mafia moms

I used to pride myself for being independent (aka loner). I don’t mind eating alone and I don’t mind doing things on my own. Heck! I even watched a movie on my own! (once). I am woman, I am independent, HEAR ME ROAR!!!

Aside from this, having the technology we have now, I can bug my cousins and sister anywhere and at anytime I want. So really having someone be physically beside me to talk to was not high on my priority list. Don’t get me wrong, I have individual relationships, I’m not a hermit! (FYI! nothing wrong with that) but I’ve always felt like it was better to keep my circle small. And by small, I mean one friend I have breakfast with every two weeks.

But when like-minded stay at home moms welcomed me into their fold, I discovered that I may be the flock, cult following kind of gal. I’ve discovered that belonging to a bigger circle means that there are more people to catch you when you fall and/or when one isn’t able to help, another one is there to do the deed. Or it can be as simple as having someone to always have coffee with when my hands start to shake and want to get that caffeine buzz my body craves for once in a while😉.

In just4 months, It amazes me how easy it was for me to blend in with this group. By being with these ladies I found an outlet to vent out frustrations big or small and by also willing to listen, I’ve found out that some of them also share my own. I have learned things I might have not known of otherwise and I wouldn’t have met such interesting people with such colorful lives. It’s always nice to know and be reminded that I am not alone in this struggle we call motherhood.

I always describe our group to other people as a mafia of moms who are kind-hearted and caring. But think twice before you cross any of their children and/or anybody they care about because these moms are lionesses in sheep’s clothing and although they look meek and mild, they can clobber you to death with just a stare. Let’s just say, I’m happy I’m on their good side.

I used to think that having my family with me is all I need but having friends that are loyal and treat you like their family, is one offer I simply cannot refuse.

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I came, I sold, I drank coffee…

 

This morning, I had the opportunity to show off and sell my crochet love products to a group of Venezuelan women. Insane right?! 😱 Never in my wildest dreams but I’m glad the opportunity came my way.

Apparently it’s all the rave now with SAHM (aka Jumeira Janes) in Dubai. How it works is…

A group of friends coordinates a bazaar at one of their houses and invites sellers (like me) to show off their products for a fee. I found out after, that the fees that we sellers paid for were the funds used to buy the breakfast spread. Friends, neighbors and even my own friends (aka the Filipino mafia) were cordially invited to come and have a look at the handmade lovelies and have coffee with the group.


It was a nice quiet morning with good coffee, good company and great handmade products 😜. The way I look at it, it’s a win-win situation, I got to sell, they got to have a social morning, have a nice breakfast spread for no expense (to them) and met new friends! All while our little ones were in school. Beats my usual morning of ironing and laundry any day! 


I’ve been slowly coming out of my shell when it comes to selling and showing off my products on a face to face level. I’m comfortable with Facebook  and Instagram selling because it has that “take it or leave it” attitude. And mostly just good friends  order from me. With bazaars I feel vulnerable because people (strangers) get to touch my products, try them on and have them judge me or tell me if they like it or not. Who wants that right? 

Thankfully today was a good day, the organizer even said that my table was her favorite of the bunch which for me was  already worth all the effort I did on coming to her house.

As a result of me stepping out of my comfort zone, I have opened myself to a bigger network of friends and a couple of possible invites to another coffee morning bazaar. 

Hopefully it will soon open my bank account to a bigger balance 😉.

Until the next conquest! 

Xoxo 😘

 


Al Rawabi Farm

Dubai has an endless possibility of fun activities for the kids on the weekend. Unfortunately, it also means you need to have an endless bank account to pay for these activities. Having none of the latter, I’m always in the hunt for fun frugal family activities I could get my hands on.

When a co-mom at school told me about this tour at Al Rawabi Farm and that it was FREE. I was in.

All you have to do is to go to their site (link here ☝️) and book your farm tour date. They call you the day before and send you an email with the location. All you have to do is follow Google maps and be there 10 mins before 10:00 AM. 

There’s a bus that will pick up all the guests at the entrance and take you around the farm.

First stop and my favorite one is the milk collecting area. I could watch these cows for hours. They go inside their stalls in such an orderly fashion and face their fate without the slightest complaint. Call me crazy but I kinda feel a little sorry for the cows. I don’t think the whole process hurts them but seeing them get hooked up to a machine and gets their milk sucked from them brings back painful memories of breastfeeding. They said they do it to the cows 3x a day … can anybody say OUCH! 
The next two stops were the milk and fruit juice packaging process which to me was super boring but to  my 4 and 7 year old was “Super cooooooooool!”.

Free juice at the end of the tour was the best part for these two.

before we left, everybody got freebies which to me was “Super cooooool!”

If you are kind of squeamish about cow dung and grass and all that “gross” farm stuff. Don’t worry the whole tour is in a AC room. You could smell the aroma of the farm in and out of the bus to the buildings but IT IS A FARM…🙄.

The whole tour only took about an hour and 15 mins but it was a nice thing to do on a Saturday morning with the kids. Something different, something educational, and something free.

Until my next frugal weekend mommies!

Lovin’ their mooooooful weekend.

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My budding reporter/blogger taking notes of the farm tour to share with his friends at school. 

 

 

 

 


IMG worlds of adventure

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Take 3 boys + 1 Marvel theme park + a 5 day holiday = an awesome fun day at IMG worlds of fun.

My boys couldn’t wait to get here. Everyday on our way to and from school they’d see signs of their opening everywhere and everyday they’d tell me

Mom, I want to go there! I want to go there!” x10 times EVERYDAY!!!!

So you could imagine my relief when finally the day has come where we can actually take them here.

Our day of reckoning was last Wednesday which was also Arnie’s last day of Eid holiday. We thought we were being smart by going on a weekday and since majority would still be on holiday, some have actually started working. I thought it was a good day because although I didn’t expect the park to be empty at least we still had some personal space to ourselves and in places like these, that’s all I could really ask for.

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Prior to going, we did a little cyber stalking on what people who have been there actually said about the place. Not that it would change our minds on going  but if you are like us and want to know some first time observations here are some of mine.

  1. The height of your child is crucial. Most of the rides require a 1.05m minimum height (and they are actually very strict about it). So if you have an over 3-year-old child but less than 1.05m in height you’d still have to pay for him at full child’s price but he won’t be allowed to go on most of the rides. We’ve actually seen some families react with anger and some in tears because of this and for everyone’s sake and for your wallets too check your child’s height.
  2. If parking is a big deal, don’t worry as per norm in Dubai there is a valet service. They will charge you 50 aed but if you are not ready to walk from Mars (which is where we parked our car) then 50 aed isn’t so bad.
  3. No food and drinks allowed. They actually check at the door and they confiscate them. There are a variety of food inside to cater to any budget so that shouldn’t be an issue.
  4. The AC could get cold for some so if you can, carry a light pullover. I’m actually ok with this because imagine the alternative, with people being so close together, I’d rather nobody sweat 😜. But it could get cold…you’ve been warned.
  5. Get ready to fall in line. Most of our day was spent falling in line and I actually expected that. What I didn’t expect were little kids trying to cut the line because they think they can get away with it. On one ride I actually saw a mother coax her kid on to move ahead of the line. I mean what are we trying to teach our children people?

*One thing about the lines though was that after we’ve gone on the ride, the nastiness, the waiting in line and all the other stuff just fade away. Which makes me think of the saying that goes “anything worth having/experiencing is worth waiting for” #insightsonline

11 hours passed and my boys would’ve gone for 11 more. They had so much fun that in our heads paying an arm and a limb for a year pass wouldn’t be so bad (if only they’d offer any).

The best part for me was the ride home. The boys gave us a play by-play on what we did and to hear their version of the day with such high spirits was absolutely priceless.

Update:

For anyone interested IMG does have an annual pass…


a promise to my 40 year old self

At the beginning of this year I made a resolution to lose weight. I know, so original right? But I told myself that with my youngest being 4 years old this year, carrying that extra baby weight around is simply not acceptable anymore. So I bought all the Bootea on sale, skipped my meals and reduced my carbs and just all around forgetting to live life. Now I know this should mean that I’m a size 0 by now right? Weeeeell…not quite because while doing all this craziness I’ve had constant headaches that disabled me from doing anything around the house and the most scary part was that it was affecting my driving (and I never drive alone – I always have two precious passengers behind me). But my harsh realization came to me by way of my husband (my light and guide 😜) when one night as I was complaining of yet another massive headache he told me that I have to take care of myself more. Be aware of the things that harm me and not consciously inflict them upon myself because this craziness of trying to lose weight could kill me (so enlightened right?).

Anyway, his words made an impact on me (I don’t know if that wouldn’t impact anybody) and made me realize that maybe loosing weight with a “The end justifies the means” attitude isn’t exactly the best way to go. Plus if I did lose my weight and died in the process that wouldn’t be a good thing too right? Anyway…

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Better Health Ahead Sign

With my birthday around the corner and 40 being a couple of years away, I made a new promise to myself BE HEALTHY  and  FIT by 40. Healthy enough to run around with my boys and fit enough to outlive the pet tortoise 🐢 I’m going to get as soon as we have a garden to put him in (you do know they live up to a 100 right?). Now, if a few pounds get to be shed off in the process then that wouldn’t be so bad, right?

No Photoshop here! Hard work and  lots and lots of pain! #no pain no gain.

Inspired by my cousin Chinky, who’s kicking 40 in the a** by loosing weight by changing her lifestyle and being fit with regular exercise and a healthy diet (I’m so proud of her!) I’ve slowly started being active myself. I’ve dusted the stationary bike 🚴we’ve had for almost forever and made plans to make use of our community pool 🏊 when the boys start school. Of course some much needed scheduling should be put in place first which also happens to be my favorite exercise 😜. There are talks of joining a gym but then I realized I hate organized grouped activities and small talk with strangers so I’m thinking of alternatives like me and You tube Jillian in my living room.

cycling with a view

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Doesn’t she look scary?

I’m not planning to join a triathlon or lift 53 kg by the time I’m 40.  But maybe I do owe it to my family not only to take care of them but also to take care of myself too. Also, to make sure that I’m going to be here for them for a long long long… time.

Welcome to my future midlife crisis.


Manila the nth time around.

img_8052We’ve been living abroad for over a decade now and we’ve been coming home every year to no fail. I know I’m lucky to have this opportunity but every year I go home with a semi heavy heart. Not because I hate going home, eating good Filipino food or spending time with family but it’s because I immediately think of the inconveniences that I’m going to have to encounter and endure while we stay in Manila for 3-4 weeks. The traffic, the constant fear of getting mugged (thankfully it’s never happened), getting into a car accident because people drive like crazy, and thanks to TV Patrol, Akyat-Bahay gang, Salisi gang, Martilyo gang, etc doesn’t exactly help calm my nerves. As soon as I land NAIA 1 (need I say more?) my anxiety level goes crazy. I’m lucky that the husband knows how to handle me and we survive every year because if I had to depend on myself to get calm we will never carry on 😉.

But this year I think some of his care free/go with the flow/just go with it attitude has rubbed a little on me because even as I write this, I can’t remember a single thing to complain about on our recent trip. Yes there was traffic, yes there was heat, yes there was rain but for some kind of miracle I took all these with stride and wasn’t even too bothered about the whole deal.

img_8084Some circumstances helped a little too. First, we landed at NAIA 3 which is already a BIG improvement from … (that place that shall not be named). Second, WAZE helped a lot  to bring down my anxiety with the traffic. I think knowing what time you were going to get to your destination and knowing that there was hope in any traffic situation helped me get through the notorious Manila traffic. Third, Family and friends is ❤️. The support, the help and even just getting the boys entertained and keeping them happy already made the trip worthwhile.

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I left Manila feeling like I always do, 1st that the trip was too short, 2nd that I’m very sad to go, and 3rd there goes another 10 pounds I’d have to lose. But this year there was something different, while in the past I’ve always thought that one year was enough time to get over the “Trauma in Manila” this year I wouldn’t mind coming back in less than that.

If there was one thing I’ve learned from this trip, it’s the art of letting go..no this is not a hugot line. But more of letting go of things that are out of my control like the traffic.  Planning ahead is a good thing but if things don’t go as planned I’d have to accept it and move on, more often than not moving on with other plans are always far better than my own. Over thinking, over planning, and being an all around drill sergeant never really helped anybody and I’m trying my best to be less of that for my sake and my boys.

I think the best way to deal with Manila or anything in life that brings you anxiety is best said with these words:

Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

 

Imagine all this enlightenment with only a trip to Manila? Think of how much enlightened I will be if we go on a trip to...Japan?? HINT HINT! #anybodyoutthere #subtlemoves


birthdays are #betterwithjumeirah

It is my littlest one’s 4th birthday today and as per our Dubai birthday tradition, we had a mini staycation last weekend. Our accommodation of choice for our first birthday in 2016 was the Jumeirah Mina a’slam. It was a no brainer really, a few weeks ago they had a very good price offer with a free upgrade to half board accommodation so click click click and we were in.

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That’s what I call “a room with a view”

Upon check in, we got a very nice surprise of having our reservation upgraded to a one bedroom suite. First time in my life I got a free upgrade to anything so you can imagine my excitement and the boys’ as well. Ok later on we discovered that maybe the reason we got upgraded was because of the construction of the new hotel right beside us but the walls are thick enough to mask out any noise. Plus for the extra space and the view, it was a small price to pay.

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our crib (for one night only)

First thing I always check when we check in is the coffee bar and I have to say this one is an A+

Now, that’s not a bad view to play hide and seek if I do say so myself.

 

 img_7681As guests, we got unlimited access to Wild Wadi which was only a buggy away and guests had their own entrance, you still had to fall in line but it was much shorter than any line I’ve been on at these water parks so no biggie…

The boys loved their Wild Wadi adventure so much that they asked if it was possible to sleep there.

For dinner, we were given dinner vouchers that we can use at any of the  Jumeirah Group restaurants and because I’m half mexican at heart (or maybe at the stomach) we chose to eat at Tortuga. As half board, we get a starter, a main, and dessert for each voucher and the kids eat free. After eating all these our bill was only 45 aed and that was only for the water.

Kid’s meal: Chicken fingers 

Carnitas Asada

Albondigas

Churros 

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Tortuga @night

Waking up with this view with a cup of my STRONG coffee (5:30am view)

breakfast at Hanaya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I woke up early the next day to soak in the view and to maximize my posh coffee maker for the day. Breakfast was I’d say “normal” as far as hotel breakfasts go and that’s actually my favorite part of any staycation we’ve been to.

 

We got to use the hotel’s abra to go around their property which consisted of 3(?) hotels 

After  breakfast, we brought the kids to the Sinbad Kid’s club and because the boys are older now, we got to leave the kids behind but as we got back to pick them up they were glued to the desktop watching videos and playing games which wasn’t really my cup of tea. So we brave the heat and off to Wild Wadi we go.

Before checking out, we even had the pleasure of meeting their in-house turtles which is part of their Turtle Rehabilitation program (sorry no pics- got so caught up in the moment I forgot!)

another light fixture in our room

 

All in all I’d like to say it was a successful weekend, thanks in part to Jumeirah and Daddy’s uncanny ability to sniff out a good deal. We got to celebrate our youngest’ birthday and experienced new things together as a family. My hope is that when they get older they appreciate our unconventional way of celebrating their birthdays and this results to them  having that thirst for experiencing new things. To have the lust to travel, to eat or at least try new things, and to  live life to the fullest. I think that all that is the greatest gift we can give them.

Happy Birthday Aden! Love, Dad, Mom, and Kuya