Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Have a blessed and fruitful Christmas everyone!

From the Pineda Family

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mag Finds

While waiting for my husband to pay for our new rice cooker which we bought from Robinson's Appliance Center, I got hold of this Maid Manual by Good Housekeeping.

It's quite simple really but very informative. It's not only good for those who have maids but also for those who are stay at home moms (without maids).

Also, I grabbed the December issue of Yummy magazine to help me with my Christmas Day menu.

It came with a free 2009 planner from Goldilocks which is (in fairness) cute!

Celebrating Christmas

Christmas is only 2 days away!!! Can you believe that? It's only as if yesterday that we started the season of Advent and now we are already gearing up for "THE" day.

At the recollection I attended last night, the priest said that there is nothing like celebrating Christmas in Manila. Here, starting December, there are already Christmas parties almost everyday. He said that he had an American friend who is working in Manila and said that he complained that he was so tired from all the celebrations. The thing is, this guy has never experienced attending so many Christmas parties in his life (like what we are used to). That is really how different and how elaborate we celebrate it. And on top of that, people give gifts to everybody: family (husband, children, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.), friends, household help, drivers, security guards, the mailman, garbage collector, everybody! It's like everyone's birthday.

I, for one, have received a ton of gifts already (though I still got a wish that is to receive a CEIVA digital frame). And oh, did you know that CEIVA is even offering a sweepstakes for CEIVAshare? It's great!

Anyway, receiving gifts makes you feel loved, but of course, it is not the be all, end all of Christmas. You know as the saying goes - it is better to give than to receive. If only for that, then Christmas is worth celebrating!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

This is Just the Beginning...

My Tatay called me up late last Friday and told me that he will be hosting a party on Sunday lunch. So, I said, "Ok po, for how many people po?". He said "For around 30 people". I almost fainted. Hahaha.

Anyway, the party was success. My Dad's co-authors in Rex Publishing were there plus some of my parents' inaanak sa kasal (with their kids) - most of them teachers from Lourdes School. I don't how we did it but we somehow managed to prepare all the dishes in time for lunch. But I'm telling you, it was like a MAD RUSH! We made an early trip to the wet market for the meat, shrimp, veggies and fish. After that, we rushed to grocery which opens at 9 am and bought more supplies. After paying for the grocery, we realized that our rice cooker conked out the day before and so we had to wait for the appliance store to open so we can buy a new rice cooker. We also had to find a panciteria where we could order pancit bilao. There were already guests as early as 11 and we were still wrapping the lumpiang shanghai, frying the lapu-lapu and breading the chicken! Kakahiya. It was like a scene from Iron Chef America, I swear.

Here's a picture of our labor of love ~

After the party, I realized that this is just the beginning. We will be hosting more parties and family reunions at home and I better be ready or ELSE!

By the way, the food we prepared got my two thumbs up! Yummy!

Getting Ready for a Feast

Have you prepared your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menu?

Well, I swear I have so many things in my head right now that I haven't finalized my menu and grocery list yet. Talk about holiday cramming.

On the top of my head, spaghetti and ham will definitely be in the menu and some yummy desserts (because of the kids). Gastronomically speaking, I want to make this Christmas a very special one but I also want sana to veer away from the traditional menu like what my Lola and Nanay would usually prepare. It's because I am torn between trying out something different (read: healthy) and sticking to the (high-cholesterol/fatty) menu basics. Hahaha!

Good thing I recently discovered this link for some Christmas menu ideas. Now all I have to decide is what is doable for me - without breaking the bank or making a mad rush to the grocery store.

Can't imagine that Christmas is just around the corner. Frenzy! Frenzy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Long Holiday Ahead

It will be a holiday for most people starting December 25 to January 01. That's a total of 8 straight days. I don't know about you, but personally, I'm "scared" of long holidays. Although it's very good to have time to rest and be with the family, long holidays mean for me temptation to be lazy (waking up late, lounging around at home doing nothing, neglecting to pray, etc., etc.). It also means temptation to spend too much.

Long holidays may be financially draining, really. It means that payday is advanced (for us, it will be on December 24) but you won't be receiving your next one until 3 weeks after. Tough luck. This means that I could already foresee my budget to be in temporary chaos by New Year's Day. If only I can avail of a hassle-free and no teletrack cash advance online. If so, it won't be so hard to budget during the holidays and I do not have to worry about where to get the cash for our regular grocery shopping which, by the way, stays the same regardless if it's Christmas or not. A mother and home manager like me should be wiser in spending especially during the holidays. Otherwise, the family might start the year in lots of financial problems and debt.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chicken Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

I wanted so bad to go healthy this week that I thought of lifting a cold spaghetti recipe from Sonlight Garden and making it according to my own taste.

As a result and as if very apt with the colors of the season, I was able to make this Chicken Spaghetti. It's made up of 6 pieces of big red tomatoes (chopped), 1 whole garlic (minced), about 1/4 cup of chopped basil, lots of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. I mixed all of these ingredients in a bowl and let it sit in the ref for 2 days. By doing this, the taste really gets savory and herb-y (if there is such a thing).

Last night, I added to this mixture a cup of boiled chicken (shredded), a small pouch of tomato sauce and 1/4 of a block of cheddar cheese and cooked it under low fire. This recipe is good for about 1/2 kilo of spaghetti. After cooking, I mixed the pasta with the sauce and topped it with yummy (but expensive) parmesan cheese.

So where did it end up?


This is by far the yummiest lunch I've tasted in years (the picture didn't do justice but I swear it's good!). It tastes like a salad and smells like a salad. And it's healthy too. :-)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Never Without...

Never without a Belen during Christmas...

That's what I learned from my parents. I was raised with this wonderful tradition in my family and I want to continue on with this as my husband and I build our own set of family traditions.

Some folks think that Christmas is just a season for new clothes, gift-giving, ham, snow and queso de bola. But even without all of these trivial things, Christmas is Christmas. But think about a Christmas without the baby Jesus, the Virgin Mary with St. Joseph. That, I think, wouldn't be the real Christmas.

Thanks to the Belen for constantly reminding us of the real meaning of Christmas.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Knowledge is Power

I remember the late Ernie Baron who advocated "knowledge is power" not so long ago. In more ways than one, this by-line of his is very correct. One has to have knowledge to gain not just power but also opportunities. With knowledge, we can get the right job, get into the right business or build the right career for you. With knowledge, we can avoid some risks, cultivate more options and be successful.

That is why people should try their best to study and study hard. They have to see the value of continuous learning. As they stay, nobody is too old or too young to learn. In the Nouveau Riche University for example, a person will learn the basic concepts of real estate investment and be able to use these concepts in concrete action. When you enroll in the Nouveau Riche University, you will appreciate more the business idea behind real estate investment and be able to make a living out of it. That is why many people are living testimonies of how effective it is to study and be real knowledgeable through Nouveau Riche University. Their own success stories are the proof of the effectivity and truth behind the concept of "knowledge is power".

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cute Blog

Chris sent me this award/tag some time ago and I only got to do it only today. Thanks Chris! Keep them coming!

Here are the rules:
1. Each blogger must post these rules.
2. Each blogger starts with ten random facts/habits about themselves.
3. Bloggers that are tagged need to write ten facts about themselves. You need to choose ten people to tag and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged and also to read your blog.

10 Random facts/habits about me:

1. I'm the youngest in the family. Actually, I have one sister lang.
2. My parents and sister are all teachers. Thus, I'm the only one in the family who's not.
3. I earned my college degree from UP Diliman and my MBA from Ateneo.
4. I met my husband on my first year of working. He was a former employee of the company I'm working for.
5. I got a boyfriend at 22, married him at 29, gave birth at 30. Now I'm 32.
6. I'm an avid fan of Agatha Christie and CS Lewis books.
7. I love to sing. However, haven't got any practice these days...maybe I need to buy that WOW Magic Sing soon!
8. My most favorite food is pasta. Anything pasta.
9. I also like the color pink.
10. I really want to be the best mother I could be (as great as my own mother was to me).

Sunday Lunch

While everybody in town stayed put in their respective houses and had their eyes glued to the TV set last Sunday for the much-awaited boxing game of Pacquiao and Dela Hoya, we were busy chasing the girl around as we had a scheduled lunch and duty free shopping date with our friend Lala last Sunday. We met in Shangri-La Mall and had lunch in Cyma. I love it there. I think they have the tastiest grilled porkchops and the yummiest baked macaroni. I did not really expect to enjoy it so much since I am not really fond of Greek cuisine. Anyway, lunch was great and it took away most of my stress from handling a toddler around all morning.

You know, since I ate so much, I could just imagine how my huge appetite could add more pounds to my already-overweight body. I am so lazy to exercise regularly (although I recently got two new workout videos) because I am so stressed at work and by all that traffic especially this Christmas season. But I really want to lose that excess weight soon. Because of this, I have been seriously considering taking diet pills that work. A few years back, I took the risk of drinking some and indeed I lost some pounds. However, I looked at diet pill reviews and found out that these were not the best diet pills in the market. This video made me feel more convinced. And now that I really need to fit into my clothes again, maybe I'll consider taking some again.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Our House

I took a picture of our house as I arrived from work yesterday. Even with the cost of electricity rising, I think it's still worthwhile to decorate and bring on the Christmas cheer. :-)

Now about that gate ~~~ well I think it needs some repainting. But I guess that can wait. :-)

Monday, December 8, 2008


Being the usual disorganized and lazy me, I have procrastinated in writing those Christmas cards for my relatives abroad. While I pre-occupied myself last weekend wrapping all those many, many gifts for Christmas, I have not written a single card for my dear friends and relatives who live far away. Maybe I should just spend some money to call them up personally. I only need the help of a Nationwide Phone Lookup to get their phone numbers in the United States. Maybe that's a better idea. What do you think?

Pepper Lunch-ing

For months now, we have been curious about Pepper Lunch. We often pass by this resto in Powerplant Mall but often choose not to eat there because of the perennial long lines. Anyway, Fr. Jim A. mentioned during my seminar three weeks ago that he was the one who blessed the place. Maybe that's the cause of the perennial lines. Hahaha.

So one time, when we had to do some last-minute grocery shopping at Rustan's, we decided to cut the curiosity and finally eat at Pepper Lunch.

As a sort of rite of passage, my husband burnt his tongue while trying out his beef dish. Plus, I found the place so noisy! The people where chit-chating like the place was a canteen. Hubby was also sweating like crazy towards the end of the meal. It was hot in the area where we sat, I don't know why. Hahaha. But apart from all that, we have no other complaints. Experience-wise, good. Food-wise, great!

Let me share some (blurry) pics:

Looking forward to eating there again soon!

True Love

Can I just make a sentimental note for a minute?

I was just staring at this picture of my husband and I (taken at Red Box Trinoma last Thursday) and I thought to myself, "Geez, we look so right together." It's not about the clothes, the look or the face. It's something seen from the eyes of the soul, I guess. There's love and that feels great!

Leo Tolstoy once said, "When you love someone, you love the whole person, just as he or she is, and not as you would like them to be." So for those looking for love (through friends, online dating, Local Personals or whatnot), just make sure you look for someone that matches not just your looks but your soul.


I can't remember who I snagged this from but I did it because I thought it's fun.

Here’s the instruction:

Click copy/paste, type in your answers and tag four people in your blogroll! Don’t forget to change my answers to the questions with that of yours.

Question # 1. Four places I go to over and over:
Home, Office, Church, Mall

Question # 2. Four people who e-mail me regularly:
My boss, my boss, my boss, my boss.

Question # 3. Four of my favorite places to eat?
Conti's, Teriyaki Boy, Pancake House, Mandarin Paseo Uno

Question # 4. Four places I’d rather be?
Home, home, home, home...

Question #5. Four TV shows I could watch over and over:
Sesame Street, Dora, Barney, House of Mouse (because Zoe likes those)

I won't be tagging anyone but if you like to do this meme, feel free to answer it.

Wisdom in Reading

As they say in health and fitness, "you are what you eat". Or in that case, you are what you eat, you drink, and what you breathe. For those who are firm believers of the mind-body connection, this is worthwhile pondering about. It's like the concept of GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) in the software industry. It is the simplest concept but is often ignored. Many people go around exposing themselves to many kinds of garbage and act as if it's nothing.

In a similar sense, I would like to apply it in reading. You are what you read. One may be a voracious reader but not a critical reader. If you allow yourself to be exposed to crap and rubbish material, you end up being like one. Thus, it makes sense to be informed of the effect of reading such and such book or magazine before indulging in it. It would be good to be wise and evaluate first (or get a good critique or maybe an Ebooks Review) before drowning yourself in a book. Believe me, this is the rule of the wise.

Bathroom Cleaning

Bathtub with watermarks...

Dull faucets and scummy lavatory...

This is a job for...


...to be continued (with results!). Thanks Libai!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Wish List

Vannie tagged me about my Christmas wishes. Vannie was like reading my mind because I have been aching to write about my merry wishes for this year. Apart from personal wishes such as a new job, a second baby and being finally debt-free, I also got a wish or wishes (if I may) for Santa this year. Here goes...

1. I want a CEIVA digital photo frame. Through the years, we have accumulated and collected hundreds of pictures of our family trips, parties and the daily milestones of Zoe. I thought it would be great to be able to share these pictures to my sister, Dad and relatives abroad. It would be fantastic if they are able to see how we are just by a click. More than that, this year, we can even join their contest and win $500. What a great deal, right?

2. I also want new planner. If I can't get the Starbucks planner, I just might get a moleskin (if there's a budget) or just a generic one from National Bookstore. I just want something simple so I can put order in my schedule for the whole year.

3. I want a new pair of blue jeans too. It's been ages since I got myself one. My existing pairs are either for repair already or looks too old to wear. I still haven't decided on what brand to get but hopefully I'll be able to get a new one by New Year's Day.

4. I also want a new digital camera. My old camera got lost last July when my sis used it for her trip to Australia. I miss my old camera. I just need to save up for a new one by May. Maybe we can also save up for a DSLR this year. Hunny?

That's all folks. I can't think of anything anymore. Snag this tag if you like!


Shot on Spot

Thanks to Pat for sharing me this tag.

We just got back from Shangri-La Mall and also Duty Free and I'm so tired...I swear, my darling baby is so heavy. My whole body aches from carrying her and pushing her stroller around. If only I can still photoshop my face right now...hahaha.

Here are the rules:
1. Take a picture of yourself right Now! (the moment you read this tag)
2. Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair, just take a picture.
3. Post that picture without editing.
4. Post these instructions with your picture.
5. Tag 10 people to do this. And don't forget to leave them a message about the tag.

I am passing this on to Ai, Aidisan, Agnes, Jenny, Mari, Nikki, Jody, Mich, Vannie, and Trinity. Have fun!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My Friend in Bangkok and Other Stuff

I've asked my friend Lala to bring us to the local duty free shop this weekend. I still have some more major gift-buying to do. To date, I still don't have anything prepared for my Dad, my husband and my sister. I thought that it would be best to check out the shirts, watches, bags and shoes there for they come out much cheaper compared to when you buy them in the malls.

Good thing my friend Lala can avail of free entrance to the duty free store since she just came back from Bangkok (yes, Bangkok!) this week. Unfortunately, she was in the smack of the difficult Bangkok situation. She and her friends were there for a vacation, scheduled to go home Thursday last week. But because all international flights were cancelled because of the stand-off, their group had to find another route to come home to Manila. It was terrible! She arrived only 6 days after her scheduled return! In the end, they had to take this long train ride to Malaysia and then another long bus ride going to Singapore where they were eventually picked up by their airline. Poor Lala. She had to spend a lot of money just to get home. Maybe she even considered getting an express cash advance in order to pay for her extended stay. Anyway, she's back to work now. She's also kind enough to bring us duty free shopping! That's so nice of her, don't you think? I think we'll just treat her for lunch to make her feel better.

Christmas Spirit Award

Thank you to Chris for this lovely award!

Here are the rules for this award:- You must be a true Christmas lover to receive this award.

- The person to whom you give the award must also be in love with Christmas.
- You must link back to the person who gave you the award.
- You must list 5 things that you love about Christmas. If you can't limit it to 5 things, then keep going till you run out of space! :o)
- Pass the award along to as many people as you like. That can be 1 or 45; it's up to you. But, you must pass it on to at least one person in order to keep the Christmas cheer going! Let your recipients know that you have tagged them by leaving them a comment on their blog.

As an early Christmas gift to everyone, I'm passing this to all of my friends in the blogsphere! Snag it peeps! Merry Christmas!


I remember the times when our grandmothers noted their expenses each day in a big notebook with a black or green cloth cover. They also divided monthly family expenses (food, gas, clothing, electricity, etc.) in white envelopes to plan out the budget well. It worked for them, true. For me, well, I think the situation now is more complicated than before (or at least feel that it's more complicated now). Anyway, I know that I would definitely need more than black notebooks and white envelopes to do my domestic management accounting. With prices of basic commodities rising but salaries remaining the same, the budget always ends up deeply battered. When before, going into debt was like a form of disgrace, people can now freely resort to fast cash personal loans or to organized credit without feeling bad. Getting a cash advance, for the most part, brings hope to those who are hounded by unexpected financial difficulties and it's fairly acceptable.

In this regard, here are some points were can consider regarding budgeting and personal accounting to help us avoid getting into more serious financial problems:

1. Establish a precise and realistic budget. Lay down your plans and targets for the year.
2. Differentiate between needs and wants and what you can really afford given all available resources.
3. Take responsible for all your decisions. Pay what you promised to pay.

To summarize, the important points of a good budget boils down to accurate information, necessity vs. want and sense of responsibility.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Our Little Snowman

We picked up a cute snowman decor on the route going back from Baguio to Manila (I think it was somewhere in Paniqui, Tarlac). There were actually rows and rows of Christmas lights and decors for sale but this snowman definitely caught my eye. It's perfect for our house and perfect for my budget (only P250!).

Here it is together with our Christmas tree:

...and here's a closer look. He's cute, right?

Zoe really liked it and I'm glad.

I Want the Thin Me Back

Hello everyone! My family and I just came back from a three-day vacation from the City of Pines. Thank God for three-day weekends!

Well, among the new places we visited were the outlet shops in Mile High inside Camp John Hay. It was great to discover these stores in the middle of a mountain! There I got to buy stuff for my husband, Zoe and Cat. Sadly, I couldn't find anything for myself. I looked at all the goods but nothing fits! There I realized that it's hard being fat. I made a quick resolution to start exercising again and eating less again lest I pay for a plastic surgery to trim my flabs in my stomach, legs and arms. On a side note, I honestly have been feeling so fat the past few weeks. And although I am still able to do most of what I used to do, I think my body is already close to being a case for Los Angeles cosmetic surgery. Sometimes, I feel that nobody can help me but a Los Angeles plastic surgeon. You see, I am used to be being thin. I was thin my whole life until I became pregnant. All throughout my childhood and teenage years, I was skinny. So I know how it feels to be thin. I was never really conscious of my weight until I had to lose a couple of pounds before I got married in order to fit in my wedding gown. But after giving birth and when I look at myself in the mirror, I'm not the same thin girl I used to be. I'm the same person (same personality, same spirit) but 20+ pounds overweight and this bears me down. I think this condition stemmed not just from my pregnancy but also from my inactive lifestyle, my eating habits and the stresses of my current job. And so until I take a concrete step in getting fit again, I'll have to rely on a miracle to do the job for me.

template by suckmylolly.com