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Posts Tagged ‘family life’


Saturday.

It was another lovely day spent with my daughter’s family. They came over to visit us after almost a month of not seeing each other. We survived on Viber calls and Skype messages. Nate has grown. He has grown taller and his words now are in a complete sentence. I haven’t taken any picture the last few months because my camera broke and always when they come over, we tend to be  busy catching up on news, playing with Nate  and just happy being together.

Last Saturday, I had  a chance  to take a few shots, pics of Nate and Mom, Mom and Nissa, the three of them, Josef and Nate. As always , I was behind the camera. He was thrilled to see his new book which a friend gave two weeks ago for his birthday.  I call him our little bookworm. He easily identified all the animals included in the nursery rhymes. I was amazed.  Maybe their various trips to the zoo helped a lot. We learn from a child right? Unafraid, ready to explore and always curious about things.  So trusting, so confident,  secured that he is loved.

Yesterday, I received a message from WordPress saying that I have made one hundred posts on Our Little Bundle Of Joy. I started it a few days before he was born last November 2012 with the thought of documenting every precious moment with him. I showed his pictures once and he said “Nathan, Nathan”.  Nissa is making an album of their trip last year to Dumaguete City and Siquijor.  I love those pics showing Nate enjoying the beach and the kiddie pool. Nissa has a way with words, the photo descriptions are just lovely. She’ll have it printed later. I wish I could make a similar one but I am not familiar with the program she is using.

Here’s a lovely book quote for kids  (using Nate and Josef’s pic which is included in my latest blog post). Our Little Bookworm The happiness of teaching a child to love books and reading. Someday, we would explore bookstores together.

Do you remember your favorite books when you were kids?

And did I tell you that Nate wants to be an astronaut? I asked Nissa how that came about. she said that he remembers the movie/pictures he saw of astronauts. Such a big dreamer for one so young, he is only 2 years and 4 months old.

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There is really no contest between the two. I love both and this is actually another experiment because it was the first time I used chicken as the main ingredient instead of ground pork. I haven’t baked anything in a while, desserts or recipes. I am not really that too busy  but the last few days have been so stressful that I have to think of a way to relax and cooking relaxes me. One morning while we were having breakfast, Josef and I discussed about what we used to prepare on the table and I told him, let’s prepare something for mom that she would surely like. My mom is turning 86 in a few days and she’s talking of going home to the province before the month ends. I told her to wait for her birthday here. There is no reasoning with our old folks once they decide on something. She just told me yesterday to call my brother so he could fetch her. One thing I like about her is that she is always appreciative of what I cook. When she is not familiar with it, she watches  me prepare the ingredients and asks questions.  We’ve been on mostly fish and vegetables since the season of Lent started and Fridays are totally “no-meat days”. Sourcing what is available in our pantry, here it is, a yummy chicken shepherd’s pie. It always tastes good with panini bread, just plain grilled slices.

Mom loves the melted cheese and mashed potato on top. Baked it just to melt the cheese.

Mom loves the melted cheese and mashed potato on top. Baked it just to melt the cheese.

Never been good at taking pictures of food. One more try, that is...

Never been good at taking pictures of food. One more try, that is…

P. S. And here’s the recipe,as promised Ren. You would need the following:

1 whole deboned chicken breast, boiled and cut into bite-size pieces

2 boiled potatoes

1/2 stick butter

dash of pepper

white onion, diced but it is better to cut it into small cubes

1 large carrot

1 cup of green peas

1 small can of Campbell Cream of Mushroom

grated cheese

Mash the potato with 1/2 stick butter, set aside. Saute onion, carrots, green peas and chicken then add in the can of mushroom last. Don’t put salt because the saltiness of the cream is good enough. Put in a baking dish, top with the mashed potato then grated cheese. A friend suggested that you can add bread crumbs to the cheese to make it crunchy to the bite  (it’s up to you). Bake for 30 minutes covered in aluminum foil or until the cheese melts. Serve hot with your favorite bread. I used the regular American loaf bread pressed on a Panini maker.

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I think Mom just gets bored playing solitaire so I opened the television early for her to watch but then she insists that I should switch it on at 5pm because that is when she starts watching her favorite programs. I am not really into it but I take a glimpse of each program she watches every day until she falls asleep.

Earlier on I was cooking dinner and she was watching.  Not for lack on what to do, I imitated a television ad by doing a few odd steps while watching the girls dance. She could not hide her mirth and I  knew she was smiling while covering her face with her two hands.  I smiled at her and embraced her on my way to check  the pork afritada  I was cooking for dinner. She said in our native dialect, “Oh, I seldom see you dance”. We looked into each other’s eyes and smiled.

What a nice feeling, going back to just being  a daughter sometimes. She’s happy, I am too :)

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I guess my hands still smell of paint and varnish.

Ah, it was a long weekend but our scheduled painting job for the roof is finally finished. They were also able to paint our concrete fence the other day.  I love the “gentle peach” look of the latter.  The roof was done in Spanish red. Next weekend, when it’s my son’s days off again, we will retouch the  steel grills attached to it.  I repainted our grotto and the surrounding wall and had a grand time retouching our concrete garden chairs and table as well. Mom is amazed that I could also use a  paint brush…haha.  She hasn’t seen me before on my knees doing some hard job of repainting. She is always appreciative of everything saying “wow, ang ganda”. Josef retouched our two gates and made finishing touches on our dining set. I still have another DIY project to do. I have three rattan baskets that I need to clean. I am thinking of applying the same clear varnish to make it presentable. I do occasionally use them as fruit  and bread baskets. These remind me of those times that we used to visit Dapitan Arcade and tried searching for some home decor which are locally made but are export overruns.  When one is lucky enough, you can find cheap rattan accessories, table accent pieces and cute catch-all boxes which you could embellish with ribbons and such.

I have missed reading other blogs for the past four days, still trying to catch up and finish a book I have started a few days ago.  It’s the 29th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution today and they only declared no classes. Poor commuters and office workers are stuck in heavy traffic right now because of a few people joining  a rally  occupying the southbound lane of EDSA. They used to declare this day as a special non-working holiday, I wonder why it’s only classes which were suspended. The kids now don’t even know the meaning of the EDSA revolution.  They could never duplicate what happened in February  1986, they could never replicate the millions of people who went to EDSA  with one common goal – to oust a tyrant leader. It seems today, each has her/his own personal agenda.  Gone are  the  times when commemorating such event was a happy affair.

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Busy Weekend


I am sure it would be a really busy weekend for us here. We are planning to have our roof repainted starting tomorrow (maybe for about three days) if the two painters would be coming in.  Our neighbor who had his house recently done referred me to the workers who did it and graciously made a list of what materials we will need. Early this morning I went to the hardware store where I usually get materials for our house repairs and such.  It is nice to haggle a bit and talk to the proprietor of the store.  Construction materials have certainly gone up.  I got a good discount compared to the prices of paints  and paints brushes which we previously inquired at the hardware section of a big mall here in our area.

Two years ago, my son and I repainted the walls of our bedrooms and parts of the dining area and kitchen. We just didn’t touch on the ceiling because the cornices have a different hue than the rest of the wall. Maybe if there is still time and if it fits the budget, I will have the ceiling retouched too. I enjoyed  learning how to use a roller brush with a ready-mix paint. I have to search a previous post here to get the exact shade of the colors  that we used before.  This morning, I saw a can of clear furniture varnish  and bought one and a small paint brush that I could use. Our dining set is  made of narra wood so I thought of retouching  and varnishing the chairs after cleaning them with soap and water. Mom said they are as good as new.  I could not tackle varnishing the table because I could not lift the glass on my own.  DIY is lots of fun if you don’t mind aching backs, dirty nails and fingers in the process.

I am looking forward to seeing Nate again tomorrow. They are coming over for a visit and Mom is excited to see him. I told my daughter to bring some food so I won’t have to labour in the kitchen for long.  A busy weekend with the family too.

Have a nice and blessed weekend everyone!

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The other night we just had dinner when Mom got my eyeglasses, perched it on her nose and said “lumalabo na paningin ko” meaning that her eyesight is getting poor. I laughed not because of what she said but she clearly forgot that she was wearing her own pair. So I told her that was mine, she looked at me, smiled and said, “sinusubukan ko lang, nawawala yung salamin ko” (she is just trying if it fits because hers is missing….hahaha). I removed both pairs from her eyes and told her that she was wearing it all along. She scratched her head and said sometimes she becomes forgetful.

She is temporarily staying with us, haven’t seen her for the last six months and my younger brother brought her here last Sunday. She insists she’s not yet “ulyanin” (loosely translated that means having Alzheimer’s disease….seriously). She is turning 86 in two months. I suggested that she stay with us for a few months but she insisted that she won’t be able to exercise when she is here.  In her language, exercise means sweeping the yard of endless dried leaves every morning, playing cards with some of our older relatives, planting some vegetables near the house, walking around our place in the province to look at what tree is bearing fruit  or what should need trimming.

Sometimes I wonder, I’d be so much blessed if I could reach her age still hale and hearty with just joint pains and sometimes elevated blood pressure. My brother said as long as she eats well, there is nothing to worry about.

Oh, she still watches  her precious evening soap operas on television :)  As she is short of hearing (her right ear can’t distinguish sounds now)  I have to set it a little louder for her to hear.

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The Catholic church celebrates Ash Wednesday today, 18 February and it is the official start of Lent, the beginning of our Lenten journey. I attended the 6am mass at St. Jude Parish,  a beautiful celebration of reminding us what the season of Lent means, what the  ashes symbolize.We are encouraged to attend mass in order to begin the Lenten season with proper reflection, conversion and repentance. It is a day of fasting and abstinence. Fasting means restricting the food we eat and the number of meals and the size of it while Abstinence is abstaining from eating meat.The imposition of ashes is a reminder of our sinfulness and unworthiness, it is a renewal of our commitment to follow Jesus and acknowledging the sacrifice He had made for our salvation.  I think next to the Christmas blogs that I write every year, my Lent posts come close. I would like to share a post that I wrote four years ago because I think the message is never too old to appreciate and remember. I particularly like the beautiful Lenten reflection I found on EWTN entitled What To Give Up.

Give up complaining – focus on gratitude

Give up pessimism – become an optimist

Give up harsh judgments – think kindly thoughts

Give up worry – trust Divine Providence

Give up discouragement – be full of hope

Give up bitterness – turn to forgiveness

Give up hatred  – return good for evil

Give up negativism – be positive

Give up anger – be more patient

Give up pettiness – become mature

Give up jealousy – pray for trust

Give up gossiping – control your tongue

Give up sin – turn to virtue

Give up giving up – hang in there.

Beautiful, isn’t it? And you might say, it is easier said than done, after all we are just human, capable of making repetitious mistakes, capable of abandoning good deeds  and choosing the easy way out, more focused on material things that make life easier, or so we think. But everyday of our lives we are given the chance to do something good for others if not for our selves.  I remember the time when I was in the hospital almost six years ago, it was my first time to undergo chemotherapy. I was expecting that just like the rest of the patients at the Ambulatory Care Unit at the hospital, I would lose my hair but the chemotherapy nurse assured me that I won’t . I was apprehensive at first, who wouldn’t be, but  I gave up the thought of going bald and I was elated and grateful that chemo drugs for colon cancer treatments do not result to that grim scenario. That’s a small miracle  for me. God must be thinking , I don’t trust Him enough.

We are sometimes too quick to judge other people. The thing is, we must look at our own inadequacies first. Unless we know what makes them the way they are, we are not in any position to pass  harsh judgment.  Think kindly thoughts and think positively.  Trust in Divine Providence, give up worry. How often do we feel anxious  about everything in our lives?   We are endlessly worrying because we want everything to be perfect but this is not a perfect world. If it is, we won’t need friends or our neighbors or our families even,  to make us smile.  Benjamin Franklin said, “Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. keep in the sunlight.”

Give up discouragement, be full of hope. I’d like to think that’s something I got lots of. Giving up hope is like giving up life.  When you  are  confronted by  a life changing situation, hope is a precious commodity that you cling to.  No matter how painful your situation might be, you can and you will survive it as long as you don’t lose that thin thread of hope. Sometimes, trials are really just blessings in disguise. They are God’s way of telling us to trust Him, always.

It is not easy to forgive when you are full of  hatred and bitterness. Let  us not plant hatred in our hearts because in the first place, we are the ones greatly affected. Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

What better life this would be if only we can follow these simple steps. Happiness is the simple thought of trying not to give up, just hang in there.

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