Saturday, 31 August 2013

kids books: a steal from National Book Store!

I spent more than half of the day in the mall today. I went to the dentist for another filling and I also got my dental application, something I have to wear every night to help correct my bite and keep my teeth from falling apart. I had lunch alone then went for a facial. I cherish my me-time but I also feel a bit guilty each time I spend some hours of the weekend away from my husband and kids.

To banish my guilt, I decided to drop by National Book Store for some pasalubong. I gathered from the NBS Facebook page that they're having up to 70% off their books from August 30 to September 8.

I went home happily carrying two books for the kids - a steal at 70% and 50% off!

Asian Children's Favorite Stories
A Treasury of Folktales from China, Japan, Korea, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia as retold by David Conger, Kay Lyons, Liana Romulo, Joan Suyenaga and Marian Davies Toth
Illustrations by Partick Yee

I got it for P430.50. Original Price is P1,435. That's P1,000 off!

I have loved Folklore as a kid and I wanted to share this interest with TL#1 who has exhibited genuine interest in reading books at a very young age.

I also thought he'd adore the book because he's been hooked lately on learning about different countries, their flags and their capital cities.

The book includes interesting folktales such as How the Sea Became Salty (from Japan) and Why Cats and Dogs Don't Get Along (from Korea).

As soon as I got home, TL#1 got hold of the book and scanned the pages, reading a few words on his own. Then his daddy and I took turns reading to him some of the stories while our little one looked on, wanting to turn the pages, too. After 3 stories, I got hoarse from reading and had to plead TL#1 to stop for tonight.

Other stories in the books are:

The Waters of Olive Lake - CHINA

Why Cats and Dogs Don't Get Along - KOREA

The Clever Rabbit and Numskull - INDIA

The Crane's Gratitude - JAPAN

Why the Tapir Has No Tail - MALAYSIA

Baka the Cow and Kalabaw the Water Buffalo - PHILIPPINES

The Mousedeer Becomes a Judge - INDONESIA

The Fake Gem - THAILAND

The Golden Ring - PHILIPPINES

Liang and His Magic Brush - CHINA

A Tale of Sticks and Turnips - KOREA

The Lucky Farmer Becomes King - THAILAND

The stories are interesting even for adults. I saw the husband sneak some minutes to read a story.

The 7 Habits of Happy Kids
by Sean Covey
Illustrated by Stacy Curtis

This is a picture book based on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

Each of the stories in the book illustrates one habit. At the end of each story, the author included a note for parents which has some suggestions on how to bring out the habit in the story.

I'm not really sure if I bought this for the kids or for myself but I am glad I did for 50% off at P337.50, originally P675. It is a big hardbound book with sleeve.

I think TL#2 found this more interesting because of the illustrations. Although it is still a bit of a tall order for him to grasp the concept of the habits, it never is too early to teach our kids to develop good habits and grow up happy!

When TL#1 eventually let to go of the book, I found myself reading it from cover to cover and making plans for myself and for TL#1 to take baby steps to live the habit.

And of course, being the bookworm that I am, I bought two books for myself, too. :)

Friday, 30 August 2013

Strategies for Teaching Personal Finance to Teens

Strategies for Teaching Personal Finance to Teens

Well, the beginning of the school year is just around the corner. I've been thinking about what to blog about this school year, and I decided that it might be especially helpful to new teachers if they had a model to follow - at least starting out.  So this year I will add some teaching strategies to what I am already doing on my blog.

At first glance teaching Personal Finance may seem like it would be a hard class to teach and a little dry, and a little boring for the students. I find this is NOT the case at all. I have taught many different classes and Personal Finance is undeniably the most exciting and rewarding of them all.

My philosophy, when it comes to Personal Finance, is that students have more fun and the lesson sticks better if they discover the answers for themselves. For example, instead of lecturing the students about money and telling them that they need to learn to budget, I designed a budgeting game that the class plays during the trimester. Long before the end of the class students start asking questions like "Why isn't there ever enough money to go around in this game?" My usual reply is that they have discovered the meaning of the game. Often in life many of us live paycheck to paycheck, and sometimes that does not cover all of the bills. And of course, from there the conversation turns to budgeting - so now we are at a point where students are open to discussing budgeting, and they have their own unique ideas to offer on the subject.

With that said, my next blog will be on how I start the first week of school.

See you then. Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, 29 August 2013

fashion and design school, anyone?

Back in May, during one of my "I want to find my true passion" moments, I thought I'd make my college dream come true by enrolling in a fashion design school. I was inspired by a colleague from my previous employer who pursued her passion for fashion design while working. After some years of hard work, fun and persistence, she graduated and was making a wedding gown the last time we talked.

So I turned to google and I came upon Style Studio Fashion and Design School. I sent them an inquiry and got feedback right away but I got cold feet and I did not push through. I'm all plans but no guts. ;(

Anyway, I recently received an email from them. In case you are or you know someone interested, here are the details:

Style Studio Fashion & Design School will start the next term for short courses on Sept. 7, 2013. Enrollment are now going on. Please see attached file for short courses they offer.

Saturday Class
Fashion Illustration 9AM - 4PM
Pattern Making 9AM - 4PM
Sewing 9AM - 4PM
Artistic Make Up 1PM - 5PM

Fashion & Design School Philippines
Unit 2003 Tower A. Skyland Plaza,
Corner Tindalo St. and Senator Gil Puyat Ave.(Buendia)
Makati City, Philippines
Tel. No.: (+632) 889-7484 / (+632) 782-7231

As for me, I can not properly hold a thread and needle nor draw or doodle. I already decided that it is not for me. I would rather take up web design. I'm just waiting for a course opening. ;)

And may I end this post with this:

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Live the life you've imagined.
As you simplify your life,
the laws of the universe will be simpler."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

the story of the missing teeth

My 4-year old has been more cooperative in brushing his teeth ever since I told him the story about my two missing teeth.

He now allows me to brush his teeth thoroughly and he is also getting pro in spitting.

I blogged about my latest visit to the dentist here.

This morning when he woke up, we had this conversation:

TL#1: Mommy, what happened to your missing teeth?

He wanted to hear the story again.

Me: They were eaten by germs. They were filled with cavities so the dentist pulled them out.

TL#1: But why, what did you do? You did not listen to your mommy?

Me: Yes, I was hardheaded. I did not like to brush my teeth.

TL#1: What did you say?

Me: I said (imitating him) Waaah! No, I don't want to brush my teeth. I don't want to!

TL#1: Me, I listen to you mommy. I brush my teeth. They are clean. See, I have 20 teeth!

(And he opens his mouth wide to make his point)

I hope he grows up with good habits on dental hygiene. At least (for now) he doesn't eat candies.

I was not conscious of my dental health until recently and I'm regretting it.

Next step: Try to bring him to the dentist for his first check up.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 26 August 2013

the dentist will see you now

I went to the dentist today. It is a big accomplishment for me because I don't fancy going to the dentist. I did not enjoy having my impacted wisdom tooth extracted about 3 years ago.

But I just turned a year older so I decided to face my fear and get it over with. What was I to lose? A lot of bucks! Indeed.

While I was lying down on the dental chair, cringing from the sound of the dental equipment hitting my teeth, I decided to put the experience into context. Come to think of it, the pricking during a facial hurts more than the cavity filling and oral prophylaxis (dental cleaning) but I endure that every other month. Why not do the same for the sake of my oral health!

I liked the way the dentist handled my session so I listened to her advice and finally decided to fix my issue on teeth sensitivity due to exposed roots. Dental appliance anyone?

I was really proud after and was bragging about my accomplishment to my son. It felt good to have squeaky clean mouth and a major (always postponed) to-do crossed off my list. Wow! Eating the frog does work. I have also earned (an authentic) right to enforce oral hygiene on TL#1.

Now, if I could just master and keep at the art of flossing...

The Huffington Post shares the Top 10 Common Dental Problems and How to Avoid Them in an article here.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 25 August 2013

how to deal with jealousy and sibling rivalry?

Our 4 year old had a sudden outburst the other day that left me in shock.

Me: Don't hit your brother with the pillow. He's just a baby!

TL#1: No, I want to kill him. I want him to die!


Me (as calmly as I could): No of course not. You don't mean that.

Part of me was scared and wanted to deny what I heard.

TL#1: No, I want to kill him.

I was supposed to scold him and tell him that was a bad thing to say but I stopped myself. I realized I was not acknowledging his feelings. I was trying to invalidate them with my words.

Good thing I read a few pages of the book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. The book gives the following first aid to help a child in distress:


1. Listen with full attention.

2. Acknowledge their feelings with a word - "Oh". . ."Mmm". . . "I see."

3. Give their feelings a name.

Here's a sample illustration from the book (click to enlarge).

4. Give them their wishes in fantasy.

So I backtracked a bit.

Me: Why would you say that? What has he done to you?

TL#1: He's always stepping on me, always stepping on me and it hurts!

(His little brother has a quirky habit of waking him up by stepping on him)

And it got to me that we always call his attention when he plays rough with his brother. But we don't do the same when his little brother steps on him or pulls his hair. We even find it cute and funny. Double standards. It was not okay for him to hurt his brother but we keep mum when his little brother hurts him. As a four year old, this must have seem so unfair to him.

Me: Oh, I get it. You must be feeling mad. Don't worry, i'll talk to your brother. (Then turning to our little one) Please don't hurt your big brother. Say sorry to him.

And the little one didn't understand a word. But somehow, those words pacified the big one.

Me: Your little brother says he's sorry. He won't hurt you again. Bati na kayo ha. . There's no hurting each other in this house.

TL#1: Okay.

And so far, he seemed to have forgotten about that outburst.

It's hard to find a balance but I try to divide my attention equally to the two boys. When I compliment one, I also have to say something nice to the other. I sometimes catch the big one looking on forlornly when i'm peppering the little one with hugs and kisses. He gets really jealous. I guess I should be happy that he is vocal with his feelings. At least we know and we can deal with it.

At times, we manage to keep the peace at home but when they start throwing tantrums or fighting over a toy, I also join in the conundrum unless the husband steps in to referee. Hehe. Chaos! I'm not exactly a calm person.

It's so difficult to be a mother to two little boys. I feel so inadequate most of the time and I don't know where or how to start mending my wrongs and addressing my limitations. I should really give more priority to honing my parenting skills. Hirap! I have the tendency to be apathetic because I find it hard to cope.

Like these days, the little one's so clingy to mommy. He would cry every time I leave him. While I cuddle him, the big one will also crave for my attention. Gusto rin, ako lang! I don't know if I should be flattered or if I should have a breakdown with them. Waaah! Help!

And then they start being cute and my heart just melts from all the love and joy. Rollercoaster ride of emotions!

Got to finish reading the book before I go insane. :)

*got the book from Amazon using a gift card from a friend :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

what to do when the going (at work) gets tough

I've been wanting to write about this since I listened to the episode 'What to do When You Hate Your Job" by Michael Hyatt's This is My Life podcast.

No, I don't hate my job. Hate is too strong a word. But admittedly, there are times I find it hard and overwhelming. And during those times, it is easy to get swayed emotionally and it becomes difficult to put things in perspective. In short, I react and feel like a victim who has no control of my circumstances instead of taking a step back and acting consciously. I know, I know, choosing to be proactive rather than reactive will make all the difference. However at the heat of the moment, it is not easy to make the good choice.

“If you’re proactive, you don’t have to wait for circumstances or other people to create perspective expanding experiences. You can consciously create your own."
- Stephen Covey

It takes a lot of practice and conscious efforts before one can be truly proactive. Makes me think I should have joined the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People seminar a second time. It has been 7 years since I had my first one. This post is a reminder for me to be the captain of my ship!

For proactive takeaways, you may want to read Lifehack's Are you Reactive or Proactive? article here.

Going back to Michael Hyatt's podcast, what I learned is to accept that work is hard. That's why it is called work and not play. Accept the bad with the good. There is no such thing as an easy job. Even celebrities have to battle against sleepless nights, stress and burnout. That's why some of them turn to drugs!

I should also be thankful that I am employed, that I have money to buy my needs and some wants, too.

What I love about my job is that I continue to grow not only professionally but as a person. There's something about regularly dealing with a number of staff and clients, conflicting deadlines and time pressure that helps build character - patience, kindness and resilience, among them.

I also realized that I have a big role to play in the job satisfaction of the people I handle just as my boss has a big role in mine. So I should continuously strive to be a better manager, too. One source of satisfaction in my job is the fact that I am partly responsible for the career development and growth of my staff. Their success is my success, their failure my failure. I am only as good as my worst performing staff.

This article from mashable has some tips on how to be a good manager.

One thing that I'm currently addressing is the source of my dissatisfaction. It is important to identify what keeps you unhappy in your job so that you can address it, if it has a solution. If none, then you may consider a graceful exit. After all, life is too short!

Most times, I feel overwhelmed by the volume of work, issues and backlogs. And to minimize my anxiety, I try to do as much work as I can in a day to the point of spreading myself too thin. I work hard but not smart.

I can change this by thinking of long-term and not band-aid solutions to our current issues. Sometimes, it is easier to do things on my own rather than coach someone to do the stuff. I need to invest more time in teaching and empowering so that we can think of better ways of doing things.

Bottomline: Stress is a part of life but I always have a choice on how to deal with it.

"You can't stop the waves,
but you can learn to surf."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPho

BPI express online banking convenience

Next time, don't spend the flooded day guessing how much was credited to your BPI payroll account.

Even with no access to my payslip, I knew right away how much money I received because of BPI express online banking. And I was able to spend a good amount that same day even though Habagat and Maring troubled us for three days. Okay, not exactly a good reason. :D

To my colleagues who are yet to enroll in online banking, especially those who are on mobile unlidata, the steps are easy.

Click on the images to enlarge.

For ATM based accounts, you can register and activate your Account in BPI express online via this link.

Be ready with your Account Number (the 10-digit number at the back of your ATM card) and Joint Account Indicator (the two-digit number after your name in the ATM card).

To activate the enrollment, you may visit any BPI Express Teller ATM within 20 banking days. This should not pose a problem.

I use online banking to pay my BPI credit card bill, phone and internet bills, transfer funds between my payroll and spending account and to the accounts of my mother and husband, and even manage my (modest) mutual funds. BPI express online is free of charge, no bank charges for transfers and payments.

To make sure I don't miss out on our monthly fixed internet bill, I have scheduled regular payments online. Very convenient (as long as there are funds available of course).

I have not had any issues (security wise) since I started using online banking in 2007. I only make sure that I log in using secure connections and log-out when I'm done.

I also recently downloaded the BPI express mobile app from the app store (for apple gadgets) and google play (for android). It is even more convenient than the web version.

No need to keep wondering with information at our fingertips. :)

For more information, visit You may also want to take the online tour.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 22 August 2013

oh yes, i was surprised! :D

I would not let this day pass without blogging about how my family at work brought a big smile on my face and made me feel so loved today.

With matching song number by our own mini-celebrity (she starred in Showtime last Wednesday), I was surprised by my colleagues with their advance happy birthday greetings complete with flowers, balloons, cake and of course, J Co donuts. It is becoming a tradition at work and we are loving it. Oh yes, bring on the love!

Let me just say the one MAIN reason I keep coming back to the first Company I worked in is the people I work with. That makes more than one. I feel privileged to have had and continue to have the opportunity to work with the brightest and most hardworking people with BIG hearts. May I strive to continue to be better at what I do and to contribute to my colleagues' job satisfaction and professional well-being.

Happy birthday to me, indeed! Thank you Lord for the blessings, most especially for the gift of loved-ones and friends.

Stop and smell the flowers :)

for my action: live an intentional life at 32

Tonight is the eve of my 32nd birthday and I am enjoying some precious and hard-to-get-by quiet time. *sigh of contentment here*

How I miss to say, "I'm bored!" or "Wala bang magawa?". Those times are few and far between. Maybe because as we grow older, we are burdened with more responsibilities and we want to accomplish more each day?

OVERWHELMED - that's me these days or maybe for most of my adult life. And I try to squash that feeling by doing as much as I could each day. I put in long hours whenever needed, which is almost everyday. Then I get sick or someone in the family gets sick or there's an emergency. I take a leave and the tasks pile up. Then I go back and put in the long hours again to address the backlog. Vicious cycle.

I can only handle so much so I become apathetic to some aspects of my life like keeping in touch with family and friends and addressing our housekeeping matters. If you would note from my posts, I am mostly just rambling about my issues - samples here and here.

It's because I have not found a solution yet. I have a lot of ideas but I lack time for execution. I am the obsessive-compulsive kind (sort of, not in all aspects) - I need to read up and absorb all the theories before I act. Absurd, right? At this scale, maybe I'll get things done by the time I turn 55. Retirement, anyone?

But I do have a proposed solution (I'm talking to myself here) - I'd try to tackle one issue or action item a week. 52 weeks a year = 52 action points.

Early this year, I wanted to start a Happiness Project inspired by Gretchen Rubin (refer to my posts here and here and here). But that did not work because (as usual), I didn't have the luxury of time and maybe because I tried to tackle too much in a month. In contrast, I should be able to handle one action item per week.

For weeks 1 to 4, I've been thinking about the following personal action points:

Week 1 (my birthday week which ends this Saturday)

Finish reading Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It has been sitting in my Kindle app for like forever. I am very interested in living an intentional life. In case you are wondering what it is all about, there's a short good read on An Intentional Life by zenhabits.

Week 2 (starts this Sunday)

Finish registration to Philhealth and HDMF (hubby's help needed) and wrap up posts on Understanding the Kasambahay Law.

Week 3

Sit down, act like a true CPA and start accounting for my assets, liabilities, cash flows and budget (critical pre-work item for Week 4)

Week 4

Search for possible candidates for big school for TL#1 and play school for TL#2

Some action points could overlap, especially if there is waiting time involved. This should work, especially because I made this public. :)

As I turn 32, the only thing I wish for is that God grant me wisdom - to act on my intentions, to make the right decisions and to make a difference.

This is the going to be the best year of my life.

"If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things,
This is the best season of your life."
                                                     - WU-MEN

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

ang huwarang pamilya

Malapit nang matapos ang Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa. At bilang paggunita sa kahalagahan ng pagmamahal sa sarili nating wika ay tatanghalin ang isang paligsahan sa eskwelahan ng aming panganay na anak.

Para sa Junior Advanced Casa, ang paligsahan ay isahang pagbigkas ng tula at ang napiling tula ay:

Ang Huwarang Pamilya
Sa aming tahanan
Buo ang pamilya
Lubos na kasiyahan
Aming nadarama

Maaga pa lamang
Iyong makikita
Haligi ng tahanan
Hayun nasa palayan

Ilaw ng tahanan
Laging nariyan
Tunay na mapagmahal
Maasikaso talaga

Si kuya, si ate
Maasahan din
Masipag, magalang
Magaling sa eskwela

Itong aking pamilya
Magandang huwaran
Sa aking paglaki
Sila ang tutularan 

We have been egging TL#1 to memorize the poem. It's a bit of a struggle because we exposed him to the English language. Now, we're trying to help him learn to speak in Tagalog. He has already memorized the words but wouldn't listen and try to speak in the proper intonation. He apparently did not inherit my penchant for declamation and impromptu speaking. Dati yun, noong hinde pa ako marunong mahiya, noong feeling ko napakagaling ko. Napakatinis pala ng boses. Hehe. B-cooowz!

Good luck, teachers!
Tinuruan kasi mag-English tapos ngayon pipilitin mag-Tagalog. Hehehe. Alam na! Mabuti na lamang at Isahang Pagbigkas ito. Tama ba, ibig sabihin sabay-sabay sila magbibigkas ng tula? Pasensya na ha, Ilokana ak met ngarud.

bump is it! (easy transfer of contacts from iPhone to Samsung)

I have been a big Apple fan for a while. It all started with the iPod Video then the MacBook Pro, iPhone 3G, iPod nano, iPod touch and iPad 2. I'm currently using the iPad mini and iPhone 4s. You get the picture. And now I know why I am so bankrupt!

But, for some reason, I wanted to try Samsung Galaxy S4. So as soon as the much-awaited retro pay (and more, yey! ) was credited to my payroll account, I bought it! I am really an impulsive buyer, a problem I need to address. I hope I don't regret this buy. :)

Anyway, one issue I have is the transfer of contacts (and other files) from one phone to the other. The answer? Google it!

Among the search results, I chose to transfer through the bump app since I have it in my iPhone.

Very easy indeed, no more than 5 minutes and I got all my contacts in my Samsung Galaxy S4!

Here's the video for your reference, too:

You just follow the instructions in the app. It also worked for the photos!

Monday, 19 August 2013

conversations with our smart kid

Another reason I keep this blog is that I get to write down things about our kids as they grow up, details that I can't commit to memory because they may fade away as I grow old and senile.

At least, some far away day, I have this blog to go back to.

Our eldest, TL#1, is proving to be a smart kid. Something about the fruit not falling far from the tree. ;)

Here are some of our conversations:

Me: Oh no, it looks like it's going to rain hard!
TL#1: Huh, why is it not going to rain easy?

Husband and TL#1 talking...
Hubby: Please stop playing like that. You're too noisy!
TL#1: Daddy, can you cover your ears? Can you hide?
Hubby: But why?
TL#1: Because I want to be loud!

Before I go to work one day....
TL#1: Mommy, why do you have to go to work?
Me: I need to earn money for you and baby.
TL#1: But I don't want money! Mommy, please stay with me.

While we were in the car driving...
TL#1: Mommy, I look like but you don't have a t****

While in Zoobic Safari...

TL#1: What is that?
Me: It's a reindeer.
TL#1: Where is Santa?!

TL#1 to his yaya talking to someone on the phone...
TL#1: Ate, are you talking to Sir Chief?
(alluding to Sir Chief of Please be Careful With My Heart)

One grading period, after we checked the ranking...
Hubby: You're very good, you are no. 2! You should aim to be no. 1.
TL#1: I want to be No. 0!

TL#1 and me talking about the alphabet
Me: "E" is for?
TL#1: egg! ...and India too, Mommy!
Me: No, India starts with I!
TL#1 (very adamant): E, E-ndia!
His daddy also happened to be in India at that time.

One day, I worked half-day from home....
TL#1: Mommy, you're here!
Me: Yes, I'm home early today.
TL#1: Why, have you got money already?

At home, TL#1 pointed to the ceiling and said "sky",
then he pointed to my plate and said "plates"...
TL#1: Skyplates! I want Skyplates.
(Seryoso pa siya. Gusto lang pala ng Skyflakes. Lol!)

TL#1 singing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Song...
TL#1: It's the Mickey Mouse Cabiao's....

TL#1: I want water  mommy.
Me: Okay, here's your water.
TL#1: Thank you. You are very good Mommy!

Hubby: I'm so hungry I could eat a horse!
TL#1: That's silly daddy. A horse is not a food!

Looking forward to more awesome conversations!

the flood is in!

We are stuck in the second floor of our apartment, hostage to the heavy and continuous rain that brought flood into our home. This is the third and last time. We are definitely moving out, hopefully, by year end.

Times like these make us mindful of the here and now. Momentarily, only this hour, this minute matters. Survival instinct. Thoughts about work or the future vanish. Poof!

We've been awake since the wee hours of the morning, resignedly anticipating the overflow of water yet hoping it won't happen this year. Just our luck!

Thank God we have a second floor to take refuge in. We know there are a lot of people out there who are not as lucky. We hope and pray that the constant rainfall will stop soon.

Cooped up half day and we're still happy campers. Cooped up a whole day and we're going to be smelly, hungry, cranky campers!

Pakiusap, tumila ka na ulan at sana lang huwag mag-brownout!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

check it out: my blog has a new look!

Hinde naman siguro masyadong obvious na mahilig akong mag-blog. Kulang na lang bahain ko ang newsfeed ko ng links sa posts ko eh. :) And despite my busyness, I try to make time for it.

Please bear with me. I'm trying to pursue my passion. And since I Iove doing this, I decided to make over my blog! Slight lang naman para hinde mahal - a birthday gift to myself.

Didn't you notice the new look?!? I love it. Kahit simple, mahalin ang sariling atin. :) Happy ako, hinde ba obvious? :)

I have always been fascinated with words and pretty images. If I were to make over myself, I would like to be a magazine editor-in-chief. Why not? Well, right now, I am the editor-in-chief of this blog. Walang kokontra!

I wanted a more professional looking blog so I googled and googled and googled. I also looked at some of the more popular mom blogs out there for reference. I noticed a few using premium wordpress themes. Most are using customized templates by Fancy Girl Designs but I feel I am not ready yet (cost wise and otherwise) for something major. Someday. :) Check out her site, she really makes pretty templates.Oh, how I envy her! I might just try to dabble in web design myself to check if it is for me. Malay natin!

Somehow in my search, I got redirected to Designer Blogs. They offer custom website and blog design but what got my attention is that they have lower-priced pre-made designs for blogger (and wordpress, too). I chose my preferred design, placed an order and paid through PayPal. Easy breezy. Shortly, one of their designers contacted me through email and voila! Barely three days after, my blog is sporting a new look! Special thanks to Kristin!

The pretty pink icons are working. Just click on them and you will be redirected to my pinterest, twitter and instagram accounts. Feel free to email me, too.

I feel so alive when I write. I know, somehow, that this is my passion and it is worth pursuing. I hope you find your passion and happiness, too.

Happy birthday week to me!

1st birthday celebration in Fun Ranch (late post)

Initially, I was not inclined to throw a 1st birthday bash for our son. We were saving up for a future important expenditure and I thought TL#2 wouldn't even remember his party anyway so why bother? But then (shortly a month before), it got to me that our youngest is turning 1 year old once in a lifetime and it is worth a celebration. Plus, the husband shelled out the initial budget so why not. :)

I'm not much of a party planner. I am an introvert and I do not like talking to strangers (weird me!). We settled for Fun Ranch (Ortigas) because of the party package they offer - venue, food, host, magician and photo booth supplier. Very convenient! It is a bit more expensive than when you DIY but I did not have the luxury of time, so.

I first thought of Active Fun in Bonifacio Global City which is near our place and got their party package brochure. But I found the rates of Fun Ranch more reasonable. You may click on the images below for comparison.
Active Fun

Fun Ranch

I almost forgot about the cake. Good thing a friend recommended Emily Uy of Sugarbox. I wrote about it here.

For the photo booth, Fun Ranch tied up with Cheer U Up who contacted me two weeks before the party to get my approval for the lay-out and birthday tarp. Rhea was easy to talk to and accommodated my requests for changes to conform with the Babytv theme. The wallpapers and sample invites in the Babytv website were of big help. They also gave us a CD of the pictures right before they packed up.

Husband wanted to go to Divisoria for the giveaways but I was not inclined to. He eventually gave in to my suggestion to buy play-doh. I wanted something the kids will really use and have fun playing with. I was also wary of giving out items that might potentially be dangerous because of lead content. We opted to have stickers printed for the giveaways since we did not want to wrap them in plastic. Think earth-friendly!

Husband thought the kids would also love goodies (although TL#1 does not eat candies) so we included a candy corner in the Fun Ranch food package.

If I had more budget and the benefit of hindsight, I would have booked a photographer to capture the party moments. We only have a few good photos. :(

In my research for the party, I came along the following helpful sites:

Ging Lorenzo's Photoblog

Kids Party Hub

TL#1 might not remember his 1st birthday party but we and his big brother surely does. (Belated) thank you to our family and friends for their well-wishes, love and presence! Cheers also to our suppliers - Fun Ranch, Cheer U Up Photobooth and Emily Uy of Sugarbox.

May our youngest grow up to be a healthy and smart kid.

Presents don't really mean much to me. I don't want to sound mawkish, but - it was the realization that I have a great many people in my life who really love me, and who I really love.

                                                                                       - Gabriel Byrne

Sunday, 18 August 2013

resolutions of a soon-to-be 32!

I am turning 32 in a few days. Wow, i'm getting older. I want to think I am still young but my mind and body are showing signs of aging. 

I celebrated the year I turned 30 with a blog post countdown. In the span of two years, I gave birth to our second son and I achieved a milestone in my career. 

I am now a mother to a hyper soon-to-be pre-schooler and an adorable one-year old. I have grown 2 sizes bigger. I have become short-tempered and I suffer from constant memory lapses. I am still in denial but I know I have to fully embrace my role as a parent - searching for that big school, attending school activities, be actively involved in assignments and exams. I have to be more present at home so I need to manage my 24 hours wisely. 

As I turn 32, I decided to tackle the following resolutions:

1.  de-clutter and unclutter

I need to be more organized so that I can think more clearly. I've been feeling heavy lately and I need to let go of all physical, emotional and psychological baggage that are dragging me down. 

"The more you have, the more you are occupied. 
The less you have, the more free you are."
                                           - Mother Theresa

2.  practice mindfulness

I aim to be present. TL#1 almost always have to call my attention because I tend to drift when we are reading or doing something together. I don't want to miss out on precious moments with my family just because my mind is elsewhere. I also want to stop worrying about the future and cherish the here and now. 

"In today's rush, we all think too much - seek too much - want too much -
and forget the joy of just being."
                                         - Eckhart Tolle

3.  pursue my passion

For a while, I stopped writing because I was investing my time at work to the point of burn-out. I refuse to burn anymore. Almost midway to my lifespan, I would like to continue to pursue my passion for writing and sharing my thoughts. Do more of the things I love! 

"The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware,
joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware." 
                                       - Henry Miller

Wish me luck! :) 

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Understanding the Kasambahay Law (Part 3) updated

Finally, we are registered as Household Employer in SSS! The hubby also managed to process the SSS numbers of our two Kasambahay.

This is part 3 of our quest to understand and comply with the requirements of the Kasambahay Law.

Understanding the Kasambahay Law (Part 1)
Understanding the Kasambahay Law (Part 2)

After registration, we can proceed with the payment of contributions and submission of contributions collection list.

Here are the procedures:

1. Fill-out Contributions Payment Return Form (SSS Form R-5) and pay at:
SSS Branches with Tellering Services, or
Accredited Collecting Banks
2. Payment is to be made monthly and payment due date shall be as follows:
If the 10th digit of the 13-digit ER number ends in
Payment deadline following the applicable month
1 or 2 
10th day
3 or 4
15th day
5 or 6
20th day
7 or 8
25th day
9 or 0
Last day
(Advance payments may be made, but said payments shall only be credited to the records of the Kasambahay as they fall due. Payments made beyond the deadline are charged a Penalty of 3% per month)
3. Fill-out and submit Contributions Collection List (SSS Form R-3) quarterly, together with a copy of the SSS Form R-5 (machine-validated or with Special Bank Receipt).
SSS Form R-3s covering the period/s for which advance payment/s were made may also be simultaneously submitted but shall be posted to the Kasambahay's account as they fall due.
4. The Contributions Collection List may also be submitted monthly and electronically through:
                   Enrollment in the SSS web facility
                   or Participation in the e-R3 (electronic R-3) Program of the SSS
I have enrolled in the SSS web facility but is still waiting for the email validation from SSS as of this writing.


Ten days after I enrolled online, I received an email from SSS informing me that my SSS website registration was not successfully processed because -

There is no Specimen Signature Card (SS Form L-501) on File. 

That was so unfortunate because I filled up the form but the husband said the SSS representative did not get the it when he went there to register. Now, he has to go back to SSS again just to submit the specimen signature card.

I also plan to avail of the auto-debit arrangement to eliminate the need to go personally to the bank on a monthly basis to pay the contributions. 


Last August 19, I went to Bank of Philippine Islands to make our initial payment of the contribution for July of P332 plus 3% monthly penalty which amounted to around P1.50 because we were only about 4 days delayed in payment. I merely filled out SSS Form R-5 and I went to the bank's customer service representative so she could issue me a Special Bank Receipt (SBR) before I went to the teller for payment. It did not really take long but I don't fancy doing this monthly.

To avail of the auto-debit arrangement, I filled out SSS Form Bmbr-119 and submitted 3 copies to the bank for processing. The bank rep said it will have to be approved by SSS first and I have not received any update to-date. Terms and conditions of availing the auto-debit arrangement can be found on page 2 of the form.

I hope it will be processed before the deadline of our contributions for August.

Just how much is the contribution you may ask?

If the salary of  the Kasambahay is less than P5,000, the employer is required to shoulder the full contribution for SSS, Philhealth and Pag-ibig.

For example, we give a salary of P3,000 to our Kasambahay and based on the SSS contribution table excerpt below, we are required to pay P322 every month.
For our 2 Kasambahay, that's an additional cost of P644 monthly for SSS contribution alone.

For middle-income earners like us who employ 2 Kasambahay, the additional cost of SSS contribution is a dent in our budget. We have to make room for it somehow.

Should you need further assistance, you may visit the nearest SSS Branch Office. Please provide your employer's ID Number and present your SS Card or any two valid IDs. You may also call the SSS Hotline at (632) 920-6446 to 55 from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Monday to Friday (except during holidays) or e-mail, indicating the employer's name and ID Number.

Next steps would be Philhealth and HDMF Registrations. Posting soon!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Back to School Sale

Back to School Sale at my TPT Store!

The start of the school year is one of the most exciting and energizing times of the year and it is getting close. In fact, some schools are already in full swing.  To celebrate the beginning of another school year Teachers Pay Teachers and Personal Finance for Teens Unleashed are teaming up for a huge Back to School Sale August 18th and 19th. 
So...It's Time to Stock Up!
This is a great time for you to take a look at your wish list and fill your cart.  These big sales don't come along often. 
Don't forget to use the PROMO CODE to get your full discount:  BTS13


Thursday, 15 August 2013

work fast, mommy!

It's Friday and my son bid me farewell today with this:

Me: Bye baby. Mommy is going now.

TL#1: Where are you going again mommy?

Me: To work.

TL#1: Why don't you work fast mommy? I'll give you my power of speed so you can work fast!

He must really want me to come home early.

At times like this, I feel a compelling need to find an 8 to 5 work. But is that the solution?

When I was younger, before I became a teenager, I always looked forward to my Mama and Papa coming home from work. I like it more when they have pasubong but I was mostly content to have them home. Ah, the security of being with your parents! Then I became a teenager (with a boyfriend) and didn't care much anymore.

That's why I want to squeeze as much memories and bonding moments with my kids at this stage in their life. Moms with older kids say that this stage is fleeting. There'll come a time that your children won't look for you anymore unless they want something.

I believe in spending quality time with my kids but I also want to give them a good life (with my hubby).

Someone asked me about being a very busy working mom and how I cope with it. I said that it all begins with proper mindset and a positive outlook towards work and what it can help provide for my family. I also said I wanted my kids to appreciate the value of hardwork and self-fulfillment that comes with it.

What I didn't say is that it is a constant struggle to be upbeat about it and there are so many times I feel I would rather be a stay-at-home mom more than anything else.

I'm sure i'm not the only mother in the world who feels like this.

Nobody told me that juggling my personal struggles as an adult, parenting, marriage and career is going to be easy. What I know is that I have become very VALUABLE so I should make use of my 24 hours wisely.

I am one proud mommy of two adorable kids. :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Understanding the Kasambahay Law (Part 2)

This is a continuation of my previous post Understanding the Kasambahay Law (Part 1).

We went home to the husband's province last long weekend with our two kasambahay. They are from the same area and we let them go home once a month.

We asked them to gather their birth certificates, identification cards and whatever else they can use for their SSS, Philhealth and HDMF applications.

They both brought back birth certificates, one NSO authenticated and the other from the Civil Registrar.

Last Sunday, I gave them a printed copy of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) and QA from Department of Labor and Employment. They are both high school graduates (a good thing) and can read but I also plan to discuss the salient provisions of the Law with them this weekend.

I have printed SSS Registration Forms and asked them to fill it up. I realized only this morning that they need to imprint their thumbmarks on the form so I dropped by Office Warehouse to buy a stamp pad. It costs only P27.

While looking at the forms, it dawned on me that we should have asked them to bring birth certificates of their dependents and marriage certificate, too. Ayayay! We just have to make do with what we have and update the registration later.

Anyway, SSS says if the required supporting document/s is/are not available at the time of registration, SSS number shall still be issued. However, the SSS Form E-1 shall be stamped to indicate the non-submission of required documents, which means that:

- membership status of kasambahay is temporary

-the SSS no. can only be used for contribution payment and employee reporting

- submission of required documents is necessary for conversion to permanent membership status

- availment of benefits and loans are allowed only for permanent members, subject to qualifying conditions

On my part, I have filled up the SSS Form R1 and SSS Form L-501 Specimen Signature which I also asked the hubby to sign. Now what? Lol! Someone has to bring the documents to SSS.

Today, I got hold of the official guide on SSS registration and payment. Here are the instructions on Reporting of Employees:

The household employer shall fill out and submit the Employment Report Form R-1A together with the Specimen Signature Card Form L-501 at any SSS Branch or Service Office. No additional documents required.

However, if the Domestic Worker (Kasambahay) being reported for SSS coverage has not yet been issued an SSS Number, the accomplished SSS Form E-1 shall be simultaneously submitted with the SSS Form R-1A.

The basis of the effective date of coverage is the date of employment and the start of the Household Employer's obligation to remit the contributions for the Kasambahay.

In case the effective date of coverage is earlier than the date of registration, the household employer shall be required to submit a Statement of the Monthly Salaries received by the Kasambahay starting from the date of employment indicated in SSS Form R-1A. The said Statement shall be the basis of the monthly contributions that have accrued.

Based on same Statement, the SSS shall compute for the employer's liability and issue to the employer a Statement of Contributions and Penalties Due, which may be paid in cash or in installment. A Billing Letter shall be issued by the SSS to the employer for this purpose.

Penalty is equivalent to 3% per month on unpaid contributions.

(Source: Guide to SSS Registration and Payment for Household Employer and Domestic Worker, Under Batas Kasambahay including Family Driver, Under SSS Law)

Here are the required forms with links to the SSS website for download:
Personal Record Form E-1
Employer Registration Form R-1
Specimen Signature Card Form L-501
Employment Report Form R-1A

Hopefully, we'll get registered by tomorrow to stop the accrual of penalties.

My next post will be on the cost of the monthly contributions.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

our dinosaur turns 4

Thanks Nanay, Tatay, Tita Allone, Tita Sherwin, and Amici, too for helping make TL#1's 4th birthday memorable.

Our baby is now 4 years old, unbelievable!

He wanted a dinosaur birthday party so we bought him an inflatable t-rex from Early Learning Centre. We now call it Theosaurus.

He is so happy with his new best friend, who graced his impromptu party in his grandparents house in the province. He enjoyed playing with the other kids. He doesn't have regular playmates here back home.

After the kids went home...

TL#1: Mommy, why are the visitors gone?

Me: Because the party is over.

TL#1: But I don't want the party to be over. Gusto ko pa games!

That shows how deprived he is of authentic playtime. Hopefully, this will change as soon as we transfer to our new home.

Sometimes I feel for him because he does not experience in the city the kind of young play we had in the province when we were kids.
But to be fair, he is also lucky in many ways. We hope he knows that.

We were back in the city on the actual day of his birthday so we decided to have lunch in Amici just because our dinosaur loves his pizza and ice cream. The restaurant offers delicious dose of both.

After we finished eating and he had his second serving of yummy cookies and cream ice cream, I told him we had a surprise for him.

TL#1: What?

Me: You just sit and wait.

Just then, the staff of Amici started singing a birthday song for him and brought him a slice of Di Lusso cake with a candle on top.

His smile here shows how much he loved the surprise!

We thank God every day for the gift of you.

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