Friday, November 6, 2015

Christmas on a budget!

After the All Saints Day, some people are worried for it's Christmas again. Some say that they all need money to spend for Christmas. It is so sad that people think of money every Christmas. Why we need to think of money with Christmas? Christmas is a season of love not money. But reality bites, so I will share some budget tips on how to enjoy Christmas without spending too much.

Christmas is time to remind us of God's love to us and reminder of everything beautiful about the birth of Jesus Christ. This is a time of Christmas Tree again, Christmas lights, Parols, Christmas nativity, Star lights, Christmas gifts, Christmas parties, Christmas Carole, etc. But, we can celebrate and be happy with Christmas Celebration without over spending .

For my kids, Christmas is the most exciting part of the year. So, I always make a way for them to feel that every Christmas is special to us and spreading love is the most important part because of Jesus.

Here are some budget fitting ideas for everyone to celebrate best Christmas ever!

Budget Decor
Every Christmas, my kids and I are excited to make our Christmas decor for our home. Last Christmas my husband and I tried to make our own white Christmas tree, made of torn trees that we picked from the backyard of our neighbor.
My husband was home last Christmas so it is easy for us to pick torn trees and build it as Christmas Tree. We painted it with white paint. My family really enjoys decorating that theme Christmas tree that we placed in front of our door. Kids enjoys to helped us by putting old Christmas balls and Christmas stars to it. Adding white Christmas lights gives beautiful glows to our self made Christmas tree. Relatives and friends who came to visit are really astonished. We have fun decorating it that is the most important part of it. This year I am thinking of something like it but changing some designs.
Total budget :
Torn Tree Branches                                     - For Free
Two 100 bulbs Christmas Lights                 - P220
One Quart White Pain                                  - P130
Old Christmas balls and stars                       - For Free
Total Amount we spend for decor in 2014   - P350
Thinking Christmas decor and celebration with family can make everything more meaningful and lovely
Christmas Dresses and Shoes
Christmas would not be complete for all kids without new dress and shoes. All kids somehow wants to have new pairs of shoes every Christmas. I know every mother can relate with that thought.
As a mother of a teenager and a nine-year old, I learned that they can change shoes and dresses so fast for they change their height, body type and feet size every month. So, why will you buy extravagant shoes or one time Christmas dress?
I always told my kids that you can be beautiful and look expensive without spending too much with dresses and shoes. I am so blessed that my kids are trained to understand the value of money and spending too much for clothes cannot make you more look good.
Last Christmas, we bought a beautiful silver and green dress for my youngest daughter, and a neon pink dress for my teenager in a mall's year end sale before December. We bought their dress in advance, we choose better dresses, and shoes in advance. We save money for beautiful pair of shoes last Christmas and we are planning to do early Christmas shopping this year again.
Total Buget  
Beautiful silver & green dress of my youngest - P600
Beautiful neon pink dress of my eldest             - P400
White Ballet Shoes for my youngest                 - P300
Doll Shoes for my eldest                                   - P299.75
Total Christmas outfit of kids                            -P1,599.75
My two girls with their Chic and Beautiful Dresses last Christmas 2014

Christmas Gifts
Every month I tried to buy reserved gifts. Every time I go to malls, I tried to look for items or something that I can give to someone as a gift. This way I can keep more gifts in advance for my friends and relatives. By doing this, I can always save time for Christmas rush for I already bought some gifts in advance.
The clue is think of someone in advance for your gift giving and you can always save time and money for buying gifts in advance. Some items are more expensive during Christmas seasons. Also set budget for buying gifts. Not that you are being stingy about it but you need to think of budget for Christmas. All money out for the season is not good at all. Remember to save something for the rainy days.

Christmas Season Enjoyment
Christmas enjoyment is not all about money. As family or even with your friends you can visits good places where you can enjoy Christmas season without spending at all. Beautiful memories are all free, you just need to be creative on how to make one.
Try to visit the parks and city like of Makati who started to light up the street of Makati City last November 3, 2015 for Christmas. They feature the different churches of the Philippines ages 300 years and above with historical value. In a press release of greenbulb the Executive of the Ayala Land Inc.,led the ceremonial lighting. They have Christmas bazaars and you can enjoy all light presentations of old churches made from all lights for free. 
You can also visit malls and they sets some area of the malls for beautiful nativity every Christmas, it is good for photo opportunity, you only need to be creative by taking your pictures.
The Ceremonial Christmas Lighting of  street of Makati City featuring 300 years old churches in the country
Christmas Night
Every Christmas Eve, my family always go to church to celebrate Jesus' birth. In our church at Cathedral Of Praise , Christmas is the most anticipated service of the year, where we gather as a family to enjoy Christmas Songs, Christmas Dances and Christmas service. Kids are very excited to this event every year for they are always blessed to be part of Christmas presentations and also my husband and I as part of the choir. The Church Service is absolutely free, so all we need to do is ready ourselves to be part of this biggest celebration of the year. Why not spend your Christmas in the church with your family?
Total Budget : 
Fare P50 each x 4 of us - we only need  - P400
The true meaning of Christmas is to spend it with your family and love one.

Christmas Dinner
Every home prepares food for family for Noche Buena. But aside from this Noche Buena, we also prepare dinner for our family. With my family, we are always attending church service so we don't need to prepare a dinner meal in the house, we usually eat light meal or sandwich or salad at the church before the service starts. And we will go home to prepare our Noche Buena.
Total Budget :
Light meal       -  P300

Noche Buena
Of course, Christmas wont be complete without the Noche Buena for the whole family. Filipino families are very known for its love for food. Usually its Pancit, loaf bread, fried chicken, lechon, different cooked pasta, different kind of salads and etc.
For my family, I usually prepare simple Noche Buena since we cannot eat a lot after church. Sometimes, I just cooked pasta, a chicken meal, and fruit salad.
Noche Buena do not need to be expensive. I don't know with others but I can only cook food that can be eaten. Not much, but cook just enough for your family. It will be waste of time and money if you will cook plenty of food for Noche Buena and then throw it. Usually on December 25th you are out of your house and celebrate with your relatives and the food you cooked for Noche Buena will not be eaten.
Total Budget:
Chicken Meal           - P156
Cooked Pasta            - P250
Fruit Salad                - P300
Total Noche Buena   -P706

Christmas is here again, all are excited to celebrate it for sure. Work in a budget for your family for you don't have to spend much to be happy. Be with your family and do everything together this season that can make you feel more happy and fulfilling. Always remember that Christmas is not just for expensive Christmas decor, Christmas gifts, Christmas dress and shoes, or over spending dinner or Noche Buena. What matters is you celebrate every Christmas with your family and love one. Who says you can't celebrate Christmas without over spending.

"Over spending on Christmas season is a choice. Why spend too much if all beautiful moments in life are free."  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

NO to Halloween Celebration!

Many people celebrates Halloween. Nowadays they call it fun!

I've seen so many parents, especially mothers entice with the idea of partying for Halloween; buying scary costumes and toys, make-up and dressing their children with Halloween costumes; putting on their own kids with horror outfit, the more scary the more fun. But, what is fun and exciting in making yourself or your child scary and horror for Halloween?
No to Halloween Party!     
Today, I received an invitation from the property manager in our subdivision to join a Halloween Party Celebration this coming weekend. The letter invitation said my kids should come with their Halloween costumes, but as a Christian, I already know that I am not suppose to join this party neither my two girls. With no hesitation, I said no to the invitation. 
Yes, I am glad that the homeowners invite us to come for the party since the invitation also stated that it will also give chance to all homeowners to fellowship with one another, but Halloween party is not venue for good fellowship.

Halloween should not be a cause of party. Do not be mislead for satan wants people to praise him by throwing parties by means of Halloween (1 Timothy 4:1-2 demons wants to mislead people by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teaching of demons.)  Halloween focuses on celebration of death and death is satan. 
As Christians we should focus in life and light. As Jaime Morgan, Pastor of Life Church in Williamstown,N.J., give points in his article on Why Christians Absolutely should Not Celebrate Halloween   "God is God of life. but Halloween focuses on death."

What is Halloween? 
According to Halloween or Hallowe'en a contraction of "All Hallows' Evening", also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries every 31 October, the eve of the feast of All Hallow Days. The word Holloween itself is a celebration, a feast. 
The typical festive Halloween activities include trick-or-treatingattending scary costume parties, decorating the party venues with horror designs, in America they do decorating and carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns, lighting bonfiresand fortune telling games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films in many parts of the world.
Halloween is not fun
What is fun or exciting of Halloween? 
In my life time now, I know that beautiful things, wonderful times and happenings in our life comes from the Lord, like Birthdays, Christmas (Birth of Jesus), New Years Eve, it symbolizes life, new beginning, happy memories, excitement, blessings (we are blessed when worship the Lord ~Psalm24:3-6) and love (God is Love ~1 John 4:16). 

What is fun in celebrating death? It gives me heartache and crying every time I remember my parents who past-away due to illnesses. I don't like the idea of celebrating this holiday at all (as part Filipino culture celebration of Halloween to visit the tombs of the dead family every All Saints Day) it only reminds me of pain and sadness. Of course I will always remember and cherish my parents in my heart, I always remember our happy moments together, their wisdom even the sad ones, but I know that they are in good hands now with the Lord no more pain and sufferings. But
I can hardly think of my self on the way to cemetery to visit them during this holiday, it only makes me sad and helpless.

About the Halloween party, whats good in seeing kids with beautiful faces with make-up of a witches just to win a huge pack of candies? I never enjoy the view of kids marching on streets with scary outfits and scary mask for candies. It is not cute at all! 
I am scared to see how parents loved their child be dressed like satan, witches, mummies, dead bodies or Frankenstein. Why will you want your beautiful babies to dress like tiyanak , kapre or Zombies? Butterflies, fairy or dead doll? Why will you dress your little girl with witch or fairy costumes or your little boy with satan clothes and accessorize with horn and black spear? Do you realize that this alone is pleasing satan? This is evil and God hates who do evil ( Psalm26:5) do you want your child to be called a child of satan?

It is not Just a Party
All believers of Jesus Christ should not be part of this Halloween party or celebration because Halloween is holiday of Wiccans (the religion of witchcraft) and we should not participate in it. Witchcraft is detestable to the Lord and we should be blameless before the Lord (Deuteronomy 18:6-14.) 
"A Christian celebrating Halloween would be like satan worshiper putting up a nativity scene at Christmas while singing, happy birthday Jesus!" the two just don't go together. Jesus has nothing in common with satan (2 Cor.6;14) and neither should we." Says Pastor Morgan.

Wake Up 
The Bible clearly says that there is no darkness in Jesus (1 John 1;5) so don't allow the works of darkness to us like celebrating or worshiping the images of death. This celebration does not bring glory to God and we should ascribe to the Lord the glory due him (Psalm29:1-2.) 
So, why waste your time to make efforts on those scary costumes. Our time and worship should be reserved for God alone (Exodus 34:14.) 
All beautiful things comes from the Lord, beautiful kids, beautiful blessings, memories, and seasons. God also gave us so many reasons to celebrate life. Why did you want to add one scary day to it? 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Confession of not a Dog Lover

I am no dog lover, I don't like dogs either. I think dog is only for people who will have time to take care of it and have a patience to teach them. Well, I have no time and I have no patience, I said I will just consume my time teaching and cooking for my two daughters until I bought from a dog breeder friend, our Nikon, a Shih Tzu puppy.

My kids are begging me for a long time to have one dog; I am not fond with dogs so I never wanted to and I did not have a plan, but my eldest, Sofia keep asking about it and promised, she will not bother me to take care of it. After long years of convincing me, finally on her 13th birthday we surprised her a gift, a Shih Tzu whose only two months old that time and she named her Nikon.
My kids and Nikon on her two months, first picture with us.

Dog Hesitant Me

I don't like a dog. I don't want it so I set some rules for my daughters before I agreed to have one:

First, I will not clean its mess, meaning I will not clean any wiwi and poop. It is clear with my kids that they owned Nikon, since they want her, they are the one responsible cleaning up its poop and wiwi, since she is not yet trained to do it on restroom, one area or out side the house. But after quite sometime now, Nikon is used to poop and wiwi outside the house at a certain time, sometimes she still wiwi in the sala, but kids are very good in cleaning it right away. I told them its poop and wiwi may leave bad odor in the house if they will not clean it ASAP.
Stephanie with Nikon at her three months
Second, no dog on our bedrooms, specially on my bed. Speaking of poop and wiwi, dogs have an animal smell that it cannot be removed even you bath them regularly and that's what I am afraid of. I don't like my bed to smell like a dog every time I wanted to rest. Good Thing Nikon has no bad scent, we ask her vet what's the best soap and cologne for her to not to stink like a dog, of course she still smells like dog, funny if she smell like a baby but at least she smells clean for she is always cuddling and playing with my kids.
Nikon During her bathe time
Third, She will stay in her room. I specifically say the Nikon can't stay inside the house, so we buy a small cage for her, I call it her room so that the kids will never cry bringing her in, I said the cage is her resting place, I told kids each one of us has a room so does Nikon too. We put it in the veranda next to our room for immediate checking if she is okay.

Getting to Love Dogs

Of course kids would always get her out of her "room" and play her in the sala, my rule number three has been broken that Nikon can't just stay inside the house. She never bark, she is just playful dog and wanted to be trained with tricks. she makes me happy every time she learned new tricks with the kids. It is fun to see my girls having fun with Nikon, music to my ears when they laugh for every accomplishment of their dog.
So now, I never mind Nikon playing around the sala and to every rooms of the house, my second rule has been broken also that dog is restricted on every room but not on my bed. Nikon is so sweet she always follows us around the house, she always sit beside Sofia when she standing doing her chores. Nikon always calls our attention by small bark when she wanted to wiwi or drink water and cutie sleeping under under our bed when she is tired. How can I resist her?
Nikon giving me puppy eyes

All my bad thoughts about having a dog are erased now while seeing our Nikon growing with us. She is only five months today but she gives us simple joy everyday, how much more when she grew up more. She knows now how to wiwi and poop outside the house so I never bother about the house scent now. We maintained bleach and mopping every corners of it to remove the dog scent everyday. I am the one who gives her bathe every two days, so I smell her every time she needs a quick bathe, funny for she will just follow me in the bathroom if she want to take a bathe, I am loving her now.

Loving Dog
How can I resist to love Nikon now for she is so sweet and loving dog. When she see, me she will throw her self at my feet to give her hug and waving her tails, biting my toes to scratch her tummy
When I am out and back home she will bark to recognized me.
When I am hugging her she will leaned her body towards me like telling me "iloveyou".
She is fond to be with for she will show her tricks with your friends, like shes showing you that she learned it from you. I am looking for her if I don't see her around with my kids.

Yes I am beginning to love dog, I am loving our Nikon.

Be Blessed everyone...