Christmas Traditions

As Christmas is nearing, my heart is full of delight to see the colorful season decorations everywhere, I can feel the Christmas spirit in the air. Reminiscing the joys and fun celebrating Christmas during my childhood days and now as a mother turning over the tradition I grew up with to my kids.

The bamboo parol (star lantern), is the symbol of Christmas in the Philippines, representing the guiding light, the star of Bethlehem. It emits a warmth unparalleled among holiday adornments and is unique in our country. My youngest son and I had just finished his
bamboo parol project in school. We are both happy to see the result of his creativeness.



Yearly, we adorn our Christmas tree with different styles and motifs, this year we made it gold and silver.





The Belen, nativity scene is usually seen inschools, malls and even in offices, to remind us why we are celebrating Christmas.



We also have Poinsettias in bloom in our garden, with their ruby-colored, star-shaped leaves, are ubiquitous holiday decorations during the Christmas season. Seeing them in bloom, is the sign to start the Christmas count down in our home J



Mistletoe is commonly decorated in offices, is also said to be a sexual symbol, because of the consistency and color of the berry juice as well as the belief that it is an aphrodisiac, the “soul” of the oak from which it grows. I remember when I was still an office employee, I used to avoid walking under the mistletoe. Everyone in the office is always on the watch and monitoring the mistletoe passers. One legend states that a couple who kisses underneath mistletoe will have good luck, but a couple neglecting to perform the ritual will have bad luck. Specifically, it is believed that a couple kissing under the mistletoe ensure themselves of marriage and a long, happy life, while an unmarried woman not kissed under the mistletoe will remain single for another year.

During my childhood days, my Grandpa always tells us to put our Christmas stockings near his bedroom with names on each stocking on Christmas eve so that we will not give Santa Claus a hard time looking for our stockings (lol). This is one tradition I am missing so much, for our dearest Santa Claus (our grandpa) is already in heaven many years ago.



In these times, I wonder who are still practicing the traditional Stockings, for it was replaced with the Christmas wish list. Children nowadays, voice out what they want for their Christmas presents unlike before that as a child, I am contented and happy with what I will receive on Christmas.
The tradition of sending Christmas card greetings to friends and family, is still practiced although it is done electronically because of the computer technology.

Last but not the least is the Noche Buena. The Noche Buena is very much like an open house celebration. Family, friends, relatives, and neighbors drop by to wish every family member "Maligayang Pasko" (Merry Christmas). Food is in abundance, often served in buffet style. Guests or visitors partake of the food prepared

by the host family (even though they are already full or bloated!). Among the typical foods prepared in the Philippines during Christmas are: lechon (roasted pig), pancit or pasta dishes, barbecue, rice,cakes (Western and native rice cakes), lumpia, and other special dishes which we really take time out in cooking the whole day. There is also an abundance of beer, wine, and liquor, which makes the celebration of Christmas indeed intoxicating!
In general, the center of a family's Christmas gathering is always the lola or lolo, the endearing term used for a family matriarch or grandmother and patriarch or grandfather, who are deeply respected, highly revered, and always present. Filipinos remember how their lola and lolo had their children form a line and step up to receive a small gift of some coins. The older the child, the more coins he or she receives.
Christmas day is a popular day for children to visit their uncles, aunts, godmothers, and godfathers. At each home they are presented with a gift, usually candy, money, or a small toy. Food and drinks are also offered at each stop. It is a day of family closeness, and everyone wishes good cheer and glad tidings.


Lovingly written by Joy












Ways of Pampering Myself

Being a stay at home Mom is not an easy task. There are times when I am also so much stressed out because I am too much of a worrier, particularly when there are things that needs repair or replacement in the household, like to look for a plumber to fix a leaking water pipe, or a carpenter to fix the leaking roof are only some of the major house problems that needs immediate attention. Housekeeping, for me is a vocation, an occupation wherein I do not have a monetary remuneration J, yet I also enjoy especially when all things are doing well with my home and family. Keeping my home clean and tidy makes it beautiful and pleasing, which gives me a feeling of peace and contentment.
Even if I am busy helping my house help with the routine house chores and tending to my children’s daily needs (cooking and preparing their “baon”), I still find time to pamper myself in my own special ways. Let me share to you how I do it:
· Our bathroom is not equipped with a bath tub, so I improvised by using a supersized basin wherein I enjoy my bubble bath. Usually, I took long baths twice a week.
· Once a month, I go to a salon to have my hair trimmed, dyed or treated.
· During weekends, we schedule malling. My husband is always telling my kids that malling is my cure if I am mad headed (lol). Anyway, it makes wonder in my case, just simply strolling or doing the grocery changes my mood from heavy to light.
· I am a reader, I take time out to read books and novels. I normally don’t buy books from the book stores, I enjoy buying books from book sale, in this way I could buy 2-3 books in a fair low price. Or I read downloaded ebooks either in my notebook, or cell phone.
· I also socialize via social networking sites, in such manner I can still be in touch with my friends and relatives.
· Long weekend calls for a one-day movie marathon, either watching it with my husband or together with the kids
There are still a lot of means on how to pamper oneself in an enjoyable yet simple and inexpensive way, stop worrying for a while, pamper yourself too!


Lovingly written by Joy












House Emergencies and Accidents Part 2

Nosebleeds are very common among children and many start spontaneously. Unless they are a direct result of an impact to the nose, the cause may not be known. Simple treatment whereby the blood is encouraged to clot is usually effective. The priority is to protect the victim’s airway and to try and prevent blood from being swallowed.
HOW TO TREAT NOSEBLEEDS
1. Lean the child forward and encourage her to spit blood into a handkerchief or some other receptacle.
2. Pinch the child’s nose just below the hard part at its top to and apply firm pressure for 10 minutes (this is the amount of time it takes for a clot to form). If the bleeding has not stopped after 10 minutes, apply pressure for two further periods of 10 minutes. If bleeding continues then take the child to hospital.
3. Once the bleeding has stopped, advise the child not to scratch, pick, or blow her nose, not to drink hot liquid, and not to exert herself, because all these activities can dislodge the clot and cause the bleeding to start again.
Treating Minor Wounds
Wash your hands before treating the wound. Check that there is nothing in the wound. If the wound is dirty, clean it under running water. Pat dry with clean cloth. Clean the wound from the center out with gauze swabs or antiseptic wipes, using a fresh piece for each wipe. Cover the wound with an adhesive dressing to apply pressure and protect from infection. Elevate the wound if necessary to help control bleeding.
Check there is nothing embedded in the wound and cleans and dry it.
Clean wound with antiseptic wipes or swabs, apply povidone-iodine, then cover it with a dressing for protection and to apply pressure.
Raise the wound if necessary to reduce blood flow to the affected area.
Animal Bites
Dog bites or cat bites or any animal bite requires medical attention. Deep bites can cause serious wounds, severe bleeding, and tissue damage, while all animal bites can cause infection. Puncture wounds from teeth carry infection deep into the tissue, whiles scratches are also an infection risk. The human bite is among the most infectious.
CHECKING FOR INFECTION
Warn the injured person to watch for signs of an infected wound over the coming days. Seek immediate medical attention if any combination of the following signs and symptoms develops:
Increased pain
Swelling
Redness around the site of the wound
Discharge from the site
Unpleasant smell from the site of the wound
Red tracks from the site of the wound to the heart
Swollen glands
TREATMENT
The priority is to ensure the safety of yourself and bystanders. If the animal is still a risk, do not approach it but call the local Animal Control Service through your police department or Barangay
For serious wounds
Help the injured person sit down to help reduce shock.
Treat any bleeding by:
Looking in the wound
Applying direct pressure
Elevating the site if it is a limb
Take or send the person to hospital.
For smaller wounds and scratches
Wash the wounds thoroughly with soap and water.
Dry the wound with clean gauze or other non-fluffy material and cover with a dressing.
Seek medical advice.
Vomitting and Diarrhea
Elderly and children are more vulnerable to the accompanying risk of dehydration. The loss of circulating body fluid can lead to life-threatening shock if it not replaced.
CAUSES
Likely causes of vomiting and diarrhea include: food poisoning; viral infection such as gastroenteritis; and sensitivity to a new or unusual food. Vomiting alone can also accompany some medical conditions such as concussion and compression and other injuries.
TREATMENT
Check the person’s recent history for clues as to the cause and to rule out underlying injury such as a serious blow to the head.
Help the person into a comfortable position. If he is vomiting, this will usually be sitting up. Help the person to the bathroom as necessary.
Help the person to clean himself up and change clothes as necessary.
Provide bland fluids (except milk) to drink slowly—it is important to keep fluid levels up. Give him/her ISOTONIC DRINKS -These drinks replace vital fluids and important minerals and sugars in the body. Available to purchase ready made, or you can also make your own.
Add
1 tsp salt and
5 tsp sugar
Per 2 pints of water or diluted orange juice
This drink should be taken in short sips as needed.
Seek medical advice if the condition persists. If the person shows signs of shock, seek urgent medical attention.
Foreign Body In The Eye Or Ear
On The Pupil or Embedded in The White of The Eye
NEVER try to remove the object.
1. Cover the injured eye with a clean pad.
2. Bandage both eyes.
3. Take the victim to the hospital.
Floating on The White of The Eye
1. Advise the victim not to rub his/her eye.
2. Ask him/her to sit down facing a light, so that you will be able to see into the
eye clearly.
3. Using your finger and thumb, gently pull the eyelids of the injured eye apart.
4. When you see the foreign body causing the irritation, wash it out with clean water (sterile if available) using a glass. 5. If the foreign body has not moved, try to lift if off with a moist swab, or the dampened corner of a tissue or handkerchief.
Under The Eyelid
1. Pull the upper lid over the lower one.
2. The victim may also be able to dislodge the object by blinking under the water.
Corrosive Chemicals in The Eye
1. Quickly wash out chemicals or corrosive splashed in the eye by holding the victim's face under a flow of running water for atleast 10 minutes.
2. Tilt the head with the injured side downwards so that the chemical is not washed over the uninjured eye.
3. Keep the eye lids apart with the fingers.
4. If necessary, cover the eye with a pad and get him/her to the hospital.
Ear
If the foreign body is lodged in place, DO NOT attempt the move it (object may be
pushed further in).
1. Sit the victim down.
2. Gently pour tepid water into the ear until it floods, carrying the object out.
3. If this does nto work, take him/her to the hospital.
Fractures And Dislocations
Fractures- a fracture is a broken or cracked bone.
Signs:
1. Pain and tenderness.
2. Difficulty in moving and breathing.
3. Swilling or bruising.
4. Discolonation of the skin.
Simple Fracture
Does not pierce through the skin. If it is not cared for properly, it could become a
compound fracture.
Compound Fracture
Pierces through the skin. Serious bleeding may occur with this kind of wound.
Do not apply pressure to a compound fracture to stop the bleeding.
Treatment
1. Treat any bleeding (see Severe Bleeding, Wounds, and Injuries). Move the victim as little as possible. (Movement may further displace broken bones and damage organs). Cover an open wound with a clean dressing.
2. For firmer support, secure the injured part to a sound part of a body. Fractured arms should always be supported against the body with a sling and a bandage, if needed.
3.Give nothing to eat or drink, because a general anaesthetic may be used when
the bones are set and eating may cause vomiting. Keep the person warm and
watch for signs of shock.
4. Contact a Doctor immediately.
Dislocations
A dislocation is a displacement of one or more bones at a joint and most
frequently happens at the shoulder, elbow, thump, finger or jaw.
signs:
1. Swelling.
2. Deformed look.
3. Pain and tenderness.
4. Possible dicoloration of the affected area.
Treatment
DO NOT try to force back a dislocated joint yourself (this should only be done by a
doctor).
1. Apply a splint to the joint to keep it from moving.
2. Try to keep joint elevated to slow bloodflow to the area.
3. A doctor should de contacted to have the bone set back into its socket.
Applying a Splint
Broken Forearm
1. If the victim can comfortably hold a broken arm across the chest, apply a splint and hold it in this position with a sting.
2. If the arm cannot be bent, splint it in the straight position and secure it to the side of the body.
3. Tie the splint in place above and below the break.
4. Support the forearm with a wide sling tied around the neck, so the fingers are slightly higher than the elbow.
Splinting Injured Leg To Uninjured Leg
1. Put padding between the legs and splint the broken leg to unbroken leg, using
broad bands of cloth (bandages, ties, scarves or belts).
2. Tie the knots above and below the break on the side of the good limp.
Keep safe everyone!



Lovingly written by Joy












House Emergencies and Accidents

Part 1

It is very important for every family member, including the household help to have a knowledge on what to do in cases of accidents, and emergencies. Discussing it over a meal during weekend, wherein the whole family is present, or maybe you can schedule a day for a family conference.
First, we have to make sure that we have our first aid kit that is well maintained. Make sure that you have a system for replacing equipment when it has been used and check dressings and medication regularly to ensure that they are in date and undamaged.
First Aid Kit for the Home The equipment should be stored in a clearly labeled waterproof box in an easy-to-access position.
Here is what my First Aid Kit contains:
1. Small, medium, and large dressings. These are sterile pads with bandages attached that can be used to control heavy bleeding and cover minor wounds.
2. Triangular bandages. They can be used as padding around a painful area. They can provide cover for burns or large scrapes and support broken bones.
3. Band aid. For small wounds
4. Safety tape, adhesive tape, and hypoallergenic tape
5. Cotton
6. Disposable gloves
7. Blunt-ended scissors
8. Tweezers
9. Alcohol
10. Povidone-Iodine (Betadine)
11. Paracetamol, Loperamide and other over-the-counter medicines and remedies
12. Flashlight, spare batteries
13. Cold pad and hot pad
First Aid Kit in the Car
I also have a small first aid kit in the car, and here is what it contains:
1. Flashlight
2. Tissue paper, Wet wipes
3. Band aid
4. Povidone-iodine (Betadine)
5. Alcohol
6. Vomit bags
7. Disposable Face masks
8. Over-the-counter medicines like paracetamol, loperamide, etc.
9. Notepad and pen
10. Safety pins
The following are my compiled lists of possible house emergencies and accidents. I have a printout of these lists in my home and was posted on the corkboard in the kitchen near the First Aid Kit for easy access.

Electric shock can cause unconsciousness or stop breathing and heartbeat.Determine what has happened, then perform the appropriate procedure.
FIRST AID CANNOT BE PERFORMED UNTIL VICTIM HAS BEEN SEPARATED FROM THE CURRENT.

What To Do
1. Turn off the electricity, make sure the victim is no longer in contact with the electric current before you attempt to treat him/her.
2. If you are unable to turn off the current, stand on a dry insulating material (such as a rubber mat or a thick pile of newspaper).
3. Use a wooden broom, stool or chair to push the victim's body away from the electrical appliance or outlet.
4. If the victim is unconscious, Perform chest compressions immediately for anyone adult or child who is unresponsive and not breathing normally. Chest compressions are absolutely essential for keeping oxygen-rich blood circulating through the body.
5. Get help.
Choking
Signs of choking:
1.The person's face becomes red, then blue.
2. Pointing at throat, or grasping it.
3. The person has problems speaking and breathing.

Adults
If the person is breathing
1. Bend her/him over, head lower than chest.
2. Encourage her/him to cough.
3. Slap her/him between shoulder blades 4-5 times.
4. Check airway to see if obstruction ( a piece of food or a small plaything) can be removed.
5. If the slaps are unsuccessful, give up to 5 abdominal thrusts.
6. Repeat back slaps and abdominal thrusts until airway is clear.
Abdominal thrusts:- Stand behind the person, interlocking your hands below his or her ribcage. Pull inwards and upwards
If the victim is not breathing
1. Perform chest compressions immediately for anyone adult or child who is unresponsive and not breathing normally. Chest compressions are absolutely essential for keeping oxygen-rich blood circulating through the body.
2. If you are unable to get breath into him/her, turn them onto one side. Then, slap between shoulder blades up to 5 times. Try to remove obstruction.
3. If the slaps are unsuccessful, kneel over victim. Give up to 5 abdominal thrusts. If breathing returns, call for help.
4. If unsuccessful, repeat chest compression, then Get help
Caution:
NEVER use abdominal thrusts on a baby.

Baby
1. Lay baby along your forearm or thigh, keeping his/her face down and the head low and supported.
2. Give up to 5 slaps between the shoulder blades.
3. If this does not work, turn baby on its back, keeping head down. Give up to 5 chest thrusts
4. If this does not work, call an ambulance or bring him/her to the nearest hospital at once. Repeat the sequence of back slaps and chest thrusts.
5. If the breathing stops, Perform chest compressions immediately for anyone adult or child who is unresponsive and not breathing normally. Chest compressions are absolutely essential for keeping oxygen-rich blood circulating through the body."
Children Over 1 year of age
1. Encourage the child to cough.
2. Bend child forward, keeping head lower than chest, and give up to 5 slaps between the shoulder blades.
3. If it does not work, lay child on its back and give up to 5 chest thrusts. Use the same hand position as you used for chest compressions, but press more sharply and at a rate of about 20 thrusts per minute.
4. If it does not work, give another 5 back slaps.
5. If it does not work, give abdominal thrusts.
6. If it does not work, call an ambulance or bring him/her to the nearest hospital at once. Continue the sequence of back slaps, chest thrusts, back slaps and abdominal thrusts. If breathing stops, start mouth-to-mouth ventilation
Poisoning
Poisonous Fumes or Gases
Signs
1. Rapid, weak pulse
2. Headache
3. Blurred vision
4. Drowsiness (may lead to unconsciousness)
5. Breathing difficulties
Treatment
1. Immediately carry or drag victim to fresh air (minimize your exposure to the fumes).
2. If the victim is not breathing, Perform chest compressions immediately for anyone adult or child who is unresponsive and not breathing normally. Chest compressions are absolutely essential for keeping oxygen-rich blood circulating through the body.
Swallowed Poisons/Medications
Signs
1. Pale, cool, clammy skin
2. Rapid, weak pulse
3. Nausea and/or vomiting
4. Burns around the mouth
5. Burning pain in the mouth or throat
6. Stomach pains or cramps
7. Drowsiness (may lead to unconsciousness)
Treatment
1. Look into the victim's mouth and remove all tablets, powder or any material that is present.
2. Examine the mouth for cuts, burns, swelling, unusual coloring or odor.
3. Rinse and wipe out the mouth with a cloth.
4. Call for Ambulance or bring him/her to the nearest hospital.
NEVER produce vomiting if the patient is drowsy, unconscious, or has swallowed acids.
This is only the first part of this article, I will posting its second part soon J


Lovingly written by Joy













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