Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The YAYA Hunt Begins!

Admittedly, I don't think I will survive without a helper.  This is the main reason why I never dreamed of living abroad where helpers are scarce. If worse comes to worst, I do know how to run household chores, because we were trained as little girls by my mama. But quoting my MIL "What is Px,xxx for all the help you'll get?"

Now that I'm gonna be a mother, the helper alone won't manage it. She's good with the cleaning and the laundry, the cooking part--so so-- but she cannot multi-task yet.  So I will need a full time yaya.

Thank God for parents and in-laws who have connections everywhere. It's so easy to find one from our province. The daunting task is selecting the RIGHT one. So far, we have our options already, and she has to report at least a month before I return to work so I could train her properly.

Important tips when searching for a Yaya:
1. Better if you know the family where she's from. An agency-based yaya is scary!
2. Have her get an NBI clearance first, for record & protection.
3. DON'T FORGET to get her a medical exam, especially for contagious diseases.

My sister had a bad experience with #3. She got a good yaya but it turned out the yaya was sick with early stage of TB! Scary! They had to treat her for 6 months. I dunno if she was the reason why my nephew got primary complex at almost the same time they found out she had TB.

How about you? What's your experience with the Yaya search?

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Checklist!

Is this for real? Or just a great marketing strategy to lure mommies into buying unnecessary baby stuff. I didn't realize until now that preparing for a baby would mean organizing tons of stuff! The list is just crazy.
I made my own list with the help of my sister, and it's not even half of the list above. Great thing I got some great tips, especially on baby shopping:

1. Accept hand-me-downs especially for newborns because they grow rapidly.
2. Only spend on essential items.
3. Buy just a little of everything. You never know if your baby will like the expensive one (especially the bottles!).
4. If you can breastfeed, make it a PRIORITY. It's BEST for baby, and it'll save you tons on formula milk.
5. You'll always be tempted to splurge, but DON'T. You'll get a lot of gifts from family and friends.

Well, all the tips seem to be true, especially for #1 and #5.  We've been receiving a lot of gifts from the crib, stroller, carriers,bottles, pump, clothes, newborn gadgets, and so much more. To think that I've not yet given birth. How much more when the baby arrives? :)

This baby is SO LOVED! And for daddy and mama, we hardly have to spend (for now).

I Got My MOM Card!

Hubby, helper and I went to SM earlier to run some errands. Well, hubby had his haircut, while helper went pants shopping. I, on the other hand, passed out time at the Baby Company Store which I absolutely love! It just opened last December 2010, and they really have some nice and cute stuff for babies :) 

The last time we went there (where we bought our crib, a gift from MIL),  the sales lady informed me I could get a MOM card so I can avail some discounts and freebies on my future purchases. Well, I got them now! I know it's so lame, but what can I do, I'm an excited first time mama, so I deserve to be uberly happy :) 

To know more about the BABY COMPANY, check their website


We currently live in a townhouse in a nice neighborhood here in Cebu. The space is just enough for me and hubby, plus guests who drop by occasionally, and a helper who has her own room at the ground floor.

When the baby arrives, our spacious cutey house will be all cluttered and tight, so I have to organize as much as I can to find space for the baby and all his stuff.

We've been living here for almost a year now but I still have boxes still unpacked! YES, that's me. I've got tons of boxes that I had shipped from Manila last year, which I haven't unpacked yet because I couldn't find a space for them.

These are currently in the guest room, which I've turned into a storage room because nobody's using it. There's a box full of magazines, another one full of clothes,  my PC computer which I'm not using but hubby doesn't want to dispose, and more. When the baby arrives, these have to go away.

We bought storage boxes from SM so I could organize my closet and find a space for the baby. The bags and clothes used to be stashed in our room, but voila, they're now in the storage boxes. I still have an extra box for my unused clothes.

We don't want to spend renovating for a storage space bacause this is not our permanent home, and we'll be moving out sometime next year.  All the stuff for storage will find their way to the maid's room and the service area.

How about you? How do you declutter your space?

Cebu Pac: Always on Sale!

My mama called me early this morning to check CebuPac because there's an ongoing piso fare. The Manila Delegation (Geonzon-Santos family) will be spending the holidays in Tacloban so it will be a hefty travel fare for them if they don't get sale tix.

So I dragged my lazy ass out of the bed to get to the laptop and start searching. I've been on it for almost an hour but I could not get through!

There seems to be no sale! Gaaah! Better luck next time.

Crazy Stupid, but it's still LOVE :)

grabbed from Wiki

I was feeling bored yesterday so I budged hubby to go to Ayala and check out some baby stuff. So off we went. Sadly, I didn't find anything interesting so to pass out time till our 7:30PM scheduled mass, we checked out if there were good movies to watch.

Alas!! CRAZY STUPID LOVE was showing. I've read a lot of good reviews about the movie through my twitter timeline, so I jumped with joy when the show time fit our schedule! Of course, hubby could not complain.

If you want a synopsis of the movie, check this.

The movie was SUPER hilarious, yet touching at the same time. I'm really a sucker for love & family movies, so in the middle of it all, I was already crying (blame it to the hormones!).

What really touched my heart was the young boy Robbie, who believed in a soulmate because he saw it in his parents. It made me rethink again what a great impact parents have on their children, so it's really a continuous effort to keep the family inlove and intact.

Oh well,  I have my soulmate and my one true love. If by the time we're 40-ish and bored with each other, we'll just figure out how to bring back our inner youth and keep the fire burning :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Foodie Delight: Cheesy Tuna Pesto Pasta

Because I had extra spaghetti noodles from the Kung Pao Pasta I made last night, I decided to make another version of my pasta favorites, this time, a simple dish that is the Cheesy Tuna Pesto Pasta.

I like pesto dishes because it's aromatic, tastes organic and greeny, and healthy!

Here's what I used:
1. 6 cloves of garlic, minced
2. 100 to 200g spaghetti noodles (this works better if penne is used)
3. 1 pack Clara Ole Cheesy Pesto Sauce
4. 1 can of tuna (better if brine in water because the taste won't compete with the pesto oil)
5. olive oil
6. salt & pepper to taste
7. Parmesan cheese (optional)

To cook:
1. Heat pan with olive oil. Saute garlic.
2. Remove the excess vegetable oil/water from tuna. Add to garlic. Cook for 5min.
3. Add the spaghetti noodles (should be cooked already as instructed in pack). Mix well.
4. Add Clara Ole Cheesy Pesto Sauce. Shake the container first before pouring to the pan so that the pesto will be well distributed.
5. Mix all the ingredients for 5min.
6. Add 1 to 2 tbsp of Parmesan cheese.
7. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Cheesy Tuna Pesto Pasta
It's a sure quickfire meal! As I'm writing this, baby Rocco is kicking like crazy. I think he liked what mama cooked for him :) But this should really end my cooking because I'm gulping carbs from the pasta overload.Haha!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Foodie Delight: Charlie Chan Pasta ala Dianey :)

I took a break from cooking because of a spotting incident I had a few weeks back. I think my body grew tired from all the walking, chopping, preparing and the heat from the stove. Thank GOD it was just a minor spotting and nothing harmed the precious baby :)

Well, now that I'm back to being A-OK, I got the itch again to cook! Nothing too grand in terms of preparation, just the quickfire meals.

Hubby was budging me to cook spaghetti with my special ingredients, but the preparation is too tedious, so I opted to try my own version of Yellow Cab's Charlie Chan Pasta. The main ingredient is the Kung Pao Sauce, which brings out the distinct sweet-hot-salty-spicy flavor of the pasta.

So off to the grocery, I grabbed some ingredients:

1. 250g spaghetti (I bought 500g and it was too much)
2. 2 cloves of garlic (I like a lot of garlic so I used around 6 cloves)
3. 3 pcs chicken fillet, breast part, and sliced thinly. Dash some iodized salt.
4. 1/2 pack roasted peanuts (I just used the generic salted peanuts)
5. 1pack Clara Ole Kung Pao sauce
6. 1/2 red bell pepper (I love red bell pepper so I used 1& 1/2 pcs)
7. 3 tbsp oil (I used olive oil, didn't measure, just made sure I had enough to cook the chicken)
8. Spring onion (Forgot to buy this so I used tanglad/lemongrass as replacement, which was freshly picked from the compound garden)
9. salt & ground pepper to taste
10. chili sauce or flakes (If you like it really spicy. I didn't use this)

I forgot to take pictures of my preparation. Maybe next time when I cook it again.

So here's what I did:

1. Cook spaghetti as instructed in the pack.
2. Heat pan with olive oil, saute garlic and add chicken. I cooked it for 15min. The flavor really comes out when it's dashed with salt, and cooked in low fire.
3. Mix in red bell pepper, peanuts and spring onion/lemongrass. Continue to stir fry.
4. Pour in kung pao sauce. Add salt & ground pepper to taste.
5. Mix in the pasta until well coated.

Charlie Chan Pasta ala Dianey :)
Judging from hubby & helper's reactions, it was a success! My next recipe is tuna pesto pasta :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Of Celebrating Love :)

In life, there will always be many occasions to celebrate. From birthdays, anniversaries, to important milestones, these days bring back fond memories of happiness & love.

Our family has always been big on celebrations. Well, we do it quietly. Every birthday of a family member, my mother would always have a "padasal" in our home. It's her way of thanking the Lord and Mama Mary (she's a devotee) for giving us a good life. Every Christmas & New Year, we always make it a point to go home to Tacloban and pig out together :) It has become a tradition of celebrating important milestones that has been passed on to us by our parents.

For Sieg & I, we have so many dates to celebrate, especially in the love department :) From the day we became bf-gf, to our civil wedding, and of course, our church wedding.

But what holds a special place in our hearts from these three, is the day we became bf-gf. Come to think of it, that day was actually the start of everything else. The domino effect would not have happened if I didn't say YES the first time he asked me :)

TODAY, we celebrate our 4th anniversary as bf-gf. I can't believe it's only been four years. So much has happened, and major things are still happening. As I recall that day through pictures, I remember the lovely feeling, and my prayer is that, the same powerful love that made us decide to jump into a relationship that started long-distance, would stay on and continue to grow as we venture out into a new chapter of our life, with the baby on the way.

August 17, 2007
Exactly four years ago. We were still young :)

Love is in the air! :)

August 17, 2007

Monday, August 15, 2011

Apartment Therapy!

Aside from searching online for baby stuff, my current obssession is apartment therapy! I learned about this site when I read a tweet from Patty Laurel raving about it.

I love everything about the site, especially the kitchen ideas, color palettes,  and tips to maximize storage space. From the house tours, to DIY projects, I'm at awe at how these creative people were able to design their interiors, usually at a limited space.

Here are some of my favorites! Visit apartmenttherapy.com and be amazed! SOON, I'll be able to put into good use all the great ideas I'm getting from this site :)

Look at how the space beneath the stairs was maximized into a storage area.
Another view of the storage space below the stairs.

I love this dining corner! The L-shaped seater can be doubled as storage space.
Another version of the L-shaped dining corner.
I love the kitchen island. So simple yet functional.
This one too!
I'm loving the white walls! It allows you to play with colors.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Prayer for a Safe Delivery

I do not claim to be the most religious person. There are days I forget to pray, or Sundays when I'm lazy to hear mass. But I have other ways of claiming my spirituality and faith. It also helps that I have a mother and sisters who are on the more religious side, and they always remind me to pray and be good :)

I'm giving birth in a few months. Literature, online forums & real life experiences from family & friends really help, but honestly, I don't know if I'll ever be prepared!

So what will I do? I will PRAY more. Coincidentally, someone shared with me this simple prayer for a safe delivery, so I'm also sharing it with you. It's also available online here.

Prayer for Safe Delivery
O great Saint Gerard, beloved servant of Jesus Christ, perfect imitator of your meek and humble Savior, and devoted child of the Mother of God, enkindle within my heart one spark of that heavenly fire of charity which glowed in your heart and made you an angel of love.
O glorious Saint Gerard, because when falsely accused of crime, you did bear, like your Divine Master, without murmur or complaint, the calumnies of wicked men, you have been raised up by God as the patron and protector of expectant mothers.
Preserve me from danger and from the excessive pains accompanying childbirth, and shield the child which I now carry, that it may see the light of day and receive the purifying and and life-giving waters of baptism through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
(Nine Hail Marys)

Monday, August 8, 2011

I Heart Online Shopping!

Hubby and I have been window shopping the last couple of weeks, but mall stocks & models for baby items here in Cebu are still limited :(

So I resort to online shopping! How I wish I can fly to the US and shop till I drop. My gosh, prices there are WAY cheaper than here.  Even if you consider freight costs & add-on taxes, it will still come out cheaper.

Cloth Diapers
Priced at $18.95/pc or $227.40 for a dozen at www.nurturedfamily.com. This is an online store in Texas, where my sister is based. Here in the Philippines, it retails at $26/pc or P1,100.  For a dozen, it will cost $315 or P13,200. The difference is roughly $88 or P3,700.

Priced at $140 in Walmart, this is a great find! This costs around $360 here in the Philippines. The difference is roughly P9,200 or $220.

Even feeding bottles, strollers and cribs cost cheaper in the US, and the quality is more outstanding!

How I wish I can buy till I drop, and put all the stuff in one balikbayan box :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Who Doesn't Love Freebies?

Yesterday, I got a prize for being a good daughter!

To backtrack a bit on the story:

My techy Popsy finally decided to replace our almost obsolete TV at our Tacloban home. He was quite sentimental about changing the TV, because he bought it in Japan when he went there in the 90's for work, plus the fact that there are two hyper kids at home who can easily destroy gadgets :)

A few weeks back, he bought a digital media player in PC Express.

Unfortunately, it wasn't compatible with our old TV. We toyed him to buy a flatscreen TV so he could continue using his digital media player. He gave in, and so yesterday, I got a go signal to finally buy one! Of course, he's paying for it :)

SM Appliance gave away a Sony DVD player for the purchased item. I asked Papa if I can have it, and he said YES!!!  We actually have a player, but it's kinda obsolete too. Besides, who doesn't love freebies? :)

Forever 21 Is Coming To Cebu!

Yesterday, I missed my Ultrasound cut-off time at Chong Hua Hospital, so Sieg and I decided to go to SM to have an ultrasound there.

Lo and behold, Forever 21 was plastered all over the North Wing! Of course I was smiling from ear to ear, and Sieg began scratching his head (joke!). It's still under construction, but what the heck, it will open SOON!

I forgot to take pictures so I grabbed some from here.

Forever 21 is a trendy fashion store  from the US which was franchised by the SM Group and brought here to the Philippines. Its other branches are in SM Megamall and SM Makati.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Why Can't We Improve Our Maternity Leave?

Image Source: awaitingourgreenbean.blogspot.com/

For a working mom-to-be like me, any chance of additional paid maternity leaves will be so welcomed! It would give me, and others alike, a chance to fully recuperate and bond more with the baby.

In Sweden, they have a 16-month maternity leave. In UK, they grant up to 52 weeks, in Canada 35 weeks. Read more about paid maternity leaves in other countries here.

Here in the Philippines, we lowly workers are compelled to pay for SSS contributions, but the benefits are not grandstanding. Currently, SSS grants 60 paid days off (including weekends) for normal births, and 78 paid days off for caesarian operations.

I'm still confused as to how they actually compute the rate. Based on my experience a few years back when I applied for a one month sick leave due to my thyroid operation, I was ripped off big time. I received only half of what I was supposed to! I didn't bother complaining anymore because processing in SSS is too taxing!

So when I heard about House Bill 3973 known as "An act increasing maternity leave benefits from 60 to 120 days, or four months", I suddenly became hopeful! There is hope for the Philippines! :)

But before I rejoice too much, the bill was filed 2008, and it's now 2011. In Tagalog, "ANONG PETSA NA?!"

I hope this government puts more importance on women's welfare aka maternity leaves, especially since DOH is actively promoting exclusive breastfeeding until the baby reaches 6th month.

To know more about the house bill, click here.

I Want a FLIP UltraHD Pocket Cam

Once the baby is out, I'm pretty sure I'll be stacking up on pictures and videos of his/her every move. I guess it's pretty normal. I doted on my nephew and nieces too, what more for my own first born!

I do have a good SLR camera, which was a Christmas gift from hubby last 2010. Now I want a handy dandy videocam. I learned about Flip from daphne.ph and chuvaness.com but it didn't interest me that much, until I chanced upon a discount at www.cashcashpinoy.com. It's 50% off for only P4,500, and delivered free nationwide!

Ultra-powerful & ultra-compact Flip UltraHD Pocket Cam 8GB
I tried to search at Amazon to compare prices and in the US, it retails at a discounted rate of $78 which is roughly P3300 at the current exchange rate.

Oh well, gotta think if I'll have it bought in the US, or if I'll ever buy it at all. PRIORITIES!

If someone so rich reads this, I'd love to have this either as a Baby Shower Gift or Christmas Gift! :)

Wedding Bits & Pieces

According to our wedsite, http://www.mywedding.com/siegfredianey, it's been 208 days since our wedding. Wow! Has it been that long already? Feels like it just happened yesterday :)

I love reminiscing our wedding, from the photos, to the videos, and back again to the photos. I still get teary eyed at times, though, I blame it again to the hormones :)

We have loads of photos (5000++) and hours of videos, but I do have my favorites. Here they are!

Was I just too happy, or what? :)
This was my moment :)

So they were actually giving me away :)

My father :)
The chapel called "Palacio"

Our wedding kiss :)

The newlyweds :)
Sieg was really teary eyed on this one :)

My PostBaby Body Peg :)

Admittedly, not all pregnant women are gifted with great genes like Miranda Kerr who can model off her postbaby body less than 3 months after giving birth.

For the lowly ones (like me!), it would be agonizing to think of how much I need to work on to get back (if I ever get it back!) my pre-baby body.

Thanks God, my nose isn't getting big yet, my skin is still clear, stretch marks aren't crawling in my tummy yet, and generally, I still feel good.

I do have my OFF days when I feel like an ugly duckling. I really blame it on the hormones, but who said motherhood is not equal to a lifetime of sacrifice? :)

My Must-Have Pregnancy Stash

Virgin Coconut Oil
ProSource VCO

According to this website, VCO can be a remedy to a lot of pregnancy problems. For me, I swear by how it has helped maintain my skin's balance. It was my sister & sister-in-law who highly recommended that I use it, instead of going for the more popular brands like Palmers. Everyday, I diligently apply it all over my body, and I like it because:
- It keeps my skin itch FREE
- It really moisturizes my skin
- It's not sticky and easily absorbed by the skin
- I'm still stretchmark FREE

I use ProSource because it's the only one available in Watsons.

Himalaya Moisturizer

My daily regimen is so simple: I wash my face and apply my moisturizer, then I dab on face powder and lipstick/gloss, then I'm OK for the entire day. I'm really not a fan of excessive beauty products, and especially dislike those that have perfume-based odors.

When I got pregnant, my OB advised me to stay away from strong chemicals, and this is the reason why  Himalaya moisturizer has been a life-saver for me. It's manufactured in India, and made from organic and natural ingredients. My entire family use it, and we actually hoard Watsons because stocks are easily depleted.

They have a complete personal care line that caters to every possible need. Check their website for more info: www.himalayahealthcare.com.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I'm Immunified!

I now declare myself as immune! No germs can affect me! I've got protection. Harhar!

Kidding aside, I can't remember the last time I had a vaccine as a child. But now that I'm pregnant, every OB checkup means I have to endure another tortuous needle being stuck to my left flabby arm :)

During my 1st trisem, I had two tetanus shots. I'm not sure if the two were any different from each other. All I remember was the PAIN. It hurt for a couple of days, and it was quite difficult to use the arm.

During the onset of my 2nd trisem, I had anti-flu shots. Then came the hepa shots. I think I also had anti-measle shots.

I'm only nearing my 6th month, so I'm expecting more vaccines.

Getting pregnant is SO costly. What more once the baby is around.  Hello BABY vaccines!

For more information on pregnancy vaccine guide, visit this link.

In the Womb!

Poor me! I never knew that there are many ways to perform an ultrasound. I'm so naive at these things, and all the while, I thought that they're done just by checking the abdomen. So there goes my shock and shame again when on my first ever ultrasound, my OB ordered a TVS (trans-vaginal sonography) where the "thing" is inserted to the vagina to check the condition of my reproductive system. But what the heck, anything for my baby! 

It's so amazing to see and hear the life inside of a mommy! It's such a great bonding experience knowing that he/she is there! I'm looking forward to my next ultrasound where we'll finally learn the gender!

Baby embryo at 5 weeks
Baby at 15 weeks with very good cardiac activity

The Road to Breastfeeding

I know that breastfeeding isn't for everyone, but it's something that I really want to try. The benefits are just GREAT, that any mom who will be blessed with bountiful milk will not have second thoughts breastfeeding/milking their babies.

For a working mom like me, it would be such an effort to sustain it. As they say, it takes a lot of commitment and sacrifice. Well, if others can do it, so can I :)

I've been researching a lot about breastpumps, and so far, I've been reading great reviews about Avent. I also know of some moms who actually use it. Here's one: 

Avent Duo Electric Breast Pump, BPA Free

I searched online stores and it's priced from P13,000 to P15,000. In the malls, it's priced higher. In one bazaar I attended, they were selling it for P39,000. Woooooaah!

Thank God I have a sister in US who can buy it for me. It's only $225 there, and some online stores even give discounts which lowers it to $190. That's only P8360 to P9900 when converted to peso.

Such a big difference.

The Search for the Perfect Stroller

There's so much to choose from, and honestly, at this point, I'm not sure what my priorities are in terms of choosing a stroller.

One thing for sure, I want something not so expensive, yet lightweight, and I can use preferably from newborn to the toddler years.

My sister told me not to invest too much in a stroller because we don't live in the US where moms are really on the go and bring their babies everywhere. 

Also, some babies don't like being placed in strollers, so it would be a pain if you have an expensive, yet unused piece.

I've looked at some brands so far and here are my initial reviews:

Maclaren- Lightweight & sturdy. Good for traveling. Midpriced in US, expensive in PH.

Graco- Has a wide variety to choose from, but I find their strollers too heavy & bulky.

MaxiCosi/Quinny- I also find this big & bulky. Midpriced in US but very expensive in PH.

Chicco- So far, I'm liking this. I've actually seen a few models and they're lightweight, slender, and not so expensive.

Goodbaby-  an Asian brand which is fast becoming popular among moms. This was actually recommended to me by my sister. The features are quite innovative, and it is priced reasonably. I've also seen a lot of moms using this stroller during malling.

Let's see how this stroller search turns into :)

Cloth Diapering

This is something that Sieg and I are seriously considering.

The advantages really outweigh everything else. Plus, we have a helper who can do the laundry for us, so why not maximize her?

I’ve been researching the internet for quality cloth diapers, and so far, FuzziBunz really has great reviews.

It retails at P1,100 here in PH, but in the US, it’s cheaper at $20 each.

Check out their website for more information.


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