Saturday, September 29, 2012

Divi Day

I went to Divisoria a few days ago to get a head start on my Christmas shopping. Plus, I'm sure it will be harder to go here the closer it gets to December. There were already lots of Christmas decors for sale but I didn't need any since I already bought all my decorations last year.

My mom and I like going to Divisoria really early, like around 7am, so we can get good parking (usually in the basement of 168 mall). The stalls inside the malls open at around 9am so we start by going shopping first in the bangketas / streets. At least it isn't so sunny and hot by that time yet (but be prepared to still sweat). There are a lot of good buys here but if you're not up for getting a bit dirty or getting a little too close to the crowds in the streets, then best to just stick to the malls. We bought wrapping paper and ribbons, plus some tela (cloth) which they were selling on the street.

We then went back to 168 mall when the stalls opened. I know I was supposed to be focusing on buying gifts but I couldn't stop checking out the clothes, shoes, and accessories! Everything was so cheap! I was so tempted but I think I was able to control myself... for now haha. I just ended up buying stuff for my kids as usual. I was able to buy gifts for about 80% of my Christmas list so mission accomplished.

We ate in the foodcourt and I just love how there's so many choices from McDo, Jollibee, Chowking, Tokyo Tokyo, etc. There are other malls around the area like 999 mall, Divisoria mall or Tutuban, but we always manage to just stay within 168. I mean, I think it can take me 2 hours just to go around the ground floor! And what's funny is that when I see something I like but I'm not so sure of, I make a mental note to return and look around first. But then, when I finally decide to get it, I can't find the stall anymore! Happens every single time. But with all the vendors there selling practically the same stuff, for sure you'll find something just like it. Just be prepared to BARGAIN! ;p

Anyway, I won't be posting the stuff I bought since most are Christmas gifts. However... I simply couldn't resist buying something for myself haha! But they're super best buys so I'm not guilty at all! Check out these accessories. The bangles are just P20 each while the rings are at P10. I know, can you believe it?!

And there were soooooo many nice necklaces to choose from. I swear, it took me so long to decide what to get. The accessories they have were like the stuff from SM or even F21. Finally, I got these babies below. The necklaces were P100 each (P80 for 6 pcs. or more) and the earrings were P50. I super want to get more!!!

What's even more amazing is I went to Alabang Town Center a few days after and saw the EXACT same blue necklace which I got above (on the right) being sold in Diva for P949!!! The colors look different because of the lighting but trust me, it's the same. Unbelievable! Who needs DIVA when you have DIVI? hahaha! I love Divisoria! ;)

How about you, have you started on your Christmas shopping yet? =)

Friday, September 28, 2012

S&R Members' Treat Sale

The S&R members' sale is happening now in all branches, starting last Wednesday (Sept. 26) up to this Sunday (Sept. 30).

Those who have been to an S&R sale will know how crazy these things can get. People really but A LOT of stuff since there's a lot of buy 1 take 1 deals and discounts of up to 50% off. Panic buying galore. During the last sale I went to, we were able to go in but spent more than 2 hours just waiting in line to pay. Actually, the trick is to have someone already fall in line the moment you get in, then just take turns going around and putting stuff in your cart. By the time you end shopping, you're probably somewhere near the cashier already. What's funny is that since you spend so much time just waiting in line, you'll end up becoming friends with the people waiting in line with you haha! There was this one lady before who was alone and she was behind us in line. So she kept asking us to look after her stuff while she went around. After a while, we were making chika already and she was telling us about her life story haha!

Anyway, this time, we tried going on the first day after lunch at the Aseana-Baclaran branch (right beside the DFA). We figured that time would be ok since it was a weekday and we must have avoided the opening rush already.

Ummm, not good. There was a super LONG line of people just waiting to get in. I wasn't able to get a really good shot since I just took these pics from the car, but the line snaked all the way from the side of the building up to the parking lot (which you see in the pic below). The S&R sale is really good and worth it, but no way was I standing in line under the sun for hours just to get in.

I doubt if I'll still be able to check the sale out but hopefully, you guys will have better luck than me. =)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Araneta Center 3-day Sale: September 28-30

Get ready for fabulous bargains and great discounts! Do your holiday shopping as early as September at the Araneta Center 3-Day Sale on September 28-30! Get up to 70% off at participating stores in Gateway Mall, Ali Mall, and New Farmers Plaza. Happy shopping! =)

Monday, September 24, 2012

9 Tips on How to Raise Siblings Who are Friends

Sharing this good read on how to foster sibling love. Lately, my kids have been squabbling with each other a lot, probably because Miley's experiencing the Terrible Twos and Sabe is now learning to stand up for himself. But of course, as they grow older, I would want them to always be there for each other and be the best of friends. =)

Prevent your kids from growing up as "rivals" or "enemies" by applying these practical tips.

Those of us who grew up with siblings already know that there will inevitably come a time when we will not get along with one or more of our them. (Perhaps this is why some people think being an only child has more benefits!)

However, even if conflict is part of every relationship, there are certain things we can do to make sure they are minimal at best. Here are a few ways we parents can help our children grow up as friends:

1. Show and teach them empathy. 
When our children exhibit feelings of frustration, we should let them know that we understand them. This helps validate what they feel. Encourage them to use words to express their feelings instead of fighting with each other

E.g. When kids don’t want to share with each other: “I am upset because you don’t want to share your toy with me. Can we please try sharing with each other?”

In every conflict, try not to jump to conclusions and immediately “punish” the “culprit,” i.e. the child who started the fight. Instead, practice active listening by encouraging your children to open up. You can use phrases like, “Would you like to tell me what happened?” and “So how did that make you feel?”

When our children feel that they can open up to us about their feelings, even the “bad” ones, they may end up relating more peacefully and harmoniously with each other because they know that we, their parents, will acknowledge them and listen to them when they need us to.

2. Strive to avoid comparisons. 
If you compare them constantly (“Why can’t you be more like your Kuya?” or “Buti pa si________, she’s more obedient than you!” etc.), more likely than not, they will end up feeling jealous of each other. Children may also gain a poor self-image of themselves. Such negative feelings can lead to bickering, hostility and disunity — instead of them feeling that they’re “in this together,” they will feel that they’re “out to get each other.”

What we can do instead is tell each of our kids about their respective strengths and weaknesses. Remember to do this one by one, perhaps during one of your regular “dates” with each child, or during your usual bonding time.

3. Make sure that your kids are familiar with your rules.
And, try your best to keep them, too. Consistently remind them that yelling, teasing, hitting and other forms of physical “fighting” are unacceptable. It may help to write down or print out house rules and post them in different parts of the house. (if you have a child who is a non-reader, use symbols or pictures they can associate with each rule.)

Don’t forget to teach your kids, too, that these rules also apply to other children, e.g. those they meet at the local playground, in school, at playdates, etc.

4. When your kids don’t play nicely, separate them. 
Ms. Maribel Dionisio, MA, a parenting and relationship expert and co-founder of the Love Institute, during her talk on bullying at the recently held Family Congress, told participants that when her children used to fight with each other, she would put them in different rooms until they decide to be nice to each other.

Kids usually would not want to lose a playmate, but if they do continue to squabble, follow through with your “threat” and separate them as needed. Tell them to think about their actions while they are away from each other.

5. Teach them to respect each other’s property.
When the reason for sibling squabbles is toys or things, it may be best to, first and foremost, teach them respect for property. If your kids share a room, designate certain “individual” spaces for each child and then a “common” space. Allow each child to decorate their respective spaces and store their own items there. 

If a sibling wants to borrow or use a certain item, he or she should ask permission first. Items or things placed in the “common” space are “free for all,” meaning any sibling can use them as they please, even without asking for permission.

Remember, too, that respect begins at home. Teach your kids to respect others by first practicing respect with their siblings.

6. Encourage your children to take turns.
This can be done while playing and even in other things, like choosing what TV show or DVD to watch, or what dessert you will serve after dinner. Learning to take turns can help “diffuse” conflicts even before they start. Remind them that to “give and take” is a good attitude to adopt — one that will be of benefit to them even when they are grown up.

7. In the case of the birth of a new sibling…
Help avoid the stirring of resentment among older siblings by preparing them for the arrival of their new brother or sister. Talk to the older kids about your new baby, show them the baby’s ultrasound pictures and read children’s books about siblings and preparing for a new baby. Most of all, remind your older kids that each of them (your kids) is unique and special and dearly loved, no matter what happens.

8. Do not feel that you have to step in EVERY TIME your children fight.
Sometimes, kids need to resolve their conflicts on their own, especially when they are arguing over something petty. Let them be but be prepared to intervene if the fight or argument is getting out of hand or is becoming violent.

9. Set a good example. 
We parents are our kids’ first and best teachers and role models. When we squabble over petty things (especially with our spouses) or resolve conflict in “unhealthy” ways, our children will most likely pick up this behavior, too.

When siblings fight, we should also remember not to take sides, but to treat each child fairly and listen to each child openly. We must also do our best to live by the Golden Rule, and encourage and teach our kids to do the same. 

Last, but definitely not the least, we must foster an environment of peace, love and unity within the home (yes, even if we find ourselves separated from our spouses). After all, at the end of the day, our family may be the only stable thing that keeps us “sane” in this crazy world. In the wise words of Lilo and Stitch, those quirky characters from the 2002 Disney animated movie Lilo and Stitch:

"This is my family. I found it, all on my own. Is little, and broken, but still good." — Stitch
"Ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten." — Lilo

Original article from Smart Parenting

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bacon & Mushroom Risotto

Part of my New Year's resolution was to learn how to cook. And although it took me more than half the year before I did it, better late than never! When I was in Sydney, my friend forced asked me to help her out in the kitchen and one of the dishes she taught me how to make was risotto. So when I got back to Manila, this was the first thing I ever attempted to make. I could have just made spaghetti, but I guess I'm an overachiever haha!

Ingredients (serves 4):
2 tbls olive oil
30g butter
1 tspn minced garlic
1 large onion, chopped
4 rashers rindless bacon, sliced
2 cups arborio rice - I read online that you can buy this in Rustan's, Santi's, Landmark or S&R
4 cups chicken stock, simmered
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups button mushroom, sliced
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
chopped parsley
ground black pepper

Heat olive oil and butter in saucepan. Add garlic, onion and bacon and cook for 3 minutes.

Stir in arborio rice and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until rice slightly colours, stirring frequently. Add wine and simmer to absorb the liquid, stirring constantly (although I didn't use wine anymore).

Begin adding stock, a cup at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed and stirring well between each addition. After the first cup of stock, add mushrooms. Adjust consistency with extra water or stock if necessary. When all stock has been absorbed, remove pan from heat. Stir in cheese, parsley and pepper.

And there you have it! We paired the risotto with steak for a yummy weekend lunch. My risotto was a little dry though, so I still need more practice hehe. ;p

The verdict? Hubby was very happy and satisfied! Approved! =)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

New Curtains - FAIL!

We all make mistakes. And I just made one when I bought these curtains.

I was planning on getting beige ones but just as I was about to leave, I saw these teal curtains which were on sale at P600 for 2 panels. The color looked nice and I figured it would looked great next to our orange living room wall (seen here). I guess I was also inspired from the recent orange and blue color combo I was thinking about for Sabe's room.

Anyway, I even had the curtains opened up and all so I could check how they really looked. I also decided to get a cream panel in between just to break the color up. They looked fine in the store all hung up in a makeshift curtain rod. SOLD!

And then I got home. I was so excited to hang these babies up I didn't even ask hubby for help! After I hung the first set of curtains on one side, I already knew they looked wrong. I still finished hanging everything so I could get a good look from afar. Still not working. I think they looked nicer when I saw them in the store because of the difference in lighting. The white fluorescent lights in the store somehow made the curtains look better. When I hung them up at home, all the sunlight passing through the teal curtains made our living room look darker. Plus, I never realized how SHINY the material was! Our yellow lighting at night made the curtains look like those from a stage play. Or a graduation background according to hubby. And don't get me started on that cream panel in the middle. Ugh, the color looks hideous in person! I really don't know what I was thinking when I bought them. The colors don't match anything in our living room at all! Lastly, the curtains were also a bit short (figures!).

Hubby has had this "I told you so" look on his face ever since I bought these damn curtains. We've had an argument about it (waste of money) to a good laugh (no need to watch Phantom of the Opera, we can put on our own staging of the play right here!). I'm definitely returning these and hopefully, I'll make the right choice next time! ;p

Friday, September 21, 2012

This is it: The Terrible Twos

Uh-oh... it looks like Miley has finally reached this stage. I thought for a while she would surpass this since even after she turned 2, her disposition was still so sweet, she was a thoughtful and caring "Ate" to her little brother, and she was always easy to take care of. Until now...


Lately, Miley has shown classic signs of the Terrible Twos. She has temper tantrums and loves to yell ("NO" is a favorite). She has become stubborn, demanding, mischievous, defiant, rough and noisy... oh where, oh where did my sweet little angel go?

Actually, she's still there most of the time. It's just that her Terrible Two episodes seem to sprout out of nowhere catching us completely by surprise. One minute, she's happily playing and then the next minute she's crying inconsolably, kicking and screaming! She's become a certified drama queen! But she sure knows that a smile can probably get her out of trouble. And her cuteness has let her off the hook a million times!

Here's some examples of Miley's bizarre behavior lately, from the minor to the major:
     - She's magnetically drawn to whatever she shouldn't be playing with. Breakable things, sharp objects, medicines, etc. But she knows she shouldn't be touching them since when you catch her, she says "that's dangerous!" lol!
     - She used to love taking a bath, but it's now a challenge just getting her inside the bathroom. She runs away and you have to chase her all over the house just to catch her!
     - It's so hard to get her to sleep at night, even though you can tell she's so sleepy already. She'll do whatever it takes to stay awake, from jumping on the bed to turning on all the lights (she'll get a chair, stand on it and flip the switch!). Sometimes, Vins and I can't help but fall asleep already and then Miley will end up kicking or hitting us.
     - She adores her brother but they have a love-hate relationship lately. Whenever Miley's playing and Sabe wants to join in, Miley won't let him. If Sabe gets a toy, Miley will grab it back and even push him away. Haaaay...
     - She's become OC. She wants to arrange stuff, like her books, food or toys, in a straight line. When one gets out of place, she'll mess everything up with matching shouting and crying!
     - If she wants something, you better give it to her right away ("AKIN! MINE!"), or all hell breaks loose.
     - She wants to do things her way or the highway - like there was a time she was screaming bloody murder because she wanted her yaya to put her slide inside her crib. Okaaaay now.

Last week was probably one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life when Miley decided to have a super duper hissy fit in a department store. I asked my sister if she and Miley could go and look at some toys while I checked out something with my mom in the home section. After a while, I could hear a little girl screaming from afar. I went back to where I had left my sister and sure enough, Miley was playing with a whole row of hair clips. The salespeople were already looking at us since they were probably afraid she would break something. I tried coaxing her to leave but she wouldn't budge. "NO!" Me and her yaya were already telling her to get what clip she wanted so we can buy it for her. She still wouldn't budge with matching screaming of "NO! NO! NO!"

Gentle coaxing turned to pleading and then finally our last resort, threatening. A salesman even jumped in to help us with our acting ("Miley if we don't go, the salesman will get really mad"). Still it wouldn't work. She was already making a mess of the clips and whenever we'd try to pry her away, she would scream at the top of her lungs. I swear the whole floor could hear us and people were already staring (probably thinking "this poor mother can't even control her own kid tsk tsk"). When a salesgirl jumped in to get the clips, Miley threw them all on the floor! Plus, Sabe was with us and he was also starting to scream because of all the commotion. I was red-faced, sweating and helpless. I didn't know what to do. A million thoughts were running through my mind on how to handle the situation. Should I just drag her away kicking and screaming to show her who's boss? Had Miley become too spoiled since we don't believe in spanking? Does she think she can always get away with everything?

But you know what worked? Remaining calm. I remember I just kept talking to Miley in the middle of her outburst. What finally caught her attention was when I told her that we should go check out the plastic balls in the toy section. And just like that, her temper tantrum was over. Miley took my hand and said "let's go to the balls!" I couldn't get out of there fast enough!

Now, I'm a little traumatized by that experience so I'm a bit hesitant to bring Miley to the mall again. But I guess what's wonderful about the Terrible Twos is that it can strike anywhere, anytime. I mean, we just took the kids to the grocery a few days before that and Miley was so behaved the whole time, just sitting in the cart. It was actually Sabe who wanted to keep exploring the aisles and get food haha! Anyway, I came across a great website which talks about the Terrible Twos and how to deal with it. There's also an article there called Tips for Taking Toddlers Shopping which is very helpful.

I'm sure this stage will come to an end soon. But when it ends for Miley, will it be the start for Sabe? Oh no! Hopefully, I'll be more prepared then. ;p

What about you mommies? Have you experienced the Terrible Twos and how have you dealt with it? =)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Le SOUK Life: One Fair / Tons of Unique Finds

For all those looking for that perfect bohemian touch, catch the Le SOUK Life fair at the Atrium of the new Eastwood Mall which will run from September 21 - 23.

The fair will feature a variety of choice and unique products from well selected vendors, ranging from jewelries, watches, home accessories, furniture, paintings and other eclectic finds. They will have a mix of modern, traditional, and handmade products for a perfect Le SOUK experience.

Happy shopping! =)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bubble Guppies

Remember Miley's addiction to Baby Einstein and the movie Despicable Me? Well, she has a new favorite nowadays and it's the Nickelodeon show Bubble Guppies!
I found this cartoon so cute the first time I saw it (in fact, it's the type of show I would have loved watching when I was a kid). Miley liked it too but she was more interested in Dora and Diego then. I think the turning point was when we watched the Bubble Guppies movie which featured fairytale characters and a witch who wanted to turn everyone into frogs. After that, Miley was hooked. Well, her lolo downloaded the entire series online, so we've been watching all the episodes over and over again.

I know, I know, kids shouldn't watch too much TV. But I think if you watch together with your kids and turn it into an learning experience, then it's fine. What I love about this show (aside from how cute the Bubble Guppies look) is that the story telling is very educational in a fun and interesting way. Miley has learned a lot of new things and it has encouraged her to be more imaginative as well. She loves acting out the different situations and she actually sounds like a Bubble Guppy herself haha! Plus, they have the catchiest songs! Me and Miley can't help but sing along and dance to the music. Her favorite character is Molly (the pink haired girl). She loves saying the line "Hi, it's me Molly!" probably because her name Miley sounds like it haha!

the Bubble Guppies at school with their teacher, Mr. Grouper

We've seen all the episodes but I never get bored repeating any of it. If Miley still likes this show by the time she turns 3, then I can already picture the theme of her next party: an underwater Bubble Guppies Fin-tastical Adventure! =)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cotton On at SM MOA

Cotton On is definitely one of my favorite stores abroad. They have the cutest stuff and it's really affordable too especially since they always have sale racks with stuff from just $5 - $10! On my recent trip to Sydney, I couldn't resist buying some stuff as well even though it was a bit more expensive than say, Singapore (and to think this is an Australian brand).

So I was beyond excited when Cotton On finally opened here in Manila last September 7! I was able to check it out last week and the prices are definitely a lot more expensive than what you would find in other countries. Like the bags that they were selling for $10 in Singapore (about P340) and Australia (about P440) were priced at P799. And they had more designs too, not like here where they only had 1 color! Shades were P549 each, but you could find those abroad for $10 or even 2 for $10 at some outlets. And I don't know, but I didn't really find that much cute stuff. Maybe it's just the season though, let's see in the coming months.

I ended up not buying anything haha. But I'm curious though when they go on sale how much the prices will drop. Personally, I think the Forever 21 stores are better here in Manila. But Cotton On is and will always be one of my favorite shops. =)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

To DIY For: projects on my to-do list

I'm sure you all know by now how much I love DIY. I just love the feeling of accomplishment it brings after seeing your completed project. I read so many foreign blogs which focus on DIY for the home and I just realized that there aren't many of those types of blogs here in the Philippines. Most of the blogs which feature DIY are mostly projects for weddings or parties. In the blogs I read, they do a lot of stuff for the house themselves like painting entire rooms, upholstering furniture, sewing curtains/pillow covers, etc. I guess here in the Philippines, we usually turn to a carpenter to do these things for us or just buy stuff from a store.

But aside from major home improvement, there's also a lot of smaller decorating projects that anyone can surely do. You'll be surprised at the amount of brilliant ideas out there just by browsing online. That's why I love doing and sharing my DIY activities. I hope it encourages readers (especially here in the Philippines) to unleash their inner creativity, just as I was inspired from reading other blogs. =)

Here's some projects I'm excited to try out:

use masking tape to make an ordinary painting more interesting

another version of a canvass painting which uses masking tape

cut scrapbook or gift wrapping paper into shapes for instant art

or make a gorgeous decoupage tree out of paper

use left-over fabric to make buntings for your child's room

fabric embroidery hoops
via Lexis Works

fabric wall art
via Crafts n' Coffee

add some design to plain roller shades by painting or stenciling them

Will keep you updated once I've done some of these projects! =)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ideas for my little boy's bedroom

Right now, the room originally intended for Sabe is acting as our storage room. Blame it on our home's lack of storage space or the fact that we have a lot of stuff (or as my hubby calls it, junk or kalat). I've been meaning to fix this room up ever since we moved in, but there wasn't really a rush since Sabe and Miley currently share a room and he's too young to sleep on his own anyway.

behind closed doors: we usually dump whatever toys the kids aren't using or stuff we don't want our guests to see in here

But of course, I feel like I need to get started on this, otherwise, this might end up as our permanent storage room forever! What I'd like to do is design this as Sabe's room which can also act as a guest room. Of course, I have to figure out where to put all our stuff first before I can actually do anything. But I already have a few ideas on how I'd like the room to look like.

After going through different color schemes, the one that keeps coming back to me is orange, blue and gray. These aren't even my favorite colors, but I just find that the combination works for me.

Here are some of my design inspirations which I found online:

I totally adore this chevron pattern and would love to use it on the walls
via Project Nursery

via Project Nursery

I super love this bedding but they just sell it for cribs and toddler beds. The colors are just perfect!
via Target

via Colorful Kids Rooms

via Project Nursery

via My Home Rocks

via Project Nursery

And lastly, this isn't a kids room but if you know how much I love bold prints and patterns, then you know how much I love this! DREAM!!! ;p

via The Lennoxx

Hopefully, I can get started with this project before Sabe turns 2! Or maybe even before Christmas? ;p #wishfulthinking


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