Day off is provided to employees for them to recharge and to prepare their mind and body for the next work week. It is also provided to employees for them to spend quality time with their family. Most us wanted to spend day off on bed and sleep all day. That would probably be applicable if you are single. But if you already have a family of your own, things are quite different. So how do you spend your day off with your family? Here are some budget friendly and worthwhile activities we do at home during my day off.

Movie Marathon

One of the things that keep us busy during my day off is watching movies. I don't know if you consider this as a worthwhile activity but for me it is. Watching fun movies makes me laugh so hard and it's really a stress buster. Going to the mall to watch on movie theaters is quite expensive. And also Aya is just three years old, so we refrain from visiting the movie theater with her because we’re too afraid that she will just create a mess. So instead of watching movies on theater, we opt for renting or buying DVDs. Then, Belle prepares popcorn or French fries for us. That way, I can relax while watching a movie with my family in a budget-friendly way.
Moringa, or locally known as malunggay in the Philippines, is hailed as "miracle tree" or "superfood" because it is known as a highly nutritious vegetable with many health benefits. According to studies, malunggay contains more than 90 different kinds of nutrients, as well as, 46 different kinds of antioxidants and 8 different kinds of essential amino acids. Another interesting fact is that, all the parts of the moringa tree such as the leaves, fruits, pods, flower, bark and roots can be utilized to enjoy its nutritional benefits.

Malunggay (Moringa Oleifera) or Moringa Tree

As planned, I have added a photography section in this blog. It will consist of random things, places, people, food and anything that I may find interesting. I want to take this opportunity to learn and improve. Let me start this section with this one.

Jose Abad Santos Avenue (JASA) Footbridge

Remember Norman, Lovely and Leuven in Aya’s third birthday? They are our friends from San Fernando, Pampanga. We pay them a visit just a week after Aya’s birthday. Their place, Bulaon, is I think, celebrating its fiesta. As expected there is a huge crowd, tiangge, and of course a lot of street foods.

Pampanga Street Food Trip

November 8, 2013 is one of the most memorable dates in history not only in the Philippines but also in the entire planet. This is the day where the strength of the Filipino spirit has been put to test during the devastation of typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), the strongest typhoon ever recorded in history. It had wreaked havoc in the Visayas areas. It took lives of thousands of people and destroyed their homes and livelihoods. Many had lost their families and friends. Even hopes have been ripped off.

The Philippines Say Thank You

Are you looking for a budget-friendly Valentine’s gift? Try checking out Unisilver Time. My wife and I just saw it at the mall and they are currently on sale. They have buy one take one wrist watches and wrist watches that are on sale at up to 50% off.

But this one is really eye-catching. For a minimum purchase of PHP 1195 on regular price watches you will get an 8 o' Hearts Series watch for free. The 8 o' Hearts Series watch is sold at PHP 1395. Isn't that a great deal? It's more than 50% off. But take note that this one is available only on selected items. To learn more about the 8 o' Hearts Series watch click here.

Unisilver Time 8 o' Hearts Series watch

After trying out several watches that are on sale, (50% off prices ranges from PHP 500+ to PHP 600+), it seems nothing suits my wrist. I seldom buy a wrist watch because I'm not really into accessories. But if I do buy one, it really consumes a lot of my time. I'm like a girl, I know. I'm kind of hard to decide in an instant.

Getting your sleeping pattern right
If you're a shift worker, getting your sleeping patterns right is not always easy. Your body is forced to fight against its natural sleeping patterns to become alert and active at night. Whether you have been living the life of a shift worker for years, or just starting out, your body (and mind) will struggle to get used to these sleeping patterns.

As an employee, it’s crucial to be well rested, especially if you are a truck driver, doctor, pilot, police office or a nurse. An exhausted employee can cost a company billions of dollars, or worse, make life threatening mistakes with fatigue being the leading cause of poor concentration, injuries and accident. The needs of a shift worker are important - we look into a few ways that you can better sleep and feel rested during those long and late night work hours.

Last January 14 was Aya’s third birthday. I know she loves the pool that’s why we’ve decided to celebrate her birthday in a nearby spring resort. I knew she would be happy, just take a look at her smile. In fact she laughs and shouts most of the time. That’s what I really wanted, for her to be happy on her special day.

happy Aya on her third birthday
The Happy Celebrant
Is corporal punishment still applicable to the modern children today? If so, is it still acceptable?

My siblings and I grew up with strict parents and grandmother. I saw my dad spanked my eldest brother once when we were just little kids. It was my brother’s fault and the committed crime is really terrible. Because of his curiosity to the moving parts of a wrist watch, a gift of my OFW dad to my mom, he hit the watch with a rock just to see what’s inside. When my dad knew about it, he immediately dragged my brother and spanked him really hard. And that’s more than enough for us to be afraid on him. He didn’t spank anyone of us since then but because that scenario was instilled to our minds, when he gets angry we can’t help but tremble and cry.

One Sunday morning me, my family and my sister’s BF decided to go to Tagaytay to relax and to breathe some fresh air. We’re coming from Imus, Cavite plus it was a Sunday so it just took us an hour to reach Tagaytay.

It’s December again. It means holiday season, 13th Month Pay (or Christmas Bonus), and holiday shopping. December also means end of the year and start of a new one. As we welcome another year, it’s been a tradition to make a New Year’s Resolution. As early as now, you should start crafting your New Year’s resolution so that at the start of the year, you can start implementing it.

Now let us recall your New Year’s resolutions for this year. What happens to the commitments that you made? If you have accomplished all your New Year’s resolutions, well congratulations that’s really a job well done. But if you haven’t achieved what you have committed, don’t worry you are not alone. In fact, according to the research made by Richard Wiseman, 88% of those who set New Year’s resolutions actually fail. But isn’t it great to succeed in your New Year’s resolution?

It’s holiday season again. I bet most of you have received your 13th month pay or Christmas bonus already. By this time you’re probably decided on what to do with it. But if you still don’t have any decisions yet, visit “How to Spend Your 13th Month Pay Wisely” to know how to spend your Christmas bonus in a practical manner.

Since Christmas season is the season of sharing and not to mention spending, one of your agendas probably is to visit the mall or Christmas bazaars or “tiangge” to buy gifts for your families, friends or “inaanaks” and even gifts for yourself. Aside from thinking of your Christmas list or shopping list and how to maximize your bonus, it’s also important that you think of your personal safety while shopping.

As of today, many of you had already received your 13th month pay or commonly known as Christmas bonus. What have you done with it so far? If it’s still untouched, what are your plans with your 13th month pay then?

With Christmas bazaars and mall sales all around, it’s really tempting to just spend, spend and spend. Besides, 13th month pay is considered as a bonus income that’s why everybody would understand if you’re going to splurge it on the things that you want.

But before having a shopping spree, consider these few tips on how to spend your 13th month pay wisely.

1. Debt Payment – consider a portion of your 13th month pay as a payment to your debts. While it is advisable to pay for your debts as soon as you can, I don’t really advise putting all your 13th month pay to debt payment. Have something left for you to enjoy. Be realistic. I know you’ll somehow feel depressed if you can’t buy even a single gift for yourself this Christmas.

Being debt free or having a few debts is like a breath of fresh air. You’ll have less worries and a relax Christmas season when you know that your debts are cleared.

2. Emergency Fund – aside from payment of debts, consider a portion of your 13th month pay as a start in building your emergency fund. During Christmas season, gathering happens almost every week like group date with your pals, family reunions and pot luck parties. What if something bad happens to you like you got sick after partying all night long, do you have extra cash for the hospital bills?

To avoid the worries, consider this as a good time to start building your emergency funds.

3. Share Your Blessings – Christmas season is the season of sharing. Aside from giving gifts to your families, friends and “inaanaks”, why not also donate a portion of your 13th month pay to charity. Share something to your favorite charitable institution or to the victims of typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan). A small portion of your 13th month pay is a huge help to the victims.

4. Invest – with as low as PHP 10, 000, you can start investing to your chosen unit investment trust fund which is available on different banks here in the Philippines. But if you’re not into this kind of investing strategy, consider having a home business. If you’re into baking, bake some cookies or cupcakes and sell it to your friends. If you’re into crafting, make some personalized accessories like bracelets and necklace and sell it. I’m sure many of the people around are looking for a gift alternative this Christmas. So consider this time as the start of your own business.

So before spending your 13th month pay (that is if you still have it), decide on the better things that you can do with it. Don’t let your 13th month pay disappear in just a blink of an eye as if nothing happens. Make every peso count. Consider what was written on top.

Now if you got anything on your mind that you want to share, please leave a comment. We’re excited to read it.

Photo Credit: News Updates
The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your house. It is the one room that most guests will end up visiting at some point and, as a result, you need it to look impressive. Redesigning your bathroom can seem like a daunting task, but by following these simple tips, your new bathroom will look amazing:

bathroom design

1) Choose the right fixtures

Incorrect fixtures can ruin your finished bathroom. Choosing the right ones can give your bathroom extra character. Things such as light fittings, taps and heated rails might seem trivial, but getting them wrong could ruin your bathroom!

2) Try your bath before you buy it

Above all, your bathroom has to be functional. Make sure to test your bath out before you buy it. There is nothing worse than purchasing and fitting a bath then realizing it isn’t suitable. Make sure it’s the right size for your needs, and that it’ll actually fit in the space required!

3) Make sure your flooring is up to task

Your bathroom will be one of the most used rooms in your house. As a result, the floor will be subject to all sorts of abuse. From water to heat and humidity, your bathroom floor has to be able to handle it all. Laminated flooring or tiles will stand up to most daily stresses. Carpets are definitely to be avoided!

4) Incorporate a mirror

This will create a functional focal point in your bathroom. Choose a stylish mirror which fits your decor. This will be one of the first things that people will see when they enter your bathroom, so make sure it’s a good one! Not only that, but a mirror will help to make your bathroom appear larger if it’s actually quite small.

5) Utilize space to its full potential

Following on from the above point; most bathrooms are not that large by any means. This means it is important to use the space you have efficiently. Bespoke storage units are a great way to get the perfect fit for your room. If you do not have a budget for bespoke, then there are plenty of other great options available. Look out for stackable storage units and storage bags which will hang from the back of your door.

6) Enclose your shower correctly

Leaks and spillages can wreak havoc in your bathroom. Make sure your bath and shower unit is fully enclosed to keep these down to a minimum. Should your shower not be up to standard and ends up leaking, you could have to pay a small fortune to get everything fixed.

7) Combine elements to save space

If you are short on space then opt for a shower/bath combination unit. It will often look better when the design is finished as it will not look cramped together.

8) Make sure the room is properly lit

Bad lighting can ruin your bathroom. Install adequate artificial lighting for night time, but be sure to allow as much natural light in as possible during the day. With this in mind, be such to get the right blinds and curtains to ensure you can let light in, but that no one can see into your bathroom from the outside!

9) Buy a quality toilet

Toilets are often referred to as ‘the throne’ for a reason. It is worth paying a little extra for a toilet you will be comfortable using. You’ll also need to look out for one that will suit your bathroom’s style.

10) Don’t be afraid to be extravagant

Your bathroom should be a room you are comfortable using on a daily basis. Don’t be afraid to go a little overboard to get the bathroom you’ve always wanted. There are various luxury options available, from his and hers sinks to built-in speakers. You are only limited by your imagination, so don’t be afraid to go wild!

Do you have any other tips to add to this list? If so, leave us a comment and let us know.

About the Author
This list was compiled by Mark Enright, a writer for Victoria Plumb, the bathroom specialists and suppliers of high quality bathroom fittings.

Image courtesy of shutterstock.
If you find yourself so exhausted your eyelids feel like lead - but you can’t sleep, plagued with anxiety and a victim of constant headaches, then you’ve entered into the major stress zone. Every single thing you do has become too hard, tiring and daily tasks have been dumped into the “too hard basket”.

So what do you do? Your mind is already spinning faster than a whirlpool and you know you need to relax your mind and body soon before you do any more damage. Whilst not all stress is bad, 75% of the general population experiences stress every fortnight, with half of these people suffering moderate to high levels. So take a deep breath, and check out these tips to help you de-stress.

Have you ever thought that oven toaster can also be use for baking cakes, cupcakes, muffins, breads, and cookies?

I’m using Asahi oven toaster. It was a gift during our wedding way back in 2010. The oven toaster that we have only has a mechanical timer. It also has an automatic thermostat but the temperature limit is not revealed. It has no temperature setting which you’ll typically find in an electric oven.

Before, you and I probably share the same thought regarding oven toaster – it’s just made for toasting bread. Previously, our oven toaster was only used once in a while when we wanted to eat toasted bread with sugar and butter.

After a few months of toasting breads for snack, we experimented on this oven toaster to test if we can use it for baking. The first recipe that we have baked was cassava cake. The result was not that good because it’s a bit dry on top. But it had proven that oven toaster can be use for baking.

The next recipe that I’ve baked was cookies. Then I attempted to make a cake. The cake was a disaster. It’s burnt on top and it’s uncooked inside. But that doesn’t stop me from trying. In fact, I’ve burnt a couple more recipe before I have realized how to do it right.

Cinnamon raisin bread is my favorite bread. I never want it to be wasted and so I have observed the oven toaster carefully. I asked these questions to myself: Why is the previous cake that I baked is burnt outside but raw inside? What can I do to prevent it?

The oven toaster has two heating elements, one on top and another one at the bottom. What I have observed is that the bottom part of the cake is not burnt. That made me realized that the thin metal shown in the photo probably prevents the heat from heating the bottom part of the baking pan directly. It serves like a barrier for the heat.

And since the cake rises, the top surface goes near the heating element and thus burning it. Therefore, I have to cover it with something to prevent the top surface of the cake from burning. But would that make the cake well done especially the inside part? And so I tried to cover it with aluminum foil. And the result is perfectly baked cinnamon raisin bread. As you can see from the image below it’s well baked until on the inside.

Since then, I have already baked cupcakes, muffins, brownies and cookies. Try checking out this moist chocolate cake that I baked on oven toaster. It’s really delicious.

To bake cakes or breads:
1. Use a bread pan and be sure that the size fits inside the oven toaster.
2. Place your cake/bread mixture about half full of the bread pan so that when it rises, it won’t over flow.
3. Cover it with aluminum foil as shown in the figure.
4. Be sure to check it once in a while to know what’s happening inside. And to know if it’s already cook or what.

To bake cupcake and muffins:
1. Again use a muffin/cupcake tray with a size that would fit inside the oven toaster.
2. Place half full up to 3/4 full of the cupcake/muffin mixture into the baking cups.
3. Cover it with aluminum foil.
4. Since the cupcake/muffin will rise it will definitely touch the aluminum foil. The top portion that will touch the foil will going to burn. To prevent this, place a metal thing at the middle (like what is shown in the photo) just to give it a room to rise.

Note: Be sure that the aluminum foil will not touch the heating element on top. The foil will burn and as a result the heat will penetrate on what you are baking. The baking time would differ from mixture to mixture. Thus, you have to watch as it cooks so that it will not be burnt.

In baking cookies, it’s all right not to cover it with aluminum foil. The space in between the heating element and the dough is just enough not to burn the cookies. But be sure to watch out what you are baking. Typically, baking cookies would just take around 10 to 15 minutes.

So I hope this article will enlighten everybody that oven toaster is not just for toasting bread. You can also bake different recipes in an oven toaster and the possibility is endless.

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We all wanted to look good. We all wanted to relax and pamper ourselves after a busy and stressful week at work. But doing these cost large amount of cash. Who would have thought that pampering at home instead of going to the spa or beauty salon is possible? And you can save huge amount of cash by doing these.

While having my haircut, I’ve realized that I was saving chunks of cash on salon services. I am so lucky that I married an ex-beauty salon staff. She does all the pampering services that I need. I’m going to list down all the things that she does so that you will know how I come up with PHP 23400 savings yearly.

How I’m Saving 23400 Yearly on Salon Services
Photo Credit: Heaven On Earth