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Asthmatic kid no more

Do you have any idea how stressful it is to have a child who both has respiratory and skin asthma? Trust me, it’s something you would not want to see any child suffer from, perhaps not even your enemy’s helpless child.

I knew the likelihood that my daughters would inherit my husband’s health issues particularly respiratory and skin asthma, would be high, so I tried my best to minimize the impact on our girls. I guess you could say I was successful with my firstborn, but not as much with my youngest child.

During my first pregnancy, I read a lot of books and online articles on pregnancy, and that’s how I learned how proper diet could keep my baby from acquiring allergies and illnesses that are supposed to run in the family. I ate almost nothing but homecooked meals during my first pregnancy and avoided foods with too much salt and sugar and contained food color. My husband also helped by regulating the amount of chocolate I ate, knowing that I couldn’t resist them. I didn’t taste cola, coffee, and junk foods, save for French fries, almost the whole nine months and even when I was breastfeeding my baby.

Thankfully, Big Sis came out really healthy and lean and has no known food allergies to this day. On the other hand, things were much different when I was pregnant with Lil Sis. I was working then as a customer service representative on a night shift, most of the time, that is, and I had hyperemesis gravidarum which was a lot more severe than when I was pregnant with Big Sis. I had to be confined several times throughout my pregnancy and was even put on bed rest for a month or so.

I couldn’t keep a food down, especially homecooked meals or any healthy food for that matter. The doctor decided that I should just eat anything and gave me supplements for any nutritional deficiency I might have. Interestingly, it’s fast food meals that my baby seemed to like best. I wasn’t all that surprised then when Lil Sis showed signs of having skin asthma when she was barely a month old as well as respiratory asthma when she was a toddler.

You see, my husband and his brother both have asthma. And I mean the kind that would really keep you awake and make you rush to the hospital the minute it strikes. They almost never have mild asthma attacks. Unfortunately, my youngest daughter, along with their artistic skills and sense of humor, had inherited the disease.

Now, can you imagine rushing to the hospital alone with two very young kids because your husband’s working abroad and you have no relatives or friends nearby or a hired help who could assist you, or at least look after one of the kids while you bring the other to ER? What about being very excited about serving your kids a new recipe only to find out that it could cost the life of your child because she happens to be allergic to one or more of its ingredients?

Such was life for us before I wisened up. I started looking for ways to keep asthma attacks at bay, learned to identify the food items and other circumstances that could trigger them, taught my daughters how to read food labels and which foods or food ingredients to avoid, not to mention I was in constant search for food supplements that might help.

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It was a huge blessing for me then when I got invited to a Nu Skin seminar and the participants were asked to share about their favorite Nu Skin products.  A certain father shared about Jungamals and I instantly got interested in it. Apparently, he also had an asthmatic child and the said food supplement for kids had been a huge help in countering asthma attacks and other illnesses. Basically, this is because Jungamals happens to be very effective in strengthening a child’s immune system, and a strong immune system means higher resistance against illnesses, even allergies, it seems.

Needless to say, I didn’t hesitate to let my daughters try Jungamals too. In less than a week, Lil Sis was able to eat eggs without showing signs of allergies. Every one to two weeks, I re-introduced foods that she used to avoid because they could trigger her skin and/or respiratory asthma. In two months, she was able to consume not only eggs, but also chicken, peanuts, peanut butter, and certain seafood. We continue to avoid foods and skin products that contain FD&C Yellow 5 (often found in chips and flavored drinks), however, particularly because they’re simply unhealthy and could still sometimes cause her allergies, probably depending also on the amount the product manufacturer used.

I’ve been recommending Jungamals to my mom friends too, not only to those with asthmatic kids. Big Sis isn’t asthmatic but she also benefited from it by having a stronger immune system. She used to have flu several times a year, but since she started taking Jungamals, she (and her sister) almost never got sick anymore. In fact, I tend to end up throwing away unopened or barely used cough and fever medicines because they have expired without being used up. And I wouldn’t call that a waste!

From 2012 to 2015, my daughters took Jungamals almost every single day of their lives. That must have cost us about PHP15,000 a year then, but I’d say it’s worth it. After three years of taking it, they started to lessen their intake as they finally got tired of its taste and no amount of cajoling could make them take more than two tablets a day unless they felt like they’re going to be sick. Then they started taking it every other day or so. These days, they rarely take Jungamals anymore, though I make sure that we always got one, if not another food supplement by Nu Skin | Pharmanex that they could take when their immune system particularly needs some boosting or when they start feeling lethargic.

Let me know if you’d like to have your kids try Jungamals too or other Nu Skin | Pharmanex food supplements for yourself, as well as how to get them at a discounted price. I guarantee you that it’s going to be worth it. ❤

To know more about Jungamals, you may visit https://www.nuskin.com/en_PH/products0/pharmanex/shop_all_categories/nutritional_foundation/24003218.html. 

(Featured image by ANDRIK LANGFIELD PETRIDES on Unsplash)

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The Sunday Currently, Vol. 29

reading Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life right after Barely Above Water. The former is more of a self-help book written by mommy blogger/social media influencer/homeschool parent/SAHM Ruth Soukup, whereas the latter is a Christian romance novel that tackles Chronic Lyme Disease, also by an award-winning Christian writer and swimmer, Gail Palotta. Both books are very informative, encouraging, and suitable for light reading.

writing about homeschool requirements and various lists and quizzes that my daughters need to complete before our portfolio review on the 27th. I’m starting to get really nervous about this, and mostly because ooops! I did it again. That is, I have not started recording my daughters’ grades and I will have to go through all their textbooks and notebooks and essays again for their grades.

listening to the chirping of birds perched on our window sill. I suppose this is the only thing I really liked about living in the suburb (or a new city, I should say). We’re close to the metropolis, yet we get to enjoy and experience some of the sights and sounds of birds during daytime and crickets at night.

thinking about the movie we watched this weekend: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. It’s a science fantasy story that was written in 1960’s and explored the possibility of traveling to another dimension using the tesseract. The book was actually part of my teen’s reading list when she was in 7th grade, which I have also ready myself and thoroughly enjoyed. We’ve been very excited to see it since we found out last year that it was going to be a movie, and we were not disappointed. We have initially planned on watching it with our homeschool play and learn group last Tuesday, but unfortunately, they have moved the playdate to give way to Oscar-nominated films.

smelling cherry lemonade. I just had one, actually!

wishing I were (more) organized these days. Seriously, what happened to that girl that was named Ms. Organized by her high school batch? Sometimes, I really wonder if I were the same person at all. I have stopped being an OC, but I fear that I have gone to the other extreme. Well, almost.

hoping to finish all my deliverables for this month. I could beat myself up for saying yes, even volunteering to a lot of tasks. Now that deadlines are near, I am starting to get stressed out. In the past, that could only mean two things: either I stop doing anything at all and go into withdrawal or lose sleep just to meet the deadlines. I’d rather not go through either of those again.

wearing clothes handed to me by my late mother. They make me look so uncoordinated, but they’re comfortable.

loving my kids to the moon and back ❤

wanting to give the cleaning lady I hired last Saturday a piece of my mind if she ever shows up again at our doorstep. I can’t believe that after paying her much higher (PHP500 instead of the usual PHP350) than any other cleaning lady we’ve ever had, letting her eat (our food) as much as she wanted, letting her take a rest anytime she felt the need, even giving her a pair of rarely used rubber shoes and denim skirt for her daughter(s) that we could have sold or donated to an orphanage, I discovered that she actually didn’t do her job properly. Dust covered the inside of the punch bowl; she only wiped the outside instead of washing the whole thing. Nooks and crannies were also covered with dust and she simply rearranged some items on the shelves to make it look like she’s done cleaning them. What would you do to someone like her?

needing to remember to prioritize the rocks over pebbles, sands, and water. You are familiar with that story, aren’t you? I was reminded of it as I was reading Ruth Soukup’s book: Living Well Spending Less.

feeling relaxed physically, but mentally cramming. Does that make sense?

praying that all will be well for my daughters’ upcoming portfolio review. Why did I choose Homeschool Global as our homeschool curriculum provider again? Oh, yes, because they conduct quarterly portfolio reviews among others.

thanking God for restoring my relationship with my teen and for the opportunity to homeschool both of my girls because I have been blessed with a loving and supportive husband, who also happens to be a good provider. ❤

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(Featured image from wallpapersite.com… because I really liked the movie, A Wrinkle in Time, and I’d like to remember it by posting a photo of its actors here)

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The Sunday Currently is a link-up started by siddathornton.blogspot.com. I have, however, altered it a little by including praying and thanking to the list. Feel free to comment below your own Sunday Currently post so I could visit it too. 🙂

My Mom’s Day Out Experience at Commercenter Alabang

(featured image by Tanner Mardis on Unsplash)

Early this week, I got invited to participate in Commercenter’s Mom’s Day Out 2 event. The invitation was extended to me through my good friend/blogger mentor Millette Sison of Lucky Finds. I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen since it would be my first time to join other south mommy bloggers for a mom’s day out activity, but I was excited to attend, nevertheless. After all, it’s been a while since I last attended a bloggers’ event, and one that’s supposedly exclusive to moms at that. Moreover, I would like another reason to visit Commercenter aside from accompanying my husband to his post-Lasik surgery checkups at Asian Eye Institute or attending a seminar-workshop at Launchpad Coworking.

After being welcomed and handed gifts from Commercenter as well as Stella Artois and Hoegaarden Beer, we were briefed on the day’s itinerary and grouped into two. We were to visit various shops at Commercenter and get to know their products and services by trying them ourselves.

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I was assigned to join the first group and our first stop was at Fringe Salon, although I came in a little late. After touring the facility and getting informed of the various services they offer, we were asked to pick a service to try from three options: shampoo with blow-dry, hair spa, or foot massage with cleaning. I chose the hair spa, and I’m so glad I did! I felt really good about my hair when it’s done. Alex attended me all throughout the process, from shampooing to hair spa application and blow-dry. He seemed very professional and friendly.

Fringe Salon, located on the ground floor of Commercenter

Classy indeed, but at an affordable price

There were five things I noticed that makes Fringe Salon quite different from the other salons I’ve visited, though: 1) the place looks really classy as if it’s located in some 4- or 5-star hotel and not at the mall, 2) even if the place looks expensive, their pricing was at par with the salons we normally see at other malls; 3) unlike most salons, they have a room for those who would like to have their hair and makeup done in private; 4) they have a private suite where one could enjoy a massage, jacuzzi, and body scrub; and 5) apparently, at Fringe Salon, only one attendant does the job of two persons, that is, they don’t have a shampoo/blow-dry girl to assist the hairdresser. The latter instead does everything by him/herself and does it efficiently at that. I suppose that’s what makes Fringe Salon’s service more personal than the other salons––you get the full attention of your hairdresser and you never have to feel like you’re being passed on from one person to another.

Millette Sison of Lucky Finds and other mommy/food bloggers enjoying the different services offered by Fringe Salon

Not only does Fringe Salon offer hair and makeup services as well as hand and foot care/spa, but also a body scrub with massage and use of jacuzzi

A room dedicated to those who would like to have their hair and makeup done in private

Quality hair products that you may buy directly from Fringe Salon

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Got treated to a hair spa, courtesy of Alex

Our second stop was at a Japanese restaurant called Kessaku, where we were treated to a scrumptious lunch. At this point, both groups have rejoined. However, since I was a little late, some of the dishes had been served already and I didn’t get to see how they looked like before getting portioned or scooped onto someone’s plate. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed the food and appreciated the service, especially when they served us additional plates of Salmon Belly Aburi, Sunset Roll, California Maki, and Yakitori Sampler. I also got to try Ebi Tempura and Angus Prime Chahan, as well as their Crispy Banana with Mango Ice Cream for dessert. The only thing I ordered was Lulu’s Dalandan Shake, although even that was on the house.

I was kinda mesmerized by Kessaku’s food presentation that I was both excited to taste each dish, at the same time, just wanted to look at it and take photos of it. (You do know what I mean, right?) The California Maki and Sunset Roll caught my attention, in particular, and I must say that their taste certainly matched their appearance. They were bursting with flavors that only left me craving for more. Of course, the other dishes were delish, too!

California Maki

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Salmon Belly Aburi

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Sunset Roll

Yakitori Sampler

The wagyu in the Yakitori Sampler and Salmon Belly Aburi, in particular, were certainly the melt-in-your-mouth kind. Their Crispy Banana with Mango Ice Cream had just the right amount of sweetness, and their Dalandan Shake was truly refreshing.

Lulu’s Dalandan Shake

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Watermelon Shake

Aagh! I still feel a little guilty that I enjoyed all those dishes without my husband and our girls with me. Hopefully, I could visit the place again with them, especially when the husband comes home for Christmas vacation soon.

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Crispy Banana with Mango Ice Cream

Our next stop was the Oppein showroom. We learned that Oppein is a leading brand in China and is the largest cabinet manufacturer in Asia, and they use German technology. They offer customized kitchen cabinets, wardrobe, bathroom cabinets, etc. We were able to check out some of their products, which only left me dreaming of a better kitchen though, I’m afraid. Well, at least I know now where to go when that day comes.

After visiting Oppein, we went to Centro Holisitico Integrative Health and Wellness clinic. It was already mid-afternoon and by this time, there were only two members left in our group––Ate Millette and me––since the rest had to leave early, whereas the members of the other group were off to other shops. At Centro Holistico, we were given an option to avail one of their services or receive a gift check for later use. Both my friend and I opted to try their services right then and there and get the relaxation we needed. I tried their acupuncture while my friend had their IV Nutrient Therapy.

A relaxing area for those availing the IV Nutrient Therapy

Tiny rooms separated by curtains like this one are reserved for acupuncture patients

A close family friend had once recommended acupuncture to me before. She said it really helps relax both the body and mind. I have not forgotten what she had told me, obviously, plus I’ve always been curious how it would feel. I initially thought of just taking the gift certificate and giving it to my husband, but my own curiosity won me over.

Needles on my scalp and forehead, most likely to keep migraine and sinusitis away

Thirteen needles in all for all my health concerns

Dr. Frances “Fran” Bernardino attended me. She was very friendly, bubbly, and patient in answering my questions. She easily put me at ease, not to mention she was very thorough in getting my medical history, asking a lot of questions to make sure I didn’t leave out any vital information. The acupuncture lasted for only 30 minutes, i.e., after the needles were stuck to my scalp, forehead, hand, legs, and feet. There were needles from my head to toes because I tend to experience a migraine, sinusitis, insomnia, especially whenever I would go for weeks or months without taking my Pharmanex food supplements, not to mention I have a history of peripheral neuropathy.

It’s been two days now since I had the acupuncture, and I still feel energized. The stiff spots on both of my legs were finally gone that I no longer feared experiencing muscle cramps as I sleep in the middle of the night. And, even if I failed to mention to Dr. Bernardino the muscle strain on the back of my neck and shoulders, that’s actually the first thing I noticed that was gone after the acupuncture.

The procedure wasn’t painful at all, or at least, not until a needle was stuck to my left leg, the one that’s more prone to muscle cramps. It really hurt when I moved my leg, since the needle was pinned to a muscle. Dr. Bernardino explained that most of the blockage is found in the legs, so they tend to be the most sensitive part of the body.

Centro Holistico is a full-wellness facility, operated by medical doctors who integrate Eastern and Western medical principles in their practice. Aside from acupuncture for different purposes, they also offer holistic medical consultation with live blood analysis, functional and lifestyle consultation, colon cleanse, alternatinve cancer treatment (IV therapy, etc. For more information, you may visit centroholisticoph.com or email centroholistico.ph@gmail.com.

Our last stop was Evolve, a fitness studio that basically offers yoga classes. We were able to watch briefly from afar an ongoing class, but we were not allowed to take photos of it or get close to the group. We were each given a class pass, however, which we can use to try any of their yoga classes at another time.

Evolve offers Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Yin  Yoga among others. For beginners like me, there’s Gentle Flow, which I intend to try in January. Surprisingly, their rates are actually quite affordable, particularly the Intro class! You may visit evolve.com.ph for their class schedule and other info.

That concludes my Moms Day Out 2 experience, and I certainly had a great time! Our group was only able to visit five of the establishments at Commercenter (due to time constraint and sudden changes in the schedule of some of our sponsors), but that doesn’t mean that that’s all you would find there. Commercenter certainly has more in store for every member of the family. In fact, every time I visit this lifestyle mall, I discover something new that I would always want to go back and explore it some more.

Aside from trying yoga at Evolve and getting a body scrub + massage at Fringe Salon, I’m looking forward to going to Commercenter’s cinema with my family. I heard that it’s quite famous for making one feel like he/she is attending a premiere night when watching movies there. ❤

Commercenter Moms Day Out 2 is organized by Commercenter and Zomato Philippines, and is sponsored by Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Fringe Salon, Kessaku Alabang, Oppein, Evolve Yoga, Bridgestone, Centro Holistico, and Asian Center for Dental Specialties (ACDS) Alabang. 

 

P.S. Thanks to Hoegaarden and Stella Artois, the husband (L) and our good friend got to enjoy a night even before they left the house to meet with their other friends.

P.P.S. I wish I could say I was able to try Fringe Salon’s other services, particularly their massage and spa, as well as Evolve’s Gentle Flow yoga, but obviously, I can’t. I lost the gift cert from Evolve whereas Fringe won’t let me use my expired gift cert regardless of RA 10962. Anyway, if you do get the chance to try their services yourself, do share your experience, will you? Thanks 🙂

 

The Sunday Currently, Vol. 28

reading Joni and Ken: An Untold Love Story by Ken and Joni Eareckson Tada with Larry Libby. Here’s a true to life story of love between two individuals who genuinely desire to let Jesus known through their ministries, including marriage, including all the struggles they have to go through and how they continue to overcome them. Giving it two thumbs up as early as now, and seriously considering writing a book review about it, even if I really just prefer to read and remember their story or any book for that matter.

Joni & Ken

writing various (Christmas) lists, as usual, as well as new posts such as this one. I was very frustrated the past couple of months that I was unable to write or finish writing certain articles. Aside from getting easily distracted, my WordPress account was a mess that it would not allow me to write or edit an article. I had to go through an app called Blogo to start a draft and use the WP app on my mobile phone to edit blog titles and add photos. In the end, I would just abandon it altogether and leave unfinished articles in the drafts folder. I’m really grateful now that things are finally back to normal, and I hope it would stay that way.

listening to Pippi Longstocking on YouTube Kids–Lil Sis is trying to watch all its episodes on iPad whenever she had the time.

thinking about how long it has been since my children and I last went to TimeZone to play together. We went there this afternoon and invited one of my friends to join us, and I was reminded again of the saying that one of the secrets to staying young is taking time to play. Now that I have experienced it again, I must say that I really felt young while we were playing and even after playing.

smelling the coffee but refusing to drink another cup today. I had a strong brew this morning and it was a mistake, it seems, for I felt nervous almost the whole day for no apparent reason. The good thing about it though was it urged me to pray the whole time and kept me vigilant.

wishing I’ve been a really good steward all these years. I’m finally seeing my flaws and I have come to accept them too. I may be a good steward in certain areas of my life, but not in all. I have come to acknowledge that the problems my family and I have encountered the past few years have something to do with how poorly I’ve handled certain situations, relationships, finances, and other resources, including time. Now I need to do something about it, and I reckon it’s not going to be easy. I’ll need courage, determination, focus, and God’s grace.

hoping to finish all the lessons we have left for the first grading period. As it is, we’re cramming again. Although I am hopeful that my girls’ first portfolio review would be a good one, I’m behind once more in recording their grades, not to mention we still have lessons to study.

wearing my three-toned brown sleeveless housedress, which I bought at an ukay-ukay 2–3 years ago. Come to think of it––it must have already been a year since I last stepped inside a UK store and interestingly, I don’t miss it at all, even if I always see their sale and huge discounts signs.

loving the fact that I feel a lot better now these days. A week before my birthday and our scheduled outreach program, Lil Sis got sick. Then almost immediately after getting home from the outreach, which was the day before my birthday, Big Sis got sick too, while Lil Sis had already started recuperating. We had a dengue scare, and almost as soon as we were certain that it was a false alarm––I still don’t understand why the doctor insisted Big Sis had dengue and must stay in the hospital––I got sick too, leaving Big ‘n Lil Sis to look after themselves as they also recuperated, while we ordered fast food delivery twice for three consecutive days in order to eat.

wanting to finish decluttering and cleaning the whole house now, but I kept postponing it because we couldn’t just bring the trash outside the house. The dogs might tear the trash bag, and if we leave it just outside the gate, some ill-mannered neighbor might try to vex again by throwing it back to our garage, making the dogs go after it. Speaking of neighbors, one of the things I really want to do right now is to move my girls out of this place the soonest possible, to the best neighborhood there is. Unfortunately, there’s really no guarantee that I would be surrounded by amiable neighbors, won’t I?

needing to be more intentional each day, especially as a homeschool parent-teacher, and create more wonderful memories as well as teachable moments with my girls. Although I’m truly grateful that we’ve made new friends in the homeschool community this year, and we meet regularly twice a month, I acknowledge the fact that there are so many areas that we still need to work on, and I’m willing to put in the work needed.

feeling tired and sleepy now. The effect of the coffee I had this morning has finally worn off, it seems, and all I want to do right now is go to bed and sleep.

praying that we’ll have a peaceful and joyous Christmas and New Year celebration and that all the bad people surrounding us would finally come to know God. You have no idea how much I pray every day that the LORD would make their knees bow down before Him! Not that I’m wishing for the end times to come sooner, though. Okay, maybe just for them.

thanking God for all His blessings, how He continually tries to mold me to be the person I ought to be. I’m a work in progress, as my husband would tell my kids when I’m not being very loving and patient to them… ❤

 

(Featured photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash)

Discovering Oriental Merchants goods

It was my first time to get invited to any Oriental Merchants event, and I had no idea that this marketing and distribution company has been around for 29 years now. And to think its office is located in Las Piñas City, where I grew up! Anyway, I was so thrilled to receive an invitation, since it was not only to take place in my hometown, but I was also encouraged to bring friends who were not necessarily from the blogging community––a very rare opportunity, indeed.

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So, after our last homeschool playgroup meeting for the month of November, I asked my friend Vanessa, a fellow homeschooling mom, and her family to join my daughters and me at Oriental Merchants Sale 2017. I really didn’t know at first that it was a sale we were going to attend; I was only advised that I was to taste test certain food products and share photos about it in social media. It’s a good thing I have invited friends––I was certain that the experience was made more fun because of them!

Together, we sampled nearly every food product and drinks that were spread out on the tables in several rooms. They were all European brands, particularly from Spain and Italy. There were different kinds of cheese, pasta dishes, dips and sauces, sausages, Belgian cookies, etc. We took our time checking out the products, asking for some information, comparing them, and, of course, taste testing them. It’s a good thing our companions have an acquired taste for European food, and Vanessa’s husband, a vacationing OFW, was even familiar with some of the brands that were served to us.

Our first order of business was to sample the cheeses and Belgian cookies. What can I say, except we were all cheese lovers and, well, who could say no to Belgian cookies?

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Honestly, I could have stayed at this table the whole day!

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No doubt the best cheese dip in the whole wide world!

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I could only hope that they didn’t think they made a mistake when they invited me to this event. My girls and I are cheese monsters.

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More, please! The chocolate-covered ones were definitely a hit!

Jules Destrooper, Divella, Ybarra, and Garcia Baquero are just some of the brands that Oriental Merchants, Inc. carries. Here in the Philippines, these brands are usually served in hotels and restaurants and selected supermarkets, such as Rustan’s. I, myself, have seen some of the brands of pasta and spices at Shopwise (by Rustan’s), particularly the different kinds of Divella pasta, and I was delighted to find that the products were being sold at a very low price at Oriental Merchants office. I decided to buy a few items, especially Divella pasta, with the upcoming Christmas’ Eve and New Year’s  Eve dinners in mind.

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Stuffed olives, anyone? They’re supposed to be appetizers and served cold.

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I didn’t get to try this one, but I got to bring home cans of them after winning the raffle. I guess I’ll just have to try it at home. 🙂

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How could I miss this shelf when my maiden name’s printed on these Borges wine vinegar bottles? Yup, I’m a Rioja and I long to step foot on the Rioja vineyards in Spain!

I didn’t realize that there were just so many products to choose from! They may seem ordinary, but I was told that they’re not at all the usual stuff we’re used to buying in our local markets here, such as the chorizo.

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I was also surprised to find out that Oriental Merchants also distributes skin care products and fragrances. Some even have a Rustan’s sticker tag on them––proof that they are sold at high-end markets––and were sold at about half the price, too.

One thing you should know about shopping at Oriental Merchants, Inc.’s annual sale is you keep getting additional discounts when you meet certain conditions, such as paying in cash and bringing reusable shopping bags. Certain products that are still good even if they’ve already reached their supposed expiry dates, particularly cheese, were available at half the price too.

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Speaking of cheese, we met Patricia from Pacifica, a sister company of Oriental Merchants, Inc. They carry various sausages as well as gourmet cheeses, among others. By the way, did you know that I am a cheese monster? Yep, aside from dark chocolates, I probably could live on cheese for a day or more. Anyway, Patricia was a fount of information when it came to cheese. As I was getting a crash course on different kinds of cheese from her, I remembered the app about cheeses that I downloaded a few years ago. It seemed to me like she had just about summarized everything in that app.

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I learned that aged cheese has sharper taste, crumbly texture, more pungent smell, and darker in color. Moreover, they tend to be more expensive, especially the ones produced the traditional way or without the aid of machinery, as well as those that were produced in a certain place.

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I wish I had a better idea of what Oriental Merchants, Inc. offers before coming to their event. It seemed like my friends and I were the only ones who didn’t know they’ve been around for about 30 years now and they have an annual sale toward the end of November. They also regularly participate in WOFEX (World Food Expo) and conducts a sort of cookfest at their office at least once a year. I even bumped into my previous DGroup (discipleship group) leader there. She said she and her friends look forward to Oriental Merchants’s sale every year. I could see now why, and I must admit that my friends and I are already planning to go back next year. ❤

Money Matters

They say that the number one cause of disagreement between husbands and wives is money. Although I believe that to be true for many households, I can’t say that it’s the number one reason my husband and I have disagreements. I must admit, however, that talks about money tend to make me feel anxious, especially when my kids would repeatedly ask me to buy them certain stuff or enroll them in special courses, and I have to say no for budget reasons.

Lately, I have started to sense that as I let the days went by not enrolling my children, my husband has also started to get more restless and irritable toward me. He could not understand why I had to wait for the (second to the) last day of enrollment, especially when funds have long since been set aside for it.

Honestly, I couldn’t answer him whenever he would ask me why because I, myself, is in denial of the real reason. I was trying to hold on to that money because it makes me feel secure, knowing that there’s not much I have set aside for emergency fund. I did not want to have to ask him to send us more than he usually does in case of emergency. I thought that would be selfish, especially that he’s away from us and living on his own.

I have also been too proud to admit that I have not been managing our financial resources well, I guess. I am afraid of my husband coming home to nothing, and these days, he has actually been seriously thinking about accepting that job offer that would provide our family income about the same amount he’s earning abroad. Sure, that would mean more savings for us, but still, I’d rather he come home to a nest full of eggs. (You know what I mean, right?)

I suppose another reason I am feeling anxious right now is that I’m turning 40 soon. I feel like there are so many things that I both wanted and needed to do, but have not accomplished yet before my next birthday. Indeed, I have traveled to several countries with my family, held various leadership positions and been part of companies or organizations I am proud to have been associated with, got a scholarship at a prestigious international school for my graduate studies (which I still need to finish), homeschooled my daughters, etc.

But there’s still a lot more I want to be able to accomplish! First of which is becoming truly debt-free, getting insured, having my own savings and investments as well as other sources of income and establishing a family business, so I could contribute to our family’s finances, even if my husband happens to be a good provider. While I do not own any personal debt to anybody, I still owe some money from the SSS, not to mention our house is not yet fully paid. And, oh, I still need to learn how to drive and buy a car!

As I ponder on these things and the real reason behind my anxiety when talks about finances would come up, I realized that something’s seriously wrong with my way of thinking. I’ve been basing my worth again on accomplishments and material things. I had to remind myself of Matthew 6:33.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Instead of berating myself endlessly for not being able to meet my material goals before my 40th birthday, I have decided to equip myself by attending Money Matters, a financial seminar at our church, with Pastor Joby Soriano and his wife Cindy as the resource speakers.

You see, this isn’t the first time I have attended a financial seminar from a biblical perspective, although the first one had been eons ago that I could really use a refresher now. I have actually been looking forward to this seminar for months now but for some reason I kept forgetting to pay the seminar fee ahead of time. I ended up going all the way to the church (even if we did not have a DGroup meeting) on a Friday morning to get the early bird rate on its last day.

I learned so many things from Pastor Joby and his wife at the seminar and was reminded of the things that I seem to already know but have not been practicing. We were taught the importance of having an insurance and what to look for when getting one as well as of having a last will and testament and how to make one. We were given so many pointers to help improve our finances and be able to save, but most of all, it was made clear to everyone that we are just stewards and the owner of our finances and other resources is God. As I start to see things that way, I suppose you can say now that tithing has started to become an act of obedience for me that I would really like to practice.

I’ve been reading various literature on tithing, and some of them only encouraged me to not be faithful enough by saying that tithes may be given after we have set aside money for our savings account, even for our usual expenses. After listening to Pastor Joby, I was convicted for I knew deep inside that I wasn’t doing it right, but I still listened to those bad advice and just gave what was left, never realizing that tithing is an act of obedience and how I handle my finances and view money could reveal my idols in life.

I wish I have attended this seminar a long time ago. But then again, I may not be as mature then as I am now to fully understand and accept the lessons they present. I do wish and pray, however, that many more individuals and couples would be blessed next time the seminar is held, and for those who have already attended it, would be able to put into practice everything that they have heard from our resource speakers. ❤

(Featured image by rawpixel.com on Unsplash)

 

Gateway Gallery presents “Mga Kwento ni Nanay: A Storytelling Workshop”

The Gateway Gallery, managed by the J. Amado Araneta Foundation (JAAF) and is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the Araneta Group, strongly believes in the importance of reading and literacy. Its reading program aims to foster literacy or love for reading and books among Filipino children. It supplements the current DepEd programs on improving the literacy rate in the country, with an emphasis on promotion of Filipino history, arts, and culture.

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GATEWAY GALLERY PROGRAMS

On 12 June 2017, the Gateway Gallery unveiled the Liwanag Reading Corner, a 7-piece mobile wooden sculpture inspired by the story of “The Lamp and the Moth” as told by Teodora Alonzo to the young boy Jose Rizal. This one-of-a-kind art piece aims to promote the Filipino heritage and encourage reading by showcasing select books on Philippine history, culture, and arts for all ages.

The Gateway Gallery also offers Kwentuhang Adarna, which is a monthly storytelling session for community children that aims to promote book enjoyment through animated storytelling and activities. The stories are told by storytellers from Adarna House using Adarna books. Every session at the Gateway Gallery ends with a distribution of snacks and educational gifts.

The Liwanag Reading Caravan, on the other hand, is a storytelling school campaign where celebrity storytellers visit nearby schools to promote the value and habit of reading. It also encourages the students to visit Gateway Gallery’s Liwanag Reading Corner for some after-school reading.

Lastly, Gateway Gallery holds Mga Kwento ni Nanay, a one-day storytelling workshop designed to strengthen the reading campaign of the Gallery by enlisting parents, guardians, teachers, and volunteers in the community. Participants are briefed on the value of reading and the use of helpful techniques to become effective storytellers. The activity not only emphasizes the benefits of reading, but also spending quality time with the children for their overall development.

In the last five months since they launched their reading program, Gateway Gallery was able to reach 230 children, trained nearly 100 storytellers, and distributed more than 150 books.

This November 24 and 25, as we celebrate the National Reading Month, Gateway Gallery will hold its 2nd Mga Kwento ni Nanay: A Storytelling Workshop in partnership with Adarna House. Registration fee is PHP350.00 only, inclusive of materials. To pre-register or for more details, please visit http://www.facebook.com/GatewayGalleryPH.

( Featured image by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash)

 

National Music Competitions for Young Artists presents “Anyaya sa Musika”

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The National Music Competitions for Young Artists (NAMCYA) presents Anyaya sa Musika this November 21 to 26, 2017 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Young artists, musicians, trainers and teachers, who have reached the finals level in a nationwide competition that started early this year shall be recognized in a series of programs that coincides with the celebration of the National Music Week this year.

The week-long events will include competitions, outreach performances, and awarding for both solo instrument and group concert winners. Newly commissioned works by Filipino composers will be premiered at the Final Competitions, whereas six ensembles presenting their region’s local traditions will be the presented in the Traditional Music Concert.

The NAMCYA 2017 Finals Week Schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

2:00 PM Opening Ceremonies, CCP Little Theater

5:00 PM Senior Woodwinds, CCP Little Theater

5:00 PM Senior Piano, CCP Main Theater

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

5:00 PM Senior Voice, CCP Little Theater

5:00 PM Senior Strings, CCP Main Theater

Thursday, November 23, 2017

2:00 PM Children’s Solo Rondalla Instrument, CCP Little Theater

5:00 PM Youth Rondalla Ensemble, CCP Main Theater

Friday, November 24, 2017

5:00 PM Children’s Choir and Adult Choir, CCP Main Theater

6:00 PM Traditional Music Outreach Performance, Rizal Park Open Air Auditorium

Saturday, November 25, 2017

10:00 AM Traditional Music Concert, CCP Little Theater

5:00 PM Concert of Solo Instrument Winners, CCP Little Theater

Sunday, November 26, 2017

5:00 PM Concert of Group Winners and Closing Ceremonies, CCP Main Theater

The NAMYCA is supported by the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the Department of Education (DepEd), and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).

Admission is FREE for all events. For inquiries, please call the NAMCYA Secretariat at (02) 836-4928 / 836-4929 or visit www.namcya.com and their social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, using #galingNAMCYA and #NAMCYA2017.

 

(Featured image by Valentino Funghi on Unsplash)

#Kanser2017: Noli Me Tangere today

We learned of Gantimpala Theater Foundation’s staging of the four literary Filipino classics, namely Ibong Adarna, Florante at Laura, Noli Me Tangere, and El Filibusterismo a couple months ago. Since we have an 8th grader, who has started reading novels, such as Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, A Tale of Two Cities, and the like, not to mention she has Ibong Adarna and Florante at Laura as part of her Filipino reading materials for 7th and 8th grade respectively, my husband and I deemed it proper to watch those plays not only for her to appreciate more these great Filipino classics, but also our culture and values too.

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Last August, we watched Florante at Laura, and it had been a fun and enlightening activity for my daughters and me. It was their first time to watch a Tagalog play, and though it wasn’t exactly for kids, it was wholesome enough for them to watch. On September 17, we trooped back to SM Southmall, this time to watch Gantimpala Theater Foundation’s last staging of #Kanser2017 or Noli Me Tangere for the season. Read More

The Sunday Currently, Vol. 27

It’s been a while since I last wrote a Sunday Currently post. I opted to discontinue doing it for some weeks because I no longer wrote anything for a time except about my Sundays. A lot of unfinished (travel) stories and articles remain in my drafts folder, waiting to be completed and polished and posted, and in a way, writing only for The Sunday Currently has kept me further from finally getting those things published. But here I am now, back at it, because wouldn’t you know it, I actually missed writing on Sunday nights!

reading the drafts my daughters have each written for their respective books. Oh, you have no idea how proud I am of them! Speaking of books, I still need to revise my husband’s book too, which has already been published online via Amazon and will soon be in paperback. I guess I’m the only one in the family not writing a book because my role is to read, edit, and get their books published.

writing this. Like I said, I actually missed The Sunday Currently. Weekends have been the busiest days of the week for me lately–more than ever–and usually, after coming home from church and malling with my girls, I would go straight to bed to nap before preparing dinner and watching movies online with the family.

listening to our adopted Alaskan malamute play with the water in his tub just outside the girls’ bedroom. Today has been a very warm day and I cannot blame him. I wish we have a bathtub too. I’d probably soak in it for hours, maybe sleep in it too! Read More