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Home on the Web

Day to day thoughts of a techie, shopping & sales- addict, chef-wannabe couple.

Updated: 2018-02-02T20:45:07.276-05:00


Observations & Artwork


These days, S blurts out things that tell me that all these years where he's been non-verbal unable to communicate, he's been absorbing things all along.

For example, he brings out a Dr Seuss Green Eggs & Ham book and asks "who gave this book ?"

"Tita Me-----", I said.

and then he follows up with "Who is Ma----'s Mom ?" Ma---- is Me-----'s daughter. We meet them once a year on average.

Then later, he says to me "A, A and R are girls. They are sisters".
Actually, they're not. A and A are sisters, R is not their sister but they're always together whenever we see them so I can see why S would be confused.


I'm also taking the chance to post today's artwork.

Can you guess what it is ?

Parang last year lang, all I could teach him to draw was a balloon, a lollipop or a kite.



I've been hearing suspicious sounds from my car and had switched vehicles with the husband so he can observe.

When I picked up Swe-cha from school that afternoon, he sees his Dad's car instead of mine....

     S: What's that ?
     Me: It's..

     S: (interrupts me) NOT DADDY'S CAR!! (and he starts laughing)

He then runs to the car and takes a peek through the windows

     S: That's not right! (while laughing hysterically)

and then, as we're buckling ourselves into our seats...

     S: Where's Daddy ?

     Me: Daddy's at the office, he is driving Mommy's car.


I cannot imagine how far he's come since last year. I remember that the last time hubby and I switched cars, perhaps half a year ago, I knew that S wanted to ask and/or make a comment but he didn't know how and what to say.



Swe-cha and Mr R call Ms B on Facetime...

Ms B: Hi S! I like your shirt
S: Thank you.
Ms B: What color is it ?
S: (looks down at his colorful, tie-dyed shirt) rainbow!


While practicing conversations w/ Mr R...

Mr R: Tell me something about Ms B.
S: I talked to Ms B on the phone
Mr R: Good.
S: I'll call 201-xxx-xxxx (Mr R's phone number)
Mr R: That's amazing S, how do you still remember that ?
S: I don't know.


On the phone with A-i...

A-i: Hi S, what's your favorite toy ?
S: Jenga
A-i: can you teach me how to play Jenga ?
S: First you put in, then you stack it and then you crash it, yay!

Mulching 2017


We've been partially neglecting our yard since last year.

I say "partially" because the grass does get mowed by a neighbor, same neighbor also trims the front shrubs a couple of times per season. He does not trim the bushes in the back yard, unfortunately.

Our backyard had vines creeping in from next door, thorny bushes growing in tight spaces and several weed trees ("Tree of Heaven") have rooted and grown into trees with trunks several inches in diameter, we decided to get the place professionally cleaned and landscaped.

I am a bit disappointed with myself that I didn't get "before"pictures.

But here is a picture the day after did the cleanup.

I've asked them to remove the perennials I planted in the area around the lamp post. When I planted them years ago, the idea was to attract butterflies but all they attracted were bees.

(image) Today, we spent the better half of the afternoon in our front yard.

We replaced the edging material in front - the original edging was already broken and torn in several places so we dug it up and installed a new one.

We also installed red mulch - 9 bags all in all (each bag has 2 cu ft.)

Now, hubby and I have both showered the dirt off and are resting. I have to note that the mosquitoes have also feasted on us so we're full of bites as well.

We've run out of mulch so we didn't get to do the backyard today.  Hopefully, our old bones will still be up for it yesterday.

This is hard work.

The only person who is happy with today's activity is Swe-cha, he got to ride his Razor up and down the driveway and sidewalk while we were working.

What is that Cloud ?


These days, Swe-cha has been showing a lot of curiosity.

If he sees something unfamiliar, he would ask "What is that ?" followed by "What is it used for ?".

So far, he's asked these questions about:
- my fins (used for diving), his response was "let's go race in the water!"
- my BCD (used for diving)
- the fish tank thermometer

Last night, I decided to grill some steaks for dinner. I fired up the grill, threw 2 steaks on it and then forgot. I didn't remember until Swe-cha points to the library / family room and asks "Mommy, what is that cloud ?"

Sure enough, smoke had come in through the door I had left open and it was collecting and hanging like a cloud.

I quickly rescued the steaks and they were still edible, despite being slightly charred on the edges and being very well done.



The first time I went to Supercuts was over 15 years ago.

It was winter and I just needed a trim. I went to Supercuts because it was near and the place always seemed pretty busy so I thought it would be good.

So I sit in the chair and the stylist wets my hair. She asks me how long I want my hair and I point to a certain length and she combs my (wet) hair till it's really straight. She then takes her scissors and makes one straight cut from right to left. Then she takes off the cape and tells me that I'm done. She was going to let me go with my hair dripping wet.


I asked about them drying my hair and apparently they charge extra for that.

It was night time and I was just going to take a shower when I got back home so there was no point in having my hair styled but I figure, it was winter, it was night time and I came in with dry hair. Wasn't it just proper that they send me home with dry hair too ?

So I asked to use their blow dryer and I worked on getting my hair reasonably dry (i.e. not dripping wet). That was the worst $7 I'd ever spent in my life.

Needless to say, I never went back....

.... until yesterday.

I had accrued the maximum amount of vacation days at work and had been losing them so I decided to file for a day off yesterday. I had been looking forward to that day off and had my heart set on getting my hair trimmed but I learned one important thing yesterday - MOST SALONS ARE CLOSED ON MONDAYS!

My desperation led me to Supercuts, I did my research and found a stylist that was mentioned by name several times in their reviews. It must have been my lucky day yesterday because said stylist was available. I went and now, I've since slept and washed my hair and I am still happy.

I don't know if I plan on going back next time but it's definitely a possibility if I find my favorite salon/stylist out again.



KFC was one of the sponsors of a Korean drama that I recently watched and I can attest that product placement works. As a result of watching the characters wave around crispy chicken drumsticks, I've been craving the same thing these past few days.

Last night, I couldn't hold my craving in anymore and asked the husband to drop by KFC so we can have chicken for dinner. To my surprise and disappointment, he came home with a bucket of original-recipe chicken. The thing is, I have never eaten original recipe chicken in the 17 years that we've been together. That's 7 years of (long distance) dating and 10 years of marriage.

This guy,  my friend of almost 30 years and husband for 10 years, did not know that I prefer the crispy ones.  It just goes to show that no matter how long you've been together, there's always something new to discover.

In any case, my craving has not yet been satisfied. Kelan kaya ?

Asphalt Driveway


We decided to have our asphalt driveway replaced.

It was a spur-of-the moment decision when the paving company who was doing our neighbor's knocked on our door and asked if we were interested in having ours redone.

Our old driveway was old and cracked and we got what we thought was an okay deal so we went ahead and had it done.
For comparison, here's a before shot. I forgot to take a picture before the guys came and broke up our driveway but this one still shows the old asphalt in the ramp that goes from the sidewalk to the street. Our driveway had cracks that were bigger than that and had weeds growing out of the cracks too.

It took the contractors 3 days to get everything done.

On day 1, they came and dug out and carted away the old asphalt.

On day 2, we came home to a mini-road roller parked in our driveway, it was used to compact the gravel base.

They laid the asphalt on day 3.

While all this was happening, I was doing my own research on how to take care of a new asphalt driveway and I learned quite a few things:
- you can walk on asphalt 24 hours after it gets laid
- you can park on it after 3-5 days (we waited 5 whole days to be sure)
- It takes 6-10 months to completely cure so during this time, we'd have to avoid parking in the same spot all the time and also avoid turning the wheels while the vehicle isn't moving.

We may also have to get it sealed after it cures and then every 2-3 years after that.

Child care


Swe-cha is on spring break this week and his backup day care fell through (they're at full capacity and could not accommodate him this week) so I've been working from home.

It's amazing how God always comes through for us and I thought I'd put up a post so I don't forget about this when I get worried again in the future.

So I've been fretting about Swe-cha's daycare for the summer. I learned last week that the summer camp he attended last year may not operate this summer because they did not do well financially last year. Apparently, since he is now 7, there aren't a lot of places in our town that would take kids beyond the age of 6 and given that he is special needs (albeit high functioning), it is not so easy to find a place that would be appropriate for him.

Last weekend, on Palm Sunday, I offered this up to the Lord and asked him for help. I was tired from calling all these places and not getting any leads.

Today, boss calls me up to talk about something else and asked how things are going this week. He then mentions that with our company's offices upcoming move to another city, we're really moving towards getting employees on a hoteling concept and they don't expect employees to come to work daily. Working from home might work out better for me & my child's needs.

The truth is, I've been leaning towards asking to WFH over the summer as a last resort, nahihiya lang ako to ask when I have not thoroughly exhausted all options yet and here, I didn't even have to ask.


Ang galing ni God, he's working miracles through my boss & my company.

Plan B - family room


Okay, our plan to set up the upstairs bedroom to be Swe-cha's playroom has failed.

We started by moving all his toys upstairs but since we mostly stay in the living area, his toys would slowly find their way downstairs. It became too much trouble to bring them up again, especially the bulky ones that are difficult to move up and down the stairs like his Hot Wheels garage sets and race tracks - and I'm always scared that he might fall down the stairs if he tries to bring them down himself.

Now, our living room IS the play room. We really don't mind unless we get surprise visitors.

So we sort of designated the downstairs library/den to be the guest-receiving area but the seating options in that room really leave a lot to be desired and lately, we set up the Wii there (as per our original plan) and so it has become a pseudo-playroom as well.

We racked our brains and came up with an add-on to the plan. We'll move in to the upstairs BR with Swe-cha as well. That's where we'll hang out and if we're there, he'll spend more time there and hopefully we can keep the living room in reasonable order. Tamang-tama, we don't really have a family room so perhaps this can be it.

*fingers crossed*

Fall updates


A blog-worthy weekend:

(1) Hubby found our Wii which has been unused for 7 years. He plugged it in and Swe-cha loves Wii sports. He's been looking for basketball games and we might pick a used game from Gamestop - Wii games are so cheap now as we are probably the only ones still playing.

(2) I realized that my face and my usual orders are well-known in several restaurants now - a Starbucks in Paramus, the Vietnamese restaurant in Belleville and a couple of Dunkin Donuts in Clifton. It's a huge advantage when there's a long line in the order counter and the guys behind can start making up your order before you even make it to the front. All they need is a nod from me to go ahead and make the same.

(3) My car broke down. I heard a clanging noise come from the direction of the engine and soon after, I could not steer anymore (I lost power steering!). Thankfully, I had not gotten to a busy road yet - I was just about to turn into the main road when I realized my steering was compromised so I put on the hazard lights and slowly backed my way away from the busy street. God was watching out for me. Thank you, Lord.

We had AAA tow the mechanic and I'm still waiting to hear back on whether the car would be done today, I'll have to pick up a rental car otherwise. Nakaka-stress

and an exchange I overheard between hubby & Swe-cha:
Daddy: Swe-cha, let's clean up here, can you get the vacuum ?
Swe-cha: [runs off and calls out] Roomba!

[someone farts]
Mommy: Who farted ?
Swecha: that was totot [giggles]

Swecha: [puts on his crocs and shows them to me] Mommy, is balih-tad  ? (baligtad).

Halloween 2016


We went with stickers again in terms of pumpkin decorations this year.

I'm hoping that we might actually try our hands at carving out a pumpkin next year. We'll see :)

Home Office


Found these $1 whiteboard-surface sheets a while back and thought they'd be great as a temporary writing board for my home-office-slash-Swe-cha's-study-room.

I didn't use them right away so I forgot I even had them until last night when I quickly needed some scratch paper to keep track of my weekend re-indexing for work.

As soon as the "whiteboard" was up, someone immediately commandeered half so I decided to stick that extra piece that I had below my board so Swe-cha can use it too.

Poke-gym realizations


So hubby and I have joined the latest craze, Pokemon-Go .I've been reading up bits and pieces but it just goes to show that you learn more about a game and think up best strategies while you're actually playing it.Last weekend, some friends organized an attack on a nearby gym. We all went there, attacked (it was super easy to defeat the gym defenders!) and took over the gym. I didn't really know what I was doing, just kept tapping on the screen and whatever icons happened to come out. At one point, one of the kids who were with us glanced at what I was doing and said "you're not even attacking, Tita Popcorn, you're just moving around.".Haha, kaya pala akala ko madali lang.They showed me how to get to the store and check out the gold coins you earned for defending the gym.After that get-together, I sort of had an idea of what to do now. But it wasn't until afterwards, when I started going out and attacking gyms myself when it dawned on me what A said previously. She had made a comment on how we should've entered the weaker pokemons first, that would give a chance for the stronger ones to kill them.I didn't get the point because we were on the same team, why'd there be a need to defeat the defenders ?It wasn't until I actually went out and attacked gyms myself and tried to hold them when I realized the A's point.- You can't fight in a gym until you get to level 5 and pick a team - red, blue or yellow.- When you see a Pokemon Gym, there is a level indicator. The level tells how many pokemons are currently defending the gym. For example, a level 5 gym will have 5 monsters defending it. A level 2 will have 2 defending it and so on.- A gym can either be unclaimed (soft gray / white color) or claimed, in which case it will show a badge in the color of the team currently holding it.- If you have a pokemon parked in a or defending a gym, you earn 10 coins for every day that you hold the gym. Coins can be withdrawn once every 21 hours (there is a timer), you can only get coins for gyms you are currently defending. This means that even if you have been in the gym for a long time but was defeated just before you got to withdraw your coins, you lose them all.- When you have a pokemon assigned to a gym, you cannot use that pokemon elsewhere. This is where I realized that having 1 strong pokemon of each type isn't enough. You'll need more than 1 if you plan to use it to defend a gym.- There's no use attacking and holding a gym if there's just you. 1 pokemon isn't enough to hold on to a gym if someone starts attacking. It's better to look for a gym that's currently being held by your team already and when you initiate a friendly fight, it is a training session. Defeating pokemon(s) in a friendly team's gym will increase the prestige points of the team in that gym and eventually will level up the gym. This adds a spot which you can then quickly claim.And yes, there is nothing stopping someone with very good timing coming in at the last moment and claiming that spot for himself even if he wasn't the one who worked to create that spot.and this brings me to the next part of my post....Remember that gym I mentioned attacking and claiming at the start of my post ? Anyway, at some point while I was still there, someone started attacking me. It wasn't difficult because it was only a level 1 gym and only had 1 monster defending it. I watched my pokemon die and saw the gym turn white / gray color that indicates it is unclaimed.I clicked on it and then that little icon on the corner that lets you put someone inside and was so surprised to see that I actually got to claim it again! As I watched the gym get attacked again, I quickly healed my other monsters and got ready to step in and claim the gym a[...]

Free checks


Received an email from my bank with the subject line "Important Information about your Account" this evening. Normally, I'd ignore these but tonight, I decided open it and read it. Boy, am I glad I did! I write a lot of checks (mostly for my child's daycare fees) and enjoy the free checks I get from my bank.

The email states that any check reorders after a certain date are not free anymore, we'd just get a few dollars off.

It's actually great timing because I'm down to my last booklet so I'm about to ask for a reorder in a few weeks anyway.

So I quickly call my bank's hotline and requested new checks. The agent asks, do you want 100 or 400 ? We can actually give you up to 400 new checks for free.

I want the free 400 checks, of course!

and now, I am going around the house with a wide smile plastered across my face. It's nice when life hands out freebies every now and then.

It almost makes me forget the shame I felt when I stalled the car on my way home today. I was so smug when I drove hubby's manual transmission car to the office (my regular car is off for a service) this morning and things went smoothly. I felt that driving stick-shift again after more than decade was just like getting back on a bike - easy, instinctive and uncomplicated so long as you don't think about it.

Bawal mayabang. Lesson learned =)

Glass shards


A little over 2 weeks ago, I had a small wound on the side of my foot. It seemed more like a puncture than a wound, I squeezed to let some blood out  ( thinking that it might cleanse the wound ), bathed the wound in alcohol and then sealed it with some liquid bandage. I didn't even notice when / where it happened and only felt the wound when I applied pressure on that part of my foot, I didn't know where and how I got it so it quickly went out of my mind.

A few days later, I got wounded again. This time, a little bit of skin/flesh was sliced off from my little toe. I was at the kitchen when it happened and it happened when I stepped on something sharp. After I'd controlled the bleeding and bandaged my wound, I got down on my hands and knees to look for the culprit. I found a glass shard.

That night, I showed it to hubby who responded with a "aaah, so that's where it went". Ayun pala, he was washing dishes a few days before and dropped a drinking glass. The glass didn't completely break but the lip was chipped and he's been looking for the pieces ever since.

And yes, he forgot to tell me about it.

Fast forward 2 weeks, my 2nd wound had already healed nicely - the one that had the skin sliced off and was the more painful one - had already healed and was dry. I was even able to get a pedicure and never felt anything at all. But the first one (the one that felt & looked like a small puncture) was still bothering me. I still feel a sharp pain every now and then when I step and put pressure on that area.

Reminded of a story that friend E told me about his wife having been injured when she stepped on something at the beach and the wound had not healed nicely even after several weeks, it turned out that glass particles were still left behind INSIDE the wound and the doctor had to open it up again and clean it up. I began to suspect that my first wound might have been caused by glass shards too and that it might still be in.

I disinfected some sharp implements with alcohol, braced myself and proceeded to break the skin on Wound 1. I poked around  with the tweezers and felt something  - it was tiny piece of glass splinter. I've pulled it out, rewashed and rebandaged my foot. I feel much better now.

Hubby has been reprimanded.

Next time, pag may nabasag, magwalis/vacuum/swiffer/whaever and to tell me! Thankfully, it was me who got injured and not our child.



Yesterday afternoon, I saw Swe-cha playing with his Thomas & Friends Miniature engines - Rex and Mike - and realized that Bert, the 3rd and last miniature engine, might be available now. When we got him Rex and Mike last year, hindi pa kasi available.

I checked only and saw that the die cast version (we prefer the take n play compared to the wooden ones) has already been released so I ordered it for delivery next week.

Kaya lang, Swe-cha didn't seem to realize that he will have to wait. I explained that we'll haveto wait for the mailman to come with the box next week and he immediately rushed down and started going through the boxes I have in the foyer (my other purchases which I have not opened yet). 

When he didn't find Bert, he came to me and asked,.. 

And because I couldn't make him understand that he has to wait until next week, I decided to lay it all on the husband's shoulders and told Swe-cha to wait for his daddy.

He then stopped bothering me, pulled a chair to the bay window to wait and declared "My Daddy's coming home, where's the Bert ?".

I called hubby and gave him a heads up. Thinking that today, Friday, is Swe-cha's graduation day and that we don't have a present anyway, he decided to drop by the toy store to see if he can get one quickly. Bert wasn't available so he got Oliver, a different train.

When he got home, he was rushed by Swe-cha who opened the door for him and immediately started searching in his bag.

Hubby says "We don't have Bert, you have to wait. Do you want Oliver instead?"

Swe-cha says "No."

Hubby: "who do you want ?"

Swe-cha says "Bert"

Hubby: "how about Oliver?"

Swecha: "No"

and that was the end of the Bert discussion/conversation and he moved on to a different toy. 
No tantrums. Okay rin, he made me so proud.

As for Oliver, he's going back to the store.

Losing our marbles


My friends and family know how much I hate to throw things away.

I have this mindset that things are "sayang" if they're still usable, I cannot bear to just throw them out. I save and save and hope to be able to reuse/recycle and/or give them away to someone who needs them later.

For the longest time, I've been racking my brains as to what to do with old prescription bottles. Between hubby and I (okay... mostly me), we do rack up a lot of these empty bottles over time.

I have various sizes and they have child-proof caps too! If you want a few, give me a hollar!

Am so happy today that I hit upon this idea -->
I use them to store my son's marbles. The 1st one are small marbles that go with his Q-Ba-Maze, the 2nd one are plastic marbles that go with Hungry Hippos and the last one are ceramic (I think) marbles that go with his Marble Run set.

Obviously, we're still missing a lot of marbles. I'm going to vacuum in and around furniture this weekend to see what we find. The best part of this is that they're child-proof containers, Swe-cha won't be able to play with them without my or his dad being aware that he is doing so. We can keep a closer watch and make sure he puts them back when he is done.



Today, I realized how much of a blessing rain is.

I grew up in the Philippines where our days are either rainy or sunny. We don't really look forward to rainy days because rain brought flood.

It wasn't really until I am all grown up and have become a homeowner with a yard that I realize how much easier rainy days are because I can skip watering the lawn and our vegetable garden. my days are when it rains because it means I can skip watering the lawn and our vegetable garden.

Scoop vs Shovel


While scooping some ice for my drinking water...

Swe-cha: (points to the scoop) shovel

Me: it's not a shovel, it's a scoop.

Swe-cha: shovel

Me: scoop

Swe-cha: shovel

Me: scoop

Repeat 100x. Nakakaloka!

Me: It's okay, I'm not going to talk to you anymore if you don't want to listen to me anyway.

Swe-cha: scoop.


Tweety & Sylvester


We spent part of our weekend at Six Flags Great Adventure (yes, again). As we were walking back, Swe-cha started dragging his feet.

Ayun pala, he saw Tweety and Sylvester at the Six Flags Characters meet-and-greet area. He said he wanted to get a hug. Thankfully, kalalabas pa lang yata because the line was short.

When it was our turn, I braced myself for carrying Swe-cha again (I had to do that last December at Disney else he'd run) but he was really good. He didn't need me at all. He ran to Tweety, gave a hug and got hugged, he then looked at Daddy, posed and said "Cheese!".

Then, when we were done taking pictures with Tweety and I tried to get him, he ran back to stand next to Sylvester. Onga naman.

Again, "Cheese" raw.

Big boy na siya.

Field Day 2016


Swe-cha's school is having their field day today.

Yesterday evening, I opened Swe-cha's homework folder and found instructions for field day. It listed a bunch of items:
- Wear sneakers and a shirt in your team's color - YELLOW
- blanket that can be put on the ground to sit on
- 2 bottles of drinking water with name written on it
Label and place all items in a drawstring bag.

I rummaged in Swe-cha's closet and could not find anything in yellow so I had to call his Dad and he found a yellow shirt at TJ Maxx's on his way home.

I also could not find a drawstring bag until I remembered getting one as a loot bag during a training I attended earlier this year.

I sure wish that teachers / schools would give out instructions like these at least 2 days before the event to give parents a chance to prepare, especially if there are very specific requests.



It's such a treat to have a neighbor come knocking at the door and offer to mow our yard for $20.

$20 seems like a reasonable price. I was so happy, ni hindi ko na tinawaran, I just said yes and asked him if he was willing to come do ours every other week - okay lang rin!

The husband is so lucky, he gets a break from yardwork this season.

Field Trip Feedback


Swe-cha's class went on a field trip to Turtle Back Zoo today.

Me: Did you go to the zoo today ?
Swe-cha: Yes

Me: Did you go on the bus ?
Swe-cha: Yes

Me: Did Mrs C (teacher) go with you ?
Swe-cha: Yes

Me: Did you see lions?
Swe-cha: Yes

Me: What did the lions say ?
Swe-cha: Hello, roar!

Me: Did you feed the goats ?
Swe-cha: Yes

Me: Did you ride the train ?
Swe-cha: Yes

Me: Did you have fun ?
Swe-cha: No


Middle Age


I took the husband's new car out for a ride this afternoon.

Someone told me that this car adds pogi points, you'll look more "gwapo" when you drive one.

Me ? I didn't feel gwapo (nor pretty) but rather, I felt young. I don't know if it's because it had a manual transmission and driving stick-shift brings back my earliest driving moments or maybe it's high-tech gauges and graphics in the console, all I know is that it made me feel younger.

So all this stuff I've heard about guys going through a middle-age crisis and getting themselves sportcars? I get it too.