31 May 2012

{Road Trip} Avilon Zoo, Montalban Zoological Park

Don and I decided to explore the North area of Metro Manila.  Avilon Zoo was highly recommended by some friends.  As usual, Don took charge of knowing the directions (I suck at reading maps).  Unfortunately, Google Map was not able to give us the accurate instructions going to the zoo.  I must admit, when we were on our way, I was already convincing Don to make a U-turn and just go home.  Anyway, after so many stop overs to ask for directions, we finally arrived at the Avilon Zoo.

Our princess is excited.  As always :-)

The parking area, entrance and the reception area didn't impress me at all.  I was already apologizing to Don and was ready to declare it a road trip fail.  But as soon as we entered the zoo proper, I was glad Don did not listen to me.  Avilon Zoo is one of the best that we have visited here in the Philippines.  According to its website, the 7.5-hectare land area exhibits more than 3,000 specimens of exotic and indigenous animals represented by more than 600 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, fishes and invertebrates.  There are also about 400 species of plants which more than half are endemic to the Philippines.

30 May 2012

{Snapshot} My Little Explorer

Julia is always curious.  She loves our family road trips.
In case you like Julia's googoo&gaga dress, I bought it from Mothering Earthlings :-)

29 May 2012

{Parenting & Money} Managing Daily Household Expenses

Previous Posts
{Parenting & Money} 3 Must-Haves in Saving and Investing
{Parenting & Money} Basic Principles of Saving & Investing
{Parenting & Money} The Inevitable Link

Ever since Julia was born, our household expenses increased by about 50% due to increased electricity consumption and groceries.  This is of course expected.  However, as our expenses increased, there was no change in our income and we did not adjust our spending habits either.  As a result, we depleted our savings and we incurred some loans.

According to Mr. Hector De Leon, EVP of First Metro Asset Management, Inc., one major pitfall in household budgeting is our inability to differentiate between needs and wants.  He shared this article and here are my realizations:

28 May 2012

{Monday Motivation} A Heartwarming Story

I love hearing stories like this.  I admire people who are positive and see the beauty of life in spite of the difficulties that they are facing.  Stories like this remind me of God's promise:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Often times, during hardships and trials, I doubt that things will be better.  It is very difficult to accept that what I want is NOT part of God's plan for me.   Inspiring story such as this assures me that God will remain true to his promise and HE WILL DELIVER.

27 May 2012

Make learning fun with Scotch® & Post-it® Products

The end of May signals the end of summer.  A time most students look forward to because it means a new school year is about to start.  Providing money for tuition fee payment and buying books and school supplies are not our only responsibilityA.   The tasks to review their lessons every night, to help them with their assignments and school projects, to motivate them to learn and do well in class and to monitor their progress in school are part of our job description as parents.

25 May 2012

Having a Child IS Life Changing

I found this at the Facebook page of Demetrius Redd Allen.

What have you given up to be the best mom for your child?

24 May 2012

SM Cinema e-PLUS Prepaid Card: Simple & Convenient

I love movie dates with Don, but there are two things inconvenient about watching a movie.  First, I do not like waiting in line to purchase a ticket. Second, I hate not being able to watch the first part of the movie when we come in late.  Though we purchased a ticket on-line,  Don and I sometimes do not make it on time due to traffic and negligence (read:  mistake in reading the screening time).

It's great to know that SM Cinema now offers a simple and convenient way to enjoy movie dates with your family -- The e-PLUS Prepaid Card.

{Road Trip} Manila Ocean Park

Last May 1, Don, Julia and I went to Paseo de Sta. Rosa to shop.  They have a lot of outlet stores there and we needed to buy a few clothes for Julia.  They grow up too fast!  Most of the slippers and dresses we bought a few months ago won't fit her anymore.

Anyway, we finished early and we were already on our way back to Manila at around three in the afternoon.  So, we decided to drop by Manila Ocean Park.  Julia had fun running around while Don and I enjoyed the new  features/sections of the park (we visited years ago and it was not fully operational yet).

22 May 2012

{Super Mom} Neva Arboleda-Santos of ManilaBaby Shop

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13
Being a mom, wife, daughter, and being able to work eight hours (or more!) a day, maintain a household and still find time to do something you are passionate about is not easy.  As a first time mom, I am still adjusting to my new role.  Juggling it with all my other roles require discipline, commitment and A LOT of love!  The key, according to Stephen Covey, is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.  Super Mom is a Cruisin' Mommyhood's blog feature where I interview moms who can give inspiration and empowerment to working moms like me.

Aside from reading the book What to Expect When your Expecting, I read parenting and mommy blogs while I was pregnant.  I was on Google looking for tips on what to bring on that D-Day and I came across Neva's blog.  She provided a detailed list, not just for the mom-to-be but for daddy and baby too.  Manila Mommy was one of the few blogs I read at that time.  Ever since I started reading Neva's blog, I instantly felt a connection.  And it's not just because we are both working moms.  I'll tell you a secret.  Not too many people know this, not even my closest friends.  Like Neva, I watch Sharon Cuneta movies!  Sharon Cuneta was my local Julia Roberts.  (Okay, not comparable, I know, but I'm just saying that I am a fan of Sharon as much as I am a fan of Julia.)

Seriously, Neva is truly an inspiration to first time working moms me.  Needless to say (but I will anyway), her blog is very helpful, inspiring and encouraging.  She works more than eight hours a day, a loving wife and mother, takes care of her household and the family business but still manages to write blogs about her experiences with the objective of helping other moms and moms-to-be.  Now, that is a Super Mom!

21 May 2012

{Monday Motivation} Start Right. Start with Gratitude.

I read this story in Facebook (where else, right?).  It's an inspiring story that reminds us that it is through God's grace that we have people around us, whether a stranger or a friend, who is ready to help us in times of trouble.  Let us be grateful that we have God who can do ALL things!

18 May 2012

He gave us Mom

I couldn't stop myself from crying when I saw this video from Chuvaness.

As a child of God, He knows exactly what we need, so He gave us Mom.

17 May 2012

{Road Trip} Fun Farm at Holy Carabao, Sta. Elena

Two weeks before Mother's Day, I was browsing the internet for ideas on how and where to celebrate it.  As I was sipping my early morning coffee and reading blogs I subscribe to through Bloglovin', my heart skipped with excitement when I read Amanda Griffin-Jacob's post at Glam-o-Mamas about her son's 2nd birthday.  They celebrated it at Fun Farm, Sta. Elena.

I am familiar with Sta. Elena because the company I work for holds an annual tournament at their beautiful golf course.  But, I didn't know that there is a gorgeous place a few meters farther.  So, I immediately checked Fun Farm's website.  I squirmed a bit (well, forgive me, my relationship with vegetables is at courtship stage) because of the vegetables I saw but I managed to email my reservation without hesitation (read:  without my husband's approval).  Yes, reservation.  You can't walk-in.  This breathtaking farm is by appointment only.

16 May 2012

15 May 2012

{Parenting & Money} 3 Must-Haves in Saving and Investing

Previous Posts
{Parenting & Money} Basic Principles of Saving & Investing
{Parenting & Money} The Inevitable Link

In my previous posts on {Parenting and Money}, I shared my realization about how a child can dramatically change the landscape of our finances.  After the milk and diaper, Don and I will worry about tuition fee and increasing household expenses.  Before we know it, we will be worrying about our retirement.

As some may already know, Don and I waited seven years before we were blessed with a daughter.  At that time, our objective for saving was to have enough money for our fertility work ups.  My only regret was that we did not save up for the "after-birth".  Compute this:  If Don and I were able to set aside P2,500.00 each every month for seven years, then adjusting our spending and budget will not be as difficult now.  If we saved an additional P2,500.00 each every month for our retirement, can you imagine how much that would be by the time we are 60 years old?

11 May 2012

International Symbol for Marriage

Marriage Symbol

I did not laugh at all when I saw this.  Call me KJ, manang, boring or whatever you want.  I love to shop but money doesn't control my emotions, decisions and relationships, like how wives are portrayed in this photo.  We wake up early, do household chores, manage household budget and expenses, take care of our children, work 8-12 hours a day and still manage to be a loyal wife, compassionate mother, loving daughter and an accommodating friend.  If your credit cards can afford to pay for all that, then I will gladly accept that this photo is the "international symbol for marriage".

Marriage is a serious matter to me and I do not appreciate jokes like this.  

What about you?  What do you think of this photo?

Photo from Flickr

10 May 2012

{Road Trip} Terra 28th Park, BGC Taguig

When I was a kid, I love running around.  Though we had a family computer at that time, I prefer to go out and play with our neighbors.  I played chinese garter, pick-up sticks, jackstone, tumbang preso, piko, siato, taguan and other games that made my mom frown because I was sweaty and dirty.

So when Don and I stumbled upon Terra 28 at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig a couple of months ago, I (not Julia) was so excited!  That would have been an awesome playground 20 years ago!  The 8,344 sqm park is perfect for the family.  It has a jogging path, picnic ground, open play fields and "Larong Pinoy" area like piko, holen, luksong baka, patintero and habulang taya.  I am also happy that it has a good number of trash bins around area.  I can't wait for Julia to grow a little older so I can teach her how to play my favorite childhood games.

08 May 2012

{Parenting & Money} Basic Principles of Saving & Investing Money

{Parenting and Money} The Inevitable Link
Part 2

Last week, I confessed about our challenges in managing our finances. Read Previous Post: {Parenting and Money} The Inevitable Link.   Don and I agreed to tighten (really tighten) our belts and follow our self-imposed spending rules and guidelines.  Here are some that I'd like to share:
  1. No more drive-thru trips on the way home.  We live in Quezon City and travel time is about an hour to and an hour and a half.  So instead of fries with large coke, we eat biscuits and home-made sandwiches instead.  We save money and we get to lessen our junk intake.

  2. Travel ban for fifteen (15) months.  Our financial obligations will be paid in fifteen (15) months.  So until it's paid in full, we will not schedule any out-of-town trips that will require spending for a plane ticket and hotel accommodations.

  3. Limit eat-outs to twice a month.  This is an ultimate sacrifice because we love eating at our favorite restaurants.

  4. Shopping for shoes and bags is suspended until further notice.  I don't have anything else to say about this.  It's too painful.
Often times, I wallow in self-pity.  But, Don reminds me of Julia's future expenses on education to snap me out of my teleserye-lead-actress-like drama.  Our challenge is not only to finish our financial obligations but also to save and invest a portion of our income for Julia's future and our retirement.

07 May 2012

{Monday Motivation} Prayer for Mothers

My prayer is that we realize we cannot do it all.
We cannot even do a little bit.
My prayer is that when we’ve tried as hard as we can and we have still failed,
We dare not pick ourselves back up.
Try the latest new organizer.
Eat the current “high energy” snack.
Go on a new diet.  Start a new exercise regimen.
Make the coolest chore system.
All this and more will not ensure motherly success.
We still fail.

Winter Day 10 - Seeking balance

Read the entire prayer written by Christy at The Better Mom.

04 May 2012

Winner of Name that Place + Expo Mom Plug

I was so happy that all who joined the give-away were able to guess the exact name of the places I featured in Summer Hangouts.

03 May 2012

{Road Trip} UP Diliman, Quezon City

We love going to University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.  Before Julia was born, Don and I go to UP Diliman to run.  Well, he runs and I eat squid balls (wearing my running outfit, of course!).   Don likes to run there because there is a designated bikers/runners lane within the academic oval.  Every Sunday, there is a portion of the academic oval where vehicles are not allowed to pass to give way to the runners and bikers.  So, scenic view + fresh air + safety + free entrance = perfect Sunday morning family routine.

02 May 2012

{Snapshot} Seriously, We Need A Bigger Bed!

(L-R) Vilma the Lady Bug, Bacon, Panda Coco, Francis (or Kiko), Minnie, Mickey Jr. and Mickey

01 May 2012

Parenting and Money: The Inevitable Link

Balancing The Account By Hand

When I was still pregnant, a lot of family members, friends, even strangers shared their parenting tips to me.  They shared stories about their parenting challenges and life-changing experiences.  They gave advice on how to deal with the difficulties and adjustments of being a first time mom.  Some of them warned us about the additional expenses that are born with the child.  

After waiting for 7 years, Don and I thought we are well-prepared for raising Julia.  We had a birth plan, we read a lot of references on parenting, child development and raising a family.  Little did we know that one of the greatest challenges we will face as parents is managing our finances properly. 

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