Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Win the Interview, Win the Job (Effective Job Searching tips)

Finally, I have been given a job offer after getting 3 interviews from different organizations (IT Company, Government and Private Nuclear company) here in Canada. However, after careful consideration, I decided not to accept the job offer and wait for other irons in the fire.

I have been reading a book called Win the Interview, Win the job and it helped me get a job offer. I felt the need to share some pointers because it will be helpful for those who are seeking employment. Effective interviewing is based upon a strong job search foundation of self-assessment, skills identification, objective setting, research, resume and letter writing and networking. I know most of the new immigrants need to have a job as soon as they landed and most likely they turn to any available job there is in the market. But with careful planning and right preparation, anyone can get the job their competency fits in and succeed in their chosen career in the long-term.

Prior to developing interview skills and actually going to a job interview, you should assess your strengths as well as explore career information relating to jobs, career, organizations. Only then you will be prepared to develop and focus specific job search on jobs and careers that is right for you. As what I have been doing, I go after high quality employment by looking for jobs that directly relate to my strengths. These strengths consists of interests, motivations, skills and accomplishments. Ideally, we should seek jobs that we do well and enjoy doing. Everything else follows.

An important goal in any job interview should be to obtain useful information. You will be more at ease and perform better in any interview situation if you focus on what interview is all about - an exchange of useful information between the interviewer and the interviewee. You gain information about the job and present yourself, in the most positive way possible. While the interviewer is trying to determine whether to hire you, you should be determining if the job is a good fit for you. It should lessen the fear and apprehension by taking control of the interview situation. Like many skilled job hunters are doing today, I learned how to manage the interview to my advantage. I also learned when to accept or reject job offers. By being selective, I know I will get the job that is right for me and lead to positive career experience.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Free Museum and Toronto Attractions Pass

I was a bit late opening an email and so I missed this free weekend activities for my family. Families are encouraged to explore the best of Toronto's arts and cultural treasures for free. With a valid adult Toronto Public Library card, you can borrow a MAP (Museum and Arts Pass) for your family at any Toronto Public Library branch. Each week, new passes are distributed on Saturday mornings. When I asked the library if they still have available Museum and Arts Passes, they said that only 3 passes are available but all the interesting ones are already taken. The librarian told me that people line up even before the library opens on Saturdays to get their desired pass. I guess I have to line up next Saturday to avail free entrance to the following attractions: Bata Shoe Museum, Gardiner Museum, Black Creek Pioneer Village, CASA LOMA, Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Science Center, Toronto Zoo, and other Toronto's Historic Museums.

Here's the list of upcoming programs in some of the venues:

Casa Loma Presents: Knights in Armour
Saturday, April 10, 2010, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Hear a story about knights. Then get a hands-on lesson in medieval armour and weaponry. For kids ages 5-10 and their caregivers. This event is part of the Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass program.

Bata Shoe Museum Presents: All About Shoes
Saturday, April 17, 2010, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Hear a story about shoes, then take a look at shoes from around the world. For kids ages 5-10 and their caregivers. This event is part of the Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass program.

Gardiner Museum Presents: Clay Animals
Saturday, April 17, 2010, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Hear a story about animals, then make one out of clay. For kids ages 5-10 and their caregivers. This event is part of the Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass program.

Black Creek Pioneer Village Presents: From Sheep to Shawl!
Saturday, April 24, 2010, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Black Creek Pioneer Village staff show you how to tease and spin wool. Take home your own woollen bracelet. For kids 6-10. To register, 416-395-5980. This event is part of the Sun Life Financial Museum + Arts Pass program.

I hope to be posting one of the weekends here.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Four men and a new haircut

After The Haircut

Before the haircut

Kyle and Lex didn't have their haircut eversince we arrived here in Canada and that was almost 8 months ago. Kuya had his haircut done by his dad and needed to be fix. Lito had his last haircut before the start of winter. It's about time that they have a new do, so we went to Bro. Ben Bumanlag and spent quality time with churchmates after the service while their hair is being done. We are so thankful, free service na, with free dinner pa. Good thing, it's Ben's birthday I might have turn down the offer otherwise, hehe. Look at my family, all grown up and good-looking, my precious.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Mocha Frappuccino fix at home

I am so fond of Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino and I'm glad that I can still have my favorite drink at home anytime I please. This time not only tasting like the real thing but also looking like it.

Do-it-yourself Mocha Frappuccino

1. Pour the bottled Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino in a tall glass.
2. Top with vanilla whipped cream.
3. Then squeeze chocolate syrup on top.

4.Your Mocha Frap is ready to enjoy.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Tips in gaining weight and boosting energy

Our family doctor advised to bring Lex to the Dietician because he is underweight. We didn't go the first time because I checked on the Phil. standard and his weight is within the normal brackets. But since I didn't go and no notice was made of cancellation, they rebooked us on a different schedule and that was today. Since we will not be paying anything- it's still covered by OHIP and I also wanted to get tips for my other 2 kids especially Miggy, we went and spent an hour discussing the food that we serve Lex. We had a nice chat and I learned so many things and looking forward to serving foods that will help my kids gain weight. I now know the real size of a matchbox in terms of meat or fish serving - the size of the bigger matchbox and not the small one LOL.

Most of the tips I know are the reverse kind, to lose weight. Now, this time is for those who want to gain weight and raise energy. Here are some of the tips I gathered from the brochure she gave:

1. Try to have three meals and no more that two or three snacks per day. Avoid nibbling or drinking in between, as this will curb the appetite.

2. Choose foods highest in energy first and those lowest in energy last.

Meat and alternatives (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, peanut butter)
Milk Products (whole milk, cheese, yogurt, pudding, ice cream)
Grain Products (breads, buns, cereals, pasta, rice, crackers, cookies)
Vegetables and fruits (including juice)

Soups and broths

3. An easy and effective way to add calories to food is to add or cook with fats that make the food taste better. These include butter, margarine, mayonnaise, oil, salad dressings, sour cream, gravy, whipped cream, cream cheese, peanut butter and cheese sauce.
fat ideas: add any of these to meats and alternatives, sandwiches, stews, soups, hot cereal, rice, noodles, cooked or fresh vegetables and crackers

margarine: add to soup, mashed or baked potatoes, hot cereal, rice, noodles and cooked veggies; stir into sauces and gravies.

mayonnaise: add to salad dressings, spread on sandwiches and crackers, combine with meat fish or vegetable salads; use in sauces

sour cream: add to soups, baked or mashed potatoes, veggies, sauces, stews, meat and fish dishes. Use as a dip for fresh fruits and vegetables.

4. Avoid drinking sugared drinks like juice or soda or even sugar-free soda, tea or coffee, as they tend to fill you up.

5. Ideas using meat and alternatives

Make sandwiches with 2 slices of meat plus cheese with generous spread on both slices of the bread

Add scrambled egg to soup while cooking

Spread peanut butter on sandwiches, waffles, pancakes, fruit slices; use as dip for veggies, blend with drinks, swirl through ice cream or yogurt, top cookies or cakes.

for children over 4 years old, serve nuts or seeds as snacks; add chopped nuts to ice cream, yogurt breads, roll banana in chopped nuts.

6. Ideas using dairy products

use whole milk or cream instead of water when preparing hot cereal or soups

spread cream cheese on sandwiches, crackers fruit and vegetable slices, or add to icings and sauces

melt cheese on sandwiches, hamburgers, hotdogs, other meats and fish; grate to dishes and sauces

add plain or sweet yogurt to fruits and desserts; use to top cereal, waffles, pancakes and fill crepes. add to milk based beverages and gelatins. She recommended Liberte Mediterranea Yogurt because it really taste good and has a higher fat content. I searched for it today at the Superstore and the staff said it was a best seller always out of stock.

add ice cream to beverages, fruits, gelatin desserts, cake or pies.

use whipped cream in desserts, fruits, panckes waffles. She even suggested to put whipped cream in Lex Milk. We bought chocolate and vanilla flavors. Miggy already tried it on the strawberries and he liked it.

7. Ideas for grain products

choose fancier varieties of bread, rolls, crackers and cookis, such as croissants, cheese bread or rolls, bread or cookies with raisins, filling or icing.

choose sweetened cereals or granola or those with dried fruit or coconut

8. Ideas for fruit

add dried fruits to muffins, cookies, breads, cakes, cereals and puddings, bake in pies and turn overs

make gelatin desserts using juice, Koolaid or syrup from canned fruits instead of water.

We're to go back after a month to see Lex progress. I hope he gains weight and not me, just typing all these food makes me salivate HAHAHA.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Things to do this Spring (and Summer)

As soon as I heard that there are free activities called Toronto Fun being offered twice a year by the City of Toronto to its residents, I searched for programs and tried to register my kids. The registration started last March 9 and would you believe, almost all the programs are full. I was only able to register for myself and one program for Aloysius in summer. The Swimming program in summer is not yet open for registration but I already plotted the schedules for both Miggy and Kyle. In the rest of the programs that Miggy requested because his classmates already registered, we are still waitlisted. I wonder what are the chances of us getting a slot in these programs. I guess I registered in all of them, those appropriate for Miggy's age and some for Kyle. You know, I got excited when I saw that no fees shall be collected because these are funded by the government of Toronto, especially in our area. Here's the schedule I mapped in Excel. Those marked in purple are for Miggy and those in blue for Kyle, mine's in red. In case you're wondering why so many activities for my kids in a day especially Saturdays, these are not yet final. Most of these are waitlisted. Hectic ba?

Here are the programs I have reserved:

For Kyle (4-5 years old):

Making Music
Creative Movement (Dance)
Jump and Play
Crafty Kids

For Miggy (6-8 years old)

Drawing and Cartooning
Keyboards Beginner
Computers for kids
Tennis Beginner
Martial Arts
Indoor Soccer

For Irmee (17 yrs +)

Cardio Hi/Lo
Adult Computers

We are privileged to take these programs and learn for free so why not grab it? I just hope we'll have a chance in the waitlisted courses. If we were still in the Philippines, these programs cost a lot, we can only afford one for each of the kids. We are thankful and looking forward to our first Spring here in Canada.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Haven of Books

Feed your soul/mind.
Feed your body.
Cleanse your body.

These are the 3 vital things a person should do, in that order of priority. I can have the last two omitted but not the first. Prayer and meditation is important for the soul. It’s your link to your Creator. Reading is how you feed your mind. Humans were gifted with brains in order to use them. It is what makes a man supreme over the other creations of God. It is the knowledge that brings a person to a different level in his or her life. We get old and our physical bodies deteriorate but we also get wise as we age depending on what we put in our brains. Garbage in, garbage out. So while we can, let us bring in some knowledge into our brains so we can utilize them in the way they were supposed to function.

Reading books (and now the internet) are our great way to absorb knowledge aside from experience and lessons taught. I remember my mom always says – Make it a habit to read books, magazines or newspapers because “Para tayong lapis, pag di nagbasa, napupurol” (We are like pencil, we cannot write if there’s no lead.) Reading sharpens our minds. I also remember I became a book worm at an early age, read the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew hardbound collection in elementary and had to volunteer as one of the student librarians in high school to be able to read more books aside from the Sweet Dreams, Harlequin First Love and Mills & Boon pocketbooks. So now you know why I am nearsighted and had to wear eyeglasses hahaha.

I am so happy to discover my haven of books here. The Toronto Public library online system is so cool and efficient. I can search for my favourite authors and see the available books to read. I can even reserve for the particular title I am interested in case somebody else borrowed it. I will then be notified when it is available for pick up in any branch within Toronto. I have finished reading all the Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella and her other books “Can you keep a secret?” and “Remember me?” which I find very amusing. My next author to read is John C. Maxwell – a leadership guru. For now, I’m just going to enjoy my latest Kinsella book – The Undomestic Goddess which I am – the undomestic, hehehe.

Monday, 8 March 2010

My 15-month old baby

I haven't posted any pictures of Lex yet since Christmas, or since his hair grew long. My bunso looks like a big boy in his high chair, putting his feet up. I wonder from whom did he get this pose, hehehe. I know that 15 months is a milestone period for babies and I guess I haven't taken notes of new things he does or something new in his body. Well, for one his set of teeth is the same, although I guess some will come out soon because he's biting everything. He walks and runs, babbles a lot although he knows DADA for daddy and DEDE for milk, and points at things most of the time. He forgot about some of the sign language he knew before. What I'm amazed at is, he is reading or should I say, browsing books, knows how to hold a pencil and color and sings or sways at a tune and sometimes he dances. I hope I can post a video here. Here's another, he puts his hands together when we pray and sometimes he closes his eyes and claps his hand afterwards. For a 15-month old, that's something, hehehe. My boys are different on how each of them grow and develop but I love them all.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Kyle's taste in dressing

It's March and the sun is already up. I guess early spring weather is here and it's time to keep my closed neck and long sleeved tops. I was wearing a not-so-low neckline blouse and while me and the kids are coloring on the floor, Kyle said: "Mommy, lagyan mo nga ng zipper yan" (Mommy, can you put the zipper in that - referring to my neckline). I was trying hard to control my laughter but I saw that his face is serious because his eyebrows are meeting so I just replied, "What's wrong with this? (pointing at my blouse) He said, "Basta, gusto ko yung dati" (I like what you wore before). I told his dad about it and he said, "Just change"..I went to the room to change with a smile on my face realizing that my boys are conservative. "Oh, men...they don't know what fashion is, hahaha."

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Time for a celebration and Baked Salmon

We are so blessed, God loves us so much He answered some of our prayers, the other one not yet materializing but I'm sure if it's for me, I'll get it. Anyway, we had a special dinner last night to celebrate. I got this recipe from Jocel and Tina who served us this dish when we went to their place after bringing us to Niagara Falls. It tastes good even my kids love it - one of their favorite fish dishes. It's also easy to do, I hope you'll try it too.



Salmon Fillet
Salt and Pepper
Mrs. Dash
Dried Rosemary leaves


1. Pre-heat the oven to 350'F
2. Squeeze lemon over the fish. Sprinkle salt and pepper.
3. Lay the fish in a buttered baking dish.
4. Sprinkle Mrs. Dash.
5. Add Rosemary leaves.
6. Spread enough mayonnaise to cover the fish. Let it mix with the herbs and spices.
7. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
8. Bake for 40 minutes or more depending on the size of the fish.
9. Serve hot with mashed potatoes or plain rice.