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Monday, November 16, 2015

MY PLANS FOR THE VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY LONG WEEKEND

My very long weekend starts at this very moment. As I’ve told you in my previous posts, I’m a civil servant and government work in NCR is suspended from November 17-20, 2015 for the APEC Leaders' Meeting.  I won’t discuss my opinion on this APEC something though.  What’s  in my plate right now is a six-day vacation!  I’m very excited.  No. We will not travel or hole up in  a posh hotel in the metro.  We don’t have funds for that yet.  I will just stay at home with my darling girl.  We will play, sing, laugh, dance and make yakap-yakapan. Moms especially working moms know how exciting days off are. 

  Here are my other plans:

1.       Finish my work backlog
2.       Buy and wrap Christmas gifts
3.       Clean our house
4.       Finish the remaining episodes of Scandal
5.       Go to the park
6.       Cook

Chasen, you need to be productive!  Repeat six times. 


Thanks for reading and sorry if I made you feel envious. Joke. Lol

Friday, November 13, 2015

MOMMY'S GUILT

This post has been sitting in my draft folder for days already. I was a little bit hesitant to publish this because I don’t want to be judged. Actually, being judged as a woman, wife or employee doesn’t give me a fright.  But, I fear being judged as a mother. I fear being judged on how I raise my daughter.  I don’t know how to explain this to you (without oversharing) but  I feel that the world expects me to be the perfect mom to Baby C.    I am expected to shower her with so much love (which is so easy for me) and to raise her well (which is a tricky thing). Although I fear to be criticized, I still decided to click the publish box.   It’s a way for me to accept and to admit to the whole  world, that I am not perfect…that I am far from being a perfect parent but I am striving to be the bestest mom to my daughter…that I make mistakes but very willing to correct them.

Days  ago, Baby C had her monthly checkup and vaccination.   The doctor did a physical exam.  She told me that my daughter is doing well, and is reaching her developmental milestones.  I asked her to check if there is something wrong with my baby’s legs because they seem bowed.  I noticed them when I reviewed   her first steps video. I googled and found out that it's  normal that baby's legs may appear bowed, and her legs will gradually straighten.   But, I still asked the pedia. She somewhat  confirmed that Baby C is bowlegged.    I wanted to cry right then and there but still forced myself not to shed a tear.   If you’re a mom, you know that I’m not being OA.  I was devastated and   I felt so guilty.   I recalled being told by my brother in law not to put Baby C in  a carrier because it may cause bowleggedness but I didn’t obey. I was told not to use disposable diaper every day but I insisted.  I was told to massage Baby C’s legs every day but there were times that I failed to do so.  My head was screaming “I am the culprit!”    Although I believe they are myths, the what-if-they-were-true made me want to punch myself.   Although the pedia said that most bowleg cases are hereditary, I still blamed myself.   

I looked at the pedia waiting for her to retract her words.   But,  she calmly  told me that if I want, she could refer Baby C to a  pediatric orthopedic or wait until she is able to walk on her own.  I chose the latter because I was  optimistic that her legs will still straighten and will no longer need the help of an ortho. I now regret that decision and realize that I need to have her legs checked by a specialist the earliest possible time.  So, this week I will have her legs checked.

There’s more.  The pedia confirmed that Baby C has an upper lip tie.  Upper lip tie is when the  upper lip is  tied to the upper gum.  It  might affect a baby’s appetite and speech, depending on how  severe the case is.     She told me not to worry because apparently her condition does not affect her appetite and speech.    As to what to do next, we will wait until her two front teeth fully erupt.  

When I broke the news to my husband, he freaked out.   He was so worried and bothered. We even fought because he thought I was taking the matter lightly.  Well, I’m good at faking.    But, at the end of the day, we both convinced ourselves that we are still blessed because the findings are “malayo sa bituka.”

  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

BOOK EXCHANGE

At 1 year old, Baby C has more or less 20 books.  She can’t read yet.  She even tears and “eats” her books. Despite the tearing and eating, we still continue to buy her books.  We want her to be exposed to books at an early age.   We want her to know that reading is cool. 

When I saw the facebook status re: BOOK EXCHANGE  on my newsfeed, I spontaneously commented, "Count me in".  Actually, it was not the 36 books that Baby C might receive that lure me into signing up.     It was the idea of spreading the love for reading.   Besides, giving a book to a kid won’t hurt, right?

The facebook status goes this way.

“Calling all mommies, daddies, mommies-to-be, teachers, grandmas, grandpas, and all book lovers!
I need friends of any age to participate in a BOOK EXCHANGE!
You only have to buy ONE book and send it to one child, then your child will receive 36 books or more in return!
Let me know if you are interested and I will send the information! It's really easy! You can buy a book and send it to your assigned recipient through Xend or Fastrack or LBC or the post office. Or you can order through Lazada, Fully booked, National Bookstore, or any online shopping sites for books and have it shipped directly to your assigned recipient.
BABY C will be super excited to get mail and you literally just have to buy and send ONE book!” 

If you want to know how this works, email me at chasenmae@yahoo.com. 

Thanks.  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Trick or Treat


I was born in the 80s and I consider myself as Batang 90s. Trick or treating was not part of my childhood. Halloween for me then was going to the cemetery, making balls out of candle wax, eating balut with cousins and listening to scary stories.    And  I only received treats during Santacruzan or Flores de Mayo.


In this day and age, we have adopted the way the Americans celebrate Halloween.  I believe it’s not a bad thing.  For me, celebrating Halloween by wearing costumes has no religious implication.  In my opinion, it’s not about worshipping devil or whatsoever. It’s only about having fun…no more, no less.  It’s the time of the year when kids and adults can wear spooky, cute or whatever costume they want to wear.    But of course, for us Catholics, it  is  the time when we remember and offer prayers for our departed loved ones.

Last Friday, we had a Halloween party at the office.  It’s actually for the employees’ kids and grandchildren. Yes, most of my officemates are already lolos and lolas.  But, hey,  they are the coolest lolos/lolas.  One thing  I love about my job is that I have the coolest and “game-st”  officemates ever!   I brought my daughter with me for her first ever Halloween party.  We were not able to join last year because I was on leave.    That day,  she was a kalabasa girl.








Her Ate (nanny) came in costume too.  She was amusing.  Project kung project! Lol



Me?



I was a mumu!









Indeed, it was a fun and spooktacular activity.



Monday, November 2, 2015

Increasing my Cash Inflow

Our financial status is not at its best.   Our household expenses have bloated while our cash inflow has decreased. I think I already mentioned  that I no longer receive windfalls.  Also, my husband’s salary increase this year is  below 5% of his last year’s salary.  While we are not on the phase where our cash outflow is more than our cash inflow, the fact that I sometimes regret our decision to invest in  real properties is alarming.   

I don’t think my salary will  augment  in the near future.  Although  I heard that there is a bill seeking the increase of salaries of government employees, I’m sure that the increase would not be that dramatic. Spell INCOME TAX!   To receive a higher salary, my only recourse is to pass the exam and automatically hop to Salary Grade 23, which is a few notches higher than my salary grade.   Believe me, it’s easier said than done.  I’m still hopeful though. 

To boost my income, I decided to engage in retail business.  Since I have a day job and I have a limited capital, I opted to display my merchandise on Instagram and Facebook.  So far, I am having fun.  Speaking of having fun, let me share this conversation with my husband.

Dan: Kumusta naman ang business mo?
Me: I’m having fun.
Dan: Anong I’m having fun? Hindi kita binigyan ng capital to have fun.
Me: LOL

He then lectured me about marketing strategies and accounting and stuff.  My husband’s degree in college  has nothing to do with business or commerce.   He never experienced doing business either.  He’s a software engineer.   Yet, he has the guts to teach me about business! The last time I checked it was me who took up Commerce  and who has a vast experience in sales!(I experienced selling longganisa, ham, tuyo, daing,  firecrackers, avon products and many more!!!lol)  He loves books and that explains why he has knowledge, albeit general,  on business, stocks, marketing and even law.   In all fairness, his ideas are great.  One of those is to use this blog as a marketing tool.   Yeah, this is actually  an advertisement post.  Haha.  

So, if you are looking for trendy but affordable clothes, please feel free to follow Chascents (where shopping is a guiltless indulgence) on Instagram and Facebook.  By the way, I used to sell perfumes and Chascents was my "brand name". I retained it even if it does not suggest the category of the merchandise I am selling.  Wala lang, gusto ko lang. Lol.  

Wish me luck on this new venture. Thank you.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Chasen's Kitchen: Chicken Cordon Bleu

One of the applauded dishes I’ve cooked at home is Chicken Cordon Bleu.  According to my husband, the dish reminds him of our Biggs (local food chain in Bicol) dates in Naga.  Okay, I admit, my version is not at par with  Biggs Cordon Bleu. But,  my version is also yummers. It’s just that Biggs Cordon Bleu is soooooo good.  They also use pork while I use chicken. (I tried to use pork but for some reasons, I can’t achieve the tender and juicy pork cordon bleu.)   

Chicken Cordon Bleu is soooo easy to prepare. Promise.   The level of difficulty in pronouncing the dish is inversely proportional to the level of difficulty in whipping it up.  It may sound foreign and complicated but actually the recipe is so simple.   It’s budget friendly too.

Ingredients:

 Chicken Breast Fillet
Sweet Ham, cut into two
Cheddar Cheese (I used Eden Cheese)
Thyme
Ground Pepper
Butter
Egg (beaten)
2 tbs milk (I used evap)
Bread Crumbs
Flour
Salt
Cooking Oil

Procedure:

1.       Cut and pound the breast fillet.




2.       Brush each fillet with butter and sprinkle it with salt, pepper and thyme.



3.       Top each with ham and cheese then roll it.

4.       Dip each roll in flour, egg and milk mixture,  and bread crumbs.
5.       Fry in oil.
6.       Remove and enjoy!



Simple, right?





Tuesday, October 6, 2015

UBER SATISFIED

I’ve been receiving Uber Promo Codes from friends and acquaintances on Facebook.  Although I already heard and read about Uber, I thought the invites were just spam messages so I didn’t bother to acknowledge them.  

I thought Uber is a pangmayaman thing. Other than it sounds shushal, it also involves gadgets and apps.  You know, when I hear “Install this,  download that blahblah”, my brain automatically shuts down.   Yes. I’m not techie.  I’ve embarrassed myself so many times because of that.  “What’s tether?” “What’s power bank?” Boom!  Ang jologs lang.   I even discovered Viber just recently.   I know. I know. I’ve been living under a rock. 

In one of our conversations, my officemate told me that he tried Uber and his experience was pleasant. Some of the positive considerations he cited:

1.        No need to hail a taxi
2.        The rate is fine.
3.       The app can compute the estimated fare.
4.       The drivers are polite. 
5.       You are not “obliged” to give a tip.
6.       The cars are new and clean.
7.       You are more secured.
8.       The Uber driver could only see your destination once you get in the car.
9.       Uber has a feedback mechanism. 
10.   YOUR FIRST RIDE WORTH P200 IS FREE!

I was convinced. 

I asked my officemate to download the Uber App on my phone and I signed up. Signing up is  quite easy.  But, you need to have a credit card. Uber charges your ride to your credit card.  Honestly, I was a little bit apprehensive about giving my credit card information to Uber.  But, yeah, my fear will take me nowhere!

My Take:

I am uber satisfied with Uber.  The fare is even cheaper compared to regular taxi. My usual fare from home to work place is P82 in a regular taxi.  From my experience, 8/10 drivers consider the change as a “mandatory” tip.  So, I usually shell out P100.  In UberX (you may request for Black Car or pangmayaman car, it has a higher rate of course), my usual fare ranges from  P81-84.   
The Uber drivers are really  nice and polite.  What I like about them is that they do not start a conversation unless you ask them.  Don’t get me wrong but I do not enjoy madaldal taxi drivers. I don’t feel comfortable being asked about my personal life or political views.

By the way, take note that  Uber has this Surge Pricing.  There are times that the rate is higher than the usual rate.  It usually happens during peak hours, heavy traffic or heavy rains, when  demand is higher than  supply.  That’s the downside. But, do not worry, you will be informed before booking.    

UBERall, Uber is uber great. 

Should you want to experience UBER, download the app and  sign up now.   Use my promo code chasend7ue and get your first ride free worth P200.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

BIRTHDAY DRAMA PLUS MY BIRTHDAY WISH LIST

It’s my birthday in 6 days! Waaahh! I will be turning 32.  You know what? I still feel like 22.  Nothing has changed  except that I am now stouter (haha) and yes, wiser.  But, on second thought, I realized that  in ten years, so much has changed.  I am now a wife. I am now a mother.   I am now a civil servant.  What else? I have surpassed failures. I have made genuine friendships.  I have nurtured old friendships.   I have become a better daughter (weh) and sister and aunt.   

I have always looked forward to my birthday. I grew up in a family where birthdays are special days.  My mom would always make me feel special on my birthday. Hindi uso sa amin ang birthday party noon kasi we couldn’t afford it.  Ang ginagawa ni Mama, she would cook and pack spaghetti  and would let me deliver the packed spaghetti to my aunts and uncles.  It was like an it’s-my-birthday reminder. And it worked. Pag-uwi ko, ang dami ko nang  pera. Haha.  Actually, it is a family tradition.  My cousins did  it.  My younger cousins are still doing it.  We also had this “birthday immunity.” Hindi pinapagalitan. Hindi inaaway. Hindi pinapahugas ng pinggan.  Special talaga.  
(Why do I feel like crying while typing this?)

When I moved to Manila and got married, my birthday has become an ordinary day…an ordinary working day.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always felt happy and grateful on the day of my birthday.  Hindi nga lang special.  Perhaps because I’m used to the way I celebrate my birthday back in Naga. Perhaps because I’m used to my parents’ sweetness.  Perhaps because I married a “not so sweet” man who prefers to give me shopping money than to buy gifts for me. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it. I do. I really do. And in fairness to my husband, he also tries to be sweet.  He is sweet in his own special way.   Siguro OA lang talaga expectation kaya palagi akong nasusurprise.   “Surprise! Walang Surprise!”  Haha. 

Still, I am giving him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he’s really sweet and he just don’t know how to show it.  So, for his benefit, I am posting stuff that may he may “utilize” to show his sweetness. Lol.



1. Convection Oven
photo from lazada.com.ph



 2.  Food Steamer (any brand will do)

photo from amazon.com

3. H&M Rug
photo from H&M website

4.  Overnight stay at Summit Magnolia Hotel. (I read positive feedbacks about this hotel.)

photo from travelbook.ph



Thanks for reading my kababawan!


   



Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Baby C's COC Themed First Birthday Party

Baby C just turned 1 last September 11.  Indeed, time flies so fast.  Our darling girl is now a toddler! She’s becoming more malikot err curious. Ang dami niya na ding tricks. Haha. And she continues to amaze us every day.  She continues to make us so happy.  She continues to be the reason why I am sometimes late to work or why I sometimes do “undertime”.  She’s so adorable that leaving her is an everyday struggle.  I wish our office would provide a day care center  as part of its Gender Awareness Development program.   It can be done, right?

To celebrate the gift  that the Guy up there has given us, we threw a party at my parents’ house in  Naga City. It was a simple party. It was just family, it was intimate  but,  I cannot say that it was a  “small party”.  My husband and I belong to a big and tight-knit  family kaya pamilya pa lang, barangay na. Haha.   As my sister-in-law said, “Expect for 100 (or more) guests or do not host a party at all.”   She’s so right. 


As planned, the theme was Clash of Clans.



dessert bar


I prepared 25 loot bags and 25 prizes for the games.

My niece arranging the graham balls she made

The program was held at our garahe.


The party coordinators/stylists

Because of my desire to feed and entertain 100 (more or less) guests with a limited budget, I DIYd everything, from planning to execution, of course with the help of my kapamilya.  Mag clown lang ata ang hindi ko ginawa. Haha.     It was tiring  but it was exciting and fun.  Uulitin ko pa ba? Hindi na siguro.  Hahaha. 

All in all, I spent 15k (more or less). I was not able to do an exact accounting  but the details below will somehow make you believe that I pulled off a Birthday Party at 15k (more or less).

Food Served
5 kgs. Filipino Style Spaghetti
1 kg Pesto Pasta
2 kgs hotdog on stick
15 kgs fried chicken
3 kgs lumpia shanghai
5 kgs. Chicken hamonado (gift)
2 gallons ice cream (gift)
50 pieces cupcakes (gift from my SIL)
3 chiffon cakes
Juice and Softdrinks
Birthday Cake (gift from my SIL) - Carla's Cake (09256722752)

I think I spent P8,000  on food. 

Entertainment  - Ms. Helen's Party Favors (09193241630)
Clown – P1500
Face Paint – P1500
Tables and Chairs – P1000
Lootbags/Candies/Decoration – P3000 (more or less)
Labor – Labor of Love
My daughter threw a tantrum during the party. I think she was overwhelmed, and the clown and the noise frightened her.   Yes. She definitely did not enjoy the party.  It’s okay. In the first place, the party was not for her to enjoy. Haha. Sino ba sa atin ang naenjoy ang ating 1st birthday?  However, I am hoping that when she grows up and looks at her birthday pictures, she would see her parents’ joy  and it’s all because of her.   






Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My Not So Authentic Bicol Express

I am from  the land of the Oragons (The oldies consider this word vulgar.  So, I never use it at home.)  I am a Bicolana, NagueƱa specifically.  I transferred to Metro Manila in 2010 and until now, I am still not used to big city living.   If I only had a choice, I would want to live in Naga for the rest of my life. I would want to raise Baby C  there.  Without being regionalistic, I believe Naga City is such a great place to live in.  It’s a place where you can find “balance”.   It’s still not polluted.   You  can still find trees and  vast agricultural land.  The traffic is not that heavy.  The cost of living is not that high. Case in point, pedicab fare  there is only P5.   Naga City is also not “so probinsya”.  May SM kaya doon. Lol.   Hotels and banks are everywhere.  And if you’re a party spirited animal, I assure you that  boredom will never set in.  And yes, the food is just soooo good.   Oh well, taste  is relative.  However, if you dig spicy food or any food with gata, you’ll definitely concur.   It is in Bicol where Bicol Express came from (as what the name of the dish suggests lol).  Honestly, I was a bit surprised when I found out that Bicol Express is considered as a main dish here in Manila.  In Bicol, it’s only a side dish or pampagana.   Bicol Express Manila Style looks different too. 

  So, how would you know if the Bicol Express is authentic? 
1.        It’s HOT!  FREAKING HOT.  If it’s not sooooo  hot and spicy, it’s not Bicol Express.
2.       It doesn’t have a sauce.  The only liquid you should see is  the oil rendered by the gata and pork fat. 
3.       It has more chillies and shrimp paste than pork. Karne ang sahog, not the other way around. 

Last night, I tried to cook this famous dish. I wanted it to be our ulam, not just a pampagana, so, I added more pork.  Here’s the recipe.


½ kilo pork, menudo cut
2 cups uncooked  bagoong alamang (washed and drained)
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Ginger, julienned
15 pieces siling pansigang, sliced
5 siling labuyo, sliced
1 coconut (coconut milk and coconut cream)
Patis, as needed
Sugar










Instructions:
1.       Saute the garlic and ginger until fragrant.  Then add the onion until translucent.
2.       Add the pork. Cook until the pork turns light.
3.       Add the bagoong. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
4.       Pour in the coconut milk (second extract).  Let it simmer until it evaporates and the dish  becomes a little bit dry.
5.       Pour  in the coconut cream (1st extract or kakang gata) and bring it to a boil.  Let it simmer.  Put fish sauce, if necessary. 






6.       Add the chillies (both siling haba and siling labuyo).
7.       Put a dash of sugar.
8.       Let it simmer until the gata renders coconut oil.  
9.       Serve with steamed rice and enjoy!




Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sa Katitipid, Lalong Napamahal

A week ago, I had my wart cauterized. It was big that the dermatologist had to inject anesthesia.  After the procedure, he prescribed an anti-bacterial ointment, which I did not buy.  Boo!
After two days, the wound got infected. Ang kirot.  But, I said to myself, “Nung bata nga ako, mas malaki pa dito sugat ko,  Merthiolate lang ang katapat.”  So, I didn’t bother seeking professional help despite my husband’s insistence.   

To alleviate the kirot, I took Mefenamic Acid.  I also took Amoxicillin.

Seven days after the cautery, the wound got bigger and eekier.  That was the time I decided to have it checked by a dermatologist (not the one who cauterized my wart).    



Dermatologist:  Anong nangyari dyan?
Me: Na-infect po ata. Pinacauterize ko po pero di ko nilagyan ng ointment.
Dermatologist: Ah, nagtitipid ka, eh lalo ka ngayon mamamahalan. Bibigyan kita ng antibiotics.
Me: Doc, umiinom na po ako ng antibiotics. (proud pa)
Dermatologist:  Anong tinitake mo?
Me: Amoxicillin po.
Dermatologist: Ah, nagdoctor doctoran ka. Hindi eepekto amoxicillin diyan.

Had I not been so tipid (to a fault), I wouldn’t have ended up spending P800 plus for antibiotics and P200 for taxi fare, and I wouldn’t have suffered anxiety and sleepless nights brought about by the kirot.


Hay naku…stupidity at its finest.  Lol

Thursday, July 30, 2015

One Week P1,000 Meal Plan for Four

“Ano kayang lulutuin ko?” – This had been my usual dilemma every afternoon.   Actually, thinking of what to cook is really not a chore for me.  Anything connected to cooking is fun.    So,   I thought there was no reason for me   to create a meal plan.
 
That was until I realized that I was wasting so much food and I was spending so much on food.   One meal would usually cost us P150  on the average, and I would incur P3,000-4000 on groceries per week (baby’s milk excluded).   Such realization made me decide to whip up meals  which are cheaper but healthier than our food choices then.        I have decided to  create a weekly meal plan with a COST LIMIT.   It’s actually challenging but the following reasons pressed me to carry it out:   First, we are not getting any younger. Eating too much meat and junk food is definitely not good for us. Second, I need to cut our expenses.  Windfalls have stopped from falling and our financial status is not at its best.  We also need to save for Baby C’s education.  Lastly, I need to expose Baby C to eating vegetables and to simple living. 

So, here’s my meal plan for the week.

 
Oo. Fan ako ni Daniel Padilla at wala kayong pakialam kung PABEBE ako! lol

I have   stated the corresponding (approximate) cost of the  meal (rice not included).    I have also posted it on the fridge so that my husband would know what to expect and so that our househelp would know what to cook for breakfast.  And it also serves as a  “HINDI UNLI ANG BUDGET NATIN” notice. Lol. Seriously, I believe that every member of the household should be aware na hindi pinupulot ang pera. 

Together with this meal plan is a food shopping plan.

Wet Market for fish and seafood – Twice a month (It would be too tiring to go to the wet market every week. Although Farmers Market is relatively near to our place, I find  commuting stressful.   Besides, weekends are for resting.)

Puregold for canned goods,  meat, baby’s milk,  toiletries etc.  – Weekly  (Actually, I could go there as many times as I want since it’s just a few blocks away from our condo.  There is also a Puregold near my workplace.)

Sidewalk for vegetables/fruits – Every day or as needed (There are sidewalk vendors near my workplace who sell vegetables such as broccoli, lettuce, squash,  malunggay and all the veggies in bahay kubo.  The veggies there are way cheaper than those in Supermarket or Farmers.

S&R – Once every two months (S&R has been my happy place. Hahaha. However, it has also been my temptation place. Haha.  I really find it difficult to resist the Buy 1 Take 1 muffins/cakes, chips and cookies in giant bags, pizza and even the bedsheets on sale.   Hence, the imposition of S&R trip limit.)

We can’t live without food.  It’s definitely a NEED.  However, delicious and unhealthy food is a WANT.  In household financial planning, knowing the difference between needs and wants is crucial. 

But you know, I don’t plan to eradicate eating out or eating greasy and extremely delicious food.  I want to live the present as much as I want to prepare for the future.  My objective is to live a simple but balanced life. 
    




             

Monday, July 20, 2015

Electric Bill Update

I posted here about our electric bill concern and how we could minimize our electric consumption.  I found out that the new electric meter has nothing to do with our electric bill.  Nananahimik siya. Wala siyang kasalanan! Haha. Yes. The blame should be put on us, the “feeling rich” kids.  

I enumerated  the things that we should do to lower our electricity usage.  We’ve been doing Numbers 1 and 3.  As per suggestion of Jill of Frugalhoney, we’ve stopped using the hot and cold setting of our water dispenser.   And after a month….Tadaaaaa…..





Our electric bill was reduced by P1,000.  Yey!  We could have reduced the bill  further if we had just stuck to the plan of decreasing our AC usage.   Anyway, at least we've become more inspired to do Numbers 2 and 4.   We bought two electric fans for the living area and master’s bedroom so, we could limit our AC usage.   Last night, we set the AC timer to 3 hours and turned on the fan.   Though our windows were closed, our room was surprisingly not that warm.  It was not warm at all. Thanks to our brand new electric fan! Haha.      However, my baby complained. She was uneasy.    So, before she throws a fit, I turned on the AC.  Ngek!  Pano ba naman she was using a long sleeved onesie and  a pair of pajamas.  Tonight, I will let her  wear a short sleeved onesie.    I think she will get used to a  non-ac room very soon.    By the way, I  bought  sandos for my baby’s  pambahay. They’re not as cute as  Carters onesies, but they’re very presko, apt for Philippine weather.   


My husband and Ate (baby’s nanny) assembling the electric fans


I am very mindful with our expenses nowadays. The prices of commodities are insanely high that my income cannot keep up with them anymore.  Since I have no concrete plan on how to increase my cash inflow, the least I could do is to do good on my cash outflow.   Next time, I will blog about our food expenses and meal plans.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, July 3, 2015

Planning Baby C's COC themed birthday party




source



Yes. You read it right. The theme of my darling girl’s first birthday party will be Clash of Clans (COC)!  Any violent reaction? Haha.   Actually, my friends and relatives shared the same reaction when they found out about the theme.  “But, your child is a girl...”  Yes.   My child is a girl and I want her to be a WARRIOR!  I want her to be brave, smart, confident, kind  and hardworking.    I don’t want her to be frail, shy, self-centered and dependent.   I want her to focus on her skills, talents and attitude not on physical beauty.  I want to raise a warrior.     And…hmm…my husband and I like playing Clash of Clans and we think that a COC themed party is going to be FUN!!!  Anyway, first birthday parties are for the parents, right? Haha.

We already have a theme. So what’s next? Honestly, I am not good at planning a party (at planning in general).  But, I can always learn, right?  For a beginner like me, a checklist is a must.

Budget:   I like parties and celebrations. They are venues for chika chika with relatives and close friends. However, I don’t want to spend a fortune on  an impressive birthday party.  I find it impractical. Besides, I don’t need to impress my relatives and friends.   Hence, the party is going to be a simple one. I set the budget at P15,000, buffer included. 

Venue: We are choosing between my parents’ house and our townhouse in Naga City. My husband wants to hold the party in our townhouse but I’m not quite sure if it can accommodate our guests.  Let’s see.

Food: I’m planning to cook spaghetti, fried chicken, spring rolls and hotdogs – the usual simple  birthday party food.   

Birthday Cake:  I asked my sister-in-law to look for a cake supplier in Naga City who can bake a COC cake.

Candy/Dessert Bar and Styling: I will be the one to do the styling with the help of some friends and nieces.  I already asked my nieces, Francine and Baba to make pompoms and buntings.  I will also go to Divisoria to buy cloth, jars, candies and  other party stuff.    

Invites: I will not send invites.   Sending invites might suggest that I’ll be throwing a grand party. Haha. 

Photographer: I will ask my goddaughter  who has a DSLR camera to be the official photographer.

Entertainment: I’m considering to hire clowns.

What else?



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Where to Buy Paintings in Tagaytay

My husband and I have always wanted a minimalist home. We’ve always wanted a home which does not house a lot of  knick-knacks.    Actually, it’s my husband who’s fussy about the stuff we bring into our home.     It should always be worth the space.   

One of my husband’s dreams is to hang paintings on our wall.  He is not that artistic but he appreciates art.  For me, artworks are all the same. Haha. So when I saw a painting in a department store which price was slashed by 50%, I became so giddy and immediately alerted my husband.  My husband’s response was “Ah okay…but I don’t like mass produced paintings” and cut my excitement just like that!  Ah ok…My search for paintings ended right then and there.  

Then last February, destiny brought us into a coffee shop  with an  adjacent art gallery.  It was not our intent to go to that place.   Our plan for the night was to dine at Josephine’s.  However, heavy rains pressed us to enter a small coffee shop near the hotel we stayed at in Tagaytay.  It’s  a coffee shop with a really great ambiance. It’s not the usual coffee shop in the metro where people are busy doing something in their respective laptops or reading  thick medical or law books.     It’s  more  laidback.  It’s like, you go there to sip coffee and relax (not to work and drink coffee).  I also like the province-y vibe.  It somehow brought me to my summer years in the province.     While waiting for our food, we busied ourselves scrutinizing and appreciating the paintings displayed. I even interviewed the staff.   According to him, the artworks were made by students of a particular Fine Arts school (or school offering Fine Arts)  in Tagaytay. And  he added that the  artworks  are   for sale!  
He led us to an adjacent art gallery for more artworks.  



However,  our eyes were fixed on these pieces.






They were painted by Allana Santos.  We like her works. They somewhat tell a story and they are somewhat filled with feelings.  Honestly, I don’t know how to describe artworks.  Haha. Basta, parang may puso.

So, we brought them home. My husband was so elated. Hindi ko maipinta ang kaligayahan sa kanyang mukha. Haha. 


Excited much? lol









If you are looking for a painting, visit Java Jazz Coffee Shop.  You might find a gem there.     It’s located at Calamba Road, Sungay West, Tagaytay City. It’s near T-House Tagaytay. 

By the way, we got the two paintings for P8,000.  They were originally priced at P10,000 or P5,000 each. However, the owner gave us a discount since we got two.     

Thank you for reading.  



Friday, June 26, 2015

ELECTRIC (bill) SHOCK!

I almost had a heart attack (oa!) when I found out how much our Meralco bill for the month of June was. Actually, opening the envelope of our  electric bill  is always  like opening the  Ms. Universe winner’s envelope.  Parating may kaba. Haha.  Our June electric bill gave me a big shock (electric shock lol).   I was expecting a lower consumption compared to last month’s since our bakasyonistas (my husband’s relatives) went back to the province  but contrary to my expectation,  it went up by 100 plus kWh.  Then, I remembered  that early June, I was notified by the Condo Admin staff that they changed our unit’s electric meter.  It may be the cause.  I’m not certain.  I will talk to the admin staff first before I make a conclusion. It may be our actual electric consumption  and I just  find it difficult to admit.   Here’s the rundown of our appliances and their corresponding usage:

refrigerator – 24/7
water dispenser (hot and cold) – 24/7
water heater (shower) – 1 hour/day (approx.)
0.5 HP aircon (master’s bedroom)  -  10 hours/day (approx.)
1.5 HP aircon (living/dining area) – 5 hours/day (approx.)
0.5 HP aircon (guest room/nanny’s room) – 1 hour/day (average) We let our guests use the AC 24/7 or as their hearts’ desire.  We are hospitable like that. haha
Electric fan – 18 hours/day
Induction cooker – 2 hours/day (approx.)
Rice cooker – 30 mins./day (However, I realized that we don’t pull  the plug immediately after the “warm” indicator turns red.)    
Bottle Sterilizer – 30 mins/day
TV – 12 hours/day

Question: Is our P5,800 electric bill justified?   I still don’t know.  What I know is that we could still  decrease our electric consumption.  We will try to do the following:

1.        Turn off the Water Dispenser at night. 
2.       Decrease the time of aircon usage by at least 3 hours per day.
3.       Pull  the rice cooker’s  plug 3 minutes after it switches to  “warm” mode.
4.       Don’t use the water heater if the weather is not chilly.

Do you have any other power saving tips?

Thank you.  


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Getting Back on Track


Admittedly, I failed to track our household expenses for the last months. Yet, I’m quite sure that our expenses ballooned because of Baby C.  It’s expensive to have a baby.  Milk, diaper, nanny’s salary and vaccines eat up a portion of our household budget.  Our electricity went up by 100% too.  But the happiness of having our darling girl is PRICELESS!  Decreasing the budget for Baby C is definitely not an option.  My husband and I agreed that as much as we can, we will only give the best for Baby C when it comes to her needs, comfort, health and education.    

There are things that can’t be scrimped on.   There are also expenses that can be slashed.   I assessed our combined monthly income vis a vis our monthly fixed expenses.   I  realized that our fixed expenses (baby's milk and diaper, utilities, condo unit amort, house and lot amort, lot in Naga City amort) do not  exceed 50% of our  monthly income.  It means I  could do better – I could save more.  It means I should cut my variable expenses.  It means I am overspending. 

I  realized that I am spending so much on food and convenience.  I’ve been buying unnecessary food items aka junk food.  I also tend to junk foodstuff because of my failure to monitor their expiry date. Such a wastage!  I’ve been taking a cab instead of riding a  jeepney.  I’ve been eating out almost every week.  See, I’m being “feeling mayaman”.   

As a result, our savings is payat. Our stock investment is payat.  Our UITF is payat.  Ako na lang ang hindi pumapayat. Lol.

I realized that I’m starting to go back to my old ways.  No. That can’t happen!  

Because of the foregoing realizations, I wrote a sort of an action plan.


1.       Plan meals.
2.       Make a grocery list based on the planned meals.
3.       Buy more veggies and fruits  which are in season.  Stop buying junk food.
4.       Recycle leftover.  Convert it into another ulam.
5.       Bring baon.
6.       Follow the first in first out (FIFO) method and always check the expiry date.
7.       Wake up early and move faster so that you will not take a cab just to beat the bundy clock.
8.        Limit eating out to two per month.
9.    Stick to the budget and track your expenses.
10.   Focus on your goal - FINANCIAL FREEDOM.

If I follow these, I'm quite certain that our monthly savings will increase by at least 50%. 

Thank you for reading.






Tuesday, June 2, 2015

WHY DO I WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT

Weight gain has been my perennial concern since high school years.  You know , I was not actually obese or even chubby during high school and college.  My weight was normal. My picture below could attest to that.  But during those times, I felt so fat.   I  perceived myself as lumba lumba.   I guess it was part of  growing up – the I-feel-so-dissatisfied-with-my-appearance phase.   The mother in me hopes that my guess is  wrong, that  there is no such phase,  that Baby C will always feel beautiful and confident (but not conceited). As much as I want to shield her from negative feelings and stuff, I know that all I could do is to guide her...and yes, pray for her. 

studio photo with my ex-boyfriend 



It took a long time before I fully accepted my  shape, my skin and myself as a whole.  It took a long time before I accepted  that I’m pango, that my eyes are not of the same size, that my legs are short, that I’m not the beauty queen material (pangarap ko kaya maging beauty queen lol).  It took a long time before I fully embraced my flaws and imperfections.   It took a long time before I stopped obsessing about my appearance.   For a long time, I had been feeling a tinge of insecurity, envy and self-pity.    It was a long journey.     But now,   I can proudly say that I love every inch of Chasen. I celebrate my beauty and I don’t really give a darn on what people say about my appearance.     
   
Would you believe that the “Ang taba mo na!” comment no longer hurt me? True.  Oh, there was a time I caught myself quipping “Ikaw, ang pangit mo na!” It was not because I got  hurt  by my acquaintance’s  comment but because I found it improper. Imagine, it was Christmas eve and instead of greeting me  Merry Christmas, she said “Uy, ang taba mo na! Di kita nakilala.”  Okay. Fine. My reply was improper too. Pasko pa naman nun. Lol.  Pero di talaga ako nahurt. Promise.     

 I’m not skinny. I’m fat. I have flabby arms. I have bilbil. I have chubby cheeks.     Am I happy with my life? Yes. It’s because I believe that there’s more to life than my taba.    However,   it doesn’t mean that I can already  stuff my stomach with almost every edible stuff I see.   It doesn’t mean that I should stop losing the extra pounds.       Although I’m quite certain that my bilbil doesn’t define me , I  acknowledge the fact that having a healthy  weight still matters and the dangers of being overweight are real. 

I love my body that’s why I know that it deserves to be cared for.  I love myself that’s why I  will never  get tired of enhancing my appearance, my skills and talents. I will never ever get  tired of bringing out the best version of myself. 

Back to my question, why do I want to lose weight?
Because I want to do a matchy matchy OOTD with my daughter and I am afraid that the dress which I am planning to purchase from Twilo  won’t fit perfectly.  Now, scrap the foregoing paragraphs and look at the matchy matchy mother-daughter dresses.  They’re so cute, right?   

source: Twilo facebook account