And the Employer of the Year Award goes to Me!

One of the many reasons why Franco and I aren’t considering relocating to another country for now, is the unavailability and high cost of trustworthy, dependable, and carinosa  stay-in househelp slash nanny elsewhere in the world. When we list down the things/people/events  that we are thankful for this year, Manang Lydia will definitely be included. She cooks well. She likes tending our garden. She’s not the type who needs to be told before doing something. Having worked as a janitress for years, she cleans like a pro. Most of all, we love her because she loves our son. And Aki loves her back.

She went home to Samar on the morning of Christmas to spend time with her family. She did not go home empty-handed because we gave her and her family some presents to show our appreciation. She hardly asks us for anything so we got cues of what gifts would they want based on her stories about her family.

First, something for the husband.  Manang mentioned once that her husband has been going to church wearing a ratty pair of slippers.  We went to Mr Quickie to have Franco’s old favourite rubber shoes repaired.  For just 400 pesos, they did a great job in changing and sewing on new soles. Franco liked the job so much that he had second thoughts of giving away his Nikes.

Then something for her kids. Whenever we are in a mall, Manang only checks out National Bookstore. She said she’s saving up for a dictionary. And so I got her one plus a thesaurus.

For Manang herself, we gave her two other gifts aside from her paid vacation leave and bonus.

She asked my permission before if she could take home a picture of Aki so her kids would see how her alaga looks like. I got her something better. A studio picture of Aki and her together. This one was taken at Tronix  where I am a suki. It only costed me  80 bucks but what I got in return, the expression on her face as soon as she saw the picture, was priceless.

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When Santa Came to Town

December 19, 2008 was a special day because that was the day we got married.

December 19, 2009 was uneventful.

December 19, 2010 is something for the books. We may not had a celebration as big as the one we had 2 years ago, but it is extra special because it’s on that day that our little one met Santa.

We hurriedly went to SM Bicutan’s activity center right after hearing mass because we wanted to avoid the long lines. It was fun watching the other kids take their turn. Some were crying. Some even screaming in fear. Some didn’t care. Some were excited. Aki, on the other hand, was like no other. My cutest, who hardly hears stories about Santa from me  excited ran towards Santa.  

Too bad our camera was lousy and did not take clear pictures of the momentous occasion. I also brought our velvet Christmas hats. I prepared a striped polo shirt that matched the hat nicely but Manang already dressed him up by then. I am not a fan of jumpers and would have wanted Aki to wear something else but Manang, was a such a stage yaya that day. I did not want to burst her bubble  because she seemed very very pleased with Aki’s ensemble.

Anyhoo, here is Aki, running towards Santa….

 

As soon as Manang Lydia sat him up beside the jolly, old and according to our yaya, not fat enough  fellow, he did this…

Is he the sweetest? We call this baby trick, lambing lambing. When my son feels like being sweet, he rests his head on our laps. He did not want to leave but we had to because there were other kids waiting in line.

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The Art of Crafty Eco-friendly Gift Wrapping

I am on a roll! This is my 4th post for today. I will be on leave from Dec 23 to Jan 2  but since Manang’s going home to Samar to celebrate the New Year’s day with her family, I am expecting that I would hardly be able to check my mails and update my blog.

Anyhoo, lately, I’ve been into crafts and DIY projects.

I personally wrapped most of our gifts. The smaller gifts, manang did but I was still in charge of embellishments. I used the materials that we already have  in the house: magazines, newspapers, blue ribbons (from Aki’s Christening and birthday gifts) and Japanese paper. Since our Christmas motif this year is blue, I tried to use blue and gray pages of newpapers and print outs.

Aren’t they pretty?

My concern now is bringing them to the office (and bringing the gifts from my officemate home) . The MRT guards require gifts to be opened. That I really don’t want to do because I spent 4 hours wrapping.

These two have paper pom-poms.

I like the contrast of newpaper and the blue velvet ribbon.

I was trying to achieve an artsy abtract-y fold here.

The bow is super easy to make. Just make four paper loops and tape them on top of each other.

And lastly, I am currently obsessed with paper snowflakes to the point that Rosie tells me to stop. Hehe

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Other Christmas-y stuff around the house

Let me post a short entry on our Christmas decors. Who knows, Aki might reach and eventually break them into pieces. 

I bought these two cute Christmas houses, a toy store and a candy shop. When Aki’s older, we will get a couple more houses and have a nice Christmas village.

We have a belen slash snowglobe now.

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Stockings Overload

We are officially a family of hoarders. We hoard toys, diapers, magazines and now stockings.

My original plan was to buy only three, one for Aki, Franky and me. But I could not decide which of the four did I like the least,  so I got another one for Manang. It was a bit expensive at  150 a piece but they were too gorgeous not be brought home.

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Aki Versus the Christmas Tree

This is not the year, not the year when we’d pour hot chocolate on our Christmas mugs, play Jose Mari Chan’s Christmas album, turn on the Chrismas lights, sit back and enjoy and admire our Christmas tree.

I have always wanted a magazine-feature-worthy Christmas tree. One that is filled with ornaments that tell a story. When we look back many years from now at the pictures of our Christmas decors this year, the story will be short and simple, in December 2010, we had a toddler and he ruled the house.

This is how the Christmas tree corner looks like..

 

The Christmas book nook was not spared either

 

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Christmas Book Collection

It started with the realization that we can’t have a belen this year. We have a monster, almost always in danger, ultimate grabber, no so little toddler.  Having a belen will probably double the times we say No in the house. Next year, hopefully.

So instead of getting a belen, I decided on getting a Christmas book so I can introduce to Aki, Baby Jesus in a manger and the rest of the cast of the nativity story. When I went to Booksale, as usual, the hoarder in me took over. I added Frosty the Snowman, Night Before Christmas, Rudolf and  The Grinch to my basket. I decided to pass on the Twelve Days of Christmas book, because I simply can’t relate! Hehe

Then, I noticed that there is much more to Christmas books than classic holiday stories. There are a lot of other Xmas stories that do not involve reindeers or snowmen. So I decided to grab a couple more holiday books. Since I shop for books in Booksale, getting a few more books didn’t really hurt my wallet. I think the most expensive I got was only 80 bucks.

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Bakerella

Please congratulate me.  I am now officially a baker! Seven months after we moved in, our house smelled like freshly baked cookies for the first time.

When Franco and I went appliance shopping, he gave me a hard time before he finally agreed to buy a gas range. He kept insisting that we only buy the two oven burners. He thought getting a gas range was so impractical since I had close to zero knowledge  when it comes to cooking and baking. I am so happy that he now agrees that the investment is worth it.

For my first baking adventure, I enlisted  the help of my SIL Mae, who was so  sweet  and thoughtful to give me baking paraphernalia for my birthday last month. There’s no one better to teach and coach me than her since she has been baking since she was in elementary. Plus she lives next door. I am the bakerella and she is my dairy creme godmother. Btw, it was her who baked the yummy cupcakes for Aki’s airplane party.

We started by preheating the oven to the hottest setting.  

When the sliced butter got soft, we added ___ cups of sugar.  Using a wire whisk, we mixed the two ingredients together.

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