Friday, November 30, 2012

DIY Christmas Is Uber Fun!

I’m participating in the Spend-Less Holidays: Saving While Savoring the Season Blog Carnival, hosted by The Frugal Fil-Am and Dainty Mom. We’ll be sharing our tips on how to spend less this holiday season, so that we can have a more meaningful Christmas. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.

When I was still a kid, I have always looked forward to Christmas. Who doesn't? I bet that if you ask the kids what their favorite holiday is, I'm sure they will all shout CHRISTMAS! We all look forward to the Christmas lights, decors, carols, presents and of course, celebrating with our families and loved ones!

I grew up with fun memories of Christmas although I didn't come from a wealthy family. My mom didn't buy much Christmas decors but she managed to decorate our house beautifully every year. She has the knack for creating decors mostly from styrofoam, wrappers and crepe papers. I have always admired her creativity and frugality. She showed me that it is possible to make beautiful decors by spending less.

We made Christmas Tree ornaments from styrofoam and paint. Back then, National Bookstore sold styrofoam shaped as socks, bells, candy canes and snowmen. The only thing I had to do was to paint the styrofoam then Mama would sew a gold string in each decor and let me hang them on the tree. I could still remember how proud I felt with my "creations".

Now that I'm a mom, I am more excited for Christmas not because of the presents (which are getting less and less every year) but because I now have my own family to spend it with. I already have our Christmas Tree standing in our living room but it didn't feel like a major accomplishment to me. I wanted to do something that I will be proud of. Then I remembered what brought joy to me when I was a kid---creating DIY decors with Mama :)

My daughter is still a toddler so this year, I had to do the DIY decor by myself but I'm looking forward to sharing fun memories of creating DIY decors in the next years with her --- just like the memories that me and Mama shared :)

You too can have a DIY Christmas fun with your kids! I'm not really artistic but I feel very special when I create something. If I can do it, so can you! So what if your DIY craft is not so perfect? The important thing is that you and your kids have lots of fun together while doing it with less cost. Just don't forget to take photos while you're in action. My mom forgot that part!

I would like to share with you my DIY Snowman decor, inspired by but modified to suit materials available. Like what I said, I'm not artistic enough but I feel really proud with this. Hubby said it is beautiful and that's all I need to know. Lol! This only costs Php 100-150 :)

If you like what you see, then follow these steps :)

Materials you'll need:

1 small styrofoam ball
1 big styrofoam ball
1 big square styrofoam
2 small square styrofoam
3 toothpicks
bottle cap 
all-purpose glue
liquid glue
silver glitters
felt paper
foil paper
paint/permanent marker

Here are the steps:

1. Apply liquid glue all over the 2 styrofoam balls then sprinkle silver glitters on them. Once dry, push a toothpick into both balls to create the snowman's whole body.

2. Paint the bottle cap with your desired color. You may use paint but I chose to use a red permenent marker. The bottle cap size depends on how big you'd like the hat to be (I used Dr. Edwards water bottle cap). Cut a square from the felt paper. Again, size depends on your preference. Stick the painted bottle cap on the center of the square felt paper using all-purpose glue. Once dry, glue it to the snowman's head.

3. Glue 2 buttons for the eyes using all-purpose glue. For the nose, you may insert half of a toothpick. In my case, I used a portion of a plastic fork which I found lying around the kitchen and glued gold glitters around it. For the mouth, stick a mouth-shaped foil paper. You may also use other embellishments like glitters or just simply draw a mouth with a permanent marker.

4. Cut a long rectangle from the felt paper. Trim the edge to create a fringe. Wrap this around the snowman's neck and glue edges together to form a scarf. Use embellishments to add details to the scarf. You may also glue buttons down the body if you want to.

5. Push a toothpick between the snowman's base and the square stryofoam to create a more stable base. You may also wrap the square styrofoam if desired.

6. Wrap foil paper to the 2 small square styrofoams and tie a ribbon to create the gifts. Glue these beside the snowman.

And there you go! Your very own snowman :) Feel free to add more embellishments to make it prettier. Let the kids take care of the glue or let them sprinkle the glitters. Whatever makes it more fun for them.

I hope you have fun making this snowman with your kids. It's spending less and at the same time making fun Christmas memories with the little people that matter most to you.

Merry Christmas, everyone!!! :)

Check out the rest of our Spend-Less Christmas Carnival Participants!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Supermom, According To Merriam-Webster

I was surfing the internet and googled the word "supermom". I found a lot of interesting blogs and I was surprised to see a Merriam-Webster link defining a supermom and here it is:

Main Entry: su·per·mom
Pronunciation: \ˈsü-pər-ˌmäm\
Function: noun
Date: 1974
: an exemplary mother; also : a woman who performs the traditional duties of housekeeping and child-rearing while also having a full-time job

I agree that a supermom is an exemplary mother but why does it have to be only for moms having a full-time job??? I don't know about you but I don't agree with this.

A Full-Time Mom is not weaker than a Full-Time Working Mom and vice-versa. They both share the same hopes and dreams for their families but they differ in ways on how to achieve them. My opinion is that any mom can be a supermom in her own way. At the end of the day, what's important is how we moms made a difference in our loved ones' lives.

I'm sure that our little Yanna thinks that I'm a supermom. I'm sure your little ones think you are too :)

Mommy May

Monday, November 19, 2012

Goodbye Fussy Eater!

I love food! I eat lots of food! I have a very good reason to eat a lot: Breastfeeding. My husband laughs whenever I use this excuse but really, breastfeeding moms get hungry (famished is the correct word!) fast!

I get so happy when I eat good food so imagine my frustration when Yanna refuses to eat the yummy meals we serve her. At 11 months, she still preferred the pureed baby food when she should be eating more textured food as advised by her pedia.

Well I am partly guilty. You see when I was still a working mom, I didn't have time to think of her meals. We relied too much on her organic baby food jar ( Earth's Best from Healthy Options). She loves those and it was always a happy mealtime back then.

I felt dumb when her pedia told me that Yanna should already be eating regular food like rice, fish, chicken, etc. So when we went home, we served her porridge. Just one taste and cue the waterworks. She hated it.

It was the same drama for a month. I've exhausted all techniques - sweet talking her into eating...pretending to be a baby who eats her food...playing the old airplane style, etc. It's frustrating but how can I get mad with this silly little girl?

She made her toys "eat" her food then grinned at me!

She'll get used to it. I often remind myself. Then one day, it just happened!

Yanna started eating without a fuss :)

Now she eats anything we serve her and I'm so happy that she's a healthy eater. She loves her veggies, my broccoli & cheese soup, my own version of cheesy tilapia & pasta. I love modifying dishes that will suit her!

Eating pancit and mangoes on her 14th month birthday :)

If our problem before is how to make her eat, now it's how to stop her. She imitates us. She eats what she sees that we eat. So goodbye unhealthy food! Or maybe just eat in secrecy. Lol!

My lesson learned here is to be patient. Little kids will learn everything at their own pace. I'm such a worrier so I need to constantly remind myself that Yanna will grow up just fine :)

Mommy May

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Short Vacation Trip with Yanna (Part 2)

Day 2 of our trip -- We strolled along the beach early in the morning to catch Mr. Sun. This was the beach we regularly went to when we were still kids. When I was still young, I really enjoyed swimming here, until I discovered Boracay haha! I never thought I'll enjoy this beach again but this time with Yanna, I learned to appreciate it again. This beach was full of childhood memories and now I'm back with my own daughter. Sniff!

Yanna was having some colds then and my mom said that sea water can cure it. You know how grandmothers are. I don't know where they get those ideas! Well, moms know best so I took a handful of sea water and wiped it on Yanna's face. I think I did that 5 times. (Result --- effective!!!)

Before heading home, Yanna had a crying fit again when I left her to take a bath. Her cry was so scary! It's as if she's going to lose her breath! I had to quickly finish my bath. That was not a good bath! Eeww! But a Mom's gotta do what a Mom's gotta do!

At around 10am, we were back in the car to head home but of course, a trip isn't complete without stopping by Tagaytay. We went to Bag of Beans and we were surprised that it's now bigger! The last time I went there was 8 years ago. They now serve buffets and everything in the brunch buffet menu was absolutely delicious! If I remember it correctly, it costs PhP 385/person.

 Lots of saffron rice for me! Breastfeeding eh! 

Chloe shows some love. They're so sweet together!

Yanna's really happy :)

 With my sister and her Chloe. I think Yanna adores her Ate Chloe. 

We stayed at Bag of Beans for close to 2 hours! The place is so relaxing and we kept on getting food! Yanna was very cooperative this time so I got to eat a lot! Breastfeeding really makes me hungry!

The drive home went smoothly. Yanna dozed off by herself again while watching her fave video in the car. As I looked outside the window, I can't help but smile. I knew that I did really well. I was glad that I had this yaya-less experience. I have proven myself worthy to be a mom. 

Yanna can be a challenge sometimes but my love for her makes me stronger, wiser and happier. In my quest to mold Yanna into a good person that I want her to be, I realized that she also molds me into a better mom that I can be.

Cheers to more future trips with Yanna! I am so ready!!! :)

Mommy May

The Newbie Homemaker

In my previous post, I mentioned that I'm having difficulty being a homemaker because I grew up having helpers do things for me. I have been disappointing my husband several times now in this department. I hate it when I disappoint people so I decided it was time to work on my homemaker skills!

I didn't blog last week since I want to focus on improving myself as a homemaker. At first, I didn't know where to start! I kept on walking around our humble condo unit to check on things that I can improve on. Finally I came up with 3 projects.

1- Fix that messy living room corner

With all of Yanna's toys and stuff, it's really hard to organize our home. We lack storage space and so some of Yanna's stuff (toys, mats, balloons, etc.) have been sitting in the corner of our living room for quite some time now. I cringe whenever I see that corner! I didn't like it but I was too lazy to think of a solution. Now it's a different story. Take a look! :)

Before: See that messy little corner?

After: Now our family photo is on the wall. This lamp was a wedding gift from my sister & brother-in-law but was only used now.

2- Change but be resourceful

Again, due to limited space, we had to place our little altar on top of a small bookshelf. Hubby had this bookshelf in his apartment before we were married. It serves its purpose but it doesn't match our home's color scheme (the rest of the cabinets are dark brown). I didn't want to buy a new one just because I don't like its color. Good thing my sister sold their furniture (they're moving to the States) and I immediately bought their dark brown shelf for only 250!!! What a bargain!!!

I transferred the altar and the books to the (almost) new shelf and placed the old one in the other room for extra storage for Yanna's stuff (originally from the living room corner in Project #1). I'm so happy with this! Hitting two birds with one stone!

The old bookshelf behind Yanna

The new bookshelf (I forgot to take a photo w/ the altar!)

3- Add a Christmas touch!

I wonder why putting up a Christmas Tree is a woman's task. My mom did it every year. I did it every year since we were married but I'm not complaining :) I love doing it! I want to make Yanna's Christmas a happy one. We didn't buy new tree ornaments but I feel as if the tree is prettier this year! We only bought a stocking for Yanna and a Christmas tree skirt. Yanna's face lit up when she saw the Christmas tree with the lights on :)

I'm still looking for the perfect star or angel for the tree's top...

I think I did a good job! I know these are small projects compared to some of the expert homemakers but it is a good start. I need to practice and get ready before we get our dream house. Soon? I hope so!

I'll do everything to make my husband and little Yanna happy :)

Happy Yanna :)

Watch out for more newbie homemaker posts! :)

Mommy May

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How Not To Go Crazy

When Yanna was still a baby, it took me several months to really get the hang of it. Breastfeeding, changing diapers, soothing a crying baby and putting her to sleep --- physically and emotionally draining! I had to try different techniques to make life easier but just when I figured it all out, she's not a baby anymore!

I'm starting to miss those baby days. This is Yanna at 3 months :)

Now enter toddlerhood. It's a whole new story again! Yanna's smarter, more active but still clings to me like glue. She now demands more from me and she has the right to do so. Toddlerhood can sometimes be very scary for the little ones because they're stuck in the middle --- they want to gain more independence but at the same time, they still need us.

The newbie toddler :)

There were lots of times when I just want to scream!!!

When Yanna's making such a mess when eating or when she refuses to eat...

When I feel immobilized because she breastfeeds so many times in a day (I don't think she's hungry. More on getting comfort from me.)...

When all I can watch are baby DVDs (I've memorized the songs!)

And when she cries whenever I just need to go to the bathroom.

She can sometimes drive me insane! How can such a small person do that to me? I love her to bits but sometimes a mom just really needs a break. But we moms know that sometimes that's not possible so the best thing we can do is control ourselves since those little people can always argue that they're innocent. ( I miss being a kid! )

To save me from being a mad, crazy mom, these are the things I do.

1- I take a very deep breath! I don't want to show her that I'm mad since usually it's not her fault. It's my fault for losing my patience. Maybe it was just a tiring day for me.

2- Kiss and hug. I may be really frustrated but I manage to still kiss and hug her. Touch has its calming effect. Yanna often smiles when I do this. She knows I'm a softy whenever she smiles.

3- I ask for help. When Steps 1 & 2 won't work, I ask for help either from hubby or yaya. I leave Yanna with them and isolate myself in another room until I am calm. Sometimes I just need a short break. During isolation, I begin to miss Yanna and then I forget why I'm mad in the first place.

I've read from books that it is normal to feel this way. Thank God, I'm still normal! With the high expectations that moms place on themselves, it's no wonder why moms sometimes get easily frustrated. Others even break down. Every mom has her own way of coping with the frustration and these three steps proved to be helpful to me.

As I'm writing this now, Yanna is throwing a fit again. Now time to do Step 1 :)

How about you mommies? What do you do to stay sane? Do share! :)

Mommy May

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Sleeping Beauty

I love looking at Yanna while she sleeps. So peaceful. So innocent.

I hope these photos will make you feel serene too! Happy Wednesday!

Mommy May

My Short Vacation Trip with Yanna (Part 1)

The last time I visited the cemetery was 2008. Working for a BPO and shared services companies, I had to work even during All Saints Day. Pathetic, right? Now that I'm a full-time mom, it's just right that I give time to pay my respect to my departed grandparents. Well, actually, there's more to that!

My mom and sister were asking if I will join them to visit the cemetery. At first, I declined because the cemetery is in Nasugbu, Batangas. Hubby cannot join because he has work. I have no transportation. If  I'm going to travel with Yanna's yaya, we won't fit in my sister's car. So I decided not to join them again this year. Maybe next year, when Yanna's already two.

That same day at home, Yanna and I were watching her favorite DVD "Things That Go Counting" while Yaya was in her room ironing some clothes. We were happily singing and dancing along the songs. Yanna loves fidgeting with the remote so I hid it under a blanket behind me. Two minutes after that, the DVD ended so Yanna was looking for the remote. Knowing that I hid it well, I was so confident that she won't find it until I saw her face lit up. I followed her gaze and lo and behold! The remote was sitting on top of the blanket!!! I was so stunned for a minute! How did this happen? What's going on??? I swear I hid it under the blanket! I double checked when I did that!!!

Then I remembered my mom's text after I said I won't be joining them: "Okay. Just light a candle para di sila magtampo". Uh-oh! Okay, okay, I'm going!!!

I immediately texted my sister that I will be joining them overnight. But how about Yanna? I don't want to leave her especially since we're still breastfeeding. Oh well, I decided to take Yanna with me --- without hubby (He has work!) and without yaya (No space for her in the car.). Uh-oh! First time to go on a trip without yaya or hubby. Well good luck to me!

In my past post, I wrote about Yanna being very shy/clingy. She only wants ME all the time. So before the trip, I have prepared myself for the tiring tasks. I'm sure even with her grandparents, tito and ninang around, she'll only want to go with me. I keep telling myself: You can do this May! This is a test of how good a mom you are! Well, I was up to the challenge. Bring it on!!!

The day of the trip came. The travel by car was fine since my sister's car has "Things That Go Counting" DVD playing on the car TV. Yanna was well-behaved. She even dozed off by herself. Aaahhh so far so good, Mommy May!

 Before the trip

We had lunch at Kainan Sa Dalampasigan, owned by one of our wedding ninangs. The place is so beautiful!!! If ever you're in Nasugbu, do try their delicious food especially their halo-halo!

Yanna and Chloe had fun running (walking in Yanna's case) around the place. It's so nice to see Yanna having fun with her cousin.

Yanna bonding with her cousin Chloe

As predicted, Yanna won't let me out of her sight. She cried when she realized that I'm gone (I need to eat for heaven's sake!) and realized that it's grandma holding her hand. I wasn't able to eat well. Poor me! Just when the shrimps are so good!!!

Here's a photo of a tired mommy :p

The good thing about this whole situation is that I had the chance to be babied again by my mom. Hihi! She had to feed me while I carry Yanna. It was so funny! Three generations... motherly love being passed on.

What a sight! LOL!

We visited the cemetery late afternoon. We forgot that the sun sets earlier nowadays and before we knew it, it was pitch black! We went there Oct 31 so there were only a few people there and very few lamp posts. Kinda spooky! After saying our prayers, we went back to the resort and rested.

For Day 1, it was a good day overall. Bedtime went well except for her crying fit while I took a shower. She even threw up because she was crying so hard. No one was able to console her, until she saw me got out of the bathroom. Sigh!

But this day was fun! A little tiring but nothing I can't handle.

Not bad, Mommy May! Not bad at all! :)

Mommy May

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

So Many Thoughts. Not Enough Time.

I wasn't able to blog for more than a week! So many has happened but I don't have enough time to write! I have been busy bonding with my family since my sister's family will be migrating to the States in December.  Even the Christmas Tree which I planned to put up last Monday is still sitting inside the box!

I have so much to share and I promise to write about the things that are happening as soon as I have the time to do it.

Hugs everyone!!!

Mommy May

Taking A Deep Breath. Life Is Always Good.

It has been 3 months now since I left the corporate world. I remember feeling excited, relieved and scared. Excited to spend more time with my baby. Relieved that hubby finally agreed to my pleas of leaving work. Scared of the unknown life of a full-time mom and wondering how we can cope with our family expenses. Honestly, I just wanted a short break from the corporate world. Caring for a high need baby while working (8:30am - 2am at monthend week!) left me with little sleep or no sleep at all! There was never a week that I didn't catch colds. I had to wear masks at home so that our baby won't catch the virus. I wanted to rest when sick but I just couldn't. Not with a baby who depended on me for her food (I still breastfeed) and comfort (She only wants ME!)

Life is now a huge question mark for me. Should I go back to the corporate world? Will I ever get back to the corporate world? Should I try becoming a WAHM? Am I cut out to be a WHAM?

While I'm overanalyzing again, I found a nice quote from the blog The Happiness In Your Life --

We all get overwhelmed, fed up, and it seems the chips are stacked against us at times, no matter how hard we try, how positive we are, or how much faith we have.
You just have to get through it.
Take things one day at a time and don't get on the negative spiral of thinking. Always know inside that it WILL get better and it WON'T always be this hard.
For now, take a deep breath and think about everything, even the tiniest things, that are good in your life right now.
~Doe Zantamata

The last line struck me! I realized that it's either I give in to the frustration or just look at the brighter side. As a Catholic, I have a strong faith and I believe that God only gives you trials that you can overcome. Only He knows the reason for everything. And so I came up with a short list of things that I am thankful for right now.

I'm thankful for this chance to be a full-time mom. Sometimes I think that the reason why I'm having a hard time looking for work is that God wants me to spend more time with Yanna. Not everyone's given a chance to be with their kids all the time. I know how hard it is for working parents to leave their kids while working. So instead of feeling sorry for myself, I will aim to make the most out of my time with Yanna because work might be just around the corner and it will be a shame to waste this precious time God has given me.

I'm thankful that I am still able to breastfeed. There are times when I wish to wean Yanna from the breast just so life will be easier for me. But then again, this is a precious gift that I have. I have the means to nurture my child and this must be the most important gift I can give her. Plus, no additional expenses for formula milk. By breastfeeding, I have saved money and possibly saved her from illnesses.

I'm thankful for our humble bed. Hubby and I have been thinking about getting a king-size bed since Yanna is co-sleeping with us. The first few months of co-sleeping were hard. Hubby and I can hardly move, scared we might roll over the baby! Then we just got used to it. Now I say I'm thankful for our bed because we get to sleep real close to each other. We get to hug each other while sleeping!

I'm thankful for all the trials that come our way. They make our marriage stronger and I'm sure that time will come when we will look back and say "kaya pala.."

I'm thankful for Yanna's clinginess. I am one tired mommy! Yanna is very clingy to the point that she cries even when I just need to go to the bathroom to pee! She doesn't want me leaving her sight. Most of the time, she only wants me to carry her. I sometimes envy her yaya who is able to eat better than me because I end up taking care of Yanna. During her 1st birthday party, she cried 90% of the time! This makes me very tired but hubby always reminds me to treasure this stage. There will come a time when she will prefer to be with her friends or boyfriend rather than be with me. Just thinking about it makes me sad!

I'm sure everyone has gone through roller coaster emotions too. Life may be tough at times but the pain will all be worth it soon.

How about you? What are you thankful for?

Mommy May