My new found hobby..

Taking pictures! I've enjoyed doing this for quite some time now but never really had the chance to buy a good camera. Anyhow, now that I have a digital camera along with me, i'll try to show you how I see things my way.=)

Take a peek at my new pHoto bLog!

The Big “C” Strikes Our Family

I don’t know if it’s just me who notices this, but it looks like the dreaded “C” (cancer) has been affecting more and more individuals these days. Sadly, my mom is one of those.

My mom noticed the early signs of “C” last summer. We went to the hospital to have her mammogram but I advised her not to undergo biopsy first because it might just me a normal cyst. We agreed that in case the cyst would grow, she would undergo the biopsy--> wrong move! I did not realize that even on this situation, my mom would still be selfless and weak when it comes to herself. Every time I check on her to ask how she was doing and how her cyst looked, she would always say it looks normal. Doesn’t look like it’s growing. However the real situation is this - it has continuously grown little by little, she was afraid to undergo biopsy, she is afraid of the expense it may cause us. When we had on our regular holiday break last December, I was sooo shocked when I saw her cyst. The little calamansi sized bumped already grew into a hard lemon fruit . L It was so devastating.

They found Dr. Robin Navarro, who they said have cured a lot of “C” patients and thank God is just almost an hour away from my parents’ place. It may sound odd but this doctor promises that “C” can be cured by eating lots of bulalo and 6 half boiled native eggs a day. Of course he also prescribed some medicines buy the idea just sounds skeptical. On her first consultation, the doctor mentioned to my dad and aunties that my mom’s condition is critical and that he is not sure if his medication will work on her since 90-95% of his patients who got cured were those that had internal “C” (liver, lungs, etc.). Again, this was another devastating news for the family. All we could do was pray that my mom would be healed by God through this doctor.

It has been more than 6 months since that first consultation and so far the doctor’s medication seems to be working. Praise God! It will be a forever journey for my mom and for all of us but we will continue to support her in every step of the way. Your prayers will help too!

BTW,  hubby and I have pledged that a portion of our earning from every catered events will go to my mom’s medication. So to our clients and upcoming future clients from our business, thank you for your support! J

Tips on how to get your dream home

A lot of people have been asking what we did to achieve our dream home. The thought of buying a house actually started when we saw one of our friend on a photo with their new home. We never realized that we could actually have our home at early 30’s but since our friend was able to achieve that goal, we said, why don’t we also give it a try.  So I called up my friend, congratulated and then asked her where they got their home. She gave me her sales agent’s number and I called up this agent who then gave us a tour at Antel.  Tip no. 1, don’t think you can’t buy a house yet, even at a young age, unless you’ve tried checking the housing rates/options against your financial capacity.

We immediately fell in love with the place. We decided to buy a lot after that meeting. As per their agent, down payment of 10% will be payable in 18months with 0% interest. The rest could either be paid via their in-house financing scheme in 5 years (not a good choice) or through bank, loanable amount to be paid at max 20 years.

When the completion date of our down payment came to a close, we started thinking about our possible options. We could either sell the lot and then just work and migrate in another country (no one we knew was interested to buy our lot at that time), just settle the rest through bank and then find a construction team to build our home (stressful choice for us since it is not easy to find a trustworthy construction company unless you know of someone reliable who can vouch for them), or change our plan from buying just the lot into a house and lot (our choice). Tip no. 2, once you have found an option that fits your budget, do not hesitate to go for it!

With our chosen option, we had to complete 20% down payment of the total house and lot cost after the 18th month payment is done (scheduled last month payment of the 10% down payment for lot only) so they may begin the house construction. We complied and after the long wait of document processing, which took them about 3-4months, they started constructing our home following our chosen model unit. We got our housing loan from Metro Bank, the bank which is somewhat affiliated to Antel Corp. Tip no. 3, as much as possible get a bank that is affiliated with your construction company for smooth transaction.

As soon as the house construction began, we made it a point to follow-up with them once in a while so we would always be informed about the status of our home. As per Antel’s project plan, the construction of our home would take about 6-8 months. And true to what they said, the house did get finished in exactly 8 months’ time, just enough time for us to move in and enroll our kids to their new school. Tip no. 4, if you have kids, make sure your chosen home is located near a good school and completion/turn over date is scheduled during school break. Other establishments such as church, police station, hospital, wet market, and the mall should also be near the vicinity of your home. Thank God our home is just a few distance away from those that I have mentioned above. ☺

We never thought that we would be able to have our dream home this soon but through God’s help and love, we did! Tip no. 5, most importantly, always pray and seek God’s assistance in guiding you to the right path in every decision and action you make in life. ☺

Finally, Our Dream Home

I remember during my childhood days, every time I go on a travel with my family, I and my big brother does this game where we point at any beautiful house that we pass along the road trip and then we go say “akin yan”. The more pretty the house you point at, the better. At that young age of 6 or 7, I was already dreaming that someday I would also be having my own beautiful home.

Thank God for blessing me with such wonderful parents. Even if finances were difficult, they ensured that I would be able to finish my studies in reputable schools.  I could clearly see that they strove so much to make sure I and my siblings get the best education there is in the northern part of the country.

So I guess backed up by good education, lots of moral advise from my parents, and so much blessings and guidance from God, I and my hubby were able to achieve another milestone in our family, our dream home.

As simple at it looks from the outside, this home will always be filled with laughter, love, and joy. J

Party Planning on a Budget

Here we go again with another birthday preparation. September 18 marks CJ’s 7th birthday. I no longer have enough time to begin the prep as early as I would have wanted to because we are putting lots of thoughts on our budget. Since we recently moved to our new home (will create a separate post for this blessing) and we are consistently helping our mom sustain her medicines (again, this deserves its’ own post), budget is always a big factor these days.

We normally spend a good amount of money for our kids’ parties. But with the above situation, I told myself that will try my best to limit the budget to only 30k or less.

We have so far decided to have the birthday venue at a local fast food restaurant, Jollibee. Why Jollibee you might ask? (1)They always have the best party hosts around and program will always include a cute dance number with Jollibee and the crews, (2) the venue is just near our home, (3) everyone especially the kids love their food, (4) and they do not require corkage fees in case you would like to bring in side entertainments such as the photo both and dessert table. With that, venue, food, and party host are already checked.

I would not want to spend much on decors this time due to budget constraints so I am very particular about having the decors setup on the stage area only. I have already gotten in touch with an event stylist who is very accommodating and willing to do my requests. Seems that she would be able to deliver my expectations. Décor now checked.

Next, the dessert and cakes – yes you read that right, the birthday girl requested cake with a capital S lol.. Our dessert will always be showcased on our parties – so, of course, this is checked. I have already envisioned how the dessert table would look like. I’ve listed what sweet treats to include on her birthday party. So far it looks like we won’t go over the budget.

I wanted to hire Jive as additional entertainment on her party. However thinking about the cost and considering that Jollibee + crews will also be dancing, I think we could defer this for another party.  But we’re planning to add Twirly on the mascot since CJ has a Twirly stuffed toy that she always plays with. So having this additional mascot on her party would definitely make her big day extra special.

By the way, the SSD, invites, and thank you labels are ready! Here’s they are :)

My next project would be the backdrop for her dessert table. J

CJ’s Unique and Extra Special 6th Birthday Treat

We wanted to make CJ’s 6th birthday as special and memorable as her sister’s but spending another big amount for our youngest daughter was not in our plan. We asked her how she wanted her birthday to be celebrated. And here’s a list of her requests : (1) she wanted to have lots of presents like her ate, (2) she wanted to play in the playground with all her friends, (3) she wants a Lalaloopsy doll for a present, (4) and she wanted my cheesecake for cake blowing J

I was at first thinking of having a school party for her, keeping in mind that we can’t go over a 10k budget. I don’t think she’ll get as many gifts though if it was gonna be a school party since not all parents would have time to buy a gift for her. So I said we can do all your birthday requests except for that second one. She agreed!

What we did to achieve all her requests, excluding request no. 2, was to have her and her sister play the entire afternoon at SM Mall of Asia’s Cosmic Kidz’s four-story indoor playground (nanay Tessie looking after them), while I and hubby went shopping for her presents. :)

                                                    Photo credits from Our Awesome Planet


Soon as we reached home, she each opened her gifts 

and then did cake blowing on top of her requested cheesecake. CJ was so ecstatic and said that it was the best birthday ever! Ate Missy said she also wanted to have that kind of birthday party next time. J

Tell me about your unique birthday celebrations too!

DIY Projects You Can Do to Cut Cost on Your Birthday Party Budget

Most moms planning for their kids birthday party would love to get ideas on how to cut cost on their party budget. I am no expert here but still I would like to share what DIY projects I did to make sure we do not go over our budget for our eldest daughter’s party.
Themed Pinata / Candy  shower
– This one is easy to make. Instead of buying those ready-made piñatas worth P300 - P500, I would rather make it myself. I made this (with help from my dad, auntie, and cousin) just a few days before the party. The materials were bought months before.

I followed the steps from this link : 
Materials used : Biggest Kellogg’s cereal, candies (from the grocery store), crepe paper, Elmer’s glue (from National Bookstore)

Party decors
- To make sure we are following our Shabby Chic Princess theme, I made Paper flower/rosette table décors for the dessert table – I started doing this 2 months prior to the party. I only had time to make those paper rosettes after work and on weekends. I love how it came out!

Materials used: Crepe paper, styro balls, glue gun and glue sticks, Elmer’s glue(from National Bookstore), small pink tin can pails, paper straws, ribbons, pearl beads (from Divisoria).

SDD, invitations, map, menu list, wishing note, dessert/candy labels, name tags
– All done using Adobe Photoshop and my God given creative skills hahaha. Thank you Lord! J If you don’t have this software or cannot find one, there’s a free software called Paint.NET that can also help do the job for you.

Audio-Visual Presentation
- This one you can make using Windows Movie, easy to make too! I made mine using ProShow Gold. You just need a compilation of photos, a song fit for your child, and some captions.

Aside from those I have mentioned above, you can also DIY your party favors, loot bags, and balloon decors. My piece of advise is just to enjoy doing what your doing! :) 

Missy's 7th Shabby Chic Princess Themed Birthday : Part 4

Following the original post, here's our comment and rating for our face painter/glitter tattoo, photo booth,  and giveaways/favors:

7. Side Entertainment : Face Painter/Glitter Tattoo - Groove Paint and Party Needs(c/o Kath and Prince)
Rate: 10
They also arrived at the venue on time so soon as guests started coming in, they were there to do body painting and glitter tattoos. Both artists were friendly. 

If you check their fb page, you'll see na mabenta talaga sila at ang gagaling ng mga work of art nila. Di ka mapapahiya sa mga guests mo. J

8. Side Entertainment : Photobooth – Medium Rare Photobooth (c/o Basti)
This came out FREE from my hubby’s good friend. It’s like a surprise gift kasi di rin kami nasabihan na dadalin ng friend ni hubby ang business niya sa party. J 

He just got a photo of Missy from the pre-birthday photos that was shared on our fb and viola, may template na. Output came out great at never nabakante ang photobooth. Dami rin props to choose from. J

9. Giveaways/Favors/ Themed letter standees with Missy's name for the dessert table - Handicrafts Atbp. (c/o Grace)
Rate : 10
Handicrafts Atbp. were always reliable when it comes to personalized wooden favors. So although it was a little pricey for our budget, I didn't have to think twice. I just gave here the design and the result came out all beautifully. 

We filled each mini caddie with candies, cookies, pretzels, and cotton candy - all of Missy's favorite sweets - she really has a sweet tooth I tell you!

Missy's 7th Shabby Chic Princess Themed Birthday : Part 3

Following the original post, here's our comment and rating for our party host/magician and kiddie salon:

5. Party Host w/ Magic show - Lhen Peralta
Rate : 10
Talking to Lhen was always a breeze. Although Lhen did not arrive on time due to a party schedule from another event which I was aware of, she had a substitute (also wearing a princess costume) to take care of the party while she was still out. So when Lhen arrived at the venue(in snow white costume), parang dalawa pa tuloy ang host namin. :)

I did not really get to notice how she was as a host since I was busy with our guests but some of my mommy guests did give good raves about her hosting skill. Lhen and her substitute host got the attention of our guests as guests were are attentive all throughout the party.

6.  Side Entertainment : Kiddie Salon - Lhen Peralta
Rate : 10 ++++
Every time I made suggestion on the kiddie salon, Lhen would not hesitate to say “yes, we can add that” etc. I wanted those tulle like cloth on top of their setup and also wished they had like those big Barbie doll head as display. They didn't used to have those but due to my request, they bought those items and included them on their salon setup. She even had two pretty attendants who were both accommodating. J

Missy's 7th Shabby Chic Princess Themed Birthday : Part 2

Following the original post, here's our comment and rating for our photographer/videographer and our desserts:

3. Photographer/Videographer/Pre-birthday Photo Shoot - For Keeps(c/o Jet Lamosa)
Rate : 9
After learning about For Keeps from GirlTalk, I immediately got in touch with them to book for our date. They were very accommodating and their packages were not that pricey. I think they were just starting to build their market online, hence the rate. They were very professional. They made sure that they were on the venue on time. 

 Kuya Jet never stopped taking photos. It's like dun mo ma-rerealize na mahirap pala ang trabaho ng artista kasi dapat laging nakangiti here and there sa photos. lol :)

The MTV styled video and the photos were amazingly beautiful. All happy moments were captured. :) Also, they delivered the photo and video too quick. Night of the party, kuya Jet already emailed
me four photos. Super bilis!:)

I rated them 9 because they did not ask me to choose what photos would be included on the print out and the softbound photo album. There were I think 5 photos that almost looked the same. I so wished those other shots were printed instead. Overall though, we are still happy for getting their service and still want to hire them for our future events. :)

4. Sweet Treats/Dessert Spread/Cake - My Chocolate Heaven (c/o yours truly)
Rate - 10++++ :)

On the cake, am so proud of myself that I was able to execute a 2-layer all edible princess cake for my daughter.

For me it looked so simple yet elegant. Would you agree? :)

On the dessert spread - all my guests said bitin daw yung White Chocolate Strawberry cupcake. The Red Velvet mini bundt cakes and Carrot Walnut petite fours were a hit too! BTW, those are both the birthday girl's favorites.

The candy bar setup looked so cute. Thanks too to Jacq of Party Boosters for lending me her beautiful white rosette table cover. I didn’t ask for it pero they brought it baka kailanganin daw. So super thank you again sis! It matched my DIY floral table decors perfectly well.

Missy's 7th Shabby Chic Princess Themed Birthday : Part 1

Following the original post, here's our comment and rating for our event stylist and venue:

1. Event Stylist : Party Boosters (c/o Jacque Tan)
Rate : 10+++++
A super thank you to Jacq for doing more than what we've agreed on. This is our third time to get her service. All her works are well executed and she has the friendliest staff too. :)

I just told her how I imagine the venue to look like. The photos would speak for itself. 

See how she amazingly transformed the resto to a beautiful girly themed room? All my guests were at awe. Got a lot of praises sa ganda ng setup ng venue.

2.Venue/Food – Ristorante Bigoli, Eastwood Libis
Rate : 9
Another good find was this party venue. At first, we were hesitant to push through to having our party here because of the wide open space at the middle of the party area. 

But after the event, hubby and I both concluded that we did made the right choice. Their staff were all courteous and helpful. Food  was superb, guests get to have unlimited sodas and iced tea from the dispenser, they also have unlimited delicious bread sticks for everyone, and party packages/head is cheaper than other restaurants.

I rated them nine just because of the sound system. But other than that, everything is okay.

Our Online Store