Where the raindrops as they're falling tell a story...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Xofia is sick. Some bacteria got her--the doctor diagnosed her with mild pneumonia. If you haven't noticed yet, I've only been able to log on to check on new comments, and not even had the time to respond. I won't be around for quite some time while I take care of my baby. In the meantime, here's something I took couple of days before whatever bad thing got her. Hope this Halloween Peek-A-Boo will keep you company while I'm away.

video


Happy Halloween, everyone!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Scrapbook Saturday: Baby Charmer

Scrapbook Saturday


The pics were taken when Xofia was about 1.5 to 2 months old. Even then, this little peanut is a happy baby; she's had more episodes of smiles, laughs and giggles than cries.


Click on the SS button above to see more scraps from Scrapbook Saturday participants.

I have my family

With everybody's net worth dropping faster than ever, I can't help but get worried, as in REALLY worried.

  • Is this the best time to buy a new couch? Maybe ours can still last another year before it breaks into two?
  • Shall I stick with Gerber, which costs thrice than the Cerelac brand?
  • Do we need to distribute our bank accounts to several banks? Not that we have plenty, but by default, the depositor is insured up to P250K only.
  • Do I give up my monthly bonding time with my college friends? Yes, we agreed to pamper ourselves together, at least once a month.
  • What about Xofia's diaper brand? Shall I switch to a cheaper one?
  • Do we have to cut back on going out? What about Xofia's exposure to different kinds of people?
  • My Friday dates with husband, does that have to go, too?
Sigh. Instead of thinking all those things, I think of happy thoughts and realize how lucky I am to:
  • Still afford the mortgage with my family intact, with nobody needing to go abroad to work.
  • Not have to pay for gas most of the time.
  • Still afford my daughter's well-baby visits and vaccines.
  • Have a loving husband who's a doting father and a good provider.
  • Have the happiest, goofiest and sweetest daughter, and is the easiest to take care of.
  • Have free internet courtesy of our friendly neighborhood wi-fi provider. Whoever you are, I'd like to thank you and let you know that you are such a good person for not blocking us from using your internet. Be assured that this translates to lots of good deed tickets in heaven (I think) and I promise not to harm your network, not that I know how to do that; and leave you in peace even if I can see your computer from the device list sometimes.
  • Have a nanny who doesn't mind doing the extra work in the absence of another helper.
  • Know how to cook such that we don't have to go to a fancy restaurant whenever we crave something delicious.
  • Live in the heart of the city where everything is practically near and doesn't need a long drive, thus saving up on gas.
  • Have friends who prefer house party and my cooking rather than eating out and paying extra for the food and ambiance.
  • Still afford to pay the electricity bill without turning off the AC.
  • Have the best in-laws who make it a point to bring us fresh produce from Ormoc every time they're in town.
  • Have a sister who's always ready and willing to help out whenever we need something.
We may be needing to tighten our belts in these hard times, perhaps do a handful of things I enumerated above, but still, I am thankful. I have my family, and that is saying a lot.

Friday, October 24, 2008

LASIK IN THE MILITARY

iLASIK is now being tapped by the Department of Defense and NASA. iLASIK is the new generation, all laser form of LASIK. Unlike the earlier version, iLASIK uses two lasers instead of one.

The LASIK technology has benefited civilians for 5 years. Today, the military is requiring their specialized personnel, those who need it, to undergo the modern LASIK technology, iLASIK. This technology uses two lasers in two stages. Replacing the handheld device used in the earlier technology, the first stage maps the unique characteristics of the eye, and then a computer-guided laser creates the corneal flap. The second laser is then used to correct the vision. The use of the two lasers makes the procedure safer than before. For more LASIK information, visit ilasik.com

The Military has evaluated the modern LASIK technology administered to 100 of their personnel, and confirmed that 95% has achieved 20/20 vision. These personnel who received the treatment recommend the procedure to their colleagues. Dr. Schallhorn said that there is no better time to grab the opportunity but now; the procedure has never been safer.

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Violence on TV and our children

Even before I had a daughter of my own, I have always been strong on my belief that children shouldn't be watching TV unless those that are designed for them. And even so, TV watching should be properly monitored, after all, toddlers are more attentive to commercials primarily because of their catchy jingles. And hey, don't tell me I am the only one who hates commercials.

Before the age of two, the child's hemisphere is a single bin of sensory experience, unlike the grownups, we have two distinct hemispheres. Watching TV is a passive activity, thus suspending active cognition. This passive activity allows the left hemisphere to develop dominantly than the right. This development is characterized by the child's behavior as passive, transfixed and nonverbal. After all, they weren't able to develop their abilities required to express and reason.

The effects of TV in children has a massive research support. Scientists have been studying the cognitive and chemical processes in children and how TV watching affects their development. By the time children learn to acquire what the tube has been bombarding them with, they have long learned about violence and sex without the consequences attached to them. Children have now failed to recognize the emotional attachment and responsibilities attached to these acts. They will instead learn to act impulsively and without regard on elders' advice.

Jena Isle has started a Campaign for Eradicating Violence in TV Programs Meant for General Patronage. The campaign targets the two network giants in the Philippines: GMA and ABS-CBN. If you believe on what we believe, if you want a safer world for your children and your grandchildren, hope on over to her blog and join us by adding your name on the list.

I read somewhere that if the government focuses on the first three years of life, they'd be saving billions from building penitentiary prisons in the future. I couldn't agree more.

And no, I am not writing this for the EC credits. I just feel so strongly about the issue.

image from www.topics-mag.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Argue with Everyone

Very recently, only very recently have I been caught up with the brouhaha and drama that is the US Presidential race. I try to remain non-political in this blog; and I try to remain neutral on my political views. However, the beckoning, particularly those coming from the vice presidentiable Sarah Palin, proves hard to resist. Ah, it’s but human nature to be curious and form our own opinions about things that are happening around us. So I frequent sites and read all that I can about the issue – from both sides, of course. I also visit political discussions and debates. One forum that I particularly love to visit more often is the Argue with Everyone political discussion forums. The site is generally unmoderated to promote open and free debate among members. Members can also talk about anything and debate about anything under the sun.

So, are you itching to voice out your political view on the current US Presidential race? Or maybe you want to shout to the world what you think of the current state of our economy? Whatever demons lurking there that needs to get out; this is the right avenue for you. Or if you’re like me who needs her daily dose of sensational opinions on the current issues that our society is plagued with, head on over to Argue with Everyone.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Utan bisaya

Utan Bisaya

Of the first few dishes I've learned, utan bisaya, or local vegetable stew, is my favorite. Whenever I'm home at my mother's, I always ask for this dish. She still cooks the best vegetable stew. Surprisingly, with the combined rustic flavor of homegrown vegetables, this dish made it to my comfort food list.

Ingredients:
  • kalabasa (squash)
  • gabi (taro)
  • talong (eggplant)
  • okra (lady finger)
  • alugbati (vine spinach)
  • malunggay (leaves of horseradish tree)
  • sangig (local basil)
  • tanglad (lemon grass)
  • fried fish or pork cube or stock (optional--added for additional flavor)
In a deep stoneware, bring sliced kalabasa and gabi to a boil. Add sliced talong and okra. Cook until fork-tender. When soft, mash the gabi and some kalabasa to thicken the soup. Add alugbati and tanglad. Add fried fish or pork cube for flavor. When soup starts to boil, add malunggay and sangig. Turn off heat right away.

Serve warm.

If you're on diet, this is the best dish for you. Zero fat, healthy and filling. What more can you ask?


Take me to HOME COOKING tab

Personal Binder for Christmas, please!

Being a DIY and craft enthusiast, I have a long list of gadgets I want to have, and yes, can only afford to drool over. The list is long, so I won't even attempt to enumerate them. One very recent find is the PB 1000 Personal Binder, a thermal binding machine from CoverBindDirect you can use at home.

I am so excited to find out that CoverBind, a worldwide leader in bookbinding, is selling their Photo Starter Kits at $99.99. That's a huge bargain from $204! The Personal Binder comes with the starter kit. The starter kit contains all you need to make your own picture/photo book, memory book or scrapbooks. Using the software that comes with the package, you get to experiment a style that fits your photos. After printing those designs and digital scrap pages in your inkjet, insert those arranged images in the album cover, and bind them using the PB 1000 Personal Binder. And since it comes with 9 album covers, you get to see how your theme colors go with your photos. Fast, easy and since everything's included, you can start your project the moment you open the box.

I want one! I want one!
*wipes drool*

One particular product I am deeply interested in is the Midnight Blue Photo Book. The package contains a front cover window frame, 12 sheets double-sided photo paper, and sells in packs of 10 in 4x6 or 10.5x7 sizes.

The 12 sheets double-sided inkjet photo paper that came with the Photo Book already allows you a total of 24 pages of photos. The metallic finish of the front cover frame is perfect for both black and white and colored prints. This is just perfect for my homemade picture book and digital scraps.

CoverBind also sells different Photo Fun Products for your endless Photo Fun Projects. In addition to photo books, they also individually sell photo greeting cards, photo albums, photo paper, and the software.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ah, what a weekend!

My husband came home from an out-of-town trip on Friday, and begged off Saturday's lunch date with my college friends. Aside from one of the husbands who made it to the lunch, but successfully made us feel like it was an all-girl date (not that it mattered, really), all significant others didn't make it. I wouldn't have been there if not for the husband who insisted that the expensive Cafe Marco lunch expenses will not be taken out from the family budget. He said he'll take care of it, and took care of it he did. The lunch lasted until 3:30 in the afternoon. The buffet didn't close until 2:30, and what best ambiance one could have but an endless row of worldwide cuisine; we didn't get out of the restaurant until we really had to.

Being a fan of Cafe Marco's buffet since I had my first bite, I was careful not to overstuff on one dish but made room for the rest, though I am always partial to Japanese food... but, pig out we did, and overstuffed we were. Of course, it was good catching up with the rest of the gang, but the best thing with our friendship is we never really feel the need to catch up just so we'd feel reconnected. It was more of continuing the conversations we've had like the previous one happened only yesterday. And these guys, they always feel like home.

Xofia had a Birthday Party invitation to her cousin Andrei's first birthday on Sunday -- which was another buffet dinner. I already told you how Xofia's a cautious baby. As expected, it took her quite a while to warm up to the rest of the kids in the party. She was about to enjoy herself when the clown entered and grabbed the mic. OK, I wouldn't have minded it had the clown been acting like he really was a clown meant to entertain children, but for the life of me, it was more of a stand-up comedy show meant to entertain grownups while having fun of the children. I understand that I'm ranting now, but the moment the clown grabbed the mic and uttered his first hello, Xofia was bawling. The clown was loud and ugly, and dressed in rags, I too was a bit afraid.

I grabbed Xofia and we took the opportunity to enjoy the afternoon sun outside. Never mind that Xofia won't be stopped from grabbing dried leaves and fallen fruit, and God forbid, cat poop; I was exhausted beyond my wits from simply keeping up with her. She'd run in any direction, beckon me when something interests her, and mumble her toddler-talk while pointing at an object. One particular object she was so interested in was a piece of electrical wire jutting out from a lamppost. And because she got bored waiting for me, she went ahead to play with the colorful wire. I was just in time to stop her from touching the wire, but oh God, I was breathless and my back felt like it was about to give up. Either I'm just tired or plain old -- whatever it was, I no longer cared -- the moment we're home, I hit the bed and took a nap. A cup of barako coffee afterwards sealed the power nap.

How about you, how was your weekend?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Child molesters in your area?

When it comes to personal safety and that of our family’s, we can never be way too concerned. Ensure that your neighborhood is safe, or at least be aware of the threats that surround you. Of course concern for safety shouldn’t deter you from letting your children socialize and explore the great outdoors. That’s why it’s important to keep yourself informed. Registered Child Molester List keeps their database of Child Molesters updated and current. You can do a search by your state, and the report will detail the registered molester’s full name and aliases, current address and current employment. They also offer email alerts.

Is your child playing on a safe street? Knowing where the dangers are prevents incidents from happening. Start by equipping yourself with this useful data.

A shoutout to my top EC droppers

These are the beautiful, amazing bloggers who topped my list for the last 30 days. As much as possible, I try to return the favor, but I'm not as amazing as them, so here's some linky love, girls :-)



Thank you so much!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Prettify your ride with cherished number plates

Are you one of those who put extra premium on taking care and dressing up your cars? How about procuring that special, classic or unique car plates? Check out NorthumbriaNumbers.com for Private Number Plates. Their site gives you an opportunity to search their impressive selection of plates, plate styles, and car registrations. The best thing is that they will do the transfer of the certificate for you, so you need not worry for any paperwork hassles.

If you're selling a number and don't want to be bothered by the details, Northumbria Numbers offers a no-sale, no-fee commission basis. You agree on a specified amount, and once the sale was made, you get the agreed sum. Pretty straightforward.

Click here for contact details.

Cooking stir fry

For the longest time, we didn’t eat yard-long beans stir-fry. The ones that usually end up in the buffet table are soggy, rubbery and has a distinct smell which just doesn’t sit well with my olfactory. When I finally learned some tricks on stir-frying, I tried cooking the dish; and what do you know, the husband who used to snub stir-fry yard long beans gobbled everything up. The stir-fry was crisp but cooked-through, devoid of any unpleasant smell, and the meat was well-seared and browned. This is why:

  • The meat that will go with the vegetable dish was cooked separately to sear and retain it's freshness. It was then added a few seconds before turning off the stir-fry heat.
  • The stir-fry was cooked with the most heat my trusty La Germania stove can handle.
  • The wok was heated at its maximum before the oil was poured.
  • The oil was heated until it changes consistency before anything was sauteed.
  • Two turners were used in stirring the vegies so as to distribute equal heat on every slice.
That's it. Pretty simple yet those tricks can bring a lot of difference on your stir-fry dishes. Just remember to test the done-ness of your vegies from time to time as different vegies have different cooking time. When stir-frying different vegies, start with those that take longer to cook.

Goodbye to soggy stir-fries, here's to crisp, fast and delicious vegetable dishes.


Take me to HOME COOKING tab

image from http://sapsiamfood.com/

Hotel Casco Antiguo

Hotel-view01-old

Panama is one of the most culturally rich country in the world, if not the most intriguingly-beautiful with it’s Pre-Columbian Heritage. Panama’s native population dates as far back as 11,000 years.

Casco Antiguo is where Panama declared independence from Spain. The city was founded in 1673. A rocky peninsula on the Pacific side, the place was chosen because it’s brimming with potential to defend the country from both land and ocean attacks. Sometimes called Casco Viejo, San Felipe, Catedral or Casco Antiguo, the city saw the rise and fall of the Gold Rush, attempt of the French to build the Canal; and United States completing it.

Hotel Casco Antiguo is dubbed to be the area’s most spectacular and flourishing project. The Hotel has successfully retained the history and style of the historic Hotel Colon with modern accommodations and state of the art amenities with five-star services. At Hotel Casco Antiguo, you get to experience the richness of 17th century architecture with modern services and amenities.

The region is one of the fastest growing real estate in the world. If you’re interested to purchase a unit in the condo hotel, Register for an eBrochure Here.

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My husband needs internet in his travels

(or at least I demand it!)

When Xofia displayed these tricks and antics in one day, her dad was in an out-of-town business trip. He wasn't able to witness her daughter go. Thank God for internet and hotspots, I was able to report to him what happened, and blogged about it so he can read abut it more. (Yes, my attorney reads my blog).

However, hotspots aren't always available in his travels. I don't understand why some hotels don't see the need of providing internet to their guests. People, this is the year 2008, who doesn't have internet anymore?

That is just one of the many reasons why I don't like my husband going out of town. At least this time around, he can go online when I am, and that helps a lot.

Oh, the other reasons, let's just say, generally, I just love seeing and spending time with him just because. The ultimate reasons are way too personal to even see print. ;)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Website designs to jumpstart your business

One crucial ingredient for a successful business is a kick-ass Web Design. Websites make impressions. Websites convey to your prospective clients how professional or creative you are, depending on what package you wish to present yourself to the public eye. If you're looking for website designers to give you that web design you so desire, Heritage Web Solutions promises a full-custom work starting at $199. Before I talk more about the services they're offering, allow me to give you a little about the company.

Heritage Web Solutions has been recognized, for two consecutive years, by Inc. 500 as one of the fastest privately-owned businesses in the United States. The company is in the Top 25 of the Inc. 500 List and ranked in the top 1% of hosting companies. With humble roots, the company understands your practical and at the same time, competitive needs. Nobody knows how to fulfill your dream by building your own businesses than David and Jeremy Aitken, the founders of the company. After all, they started this company with a meager budget of $1000.

The services they provide include Custom Website Design, Hosting, Flash, Ecommerce, Databases, Traffic Driver, and a lot more that's worth checking out. Heritage will never give you a template just like everyone else's. You will get an original, one-of-a-kind website. They sure know their game and will provide you something that stands out from your competitors. This is one way of ensuring the satisfaction and loyalty of their customers. You also get to enjoy the services of experienced and qualified web designers, programmers, and technical support. However, don't just take my word for it, learn more about their web designs and browse through their portfolio. You can also check out customer comments from their website.

My 15-month old is a grownup

Hello Xofia,

You're a cautious toddler. It'll take minutes for you to warm up to someone, and hours to a group (especially the loud ones). However tonight, you found someone you instantly clicked with.

Your Auntie Han is home for some errand, and brought with her a friend. The moment you saw your aunt's friend, you were playing and laughing with her. I wasn't home yet but I was told you guys spent the whole time together.

You were extraordinarily chirpier the whole duration of dinner. Must be more than happy to be sharing the dinner table with your newfound friend, Tita Rosemae. You were also a show-off--a rarity! You let out the cutest giggle and the widest smile. When it was time to brush your teeth, you obligingly opened your mouth wide. Conscious that you had an audience, you grabbed your toothbrush and proceeded to brush your teeth like a grownup.

After dinner, you can't wait to walk around. I was a bit worried that you might be cranky as it was time for you to sleep. However, you were so happy to be allowed to walk around, you were talking your toddler-talk non-stop while pointing to things as if making conversations about them. You even covered your mouth when you laughed!

When your nanny said you needed to sleep already, I told you that it's sleeping time. You did not hesitate, you went to your nanny and raised your arms to be lifted up. You then promptly waved goodbye to us left in the living room.

All these, baby, and you're only 15 months old and 2 days.

Is this telling Mommy not to worry you'll surely grow up to be a good girl?

XoXo

Home security

We live in a gated community with a security guard 24/7. However, not so long ago, a neighbor was robbed even with the househelp around. The thieves were so skilled and relaxed that the helper did not, even for a second, doubt them. You'd think that with somebody manning your house all the time, your house is secured enough. What happened to our neighbor proved that notion wrong. Nowadays, you can never be too careful. You can never have more than enough information on how to keep your house safe and secured. If you're looking for a site with a wealth of home security information, I suggest you check out HomeSecurityInformation.com. The site hosts a plethora of information on basic home security, video surveillance, home automation, lighting and timers, burglar alarms, car security and a lot more.

Sometimes we go through our daily grind without so much thought unknowingly making our homes more inviting to robbers. The article How to Keep Your Home Secure Without Spending a Cent provides tips and guidelines on how to employ common sense to a more secured homes, dollar-free.

HomeSecurityInformation.com also provides information and guidelines on Homeowners Insurance. With the market as uncertain as it is today, the word insurance probably will make you cringe. But when it comes to our homes, I dare you, if you haven't yet, to explore the subject. HomeSecurityInformation.com details different kinds of insurance and if you'll need it or not. Generous with their knowledge, the site also gives out practical tips on how to find the best insurance, compare quotes, etc.

Afterall, our house is where our family lives, where we relax and wind down, where a lot of memories are shared through the years--you can never be too careful in guarding your own castle.

I lost yet another househelp, and I'm cheery

Surprise, surprise, the househelp never came back. It's been over a week, and no sight of her. She said she'll be back after a week but she hasn't. So there, I think she just handed her resignation. I should be sad, dejected, but I'm not. I already said I wasn't too happy with her performance anyway, and you know why.

The helps we source from outside of town, we pay for their fare and some pocket money. The arrangement is that the help has to at least stay with us for 6 months and they'll get the fare expenses for free. Sort of an oral contract for the hassle. This girl, she's with us for only 2 months. My gut feel, when she insisted on going after I offered to take her to our dentist, was that she's not coming back. To secure my initial investment, I had her leave her cellular phone.

Now I have an extra cellular phone. Oh, well.

We have started to actively look for helps this week. By and by we'd think of one particular help we so liked but had to go because her husband found a job somewhere in Mindanao. We dismiss the thought as wishful thinking. Nothing that easy could happen, and finding for the right help always is a pain in the behind.

Over lunch with my husband today, I received an SMS from her. Yes, the help who left us to join her husband in Mindanao is in Cebu. I cannot believe my luck, but not wanting to get ahead of myself, I called her up and confirmed.

She said she will be with us after the Halloween. I don't want to preempt, but I am so happy to the point of getting giddy. This doesn't happen all the time. There are very few good employees, and this one definitely is.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Top Websites reviews

Have you ever wished there's a Website that enables you to search for something, and before you click on the URL, provides an honest review about the site? I do, it gives me a different search experience and I appreciate that.

Website Reviews provides such service. The reviews are from fellow internet users. Anybody are free to review a site, give their opinion on their most favorite and least favorite site. Of course that includes you. You can provide reviews of any site you wanted to review on, and let the rest of the internet world know. This is the court of public opinion brought to a different level.

For the convenience of the users, Top Websites are listed on the side bar categorized under Overall Top 500, Shopping/Retail, Arts/Entertainment, News/Information, Kids, Sports, and Travel. I am specifically interested on user reviews of different kids Web sites.

An award and an ad space

I so wanted to make a scrap of Xofia's 1st birthday, and so wanted to make it in time for Scrapbook Saturday last Saturday. But what do you know, my scrappy muse is nowhere to be found. So I sat there, looking at the fancy embellishments I recently purchased, trying to knock some sense into the idleness of what could've been my scrappy-Saturday-ultimate-me-time. Nothing. That is just so sad when things happen like that. So I bloghop, and I was reminded that inspirations abound, not necessarily something that make me grab the crafting glue and scissors, but it did more than uplift my spirit.

I won an ad space!
Lookie here, I won me an ad space from MammaDawg's treasure trove of a blog. She's got PR 4, and she threw in a contest to celebrate that. Rockin' Hot Momma this girl is. This is big, because really, I have never been lucky in random contests like this. I have got to make me a 30x30 icon. :-)

I got an award!
Shimumsy, another cool mommy, gave me this Butterly Award for the coolest blog. I mean, my blog? Cool? Sheeesh! *blushing, blushing, BLUSHING*


Thanks, girl, this really touched me. Thanks a million for remembering my blog.

I will not name blogs here because I think all of you bloggy friends are cool and awesome and wonderful -- you make my life so much better. But if you wanna grab it and give it out, you're free to do so. ;)

Here are the rules:
~ Put the logo on your blog.
~ Add a link to the person who awarded you.
~ Nominate 10 other blogs.
~ Add links to those blogs on yours.
~ Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

On buying inflatable mattresses

When my husband and I got this house, we were pretty much overwhelmed by the necessity to furnish it, albeit excited at the same time. Seeing that the house has very minimal bedroom spaces, we considered sofa beds and inflatable mattresses for the two smaller bedrooms. However, not really armed with enough knowledge to make a decision on which inflatable mattress to buy, the collapsible sofa beds won. Folded, they still take up so much space. In hindsight, we should've went with the air mattresses. As they say, hindsight is always 20/20.

Lucky for those who are considering to buy air mattresses but haven't done so yet, AirMattressInfo.com provides a comprehensive guide. I remember we used to have one in our old apartment, and it was so convenient to use. It was portable and lightweight, perfect for camping trips and for temporary bed space for guests.

The site doesn't only provide tips and guide on buying the mattress that suits your need, it also guides you through on repairs, flea control and maintenance among others. Before buying that air mattress you've been eyeing, be sure to check AirMattressInfo.com.

Monday, October 13, 2008

How to eat spaghetti

Xofia is 15 months old today. And up to now, I never really gotten her to eat rice for the whole meal. She'd open her mouth to receive what I'd give her, then she'd pick everything out from her mouth, only to stuff them back again using her finger. I'm not quite sure if she's practicing her fine motor skills, but certainly, this doesn't make for a good meal etiquette of a lady.

Last weekend, I decided to have her eat spaghetti for dinner. I carefully sliced the pasta in infant bite-sized pieces (I am that paranoid of her choking), and hand the bowl to her nanny. A few minutes afterwards, I went and checked on her and this face greeted me:


And for all of you who doesn't know, this is how you should eat spaghetti:

Missed someone's address?

Here's a site that offers reverse phone lookup for the convenience of everybody. Reverse Phone Lookup guarantees results and promises that they have more records available.

Personally, I don't really maintain a database of people's addresses, I mean, in this day and age, who got the time to do that, really? I rely on the seeming accessibility of the SMS world to get these information personally from them. However, people move, and change numbers. And oftentimes, we don't get updated as we wanted to. There lies the rub. The best thing with Nationwide Phone Lookup is that you don't need a recent number to get hold of those information you need. And the thing that really got me is that they won't charge you if you didn't get any result from the search. That right there is a guarantee for me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'm posting through Blogger Buddy!

I have been using Vista since I have this laptop (around February) but never really gotten to use it's extra features whatnot. I think Vista and I started on the wrong foot.

My husband, with his laptop more powerful than mine, and with nothing else to do but tweak the tweakables (his computer crashed on him later -- different story) introduced me to the sidebar gadgets like eons ago. I remained unfazed, trying to hold on to the familiarity of XP on my Vista OS, until he told me there's a Blogger gadget that will enable me to post from my desktop. "Hmmm, cool," I thought. Interested and now ready to let go of the littlest familiarity of XP in my computer, I started customizing the sidebar.

Even though I was impressed (where was I when this rolled out?), I kept the sidebar to a minimum. My gadget list includes sticky note, weather forecast, calendar, watch, and of course the most important, Blogger Buddy.

The only thing that I wished it should have is the categories list. You have to get inside your blogger account to append the categories for your posts. Other than that, I think Blogger Buddy rocks!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Report those annoying calls

Thrice, not just once, did I receive that very excited SMS at different occasions telling me I won some hefty cash. The first one, I replied with a question, curious cat that I am. Turns out the person on the other end of the line wanted me to deposit some cash in a bank account so they can "process my winnings." That right there is spelled S-C-A-M. The second message I ignored. The third I answered (just because it gives me the giggles) to go hit their head silly until blood comes out or until they realize how lame their scam is, whichever comes first.

Also, I've received several calls wherein the person on the other end of the line seemed to be experiencing a fatal attack of asthma he can't stop wheezing. A couple of calls accused a member of my family of a misdeed. Then, who here didn't receive that annoying, persisting call of credit card agents and telemarketers?

Report Phone Numbers is a site that allows you to report those annoying phone numbers and comment on them letting other users know what to expect from that call. You can also search for numbers and see what other people say about those numbers. If you've had bad experience with a specific number, I encourage you to click on that link above and report those calls.

We survived the week!


Or at least most of it yet, without the househelp. Today's still Friday and I am optimistic.

When the help insisted on going home to her province even after we offered to bring her to our family dentist, I knew there's nothing more my cajole, bribery, pleading and whatnot can do to alleviate her toothache. So I let her be. Part of me is wondering if she's still coming back because I wasn't quite sure how to go about the daily home grind without the extra help to do the cleaning, laundry, and ingredients-prepping.

Since I don't have the luxury of a help to prep the ingredients an hour before I get home to cook, the members of the household made an agreement. The arrangement was for me to cook huge batches of food that will last a fortnight day, preferably stews and pastas that get better with age; and for them to eat whatever it is that I cook. For times that I needed to prep the ingredients for the meal that needs to be eaten right away, I should make nothing fancy, and nothing that lasts more than 30 minutes prep and cook time. Here's this week's menu which the household members are more than happy to have in their meals:

  • Humba (or pork belly stewed in dark sauce)
  • Traditional Meat Sauce Spaghetti
  • Stir-fry foot-long beans
  • Spicy fish tinola (or super-simple fish soup in lemon grass, tomato and chili)
Friday was eat-out day, and KFC it was.

I think this family can go through another week with the same menu. I'll be sure to vary the schedule, though.


Take me to HOME COOKING tab

image from www.thisoldhouse.com/

Friday, October 10, 2008

Find your family tree

Have you ever wondered who you're distantly related to? Or if you have somebody famous buried under the family tree? Or simply just want to know your long lost relatives. Fret not. Here's FindFamilyTree.org that allows you to dig deep down your own family roots. The site boosts of a state of the art ancestry archive. Their archiving system enables you to find all the information you need, and in no time, you'd be creating your very own family tree.

A family tree based on documentation and facts sure is a treasure generations after you will cherish and appreciate.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Another one about househelps

The househelp is not yet back, and weirdly, I like it better without her.

Maybe because Xofia's nanny is still able to keep things tidy and orderly. I never liked how she works in the first place. I should know. At days that I am at home, she'd just lock herself up in her room most of the time, and I'd feel it wrong to disturb her for an errand. I am weird like that, that's why I prefer househelps who keep themselves visible so I don't have to come looking for them. It just doesn't feel right. I see her clean up the house, or at least attempt to. Contrary to popular belief, I am not that hard to please when it comes to cleanliness. I have long learned not to expect much from somebody other than myself. The thing is that even my husband who doesn't care stuff like these notices.

And surprisingly, Xofia's nanny, with even Xofia around, is still able to do the laundry. I'd like to think we'd be okay even without the extra help. It will definitely be good for my budget.

Looking for air purifiers?

We use air filters at home. Not because I am anal and have OCD streaks, but because we have a baby daughter that might probably benefit from it. I hated it though, when it’s time to change the filter. With all the soot and dust, it’s likely that I get to touch them, and in the process, transfer a considerable amount onto my shirt or pants. Clumsy me!

We once considered buying an air purifier but we hit a roadblock. With all those models available in the market, it’s not that easy to decide. We consumers have to consider all factors before investing on something that we might regret in the future. Thanks to the Internet, we consumers can always find something to help us out with deciding. Personally, I find AirCleanersGuide.com a very helpful site.

The site offers information on different kinds of home air purifier and their intended use. If you’re looking for an answer to long-lasting odor problem, they’ll list out the products that suit your need. Personally, I only want something that removes allergens and pollutants from the air. Here, I get to compare prices on models with that functionality, plus choose the one that answers my specific needs.

Butter pecan cookies

The kitchen has always been my refuge. In times that I get super inspired or depressingly low, the kitchen has never failed to give me something to keep the balance. Yeah, OK, I cook or bake mostly at times when I am at the extremes of an emotional pandemonium. It gives me something else to think and care about at the moment--away from whatever that's currently bothering me. And if time won't permit, I leaf through my old recipes and vividly remember the most treasured moments attached to those flavors. Here's one that never fails to trigger those pleasant memories just by looking at the photos and rereading the recipe. I hope this gives you the same warm memories as it did me.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped roasted pecans
  • 2 sticks or 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
Procedure:

  1. Roast the pecan nuts for 1 minute-high in microwave oven. Roughy chop and set aside.
  2. Cream the butter using electric mixer. Add sugar, and cream together.
  3. Add flour, salt and nutmeg. Mix well. Add the lightly beaten eggs and mix well.
  4. Fold in pecans.
  5. Using your bare hands, make a ball of your cookie dough. Arrange in cookie sheets 2 inches apart, and flatten using a fork. Shape the edges if necessary.
  6. Bake in a 175C preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Serve warm, fresh from the oven.
This is by far, the best butter cookies I've had, and it's not commercially available anywhere. I thought pecan nuts would go well with nutmeg, and I was right. With those portions, you get the right amount of nutmeg aroma and the exquisite flavor of pecan. Just pure cookie heaven.


Take me to HOME COOKING tab

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Eyeglasses at $8

Turns out that that migraine I kept on experiencing was because I have myopia. I have long been suspecting that. But because frames and lenses are so pricey here, a working mom has to set priorities, financial priorities that is. Until that migraine attacked and left me with no choice but part a hefty sum for my eyeglasses.

Little did I know that fashionable eyeglasses can be had for a price way cheaper than what I shelled out. Zenni Optical offers eyeglasses as low as $8. Unbelievable, but please, can I have 5 of those? Well, okay, I can settle for a fashionable piece like this one here:



Very recently, The Clark Howard Show, the nationally syndicated consumer advocate program even recommended Zenni Optical. If you want to check that out, click here.

A huge selection of frames is available together with any type of lenses of your choice. You may be wondering why their eyeglasses are cheaper than what most shops are offering. This is because ZenniOptical.com sells their own manufactured frames direct to customers eliminating the profiteering middlemen.

New frames have just arrived, and if I were you, I’d head over at Zenni Optical and start clicking on those pieces.

Prayers, more than ever

I talked about this in my previous blog, albeit heavily laden with emotions -- emotions of a mother who just learned that her precious baby has a congenital heart anomaly.

We had our second 2D-echo today to assess Xofia's heart. The first one was done when she was yet 2 months old. On her 2nd month well-baby checkup, her doctor noticed murmurs. The 2D-echo confirmed what the doctor doubted: Atrial Septal Defect.

Her cardio expressed that the hole should've shown improvements now that she's 1 year old. It did not, however. This tells us that surgery is the way to go, and we should be doing it the soonest possible time. Xofia remains asymptomatic as of date; but we are unsure what the future holds, and I don't wanna wait until after something has happened, God forbid.

Her cardio tentatively scheduled the surgery to happen when she's 1.5 to 2 years old, which is 4-9 months from now.

Between cardio-cath and open heart surgery, my own heart is leaning towards the cardio-cath. This is possibly a life-altering decision we're making. What's making it more difficult is that it's not our lives that depend on this decision, it's our daughters'.

In my own little research, the benefits of cardio-cath procedure outweigh that of an open heart surgery. I can't imagine how my daughter, young as she is, can go through the after-surgery pain and recovery. But she still has to undergo tests to determine if she's a viable candidate for the cath procedure. Right now, that's the only things I'm praying; that the remaining muscles around the hole are strong enough to hold the amplatzer. That she's a viable candidate for the cath procedure.

I did not ask for a genius, gifted, advanced baby, all I ever asked was a normal, healthy baby.

As I've always appealed to friends and family, Xofia needs your prayers. Now, more than ever.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Who called?

Your cell phone has a caller ID. Your land line may have as well. But that doesn't stop pranksters from bothering you, does it? I should know, some people are crazy enough to leave disturbing messages on my office voicemail. And if I happen to be around during the call, I'd either get pretty pissed or weirdly amused. Pranksters aren't right up there. They get a certain kind of kick when they get people scared or surprised. And the anonymity that the telephone affords boosts their confidence. The best thing to do with these people is to confront them on their own game. Let them know that the veil of anonymity is no longer available for them. LookupByPhone.com can very much help you with that.

LookupByPhone.com offers reverse phone lookup service for numbers from United States and Canada. You can search for the owner's name and addresses and trace those harassing or annoying calls. The service is not only limited to land line numbers but is extended to cell phone numbers as well. Additionally, the lookups are 100% confidential and the owner of the number you've looked up will not even know it.

Of course, with this kind of service available to you, you're not only protected from pranksters, but also from annoying calls and harassing telemarketers.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

If you're happy and you know it...

Early this morning, I noticed Xofia dancing every time she hears danceable songs from Dora the Explorer. I was so amused and wanted so much to capture the moment but left my digicam upstairs. Didn't want to miss the moment, I stayed and watched her sway that booty to Dora singing "Come on, vamanos..."

After her afternoon nap, I had her upstairs for some playtime. Had nursery rhymes in the background, and this time, I had my digicam ready, waiting for the right moment to get her shaking that booty. However, I got more than I expected. My baby was singing along "If you're happy..." with a little stomping of the feet (albeit with so much effort), clapping hands, and shouting hurray. Here's her version of the nursery rhyme, and a little booty shakin':

video

I'm right here wishing I'd still be young enough to shake booties with her when the time comes, and her willing to do that with her mama. Funny scene, but I'd understand if she'd only wanna do that at the privacy of our home. I'd be embarrassed to see me that old hitting bars and grooving to the music. Ack!

Insurance hub for dentists

Last week, our house help told us that she needed to go home to Cagayan de Oro to have her tooth extracted. And since I was way over my deadline to see my dentist this year, I offered to take her to my dentist and she doesn't have to do heavy tasks the week after for her to recuperate. She gets to have her salary intact, and she doesn't have to pay for a boat fare. She agreed, at least last week. This week, you guessed that right--she changed her mind and insisted on going to Cagayan de Oro anyway. Aaaaah, house helps! You can only do so much for them, be extra nice and accommodating, and it's still not enough.

Anyway, my impending trip to my dentist reminds me of this one-stop insurance resource for practicing dentists, www.edic.com. Eastern Dentists Insurance Company or EDIC offers professional dentists, student dentists and aspiring dentists a huge array of insurance packages including insurance malpractice. I know that a lot can relate to me that the reason that we buy insurance is security; such that we can go live our life daily without doubts and worries of the future. EDIC, together with their affiliates, gives dentists that sense of security to practice their profession without that gray cloud of malpractice suit hovering over their heads.

Different insurance packages are available for different levels of profession. The company aptly calls the program EDIC Life Cycle. EDIC Life Cycle provides different packages for dentists in varying stages of their career:

  • Student / Resident
  • New Professional
  • Owner / Partner
  • Mature Practitioner
  • Retiring Dentist
If you're a student, a practicing professional, owning a clinic, or a retiring dentist, head over at EDIC. Their packages are worth a peek and consideration. They even have Estate Planning Education and Funding for Children as part of their packages, to name a few. This might just be the insurance for you.

Scrapbook Saturday: Play

Scrapbook Saturday


The pics were taken when Xofia was about 4 months old. Her Tita Bang gave her K's Kids portable musical mobile with those colorful cloth dragonflies. I guess she must have been wondering why those bugs kept on hovering above her, she won't stop grabbing them.

Click on the SS button for more scraps from SS participants. Happy Saturday, everyone!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Grilled cheese and egg sandwich

Grilled cheese and egg is this household's favorite sandwich. And I like it that I can make this filling meal FAST. I use oven toasters in making my sandwiches. I cannot count in my one hand how many oven toasters crashed on me in this lifetime. That's why I find Toaster Ovens Guides very useful. For reviews on toaster ovens, and for helping you out on buying the best toasters, hop on over to www.toasterovensguide.com.

Anyway, for the recipe:

  • 4 pieces sliced bread
  • 4 slices Quickmelt cheese (or velveeta cheese)
  • 2 eggs cooked sunny-side-up
  • a dash of cinnamon (optional)
Place the cooked egg on top of a slice of bread. Arrange two cheese slices on top of the egg. Cover with another slice of bread. Finish with a dash of cinnamon on top. Repeat the process for the next sandwich.

Place the sandwiches on the toaster oven. Set the timer on 3, or according to your toaster's sandwich setting. When the timer's up, you're ready with your tasty sandwich meal.

Serves 1-2 depending on your appetite. Enjoy!


Take me to HOME COOKING tab

That chronic migraine

That chronic migraine I experienced awhile back, glad to report that it's no longer bothering me. I had my eye checked and got myself prescription glasses. I also needed the migraine to stop before I can have my eyes checked just to remove any other variables. I know I should have checked with a neuro, but I think I'm not quite sure if I was ready for that yet. Aside from it's almost that hard to find time to pee with the current demand of my work, how much more a neuro appointment and all the tests.

So I took the most obvious path.

Turns out I have myopia on both eyes. I had been looking at object at a blur for so long. Imagine my joy when I finally can see things clearly, with well-defined edges. I actually went out of the shop and looked all the way back to the end of the mall and shouted, "I can see!" Yes, I did shout, but went right back in when I realized the weird looks I was getting.

From then, I noticed the migraine did not recur. Hopefully it's just my nearsightedness that's causing the migraine attacks, and nothing more serious.

And because I did not take the medicine the doctor RXed me, I have here Sibelium and Myonal for disposal. I can give you a discount if you're interested. These meds are pretty pricey if you buy them from the pharmacy.

Kidding.

If you need it, show me your RX, and I'll gladly give it to you for free. Otherwise, I hear there are charity drives where we can donate unexpired medicines to the poor. These medicines are properly dispensed by physicians to the less fortunate, of course.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Are you tired of telemarketers?

I don’t know about you, but when somebody calls me selling something, I’d instantly tell the person that I’m not interested and if I can, politely end the conversation and put the phone down. More often than not though, I’d end up aggravated because the person on the other line simply refuse to stop the conversation and continue to yak away with his spiel. That’s irritating. And when I can no longer take it, I put the phone down while cursing under my breath. Some people just can’t take rejection – or they’re trained not to take them. On the other hand, I’d be really pissed because I took that call that was completely useless, and would feel bad for being so rude.

Now, I don’t have to take those useless, time-consuming calls blindly. Thanks to Who's Number Is This, one can have their personal information erased from public data. All annoying telemarketers will get is a big No Call List Information. Bye, bye, annoying callers.

Who's Number Is This also provides free phone number lookup that tracks the phone call information. You can then determine if it was a call you needed to take or not. How stress-free can answering calls be?

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