Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Our New Year's Eve Rituals

last year's fruit basket for luck

We celebrate New Year's eve with certain rituals; mixing German and the Philippine traditions.

The Philippine tradition would focus mostly on wearing and having things that would bring us luck and 'gold'. There's the wearing of clothes that are circular in pattern or dotted, collecting at least 12 different rounded fruits that would be displayed on the kitchen table; having loads of coins in your pockets, making loud noises (we usually have our pots and pans for this) and spending money on firecrackers, and opening all the doors and windows to invite more good fortune (not really done anymore as it invites the crooks!); and I did this more than once, I jumped when the clock striked midnight, hoping it would help me grow taller :D

And we are not allowed to leave the house until the celebration, as staying together during the New Year's eve would also mean a closer family ties.

In Germany, the rituals are more or less the same -- for luck and 'gold' except they are represented by other things.

We exchange good luck charms from people close to us: the opa would normally provide a giant pretzel for the kids and he would usually add pigs made of marzipan and a bunch of clover plants or donuts decorated with a figure of the chimney sweeper. And I add some ladybugs chocos for more luck!
the giant pretzel (above) and the chimney sweeper figures on the clover
plants and on the donuts
As in the Philippines, most family stays at home to celebrate the coming of the New Year. There would be champagne or sekt and usually, fondue or Raclette on the table. The whole family would gather in front of the televion to watch a comedy skit, Dinner for One.
our raclette last year
There would be some fireworks first the table fireworks where the kids get surprises from confetti 'bombs' and then those done on the streets.
the table firework
Plus, the German Custom of Bleigiessen:

A candle is lit, and small chunks of lead are melted in a spoon held over the candle. Because of the low melting temperature of lead, this process does not take long. The molten lead is then quickly poured from the spoon into a bucket of cold water, where it hardens almost immediately. Each person tries to determine what he or she "sees" in the hardened lead figure, much like children see sheep, etc. in fluffy clouds. Often the lead figure is held up to a candle or other light, and the shape of the shadow it casts aids in this important decision. The shape of the lead determines the future of that person for the year to come. Nowadays, Silvesterblei sets can be purchased in most department stores in Germany. These kits come complete with lead figures, a spoon, and a list of possible shapes and their meanings.
A Blessed New Year to All!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Things to do before the new year comes

For me, it is not the pre-Christmas season that creates more 'stress' but it is the pre-New Year days.

Maybe it is just me, but I tend to have a list of things to do before the year changes. It makes me feel better welcoming the new year when I have ticked off my list and so it goes:

1. Clean and sort out the medicine cabinets. Some medicine bottles take much space though they are not needed anymore or they shouldnt be taken anymore.
2. Check and refill the kitchen supplies especially make sure that there are enough sugar, rice, flour, egg and salt. A hint of superstitious (in the Philippines, we make sure that all supplies are filled as an empty cupboard is a bad start) but for me it is just being practical.
3. Dust off the vitrine and the cupboards.
4. Clean the ref.
5. Clear the storeroom. If we dont need things, we either throw them away or give them away.
6. Sort out the kids' toys. The things they need would stay and the rest would have to be given away.
7. Sort out our closets. Most used clothes and shoes we send to the Philippines for people in need.
8. Back-up our computer files. I know, this should be done regularly but... :)
9. Try to clear up my files
10. And of course, clean the house!

And this year, I am happy to have enthusiastic helpers with my two girls.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

It's a quiet Christmas

On the 24th of December, we attended the mass and visited grandma's tomb with the kids merrily singing Jingle bells'.

We then we picked opa up. He's spending Christmas days with us.

If we are busy with each other, here's what it looks like at home. Opa would find a corner to read while the kids will go to their own corner to play.

On the 25th of December, the kids wanted to watch the TV and opa remained interested with reading.

Such cozy scenes I would recommend.

It was a solemn Christmas for us because we simply missed the presence of someone special to us. And yet, it was not too solemn for the kids not to enjoy their presents and have fun with the family.

We cooked meals together, we prepared the tables together, we cleaned the tables together, we toasted the Christmas days together, we sang together, we opened our gifts together, we played together, we sat together to chat and reminisce.

But it was during the big pauses, the gaps of silence -- that we feel the togetherness with grandma's memories. Thus, we truly savored this quiet Christmas.

And I ask you to say prayers to some close friends. One lost her mom on Christmas day, a few weeks after loosing their dad. And another one's mom is diagnosed with widespread bone cancer. To you dear friends and your family, be strong and keep your faith in Him.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Christmas Angels

As MC told me, 'do you know why we are celebrating Christmas? Because it is the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.'

And IC then added, 'Jesus is most important than those Christmas trees and Christmas cookies. '
If my little girls know the real reason for the season, then I am sure most of us know it, too. And let us inform others who might have forgotten due to the festivities around us.
My Christmas angels :)

Did you know that Germany celebrates two days of Christmas? The 25th and the 26th of December.

Did you know that gift giving in Germany is done on the Eve of Christmas day? Since the kids couldnt wait for midnight, we do it right after our Christmas dinner.

Did you know that we dont put the gifts under the Christmas tree until it is the 24th of December? Simply because the Child Child brings them secretly.

Did you know that the Christmas gifts here in Germany are not delivered by Santa Claus, who comes to visit during December 6; they are instead given by das Christkind (the Child Christ):

The Christkind is a sprite-like child, usually depicted with blond hair and angelic wings. Martin Luther intended it to be a reference to the incarnation of Jesus as an infant. It is presumed by some to be so, but seems to be rooted in the Alsatian-born myth of a child bringing gifts to the baby Jesus. Children never see the Christkind, as parents will always tell them that the Christkind just disappeared before they came
Did you know that Germany celebrates two days of Christmas? The first on the 25th and the second is on the 26th of December.

A blessed Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Easy Last Minute Christmas Gift

It is obvious with this post that I am working on my last minute Christmas gifts.

The thing is, I wont have time to shop anymore because we would be attending mass around 11 am tomorrow morning. And we have already planned to have a big breakfast before that.

Therefore I searched and looked on what we have at home and found some perfect 'small but precious' Christmas gifts.

what I needed
I grabbed the empty boxes of chocolates and wrapped them in foil and added Christmas serviette on it before putting the assorted Christmas cookies, chocolates and gummi bears inside.

Then I wrapped it in a plastic folie; tying it together with a piece of cloth and a gold ribbon. Voila, I've got my easy last minute Christmas gift.
my easy last minute gift
I am adding a bottle of wine with it :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sunday's Bonding Time

Remember MC's promise to her grandpa? Well, she remembered. She delivered her promise and much more last Sunday.

And it wasnt only a time to decorate opa's Christmas tree, it became a precious bonding time with the family, too. The girls dressed up for this day, well, it is also oma's (grandma's) birthday after all.

We picked up the opa and visited oma's tomb. Bringing with us our gifts which we laid on her tomb. After that, the day became busy, which is really our reason why we decided to do the tree this day. We wanted to keep opa busy to keep him being lonely.

Here's my husband and the girls trying to keep the tree straight and steady. Of course, IC cant wait so she's already hanging Christmas balls :D

And here's the finished product. MC proudly showing it off. Do you see that most of the balls and decors are on the lower side? Well, the girls couldnt reach higher and we arent allowed to help them. It was only opa who got to help them and he got only a few balls from the girls.

Here's the opa doing the finishing touches, the Christmas lights.

My husband cooked lunch and the girls prepared the table. And afterwards, my husband and the opa washed and dried the dishes together. We left them both alone. It is not always that they get to work and talk like that.

Oh and the girls got the opa to extract a promise: they would get all his Christmas decors when he dont need them anymore :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Memories of Grandma

our last photo with oma, during MC's first school day
Oma would have been 86 years old today. If she didnt joined the angels last October.

I know that oma had a graceful life. She was the daughter of a soldier who is good with his hands and a factory worker. She met opa (grandpa) right after the war broke out. During a dance party and she decided immediately that he would be his for the rest of their lives.

Oma captured opa's heart. Why not? She's beautiful and she would remain beautiful til old age. She aged gracefully.

I always admired her gentleness. I am glad that the girls got to enjoy being with oma even for a few years, I hope they would remember her with good memories.

Oma would always secretly slice bread and give them margarine with it; even though they've just eaten. Oma would eat the 'forbidden' pralines with them. Oma would always find cookies hidden in every nook at corners of the house for them.

Oma would give them permission to pick flowers from her garden. Oma supervises with watering the plants despite the fact that the pots' and the garden are overflowing already. Oma didnt throw nor gave away the old toys of their papa; thus they even play with them after more than 50 years. Oma let them try on her fur coats and accessories; even her jewelries. Oma allowed them to parade around with her clothes and shoes.

Oma would cook her own version of the spaghetti with her special krakale (croutons). Oma would slice a piece of cake and wont bother about the crumbs left all over the house. Oma would play games with them even though she couldnt really move so fast anymore. Oma would dream with them, too.

I could remember those things because I used to tag along with them in most of these activities, too!

Dear oma, wherever you are, happy birthday!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Look Who's Busy in the Kitchen

IC is busy in the kitchen

Whenever people ask her how old she is, she would always add a year.

Saying she's five years old. IC wanted to be as grown up as she sees her big sister to be.

In fact, she's trying very hard to act more grown up. She would really make herself busy with her own 'homeworks', her type of toys and games have been upgraded (no more Winnie d' Poohs), but she is really happyily grown up when she is with us helping in the kitchen.

When she'd hear the pots and pans and the drawers being pulled; she would run into the kitchen and ask if she could help. She would be washing the pots if you asked her. She would be forming the cookies if you asked her. She would be mixing the ingredients if you asked her.

There is only one thing she wont do. She would run with loads of excuses when it is time to tidy up ;D

And even though it would take more time with her on our side while cooking or baking, we accept her presence. After all, it is better to encourage them.

Here are some tips on how to survive in the kitchen with your kids:
- The most important things: ask them to wash their hands and put on an apron and warn them that the oven would be hot.
- If it is baking time, give them a small bowl to mix, too. You could mix the whole thing later. I do this to have more space to work.
- Ask them to form the cookies and to decorate them. They love these things most.
- And when it is baked, they could take the finished products out of the oven. Another exciting thing to do for them, but make sure they have thick pan handles and that you closely supervise them.
- When it is cooking time, I ask them to cut some veggies for me by giving them their own kiddie knife. They would feel very proud of it, really.
- They are allowed to put the ingredients in the pan/pots, too. As long as they put them carefully, slowly but surely.
- They could even stir, as long as they do it carefully. I usually show them how to do it first.
- And of course, they are allowed the first taste.

I encourage them to stick around to tidy up. Starting with clearing up and into the dishwasher. Because as I tell them, it is also a part of baking and cooking. I am not always successful but sometimes, they do stick around to help.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My First Grader's School Bag Lesson

First day of school last September
I was surprised when MC simply started taking everything out of her school bag. She took all her notebooks, her books, her pens, etc. She even turned her school bag upside down and started shaking it vigorously.

She looked at my surprised expression and explained. 'You know what mama, it is best to clean and clear a school bag regularly.'

She said she realized a lot of thing when she first started doing that such as:
1. There are things inside that are not hers, thus, she needs to bring them back to the right owner
2. There are things inside that she dont use anymore, thus, she could leave them at home
3. There are things inside that she thought she'd already lost, thus, she is happy
4. There are things inside that she should have taken out a long time ago, thus, she would ask mama to take it out as she dont want to touch them anymore :D
5. There are things inside that she should have eaten, yuksss!6. And there are things that she would need to refill or to exchange, thus she could update her files and her lists

Well, MC found on her own the lessons on why school bags should be checked and cleaned regularly!

Street Carolers

Litratong Pinoy: Karoling = Christmas Carols

Andyan na ang himig ng Pasko. Kasali na dyan ang mga nagkakaroling. Dito sa Alemanya, hindi nag-babahay-bahay ang mga nangangaroling kundi naghahanap sila ng sarili nilang pwesto sa mga Christmas markets o sa kung saan man maraming tao tulad ng mga shoppingan. Ang mamang ito ay hila-hila ang kanyang sariling instrumento. Balot na balot sya dahil ilang oras syang nakababad sa lamig. Bilib din ako sa tiyaga nya.

We hear the spirit of Christmas. The carolers in Germany dont go house to house unlike in the Philippines. But you would find them in Christmas markets and most shopping areas.

Akala ninyo tao lang ang nangangaroling? Ang kamelyong ito, hindi man marunong kumanta ay nangangaroling. Nakakalungkot na ginagamit syang paraan para pagkakitaan din sa Paskong ito. Bilib din ako sa tiyaga ng kamelyong ito sa mga taong dapat ay nag aaruga sa kanya :D

This camel, though couldnt belt a tone, does some carols on the streets, too. It's handler shakes the can with coins and that would catch the attention of passers-by. I dont condone this kind of practice though.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Our Christmas Tree 2008

We love the Nordmann Fir.

We have the same kind of tree for the past Christmases. Why do we love Nordmann Fir? Because of 'its attractive foliage, with needles that are not sharp, and do not drop readily when the tree dries out.'

It has been a tradition to put up the tree on the first day of December. But having experienced a kiddie birthday party with the tree up; we realized we needed to reschedule putting up our Christmas tree on a later date, at least, after the birthday party.

The real German tradition is decorating the tree on the 23th of December. But I cant wait until that, coming from the Philippines. Where the 'ber' month is the start of the Christmas season already.

And so, after the birthday party last Friday, we went and bought our Christmas tree on an early Saturday morning. It took sometime to choose our 'tree' but we found one. And we diversified our usually so simple decors. As this time, we chose to put more trinkets and other baubles on our tree, the kids are old enough not to pick on them, I hope :D

To celebrate oma's (grandma's) memories this Christmas, I decided to drape most of her unused ribbons.
These big, red Christmas balls are new.

These colorful small parol (Christmas lanterns) came from the Philippines. A touch of home.

These small musical angels are the very first Christmas tree decors that I bought when I celebrated my first Christmas here in Germany.

I love this. The 'Belen' (Nativity) also graced our home during my first Christmas here. MC's first Christmas, too.

I fell in love with these angel wings.

The top of the tree holds a star this year.

It is interesting watching this tree change as the days pass by when the kids would start bringing in their own decors from kindergarten and the school :D

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I dont want a birthday party anymore!

We celebrated MC's birthday party last Friday. We didnt know it would end with a dilemma.

It started well enough. She helped with the decoration and even helped pack her party loots (see the small packages).

And then her friends came one by one. As our tradition, we started off the party with a game of spin the bottle -- this time, the bottle would pick the first one to give MC her gift and it would be opened for everyone to see. Until everyone had their turn. Usually, I would be there to help them. But this time, they said, they are all old enough. So I left them alone.

And then when everbody's done, they wanted to try the game 'Uno.' Here is where the day started became sour for MC. As she said, nobody wanted to listen to her explaining the game. She left he friends and banged her door, crying. Papa came to the rescue and talked to her. But at this time, another friend of her was already feeling agitated as she said, everybody's becoming so loud. Well, I told her, there are almost ten children here and everybody just wanted to talk and nobody wanted to listen. And I reminded them that as MC is the birthday girl, she would have to be listened to as she would run the program for this day.

So to clear the air, we went down to my made-in-30-minutes pinata. I simply took a box and wrapped it gaily and hang some ribbons to make it look a bit more cheerful. The kids had fun but before the pinata is over, the kids started to argue with each other again. That made MC sour and she run, crying to her Papa again.

We tried to distract the kids by playing more games with them and of course, by giving them their dinner of spaghetti (with sauce and without sauce). Only spaghetti. They were too excited to open their loots that most of them didnt eat much. I guess we need to keep the loots until the end of the party, as we usually do, next time.

And then there were more games. And there were more arguments. I dont really know. I was really getting frustrated with what's happening and MC, too.

The thing is, even as the party progressed, we discovered one of MC's school folder stuffed in the garbage bin. I was really surprised, more shocked, to find it there. What if my husband didnt find it there (he lost something and decided to look into the garbage bin)? Something so important isnt to be played with.

Who would have thought to rummage into MC's school bag while the party is going on? Who would have the gal to take that school folder and stuff it into the garbage bin? Just because they were arguing over something? I couldnt believe one of these young kids could do that. And to be frank, I also discovered the culprit. The guilty mouth itself admitted to me, though I am sure it wasnt meant to be said.

MC wasnt enjoying anymore, the last straw was knowing what happened to her school folder. She voiced it out with saying 'I dont want to a birthday party anymore!' Well, I could understand her.

We didnt tell everybody about her school folder and we dont plan to tell her who did it. I wonder though how I should deal with the culprit? Should I talk to the culprit first and tell the parents later? Or should I inform the parents first? I think what happened was very, very bad. For some one as young to have done something like that.

I need to do something about it as this is someone who is very close to MC. I dont want to start turning down the requests to visit us just because we havent cleared this issue. And I think the culprit should know that what was done is very wrong.

Any suggestions on how to handle this?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

How sweet it is to be loved?

Love comes in small and simple packages, too.

My hubby brought me home a surprise. A second hand pocket book in English.

You cant always find used books in English here. And I do love books.

In turned out that an officemate of him is selling her collection of English books. He thoughtfully grabbed one as a surprise for me.

And there's more. He asked his officemate to give him a list so I could choose more books.

Oh, yeah, how sweet it is to be loved!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Do Your Kids See Colors?

Mine dont.

They dont see a black lady. They see a lady.

They dont see a brown man. They see a man.

They dont see a white grandpa. They see the grandpa.

They dont see a yellow storekeeper. They see a storekeeper.

We were with a friend and her son in McDonald's a few days ago.

The little boy kept on saying he wanted to be served by the black lady. He kept on going back to 'the black lady.'

I have never really noticed it if not for this little incident. Thing is, with my girls, they have never ever pointed out the colors of people whenever they interact with them. They only see them as, yes, people.

I remember one story. We were watching the news on tv and MC was with us. The news featured a little girl who's covered with hair, an abnormality. And what did MC saw? She said that she likes the little girl's dress.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Masaya ang Mundo = The World is Beautiful

Mahalagang Regalo = The Most Important Gift

Mahalagang regalo sa akin ang aking mga anak, kahit na nagtatago sila minsan sa akin. Basta sila ay masaya at malusog, para na akong asa langit. Huwag lang sana sila masyadong makulit at talaga namang, grrrrr :)

I would love to see my kids happy and healthy, those are important gifts.
At para sa isang nanay at asawa na katulad kong halos 24 oras ang tutok sa pamilya, mahalagang regalo rin para sa akin ang katahimikan at ang pagrerelaks. Katulad ng ginawa namin dito sa Dive Solana sa Batangas.

And for a busy mom and wife like me, relaxation is also an important gift. Such as the vacation we enjoyed in Dive Solana in Batangas.

At isa pa sa mahalagang regalo ay ang pag-aabot ng tulong sa mga kababayan nating mas higit ang pangangailangan sa buhay. Kuha ito sa Bahay Kalinga kung saan binigay ng mga anak ko ang mga damit, laruan at kung ano mang gamit na maari pang pakinabangan ng ibang mga bata. Nakita nyo ba kung gaano kaganda ang ngiti ng batang ito dahil may bago syang laruan?

And another important gift is giving. It was really an experience when we brought some clothes, toys and other basic necessities to a charity house, Bahay Kalinga in Manila. Just look at the smile of that girl as she hugs her new toy.

7th Birthday

Our very thoughtful tenants decorated the hallway with balloons
and left their gifts for MC, too

I cant believe MC is seven years old!

I remember the first time I saw her.
One day old MC in mama's arms
I still cant describe the feelings I felt then. And I am at loss on what I feel now. All I know is that I am always filled with a certain glow whenever I see my girls. All I know is that I am overwhelmed by too much love. I simply wanted to keep her in my arms thought I wanted to show her the world.
Look at her now, wearing mama's dress :D

And now, she's seeing and discovering the world by herself. Look at one of her requested gifts: a digital camera. Now she could even find more worlds out there.

And she wanted a pink cake this time. No more teddy bear-shaped cake for her.

What a miracle giving birth is. What a miracle being a mother is.

And what an unbelievable luck to be a mother to MC.

Dear darling MC, Happy 7th Birthday.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Love Christmas Cards

I chose an angel theme for cards this Christmas

In these days of gadgets and the internet, I tend to go back to the old fashioned Christmas cards when it is time to send my Christmas greetings to family and friends. And I send them early, too, especially to those addressee outside Germany.

Why? Because I also love receiving Christmas cards. There is a different kick when I see cards in our mail box. Actually, I do love sending and receiving vacation postcards, too.

I find it more exciting if there are stories, hmm, gossips inside those cards, too. And photos, who doesnt love to look at photos?

And I hang those cards in a wall near our Christmas tree. Yes, those cards could be great decors, too! I am proud to show people that somebody loved me enough to send those snail mails.

But these year, I have added small boxes of cookies with those cards -- to some really thoughful friends who's been sending us gifts the whole year. It is my turn to say thank you with my own homebaked goodies. A tip, bake the goodies the day you wanted to send them by mail so it would arrive fresh. In Germany, local posts take only a day to get to their recipents.

Inside the box are choco crinkles and chunky cookies

Monday, December 8, 2008

Santa Was Here

December 6 is the St. Nicholas Day in Germany. Traditionally, the day when Santa Claus comes to town.

Thus, Santa was here last Saturday.

At first, the kids kept on saying that Santa is only Uncle Ossi (he used to do the role when they were smaller); they believe that the real one could only be found in the North Pole.

But then we attended a Christmas party last Friday night where they met another Santa.
Here is Santa arriving. The kids watched in fascination.

Since they were the only kids among the adults, they got special gifts and a chance to go up the stage to Santa.

Later, when they introduced the man who played, MC looked a bit disappointed but then she said she wanted to say 'Thank' to 'Santa' who is now in normal clothes.

MC told me then that Santa needs helpers because he couldnt be in all places at the same time. Thus, someone needs to dress up like him to help out.

And now we come to our St. Nicholas Day Santa. We celebrated at home. The kids know that he would be coming at 5 pm so they wanted to stay outside and wait for him; but they got got busy playing and forgot about him.

When the clock striked five, they heard bells and the loud 'ho, ho, ho'. They jumped excitedly and greeted Santa with glee.
Santa talked to the kids first. He told them about their achievements this year and asked them if they could improve somethings, too. We usually give the one who would be playing Santa a list of things beforehand.

Well, the girls, as expected, promised to be good. After all, Santa's sacks are full :D And they enjoyed the night as we adults, enjoyed it, too. I do still believe in the magic that Santa brings.

Here is one website dedicated to Nicholas that states:
The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Finished with Christmas Shopping?

I am stressed to the max. I cant believe I let myself get caught this December. I am empty handed despite having a long wish list from the kids.

I did almost everything last minute. I finished the advent's wreath two days before the first Sunday of Advent. At the same time that I finished creating the advent's calendars for both kids.

And I started our Christmas shopping only last Friday. And of course, I am not yet finished. I went to another spree this morning. You would think I would be finished? Of course not!

The thing is, we also buy gifts for the kids for the St. Nikolaus Tag (St. Nicholas Day) which is the traditional 'Santa Claus' Day here in Germany on the 6th of December. And then MC would be celebrating her 7th birthday this December 10. Add those Christmas Day gifts itself. Arrghhh, help!

Can you imagine the bulk of gifts that I needed to buy? And to store? Good thing I wont need to wrap most of them. I already promised myself and I was successful with it for the past years -- that I would have all things ready before the end of November. But not this year, so many things happened that made it a bit chaotic.

But hey, I still have time. Why am I panicking? I dont know, I guess, it's just that I am not really used to being in the middle of the crowd during holiday season. Normally, I would be cooly relaxing my heels and would simply browse for the next sale season.

I went back to my post last 2007 and I saw that I was done with Christmas shopping mid November and here were my tips then:

Want to know how I finished shopping early?
1. I have been listing down gifts that would fit everyone in the family since Christmas last year.
2. I already bought some gifts that were tagged down from last season.
3. Whenever the girls and I go around to shop, they always tell me what they wanted for their birthday or for Christmas or for Easter and I tend to note them all down.
4. As for the immediate family, I simply take note of their hobbies, their favorites and subtly ask them what they wanted. And I take note, of sizes, too when necessary.
5. When those gifts are on sale, I grab them. When I get discounts from online shops or free postage, I shop. That way I save, too.
6. My husband takes time off from work to go shopping with me, alone, as early as November. We bring the kids to kindergarten and we head off as early as possible to the malls.
7. And most important, make sure you hide those things in a safe place. Far from the wandering eyes and hands of your kids.

I guess I know why I am not ahead this time. When before I used to shop alone, now I have found somebody to shop with. And shopping with a friend takes more time as we do go on discussing the pros and cons of different items in our lists.And we do tend to sneak time to window shop for ourselves :D

But hey, I enjoyed it. So am not complaining :D I better go now, my friend is waiting for another shopping round ;D

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ubas at ang mga Bata = Grapes and Kids

Eksayted = Excited

Kapag umaakyat kami sa bundok para mamitas ng ubas, eksayted parati ang buong pamilya. Lalong-lalo na ang mga bata.

Whenever it is time to pick grapes, the kids are always so excited.

Pagkabukas pa lang ng gate nung aming taniman ay
tatakbo na agad sila sa mga nakasabit na ubas.

As soon as the garden gate opens, they would run to the grapes' corner.

At walang prenong mamimitas.

And would start picking them.

Kasabay nito ang pagtikim. Walang katapusang tikim.

And would start their taste tests.

At kapag busog na? Pupunuin nila ang kanilang dala-dalang basket.

When they are full, it's time to fill their baskets, too.

At may baon pa. Hindi maka-antay kahit na busog na :)

And nope, they wont wait until we reach home to have more grapes :)