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Monday, October 08, 2012

October Updates: Bohemia, Books and Culture

Just wanted to update you all that I survived my Europe - Bohemia Trip, with flying colors! I was not tired and carried my own weight. That includes my luggage and my parents' luggages. I didn't have to take my contraction medicines and was able to participate in all of the activities by the group. I was also able to be the navigator in our city walks and found interesting places when I was assigned like lunch, sites, etc.
I'll share some of the photos on my next post.

Speaking of unexpected surprises, I was also able to get some book for C to donate to his school...part of the school's anniversary celebration request. Although it's not mandatory, I felt that the school has given (and still giving) a lot to C in his development, how can I refuse to do this.
Would you believe that I found the below two books in a small village in Czech's Republic (Czesky Krumlov) en-route to Prague? Yes, it's in English!

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce : I bought two of these - one for the school and one for our home since I loved the story!

It's a Book by Lane Smith : I am reminded of C's love for books and his iPad...all at one go in this book.

There's Going To Be A Baby by John Burningham & Helen Oxenbury : a really touching book that would or might help me introduce C's new sister while encouraging to read and look at wonderful illustrations. It's got to be one of the best "new family member" book that I've currently seen in the market. I love it even if it's a bit worn out and the lady in the store wouldn't give me a discount for its age...

One of the highlights of my Bohemia trip was being able to squeeze in some museum time to see the below in real life. It took me back to high school/college years wherein I was still an Art History student. Amazing on how much impact art has been in my life and it still never tires me to sit in front of these sort of works and just "soak up the culture".
The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, 1907-1908
Oil and gold leaf on canvas, Belvedere Museum, Vienna Austria

It's one of the most powerful and memorable works of art that I've seen in my life aside from the below that I can still remember "taking in the moment". (I.e. "excited-out-of-my-pants / time-stopped / heart-pounding-with-excitement" sort of moments!)
Here's to reliving "moments in art" and more works of art to see in real life!
The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli, 1486
Tempera on canvas, Uffizi Gallery, Florence

One: November 31, 1950, Jackson Pollock, 1950
Oil and enamel paint on canvas, MoMA, NYC

Untitled, Mark Rothko, 1968
Synthetic polymer paint on paper, MoMA, NYC

Oil on Canvas, MoMA, NYC

Oil on Canvas, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

Pieta, Michealangelo, 1499
Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican Italy

Irises, Vincent Van Gogh, 1889
Oil on Canvas, J. Getty Museum, LA

Dancer Taking A Bow, Edgar Degas, 1878
Pastel and gouache on paper, J. Getty Museum, LA

October means Halloween's around the corner...I'm excited this year since I get to dress-up C again with another round of costumes. Now that he's going to be participating more and especially before I head off to give birth, it's one of the special seasons that we can both share as mom and son before his sister arrives.

Here's what I did....using last year's Halloween photo with his cousin, Zack.
Credits: Freakin Adorable The Kit by Mari Koegelenberg and Danielle Engebretson available at SSD; Font - Another Typewriter

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

C's 2nd Birthday Party...and upcoming Europe trip

C's 2nd birthday is finally done!!! It was a lot of labor of love since I'm trying to save up for the food and loot bags for the kids of not only one but two parties: one for school and one at home. Thus, I had to make the birthday banner, table centerpieces, invitation and name/cup tags, balloon stickers, etc. You may think it's easy for a digi-scrapper like me but that fact that I would have to the layout and then later print and make them, so very much like being a hybrid scrapper, which I rarely do with a time limit and to make not only one or two of the same thing but of 10 variation or so...not easy!

See the end products below...

The banner...that took me about two weeks of thinking and making before I was happy with the results. What do you think? I used Mari Koegelenberg's Cutting Files: Banner Set 1

I used the Cutting Files: Rosettes of Mari Koegelenberg.

The Birthday Cake table set-up with banner, three cakes : one I ordered from E's sister, one mom ordered for C and the middle one was a pure surprise that day from C's great grandma. It topped all three! I ordered cake toppers of Pororo from French Kiss Pastries. Love the whole experience and service. I also ordered cupcakes for C's school the day before for a small celebration.

Chocolate with Almond filling Cake...cupcakes were from C's school party the day before by French Kiss 

Great Grandma's cake for C...a real nice surprise!

For the lollypops, I used the papers in A for Awesome, Little Critters, School is Ghoul, School Rules, Today - His Paper Pack all by Mari Koegelenberg.
Creme Brulee Cake from Valle Verde 2...yummy!!!

I'm so kicking myself for not taking a picture of the loot bag table since I did so much also for it...oh might be able to see it below. It's on the left side of the's so small - sorry.

I'm currently preparing for a Europe trip with my folks...which was paid for even before we found out we were pregnant so I was determined to make sure I was ready for the walk and trip in general. Wish me luck!!!

I was able to insert some layouts for Journal Your Life below that I was inspired to document another life altering experience in our family... Check out Journal Your Life by Traci Reed and Mari Koegelenberg available at Sweet Shoppe Designs.

Here's Our Story...
Credits: Journal Your Life by Mari Koegelenberg and Traci Reed available at SSD; Font - Bohemian typewriter

Thursday, September 13, 2012

HK: Mandarin Playgroups, Toys, Apps and More (From Little Steps Asia)

Mandarin Lingo
Playgroups, Toys, Apps and More!
From Little Steps Asia article dated Sept 12, 2012

I'm happy to know that Little Steps Asia has done a lot of research for parents who wish to know appropriate schools/tools to learn Mandarin in HK. I hope the below would be useful to my followers as it is to us. :D Enjoy reading and more power to Little Steps Asia!


Yi, er, san! Learning Mandarin can be as easy as 1, 2, 3 for your little sponges with the right tools. Whether you’re looking for a class or app for your kids to practice their language skills or want to get your  toddler interested early, we’ve collected the latest on it all so your little one will be in the know with Mandarin lingo!

Easy English for Kids - Mandarin playgroup and tuition classes in Sai Kung, babies to 4 years
Jumpstart Mandarin Learning Centre - Mandarin playgroup in Sai Kung, toddlers +
Mandarin Town - Mandarin playgroup in the Mid-levels for babies and toddlers
Kids Land - Mandarin playgroup and class in Central, toddlers +
Fruitful Tree - Playgroup in Kowloon, 6 months to 6 years 
Jungleroo - offers Mandarin playgroups of many other classes in Mid-levels, toddlers +
Florenda - Mandarin playgroup and classes in Central and North Point, toddlers +
Tiny Tumblers (of PeKIP) - Movement courses for babies and toddlers in bilingual environment
Sun Kids - Mandarin playgroup in Happy Valley
Little Kingdom - Mandarin classes in Causeway Bay, babies +
Better Chinese / MSL Centers - Mandarin classes in Causeway Bay, toddlers +
Mandarin Munchkins - Playgroup in Central, Sheung Wan and Discovery Bay, toddlers +
Blossoms Education Centre - Playgroup in North Point
Hong Kong Mandarin School - Classes for kids (K1) on up!
ITS Tutorial School - Mandarin tutors
Mandarin Summer Camps & Interview Prep - For local/international students
Kids Talent Learning Center - Private tutors (P1-P6) and classes in Kowloon


Primary Mandarin - Readers, flashcards, online games and more, ages 5+
Max and Mei Series - Learn Mandarin in Max and Mei's fun bilingual world of adventures!
The Pet Dragon - Learn Chinese calligraphy... old school style
Better Chinese - Readers, flashcards, games and classes, ages 2+
Childroad - Online Chinese reading for kids
Uzborne Everyday Words Chinese Flashcards - Available at Tiny Footprints

 LoveChinese - Great fun for toddlers on up.
Kids Animal World – Good listening exercises for babies and toddlers; great music as well!
Lingu Pingu – Choose a theme and select objects to hear their name and sounds. 
Doodle Chinese - Gradually helps build Mandarin vocabulary 
Feed Me Chinese - Games covering math, shapes, numbers, time and pattern recognition
Kids Mandarin - Fun interactive games, all ages
Kids Learn Mandarin - Mandarin learning app developed by an HK mama!
Rye Studio Apps - Mulan and more.

Monday, September 03, 2012

SAHM status: liking it day-by-day

I'm pretty much adjusting to being a stay-at-home mother with the activities that I've taken on like preparing the day for my son before he goes to school, sending to school then pick-up, grocery/house shopping and other mother items done in the house. It might be boring or routinary to some but I'm quite enjoying it now since I wasn't able to do this when I pregnant with C and I guess I'm feeling the "nesting effect" of it all. It's a great sort of feeling to be able to accomplish so much at home and not have to worry about coming to a house with pending items after work.

I'm currently also preparing for C's party in a few weeks so it's going to be hectic one for me especially we are trying to watch our budget on this "small affair" at home. A lot is done by me &/or have to find cheaper alternatives and sources since aside from the home affair, I'll be giving some small lootbags and some snacks for his school a day before. It's exciting but also nerve-wrecking since I want to do a good job and a lot of the mothers in C's school have already shown what they can do with school parties. Yes, I know it's not a competition but it's hard not to later be compared or find that what you provided doesn't come up nearly to what the others have provided in the past. 

Credits: School is Ghoul by Mari Koegelenberg and Snips and Snails available at SSD; Font: Myriad Pro

Credits: Little Critters by Mari Koegelenberg available at SSD; Font: Myriad Pro

Monday, August 13, 2012

C's School Adventures Continues

August 13: School is pretty much in full swing again after the heavy rains that rocked/shook Manila since it's the noted as the most rainfall without it being a typhoon. It beat out the 2009 Ondoy flood where so many lives and properties were destroyed. C had a week off from school...this after getting good marks for adjustment on the 2nd week of school. So the week after the big rains, there was a few tears and anxiety that came over the little man of ours that I felt guilty in leaving him at the door (since it's a school policy that after the 2nd week of school introduction, parents/guardians are only allowed to drop off their kids at the door and not enter the classroom...harsh rule but I totally understand - easier adjustment).  I was glad that upon pick-up, he got great commendations from the school maid/assistant and there were less tears when he ran up to the door to go home, unlike the last few times.

The below are some of the photos that school was able to show me of his progress during class, which I'm very excited to see him participate with his classmates than just playing on his own like the first few days of classes.

Credits: A for Awesome by Mari Koegelenberg and Little Butterfly Wings available at SSD

Credits: School Rules by Mari Koegelenberg available at SSD; Font - Mom's Typewriter and Old Typewriter

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Preschool: Day of Firsts for C

The world gets competitive as the years pass and parents like me have to face the fact that we will need to equip our children with the proper tools to survive. One of these tools is education and the start of which is for C to start going to school...preschool, that is.
A lot of "firsts" for the month of July and August that would need some documenting...
  • July 19 - finally deciding on the "right" school for C. Uber happy since we visited at least 4 schools before we finally felt "it" was right.
  • July 23 - C's first day of preschool. No anxiety till pick-up.
  • July 31 - Yaya's day-off and C was uber behaved and ate as much as he could...which made E & I relieved that he is starting to be less fussy. (Hooray indeed!)
  • August 2 - C asked his teacher to change his diaper on his own (as per the teacher)
  • August 3 - C's most improved day at preschool. Not much crying aside from being left behind in the morning and was able to eat his snacks in school. 
Hoping for more great milestones to come and be remembered!

For now, I'm savoring the moment when C's still innocently "somewhat like" to go to school now. I'm sure it won't be long when he would be choosing his courses and picking his classmates than be with us at home. :P

Credits:  Dream Big by Meghan Mullens and Mari Koegelenberg available at SSD; C alpha from Berry Sweet also by Mari Koegelenberg

Sunday, August 05, 2012

MKC's Little Miss Sassy Pants

Credits:  Little Miss Sassy Pants by Mari Koegelenberg available at SSD

Friday, August 03, 2012

Early Christmas Preparations

Christmas is early again this year and good thing since I'll be way busy this year to worry about gifts and all so an early start would do me good! I'm already scouting presents and buying what I can with great deals around the metro and avoiding the Christmas crowds/rush. Also, I can be sure to recheck my list well before I go into labor. :P

With this early start, I was thinking of making something this year to be able to share our joy for the holidays and what better way is to make our family gift tags. It would also spare me the time to keep writing our names. A great opportunity to make this is with Mari Koegelenberg's 12 days of Christmas! Check out the pretty papers, elements and fonts that come with this wonderful kit!
I've done a hybrid layout for this kit and made CD covers, gift tags and I'm thinking of making labels also. It's a really versatile kit!

Credits: 12 Days of Christmas by Mari Koegelenberg available at SSD; Font: Abbeyline

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Baby Makes 4!!!

Oh happy days! Happy unexpected surprises!!!
Yep, we are expecting our 2nd child this December! We are all excited and anxious all at the same time as parents to another child. It's confirmed to be a girl so we are all uber elated with the new adventure and our wish of completing our family is becoming a reality.
I remember that Ed was in disbelief that we were preggers since it was all so sudden and unplanned so he made me take the test again after a few days...check out the below for results. There's no denying 4 testers, right?

April 08, 6:17am

April 10, 6:24am

It's going to be another year of exciting adjustments and milestones for us! We are complete!!!

Now, it's trying to see what I can recycle from Colin's old items that I would need to go through and another set of preparation for more sleepless nights and toothless smiles on this end. :) This is the good kind of busy I'm ready to take on again. :)

I've been granted some great quality time at home these days and I was able to do two kits at one go! I'm uber happy which the results! :D

Credit: All the Pretty Horses by MKC available at SSD

Credits: Portobello Road by MKC available at SSD; Font - Bell Gothic

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tea Time!

I'm a big fan of afternoon tea and would take advantage of being able to have this whenever I go to HKG, which provides the closest to what British people have. There are a lot of variations but the best that I could remember was high tea buffet @ the Ritz Carlton (HK side) and afternoon tea buffet at the Four Seasons (IFC).  The former is no longer being offered since Ritz Carlton (HK side) was torn down to move to Kowloon.  

I love both the savory and sweet options of afternoon tea and it gets better with home-made jams and whipped butter cream. Yummy!!!

Some background on afternoon tea and high tea via About.Com:-
"Outside of the UK, many people refer to afternoon tea as "high tea." Although the idea that high tea is a meal of foods like scones and finger sandwiches is common, it is not actually correct in a traditional or historical sense. 

Afternoon tea, also known as "low tea," is what most people think of when they hear "high tea." It involves things like manners, lace and dainty foods. (For more information on the foods served, see these afternoon tea recipes.) It is typically served in the mid-afternoon and it was traditionally served on low tables, hence its two names. Afternoon tea was considered to be a ladies' social occasion. 

High Tea, traditionally, was a working class meal served on a high table at the end of the workday, shortly after five PM. It was a heavy meal of meat dishes (such as steak and kidney pie), fish dishes (such as pickled salmon), baked goods (such as crumpets or, in Ireland, barm brack), vegetables (such as potatoes or onion cakes), and other heavy foods (such as baked beans and cheesy casseroles). High tea was more of a working class family meal than an elite social gathering."

Perfect for a cute afternoon with your kiddos...Tea for 2 by Mari Koegelenberg available at SSD.  There are wonderful pattern papers and embellishments that you'd surely fall for!

Credits: Tea For 2 by Mari Koegelenberg available at SSD; Font - New Times Roman