Howdy!

As you can see I have new clothes!

What I mean is that my blog is sporting a new theme.  From this…

Screenshot from 2013-01-27 21:49:11

To this:

Screenshot from 2013-01-27 21:50:48

What do you think?

Do you like the new theme?

It’s not finished yet. My sister said she’ll try to do some more customizations but, if you ask me, I’m already happy with this one :)But I’m not the one to complain at all. I’m receiving a free blog makeover so I’ll just wait what other change’s she’ll make. I’m just happy that I have a new theme for the new year. I hope this motivates me to blog some more.

We’ll see.

Mellow Yellow Monday 046: Children’s castle

Today is my brother’s wedding so I had this post ready last week and set it in auto-post mode.

My son squealed in delight as he saw this castle decoration at the mall some weeks ago. It was probably already there even before we saw it. Eventhough we go malling almost every week, we haven’t been to this side of the mall often that we missed it the first time it was put on display.

Kids love the Christmas castle! There were lots of moms and dads taking a photo of their kids in front of the caste.
Kids love the Christmas castle! There were lots of moms and dads taking a photo of their kids in front of the caste.

It’s like a wonderland there with this castle as the masterpiece. My son also loved the giant lollipops and ice cream cones that were part of the decoration. The nice part is that kids are allowed to go inside and explore the castle. I guess we’ll becoming here more often 🙂

Feels great to be home

Touch down, Roxas City!!

Wooot! I’m in my hometown since Wednesday. This is the seafood capital of the Philippines and I am alreading having a binge of fresh seafoods that I long have missed while we are in Angeles City. Of course, I also missed my parents and my payag (nipa hut) in Ivisan! My parents are getting older (and crankier, hahaha) everytime I see them but I love them both nonetheless. The little boy also missed his Grandpa and Grandma and his younger cousins, Beebop and Chappy. They have been playing non-stop but the girls noted the little boy speaks funny and demanded they speak in Hiligaynon (our dialect) instead, rather than Tagalog (the dialect he now learned to speak while in Angeles City). Oh how funny these cousins are!

We flew via Cebu Pacific’s discounted fares, that’s me, my husband, and our little boy. Thanks to my Ate (elder sister) who booked the ticket for us using my younger sistah’s credit card, lol. That’s how I call outsourcing. Imagine, we saved more than P5K (about $150) because of the really HUUUGE combined discount from the three round-trip tickets.

Anyhoo, I can only write a short post today as we are busy in the preparations for the coming wedding of my younger brother. The ceremony will take place this coming Monday (Dec 17). Thankfully we already had our dresses done so it’s less task in the list. I’ll be busy running around errands for the bro.

Also, one more thing. I heard about the Fairy Hobmother visiting blogs these days. When I read about it at my friend’s blog I could not believe it. A Fairy Hobmother spreading good intentions all over the world? Too good to be true, right? But, really, the Fairy Hobmother is for real. I know because he already visited a friend and my sister.  I’ll have to go and visit my sister’s blog and see how I can get the Fairy Hobmother to visit me, too.

 And lastly, I have some good news but it is too soon to tell, I think. I’ll wait a few more weeks to see how it goes and then I’ll announce it! hahaha. This is all for now, ta-ta!

Not your usual signs made by Lowen Sign Company

It’s been two years since I came home from Kenya, the country where I lived for 14months to work with a local community in the eastern coast of the country. Despite the pre-departure training volunteers undergo before the big move, it was still a big shock arriving in a new country. My senses were assaulted (in a very good way, that is) with everything right at the moment we stepped off the airplane and set our foot on Kenyan soil! At that time I could feel the signs the heaven was sending to me – like those signs at that flag your attention right away- as if to tell me that it it was going to be a helluva experience!

At the airport, on our arrival, we were greeted by the following sign. Sure it’s not a professional looking one like the ones made by the Lowen Sign Company but we had no trouble finding our welcoming committee.

VSO Jitolee, Filipino VSO Volunteers
Here I am with a fellow VSO from the Philippines arriving in Nairobi. We had no trouble spotting the sign.

I was so tired; my head ached and my body was yearning for a warm shower and a nice, soft bed to lie on and have a shut-eye but you still see me smiling here because I felt so relieved to finally plant my feet firmly on the ground after a long haul flight.

We didn’t have time to go sight-seeing in Nairobi because after our orientation and language course we were immediately sent to our respective areas of assignment. I lived on my own in the community with only the very basic Kishwahili language skills as my tool to help me get by. My work as a VSO Volunteer in Kenya has allowed me to travel inside the country. Living abroad has made me notice new things around me, especially signs that are different or not found from where I come from.

There were so many new things around me! Imagine seeing giraffes walking along the roadside? Or the noisy babboons while stopping for a rest during a road trip? Oh, only in Africa!

 Here’s a friendly reminder that I keep in my mind all the time.

 And this I miss so terribly…. the chocolate, okay?

 These are actually great points here but, sadly, not strictly followed, especially the part of using a mobile phone when driving.

When you see this sign, you should be scared… Really scared. Riding on a matatu is not for the faint-hearted.

This is from my fellow volunteers Bara and Chinita. Matatus are vans turned into a public transportation.

amel advertising. Anyone? This is a very common site in the tourist town of Mombasa. We don’t have this in the Philippines.

There are so many stories I have yet to tell (or post here) but I’ve been caught up in my present life, working in an industry that is alien to me and in an environment that I’m not accustomed to. But a mama’s got to do what she has to do, right? Just like a real trouper, I picked up where I left off and slowly, but carefully, move on with my “now”.

My stint in Kenya was only short but the memories are enough to last me my lifetime. Although they are now in a special compartment in my brain, they have a way of getting creep out to me at times. Looking back, I should’ve taken more photos of the different signs there and compile them into one book 🙂

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This is a sponsored post, however, all the contents and views presented here are all mine.

Mellow Yellow Monday 042: Golden wrappers

Chocolates!

Nothing makes me happier than spending weekends with my husband and son, watching television, and munching chocolates 🙂

The golden wrappers of Reese chocolate.

These are my favorites – Reese’s peanut butter miniature cups and were bought at Clark Duty Free Shop in one of our trips there.

Mellow Yellow Monday 041: I want to fly that big balloon

On my days off, my husband, son and I would make an effort to go out as a family. It’s just our way of catching up to do things as a family that we could not do on regular days. Nothing fancy. Just a stroll in the park. A meal in a restaurant. Or soaking in the mall-culture.

So two weeks ago, we went to the Photo Exhibit at the mall. It’s actually an amateur photography competition and all the entries were on display for final judging.

My son got hooked on this one:

Son: Mama, when I grow up, I want to fly that big, big balloon!

I thought he was going to tell me that he’s going to be a photographer, hahahah. But take note, he didn’t say “ride” on the balloon. He was very specific that he wants to “fly” the balloon. There is a difference between the two.

Mellow Yellow Monday 039: An afternoon of fun rides

My son turned 8 years old yesterday! He is undoubtedly growing up to be a splitting image of me 🙂

Already in the second grade at a private school here in Pampanga, he speaks Tagalog fluently, as well as Hiligaynon and Kapampangan. He is picking up a lot of Kapampangan words but he confessed to me that he doesn’t like to speak it because, according to him, it sounds “funny”.

Unlike his other birthday celebrations in the past, we didn’t throw him a party. Instead, his Papa and I asked him what he wanted to do on his birthday. I picked up this idea from my sister’s friend. In this way, we don’t really spend too much on something that the birthday celebrant doesn’t really want or appreciate anyway.

So, when we asked him, he excitedly told us that he wanted to go to the mall and ride the bike and asked for a birthday cake on the way home so he could blow the candles. We thought, not a bad idea. It’s simple, doable and, most of all, it’s my son’s idea of a fun birthday so we were more than happy to do what he wished for.

So, after lunch, the three of us trooped to the mall and let him loose at the fun rides. We let him choose any kind of ride he wanted but chose only this trike ride. He was crazy over it!

He is crazy with wheels, this boy. Just like his Papa.

Before we went home, we bought a birthday cake at Red Ribbon, ice cream, and other snack items that we shared at home with my younger sister. He even blew his birthday candles and made a wish.

That jersey he is wearing? It’s his Tito Bigg’s pasalubong! There were three – one American football (Tom Brady’s number) and two soccer jerseys. Hah. And we thought these stuff will arrive for Christmas. Thanks Tito Bigg. You made your nephew happy!

I thank the Lord for giving us blessings, for the good health of my son, and for another year. We may not have a lot but the Lord never fails to provide for us and our needs. Again, my dear Joshua…

[amazon_image id=”0394800761″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Happy Birthday to You![/amazon_image]

Mellow Yellow Monday 038: Scooter

My son is turning 8 next week – oh, my! How time flies! I am thinking what to give him on his 8th birthday. Last year, his Papa and I asked him what he wanted for his birthday. He requested this scooter because his classmates had one, too. Of course, we granted his request:

This has been my son’s favorite toy. He likes riding on it after school.

This year, I wanted to ask him what he wants again but I think I want to make his birthday a bit different from last year. So, since last summer (April) I’ve been asking him about what kinds of toys he like and eavesdropping on his conversations with his playmates. So far, this is what I’ve gathered and I took the liberty of researching for its price and availability in the Philippines. So without further ado, this is his top three most-wished gifts:

[amazon_enhanced asin=”B00005B8G3″ /] [amazon_enhanced asin=”B005CFCIAI” /][amazon_enhanced asin=”B004B349DG” /]

My son’s friends have been raving about the Game Boy Advance (above, left) and my son is convinced he has to have one after he’s played with his friend’s GBA. He wouldn’t stop talking afterwards – morning, noon, and nighttime. He didn’t ask us to buy him one {yet} but he did ask us if we already have a birthday present for him, lol. I can imagine him playing non-stop if ever we decided to give this to him.

Of course, any boy will say they’d like to have a new pair of shoes on their birthday. Not only just a pair of shoes, my boy was so specific – he wants a running shoes for his PE class, just like in the middle photo above. I asked him why he likes rubber shoes and he told me, without blinking, that rubber shoes make him run fast. I rest my case. As an afterthought, he also asked us if his Tito Bigg will buy him a soccer jersey. Like his Papa and uncles, my boy likes soccer and he wants a jersey. His Tito Bigg promised to get him but not sure if it’s for his birthday or for Christmas.

Now that I have his wishlist, I’ll go now and find money to buy him these, lo.

Mellow Yellow Monday 037: Granny squares

A lot of my friends are asking me what do I do on my days off. You see, I work in a call-center and I have a graveyard shift. Like vampires, we call-center agents who do the graveyard shifts, spend most of the day sleeping and up and about at night till the earling morning hours of the next day.

I pretty much did that daytime sleeping part when I was new at work. But as time went on, for some reason, I could not sleep that much anymore. I tend to wake up around noon when my son comes home from school. So we’re able to have lunch together. And when he goes to school, I am left at home with practically nothing to do. The choice is to — a) go back to sleep; b) watch television, or c) do a bit of crocheting. I chose letter “c”. It relaxes me and when I feel tired and sleepy, I just go back to bed.

Here are some granny squares I finished two weeks ago. I need more to make a pillow case:

I love the yellow yarn and red combo. They yellow stands out.

I wish I have a variety of designs. I need patterns and the ones I see on the Internet are downloadable for a fee. I was browsing through a lot of crafting sites and I wish I had crochet books, like below,  that I can hold and turn the pages back and forth. I don’t only copy the patterns. I study patterns them and improvise them. I love making extra changes here and there to make the crochet item more “me”, you know what I mean.

[amazon_image id=”1589234723″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” align=”left” ]The Complete Photo Guide to Crochet: *All You Need to Know to Crochet *The Essential Reference for Novice and Expert Crocheters *Comprehensive Guide … Charts, and Photos for 200 Stitch Patterns[/amazon_image]<br> [amazon_image id=”0470879971″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Teach Yourself VISUALLY Crochet (Teach Yourself VISUALLY Consumer)[/amazon_image]

Just a random post

After meeting my brother at the NAIA last Saturday, he didn’t stay long as he had another plane to catch. So after he flew out to Roxas City, my husband, the little boy and I went to the Mall of Asia to have something to eat. We were up since 2am so by the time my brother left, all three of us went for lunch at the mall.

Funny how almost every single teenager, boy or girl, I saw at the mall looked like K-pop wannabes. The style of clothes, the make up – the works! Anyways, watching them reminds me of this popular Korean actress. She is so pretty and cosmopolitan. I heard from a Pinoy working there that most of the Korean actresses have undergone cosmetic surgery there. Nothing surprising about that. At least the actresses or actors there admit to doing so, unlike back here in the Philippines where people deny to death having undergone such.

What’s wrong with cosmetic surgery anyway?
Cosmetic surgery is more popular than ever than it has been, say, 10 years ago. If it makes some people happy and they have the means (money), then, why not? Want the perfect aquiline nose? Good. How about a fuller, Angelina Jolie-like lips? Sure. Want to have a great, smooth, wrinkle-free skin? Of course. Through the rapid advances in cosmetic surgery, a lot more people go under the knife to enhance the way they look. If you go visit a cosmetic clinic, you will be surprised at the kind of technology they are using now – either surgical or non-surgical procedure. While aesthetics is the main thing that comes to mind when we talk about cosmetic surgery, a lot of lives have changed because there are also reconstructive surgeries done to people whose bodies have been damaged due to accidents or congenital defects to correct these.

A lot of people ask what are the benefits  – so simple, if I may say so. Cosmetic surgery increases the self confidence and self esteem of a person. They lead normal and happier lives because their worries about how they’d look to others are diminished and they’d feel more secure and feel accepted.

I see nothing wrong with it, honestly. It’s a matter of personal choice.

Mellow Yellow Monday 035: Transformer shoes

I mentioned a few days ago that my younger brother is coming home for a brief visit. He did; he arrived in the early morning hours of Saturday. My husband and I were supposed to go by ourselves but my little boy wanted to go to see his Tito Big. So, off the three of us went. Hopped on the midnight bus to Manila and excited waited at the airport.

Not long after my brother came out and saw us at the lobby, he handed out a present to the ecstatic little boy waiting for him — it’s a pair of Transformer shoes.

Look, Ma. It’s yellow – like Bumblebee, exclaimed the excited little boy.

It was an advanced birthday present for the little boy. Now, why am I surprised that we went to school without so much fuss this morning? Lol.

Thank you, Tito Big, for the wonderful presents not only for the little boy but also for us and Labs, our younger sister. Good luck on your business trip!