cause. The purpose of this campaign is to educate people about this form of cancer and help spread awareness. By doing so, we could potentially save lives and possibly prevent people from acquiring this cancer.

First of all, what is mesothelioma cancer and what causes it?

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. It is named such because it mainly affects the mesothelium, the thin layer of cells lining the internal organs. About 70% of mesothelioma cases affect the lungs, but in some cases, the asbestos also affects the abdominal cavity or even the heart.

This cancer mainly affects people who directly worked at some stage of their life with asbestos or was exposed to products containing the substance. It can also be passed-on indirectly to people they are living with as second-hand victims through an asbestos worker’s soiled clothes. The disease has a long latency period, meaning the symptoms do not show until many years after exposure to asbestos. In some cases, it could be 10 years but the average is 35-40 years. As a result, the cancer often progresses to a later stage before it gets detected, when treatment options become more limited and less effective.

Asbestos was widely used during the 20th century. For a long time it was considered a miracle material because of its fire and heat resistant quality. Its use can be dated from a long time ago as a building material and a component of fabric used in clothing and textiles. However, asbestos use grew heavily during the US Industrial Revolution in factories, railroad cars, shipyards, oil refineries, chemical plants and was used extensively as the 20th century progressed. Exposure to asbestos became alarmingly extensive as it was practically used in majority of products such as automobile breaks and clutches, building insulators, cements, roofing shingles, ceiling and floor tiles etc.

It wasn’t until mid-20th century when the asbestos was discovered to be posing health risks to those exposed to it. This health risk is now known as mesothelioma. This occurs when asbestos fibers are inhaled through the mouth and nose and become embedded in the lining of the lungs or when swallowed, in the abdominal lining. The fibers cause malignancies in the affected area as the substance asbestos is considered to be carcinogenic or cancer causing. Often times, the malignancies can be difficult to reverse because the cancer can go undetected during the early stages and will not show symptoms until the later stage when the cancer has become more challenging to cure.

The good news is that there are people who survive the disease. Taking example from the head of the campaign herself, Heather is a successful survivor of mesothelioma who now helps in spreading awareness to prevent this cancer. Part of this campaign is to prohibit the use of the deadly asbestos by irresponsible manufacturers and distributors who has all means to identify the dangers of this substance but made a concerted effort to hide its dangers from the public. Another goal is to make victims aware that they can exercise their legal rights regarding this matter by hiring a competent mesothelioma lawyer. By exercising these legal rights, victims take into consideration the following facts: asbestos manufacturers have knowledge of the dangers of this substance but used it anyway putting hardworking people at risk, asbestos cancer treatment can be very expensive and to protect loved ones in the future.

For more information on mesothelioma and how to put effort in joining this campaign, please click here.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Winter Sassy Fashions

Just sharing this new find: a very useful item for winter. How I found it? I was looking into buying some gloves because it's going to get nasty cold this July and August, I don't wanna freeze in the cold while waiting at bus stops and stations.

I'm not a fan of gloves because it is not too convenient but this winter clothing is definitely an essential and a LOT LOT better too!

Hood, scarf and gloves in 1! Well, it is not actually gloves but pockets which is so much better for me so I can easily use my bare hands when I need to.




Haha, I know I don't look fashionable enough so pardon the title. But if anyone else is interested to acquire this intelligent invention (hehe) don't hesitate to ask ;)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Go Bananas!

Two Sundays ago, we finally had the chance to visit this nice entertainment site for kids: Go Bananas! A few days into my new job last March, my friend, G, and I started browsing the website for future plans out of boredom because we didn't have our systems yet. G showed me this place which she think would be a good place to visit for the kids. I looked at the website and it was this big area with jumping castles, huge slides, nice and roomy with tables where the parents could sit and chat while looking after the kids. I knew the kids would love to go there. After a while, I forgot about the plans because I have short and long term memory loss haha. I was just reminded about it when one day, Demi came home with a voucher for family of 2 adults and 2 kids for guess what? Go Bananas! What a coincidence. It was just a matter of grabbing the free time which was 2 Sundays ago. It was a delightful place! It's very close to where we live as well but we have to ride 2 buses. We went there a little after 11 in the morning and the minute the kids stepped in, they were unstoppable. There's just a few rules though: must wear socks and no bringing in of foods. There was a menu on every tables and when I looked at it, I was like, uh, no thanks, we're fine. :) So my husband and I stationed at a corner where we could have a good overview of the entire place. Not that we needed to. The place was designed with enormous safety for the kids. They have a separate area for the babies and toddlers too. Demi enjoyed climbing the big play equipment and going down the slides. Daisy however preferred the jumping castles and anything that doesn't involve heights. After a couple of hours, the kids were starting to get drained so I decided they could have a bit of snacks even though I find their food exorbitant. Good thing though, we've got a voucher for a cup of coffee plus the babycinnos were not that expensive so we got 2 of that for them, a cup of coffee for me (husband prefers a certain coffee) and some chips and calamari. Soon as they have eaten, they were back to the play area in no time perked up and energized. Overall, I rate the place as 4 out of 5 stars. It could get a kid going on for practically a whole day which means time for parents to get in touch with each other just sitting around and chatting. I would add 1 more star but I found one part missing in comparison to the play rooms we used to go to in the Philippines. They didn't have toys like kitchen miniatures, legos, balls or plush toys. It was all rugged hard core playing climbing and physical activities which I think is alright but a diversion would be fine too especially when the kids start to get tired. There must be a reason behind that though I am not sure. What matters most is that the kids definitely enjoyed Going Bananas. Finally by 4pm, it was time to Go Home! :) and would we like to Go Back? Definitely, God willing. :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My 31st Year of Existence

My 31st year of experience can't be any more special than it is now. And I didn't expect it to be this way. Thanks be to God again for the nice surprises! :)

First of all, when I was about to leave home to go to work this morning, my husband produced out of nowhere a surprise gift. It was a beautiful shoulder bag which I immediately used as soon as I received it hehe. I used to rate my husband as very poor when it comes to the element of surprise like the time he bought me the book I wanted but it was screaming itself off from where he hid it. But this year, I was totally caught off guard. Of course, the bag wasn't gift wrapped hehe but I am so happy he has improved greatly at this craft!

Next surprise was a call from a prospective employer. The interview outcome was positive and although there are still a few processes to undergo, or even if the employer changed his mind after all, the fact that they called me to offer the position is good enough for me as of the moment.

Thirdly, I got an email regarding the overall results of our tax course: I passed with a grade more than what was required plus the prospect of getting a part time job with them! This is a great relief for I have struggled with this course over the 17 week period it lasted. Midway through the course, I was about to give up and settled myself to expect no more than the certificate of attendance. It was tough juggling my time with studying and looking for jobs (and at the moment looking for a new house to rent too). There was hardly any time to relax or spend with family alone without having to worry about the outcome of this or that. Finally, I am at the last stage. Thank God.

And then lastly, the bags I ordered online for the kids finally came after more than 2 months of waiting! I thought I lost the money and kept my mind from thinking about it because I get stressed and disappointed. I have been nagging the seller non-stop cause he won't give me a definite response about the status of my order. Just when I was about to charge it to experience, voila! The bags came.





It was a stressful busy day at work today nevertheless it was a day full of nice surprises. And coming home to find your husband cooked my favourite pasta for dinner and the kids with their lovely thougtful handmade cards is just an amazing feeling. Plus there's nothing like loved ones and true friends greeting you and sending you messages to make your heart melt. Indeed, I appreciated all of these.



What a wonderful way to spend my 31st year of existence! Thanks be to God! :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Our Anniversary 2014

We celebrated our anniversary last night as simple as it could be: have my favourite food for dinner which is pizza and give gifts to each other. That’s it... But it seems as if we were both thinking about the same thing... and that is pampering, haha. Well, for me, I definitely think my husband needs to look after himself too because he’s so busy taking care of us he forgot to look after himself too. He is THAT selfless...

So I got him a Men’s Facial Scrub and Body Exhilarater from Body Shop. I knew he would be happy about it. As for me? I was even happier to find this when I got home: Tokyo Love soap!

Just a brief background, I have learned about this product from one of my friends in church who has an online business of selling quality items from baby stuff, skin care, clothes, just about EVERYTHING! I have ordered the Tokyo Love soap from her originally but, sad to say, shipping cost from US to Australia was more than 50% of the cost of the product itself! If I were rich, this wouldn’t have been a problem: just order some other stuff from her shop and take advantage of the postage. In fact, she’s got very good products but as I have said, I have limited resources. Okay fine, I admit it, I am very frugal. I have ordered the soap only after thinking 100x and deciding that it’s more than just luxury haha... Well, anyway, I was really sad that I had to cancel it because of that ridiculous shipping cost (it would have to be considering we’re from opposite ends of the world).

So I was really happy when I could have the soap after all! :) If in any case one who reads this is sooo curious as to why I want this soap, let’s chat privately hehehe.

We’ve never been into this pampering stuff even before. Once, we tried getting a very cheap Thai massage and I ended up feeling bruised and battered. Likewise, we’re not really used to using beauty products so hopefully this would be a good experience for both of us. Hopefully, I would be writing a good review about this soap in the future too...

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Daisy Goes to School Too!

April has perhaps the most holidays during the year, perhaps even more than last December. Or maybe the same, but because the holidays fell at the beginning/end of weekdays resulting to 2 long weekends in a row, it felt like more holidays for me. It was a well spent “days-off“ with the kids but alas! School starts again tomorrow... But someone’s being very happy though and that is none other than... Daisy!!!

Indeed, Daisy loves going to school very much. It’s not going to be her first day tomorrow, it’s just that this post is soooo overdue hehe. She started school this February and has been going on for 3 days in a week since then and I have never experienced any hassle about her refusing to go to school so far, which is a great relief. For anyone reading this, Daisy, being the youngest in the family is very much like a baby still. I was really worried about how she would manage being on her own in school let alone, if she would even allow us to leave her on her own at school.

On the morning of her first day in school, I found Daisy in this state: she holding her beloved plush Pooh in front of her and quietly speaking to him like a mom to her baby. It’s so cute I had to take a photo of her. :) Maybe she’s just reassuring Pooh that he will still be her baby (cause she’s gonna make new friends in school, y’know) or I don’t know. It’s not like it was the first time she’s leaving Pooh behind at home.

Unlike when Demi first went to school way back when we were still in the PH, I didn’t have to take a leave from work because my shift starts really late in the morning so I could still drop them off to school. So my husband and I both dropped them off to school that morning, and just like with Demi before, I can’t help but sneak on the classroom window. I know it’s kind of immature (and we were the only parents doing that, hahaha), but I was very curious how my headstrong little girl would be like in class. I have never felt so proud as when I was looking at my little girl behaving very sweetly while moulding a clay, just as teacher told them to. But for the rest of the afternoon, while I was at work, I kept expecting that my husband would get a call from the teacher to take Daisy home because she’s looking for us and would not stop crying. That was 6 hours straight in school after all. Proud to say though, when I got home that night, my husband gladly accounted that Daisy was all smiles when he picked up the girls that afternoon.

To add more bonus, Daisy wants to go to school even when there’s no school. She is so unlike me when I was a kid hahaha. Even this school holidays, Daisy would sometimes speak out that she would like to go to school. I was preparing myself with convincing debates to get her to school not the other way around. Well, at least there’s someone in the family now who LOVES school. When I was a student, we used to rejoice when school was unexpectedly cancelled and when some other mom calls my mom to confirm and say that her daughters were crying because school was cancelled, I and my brothers were like, “Really, these people exist???” oh well, I’m just glad I have one rare type of that specie right in my house. :p

Well, school starts tomorrow again and she’s gonna be so happy. As for Pooh, I’m sure he has coped up.

Friday, February 14, 2014

12 Years

12 years of peace... of being sure where I stand, of having contentment in my faith, of receiving gifts and blessings beyond my expectations, of being showered with limitless wisdom.

Within these 12 years, I have witnessed His care and generosity even though I myself doubt my own worthiness. It was whenever I least expect it that I receive His blessings, rescue and all the other things encompassed in His love. Looking back, within those 12 years are countless occasions I am and forever will be thankful for.

To start with, Daisy finally got a slot in pre-school. This might seem petty for others but it is a big deal for me as everything that concerns my children is.

Simultaneous to this good news is that just a few days before my birthday my contract at work, which would expire by the end of this month, has been extended. I know my work at present is a real challenge to me but if this is where God wants me then I know I will just have to trust Him that despite my inabilities, I shall make it.

Before that, I am also thankful for having this job in the first place. I never expected it. Just when I was on the verge of giving up, I had this job.

Then there is having moved to our present house and becoming independent. And before that, living in my relatives’ house who generously provided their shelter while we were in the process of settling down in this foreign land as well as brothers and friends who had been there for us. And then being given the means to finally enjoy this new country that I thought I would never fit in.

To be able to migrate to this country in the first place is one thing I am most grateful for. Having seen the struggles of other people and experienced them myself I realised that the success to getting approved lies not entirely in our own efforts but still in His will.

Also, for the good life we have left in the Philippines. Simple yet valuable: Good job, good friends, quality time with family, opportunity to do things I love like blogging, crafts. And despite the modest wages, to be able to send my eldest daughter in school and live contentedly within the means.

Then there was surpassing the great trial I have had with my family especially my parents. The struggle to prove my worthiness to His words "that he that loveth his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me," to overcome the agony of being helpless about the situation and just letting it all go in His hands. It had been a 3-year anxiety but nevertheless, He ended my emotional suffering recently and made my relationships easier.

Further back, there was saving me from the dark ages of my life when I thought only death could free me. And more than rescuing me, He blessed me with a good husband and a beautiful child. Eventually He taught me the act of forgiveness and the realisation of His words "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" by forgiving myself and the person that became my enemy.

And within these 12 years, I am also grateful for the youthful experiences of being able to graduate in college despite the very tight finances. To be able to review for the PH CPA board exams for free and then passing it in one take. To have not experienced the difficulties in getting my very first job wherein I stayed for 5 years and have had second parents among the partners. And then to land in my second job because of my first job, which also became a second family.

But perhaps the utmost reason I am thankful for is to have been called into His church despite growing up with different views that are unpleasant in His eyes. It was 12 years ago when I have first watched His instrument preacher in television and expressed self-righteously that to each his own. 12 years ago when I just listened passively to His words until the truth finally sank into me and then I and my whole family had been baptised. That was this day, 12 years ago.

And I guess I have to thank Him as well for taking care of my life until I found Him. Also for the yesterdays I borrowed which led me to here and now.

And so on this special day, I don't want to ask for anything. I will just simply lay it all in His hands and say, God, for everything including the trials and difficult times, thank you. I will forever be grateful.
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Dear Sister Juliefer

Happy birthday to my beautiful, talented, loveable sister. you are a grown up lady now but to me, you will always be that baby sister who I have asked for as an ally but turned out to be another enemy. I remember being the youngest and only girl amongst our siblings. Being the centre of our brother's nasty teasing and obnoxious treatments, I always ended up crying. Even when I learned to defend back I always ended up crying. When dad called from the hospital to announce your birth I was crying. He was saying that my ally has been born to console me and that I will no longer cry (I can detect that slightest hint of irritation in his voice because I was crying again, a feeling which I've only understood recently). So I looked forward to your growth. A few years after, I started finding my stuff in mess or worse, missing, because of you. Don't worry, I have had my revenge. I used to hide your toys under the bed even though you wouldn't even notice and when you did, you'd have me get them anyway. So much for an ally hehe.

As a baby, you were really well behaved and good natured (what the heck happened??!). Even though there was always power outage every night you never fretted (that was the era when you couldn't tell your teacher that you failed to do homework due to no light because it was black out EVERY FREAKIN night). The music coming from the radio powered by the car always lulled you to sleep. I guess that was why you grew up so talented in music. Of course I am just being modest, you got some of it from me and I did train as you were growing up remember? :p

When you were about 4-5, My fascination was singing influenced highly by Spice Girls. I taught you their songs because you were so good with blending, a frustration I had with my self assumed girl band because we never sounded in harmony no matter how we tried (sorry cousins). But you, you blended so well with me. I even thought you the wavy style (vibrato accdg to internet) and you easily picked it up as young as you were. In fact, you were so good that you stole the lime light and performed at family gatherings to everyone's delight. Of course I was proud and happy until you started singing by yourself and refused to be taught by me.

During your late primary school days, your "Carrie"days (refer to Stephen King novel), you had a hard time dealing with the snobbish girls in school because you were so meek and mild (believe it or not). Whenever you had to undergo a difficult situation I felt furious. I remember when you were in Grade 6 and everyone in your class tried to bully you, even your teacher, I was distressed as if I was the one being harrased. One day, I decided to bring your lunch to school to check out on you. Wearing my highest high heeled slippers and maxi skirt, I went up to your classroom and with chin up and tallest stance, I asked loudly who's bullying you. I sat beside you throughout lunch and after that you just bloomed out of your shell and beat your classmates without effort. Naturally, you were intelligent and talented. You liked to surprise everyone with your hidden talents ie the piano recital and duet of "When You Believe" Mariah Carey's part.

Ever since then, you never stopped seizing the good things life has to offer. I am writing this to remind you that you are a bud of rose who contiues to bloom each year that God gives you. You have completely shed out your shell and have gone far from your comfort zone. Your contrasting traits of nonchalance (seemingly) and love for books and cats show that you are boundless and infinite. You are a special person and you deserve the best treatment from your man (ehem). I pray to God that you find happiness in Him. If I see you succeed and settled in life, happy, contented, then I know God has answered my prayer for you on your birthday. I am one proud sister.

May God always be with you. :)

PS: Sorry for the late post. Happy birthday for last 21 January 2013.

PPS: I would insert photos when I get the chance to scan the pictures I have in mind which are at our house over there so... It might take a long time. 

Pre-loved Books: Sweet Valley Twins # 2 Teacher's Pet

Synopsis: Playing favorites... Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are the best dancers in their ballet class. Both girls want to dance the...