Tag #18: My Desktop

I got tag by Rach for the screen shot of my desktop. At first I was tempted to changed it back to the wallpaper prior to this one. But the meme said "no editing allowed."

My wallpaper were usually the pictures of my 2 kids... but 2 days ago, I decided to changed it to a picture of me with my new car!


Other people's desktop:

Tina : Boracay, Philippines
Gracita: Toledo, Spain
Girlie: Faces
Duke: Baby A
Ronnie: Be Original
Rach: Yohan at Preschool

[Sorry Rach, I didn't really follow all the rules of this tag.]

Comfortable Fabrics

How often do you change your beddings? Oprah does it every 2 days because she wants her sheets crispy. Me, I do it once a week.

But then how often do you get rid of the old ones and buy new ones? I haven’t really changed my sheets for a long time. Though I don’t use them anymore, I still have the sheets that I received on our wedding day, more than 12 years ago. So I think it’s about time I start replacing them. We all know that we all spent a good quality of time in bed, and it is essential that we make our bed as cozy as possible.

So I am glad I came upon Terry’s Fabrics, it offers a huge range of bedding selections. Not only that, it also have a huge selection of blinds, rugs, curtains fabrics, cushions and throws and lightings.

So what are you waiting for? Use their online fabric calculator and measuring guide to help you determine the quantities you need. Their site also allows you to purchase online.

Overworked

I had been working non-stop for the past 13 days! And my next day off will be next Tuesday [on the 20th day]. The pay for our overtime is good. First day off pays 1.5 of my basic salary... then on the second day off, it pays 2x my basic salary. So working 4 days overtime in a month will be good to pay off my car's monthly amortization and insurance.

I promised myself that I will not work overtime anymore next week. I believe I need a break already as today was not a good day for me. I broke down while at work, and shed a bucket of tears. Nakakahiya!!! My face were red and my eyes were swollen. I don't really know what came over me.

I already wrote a letter to the person concern and hopefully I'd see her tomorrow so the issue can rest. I also hope that it will not create a wall between us. A friend said that I can take up my issue with the Union but I said "no." I don't want the issue to erupt like a volcano. I believe that I overreacted [from too much fatique.]

Some of my co-workers are able to do it... work 7 days a week, some on a 10-hour shift per day for 1 month. But I guess I am not them. I cannot work 7 days a week on this job.

I used to work 7 days a week during the past 3 tax season. And I never had a breakdown. I guess it is because I enjoy doing taxes.

Digital Photo Frames

By now, you must all know that I am a photo freak. I have more than 40+ photo albums. I left about 6 albums with my papa, hoping that he’d bring it here when he comes for a visit. But that never happen. When we went home last August, I was prepared to bring those albums with me. I was devastated to find out that it got misplaced somehow and they couldn’t find it anymore! My precious pictures were gone.

So imagine my delight when I saw this site offering LCD Digital Photo Frames. No more heavy albums to carry around. This also means no more lost pictures [hopefully].

It’s pretty simple, all you need to do is take lots and lots of pictures then transfer your memory card into the Digital Photo Frames and sit back and enjoy your slide show. It will also allow you to play video/movie clip taken from your camera. Now, isn’t that cool?

With the Christmas season fast approaching, I think this is a perfect gift to our family back home. Anytime they missed us, all they need to do is press the remote control and viola, they will see us right before their eyes.

So visit Digitalframez.com, the online electronic store that sells this amazing product! Choose frame from 7” to 15” digital frames.

My new baby!

I just wanted to shop around last Thursday night to check out the different promo and other add ons and to see the actual car as I have a hard time visualizing myself inside a Yaris, Corolla, Fit and Civic. These are my 4 choices. I need to find out the monthly amortization before I can make a decision. I just don't want to live on a tight budget.

But since the promo is to sell off all 2007 remaining cars, and with a 2.9% financing rate for Honda and 3.9% for Toyota, the cars are selling like pancakes! 2007 Yaris, Corolla and Fit are all sold out! If I get a 2008 models, then the rate would be 5.9% or higher.

So with the last remaining stock for the Civic, and on hold for somebody else, I was really left with no choice but to put down my name as a backup in case that person decided to back out. I didn't even like the color but have no other choice. And I guess the car is really meant for me because that person did back out.

1:20 pm friday, the agent called me to say that I got the car... so I told him to send in my credit application which I signed the night before. By 2:55 pm, Honda called to say that I was approved already and wanted to schedule for the car pick up.

I wasn't really sure if I could get approved since I have just started working last week. They didn't even ask for my husband to signed as co-applicant or guarantor.

Imagine, with the rate that I got, and for 60 months, I am only paying $1.06 a day in interest plus $0.75 a day in taxes! And the car has power windows, power lock, air conditioning and a CD player that can also play MP3. Of course it has other features, but these are the most important to me... hehehe... I don't know anything about cars.

I really can't believe it... this is my first car, my new baby! Car that is registered to my name! I told the agent and my husband that buying a car is like going to the grocery to buy some eggs. It is that fast! I picked up the car last September 15 at 3pm! Yippppeeeee! Truly a dream come true!

[Please don't think that I am bragging... I am just too happy for myself.]

Thursday Thirteen #29: Yummmy

What's the best part of going on vacation? It's the good food in the company of family and friends! I swear I've gained 10 pounds from our recent trip to the Philippines! Now, looking at these pictures makes me want to go back home...



13 pictures to make you hungry


Chicken Joy at Jollibee


Shakey's Mojos


Amalia's Paella Valenciana, Paranaque City


Spiral's buffet, Philippine Plaza, Manila
[A very fine dining indeed!
It's a good thing we were all very hungry!
]


Steak at Gaudi's, Greenbelt 3, Makati City
[The most expensive dish I've eated in the Philippines
They cook it meduim rare and then you cook it
to your liking in this sizzling plate.]



Lengua at Conti's, Paranaque City


Sisig at Josephine's Restaurant, Tagaytay City


Kare-kare and Siniging at Josephine's Restaurant, Tagaytay City


Abe, The Fort
[Can't remember the name of this dish]


Steamed crabs at Ka Lui, Puerto Princesa, Palawan


Steamed Mussels at Shylin, Seaside Macapagal, Manila


Adobong Pusit [Squid], Lechon Kawali, Crabs and
Kinilaw na Tanigue at Shylin, Seaside Macapagal


Oysters and Shrimp Tempura at Shylin, Seaside Macapagal


[Imagine the above 3 seafood pictures + a couple more dishes not included in the pictures, cost only $100 and it is good for 15 people! Where else can you get that kind of a deal???]

Get your Thursday Thirteen code here

To buy or not to buy

When I was a newly grad from college, I set some goals for myself... and I was able to reached most of my goals, including becoming a homeowner when I got married and moving to a foreign country! Except for one, that is, owning a car before I reach 30.

My husband owned 2 cars before he turned 30 and we owned 3 cars already since we got married. Yet I don't consider them as mine because its under hubby's name. I still have yet to have a car registered to my name.

But with me working full time now [hopefully for keeps], and with my shifting schedule, I believe it is now time for me to have my own car. So that hubby doesn't have to wake up at 4:30am just to drop me off at work.

But choosing a car is not easy. I want the lowest possible monthly payments as much as possible, but hubby only wanted Toyota or Honda! There are a lot of cheaper American cars with monthly payments of $200 or less [like Saturn with 0% financing rate]... but no, he wants a Japanese car! I don't know much about cars so anything is ok with me! I am more concern about our monthly payments.

Toyota Corolla's monthly payment ranges from $300-400... while a Honda Civic ranges from $400-480 [depending on accessories]. I was thinking of a smaller car like Yaris or Fit, but then, hubby and I agreed that I will be driving the Pilot and he will be driving the new car. So the Yaris or Fit might be too small for him.

Current promo for a 60-month financing for Toyota is at 3.9% only and I have until the end of the month to decide!

I am still contemplating if we can afford to pay a mortgage [our house in the Philippines] and 2 car payments? Can we? All I can say is "no guts, no glory," right?

Connecting with the World

There are so many long distance calling services available around the world. I've had so many bad experiences with the prepaid cards that I used before. The voice prompt would tell my something like "you have 45 minutes left of talk time for this call." But my actual call would only last 8-10 minutes and then I would be cut off and then when I dial again I had zero balance already. So how do you choose the one with the best deal? Or the most reliable one? I try to stick to one company as long as it satisfies my needs.

Here’s my suggestion: Try Pingo. Pingo offers a "virtual card" service with cheap international calling cards, and there are no hidden charges or fees other than a 98 cents USD maintenance fee per month. For your convenience and for easy recall, you can assign your own account number and choose your own PIN. Now you can call anywhere in the world at anytime and at anyplace!

Sample rates for international calling cards [as of this posting] are as follows:

  • Call the Philippines from the US for as low as 13.8 cents/minute [USD]
  • Call the Philippines from Canada for only 16.2 cents/minute [USD]
  • Call the US from Canada for only 4.2 cents/minute [USD]
Current promo:
  • Just for signing up right now, you will receive up to 5 hours of FREE international calls!
  • Special phone card blog discount coupon: "ppp3" valid for $3 off Pingo.
  • Refer 3 friends and they will give you USD $20 worth of free calling time.


New Purchases

Last Saturday, we had our first karaoke night as a family in our very own living room.

After 10 months of no TV at home, we finally bought a 32" Samsung LCD TV last Friday! The promo is "no interest for 24 months." The deal is too good to pass up.

We really need a TV for 2 things: one is for us to be able to use our newly acquired Magic Sing; and two, in preparation for the arrival of my inlaws next month. They will be here for a 3-week visit and watching CNN is their favorite past time.

The kids were surprised when they woke up saturday morning to find the TV and a different arrangement in the living room. Together with the TV, we also bought a TV stand and a center table from Ikea, and 2 ottoman from Superstore to match our sofa. Now, our living room looks like a living room.

Patricia's favorite song for that night was "What a wonderful world" while Patrick sang "We are the Champions". They were quite sad that their scores were very low, but I told them that in due time, they will get better.

Thursday Thirteen #28: The past 13 days!


The past 13 days!

  • Day 13 - today, did laundry and iron clothes the whole afternoon.
  • Day 12 - Called my previous employer to get my job back, got accepted on the spot and have to go to the office to sign some papers...
  • Day 11 - First day of school... yey! peace and quiet at last! Major house cleaning for me.
  • Day 10 - Labeled kids' school supplies and pack their school bags.
  • Day 9 - Went to Ikea to buy study table for the kids and a center table for our living room.
  • Day 8 - Road trip to Kanananskis Country.
  • Day 7 - Shop for school supplies.
  • Day 6 - Jetlag, stay home! Updated my family website.
  • Day 5 - Calgary: Jetlag, stay home! Unpack partially.
  • Day 4 - Left Manila at 7:50am [Manila time], arrived Calgary at 3:20pm and went straight to bed.
  • Day 3 - Last day in Manila. I met my barkada [friends] for lunch... then went to the parlor for a haircut and relax... also had body massage before going home for a late family dinner. I started packing at 11pm and finished by 2am.
  • Day 2 - Manila: Spent the day with my inlaws and kids at Enchanted Kingdom!
  • Day 1 - Manila: Brought Patrick for a follow up check up in the morning... then met up with Liz and Rach in the afternoon.

Get your Thursday Thirteen code here

On Traveling

You all know that my family loves to travel! And in my youth, I never thought I’d see so many places because my family doesn’t like to travel very much. So I am just glad that hubby and I share the same passion, traveling. And am equally glad that my kids doesn’t get car sick from too much driving. Even his family loves to travel and sometimes we get to tag along for free. Aren’t we lucky?

10-12 years ago, back in the Philippines, we used to go to Tagaytay, Laguna, Batangas, Pangasinan, Baguio, La Union and a lot more places. But it was hard to book for accommodations then as I am illiterate when it comes to internet. So we have to go to travel agency to book our accommodations. Or have a friend who lives in that city to recommend and book us hotels.

In Canada, majority of our trips are day trips only, as we have limited budget and don’t want to spend on accommodations. The farthest that we’ve driven on a day trip was a 4-hour trip from Toronto to Sudbury, 396 km one way.

But on certain occasion that calls for an overnight stay, I am just glad that the internet is there to help me plan ahead without leaving the comfort of my home. The world is truly changing. Everything is readily available on the internet. It seems that without the internet, people will be lost. It also makes it easier for one to look and book for flights, hotels and vacation packages or even buy clothes, jewelries, books, toys, beauty products online!

Hotel Reservations is one of the online site that I visit. It gives me comparative rates and great discounts for our travel needs. You can also book your flight, car rentals or even vacation packages with HotelReservations.com. So whether you are traveling to Asia, or North America, or Europe, you are sure to find a great deal here.

Kananaskis Country

Last weekend was a long weekend for Canadians due to Labor day... school starts after labor day. So, we decided to make another road trip to Kananaskis Country, situated at the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, a 90-minute drive from Calgary.

I have one more weekend to go and then I am going back to work at the airport. I start this coming Monday. Going back to work also means that I will have to give up my weekends as my weekends will now fall on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Kananaskis Country is a recreational paradise.
With exceptional skiing, golfing, hiking, boating and biking, Kananaskis is a 4000 sq. kilometre outdoor playground.


Barrier Dam/Lake


We had our picnic at Ribbon Creek


The kids having fun moving around the rocks at Ribbon Creek


Kananaskis River

PMN Family Photo: Potted

I have been a regular reader of Pinoy Moms Network [PMN] for a couple of months now... I find this blog very interesting as mothers share their stories on anything related to their children or family or parenthood or anything under the sun.

This month's photo theme is "anything in a pot"... and I instantly wanted to share these pictures from our family dinner with my in-laws at "Bilao at Palayok" in Puerto Princesa, Palawan last month. The food are simply delicious, servings are just right and the prices are quite affordable. I find the presentation of food very unique, the place was likewise decorated with native bamboos. Very Filipino!


Lengua


Bistek [beef steak] and Molo soup


This should have been posted yesterday. I wasn't able to read PMN while I was on vacation, so I didn't see this until today. This meme is held every first monday of the month. Join now.

Summer vacation is finally over!

School year starts tomorrow. It slipped my mine that I need to buy my kids' school supplies. You see, back in Toronto, I never have to buy a single school supplies... all supplies were provided by the school that my kids attended. I was required to pay C$10 each for their agenda book and that was it!

But here in Calgary, we were given a list of school supplies that we need to provide on the first day of school. And each and every one of them has to be labeled with their name.

Patricia, who will start grade 2, needs the following: 12 pencil crayons, 24 HB pencils, 24 wax crayons, 1 dry erase marker, 1 broadtip felt marker, 4 white vinyl erasers, 4 different colors of highlighters, pencil sharpener with receptacle, 4 large glue sticks, 1 white glue bottle, scissors, metric ruler, 12 duo tangs, 100 sheets white bond paper, 100 sheets 8.5x11 lined paper, 6 exercise books 7x9 ruled [72 pages], 4 exercise books 7x9 [1/2 plain 1/2 rule], clipboard, 1 container of wet wipes, 1 box facial tissue and 1 large ziploc freezer bag!

Patrick on the other hand needs the following: 12 broad tip markers, 24 pencil crayons, 12 HB pencils, 1 red pen, 1 blue pen, scotch tape, 2 highlighters, 2 white vinyl erasers, pencil sharperner with receptacle, 1 large glue stick, 1 bottle white glue, scissors, metric ruler, 1" binder, tab dividers for binder, 1 package of reinforcements, 200 sheets looseleaf refill lined 8mm rule 8.5x11, 50 sheets white bond paper, 20 sheets of 1 cm squares graph paper, 7 excercise books 8.5x11 [32 pages with 3 hold punched], clipboard, french/english dictionary, 1 container of wet wipes, 2 boxes facial tissues and a soprano recorder for music!

Click to enlarge
click to enlarge
School supplies worth over C$120!
[Not counting the backpack]

Likewise, school bus in Toronto are free of charge! Here, I have to pay if I want my kids to take the school bus... that's another C$350 more or less for both of them. I'll found out the exact amount once school started.

...oOo...


Do you see the small badge on the left side [just below the tagboard]? Should I go for it or not? I already sign up, drafted my first entry, but still undecided if I should make this blog of mine into a commercial blog. What's your honest opinion?