Everyday Miracles

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What is a miracle?  Miracle, as defined by dictionary.com is:

So this morning was a bit unusual.  For almost two years, I have been on *hatid* duties.  There's a driver provided by my in laws, so all I need to do is accompany Kailee and our carpool mates to school every morning.  Not once has a driver not shown up on time.  I think there was one or two occasions last year that the driver would call the guard or text me that they won't be able to make it.  I thought it was very nice of them to text or call to inform me, right?  Well, I appreciated that gesture very much.

So anyway - this morning, I was just supposed to bring Connor to school.  My Panget has asked me weeks ago that I would be on that particular *hatid* duty because he'll be too tired from playing bball the night before.  So okay, the arrangement was - that Yaya B will bring Kailee to school, while I will bring Connor to school.  You see, if I bring both of them to school, I would have to go back the same route three times (twice bringing them to school and once picking up Connor).  It was a good arrangement, right?  So this morning, I was awake by 5am, I couldn't go back to sleep even if I knew I can wake up later than usual.  So, I prayed the rosary - all 5 decades.  I still couldn't sleep.  So I tried the breathing technique that I use most night - that still didn't work.  Then my Fitbit alarm started going off at 5:30 and 5:45.  I noticed though that it was unusually quiet.  I did not hear a sound of a car engine starting up, nor car doors closing.  It was odd.  I looked at the time and it was already past 6:00am.  The usual time, we leave is about 5:58 to 5:59am, so 6am with still no sound at all was strangely odd.  So I got up, went out out bedroom door and said *Hello?*  then I heard Yaya B respond with *Ma'am, wala pa pong driver*.  GREAT.  I looked at the time, called the guard and asked who was supposed to come in this morning - and tried to call his number.  His phone was turned off.  So I went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, washed my face with water, hurriedly dressed up and off I went.  I immediately went down, told Kailee to board the car and off we went to pick up our carpool mates.  I was in a hurry because I had to literally rush back home to be able to bring Connor to school.  I was dreading the traffic, it was the one thing I was worried about.

We left at about 6:10am.  I knew that at this time, for SURE there will be a LOT of cars.  Lots of cars + sleepy drivers + not so bright drivers + everyone rushing to be where they need to be.  I was expecting mayhem, traffic, and a LOT of waiting time.

But you know what?  By some miracle, the drive to school was smooth.  I was in awe, I kept looking at my Fitbit to confirm the time.  It was a strange thing to be honest because I knew at that particular hour - the volume of cars would be a LOT.  But it was manageable, I mean really manageable.  Cars were flowing peacefully, I was given way most of the time without much effort.  It was so strange really.  Strangely, wonderful and surprising.

Would you believe that by the time we got to ICA at 6:45, traffic was very light?  It was as if it was just 6:35!  Even the Yaya I was with was surprised!  We gathered, it was a miracle.  Kailee clocked in at school at 6:51am.  I can't explain it fully how it happened - but you know what time I arrived home?  I got home at 7:11am.  Would you believe that it took me just 20 minutes to get home?  While driving back - I was silently praying and saying *Thank you to God* for this morning miracle.  I am still amazed until now.  Thus, writing this.

Miracles do happen everyday.  I used to not believe it, until today.  There's really no explanation for the miracle I experienced this morning.  There's no logic in it to be honest.  I don't think there's a suspension of classes in ICA or Xavier or schools nearby.  At that particular time, cars should be on a traffic deadlock because most cars would be rushing to beat the 7:30am bell in school.

It was as if there was a divine intervention on the road while I was driving.

Thank you Lord, for this wonderful miracle.  I am not stressed out, nor really tired and especially not hilo hilo which is what I usually feel when I go on these back to back *hatid* sessions.

P.S.  I also saw a Sara Lee pound cake in S&R during the weekend and I have decided to offer it to St. Expeditus.  It was been YEARS (literally years) since I last saw a Sara Lee pound cake.  I think it's a sign.  So I am offering it up to him as thanks for this miracle.  I also passed by the Pink Sisters Convent to say my thank you to the Lord.

Thank you for this miracle.

The Big Bad Wolf PH Book Fair

Monday, February 19, 2018

I've honestly never been to a massive book fair.  It was my first time to see that many books in one place.  It was overwhelming and at the same time, very exciting.  I like reading books, I used to buy a LOT when I was still single.  But when I got married, well - the books I bought only gathered dust on my side table.  I can't seem to find the time to finish a book.

I feel that books are an investment, so whenever we go to a bookstore and the kids like to buy a book, we most of the time let them.  We feel that it's better to buy books than toys.  What do you think?

I remember someone telling me that books, the hard copies (publishing industry) is dying because of the rise of e-books.  I felt sad honestly, it's still different when you have *kilig* when I see my children open a book and read.  I look at them lovingly when the do it.  Kailee now is especially into reading, she just started to learn to read and it makes me so proud seeing her open books and take time to read instead of asking to borrow the iPad.

Last Thursday, a friend of mine visited the PREVIEW of the Big Bad Wolf PH book fair.  I have been seeing it on my IG feed for about a month now and I was really curious.  I mean, to be honest - I didn't know what was so special about it.  It said though that books were at 60-80% off.  I guess that's a good enough deal right?  I miss those days when books costs less, but to be honest compared to elsewhere, the cost of books were relatively cheap when I was younger.  I guess the inflation caused the prices to go up, it was normal.

I was pestering my friend on her finds.  She was nice enough to send me pictures and the prices.  I told her that if there were good deals, to let me know.  And she did send me the good deals.  Well, relatively the whole book fair had good deals.  She said that children's books were and endless pit.  There a LOT of tables for them daw.  I didn't understand what she meant, but with what she was telling me, I assumed it was a LOT.  She came in with her daughter at 11am and left around 5pm.  In my mind, wow - she took her time.  She was telling me to come visit that day as there were only a few people.  To be honest, I didn't want to brave the traffic.  In my condition, I would be worrying where I will be peeing when it's traffic.

So the next day, I managed to convince my brothers and sisters in law to go.  We took one car and arrived at about 10pm.  The traffic around the area was terrible.  The traffic going inside the WTC was massive, cars were lined up and it seemed like everyone was thinking the same thing.  Once we entered, we discovered that the security and the parking ticket were the ones taking a while thus causing the traffic.

There was no line going inside the WTC, once we entered the hall - I was overwhelmed.  I usually have a game plan whenever I enter a massive hall, but seeing all the books - well, it was just too many books!  Hahaha..  It was a good thing my brother in law got us baskets each.  I was pulling the basket while looking at the books.  The first table I saw, I immediately grabbed the book that was of interest to me.  My Panget gave me an evil eye saying to slow down as we were just starting.

I was walking and walking and getting books.  Walking and looking.  It was actually dizzying as it was really a LOT of books!  I wanted to get one of each that I saw!  I was so overwhelmed.  My Panget was already complaining that the basket he was pulling was getting heavy.  I think it was a l for us to stop.  I was also getting sleepy and dizzy from all the books that I saw.  Considering the time I think it was passed midnight, well - I was tired already.

We headed out to pay past 12 midnight and waited in queue for about 30 minutes.  The cashier hall was cold and was very organized in my opinion.  I liked that there were marshals that were guiding us.  After a few minutes of being in queue, I noticed that the lines were piling up.  It was a good thing that no one had high tempers nor did I notice any commotion - it was very peaceful and quiet.  There were about 30+ counters ready to serve, but it still had lines - perfectly understandable.

So this was our #BigBadWolfPH haul

Prices of the books start at P100 and go up to P980.  Sets costs P1,150 to P3,900.

Here are my tips:

1.  Go during odd hours if you want the place to yourself.  We went at 10pm and it was a manageable crowd.  No lines to enter the halls but only lines to pay at the cashier (which is undestandable).  I feel like the golden hour is at 4am.  I know, it's too early but since you want the place to yourself, then - go!

2.  Bring a friend or a helper BUT do not bring kids IF you want to have time to check out the selection one by one.  I do understand that you want to bring your child so they can pick the books, but think about this - they have a short attention span and will probably fill your basket or cart full a few minutes into your shopping.  What you can do to counter this is to bring a yaya or helper to look after them so you can do your own shopping.  There were crying kids and kids that were lost.  So cute and funny though because I heard an announcement *Name of Mom, your child (name of child) is waiting for you at the counter), still organized - right?

3.  Bring a trolley or a bag with wheels as carts and baskets run out.  I saw though on the sides that there were carts and baskets with books that were left.  I really disliked it that people would get books and baskets then just randomly leave them anywhere when they felt not like it.  Filipinos really are not mindful of other people.  Those carts and baskets can be of use by those who really want to buy books.  They could have just handed them to a staff for the staff to unload, right?

4.  Make sure you are well fed and rested before you go.  I thought I was well fed since I came from a dinner, but I was wrong.  The walking made me burn calories, I was so happy that I reached 10,000 steps on my fitbit.  I was so thirsty too while walking.  Unfortunately, food and drinks are not allowed - perfectly understandable since you are dealing with books and to avoid those unfortunate incidences.  I also didn't see any food stall outside the halls.  So better be well fed and rested as you will do a LOT of walking.

5.  Wear comfortable attire.  That means a good pair of shoes and comfortable clothes.

6.  Cash and Credit Cards are accepted, so there's not problem with the method of payment.  They have people to assist you if you buy a LOT of books.  Porters!  Soshal....

7.  Be patient and offer a smile to strangers browsing with you.  It's open 24 hours a day!  Yes, no closing time and opening times!!  The place is fully air-conditioned too!  

You still have until 11:59PM of February 25 to go!

Have funnnnnn!!

Starbucks: Layers of Unexpected Flavors

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Here are whats in store for us from Starbucks Philippines!!


A mesmerizing hue of blue Butterfly Pea flower tea layered with refreshing lemonade and topped with deliciously smooth Starbucks Cold Brew coffee. Starbucks®, Butterfly Pea Lemonade Cold Brew features butterfly pea flower tea – a trending ingredient in Southeast Asia, which is distinct for its natural blue shade and color-changing properties. It reacts with the lemonade to create captivating swirls.


A customer favorite returns this season! Starbucks® Tahitian Vanilla macchiato infuses velvety steamed milk with aromatic, caramelly Tahitian vanilla syrup, topped with Starbucks Signature Espresso and finished with vanilla bean specks and vanilla drizzle in a classic double crosshatch pattern. 


And these will be available starting February 20, 2018.

Below are the Easter edition of the Starbucks cards.  They will be available on March 15, 2018.

Ballet & Ballads by Ballet Manila

Tuesday, February 06, 2018


Ballet Manila brings lyrics to life with
the newest installment of “Ballet & Ballads”

A tradition in almost all of Ballet Manila’s performance seasons, Ballet & Ballads, once again returns to the stage to bring music and lyrics to life. And in an effort to bring ballet to the people and the people to the ballet, the country’s premier classical dance company plans to close its current season with a star-studded affair.

Ballet Manila CEO and Artistic Director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde muses about the latest installment, “It combines a singer with ballet numbers—an interesting concept that we’ve been experimenting with for quite some time now. It’s an entertaining way to enjoy ballet, especially for first-time audiences.”

Heartthrob crooner Christian Bautista is set to lead the roster of singers as a guest performer. He’ll sing some of his greatest theater hits, as well as songs from his latest album.

Joining Christian are artists from the Klassikal Musical Foundation (KMF) such as Andrew Fernando (Baritone), Jade Riccio (Soprano), Stephanie Aguilar (Soprano), Krisann Manikan Tan (Mezzo Soprano), Leo Angelo Lanuza (Tenor), and with the special participation of Dr. George T. Yang (Tenor). This marks the first-ever creative partnership between the country’s premier classical dance company and KMF.

The ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, no less, will serenade the audience during the entire night. The acclaimed group has also prepared a very special Teleserye suite featuring a selection of classic hits from the ABS-CBN primetime repertoire. The show will surely trigger some nostalgia, especially among fans of Filipino pop culture.

Ballet & Ballads will also mark the world premiere of Martin Lawrance’s Aria, which will feature five acts covering classical operas. The British choreographer previously partnered with Ballet Manila for the highly acclaimed Rebel and Amid Shadows. Lisa shares, “He really is a genius when it comes to weaving a ballet together and exploring movement with different kinds of music. The idea was first to combine musical theater and ballet. But when he proposed the classical arias instead, I told him to go for it!”

With such a powerhouse lineup for Ballet & Ballads, the audience is set for pure enjoyment when the curtains go up in Aliw Theater. As the Prima Ballerina sums it up best, “Dancing creates a visual representation of music, and when that music is played live by the ABS-CBN Philharmonic and sung by Christian Bautista and the KMF classical singers, it complements Ballet Manila’s mastery of the Vaganova technique. It is really a concert like no other.”

Show Schedules

The newest installment of “Ballet & Ballads” will premiere on February 10, 2018 at 6:00PM at the Aliw Theater. There will be three other shows: February 11, (3:00PM), February 17 (6:00PM), and February 18 (3:00PM).

For more information about the shows, including ticket prices and schedules, you may visit www.balletmanila.com.ph or follow Ballet Manila on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Tickets are also available through all TicketWorld outlets. Please call 891-9999 or visit www.ticketworld.com.ph for more information. In addition, those who are planning to watch all the shows may take advantage of the company’s Season Subscription Programs, which offer up to 50% discount on ticket prices. For more information, you may visit www.ticketworld.com.ph/balletmanila/Online/ and click on ‘View Details’ under ‘Season Subscription Program’. 

About Ballet Manila

Founded in 1995 by Prima Ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde and OsiasBarroso, Ballet Manila is the country’s premier classical dance company. With the mission of connecting both ballet and the people, the company, which puts education at the forefront of its priorities, is well-known as the only Philippine dance company to adopt and strictly adhere to the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet style of dancing, which is well-regarded the world over as the most disciplined and technically-superior style. The company currently has 65 artists under its wing, all of whom have been trained in the Vaganova Academy style of dancing. Each artist boasts of a solid repertoire that consists of some of the most technically challenging and timeless ballet favorites.

Realizations & the movie Wonder

Monday, February 05, 2018

Recently, I turned a year older.  I am not one of those who dread getting a year older.  Aging and growing up is a part of life.  I honestly don't understand those who get offended when they are asked for their age.  We can't stay young all our lives.

As I turned a year older, well - as every year passed by - celebrations have become less festive.  I feel that as I age, I want my birthday to be a simple and quiet celebration.  I have appreciated more those simple gestures of greetings because I feel they are more sincere.  I am proud to day that I turned 38 this year.  Another year wiser.  Looking back, I know I've wronged people, I've hurt friends and have been on that same end.  But what I have done is forgive them, and shake off those negative feelings.  I just hope those who I have hurt and wronged will learn to forgive me as well.  I know it's not an easy process, but it will eventually get there.

One of the things that I look forward to, during my birthday is the Starbucks cake that my Starbucks family sends me and the usual birthday misua that I order and eat a lot of.  The cheers and singing voices of my children singing me random Happy Birthday songs when they feel like it and the dinner I have with my Panget and the kids.  It's actually very simple now, I am not one who likes to be in the center of it all.  I'm KJ that way.  Boring noh?

Image grabbed from THIS site

Last Friday, my Panget decided to have the kids watch the movie *Wonder* with the kids.  I honestly didn't think the kids would understand it.  I personally thought, oh my - another tear jerker!  Mababaw kasi luha ko.  And true enough, I was tearing up every so often.

I related to the film very much, I felt the pain, the sadness, the loneliness.  I understood the anger and the selfishness, the need to fit it.  Everything was so real in the movie for me.  As I was telling Kailee and reminding her that kindness goes a long way.  She suddenly cried in the middle of the movie.  I knew something was wrong.

She cried during the part where Via was being ignored by her friend Miranda.  So, I asked her what was wrong.  She just said that a friend of hers suddenly didn't want to play with her, thus she would just sit by herself on the bench.  My heart was crushed.  It really was and I started tearing up.  So I hugged her and told her, it was going to be okay.  But for her to feel that and cry, it must really have hurt her very much.  I told her, you know you have 35 other girls in class and you can play with them.  But I knew in my heart, that this was something more.  She felt ignored and not needed.  We've all felt that way.  I have felt that way.  I remember in the later part of grade school when two girls who I thought of as my best friends suddenly walked away from me as if I had a contagious disease.  I remember feeling so hurt and lonely that time, thinking that my world was going to end.  But now being 38, I realized that it was just one of those things.  Friendships fall apart.  Shit happens to friendships.  Of course, I can't tell Kailee that, right?  She wouldn't understand.  But as I was comforting her, I was telling her that it also happened to me when I was in ICA.  She immediately felt better.  I guess for her, all she needed was the comfort of knowing that it didn't just happen to her alone, that it also happened to me, her mom.

During the part when Miranda was narrating her version of the story, I explained to Kailee that people act a certain ways because they are also dealing with their own problems and issues.  When we learn what they are going through, we become more kind and understanding to them.  I also told Kailee to verbalize her emotions with love and care.  She can tell this friend nicely that she felt hurt when this friend didn't want to play with her, but not to expect this friend to drop everything and be with her.  I explained, as long as you let her know, then that's good enough.  How she will react to what you said is totally up to her.  And that Kailee shouldn't feel bad anymore.  It's quite hard to explain to kids the concept of *moving on*, they tend to put everything to heart and in the process become hurt and affected.  But I guess, in life - that's one thing that is inevitable - getting hurt.

I really wish I can shield them from pain, but I know when I do - I'm depriving them of life lessons.  These kids need to go through this process, but with guidance.  And I feel it's very important to have me there for her EVERY SINGLE TIME.  I just hope that I can be the best mom I can be for her physically and emotionally.

Be KIND to everyone you meet.  If you have a choice between being right and kind, CHOOSE KINDNESS.  I remember reading this a long long time ago, and because I realized it was so true in life - Today, give a stranger one of your smiles.  It might be the only sunshine he sees all day, that quote is from H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (according to Google!) And I have since been doing that everyday since I read it a long time ago.

In this world where most everyone is trying to put another down so they can be the best.  Choose KINDNESS.  We need kindness in the world now more that ever.  So please, choose kindness.

Baby Dove is finally here!!

Friday, February 02, 2018

Nearly 7 years ago, I became a first time mom.  I didn't know what to expect.  I read books and articles, spoke to moms but nothing prepared me for what was in store.  Advices were given, but you know what - you won't truly know what to do until you really become a mom.

Motherhood doesn't have a manual, don't all moms wish that?  Life throws unexpected punches and we either dodge or be punched.  Being punched in motherhood's face isn't so bad.  Yes, it's hard, it hurts, entails a LOT of sacrifices, sweat, tears, fears and a whole lot more.  But you see your child smile or when they give you an unexpected hug - you seem to forget all those not so nice things.

Being a mom twice over doesn't mean that I already have a kept it together.  Life every day is different, every day is a new challenge.  You sort of get the hang of it, but remember - two kids, two different genders, two different personalities, two different minds, two different emotions.  It's two of everything.

One thing they have in common though, is eczema.  Yes, skin asthma.  I'm sure you've read about it here on my blog about our journey.  I have searched high and low, here and abroad to find the right type of products for my children's skin condition.

Kailee had it rough since I never had experience, I was trying different brands looking for one that suits her skin type.  Finally, I found it - Baby Dove Soap.  Unfortunately, it wasn't available locally.  I had to scout PX stores for it, hoard and hope that when our stash runs out, I can find it again.  Connor was a bit better, since we are already users of Baby Dove.

I am beyond ecstatic and happy that Baby Dove is now locally available.  Now, I won't need to hoard nor scour.  The best thing about it is that Filipinos can now see and feel the difference of Baby Dove.  I personally use Baby Dove during Christmas season when it gets a bit chilly.  This is also the soap we bring with us whenever we travel.  Look how happy Kailee was when she saw the Baby Dove products.

We love Baby Dove and we hope you will too!

City Chef: Chef prepared meals for you the family!

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Nope, it's not those calorie counted meals, not is it the Keto ones.  This one is the modernized *tiap tsai* or *ulam delivery*.  Their service is to bring food to you, lunch and/or dinner with 2 viands and and rice.

A few years ago, a newly married friend of mine was so happy she solved a problem.  Well, she was newly married, she didn't know how to cook nor did she hire help because they lived in a condo.  She was honestly worried what to serve her husband but then friends of her suggested a food delivery service.  She only needed to *serve* dinner as they had work during the day (kanya kanyang kain nalang) and it was perfect.  The food was delivered the night before and all she needed to do was re-heat everything.  She was so happy with the service that I think this went on for about nearly a year.  She told me that this was such a lifesaver for her.  She didn't need to worry about the food the next day, didn't need to go to the supermarket often not did she need to *learn* to cook.  I had this in mind when I got married, but since I knew how to cook - well, I didn't need to.

Fast forward to the present.  Well, with the problems of having no house help (at times), having a day job and two to take care of two kids, my Panget and the household.  Cooking has become something of a chore for me, oftentimes I would suggest to my Panget to just buy *ulam* in QC sports that we can freeze and re-heat when needed.

City Chef offers delivered meals right at your doorstep.  No need to go out and buy food.  Just order online, pay and wait.  Convenient right?  I wish I knew of them last year when I was in need of *cooked meals*.  I would have ordered from them for weeks.

Food was delivered before 6PM which was great, since we eat by 7pm the latest.  The food is packed well in reusable microwavable containers.  I like it because all you need to do is pop it in the microwave and voila - heated dinner!

On our first night it was Steamed Garlic Kangkong and Beef Adobo Flakes.  I liked the steamed kangkong because it wasn't too salty, the cook was just right because there was a crisp in the bite.  The kids loooooved the Beef Adobo Flakes because it was crunchy, it was their first time to eat an all crunchy *ulam*.  The meal came with white rice, it was really fragrant - Yaya B said it had a hint of pandan, but I couldn't tell the difference.  Gutom na kasi.  Serving was a good portion for us 2 adults and 2 kids.  But if your kids are much older than mine (mine are 5 and 6), with a big appetite, the serving might be too small of everyone.  The site says that the servings are good for 2-3, so in my family's case - it was just enough.

For the next night, it was Pumpkin Soup and Burger Steak with Mushrooms.  I love love pumpkin soup and I was so happy that it was really good!  They did not scrimp on the bacon in the soup, but in my opinion this was only good for 2.  I chose not to share this with the kids as I really loved it.  Hahaha!!  The burger steak was just okay according to my Panget, he wished there was more gravy.  We were surprised that it has 4 patties, more than enough right?

They also have a SOLO serving that is probably good for one.  So if you're a very busy body, well - order away and have chef prepared meal delivered right at your doorstep.

For the family serving, their daily rate is P490.00 and their 5-day rate is P450.00/day.  When you think about it, it comes out at P225.00 per dish, not so bad when you compare it when you eat out, right?

Visit www.citychef.ph to view their menu and to order!