Sunday, February 27, 2011

Table Manners

We can teach our kids the proper table manners in their toddler stage, or by the time they are already eating meals with the family.  Habits are formed early in life.  They control many of our actions.  Such habits will be carried out wherever you are.

Proper Table Manners are as follows:

  • Go promptly to the table clean and neat.
  • Sit properly and wait until served.
  • Ask politely for things on the table to be passed. “Please pass the rice or May I have some”
  • Use the table napkin properly.
  • Say grace before and after eating.
  • Talk of pleasant topics while at the table.
  • Father being the head of the family is at the head of the table.
  • Keep elbows off the table.
  • Eat slowly and chew food thoroughly without smacking the lips.
  • Rinse the mouth or brush your teeth after having left the table.
  • We should pick our teeth after having left the table.
  • Leave the table after everybody is through.  If you have to leave the table before everyone is through, ask to be excused.
  • We should not leave the table with food in our mouth.
  • Take only the amount of food you can consume.
Behaving properly at mealtimes shows we know the rules at the table.  Whether we are in a formal dinner or dining in a corner store, simple consideration for others and your self-respect will make for a good table manner J

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Changing World

In four decades of my existence in this world, I am now one of the living witnesses who can attest on how the world is changing.  I cannot help comparing the world I grew up into before and how it changed throughout the years.  Monitoring and analyzing, I jot down and put into writing the following changes.

Human behavior is far off different before and today.  People of yesterday, especially children were more of the simple type.  Enjoying the simple things life can give, more disciplined and acts in a more refined manner.  During my time, in just one daring look of my Mom, I will behave and stop doing whatever I make her mad.  When I became a mother, I also applied some of the old ways in raising up a kid, but I revised some of them too.  Like for instance, I made sure that we have an open communication with our kids.  We listen to what they say.  They can openly reason out and justify whatever wrong doings they have done, then from there we will explain and let them know the consequences of what they did.  As much as possible we (my husband and I) don’t spank them when they make mistakes. Unlike before we were not allowed to talk and express our heart out.  We just have to listen but cannot butt in, keeping justifications only to ourselves.  However, I understand and respect that it’s their trend and way of disciplining children before.

People population has been tripled or more than tripled nowadays, making life much harder. Green fields has turned into subdivisions and commercial purposes.  My children grew up without even enjoying playing in the rice fields as I’ve enjoyed and experienced before.  We still have to go out of town in far off places just to let them experience the farm life, the simple way of living, and amazingly they are enjoying it too. Sad to say that we had to schedule such activities only during school vacation and long holidays.  Kids born in the cyber age tends to be more hooked up in the computerized playing gadgets, computers and cellphones, less likely to enjoy playing in the rain, and other outside games.

Education - I remember when I was in grade school, lessons were not too hard, teachers were more lenient.  We only have a few books to carry in going to school.  I definitely enjoyed my elementary days. Today, grade school lessons especially in private schools are getting too difficult, lots of daily homeworks, quizzes, researching plus the project making combined with school’s extra curricular activities stresses a young mind.  My youngest son, who’s in grade 5, always looks forward for a Friday and weekends because these days are the only time wherein he can relax.  His school bag is too heavy, with 11 books, 10 notebooks, a diary, and other daily requirements that he needs to bring along everyday plus a lunch bag separated from the school bag.  It’s a good thing that we opted for a school service, for commuting will be hard for him especially during rainy season. Government/Public schools are not enough to cater the volume of pupils/students, thus they implement the 3 shift class schedule within the day.  Try roaming around and you can see plenty of out of school youths.

Unemployment rate before is high but it became much much higher today.   

Committing crimes seem to be a normal headline in the broadsheets nowadays.

Health, more complicated and unknown diseases occurred and viruses had mutated as well.

Disasters and calamities we experience nowadays are extreme due to the environmental destruction and improper handling.  To add as well, the Global warming which results in severe weather changes.

Poverty can be seen all over the world , malnutrition, and sudden deaths.

Cost of living is too high nowadays. Money value is getting lower as prices of primary commodities gets high.

Revolts, war, killing fields, greed for power, corruption, injustice, famine, catastrophes that happen recently scares me a lot.  Does this mean we are already nearing the end?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My First Born Turned 21

February 15, 2011, my eldest son JM turned 21 years old.  Reminiscing the yesteryears, I am teary eyed while looking at his pictures when he was still very young.  I can still remember how I felt when I gave birth to him, the happiness, the excitement and the fear of being a first time mom. 


JM is an introvert, he is the shy type.  Through years of encouragement and full support he learned to come out of his shell.   He is so sweet and intelligent like his younger brother.  Being responsible is one of his inherent traits that I am so proud of.  He personally helps in the family business without being told.  He immediately applied for a job after he had graduated the B.S. IT (Bachelor of Science in Information Technology) course last May 2010, and luckily he was immediately hired too.  He always prioritizes our family.  He told me that he has his time table, the reason why he is not yet into a relationship.  I smiled and felt relieved when I heard him say that, for I am not yet ready to have a daughter-inlaw (lol).  He even helps us in paying the monthly house bills from his salary.  He treats us to dine out occasionally.  He is very close to his only brother Yahmir, and he spoils him a lot.

Now that he’s already a full adult, I can say that all my hardships raising him (he is stubborn as well) had been well compensated, for I brought up a good man.  There’s nothing more that I could ask for!

To you my son JM, I would like you to know that we are very proud of you! Always bear in mind that we (Dad, Yahmir and Mom) are always here for you.  We love you very much!
May your dreams and endeavours come true! All the best! Happy Birthday!  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine’s Day With My Boys

Being the only girl in the family, I am always pampered by my boys (my husband and two sons).  I am the queen of their hearts and the only girl date they had during Valentine’s Day, lol. 

I am very appreciative of whatever they give, for little things mean a lot to me.  Frankly, I do not expect much of what I will receive, what matters to me is their love and presence during celebration of occasions. 

My first born, JM surprised me with three red roses very early in the morning yesterday.  He usually comes home at around 8 a.m. because of his night shift schedule in his job. While giving me the flowers he hugged me tight and greeted me saying “I love you Mommy”.  Oh my! I am really very touched, I am so happy!
three red roses from JM 

Because it’s a weekday, my husband went to work for his Monday meetings at the office.  At 12 noon, he went home carrying a card and a cake.  Another surprise for the day!  The valentine card he gave me is one of my treasured gifts.  The message inside it, is very true, loving and caressing.  I am too moved to speak, for my husband is a man of few words.  I know the message conveyed in the card really came from the bottom of his heart. I read it slowly relishing every word from it.
My husband'sValentine's Card for me

Valentine's card content

My youngest son went home from school at around 4 p.m., this time his Dad fetch him from school instead of his usual school service.  His statement made me laugh, “Mommy, I have a gift for you, Happy Valentines! Dad gave me the money to buy it.  When you are about to eat it, pls. share me the half of it huh” then handed me a big chocolate bar.  Kids are really kids ahaha.
chocolate from Yahmir

There you go, 3 surprises made my day!  We ended the day enjoying our simple dinner with the cake for dessert while talking about the day’s event.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Child’s Battle

To bear a child is the most precious heavenly gift a woman can receive.  Incomparable and unparalled  sense of happiness overwhelms the heart of a mother.  To love, to care, to see them grow and to cherish every moment with our kids are immeasurable deeds of a parent.

This writing is warmly dedicated to a boy who’s turning 3 years old this February 14.  Meet Austin Nathaniel Serrano, born February 14, 2008, the only son of Carlos Serrano and my friend Christine Pham, who’s diagnosed with Advanced Stage of Bilateral Retinoblastoma Stage D - R eye with vitreous seeding and stage E - L eye with a detached retina on  August 25, 2009.

Yes, Austin is fighting and struggling for his life from this cancer disease.  He cannot see a thing anymore at the moment.  Being a mother, my heart seem to torn apart the moment I learned about Austin’s condition.  I cannot help myself crying while reading my friend’s journal in Austin’s website.  This bumpy journey that their family goes through is never easy, and such a tremendous experience   I couldn’t  help my friend financially to support him,  I can only give them my moral support and prayers.  Through this article, I am knocking at the hearts of my readers and fellow bloggers for Austin’s  crusade.

“I am a 42 years old mother with a handsome son that was diagnosed of Bilateral Retinoblastoma on August 25, 2009. Our world has been turn upside down for the past year, yet I am determined to help my Austin beat this vicious beast.

Regardless of the outcome and what with we been through, Austin have and will continues to be everything that he can be just like anyone else. I am here to support him everyday if he need me. I cannot imagine life without this beautiful, thoughtful, intelligent, and of course mischievous 2 years boy. “ –   Christine Pham
Carlos and Christine

To you my friend Christine, keep up the strong faith, never cease believing in Him.  Be strong, Austin needs you now more than ever.  I am always here for you.

My sincerest compassion and prayers for Austin to surpass his combat with cancer and for his full recovery.  May God bless you always son.  I am looking forward to meet you someday.

 If you want to know more about Austin, please visit

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Have you tried Aromatherapy? I am very interested of trying it in our home but I am skeptic too for it might do harm instead of benefitting from it.  I’ve been inquiring my friends’ responses and experiences who are into it and with the help of reading and researching about its pros and cons, I found out the following facts:

Essential oils, the pure essence of a plant, have been found to provide both psychological and physical benefits when used correctly and safely.  There are quite a few products on the market that contain unnatural ingredients including fragrance oils and claim to be aromatherapeutic. It's important to look at the ingredient label when seeking true aromatherapy products.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Smart Shopping

Do you know that we can save on groceries and still eat well?  A complete supermarket is a haven for culinary ideas, however I cannot spend luxuriously for I must follow a budget. 

Over many years of strolling through mall supermarkets, I’ve learned a few tricks that help me find the right ingredients, cook our family favorites and still control expenses.

Tapa and tocino are always requested to be included in our menu at home, due to steep prices of meat, what I do is I ask the butcher to cut meat thinly so a kilo goes a long way, dividing it into 3 or 4 servings and pack it separately for easy and orderly stacking in the freezer.

I opt to buy fruits and vegetables in season, then planning my menu around it.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are cheaper when they’re in season.  If fresh produce is not in season, prices skyrocket, so If it’s not in season, I buy canned or dried.  Fresh mushrooms, for example are delicious used in soups and pasta dishes, but dried shiitake mushrooms are perfect alternatives with longer shelf life.

I also learned to consider house brands. Mall supermarkets take the lead in coming out with their own brand at much lower cost to consumers.  Their palm cooking oil, sugar, some condiments like vinegar and tomato sauce are good buys, but of course you have to first test these items if it suits your standard.

When buying expensive ingredients, I make sure these ingredients can be maximized in a number of recipes.  It’s all in the meal planning, I compute for usage over wastage.  Some of these expensive ingredients are giving unparalleled flavor compared to cheaper alternatives. Realizing that practicality without good taste is a waste of time and money.

When I can’t decide which item comes out cheaper, I do the math. Items in foil packs of different sizes are much cheaper than the ones in glass jars or cans though having the same name of brands. I buy cooking oil, mayonnaise, coffee, ketchup, etc in foil packs and then simply refill their empty jar or container in the kitchen.

When it comes to buying luncheon meat, corned beef and sardines, I simply choose locally made.  Filipino canned goods manufacturers are producing high quality products that compete flavor for flavor with imported brands.

I also buy dry goods in bulk.  A kilo of sotanghon or spaghetti gives better value than smaller packs. Toiletries such as toothpaste, toilet paper, mouthwash, shampoo, etc. are cheaper to be bought in their big packaging for longer usage to save time and money going to the grocery every now and then.

You may try to look out for special deals, but you have to be aware that usually these buy 1 take 1 or discounted grocery items are just a month or a few months shy of their expiry dates.

I compare prices too, especially when it comes to laundry detergents and fabric conditioner, I bought a few of the cheaper brand and found out that its quality is not far behind from the popular expensive ones.

Hard earned money should be well spent, we need to save for the rainy days too!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Being a family of collectors, here is a continuation to my previous article about My Son’s Collection.   In this writing I will reveal my collections and my husband’s passion for collecting stuffs.
complete set of Harry Potter Series

Lord of the Rings, Dan Brown's, Robin Cook's, John Grisham's, etc.

over 200 Star Wars books

 some of Yahmir's book collection

I am a book-lover.  I am fond of reading fiction, non-fiction, thriller, suspense, fantasy and other topics that catch my interest.  These books that I am buying and reading does not just stay in the bookshelves after I am done reading, for my husband and my sons are reading it too.  Seldom that I buy new or firsthand books, usually I buy them on book-sale or second hand book outlets,  except for the Harry Potter Series, Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings and Dan Brown’s collection.  

I also have this craze in collecting gadgets, from pagers to pda and cell phones.  At the moment, I am saving to buy an e-book reader, for my e-book collections be organized.
pagers, cellphones and a pda

I love to sew too, cross stitching became a hobby years ago, but due to hectic schedule I stopped doing it for a while but will get back to it again soon.
cross-stitched horses running 

cross-stitched piggies

My husband is a piggy figurine collector.  These figurines he gathered over the years came from different places here and abroad.  Some of them were given as gifts.

Ostrich eggs are the largest eggs laid by any living bird, till date.  The shell of the ostrich egg is strong, and is 0.06 inches thick.  On an average, the weight of an ostrich egg is close to 1 kg.  They are approximately 6-7 inches in length and 15-18 inches around.  Aside from the its size, we collect them for it is said that Ostrich eggs usher in good luck.
ostrich eggs