‘Tis the Season to Be Jolly…and Bazaars!

It’s that time of the year again! Oh, I’m not just talking about the Christmas season, but the bazaars that go along with it (insert excited look here).

My close friends know that I am a bazaar nut. I wasn’t like that before. I do not like crowded places so I never like going to the likes of Greenhills or even mall-wide sale. I never like being in a sea of people in malls and falling in line to purchase one or two “deals”. My height is not a big help either. I cannot check out the items over the shoulders of vertically blessed people. Since bazaars had the same impression to me, I decided I do not like it either. In fact it only started last year when I was able to find great buys from holiday bazaars that I started liking them. (Check out last year’s bazaar look here.)

I think bazaars are better options for your holiday shopping trips for several good reasons:

1. You can find the most unique items 

What I personally don’t like about mall-wide sale is that there is a big chance that you are buying an item that fifty other people are buying. I remember buying a blouse and finding out there were three other girls wearing the exact same thing IN A BUS. Good thing we weren’t seated together otherwise somebody might think we are part of a dance group or something.

I have found some of the most unique items in bazaars. I love necklaces specifically those that have a unique design. Most of the necklaces that gets the most compliment from other people were purchased from bazaars.

A lot of bazaar vendors are also craftees and creative souls who would also come up with unique, creative ideas and sell them. Be it stationary, jewelry, pottery or wardrobe, a lot of the items are hand-made, hand-picked and unique.

2. Hard to find items are most of the time sold in bazaars

I remember looking for a kiddie urinal for my little one that I saw online. I didn’t know where to find one until I saw it in a bazaar last year.

Some items sold online can also be found in bazaars. I don’t know about you but I like to see and hold the item that I am going to purchase. I may like them based on the picture from an online store, but I still hesitate buying it because it may not look the same when I receive it. Unless I know the person selling, I seldom buy from online stores. Bazaars are great venues to see the actual items for sale because a lot of online sellers take part in bazaars.

3. Support local entrepreneurs/SMEs

I have great respect to local entrepreneurs and SMEs. In fact, most of the items I buy from bazaars are from local entrepreneurs, SMEs, and resellers. I have bought bags, shoes, baby items, kids clothes, jewelry, and home decor from bazaars. The likes of Anna Banana, And Brand, Manila Baby Shop, Punch Drunk Panda, Bug and Kelly, PaperChic Studio are just a few of my favorites that I would normally find in bazaars.

4. Value for Money

I do feel there is value for my money whenever I buy from bazaars. There really are some  good quality product with unique designs and reasonable prices.

I am admittedly choosy with the bazaars I go to. I check out websites of the organizers and check the list of concessionaires that they have invited. I don’t want to be wasting my time looking at items that are common and can be brought from any other store. Sometimes, the organizers would also release a map of the venue so it’s easier for shoppers to locate their favorite shop.

I am sharing with you some of my favorite bazaars this season:

 

World Trade Center’s World Bazaar Festival

December 5-21 from 10 AM to 12 Midnight

St. James the Great Christmas Bazaar (Ayala Alabang)

November 27-30 from 9AM-9PM

Silver Bells (Rockwell Tent)

December 13-14 from 12 noon to 12 midnight

Baby and Family Expo (SMX Convention Center MOA)

December 5-7

You can check out other holiday bazaars near you here.

Happy Christmas shopping!

A Start of SAHM-thing New

If you asked me, some six to eight years ago, if I would be a stay-at-home mom or wife, I would have probably given you the are-you-crazy-of-course-not look. That was some six to eight years ago when my career was blazing through the corporate world faster than my internet speed that time. My corporate self was so motivated, the thought of being home with kids was surreal to me.

Well, look where I am now.

Today marks my first workweek as a stay-at-home-mom. It wasn’t a forced decision. In fact, I knew the moment I saw my first born that I will sooner or later be staying at home. I knew it was the best option for us. The decision was made both by me and my husband. After the high-risk first trimester with my second baby, we couldn’t put my pregnancy at further risk by travelling for five to six hours to and from work. The stress of the corporate world may not be the most ideal situation for me and my peanut as well, given the nature of my job (I was a corporate trainer by profession). We also agreed that this is not going to be a temporary situation. With a growing boy and another one on the way, my husband and I both promised to work hard to maintain this set-up.

How do I feel about it?

I must admit, I feel relieved and nervous at the same time. Relieved that I know I can rest when I need to until labor day. I am also nervous if I can keep myself busy at home. Being a SAHM is probably one if not THE most challenging role for moms especially for those who have been out there in the corporate world where everything is somewhat anticipated. I know I have a lot of things to do and organize but I do not know where to start. I have tons of ideas and things I want to accomplish but I get overwhelmed. Today, on my first day, I ended up just staring at the computer when my Little Jedi was asleep.

I did miss work today and admittedly, I couldn’t help but check if my office email account was still working. When I found out that it was still active, I couldn’t stop myself from checking my emails. I did refrain from answering mails already since my out of office notification is already set up. More than work, I know I will miss my ride with my husband to and from work. You see, we work for the same company and for two years, we go to work and home together. These are moments when we get to talk about so many things, plans, even chismis, fight about other stuff, and agree on a lot more while traversing the traffic of C5 and Alabang. Yesterday I woke up early to make sure Mike’s baon is ready and I felt a little sad that he will be driving to work alone knowing how unforgiving the traffic is on Mondays.

I also had my baptism of fire when the Little Jedi threw a major tantrum All.Day.Long. I admit, I can handle him during weekends when my husband is here but when I am alone (because yaya has colds and I asked her not to come near the little boy for the meantime), it was chaos.

On the other hand, I feel glad that I am the one talking to him when he had his tantrums. I am glad I am starting to get to know my son a little better past weekends. I feel so proud when we hugged and kissed after the major tantrum. I am so darn happy to be with him all day. If this is how it will be like for the next few months, i’m ready to take on monster tantrums for as long as I can be with him.

SAHM Community

One of my blessings that I took into consideration is the support group that I now have. Thanks to blogging I have met some great mom bloggers and a lot of them are SAHMs and WAHMs. In change management, it is necessary to have a support group when implementing change in the organization. The same goes for any change that one experiences in her life. The move from being a working mom to a SAHM is a HUGE change. I am so glad that when I posted about my last day at work, I had a welcome crew of SAHMs/WAHMs and I felt relieved. I know I can turn to my friends and talk to them whenever I feel uncertain about my decision. I know my support group is there.

You don’t have personal friends who are SAHMs/WAHMs? Make friends with them! The blogging community is so large that I am pretty sure you will find some who can relate to you. Check out mommy blogs and don’t be shy to ask.

My husband is also a great source of support. I am grateful that we made this decision together. I am so happy that he reassured me countless times before my last day at work that everything will be alright. I am so blessed that he knows my anxieties and helps me get through it. Heck, he even helps me look for work at home options.


A WAHM Soon

One of the things that helped me decide is my option to start a business. Again, if you ask me some six to eight years ago if I can cook or bake, you would have received a “hell no” look. That is something that has changed again. I am now passionate about baking and decorating. If you follow me on IG (mamimaggiesmusings), you would know that I have started taking orders for cakepops and cookies. It is that same passion that I would like to leverage on now that I can still bake a little and after giving birth. I know I can do wonderful things when I am passionate about it. I have proven that when I was in the corporate world and my passion was training and to teach people. I loved every minute of it as I am loving every minute I spend decorating my cookies and coming up with creative ideas.

I have also listed down other possible business options with people I trust and hopefully it will also fly. The internet also offers a myriad of work at home options should I have more time to spend. I will be reaching out to my WAHM friends soon, take time to attend WAHM workshops to build my confidence more and guide me properly as well.

Perfect Time

I do believe in perfect timing. Kairos as they would call it in Greek. There is always an opportune time for everything. If I had it my way, I would have left the corporate world as soon as had my Little Jedi. Maybe we were not prepared yet, financially, emotionally, psychologically, during that time. I also believe that when the time is right, everything falls into place. Maybe it was the high-risk condition that paved the way for Mike and I to reconsider our options but looking at the bigger picture, we will benefit so much more if we do it now than later. Having options to work at home has also given me the courage to take this step knowing I can still help my husband financially even when I am at home. Being able to guide my son with school is another reason worth of our decision. Yes. God has a perfect time for everything. He holds the blueprint of our lives and he has proven that to me many, many times. So we courageously took the step and put our trust in Him to guide us.

Am I closing doors?

I wouldn’t want to totally close my doors to the corporate world but one thing is clear, we will work hard to keep this set up for the longest time. Mike and I believe that this is both a blessing and an opportunity given to us. There will be great adjustments for all of us but we vow to see the silver lining first before the challenges. Again, there is kairos in everything. I believe that if ever I need to go back to the corporate world, the timing is right. For now, I am focused on adjusting with the change and looking forward to the many possibilities that being a SAHM/WAHM promises.

So here I am, officially signed out from the nine to five job, but signed in for a 24/7 role. Wish me luck! :)\

Trick or Treat Costume: Luke Skywalker

Lucas’ school hosted a costume party and Trick or Treat before they had their school break mid-November. I was determined to have something extra nice for him because the past three Halloweens he had weren’t so successful. He was a pumpkin for his first Halloween but we did not attend any party. I wasn’t able to get him a nice costume so he just wore a hat for his second Halloween party at the condominium’s park, and last year, we borrowed Kuya Aki’s Harry Potter robe.

This year, I made him a very inspired costume:

This guy was our inspiration:

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Yeah. You probably know him from some sci-fi flick. ;-)

Besides, I do call my son “Little Jedi” don’t I? So what else could be a more appropriate costume?

I wanted to make a DIY costume so I channeled my inner craftee and searched through Pinterest. Haha. This was what we the Little Jedi wore for their party:

 

Everything, except for his light saber  has been DIY’d. :)

Luke’s tunic is an oversize v-neck shirt. Just cut it in the middle and sew the edge.

His belt is an adult’s belt that was cut to fit his waist. The brown pocket is a small faux leather purse.

Luke’s pants are actually his white pajamas. For his footwear, he is wearing his brown rubber clogs and I used a leg bandage to make it look similar to Luke Skywalker’s boots. We used medical tape to keep the bandage in place.

No need to spend a lot for a Luke Skywalker costume. This one was so easy and fun to make. :) Looks like my Little Jedi liked it too.

Styling the Bump

I am on my 27th week now and I am pregnant as ever. Little Peanut doesn’t feel like a peanut anymore. He feels more like a pumpkin really. What I am proud of is the fact that I haven’t bought any maternity clothes yet. One of the things I promised myself is not to spend so much on maternity clothes. I bought a couple during my first pregnancy and they were not stylish, the stylish ones were expensive, and I cannot use it postpartum.

This pregnancy makes me feel a little more confident about myself and my growing bump. I have the urge to try new styles that are both comfortable and stylish. I even gained enough confidence to post my OOTD or as I would like to call it, OOTB (Outfit of the Buntis) I was able to rummage through my stuff (and even my husband’s!) and saw that I have maternity-friendly, non-maternity clothes. Here are some tips for expecting moms who, just like me, are looking for comfortable, stylish, non-maternity, maternity clothes.

1. Before buying anything, raid your husband’s closet.

If your husband is two sizes (or more) bigger than you are, chances are you will find something that will fit it. It could be his t-shirt or his button-down shirts. My husband has a lot of long sleeved shirts and I found a few that 1. fits me perfectly now, and 2. are surprisingly comfortable. When wearing a polo/button down shirts, pair it with leggings, jeans (if your regular ones still fit you) or shorts. You can either fold the sleeves up to 3/4 of your arm or just tszuj them up your arm.

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If you find a cool shirt from your hubby and he doesn’t mind you wearing it, fold the sleeves and wear it with black or leggings and flat booties or sneakers.

2. Spend time in your own closet.

You will never know what treasures you will find there. Maybe it was coincidence or intuition but most of the clothes I bought late last year and early this year turned out to be maternity friendly. I have bought blouses and dresses that were loose and can be easily paired with leggings. My sister bought me a kaftan-like top from Vietnam and I bought a couple of kurtas from India too.

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I wasn’t pregnant yet when I got this top but now it’s perfect for me and my bump

 

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Traditional India kurtas are so comfortable

 

2. Wear maxi dresses for maxi comfort.

Maxi dresses are my favorite. Good thing I and my sister have a couple. If there’s anything that you should buy, I would suggest these and those on my third point. Look for ones in jersey or stretch materials. I like jersey dresses because they are comfortable and accommodating to my growing bump. I wear mine with cardigans or kimonos because I am trying to hide them dark places under my arms.

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3. Tank tops

Tank tops are usually comfortable and stretchable. I particularly love Mango tanks. I wore them before I got pregnant and I can still wear them now with my big belly. Aimee Diego (iamaimeediego.com) inspired me to pair it with jeggings or if your stretch jeans still fit you, go ahead and try them on.

Wear it with kimonos or layer with button-down shirts.

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4. Kimonos and Cardigans

I am so grateful that kimonos are in style now. Cardigans are super comfortable but if the weather gets too hot, you’ll end up removing them. With the bipolar weather that we have, it’s best to have both in your closet. I wear my kimonos over my tank tops or dresses.

5. Accessorize. Accessorize. Accessorize.

My best friend in my pregnancy fashion? Belts. My favorite is my sister’s red, braided waist belt. It’s perfect to wear with dresses and they add an oomph to the bump. Show that bump! Don’t hide it underneath baggy, frumpy clothes. Love it and accentuate it with belts.

Experiment with various jewelry: bib, chunky, or long necklaces, earrings, giant rings, and bracelets. Whatever you find comfortable for you, go for it. I love chunky and bib necklaces to accessorize my outfit.

Scarves are also great accessories to maxi dresses or tank tops.

I am most comfortable wearing solid colors in darker shades. I make my them look more interesting by adding a pop of color.

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6. Maximize your maxi skirts

If you have maxi skirts that are stretchable, you can wear them three ways:

  • At your hip like how you would usually wear them. Pair them with a loose top or a tank top.
  • Up your waist. This will emphasize your bump. I tried this with a black tshirt.

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  • Wear it as a tube dress. Although I haven’t tried it yet, it looks promising. You can wear a cardigan over it but don’t forget to put on a waist belt to add a nice shape.

7. Buy practical clothes. 

I might still buy some maternity clothes especially when the bump gets bigger. I am looking for maternity clothes that I can still use after giving birth so I won’t feel I wasted money on clothes that I only used for a month or two. I am so happy I found Elin.Ph. Elin offers stylish clothes that you can wear during pregnancy and even after pregnancy. What I love the most is that most of their clothes are also breastfeeding-ready. I have about 6 or 7 pieces that I liked. If I will not buy them for my pregnancy, I will definitely buy  them when I am already breastfeeding. Shop wisely, moms. Check out their website here.

Kylene Nursing Dress in Navy

Image from Elin.ph

 

Carrie Maxi Nursing Dress in Black

Image from Elin.ph

There you go! I hope my tips inspired you to feel extra good about yourself by wearing practical, comfortable, and stylish clothes during pregnancy. :)

Pregnancy Chronicles: Week 23

I am finally back at work and I haven’t been diligently documenting my pregnancy. Peanut is 23 weeks old in my belly and he has reminded me what I love the most about pregnancy: feeling his gently kicks.

Yes. I get a kick out of the kicks.

To me, it’s the first mother and child connection. The first trimester is more one way where the mom talks to her baby. Upon second trimester, I start talking to him every time I can feel and see his gentle kicks. It’s something that only us, moms, can experience. I can always put Mike’s hand on my tummy but since the kicks are still gently and seldom, sometimes he misses it, other times he just does not want to wait anymore. Well, more experience for me to drink in. Haha. I actually enjoy this phase before the kicks start getting stronger and sometimes aggressive.

According to Babycenter.com, at 23 weeks, the baby can now hear things outside mum’s tummy. I started playing Christmas songs to Peanut and it seems like he likes it. He is so much like his Kuya when Lucas was in my tummy. I can feel him moving more when there’s music. Speaking of Lucas, it’s good that the Kuya Jedi loves playing his own kind of music. I’m talking about nursery songs, barney songs, etc. The Peanut is happy, the Kuya is happy, the Mami is happy.

I am still fighting a battle with constipation. It’s my nemesis, really. Aside from the long ride to and from work. I’ll talk about that later. Water, fruit juices, milk, and oatmeal are my fighting gears. I admit, I do not have the palate for veggies now :( . Bad, I know. I am trying to make it up with fruits though. I also realize that stress makes me more constipated so I try not to stress myself too much at work and get as much rest as I can.

I mentioned earlier that the drive to and from work is my #2 nemesis. Traffic in Metro Manila has gone so bad that my usual 1.5 hour ride doubled up to 2.5 or even 3 hours, one way. So that’s a total of five to six hours ride. That’s not helping my aching back even if I’m not the one driving. Pillows, a reclined seat, water, healthy snacks and good company/driver (aka my husband) helps ease the pain. When I get home, I would put warm compress on my back to relax it.

My blessings for this pregnancy?

My sons

Peanut is a given blessing. Kuya’s laughs and antics make pregnancy this time around more fun. He just cracks me up with his statements and requests. He gives kisses to Peanut every morning and at night before he goes to bed.

My husband

He does everything for me. Drive for me/us, bring me stuff, fix my milk drink. He takes care of Lucas when I cannot and rough houses with him which he immensely loves. Let’s see how he juggles two boys in a couple of years. :)

My officemates

I am so blessed with caring and understanding bosses, funny teammates, and a happy work environment. Despite the stress at work, I can always count on them to listen to my stories and allow me to take some rest when I need to. I am really blessed to be working with them.

What about you? What are/were your pregnancy challenges and blessings? :)

Butterfly Cereal Treats

Halloween is right around the corner and I’m pretty sure mommies are either invited to Trick or Treat parties or are looking for one so their minis can join. For moms of school children, there is probably a Halloween activity in school which, most probably, has a Trick or Treat activity. If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking of two things: how exciting it is for my child to experience this, and how can I control his sugar intake after receiving lots and lots of candies. If you are looking for the healthier option to give as a treat, you can go for cereals. To make it more appealing to children, pack it in a fun and colorful way.

A few weeks ago, Lucas’ school had a mini bazaar activity where the older kids can buy and sell fun stuff as advised by their teachers. The kids are asked to bring goodies assigned to them to sell for 5, 10, 15 or 20 pesos.  The goal of the activity is not to make money but to learn the concept of buy and sell, money, counting and develop interpersonal skills.

Lucas was assigned to bring cereals and thanks to Pinterest, I found a creative way to pack them. You can do the same this Halloween.

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Here are the materials:

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  •  Wooden pegs (from Japan home for Php66)
  • Non-toxic paint (from Japan home for Php66)
  • Washi tapes
  • Colored pens
  • Fuzzy wires
  • Crazy eyes (not in the picture)
  • Sandwich bags
  • Cereals
  • Marshmallows

Start by designing one side of each peg. Release them creative juices! You can use colored markers, paint, washi tape, etc. You can be extra creative by putting sequins, glitters, confetti, pompoms, and other embellishments that you can think of. Just go crazeh!

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Lucas wanted to help so I just let him. :-)

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Glue the eyes on each peg. Let it dry.

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Cut the fuzzy wire about 3-4 inches each. Fold the ends so the kids will avoid pricking themselves. Form the wire into a V-shape to make the antenna. Glue it above the eyes and let it dry.

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While the pegs are drying, you can now put the cereals and marshmallows in the zip lock bags. Since the buyers are 3-5 year old kids, portion control is important. I wouldn’t want a school full of hyperactive, sugar-rushing children. I put about 1/4-1/2 cup of cereals and several pieces of marshmallow in each bag.

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Press out any air and loosely  fold each bag. Clip the pegs in the middle of each bag so the sides will look like wings.

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Tadaaah! Now they are ready for selling for Php 5.00 each! Lucas sold out all his “merchandise” the kids and the moms love it!

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Photo credit to his Teacher M :)

Try it for Halloween! I’m pretty sure the children will love it too.

Giving Medicine to Reluctant Toddlers

Are you having challenges giving your toddler medicines? Well you are one of the many mommies who are experiencing that. Right about the same time that I am typing this post, I am also talking to my friend who’s having the same problem as I am, or should I say was.

The Little Jedi is currently sick and giving him medicine is a pain both for us and him. It feels like I am in an action/drama movie trying to give him 3.5 ml of medicine. You’ll see begging, tears, kicking and in some occasions, even bruises. We’ve tried a teaspoon, a cup and even resorted back to using a dropper. Until we figured out a way to make it easy for all of us.

Yakult.

Photo grabbed from Google

I mixed his medicine with half of a Yakult bottle and let him drink it. In a matter of minutes, he drank all of it. I poured the other half and mixed his 2nd medicine in it and he drank everything as well!

I used Yakult Light so I don’t have to worry about his sugar intake since he has to take his medicines three times a day. When I shared this with Dr. Vienne, she approved of it!

When our children are sick, it could give us stress worrying about their health and making sure they are comfortable. This hack could at least help us make drinking medicines easier for them and for us.

Photo from Google images