Fab Finds – keep toys neat & clean

There comes a point when you don’t know where to put toys anymore.  As months or years pass by, I’m sure you’ve accumulated more than enough for your kids.  So what I did, to keep my sanity, was to get proper storage for them.  I wanted to get wooden shelves but I didn’t want the kids to bump into them when they ran or crawled around the room.  So I had to find something that wouldn’t hurt as much.

Here’s what I ended up with:

Got this 3 tier black plastic rolling shelf from Uratex.  It’s detachable and you can stack up more if needed.  This was around P700.

This mesh stackable white rack I got from Handyman which was on sale for P270.  It basically had the same purpose.  I like these types coz it’s easy for my kids to put things back when it’s clean up time.

Since there are sooo much toys, I rotate them every 2-3 weeks.  I got the ihome boxes (right side of the picture above) to store them in.  I wanted something that was closed so dust won’t get in and we still keep toys looking a bit new.  I keep toys by category well at least I try to.  Something like all Dora toys are together, all sesame street, musical instruments, etc.   Just so that there’s like a theme every time we rotate.  They’re also labeled so I know what’s in what box.

If you’re the type who just wants something functional, maybe these would do.  But if you’re after the theme and look of the room or want it matchy matchy or you really had the room designed, then these won’t work.  You’re better off having it custom made or go to the high end stores or ship them in.  Yikes, I can see how expensive that could get!

Books were also a problem.   I used to put them in an ottoman but it was hard for the kids to get them and return them.  So I had a book shelf made from Two Tots.  It’s made of real wood and ducco paint.  This cost around P8,000.  A bit steep, but I couldn’t find anything that was narrow enough that wouldn’t eat too much space in the room.  We also rotate the books so that the kids get to see different types of books and learn more as time goes by.

Uratex warehouse store in San Francisco Del Monte, QC.  371-0569.  You’ll find a lot of other stuff here.

Handyman Robinson’s Galleria.

You can order Two Tots furniture from http://www.spoiledstore.com.

Ihome boxes are available in department stores, Handyman, DIY shop,  & ACE hardware.  I opted for these coz they have really big ones and come in cute colors.

Fab Finds

Every so often, I’ll be sharing some of my fab finds (from clothes, accessories, baby stuff, etc.).  So today will be the start…

I had a great idea one day to celebrate my daughter’s 1st birthday at Hong Kong Disneyland.  We opted to have a quiet yet fun celebration and do away with the normal BIG 1st birthday bash that normally happens in Metro Manila.  I was so excited coz it would be the first time the kids would go to Disneyland and I wanted to see their facial reactions when they saw the disney characters.  I’m sure their jaws would just drop!

So I went searching for a 1st birthday dress online that was comfortable to wear yet fit for the occasion.  I was planning on having a nice lunch at the Enchanted Garden in the Disney Hotel and Lexi would be wearing a nice dress while the Disney characters would come to our table, bring her cake, and sing to her a Happy Birthday song.

And this is what I found…

Isn’t it just so lovely?  I fell in love with it the moment I saw it.  I tried having it made here but the seamstress didn’t have the machine to do the hem.  So I just ordered it online (mybabyclothesboutique.com), I just couldn’t resist.  They offered this dress cheaper than other websites.  They sold it for $24.99 with free shipping within the U.S.  Other websites sold it at almost $40.  It reached the forwarder’s office in NY 6 days from the time I ordered it.  Then it took around 4 days for it to reach Manila.  I received it in  less than 2 weeks…just in time for her birthday.

It didn’t come with the headband though so I just made one similar to it.  I bought a white lace (but couldn’t find a stretchable one) and sewed a magenta flower on it.  I bought the lace in Carolina’s for 35Php per yard (just needed 1 yard for a baby).  Then bought the closest flower I could find similar to the original one at SM Megamall for 35Php/yard.  But I only needed 1 flower, so I have like 0.9 of a yard left :-/ …but it turned out pretty well (I think) so it was worth it.

You be the judge.  Here’s how it looked on her (excuse the photo, it was a camera phone).  What do you think?

Unfortunately, her birthday celebration in Disneyland did not push through.  We ended up celebrating it with family and friends at Casa Armas.  I’ll be sharing that party in another post.  The sad thing was, our nanny forgot to bring that dress to the restaurant for her change of outfit, so it was left unused! Grrrr!  Shipping it in for nothing!  So just so that it wouldn’t go to waste, we’ll probably have a playgroup and celebrate her birthday with the toddlers who weren’t able to make it to her dinner party 🙂   I’ll let you know how that goes in one of my “playdates” posts (when I get around starting that one..tee hee!)

I hope you get to find something fab for you too 🙂

Simple Pleasures

I’ve come to realize that it’s very important for you to spend time that you have with your toddlers.  This is the time that their brain is like a sponge and they try to learn everything.  Of course, us mothers would want to be the ones to teach things to our kids.  We wouldn’t want them to learn stuff from their nanny, especially if what they learn is not quite right.  I had a wake up call when Chesca (my toddler) started saying “beer” referring to “bear” and on another day saying “MA-school ako”.  I got so shocked that she easily imitated a couple of our helpers at home.  So I guess this was the stage when they copy everything they see or hear.

After that day, I made it a point to make more conversations with her and correcting her immediately if ever I heard her say anything wrong.  It amazes me how that little head of hers comprehends everything I say.  I guess I underestimated her.  One time she said “Huy!” to me coz she heard that word from one maid calling the other.  I immediately corrected her and this is how our conversation went:

Me:  Chesca! What did you just say???  You’re not supposed to call mommy or anyone “Huy”.  It’s bad manners to do so.  Do you understand?

Chesca:  Yes.  It’s bad to say Huuuy.

Me:  Ok, good girl.

After a week, I was putting her to sleep and making her drink her milk.  She was playing with the straw of her milk bottle then I accidentally said “Huy! don’t do that!”  and she immediately tells me “Mommy, you’re nooot supposed to say Huy.  It’s bad manners”.   I was so proud of her she remembered!  So of course I had to say sorry to her for calling her “Huy!”  Practice what you preach Mommies…hehehe

Lately, I try to manage my time to be able to spend the most time I can with my kids.  If I have an errand to do and I can tag them along, I do.  If I could multi-task an be with them while getting some work done, I do that as well.

So the other day, while doing some work at a coffee shop, I brought her along just so I could spend some time with her before her nap.  She’d imitate me while I work on my laptop and she’d observe how I order coffee, pay, get change, prepare my coffee, etc.  Kids learn a lot just by being with their parents.  This particular day, I taught her about money.  I gave her play money so she’d know how much each was and what she could buy with it.

That hour we spent at the coffee shop was very productive.  She learned 20 pesos, 50 pesos, 100 pesos, 200 pesos, 500 pesos and 1,000 pesos.  So while I was working on my computer, she was just beside me reviewing her money and pretending to buy stuff from her nanny.  She’d pretend to be the barista by saying “you want coffee yaya? here”  and pretending to be a customer saying “I’ll pay for it first coz if I don’t pay, it’s stooling (she meant stealing)”.  It was just so fun hearing her monologues about what she learned.  Priceless!

Hanging out with my daughter is one of the simple pleasures I treasure.  And I’m just very lucky and thankful I’m able to do this 🙂

Clean-up Time

We all have closets to clean.  It’s just a fact.  And we don’t realize that through time we’ve accumulated so much stuff.  Sometimes we keep stuff  in the closet to protect them or save them for later.  Unfortunately, a lot of times, we forget that we kept them there 🙂 .

So one day, I decided to do some general cleaning in one of the kids’ rooms (I actually did this coz I was looking for something and forgot where I put it).  I wanted to see if I still had things under control and knew what went where.  But basing it on the picture, you’ll immediately know that I kinda dropped the ball at some point.

Now here I am trying to get things back on track.  I like making sure things are neat and well kept…so when I have a feeling that’s not the case, I start digging in and fixing.

1st step:  I sorted.

To throw.  To give away.  To keep for later.  To use now.

“To keep for later” was put in the most hard to reach part of the cabinet.

“To give away” items were put in a paper bag and I made sure I gave them right away or else, it would end up in another corner of another room.

2nd step:  Label all boxes.

I put everything in a box and labeled it so that when I open the closet, I can determine right away what was inside the box.

3rd step:  Maximize space.

For clothes and linen that weren’t being used, I made use of the vacuum bags to save space.
There were too much clothes eating up closet space so I sorted them.  I had to throw out the ones they don’t use.  I try to make it a point to keep the kids comfortably well dressed.  I didn’t like them in clothes that were too loose or worn out.  So I took out the clothes that looked old and overused from their closet and drawers.  This makes it easier for us to be on the go.  If we need to go on an errand, we won’t need to change their clothes which saves me a lot of time.  And, they look cuter that way so it’s easier for me to take pictures of them at any time.

4th step:  Inventory.

I kept an inventory of items in each closet taped inside the door.  This is very helpful especially when you’re looking for something or finding out what was the next thing your kid could use.  For example, there are toys that are for a specific age group, so it’s easier for me to see what toy I should open next without going through all the boxes.  In my inventory you’ll see “TOYS: playgrow blocks 18months+” and other categories like Breastfeeding, Clothes, Beddings, etc.

This is me doing one of my mommy duties.  I’m not saying that this technique will work for everyone, but it works for me and keeps me sane.

After all the sorting and cleaning, I had so much space left.  If the kids got presents in the near future, I’d have space ready for them.

Maybe it’s time for you to clean one of your closets too 🙂

I just realized I only posted the “before” pics and forgot to take a picture of the neat closet!   Oh well, next time…

Tacos Anyone?

We recently tried out Hermanos Taco Shop.  My friend Ana told me about it.  Apparently, it’s been there for quite some time now.  I just really didn’t notice it, and only kept seeing the Peachy-Peachy store beside it since it was the one near the road.

Anyway, one Saturday night, we tried it out with our friends.  We ordered burritos, enchiladas, and soft tacos.  It tasted good and was something different.  We liked it coz it wasn’t too oily.  One order would be around P200+ to P300.  Servings were not small nor too big.  But if you don’t have a big appetite, one order would be enough for 2 people.

These were the soft tacos.  They come in 4 pcs.  I only remembered to take a picture after eating 2 pcs 🙂

It just lacked a little more taste, spice, or something I just can’t describe.  But it’s definitely a place we’d go back to when we feel like eating some Mexican food.  Although, we have yet to find the best Mexican restaurant in town 🙂

This is the front door.  See, if you look out the window, it’s in the same lot as Petron so you won’t miss it.

 This is the view as you enter the restaurant.  A big mirror making the place seem bigger.  These are our friends, Helen and Anthony.  If you need a chinese tutor, Helen would be the one to call.  And if you need a photographer or painter, Anthony would be able to help you 🙂

For this restaurant, we give it 3 spoons!

Cleanliness:  5 spoons

Price:  3 spoons

Location: 3 spoons

Comfort room: 1 spoon (if you need to go to the bathroom, you’ll need to go to Petron’s bathroom)

*Hermanos Taco Shop is located along Gilmore Ave., San Juan.  It’s in the compound of Petron gas station.