Friday, February 21, 2014

It is now 2014

And I'm creeping back in to blogging. I guess 2013 can be considered a busy year for us. And a transitional one as well.

We learned a lot about ourselves as a family. We love each other, no matter what.

We love to serve others, no matter the perception of others.

We protect each other, no matter who it is that hurts us.

We are a family. No matter what happens.

It is now 2014. And things have not been smooth. Things have been tough, confusing, heartbreaking and stressful. But once again, we are learning that we were meant to be a family.

Have a great New Year to all!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Happy New Year & It's Spring already?

Wow, over a year went by since I last posted!

Anyway, this year's not looking any better for blogging as the house is in of repairs and updates as well as upgrades.

L-Infinity's graduating college. Really! So Hawaii, here we come again after only 3 years! Sweet!

T-Giggle's finishing up high school with us here in Texas and J-Pony & I-Dude are 13 and 11. Yikes!

Pictures are on FB so... if you need me, I'm most likely over there!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wow, 2012 is finally here! Just the last 18 months, we've been bombarded with the discovery of the Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world in 2012.

How do you measure the uncertainty of that? Do we liken it to the scare of 1999 turning to 2000 and computers crashing all around that many actually took their funds out of banks and rode around with it in their cars along with ammunition and provisions. Just how do we know? We don't and therefore, each year should be our best year.

May we all try to be the best this year in the things that matter: Love, Kindness, Generosity, Service and Faith. We can all learn from each other and we can all lift each other up.

Happy New Year to all!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Prized Christmas Traditions

It is December once again. How time just flew by. But isn't it just as amazing that someone was inspired enough to help us close each year in remembrance of such a momentous, auspicious event that the whole world needs?

Joy to the world indeed! To remember how our Savior Jesus Christ chose to be our Redeemer despite knowing he'll come into a humble situation though He is a King, a rightful heir to the kingdom of His beloved Father, our Heavenly Father... A son of God.

In preparation for this wonderful, but often misrepresented event, traditions have sprung up. From whole countries, culture, families to individuals. I want to share with you what we do in our family... Though they have evolved during the years, many have remained to this day. For example, since 2007, we have stopped giving "wanted" gifts to each other, but rather we focus the gifts on those items that can help us be more like Jesus- so we buy books and only needed items to share on that day.

After Thanksgiving
-We buy new Christmas books, look for new stories to add to our Christmas book (1997 or 98)
-Start decorating for Christmas
-Plan our Christmas Menu- Filipino
-Figure out whose theme will be used (each of our children has a theme)
-Drop off Nativities to loan for community exhibit (2007)

December 1-25
-Read/watch 1 story and/or sing a song. Normally done under a candlelight, but we are flexible.
-Attend a Temple Lights (2001) or Nativity Display Exhibit (2007)
-Decorate the house
Upper banister, "Burgundy and Gold", 2011

After Nativity Exhibit
-Place Nativities all over the house and finish decorating. (2007)
Carrollton Community Nativity Exhibit, 2011
-Set up the 3 small trees anywhere in the house and read, "The Three Trees" story by them.
"The Three Trees" as our Christmas tree, 2008
L, J & I, in front of our "Three Trees", 2010
Second week of December-
-Buy a Christmas tree and decorate it as a family while listening to Christmas songs
"Poinsettia & Gold", 2010
-Do our family portrait

-Finalize and send out our Christmas Newsletter
-Finalize our menu and start shopping

Christmas Orange 
-We make sure that everyone is home for this (2001). We buy tangerines and each one gets one to peel after we read the story of the Christmas Orange and we do as the story tells. It is told by a few candle lights or by the fireplace. We've been reading this story since we got the book from my in-laws, but we waited to do the actual exchange after our second child was old enough to taste one. Our son had to wait until he was old enough to have his own.
Honey Tangerines,
December 13-25
-Start 12 days of Sweets; bake something sweet every night (2009)
-Send some sweets as gifts

Chocolate-topped Shortbread Cookies & Flavored Cheese Danish 

-Draw names for the PJ & Book Gift Exchange

December 24, Christmas Eve
-Leave Christmas lights on all day
-Lunch-Pizza and juice
-Christmas Dinner-Filipino Feast (Appetizers, Soup, Pansit, Lumpia, Rice, Afritada, Roast Pork, Baked Fish, Desserts, Drinks)
Filipino Feast, Christmas Eve, 2009

-Open Christmas PJs to wear for the night
PJ's, 2009

December 25, Christmas Day
-Leave Christmas lights on all day
-Christmas Breakfast (children's choice)
-Open gifts and stockings by the fireplace
-Set up grazing table (buffet style, all day)
Grazing Table, 2009

-Bake a chocolate cake for the Savior
-Read Mary's Dream
-Listen to Christmas Songs
-Sing "Happy Birthday, Jesus" and eat cake
-Open present for Jesus (a promise to fulfill all year)

We love our traditions and now that the children are older, it is more precious each year...

We'd love to hear about yours...


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Newsletter... Why?

Sandrajo Files.
Is it still necessary? With today's technology, everyone can catch up on a daily basis (Facebook, Blogs, E-mail, Cell Phones, Skypes). Even on a hourly, minute-by minute even (Twitter). So how does a condensed version of a whole year's memory written down for others to see, for the sake of catching up, still show value?

I find myself asking because it is rather getting more and more difficult to compose one. I started out with a nice, semi-formal enough look that summed up what we did for each year since we were first married, but then it morphed to some fun ones, some with pictures, still, the "but" lingers...

We've received many as well over the years, along with generic cards, postcards with pictures of just their kids, and ones designed to make you admire how funny and clever the author is. I certainly look forward to receiving them but we also "see" the same friends and families on Facebook and other networking sites and catch up on what they do so... why a Christmas newsletter? Do people even still read one? Or do the intended recipients now quickly assume, "I already know about that, she just wasted paper." With that in mind, why a Christmas newsletter this year, why not be just like most and just go to the local store and crank out a hundred or so copies of my family's smiling faces with the cursury, "Merry Christmas!" and be done with it?

(As I'm writing this, the answer comes)
... Because it is not about catching up or showing off or keeping up with what's easiest. It's about taking the time to reflect on the year of blessings & trials and finding the Hand of God in each day that passed by. The newsletter becomes a final page to a non-existent journal book that is chosen to be shared with all that we care about. A final way to show of our beliefs, our lifestyle and what we truly value as we celebrate the best holiday of all, the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ...

Knowing this once again, I think I will go back to our former way of doing our newsletter... Because we want everyone to know that we love Him and all that He stands for...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving is a Must

HELLO and Happy Thanksgiving! We made it! We had another great Thanksgiving! As I'm sure you did, too! Like you, I'm sure, we also ate too much and had a great set of rounds of what we are grateful for. So here we are after dinner...

I wanted a Thanksgiving table, but I had no idea what and how. We've also been just bogged down with all sorts. But I'm glad my body and brain worked together last minute, literally, and this is what I came up with...

If you want to see more of our table/dining room/story behind it, click here:

It's rare that I have my pictures taken so don't be scared. That's really how I look like, posed next to my centerpiece.

and here with my 2 little ones, I-Dude and J-Pony. (Obviously) Mr. Man took the picture. We totally missed not having L-Infinity again this Thanksgiving, but we talked to her and she's among friends in Pearl City, Honolulu, HI for her Thanksgiving break at BYUH. She's doing really well in all her studies and might even have an intern job this summer!
I-Dude and J-Pony smiling up at the camera. (I would too, if I'm waiting to be fed!) lol

As always, we had a feast, but definitely toned down. It was nice having plenty to choose, but just eating enough to be full and satisfied...

After talking to L-Infinity and realizing we wanted to send her some pictures.

Just after dinner and dessert time. I-Dude patiently watching Mr. Man cut him a piece of pie.

Afterwards, I went upstairs to upload these pics for the family and when I finished and came back down, Mr. Man washed the dishes! He is just amazing! Love him!

Alright, time to go. Time to play Apples to Apples with the kiddos!

Happy Thanksgiving! How did you celebrate yours?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cooking and Saving

I miss my kitchen... Though the drywall is almost all up on the backwall, the counters are still full of tools and between the kids getting sick and me, too, plus busy schedule, it's still a mess. I've only managed to catalog some of the few great meals I've been doing for the kids' cookbooks (someday). But at least I captured some and they are delicious, nutritious and economical!

Been using One Note to store my recipes (totally not a recipe person), and we're all learning to rely on it to choose and plan our dinner menu for the week. But I'm also into seasonal produce, so until I have it all down, the recorded recipes are not that reliable yet. Here are some of the great ones I have yet to include:

I call this one, Green Steak over Linguine. It's got mainly green ingredients-broccolini, spinach, parsley, basil and little leftover steak. Total cost, under $5.00!
Pan-fried Tilapia fillets. Just S&P and a hot skillet/pan and 4 minutes later, "viola!" Total cost, $4 for 8 fillets!
 I love my Autumn soup, Sweet Leeky Squash Mash; it's hearty nutritious and completely vegetarian. The creamy base, coconut cream! Sweet potatoes, Winter squash, leeks, and spices. Yummy! Topped with Roasted Pumpkin seeds! Filled a 5-cup Rubbermaid container! Total cost, $3.50!
 Steamed Artichokes! Hubby found them at Krogers for 10/$10! Yep, only $1 each!
 Berry Veggie Medley Smoothie, my whole family loves it! Healthy and oh-so cheap! (Blueberries, Blackberries, Strawberries, Spinach, Carrots, Yogurt and OJ) Total cost for the whole pitcher, less than $2.00!
Haven't been doing any tablescapes since back in 4th of July... I'm so sad...

I've been busy researching a healthier approach to eating. So much information available, it's amazing! But, the pattern seems to point at the obvious... Clean food means clean body!

Til next time!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Autumn Bliss

I love, love Fall! Just the simple fact that the leaves change colors, the weather cools after fighting summer's imprisonment or burning punishment. I love Fall!

The colors, the smells, the feel! There's just nothing like it!

The wind whispers, "slow down, slow down..." The air invites, "play, play"... The leaves call, "have hope, have hope..."

And then of course, there's School time, Halloween and Thanksgiving...

What a wonderful way to set our minds and hearts towards the Christmas season, but with a grateful heart when Thanksgiving rolls by and moves on...

I love Autumn, such a wonderful time of the year.

(Pics from last year...)

How do you feel about Fall?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Early Halloween?

Each year, since 2008, we've participated in our church's Trunk-or-Treat gathering both in the Cultural Hall and the Parking Lot. We deck out the back of the van with lights, pumpkins, cauldron, black roses and vinyl tablecloth. We give out glowing bracelets. Just a blast!
Normally, we are used to knowing that it will not follow when Halloween is, especially if it falls on Sabbath day. But each one has been only within a few days before. But this year, it would seem we won't be able to participate in the traditional way-no trunk to dress up for us this year because it's being done 9 days before Halloween! Talk about caught unawares! Between the repairs, books fairs, concerts, hectic work and school schedules this year plus volunteer work, I'm lucky to even remember to get a costume for the kids this year! Forget about candy! (Nah... We can make time to get candy, right? Right!)

Anyway, to ensure that we can at least get the kids to participate and enjoy a pre-Halloween celebration, I signed up to make and bring chili and cornbread while the church funds hotdogs and juice/water. I think it's a fair trade...

As far as Halloween here at our house goes, nada, zip, nothing this year... We just have too much going on and no real time to setup the holiday decor without adding to the mix of boxes already needing to find a spot in the attic or the garage. Did I mention the current deluge of repairs we have? Let's see... sink and water heater, just fixed (love my new Moen "Lindley" faucet!), AC being monitored for leaks, back wall still missing in the Eat-In/Office area of the Kitchen, puppies poked a hole on the expensive couch, carpet being changed to tile, under sink particle board floor ripped and to be changed, bugs needing to be repelled around the house, curtains still need to be hung up, and painting in the Library windows and two of the kids bedrooms still need to be finished.

At least they are our projects to do... (after sighing loudly...)

Happy Halloween to all this year!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Water Heater Gets in on the Act!

Hello all!

In our current saga of "Repairs-a-Callin'", our seemingly quiet water heater unit decided to get our attention.

Mr. Man fixed the hot water pipe leak under the sink recently and decided it was time to turn back the hot water tank on yesterday. Well! "Sir Expansion Tank" literally blew his top off and crashed into the ceiling! Followed by a jet of hot water! Good thing no real damage as Mr. Man managed to turn off the water line just in time. Whew!

After a trip to Lowe's and Home Depot for a new expansion tank, pipe tapes, temp & pressure gauge, fittings and new piping, "Don Water Heater Tank" is humming his merry little tune again at a nice toasty 120 deg F. Most would have it set at 140 deg F, but the previous owner did not gauge their room well and fitted into a tiny closet, Don's girth capacity of 50 gals while his height almost didn't allow for any noble "Sir Expansion Tank" to fit on top! So to make things work, the water temp had to go down so the pressure can go down and keep "Sir" happy and content being "on top" of things for the "Don".

More updates later... Happy Fall y'all!