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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Don't Mess with my Chocolate

You will not believe how badly I reacted to the chocolate my husband made me buy. You see, I was buying a particular brand for a certain recipe. It's something I've planned for for some time. I don't usually spend at home but I promised my daughter I'd make some for her and her dad (and of course for myself) this weekend.

I set aside money for it, I asked my husband to drive me to the grocery which sells that particular brand. When we got to the grocery, my husband started telling me to buy a different brand. That brand was on sale but ultimately buying it would still cost more than buying the brand I wanted. I told him no because it might taste different but despite my constant refusal...he kept badgering me until I obliged.

When I got home, I made the "dish" and it tasted different. I was so annoyed it was unbelievable.  I know I was being petty but every single time I tasted the product it got me more and more riled up. I wanted to buy it because I've tried it and I liked it. I was looking forward to it and now I'm so freaking disappointed.

I guess i can forgive a lot of things...but please don't mess with my chocolates. teehee

Monday, August 13, 2012

Positive Spin on a Relationship Funk

We are in a relationship funk. At least I think we are in one. We are not as sweet and loving to each other as we once were. It really doesn't make sense because in general my husband and I see eye-to-eye when it comes to 95% of big issues. We share the same faith, we have similar parenting styles, we don't have trust issues. So we should be so blissfully into each other.

I guess sometimes work gets in the way...or life. Doesn't life sometimes just get in the way?

I spent one night reflecting on our relationship and wondering what we can change. I zoned in on the way we communicate with each other. I realized that our automatic response is to contradict what the other person is saying first. If he says something my response is "No, but....". And he does the same. This is such an automatic thing for us that we don't even know we're doing it. I do know how I feel when he does that to me. I feel competitive and I feel my ego getting bruised. My goddamn EGO.

I have a big ego. I'm trying to whittle it down to a workable size but it's pretty hard. I've been praying to God because my Ego is a source of selfishness and pride and those two things don't lead to good things. In this case, my ego makes me competitive and argumentative. When I'm in that zone I will argue with you till the sun sets and I will net back down until I win. And honestly, what kind of a relationship is that?

I then brought a proposal to him. I told him that I saw our tendency to constantly be negative in our responses to one another and that I propose an experiment seeing how we would always start our statement to the other person in a positive, agreeable way. Here's the funny thing. As I was proposing this and as I was discussing this with him, we found ourselves repeatedly being negative and contradictory to the other. It was an eye opener for sure. We vowed to work on it and touch base after 2 days. Today is the second day. And I am soooo much happier. I feel more loving towards him. I am more open to submitting to him and I am also more aware of how I respond to him.

I can't believe something so simple can have such a profound effect on a relationship.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

What Made You Decide to Homeschool?

This is a question I have been asked quite a lot this past year. You see, I have been very vocal about my choice and it's getting people more curious and that is making me happy. So to answer this question, here's why I'm homeschooling.

  1. Andrea went to a progressive preschool and they are taught lessons based on their skill levels. At the age of 4 she has learned everything she needed to learn for preschool and was already touching on Grade 1 lessons. So now, I am torn between sending her back to preschool and having her go through the stuff she has already learned (or learn things she will eventually have to study again when she goes to big school). This would mean I would pay the school to teach her something she already knows. This sounds pretty illogical to me. I looked at my options and I found homeschooling. I have always been curious about it and the more I read about it, the more I fell in love. The beauty is that I get this one year as a sort of trial period. If it doesn't work for us, I send her back to school. If it works for us, then I continue homeschooling her.
  2. The lack of character education in kids nowadays. I think my daughter is smart. 98% of parents feel the same. It's our contractual obligation as parents to think our kids are the best! =) However, I know that all of the talents and skills God gave my daughter will be useless if I don't help mold her character. It will be incredibly hard (but not impossible) for me to do this if she is spending 80% of her waking time in school. 
  3. My cousin sends her kid to an exclusive school. She spend 120k a year on basic expense (not including around 35k on service, baon, school supplies, etc). the kid spends around 5 hours in school. then goes home to study for 3 hours with my cousin. There's a lot of frustration during these sessions because they are both tired. I spend the same amount of time homeschooling my daughter. So why the hell would I spend more to have someone teach my child only to have to augment the teaching for 3 hours daily. It doesn't make sense.
  4. The rains/typhoons don't affect our curriculum =) 
  5. We get to go on trips without cancelling classes. 
  6. I get to see my daughters weakness/character flaws and actively work on them. 
  7. I see my own weakness and character flaws and actively work on them. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Daily Breakdown

I went to my friend Leira's blog and saw her talk about her day normal day. I thought that was an interesting idea so I figured I'd do it myself. The problem is I have no typical day. I have different kinds of days and that's what I would be talking about here.

7:30 - Quiet time (read the bible and pray) while drinking a glass of water with apple cider vinegar.
8:00- Make list for the day
8:10 - Prepare Andrea's breakfast, prepare homeschooling materials.
8:30 - FB, YouTube, Etc.
9:00 - Start homeschooling
11:30 - prepare Lunch
12:00 - Lunch with my daughter
12:30 - arts and crafts or fun stuff or reading or videos
1:00 - give daughter a bath and take a bath as well
1:30 - get dressed for MA classes
2:00 - leave for school
2:30 - Library, or Consultation Room either to study or to facilitate IQ tests for kids
6:00 - start of class
9:00 - go home and have dinner.
9:30 - daily review
10:00 - family time
* this assumes I do not have oDesk work.
* this also assumes I have no task to work on for the family business


7:30 - Quiet time (read the bible and pray) while drinking a glass of water with apple cider vinegar.
8:00- Make list for the day
8:10 - Prepare Andrea's breakfast, prepare homeschooling materials.
8:30 - FB, YouTube, Etc.
9:00 - dress Andrea up
10:30 - Leave for gymnastic's class/lunch out
12:00 - 2 - Andrea's gymnastics class
3:00 - take daughter to my MIL and then rest
4:00-7:00 - Bible study
8:00 - go to the resto and help out
10:00 - pick-up daughter

I get crazy when my routine changes. It's hard for my mind to wrap around the changes so quickly and I end up not being as productive as I would like.

This is such an interesting exercise because I seriously thought I was much busier than this! Hahaha

OneDay App

I am always on the lookout for any new and interesting app that might help me and my disorganize self be more organized. I would normally go to itunes, get 5-8 new productivity apps and download every single one of them. Then, I would use one app at a time and see if it works for me. If it works for me, I keep it! If not, I dispose of it and look for another one.

I am sooo excited about my latest app discovery called OneDay App. It combines my need for lists, daily schedule and daily reflection. I AM IN LOVE. Let me show you why.

The starting page looks like this:

At the top left you see the current month and year, followed by the time, and lastly you will see the day and the date.  It is followed by a text reminding you of certain things (you can see what it says right?), and under the text is this huge plus sign which would allow you to add more tasks for that day.  Underneath the plus sign you would see the breakdown of the tasks as those which you still have to do that day, how many important things needs to be done and how many you've done!

If you tap on the All plans Today button, you would see this:

It shows you everything you need to do starting with the tasks you have yet to complete. It's arranged in order of importance. If you would scroll down you would see this:

The tasks I have finished that day. You can see above some things I have worked on/completed today. Here are other things:

Notice that I put in mundane tasks such as writing lists, drinking water...and yes BATHING! You see I'm a mom, these things sometimes suffer if I don't make a conscious effort to do them.

Now, let's go to my favorite part of this app. The daily reflection. At the end of the day, you are prompted to  review your day and reflect on how productive you are and how happy you are with your performance.

Then at the end of it all, you will be given a grade depending on how much of your plans you've accomplished. Isn't that so cool? The nerd in me is tingling at the thought of being graded. Hahaha.

I love so many things about this app but there are some things which I think they could improve on. First, you cannot really pre-plan your lists. They have to be done on a daily basis. So for example, I have a weekly date with Ruy every Friday which I wanted to schedule. I put it in as recurring things every Friday but it still appeared on my To-do list today. It's a small inconvenience but it would be nicer if the to do could have a start date too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It Shouldn't Really Work

Green Mango Ice Cream with Warm Bagoong Topping. What sort of sick mind dreamed this up? Who would think of this? It's too crazy I thought for sure that it was a joke.  This can't be real! Don't get me wrong, I love Green Mango and Bagoong...I die for this stuff.

But ice cream and bagoong together is just too crazy to work!! Or is it? I went there skeptical...I left a believer! It was an experience I can't wait to have again. Oh Sebastian's Ice Cream...why did you have to open near my school?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Homeschooling Helper

My daughter went to a great progressive preschool for 2 years before starting homeschooling for her Prep year. It's great in a way, because she has learned so much in that school. The drawback is that, I am now forced to "re-teach" things she has already learned because that's the required curriculum for Prep. 

The academic adviser was kind enough to really help me customize Andrea's lessons more fitting her strengths and weaknesses. For example, she wasn't given a reading text book because her reading level is already way past what is required. Instead, we were advised to read her longer story books instead. 

I realized that more than the lessons I need to teach her this year. I want to mold her character and her independence.  I have taken to leaving her when she works but she always goes to me to ask if she's already completed the pages for that day so I decided to use my handy dandy (and very colorful) flags.

Basically, our arrangement has been:

  • Blue - Monday
  • Green - Tuesday
  • Yellow - Wednesday
  • Pink - Thursday
  • Orange - Friday

SHE LOVES IT. She has this sense of satisfaction every time she gets to peel off the flag after finishing the activity. 

We use it for her daily bible reading. 

For her textbooks. 

And even for her story books!

And guess what, I use these flags for my books as well.

I bought those flags for only 20 pesos and I've been using it incessantly and I have barely made a dent on it!

Monday, July 9, 2012

15 Things That Make Me Happy

I watched a show from Bravo where celebrities talk about 10 things they love and basically define their life at that certain point. I thought that was so interesting! I wanted to go around my house and look at the things that make me happy. This of course does not include here it goes.

1. Bible

I have been trying to read the bible every day and it has been very comforting to me. This bible was a gift from my husband just because I really really really need cute things in my life. =)

2. Wedding Ring

This is not the best shot of my wedding ring but it's what I have on hand. My ring has 4 sapphires and 3 diamonds arranged in a half eternity. I like it cause it's different. I like it cause inside it says "Love you more".

3. Pinterest

I ADORE PINTEREST. I can spend hours over there getting ideas as to what I want to do in the future. I actually do try most of the things I find on pinterest and they have all been awesome. I LOVE LOVE LOVE pinterest. I can't get enough of it.

4. YouTube

Another favorite time-waster. My daughter and I both love youtube. My husband does too! I watch the Kardashians, Real Housewives, Scary shows, Makeup Tutorials

5. Buko Juice

If I could drink Buko Juice every day I would. When I feel like my body needs cleansing I drink this and it clears up my skin.

6. Amazing Grace by Philosophy

This scent just gives me a sense of relaxation and peace...and happiness!

7.  Ghost Adventures the TV Show

I love scary documentaries and this is my favorite for this month. Ruy and I watch this to relax because God knows how stressed we have been.

8. Notebooks

I love notebooks. I have so many and I still keep on wanting more. I always, always need to have one with me to write anything.

9. Tumblers

I love water bottles and tumblers. I have soooo many and it's completely irrational!

10.  Laptop and Wifi

I am addicted to all thing web related. It makes me happy. It makes my day complete

11.  Chocolate

Le Maison du Chocolat, Chocnut, Goya, Kitkat,....I LOVE THEM ALL. Too much actually

12. iPod

I am constantly on my ipod. I use it for everything and I mean everything. It's my alarm clock, it's where I put lists. I put contacts in, my schedule. I play music, I take photos, I take videos. I read books.  I don't know what I'd do without it to be honest.

13. Plastic Organizers

 I'm a plastic organizer/container junkie and I swear if my husband doesn't stop me, I'd probably be living in a house with nothing but tumblers, plastic containers and notebooks. I use them for storing my make-up. My daughter's puzzles, my daughter's art supplies. My pens and office supplies, etc.

14. Iced, Brewed Tea or Sweet Tea

I learned how to brew and make my own sweet tea at home late last year and I've been hooked since. I just cannot be satisfied with the instant kind now. Drinking it makes me feel pampered and happy. It feels utterly indulgent and it doesn't even cost that much. I have refused to share my recipe to anyone and everyone...even my husband is not privy to my recipe. =)

15. Chats/Talks with girl friends. 

I can go on and on chatting with my girl friends...any of them. I can chat with them for 6 hours straight and still leave feeling like the time wasn't enough. I love people who can hold conversations and that is why I love my wonderful ladies. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Rekindling my Creativity

This talk has literally changed my output about schooling and education. I have gone from being a staunch advocate of strict, disciplined, private school education to being a homeschooling parent. If what he is asserting is true...if schooling does indeed kill creativity, then my creativity is at it's death bed. I have been in school since I was three and I'm still in school as I started homeschooling my daughter I became a little bit more interested in exploring my creative side. I wasn't ready to jump into sculpture and charcoal painting but I thought it would be fun to start coloring.

I printed a cool print, got some coloring ipod and locked myself inside my library.

I fell in love with this print and I really wanted to just relax and do something I wouldn't normally do. I spent 30 minutes and this is what I came up with....

I thought that my work is pathetic. That's it? 30 minutes and that's all I have? Sheesh. Ken Robinson is right, my creativity is dead. Good thing I have more prints to work on. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sharing My Organizational System

I am not the most organized person in the world, in fact, I could be considered disorganized by some people.  I always fall prey to organizers, and other tools that are suppose to help people be more organized and they almost always fail.  So imagine my surprise when I realized that in the past 6 months I've actually been maintaining a sort of system that works for me. I thought I'd share it here.

This particular envelope was purchased for less than 50 pesos!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Painting Bread with Kids

I talked about a fun activity my daughter and I did over here. I've had a lot of questions regarding the kind of paint I used so I decided to write it here.

Here are the things you would need for this activity:

- Bread
- Condensed Milk
- Food Color (I used Red, Yellow and Blue)
- Various small bowls for each color
- Sticks for mixing each color
- Clean paint brush

1. Put two tablespoons of condensed milk on each bowl.
2. Add four drops of liquid food coloring (I use Mc Cormick) for each primary color (Blue, Red, Yellow)
3. The intermediate colors would require different proportions, feel free to play around with them, we used the following: Orange - 4 drops yellow, 2 drops red; Violet -- 2 drops blue, 4 drops red; Green -- 2 drops blue, 3 drops yellow.
4. Mix the colors together using a stick. If you want the color to be lighter, add a bit more condensed milk...this is art not science. Feel free to play around with the materials.
5.  Get a clean paint brush and start painting your bread.

6. When your bread masterpieces are done. Just toast....and eat!!

Your kids will go crazy with this activity. =)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Name is Liv and I am an Addict

There, I've said it. Yes I was, and still am, an office supply junkie. I thought I got over my addiction but I'm just a sucker for cute things. Minimalist I am not...I have come to terms with this fact. In the past month I have purchased things for no other reason other than that they were freaking cute.

This calculator is a perfect example. Do I need it? No! But it's so freaking different and  Cath Kidson-ish that I had to ask my husband to buy it. Luckily he obliged ;p 

Another thing I didn't need, this Tumbler. Why did I buy it? Because it came in my ultimate favorite color (white) and my current favorite color (aqua). 

This was my worst haul. I came in to buy a piece of plane transparent folder and came back with all of these...simply cause they were cute. 

Oh dear God. Is there a medication for this?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dealing with my Daughter's Fine Motor Issues

My daughter was ...different. I don't know how else to put it but there was something different about her. I helped raise my sister from the time I was 16. I was pretty involved in the early lives of my 4 nephews. I am a psychologist. I know when something is different.

I have been very watchful since she was 1. She had obsessive tendencies, would sometimes not reply. Was always intently focused on most things and struggled with her fine motor skills. I was sure she had asperger's I talked to my husband and close relatives about it. We promised to keep on observing.

Truth be told. I was scared for a while. I didn't bring her to a developmental pediatrician right away because I wasn't ready for a possible diagnosis. When she turned 3, I realized it was time to have her checked. I realized that if something was off with her, it would be better if I knew right away so I can try to train her properly. I went from fear to acceptance. I told myself, who better to raise a child with asperger's than me? I studied for this, I'm trained for this.

All that hoopla was for nothing. She didn't have asperger's. What she does have is poor fine-motor skill which the OT attributed to weak muscles. This resulted in delay in writing, inability to color within the lines, delay in using spoon and fork on her own. Here's how we dealt with this issue:

1. I didn't tell my daughter. -- this is not an excuse for her not to do something. She is expected to do everything her classmates are expected to do even if it takes her longer. We did offer some support like pencil holders, and special scissors during the first few months.
2. Weekly OT therapy -- I was blessed to find an awesome therapist in Marikina who was amazing in dealing with Andrea and was very innovative in coming up with fun activities for her to do. She also came up with exercises for Andrea to do at home.
3. I talked to the teachers -- I told them this (verbatim) "Teacher, Andrea has some problems with her fine motor skills so we're working with an OT regarding this. But please, let her do everything her classmates are doing." What's the point of this? I want the teachers to understand that when Andrea's uninterested in an activity or is listless it doesn't mean she's means she's struggling and might need more motivation and support.
4. I called her Occupational Therapy sessions "Writing School" -- once again to remove any associations with her being not well enough to do something.
5. Introducing more avenues for her to practice her fine-motor skills like cooking, folding paper, using clothespins, finger painting, playing with clay, etc.
6. Daily writing exercise immediately after breakfast. - to be sure that she's not tired

These things together helped so much, Andrea is now able to do a lot more things than before. More than the things she is able to do, what I value more is her confidence in herself. She now believes and understands that she can do things on her own and she just needs to keep trying. Her confidence lessens her frustrations and makes her more interested to try new things.

We are still working on further strengthening her hands and arms but we are so excited by how much she has grown in the past 18 months!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hardware Change

My husband and I LOVE LOVE LOVE working outside the home. We sit in a coffee shop, a resto or anywhere else together for 3-5 hours and work. I admit, I do disturb him every once in a while but generally we just sit in silence and work.

The things is, my GIANT, Sony Vaio is crazy big, crazy heavy AND....its battery is dying. So I told Ruy that my target is to get myself a powerful netbook before the year ends. You see, I have to drag this huge Sony laptop all over school and add my giant textbooks to the mix and I'm left with sore arms and legs and with the way I need to have the laptop with me at various locations....a netbook is definitely the way to go.

Last Saturday, Ruy started asking me about the model I like...the color...where I got it....etc. And by the end of the day, I got this!

Looking forward to this baby's debut when Ruy and I get the chance to work outside our home again. Yiheee

Thursday, February 2, 2012

5 Words

My friend L posted this question yesterday "In 5 words, describe your husband".

It was such an interesting question and it was definitely not easy. How can you capture, the essence of one individual in just 5 words? How can I communicate who my husband is without stories, and details....just 5 words.

I eventually came up with these 5: Driven, Loved, Loving, Awesome, Committed

  1. Driven for me pertains to how he keeps trying to do better, to be better. It's not about being better than others, it's about being the best him. 
  2. Loved cause, he's adored by so many. Me and Andrea included. I think being loved talks about his character as much as the other words do.
  3. Loving pertains to how dedicated he is to me, to my daughter, to his family.
  4. Awesome....well that's self-explanatory isn't it? ;p
  5. Committed is for his faithfulness and loyalty. 

This was such an interesting exercise that I decided to ask my husband how he would like to be described. His list only had one thin in common with mine as he said he wants to be called: "Nice, Good, God-fearing, Loving...." and I forgot the last one. Yaiks.

10 Simple Things

If I had a hundred every time I hear a guy complain about how hard it is to please a woman....I would probably have enough money buy myself an Hermes. No joke.

I would always tell my's hard to please an UNHAPPY woman, if your woman is happy pleasing her would be simple. 

I would say, that I'm a pretty happy person....which is why it takes very little for Ruy to give me pleasure (not that kind you dirty minded Gorgeous Moms...oh yeah, you know who you are). I think, Ruy doesn't realize how happy the small things he does make me. Here are the things which I particularly like:

  1. When he invites me to join him as we work together somewhere....(this is what happens when workaholics get married) 
  2. Talking
  3. When he plays with Andrea
  4. Talking
  5. When he puts his hand on my back
  6. Talking
  7. When he shuts the computer and puts the iPhone down for us to talk.
  8. Talking
  9. When he invites me to go somewhere (even if it's in Mc. Do) just to hang-out
  10. Talking 
Fine, I cheated, those aren't really 10 things....but talking is SO important to me that it basically trumps every other thing on the list. What about you? What simple thing does your partner do to make you happy?

Tea-d Off

I am obsessed with tea at this moment. This started when a friend gifted us with the yummiest organic tea. I decided I wanted to learn how to brew tea properly. A few tries and I had the perfect tea concoction (which much to the chagrin of everyone, I refuse to share with anyone, not even with Ruy). My brewed tea is restaurant quality....I kid you not. My husband can drink obscene amounts of my concoction.

I love re-inventing my concoctions, I now have 5 varieties of my brewed tea and I am looking for more ways to re-invent them. I often find my inspiration from the newly sprouting Tea Houses in and around the metro.

I found my inspiration today in Starbucks. I decided to try something different by ordering my Basic Black Tea with a shot of Almond Syrup.  It resulted in a tea which seemed richer and more decadent but nowhere near as fattening as your normal latte.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Letting My Hair Down

I have been out of the rat race corporate world for almost 3 years and so having to spend 16 hours in corporate attire, complete with severely pulled back hair, held together with bobby pins and a fully made-up face was as close to torture as I've gotten lately. I love training and I love the fact that I get to earn doing something I love without having to spend 12 hours in the office like I used to...but the outfit, of dear God the outfit.

In order to celebrate my freedom from the balls and chains of corporate aesthetics I decided to let my hair down today....literally and figuratively.

Pardon the severely dazed look. Having an hour of sleep can do that to you. Why did I have only an hour of sleep?

Freelance training + MA Studies (I had a report) + Volunteer Work

+ Motherhood + Facebook Addiction = No Sleep

That's my formula for not getting any sleep. How do I counter this? I put on a tank top, my comfiest cardi, my softest jeans and comfy flats.  Rub off any trace of make-up on my face, put my hair down and cuddle with my baby.

There are times when I miss the fast-paced life of being a corporate hotshot but nothing and I mean NOTHING, beats the unlimited access to cuddles being a SAHM has.