December 31, 2013

Looking Back: My Favorite Blog Posts from 2013

It's finally the last day of the year! I can't believe it! (If you're concerned that I'm spending the day blogging on my computer instead of cooking and helping in the kitchen, don't worry - this is a scheduled post. This means the feelings I mustered about the end of the year are just simulated hahaha.)

Anyway, I really could not believe how this year flew so fast. It has never happened to me when I was not a mom yet! I mean, seriously! Didn't my little boy just turned 1 early this year? Now, he's about to turn 2! Oh no! Also, I still remember very vividly the feelings of anticipation and apprehension waiting for Yuri to take his first steps. Now, I have to worry about him not climbing upstairs. Time doesn't fly when you're having fun; time flies when you're watching a little person's life unfold in front of your eyes!

I need to steady myself, and I think remembering this year will help. To recap what happened this year, as well as the highlights of my blogging, here are my favorite posts from 2013:


I remember that it was early last year, when Yuri was just around 9 months old, when he first fell down from our bed. That single accident led me to rearrange the bedroom's furniture (single-handedly) to find an arrangement that is safer and would work for us. After consulting Google and some mom blogs, I decided to have a side-car crib arrangement, and we still have the same arrangement now!


By the end of February, when Yuri was already 11 months, he still did not have any teeth. I didn't really fret about it because I was scared he would bite me while breastfeeding. I was really surprised when a small tooth erupted on the 28th! I didn't think he would have teeth soon because he didn't demonstrate the signs of teething. He did not fret at all, but he did keep chewing on stuff.


Of course, the highlight of this month was Yuri's first birthday! I only got to spend weeks preparing for his birthday, and while it wasn't perfect, the real essence of it was how people around us care for Yuri and how extremely blessed we are to have him in our lives.


April this year, I did the unthinkable and decided to pursue a little online business. By that time, students from the US were about to go on summer vacation, so the number of essays I review grew considerably less. I needed to augment my income, so I cleaned up my closet and sold some of my clothes. The clothes were quickly sold, but I stopped selling immediately because of a certain problem.


Unlike me and my siblings and Job, Yuri didn't walk before his first birthday. I was eagerly awaiting his first steps, and I didn't worry (at all) because I knew they would come soon. Other people were commenting (some with accusatory tones) why a 1-year old wouldn't walk yet, but I know different children had different timelines. Alas, on May 15, it happened! He stood up on his own and took his first steps!


June is my birth month, and I would always anticipate the coming of June no matter how old I get. Hey, I have an old soul but I have a young heart! For my birthday, I did a lot of "special" birthday posts - heehee - but this gratitude post is my favorite:

June was not all fun and lightheartedness, though, as by the end of the month, I encountered news of a premature child whose mother died in childbirth. She needed breastmilk and a lot of help, and while moms in the city did their best to help, God took her back to heaven, too, to be together with her mother.


In line with PNoy's State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July, I did a fun twist to it: a State of the Baby Address (SOBA)! While political commentators might not be impressed, I surely enjoyed putting together bits and pieces of Yuri's life in a tongue-in-cheek blogpost. Yuri turned 16 months then. :-)

I also got (unexpectedly) invited by Jollibee to take part in their blogger contest. If I remember it correctly, there were only 6 of us mom bloggers who were invited to join: 2 from Luzon, 2 from Visayas, and 2 from Mindanao. Jollibee sent me a cool Instax camera, and my family and I had fun going to different places in the city to take snapshots (my favorite thing to do)! I didn't know who won the contest, but I am forever grateful to the experience.


I also received another blessing in August this year. I was one of the winners of Rinadesign's giveaway! Though I didn't win first prize (a fellow blogger did!), I was sooo happy I got the chance to have Rinadesign's beautiful creations for free. While I chose some for my mom and sister, the rest was for Yuri. Hence, at just 17 months, we already have a complete study table! Haha!


The first highlight of September was my mad baking skillz! Haha, I'm kidding. I don't know how to bake in the oven, but I did try baking using the microwave. Here's what I was able to do:

Noob Baker: 5-Minute Peanut Butter Chocolate-Chip Cake

Another blog milestone also happened last September. Davao Mommy got featured in an international website, Mommy Hotspot! I didn't expect it at all, and when I read the email in the morning, I jolted up from bed! I try not to bask in self-centeredness, but I still feel honored.

Finally, Yuri turned 18 months during this month, which marked the beginning of his "toddler-hood." I was very excited and a bit apprehensive at the same time! However, I could not deny that I enjoy his company more and more as he grows older. I would forever treasure my memories of Yuri as a newborn, but I prefer his toddler self! Haha!

I wrote a post on October about getting rich, which might have garnered mixed reactions. I couldn't blame some because like them, I was raised to think of "poverty" as a "noble sacrifice." However, when I became a Christian and started reading the Bible daily, I really could not see anything biblical about the mindset. On the contrary, God promises prosperity for us (Jeremiah 29:11). Please keep in mind, though, that prosperity doesn't mean amassing riches but acting as stewards to bless others.

On a lighter note, October also marked the anniversary of my blog! Yay! (Okay, the actual anniversary of my blog actually falls on September 22, but I didn't have time to write a blog-versary post until October.) Until now, I still couldn't believe I was able to blog regularly for a long time. I didn't think I would be able to achieve it. For my blog-versary post, I wrote about the reasons why I blog, which are also the reasons why I persevere doing it without any concrete returns.


November saw me unleashing my inner photographer. Haha! Okay, so before you get the wrong idea, while I took a photography class back in college, I never had the "talent" to make pictures. I was just an avid "picture-taker." However, when Yuri began walking more and more independently, I suddenly had the desire to take beautiful photos of him. It is hard to do this, since I only have a cheap Samsung camera and my toddler never stays still, but I do try!


December of 2013 is special to me because I truly opened up to God for the first time in 2 years. I rekindled my relationship with him, which faded for some reasons. In return, God sent me beautiful messages, helpful warnings, and delightful promises. I pray to obey him always and trust in his plan.

Job and I also made the choice to follow God's order and create a major change in our current lives. I haven't blogged about it yet, but this also happened in December.

Lastly, we took the first step to investing. Finally! After a year of studying about it and preparing for it, the time has finally come to concretely commit to creating a financially independent life.

Whew, that's a lot of posts! I didn't realize I wrote so much this year! Well, I actually realized that when I was browsing through my 2013 posts and choosing which were my favorite. Haha! Writing this post made me realize that God truly and faithfully blessed me this year despite my sinful ways. It also made me realize that while I encounter problems, they were very few in comparison to the blessings. I shouldn't have worried so much about these problems when they were just minor bumps in the road!

The good thing about looking back is being able to thank God for the year he has given us. Thank you, God, for everything. I'm seriously looking forward to a rocking new year!

Happy new year to all of you!!!

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December 30, 2013

The Last Sunday of 2013

Wow, I can't believe I just wrote that. From this day on, there would no longer be 2013 weekends. Gee does time fly fast!

So how did my last weekend of 2013 go? Well, aside from meeting up with 2 of Yuri's ninangs, nothing much! Yesterday, we went to SM Lanang Premier as usual. We planned to attend mass there; however, we were late. Boohoo. (I attend the mass because my parents are Catholic and I want to obey them.) By the way, here's Yuri's OOTD:

SM and a lot of stores (like Cotton On and Forever 21) were on clearance sale. However, I wasn't interested in buying clothes at all. Really! Maybe it's because I'm too lazy to check out the sales. Maybe it's because I haven't truly worked for almost a week now (I'm on a no work - no pay scheme). Or maybe because I'm just not interested!

I also didn't buy anything for Yuri because he has still a lot of unused toys and unread books from Christmas! So, sorry, next time na siguro tayo magkakaron ng fab finds heehee.

We did buy a lot of food: some to eat and some to prepare for New Year's Eve. I will need to do some serious dieting next year. Aja!

One highlight of our Sunday, though, was meeting Jollibee - again. I could not count the times we have seen and taken a picture with the orange mascot, but I guess we're not stopping soon. While we were eating, Jollibee appeared and Yuri could seriously not stay seated. He was wriggling in his high chair and was even motioning for Jollibee to go near him using his hands. How very Pinoy. Hahaha!

Another problem was that I forgot to bring the camera. Good thing my mom let me borrow her phone. Thanks, Ma!

December 28, 2013

My "Forced" Holiday in Photos

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. However, I don't really view Christmas day as a non-working holiday because, well, since last year, I find myself working on holidays. That's the way of a work-at-home mom slash freelancer! While we have flexible schedules, the downside is that the system goes like this: no work, no pay. But I'm not complaining at all!

This year, though, I took a "forced" holiday on December 25. Yuri's yaya, Honey, and I already came up with the decision to work that day since she already went home to her province for her birthday last December 9. However, that morning, she had a bad headache and needed to rest. So she rested, while I took up nanny duties - and did a lot of stuff!

Good morning!

There is such a thing as post- Christmas eve shopping. Ang daming tao!
I brought home three big shopping bags - parang hindi nanggaling sa Noche Buena!
My new discovery - Dolcetto Wafers. These are not all ours; we already have enough sweets in the house. But these are delicious!
Yuri's yayu also had a pahabol gift because toys were on sale in Gaisano Mall #bakitngayonlang?!

December 27, 2013

Finance Friday: The First Step in Investment

I've been reading and talking about investments for a year now. I still fondly remember how I first stumbled upon the wonders of stock investments early January this year. Since then, it was as if a light bulb turned on. Why aren't we all doing this? I was so sure I would invest in stocks, but I felt as if it wasn't yet the right time.

I spent the first six months of this year doing pure research. Yes, all I did was read, read, and read. You see, before you take any big step, you should know a lot about it. Don't follow blindly. It might seem like a good step, but without arming yourself with knowledge, you're bound to fail.

I also read a lot of Christian books to  abound in God's wisdom and to remind myself that yes, prosperity is God's plan for us, but we are called to prosper not to hoard riches but to be a blessing to others.

Then, we (Job and I) spent the next six months of the year forming our emergency funds. Based on the research I have done, it is unwise to invest all of your money without setting aside funds that you can dip into in case of emergencies. Without having emergency funds, it is very likely that you will withdraw from your investment, which impairs the power of compound interest, and this defeats the purpose of long-term investment. Thus, there is a need to set aside an emergency fund before investing.
Tip: If you don't know what the terms "stock," "emergency funds," "compound interests," and "long-term investment" mean, do yourself a favor and postpone investing. If you don't know the value of saving and living within (below is better!) your means, postpone investing. If you believe that banks are the only way to go, postpone investing.
First, do your research. Again, I studied personal finance and investments for almost a year, and I'm not done yet. Also, know that investing is not "easy money." As mentioned in Proverbs 13:11, "Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow."
I would add that if you are not tithing regularly, then you should postpone investing. However, I'm saying this from a Christian point of view. Tithing really helps in developing the character, and I believe God designed this to prepare us to be a blessing to others when we prosper.

Anyway, this month, we knew we were prepared to take the first step in investment. COL Financial is a highly-recommended company where ordinary individuals, like you and me, can easily invest in stocks even without huge amounts of money at hand. In fact, you can easily open an account with just P5,000, a far cry from what people used to need to invest.

So this is it! We're finally beginning the journey toward financial independence and a financially-independent retirement hehe. Before we end this post, let's review what you need to do before you invest:

December 26, 2013

Snapshots of my Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas! How did your celebrations go? Mine was pretty tiring, as most moms would understand. But fulfilling nonetheless! This Christmas was especially more fun because Yuri is now almost 2 years old and have a better grasp of excitement and enjoyment. To parents of infants who have to sleep through the entire celebration, have hope! Haha!

We didn't actually have a bonggang Noche Buena because we wanted a simple celebration. However, the celebration was still fun and meaningful. Here are some snapshots of how our Christmas went:

Christmas glasses
This is what happens to delicate macarons when there's a toddler in the house.
Ang pinaghirapan kong mango float teehee
...and, you guessed it, dinuguan! My favorite, which I can only eat once a year. Boohoo.
Massive mound of raw embutido dough - another of my mother's specialty
Spaghetti, given by our American neighbor
Fruits from the palengke
Leftover goody from my mother's S&R stash
And this, too. 
We have 3 canisters of chocolate. First canister...

December 24, 2013

Cuzo before Christmas!

Yesterday afternoon, when I was cuddling with Yuri (there are almost no essay to review this week - everyone has gone vacation mode already!), our yaya announced that the "delivery boy" was there. Surprise, surprise - it was from Cuzo! I was surprised because I wasn't expecting anything to arrive this week, and there are three reasons why.

Actually, I ordered stuff from Cuzo last Friday and paid on Saturday. I have been planning to buy a bag and my Christmas gift to my mom for weeks now, but I was being too fickle (I blogged about my choices here). It wasn't until Friday when I finally decided what to buy.

Another thing that delayed me was the lack of BPI deposit in the payment options. I sent Cuzo a message on their Facebook page but did not really expect a concrete solution (that happens in most customer service experience I've had). Imagine my surprise when they replied and told me to go ahead and order and they'll just give me BPI details I can send payment to! Yay!

The final reason why I wasn't expecting the order to arrive so soon was that I ordered a couple of bespoke items. These are leather goods that are personalized. I ordered them as gifts to my mom, and in fact, I told my mom that my Christmas gift to her will be delayed. My mom will surely be surprised!

Anyway, enough of the talking. Here are some photos I took of the order:

Rumpled packages are not unusual for me - after all, I live in Mindanao.
Leather, nylon, and brass
Sturdy nylon, great leather, thick hardware

December 23, 2013

The Weekend Before Christmas in Photos

Good morning! Two days nalang, Christmas na! Have you completed your Christmas shopping already? Me, I'm almost done. Just one more gift, but that would be given after Christmas so no pressure here. Meanwhile, it's already 1pm but the weather is still so cool. I love it! On the other hand, my body is so sore. Overexhausted! Fatigued! But it's okay. I love the Christmas season!

To be honest, I'm too tired to spew out words for a proper blog, so I'll just let the photos do the talking.

Days before Christmas, Mama still keeps on adding Santa Clauses and snowmen to her growing collection. :-)
I love this little house and the little Santas! (There are six of them.)
I have also finished wrapping all my gifts. Achievement unlocked! Yay!
Our little Christmas tree - now with presents (although none of them is mine!)
This year was the first time Yuri has ever gone out carolling. You see, my Mama is one of the subdivision's officers, and one of the projects every Christmas is the carolling to raise funds for the partey. :D

(Sorry for the dark photo; my sister didn't want to tinker with the camera's settings because we were already left behind. Meanwhile, if you look closely, you will see Yuri smiling hehe.)
We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!
An Italian neighbor of ours got out her laptop so that her sister (I assume),
who was on Skype (I assume), could see and hear us sing Christmas songs. :D
I love walking in the evening.
I "crush" this house!

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