Decluttering & Organizing · Good Buy · Mrs. Monologues

Before and After: Kitchen Shelves

There are a lot of things that I want to change/add/remove/organize/fix/improve/ in my kitchen  but for my decluttering project last month, I zeroed on the open shelves. They were a major eyesore and they have  been bothering me for months.

Here is the before picture.


That is our beloved Ate Dorina. Her latest victims were my kitchen shears and a plastic pitcher. I don’t mind, err, actually I do but I try not to mind that I should mind, since looking for a helper who is dependable, trust worthy and most of all, willing to stay, is a challenge for many working moms like me.

Side story, last week, Aki’s teachers gave an assignment: decorate the recycled bird feeder. Because I am a believer that a child’s assignments and projects should be done by the child and not by the parents, and because I am so lazy, and because, unlike other people, cramming does not bring out the best in me,  I had Ate wrap the carton bird feeder with Manila paper and had Aki draw some doodles on it. I thought it was cute. Aki drew me, Ate Dorina and his Ate Jyl and his Daddy, Kuya Joaquin, Kuya Tos and himself. Apparently, it was not cute enough for Ate Dorina. She said Aki’s project looked so simple compared to his classmates’. Instead of submitting the project, she told the teacher that she left it at home. As soon as I arrived from work, she asked me for a more colorful paper and stickers. Unfortunately, we don’t have stickers. I gave her a bunch of fuzzy wires, asked her to cut them up and make swirls that Aki can glue to the birdfeeder. The next day, she surprised me when she showed me the finished product. I know I have the right to be angry. She did not follow my instructions. But after learning that she slept late to perfect the project, all I could do was say thank you with a forced smile.

Anyhoo, back to the decluterring project.

This is the only before picture that I have of the display shelves above the breakfast nook. Do you see the flashlight, bills, Vicks, nail cutter, coins etc? It was a dump-and-go space.


Habits are hard to break. Instead of having a family meeting and orienting everyone that the flashlight goes to the lower left shelf and the Vicks on the medicine shelf, I have accepted that this display shelf is meant to be a catch-all for loose items. I can get rid of the clutter but for sure it would be back the next day. Well, if you can’t get rid of it, hide it! Haha. Here is how that shelf looks like now.


Nice, eh? Continue reading “Before and After: Kitchen Shelves”

Maqui's Me Time

My House Has Been Viewed 15 Million Times

Franco and I both have this secret dream of being an extra in a film or commercial. When the news broke out last year that the Bourne Legacy  crew needed extras, we, the biggest fans of the first 3 Bourne films,  got really excited. I was ready to file a leave and practice my best pedestrian walk. Franco probably practiced his action star moves. Everyone knows now that that announcement was a big joke. Our hearts were crushed but we had to move on.

Anyhoo, I think we’re getting to close to our big dream. Lately, I learned that our house had a cameo in one of the most viewed videos in YouTube Philippines. (Dear Erwin, Gayuma means love potion)

Did you see our house? That was a fun video, right?

Today, our house in a music video. Tomorrow, our family in a commercial. 🙂

Food · Mrs. Monologues

Stir-Fried Thai Pork Noodles

Last last weekend, I unearthed a pack of flat rice noodles from the depths of my kitchen cabinet. I remember buying this unplanned when we were in SM last year. I was itching to cook something Vietnamese for weeks but could not find such noodles. When the craving subsided, I found the pack in one of the aisles of SM Hypermarket. Knowing it is a hard to find item, at least in our go-to grocery store, I grabbed a pack with a promise I will cook it soon. Of course that did not happen. The same was the story for the unopened bottle of mustard, can of cream corn and Ghirardelli chocolate chips in the pantry.

Feeling inspired, I whipped up this Thai sweet-salty-sour dish. This is a variation of a recipe from my Yummy Weekend Cooking Cookbook



4 small red onions, halved
1/4 kilo ground pork
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup calamansi (Philippine lemon) juice
1/4 cup fish sauce. The original recipe calls for Thai fish sauce. Actually, after I learned that our local patis has too much sodium, I stopped buying it. For this recipe, I had to borrow from a neighbor. Oh, the perks of living near relatives. Thanks, Mae!
1 cup basil leaves
half of a pack of flat rice noodles, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
a handful of sitsaro or snow pea Continue reading “Stir-Fried Thai Pork Noodles”

Memoirs of a Mummy · Playdates

Manila Zoo Revisited

For sure, our Manila Zoo is no strong contender for the best zoo in the world award. But for only 20 bucks (or is 40?), I don’t think I should be complaining.

Anyhoo, on our second visit, we discovered areas that we did not get to check out before. Here are the new animals that we saw


It felt weird to see a carabao inside the zoo. Maybe because I am used to seeing them everyday in Bayog. 2page

Check out the third photo. I was not able to get the name of the long-tailed bird. I think it is unfair that male birds are more colorful than their female counterparts.1pageI love the owl! I tried to have a staring contest with it. He won. We have seen other owls in the past but none as wide awake as this one. Aki  asked, “Hali Pato, ito?” (Is this from Harry Potter?)

Within Manila Zoo is a mini-zoo named Kinder Zoo. It is privately run so animals here are in a better condition. Entrance fee is PhP100. You can pay extra if you want to try the activities inside like, wall climbing, swimming, zip line etc. Thank you, Erl, for our discounted tickets!


Aki: Crocs? Booooooring..


He seemed to like the giant snake better. Franco, who was not with us, after seeing this picture warned me though to stay close and observe the snake next time. He said he saw a video where a harmless looking snake suddenly tightened and almost killed the model who was holding it.


This zoo trip was more memorable because of our playdate buddies Faye and Maia


Dora and Diego. We have had several playdates with Maia but this is only the 2nd time where it is just the two of them. Check out our baking playdate last year here and here. Faye, pizza playdate naman?GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Continue reading “Manila Zoo Revisited”

Chinese Baby Shower · Memoirs of a Mummy · Mrs. Monologues

A Chinese Baby Shower for Dumpling

One of the highlights of December for our family was the birth of Rya, Aki’s first first-cousin on the Endaya side. Because it was a much awaited event, we just had to have a party. Before Rya was born, everyone called her Baby Dumpling. Since siomai came from China and it was the year of the dragon, I thought of a Chinese-inspired baby shower for her.


This means Siomai in English.


We started with the decors.

With the help of Ate Dorina and Tina, I made and hung some 60+ red lanterns. It was too late when I realized that we don’t have a white thread so we had to use a yarn. The lanterns still looked like they were floating.


We also made a wishing tree. Guests wrote messages on a piece of paper and placed them inside the red Chinese envelopes. Thank you, neighbor, for the your twigs!



Here is my very first diaper cake. I made it from a 40-pc pack of diaper, 40 rubber bands, a blanket, shiny shimmery crepe paper and an ampao.


The diaper cake was the centerpiece of our tablescape which looked like this before the food arrived. Rya’s parents, Mae and Kuya Fiel,  came as soon as the food arrived so I did not have time to take a picture of the table.


My contribution were the mini siopaos which I ordered from Susan, my suki from the Mary Help of Christian Sunday market.  The mini siopao costs only 100 pesos per pack of 10. All three variants, bola-bola, asado and vegetable were hits!


Lechon Macau c/o Babita, Siomai c/o Mae’s cousin, Buchi and Lumpiang Shianghai c/o Mae’s mom and my favorite, pancit from some motel from Pasig. Mental note: get the name and number of the motel from Tita Mildred. Continue reading “A Chinese Baby Shower for Dumpling”

Books · Decluttering & Organizing · Mrs. Monologues

Before and After: Bookshelves

I spent the last holidays cleaning and de-cluttering the house. I cleaned up the most stress-inducing areas of the house and I am very happy with the results. Today, I would like to share my successful mini-makeover of this corner.

I bought these shelves from Shopwise last year for only 600 bucks, buy one take one. Not bad, right? But when I brought out most of our books, I realized that we need more storage spaces. It was only last December when I actually bought the needed shelves. There is also Franco’s punching bag. I can’t hide it because of its size. It is also so heavy that it is impractical to move it all the time.

Wanna see my new shelves? Drum rolls please…

Continue reading “Before and After: Bookshelves”

Food · Mrs. Monologues

Ate Dorina’s Pork Tapa

It is been a while since I last blogged about my yaya woes. That is because our current helper is much better than the last five that we had. I have come to accept Ate Dorina’s shortcomings. So what if she has broken 2 faucets, at least 4 glasses, 3 plates and 2 of our dining chairs? We are only four in the house so we only need 4 dining chairs anyway. Plus, I switched to melaware plates so I don’t think she will be breaking any new ones soon. She is been with us for 9 months now and based on what she’s been telling me, she has plans to stay. I hope I don’t jinx myself.

I blogged before that since helpers in this house have the tendency to evaporate into thin air faster than acetone, I try to document their best-loved recipes while I still don’t hate them. Hehe. In October, I posted Ate’s eggplant burgers here. Today, I would like to share Ate’s homemade tapa recipe.

Continue reading “Ate Dorina’s Pork Tapa”

Arts and Crafts · Memoirs of a Mummy

Painting the Weekend Red

In my desire to give Aki’s play area a unified look, we gave his beloved wooden bookshelf a mini-makeover.


Please forgive the eyesore. If you must know, it is Aki who packs away his books everyday.

I bought a small can of red paint, a couple of brushes and a bottle of thinner. I thought the sales guy was taking advantage of my lack of background in painting by pushing me to buy the thinner. Turns out, it is really important. The thinner is used to improve the spread-ability of the paint, wash the brushes and most importantly, remove the paint from our skin. If acetone is to the manikurista, thinner is to the pintor. I am getting smarter every day!


Painting the shelf was a quick fun activity that the three of us really enjoyed. We were done in 15 minutes. Franco left for his jujitsu training while Aki and I stayed behind to read our new books.When the hubby came back, it was already past 2PM and our little boy was already sleeping. Frank and I decided to paint the back side of the shelf, hoping it will be dry by the time our son wakes up. In the course of painting the shelf, Franco spilled the paint. Because we don’t like wasting, we decided to use the spilled paint and retouch the legs of Aki’s chair. Soon, we found ourselves painting the whole chair!


Obviously, this paint job was done by loving parents who are only amateurs at painting.

Here is our finish product.


It looks better from afar, don’t you agree?


We couldn’t wait for Aki to wake up. As soon as he opened his eyes, we told him that there is a Red Power Ranger chair waiting for him outside.

His reaction? Priceless! Continue reading “Painting the Weekend Red”