Adventures and Alchemy and All Awesome Things

Have you ever felt the urge to try something new?

Have you ever suddenly stopped in the middle of Wednesday, or Tuesday, or Thursday (actually, any day will do since the routines pretty much repeat themselves)Β  and said, Man, I really could do with a new, exciting thing today?

Have you ever opened your eyes in the morning, stretched out in bed, smiled, and said to yourself, Today is a good day for going on an adventure ?

Well, my dears, if you answered yes to at least one question, have I got great news for you! Today is the day you’ve been waiting for! March 30! Rev up your engines! Get ready for the ride of your life! And point your radar in the direction of the Spraground!

See, today Jessica launches her Scrapbook Alchemy courses! WOOOHOOO!


Turn lead into gold, turn your hoard of paper scrapping materials into wonderful masterpieces of recorded moments, turn your friend into your lab partner as you go on the adventure of your life with Scrapbook Alchemy! πŸ˜€

Are you a paper scrapbooker who sees all these new digital stuff coming up and thinks, “No thanks, I’ll stick to my paper. I can’t give up the feel of those soft fabric flowers, my sewing machine, my paper cutter, my Bind-It-All, my ceiling-high collection of cardstock and patterned paper? But hmmm… I don’t mind trying out something new to add to my hoard”? Jump on the Alchemy ship!

Are you a digital scrapbooker whose knees shake when you think of cutting up paper (“no! I can’t even draw, much less cut, in a straight line!”) and who gets dizzy at the mere thought of cleaning up after? Well, hey, sit down, have a drink of water, and join this little adventure that just might make your knees weak and your head dizzy but all with excitement! πŸ˜‰

Are you a hybrid scrapbooker who loves combining digi and paper? Honey, get all comfortable, because you’re on for yet another fun adventure in your life!

See, the point is, this is an adventure for E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E., whatever your inclinations are! As long as you want to go on a new adventure and you’ve got the energy to play, you’ve got a place in our Scrapbook Alchemy boat!

As always, Jessica brings top-notch quality instruction (step-by-step, from start to finish, you get her LIVE right in your home… it’s like scrapping along with Jes right in your scraproom… or kitchen… or dining room… or wherever it is you like to do your creative stuff πŸ˜‰ ). And the lessons? To-die for. Totally fun. Totally timeless… you’ll be using the techniques you learn forever and applying them to different kinds of projects and pages. And albums! Albums too! How marvelous is that?

Here’s even more awesome news!

You get Episode 1 at half price! That’s right, my friend! 50-off!

And just when you didn’t think it could get any better…

throughout the month of April, when you sign up for the course, you automatically get a free pass (via an access code) for a friend! You get a free seat for your friend so you can both hold each other’s hands as you ride through the adventure together! Lab partner and adventure-mate, so you can share the fun with another one!

There are four episodes (four different projects) that are offered right now, and you can read all about it here! (Come on, click on the link, you know you want to! πŸ˜‰ ) Don’t forget to check out the vid right at the top of the page! I love it and I think you will too! πŸ™‚

Trust me. The Alchemy courses? They’re to-die for. There are just no words to express how awesome a job Jes has done with these. I am a digi-girl deep down in my bones, but let me tell you, these courses make me want to jump up andΒ  pull out all my untouched paperscrapping hoard of supplies from under the bed! And not just that, now I want to run to the nearest Archivers store and go on a shopping spree for new paper stuff, except I know this time I won’t be hoarding but will actually be using them! Now that’s saying a lot from a girl who’s got her compy surgically attached to her body, huh? πŸ˜‰

Am I swooning? Hyperventilating? Stuck to the roof of my room in a merry floating spell? You betcha. Because I am 110% sure… Click on the image and check out the Alchemy page… You’re gonna love this, yes, you will. πŸ™‚

PS. And when you’ve signed up and started the class, do come back here and let me know if you loved The Loft as much as I did.Β  And do. πŸ˜‰

And speaking of adventure…

My eldest son (the one entering university next school year) came home one day last year and said to me, “Guess what, Mom? They’re making it into a movie!”

Then my dear sister sent me the link to the trailer, which I absolutely fell in love with, right from the drum beat at the beginning all the way to the waving at the end of the two-minute teaser.

She knew I’d love the trailer because she knows I love Maurice Sendak and have a collection of his books from way back in college, when I first discovered him. The book that the movie was based on was the very first book I ever had by Maurice Sendak. It was a book so precious to me that it was the main star of the countless bedtime stories I read to eachΒ  of my sons through the years (and today the love for this book is not just mine alone but a love shared by my five boys … plus of course, we’ve got the stuffies, because really now, you’ve got to be able to play hide and seek under the blanket with Max and the monsters at night and hug them tight when you shut your eyes to sleep, right? ;))



So. Feast your eyes on this. It’s amaaaazing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Do. Forever will. πŸ™‚

Now, back to manual labor… I’m being evicted out of my room by the painting and carpentry crew, and if I don’t get out in two minutes, they will bodily lift me out (all eight of them). Heh.

Over and out and back soon! πŸ˜‰

PS. In the amount of time it took me to write this and actually post it, youtube has already disabled embedding the vid… but no worries: click on the vid and it’ll lead to the vid on youtube itself. It’s worth the trip, trust me. πŸ™‚

Project … 323?

Okay, so I totally flaked off despite all my good intentions to stick to Project 365 or Project 52 or Project 12… and now it’s down to Project 323 for today (which is totally senseless, I know, except that it’s the date that this photo got taken). I got as far as 19 photos in January. Took more than that, for sure, and daily ones I dare think, but never got to save any as websized files since the 19th. Maybe I’ll go backward. Maybe I won’t. hahaha. Who cares? It’s all good! Don’t-stress-about-it is the name of the game! πŸ˜†

So here’s the one of March 23. Will have to find the time to post the first 19… and then the rest that came after.

Illuminate My Soul:


PS. Adobo Putoshop was Photo #032409. Yay! Got two posted! heeheehee!

Over and out!

Hopping off the Roller Coaster

This is pretty much what I looked like the entire month of March:


… and what a ride it’s been!

I have two sons graduating this month and embarking on new journeys: one is going on to university (can you believe it? Am I feeling the creak in my bones? Uhm… yeah. πŸ˜† ) and one is going on to high school. Of course we are incredibly proud of them and we celebrate this additional feather on each son’s cap. Never mind if that means that there are a ton of only-in-March obligations to attend to (all school-related: baccalaureate masses, enrolment in the new schools, buying new outfits, getting the required medical and dental sheets filled up by the pedia and dentist, attending all these “no, they are not optional” parents’ meetings which are included in the acceptance requirements of the new schools… and wait, I’m not even half done, but let’s end it there before you doze off).

But hey, that’s not too much to attend to, right? So let’s throw in a number of family reunions (ah, now we’re talking really happy stuff!)Β  My darling brother, two years older than me, whom I have not seen in almost 10 years, finally came home with his family for a couple of weeks, and because there’s just so little time before he has to fly back, naturally we’ve been trying to get together as often as we can. My aunt, whom I haven’t seen in just a little less than the time I haven’t seen my brother, also came home with my cousin, so it was just totally wonderful to get together with family this month. (The only thing I regret about my brother coming home is that I just know I’m going to miss him and his family soooo much when he flies back in a week’s time. >sniff<)

Since in my family I have the most kids, and most kids = most home space, it was decided by majority (we’re a democratic family πŸ˜‰ ) that the reunion dinner be held in my home. I love having visitors over. I love having family over. I love having friends over. I love having company over. I love hosting dinners, impromptu or planned.

But wait. Did I mention that our home is currently undergoing *major* renovation?


So. That’s why I’ve been absent for such a long time. I received your sweet, sweet emails and notes, my dearest friends, asking why I’ve been quiet… I am so grateful for the hugs you sent my way and so moved by your sweet concern, and I am so so sorry for having been unbelievably remiss in keeping up with my new year’s resolutions. (Yep, No. 5 – I will blog at least 3 times a week. I am so pathetically behind. Tsk tsk.)

Lots to catch up on.

Home on the Range

… or should I say Range in the Home?

Remember the photo of the undone kitchen some time back? Well, work on it is finally done. (Yay! Score 1 for the rooms in the home!)


The kiddos’ room is also done. Score 2 for the rooms in the home!



Finally found another use for all those beloved (accumulated) figures. dsc_0095_shelf

Monsters, Inc., anyone? πŸ˜†

None of the other rooms in the house are completely done yet, so this is all I’ve got on the homefront for now. πŸ˜›

This Week’s Funny

Preface: We walk around our home in bare feet because we’ve got wooden floors, andΒ  then there’s the fact that the kids (and I) will jump at any excuse to walk without shoes πŸ˜†

So a couple of days ago, I was feverishly working on my latest kit while my newly-7-year-old J and my soon-to-be-5 S were sitting on the floor of my bedroom a couple of feet away, playing with toys together with their nanny.

Suddenly, J half-screamed in shock and distress: “AAAACK! Mama! Yaya’s feet are bleeeeding!”

I turned around and said, “Whaaaaat?”

Yaya (their nanny) was totally calm, and with a very embarrassed look on her face, she whispered (loud enough for me to hear): “That’s nail polish. I polished my toes.”

Without missing a beat, S ran to me, anguish written all over his face: “Mama! She punished her toes!”


This is probably the biggest disadvantage of having a mom who keeps her fingernails and toenails short and unpolished. My poor boys have absolutely no exposure to such feminine toys of vanity. hehehe. (Seriously though? I can’t grow my nails simply because I find they get into the way of everything I love doing: working on my compy, taking photos and changing lenses, holding my kids’ hands without fear of scratching them accidentally, giving my scalp a good massage as I shampoo my hair… ya know, those kinds of things. πŸ˜† )

Humor and Cuisine, Filipino Style

Two things that are very basic Filipino food fare: adobo and puto (though not necessarily eaten together).

Wikipedia says this about adobo:

In Filipino cuisine, adobo refers to a common and very popular cooking process indigenous to the Philippines.

When Spanish colonizers first took administration over the Philippines in the late 1500s and early 1600s, they encountered an indigenous cooking process which involved stewing with vinegar, which they then referred to as “adobo,” which is the Spanish word for seasoning or marinade. Dishes prepared in this manner eventually came to be known by this name, with the original term for the dish now lost to history.

Thus, the adobo dish and cooking process in Filipino cuisine and the general description “adobo” in Spanish cuisine share similar characteristics, but in fact refer to different things with different cultural roots. While Philippine adobo can be considered adobo – a marinated dish – in the Spanish sense, the Philippine usage is much more specific.

Typically, pork or chicken, or a combination of both, is slowly cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, crushed garlic, bay leaf, and black peppercorns, and often browned in the oven or pan-fried afterward to get the desirable crisped edges. This dish originates from the northern region of the Philippines. It is commonly packed for Filipino mountaineers and travelers. Its relatively long shelf-life is due to one of its primary ingredients, vinegar, which inhibits the growth of bacteria.

The standard accompaniment to adobo is white rice.

Outside the home-cooked dish, the essence of adobo has been developed commercially and adapted to other foods. A number of successful local Philippine snack products usually mark their items “adobo-flavored.” This assortment includes, but is not limited to nuts, chips, noodle soups, and corn crackers.

This is what adobo looks like:


(image courtesy of

Then there’s puto.

Wikipedia says this about puto:

Puto is steamed rice cake popular in the Philippines. Rice, the main ingredient in this dish, is an important staple in the Philippines. It is typically eaten in most meals and has been known to be featured in all types of sweet and savory Filipino dishes. Puto is usually eaten as dessert, but can also be eaten for breakfast dipped into or paired with a cup of hot coffee or hot chocolate.

There are many variations to the recipe ranging from the type of rice used to the method in which the rice is prepared. In its traditional form, puto is of a plain white color. Adding certain common Filipino ingredients like ube and pandan (made from pandan leaves or Pandanus amaryllifolius ) slightly changes the flavor and completely changes the color of the finished product. Likewise, food coloring can be added to change the puto’s color but still keep its original flavor.

Most varieties often include the addition of coconut milk and this influences the flavor.

This is what puto looks like:


(image courtesy of Wikipedia)

And here is the reason why we have this little lesson on Filipino cuisine. Because it’s the preface to this showcase of Filipino humor at its finest.

I was riding the car on my way to a dinner hosted for my brother-back-from-abroad and his family when I looked up and saw this little diner with the funniest name. And I had my camera with me, whoopee-doo! So of course I turned around the block just so I could come back to this little resto by the roadside and snap a photo of it.


Isn’t that such a hoooot? πŸ˜†

I am so inspired to travel around the city, heck even the entire country, searching for more of these hilarious signboards, showcases of the ever-amazing sense of humor of these people on my side of the world. πŸ™‚

Okay. Time for bed. It’s 4.30am and I’m going to crawl through tomorrow if I don’t hit the sack right now. But it was just *awesome* sitting with you on this blog porch after such a long time! I have totally missed you and am so glad to be back!

More tomorrow, including a wonderful announcement about an upcoming course or two (wink, wink, wink!).

Have a happy day, my sweeties! (((hugs)))