Friday, January 31, 2014

Parent's Worries

 As a parent, I always  worry about  stuff that will affect our kids when they get older.  I  do hope and pray that they won't encounter or experience any addiction problem.  At their young age, we  are educating them about  this issue.

A guide to Seville

Seville is an historical city located in the southern region of Andalucia, in Spain. Visitors will be able to climb up the Giralda bell tower to enjoy views towards the city and its river.
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Visit the Cathedral and climb up the Giralda.

The city's symbol is the Giralda tower. The ancient cathedral's bell tower used to be a minaret that was part of a mosque. The cathedral was built on the ruins of the mosque, and the Giralda was transformed into a bell tower. The cathedral itself has five large naves, several chapels decorated with pieces of art, a choir, an organ, stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings. The Retablo Mayor is the main altar piece and was built using 36 gilded relief panels. Each panel depicts scenes from the Old Testament. After touring the cathedral visitors can climb up to the bell tower, which is known for its views towards the city center.

Take a tour around the city center.

Seville is located in the south of Spain, and can be reached by high speed AVE rail and by affordable flights to the city's airport, located a short distance away from the train station and the city center. The city of Seville can be explored on foot, in one of the horse-drawn carriages that can be found on the cathedral square and by boat along the Guadalquivir river. During a trip along the river guests can enjoy a meal and views towards the many ancient and new bridges. The Torre del Oro is located on one side of the river and is another one of the city's landmarks.

After a boat tour visitors can cross the Isabel II bridge to the Triana district. This ancient gypsy district has many tapas bars and places where visitors will be able to enjoy flamenco shows accompanied by guitars.

Near the Cathedral visitors will find the ancient Alcazar. This royal palace used to be a Moorish fort. There are courtyards decorated with ceramic tiles, fountains and several gardens. The halls are filled with colourful murals and carved wooden sculptures, and each hall has its own history.

The neighbourhood where the Alcazar and the Cathedral are located is the Barrio de Santa Cruz. This area has cobblestone streets and stone arches that lead to squares lined with orange trees. Many of the city's most famous tapas bars, restaurants serving traditional food and wineries are located here. Visitors will be able to taste the authenticgazpacho andaluz and salmorejo vegetable soups, gambas al ajillo shrimp with olive oil and garlic, taquitos de cazón bites of fried fresh fish, fried eggplant and stuffed olives.

Walk around the María Luisa Park.

The María Luisa Park is located on the banks of the Guadalquivir river. The park is known for its architecture and its paths. Visitors will be able to explore the park during a ride in one of the many horse-drawn carriages. In the center of the park is the Plaza de España square, a semicircular square lined with ancient buildings that are now used as history museums. The square has a river where visitors will be able to rent rowing boats. Part of the square is decorated with colorful ceramic niches and tiled benches. Each one of the niches represents a Spanish province, and the murals depict each of the province's landmarks and typical products.
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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One

“The anniversary date of a loved one's death is particularly significant. You will have done something you thought was impossible a few months earlier. You will have survived an entire year without someone who was as important to you as life itself.” 
Bob Diets

The last ride I had with my brother before he passed away.
No matter how close you were, or how long you knew them, or even if they were human or not, love is forever. When a friend, a relative, or a beloved pet passes, whether from natural or alternative causes, the feelings of loss and grief can seem unbearable. A lot of people have experienced the same event, the loss of a loved one, but nobody can have the same experience, as death affects everybody in individual ways.

‘Grief’ is such a small word, with such long lasting effects to your life. As the old cliché says, time heals all wounds, but grieving is a period after the death that is always needed, and can last for as little or as long a time as you need it to. How can I help in this grieving, this mourning period? Short answer is, you can’t really. If you or a relative is mourning, all you can do is be there for them and offer silent support. Chances are, anything you try to say to make the situation better will probably be misinterpreted. It is better to simply be there and your friend will appreciate it when they truly need it.

After the initial mourning period, there are some things you can do to help preserve the memory of the deceased in the most positive light. This is also helpful for mourners, as like with a funeral, it provides some sort of closure from the death. Remembering is good; it strengthens you and helps you to move on.

You could collect the ashes in an urn, to be displayed in the family room or on the mantelpiece, showing the departed as still a part of family life and as a reminder that they will always be with you. Or if you wanted to provide a more personalised memorial, customised jewellery is always appreciated, plus with memorial necklaces and chokers, the memory is held close to the heart as a constant reminder.

If your family member or friend had a favourite plant, you could plant them in your garden or the local charity plot, as a reminder. Tending flowers is a great way to relieve stress and take a step back from the world, plus those flowers can be a strong symbol for rebirth and new life. If the deceased worked for a long time with a particular charity, a donation in their name would be a great way to respect the deceased, plus you are also helping to improve someone else’s life.

However the departed has affected your life, you cannot let their memory go to waste. Neither can you stop living without moving forwards, or try to fit their shoes by taking on more responsibility than you can handle. Life goes on, and you need to go with it, but never forget that your loved one is with you every step of the way, in one way or another.

About the Author

Paula Arterton writes for a number of online publications on dealing with grief and has contributed this post on behalf of Kate’s Jewellery, the online handmade jewellery store that specializes in unique memorial jewellery to give you a permanent memento of somebody you’ve lost.

Monday, January 27, 2014

SeaWorld Aquatica

A quick snap before  finally leaving  SeaWorld, San Antonio.
This is the last attraction that the kids  watch before we left.
I am glad that my husband is such a loving Dad to our kids.  He is always there to  guide and  play with them.  He is there to lift their spirits up, to cheer them up, and to support whatever they want to try.  He has a big heart, a loving heart of a father.  
On the last photo, Mr. Burrito was telling the girls to read the sign lol.  

Saturday, January 25, 2014


When I was in college, I was hooked  to playing scrabble and Boggle.  We only have scrabble at home so that is what we  always  play with my kids.  I would like to buy a boggle  someday and introduce it to my kids.

Open seas or land?

Are you a cruiser or a land lover? Or maybe you’re not taken on the idea of cruising yet, and are open to a little persuasion.
Well, a little persuasion could take the form of cost. These days you can easily pick up a cruise with flights and additional extras, such as parking, for a bargain price tag. This isn’t simply limited to large airports either, as you can pick up flights and parking facilities, such as Glasgow Airport parking, for those flying from north of the border, for a much lower price than you might think.

When you consider the sights you’ll see, the various countries you’ll visit, and all within a short time scale, you’ll realize the price tag is more than worth it, and just why more and more people are choosing to cruise as an alternative to two weeks in one place.

Cruise-liners these days are mini holiday villages on water, and with food and most drink included, you’ll want for nothing. Excursions can be arranged through your cruise company for the shore destinations you’ll visit however, I’d consider looking into independent companies, try and save a little money. Keeping pennies in your pocket is the way forward, and will give you more to spend whilst you’re shopping and sightseeing at your itinerary destinations. Saving money on airport extras will also keep money in your pocket, such as airport parking like we were discussing before. Regional airports offer this too, such as Bristol Airport parking, as well as major ones, so saving money on these little extras, as well as shore excursions, will mean more enjoyment for you. After all, that’s what holidays are about!

I guess what you have to weigh up is whether you prefer to spend a longer period of time in one place, truly exploring and finding everything it has to offer, or whether you want bite-sized chunks of more places, and I believe that is a truly personal decision. Of course, you can’t make an informed choice until you’ve tried both, so maybe taking advantage of the low cost of cruises, and possibly go for one week instead of two, to try it out, would be an ideal way to find out which camp of preference you belong to.

Land-based holidays can be found in abundance, and deals are out there if you look hard enough. Out of school holidays is the best time to go for those that don’t need to stick to prescribed times, because this is when flight prices will be cheaper. For those with children, October is a good time to grab an all inclusive bargain, and the same can be said for cruise deals, however the weather may not be as guaranteed at this time, and could be slightly hit and miss.

It’s all a case of weighing up the pros and cons, and finding an itinerary that excites you enough to give it a go. So many people can’t be wrong, so maybe try a cruise for a change this year, and decide whether you truly are an open seas kind of person, or like your feet firmly on dry land.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Little House on the Prairie

This is another  tinkerette that my daughter made.  It is a mini house.  I asked her if this is the house on the Prairie and she asked "What was that?" Lol.  MY daughter  is always busy here at home, she never stop creating  stuff.  She uses a lot of things around the house but I don't mind as it sparks her  creative thinking.


It's been a while since I shopped for  a handbag.  My husband is usually the one that buys it as a gift for me.  I am a lousy shopper when it comes to  stuff.  Well, I don't really nead them but my husband  thinks it is good to  have.  It's funny because when he sees a  deal on wholesale handbags, he would tell me to buy some and send it to my sisters and keep some for me but I would  say NO.  Yeah I know, I am not that  shopaholic type especially for things that I don't really need.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Couch Potatoes

This is how it looks like  at our home when the three are so into the movie they are watching.  Their eyes are glued on TV.  My couch potatoes love watching paranormal shows and they love comedy.  I prefer drama, mystery,  forensic kind of theme for shows.  Then again, I seldom watch TV because I have so many things to do rather than watching TV.


 I took a picture of this  when we were at Hobby Lobby and thought that it would be a nice present  for our neighbor who love golfing.  I did not buy it yet but now I know where to get them.

Do you love to golf?   I have never  done golfing  and don't know anything about it but I bet, just like any other sports, it is fun too.

Love-Month #Valentine's Day #Swarovski Roses

Love month is coming up and I am sure that some of you have plans already.  Okay', let's do a little confession here.  Did you ever receive a gift that makes you  think for a while, what was he or she thinking?  Or was it the opposite, a jaw-dropping  gifts that would leave you in awe.
Who among you received:

  • Flowers and chocolates;
  • Set of jewelry;
  • A dress;
  • A gadget;
  • Valentine's Lingerie
  • Gift Card
  • Concert ticket
Or any other things that isn't listed.  I am sure that different individuals have different ideas so you are so welcome to express your thoughts through the comment.  Let me share you this  cute little Swarovski roses that my husband sent me when we were still  dating, well online dating to be specific.  This is some of those memorabilia of our journey that I brought with me when I came here in the US.  This would always remind me of our beginning.  
This year will be our 11th year of  being married and I am so glad that I gave  online dating a try.  We sure met some hiccups along the way but the love that we developed  for each other makes us stronger and held on  when the time was rough and we are far apart.  It is so nice to be able to wake up and see  my husband beside me.  To be able to see him everyday with our two precious children is a gift I will forever treasure!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Australia: Land Down Under

My family   is not planning to do a major travel this year as we have  home improvement project lined up to do.  That does not mean though that we are going to deprive our children  in going somewhere.  We want them to enjoy even just local road trips.  Now that we have a van, we are hitting the road with random road trips to  places that we have never visited.  That is what we are going to do this year.   The photos  below are some of the  shots we took during our   vacation last year.
My kids had so much fun and they are already  asking us if we are going somewhere this year.  We explained to them that we are just going to   do some lo]cal road trips and  I am glad that they understand.  One of the many countries that I  love to visit if given a chance is Australia.    It would be so much fun to rent a campervan hire Sydney and enjoy the beautiful nature out there.  Hubby have been to Australia many times when he was still in the Navy but me and the kids haven't yet.  Australia or the Land Down Under is beautiful basing from the photos that I see from my husband's  old photos and looking at the them online.  It would be a dream come true if we could visit there  even once.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


We found these  chests  at Hobby Lobby and thought that their designs are beautiful.  I would love to have the one with the american flag in it to store hubby's  military memorabilia and the  one for traveling to store some of our travel's  souvenirs.  My husband has one of this but it is old already.  I believe it was his Dad's when he was still i-n active duty during his era.  

Fun in the Sun: All you need for Your Outdoor Area

It’s wonderful to have space out of doors to enjoy, entertain, eat meals and simply relax. An outdoor area allows you to extend the borders of your home and gives you a special place to enjoy the sunshine, fresh breezes and night skies. However much space you have outdoors, why not maximize its potential and create a whole new living area outside.

Imagine It

Take a look outside and try and imagine how you would like your outdoor area to look. Spend time thumbing through home and garden magazines and browse online at sites like Super Amart Australia for great ideas. Think about what you want in your outdoor area? Do you want a water feature, beautiful plants, a kid’s swing set? What is it that you can imagine having as your perfect outdoor area?

Assess the Area

Next, take a good look at your property. How much space do you have? Is there a way to create more space? You may be able to move a storage shed or garden. Space is precious, so make sure you maximise the space you have.

Check with Council

Before you commence any plans for an outdoor area it is important to check with your local authority. There will be rules relating to heights of rooves, distances from boundary lines and more. Do not start work until you understand what is legal.


Spend some time realistically assessing what you will use your outdoor area for. What are your needs? You may want an entertainment area for up to 20 guests for regular barbeques or you may just want a small dining space where you can enjoy breakfast in the sun. List everything you hope to be able to in your outdoor area and then prioritise your list. This will help you decide on the size and set up of your outdoor area.

The Plan

Your next step to creating your outdoor is to make a plan. Sketch out how you would like it to look. If you are involving a builder you can show them this plan. Try to make your sketch to scale to give yourself a good sense of how things will look. Draw in all the components – outdoor settings, pots, gardens and the barbeque.

Bringing the Outside In

Try to create a flow on effect from the inside of your home to your outdoor area. This will help to bring the outside into your home and create a more spacious feel. It may be worth the investment to add windows or sliding glass doors to make the inside and outside more like one large area.


Think about what furniture you need. You will probably want an outdoor setting with tables and chairs. You will need to consider this when planning the size of your outdoor area. There is lots of stunning outdoor furniture to choose from. Have a good look around before you decide on the look you want.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bridges in Pittsburgh

Every time we go to Pittsburgh, I can't help not to take photos of the bridges.  I just find them beautiful to look at.  Kind of like a magnet almost  for my hand to grab the camera and shoot.  These are drive by shots through the windshield so they are not of best quality.

If I can just walk around Pittsburgh for a day, I would sure take pictures of  all the bridges out there.

Driving Safely

Driving safely takes both proactive and reactive measure. An example of a proactive measure is increasing following distance (the amount of space between you and another vehicle) during inclement weather. An example of a reactive measure is slowing down or changing lanes to avoid continued interaction with an aggressive driver. Both methods of handling the drivers and conditions around you can lead to safer driving, which leads to a decrease in the likelihood of an accident, or even a moving violation, which can not only mean a fine and points on your license, but an increase in how much you pay for car insurance.
The winter season in particular can be especially treacherous for drivers. There are wet and slippery roads to contend with, and increasingly stressed out and subsequently careless and/or aggressive drivers to deal with. But if you take a few minutes to prepare for your trip, and if you take extra care while driving, then you'll be much more likely to arrive at your destination without incident. And if you do find that you drive very frequently during this or any other time of year, consider supplementary insurance or car care through various travel agencies, for example a Durham travel agency if you're in that particular area.
Did you know that insurance claims jump by up to 40 percent during the winter months? Many claims are due to accidents related to the weather. But by planning out alternate routes to avoid traffic congestion or especially curvy or hilly roads, or skipping going out altogether, you can reduce the chances of one of those filed claims being yours.

'Tis the season for shopping, and for stressing out about shopping. Aggressive drivers are never more prevalent than they are at this time of year. Avoid them and avoid interacting with them by keeping to the right lane, obeying posted speed limits, and resisting the urge to do petty things like flash your high-beams or cut off another driver. If you do find yourself dealing with unwanted interaction with another driver, turn off into a well-lit and busy shopping center, or continue driving safely and call the police.
You can never fully anticipate what the conditions of the road will be or who you'll be sharing the road with, but if you take extra precautions and take your time, you'll most likely arrive at your destination safely, and without any problems. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Rainy but Warm Weather

We are suppose to have 60 degrees weather tomorrow with  a slight chance of rain.  I am glad that most of the  snow from the ground is almost melted.

Tomorrow will be the first day of Winter and glad that it's a bit warm compared to the last few weeks of  freezing weather.  I figured it is time to get  a little warmer because I don't have to walk going to school as the kids are off already lol.  Oh well, at least we could enjoy their vacation  with a warm weather.

Originally posted on December 20th, 2013

Ninety One Years Old

My daughter called my  father-in-law  when we arrived from our trip.  We were supposed to  visit him tonight  but  due to our schedule, we canceled  our daughter's piano lesson so we  were not able to  visit him.  My FIL is 91 years old already and I wonder if this assisted living software here can help him.  He lives alone in his house  and hubby and I worry  most of the times because  his vision is very  weak already.  We are afraid that he might hurt himself as he can't see very well.

Holiday Mug

My son's classmate  gave him  a gift during their  Christmas party.  He felt bad because  he did not get his classmate a gift.  I told him that he can give him  something next time.  He is so happy that he  has his own mug, he uses  it in drinking his hot coco.

I would like to grab this opportunity to thank a dear friend of mine for sending us some pressis.  Thanks sis Dhemz.

Here's to a fruitful 2013!  May the New Year  brings us Hope, Peace, Good Health, and Happiness!  

4 Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door

Times in the job market aren’t that simple anymore; with the concept of walking out of college with a fresh degree in your hand directly into a stable career being a long lost relic of the past. Nowadays, people have got to go to all sorts of lengths to get their head above the competition and their foot in the door of the career of their choice. Thankfully there are all kinds of ways you can go about doing this and most of them can be accessed with ease. So without further ado, let’s get stuck and discover some ways in which you can get your foot firmly in the professional door.
Do Some Volunteering/Enrol in Courses

For many graduates and young people looking to break into a competitive field, be it journalism, marketing or even teaching, getting yourself known by doing some voluntary work is a must. There are also courses – both online and offline - with organisations such as NowLearning, who offer the chance to learn some key professional skills ranging from caring for the elderly to medicine that will make your will stand out on your CV like a sore thumb. Companies are always looking for volunteers, and this can range from doing some support work in a third world country to volunteering on a conservation project. Not only will your CV benefit from volunteering, you’ll also have the chance to meet and mingle with some people who will help you along your way, which leads us to…


You’ve seen it on films – executives in suits assembling in fancy settings whilst they exchange business cards and discuss the stock exchange. This isn’t the reality however, as networking events are full of people just like you who are looking to get themselves out there, and they’re also events where you may meet someone who’s looking for someone just like you. Regardless of your desired field, networking events are easy to pinpoint using the power of the web, and are more often than not free to attend. So what have you got to lose? Get yourself out of the door and into the world of networking. As the old saying goes, it’s often not what you know, but who you know.

Get Yourself an Online Presence

There are various professional online networking sites (such as LinkedIn) where you can get yourself heard. Add your skills, join a forum, start a discussion – this will all link back to your name and these websites are constantly scoured by head-hunters. If you’re looking at propelling yourself into the creative sphere, setting up a personal website isn’t a bad ploy either. It’s not that expensive and there are various tools that make web design easier than ever. Here you can showcase your work as well as link back to your website every time you join in an online discussion or post something on social media.

Try a Speculate Approach

You’ll be surprised at the amount of jobs out there that aren’t actually directly advertised online or in newspapers. Of course you can try your hand at sending out countless CVs to various jobs vacancies that you get emailed to your inbox on a daily basis, though why not take a different approach by finding a company that operates in your desired field and whack over your CV to their HR department. In the body of the email you can introduce yourself and let them know (without being too cocky) what you can offer and why they should hire you.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Memories of Christmas

Last shots before taking out our Christmas  decors.

We kept this magazine Christmas trees because it's part of our 2013 celebration.  This will be used for years to come for sure.  I can still remember when  we first celebrate Christmas at our own home, we barely have any Christmas decor.  From then on, memories  build up.  Every year, we find something new and then it adds up.  The kids also makes   Christmas decors every year so  this would be a family treasure, memory treasure that is.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Riga: European Capital of Culture 2014

As the largest of the Baltic States, Latvia has experienced a huge surge in tourism since it became a member of the EU in 2004. This is partially due to the budget airlines and cheap beer which draw the stag parties to its capital, but there’s far more on offer in Riga than drunken Brits. Seen as an unlikely holiday destination by many, the city is criminally overlooked as it offers the perfect destination for a weekend break.

The city is a European Capital of Culture for 2014, so there’s never been a better time to explore. So what are some of the city’s top sights and attractions?

The Old Town

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Riga’s Old Town is a real highlight and you could spend hours just wandering around its labyrinth of picturesque cobbled streets. Boasting a distinct medieval feel that seems a million miles away from the rest of the city, there are plenty of squares where you can sit and watch the world go by or tuck into a feast at an open-air restaurant. Be sure to pay a visit to St Peter’s Church for a birds-eye view of the city.

LIDO Recreation Centre

The LIDO chain is a big hit in Latvia, and you’ll see many of these restaurants dotted across the city and they’re perfect if you want to sample some delicious Latvian specialities on a budget. For the best LIDO experience, head to the LIDO Recreation Centre on the outskirts of town (tram nr. 3, 7 or 9 or bus nr. 12 to the “LIDO” stop) where you’ll be greeted by a huge array of food and drink presented on several self-service counters.
It’s a great place to go with the kids too, and you’ll find a number of open-air attractions and fairground rides here for them to enjoy.


You might be arranging a city break, but that doesn’t mean you can’t soak up the sun on a beach too. Latvians like to make the most of the fleeting summer months, heading to the Latvian Summer Capital – Jurmala. Just a short train journey or car drive away from the city centre, you can relax and unwind on pretty sandy beaches and enjoy the lively seaside resort atmosphere.

Riga Central Market

Riga Central Market is one of the largest indoor markets in Europe and you’ll find produce and souvenirs from a huge range of sellers. Located in the heart of the city, short a short walk away from the Old Town, this market is the place to go for fresh Latvian meat, Baltic Sea fish, fruit and vegetables, sweet treats and souvenirs. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s a great place to wander around for an hour or two.

Freedom Monument

Latvia has had a very turbulent past and spent most of the post-war years occupied by the Soviet Union. The Freedom Monument is located just across from the canal, and is a poignant symbol to locals as it was off-limits during the Soviet Occupation, and placing flowers at is base was a crime punishable by deportation to Siberia. Overlooked by the monument’s bronze female Liberty, the independence movement began here in 1987, and 5000 people rallied illegally to commemorate the victims who were deported under the Stalinist regime.

Disclaimer:  Photos aren't mine.

Sugarcreek Roadtrips

It's been a while since we last visited Sugarcreek.  We used to go there almost every weekend just so we can drive around and see other ...

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