Monday, April 30, 2007

Sweet Rewards

Gotta accumulate my sweet rewards points! :)
  • question #1 who’s your dreamy dreamy steamy hottie (and hubby’s don’t count) don’t just answer.. post up a picture, I need eye candy!

    I've loved this guy ever since Remington Steele. He is THE perfect James Bond, too! :)

The perfect gentleman. The perfect everything, hehehe. Oh, and yeah, Japa knows :)

  • question#2 what is the goofiest thing you’ve said/done this week?

This is a tough one. I know if I've done something or said something goofy...I usually forget it. Intentionally. Hehehe. A self-defense mechanism maybe? I've been in some pain this week, too, so definitely nothing goofy said OR done!

  • question #3 If I (or some random other person, as I can’t really answer this properly otherwise haha) walked into your house RIGHT NOW, what would embarrass you the most (be it an item, a mess, your fridge.. whatever)?

My home isn't the neatest, nor does it look like I have a home that comes straight out of a magazine. Everything is strewn all over the place, my home furniture mix and match, my room a gigantic enourmous mess, lol! Oh, and if we're talking about the right NOW? I'm in a dowdy cotton nightgown, hehehe.

  • question #4 what creepy things do you have living (or growing.. ) under your bed (due to lack of cleaning of course)?

Ugh! I have rolls of personalized wrapping paper, Japa's exercise paraphernalia, a stepping stool (our bed is high)....and God only knows.

  • question #5 have you ever done a drive by fart in the super market? Did anyone notice?

Sure! Hehehe. The "best" ones are what we dub the "silent killers". Hehehe. NO ONE ever notices, unless we burst out laughing :)

  • question #6 Finish this sentence… If I were a duck__________.

I'd quack and swim the whole day through. Nothing original co

  • question #7 google it … dude do it! ” your name is” __

Hmm, I've tried all sorts of combinations of the words Your Name is, but nothing is showing up? Anyone know what I'm doing wrong?

  • question #8 what colour are your underwear?

Right now? Black :)

  • question #9 if you could be with anyone right now, who would it be? why?

I'd love to be on a digital scrapbooking retreat with fellow digiscrappers. Narrow it down, you say? How about the Sugar Babes? :) Think of all the INSPIRATION! I can only hope some of it would rub off on me!

  • question #10 close your eyes, what do you see?

Me, (a lot!) thinner, leaner, sexier. Then I open my eyes, and the image disappears. Hehehehe. One can dream, eh?

Will be back with some scraps later on! Just waiting to upload to DST :)

In the meantime, check out these shorts to the right. I think I saw them on the Yahoo home page and I clicked on it instinctively. Why? They have Rogan's real name on them: ROMAN! Hehehe. I was going to show it to him and tell him that he was famous!

Turns out that these shorts and their owner are on their way to becoming famous! The owner is a young man by the name of Roman Greenberg who, at 24, is one of the youngest heavyweights to compete in the WBO.

A backgammon online company purchased these shorts for a whopping $100,000 to help sponsor Roman (I'm going to use his first name here since it was what drew me to the shorts in the first place, hehehe) in his quest to be one of the youngest top heavyweights in the boxing arena by taking on one of the WBO's top boxers. After the fight, the backgammon company will auction off the shorts to benefit impoverished Arab and Jewish youths.

A lofty but commendable goal for sure. Being a former athlete who has relied on sponsors to help support my teams to compete in different countries, I say amen to these kinds of endeavors. And what's not unique about a boxing and backgammon tandem for the benefit of the youth? I say the more different and unique a promotion is, the better chance it has for being noticed in this marketing-filled world.

I'm not into boxing that much, except when rooting for Manny Pacquiao of course, but backgammon? I have loved that game since I first played it a little bit over 25 years ago! Whoa...that's a quarter of a century! :)


Back Pain Does Not Make Me A Happy Camper

Sigh! I woke up this morning feeling slightly better than yesterday. The forced rest definitely helped. I was able to get some 6 hours of sleep, which is plenty for me, considering I've been getting less and less sleep nowadays. Have no idea why, though.

A special meeting was held in La Vista to talk about the Golden Ridge project. Of course, I just KNEW that I wasn't going to last very long, sitting down. I was already anticipating that I wouldn't last very long :). I did arm myself with a microwaveable heat pack, and some pain killers.

When I couldn't stand the pain, I took some painkillers. I took regular ibuprofen, wishing I had heard about Nurofen Plus earlier. It seems it was specially formulated for people with migraines (that's me!) and back pain (that's also me!!!). has CODEINE!!! Oh the wonders of codeine and what it can do for me! Hehehe.

I know I was prescribed codeine after I gave birth and let me tell you the RELIEF it brings. Long lasting relief! Which I may need if this back doesn't get better!

I was so excited to read about Nurofen Plus and the possibilities of having it on hand...only to find out it was available in New Zealand, hehehe! Okay....I just scrolled down a bit and it says FREE delivery WORLDWIDE! Whoohoo!!! Gotta love technology!

Before I order though, I'm going to do a little bit more research....I need to know if this great-sounding painkiller has caffeine in it. In my experience, for my migraines, my reliable Excedrin for Migraines does contain caffeine; I try not to take it too late in the day because I'd tend to stay up really late because of the slight caffeine content. So needless to say, if Nurofen Plus has NO caffeine, you can safely bet that I've switched! ;)

Now.....resting time....and scrapping time, hehehe.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday Scraps and Blog-ation

Yup. That's all I did today pretty much, since I couldn't move much. We went to mass in the morning and that was it. We stayed home for lunch and dinner, not even going to either of our parents' houses as is the custom.

I just HAD to stay home and rest my back. Not because I want to, but because I NEED to. Sigh! For the first time in the longest time so far, I have had to take a few painkillers. I had to, otherwise I wouldn't be able to function.

So I stayed on my tummy and scrapped. I also tried to sit on the bed indian-style (and was pretty successful, too!) as well as on an inclined position. Anything and everything I tried, including heat packs. My back was very well treated today, that's for sure!

Conversation between Rogan and Mama:
Rogan: Mama, do you have antihista-something
Mama: Antihistamine?

Rogan: Yes, that's it.

Mama: Yes, I think we do.

Rogan: Mama, look at me!

Mama: WHAT happened?!?!

Rogan: Papa said an insect bit me.

Note: Rogan only went to get medicine just so he could eat pizza (Papa wouldn't give him a slice until the swelling had gone down).

Credits: kit - Wrong Planet (in honor of Autism Awareness Month) by Rina Kroes at SBE; safety pin tag - by Holly McCaig; alpha - Rawhide Princess by Rina Kroes at SBE; fonts - Times New Roman, Adler, DJB Messie Amanda by Darcy Baldwin at Blue Flombingo

Rodney and his imitation of David Hasslehoff, hehehe.

Journaling reads: Rodney grabbed the floatation device from the sand and ran into the waves a la David Hasslehoff.

Credits: kit - Sophia's Garden by Eve Recinella at Sweet Shoppe Designs; cardboard overlay - by Linda Gil Billdal at Scrap Artist; swirl - It's A Spring Thing by Eve Recinella at SSD; date stamp - by Amber Clegg at Scrap Artist; frame cluster - by Gina Miller; Striptionary - by Manda Bean at SSD;
Idea from Katie the Scrapbook Lady’s March Amazing Month of Memories Class: March 22-National Goof Off Day; fonts - LD Slender, Times New Roman

Two LOs in a day, and I'm happy. As always, you can click on the LOs to leave me some love!

While scrapping, Japa and I also watched taped episodes of Heroes. Very cool series!


Not a word, I know, but it fits stuff I find on the internet that talk about blogging. I'm still trying to get more of my family into the blogging world. I know there are some out there who read my blog (but don't comment! HMP! --- you know who you are!) so I figure I might as well put out the information here, or some links, to help ease them into the blog-o-sphere. Is that a word? Hehehe.

For people starting to venture into the world of blogging, it's always good to read about great tips out there. Daniel Scocco wrote this article on 10 Rules for Responsible Blogging. It is a very straightforward article and mainly talks about the fact that we, as blog readers, should NOT assume that whatever we read in blogs are true. Or that they are reliable. In turn, to ensure our, shall we say, respectability, in the blogging world, it is always good to check our facts first, and/or to write from the heart. Part of being responsible of course, is to state in your blog that whatever opinions you state on your blog are just that: your opinions and no one else's.

Of course, if you provide links to other reference materials to back up your opinions, you are practicing responsible blogging. This includes advertisers who buy reviews. Hopefully, I am able to adhere to these rules. At least, as much as I can. Be sure to give a holler if I need to do it (responsible blogging) a little bit better. We're all here to learn, and to do things better.

So, for those friends and family out there who are just THINKING about blogging, GO FOR IT! But let me know if I can help you :) I'm a text message, a phone call, a YM away! :)


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Scrapping Despite the Back Problems

Sigh! My back is acting up. Again. I've been feeling a dull pain about 2 weeks ago, give or take a few days, and I've really TRIED to take care of it. But then we went to Cebu, hehehe. Yes, Cebu was a vacation, but really, with 4 kids and the rest of the family together, we had too much fun to think about really giving my back some much needed rest BEFORE it could escalate into something more painful *insert grimace here* We'd generally wake up at about 8 am and I'd find myself flat on my back for a much needed night's rest at 11 pm at the EARLIEST.

Oh well. Cebu was a lot of fun, don't get me wrong, but I think my back's paying for it now, hehehe. Sigh! Maybe it's missing yoga sessions? Or just more time lying down......

.....on my tummy, that is. So I can scrap :) *big grin*


This challenge is the brain child of Elizza, who figured that with each of us having 4 kids, and not a decent album for each of them, we NEEDED to do something about it. Obviously, the sisterhood wouldn't be complete without Bang, who, having one baby (for now!), is probably thanking her lucky stars that she can start doing this while Bric is still a baby!

Anyhoo, the basic purpose of the challenge is to START and FINISH our babies' first year. That's it. Then we can talk about the next challenge. One step at a time, and in one of the comments I got over at DST, nothing better than a challenge between sisters! :)

Here are 2 of my cover pages done. Two down, 2 more to go! :)

Credits: kit - The Sun is Finally Shining by Pamela Gibson; corkboard alpha - by mom2niryza; button alpha - by Eve Recinella; pinned metal date - by Holly McCaig; scalloped template - Fill-a-Paper Shaper by Katie the Scrapbook Lady; font - Adler

Credits: kit - 4 the Boyz Collection - Superstar by Royanna Fritschmann at Divine Digital; frames - Framed Memories by Fabella Designs at Divine Digital; stitched alpha - Carefree Alpha by Bev O'Loughlin at Divine Digital; round alpha - Baby Tweet by Royanna Fritschmann at Divine Digital; fonts - Adler, Arial Narrow

What do you think? To leave me love, just click on the layouts! :) TIA!


I'm not sure where I read the term, but having lived in Hawaii for 2 years or so, I don't know why I hadn't heard about it sooner! A parrothead, apparently, is one who is wearing a Hawaiian shirt, flip flops, and board shorts, and drinking a margarita! Excepting the flip flops and board shorts, I was a parrothead when I studied in Honolulu! Hehehe.

Let me clarify a bit: I didn't wear what was classically termed a Hawaiian shirt with huge florals on some itchy cloth, but I did wear some brightly floral-ed blouses and t-shirts then. As for flip flops, I never wore those ever. They hurt the part between my big toe and second toe and for the life of me, I couldn't walk in those. But everyone in Hawaii wore them. Yes, even to school. Graduate school. Hehehe.

And board shorts? Ummmm...nah. Could never find a pair that fit these ginormous thighs of mine AND fit my waist properly. Hehehe. So I'd wear regular shorts. But the margarita part? That's DEFINITELY me. :)

Continuing with my definition courtesy of Wikipedia, a parrothead is also loosely used to call fans of Jimmy Buffett, a country-pop-soft-rock singer. Buffetts fans normally wear hawaiian shirts and parrot hats (whatever they are, hehe). He is also a rawking guitar player and songwriter, from what I've read on the blogs of Jen Caputo and Holly McCaig. They apparently like his music, listing his songs as one of their top 10 faves.

And looking at this guy's concert tour, his shows are almost always sold out! And of course, this totally piques my interest and will merit more research on my part. You know how I am :) But I'm sure true parrotheads (see, using my word for the day) will say that trying to get some jimmy buffett tickets isn't easy at all.

Jimmy Buffett also owns some restaurants, the Margaritaville Cafe and Cheeseburger in Paradies. I'm going to check these out too! ;)


A Sad Situation...and A Remedy

As I watched the local news last night, I was saddened to know that d.r.u.g.s have been a way of life! Kids! Not that I'd condone d.r.u.g.s for adults, but kids? They're supposed to be the future..our future. And here they are, indulging in alcohol and d.r.u.g.s. A very sad plight.

The local news showed poor kids sniffing rugby to get their "fix". That this is where it all starts, the addiction. And the government's "solution"? Get the kids out of the streets, place them in some sort of local shelter for a few days.....and then they let them go back to their parents, their way of life, their addiction. Not exactly a solution.

Why can't the government come up with this sort of drug rehab program? They have a great thrust: they leave it up to the individual to come up with a lifestyle change. The program simply guides the individual to discover his or her own way of developing the needed lifestyle changes in order to be free of the addiciton.

And the facilities? WOW! This word describes it. 5,000 square feet. Set right smack in the middle of nature with hills and trees. Beautiful, and more importantly relaxing for the patient. Makes it more conducive to WANT to have that all-important lifestyle change.

This type of program is what our local kids need to get out of the vicious cycle that is addiction. I don't know how much it would cost the goverment, but it is for our kids, our future. Maybe some NGOs (National Government Organizations) are thinking about it. All I know is, this is one proram that I'd be willing to help support. For our kids's sake.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Original title, huh? Hehehe. Couldn't think of anything else.


Thank you ALL so much for all the birthday greetings for Japa yesterday! I told him that there were a lot of well-wishers from my blog AND from my DST layout of him, hehehe. And he thanks each and every one of you. He was feeling a bit blue the day before...because it was his birthday. And I was like, "hello! It's your BIRTHDAY! You shoule be in a celebratory mood!" I asked him WHY he was feeling blue and he said something like he just didn't feel like celebrating his birthday much. Huh?

Could it be the start of a mid-life crisis?!!? Already?!!? He's only 38! To be fair, Japa did rebound a bit during the day enough to plan where he wanted to treat the family for dinner on his birthday. Whew! But could it be mid-life crisis you think?


You will all be glad to know that I did NOT forget to pick up Rogan today. Hehehe. In fact, I was a bit early and had enough time to get out of the car and go inside the gym....only to find out that the little twit was pee-ing in some dark, danky corner!!! Aaaargh! So I yelled at him to 1-get out of the corner right NOW (as if he could stop mid-stream, hehehe) and 2-he earned an earful of hygiene and common courtesy. Sheesh!

But he did say "thanks for picking me up, Mama!" Awwww...... :) So I guess I'm out of the bad-mommy list and onto the good-mommy one *wink*

Nothing exciting today...We did go to Virra Mall to have Rogan's Game Boy fixed. The poor boy was not a happy camper for the past few days because he had "nothing to do". Of course I made him READ instead! Sigh! Nothing to do....gets my goat, especially when school's out. Oh well. Anyhoo, the GBA simply needed a new battery; for some strange reason, he had completely drained his battery! Boys! *this said out of sheer exasperation*

I wasn't able to surf the boards last night since Japa was watching Heroes via the web. GRRRRR!!!!! In a major way! What downloads I was getting was just sheer torture to watch! I was so pissed I scrapped, LOL!

My little bumblee-godson, Bric, during a family photo shoot. I decided to put him "inside" the tulips, hehehe.

Credits: kit - Tiptoe Through the Tulips by Digi Hub; leaves - Spring Mix by Amy Martin; bee trail, "sweet" - Buzz Tales by Katie Pertiet; font - DJB Messie Amanda; layered template, inked edge - The Flower Shop 1 by Janet Phillips


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Happy 38th Birthday, Sweetheart!

Happy Birthday, Japs!

38 things...

that we love about Papa

01 - he loves to play with the kids
02 - he can COOK so I don't have to
03 - he changes diapers, especially those with the poop
04 - he plays PS2 with the kids
05 - he is a fitness buff and tries to make us one, too (although I think this is a toss up)
06 - he teaches the kids to be adventurous eaters
07 - he is down-to-earth
08 - he is smart
09 - he teaches the kids Filipino (this is good for me, but the kids may beg to differ, hehehe)
10 - he helps review the kids during exam week
11 - he lets us play with his Mac
12 - he teaches us how to take pictures
13 - he lets us touch his brand new camera
14 - he knows when to have fun and when to be serious
15 - he is SEXY!
16 - he is a very good provider
17 - he is a great Papa to everyone
18 - he has learned to love dessert because I can't finish a meal without it
19 - he spends time with the kids just so I can scrap or because I have a chat I have to attend
20 - he loves my layouts
21 - he encourages me to do what I want
22 - he researches information on my laptop and camera so I can make a decision
23 - he does laundry (and folds too, but not so neatly, hehehe)
24 - he makes sure I get enough rest (and will turn off the alarm clock or not wake me at all!)
25 - he has learned to love the cold so we can snuggle under the covers
26 - he goes to yoga with me just so I have someone with me
27 - he is most definitely not a "yes" man
28 - he has a strong personality
29 - he knows what he wants out of life
30 - he loves to swim with the kids, even if the water is freezing cold
31 - he has taught the kids an appreciation for what we have
32 - he has taught all of us to be more practical
33 - he's got the sexiest pair of legs *wink*
34 - he loves Beauty and Beast because I do
35 - he is a leader
36 - he has gotten closer to God and is more in touch with his faith
37 - he loves the kids
38 - he loves me

I love you, Sweetheart! Happy 38th Birthday!

P.S. I used Janet Phillips' 33 as an inspiration for this post. Thanks Janet!

It's 3:09 am and I need some sleep....mass is at 630 am to thank God for Japa. Then breakfast....yummmm! Then I don't know -- it's Japa's day today!


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bad Mama, GSS and Swimming Lesson #2

O.M.G! I was such a BAD Mama this morning! I still CANNOT believe it happened!!!! Ack!

I woke up bright and early and woke Rogan up for his Taekwondo lessons at 8 am. By 730 am, we were on the road and on our way. It was just me and him (remember from this post that I am driving my kids to their lessons for the next month), since I figured I kinda knew the way to the gymnasium.

So we get there without getting lost, a few minutes early. Rogan goes in, waves goodbye to me, and I go home. Without getting lost, hehehe. Proud moment for me there, LOL!

I'm home, I have breakfast, and open up my laptop. I surf the message boards, I scrap. And then I FORGET that I'm supposed to pick up my son at 930 am!!! I FORGOT!!!! What kind of mother does that?!?!? Eek!

By the time I realize my MAJOR boo-boo, the Raine had been picked up by Bong and Rielle, on their way to the gym for their rhythmic gymnastics class. I hurriedly call Bong and tell him to be on the lookout for Rogan at the gym. I call him twice or thrice, mentally urging him to drive a little bit faster on the way to the gym.

So he finally gets there, and Rogan, thank God, was just waiting for someone to pick him up. Bong drove him home. Safe and sound. He gets home, drinks a ton of water, takes a shower to clean his sweaty self and dirty feet, and then I hug him. :)

Whew! Possible crisis averted. So you think I scrap too much that I forgot to pick up my own son?!? Sigh! On Friday, I'm setting the alarm. Just to make sure.


The Gavino Summer School is in session again, after a week or so off, because of our trip to Cebu. Japa was on a rampage last night, with the kids' Filipino lessons *roll up eyes here, hehehe* For the life of me, I have always memorized Tagalog words all through Grade School and High School....and passed. But for Mr. Bulacan (known for Filipino speakers), this is a no-no. The kids MUST understand and speak it well, especially Rogan, who, poor thing, is having such a difficult time of it all.

On a lighter GSS note, just before the girls had to leave for the Street Dancing lessons, we broke open the watercolors! The kids were SO excited! :) We did a simple lesson today:

1. Take a Sharpie.
2. Draw a line or a shape on your sketch book.
3. Pass your sketch book to the person on your right.
4. Draw another line or shape on the sketch book, making sure it is touching the previous line or shape.
5. Do this for 3 or 4 rounds, until the paper is filled.
6. Color using the watercolors.

Note to self: Take photos of the kids' work and display in an online album of sorts. :)


Today was SO much better than yesterday! :) In the beginning though, when Ranger woke up from his nap, he immediately told his Yaya that he didn't want to swim in the big pool, hehehe. He kept saying he wanted to swim, but "no coach!"

On the way to the pool, we kept telling him that he was GOING to swim in the big pool, and with Coach. And trying to force him to say yes. LOL! By the time we got to the pool, he really was saying yes, he was going to swim with Coach!

We get there and he grabs "his" kickboard (it's really Raine's, but I wasn't about to argue with him and ruin his relatively good mood) and walks up the stairs and towards the pool. Then he turns towards the SMALL pool. I run and block his way, and all heck breaks loose, hehehe, as he realizes that I am going to FORCE him into the big pool. Again.

I scoop him up and walk towards the coaches, who are already in the pool. He spies a bench and shouts "Sit! Sit!". I give him a chance and sit him down. For 10 seconds. Then I tell him he really does have to go in the pool. He starts squirming as I try and carry him, hooking his little foot underneath the bench, hehehe. Desperation at its best. :)

I tell him that Mama is a lot bigger and stronger than he is, and that it would be useless to try and fight me...he was going IN the pool. He quieted somewhat, but kids will be kids, and Ranger attempted to wriggle out of my arms. Yeah.

I plop him in the pool, into Coach's waiting arms. He screams for his kickboard...and I knew he would be okay. True enough, by the time I had walked to the sidelines, he was quiet and was listening to Coach. *shake head here* You just have to laugh, hehehe.

From the bottom, clockwise: 1-That's actually a smile; Ranger's saying "cheese"; 2-Kicking, by the side of the pool; 3-After being dunked by Coach.

After his lessons, Ranger went to the small pool and again "practiced" his lesson there. By himself. He would go under water, hold his kickboard and kick - trying to cross the width of the small pool, and he even held the edge of the pool and kicked! What a ham!

RANGER & GRACE (the horse)
Ranger on a horse!

Poem reads (anonymous):
Horsey Horsey don't you stop
Just let your feet go clippity clop
Swish your tail and let’s turn around
Giddy up, we're homeward bound.

Credits: kit - Rawhide Princess by Rina Kroes at SBE; curled border template - by Marcie Reckinger and Traci Murphy; fonts - DJB Lena, DB Danielle - both by Darcy Baldwin at Blue Flombingo; layered sketch - by Ronee Parsons;
Idea from Katie the Scrapbook Lady’s April Amazing Month of Memories Class: April 3 - Pony Express Day

Raine holding 5-month old Robyn atop a horse.

Credits: kit - Rawhide Princess by Rina Kroes at SBE; bend it photo template - by Debbie Knorr
photo filter action - by Holly McCaig; fonts - DJB Keely, DJB Keely Script - both by Darcy Baldwin at Blue Flombingo; layered template, stitches, inked edge - The Flower Shop 1 by Janet Phillips;
Idea from Katie the Scrapbook Lady’s April Amazing Month of Memories Class: April 3 - Pony Express Day

Ok. That should be it. It's Japa's birthday tomorrow.....and I don't have a gift! :(


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

First Day of Swimming Lessons!


Yes, Ranger had his first swimming lesson today! Whoohoohoo!!! We had brainwashed him since last night, asking him "Ranger will swim with coach, ok?" And we'd tell him to answer "yes!". Hehehe. Apparently, it worked, because when he woke up from his nap, he was excited to go swimming with (an unseen) coach!

He was still excited when he got to the pool. I led him to coach...and that was when he started making excuses, hehehe. Like "I want to go to Riley...I want to sit down..." etc, etc, etc. Of course, none of those held any water with me, and I carried him to the water kicking and flailing his arms and legs. Once he was in the water, he stopped for a bit then started crying again. But I could tell he was crying just for the sake of crying, so I left him with Coach and went to the side of the pool where he couldn't see me or Yaya Coset.

After about 30 minutes (yes, it was a bit long, but you have to understand that he was crying crocodile tears, so I was immune to that), he finally calmed down. He was still following Coach's instructions so at least I knew he was paying attention.

Obviously, Ranger had NO nice photos during his lesson, hehehe. That pic on the far right, bottom? That was the little goober AFTER his lessons, jumping in the small pool! The good part about it all was that he was actually applying his lessons when he was in the small pool! He would submerge himself for a few seconds, he would hold the side of the pool and sort of kick. Now how COOL is that? :)


I forgot to mention yesterday that there was a ginormous fire behind the village, sort of. It was in the squatters' area, not even a half-mile away from us! Mom called us a little bit after lunch asking if we could see the smoke; I thought she was talking of a fire at the office! And then I went cold all over when she said it was in the direction of the village. I mean, ALL our kids were at home AND no driver to boot!

Before I panicked full-scale, I called home and asked if someone had checked out the fire. One of the guards had and reported that it wasn't that near....but it was huge. It was starting to raze the squatters' shanties, the whole shebang. I felt bad for them of course, but I was relieved that my kids were going to be safe.

This got me thinking..what IF the fire had been close to home? Were we prepared? Safety-wise? Did we have fire routes? Did we have fire extinguishers? Did we have insurance? Home insurance, fire insurance, life insurance, death insurance (knock on wood!)? Scary thought, and morbid to think about that last one, but really, we MUST be prepared no matter what, shouldn't we? Better to be safe than sorry, definitely.

Tomorrow, while at the office, I'm going to check our documents to see what kinds of insurance we DO have. Just to make sure, just for my piece of mind. To be safe, to feel secure. And what we don't have? I'm going to ask for a quotation! :)


It has been so HOT here, it is unbelievable! Whether I'm inside our outside the house, I can feel the sweat rolling down my back. It was in the very high 90s today and humid, too! Ugh! Not only do I hate it, I ABHOR it! Ugh, ugh, ugh! Give me cold weather anytime!

I love the cold. Wait, let me re-phrase that...I love it when it's cold and I'm indoors, in my bed, wrapped ----better yet, COCOONED--- in a great big, warm down comforter. I'm always on the lookout for great deals, and this site offers great prices on down comforters, the kind that you see in department stores!

Yes, I know, I live in a tropical climate, but at nights, because of air conditioning, our room is so cold, I can easily imagine myself in the States during the dead of winter. Inside my comfy, warm down comforter! :) Anyway, this site has a 25% discount on ALL their comforters. It looks like the discount applies to prices already BELOW those of department store prices! Now how awesome is that?

I love sleeping on down pillows too. And don't even get me started on featherbeds! Ahhhhh.......relaxing, comfy, just enough softness for my bad back, but firm enough because I can still feel my mattress underneath me. For some reason, every time I have my down comforter over me, my sleep is restful...and long, hehehe. Love it!

Oh, and before I forget, you get free shipping, too, on orders over $50! Suh-weet!

This is for the SBE Scripture Challenge.

Credits: kit - Whispered Promises by Rina Kroes at SBE; word art - provided by Rina Kroes for the Scripture Challenge; curled border template/action set - by Marcie Reckinger and Traci Murphy; layered template - by Nikki Beudreau

My mother, grandmother, and aunt. All covered up against the sun's rays.

Journaling reads:
big floppy hats
long-sleeve shirts

...Giving new meaning
to the word

Credits: Idea from Katie the Scrapbook Lady’s May Amazing Month of Memories Class: May 27 - Sunscreen Day; kit - A Song in My Heart by Amy Bleser at SBB; sun doodle - by Meredith Fenwick; vintage frames - by Nancy Comelab; chicken scratch alpha - by Amy Bleser at SBB; photo action filter - All That Pops by Holly McCaig; layered template - Starting Blocks 1 by Amy Bleser at SBB; fonts - Times New Roman, DJB KeelyB by Darcy Baldwin at Blue Flombingo

For those of you who know me, I am a rectangular scrapper. I've been doing square pages for my Cebu layouts so that when I have enough, I'm going to have an album done. :)


Monday, April 23, 2007

Back to Reality

It's Monday. Back to work. Back to reality.


Yes, you read right. I am playing chauffer to my kiddos. Or at least, to ONE child, since Elizza has so generously offered (more like coerced, I think, hehehe) to have her driver chauffer my kids with her kids for their numerous summer activities today! Thank you Lai!

I had to get up early to be able to drive Rogan to U.P for his Tae Kwon Do class. Where is our driver? Ummmmm....he went on vacation. For a whole MONTH!!! What was I thinking?!?!?!? Ugh! Just bad timing that I had said yes to his vacation plans JUST when I had enrolled the kids for Taekwondo, Rhythmic Gymnastics, and Street Dancing. Plus swimming training in the late afternoon!!!! Ack!

This easily qualifies for a back-to-reality kind of day!!!


I got to the office and found my desk piled high with paperwork. Ugh, ugh, and double ugh! There were overtime forms to approve, checks to sign, documents to check, and Human Resources stuff to do! Not to mention the fact that the St. Therese Shrine's turnover ceremony will be next month! Taking a week off to go to Cebu compounded things, hehehe. Oh well. Nothing to do except to roll up the sleeves and start digging in!

I have got to find some medals of St. Therese of the Child Jesus for the turnover ceremony. We need these to make some beaded chaplets to give away during the ceremony. I found medals, statues, bibles, rosaries and whole lot more religious items for sale at this site that sells confirmation gifts. The online store even carries funky Vatican neckties! With the plethora of religious items here, I'm sure my mom will be surfing for a few hours at the very least. Now to forward the link to her.....


Japa and I had a spur of the moment lunch out together. Just the 2 of us. It was a nice, quiet, quality time for the both of us. We wanted to have salads so I suggested the California Pizza Kitchen where I ordered the BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad (whole size of course!) and Japa ordered some Oriental Salad. And that was lunch: a humongous salad and a diet soda. Yummm!

Then we mozied on over to Power Books where we spent a bit of time browsing through the store. We ended up getting a Tagalog-English dictionary for Rogan, a Power Vocabulary book for me, and another Rhyming Dictionary for the kids to use during GSS time.


Oh. My. Gosh. You have GOT to check out this fun site! It is hilarious! You are given an old Motorola phone to dress up any way you want. You are given a lot of options to dress your old cellphone.....spiffy him or her up a bit to fit today's look. Of course, an ancient cellphone will never be able to look like his/her newer, sleeker, modern counterpart, but there will be guaranteed laughs as you try to do it.

You can choose your phone's hair, eyes, mouth. And to spiffy your phone up a bit, you scroll through the choices as you pick your hatwear, a shirt and some lower body coverings to suit your taste. You also have some accessories to play around with, as well as choose from a bunch of different scenes on which to put your Dusty phone.

Wanna see my Dusty? Here ya go!
Ugly little bugger isn't she? Hehehe. Believe me, I tried all sorts of combinations before coming up with what you see. I chose the beach because I am obviously still in beach body is here in Manila but my mind is still in Cebu! Hehehe.

I love the fact that the site puts your Dusty on a stage with spotlights on you. The scrolling thingamajig at the bottom of the screen where you choose your options is a fast-moving feature and you can easily go back and forth to try and decide what to put on your Dusty old phone. I did want to have a choose-your-face option though, but there was none that I could see.

Oh, and if you wanted to change something? You either just click on a new item, or click on the red "X" to remove that particular item.

So what are you waiting for? Go and play the 1985 Cell Phone Makeover Game now! Enjoy!


If you go on over to Christina Renee's blog and Lauren Reid's blog, you're in for a HUGE, amazing, FREE surprise!!!

Read a touching story of a mother of strength and how she celebrates her son's Heaven Day today.

Ok, it's almost midnight, so I guess there won't be any scraps to show off today. :( I will need to be at the office a lot earlier than I was today so that I can leave early to take some pics of Ranger's first day of coached swimming! And yes, I will be the chauffer for the day again. :)

Oh, and Happy Birthday to Tita Tinggoy!


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Making Time for Blogging and Other Blogging Tips

I have been sitting at my computer the past couple of hours trying to scrap. Trying being the key word. Apparently, I've lost my mojo for now. Maybe I'm tired, maybe I'm pressured....definitely not good to be these things when I have GOT to scrap! I've got a ton of photos on my hard drive, and a ton more waiting to be downloaded. And these are only from the trip to Cebu this week!

Then I realized that I hadn't blogged practically the entire week! Egad! LOL!

Although I've got a number of posts on my blog, I still consider myself a relative newbie; I'm definitely far from being blog-savvy. For those who feel the samy way I do, check out these Tips for Building and Maintaining A Blog Audience. This article has some really great tips for writing your blog. Not just tips, but tips that REALLY make sense! If only I had the help of this article when I first started out with Scraps of Mama!

Some tips that I can add, based on my experience:

1. Make TIME for blogging. If you are really serious about your blogging, making time will help you immensely. Setting a block of time, say 20 to 30 minutes a day will make it easier for you to maintain a blog. It would help if this block of time is set aside the same time every day. And yes, trying to blog everyday will help make you adept at blogging! Not only are you able to "practice" the art of blogging, but you also get to practice your writing skills, your grammar, and your blog-skills. Pretty soon, blogging will be a piece of cake!

2. Join a Blog Train. Sounds silly, but hey, it works for me. As a member of Digi Shop Talk, I "meet" many digiscrappers in the message boards. I get to know more about them when I visit different blogs. And these blogs are listed in the "Blog Train", where the basic rule is that when you post that you've updated your blog, you promise to visit the blog or 2 or 3 or more above you and make a comment. I've only recently joined the Blog Train and since I have, I've had a tad bit more visitors other than my family and friends. :)

3. Visit other Blogs. By visiting other people's blogs, you learn different things. You see a lot of different pages, and you end up with a lot of ideas in your head! It would be nice, obviously to visit blogs that talk about different sorts of things, but for us digiscrappers, it is ALWAYS a joy to visit our blogs simply because we upload our digital layouts to our blogs. Which brings me to my next tip.....

4. Put pictures or images on your blog. This helps break the monotony of seeing just words on the page. Pictures will also allow a big of white space --- or negative space --- on the page, which makes it a lot easier on the eyes. With eyes that are relatively "rested", the reader will want to read on...and visit you more.

Okay. Those are my seeds of wisdom for the day....the week? Hehehe. Now I really HAVE to try and scrap! Or at least, surf the message boards to see everything that I've missed while I was in Cebu!

Whoops! Before I go, I have one more layout to share:
Rod and Zhar "modeling" ok fine, POSING for pictures, during our week in Cebu.

Journaling reads:
4 Days
Beach House
Shangri La
Jet Ski

Credits: kit - Seasational by Royanna Fritschmann at My Digital Muse; photo cluster - On the Edge Cluster 5 by Nancy Comelab at MDM; tag - POSH by Royanna Fritschmann at MDM; Easy Peasy folded corner - by Karah Fredricks; fonts - Franklin Gothic, LD Whatever


Back Home to Manila

Today we go home. Feeling a bit sad because we have to go back home to work (hehehe), because we're going to miss the beauty of the Beach House and Cebu, because we're going to miss being out in the sun by the pool the whole day, because we go back to reality. At the same time though, feeling glad we're going home because I want my own bed to sleep in, because I need the airconditioning at the office (too expensive if the AC is on the whole day at home, hehehe), and because I need to give my poor, sunburnt skin a break.


The whole morning was spent at the Shang again. First up was the beach since the kids, especially Rogan, enjoyed it so much. However, the sand wasn't as pretty maybe because it rained hard early in the morning. The sand was a bit pebbl-y and stony, and to the kids' dismay, there was a lot of seaweed in the water and on the sad. Talk about utter grossness, judging from the looks on their faces! But while we were there, there was someone clearing up the seaweed-mess, so that the beach looked white and pristine again, and very clean. Of course Shangri-La had to "fix" this "mess".....they wanted a gleaming expanse of soft, powdery sand showing on their guests' pictures, to entice them to come back and bring other friends. The hotel probably conducted some market research that a pristine and white beach is better for their business.

We went to the little cove in the middle of the beach and we practically had it to ourselves the entire morning. To our delight, the kids discovered that there were a LOT of fish in the water, near the shore! Excitedly, Raine ran to Japa's backpack for the stale bread that he brought down from the room for purposes of feeding the fish. She ran back down to the water and distributed the bread to everyone. Even Ranger held his hand out for the bread.

As the kids threw small pieces of the bread in the water, they would oooh and aaah and shriek with delight as the fish literally jumped on the morsels of bread that were thrown their way. You could SEE their glistening, silver bodies shining in the sunlight as they wove and dove their way into the middle of the feeding frenzy!

Poor Ranger wasn't feeling well though, and he slept in my arms after all the excitement about the fish died down. The movement of the water probably helped him to doze off; I carried him to a lounge chair and covered him up with a towel. He slept through all our laughter, screaming and shouting, the poor baby. :(

We even had our own version of Baywatch as Rodney, Rondic and Boydee demonstrated their best David Hasselhoff ummm...physique and diving abilities. What a site! No photos of this highly-entertaining segment of our stay since those priceless photos are on Japa's camera. But it's SO going to be WORTH to see when I upload them! Hehehe.


Checked out of Shang at 3 pm and went our merry way to the Beach House where we did our final packing, eating and surfing the internet :) I was able to browse some message boards and catch up on a bit of email. But scrapping? Sigh! Just a couple of layouts uploaded and that was it. Too much fun during vacation, I guess, hehehe. CT requirements were put on the backburner for a little bit while I enjoyed some time with the family. :)

We had dinner at an italian restaurant and dessert at a thai restaurant. How's that for international cuisine? Hehehehe. Poor Boydee and Bang were shuttling both mine and Dic's families to and from the airport since we only had a minivan and a Land Cruiser. No way were we going to be able to fit 20 people in those 2 vehicles!

When we got to the airport, it was to find out that our flights were delayed. Rondic's flight was delayed for an hour and I was praying that our later flight wasn't going to be delayed as much. It was delayed for only 20 minutes, thank goodness.

We finally left Cebu at 11 pm. Arrived in Manila a little bit past midnight. Thankfully, the kids cooperated and slept the entire way. Ranger was already asleep after dinner and didn't wake until we got to the house and had to change him. But he just rolled over and continued his journey to Dreamland.

It's a little bit past 1 am and here I am blogging! Hehehe.

Journaling reads: The sun was shining so bright on Easter Day. When we laid you down amongst the plastic easter eggs for some pictures, you immediately covered your eyes with the biggest egg you could grab. We resorted to a game of peek-a-boo just so we could see your cute little face peeking amongst all the eggs.

Credits: kit - Country Love by Fabella Designs at Divine Digital; scalloped template - Fill A Paper Shaper by Katie the Scrapbook Lady at ACOT; round tag - Boutique Chic Elemental Scraps Mega Kit; chick Tearz - Hippity Hoppity by DeDe Smith; alpha - Frayed Fabric Alpha by Dani Mogstad; fonts - DB Teacher, KGD Saxon, Pea Johanna Script; Done for Lifts with a Twist

My grandmother, looking fresh and glamorous during a sweltering day.

Journaling reads: Huge straw hat, huge sunglasses, make up and pearls are Lola Nene’s must-haves on the boat ride to the restaurant in the middle of the ocean. Our very own 87-year old glamorous Sunshine Girl.

Credits: kit - Springtime Heyday by Eve Recinella at Sweet Shoppe Designs; Date Brush - by Paula Duncan at SSD; photo filter - All that Pops by Holly McCaig; corner doodle - by Laura White (Princess Lala Designs)at Divine Digital; layered template, stitches - The Flower Shop 1 by Janet Phillips; font - Marketing Script

Ok, gotta get some shut-eye so we can make it to mass tomorrow morning!


Friday, April 20, 2007

Shangri La and Chateau de Busay

We had breakfast at the Acqua coffeeshop at Shang. It was beautiful! While dining, we had a view of the ocean through ceiling-to-floor glass windows. We had nice, cushy, leathery chairs, and the whole restaurant was decorated in white, dark brown and matte chrome. Very classy, very elegant. There was a lot less people at Acqua than at Tides, so that was nice. We had another leisurely breakfast; we were going to spend the entire morning at the pool and the beach.

After lathering on some major sunblock lotion, we all jumped into the pool and spent several hours there. We rented a couple of floating rafts and the girls and Japa had fun racing and doing some relays on them. Even the lifeguards were laughing at their antics! hehehe.

No pictures to share of those yet, because I haven't downloaded them to my laptop yet. Even Ranger joined in the fun, with me as his partner. He wouldn't lie down completely on the rafts, preferring to have part of his legs submerged in the water. But when I told him we were going to join in the races, he gamely lay on his tummy and even paddled a bit with his short little arms to help Mama go faster during the race! It was so cute! :)

After the pool, we hit the beach for a little bit. The sand was powdery soft, and white. According to Bang it was fake sand, i.e., probably dumped there to make the Shang's beach more appealing. But it was very very nice and pretty. There were some coves by the beach, but we hung out where there was a wide expanse of sand and water....and a little bit of shade.

The kids, especially Rogan, enjoyed playing in the sand. There were sand castles, sand mountains, and sand fights.

We went back to the Beach House for lunch at 3 pm. All the kids were ravenous as they practically scarfed down their food!

For dinner, we went to the restaurant owned by Bang's family, the Chateau de Busay. When we arrived, we had just enough time to make use of the natural light for taking photos of the restaurant. Between Elizza, Japa, Rodney and myself, I'm sure we got enough good photos for the website, the menu, and other marketing materials for Chateau. I don't know how my lowly point-and-shoot (semi-DSLR, I think, hehe) camera shots will compare to the others' humongous DSLRs (A Sony A-100, Nikon D50 and a Rebel), but I have Photoshop to help me! Hehehe :)

Ok, couldn't resist not having any photos in this post...I just downloaded our beach photos from my camera. Note to self: need to get other photos from Japa, Elizza and Rod.

There. Just a few photos from the beach. I'm reserving most of the shots for scrapping obviously! :)

{Other Schtuff}

This has been an awesome vacation! Aside from the constant presence of an internet connection (I didn't want to pay for it at the hotel), it was very relaxing, and definitely some quality time spent with the entire family. We are going to have to do this again sometime soon, and not wait for the kids' summer vacation to do it either.

I was browsing through my list of daily-blogs-to-read, and I found a ton of links for great vacation places at Heather Ann Melzer's blog. Definitely a must-read, if you want some reviews for places to stay in Orlando. I'm going to be clicking those links and exploring a lot sometime in the next few days.

Someone also sent me a link to visit Branson Missouri. Looks like a lot of fun, and something to discover, for sure. I am totally intrigued by their replica of the Titanic, the Branson balloon (maybe it's a hot air balloon?) and the Branson scenic railroad. They are going to be celebrating their 10th anniversary this summer and are going all out to attract visitors. I'm not sure how far Missouri is from Pennsylvania (when we go in July), but it's a place worth looking into.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Boat Ride, A Floating Restaurant and a Fish Sanctuary

Before tales of what we did today, a layout share:
A rare photo of the boys in the family all together.

Credits: kit - In Short Supply Too by Royanna Fritschmann at Divine Digital; vintage photo frame - by Katie Pertiet; doodles - Flower Doodles 2 by Janette Padley (Dragon Lair Designs) at Divine Digital; tear - by Kim Hill; photo filter - CGE Vintage Actions by Kim Hill; fonts - Rusted Plastic, Stamped DSG, Arial Narrow

Woke up early and and had breakfast at Shangri La's Tides coffeeshop. It was very crowded, but the food was plentiful. We had a leisurely meal, and Raine enjoyed her breakfast :)

Then we were off to the Beach House to ride a big banca, a wooden boat with outriggers on both sides. There were 22 of us, including the kids. After a half hour or so, we arrived at a restaurant set in the middle of the ocean. Literally in the MIDDLE of the ocean. On cement stilts, but in the middle of this great expanse of water. This was where we were going to have lunch.

Our Banca
When we disembarked from our banca, mom, lola, Tita Nonie, Bang and Elizza headed to the middle of the restaurant where there were set up a series of huge basins with LIVE fish, squid, clams, mussells, crabs and some other shellfish. The girls (excepting me of course, me who knows NOTHING of cooking!) poked, pointed, chose and decided on our menu for lunch. Me? I was happy just taking photos and wandering around the floating restaurant.

After a delicious lunch which we all enjoyed, we all trooped back into the banca and headed to the Fish Sanctuary. Again somewhere in the middle of the ocean. I was expecting a building of some sort....but all we were headed toward was a few cluster of boats "parked" in the middle of the water.

The boats were full of scuba divers, getting ready for a dive....into the fish sanctuary: the ocean! Hehehe. We didn't have scuba gear, we didn't know how to dive. Japa had his snorkelling gear ready though and he jumped right into the water. He said he saw a lot of pretty fish and that the water was nice and cool.

By this time, we were all sweating from the unbearable heat and the lure of the cool water was too good to resist. I also knew that Japa was a "sinker" (as opposed to a floater, which I was) and was slightly worried that he would actually sink in the water :) So I jumped in the water and could barely contain a scream --- it was COLD!!!! But a nice, refreshing cold, especially after being so HOT the past few hours!

After a few minutes, Rod, Boydee, Bang and Zhar joined us. Pretty soon, the kids were all clamoring to see the fish and get in the water too. Although the were strong swimmers, they were still too small and light for the pretty strong current. We told them they could get in the water only if they wore life vests. Rogan was the first one to jump. And he LOVED it! His enthusiasm was catching and the other kids wanted in on the fun as well, even Ranger!

So one by one, a few kids at a time went down and jumped into the water. We adults spread ourselves out over an outrigger so that we could fence the kids into one area of the ocean. Not an easy feat with 6 adults and 8 kids including a 2-year old on floaters, NOT a life vest!

And if you read my post a few days back, you'd know that Rogan and Ranger both had asthma when we went to Cebu. Superstition has it that a dip in the salt water of the ocean will help relieve a lot of things, asthma included. I figured it wouldn't hurt, and the boys certainly enjoyed their time in the ocean! Of course, I was crossing my fingers that they'd be fine and that the dip in the ocean wouldn't aggravate their asthma. It didn't. Whew! *smiling with relief*

We got back to the Beach House and found the rented Jet Skis waiting for us. Since it was low tide, the boat couldn't get too close to the shore. So the jet skis were put to work. Yes, even Lola Nene in all her 87-year old glory, rode the jet ski! Hehehe. So did Tita Nonie and Dad. What a site! The only thing was, we weren't able to take photos of this glorious, one-and-only time that they'd be riding the jet skis! Dang! We let the "oldies" have the first chance of getting back to shore, so those of us who had cameras were still on the boat and we didn't think of taking them out because we were figuring out who was going to go next.

I did go with Dad though. I didn't trust Alex to be able to hold him if something happened, but I knew that I could do something, whatever it was :). Anyway, Dad was sandwiched between the jet ski driver and me; I hung on to the jacket of the driver and told him to go. After a few seconds, I asked Dad if he was ok, and he nodded yes. I then told the driver to go faster and started shouting "wheeeeee!". I could tell that Dad was smiling and was having a blast feeling the wind on his face; I saw the sides of his face turn up. Too bad he declined going for another spin on the jet ski though.

I took my turn for a little bit with Rogan on board the jet ski. He totally enjoyed the ride, he stayed on for the longest time riding with either Rodney or Boydee or Mom. The rest of us swam in the pool the whole time.

Another fun-filled day!


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Lo and Behold: An Internet Connection!

In Cebu and experiencing internet-withdrawal. I never realized how important and VITAL having an internet connection is. A bit shallow yes, but I really NEED to have SOME internet everyday. Maybe just a couple of hours just so I can read blogs, surf the message boards, upload my digital layouts, and yes, so I can BLOG.

Boydee was able to bring a travel router to the Beach House. But not one of us could figure out how to have our laptops connect to it! Until Japa arrived this morning. And what did he do? He simply reset the darn router! We WERE supposed to do that, but for the life of me, I could not find the reset button! The travel router looked different than the regular blue, plastic, big Linksys router. How was I supposed to know that all you needed to do was to UNPLUG the whole thing to reset it?!?! Sheesh! *roll eyes here*

Anyway, the title of this post says it all: Lo and Behold---an internet connection! Yeah!
View from the Beach House
Isn't it gorgeous?!?! Many many MANY thanks to Bang and Tita Nonie for letting us stay there!

I have been scrapping.....something to do while we had no internet connection AND an excuse to stay out of the blistering sun during the hottest hours of 10 am to 2 pm. We made the mistake of staying out during these hours yesterday and I have a major sunburn to show for it. Thank goodness the kids had sunblock on; I was just too busy making sure THEY had sunblock on them, I totally forgot to put some on myself! Sigh!

We are staying at the Shangri La Hotel tonight. Japa has been insistent that we stay there when we go to Cebu. Not that it was going to be uber private for us...we are bringing Ranger and Raine with us when sleep there tonight, hehehe. Raine is excited about having a buffet breakfast tomorrow morning, she opted to leave her other siblings and cousins at the Beach House and miss out on all the fun they were going to have! Ahhhh....priorities! :)


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Searching for Hotels

{Sponsored Review}

The incident with our travel agents NOT being able to get us a confirmation at the Shangri La while I could easily reserve rooms in the EXACT same hotel for the EXACT same date got me probably IS a lot easier to book our hotels online.....

Nothing could be easier than making hotel reservations than at Hotel and other such sites. It makes booking hotels, rental cars, flights and other vacation packages a breeze. Unlike other booking sites, the Hotel Reservations home page gives an option for users to choose a country where they're from, and the currency of choice for the transaction/s.

Only thing is, the Philippines is not one of the choices. Good thing that I have a US credit card and I can easily make reservations for hotels, flights, even rental cars.

Sites such as these will definitely be useful for me, as I am one of the few people in our family who is in charge of making travel plans for the entire family. With a family as big as ours, making all sorts of travel arrangements is not easy. There are different schedules to consider, different kinds of rooms to book (i.e., regular rooms, suites), different kinds of flight class (i.e, economy, business and first class). Having great online reservation sites are definitely a piece of cake!

For people who are not used to making online transactions, sites such as these are secure. Just look for that little yellow padlock on the bottom right of your screen, and you are assured that you are transacting safely.

Next on our list for travel are Lola's 88th birthday. We are currently considering Shanghai or Beijing, New Zealand, or Australia. Looks like China will be a pretty expensive option, so I'm still going to be searching for rates for Australia and NZ. Besides, it's a LOT COOLER down under than it would be by the Great Wall!

Another item on our family's travel list is for our Dad's 66th birthday. We want to go on a cruise, and I'm hoping this site will be able to give me some options at the very least. We haven't been on a cruise in several years, and we want to be able to go on one again for sure.

This July, we will be stopping over in Hawaii with Dad before we continue on to the US mainland to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We're definitely going to be needing hotels and a rental car at the very least. So I'm definitely going to be surfing online for the best prices out there!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Off to Cebu We Go and a TOOT!

Finally, we are off to Cebu. We have been planning this trip since a few months back, but somehow, it's always been delayed for some reason or the other. Since Boydee, Bang and Bric will be going to Cebu this week (Bang and Bric have their flight at 1 pm later, ours is at 540 pm), we figured we might as well be a complete family there, too :)

And so, over a couple of days planning and feverishly hunting down good deals on airfare, we are set. For some strange reason, the travel agents could not get us a confirmation for the Shangri La Hotel; so just for the heck of it, I tried their website....and got 3 rooms! Weird, but at least we got the hotel that Mom and Dad wanted. We will also be staying at Bang's beach house at Mactan, where we've stayed before.

A trip with our family wouldn't be complete without some last minute things. Classic one was today....I HAD to make a fast trip to the mall to The Body Shop. I had to get some sugaring/waxing solution for my legs and underarms! Hehehe. Couldn't go to the beach being unshaven now, could we?!?


I forgot to upload this layout on the 14th, but it did get chosen as a Layout Pick of the Day at 3Scrapateers! :)
Raegan playing dress up with a gown, wig, and tiara.

Credits: kit - Color Me Funky by Kate Hadfield and Gina Miller; buttons - Twinks by Gina Miller; paint smears - by Amy Cheeseman; tiara - Le Chapeau Rouge by Rina Kroes and Kimmi Stewart; alpha - Love Is Stamped Alpha by Kara Fredricks; folded template - by Karah Fredricks; font - KGD Brandi; For the Hodge Podge Challenge.

{RAKS Newsletter LOs}

Here are a couple of layouts that were in the RAKScraps Newsletter:

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson reads:
How do you like to go up in a swing? Up in the air so blue? Oh, I think it the pleasantest thing Ever a child can do!

Credits: kit - Doo Wop by Cindy Simon at ndisb; sun - by Bethany; font - DB Pastor Dave, SBC Noodle; layered sketch - A Little Eclectic 6 by Janet Phillips

Statue of the European explorer who "found" Macau.

Journaling reads: The name "Macau" is thought to be derived from the Templo de A-Má, a still-existing landmark built in 1448 dedicated to the goddess Matsu. When Jorge Alvares and the Portuguese arrived, they landed on the peninsula opposite the temple; locals told them that they were in the bay of the goddess A-Ma (ah-mah gaw in Chinese), and the Portuguese effort to say those Chinese words became the name of the city: Ma Cau.

Credits: kit - Peace Love and Happiness by Erika Teney at Timeless Memories; fonts - Chowmein, Arial Narrow, LD Slender; layered sketch - by Johanna Berry

{DST Newsletter LO}

This layout was in the DST Newsletter this month. Since Eve Recinella was the featured designer and Gold Members and diamond Members got an exclusive kit from her, and since I am a CT member of Eve, we got to play with her cool kit a month before it was released! :)

This picture of Raegan clowing around (sorry for the pun, hehehe) always cracks me up!

Journaling reads: You put on this CLOWN FACE, struck a pose, and called, “Hi Mama!”.

Credits: kit - Frolicsome, an April DST exlusive kit by Eve Recinella; folded corner action - by Jen Caputo; bend it photo template - by Debbie Knorr; fonts - KGD Angela, Rusted Plastic

Ok. Off to pack. Really! :)


Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Real Photo Studio and an Asthma Attack


Yup. We went to a real photo studio....complete with lights that were "triggered" to our cameras. Simply put, for photography newbies like moi, the studio lights go on when we click our cameras to take a picture. Trouble was, there were 3 of us with cameras! Hehehe. So you can just imagine what it was like in the beginning. Groans, curses and mumbling as we fiddled around with the lights and our digital cameras. After more than half an hour, we figured we shouldn't be wasting precious studio time tinkering with our cameras, but that we should PRACTICE on the real live subjects we brought with us: the kids.

Photographers: Elizza, Japa, Me. Boydee, Bang and Gelo arrived after an hour or so. Only Boydee and Bang and moi had point and shoot cameras. Everyone else had their precious DSLR. After several attempts to get the lighting correct on my photos, I FINALLY figured out that I was better off just turning off my flash and shooting in automatic mode, hehehe. It sure saved me precious minutes, and my patience!

Some photos from our shoot. Not the best. Yet. I have Photoshop to help me make good pics better. Most shots will most likely go into my layouts. Of course! Who can beat nice (relatively) lighting, great backgrounds, matching outfits, and cooperative (for the most part) kids?!?!

Raegan and Raine woke up extra early because they wanted to have their hair and make up done for the shoot. I ironed their hair and applied foundation, eye liner, mascara, powder, eye shadow, and lipstick to their darling little faces. Not too heavy of course, but just enough to make them extra pretty for the shoot :)

The kids were pretty good during the 3 hours we were in the studio. They mainly played with their video games --- their Nintendo DS and their Game Boy. Thank goodness we had those, otherwise, it would have been a madhouse in the studio! Reese also crashed on the sofa while waiting for her turn to have her picture taken. The poor thing probably lacked sleep since we all had to get up unusually early for a Sunday morning, she didn't care about the decrepit furniture in the studio, hehehe.

All in all, a good day. Now, to get my grubby little hands on Elizza's photos during the shoot as well. And Bang's. And the few shots that Gelo took before his camera battery died on him.


Japa was craving steak at Seven Corners, so we HAD to go there for lunch. The kids were so excited to go to a buffet; they were ready to eat since they missed breakfast! I know some of them had a snack of mamon from Red Ribbon and some lemonade, so at least they had something in their tummies.

We gorged ourselves on steak, steak and steak. By the end of the meal, I told Japa that I didn't want to see another steak for a loooong time. He agreed, since he had stuffed himself as well!


Poor Rogan. He woke up this morning and was having difficulty breathing. Japa and I surmised that the boys (yes, even Ranger had the sniffles and was starting to cough up phlegm) had gotten the Gavino asthma attack when they went to Tanay yesterday. The grass, the horses, the piggeries......they weren't conducive to the boys and were triggers for their asthma. Sigh!

We nebulized Rogan so he could breath a little bit easier. But he was not a happy camper during the shoot, for sure. He FELT and LOOKED sick, poor baby. I'm monitoring him tonight to see if the medication will help him a bit. I'm hoping it does...he has taekwondo first thing in the morning!


...for Cebu. We leave tomorrow afternoon, yay! We have looked forward to this mini-vacation since summer started for the kids. And they can't wait to see Miggy of course. I'm having them bring their GSS stuff too---just in case we have an hour or two without any planned activity, I'm going to push for art or reading or vocabulary :) That's the teacher in me.

We're staying at Bang's beach house in Mactan. It has a pool, so we should be set. A nice-sized private pool :) Not like the Orlando vacation home we stayed at a few years ago. Of course, it was a timeshare property, so we had to share the pool with other residents, hehehe. But sometimes, with the number of kids we have, we prefer private least the kids can be as noisy as they want to be, and as rowdy as they are apt to be.


Before signing off, a site recommendation, especially if you're shopping in Euros or pounds (is England still retaining it's own currency? Or am I being totally dense and clueless about current events again?!?). I think it's an alternative to Their site seems pretty easy to navigate and they've got loads of stuff available! Go check it out: TWENGA

It seems a pretty easy site to shop from. If you look at all the links in the first part of this post, they should lead you to the different "departments" of twenga. They've got everything from Photography stuff to Home stuff to Health stuff. There are even tabs that will list their stock items by Brand names and by Top Deals! Now how cool is that? I'm sure Amazon probably has these too, but I love discovering and exploring new sites online, especially if it involves some sort of shopping! Hehehe.


Just a plug of sorts. Bang has started blogging again; she's got a new blog up, which is ALL about eating, eating and eating. Check out The Accidental Gourmand if you want to know more about off-beat places in Manila (or anywhere, really). Bang reviews the places where we eat at. She has her handy dandy camera to take care of the photos.

Elizza has her blog set up now, too, with a new header, which looks awesome. That reminds me that I MUST change my header soon. Like yesterday, hehehe. If you want more pics from today's photo shoot, check out her blog.

The latest blog to hit blog land is Zhar's blog. Very very cool look! Love it! Looks like it was done by a professional...but we found out that Rodney has some background in Web Design! Sheesh! And here Elizza and I were, tearing our hair out trying to figure out this damn HTML code!!! Hehehe.

Ok, time for bed. I'm going to have to be up early in the morning and TRY to buy some waxing stuff for my legs (and other parts of the body, lol!). I really MUST have everything waxed or shaven before we leave for Cebu!

Good night (really, I should be saying good morning since it's 3:30 am already!!!) and TTFN!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Ugh! I hate summer here in the Philippines! Hate it! The heat is stifling. The weather is muggy, gross and sticky. Very humid. Gross. Ugh. Need I say anymore? Hehehe.

I am SO looking forward to going to Cebu next week. No, it's not cooler there, but at least it's going to be a nice change of scenery. We're going to stay at Bang's beach house, and maybe a few nights at the Shangri-La Hotel in Mactan. Japa, for some strange reason, WANTS and feels the NEED to stay at the Shang. Don't know why he wants to spend when we can stay at the Beach House for free! Oh well. The hotel will STILL be a wonderful change of pace......and it most likely has internet access!!! Whoohoohoo!!!

Of course, Cebu won't be like having a grand Orlando vacation with the kids like we did several years ago. I miss the Magic Kingdom! Sure, we've been to DisneyLAND, but sometimes I feel that Disney WORLD is still more mouse-i-fied, if you know what I mean, hehehe. Yes, it's bigger, which means more acreage to walk across, but whenever we go to Orlando, we always have FUN! Japa and I are actually planning to take the kids to Orlando again. Maybe even a Disney Cruise! Sometime. Soon, hopefully, say in the next 3 years. Can't wait! But of course we have to do some major saving as well! :)


Well, I've been a scrapping machine again today. Maybe it was the thought of NOT having any internet access for a few days next week that spurred me to sit in front of my laptop the whole day, practically.

The girls and I enjoying our girls' time at Starbucks.

Journaling reads: We had a wonderful time at good old Starbucks. You both sank into a couch and sipped your huge cups of hot chocolate...probably pretending to be grown ups drinking coffee. The best part? It was just us girls. Ate Raegan remarked that it was ”cool, having an all-girls’ day out”, and I agree. From now on, we are going to do the simple, everyday things like enjoying a cup of “coffee” or just hanging out. And yes, just US GIRLS.

Credits: kit - Summer Warmth by Julie Kelley at Divine Digital; smile definition - by Janette Padley (Dragon Lair Designs); frame - Funky Frames 1 by Laura White (Princess Lala Designs); super curl me template - by Claudia Campbell at Divine Digital; alpha - by Kate Hadfield; photo filter action - by Holly McCaig; fonts - DB Teacher, JW Pencil Loops

My girls, right after I gave birth to Raine.

Credits: kit - Beary Sweet by Royanna Fritschmann at Divine Digital; curled journal strip - by Katie Pertiet; yarn stitches - by Gina Miller; photo filter action - by Holly McCaig; layered sketch - Simply Spaced White Space by Pamela Gibson at Divine Digital; scalloped frame template - Fill A Paper Shaper by Katie the Scrapbook Lady at ACOT; fonts - Times New Roman, Adler

Raegan and her Papa.

Journaling reads: “C’mon Papa!”, was Raegan’s cry as Papa stopped to rest from pushing her in her little car all over the yard. She didn’t want Papa to stop now - she had places to go!

Credits: kit - White Sand Retreat by Karah Fredricks at Blue Flombingo; note paper - Happy Days by Nina's Designs at Oscraps and ndisb; pinned metal dates - by Holly McCaig; alpha - Love Is Stamped Alpha by Karah Fredricks; font - DB Karah Script 2; sketch - by Brenda Kempf

Journaling reads: Mama will ALWAYS say that giving birth to you before Papa’s birthday was his greatest gift ever. Having you baptized on Papa’s birthday made this particular gift even more special. Papa can NEVER top that gift, can he?

Credits: yellow paper, flower - Spring Chick Add On by Jennifer Schmitt at kbandfriends; pink paper, eyelet lace, gingham paper - Fairy Princess by Kathryn Balint at kbandfriends; vintage frame - by Nancy Comelab; pinned tag - by Holly McCaig; frayed action - by atomic cupcake; convex action bend - by Jen Caputo; layered sketch - by Rachael Giallongo

And with that, I bid everyone a good night! We have a photo shoot tomorrow, with the kids as the subjects. We need to practice before Nino actually lets us take photos of his models! :) I'm hoping to have some awesome pics tomorrow because we're going to rent out a studio complete with lights!!!