Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our Weekend Getaway

Last Saturday, we were at the Alabang Town Center to spend time with the family.  Our two girls were on their usual giddy self - as soon as they found out that we were going out, they took out their favorite dresses and did most of the preparation.

Parking was very bad as expected.  We have a secret spot that we go to that seldom gets crowded mainly because you need a long walk to get to the entrance of the mall.  That day, our secret was found out.  It was filled except for one small parking area that our little car can squeeze in.

So we had lunch, walked around and looked at toys at Rustan's Alabang.  Did I tell you they have one of the best Christmas nooks in the country?

The day in ATC will not be complete without playing near the water fountains.

We had to get new clothes for them because they were soaking wet.  My little girl decided it was about time to get rid of her favorite Crocs.  

Early evening, Lea Salonga, the Kindred Voices with Gerard Salonga and the Philharmonic Orchestra had a free concert at the atrium.  It was too bad I didn't hear about it because I could get reserve seats courtesy of the Ayala A Card.

I caught the first song before my little ball of fire decided to run to the nearest Time Zone.  I went after her, panicking because I couldn't find her anywhere.  I found her battling Lea Salonga's vocal prowess - Nemo was crying her lungs out while she stands right next to her Dad.  

I missed my chance of watching Lea Salonga's concert again in the process.  My husband and I went home with sore legs (from all the running after the kids) and headaches that lasted all night long.  The kids?  They were awake until the wee hours of the morning.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Picture Perfect: Pic-A-Boo!

Back when I was very excited about the concept of parenting (insert laughter here), my mind always wandered to the thoughts and plans of how I can document my daughters' growth.  My inexperience proved that it can get pricey but fun!  It felt like lighting up fireworks just when everyone's about to fall asleep. 

My family was a frequent visitor of Pic-A-Boo, an upcoming children's photo studio circa 2007.  They have tempting deals that parents cannot say no to.  The first time I went to their branch at SM The Block, I was mesmerized by how they made everything look good - even the costumes that my baby girl back then did not really like.  I ended up spending about Php 6,000, got a  free membership card, some free 8R prints and a CD of all the pictures they took in low resolution.  The photographers KNOW their thing.  The only thing the babies needed to do was to smile and have fun!

So I ended up going back over and over again - the yearning being close to an addiction.  I just have to get more!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Richwell Sale 2012: The Alphaland Experience

This year's Richwell Warehouse Sale just got better!

If you have been to the previous year's sale, you know by heart the tips I have mentioned in my previous post.  You are prepared for:

  • Horrendous traffic around the area
  • Nightmare parking 
  • Dust and sweat
  • Cash purchase
  • Excuse me, pardon me, oh so sorry, hey can I get in there please?

Now matter how scary that list sounds, you have braved through this yearly because of the good deals.

This year at Alphaland Mall, Richwell has improved things a great deal.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

Sing it with me!  

My daughters are enjoying the Christmas festivities.  If we have an aerial view of the city at night, we will most likely see colorful sparkles everywhere.  People walk around with a slight hop, smiles given to everyone like free candies on a Halloween night.

This weekend, we will start decorating the Hyacinth house over snacks and holiday movies.  This will be fun!

So how does it look like around the metro these days?  Here are some photos.

The giant Christmas tree in front of the City Hall

The City Hall's parking lot is transformed into a Christmas park

The colorful Polar Express train at the entrance of one mall

The Christmas castle

The decorations at the lobby of the Asian Hospital

How are you doing with your Christmas preparations?


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sweet Payback

Do you remember those days when your parents shed a quiet tear every time you do something naughty in public?  How about the first time you learned about the word "defiance" through practice? What about the sleepless nights you gave your Mother or your Dad or a relative each time you have school projects?

Do you know why I wrote the paragraph about?

Because sooner or later, you will have kids of your own... those that will most probably give you the same experience. Your folks will savor the sweet taste of payback when they see you working on projects or see your daughters' put make-up or talk about their "boy friends" with full gusto.

My mother and aunt just had the best seats in the house to watch my 5-year old give them  their payback.


So so soooo tired but I still need to fix the rest of Portia's projects.  Five down, one to go! We can do this. 

I must just say that today is a milestone for me.  I made the most number of school projects at one time... and yes, they aren't mine. Heh.

My kindergarten's projects:

How can they have such complicated projects?  They are on kindergarten.

I need to make a turtle out of paper plate tonight.  Wish me luck please. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Do They "Rice" Up To The Consumer Challenge?

It's one hell of a week for this consumer.
Monday morning, I had to return one sack of rice to the local grocery store because it was mostly broken grains, smelled bad and tasted like newly-watered soil when cooked (no exaggeration, it was THAT bad).  I spoke with the person in their Customer Service Counter who then referred me to their Supervisor.  After a few questions, I was ushered in to choose the replacement.  Because I did the grocery shopping the day before, there wasn't really anything I can buy. So I asked them to just get me a replacement sack of rice.  

Going to the rice section, I noticed the display of the product I bought.  Apart from the smell and the taste, I noticed that what they gave me was mainly broken grains - this one had long grains.  I asked the guy who was assisting me and his answer gave me the shock of my life.  He said that on weekends when they have their palengke days, a "different" quality and brand of rice are sold - especially in bulk.  Since these products are discounted, the quality is different and normally not at par from the regularly priced one.  The regularly priced ones are then placed back in time for Monday store hours.  Same spot and label minus the three-peso per kilo markdown.   

Taken from All2012.net

I was happy thankful for the honesty of this guy but it sure sounded like consumer deception right there.  Is that even a good deal?  You get a discount on a product that is not even on the same quality of what you should be buying?  I paid extra and got the non-discounted rice.  Really... slashing 150 pesos off the original price does not put logic on giving low quality of products.

My note to self this week... Do not get anything perishable on weekend promo sale.  It is bound to give you a headache.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Innovation At Its Finest

I asked Pot if she can get me a tall glass of water.

"Certainly, Madamme!"

She went back with this:

Innovation at its finest!

Trust my girls to make me feel better in an instant. :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Do They Watch On TV?

I had the chance to stay at home with some vacation days from work and the long weekends/holidays here in Manila.  It was fun spending some time with the kiddos but I cannot help but cringe at the few changes I noticed.

While I was doing some chores, Pot ran to me all bothered because Celia, Carlos Miguel's girlfriend, died (or something like that).  Patay na si Celia, Mommmmmy!  Kawawa si Carlos Miguel! What the heck is this kid watching???  It turns out it is some afternoon telenovela that somebody is an avid fan of.  (insert some mumbling here)

In the evening, while the girls are playing, Nemo got upset and threw a stool in front of Pot.  Apparently, this is how it is done when people get upset in another TV show.

These television shows do not take the blame for what the children see because, for one, the proper guidance from the MTRCB are shown at least once.  What is bothersome is even if the warnings are there, no one cares.

This is one of those days when I wish I can just stay home and take care of the kids. 

Do you have mommy woes similar to this that you would like to share?  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Whatever You Do, DO NOT Close Your Eyes!

My daughters and I love role-playing.  Whenever we have the chance to play with their  toys, we always let our imaginations take us places, make us be who we want to be.  The pace and the plot, most often than not, will always come from them.

Waking up early on a holiday meant you are rising up to an all-day of fun.  After a quick shower and breakfast, my girls pulled me to the playroom, gave me some of their favorite stuffed dolls and started mimicking cartoon character voices.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Richwell Sale 2012: Christmas Shopping!

The schedule is finally out!

I am sure the mommies here in the metro are dying to know when the Richwell sale is.  The long wait is over!

Last year, I regretted not getting the toys that I am sure my girls will enjoy.  I will try my luck on getting them this year - hopefully at an even lower price. 

I sure hope they are still distributing Fisher-Price Little People toys.  My little girls are still into storytelling using their little people friends so I will need to replenish their collection.

Apart from toys, you can also get clothes, shoes, strollers, cribs, baby stuff (feeding bottles, baby wipes, sippy cups etc.) and, occasionally, even outdoor playhouses.

Some useful tips when you go to the warehouse sale:  

  1. Do not bring your kids!  It gets very crowded and the lines very long so they will not like them.
  2. Buddy up.  If you can shop with a friend or your sister, do so.  Have one fall in line while you shop and vice versa.  It will save you A LOT of time.
  3. Last year's sale was in a new venue in New Manila (same as this year).  Bring a fan.  You won't like how you smell after you shop.
  4. Bring a bottle of alcohol or hand sanitizer, having a towel won't hurt either.  Because this is in a warehouse, the boxes are mostly dusty.
  5. If they have the same rules as last year, it is brilliant to have your own batteries to test the toys you are meaning to buy.  They do not test battery-operated toys.  It will save you another trip in case they do not work.
  6. Bring your huge reusable bags.  Be nice to nature.  They do not have pushcarts but provide big-striped plastic bags to put your toys on.  
  7. If you bring a car, it might be a good idea to park in Tomas Morato and walk to Scout Torillo.  Finding a parking lot near the warehouse will be a challenge.

That is all I can think of for now.  In case you have questions, you may call them on the number that is on their banner or add them on Facebook.

Happy Christmas shopping!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Getting an A for Initiative

My girls were preparing for bed earlier this evening.  They took a shower, brushed their teeth (still a battle) and got their PJs from the closet in the playroom.  All throughout this process, I was just watching them from afar, making sure no one gets rushed to the emergency room.

When it was time to put on their pajamas, my three-year old daughter still wanted to do it on her own.  

"Nemo is a big girl!  No more baby!"

Smiling at this progress, I gave her shirt and just let her be.  I continued working on my deliverables for work.  A few minutes after, I heard loud giggles, one of them sounding halfway giggle, halfway crying.

This is what I saw:

Where did the other arm-hole go, Mom?

Latest fashion?
But still, I give my daughter A for initiative.  That's progress right there.  I am confident you'll do it right next time.

Wordless Wednesday: Happy Halloween!

Half empty or half full?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Trick or Treat!

Hurray for that most wonderful time of the year!  

,,, and no, I did not mean Christmas just yet.  I mean Halloween - a yearly event my little girls look forward to as much as Christmas morning.  

Months before Halloween, they give suggestions on who they want to dress up as.  This year, Pot wanted to go as Harley Quinn (too scary and sexy to materialize).  They went with fairies instead.

The office theme was Disney and Fairies.  For one afternoon, Tinkerbell sprinkled fairy dust and transformed the workforce into fairies and elves.  Different characters then visited their world - little Peter Pan, Captain Hook and all the rest of the Disney classics.

It is amazing how kids bond instantly when they get together for Trick or Treat. My little girls are normally very shy but when they are in their costumes, they change into friendly beings. Heh.

Pot with new friends, Rapunzel and Angel

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fun Times At Austin's - Pixie Forest

It is fun reminiscing the good ole times.  One of these days, my girls will bug me to take them out with their cousins for some playground time.  This was done regularly before but because we have not had any handy helpers at home for months now, mommy needs to do all the household chores.  Believe you me, playtime is not as easy as it seems.  It requires a lot of energy not just from the kids but the mommies as well.

The last time we did this, my sister and I went home dog-tired and unable to move until the next morning.  It was a lot of fun though so we do not have any issues doing it over and over again.

When we do take the kids out to play, we usually bring them to Festival Mall where Pixie Forest is.  It is an indoor amusement park with a number of rides and activities to choose from.  We normally spend about 100 to 150 pesos of tokens per child to get them busy.  If your little ones are into trying out rides, it is more practical to get a ride-all-you-can pass for 150 pesos.

When you get lucky, you will find these guys waiting for you to take pictures (and scare your kids).

My girls and their cousins love spending their time at Austin's in Pixie Forest.  It is a huge activity area where kids can jump, slide and make like they are monkeys all they want without bothering people.  I personally do not like their requirement that there should be a guardian to look after the kids.  It gets crowded with all the parents and/or guardians with legs sprawled on the floor.

When the kids get tired, they can sit in front of the television to watch their favorite cartoons.  Just a reminder, if they catch the movie when it just started, prepare to spend another hour and a half with them watching.  Movie date for one-third of the price. :)

All in all, spending time in Festival Mall to keep the kids happy is a treat.  I can't wait to do this again.

If you wish to bring your kids, you may refer to Festival Mall's website for more information.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Handling Criticism With Class

This story hits very close to home.

There was a time in my life when I felt I was not good enough... that people look down on me because I am overweight.  Photoshoots were my worst nightmare.  I hated my body because it succumbed to the pressure of my pregnancies; it never came back to how it was.  I missed dinners, parties and reunions with family and friends because as soon as they see me, they talk about how big I have become.  

There's a thin line between preference and prejudice.  I understand preference - everyone is entitled to it.  People will always be inclined to like something over another.  Prejudice, however, is looking down on something or someone just because he/she does not fit the bill - the norm according to their own preference.

I've recently (finally) made myself understand that I am not less of a person than anyone else just because I have weight issues.  I do not pressure myself to be a size 2 just because people like women that way.  Whatever I am doing now, whether to keep my weight as is or lose it, is my decision based on what makes me happy and healthy.

Jennifer Livingston showed us how to address pressure with grace.  Some people might ignore, keep getting hurt without letting anyone know, or worse, stoop down to bullies to retaliate.  She showed them with class.

Homemade Cake Pops!

My first try on making cake pops was not all too fabulous.  Watching it online made me feel like it was going to be a breeze, but when I saw the ingredients on my own table, there were suffice to say some second (and third and fourth) thoughts about the whole thing.

It turned out to be fun, albeit a bit stressful.  Since my daughter requested that we make them for her third birthday, we decided to give in and make it as our little project.  I asked an officemate to bake the cake for us a day in advance and she agreed.  That got one task out of the way. 

Next was this first timers challenge of finding the best possible decoration ensemble.  I went all out in Landmark Makati, buying bars of chocolates for the coating, rainbow and chocolate sprinkles and little kisses to decorate.  I still have that fun McCormmick food coloring from our Easter egg hunt.

The cake pops turned out lovely after they were arranged by my creative sister in a pedestal.  We bought a small purple yam cake to accompany it, which made Nemo one happy little kid.    

The one drawback was this:  We wound up having enough cake pops to energize our hyperactive monkeys for the whole week... but hey, birthdays are only once a year, right?  Right?

Oh I lied--there was another drawback:  The mess.  The unholy, unscripted, unbridled, out-of-control, out-of-bounds, outrageous and all-around indescribable...mess.  That kitchen, at the end of the project, made Beirut look like a club-med holiday.  And again, Nemo was in absolute bliss over the whole thing.

Again, I just want to make sure if I got the memo right.  Birthdays are once a year, right? :)  Happy birthday, Princess Nemo!


Friday, October 5, 2012

Que Horror!

No one has prepared us for this.  

After invading our subconscious all week, it went to our home uninvited today. 


Warning:  If you do not want a long-lasting LSS (last song syndrome), please do not watch it. 

I was doing my household chores this morning while Nemo was quietly doing her stuff in the playroom.  It was the best time to listen to music because big sister Pot was still in school with her Dad.  I hooked up my phone to my computer's speaker system and started listening to my choice of songs.

Pot and her Dad came home without me noticing.  Within minutes, the familiar tune announced my bratinella's presence - the Tap the Frog tune! Full blast!

Oh dear universe, please keep us sane for the rest of the day.

(insert some whistling to the tune of this catchy game)

That Guilty Pleasure

I don't know what came over me two afternoons ago.  It was probably the loud cry of the bookshelf to rescue him from all the clutter the girls have gifted him (READ: books that are inserted like pieces of an abstract art).  It could also be because of the boredom at home because my energizer bunny-like little girl has been suffering from asthma.  She was in bed all-day except when she wants to conveniently walk around the house while throwing up.  (I'll stop being graphic here)

So anyway, I browsed through my husband and myself's conjugal properties in a shelf (a.k.a.  our books).  One book got my attention.  It was one of my priced possessions back in my early college days.  

My Ally McBeal: The Official Guide book!

For those of you who are too young to know who or what Ally McBeal is, it is a hit series back in the 90s by David E. Kelly that focuses on courtroom con law firm drama with a twist.  The characters are mostly lawyers but they are shown as human beings who have regular lives - not merely people who get you in out of trouble.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Happy Teacher's Day!

Do they still sell those roll-on perfume?  My fondest school memory included that when I was on second grade.  My teacher, Mrs. Abad (her first name is Merly, I believe), encouraged her pupils to participate by rubbing her roll-on perfume on our blouse's collar.  She  expresses her pride over her pupils achievements through her perfume.  It was effective.  I remember feeling happy whenever I get a reward.  It was the best scent - it lingers even when I'm on my way home.  Even now, it makes me smile when I smell something similar.

Now that I have a pre-schooler, I cannot help but remember how noble this profession is. I look at how Pot's teacher manages to keep her sanity amidst twelve overly active kids; how she magically makes them perform on stage and work as a team on every recital.  It must be a gift!  Not everyone can be a teacher.  

Did you ever notice how pre-school teachers always have a light aura - like everyday their good vibes-o-meter is full?  They are happy.  They enjoy it.  It must be because they are surrounded by kids.  It feels like they will always be kids at heart.

I still dream of having my own pre-school center someday.  Someday. :)

From all of us who have learned to read, write, socialize and go on with life after disappointments, thank you dear teachers.  Hats off to you. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Villains and Scary Creatures

Sometimes I worry about my 3-year old daughter.  She has a thing for villains.  She would request incessantly to go back to the part when the whole room is enveloped by the sound of the Wicked Witch of the East's laughter in the "Wizard of Oz."

They stumbled upon clips of Chucky in "Child's Play."  While most kids would cry (her sister included) about seeing the scary scenes, she'd watch it until the video ends - sometimes even asks for a replay.

Just this weekend, we were in a bookstore buying crafting supplies for Pot's school projects.  Naturally, the kids and their father strolled around for children's books.  Right next to that section was a big display area of Halloween costumes and decorations.  My 5-year old quickly ran to her father crying.  Where was Nemo?  Running after her sister with a witch's mask and a cut leg. 

On a side note, I know what scares her - the sound of an incoming train.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pseudo-"Wordless Wednesday": The Love of My Life

Oh my goodness!  I am holding my breath to get to the weekend for faaaaaaaaaar too long that I did not realize that it is already here.  I am laughing at my last two posts on them being  "Wordless Wednesday."  On both times, the day was wrong.  I posted it Thursday and Friday!!  Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pseudo-"Wordless Wednesday": A Crazy Afternoon At Work

Photo courtesy of Meryc
Here is another oopsy... I posted this on Thursday but it was a Wednesday so I did not put any caption on it.  This is a record-breaking week for me.  I had three Wednesdays this week.  I had the real Wednesday and two Wednesdays that I made up. :)