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Georyl Sings "Let It Go"

Do you remember the time when kids can't get enough of Elsa and Anna of the Frozen movie?
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Georyl Sings "Let It Go"

Do you remember the time when kids can't get enough of Elsa and Anna of the Frozen movie?
Read More

Georyl Sings "Let It Go"

Do you remember the time when kids can't get enough of Elsa and Anna of the Frozen movie?
Read More

Georyl Sings "Let It Go"

Do you remember the time when kids can't get enough of Elsa and Anna of the Frozen movie?
Read More

Georyl Sings "Let It Go"

Do you remember the time when kids can't get enough of Elsa and Anna of the Frozen movie?

The Lesson from the Strawberries

Earlier tonight, I decided to learn something new: Adobe Illustrator. 

I've been staying at home since March 10 because of the community quarantine but I realized that I have nothing to show for it except for a little some fat that magically appeared here and there. We're actually going to be in General Community Quarantine (GCQ) starting tomorrow, but I'm still not keen on going out as it is still dangerous out there. "Don't go out unless it's necessary," they say. But, I digress.

(This is the part where I was mentally steering us back to our topic. 😁) 

After dinner, I installed Adobe Illustrator CS5.1 on my laptop and then looked for a basic Adobe Illustrator tutorial on YouTube. The "easiest" I found was one on how to make a strawberry.

While the kids were watching TV and hubby was concentrating on his Facebook wall, there I was focusing my full concentration on the video tutorial. I replayed that video more than a dozen times, even slowing it down and pausing it so I can catch up with the instruction.

But I'm stuck! I can't figure out how to turn an oval into a strawberry. And it's starting to annoy me.

That's when Geshery came to me and asked if she can also draw a strawberry. At first, I said no because I was sure that she'll end up deleting my files or messing up my laptop. However, she's a persistent one so I relented.

I went to the kitchen to get myself a drink and when I came back about three minutes later, she has her strawberry shape already! I almost can't believe it but here's it:

Geshery's progress with her strawberry on Illustrator, and this is for about 3 minutes only.
Geshery's progress with her strawberry on Illustrator, and this is for about 3 minutes only.

So while I was letting her finish her drawing, I started writing this blog post. Halfway through my post, she jubilantly declared that she's done with her strawberry.

Geshery's Strawberry Drawing on Illustrator
Geshery's Strawberry Drawing on Illustrator

Of course, her older sister, Georyl, got curious and went to see what Geshery did. And, as you might have guessed it, she also wants to try her magic with the Illustrator.

She had to work fast though because hubby already announced that it's bed time. But in just a few minutes, she managed to draw her strawberry, too. It's not quite finished yet, she said, but friends, here's Georyl's unfinished strawberry:

Georyl's Strawberry Drawing on Illustrator (unfinished)
Georyl's Strawberry Drawing on Illustrator (unfinished)

Earlier tonight, I decided to learn something new: Adobe Illustrator. This feat will have to be postponed to another day but what I learned today was important as well.
Never underestimate kids, especially my kids (insert proud mommy grin).
I pride myself for excelling on multi-tasking but my kids can watch TV while listening to a YouTube video from the next room.

Proof: strawberries.


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Sunrise Amid the Pandemic

Anthony T. Hincks once said, “The secret to a good morning is to watch the sunrise with an open heart.” It is like watching God at the break of dawn as he paints the dark night sky with dazzling golden-yellow hues and then expertly transforms them into clear blue skies.

It’s a peaceful feeling, one of hope for, as you can see, no matter how dark the night is, there’ll always be light to usher in a new day for us all.

However, when was the last time that you saw sunrise?

Truth be told, I haven’t watched sunrise for quite a while.

I was surprised to know that, apparently, I am not the only who thinks that the last time he/she watched the sunrise was like ages ago. When I asked my friends to send me picture of sunrise from their place, only a handful did. Many admitted to still being fast asleep at that time of the day, or being swamped with other, much pressing, tasks.

Initially, my reason for asking for pictures of sunrise was to show that we all shouldn’t lose hope despite this COVID-19 pandemic. No matter where we are at or what the views from our windows are, light always defeats the darkness just as the sun always comes out each day.

Yet, when my photographer friend admitted that sunrise is one of the most difficult moments to capture, a realization hit me. Watching sunrise is like having hope; both are deliberate acts. Both don’t come easily. Both take effort.

Yes, there’s sunrise every day. Yes, there’s hope everywhere. Nevertheless, just as you must really want to see the sunrise in order to experience it, you also must choose to find hope in order to have it.

In these times of pandemic where everything looks bleak, scary and uncertain, what are your sources of hope? What stops you from being crippled with fear? What keeps you going? Care to share them in the comments section below? We’d like to hear from you.

While you’re at it, let’s enjoy these pictures of some of the wonderful sunrise shows (including dawn and twilight) that my friends would like to share with you.

Sunrise at Carabao Island, Romblon, Philippines
Sunrise at Carabao Island, Romblon, Philippines
Image credit: Ms. Cyrene M. Tallo


Sunrise at San Jose, Antique, Philippines
Sunrise at San Jose, Antique, Philippines
Image credit: Mr. Carlo Tamba


Sunrise at San Jose, Antique, Philippines
Sunrise at San Jose, Antique, Philippines
Image credit: Mr. Carlo Tamba


Sunrise at San Jose, Antique, Philippines
Sunrise at San Jose, Antique, Philippines
Image credit: Mr. Carlo Tamba


Sunrise at Long Beach, California, USA
Sunrise at Long Beach, California, USA
Image credit: to the owner


Sunrise at Angono, Rizal, Philippines
Sunrise at Angono, Rizal, Philippines
Image credit: Yhelyn


Sunrise as seen from the plane somewhere in the Philippines
Sunrise as seen from the plane somewhere in the Philippines
Image credit: Denia Cortez


sunrise at Angono, Rizal, Philippines
Sunrise at Angono, Rizal, Philippines
Image credit: Trisha de Guzman


Sunrise at Khao Yai Thailand
Sunrise at Khao Yai Thailand
Image credit: Jeanett R.
Auepanichcharoen


sunrise at bonifacio global city philippines
Sunrise at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines
Image credit: Myrisia Polohan


Sunrise at Olongapo City, Philippines
Sunrise at Olongapo City, Philippines
Image credit: Monina B. Turner


No matter where you are and what you're going through, choose hope. Put your faith in God for He promised to never leave us, nor forsake us. He'll get us through.
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Las Vegas Sights

Las Vegas is a place that's close to my heart.

Strictly speaking, it's the entire Las Vegas Valley that I love and not just the City of Las Vegas. The entire Las Vegas Valley includes other major cities like Henderson and North Las Vegas, and the towns of Summerlin, Spring Valley, Paradise, Sunrise Manor, Whitney, Winchester and Enterprise. The sights and sounds that Vegas is widely known for? That's mostly found on The Strip along South Las Vegas Boulevard where hotels and casinos abound.

Speaking of Las Vegas sights, here are some pics that I'd like to share with you along with some trivia about it.

Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino

Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino

The Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino is one of the hotel and casinos located along the famous Las Vegas Strip. Its sign resembles a hot-air balloon. True to its theme (Paris, France), Paris Las Vegas is easily distinguishable because of its replica of the famous Eiffel Tower.

The Deuce

double deck bus las vegas
Double Decker Bus

This double decker bus that plies the Las Vegas Strip is also called as The Deuce. It is being operated by the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC). Its "All Access Pass" is relatively more expensive than that of the regular Las Vegas RTC buses but your pass allows you to ride the others buses plying the RTC residential routes as well. If you are a tourist, this is a cheaper way to explore.

We have an inside joke about the Deuce, though. Whatever you do, don't ride on the second deck. Why? Because it doesn't have a driver. :-)
 

Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health
Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health

This structure situated along West Bonneville Avenue is the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Its architectural style is referred to as deconstructivism. Its unique design looks like a building that collapsed.

Siren of TI Chopper

"Siren of TI" Chopper
"Siren of TI" Chopper

The "Siren of TI" Chopper is a rideable art from bike builders Rick Hill and Big Dan. This is displayed at the Treasure Island Las Vegas. The display sign says that the bike took 6 months to build and weighs more than 900 lbs. The metal art was by Scott Cawood.

Excalibur Hotel & Casino

Excalibur Hotel & Casino
Excalibur Hotel & Casino

The Excalibur Hotel & Casino is the first building you'll pass by along Tropicana Avenue as you take Exit 37 Tropicana Avenue East of I-15. My youngest daughter refers to this as her castle as the facade indeed looks like a castle.

Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Strip, by day
Las Vegas Strip, by day

The above picture of the northern part of the 4.2 mile long Strip was taken while we were on a Ferris wheel. If you're used to the sights and sounds of the Vegas nightlife, you'll probably be surprised to see the Strip stripped (pun intended) of its dazzling lights during the day. From the left, there's the Encore, Wynn, Treasure Island, The Palazzo and Mirage.

The Strat

Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower
Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower

The Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower (now called The Strat Hotel, Casino & Skypod) is at the northern part of the Las Vegas Strip. It is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the whole USA. There are actually various rides on the top of that tower that you will enjoy if you get a high out of thrilling and death-defying HOLY $#*T moments. Unfortunately, I'm too chicken out to even try any of the tower rides (definitely not the Skyjump!). It's one of the unique structures in the Strip though.

Have you been to Las Vegas or are you planning to go there? If you do plan to travel to Vegas, it's best to go there to sight-see during fall and spring. Summer could get awfully hot, as places in the desert do, while winter is chilly although it rarely snows (only during quite rare freakish instances would there be hail and snow).
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Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

chocolate cupcakes in pink silicone pan
Newly baked chocolate cupcakes, anyone?

My kids are not into sweets but this chocolate cupcake recipe is always a sure hit at home. Most of the cupcakes barely make it to the stage where they are cool enough for me to frost them, so it got to a point when I didn't bother with the frosting anymore. They devoured this even without frosting, anyway.

This recipe is the one that you'll find on the label of Hershey's Cocoa Powder. It is actually pretty straightforward: combine dry ingredients, combine wet ingredients then combine wet and dry ingredients altogether. Then, add the boiling water at the end.

The only modification that I made to the recipe is considering sugar as a wet ingredient. Hence, I combined the sugar with the wet ingredients to completely dissolve it, instead of adding it to the dry mix. Also, if I'm not too lazy, I would sift the dry ingredients together numerous times just to make sure that they are thoroughly combined.

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Ingredients:

  •  2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened Hershey's cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F or 177°C and line cupcake pan with paper liner.
  2. Combine all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and whisk them together. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. 
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl.
  5. Beat on medium speed for two minutes.
  6. Stir in boiling water.
  7. Pour or spoon in the batter into the paper liner. Be sure to only fill the liner halfway.
  8. Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes  to cool completely before frosting.

chocolate cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes

Before you freak out, just remember that the batter in this recipe will really be thin. And also, make sure that you only fill the paper liner halfway.

Enjoy!
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Places Under ECQ, MECQ and GCQ from May 16 to 31, 2020

IATF Resolution No. 37 (s.2020)
IATF Resolution No. 37 (s.2020)

There's been much confusion nowadays as to what places are under ECQ, MECQ and GCQ. Let me share with you what the Resolution No. 37 (s.2020) of the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases approved on May 15, 2020 has to say on this matter.

Under the IATF Resolution No. 37, until May 31, 2020, the classification of provinces, highly urbanized cities (HUCs) and independent component cities (ICCs) based on risk level shall be adopted as follows:

Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ)

  • Cebu City
  • Madaue City.

Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ)

  • All HUCs of the NCR
  • Municipality of Pateros
  • Bataan
  • Bulacan
  • Nueva Ecija
  • Pampanga
  • Zambales
  • Angeles City
  • Laguna

General Community Quarantine (GCQ)

  • All other provinces, HUCs, and ICCs not mentioned above
Please note that the classification of places under MECQ is without prejudice to the declaration of localized Enhanced Community Quarantine in critical areas. This means that if an area within these places was declared to be under ECQ locally, this IATF resolution does not limit such localized ECQ declaration.
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Geshery on the Trampoline (video)



The video above was taken when my youngest daughter's 11 months old. While she can't do the jumping routine yet, she's having her own baby exercise in that large playpen.

A bit of trivia: Geshery actually took her first few steps in that trampoline. Since she's not that heavy, the trampoline remained relatively steady when she started walking. The surface was firm enough for her to walk on but not that hard so as to cause mommy to be panic-stricken after she fell.
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Personal Finance With Dave Ramsey


I first heard of Dave Ramsey about a decade ago when I reviewed his book, The Money Answer Book, for a bloggers' review program called Booksneeze. During that time, I was so into the teachings of Robert Kiyosaki of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame and I admit that I wasn't 100% amenable to Dave's ideas then.

Five years later, I heard the Dave Ramsey Show over the radio, and I was hooked to his no-nonsense and practical approach to finances and life in general when giving out advice to his radio show callers.  I became an avid listener of the show and until now, even when I'm already living in the Philippines, I still listen to his podcasts over Spotify. The show isn't only brimming with ideas and information, you'll also hear real-life inspirational stories of people who conquered their debts, improved their financial condition and/or on their way to achieving financial peace.

Dave Ramsey The Total Money Makeover
Dave Ramsey's books, like The Total Money Makeover, and The Complete Guide to Money, have some things in common: his dislike for debt, the importance of budgeting, and our responsibility as Christians to become good stewards of wealth. His financial principles are not only based on common sense; he also threw in there experience, wit, education (he has degrees in Finance and Real Estate) and biblical concepts.

Nowadays, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are into financial turmoil and uncertainty. Nevertheless, I have a feeling that those who followed Dave's Ramsey's principles are quite thankful that they fixed their finances early on. Actually, anyone who completed at least the third step of The 7 Baby Steps are experiencing less stress in dealing with the economic problems brought about by this COVID-19 pandemic.

Below is a list of Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps.

Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps
The 7 Baby Steps. | Source: Dave Ramsey's Facebook Page

Step 1: Save $1,000 in a beginner emergency fund.
Step 2: Pay off all debt except for the house.
Step 3: Save three to six months of expenses for emergencies.
Step 4: Invest 15% of your income for retirement.
Step 5: Save for college for your children.
Step 6: Pay off house.
Step 7: Build wealth and give.

Ramsey said that "winning at money is 80 percent behavior and 20 percent head knowledge." While Dave Ramsey's target audience is US-based, there's a lot that we can learn from his teachings, regardless of where we are residing.
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Georyl's Video Tutorial: How to Play With Blocks (video)

Here a video of my eldest daughter, Georyl, as she explains to us how to play with blocks.

We bought these blocks from a garage sale in Las Vegas when Georyl was just four years old. During that time, I was busy doing various product reviews for my blogs. Since kids learn by example, it was no wonder when she asked me if she could do her own "unboxing" video, as well.

Nowadays, Georyl's still into making videos but she already created her own YouTube channel. You may check it out here: Tia the Taco. While you're at it, don't forget to drop by SHE.ph's YouTube channel, too. T.I.A.!

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