Monday, May 25, 2015

The Lemonade Stand

      The idea of making a Lemonade Stand actually started as a suggestion from my husband. I knew the girls would love it and this immediately became one of our targeted summer home school activities. 
      Once my schedule cleared up, we started with the search for the stand materials. I wanted it to be as simple and cheap as possible, so I got a fruit crate from the market and it cost us fifteen bucks! Not bad at all. Next, we asked for help from our community maintenance staff and they helped us find leftover plywood. We used this for the tabletop, signage and supports and they put it together for us pretty well with the few and simple instructions that I gave :) So happy with the way it turned out.
       It's a good thing we also had leftover paint! The yellow we used was from our kitchen accent wall, and the powder blue is also from our bedroom wall. The pastel colors made a great combination! 
      The banderitas were made up of used construction paper for the backing (to make it a bit heavier) and wrapper retazos as well. I chose ones in yellow, white, baby blue with a bit of pink. Perfect! :) The girls loved these colors as well. Audrey suggested that I use our fuschia pink poster paint for writing the Lemonade sign ;)

The girls wanted to check the status of the construction so we all went outside even
in the heat of the day! They're holding a collection of our pegs for the stand.
They wanted it to be pink and white but unfortunately, we didn't have leftover
pink or white paint! Oh well!

Natalie's "rawr" face / hungry face!
After this photo was taken, we went inside.... for merienda! :D

Here is our Lemonade Stand!
We were so happy with the way it turned out!
Other signages were still in the making when this photo was taken ;)

This is our lemonade staaaand! :)
The girls play with it at home (when there are no ongoing sales haha!) and
put their cash register, wooden bowls and baking toys so we can pretend
that this is their little store.

Want to buy? :)

Natalie likes to make funny faces in pictures, as evidenced by this one :D

Kids' Street Food!
At last we took out our Lemonade Stand to join the other kids from our community!
The grown ups had so much fun buying snacks from the kiddos! There was a lot to choose from
like hotdogs, turon, vanilla ice cream, popsicles and our cupcakes and lemonade ;)

Vanilla cupcakes and lemonade!
The girls helped me bake the cupcakes and they taste-tested the juice! ;)

The traveling lemonade stand!
It fits in the back of our van perfectly ;)

The girls sold lemonade at their grandparents' house during their Oma's birthday.
We had happy customers and good business that day! haha! ;)

Thank you Tita Dhey for lending us your juice dispensers! :)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How Can We Help?

   Have you read the news lately? Or even for the past couple of months? Are you getting tired and heartbroken of hearing about people being mistreated, Christians being persecuted, children suffering and being abused? I am. 

   And I've often wondered how I could help. Because it just bothers me that these things are happening on the other side of the world with no assurance of help or hope. And I can't stop but be thankful that I am nowhere near those places where these awful things are happening. I can't tell you how relieved I am that my children and family are far away from it all. But it still bothers me. Because it just isn't right. And we must do something about it - simply because we can - from where we are. No matter how small.

    If you can, please do read this post from Ann Voskamp's blog to see how you can help: 

                 Into Iraq#2: What the news isn't telling you and why we can't afford to pretend it's not happening

"...whoever is kind to the needy honors God."
- Prov. 14:31 (NIV)

 "And do not forget to do good and to share with others,
 for with such sacrifices God is pleased."
- Hebrews 13:16 (NIV)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Live for the Moment

    How many times have you chosen practicality over experience? Let me rephrase that... How many times have you foregone making memories because of the cost? 
   Oh! In no way am I suggesting going overboard in spending to gain some experiences... I'm merely asking you to think about whether you would rather save some money than make someone smile for a moment in time. 
    Flowers wilt. Trips end. But the memories stay. 
    For years I have seen a bouquet of flowers bring joy to my mom's heart. No, the flowers don't live long enough to tell the tale, but the happiness it brings at that moment in time is precious. I've forgotten the cost, but not the heartfelt thanks and appreciation each bouquet brings. I have no regrets spending on those countless bouquets to this day. 
    And what about trips? Traveling for me means unforgettable stories. Beautiful sights. Knowledge gained. Food tasted. Cultures absorbed. It's a shame that it usually costs quite a lot to travel, but for me it's no waste of money. In fact, I consider it an investment. There's just a vast amount of learning and growth that can happen when you travel the world. I think traveling ignites creativity and inspires you to become a better version of yourself. 
    Now I'm a mom and traveling has taken a new turn. I still love it. I still wish to go to more places, but now it costs even more. But given the opportunity, I would go where my heart and wallet can take me. Most people would say, wait till your kids are older before going here or there so they'll remember it. And my answer? But I'll remember it. I'll remember their smiles, their laughter, the fun, the memories. Yes, the memories. The memories are for them yes, but they're also for me. I think life is too short to wait for later opportunities if you have the chance now. Besides, what are photos or videos for, but to recapture all of those moments you wish could last longer but can only happen at that moment in time - and to tell the story to your young ones when they are older. 
     Aah. Yes. You guessed right. I would much rather live for the moment than lose the opportunity that once was. Money spent can be earned again, but the chance to make memories can pass you by. Age, life, opportunity - they change and they don't last - they're temporary. So live life to the full and seize the opportunities before you so you can make lasting memories with those you love.

Monday, May 18, 2015

It's Back

     The love for writing is coming back. I'm getting inspired again. I've been having those spur of the moment writing epiphanies. 
     It's an itch that needs to be scratched. A craving that needs to be satisfied. A desire that needs to be fulfilled. A story that needs to be told. 
     I just need a place to write on once it comes. My phone is the best bet when it's late at night or early in the morning and I'm still in bed. 
     I swear this writing inspiration left me at some point in time. My mind just went blank blankity blank. I don't know what happened. I think that part of my brain just zoned out for a while to take a break. Maybe I just needed more sleep. Maybe I was just doing way too many things. Maybe work got in the way. Maybe. I don't know. 
     Well whatever it was, it sure has gone and left. For now at least. And I think I'm back to my old writing self. Hope you're ok with that ;)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Books for a Mom-to-be

    Being a first time parent isn't easy. Besides the influx of unsolicited advice (and both positive and negative comments) that you will possibly get, you will have clueless moments throughout the day and even in the middle of the night. Of course a support group of fellow mommies would really help tons, but it is good to have information ready just in case your mommy friends are in dreamy dream land when emergency strikes!    
     The best thing to do is to be prepared. So while waiting for baby to arrive, start reading up on how to care for your baby. If there is only time for two books in your baby care library, these are the two that I would recommend (based on personal experience). Too many books can drive you crazy! Leave the other questions for your moms or mommy friends to answer ;) A combination of text book information and first hand experience is always best to guide you on this new journey called parenthood!

The Baby Book by Dr. Sears:

Click on image to check price and reviews

     This book was an easy read and I would keep referring to it all throughout my baby's first year. 
I was really glad that three of my mommy friends told me about this book. It really helped me a lot.

From the What to Expect Series:

Click on image to check price and reviews

Everything about baby's first year was presented in a very organized manner in this book. I really loved it! And it was usually on point for each month. Either I had textbook babies or this writer had done her research pretty well.

    Your friends may have other recommended books for you but do pick ones that will go with your parenting style. These two books not only provided me with the information that I needed at the time but agreed with my parenting philosophy so it was easy enough for me to apply the recommendations :)

Thursday, May 14, 2015


    My birthday celebration in February was a good excuse for a trip to Boracay. We haven't gone back since 2011, which was coincidentally Audrey's first out of town trip that required a plane ride. We had booked this trip a few months prior to make sure we got a good deal with the airfare and accommodations. And for us, a trip to the beach is always a good idea :)

On the boat heading to Boracay Island

The view from the top of Discovery Shores at Station 1

This foot wash was welcomed warmly by this little one! She immediately claimed
that she had dirty feet upon seeing that a foot soak and scrub was due! :D

So happy to start our family vacation!

At the kids' activity room

The kids' activity the afternoon that we arrived was popping water balloons!

The beautiful sunset along White Beach

So glad Audrey agreed to go paddle boarding with me!

We took photos in the middle of the sea ;)

While we were away, Natalie built sandcastles!

Frolicking in the pool with Dad!

These girls enjoyed collecting seashells!

About to take a quick dip

We enjoyed our time at Puka Beach, just lounging around and eating under a nipa hut.
The beach was cleaner too because there were no green algae floating around the shore :S

On our last night my husband and I had our dinner date by the beach :)
We booked the hotel babysitter to watch Audrey and Natalie while we ate.
Afterwards, we had them join us and the restaurant surprised me
with a post-birthday treat - sparklers and dessert! :)

One last sandcastle building session before we leave

Sigh! Wish our view was like this all the time!

Apparently, this little one didn't want to leave too :D haha!
Can't really blame her!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Summer Decluttering

      Have you ever seen the show Tiny House Nation? It’s where individuals, couples and even small families actually move into a house which is a fraction of the size of their old place. What’s interesting is that before they could move into their Tiny House, they need to get rid of all the things that aren’t part of what they consider as essential in everyday living. They’re then tasked to fill out pre-selected organizers and challenged to trim down their stuff to the basics. To the surprise of the homeowners, they were actually able to reduce their things to those that they consider most important and necessary.

One of the homes in Tiny House Nation. Get the picture? :)

     Although I have no plans of moving into a Tiny House in the near future, I do want to reduce the clutter in my own home. I really want to have more space in my house and free up more room in our storage areas. Most of the things that I see around are due to accumulating things that I don’t necessarily need or have been replaced with a newer version. This summer I’ve resolved to do some decluttering and I am hoping that I’ll be successful! I’ve already started the process but it hasn’t been easy!
     Below are some tips that I use as my guide to help me achieve my goal.  

  1. Slowly but consistently.
   Declutter your home slowly with realistic targets. I wish I could say quickly but it just doesn’t work for me. The more I rush, the more cluttered my clutter ends up around the house! The key word here is consistently. As long as I get to declutter something every day for five days in a week - whether it be a few items or several, then I know my attempt to declutter has been good. I make one area, one closet or one category of items per day as my target. Your goal for the day or week will depend on how much time you have and how big or small your space is.

  1. Start with the easiest.
 Begin with the easiest things to dispose so you see progress right away and it encourages you to continue!

  1. Decide on how you intend to dispose of your extra items.
  Before you sort out your things, make sure you have a plan for how you are going to dispose of them. Are you going to give away your pre-loved clothes, shoes and bags? Or are you going to sell them? Don’t forget to prepare your plastic bags or boxes and label them if necessary.

  1. Be Practical.
   Keep only what you know you will use, and not what you MIGHT still use eventually (because then you might end up actually not using them anymore).

  1. Organize your closet.
    By organizing your closet with this as your guide: category, color, or frequency of use – you can more or less tell which clothes you are using often and which ones have been left hanging (literally). Time to dispose of clothes you have not used for at least a year.

  1. Re-arrange your book shelves and d├ęcor.
 By re-arranging your things, you might actually see what fits in or not. You might also discover some things that have been sitting on shelves for quite some time, just gathering dust or deteriorating. It’s a good way to also find things that you’ve been incessantly looking for in the past but couldn’t find then haha! Sell or give away books that you no longer need. Get rid of old magazines unless you need them for arts and crafts! ;)

  1. Don’t procrastinate.
  Boxes, boxes, and more boxes! I always have a problem with boxes. Toy boxes, appliance boxes, gift boxes, shoe boxes. You name it, I’ve kept it. For some reason, I think I need to keep them first and leave the decision to dispose of them much later. But not anymore. Most of these boxes I will never really use again… and until they get soggy, they just find themselves in my storage. Now I’m getting rid of them right away if I am absolutely sure there is going to be no need for them in the future. No more procrastinating!

  1. Throw as you go. (But only if you are super sure).
   Paper, paper and even more paper! Work papers, blueprints and plans, kids’ doodling papers, paid bills, bank statements, receipts... Just the many types of papers lying around the house that I need to either get rid of or sort! Out of all the things that I try to organize and dispose, this is the hardest because I have to look through each and every piece of paper to see if it is of any importance or not. Sometimes it even goes to the “I’ll think about it” box – at least for work papers, blueprints, plans and receipts. I would really hate to throw away things that I might need to refer to later on. And even in this digital age, architectural blueprints with my signature and seal are still required and will cost to reproduce, so I have to be more careful.
   With the rest, I just need to make sure the bills were actually paid and won’t be needed for future reference. As for the kids’ papers, I keep significant artworks and drawings in a big portfolio so the rest will be evaluated and if ok, will be thrown away already. My husband also suggested taking photos of the artworks that we really like but can’t keep so I can upload it to my digital album (good idea!).  
   And I just realized that if I throw what isn’t needed anymore right after going through them, then I save so much more time later on because I won’t have to go through a whole pile of papers all at one time! 

  1. Do not accumulate too much.
   I think at this point I may now have an excess of pillow covers and pillows. Time to give away some of them already so I can make space in my already crowded storage closet. 
   Same goes for bags and accessories. I now have to dispose of not just my bags, but the girls’ bags too. We usually receive a lot of cute bags as gifts and since I’ve noticed we are starting to have more and more, I have given away some of the older ones that are still in good condition but have sadly been forgotten. Time to cheer up other little girls!:)
   And what about shoes? How many shoes does a girl really need?? I would love to say a hundred, but that just isn’t true. I just need these types of shoes in at least one or two pairs: slippers, Fitflops (its own category, yes), rubber shoes, sneakers, boots, flats, wedges, sandals, high heels, platforms, kitten heels. Yes, that alone will amount to about 11-22 pairs of shoes – yipes! (Maybe I need to re-evaluate this list).
   I’m also trying to limit food purchases, especially ones that you can keep for a while (sauces, snacks, etc.). I have been quite the forgetful one and before I know it, I am looking at an expired food item! Args! What a waste! So I want to make it a habit not to buy too much so I won’t have to store too much. Also, with a healthier diet that promotes eating whole foods rather than packaged ones, fresh items are required. So this will hopefully help me out and lessen kitchen clutter.
   Give away toys you no longer use and throw away broken ones. And if you get those small toys and items from parties, yes, they clutter up the house pretty fast! I usually just give them away to other kids when I know the girls won’t be playing with them for long. Better to give away while new than used. Only keep toys that you know your kids will use often or everything else becomes clutter. Believe me, I know!
    And how about giving away 5 old shirts for every new one that you buy? :) Just think of a number that you're willing to work with (but not 1-0 please!) so that it will either stop you from buying more or you can make more space for the upgrade! ;)

  1. Go Digital.
  Just like what I mentioned about my kids’ artworks – it’s a good idea to take photos of some items that have sentimental value whether it’s a drawing or a gift – if you feel that it’s alright to not keep anymore.
   I’m also a book lover and have tons of books at home, but I’ve decided to buy mostly e-books on my Kindle so that I can carry all of these books with me anywhere I go, share them on my other devices, and not let them gather dust on the shelves! I currently have about 35 books on my Kindle Fire and I’m quite happy with it! Best of all, they don't take up shelf space! (Check out the Fire HD 7, 7" HD Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB - Includes Special Offers, Black)  

     This summer I’ve been trying to clean out one closet or container per day – here are my categories:

a.     Clothes to give away (I rummage through one closet or drawer at a time)
b.     Seasonal clothes (I only have very few winter clothes so this was a breeze)
c.     Kids’ clothes (This is the toughest one so far - I've been going through the girls' clothes for the past few weeks and I'm still not done. I have to check which ones we can give away and which ones can be kept as hand-me-downs for Natalie. It isn't easy!)
d.     Kids’ artwork and practice sheets (I go through our artworks per container and evaluate them before throwing away or placing in our scratch paper container)
e.     Paper Bills (Although I've subscribed to paperless billing for some of our monthly utilities, we still get a lot of mail containing paper bills and bank statements - I already filled our drawer assigned for these so it's time to get rid of this batch again because they just keep on coming!)
f.      Work papers and blueprints (I have just recently sorted out folders and rolls of blueprints and parchment paper plans! Whew! Another set of papers though are waiting for me - the one by my work area! Need to get to work on this one because papers are piling up)
g.     Books and Magazines (I sort these out per shelf and since I regularly toss out and donate old magazines to our recyclables project in our community, I don't get stuck with a lot anymore. Now onto the books!)
h.     Bath products (Aahh, this one is quite tricky! I have tons of small lotions and three different kinds of shampoo! I like rotating products and scents so I kinda have a lot of bottles lying around, eeps! Time to throw out ones with very little products left inside which I have not actually finished completely and probably won't anymore!)
i.       Kids’ toys (This is a very challenging one! We've got a whole lot of toys lying around and we need to check each basket, container or caboodle and consult the little owners first before we can give away the ones that we no longer need)
j.      Shoes (I've been going through my shoes per shelf and this was one of the easier ones to trim down)
k.     Bags (I still haven't gone through my shelves to determine which bags need to go but I will do it soon!)
l.       Accessories (I will have to go through one drawer at a time for this)
m.   Home Linens (I have pillow covers, table runners and table linens that I keep in caboodles or plastics that are waiting to be sorted out)
n.  Kitchen Items (I have to clean out one drawer or cabinet at a time for old tupperwares, pans, place mats, and mugs)
n.  Uncategorized (Items which I did not categorize can be cleaned out as I go through each area)

You can make your own list too if you plan to clean out your home this summer! 
Happy decluttering! :)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Quick Snapshots

    A couple of weeks ago, I decided to take photos of Audrey for her school requirements in an outdoor setting. I just didn't want to have studio photos with a typical white background again. And even if Natalie wasn't really in the mood for posing, I took some candid shots of her too! 
    It took me a record-breaking ten minutes to take all of the pictures because of the heat! I just hoped then that I would be able to get a good close-up shot of Audrey or we would have to do this again. Luckily for me, the photos turned out pretty great because Audrey was very cooperative! 
      Here are the pics!

This was the photo that I submitted to Audrey's school ;)

Natalie in a serious mood!

Awesome job Audrey! ;)

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Bond Called Children

    I was just thinking about how much fun I had talking to my husband about our children. There are just a lot of stories to tell of how funny and smart our kids are (in our opinion ;) haha). And this joy is only truly shared by the both of us, at a level that we both understand. They are ours. Made up of us. It’s truly amazing how each child is made up in our image and likeness. This reminds me of God and His relationship with us. We are His children, made in His image and likeness. No wonder He loves us so much. Parenthood really makes you understand God the Father like never before. It is a window through His eyes. We experience a kind of love that is so profound and extraordinary.
   We can go to extreme lengths and depths just to show our love and provide protection for our children. We delight in them. Our hearts applaud with their appreciation of our efforts. Their successes are our triumphs. We can pinpoint most of their characteristics back to us. We take pride in being called their parents. We want nothing but the best. And everyday we rejoice in the new things - both simple and great things. Our heart breaks when they disobey. We are saddened when they misbehave. We are overjoyed when they do the things we ask of them willingly and voluntarily.
   These experiences that we have with our children that bring us joy, laughter, awe, disappointments and a roller coaster of emotions - these are things that enrich our relationship with our significant other. What a blessing it truly is to share this together.

Photo by Bea Marquez