St. Rita Orphanage Visit

It is been more than a month but I am still on a high. Our visit to Saint Rita Orphanage is definitely one of the highlights of the first half of 2014. It all started when I was sorting the items for our garage sale. There were items like a well-loved baby bolster pillow and 3rd-degree hand-me-down baby blanket that I did not have use for but it did not feel right to sell them. I was not comfortable giving them to preggy first-time-mom friends because these items, although still useful are not as cute as they used to. What to do? What to do? And then a lightbulb moment. Why not donate? Soon, almost half of the baby and toddler items that were supposed to be for sale, were transferred to the “donations” box. I mentioned in one of my blog post of my plans of visiting an orphange. Leslie contacted me thru FB and said she wanted to join.  We asked our online group, Newlyweds@Work, if anyone wanted to donate. Last June 22, a total of 10 families went to orphanage with us.

Group Pictures? Good Luck!

Group Pictures? Good Luck! Super thanks too to our supportive husbands.

This is my friend, Lui and her son Buwi all the way from Shanghai. I have to post this because finally  after at least 4 reschedules in the last 2 years, and at least 2 dozens of stale bread ( dahil lagi  akong iniinjan ng bakilita ito!) our playdate pushed thru. Love you, Bex!

This is my friend, Lui and her son Buwi all the way from Shanghai. I have to post this picture because finally after at least 4 reschedules in the last 2 years, and at least 2 dozens of stale bread ( dahil lagi akong iniinjan ng baklita ito!) our playdate pushed thru. Love you, Bex!

Maybe around 15 more were not able to come but gave donations in cash and in kind. You know who you are. Thank you!  Special thanks too to Unilab for the medicines and URC for the noodles.

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I am so amazed at what a small commited group can do. Wednesday before the scheduled visit, I got another lightbulb moment. What if we have friendship bracelets that our kids can give to the orphans. The bracelets would make great reminders to our kids and to the St. Rita kids of our outreach activity. I got that idea at around 11PM. By the next morning, we got so many pledges for loom bracelet donations from our N@W sisses. We received so many that we still have a lot left for maybe 2 more orphanage visits. To this day when Aki wears his red and blue loomie, he remembers the new friends he made that day. The one he remembers most is John Bosco, a 3 year old boy with cerebral palsy. Every night, Aki and I pray that God sends loving adoptive parents to the kids of St. Rita. Please include them in your prayers too.
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This is Aki chasing a little boy named JR.

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Let me give you a tour of the orphanage. St Rita is home to 13 babies with ages 6 months to 1.5 years old and to 8 toddlers from 2 to 5 years old. Most of the kids were abandoned in the hospital where they were born.

This is how the place looks like from the entrance.

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Happiness for Me. Slow Death for Hubby

My newest addiction: lipstick shopping . This is not so me but I am surely enjoying every moment I spend in the beauty section of department stores.

 

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What is your latest lipstick find? Thanks to Marsy, I got introduced to Ever Bilena. The orange-y lippie that I got was only 75 bucks.  :)

 

Favorite Finds @ Uniwide Sucat

To everyone who panicked because I said last year that Uniwide was about to close its doors forever, I AM SORRY. I am happy to report that Uniwide is still operational. I don’t know whatever happened to that SEC order. I am just glad that all of us bargain hunters will still get to experience that joy of finding really cute items at  unbelievably low prices.

 

Last weekend, we were back in my happy place. We have not been to Uniwide Coastal in a long while because the Sucat branch is a mere 20 minute drive from our house. Here are my favorite finds.

 

Looking for gifts for kids? Look no more.  Here are cute tents. If I remember correctly, the Star Wars tent used to cost only 199 bucks. Now it is being sold at PhP399. Still not bad, right?  If you have the space, get this 7-piece tent set. For only 799, this would definitely encourage exercise and imagination in young children.

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If you have picky eaters ( Thank you, Lord. I am done with that phase.), you might like my top picks from the melaware section. I got the Minnie Mouse plate for my Mickey-and-Minnie-loving niece Rya. The other plate, although it is not in English, might help teach kids and even adults about eating the right portions.

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This Petter Rabbit tray would make a cute addition if you have a book-themed party. Only 59 bucks

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Helmet and knee pads for your pink-loving biker girl. Aki got 2 of these Bakugan-like toys. Don’t know what Bakugan is? Aaaay, you are not cool.

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If your name is Tony, Rory, Troy, Nory, Ryan, Arya, Ton-ton, Ron-ron or Tororo, I am ordering you to visit Uniwide Sucat now!

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These are the only available letters. Aren’t they cute? These will cost you at least 4x more if you are lucky enough to find them in your favorite mall. Continue reading

Aki’s Library and Study Area

Now that Aki is in the big school, one of my top priorities is instilling good study habits. He has assignments almost everyday. He has quizzes at least 2 times a week. He needs to learn to set aside time for studying. This is easier said than done if you live in a house full of distractions. So, starting June, I slowly transformed his play area into a study area. If I were a kid, it would take more than will power to write my name 8x if my study table is surrounded with toys.  I moved all the play things near our sofa, semi hidden by the main door. Now, the corner under the stairs look like this:

 

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What do you think? Total cost is 88 pesosesoses.

 

I will have  separate entry on how I put together everything. :)

 

 

 

 

A Letter from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society

Oh me! Oh my! I am so so happy!

Remember the letter and drawing that we sent to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society back in May? We received a reply!

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Aside from the letter, we also got several fun stuff.

A postcard. I taped this on the wall so Aki can see it every time he is studying.

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Stickers!

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I like that even small kids can contribute to the cause in their own little way.

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This is Aki’s favorite — whale origami.

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Grilled Chicken in 7-Up Marinade

Yup! 7-up is the secret ingredient to this easy peasy recipe. Last Saturday, we woke up to a sweet smell coming from the kitchen. I thought Ate cooked tocino. I went down to tell her to make tocino sinangag. To my surprise, she was grilling chicken quarters for the boys. I asked her where she got her recipe and she said she’s just experimenting. The night before, she soaked the chicken  and some pork tapa slices for me in a marinade of 7-up ( the smallest bottle) and 2 syanse-ful (maybe around 1/4 cup) oyster sauce.  After almost 12 hours of marinating, she grilled the chicken. The meat came out very flavorful and surprisingly very very tender. This will recipe will definitely be part of  our regular menu.

 

Unfortunately, this is the best pic that I have because the impatient boys wanted to eat right away.

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Maybe next week, we will try rootbeer :)

Mid-Year Reflections

PART I

One word to describe the first 6 months of 2014

BLESSED

Compared to last year, is the first half better or worse?

Better definitely!

What is your biggest achievement so far? 

I can’t pick one so I am listing them all down

Fully paid our housing loan and Aki’s tuition fee

Read all three Power of Praying books and attended my first Power of the Praying Wife prayer meeting

Opened Aki’s Ice Candy Store and taught my son the value of saving

Flew a kite and made giant bubbles

Had a physical and online garage sale. I earned almost 7K!

Got rid of the stubborn ring in our toilet.

One of the teams that I am managing is performing  4X better compared to last year.

Bought new make-up and started wearing make-up everyday at work.

Organized an outreach to the Sta Rita Orphanage. With the help of the N@W community, we raised almost 7K and donated boxes of milk, diapers, medicine (Thank you Unilab!), noodles (Thank you URC!), clothes and toys.

What’s the biggest surprise that 2014 brought you?

Sad surprise – My miscarriage. It was so unexpected as no one in the last 20 years in my family lost a baby.   I have always took pride that I was healthy. Until  I gave birth to Aki, I was never hospitalized. No stitches. No broken bones. No allergies. My miscarriage was the first time for my body to fail me. :(

Happy surprise – My team got relocated to Makati which is closer to home.  Unlike before when one way commute with 2-3 transfers took 1-2 hours, now I ride with hubby and travel time is only 15-20 minutes.

What’s the biggest struggle for you?

Miscarriage, cancer-scare and h-mole. When the doctors confirmed that there was no heartbeat, they also detected abnormal proliferation in the placenta. Thank God, it’s not cancer. After a series of expensive blood tests, my blood levels are now back to normal. :)

What’s the best thing that you have done for yourself?

 Became more prayerful.

PART II

 

Best book the you have read?

 Power of the Praying Woman

Best movie that you have watch?

 Maleficent

Any new person (new boss, new kid, new doctor, new friend, new neighbor etc)  in your life that made the last 6 months more interesting (either positive or negative)?

God. Until late last year, I did not care about my spiritual side. I hardly prayed and when I did, it was all about asking for something. I was worried ALL the time.  Now, I surrender my concerns and desires to God. I sleep better at night knowing that He will take care of me.

Is there a new place that you visited for the first time?

 Edsa Shangrila but it was so-so compared to our favorite Manila Hotel

Any new hobbies that you took up?

 Instagram. Hahaha. Such a time waster but I love it.

PART III

Did you set any new year’s resolutions for 2014? Have you achieved them?

 Yup. I told myself that I will exert effort to be more prayerful.

Which of the following aspects do you want to see improvements on by the end of the year

Love Life/ Social Life/Family/Career/Financial/Beauty/Emotional/Spiritual/Health

Health. I want to be more conscious of what I eat. I also want to start running again.

Has 2014 been kind to you too? :)

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Makati Cinema Square: What To Do and Where to Eat

Good morning!

Makati Cinema Square or MCS is our thrifty family’s official weekend tambayan. Aside from the numerous dibidi stores, there are other attractions worth checking.

Booksale. This is on top of my list. The Booksale branch in MCS is the biggest of all branches that I visited. We love this branch so much we had a photoshoot there last year.

Kodanda, Archery Range. Read more about it here.

It takes me more than an hour to scour through the children’s books and home magazines in Booksale. Franco on the other hand, needs only 15 minutes to check out the martial arts magazines and the Marvel comic books. Instead of waiting for me, the boys go to the 3rd floor and people-watch at the Makati Cinema Arena

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If you like collectible toys and arcade games, MCS also has something for you.

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Now if all that makes you tired, why not try the massage chairs just outside Booksale?  Only PhP20 for 5 minutes.

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When Franco and I feel like splurging, like last Friday when we celebrated our 10th anniversary together, we go to Balikatan Therapeutic Massage for a quick but relaxing PhP 80 15-minute massage. Note: This place is nothing like The Spa. The blind but kinda chatty masseuses are really good.

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One thing that Franco has been bugging me to try is the firing range. I want to but I just find the fees (800 bucks) too steep.

 

And if you want to go to MCS for the food trip, here are my recommendations.

 

If you want to eat in a resto with waiters, try Grillicious. We love their wanton soup. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures.

 

If you want Thai cuisine, there’s a Sen Lek stall near the dibidi booths. The  Thai milk tea is only 30 bucks.

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String Painting with my Preschooler

Friends, I present to you…. Colorful Chaos by Aki Endaya

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This painting now has a special spot in our wall.

And all these colors just started with these three.

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We have done several painting projects in the past. And my usual complaint is how hard it is to reopen tubs of paint. We usually pour paint from the cans to smaller containers. The problem with that is paint dries around the opening making the cover and can stick. So for our last project, we used spoons.

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First Week Back at Work

Morning!

A few days before I went back to work, I experienced some withdrawal symptoms. I was not ready to say goodbye to my temporary stay-at-home-mom-hood. Now, I realize that I wasted my energy worrying. One, there was no point. There was no choice. Even if my heart said no, my wallet was shouting NOW! Hehe. While Franco is doing a great job providing for the family’s needs and wants, my salary is what we invest for our retirement fund. I think everyone will agree that it is better to work now and relax during retirement rather than, relax now and worry about finances when we get old. And two, work was not as toxic as I expected. Sure, there are 6000 emails that I will never finish reading. There will always be work left undone. But what is important is the work that gets done, the relationship that  you have with your colleagues and bosses and the fullfilment from knowing that you were part of someone’s journey to success.

 

Here are some highlights from my first week.

Brunch with two of my favorite people at work. We have been together for 10 years!!

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I realized that after 10 years, this is the first time that I am blessed to have a view.

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Wednesdays are for family nights. At exactly 5:17PM, we are home from work. Life is good. I hope Franco and I can keep Wednesdays sacred.

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I went to Franco’s office for my first cervical cancer vaccine shot.

Maghanap ka ng di marunong mag-selfie

Maghanap ka ng di marunong mag-selfie

 

Met with buyers from my online garage sale. Nice to meet you, Ruby and April

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