Thursday, November 25, 2010

Another Great Find!

In my continued search for items on my shopping list, I made another trip to 168 Shopping Mall in Divisoria.  This was my second trip to 168 so I was more familiar with the stalls.  On the way to 168, I walked in one of the stores on one of the main streets leading to 168 (will try to find the name of that street, but for those familiar with the area, it's one of the busy streets with vendors on all sides).  I first noticed their little figurines thus prompting me to walk in their store, then I glanced upon the seat/storage boxes at the corner.  I had contemplated on buying these on my first trip.  The saleslady said that they were only P125, a better deal than the P150 price they were offering at 168.  I looked at the different prints they offered and decided to take two of the seat/storage boxes pictured on the right.

I must be attracted to this print, seeing the similarities it has to the jewelry box I bought in my last blog.  It is a great addition though to our living room area.  The saleslady said that it's made of plywood, (which I would like to believe) and not of the usual hardwood, and covered with non-woven fabric and plastic material for the lid.  When you buy the seat/storage boxes, they are folded as shown below:

Very handy to carry and gift wrap.  Though I bought these for our own personal use, I am thinking of going back and buying some more as gifts.  They are very sturdy and quite comfortable to sit on.  I've sat on them several times, though Jojo doesn't trust himself to try it out.  Great for storing items such as books, magazines, newspapers or phone directories as we have done...

I'm thinking of getting one each for the kids.  I saw one in a Princess design priced at P175.  I hope to find one in a boy's design.  It's a tidy storage box for the kids' toys and will serve as their seats when they watch television.  Two gifts in one - a seat and a storage box!

Tip!:  These seat/storage boxes are a little heavy to carry, especially if you buy 2 or more.  I would suggest buying these last on your way back to your car or on your jeepney ride home.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jewelry Boxes For Gifts

Here's another gift idea:  I got this gift for a special friend who was visiting here from the US.  It's a jewelry box which has many sections as you can see - a place for your watch, rings, necklaces, etc.  You can buy this from the Dapitan Arcade behind the Suki Market on Dapitan Avenue.  The seller was asking for P350, but I was able to haggle it down to P300 (a more expert haggler may be able to bring down this price even more).  It comes in different designs, some solid colors of black, brown or red and in different sizes and styles.  It's made of hardboard and looks durable.  I got a similar jewelry box for one of Jojo's cousins last Christmas and the price hasn't changed.  You can't miss their stalls, it's one of the first stalls you'll see when you enter the arcade on the left side, at the back of Suki market.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Giving Our Time This Christmas

Not all gifts have to come wrapped.  There are some gifts that are not found in gift boxes but still bring out big smiles and shouts of laughter, especially for the kids in our family.  For example, taking out our loved ones to watch a concert or to an amusement park would be a gift that would be worth more than any toy and will create memories they will surely remember.  "Time is a treasure", as the saying goes and how true this is.  Setting aside time to take out the special people in our lives to an event or place they haven't been to is giving both of our our time, our money and ourselves.

I've compiled a list of the places where I would like to take my family this Christmas.  We won't be able to go to all these places, maybe just one or two.  But it doesn't have to be just for this Christmas, many of these places are open year-round:
All of the above places (except the Greenhills Christmas display) have entrance fees, a little steep for some (please link to the respective web sites for entrance prices).  But the Spirit of Christmas really means just spending time with those you love, so any place - even at home or at a public park, playing games or sports with your children and other family members, will truly be a Christmas they will cherish.  The above picture is of the time after Benjo's 7th birthday when he learned to play Bingo with family and relatives.  This to him is memorable, maybe even more than the swimming party he had earlier in the day.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Home Designer Help

Home design TV programs are my favorite shows to watch.  This is probably another sign that I took the wrong major during college - Computer Science being far from the artistic side of my brain.  A frustrated designer I may be, that's why I buy Home and Living magazines to browse the professional designs of people's homes, watch the home design shows on TV and look at more designs on the internet.  Truly amazing are the makeovers that I've seen, especially on Clean House, which I think any makeover would be an improvement with the mess of the houses they feature on that show.

One of the home design shows I watch is Color Splash.  I saw David Bromstad win the first Design Star competition to be the host of his own show.  I love how he creates his own pieces, customized paintings that match his designs.  How I wish I could do that, just make my own designs.  But I have to admit I'm challenged with originality and need to see what others have created and try to imitate it.  So I may be more of an imitator than a creator or artist.

Our living room is still a challenge for me.  About a month ago I challenged myself to makeover our sofas before my birthday on November 28, which is fast approaching.  So far, I just added some cushion covers, but the sofas remain girlscout green.  I have about 2 weeks.  Will I have enough motivation to get this goal done?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Not Again...

Okay, I folded... broke another promise, this time publicized here on this blog back in July.  I once again succumbed to the game, the temptation even greater with the new PSP that Ate Connie sent.  As I watch the kids holding this hand-held toy, I think that it will be my turn soon.  It's another "food" game that I played and am starting to get addicted to.  It's not that bad yet, so I can nip it at the bud.  Actually I just started playing it yesterday, but since then it's already taken up too much time.

Why food games, it used to be Hotdog Bush, then Spongebob's Patty Panic and now Yummy Yummy, where depending on the level, I serve up pizza, hotdog or tacos to my customers.  Am I a frustrated cook?  Or do I really want some sort of restaurant job?  I'm trying to see the logic in this, see if there is any subconscious meaning to this senseless pattern of addiction.  Or maybe it's just a way to try to escape reality.  I really don't know, but I do know that playing games isn't productive and does not serve as a good example to my kids.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Basketball - with the 45+ Age Group

It's a Sunday, nearing evening... just woke from my short nap, it's really a requirement to nap if one wants to survive the rest of the evening... there is at last 4 hours left in the day, a day which began at around 6am.  Joselyn also just woke up.  We're waiting for Jojo and Benjo who spent the day in Binangonan.  They'll both be tired, mainly from the travel, Jojo extra tired from playing basketball. 

Jojo joined the 45+ basketball league.  Yes, Jojo now falls into that age group after turning 45 last May.  Basketball has always been one of the sports close to his heart.  He was good at it, he and others say, but how long has it been since he actually played.  Much too long and his body felt it.  A new muscle and joint aches after every game.  They've won 3 games so far, lost the first one.  Jojo has contributed less than 10 points, for all 4 games, though his game is getting better, with each muscle waking up after each game.

It's a little funny (okay, it's pretty pathetic) watching a basketball game of middle-aged men, non-professional ones at that.  In the beginning of the game, everyone seems to be pretty pumped up.  But that only lasts for a few minutes.  After awhile, instead of wanting the ball, the players shake their heads signalling the person with the ball to not give it to them.  Some lag behind at the back court while others make an excuse of needing to go home and then never returning to the game.  The first game I watched I literally worried that we needed to call emergency, scared that the players' heart condition would not take the gruelling fast-break runs.  But they survived, taking many time-outs or substitutions.

Jojo says he's not used to getting jeers instead of cheers.  He was one of the star players back then and how he probably wishes he has his old body back.  When he did take a nice jump shot that actually went in the hoop, a bunch of his "fans" cheered, a rare score, but that small success and two seconds of fame was enough for him to drive the two hours every weekend to that concrete turf and revive the basketball days of old.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Photo Gift Idea

I try to put more thought in the gifts I give.  It is so easy to just pick up something in the store, wrap in up and give it as a birthday or christmas present.  But it is harder to choose a gift that person will actually appreciate and hopefully put into good use (and not recycle as a gift for next christmas!).  And the gift does not have to be expensive.  I had mentioned in a previous blog that I had bought photo frames for our close friends from the kids' school.  The photo frames are very ordinary, dull even.  But I put in some "labor of love", choosing the right pictures from my collection of shots, editing and arranging the pictures so it is something that I hope, when opened, will be both a joy and surprise.  Here are some samples of those photo editing jobs that I still have to print out and place in the frame...

I used both Paintshop Pro to edit the pictures and Microsoft Word to layout and add wordart.  Paintshop Pro doesn't seem to be flexible enough in arranging and re-arranging several images in one project.  The hardest part in creating these projects was tracing the contours of the images in order to give it a solid background.  At one store in SM, I saw one technician easily trace the contour using Adobe Photoshop.  In Paintshop, I use the freehand tool, using it in several sections and cutting the selected section.  I'll have these printed out at a nearby Kodak store, which will cost P7 per printout.  Hopefully the sizes work out for the frames I bought.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Eco Bags Vs Plastic

We were at Puregold Supermarket yesterday.  I was thinking the other week, during the time when I was trying to find ways to cut down on our use of plastic bags, how shopping at Puregold is much more convenient than other grocery stores and the products there are cheaper with the option of buying in bulk or per piece.  But whenever we bought at Puregold we always went home with so many of their clear plastic bags.  The clear plastic bags are probably used so the checkers could easily see the items contained in the bags.  With other major supermarkets trying to go green by selling reusable canvas-like bags, Puregold was being left behind in this environment-conscious age.  But I was wrong. We were about to leave when I saw at the corner of my eye a cart filled with colorful canvas bags with Puregold's Aling Puring character printed on the bags.  It was such a wonderful sight, among all the other carts with plastic bags, one shopper had his Puregold reusable bags.

I have to admit that with all my blogging on trying to be environmentally conscious, our household still uses a lot of plastic.  There have been times that I have forgotten to bring our eco-bags and even one time I had brought a foldable one in my shoulder bag and was reminded by a teller asking if I had a "green bag" and thankfully I did, thereby saving another plastic bag.

SM has their own green bags, so does Shopwise and now Puregold.  I have a National Bookstore canvas bag which I bought for P100 and Joselyn has collected 2 bags so far which were used by two of her classmates as their giveaway bags, instead of the usual plastic loot bag.  So now, instead of plastic bags, we are literally collecting bags made of some non-woven material, which isn't all that bad, but still, do we really need all these canvas bags?

We reuse the plastic bags that we accumulate when shopping, mainly as garbage bags.  Funny though that with the more frequent use of the canvas bags, it is sometimes becoming harder for us to find big enough plastic bags for our garbage.  We have tons of smaller bags that we hardly use, like the ones from Mercury.  As a compromise, I will try to count the number of bags we get from purchases and the number of plastic bags we use in a week.  Hopefully they even out so we don't have so many plastic bags in stock.  Another thing to look into is the amount of garbage we have each week and how to minimize this.  But that's another story which I'll leave for another day...

Toy Kingdom Sale

For those who have kids on their Christmas list, Toy Kingdom will be holding a warehouse sale at SM Megamall's Megatrade Halls (1 & 2) this weekend, November 5-7.  We were at one of these sales a couple of years ago and a warning for those who plan on going this weekend: expect lots of people, long lines and chaos ... we parents should be used to that - toys plus kids plus sales usually equals chaos.

Some tips:  (1) Try to figure out what you want to buy first and go to that section of the hall.  It's better to prepare a list of items to buy and try to stick to that list.  (2) Leave your kids at home or else in one of those play areas, like Dave's Funhouse, so you can shop without worrying about the kids getting lost or adding to the cost of your shopping with the kids wanting to buy toys too. (3) Bring your canvas shopping bags and your SM Advantage and/or Toy Kingdom cards. (4) Shop early if you can.  Friday should be the better day to shop.