Photo books

I've tried Black's mini black book for our trip to Orlando and gave it to my MIL as remembrance. And I love the album! It's sleek and elegant looking. The cons about this is that it's 1 picture per page and size is 8x8 only.

Recently, I made another photo book through Kodak Gallery with pictures from our trip to Slave Lake National Park. I made 2 for my 2 closest friends. For the same price as the Black's I get more pictures since one page can hold up to 9 pictures and the size is 14x12. And I got a promo code for 30% off, which is a good deal. As soon as I saw the finished product, I was satisfied and to avail of the 30% off, I ordered 2 more books as belated birthday gifts. Hope my friends will love it as much as I do. Here's some sample pages --

Personally, I'd prefer to make my own collage/scraps of photos in an album. It's cheaper and more personalized. But as gifts, I think the photo books are great! Definitely good for keepsakes.

Every Christmas since we moved to Canada, I always send a scrap book of our whole year to keep them updated. This year, I think I wanted to try this photo book and see what they have to say.

Where do you order your photo books? I'd like to try different ones to compare the quality and price and to see which one has the best deal.

First day of school

Yesterday was the first day of school. My daughter is in grade 4 and she's enjoying riding the school bus by herself. She felt like a grown-up already. No more big brother on the bus with her.

My son is in Junior High and he is taking the public transit now. I didn't want him to ride the bus from home all the way to school. This will mean he will have to commute for over an hour with 2 connecting buses. This will also mean that he will have to leave the house at 7am everyday. No way am I going to let him commute like that during winter time.

This is our arrangement - I drop him off at the bus terminal and from there he will just need to take one bus to school. This is a special service bus exclusively for the students in his school. And later in the afternoon, I will pick him up from the same terminal. I gave him my old cellphone so we could communicate in case there's a delay or any emergency.

I still don't know how much to give him as allowance, but his wallet started with a $5 in change. Out of that, he already spent $1.75 for chips yesterday. I have yet to see what he will spent on today. Maybe $5 is too much for him. Or maybe I should just give him money when he needed it?

I don't remember getting an allowance when I was in high school. Our house was walking distance from school so I go home for lunch everyday. And whenever I needed money, I just ask for it.

Thursday Thirteen #59: Movie marathon

Last 13 movies that I've seen and my rating

  1. Just like heaven *****
  2. Ghost of girlfriends past ****
  3. Terminator Salvation *****
  4. I hate Valentine's day ****
  5. The Ugly Truth *****
  6. G.I. Joe ***
  7. The Collective **
  8. Transporter 3 ** [I prefer and love the first 2]
  9. 007s Quantum of Solace ** [I don't like the new James Bond]
  10. 17 Again ***
  11. Everest **
  12. Table for three *
  13. One man's treasure [Don't want to offend anybody as this is a religion topic, so I won't rate this movie at all]
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Wordless and Watery Wednesday: Lake Minnewanka

Last Friday, me and my 3 girl friends went out on a day trip! We just wanted to get away from our city life and work. We headed for Lake Minnewanka.

Another family friend of mine whose kids are my kids best friends decided to take my kids to Sylvan Lake that same day. So it worked out just fine. This is a very rare occasion where I get to go out without having to worry about my kids.

Lake Minnewanka

and Johnson Lake @ Banff National Park

Here's a picture of the lake in winter with the heart in the middle of the lake.

This is my entry for and and !!!

On allowances

If you want to recapture your youth, just cut off his allowance. ~ Al Bernstein
My son is starting junior high next week and I was wondering how much allowance to give him. He claims that his classmates from grade school gets allowance already and he doesn't.

A friend of mine suggested that I based it on the age. He's 12 so he should get $12/month as allowance. I was expecting her to say $12/week, but she said its $12/month. What do you think?

He will be taking public transit to school part of the way so we will be buying him monthly bus passes. At the same time we will provide him with a prepaid cellphone so we will know where he is or he can call us for any emergency. He will have his lunch with him. Do you really think he still needs to get allowance from us? How much is not too much?

Wordless Wednesday and Weekend Snapshot: Before sunset

Northshore Beach @ Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park, August 14, 2009

This is my entry for and and my first @ !!!

Feeling VIP?

What do you do when you get invited to a party or get-together and you know from the start that you won't be able to make it? Do you tell your host immediately? Or do you just keep quiet, neither confirming your attendance nor declining?

I make it a point that if I can, I tell the host immediately. And if I can't, I tell the host as soon as I know that I can't make it. It is not "polite" to let people count you in their food preparation when know that you can't make it already. Remember, the host is not just counting 1 but you and your family. So numbers do count!

Last month, on hubby's birthday, I invited a lot of people. Half of them I know are going to come, the rest, not a word! Even when I ask them a few days before the party, they neither confirm nor decline. Some of them did say "yes". So I count them in my food preparation. Guess what? Other than those who confirmed, none of the rest came. Lots of food had gone to waste.

My birthday party, same thing happened. Though this time, I was wise enough not to invite those other people who didn't show up at hubby's party. But I am still expecting one family of 5. I invited them to hubby's party too and they didn't show up. The day before my party, I saw her online at Facebook and left her a message in one of her post asking if they are coming or not. Other people left messages to her after my message. Guess what? She answered other people's messages, except mine. Is it that hard to reply and say "sorry, can't make it" or "I'm busy" or "we have other plans"? I mean, I will not force you to come if you say you can't. If you don't have a car to come here, I may offer to pick you up and drop you off later.

From now on, she is off my list.

Beach and Sunset

We're off again on another road trip. This time with some friends from work, and our destination is Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park, and it's about 6 hours drive. We leave tomorrow morning and will be back on Saturday night.

Slave lake is known to have the best sunset view... and Devonshire beach is known to be one of the best Canadian beaches. I'm really, really excited. Any tips on how to set my SLR to capture the sunset?

School starts on August 27... and next week, hubby will be on-call already so that means this could be our last out of town trip for this month.

Wordless Wednesday: Jasper National Park

Here's some pictures from our last weekend getaway - Jasper National Park, Alberta.

Columbia Icefields

On our way to Sunwapta Falls, a Canadian black bear decided to cross the road. This was the first of the 3 bears that we saw during this trip.

We were stuck in traffic for 30 minutes outside Lake Louise because of a small bear on top of the hill [our 3rd bear sighting].

Sunwapta Falls

Athabasca Falls

Medicine Lake

Maligne Lake

Here's a slide show of what it looks like in October with some snow.

Check out other Wordless Wednesday entry here and

Patricia turns 9

My baby turns 9 tomorrow [August 8]... just thought I'd share some of my old scraps that I made...

9 things about my Patricia.

Picture taken at Sunwapta Falls, Jasper National Park

  1. She now has 2 savings account to put all her money.
  2. She loves to draw. [I really need to find her a drawing school so she can develop this talent.]
  3. She adores her big brother very much.
  4. She writes in her journal almost every day.
  5. Among her friends, she's the shy one who giggles a lot.
  6. She is really taking good care of her beta fish, Julian.
  7. Her favorite sports: Swimming and basketball. Her teacher said she's really good at basketball, though I haven't seen her play yet.
  8. She tried making cupcakes a few days ago... in preparation for making them on her birthday party.

  9. She loves to play the piano. This video was from her 2nd piano recital.

Thursday Thirteen #58: Cool glasses

My cousin and her collection of cool glasses

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Wordless Wednesday: Treasuring an old photograph

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Patricia on money matters

This is the continuation of my post regarding shopping spree with my kids while at Wal-mart... Patricia wanted the same 20-in-1 DS package that her brother got worth $19.83 --

PATRICIA: "Mommy, can you just give this to me as a birthday present?"
ME: "Wouldn't you rather mommy gave you money for your birthday so you can put them in your bank account? If I pay for that now, there's no more birthday gift."
PATRICIA: "How much?"
ME: "Do you remember how much mommy gave you last year?"
PATRICIA: "$100?"
ME: "Yes." [I started giving them money for their birthday about 2 years ago. I just don't want to keep on buying toys anymore and they never appreciated books or clothes as birthday gifts.]
PATRICIA: "I don't know which is better." [She just don't want to waste all her money.]
ME: "Option 1, mommy pays for that, you save $19.83 today but no more birthday gift on your birthday. Option 2, you pay for this yourself right now and you will get $100 as your birthday gift on your birthday. Overall, you still made $80."
PATRICIA: "I don't get it Mommy."

Further explanation, she finally picked option #2.