A Celebration of Life

We just had our first summer vacation for this year and where else but in the Philippines! The trip was planned early last year as the thought of celebrating my dad’s 70th birthday came to my mind. You know, reaching 70 in our country is already a milestone and considering my dad’s health condition, to celebrate his birthday is a way of thanksgiving. What else could be the perfect way to celebrate this special day? As usual, surprise dad like what we did two years ago. He had no idea that we’re coming home and he’ll get to celebrate his special day with his grandchildren.

We also took this opportunity to get my father-in-law to fly in from Indonesia. Although he just spent his Christmas holidays there, we requested for him to go back in time for our vacation. We rarely spend time with him since he’s been working abroad. The kids doesn’t even know him! So weeks before our departure, we decided to shoulder his tickets. However, problem came up while we were trying to book his flight. It seemed we were not allowed here to purchase a ticket for him using hubby’s credit card since the plane ticket holder will be different from the name of the ticket buyer. We’re glad brother-in-law came to the rescue. He’s a holder of one of the best credit cards in the Philippines. Buying the ticket online using his credit card was just easy peasy. Not that I haven’t realized yet how credit cards make things light to us consumers, but what happened made me reminisce my banker days. How agents call us, newly-hires and offer the best credit cards which perfectly match our profiles. In a few days, we were granted our first ever credit cards. What I liked in credit cards were the perks that come with it. Those points you’ll have to collect and eventually exchange for premium items. Or those miles which were converted to points if you are a frequent traveller. I would have used that credit card to buy our tickets to Manila. Sigh…

Anyway, back to reality… Although the celebration was just a simple lunch in Max’s, nothing can compare the joy I felt and saw in my dad as he was surprised by hugs of Zyc and Ryz.

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The tears that fell on Dad’s cheeks just melted my heart. By the way, the kids knew they’ll surprise their Lolo. I told them that our trip is a surprise for his birthday and that them being with him on his special day will be their gifts. I was glad the kids, too were happy doing this.

Together with my whole family, we filled a long table for 20 persons and feasted on the Filipino dishes I have missed tasting. I got to eat Kare-kare, Lumpiang Ubod and the famous Max’s fried chicken just to name a few.

credit cards, credit cards philippines, family gathering

Hours were spent telling stories; hubby answering questions about the trip, me spending time with my side of the family and catching up.

Hehe… come payment time… Since we haven’t exchanged enough Euro to Peso currency, it’s one of those times I’m thankful I’m with someone (well, not just one but 4 of them) who has credit cards. Big brother offered to pay the bill so of course, the points will be his. 😛 Hmm.. I wonder how it is done now… I mean, it seems like having a credit card in the Philippines is easier nowadays. How do people apply for one? How much is the interest nowadays? Well, I wouldn’t wonder if googling “credit card Philippines” would lead me to a site where I could see and compare the best credit cards in the country.

I was glad for this simple celebration. Yes I know it’s incomparable from those grand parties of parents who reach such milestones but I think the physical closeness of each one of us brought more meaning to the occasion.

Five Essentials For An Outdoor Party

outdoor partyNothing beats sunshine, fresh air, and the wind blowing through your hair. But the last thing you want for your outdoor party is to have your guests swimming in their own sweat or peeling from sunburn the following week. When you are planning that big outdoor party in advanced, it can be difficult to predict what the weather is going to be like. If it is not the possible scorching heat, it may be the pouring rain, either way, you do not want to be scurrying everybody inside to hide from the elements. Avoid all of that drama with these five essentials for an incredible outdoor party.

Ditch the tent, it’s marquee time.

For a long time, the words “outdoor party” and “modern” were mutually exclusive. Nobody would ever think beyond flip flops and a barbecue. But there are some movers and shakers that are truly changing the face of outdoor parties, the celebration experts from Modern Party Hire are certainly doing their part in bringing classy and sleek to the backyard. Say bye to the old boring tent, if you really want to have your guests talking about what a great party it was, have a look at one of their crossover or hexadome marquees.

Say cheese.

Make it a party to remember for everyone and be sure to grab a photo booth with all the extra dress up fixings. Let your guests pose and shoot away without having to constantly pull out their phones. Getting a professional photographer makes it difficult to ensure everyone gets a shot from the party as well so having your own photo booth means instant memories for everyone to take home with them.

Dance the night away.

Whether you are doing the Macarena or busting out a bit of Gangnum Style, avoid the broken heels and messy shoes and be sure to get yourself a dance floor. If you’d like to go one step further, consider getting an LED video dance floor that will project your  name, photographs, lyrics, and even your own video. There won’t be any need to head out to the clubs afterward with a quality dance floor. Definitely a must.

I’ll be back. The Kegerator.

Nothing is more frustrating than running out of ice for your drinks, or having to run into the refrigerator every half hour to stock up on drinks. Pick up a portable kegerator unit that will serve your favourite drinks straight from the keg. Station these at various locations around your party to make sure nobody’s cup is ever empty.

Live entertainment.

Keep the buzz happening and give you guests a welcome surprise with some live entertainment. Invite your favourite local band or musician to rock the party away and bring all the neighbours over. Want to really get everybody talking? Wow your guests with some fire dancers and fire eaters, you may even want to bring in a magic show. You definitely want to make sure the night does not drag on with boring conversations. Some live entertainment will surely keep any boredom from getting anywhere near your outdoor party.

Advent Wreath: A Symbol of Preparation for His Coming

It’s the first week of Advent season in the Liturgical year. Advent symbolizes the preparation for the coming of our Lord Jesus. This season is marked by the Advent Wreath or Adventskranz. For those who don’t know what Advent wreath is, it basically a garland of evergreens with four candles on top of it. Candles symbolizes the four Sundays before the Christmas day.

Here in Germany, many household have wreaths in their homes. Since mid-November, garlands were already sold in markets. They were picked and bound fresh in different sizes and you wouldn’t believe how pricey they can be. Some opt to do their own Advent wreath. Evergreens can be found and picked even in nearby parks or playground. For me, I opted to buy from a store. Even though it’s easy to make one (I think), I just don’t have that artistic touch. My Filipina friend shared to me her wreath which she made on her own.

adventskranz, advent wreath
Fresh Advent Wreath

Yeah, I know it’s easy. Maybe next year I will try to make one. This is the one I bought from the store. Advantage of this… it will not wither. 😛

advetn wreath, adventskranz

10 Memorable Birthday Gifts For Your 10 Year Old Kids

It’s that time of year again when you start sending out birthday invitations and you have the difficult task of buying a memorable gift for your 10 year old. To make your job as easy as possible, we’ve compiled a list of gift ideas that are sure to please every personality type at the ripe old age of 10.

charm bracelet, birthday gift1. Charm Bracelet

Bling is a very important accessory in a girl’s life. Your little sweet heart is also old enough to appreciate a more expensive gift and with such a huge array of charm bracelets on the market, you’ll be able to give a gift that not only looks beautiful and is ever lasting but tells the story of her life so far. (Image credit: peppercornkids.com)

2. iPod

If you have been a brave parent up until now and not succumbed to the electronic age, you will be loved for this gift. They can fill their new iPod with their favourite music, games (educational or just plain fun!), email their friends, Skype relatives and do just about anything an iPhone will do except make a call, which will also keep mum and dad happy.

3. Video Camera

Whether it is a standard handheld camera or one you attach to your helmet, your action packed, sporty kids will love filming themselves out and about and making memories with their friends and family.

4. Kindle Fire

Is your 10 year old a bookworm but still loves to play the occasional game and watch a movie? Then the latest Kindle makes the perfect gift for them. The new Kindle Fire with Wi-Fi is available in two screen sizes, 7 or 8.9 inches in HD and has a full colour screen allowing them to access over 20 million books, movies, games and apps. (image credit: abcnews.go.com)

5. Telescope

Moving away from the digital age we live in and into outer space. A telescope will interest not only your budding scientist and astronomer but any inquisitive 10 year old. It’s also a great way to get the kids outdoors to appreciate the bigger picture.

flik flak watch, ideal gifts for 10 year olds6. Flik Flak Watch

Flik Flak is the world’s best selling children’s brand of watches. Known for their quality, quirkiness and creativity, even the coolest kids will love wearing them. With an abundance of designs to choose from and made from the toughest materials, you know that this is a gift that will last the test of time.

7. Razor Products

Razor Scooter, Razor Wing scooter, Electronic Scooter, RipStik, BoGo, FlashRider 360, Ground Force Drifter…the choices truly are endless!

quality time with mom, gift ideas8. Quality Time

A memorable gift doesn’t have to be material. Your kids will love spending time with you…why not take them to a concert or show of their choosing. (image credit: embracingbeauty.com)

9. Fifty pranks to freak your friends

Everything you need to become the professional prankster including fake coffee spills, cracked computer screens and many more. It won’t only be memorable for your favourite 10 year old but also the person they’re pranking.

10. Personalised Gift

iPhone cases, mugs and USB flash drives are some of the things you can have personalised these days. Your kids will love designing their very own items.

With these great gift ideas, your kids are sure to remember their 10th birthday for many years to come.

Written by Marney Atkins-Smith

Famous Love Letters

Thinking about writing a love letter to your darling for valentine’s day? I’ve put together some of my favourite tasty tidbits from famous love letters written by well-known people. why not use them as inspiration for your own romantic love letters?

Right, let’s roll.

king henry viii to anne boleyn

Back in the day, King Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn’s sister, Mary, but, in reality, it was Anne he liked. However, much to the English royal’s dismay, Anne refused to be his mistress. She wanted to be queen. unluckily for Anne, in 1536, the volatile king ordered for her execution. In 1527, this is what Henry VIII wrote to Anne:

“I beg to know expressly your intention touching the love between us. Necessity compels me to obtain this answer, having been more than a year wounded by the dart of love, and not yet sure whether i shall fail or find a place in your affection.”

Napoleon to his wife Josephine

Despite divorcing his wife, Josephine, because she couldn’t have children, the ruthless french leader continued to write to her. Not long after they were married, Napoleon left to command the french army near Italy. In the months that followed, he wrote to her often, proclaiming how much he missed her. On 17th july,1769, here’s what he had to say:

“Since i left you, I have been constantly depressed. My happiness is to be near you. Incessantly I live over in my memory your caresses, your tears, your affectionate solicitude. The charms of the incomparable Josephine kindle continually a burning and a glowing flame in my heart. When, free from all solicitude, all harassing care, shall I be able to pass all my time with you, having only to love you, and to think only of the happiness of so saying, and of proving it to you?”

Beethoven to his ‘immortal beloved’

It’s still a mystery as to the identity of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “immortal beloved” – whom received a flood of letters from the composer in 1812, though historians believe it was Antonie Brentano, a diplomat’s daughter. In fact, Beethoven dedicated his ‘diabelli variations op. 120’ to her. Not only that, after his death, one of his letters was found in which he famously wrote:

“Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my immortal beloved, be calm–love me–today–yesterday–what tearful longings for you–you–you–my life–my all–farewell. Oh continue to love me–never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved. Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.”

Noah to Allie, The Notebook

Granted, Noah and Allie may be an imaginary couple in a film, but maximum respect to Nicholas sparks for his genius when it came to writing the tear-jerking love note the loved-up Noah wrote for his darling Allie:

“My dearest Allie. I couldn’t sleep last night because I know that it’s over between us. I’m not bitter anymore, because I know that what we had was real. And if in some distant place in the future we see each other in our new lives, I’ll smile at you with joy and remember how we spent a summer beneath the trees, learning from each other and growing in love. the best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that’s what you’ve given me. that’s what I’d hoped to give to you forever. I love you. I’ll be seeing you. Noah.”

Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor

They fell in love on the set of Cleopatra in 1963, and married and divorced twice. That’s right, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor – Hollywood’s golden couple. during the early part of their first marriage in 1964, the impassioned Burton wrote this letter to Taylor:

”My blind eyes are desperately waiting for the sight of you. You don’t realize of course, e.b., how fascinatingly beautiful you have always been, and how strangely you have acquired an added and special and dangerous loveliness.”

About the author:Leading personalised gifts site gonedigging offer the very best in the way of valentine’s gifts, including pamper hampers, romantic personalised calendars and much more. hop online to find out more!

3 Considerations You Must Have About Food for Kids Birthday Parties

birthday party, parties, kid's party, children's party

Planning a child’s birthday party can be a challenge. You have the guest list, theme, party games and food all to plan. The following article aims to give you a helping hand by providing you with three essentials you must consider when planning what food to serve.

Time to prepare

You need to be prepared. Decide what food you will serve and try to make the most of the food you already have. This will insure that you don’t go over budget. Another thing you can do to be budget friendly is purchase any premade food in bulk. Remember that children are more concerned with play time than eating, so it’s best to go with inexpensive foods. Rather than providing the children with a meal just provide a lot of snacks so they can help themselves. It’s best to also serve juice, punch or soda from large bottles so you can monitor how much sugar the children have had.

Kid-Friendly food

This is about supplying foods that are easy to eat and have a broad appeal. Many children won’t eat it if it doesn’t look good. The following ideas should go off with a bang at the party:

  • Buy the hard, thin breadsticks or crackers that come in a box in your grocery store’s bread aisle. Slather one end with cream cheese or a simple flavoured dip, and then wrap a thin slice of turkey, ham or other deli meat around it. Delicious!
  • Make fruit kebabs by cutting pineapple, cantaloupe and watermelon into bite-sized pieces then threading them onto wooden or plastic skewers. Promptly remove the skewers from the table after the fruit has been eaten so the kids don’t use them as weapons or use something with a blunt end, like chopsticks, for younger kids. They look good and taste good.
  • Make ordinary sandwiches fun by cutting them with cookie cutters or turn bananas, celery sticks or other healthy snacks into animals with a few well-placed raisins or carrot slices. It’s all about presentation.

Sugar and allergies

Watch the sugar! Yes, birthdays are meant to be a time to splurge and celebrate but that does not mean that you have to be excessive. You don’t want to encourage a behaviour problem fuelled by sugar or even worse with all your guests with a belly ache. Moderation is key. If they don’t get lots of sugar they will be more appreciative of what they do receive. You also need to be alert to allergies; you should ask parents ahead of time whether it be in person or through the invitations. This will allow you to plan your menu accordingly. You need to take special precautions, cleaning your cooking utensils before beginning to cook to avoid cross contamination.

Last but not least, consider going for a party theme for the fun factor. For example, you can do a ‘tropical’ theme and have your cupcakes decorated as tropical fruits. You might also want to opt for a unified look by incorporating the party theme into the design of your custom birthday invitations!

Image credit: madeformus.com

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming soon, and couples around the world will soon make special plans. While Valentine’s Day has become an enjoyable experience for many, some people make mistakes that can spoil the holiday. Here are five mistakes to avoid on Valentine’s Day.

1. Forgetting it

People who are busy sometimes forget about Valentine’s Day entirely. Unfortunately, this can cause one’s partner to become offended if they interpret this forgetfulness as inattentiveness toward a relationship. To prevent this unfortunate possibility, you may want to mark several calendars and set an alarm beforehand to ensure that you prepare appropriately.

valentine's day2. Buying a mediocre gift

Valentine’s Day does not have to be expensive, but partners often become upset if they feel that the gift they were given has little thought behind it. An item that is present in all major retail locations, for example, may fail to impress. In addition, cliché items often show a lack of thought. When purchasing an item for Valentine’s Day, ensure that your gift is unique and personalised.

3. Overspending

Couples often set ground rules for Valentine’s Day, and one of the most popular rules is to only spend a certain amount of money on gifts. Sometimes, one partner decides to go over this limit and buy an extravagant gift. Unfortunately, this can leave your partner feeling as if he or she is being shown up. If ground rules are set for buying gifts on Valentine’s Day, make sure that you follow them.

4. Not spending as much time together as possible

Some people make the mistake of planning a single event on Valentine’s Day. For partners, this can sometimes give the impression that spending time together is not a top priority. Even if you have planned on eating dinner watching a movie together, you will want to ensure that you spend even more time with your partner. Valentine’s Day is not the time to engage in solo activity; make sure all of your events are planned with your partner in mind.

5. Failing to express admiration or love

Valentine’s Day is often derided for being overly commercial. Despite this, Valentine’s Day is a great time to express love and admiration. Buying gifts, doing activities together and the other common elements of Valentine’s Day are important, but you will want to make sure that your partner knows what he or she means to you. Give a heartfelt card and make sure that your partner truly feels loved and appreciated.

Valentine’s Day can be stressful. Many feel an obligation to perform so many tasks that it can be overwhelming. Despite this, do not forget the true value of Valentine’s Day. By taking time to strengthen the bond between you and your partner, you can view Valentine’s Day is a great way to build on your relationship.

About the author:

Chelsea Butler is a successful business owner based in Brisbane, Australia. She also runs a website which provides information to her customers on hot topics, relationship and dating advice and gift ideas. This upcoming romantic occasion, Chelsea suggests to buy her flowers for Valentine’s Day as an ice breaker before spoiling her with a exciting date.

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