5 Fun and Budget-friendly Gift-wrapping ideas

It's the time of the year again when we wrap lots of presents for our loved-ones.
Here are some budget-friendly ideas to make gift-wrapping both fun and easy!
It can also be a bonding activity for the whole family! =)

1. Re-use old glossy magazines as gift wrappers. They are colorful, unique, and cheap too! :)

2. Use your old yellow pages to wrap gifts. Choose those listed under "Restaurants/Food establishments" for friends who love eating out. Or pick pages under "Parlors/Spa services" for spa gift sets.

3. Wrap wines using cheap and easy-to-find large bandanas.

4. Use brown manila paper to wrap boxed gifts. Use sinamay ribbon to complete the "native" look.

5. Print your own gift tags, personalize with creative and sincere messages, and tape onto your gifts.

Surely, everyone enjoys receiving gifts, but isn't it more exciting to open presents that are wrapped with love? =) Happy gift-giving! :)


From mommy and daddy with love: Christmas gift ideas

Just want to share with you our fab finds!

We're excited to give gifts to our daughter this year, as unlike the year before when she was just 7 months old, this year she can already react (I'm sure with del
ight! =) ) to all the presents that she will be opening come Christmas eve! Here are our gifts for our precious little one =)

1. A Tea Set - She likes to play pretend, so this one I'm sure she'll love to play with, pretending that she's serving tea to mom & dad! :)
2. A Kitchen Set - She especially loves cooking! This is something she can play with while watching mom cook.

3. A Musical Guitar - My daughter will surely enjoy learning the different animal sounds with this guitar!


Baby Hannah's Story

Remember my blog post about baby Hannah and her Rosaries? My friend's daughter born with CCHS?
Read it again here.

Her story, as well as those of other babies in the
Philippines born with CCHS, was featured in GMA 7's Emergency episode last Friday, December 5, 2008. A clip of the feature story can be seen at http://www.pinoychannel.tv/watch/v-96271.

If you were moved by Hannah's story and would like to help her and her family, please visit Hannah's multiply site where you can learn more about how to extend your generosity and kindness.

I have also created a link on my side bar for Ha
nnah's Rosaries.

Thank you very much and God bless us all.


What is Hepatitis A?

My daughter is scheduled for yet another vaccination tomorrow. This time, it's for Hepatitis A (or Hepa A for short).

Here are some notes I took from my research of this virus.

1. It causes liver disease.
2. It is carried in feces and may be transmitted by unwashed hands.
3. It is also transmitted by contaminated food and water.
4. Symptoms are fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine.
5. There is no treatment for this virus, but children often recover on their own within 2 months.
6. 3-5 out of 1,000 cases of Hepa A are fatal! =(

*Source: parentcenter

So, better be sure your children are protected from Hepa A, ok?

Stay healthy!


Regular/Special non-working holidays

Do you know the remaining national regular/special non-working holidays for the year?

Mark your calendars for these dates! Yipee!!!

December 1 (Monday) - nearest November 30, Bonifacio Day
December 25 (Thursday) - Christmas Day
December 26 (Friday) - Additional special non-working day
December 29 (Monday) - Additional special non-working day
December 30 (Tuesday) - Rizal Day
December 31 (Wednesday) - Special holiday, last day of the year

* Source: http://www.gov.ph/faqs/holidays.asp


When do you put up your Christmas decors?

I'm excited this year to decorate our home for the Christmas season. The reason behind my excitement is that our daughter is already a year and a half old, and she's starting to be fascinated with colorful objects. We went to the mall last weekend, and she was so filled with joy at every Christmas tree that she saw in the mall and even at the Christmas decors along the streets. That's why I was excited to buy Christmas decors and immediately decorated our home when we got home. =D Now, my daughter points at the Christmas balls when I ask her where her toy ball is. :) It gives me pure delight when I see my daughter's eyes shine with glee as she marvel at the sight of our colorful Christmas decors!

You, when do you put up your Christmas tree and other Christmas decorations?


Stroke Indicator

I got this e-mail from a friend.
I thought it would be good to share it here so that more people will be aware of how to recognize a stroke, and hopefully, more people will be saved from it.

Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, theTongue.

I will continue to forward
this every time it comes around!

STROKE: Remember The 1st Three Letters.... S.T.R.

My nurse friend sent this and encouraged me to post it and spread the word. I agree.

If everyone can remember something this simple, we could save some folks. Seriously..

Please read:


During a BBQ, a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) ....she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.

They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening

Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 pm Ingrid passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don't die.... they end up in a helpless,
hopeless condition instead.

It only takes a minute to read this...

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke... totally . He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting
the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.


Thank God for the sense to remember the "3" steps, STR . Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke
Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

S *
Ask the individual to SMILE.

T * Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
(i.e. It is sunny out today)

R * Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 999/911 immediately and describe the
symptoms to the dispatcher.

New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue

NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue.. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other , that is also an indication of a stroke.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.


A Song for Papa

My father died in 2006.
Sadly, he did not get the chance to see my daughter, his grandchild.
I'm sure he would have loved to play with her and cuddle her in his arms.
Now that I am a parent myself, I am more grateful to my parents for bringing me up well.
Now that I know by personal experience how hard parenting can be, I salute my parents for their patience, hard work, care, and love towards us.

As All Souls' Day comes near, I think it is fitting to pay tribute to my Papa with his favorite song.
May God bless his soul.

Skyline Pigeon

Music by Elton JohnLyrics by Bernie Taupin
Turn me loose from your hands
Let me fly to distant lands
Over green fields, trees and mountains
Flowers and forest fountains
Home along the lanes of the skyway

For this dark and lonely room
Projects a shadow cast in gloom
And my eyes are mirrors
Of the world outside
Thinking of the way
That the wind can turn the tide
And these shadows turnFrom purple into grey
For just a Skyline Pigeon
Dreaming of the open
Waiting for the day
He can spread his wings
And fly away again
Fly away skyline pigeon fly
Towards the dreamsYou've left so very far behind
Just let me wake up in the morning
To the smell of new mown hay
To laugh and cry, to live and dieIn the brightness of my day
I want to hear the pealing bells
Of distant churches sing
But most of all please free me
From this aching metal ring
And open out this cage towards the sun


Cute Halloween Costumes

Just want to share some very cute Halloween costumes I found at Amazon.com.

Happy Trick or Treating!


History of Halloween

Like many other holidays, Halloween has evolved and changed throughout history. Over 2,000 years ago people called the Celts lived in what is now Ireland, the UK, and parts of Northern France. November 1 was their New Year's Day. They believed that the night before the New Year (October 31) was a time when the living and the dead came together.

More than a thousand years ago the Christian church named November 1 All Saints Day (also called All Hallows.) This was a special holy day to honor the saints and other people who died for their religion. The night before All Hallows was called Hallows Eve. Later the name was changed to Halloween.

Like the Celts, the Europeans of that time also believed that the spirits of the dead would visit the earth on Halloween. They worried that evil spirits would cause problems or hurt them. So on that night people wore costumes that looked like ghosts or other evil creatures. They thought if they dressed like that, the spirits would think they were also dead and not harm them.

The tradition of Halloween was carried to America by the immigrating Europeans. Some of the traditions changed a little, though. For example, on Halloween in Europe some people would carry lanterns made from turnips. In America, pumpkins were more common. So people began putting candles inside them and using them as lanterns. That is why you see Jack 'o lanterns today.

These days Halloween is not usually considered a religious holiday. It is primarily a fun day for children. Children dress up in costumes like people did a thousand years ago. But instead of worrying about evil spirits, they go from house to house. They knock on doors and say "trick or treat." The owner of each house gives candy or something special to each trick or treater.

* Source:
5 Minute English (www.5minuteenglish.com)
Copyright © 2003-2005 Oakseed Enterprises. All rights reserved.


My blog signature

I am trying to create a signature for my blog.

What do you think of this?

Rosaries for Hannah

Baby Hannah Ysabelle was born on August 14, 2007 with Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome (CCHS). In lay-man's terms, it means that she can hardly breathe when she's awake and don't breathe at all when asleep. This syndrome occurs only in about 1 out of every 1 million newborns. Baby Hannah's parents, Joan and Carlo, are good friends of our family. Due to the high costs of maintenance needed for baby Hannah, Joan and Carlo are doing all they can to raise funds for baby Hannah's medical needs. It is my hope that this post may reach generous hearts and help baby Hannah by purchasing the Rosaries that mommy Joan made herself.

Do read more about baby Hannah and her Rosaries at this site: http://hannahysabelle.multiply.com/ .

Rosaries for Hannah may be purchased by viewing this link: http://hannahysabelle.multiply.com/photos/album/20/rosaries_for_hannah

Thank you and God speed.

Teething Myths

It is NOT TRUE that teething causes fever, diarrhea, rashes, or vomiting.

I learned this recently from my child's pediatrician.

My daughter ran an on & off fever for 3 days. At first we thought it was because she was growing a new tooth, so we brushed it off and just gave her some paracetamol both for her fever and probably the pain she was experiencing with the new tooth coming out. But when her fever went to as high as 40 degrees celsius, off we rushed to her pediatrician for some advice. And we were surprised to learn that teething actually DOES NOT cause fever! Oh, no!!! Nor does it cause diarrhea, rashes, or vomiting. We learned that our child actually had some viral infection.

So, I hope you learn from my experience. Never brush off a symptom such as fever, especially when it goes beyond 38 degrees celsius. Consult your doctor immediately.

When my child gets sick...

I feel terrible.
I can't sleep at night.
I feel her pain.
Her cries seem endless.
I wish that the nurses and doctors stop poking needles on her soft skin.
I pray that she'll be better soon.
I miss her cheerful disposition, her smile, her laughter.
But I believe she'll be back to her old jolly self soon.
Can't wait to be out of the hospital!

It Isn't Easy Being Parents

Got this from a friend...funny, but sometimes true!

We try to be good parents, but no matter how hard we try, our children never seem to be satisfied. They think we should be better parents. They think we should wear more fashionable clothes, we should drive a newer car, and we should listen to more interesting music. And according to them, we should be more sympathetic when they talk about their problems, we should be friendlier when their friends come to visit, and we should be more understanding when they come home late on Saturday night.

You know, it isn't easy being parents.

Tips on Choosing Your Pediatrician

Choosing a pediatrician is one of the biggest decisions that any parent will have to make. A good referral from relatives and friends will be a great help. Research is important, too. Visit forums in the internet and ask for feedback on pediatricians that you are already considering for your child. Make certain, too, that your doctor is covered under your health card or insurance policy. Make a call to your prospective pediatrician to inquire about clinic hours and whether or not appointments are available. Your pediatrician's availability must coincide with your available schedules too (ex. after office hours or on weekends). Once you've tried a pediatrician, observe how he/she handles his/her patients. It would be good to have a friendly relationship with your pediatrician, so that you won't be embarrassed to ask questions if you have any concerns regarding your child's health. Be sure you know how to reach your pediatrician in emergency cases. If you have any qualms or hesitation on your current pediatrician, it's ok to look around and try a new doctor until you find the perfect one for your child. Remember that your child's health depends on how well you have chosen his/her pediatrician, because the pediatrician is your partner in ensuring the good health and proper development of your child.

We are lucky with our pediatrician now. She is friendly and really loves children. She is available anytime we need her. Some months ago, we had problems with our child's formula milk supply, and our pediatrician was very nice in helping us find the perfect alternative milk for our baby. Read more about it here.

If you're interested to know more about our pediatrician, I'd be glad to refer her to you. Just leave me a message and I’ll tell you more about her.


"A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie."

- Tenneva Jordan

Baby Milestones

My daughter just turned 16 months last September 22.

In celebration of her 16th month, I am writing about baby milestones to guide parents with their own child's development. However, this is just a guide. Each baby is an individual, with his/her own development rate...each small step in his development will come at his most perfect time.

Months 1-2
- can follow a moving object with his eyes (faces, patterns, strong colors)
- sucks at everything!
- baby's head control is getting better
- first smile =)
- starts to learn how to reach out and grasp for an object

Months 3-6
- starts to roll at 3-4 months
- may be able to push herself up to a standing position at 5 months with your help
- can sit unsupported at 6 months
- can grasp and hold on to objects/toys

Months 6-9
- puts her hands and feet into her mouth -- she has discovered that she can now control her body
- from 7-9 months, she starts to crawl properly
- can recognize her name from about 8 months

Months 9-12
- can sit confidently without support and change from sitting to lying position
- can pull himself up in the crib and move around it
- he can associate words with objects like teddy bear, car, or apple
- he can understand simple instructions such as "give it to mommy"
- can pick up small objects with his fingers

Months 12-15
- most physically demanding stage
- average age for walking is between 12-18 months

Months 15-18
- he likes to imitate simple activities, such as feeding his teddy, sweeping the floor, wiping the table, etc.
- he can now run!

Have fun exploring with your baby! :)

Facts about the MMR vaccine

Last Saturday, our daughter was injected with the MMR vaccine. I thought it might be helpful to share with you some facts that I researched on about this vaccine.

What is the MMR vaccine?

It protects your child against 3 viruses: measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles).

Measles: highly contagious; symptoms are rash, fever, runny nose, cough, and eye irritation; complications include ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, seizures, encephalitis, brain damage, and death.

Mumps: a viral infection that causes a fever, headache, and inflammation of the glands under the jaw; complications include meningitis, encephalitis, and (rarely) deafness.

Rubella or German measles: characterized by a pinkish red rash that starts on the face, a mild fever, and swollen lymph nodes (but one can also have rubella without any symptoms);

When should my child have the MMR vaccine?

There are 2 recommended doses: the first dose given between 12 and 15 months, and the second dose given between 4 and 6 years old (or anytime as long as it’s at least 28 days after the first).

Are there any side effects?

Common mild reactions are a low fever and a mild rash.

Rare cases of swelling in the glands of the child’s neck or cheeks.


MMRV is just the same as MMR, except that it includes protection against the varicella virus, which causes chicken pox.

Source: http://www.babycenter.com/0_the-mmr-vaccine_1567.bc

I found a helpful immunization chart from this site: http://www.expectantmothersguide.com/library/EUSimmunization.htm

How Much To Pay Yaya

Nowadays, it’s very difficult to find a yaya for our kids, especially since as parents, we constantly fear that leaving our child to a total stranger may not be such a good idea. But once you do find that perfect, trustworthy yaya, you feel like winning the lottery.

The next question is, how much do you pay your yaya so that she’ll be happy to stay with you and take care of your child for a long time?

There are a number of things to consider when contemplating on your yaya’s salary, like the yaya’s work experience, her responsibilities or work load, and your child’s age. Rates are usually higher for yayas who take care of newborns up to 2 year-old kids, as these younger children need more attention and extra care. Yayas from agencies are usually paid salaries from P2,500 to P3,000 a month.*

[*Source: Smart Parenting, November 2007 issue]

You, how much do you pay your child’s yaya? I’d love to hear about your own “yaya” experiences.

Kiddie Party Ideas

My friend is celebrating her daughter's first birthday party soon, so I thought of this list of ideas that will make any kiddie party enjoyable and memorable.

  1. Food – Any party won’t be complete without food. Of course, the all-time kids’ favorite spaghetti and fried chicken must be part of the menu. A separate menu for the adult guests would be great, but not required especially if you’re on a budget.
  2. Venue – A McDonald’s/Jollibee/other fast-food chain/restaurant-catered party is the best option for parents who want a stress-free, all-in-one package without the need to hire party organizers.
  3. Activities – Kids enjoy being involved. Some fun activities for kiddie parties are face painting, balloon-making, magic shows, mini playground like inflatable slides, and games like “Trip to Jerusalem”, “Bring Me”, “Longest Line”, and dance/singing/beauty pageant contests for the cute kids.
  4. Souvenirs/Give-aways – These can be store-bought, but the best ones are those that you personally made or put together. We went to a princess-themed party where the 7-year old celebrant distributed the “take-home goodies” which consisted of princess-designed mini fans, stickers, mini notepads, candies, and mini toys all placed inside a cute princess box, in line with the party’s princess theme. What a truly nice treat for the kids!

So, whether you’re willing to splurge on your kid’s party or you’re on a tight budget, what’s most important is to enjoy the day in celebration of the wonderful gift that is your precious child.

Any more tips on making kiddie parties fun? Let me know how you celebrated your own child’s birthday, or the most memorable kiddie party you’ve been to!

Milk Quest

My baby is very choosy when it comes to her milk. She's been used to the NAN series of formula milk made by Nestle: NAN1 from birth to 6 months, NAN2 from 6 months to 10 months, & NAN3 for 10 months to 24 months-old babies.

Recently, though, NAN3 ran out of stock in the market. A call to the Nestle Consumer Hotline confirmed that Nestle has been re-packaging its NAN products and so explains the shortage that we are experiencing in the market. And so that started our quest for a replacement milk for our baby. Our pedia first recommended changing to PediaSure Plus (also to increase our baby's appetite). PediaSure Plus came in 2 flavors: vanilla & chocolate. We tried vanilla. It smelled so good...but our baby rejected it. :( We thought that maybe she didn't want milk with flavor. So we texted our ever-reliable pedia for another alternative. She replied, "try Enfagrow A+". But a trip to the local supermarket revealed that Enfagrow A+ also came in flavors. We saw Lactum 1+ with no flavor & asked our pedia if that was ok. She said, "alright, let's try that one". Then again, our baby didn't what to drink the Lactum milk we gave her. And so our quest continued.

Then we found Nestogen3, also from Nestle. This, we tried, and finally our baby accepted it. But we compared the nutrients labeled in both NAN3 and Nestogen3, and we found out that NAN3 has more nutrients in it. So although Nestogen is a cheaper alternative, as parents, we wanted our baby to get as much nutrients as possible in the early stages of her growth & development. Good thing NAN3 is now back in the market with its new packaging. Our baby is now happily sucking away! :)

Note: I am not in any way associated with Nestle or any other milk product. My baby has been accustomed to NAN3, and we're happy with this product. But I'm certain that there are other milk products that are also good for your baby. Do consult your pediatrician before trying any formula milk. And as doctors always say, "Breastfeeding is truly the best for babies".

Read more about the benefits of breastfeeding from this link: http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/bf/benefits.shtml


As I watch my baby playing in her playpen, I thought of starting this blog to share my personal "mommy" experiences as well as "baby" information that may be helpful to first-time parents like me.

Having a baby has changed me. I believe I've become more responsible, more caring, more loving. Sure, there are days when I wish I had more "ME" time. But nothing beats my baby's smile, embrace, or kiss, to take away all my tiredness and lack of sleep. There's a certain magic in her eyes, her smile, her touch, her kiss.

I hope you'll join me in my "mommy" journey. Feel free to leave a comment and share your own "mommy" or "daddy" experiences, too, so that I may also learn from you. Let's all enjoy this carousel ride as parents!