Saturday, September 25, 2021

Is a portable air conditioner the right choice for your home?

Our main air conditioner, the one that cools down the living room, dining room, and kitchen (and sometimes the entire condo!), conked out a few months ago. Around June, I think. Initially, I had thought of immediately buying a new one because it can get so hot in Manila, right? But I figured let's see if the kids (used to aircon almost 24/7) will survive. After all, we're Pinoys so we should get used to the tropical weather. Almost 4 months later, they're fine! 

I'm the one who's not fine haha! It's so hot! If you follow me on Instagram, you'd know I'm always in spaghetti-strap dresses or dasters. No more OOTDs for me. The heat has made it impossible! I was hoping that the rainy season would offer respite but, nope, it's really hot. So my husband and I have been doing some online aircon shopping! Also, a guest post about portable air conditioners landed in my inbox and it's so relevant to me now, I might as well share it with you!
 

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Having an air-conditioned home in a tropical country like the Philippines is definitely an advantage, particularly during the summer. In fact, you don’t even need to air-condition the whole house. Installing an aircon in just the bedroom(s) will still be able to make a huge difference in your comfort levels.

However, an air conditioner may not be the best choice for everyone. There may be circumstances that can prevent you from installing an aircon in your home, such as a lack of space. In cases like this, a portable air conditioner might be a viable alternative. Below is a quick look at portable aircons that can hopefully help you make a decision.

How a Portable Air Conditioner Works

A portable air conditioner works like any other “traditional” air conditioner: by converting the refrigerant from liquid to gas and then back to liquid by passing the chemical through a set of coils. This process absorbs the heat, which is then released outside through a discharge vent. For window-type aircons, this is found on the back of the unit that hangs out of the wall or window. For split-type aircons, it’s part of the outdoor component.

For portable air conditioners, you’ll have a window kit with an exhaust hose so the hot air has somewhere to go. Thus, in theory, you can move a portable aircon from room to room. However, if you do this, you’ll also have to move the window kit. It’s still easier than a window-type or a split aircon, but it’s not comparable to simply moving an electric fan or an air cooler.

Portable Air Conditioners Are Perfect for Renters

Considering the way a portable air conditioner is set-up, it’s a good choice for renters who aren’t allowed to make modifications to the unit. It’s also a great option if your house doesn’t have enough space that can properly accommodate the exterior side of a window aircon or the outdoor component of a split-type model.

Portable air conditioners are also great for spot cooling and small rooms, such as a home office or a bedroom. Window-type or split aircons may be too big for these spaces, so choosing a portable model might be the best option to achieve the temperature you want.

If you need to cool down a bigger space, you simply need to follow the same principles for aircon sizing: large spaces need higher BTU ratings and vice versa. You should also take note of the EER or energy efficiency rating, so you can pick a model that won’t make your electricity bills skyrocket.

The Benefits of Portable Aircons

Aside from easy transport, portable aircons also let you maximize natural light. If your home has limited windows (e.g., an apartment or condo), blocking it with an aircon unit can be counterproductive. You also have more freedom with regard to placement. As long as the exhaust window kit can be set-up correctly, you can put a portable aircon anywhere in the room.

Finally, a portable air conditioner is so much easier to install. You don’t need to drill holes in the wall or alter your windows. There’s also no need for special tools and equipment. You simply have to take the portable aircon out of the box, set up the window kit for proper exhaust, and plug it in to enjoy the cooler air.

Do note, however, that portable air conditioners are noisier than both window and split-type aircons. This is because many of the parts that are supposed to be located or pointed outdoors are combined into the indoor unit. Still, if you aren’t that bothered by the loudness, portable air conditioners are a great way for cooling down a space.

What About an Air Cooler?

There’s another option for Filipinos who want to beat the heat: an air cooler. Also called an evaporative cooler, an air cooler doesn’t have refrigerants. Instead, it has pads that you can soak with water. When air passes through these pads, the water evaporates and cools the air. The blower then recirculates this cooled-down air around the room.

One big advantage of air coolers over portable aircons is their energy consumption. What’s more, because they only use water (or sometimes ice), air coolers are much more eco-friendly. The downside is that air coolers aren’t designed for humid climates, because it saturates the air with moisture. This can quickly become uncomfortable during the summer. It can also be dangerous if there are electronics in the room, since the added humidity can damage circuit boards.

In the Philippines, the best use of air coolers would be in rooms with open ventilation. This way, the moisture doesn’t get trapped inside and the air won’t feel stuffy or sticky. If you have to close the room, your best choice for cooling would still be an aircon (whether traditional or portable).



Being a tropical country, the Philippines has plenty of sunny days that easily turn from pleasant to unbearable. The good thing is that there are plenty of appliances to choose from to help you cool down. If you’re looking for a compact but powerful option, a portable air conditioner might be just what you need.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Frances Finds: My favorite house in Sun Valley Antipolo!

Hello! House tour again this weekend! Okay, just so you know, I really really like Sun Valley in Antipolo. Tapos yung barangay nila, the name is Barangay Inarawan. I like it. Seems like a sunny place to live in! Maganda yung energy niya!


I have friends who bought a lot there. So excited for them! Ako, kahit gusto ko dun, medyo na-intimidate ako sa layo ng village itself from the main gate. Like parang mga 20 minutes na drive pa. Layo! Paano na my Foodpanda deliveries???

Anyway, I found a new house I like! It's in Sun Valley and it is soooo nice! Look at it surrounded by trees. Haaaay. Yun lang naman and reason why I dream of somewhere else - I want my kids to run around and get sun exposure and mag-amoy-araw. It's kinda weird to have little boys and, because they've been quarantined since March 2020, they smell sooo good. Walang pawis at all. So they don't smell like what little boys should smell like.


Ganda ng video na ginawa ng Property Hunter. May top view! So I fell more in love with this house because of all that green! Sigh. And ang laki ng garage, mga 4 cars yan. Isa lang naman kotse namin so what's the point? Wala lang. Space! My kids can play there. With our dogs! Haha yes. I want a dog! But bawal sa condo namin so eto dreaming as usual.


I like the facade. Love the broken roof line. Love the elevation. Love the huge door and the big windows. Love the warmth of the wood. Is that wood? Anyway, maganda siya.  


Here's the ground floor! Eto yung living room and dining area. You know me and my love affair with huge glass windows! Maliwanag. Maaliwalas. Presko. All that light and all that green!!! But my husband and I don't like white floor tiles. Parang opisina ang dating.


Eto yung garden/lanai. This is what's missing in many houses for sale. Walang garden usually. This one meron. I really like that! Plus, see that room to the left? That can be our home office. Since the pandemic has made working from home the norm now, it's good to have a room dedicated to just work. And I like how this room looks out into the garden. Nakakatanggal ng stress.

Okay, that's all the photos I have! I couldn't grab more because yung channel host na si Sandro was practically in every frame. Pinili ko talaga yung wala siya at ito lang yun. Ganda pa naman ng kitchen and bedrooms! Watch niyo na lang yung video to appreciate:


Again, hindi ako nagbebenta ng bahay. Don't leave "hm" sa comments please! Wala rin akong commission sa mga home tour videos ko. I just really want to share my virtual visits to homes far far away and dream! Have a good weekend dreaming with meeeee!

Thursday, September 09, 2021

When I made my son's dream come true

This week was extra busy for me and my second boy, Iñigo. For a few years now, my kids have been saying that when they grow up, they want to be YouTubers. It's a dream I frown upon. But because my parents discouraged me from becoming a writer, I wasn't going to do the same thing to my kids. Nope. 

My husband said we won't discourage them but they have to prove that this is what they really really REALLY want. And then we'll support. We told them the best YouTubers loved doing something first and they shared that something with the world. So cooking, video games, toys - what's important was they had a hobby, job, interest that they made videos of. They were Someone first before they were a YouTuber. So we encouraged them to have a Something and be a Someone, and then vlogging will come easy.  

We also never said they can't be YouTubers. We told them they have to figure out how to be one because neither their parents were vloggers so we really didn't know how to help anyway! And for years, their dream was all talk, no action. So we didn't think they were serious about it.


This summer, however, my boys learned to program. And my second boy, Iñigo, took to it like fish to water. He was churning out video games in a few short weeks on Scratch, and other kids were telling him his games were cool. I'm so proud of him. Even more important, he's so proud of himself.

Last month, he announced he wanted to start his YouTube channel. He said he wanted to share his love for Scratch and Minecraft. He has found his Something and his Someone was he was going to be a teacher. 

I resisted because I didn't know how to make videos myself! But finally last week, I promised we'd figure it out together. But when the weekend came, I backed out. I was tired. I wasn't interested. And I really didn't want him to be a YouTuber.

Iñigo got sad. He looked betrayed. But he said he understood. And that made me feel worse.

So what the heck, let's do this! So I sat him down and had a heart-to-heart. I told him why I didn't want him to be a YouTuber. I said, "The internet is an ugly place filled with mean and hateful people. I don't want you to go out there and they'll say mean and hateful things about your work and about you. Or what if no one 'likes' your video or no one comments? That hurts, too. You're a kid. You can't handle these things yet. Even me, I'm a blogger for 15 years now and my grown-up heart gets very hurt at mean comments."

I also told him that the opposite can be a bad thing, too. "There's also a danger in getting lots of likes and fans. You'll start building your self-worth on likes. But what if you made something they didn't like? Then you'll always want to make something that will make others happy when you should be creating work that makes you happy," I said. 

We talked late into the night and he agreed that I'll screen all comments first. He'll tell me if anyone was being mean or threatening or making him uncomfortable. I also told him it's important to not take things personally. But, my goodness, he's a kid! How can I protect him from the world? 

We talked about internet safety and many other things. He told me about his dreams, his plans for his videos, and that he'll be responsible and always tell me and his Papa everything. Finally, I was convinced. I conceded that he really wants this YouTube channel and so what's a Mama to do? We make it happen!


We Googled everything! We set it up, we troubleshot, we plotted and planned. And I was annoyed sometimes. I really didn't want to do this and I was sleepy and frustrated at all the things we had to learn! But he was so happy and excited. He was going to do Scratch tutorials and let me tell you, I'm not his market at all. I told him to make this or that instead, but he said, "I'm not doing this for likes, Mama. I want to help kids like me!" 

So I went through with it, researching with him, guiding, explaining, and finally... Iñigo launched his YouTube channel.


At 3 AM on September 7, 2021, Iñigo sat back, exhausted but bright-eyed. He said, "So this is how it feels like when your dream comes true."

My heart exploded! It was worth it. He fought for his dream. He worked hard at it. And that made his accomplishment even more amazing. I'm so proud of him. Even more important, he's so proud of himself.

In two days, he made FIVE videos. That's how excited he is. And I may not understand his dream but I realized that's not what's important. All he needs is for me to support him all the way. 

I learned a lot this week. How to set up a channel, make and edit videos, fiddle with all the settings. I also learned how to be a supportive parent. And that's the best lesson of all. 

Monday, September 06, 2021

Frances Finds: Modern duplex house in Antipolo

Let's go back to house tours! I showed you one last month, right before I disappeared because of work and school. But I said that the north was too far and so I started looking towards the east, and I found this duplex in Antipolo. I like it a lot! 


This duplex is newly built and located in lower Antipolo, near Xentro Mall and Masinag. So magandang-maganda location niya. Di malayo sa sibilisasyon pero very suburbia pa rin. If you watch the video, you get the feel na probinsya siya. Pero ang lapit nito super sa modern conveniences. 


Okay, bago ko pa ituloy ang post na ito, hindi po ako nagbebenta ng bahay haha I'm just really stuck at home and super bored. One of the things I loved to do before the pandemic was go on house tours. Literally. As in I would knock on a stranger's door or gate and ask to see their house. Most of the time, sa sobrang gulat ng mga tao, they let me in! They show me around. Kwento-kwento. Then alis na ako. Yun lang. Masaya na ako. Is it safe what I do? No. Don't do it! But so far, lahat naman ng bahay na pinuntahan ko, mababait ang mga tao so God is good. And people are good!


Anyway, back to the duplex. Gusto ko siya kasi maliwanag at maluwag. You know I love big windows. Di ko lang type yung divider sa dining room. It's ugly and unnecessary. 


Here's the dining area. It's right by the kitchen and there are huge doors that lead out to the lanai. I imagine opening up those doors and planting lots of flowers outside and then I can have coffee or my black tea while basking in the sun.


Here's the spacious kitchen! Again, maliwanag. I like the white countertops. My kitchen now is black granite countertops and backsplash. The black granite was nice 14 years ago but now I'm looking for a really white kitchen. It's my age. My eyesight is going bad and I now have a hard time seeing things in a black kitchen. So I'm attracted to white kitchens.


Here's what the ground floor looks like from the far corner of the kitchen. Big enough but not too big. I really like the maaliwalas feeling. Okay, now let's go look at the master bedroom upstairs!


This is the master bedroom. It looks bigger in the video. I like the balcony, but I'm thinking it would be nicer enclosed in glass and transformed into a sunroom or a study. There's an en suite bathroom, too.

There are also 3 bedrooms on the second floor aside from the master bedroom. And I have 3 sons! So I like to imagine that each boy will have a room when they're teenagers. 

Right now, they all like to sleep in the same room. They laugh and chat and sing till late in the night. It's very sweet. Very loud, though, and parental duty obligates me or their father to come knock and remind them to go to sleep. The house goes quiet but soon the whispers start again and they chat and giggle and sing, and I let them be.

It's nice my kids have each other. In a pandemic, they've done surprisingly well. I hope they like each other forever! But for that to happen in their teenage years, I think they'll need separate rooms. And this house has three perfectly sized rooms with big windows! Super love this duplex talaga.


There are two things I don't like about this property, however. First, it's bad feng shui. Haha para namang Chinese ako! But I just wrote about 7 feng shui tips to know when selling real estate for Upside PH, and I found that a property that's in a T-junction is very bad luck daw. And I quote from my own article: "From a practical standpoint, a house at a T-junction is a bad idea because the home will always be lit up by headlights and suffer the noise of car horns approaching the T-junction. In a worst-case scenario, if a car loses its brakes, it will crash into the house." Check out the article for other scary, mysterious, and ghostly reasons not to live in T-junction house.

Second, it's near an events venue (see that white wall). Pandemic naman ngayon so walang events but when this pandemic ends, that events place will mean lots of cars parked on the street, music and noise till late in the night, and dealing with strangers who might block your gate with their car tapos sila pa galit. Basta alam niyo na yun.

But everything else, type ko talaga. But... not the house of my dreams and not the neighborhood of my dreams. It's stilla really good property, though. 

Prayer ko talaga kay God ngayon is bigyan niya kami ng house of my dreams in the neighborhood of my dreams haha I'm really happy where we are now, okay. Our condo is really good! My friends ask me now and then if I want to sell our place. My realtor friends tell me our condo can fetch a really amazing price if we ever sell. I really live in a good place! 

Kung di lang dahil sa never-ending quarantine, di ako mangangarap ng ibang bahay. But kids need to run around, get some sun, discover insects and flowers, and just basically use up all their energy shouting and chasing and being little boys. 

Maybe one day soon. Pray for us! 

Sunday, September 05, 2021

5 things we learned from our first year of homeschooling

Been gone forever! August was a most exciting month. School started. And that's a whole big adventure there on its own, rights? So when this amazing job offer suddenly came up, logic said, "No, don't do it. You won't have the time!" But life is uncertain in a pandemic. Sieze the day! So now I have a new job. And still homeschooling. While cooking and cleaning. And trying to sell my book when I catch a breath!

Life is full!

Anyhoot, I missed you. I miss blogging. I have a lot to say, Loyal Readers know that about me. But life has to be lived and so I haven't been blogging. For now, I want to do a update - just so you know I'm still alive (I'm on Instagram btw!). Not just alive but thriving!


So anyway. I was a speaker at the Connect Homeschool and Intentional Parenting Summit #CHIPSThriveAtHome Homeschooling and Distance Learning Conference a few weeks ago. I was surprised they asked me to speak since I was pretty vocal about the daily hell homeschooling was haha But Tina S. Rodriguez (blogger of Truly Rich and Blessed) told me it's good to have someone at the conference talk about how hard homeschooling can be. They trusted me to be honest but not whiny haha I'm sharing with you the video I made on the 5 things we learned from our first year of homeschooling (scroll down belooooow). 

But let me tell you what happened here on my blog. Because at the conference, watched by strangers, I had to still be upbeat and inspiring. Here, I'm with friends (I hope!) and so I feel I can be a wee bit more honest with you all.


Last year, it was our first time to homeschool and it was HARD. I regretted it a few months in. But there we were and I'm the sort who will stand by a decision until it's impossible to stand it. 

Our unfortunate experience was mostly the fault of the homeschool provider we enrolled in. Yes. I say this not flippantly. I very rarely blame others for my difficulties but I, together with hundreds of parents, chose this particular provider because it was under the umbrella of the most prestigious homeschool provider in the country. It promised us a lot of good things that we desperately clung to because it was a pandemic.

But I should've listened to my gut when it felt queasy at the virtual Parents' Orientation and the speaker said very loudly, "Parents! Stop. Asking. The same. Questions. Again and again. Listen! Read! Pay attention!" I thought it was rude but hey, we were all stressed out last year, right?

Well, we got even more stressed out, I tell ya. Our former homeschool provider was disorganized, unhelpful, unprepared. Sad. We parents had to help each other out because our emails to the school were hardly ever answered, and when they were, the replies were curt and not helpful at all. Dismissive. Literally didn't answer the question. So upsetting. 

Well, we - as well as many parents - left that provider and things are soooo much better now with our new one. 

But our problems aren't over yet with the former provider. It's already September and I requested for my kids' report cards and certificates of enrollment many months ago. I need them so that my enrollment with our new provider will be complete. But still nothing from the old one. I emailed to follow up and an automatic reply said, "This email address is no longer active. For concerns, log your issue on this platform [link provided]." Not a surprise. But I dutifully logged the follow-up request as instructed and I got a reply that said (and I paraphrase), "Requests for report cards are filed by date. By sending another request, your request is now at the end of the list. Further requests will put your request at the bottom of the list. Refrain from following up."
   
WOW. 


Anyway. That's the least of my problems. There's a pandemic. There are anti-vaxxers. There's this government. The delay of my kids' records is my only problem in my life, and I'll take it. If that can be my only problem in my entire life, please let it be so. I'm not going to take all the good things in my life for granted. I'm happy, I'm healthy. I'm vaxxed. My husband is also super happy, also healthy, also vaxxed. Our kids are healthy and happy, too. And having so much fun with homeschooling! Hooray!

What a huge relief! Life is good. Life is great! So I'll leave you now with my little video on the 5 things we learned from our first year of homeschooling. I hope you like it and learn a few things from our experience.


Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Frances Finds: Beautiful house at The Glades Timberland

Hello! Ooh, I've been away. I've been busy preparing for the start of school and homeschooling, preparing my talk for the homeschooling event #CHIPSThriveAtHome summit, writing for the upscale property website Upside PH, and selling my book, Not Invisible!

(Please buy Not Invisible: A Memoir from Shopee, Amazon, Kindle, and Google Play. Thank you!) 

Anyway, I breathed a bit over the weekend, and for relaxation, I decided to watch property videos. Well, it was still kinda work since I wanted to enhance my real estate vocabulary for my Upside project but it was relaxing work. Anyway! I know you guys know I love Mid-Century Modern (MCM) houses. They're open, sprawling structures surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass windows. I just don't know if such a design works in the Philippines, what with our earthquakes, super typhoons, floods, and usyosera and pakialamerong neighbors.

Sa kaka-YouTube ko for houses, I saw three houses I really, really like, but I'll show you this one from The Glades Timberland first. Then tell me if you want to see the other houses!

But, first, no, hindi ko siya bibilhin so sa mga real estate people, please don't email me! Ang layo grabe. For me, sobrang malayo ang Timberland. Second, depende sa size ng lot, 16M to 25M yata ang price nito. Wala akong ganung pera haha Wish ko lang! And even if we had 25M, we wouldn't spend it on a house so far away from our families and friends. That said, I like it, I like it! Let's take a look:


Nice, no? Now let me share with you what I like:


This guy! He's not the best guy with describing things. Ako kasi, it was drilled into my head that when you present anything, you don't point out the obvious because that insults the audience. Don't go, "Oh, and this is the light. This is the staircase. This is the desk." We knooooow. We can see! But I like him because he's affable and earnest and he reads a Bible verse at the end of every video and I feel like he blessed me. He may not have blessed me with a house but I feel his intentions are sincere. I like that! God bless you, too, Zandro.  
  

Okay, back to the house! I like the roof, the big windows (almost MCM!). I like MCM's big windows aesthetics because it lets a huge amount of light in. I love light. I don't like dark houses. Sabi ng yaya ko nung maliit pa ako, yung mga parts ng house na di naaarawan, dun tumatambay ang mga multo and bad memories of the residents. So every day, Ate Marita would pull open curtains and doors and cabinets and wave away the bad spirits. And while I don't believe in ghosts now as a grownup, that remianed with me. Dark corners, dark houses - bad vibes.

In fact, that's why we chose our condo because of the windows that dominate practically every wall of our unit. Yes, we spent a fortune on curtains but the light and the views are priceless! But back to the house in the video:


Check out the spacious ground floor! That's just 80+ sqm but it looks so big, no? And ang aliwalas! I super like it talaga. I'd add a big, plush carpet and tons of bookshelves, and it's home!


Another thing I liked was the maid's quarters. The access is from the outside, it has a big window, and it even has its own toilet and shower! Nice! We don't have a kasambahay so I'm going to use this room as a home office. Lalo na ngayong pandemic, marami sa atin work at home. Sa totoo lang, my husband and I have a hard time separating work from home life because our workspaces are in the bedroom and the living room. Dapat talaga sana nasa labas ang home office para may mental shift and physical distance from work, kahit sa labas ng bahay mo lang.  


Another thing I loved was the kitchen! Look at it! It's soooo nice. It has that efficient triangle of traffic (ref, sink, stove). It has lots of counter space. And all that light! My goodness. I'm so in love with this kitchen. 

So there. I want this house. You can watch the video to check out the bedrooms upstairs. They're okay, too. It's only 3 bedrooms - master bedroom + 2 bedrooms, and I have 3 kids. Maybe I'll add a bedroom or just ask which of my boys want to share a room. 

Sigh, super like this house talaga! Please pray for me and my husband, for our dreams to come true! Para makabili kami ng lot at makapagpatayo kami ng ganitong bahay. Salamat! Mwah!

*Photos grabbed from Property Hunter Realty video.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

7 fridge organizing hacks you probably didn't know about


I was cleaning up my email and found these photos from my refrigerator campaign last year. These were the outtakes and I never got to use these pictures. So how about we do an entire blog post just so I can use these photos??? Today, let's talk about fridge organizing hacks!

There is no doubt that one of the most frequently used home appliances is the refrigerator. It is constantly plugged in and its doors are often being pulled open or pushed shut throughout the course of the day. Thus, it is important that the fridge is in top working condition all the time, and a big part of keeping it that way is organizing its contents. Making sure that all the stuff inside your fridge is stored properly not only makes it easier and more convenient to use, but it also helps the appliance to run more efficiently while saving you a lot in terms of electricity and maintenance costs. Here are just some ideas in organizing your refrigerator that you may not even have thought about yet.

1. Don’t overstuff it.

Before you can even begin organizing your refrigerator, you need to be aware of its capacity so you know just how much you can stick inside it. The best way to determine this is to check its specifications and not just rely on a visual estimate. You might think that everything looks fine, but the fridge motor may already be working beyond its limit. If you find yourself overstuffing your fridge, it may be time to get a larger one. When buying refrigerators online, always take into consideration the average daily food consumption of your household in selecting the right size and model.

2. Keep things in the right zone.

Did you know that there are different spots in your fridge that are ideal for various types of foods? The lower shelves are the coldest while the door is most prone to temperature shifts, which means it tends to be generally warmer. Therefore, avoid placing items that can easily spoil on the door shelves.


3. Separate fruits from the veggies.

You might think that these two go well together because they are both types of produce. However, the truth is that they’re best stored separately because as fruits ripen, they give off a substance called ethylene that can affect and age vegetables, leading them to rot faster. Thus, when keeping fruits and vegetables in the crisper, you should store them in separate bags. Better yet, leave the veggies in the crisper and place fruits on the shelves.

4. Transfer packaged food into containers.

You can save a lot of fridge space by chucking out the bulky packaging that a lot of food comes in and transferring the contents into smaller receptacles. Glass or plastic containers with airtight lids are good for most types of food and beverages, while plastic or reusable silicone bags are ideal for loose food such as fruits and nuts. As the milk or juice carton nears its end, simply pour the remaining liquid into a small jar or bottle.


5. Label, label, label!

Don’t forget to affix a clear label on the items that you repackage or store inside the fridge. Clearly identify what kind of foodstuff it is and place the date when you stored it. This way, you can determine whether it’s still good to eat later on. You can use a good old permanent marker to write on plastic bags, or better yet, invest in a sticker label printer that you can use for plastic or glass containers, bottles, and jars.

6. Observe the FIFO Rule.

How many times have you reached deep into your fridge only to find rotten or spoiling food? You can easily prevent this by making sure to pull old food stock out into the front of the shelves every time you load your groceries in the fridge. This way, you can use or consume older items first. Just like what they do in the supermarket shelves, this is called the “first in, first out” or FIFO concept. You might also want to use contraptions like a lazy Susan to help you rotate items inside your fridge better.

7. Do a weekly clean-up.

Schedule a weekly audit of all the items inside your fridge. Throw away any expired items and wipe up any spills or messes on the shelves and on the inside surfaces of your fridge. Not only are they unsightly, but they can also cause odor and lead to the growth of harmful microorganisms such as bacteria and mold. A good idea is to use plastic or rubber mats to line your fridge shelves and to prevent spills from getting bigger. You can also place a cup of baking soda in the fridge to prevent any nasty odors from forming.

A hallmark of a well-organized fridge is the owner being able to quickly find what they need the very moment they need it. You can only achieve this by making sure that everything inside your fridge is in its proper place. While it may seem like a difficult task indeed considering the flurry of daily activities in the kitchen, it is not at all impossible. All you need is a bit of planning as well as dedication to a regular fridge organization schedule.

*Photos courtesy of Panasonic and SVEN.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

5 safety tips for a fun summer


Look at how cute baby Vito and baby Iñigo were in the pool! How I wish we could have a summer holiday. My kids and I have all of July to enjoy our school break. It's only a month because we're moving to a new homeschool provider that has an earlier back-to-school date than our previous one. So that's just 3 weeks of summer! 

To be honest, it's not a very exciting summer because it's not like we can go anywhere. There's still a pandemic out there. I'm already fully vaccinated but my husband isn't yet so until that happens, we'll stay home and stay safe. Still, summer means a break from school and plenty of time to just play and have fun. But it's been very hot and humid so we're basically doing nothing, just hanging out near the AC and fans. So bummer summer! 

I wish we lived somewhere cold right now. So this lazy Saturday I was looking at houses (Loyal Readers know I love looking at property listings!), particularly at houses in cold climates, and just look at this charming home I found while scrolling through Banff homes for sale (Banff is in Canada). You can almost feel the cool and crisp mountain breeze blowing out of these pictures!  

More photos of this listing here

Anyway, while I sweat here in sweltering Manila and dream of colder climes, I know many of you are roaring off to beaches and AirBnB's outside the city. I won't stop you but I truly hope you're fully vaccinated! Summer has always been a fun time but it also brings many dangers. Heat exhaustion, sunburn, sunstrokes, drowning. And now COVID! Here are a few safety reminders from Mommy Frances so you and your family can enjoy - not regret! - your summer 

1. Practice sun safety. 

Summer is hot. Obviously. So don't forget to protect yourself from the sun. Slather on the sunscreen. Don't stay out too long in the sun, especially from 10am to 3pm. Stay in the shade. Wear sunglasses and protective clothing. 

2. Always hydrate.

I read somewhere that thirst is a sign of dehydration. You're never supposed to get to a state of thirst. So drink those 8 glasses. Sip throughout the day, especially on a hot day. It's also important to drink the right liquids. For example, sugary, caffeinated, and alcoholic beverages may be refreshing but they're actually dehydrating.

3. Have fun... but safely. 

Avoid strenuous activities in the hottest hours of the day. That means exercise during the early morning or late evening. If you're going swimming, make sure there's a lifeguard. If you're hiking on a mountain trail, be ready with the right gear. Remember to drink water!

4. Watch out for heat-caused conditions.

Prolonged exposure to sun and heat can cause dangerous conditions like dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. So pay attention to what your body's telling you. Look out for excessive sweating, thirstiness, high body temperature, rapid and shallow breathing, a feeling of confusion, nausea, headaches, and more. 

5. Don't forget there's a pandemic!

We're all fatigued from the warnings and reminders but it bears repeating especially if you're stepping out of the house. Please practice social distancing. Wear a mask properly. Avoid crowded places. Wash your hands for 20 seconds. Don't let your guard down! 


The kids and I actually want to go back to Baguio. Anywhere cool. Manila's just roasting these days. We may be stuck at home but I still have to make sure we're hydrated and not suffering from heat exhaustion (I am exhausted by the heat, though). For those of you who have plans to go out and have fun, stay safe!

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

The Beauty Bakery PH is serving some skin care goodies!


Got some goodies and I gotta say I love them! A few weeks ago, The Beauty Bakery PH sent me their curated beauty kits. Each kit contains specifically formulated products that work well with each other. You don't have to think about what goes with what because Beauty Bakery thought it up for you! 

Anti Acne Kit, Php 520
Combat pimples, acne, and breakouts caused by face masks. With their antibacterial protection and sebum-control properties, the products in this kit will not only help skin heal but will also prevent future breakouts.

No scent! Except for the facial wash, which smells like lemons.

Glow Skin Kit, Php 999
If you want that translucent glass skin glow, then this is the kit for you! The seaweed and botanical extracts in the products will help you achieve tighter pores and a porcelain skin texture that glows without skin peeling.

Has practically no fragrance, which is a big plus for me because I don't like heavily scented skin products. 

Healthy Skin Kit, Php 705
The Witch Hazel + Tea Tree Collection is a bestseller. I forgot that witch hazel is an amazing skincare product. I used it before (different brand) and my acne-prone skin totally calmed down. This kit promises antioxidant protection against free radicals and premature skin aging. Mid-40s me is game for that!

Smells lemony, which I associate with Pledge wood cleaner and polish.


I started using the products from the Healthy Skin Kit and the Glow Skin Kit. That's 6 full-sized products for just P1700. Pretty affordable! The Glow Skin Kit has the basic skincare products facial wash, toner, and serum while the Healthy Skin Kit has the moisturizer with SPF 30 and facial mist (I like face mists!) plus the scrub. The instructions said to use the scrub 3x a week but I only manually exfoliate once a week because I feel like more often than that and my middle-aged skin will be scrubbed raw. That's just me. Anyway, so far, so good! No allergic reactions and my skin is nice and plump, smooth and moisturized. Healthy and glowing indeed!

The Beauty Bakery PH skin kits and more are available in BeautyMNLShopee, and Lazada. Shop today at the 7.7 Sales for discounts!!!

*First photo grabbed from The Beauty Bakery PH's Instagram @beautybakeryph and Facebook The Beauty Bakery page. Follow and like them!

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Review: "Homeschool Moms at the Feet of Jesus" by Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag

Our first year of homeschooling is finally done. It was most definitely not a walk in the park. I think we had some days when we yearned for "school school", you know, real school with real teachers who have real education degrees. That said, I'm happy to report that the kids enjoyed homeschooling more than I did. So that's a credit to me, right? Sigh. Let me tell you I may have made their homeschooling experience great but I truly had a hard time enjoying it. I'll tell you more about my conflicting feelings about homeschooling another day. For today, we'll do a book review of Homeschool Moms at the Feet of Jesus by Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag. 


Homeschool Moms at the Feet of Jesus is a 31-day devotional for homeschooling moms. If you're a dad, you'll appreciate it, too. In fact, since all of us are homeschooling anyway (hello, parents of online distance learning kids!), you will need this book. Every day for a month, you get a Bible verse, a little story of encouragement, questions to reflect on, a short prayer, and then a page of worksheet to write down your concerns and what you're grateful for. It's as simple as that!

The devotional is also part memoir since Teresa shares her own homeschooling journey in every entry. It's obvious that she is very happy with homeschooling (unlike me haha). Teresa is really an educator. Her job as a trainer, coach, and consultant is all about teaching so it's easy to see why homeschooling was the most natural decision for her. It was kinda sweet to see how excited she is about teaching her kids and how much joy she got out of that. I guess that's because she dedicated her homeschooling to God and relies on the Holy Spirit to give her wisdom and the right attitude, and she really is grateful for the privilege of being her kids' teacher. (Frances, take note!)



I got an advance copy of this book so I was able to go through a few days of devotions. Homeschool Moms at the Feet of Jesus is a book I'd have appreciated way back in August last year when we chose to homeschool because of the pandemic. It really addresses the fears and worries of a new homeschooling parent and it may have helped me adjust my attitude. 

Then again, I didn't actually fear homeschooling. I used to be a teacher and I have helped my kids with their homework for years. Many times I explained the lessons better than their teachers ever did. So my ability to teach them was not a worry. I'll talk about my struggle with homeschooling in another post! 

What's so good about this devotional is the emphasis on encouragement and the counting of blessings. Because there truly were many wonderful things that happened because I was my kids' teacher. I saw how they think and process information (okay, this is both a good and a bad thing!), I saw what made them bored and interested and so I was able to adjust the lessons. We had fun for many days! But most of all, homeschooling kept us safe from the pandemic. We're healthy, alive, and learning. That's the most important part. The simple exercise of writing down everything great that happened every school day does wonders. That's the habit this devotional wants us parents to cultivate.


Homeschool Moms at the Feet of Jesus by Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag is available for download on Amazon Kindle for only USD 2.99. From now till tomorrow, July 1, it's FREE! It's also free on Kindle Unlimited. Download your copy now.

*photos courtesy of Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag.


Look back on the blog entries every Wednesday of this June for my reviews of books written by Filipino mommies! Support mommies! Support literature! Support local! I'll try to do a review of a local author, a Filipino mom especially, every end of the month.