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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Window: Before and After



Finally all the windows in the living room has been replaced... a year and lots of patience later. Thanks to my wonderful husband.

So we were stuck with 3 pairs of old windows. Well, just 2 pairs since the first window was replaced a year ago.

This is the front view of the upper part of the window and the lower part has nine squares instead of six. 

Back view of the same window. 

Closer view. 

This was the only hardware that had to be removed to begin cleaning and taping. 

Plan. I really wanted to make something special out of this junk. Something useful to me or to somebody in the family. I have thought of painting both sides and attaching  cork board, magnetic dry erase stuff and/or painting chalkboard paint on those squares and turn it into a message center of some sort.

I have also thought of attaching pictures of our family and make it a big wall collage. Another idea was some wall decals instead of pictures. I searched the world wide web (yes, I had to type that out because "googled" is not a verb according to microsoft), I searched through Pinterest for inspiration and ideas.

I finally decided to turn this into a wall piece for my sister-in-law. I know that description didn't help.

I removed the hardware, I cleaned the window with damp washcloth, let it dry and cleaned again.

Then I taped the edges of the glass squares. Pre-treated the wood (front side), let it dry then stained it.

window cleaned and ready to be pre-treated

I then printed out names of family members on scrapbook paper and attached names to each glass squares. I used clear contact paper for this and attached the names from behind so the glass can still be cleaned with any glass cleaner from the front. 

The final product. 

Total cost:
$7.47 for clear contact paper

I am in the process of prepping the bigger window (pre-treating, staining and attaching stuff for wall hanging). I will leave the glass squares as is and give it to a co-worker. And because her mom has nine grandkids she is planning on giving it to her mom with pictures or hand prints from all the grandkids. Neat idea.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The healthier snickerdoodle

Snickerdoodle. The first time I heard about snickerdoodles was back in May of 2002. It was and still is hubby's favorite cookie.

Fast forward October 2002, it was hubby's first trip to the Philippines. He brought with him snickerdoodles so I can try them. I don't remember if I liked it or not but I sure remember eating crumbs of it. Yeah, those crumbs traveled half way around the world just so I can try them for the first time.

I don't remember baking snickerdoodles from scratch until today.

I found a recipe of Healthier Easy Sugar Cookies the other day and tried it as is. It wasn't bad but it wasn't the best. So I decided to make it even healthier then added cinnamon sugar.

Here is my version.

Healthier Easy Snickerdoodles

2 3/4 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 C applesauce
1/4 C non-fat yogurt
1 1/2 C white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 375° F. In a medium bowl, mix together the first three ingredients until combined.
In a large bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients with an electric mixer or by hand. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Dough will be too soft to handle.

Form walnut-sized balls using spoons or cookie scoops and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. With the use of a fork, gently flatten the dough.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 - 15 minutes or until golden. Let stand for two minutes before moving cookies to cool on wire racks.

Dipping it in milk. Yummers!
The twins absolutely love them and had them as snacks pre-swimming.
Snacking on mommy's snickerdoodles.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Natural & Cheap Facial Skin Care

It was time to purchase a new bottle of night time moisturizer. I don't like the oily kind because for some reason after the kids were born, my skin has turned from being annoyingly oily to really dry. Also, I don't like wearing moisturizer during the day cause when I sweat... oh boy! I sweat easily.

After browsing around for a possible Olay 7 anti-aging night time moisturizer, I stumbled upon a couple of websites with information on making your own natural and cheap facial products. gave me a quick lesson about carrier oils, basic essential oils and its benefits and how to make your own natural moisturizer. It also briefly discusses the chemistry behind "like dissolves like" thus "oil dissolves oil". The Oil cleansing method was also thoroughly discussed on this website.


Sweet almond oil: I chose this as the carrier oil because of its properties and benefits. I also like that it is not very greasy and it is good for those suffering from eczema. My son gets eczema flare ups during the cold season.

Rosehip seed oil: after doing some research and with the help of my sister Janie I chose this oil specially for my acne scars from pregnancy and dull skin.

Taken from
  Rosehip seed oil: A rich, amber colored organic oil from the ripened fruit of the famed Rosehip, also known as Rosa Mosqueta. This unique oil is extremely high in essential fatty acids and has carried much respect amongst professional journals and organizations as being a great agent in the fight against dry, weathered, and dehydrated skin. It works wonders on scars and is the predominant oil used for treating wrinkles and premature aging. Can be used in all fine skin care recipes.

Sources: I found sweet almond oil by accident (or fate) at Walmart. An 8.45 oz bottle was only $5.48. 

Which translates to 1 fl.oz for $0.65only. 

Rosehip seed oil at Whole Foods was $5.17 for 1 fl. oz bottle. 

Whole foods is quite expensive. You can buy it online for $2.31 for 1 fl oz + shipping. 

Formula: Both almond oil and rosehip oil are carrier oils however, because of the price of RH oil, I decided to dilute it in sweet almond oil. Three parts of almond oil to 1 part rosehip oil. 
homemade natural facial moisturizer

Facial Cleanser
EVOO: homemade moisturizing cleanser
Extra Virgin Olive Oil. That's it! That's all! And you can get this 3L bottle for $14.98 at Sam's Club.  


At night, I wet my face with warm tap water then I apply EVOO to my skin by rubbing it in circular motion massaging my face up to jaw line. Then I wet wash cloth with warm to hot water but not scalding and rest the warm wash cloth on my face until it reaches room temperature. I then use the same wash cloth to wipe off cleanser gently. That's all. If you have dry skin like mine, you will right away notice how different your skin feels. If it feels greasy, just let the oil soak in. 

In the morning, it is not necessary to wash your face again unless it feels dry. 

Immediately after washing EVOO off, I put a few drops of my homemade moisturizer on my fingertip and apply it all over my face and neck. I also apply some on my recent surgery scar and my 5-yr old stretch marks (stripes and dots, according to my kids). Although I don't apply it on the scars and stretch marks all the time because I don't have plans of wearing 2-pc swimsuit anytime in the future anyway. 

I do use it on both my upper arm to help with a hereditary skin condition I have called Keratosis Pilaris.

I never expected any major change, all I cared was that my skin was not dry during the day. 

A week or so after using both my homemade natural cleanser and moisturizer, I noticed my pores are no longer noticeable, no more oily spots around the base of my nose and under my lower lip, lines are finer and my skin was absolutely supple. It felt so good. I only use eye make-up so I am not sure how well it works with make-up or foundation. Although I have read they work just fine. 

Anyway, I was shocked and pleased at how good my skin felt. The rough, bumpy and dry arms? I would say it has improved by 50%. I don't use it on my arms often either. I let hubby feel my face and he was impressed. I have been begging him to try it but he was hesitant until the day he noticed and felt the difference on my face. He started using it and liked it. 

Now, I use the cleanser and the moisturizer everyday. Day and night. I also mix EVOO with commercial lotion at night on dry elbows and knees. 

Next time I will try EVOO and Rosehip oil for the moisturizer since it is way more economical and I will increase amount of RH oil in the mixture. 

Oh yeah, and I still sweat a lot specially when I am in the gym. The very reason why I want to use the machine right under or close to a fan or those that come with fans unless I am watching my kids at the pool. So yeah, I still sweat but because my skin is so hydrated, I can feel my sweat just roll down my face. 

The oil cleansing method is something really good for teenagers to try with acne-prone skin. 


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Random Thursday

My two kid-free days are Tuesdays and Thursdays. After dropping the kids off at 7:45 am I get the day all to myself until around 3 in the afternoon. But I don't remember going back to bed at all since school started. Too many things to do - gym, bath, make beds, laundry, vacuum, etc.

So I am now one of them. I started collecting our toilet paper rolls for any possible crafts or DIY home decor in the future. The future is now. I had enough toilet paper rolls to make my own wreath.

I don't know how many rolls I used, nor did I know how long it took for me to do both wreaths but I know I  was able to do my usual Thursday chores + gym and finished these projects before I went to pick up the kids.

Here they are:

After picking the kids up, I also tried a recipe I found on.... that's right, Pinterest.
Thanks to Chef in Training I found Baked Apple Pie Egg rolls.

Lemon juice, peeled and diced apples, flour, cinnamon and all spice.

Added brown sugar and honey. 

Baked Apple Pie Egg Rolls

(T - tablespoon;   t - teaspoon;  C-cups)

2 apples (I used granny smith & red delicious)

half of a large lemon, juiced and seeds removed

1/3 C brown sugar (brown sugar is a personal preference)

4 T flour 

2 t ground cinnamon

1/4 t all spice

1/8 t iodized salt

15 egg roll wrappers

1 egg, lightly beaten

Below is the brand of egg roll wrapper I  used. It comes in a pack of 25. I usually keep this in the freezer and just defrost it in the microwave or thaw it before use.  

The original recipe also had a dip but I didn't bother to make it. I am happy with the end result. 


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Peel and chop up apples. Add to a medium bowl. Add lemon juice and mix well to avoid apples turning brown. Add remaining filling ingredients to bowl and stir together until well combined. Allow mixture to sit for about 10 minutes.
  3. Lay 1 egg roll wrapper onto a clean surface or a large plate. 
  4. Spread 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoon of the filling across one side of the prepared egg roll wrapper. You do not want to over stuff these.
  5. Fold the sides over and brush with egg wash. Carefully roll filling tightly in the wrapper and press gently to seal.
  6. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment and coat with a thin layer of cooking spray. Repeat until all the filling and wrappers have been used.

 7. Bake egg rolls for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. During the last 5 minutes of cook time, pull out and roll  in melted butter and then roll in cinnamon and sugar. Put back in oven for remaining 5 minutes. Serve warm. 

I was able to make 15 out of this recipe. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cheap & Healthy Alternative

So we all do it, we go to Pinterest, pin here and pin there. Healthy foods here and there. Money-saving ideas here and there.I must admit I am one of those. So I have been pinning new food ideas, DIY home decor ideas, crafts kids can do and so fort. 

The school has started and I now have some a couple of days without kids and work so that means some free time right? Free time to clean the house, vacuum, even shampoo the carpet more often, steam clean some nasty spots and even the car. 

And time to finally put those new ideas to the test. 

Here are a few things I tried and my feedback. 

It was still hot straight out of the oven. I took a small piece and let hubby try it without telling him what it was made out of. "Is that brownies? That is really creamy but not soggy or wet. Tastes good too." Those were his exact words. Hubby is not a chocolate person AT ALL! Oh, you don't have to ask me or my daughter, we love chocolate on anything or anything that looks like chocolate or has chocolate on/in it. My son loves it too. 

Next one....

Made out of chick peas and quick-cooking oats and chocolate chips of course. This and the black bean brownies are now part of our weekend menu. Need I say more? 

PB-Banana Ice Cream

I can not remember where I got this idea. It has been a while back. Ingredients? Peanut butter and bananas. That's it. I did not make it exactly that way though. 

Here are the ingredients I used:
3 Cut-up and frozen over ripe bananas
1/2 C Peanut butter (I used Jif Creamy)*
1/4 C instant or quick cooking oats*
1/8 t vanilla extract
*Ingredients can be adjusted according to preference. 

And with the help of my Ninja blender I made my very first homemade ice cream. I love it and so did my kids. Today was very humid so it was perfect for some ice cream.

And even if I am watching our budget I was still able to indulge myself in these yummy-licious food. All ingredients used here are already in my pantry... in abundance. 


Monday, July 9, 2012

Easy Meals

As I have mentioned in my previous post, I am not much into freezer meals. But since then that has changed. I still love crispy vegetables over those soggy ones however, I have decided it is better to slow cook meats then add the fresh crispy veggies when it is time to serve dinner. I have been doing this for a while now though so this isn't a new idea (i.e. packaged mac n cheese with corn and diced up carrots and ham pieces).

The Classic and Simple Lasagna was good and I still have some left in the freezer, the who-cares-about-following-a-recipe beef pasta sauce has saved me a lot of dinners, the homemade spinach-basil pesto has helped me mellow down the smell of canned tuna, and my I-don't-follow-a-recipe cheesy beef bean dip has made a lot of snacks a meal and a lot of tortilla chips, 5-yr old boy and a daddy happy.

At the moment, I don't really plan a day to do freezer cooking. But when I do cook I cook for multiple meals. So since then, I have also tried some really easy meals from Pinterest.

Pillsbury rolls, flattened. Ham, Italian cheeses, then another flattened roll. 

Bake according to package directions. Dip in homemade pasta sauce.

Another short cut meal: Baked Zucchini stuffed with leftover tuna salad, whole wheat bread crumbs and homemade pesto with pasta sauce.

Thanks to one of our meal volunteers at the homeless shelter. He prepared this for the residents' meal and the kids loved it. So I went to for a recipe and it gave me an idea on how to prepare it. Since my homemade meat sauce has been a big hit with my kids, I decided to use that and sauteed it with the zucchini pulp, added some homemade whole wheat bread crumbs, leftover tuna salad and some homemade pesto. While it was cooking, the kids thought I was baking pizza. So they called it pizza boats. They loved it.

Another fast meal is my homemade version of Taco Bell's Cruch Wrap Supreme. I used my homemade cheesy beef bean dip, chips (optional) and tortilla flour. That's it! 

On the 4th of July, I went to pick up groceries from our local store. I have always wanted to make Pepperoncini Beef ever since I have heard it from Melissa. Before she posted the recipe for it, I decided to search for it. And then again, I found an easy one from A week later, Melissa posted her version of the recipe. So here I am armed with 2 easy versions of the recipe and a 5-lb chuck roast on Manager's Sale and a bottle of pepperoncini. It was slow cooking for more than 8 hours. It got a little dry on the top but it tasted heavenly. We have tried it on regular loaf bread with cheese or horseradish sauce. Yummers! Another keeper.

Since hubby is gone all week this week, I decided to try this 30-minute roll recipe I found on Pinterest. As I was kneading the dough, I decided, I will make one with ham and cheese for the kids (mini-stromboli) and I will make mine with Pepperoncini Beef and cheese. This roll recipe is a keeper too. Believe me, I have never made anything that involves kneading until a month ago. This is easy and fast. 

Tor's plate

Iza's plate

mommy's plate

and I made a few rolls out of the dough and refrigerated the rest.

Not really good quality photos because  I bring my phone in the kitchen but not my digital camera. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Freezer Cooking: My thoughts

In the last month or so I have been contemplating on trying out freezer cooking. I first tried it with burritos and eggrolls. I think the hardest part of the first try was preparing and slow cooking pinto beans. But it turned out good. So I wanted to take it up a notch. I tried freeze cooking Scooters spaghetti this time. It wasn't a total failure, however, the kids didn't really like it. And I think I know why. I used whole wheat pasta and put as much veggies in there as possible. But it wasn't the best either, like how some people rave about it. I think it was dry when I reheated it.

Here's the thing. I am not a fan of canned veggies and thawed out cooked food. I don't mind leftover food though, just not frozen then thawed out. In my 10th year here in the canned-vegetable country, I have slowly embraced what I grew up not liking. You see, back home, my mother would think about a meal, a day or a few hours ahead. Then most of the ingredients were bought from a fresh market the day of or we head to our backyard and gather a few more fresh ingredients. And talking about fresh food, I miss both my grandmothers. Lola (Filipino for grandma) Eyay (nickname for Maria) loves to cook any soup with fresh green leaves straight from our garden. Lola Azon (short for Corazon) never failed to drop off our share of freshly harvested soft-shelled prawns, Bangus (milkfish), Tilapia, fresh crabs from our fish farm to name a few.  Peanuts were harvested from our family farm and we use to make our own peanut butter. And yes, fresh markets were open 365 days a year. Most produce sold were harvested the day of. So there goes my love for fresh food. Heck, I even eat kinilaw (raw tuna fish). 

Fast forward, a few days back. And yes, I use to hate slow cooking too. Absolutely hated it. 

Moving on, so yes, I tried freezer cooking, and yes I have tried slow cooking more than twice and I am still doing it. 

This week, I wanted to give freezer cooking another try so I can use up some items in my pantry.

1st day: 3 pans of lasagna, taco meat, Korean beef & beef pasta sauce

2nd day: taco meat was used for all these cheesy beef bean dip

I still have hesitations on giving freezer cooking another try. But I might. I don't know. The thing is, Joers travels a lot.... A. Lot. So his ETA every weeknight is always a guessing game. Most dinner means, it's just mommy and Twinkies. So meal portions = +/- 2 to 3 servings only. But the best part about all these is, I am getting better at meal planning and because I have all these food in my freezers, I don't have to worry about dinner for a while. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012


.... was the kids' last day in swimming class. Iza has moved up to starfish and Tor to Ray. I am happy that Tor has finally overcome his fear of the deep. I am thinking about getting Iza into swim academy.

.... was the first time I sat on a poolside chair all by myself. Thirty minutes may not seem that long, but it was to me.

... I converted one of Tor's shoe boxes to a DVD storage box. Remnant fabrics, staple wires and all-purpose spray adhesive. No sewing involved. Done in thirty minutes while the kids were playing Shaun the Sheep online.

... I did this: rainbow rice. Thanks to Pink and Green Mama for the inspiration through Pinterest.

... I remembered I needed to post this . I had this for a meal a few days ago. Everything on it, except for EVOO, came from my patio garden. Baby greens, tomato and homemade pesto. 


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pre-K in a movie

Here is a 15-minute short movie about my kids' life in pre-K at Resurrection Catholic School.

It may not be a big deal to some parents but to me this is such a huge step: moving on the Kindergarten. 

This short movie is a thank you to everybody who has been a part of my kids' first few years of educational journey. 


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

First week of Summer Vacation

School went by so fast. As a mother of two pre-K kids, alone time is very rare. But when they do, I am left clueless on what to do with my free time. The first week with no school. Kids were awake between 7:30 and 8. There were days when they do wake up later than that. Those days, I am thankful for. They crawl next to us and turn on the TV to PBS Kids, while hubs and I sneak in some more zzzzz's. .

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 I turned 37. And the most lovely conversation I had with my kids went:

Tor: Why are there no presents for you? 

Me: You, Iza and Daddy are my presents. Forever. I thank Jesus for you.

Then my daughter decided to work on something secretly. As I was about to enter the home office to clean the carpet:

 Iza: You can not come in mommy. You can not see what I am doing.

 As I was opening the door, before I heard her warning, I saw her wrapping something.

 Me: Ooops, sorry. I will close the door.

A few minutes later as I was chillin' on the couch in the living room. Isabella came up to me.

 Iza: Mommy close your eyes then open it when I say "open".

And there she stood in front of me with her present.
Iza: Open it mommy. 

 Me: Oh wow! Iza you are so thoughtful. Thank you very much (smooches). Did you wrap this yourself?

 Iza: Yes, I did. That's why I didn't want you to see me in the office. Do you like it? Do you mind that it's my old Hello Kitty doll? 

 Me: Oh I don't mind it at all. I love it and I love how thoughtful you are. You have a big heart.

 Iza: You need to cuddle her every night ok?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Tor finished his 3rd month of wall climbing class. I love that he finally found an activity that he actually enjoys doing. He stuck with wall climbing for 3 straight months. He never missed a class and he is always excited to be in class.

Tor and Iza's last week of swimming class and on to the 2-wk swimming program.

 Iza still has another week of gymnastics then she also gets a break to concentrate on the swimming class.

We also has our first trip to the library... I know. I am not very proud of this.

... play time with sprinklers.

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 Summer Learning Fun.

 I created a summer learning plan for the kids. A box we called learning box holds everything we need to do this summer. It has sight words bingo cards, K readiness book I bought from Sam's Club, dice, beads, buttons, etc. Our goal is to be ready for Kindergarten in the fall and to stay on top of their reading.