My July 2014

It's school break for my first born. Oh dear.. Now I am one of those who dread this time of the year having to think about how to keep my pre school busy. 

July is pretty as we get to visit our home country. And it's my baby's first trip there. 

We are still in the Philippines. Half of our vacation is over. 

Writing live from Cebu, here's how my July went -- 

1. Red + white (Before I become a stay-at-home mom, I used to work for the Canadian Embassy in Manila for 11 years promoting Canadian agriculture interests. Canada has a small place in my heart. Happy Canada Day!)
2. Something beginning with K (Kisses chocolate for my son's gift bags for his classmates)
3. Match (What I use to start a fire. I would fail using primitive methods such as stones and sticks.)
4. Stars (My eldest got these stars and other stickers from class. I wonder what he did to earn them.)
5. On the table (Our two sons decided it's an excellent idea to be up at 6AM on weekends when I hoped to sleep in. Badly need coffee to start a busy day. Sandwich made by the husband. A quick breakfast while planning the new week's menu.)
6. View (Amazing view of Bangkok from a birthday party we went to. Caught a bit of the sunset.)
7. First (Ordered groceries online. Hopefully, Tesco Lotus is efficient so I won't ever have to buy my bulk items in the store. Grocery shopping has turned into a chore.)
8. I’ve never… (Drank from these mugs. I have 300 of them.)
9. Alive (A workout gives me so much energy so I do it even if my body doesn't feel like waking up every morning.)
10. Sharp (My 10 year old Swiss knife)
11. Gold (My favorite gold at the moment)
12. Interior (Uh-oh. Sale at H&M.)
13. Look up (It's a rainy Sunday) 
14. Old school (I sometimes get more things done when I write down my to-do list on paper.)
15. Torn (Yup, we get a lot of torn pages at home courtesy of my two boys)
16. Listening to…(the new Hillsong album)
17. Sunshine (My two loves playing as soon as they woke up. Very sunny today.)
18. Admire (Michelle Williams. The LV bag she is holding. The photos on the floor.)
19. Curly (Craved for pad thai with vermicelli instead of the flat noodles)
20. Moment (Writing down my favorite moments in this journal. I'm on my second year. Fun to read my entries last year as I add new ones.)
21. Basic (A bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. Need to start living healthier.)
22. I wore this! (I love baby wearing.)
23. Macro (I add shiitake mushroom to every vegetable stir-fry I make. Yummy!)
24. Water (Water is ❤️.)
25. Home (A get-together in one of the most beautiful homes I've seen.)
26. Fun (We took a family selfie in Jed's alma mater.)
27. Ten (Someone turned 10 months old)
28. Cool (The boys had so much fun when we visited Javi's family in Laguna.)
29. Repeat (The kids need to experience a Jollibee party even if we have to celebrate Javi's 4th birthday again)
30. Lost (I cannot stop eating in Cebu. And the crab is my favorite. I may have finished a whole one.)
31. Rise (It's so good to wake up to this view. Happy to be back in Cebu.)

I'll share more of our Philippine trip on my next post. Watch out for it. 


Planning Made Easy

It's one of my family's busiest time of the year. We go home to the Philippines for what feels like the shortest two weeks. 

I am dreading the trip. And of course, excited. We have an additional member of the family. I can't wait for everyone to meet him. 

To keep us all sane, it's planning season. We want to maximize our two weeks. 

Would you believe that even in this age of the smartphone and tablets, I prefer to plan using pen and paper? Yes, old school. And I found this really cute planner printables and they are free. 

I love colorful planners/calendars!

And I am sharing with you where I got them. Please click on the title to lead you to the site itself.

Weekly overview from Scattered Squirrel

I particularly like this one for the right hand column and I have spaces for notes, etc.
Weekly Planner from Sprout New Media

I may use this one regularly.
There you have them. I hope you find them useful like I did.

Happy weekend!

Minimal Notifications

I love my smartphone. The iPhone is a brilliant invention. But too much of a good thing is bad for us. We are too connected right now.

I felt that. It was overwhelming. I had to deactivate from Facebook. Life is better, more quiet.

For the longest time, I always have my phone in silent mode. Yes, there are cute ringtones. I use them but most of the time I have no use for them. I don't like the sound of the phone when it rings. I wouldn't want to stop what I was doing and attend to that phone call. Since then, I put my phone on silent.

How my phone looks like
The equivalent of a ring tone now is the notifications on every app. It is annoying to me. It's like screaming for my attention. I already have kids who always want my attention. I don't need an app to tell me it needs my attention. I always click no to requests to send me push notification. Not my thing.

There was an article I saw from a tweet of Michael Hyatt about Zero Notifications by Joel Gascoigne. It made a lot of sense to me. When I see a notification on my phone, I would instantly attend to it. While I disabled this feature on most social media apps, it is still on for a handful of messaging apps. It still drove me crazy. 

Inspired by the article, I disabled all notifications on my phone except for WhatsApp (where I communicate with my family), my water tracker and Baby Connect (an app which I use to log my baby's activities.)

I love not seeing those notifications. I only go to each app when I have the time for it. My problem now is I'd forget to check things like the mail. Oops... It's okay, people who matters will know how to reach me and will not email me about emergencies. 

I really appreciate the peace and quiet. I decided I am in charge of the phone; it doesn't take over my life.

How are you with your notifications?

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