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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

(Taken from the last Xmas dinner we hosted for our Singapore group)

(Our Xmas tree, with gifts waiting to be opened!)

(Apologies for the blurry photos.)

One more sleep to go!  If you're like my family who open presents on the eve of Christmas (as in 12 midnight!), you must be very excited now.  I wish you all a blessed Christmas and a bountiful 2011!  It's been a wonderful 6 months in the blogsphere.  Thank you to all who drop by and take time to say hello and leave comments or email.  You'll be hearing more from me in January.  For the meantime, enjoy the Holidays!  Peace, Love and Joy to everyone! :-) 

I would love to hear your thoughts!
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Very Cheesy Week

My kitchen smells cheesy this week!  Been busy chopping, mixing, moulding and wrapping my home made cheese balls!  As orders start to pour in, I might not be able to post anything 'til next week.  I'm not complaining though!  It's always nice to share this piece of me on the Xmas table of dear friends.  So even if it's just Thursday, I wish you a happy weekend my dear readers and enjoy the last week of Advent.  One more week, and we get to open presents!  Yay!!  

And lest I forget, for those who started the Simbang Gabi (Dawn Mass), I wish you will get to complete all 9 Masses.  Last year, Raphael my son and his Yaya Bel did all 9 Masses and it looks like they're determined to do it again this year.   HE is the reason for the Season, so why not, right?

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, December 13, 2010

No DS or PSP?? ... No Worries!

In this modern age of computers, gadgets, virtual and cyber toys, it's quite impossible not to get in the trend.  My son Rapha would always ask when is he worth getting a DS or PSP or maybe a Wii, and a lot of times, I have been tempted to get him one, especially when he's been really a good boy and does well in school.  But then again, I know that it's not the best toy for him (that's my personal opinion, of course.).  If those hi-tech toys start finding their way in our home, what would happen to Rapha's arts and crafts?  What would happen with his recycling?  His little fingers might stop being creative, they might forget how to cut, saw, fold and twist.  His eyes might stop finding the beauty on used cartons, cups, boxes and papers.   He might stop being creative and imaginative and worst of all, he might stop bringing me paper flowers.  No!!!  I won't let that happen.  We survived the no TV and computer on weekdays policy.  Our family believes that books are necessary, store bought toys are luxury.    It would be a shame not to continue practicing what we have started.  What do you think?  Will I be getting the 'Most Uncool Mom' award for not buying a DS or PSP for my children?  
These are some of Rapha's recent projects.  The blue monster made out of brown paper bag.  Paper plate plus yarn equals a dream catcher.  Worry doll made of yarn and clothespin.  Scrap paper, straw and paper cup becomes a Vietnamese (don't ask me why he chose it to be Vietnamese!) dragon. 
Rapha said he's going to make me my own worry doll so I can also tuck it in my pillow at night and it will take away all my worries.   I think that would be one of my special gift this Xmas and I can't wait!  It will be magical to have a little clothespin wrapped with yarn do its work in vanishing all my worries!  Now that deserves the 'Coolest Toy Award!'  Won't you agree? :-)  Do you have similar toys like these at home?  Maybe you can share them here at 40andbeyond.  Have a worry-free week ahead of you, my dear readers!

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Cutest Gingerbread House

Isn't this the cutest gingerbread house?  The moment I saw this photo, I wanted to make myself a cup of hot choco!  Stuff like this brings more cheer to the Holidays!  It would be a shame not to credit the creative, (or maybe artistic is the more appropriate word?) lady behind these little houses.  Check Megan's blog and be inspired with her projects, you can't help but be envious with her amazing talent and creativity! Don't be misled though..its not Martha!  ;-)
May these little houses bring excitement to our weekend as we do our countdown to Christmas...14 days to go!!!  Happy weekend dear readers!

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My Best Friend for the Holidays

Meet my best friend for the holidays...Mr. Cutter.  He was a birthday gift from my good friend Trish.  And since I started wrapping gifts, he's been with me, never leaving my side.  He is such a big helper, providing perfect and evenly cut tape at a single turn of the wheel.  How easy is that?  So from hereon, I declare, Mr. Cutter as my best friend for the holidays!

I conquered this area in our family room and set up a table to be my wrapping station for the meantime (or as hubby calls it, Santa's workstation).  Poor family, they have to be squished on the couch when watching TV.  I love wrapping gifts and I use a whole lot of different wrappers, ribbons, bags and small trinkets.  How about you?  Have you started wrapping your Xmas gifts?  To my dear friend Trish, thank you so much for giving me Mr. Cutter!  I'm loving him, especially this season! :-)
I would love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mama Moment

Please allow me to indulge this time as I fondly share with you another pride and joy brought to the family of my son, Raphael.  This morning, he represented his class in the Gr. 4 level interpretative reading.  I was amazed with the talent of the 13 boys who competed.  They all did well, considering that the material they read was only given  10 minutes before the contest proper.  I saw how Rapha enjoyed his reading, maybe that's why he didn't show any sign of nervousness at all.  And of course, I was just praying the whole time!  (hahaha!!)  We were happy that he was chosen to represent his class and even happier and prouder that he won 2nd place!  And as all Ateneans are taught, all the talents that were shared in the competition are given back to God.  Ad Majorem Dei  Gloriam!   
The silver medal with the Certificate of Merit.

The top 3 winners with the judges.

Friends and classmates flock Rapha as they congratulate him after the contest.  They were shouting "Rapha, Rapha, Pizza!  Pizza!"  Silly boys! :-)

Happy Mama!

Proud Papa!

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Yummy Christmas Spread!

Happy Monday everyone!  How was your weekend?  Mine was productive, as I got to finish my Christmas gift shopping (well, almost, about 95% done!).  This week will be all about wrapping and planning menu for the parties we will be hosting.  If you are in the same boat as me, may I suggest you get the December issue of Yummy magazine (if you're in the Philippines) and I'm sure you will get a lot of menu ideas.  
This issue is fully packed with recipes for the Christmas table, special home made treats you can give away as gifts or bring for your next pot luck dinner.  For those of you who are familiar with my cheese ball, you will be pleasantly surprised to find it as part of the magazine's feature on "The Holiday Table!"  Yup, it's my cheese ball right there, grouped with all the other Xmas comfort food.      And I'm just too happy to be part of the spread.  Who wouldn't be proud to be next to the most loved lechon (roasted pork), right? :-) It's always heart warming to see and hear people loving my cheese ball.  Thank you to my friends who have supported my cheese ball the past few years, even during our Singapore stint.  And thank you to Yummy magazine for including me on your December issue.
Have a good week ahead my dear friends, and may you be able to tick everything on your to do list!  Cheers!

I would love to hear your thoughts!
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday Inspiration

Photo credit here.

I am swooning over this photos!  I thought I'm done with the white, pristine, feminine interiors but when I saw this, I can't stop staring and had to read more about the owner.  This beautiful dresser and desk belongs to the grand daughter of Grace Kelly's clothier (I like that word!), Katie Ermilio who is a designer herself.  Check out Rue magazine for more photos of her home and be inspired! It's almost weekend!  Yay!!

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Peace, Love and Joy

PEACE, LOVE and JOY...that's my wish for you on this beautiful Wednesday and the whole of the Christmas season!  Have a good day, dear readers!

Photo taken from my garden.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, November 29, 2010

All About Wreath

One of our favorite family Christmas tradition is making our own Advent wreath.  We are on our fifth year now, and counting.  It's simple to do and a great bonding time for the family.  This is how we made it...
Easy, right?  So if you got inspired with this simple DIY Xmas project, why don't you start gathering your materials and make one for your home.  You can also print the prayer from here

Our wreath from last year
Wreath from Christmas 2008

I've also done a bit of work on our old wreaths to give it a fresher look.
This used to be red and green, now it's blue and gold.  Sits on the dining table.

This wreath holds a big cinnamon candle, decorated with holly and cones.

Rapha's fabric Xmas wreath.  He made this in school when he was in first grade.

Wreath on the main door.

Isn't Christmas just soo exciting!  There's so much to do with the family, and everyone's busy but at the same time, in high spirits!  Enjoy the first week of Advent my dear readers!

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Came Knocking on our Door

Can't delay it no more...Christmas came knocking on our door!  When you have kids in the family and a husband who loves celebrations and hosting family and friends, you get all the pressure of keeping your home spic and span and in sync with the season.  (Not that I'm's my joy to give my family a beautiful home.)   And of course, Christmas is the biggest, grandest of them all!  It took hours and hours to finish decorating the house and setting up the tree, but it's all worth it!  Come take a look...
As you enter our house, you will be greeted by this nativity set on our console.  Christmas won't be complete without it, right?

In my previous  post, you will remember that I said I was leaning on a silvery, glittery Xmas decor. did not happen.  I got inspired of a family dinner we hosted few weeks back.  I prepped our table using jewel-toned linens, plates and candle holders.   And since then, I started to dream of sapphires, rubies, emeralds, tiger's eye, lapis, amethyst and topaz!
That's why the silver, glass and white were forgotten and replaced by the very rich tones of jewels!  And everyone's happy with it.
There are more Christmas vignettes around the house and I shall share them with you soon.  For the meantime, enjoy your weekend and I wish you all the joy as you start making your home Christmas-sy over the weekend (if you haven't done so!).   As for my family, we are looking forward to the first Sunday of Advent.  Two more sleeps and we will be making our traditional family Advent wreath!
I'm guessing we will be working on our wreath here in our lanai.  Happy weekend everyone!

 I would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Up Close and Personal

Exactly a month ago I shared with you here, the house of my dear friend Aura.  I was just being bold and ambitious to create a once a month post on beautiful, REAL homes.  But to tell you honestly, I didn't know if I can come up with a second one.  Now it can be told, I was a bit scared if I can really pull this through.  But I guess luck is on my side or should I say I got friends on my side?  Because today, I am excited to show you another friend's house.  Yup...I charmed my way to have her house posted here in 40andbeyond.  And of course, she cannot resist as I implore with French pastries in my bag.  So, for this month of November, let me share with you the second...
Up Close and Personal
My very good friend Doris, has the most charming "Shabby Chic" - inspired home right smack in the middle of the City.  The moment you enter her home (shared with her hubby and beautiful daughter), you instantly feel like you're in a country home and you just want to find a corner (amongst the many cozy nooks that she has!), lounge and bask in a good book.  Or just like what I would do when I visit her, I'd just be idle and feast my eyes with all her pretty vignettes!  Take a visual tour with me and feel some French, country charm...

As you enter the main door, you will be greeted by the family's oval-framed silhouettes.  I am not very fond of frames but this set is just perfect to welcome the guests!

The warm and inviting living room.  The color palette of green and white, accessorized with silver makes it very relaxing.  It really feels you're in a bed and breakfast  cottage.

(1) Collection of antique, silver candle holders  (2)  A snuggly corner of the living room (3) Simple cushions dot the all-white cozy couch (4)  Shabby and distressed candelabras on the coffee table

The dining area is right next to the living area. I love the way Doris make use of old pieces, (some were hand me down from her family) and gives them a new life by making it functional again. Can you see the old sewing machine behind the chair?  She refurbished it and made it into a console.  Now it's perfect to hold her antique, silver tea set. 
The study is accessorized with inherited and vintage stuff.  This nook is screaming I-N-S-P-I-R-A-T-I-O-N!  Can you hear it??
(1-2) Medicine cabinet of Doris' grandfather, now houses her collection of thimbles and vintage children's books (3) A bread box cum chopping board is now used to keep clutter away (4)  My favorite!!!  Super cute, vintage, mini Golden books (remember those story books with very simple illustrations?) (5) A DIY mirror/candle holder.  How clever is that? Doris has her own handyman whom she trained to make her distressed furniture (6) A collection of mini bird cages

Located at the attic, is Doris' guestroom. Very "Rachel 
Ashwell-y"! I would not be surprised if guests would want to stay there forever!  It's very cozy and it's like a big eye candy for people who like vintage and shabby chic interiors!
The white, wrought iron bed is draped with a quilt hand made by Doris' grandmother.  Can you see the pretty Doris by the canvass panel?  Sorry Dors,   I know I said you were not in the picture. :-)
(1) Study nook at the guestroom with an antique swivel chair (2)  Bookshelves that hold Doris' collection of Classics (3)  Hard bound Charles Dickens collection.  I envy this! (4)  Bedside table is home to vintage Pooh collection (5)  An antique Dutch table lamp with a pretty vintage photo frame, shaped like a purse.  Very pretty! (6)  Complete view of the bed with the side tables 

And here is the master's bedroom...simple, white and still true to the house's look - very Chic!  Doris made sure she is surrounded with all her favorite, pretty, vintage things.  Most of them were found and bought in the antique and thrift stores during her US trips.   
(1) Doris' closet is defined with a pink, fabric curtain.  Just pull the curtain to the side, and voila!  You see all your clothes in a single hand sway.  How easy is that?  (2) Desk that holds her thrift store finds, like the African American ragdolls.  Truly a rare find!  That's my other favorite!  (3-4) Her pretty, pretty, (did I say pretty?) dresser.  I love the mini, dainty luggage boxes used to hold her perfume, brushes, etc.  I thought it's a mini boudoir in it's own right!

Now, let me take you to Gaby's room.  As I have known Doris way back our working days in the same company, I kinda witnessed and watched Gaby grow from that little cute girl, and now a beautiful woman.  Yup!  I feel so old last time I saw her.  She's all grown up and working!  Where did time go??  And this lady is not just physically gifted; she is also very smart and writes very well!  Visit her blog here and be the judge.  If only I can have a fraction of her writing competency.

Hand painted checkers in baby blue and white for the wall.  How sweet is that?  Her quilt (again another handmade piece by the great grandmother) matches her wall and complements her white, shabby, wooden bed.

(1) Study bureau with shelves on top that houses her books and collectible toys (2&4)  Some of Gaby's vintage dresses and camisole.  Sorry Gabs, your mom and I raided your closet! (3)  The classic Pooh collection which my daughter Bianca adores! (5)  Hat and bag rack by the side table keeps her collection organized.

More pretty things that can't be missed!  
So, there you have it.  The "Ignacio cottage" brought me so much inspiration that I started pulling out my Rachel Ashwell books just so I can continue to enjoy Shabby Chic interiors when I got home.  I should start looking for another home to feature here...before I start painting my house white!  I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed working on it.  Thank you so much Dors, for opening your home to 40andbeyond!  Hopefully I can produce the third post  of 
Up Close and Personal  
by December!  Calling all my dear friends!!!

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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