Sunday, January 31, 2010

SH Day 1- It's Sunday!

Hello... Today marks the day that we embark on our 2nd attempt at NOT BUYING ANYTHING WE DO NOT NEED. We upped it from 10 days to 14 days from our first and very successful, attempt. We even gave it an official name, SHOPPING HIATUS. Cool,huh? Which means, no eating out, no grocery shopping for just good deals, no shopping for anything that can wait. If we can make it, we make it. We do without and we wait!

Since it's Sunday, it was an easy start not to get anything... Let's see how it goes. And since I'm not feeling so hot either (dizzy and "jelly" legs), I think the kids can manage rummaging through the fridge for food.

Can we survive 14 days without caving in for that "one shiny bauble" in an ad?

Well, I hope so! Wish us luck! This time, our incentive is to add what we'll save, to our Christmas Fund aka January Shopping Spree!

Did I tell you about that? Our "Christmas fund" is saving $1 a day, or 20 cents per person per day, for a total of $1 a day for our Shopping Spree. This way, we know that everyone saved for that one "want" they'll find in the store when we go. That's $1 a day starting Jan 1-Dec 31. Then we portion it this way: Lunch while out shopping, 1-3 Family gifts and equally divided amount for individual gifts. (When we do this, we bring our own snacks, beverage and coupons to save on food, too! It's a whole day affair and we end it with a rental to watch together at home.) Easy enough, right? Right!

So far, the last two years of this tactic, totally panned out since we were also armed with the grands' giftcards from Christmas. :-)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Asian and AC/DEC

... Just seems to go together. LOL

As you know, I'm Filipino and I'm married to a Caucasian. But the more we grow, our tastes and abilities seem to align with more of my Asian heritage, Chinese and Filipino.

My children take pride in being touted Filipinos since there are not many in this area. When I want to cook light but hearty, all I need to do is whip us some veggie filled chinese dish and a light sauce. (recipe at the bottom)

AC/DEC competitions seem to be seen the same way. The more Asians you have in your team, the more intimidating you seem to be. LOL Well, tonight, both of L-Infinity's heritage worked in her advantage. Being Co-Captain, it is her responsibility to "rally" her team and boost their morale. But simultaneouly, she had to prove that her title is well earned.

Fresh home from her Regional Competition, she brought home 5 different medals ranging from 5th Team Overall (bronze/red ribbon) that qualifies them to go to State (yeah!!!) to Best Team Scorer (gold) and 2nd in Overall Essay (first silver). Of course, the normal rounds of "because she's Asian" and "Asians always do well" were heard. To her, it was all good. This is her last year and she's going out with a bang... Asian or not... :-D

Beef with Snow Peas

1 can of chicken broth
2 stalks of green onion
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
15-20 snow pea pods, stringy side stripped
1/4 lb. beef, thin strips (either leftover roast or raw)
2 egg whites (whisked)
1 small onion, thin strips
6-8 baby carrots, quarter lengthwise
salt & pepper

With the oil, on high heat, saute onions, carrots and throw in beef. Season with s&p.
Saute until meat no longer pink. Set aside.
In the same pan, saute snow peas for 3-5 minutes. Add in chicken broth.
Let boil and scoop out snow peas. Add snow peas on top of the beef platter. Turn heat to low.
In a small dish, pour some cornstarch and add some broth. Blend then stir into broth.
Mix in sesame oil.
The whisked egg whites, stir into thickened broth. Kill heat and stir until sauce is a little thicker.
Pour over beef and veggies. Enjoy with steamed rice!

It's healthy and quick to make.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fridays? Grrr!!!

Mental Floss dot com

This year, with Mr. Man's new schedule and the growing kids' desire to be little litterbugs, my Fridays have become a day I don't look forward to.

It's the most hectic since field trips, competitions, concerts, deadlines, fees due dates and budget reconciliation-- all fall on this day! It plain bites! And then there's the cleaning...

For example, this morning, I spent over 10 minutes picking up in the smallish kiddos' room just to get all the stuff strewn on the floor! And since our ex-guest/free tenant set the bad example of "dining en suite" by sneaking out snacks from the upstairs pantry, I also saw empty snack packs on the floor! (can you say fuming? She's already gone and yet I'm still cleaning up after her mess! Grrrr!!!)

So for "correction tactics", snacks were rescinded for today, all laundry have to be done tonight, bed was made (my way), clothes are being folded right after the dry cycle and dinner is simple and they had to help. I figured since they expended their brain and body energy into being "mischievous", I am within my parental rights to "redirect it" and make them productive!

I will achieve two things-- clean space and clothes (albeit temporary) and clothes sorted out to what fits now and next year. Simply, more reduction and organization compliments of their laziness and sneaky ways!

It is true, opposition is needed in all things... It cures complacency and deceit- in my house anyways...

Gotta love my kids!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

FHE: Extremes

Last week, we've established that FHE will now be on Thursdays.

Tonight, our lesson was on extremes. Both good and bad extremes and why...

Good Extreme: Being able to buy what we needed in one store and for way under our budget.

L-Infinity's competing with her AC/DEC team tomorrow and she needed a suit. I-Dude's shoes and socks are so worn out that his feet were stinking so bad and toes are beginning to itch in Kohl's where we went tonight. Poor kid!

I was silently and mentally screaming my head off as to how I'm going to afford all these instant "needs". But with luck and knowing we've been paying tithing, I hoped for the best. Both kids NEEDED something.

So, after much browsing, L found not one but two great suits! One 60% off and the other 80% off. Total price, $38 with tax.

We all ended in the shoes department and "voila!", as if the heavens knew I won't be able to afford shoes by his birthday in March, I-Dude and I found not one but three great looking shoes were in clearance for 70% off! All in his size with room to grow! To top it off, Mr. Man noticed that the socks in I-Dude's size were on sale for B1G1F and we were able to grab the last four of the promotional 7 pair/pk, with the money left over from our budget! Woohoo!!! Total price, $66 with tax.

Bad Extreme: Getting our money's worth, but ended with a belly ache... (ooh!)

Right after, we headed to our storage to pick up one of L's suitcases for her trip tomorrow. And since it was already dinner time and we were far from home, we opted to use some coupons and chose a nearby Chinese buffet called, China King Buffet. Albeit, we were able to save two sets of 50% off, but... we ended up overeating from the seemingly endless selection of delicious dishes, from appetizers to dessert!
J-Pony was the only one who I was able to snap up for a photo-op, but you can clearly see how big this place is! We all piled on our plates in the name of sampling each dish, but in the end we were not happy. The kiddos all had stomachaches, I couldn't stop burping and I-Dude even ended up throwing up from too much food! Only Mr. Man was able to keep it all in.

All of us learned that moderation is the key to avoiding BAD extremes. And to respect GOOD extremes as divine help for our righteous efforts.

It's utterly amazing how one day can show you both your strengths and weaknesses. But with faith, you at least realize which ones you can change...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Two for Two?

Yup, people, my hubby's two for two today!

Wait, that's not what I mean... (whatever it is you're thinking)

The fact is... I'm not a "birthday celebratin' on the day of your birthday kind of gal", so my hubby and I decided to go on a "Birthday Date" that turned out to be "Dates" (plural people)! One in the afternoon and one at night! (a rarity among rarities in our married history so of course, I'd blog about it! )

We both wanted to watch the movie, Avatar. So we did... in 3D and IMAX! We found a theater in Dallas that showed it and still gave us enough time to pick up the kiddos after school. We quickly purchased the tickets after lunch at Whataburger nearby. I sooo recommend it! (my own waterworks started and flowed near the end, it was so good!)

Proof it was IMAX... lol (that's just the middle of the screen)
Our 3D glasses... (we took pics when we had them on, but it was so dark, all you could see of me is my nose and the glare of the overhead lights- on my forehead!... not a pretty picture...)
And my gorgeous date, complete with his own tub of popcorn! (I was good, I had water) I wore an eggplant colored top, denim capris and eggplant colored ankle heeled boots. I also had my hair in a tight pony. I looked movie ready!

Then, tonight... We dressed up a bit and went to our second date, a nice dinner out. Of course, we opted for seafood (one of my kryptonites) and had a great time sampling the generous (and mouth-watering) portions at our nearby Papadeaux Seafood Kitchen. This time, we were in the Restaurant Row of Dallas, a little closer to where we live. The place was packed, but we got seated right away. We had a great time!

Look at this fountain at their entrance. Wowie! It's inside a portico side entry.
Once inside, we started our dinner with some beefsteak tomato salad with blue cheese crumbles. Yum!
For cocktails, Mr. Man got a pina colada daquiri while I opted for the strawberry one. The V version, of course!
I tried their current special-- Lobster Lafitte, it's half a rock lobster, head-to-tail stuffed with crawfish, shrimp and crab then topped with lobster meat and a scrumptious creamy sauce of my choice (lemon caper). It was paired with some crawfish etouffe. Of course, neither of us finished what we ordered, they were on massive platters! (this is what's leftover of mine. Mr. Man's Crawfish Trio platter looked just as full.)
And here we are! See? completely different looking! :-) I went for a "totally blinged-out" look because I've never really done it before. It was actually a lot of fun. I put on a silver top with black slacks.
Mr. Man went for "I'm her eye-candy" in a rugged casual way. Loved it! (And I think our young female server thought so, too! She refilled his soda, praised him for trying crawfish for the first time and was thoroughly helpful. Me, she didn't come around with a water pitcher for refills and my clutch that she asked me to move when the dishes came only got complimented after we asked for take home boxes. How cute...)
To not look so formal, I opted for simple jewelry like this choker I found at Kohl's today. I also donned a silver clutch, to hold my cell phone and lipstick. :-D
and silver dress sandals, but for my lips, toes and nails, I went copper!
I looked and felt like a million bucks, but in reality, my piggy bank barely noticed I dipped in. ;-)

What a great day! I hope you and your sweetie can indulge in a "two for two" very soon. It is worth it and so much fun!

Til' next time!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mahal!

From Yowazzup dot com


We took Mr. Man out to a quick pizza dinner at our neighborhood, (ok only one in the area) Palio's Italian Grill. He ordered his usual Hawaiian Sunrise, XL for some insurance on leftovers and the kiddos and I enjoyed celebrating his birthday though it was rather quick since he had to go to work an hour later.

As I've said before... We'll take what we can get...

(Sorry about the lack of post infusion, but the organizing has commenced and we're all over the place)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Catching Up...

So here's what I've been up to...

Back on the evening of the 10th, I baked two loaves of honey wheat sandwich bread. I'd show you the loaves but they've already been dessiminated into sandwiches, toast and french toast... (this is the first proofing)
Then I decided to practice my hand at tablescaping again for my other blog. But as you can see, I'm a little rusty. I forgot a goblet! Yeeesh! I call this one, "Love is where You are..."
Yesterday evening, I played with my old candles... I made them chic and usable again... An old trick for this old gal, actually.
Then I surprised Mr. Man with a great and healthy dinner of Grilled Salmon with Cilantro Pesto and steamed Jasmine Rice. He was so floored, I'm repeating it on Wednesday to feed the missionaries and family friends, Cori and Matt. I can't wait!
Today, after Michelle arrived with Mr. Man from Dallas, he fixed the missionaries' bike tire that was in a crash. We had a great lunch of bbq chicken wings and BLCs(bacon, lettuce, cheese). The kiddos love finger foods!
Tonight, after L's weekend of dates, she and our family friend, Michelle, visiting from AZ for a few days, play a round or two of the Wii Rock Band. Can't you see the budding rockers in them?

Ok, you're all caught up with my adventures. Now, what have you been doing?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Inevitable Changes...

As you noticed, I haven't been blogging much. Not that I have nothing to say, I just have to portion my brain cells between planning to continue our current lifestyle of easygoing and packing every little thing we can prior to our not so planned out move yet the end of summer, almost fall, with a heavy dose of organization and reduction. (pictures later)

I'm still baking, budget planning and a mediocre visiting teacher, but since our gift to the Savior this year as a family is to "Be Better Missionaries"... We are choosing to keep our hearts and home open to all possibilities and promptings on what that would entail. (If you know us, opportunities are never in short supply. Just the way we like it.)

So, what's in store?

Time with family and friends
Traveling (more to college campus of L's choice and acceptance of course)
Reading the scriptures
Revising the food stocking plan to fit our move
Find some time for genealogy
More reading
Offer cooking lesson activities to YW
Teach cooking tips to friends
More baking (we're talking eclairs, baby!!!)

The rest and "in betweens"... We'll leave them in the capable hands of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I'm sure He has some great ideas up His sleeves.

I'll be around, just not as often, but I'll blog worthy news, occasional ramblings and life-altering moments or even just to throw in a laugh or two. We'll see...

Til' next post!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Perfume for the Pits?

I've mentioned this before... I don't have body odor, but I didn't discover it until after I got married and my husband pointed it out to me.

(Do I sweat, of course! Do I have my clothes smell not so fresh after cooking, yes! Do I end up smelling like ozone in the summer, you bet! But one difference, it doesn't last and on a normal day, I can comfortably refold my clothes back into the dresser. And most of my clothes, my own husband can't tell and gets a bit miffed when found in the hamper. He thinks it got mixed up or fell in by accident.)

Well before that fateful discovery, since I came here to America, I've used the Secret line of deodorants. We're talking since highschool back in 1987! Just like most people, I used it whenever I thought I needed it. I started with their original Spring Breeze scent then eventually, when I was able to afford it, I tried the newer Platinum line, Glacier Mist scent. Well they don't have that anymore so I now switched to the newest collection, Fresh Effects line, Freshwater Orchid.

Background: I don't buy deodorants often which makes me forget to wear some which then reiterates my husband's discovery. The last time I applied was last week (from the one I opened back in early 2009), prior to that, November, just before Thanksgiving. (no foolin'!) Another proof: my in-laws bought me several (7-10) of the Glacier Mist back in 2006, and I still had three unused ones last year that my teen have since used.

I also prefer that it comes to me by way of gifts as I find this line of deodorant expensive. I've tried others, but I like Secret the best. Though it didn't really make any difference according to Mr. Man.

So now back to my hubby... Saturday, at Target, I again asked him through the kiddos to get me a new scent of Secret, but he wasn't really cooperating though he also claimed he kept forgetting. I asked why naturally and he said, "Maybe because you don't really need it, that it doesn't stick in my head. You use it as perfume and you already have several perfumes."

I never thought of deodorants as a mere perfume for the pits... But I guess that's all I use it for. So should I forgo it altogether? Nah... As cheap as I am, this is one luxury item I can't shed. So I guess my pits has its own perfume... "How fancy!" (as my kids would say. lol)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A List of Good Things...

This week was full of things to do and done. The freeze warning wasn't enough to dampen our plans to spend time together.

Monday to Thursday was spent picking up, dropping off and grocery shopping for both food and firewood.

Friday, we watched Harry Potter 6 at home after a great dinner out at Palio's Italian restaurant and a trip to Lowe's... We started the shelving units for the little ones' room. We decided on wall to wall so we can keep the floor clear. (fingers crossed on this one)

Saturday, we finally had our Family Shopping Spree and we hit pay dirt!!! We left the house armed with giftcards from the grands and we used it well... Got our family and individual gifts. Yeah!

In 7 hours, we managed to visit Half-Price Books, Barnes and Noble, Home Depot, Target, and Forever 21. Everyone got what they wanted, even me! We came home with so many bags, you'd think we were made of money, but no... we barely dented our wallets. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Today, I baked French breads and Pan de Sal since we ran out of sandwich bread. Tomorrow, I will bake sandwich bread.

(We have been enjoying our leftovers thoroughly but also enjoyed eating out, for free or highly discounted with coupons! I haven't cooked much but it was balanced out with the mounting laundry from all the extra layers of clothes from the freeze stint we had.)

Yesterday, At Home Depot, they had two 50% off bags of gravel that was perfect for the bald front of our apartment. So for $3 on both bags, we now have a more pleasing and flood-free zone by the front door! Yay!!!

At 45 degrees today, we were warm enough to clean out the patio for the inspection tomorrow. It looks great and my purple Asiatic Lily, thrived and grew into three different plants! I can't wait to see the new blooms in the Spring!

Also today, just before church ended, the emergency lights and alarm went off. It turned out that in and around one of the foyers, water pipes burst and we had an instant waterfall and fountain from the columns and roof. The kids loved it, the adults, grateful it wasn't much worse...

How about you, what fun things did you do?

Maybe not earth shattering...

... but our freeze warning did materialize the whole weekend with as low as 12 deg F! For this area, monumental since the last major snow was about 8 years ago.

Ok, lots to catch you up on, but will have to come back later to share. See ya later!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Our area was issued a FREEZE WARNING by tomorrow and Friday. We're talking in the teens! (I know most in the East Coast are probably yawning at this revelation, but hey this is north Texas, humidity's our game) Hopefully, it won't be too bad. More snow is welcome but without the major sting of gusty arctic winds.

We'll see... Right now it's 45 deg F.

How's your neck of the woods?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Sweet & Bright Beginning

Reflecting on 2009, it was certainly a year of changes, starts and stops and of sheer generosity. Our children hit milestones: I-Dude, 7 and found his inner artist; J-Pony, hit the double-digit age and learned "why and how" kids her age grow up; L-Infinity, 17 and college bound. We have seen some of the most amazing examples of kindness, patience and friendship while simultaneously tried to stretch our own. I learned to bake and took on three different disciplines in Sociology. Mr. Man found himself in Chicago and Houston for work and enjoying some weekend time which has been denied us for at least six years.

Despite how it ended, 2009 has been one of our best years to reflect on. Our family's stronger for it. So how do you top that? You start it off right, of course!

I decided to make some FUDGE for the very first time- 1/2 with nuts (almond and walnuts) and 1/2 plain. (It's still cooling and solidifying in the fridge, so I had to borrow this picture).
"LaurelVChocolates dot com"

As I was quietly contemplating how 2010 would unfold for our "recovering" family, we saw this beautiful and bright moon-- illuminating the wispy clouds underneath it. It made me wonder if our future adventures will be as "reflective" of who we are.

The future is unknown... But one thing we are sure about, we believe in each other and in a loving God who knows what we need to strengthen the bond that have kept us together and strong. We believe in our friends and the impact of even one good deed.

I like those odds... This year promises to be another great one. :-D

Friday, January 1, 2010

"Banking" on the New Year's Best...

2010 IS HERE!

Theme: "By the Snowbank, New Year came..."

With all the drama of 2009, we as a family thoroughly welcomed the New Year. First, we hit Target and Kohl's for some of their great deals (70-80% off).

I turned my mantle into a colorful snowbank... (you can imagine it's a snowbank)

Captured a kissing couple on the tube at exactly midnight...
Enjoyed some more bling and sparkle with our hands... (finger foods) (See the other snowbank on the table?)
Created our own loud noises....
And our own mess of course...
While we kept our mouths happy and quiet...
We couldn't end the celebration without a grateful toast- to family and future memories; to the wonderful and unbelievable ride that was 2009. In with the good, out with the bad...
Yes, I had to get my 3-second spotlight. ;-)
And another look of the stars of our lives, I-Dude...
and the newly arrived "from a Stake Dance" L-Infinity. (I chose that dress)

May the New Year treat you in the best ways and fill your lives with gratitude and faith in the Almighty. Thank you all for the wonderful memories-with this blog, they will be cherised always.