Winter Mail Art

Monday, June 21, 2021

It has been a really busy month (sorry if it seems like every month is busy 😂). But finally, here is my mail art for the month of June 2021. I will be posting these 3 handmade cards this week. 💗

The mail art was created using From Our House To Yours stamp set from Stampin' Up! And balmy blue ink on the edges.

The names and addresses werw handwritten with a brush pen 🥰

Mail art Stampin' Up! From our house to yours
#hugsinacard for June 2021

The theme is winter because June is officially the start of winter season here down under. And the three recipients of free handmade cards this month are:

Mylene Pecjo

Winter snow mail art handmade card

Tricia Angelique Roldan

Winter snow mail art handmade card

Ronna Joy Morallos

Winter snow mail art handmade card

Thank you all for being part of my hugs in a card project! 💗

Do you want to receive a free happy mail too? Simply fill out this form and be part of my #hugsinacard mission. 🥰

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Winter Interactive Cards - Sliding and Floating Stamped Images

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

It's good to finally have the time to make this post - introducing, my interactive winter-themed cards for this year! I got these cute stamp set after winter last year and I had to wait almost a whole year to finally use them. 

This year, the cold came really early. In fact, we hardly complained about the heat during summer either. It's a comparatively colder year in 2021. As early as the last weeks of May, I was already brainstorming and voila!

Winter interactive card ideas
Foxy on his sled on a couple of cards (using slider technique) and Twinnie Penguins bobbing on another card (using floating image technique by Jennifer McGuire).

The stamp set features a fox on a sled, a penguin with scarf and some really nice sentiments. They make cold look cute.

But unlike Elsa though, I don't like the cold, it bothers me a lot hahaha. Still, I find winter to be a beautiful season with it's glistening snow and tinkling icicles. I wish I was more like cute Foxy and Penguin so I could enjoy the snow too!

Fox in sled interactive winter themed card
Foxy slides through the snow when you move the card!

I looked at my stash to see how I can make these cards. You see, I try to limit my craft supplies spending now. Whenever I have a project in mind, I make sure that I can do it with what I have on hand.

Creating a snowy background cardmaking

Fortunately, I have 3 shades of blue inks and my ever handy brush makeup applicator to create the background. Then, using white poster paint ($2 from Kmart) and a fine point paint brush, I added the snowfall effect. Just looking at the background already makes me shiver in cold! ⛄

Snowy background cardmaking

I can't not use cute Penguin either. With one of its feet in the air, it looks like it's dancing so why not make 2 cute dancing Penguins on the snow? 

To make them "dance," I used the floating image technique by Jennifer McGuire

Here they are, dancing with their Happy Feet!

Cardmaking dancing penguins
Shake the card to make the Penguins dance 😄


Dancing Penguins winter cards
Close up of the bobbing Penguins


Close up of Foxy on sled

Winter has just started and God willing, I will come up with more winter-themed cards to make while the snowy season lasts. 😄Happy winter!

❆❅❄

June 2021 #hugsinacard recipients are:

  • Tricia Angelique Roldan
  • Mylene Pecjo
  • Ronna Joy Morallos
Comment down below if this is you 🥰💗

Do you need some encouraging words? Do you think you can do with some kind thoughts today? Or do you just want to receive a free happy mail?

I send out my handmade cards to random people for free. If you're up for a free card, feel free to register here.

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My Birthday Wish

Friday, June 11, 2021

When you're almost 40 and you're running a household with 3 children at different life stages (1 teen, 1 preteen and 1 toddler, all GIRLS!), your own birthday is nothing more than a day to break from the daily routine. So instead of the usual 7-hour work, I took a half rec leave - to run errands and then treat the family out.

I'm not complaining. In fact, the mere messages of family, friends and friends of friends who greeted me on Facebook were more than enough to make me happy - I'm very easy to please. But yesterday was filled with surprises and I can't say thank you enough to everyone and most especially to God, for making my day a happy one.

First of all, I woke up to see my husband's gift right on top of my office desk. Although I knew what's inside (they're specific requests so this one wasn't a surprise haha), I couldn't wait to get my hands on them. It was distracting me while I got ready to go to office hehehe.

Mommy book and bluetooth earphones (for audio books and podcasts)

Then, at work, my boss brought a box of Krispy Kreme donuts for the team. We usually don't bring food on team meetings so it felt a bit festive to have some sweets while discussing. 😊

After the meeting, I went to lunch with 2 of my closest friends at work. Both of them had surprised me with gifts too. 

My lovely friends 💗

When you're old, you get to understand that people's time are valuable and so the mere fact that they spent time to have lunch with me was more than enough to make me gratified. But to have surprised me was just beyond what I prayed for. Thanks be to God to be blessed with such good friends in my life.

Then I received greetings from sis Karen and a photo of ube cake she baked (my favourite ube cake!) and a chocolate bouquet. She hand delivered the gifts at home and I just couldn't wait to see them in person.

She has always been sweet like that, which is admirable considering that we have the same birthdays. Of course, I have something for her too, but the day just went crazy yesterday that I wasn't able to drop the gift off to her house.

As I have said, I didn't really plan to make this day special. In fact, after lunch with my friends, I rushed to meet my husband (and our baby tagging along) at Blacktown, so I could organise Daisy's enrolment for High School.

After the enrolment, we took the opportunity to run some more errands (buy food stock, canvas for carseat upgrade, etc) while we waited for the girls to finish school. When the girls arrived, they were both hungry and tired so we had to get them some snacks while we did more groceries and finally took them to dinner - the only part that's related to my birthday celebration hahaha.

By the time we're finished, it was 7:30pm. As usual, it was a day packed with errands and running after Darla. 😄 Duties never end when you're an adult 😂 but it was a good kind of busy day. A contented kind of tired.

I looked at the messages from various people, the gifts before me, the memories of this day filled with blessings and lingered on to the good feelings inside. 

When you're almost 40, and a parent, and working and busy, birthdays are the perfect time to stop a few minutes, catch your breath, and remind yourself that if you have food on the table, a few people who care, a job you can keep, your family and loved ones are kept well/safe and just enough money to live by, then you are already blessed beyond words.

lAll I can say is thanks be to God for another year of witnessing His love and care. I've had more than enough share of happiness for my birthday today, I don't think I'd want anything else for myself anymore.

And so, as I blow out the proverbial candle on my cake, my wish goes out to everyone else out there - those who are in pain, those who are suffering, those who are in need, those who are in sorrow. Whatever it is they wish for in their heart, then that is my also my birthday wish.

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Why I Bought A Retro Game Console For My Kids

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

This mini retro game console arrived by post today! I felt really excited while we took turns playing. I and my husband felt like Jedis showing these children how it's done. 😎🤺🎮  Old school? Yes! And I am not ashamed of it hehe.

Retro Game Console Australia based
The retro game console or better known as Family Computer to the retro parent like me 🤣

5 Reasons Why I Prefer Retro Games VS Modern Games

When the Retro Game Console arrived, I couldn't wait to try it out right away. After my husband had set it up, I felt so excited and hopeful already. Just manage your expectations though, as the graphics aren’t half as good as the games nowadays. But just seeing Mario on the screen this morning made my heart jump for joy. 

As I was hit by waves of nostalgia, I realised that I wanted my kids to experience this happy part of my childhood too. I was more convinced than ever that I made the right decision for choosing the retro game console over the modern game consoles. Here’s why:

  1. Retro game console is relatively easier to set up.

It’s basically plug and play. I usually leave the technical side of things to my husband but he had the console set up in no time.

As I have mentioned, we haven't tried Xbox or any of the modern game consoles but I heard that there are more complexities in them such as requiring wifi and updates. Sorry to say this, but I might not have the patience to learn these things which will obviously kill the excitement a bit.

  1. Retro games are familiar and easier to teach and navigate

I know that kids nowadays are fast learners so they will definitely learn how to play the retro games in no time. The problem is, I and my husband might not cope up with the opposite hehehe. Which means, when we play as a family, then we won’t be on the same grounds.

The kids might sense this and subsequently, might not be keen to join their parents anymore.

  1. Retro games are more family oriented

Retro games weren’t called Family Computer for no reason. Because the console isn’t wifi supported, you’re most likely to play with your family side by side with a retro game console.

Modern game consoles and most games and apps on the other hand, were designed for online gaming. As I have mentioned previously, I am not comfortable with my children playing online with strangers because of the dangers lurking in the internet.

Call me a paranoid parent, I don’t care. But the truth is, we didn’t have to deal with these dangers as a child. I don’t see why I shouldn’t protect my children from these risks as well.

  1. Retro games have more interesting backstories

I didn’t realise this but if I have to compare the games we played before vs the games children play now, retro games were more creative when it comes to stories and characters.

Take Mario Brothers, for example. The main characters as well as the villains may look cute but the game is actually about a noble love story of a guy trying to rescue a Princess from the hands of a turtle-and-dragon-cross-bred king.

But I think what stands out is that the games before always had the good side trying to defeat the bad side unlike the violent ones that are rampant nowadays.

  1. The final point, it was cheaper and smaller

When I saw this ad, I was really impressed to see how cheap the game console was – and free shipping Australia-wide too!

The unit was very small too, so it’s easier to store away when you’re done. Again, because it is less complex, there’s not a lot of cables and parts either.

Why I Bought The Mini Retro Game Console 

Earlier last year, I posted about my problem controlling my kids from too much screen time. Although I have found ways to limit their use of gadgets, such as giving them other activities and establishing screen time rules, I still think of ways up to this day how to get their hands off their gadgets as much as possible. 

If I could totally get them off their phones and iPads, that would be best. These smart phones and tablets pose as a huge distraction especially when the kids get accustomed to social media. Chatting with their peers eat up valuable time that should otherwise be spent for reading or studying. Not to mention the great risk of these children being exposed to predators who could easily disguise behind fake accounts. 

However it's not all bad and ugly for gadgets. Giving them access to these technological advances is also a necessity these days. 

For example, my daughter hones her artistic skills in digital drawing and learns about entrepreneurship by using her iPad. They also use their gadgets to research about lessons in school. 

But as parents, who are also busy with work, a toddler and other responsibilities, I and my husband can't always control their activities online. That is why if there are ways to limit their access to gadgets, then I go for it. 

Gaming and gadgets

One of the challenges in successfully detoxing the kids from their gadgets is gaming. I tried talking to my girls about taking away their phones and iPads, and while they were more accepting to let go of their Social Media (which they shouldn’t even have in the first place), they are more reluctant to give up playing games.

I can totally understand them with this one because video games also played a big part in making my childhood happy and memorable. I know the gaming world has changed so much many, many years after, so it took me a long time to decide which one to get for the kids. There’s Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch but I have no idea how each one differs as I have not tried any of them, not even once.

Then I found this Mini Retro Game Console in an ad. Out of impulse, I decided it’s about time, added it to cart, checked out and crossed my fingers for the best.

I remember my own childhood days when we'd all gather in the living room around the Family Computer/Retro Game Console. Each of us had our own favourite games: Mom was best at Bomber Man, Dad at F1 Race. 

My eldest brother was the best at Punch Out while my other brother, who was probably the best gamer, excelled in Rock Man as well as a lot of other games I could not recall anymore.

Those were such fun times. We were connected and cheer on each other to win (or otherwise lose when we're angry haha). But those were memories etched in my mind forever. I have a lot of hopes that this Retro Game Console would also be an instrument to more family times for us, and I just can't wait to play and beat my husband and 2 girls lol!

Ate and Darla teaming up in a game of contra

You can purchase the Retro Game Console here: Retro Mini Video Games - Console Built-in 620 Classic Games Dual Gamepad Gaming is A Choice for Children and Adults (Grey) AV Output 

Retro Mini Video Games - Console Built-in 620 Classic Games Dual Gamepad Gaming is A Choice for Children and Adults (Grey) AV Output

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On Miss Universe, Rabiya Mateo, the President and Politics

Friday, May 21, 2021

Rabiya Mateo has been talk of the town leading up to the 69th Miss Universe and following the issue around her was like a walk down memory lane for me.

When I was young, I used to love watching the Miss Universe pageant and every year, I look forward to it together with my girl cousins who were about the same age as me.

One particular year I love and remember was the 43rd Miss Universe in 1994. It was held in Manila so you can imagine the hype. We had our eyes glued to the TV for the whole program and we just couldn’t get enough of it.

When the competition was over, my cousins and I replayed it over and over amongst ourselves. Dressed in our mothers’ dusters and old party dresses modified by belts and pins, we’d take turns answering the famous questions, “How many islands are there in the Philippines?” and “What is the essence of a woman?”

We had our own favourite countries (mine was Miss India) but naturally, we all rallied behind our home country candidate for the win.

Miss Universe was the epitome of empowerment to a little girl like me. It encompasses all of the good aspects that make women beautiful: looks, brain and most importantly, the heart. No other word was more befitting to describe it than beautiful.

But then I grew up. I got busy with studies, then work, and later on, with my own family and so Miss Universe was a forgotten thing. Except for the occasional glimpses such as the famous fiasco by Steve Harvey and whenever my home country ended up in the finals, I wasn’t as keen about it as before.

Only this year, there has been a lot of hype over Miss Universe that it was hard to miss it. What considerably intrigued me was the endless bickering among the lot of Filipinos. Traditionally, I would expect my fellow Filipinos to be 1000% supportive (extra zero intended). So I was really curious why the nation was divided into two: fans vs bashers.

Needless to say, the whole thing caught my attention, so I did a little digging on what the commotion’s about. At the centre of this outburst was Rabiya Mateo, the Philippines representative for Miss Universe 2021.

Photo source here

At first glance, I didn’t see anything wrong about her. In fact, I thought she was a rather good representative for our country, with beautiful Filipina features and an inspiring backstory. What caused the divide was something not even related to the competition: her disagreement to the President’s stance, which had thrown her in the middle of this heated discussions among Filipinos.

That was the reason. Just like all the other things turned into a political issue, she was asked a controversial question taken out of context and all hell broke lose.

The President’s Remarks

In January this year, President Rodrigo Duterte declared, “My daughter is not running. I have told Inday not to run because I pity [her] knowing she will have to go through what I am going through.” His statement was for his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, after the latter came #1 in Presidential surveys and polls.

Photo source here

I am not an expert in politics and I actually shy away from this topic now after witnessing its ugly effects personally (which I will share later on). To me, politics is analogous to Midas’ touch, except that everything it touches turns into battle ground.

The President’s remarks do not necessarily equate misogynism, even if he added that, “This [Presidency] is not for women. You know, the emotional set-up of a woman and a man is totally different. You will become a fool here.”

Firstly, if one is to analyse the layers of his statement, it ensued from whether his daughter was running for Presidency or not. As a parent who loves and cares for his daughter, he could have simply meant that he did not want her to undergo the same resentment hurled at him, which is inevitably part of the job.

Second, as a political analyst wrote on his Facebook post, perhaps this was just another diversionary tactic that the President made to protect his daughter from attacks that could potentially arise after she became #1 in the presidential polls.

Whatever the real reason was, I seriously doubt it was a sexist statement. As pointed out in the same Facebook post, President Duterte was a good friend of former President Gloria Arroyo and clearly believed and respected her administration the most.

Besides, if we are to remember the 2016 Presidential debate, President Duterte opened his speech by saying, “It’s good that Ma’am Miriam is here. She’s one of the two only qualified to run this country as president.” It was clear that he had utmost respect and high regard for the only woman among the candidates, which was strikingly in contrast to his supposedly misogynistic behaviour.

Rabiya Mateo’s Remarks

In February 2021, Rabiya Mateo was placed in the hot seat during a virtual interview on the Missosology YouTube channel. When asked about the President’s remarks that “presidency is not for women,” the Iloilo beauty queen answered, “I do respect the President, but I completely disagree with this thought.”

For Rabiya, women are as capable as men in handling a nation and I couldn’t agree more. She then cited female leaders to back her point. For the sake of understanding how the chaos ensued, I write here the other statements she said:

I am a woman and I believe that my emotions do make part in my leadership skills. And I have so much heart and I have so much calling in being a leader, actually.

We live in an era in which we need to treat men and women equally. We need to give them the same opportunities. And I won’t agree with something like this because I know my capabilities and my strength as a woman, and I know I can make a difference.

Sometimes, you really need to put your emotion and to be the mother of your land.

I agree and honestly think there was nothing wrong with what she said. For me, these were the answers expected in a beauty pageant where saying things like, “world peace,” and “with a heart” almost always captures the audience’s attention.

But if linked back to what the President actually meant, I don’t think her words were even relevant. Not to demean her (again, I agree with everything she said) but they just don’t apply in this instance.

Moving on, the media feasted on Rabiya’s statement and when shown side by side with the President’s claims, it would appear that she was anti-Government and pro-Opposition. Although it shouldn’t have mattered (as Rabiya, just like every Filipino citizen, is entitled to her opinion and political affiliation), her statement irked some of her followers and instead of supporting her, did the exact opposite. 

This is what happens when someone or something becomes politicized, and Rabiya was caught in the middle of this non-sense argument, attacks and hate.

Whether this has been the intention of the people in the media or not, it definitely had a toll on Rabiya’s chances of winning the Miss Universe competition. This toxic polarization even spread across to affect the other candidates in an effort of one side to outdo the other.

Sad to say, because of politics, I struggled to see the beauty in this year’s pageant.

Politics and its “Midas” touch

It’s not at all bad to voice out what you believe in but most times, I find it better to just keep my beliefs in private. Not because I am embarrassed of my beliefs (I think it’s ridiculous to believe in something you’re embarrassed about) but because experience taught me that it causes rifts and arguments.

I know there are people who would feel strongly against what I stand for and I respect that. But if one is to challenge (and even more so if it was meant to mock) my beliefs, I can’t promise to just shut up meekly and raise my white flag.

But while some people are quick to jump at other people's beliefs, these same people also find it impossible to live in peace and accept differences. They start to hate you when you don’t agree with what they have to say. Whatever happened to healthy discussions?

This was the lesson I learned about 4 or 5 years ago.

It was during those times when my Facebook newsfeed was flooded with good news about insfrastructure and developments in my home country. Of course, I was happy about it. Although I have lived overseas for a long time now, I still have friends and family in the Philippines.

I can’t fully recall the exact news I shared but it was along those lines. It wasn’t meant to be for likes by the way. I just had a habit back then of browsing and then sharing the posts I plan to read later as a way of "bookmarking" them. Don’t worry, nowadays, I just use the SAVE option and share only cute cats.

Anyway, a friend privately messaged me to say that what I posted was wrong and that the credits were supposed to be for the past administration. I did a little snooping around to see if I was sharing fake news but almost all reputable websites shared the same info.

In my response, I told her that and thanked her for her information. However, whose credit it should go to was less of my concern and that the knowledge that the projects were now tangible and beneficial to the people were more important to me. I was just happy for my people.

I ended my response with a friendly, how are you (as it was more than a year since we last talked) but after that she completely ignored my message.

Then just recently, Facebook suggested memories with the same person, which I forwarded to her with an affectionate greeting (because she was one of those persons whom I have a high regard of). Seen-zoned. Oh well. I knew what that meant but it was just shocking how a single political discussion had caused her to cut ties.

It’s incredible how powerful politics is in dividing people which is why I have stopped being vocal about it. What happened to me was just one person who hated me for that reason and completely turned a blind eye on the other things we shared as friends.

It doesn’t matter if it was one person, it still hurt. But can you imagine the pressure Rabiya had to deal with when people bashed her for that? It wasn’t one person, it was a whole mob hating on her. All her hard work and everything else she had to offer were completely overshadowed.

And to think that Ms Universe was supposed to be about beauty and heart. There was nothing beautiful about what happened to Rabiya Mateo at all and if it’s true, as people say, that Miss Universe and these pageants are just political vehicles now, then I seriously doubt I will ever be keen about it as I had been when I was just a little girl.

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