Saturday, 28 February 2009

Early Summer Outing at Kidzworld

Thanks to Jessel Estoesta, a high school batchmate who had a birthday bash at Kidzworld in Dasmarinas, Cavite, the kids had fun. Since we arrived early, we had the pools to ourselves. It has a kiddie pool (2ft), a large pool (3ft and 4ft interconnecting) with 2 slides and a very large wave pool (up to 6 ft) its depth sloping like in a beach. The whole morning we were at the kiddie pool and the 3ft/4ft pool. While Aloysius can swim on his own (he also tried the covered slides alone), Kyle didn't want to be left alone even with a floater. But after lunch, when we went to the wave pool, Kyle enjoyed splashing alone. He told me it's like the Bohol beach. We tried the Kayak and the kids played in the wave pool until it's time to go. We headed to the shower rooms at around 2:30pm so imagine the tan we got from the scorching sun. The shower rooms were very clean and big. The resort is very well-maintained considering it's for members only. It has a playground and a mini-golf course. We had nice photo opps. But you cannot bring in food and beverage, it has its own restaurant. Another plus factor is that there are trained lifeguards everywhere, to look after the swimmers esp. the kids and to remind you not to wear t-shirt over your swimsuit while in the pool. Here are some of our pictures at Kidzworld:

Check out the other pictures here.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Frugal ways to live

I read this somehwere and it's very timely. I know we can make use of the tips provided here:

The trick to inexpensive self-care is using your creativity to meet your needs --- a tool I've used in cash crunches over the years. To get you thinking, here are 15 frugal ways to add self-care into your life:

1. Buy quality over quantity. While I'm careful with how I spend my money, I'm likewise careful with what I spend my money on. I save for what I really want --- even if it takes me months or years to do so --- instead of buying a cheaper alternative that I can afford immediately. Buying what you want serves your spirit because it honors your need for beauty, quality, or choice. Too often, we buy junk, gadgets, knicknacks or things we don't need because we are surrounded by objects that don't speak to our truest hearts. So we search endlessly for it, parting with our money --- our life energy --- for things that only end up collecting dust, clutter our homes, or show up in the give away pile. When you give yourself permission to buy the $100 cashmere sweater instead of the $30 cotton one, you lose the deprived feeling that accompanies a habit of making do; settling for second best. That deprived feeling is often what leads to overspending in the first place. So my advice is don't settle. Buy the cashmere sweater. But do it mindfully: wait until you can pay cash, not credit. Likewise, reconsider how many sweaters you really need and wear. (My closet is spare, but I love and wear everything in it.) Swinging for the cashmere sweater may mean having four sweaters in your closet, instead of 10. In my experience, having one sweater that makes you swoon is preferable to ten that don't.

2. Learn how to do it yourself. Do you love Chinese take-out, authentic Mexican, or gourmet pizza? With a recipe, basic lessons, or a tutorial from a friend, you can learn to make these yourself. Our family prides itself on cooking good food: we love to eat well. It makes us feel richly abundant on a daily basis. Likewise, you can learn decorating skills to transform your home, or how to give yourself a lavish mani/pedi. I've made my own jewelry, sewed clothes, pillows and curtains, and knitted scarves and shrugs. Learning a new skill has an extra side benefit: it feeds your self-esteem, as well as your spirit.

3. Give yourself the luxury of time. When I'm feeling frazzled, what I most crave is time: time to take a long shower, paint my nails, or read a book. How can you give yourself 20 or 30 minutes a day, a sacred space to cultivate your relationship with yourself? We often think we don't have the time, but how much of our daily lives is spent buying, scouting for things, or running errands (to buy)? Cutting down your consumption may create the very pockets of time you need to feel whole, without buying the new outfit.

4. Cultivate low-cost entertainment. There are a myriad of ways to entertain yourself, without cost. I meet girlfriends for walks, or at the coffeehouse for tea: a $2 investment. I exercise outside or do yoga in my bedroom --- I run, bike and walk, all free, aside from my gear. We make the most of our Netflix subscription, getting "fun" movies as well as documentaries, how-to videos, or other educational entertainment. Book clubs and game nights are other ways of adding inexpensive joy. Check your local paper: you may be amazed at the wealth of free entertainment in your area.

5. Rest. Too often, we give ourselves shabby alternatives to what we really need. Think of the times that you eat when you're really tired, or you push yourself to go to the mall when you really desire an evening of quiet. Give yourself the rest that you desire: go to bed earlier, take a nap (there's nothing that feels richer in the middle of the day), or spend a few hours puttering around the house.

6. Use the power of a group. My local art center has a woman's craft group that meets one evening a month for a girl's night out. A different woman directs the group each month, and offers instruction on everything from wire wrapping to batik dying. It's a fantastic way to learn a new hobby, with a minimal cost. I know other women who band together to tackle house projects, spending one Saturday month at a different girlfriend's house, painting or finishing another project that can be overwhelming for one person.

7. Change your expectations for entertaining. I used to think that I couldn't have people over unless my house was immaculate, my meal, gourmet and of multiple courses, my table, perfectly presented. But, while there is a time and place for a beautifully set table and a chef-quality meal, there is much freedom in lowering our expectations for entertaining as a whole. There is nothing wrong with paper plates, or a simple dinner of soup and salad. After all, having friends over for dinner is about enjoying their company, not impressing them with your domestic skills. Some of the best times I've spent with friends have been impromptu get togethers: the last minute nature of the meal means I don't fret over the food, but focus on the company.

8. Embrace potlucks. We all crave variety, a richness of experience. When we have extra cash, it's easy to rely on money to meet this need: going out to eat because we're tired of our own cooking. Enjoy your friends' cooking instead. Host potluck parties: it's always fun to try new foods, and you get the rich feel of eating out without the rich expense. Potlucks also create a feeling of community, the connection that comes with sharing a meal. This interconnectedness with others is especially necessary when we're feeling afraid, anxious about our finances.

9. Share your wish list with friends and family. Ask for what you need. After I had my baby and carried an extra 20 pounds, I lamented my lack of wardrobe options to a friend. She gave me a pair of her jeans that she was about to give away, and I wore them for many months. They were a welcome shift from my sweats, and I didn't have to fret about "wasting" money on something I wouldn't be using long-term. I have another friend who is a thrift store and garage sale hound. I'll mention my wishlist to her --- a laundry basket; art supplies; something for my kitchen --- and she often surprises me by finding the very thing I need, for pennies. If my birthday is coming up, and there's something I really desire, I let my family know: they're usually grateful for the guidance.

10. Give yourself an allowance. There is something very empowering about having your "own" money. If you have a partner or spouse, tensions can arise over different expectations about spending vs. saving money. An allowance gives each person freedom to spend a small sum of money however they choose. Even if it's just $10 a month, I've found that giving myself a regular treat tames any feelings of lack or deprivation, particularly if I'm in a savings or pay-off-debt mode. Just knowing that I have a bit of money each month to spend as I choose quells those cravings to spend.

Feeling cared for, pampered, nurtured, supported: they are all about creating feelings of love. It is from this love that life feels meaningful, even joyful, in the midst of the pain, trials and suffering that is a part of every human life. It's so easy to focus on our lack, our feelings of deprivation, the unfairness of our current economic situation. While most of us can honestly say we'd like more money in our lives right now, we can still feel loved --- by creating these experiences for ourselves, and others --- even when our pockets are empty.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

CTS or Carpal tunnel syndrome frequently associates with computer users like me. It has become popular with the advent of internet and hand-held devices like PSP and mobile phones. CTS as defined on the net results from repetitive motion or the use of devices like computer keyboards. It affects the median nerve, the nerve that supplies feeling and movement to the thumb and "thumb-side" of the hand. I was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome a few years back, but I returned to Rehab just last year to ease the pain around my right wrist.

I went through Electromyography, or EMG which involves testing the electrical activity of muscles. During EMG, small pins or needles are inserted into muscles to measure electrical activity. The needles are different than needles used for injection of medications. They are small and solid, not hollow like hypodermic needles. Because no medication is injected, discomfort is much less than with shots. With nerve conduction studies, small electrodes were taped to my skin or placed around my fingers. I experienced a mild and brief tingling or shock, sometimes unpleasant. The results revealed mild CTS and can be treated with Physical Theraphy rehabilitation.

After going through 12 sessions treatment, my cts progressed. I was even given a clearance before I went to the US. Now, after giving birth and carrying my 3rd son which is over 6 kilos now, I experience wrist pains again. I went to my rehab doctor and she recommended wearing a wrist splint aside from the regular PT treatment. A wrist split relieve symptoms that can occur from overuse of the hand and wrist. Here's what I'll be wearing:

I hope I get well soon or this gets worse and I might undergo surgery.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Tagalog Romantic Movies to watch (all over again)

My eyes feel tired. I watched DVDS and old VCDs of favorite movies, including Tagalog. I'm amazed at how similar (in some ways) and different our movies are compared to Hollywood's. Anyway, I want to commend the new writers and directors for making it possible for the Filipino movies to be transformed from boring and baduy to notably improved ones. Yes, I also have a list of Tagalog movies that sent kilig moments and worth commending. I’m sure you have watched or known these movies to be a hit:

1. A Very Special Love (John Lloyd Cruz & Sarah Geronimo)
2. One More Chance (John Lloyd Cruz & Bea Alonzo)
3. My Big Love (Sam Milby & Toni Gonzaga)
4. Don’t Give up on us (Piolo Pascual & Judy Ann Santos)
5. Till there was you (Piolo Pascual & Judy Ann Santos)
6. You are the one (Sam Milby & Toni Gonzaga)
7. You Got Me (Sam Milby & Toni Gonzaga)
8. Blue Moon (Mark Herras & Jennylyn Mercado)
9. Kailangan Kita (Aga Muhlach & Claudine Barretto)
10. Forevermore (Jericho Rosales & Kristine Hermosa)

The following are few of the old but unforgettable movies that touched my heart:
11. Sana Maulit Muli (Aga Muhlach & Lea Salonga)
12. Lumayo ka man sa akin (Richard Gomez & Gretchen Barretto) – Pinoy version of the Kevin Costner starrer “Revenge”
13. Hihintayin kita sa Langit (Richard Gomez & Dawn Zulueta) – Pinoy version of “Wuthering Heights”, great cinematography shot entirely in Batanes

I'm sure you also have your own favorite Pinoy romantic movies. You want to add to my list?

Friday, 13 February 2009

Romantic Movies you like to watch (all over again)

Since I will be alonely this Valentine's, I will have to celebrate heart's day watching my favorite movies. Here's my list of romantic and feel-good movies I'd like to watch all over again:

1. Nottinghill
2. The Lakehouse
3. Message in a Bottle
4. You've Got Mail
4. Sleepless in Seattle
5. My Best Friend's Wedding
6. Runaway Bride
7. Somewhere in Time
8. Wedding Singer
9. Fifty First dates
10. Serendipity
11. An Affair to Remember
12. Ice Castles
13. The Cutting Edge
14. Forever Young
15. Ghost
16. It could happen to you
17. Pretty Woman
18. City of Angels
20. Autumn in New York
21. Only You

You will notice that most of my favorites are from my era and starred by the same people -> Julia Roberts, Drew Barrymore, Meg Ryan, Richard Gere. I still remember their famous lines in these movies. Although some of these movies ended tragically, the love story is truly remarkable. I'll just sit infront of the TV as if sitting in Greenbelt theater with Lito as I have seen most of these movies with him in our younger years (naks, feeling old na talaga)

What about you? Do you want to add to my list?

Happy Valentines!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Dream Interpretation - map

To dream that you see or study a map, signifies that you are being guided and led in a direction that will fulfill your needs and goals. It also denotes a new change in your business which will be followed by temporary disappointments and then stable profits.

I dreamt of significant people, some distant relatives and we're trying to shop in a place where we need a map. I remember a scene where I am holding a map and I guess the interpretation is related to our migration. I just hope that everything falls into place.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Immigration Forums

When we were approved for sponsorship, I've joined a discussion forum to share concerns with others also waiting for their visa. Everyday, after checking on E-CAS, I regularly check the forum to help me ease t he waiting dilemna. Today, I found out that I can send an email for inquiries not found in the Canada Immigration Center -> but they usually take 1 week and half to reply.

After I sent my inquiry on taking the medical examination again because ours has expired last August, I received an SMS telling me that a letter from the embassy arrived - the advise to take the medical. That was quick, WHEW!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

What a weekend that was..

Every weekend is a family reunion and we make it a point to enjoy the 2 days in between going to work and school (for Miggy). Last Saturday, we went to Pixie Forest to play at Tom's World and try the rides. It's also Candy's first time to try the rides, good thing Miggy and Kyle were there to join her. As usual, Kyle played basketball, and Kuya played Shoot the villain, Miggy is really good in shooting for his age. I hope it's not because of his playing his imaginary gun. Even if I told him that doing that is wrong, I still see him using his fingers to fire people, haay. The outcome of me playing counter strike while he was in my womb :)

Today, we went to Mall of Asia not inside but just outside, in the Manila Bay breakwater to watch the sunset and let the children play in the park. We were there for only a short time but the kids enjoyed running around, playing the scooter, and trying to make themselves wet near the fountain. To my parents and the non-kids, being there just enjoying the cool breeze and the refreshing sight made our day. This is what we came there for. (taken by my sister Wendy using a point and shoot camera)

My two sons in the gym walker turned swing:

Enjoying the fountain (Kyle ang dungis from running):