Sole Halloween Addition

In spite of my best laid plans for Halloween this year, I ended up cancelling my orders from Fun Nest and purchased this one thing for my Halloween collection:

My wooden spider puzzle is from Co/op Manila. The kindest sales clerk assembled it and spray painted it black for me as well.  Not only was it on sale, but I got a discount too because of a little damage on one of the legs – the same awesome sales clerk fixed it for me with Mighty Bond. 

The candle sticks are new, too, from H&M Home, but I plan to use them for other holidays, too, so I can’t say it’s strictly a Halloween addition for this year.

Halloween plans fell through because I got caught up in planning Bo’s baptism, adding to our Montessori materials at home, and purging the house.  Plus, we rented these awesome costumes for the 2 older boys.  Funny, last year, Halloween was the holiday I was obsessed with preparing for.  This year, I seem to have caught the Christmas decor fever.  Stay tuned! 


Alo’s Shelf at 33 weeks

I’ve been slowly and carefully trying to integrate some Montessori-inspired learning principles at home. Nothing hard-core, but I figured Diko needs the extra help.  I won’t be posting about it in detail here because I’m leaving the in-depth Montessori posts in the boys’ blog.  But I’m sharing bits and pieces in this site because Montessori is becoming part of our home decor!

These shelves (for my 3 year old/33 month old), for instance, are standing right outside our bedroom door right now: 

We are focusing on sorting and matching, and cutting this week.  More about Alo’s shelf here. 

Plans for Halloween 2017

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I see people online who have started decorating for Christmas – in Manila, the Christmas season can start as early as September – but 2017 will still be about Halloween for me. I started last year, and I shared (here and here) how I intend to invest in our Halloween decor bit by bit every year.

It’s ironic really, because I love Christmas and have always found Halloween to be such a Western tradition (no Halloween roots in our culture at all!), but I have little boys who just adore Halloween and all its attendant commercial activities. So, I’ve learned to embrace it in my own little (and pared down) way.

That being said, last year I really had my heart set on the wooden spider puzzle they were selling in Co/op, but I felt I had already spent too much in Pottery Barn and La Pomme already. So imagine my joy when I called Co/op the other day and discovered they were still selling those spiders! And! They were marked down – less than half of what they were selling it for last year!

I had my spider reserved, and we’ll be picking it up this weekend. I plan to use it as a centerpiece for our dining table.

I also ordered this felt Jack O’ Lantern toy and a vampire bin from Fun Nest. Plus Diko and I got those generic buckets from National Bookstore. This means even if I see those lovely zombie books, anatomy and monster prints and skulls they were selling in Co/op last year, I will no longer have the budget to get them! I shall behave. Hopefully, they’ll still be around next year!

My terra cotta pots, skull planter from Hey Kessy, and all the other stuff I still like in Quirks (like this monster print and zombie book ends) – and all the other new things I like in Quirks (like this crime scene tape, witch spoon rest, Murder at the Fancy Ball board game, Vladimir bottle opener, and book of masks) will also have to wait until next Halloween too (and possibly the one after that).

We are actually decorating this weekend, but I’ll share that in a post once I get my Fun Nest orders!




Visited Common Room a couple of months ago

My oh my – more than 6 months since my last post.  I readily admit – the activity in this site directly corresponds to actual work I do on the house.  That it’s been quiet around here for some time (basically, half a year!) means, yes, work on the house has been on complete stand still.   There are a lot of legitimate excuses (like the H shifted jobs when the year started, I had to cut down on my hours to focus on the kids, and other real life crap), but the truth is, there were lists of things I could have done at home without my having to spend a single centavo.  But I didn’t do it.  Well, at least not enough to check off an entire list.  Now my cleaning and organizing activities in Project Clean House do not even make sense to me anymore.

Aside from budget issues and focusing on the baby and my rambunctious middle child, the H got a new job.   While that solved the budget issues, definitely, now we have issues about the house itself.  And its location, to be exact.  The H has been contemplating actually moving since it’s a tedious commute from our place to the new office – it’s at least a 2-hour ride sans traffic being stuck in the car.   And so I’ve had to struggle to justify working on this house when he’s got his heart set on moving south.   Sigh.  I’m not averse to moving, mind you.  We have a dream community, and I appreciate it as much as the H does.  But!  I can’t bear the thought of leaving this sweet little house unfinished.

So I have been plugging away on Project Clean House somewhat.  Not consistently, and definitely not every day, but there has been some progress.  For starters – I’ve basically checked off everything on my to-do list for the Command Center, save for organizing the keys.  And I’ve filed away and organized Laz’s school papers – that’s been major, too.  I’ve also finally started tackling the spare bedroom upstairs.  But the house just still feels like a MESS.

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The couch, that is. 

Since we moved into this house last year I had convinced myself that the antique narra sofa that used to be my grandmother’s was horrible. I thought it was too big for the space, too clunky and too outdated. We all hated the way the backrest cushions kept popping out of the frame, and I detested the red and beige striped foam covers. I kept promising myself I’d go to Uratex to ask about replacing the cushions, and I even sent our driver then to the palengke to look for someone to sew me new slip covers – but I just never got around to actually going to Uratex or having new slipcovers made. I think we lived with torn slip covers for at least a year in the old house. 

And then I got obsessed about Scandi interiors and just gave up on my wooden sofa. I was bent on getting a light grey upholstered couch – something smaller and more Nordic or mid-century I thought. I thought then – small room = small couch. So I chose the loveseat, and my parents very kindly got it for me for my birthday last year.

Well, I love that 2-seater but instead of making our living room look bigger, it made it look… even smaller. When I put it by the front windows, the loveseat looked tiny and oddly proportioned as to the rest of the space. Putting it in front of the side windows meant facing the front door – and why should the front door be the focal point eeeeeh. Ideally, the seating there should face the dining area. Diagonally across the corner was where I ended up putting the loveseat.

Now almost 8 months in, I finally admitted to myself that it just wasn’t working for me. The area rug helped, but the furniture arrangement just felt too small and I had to accept that I never really got around to liking the loveseat on diagonal in that corner.

So before my dad could sell it, I asked for the wooden couch back. And since I didn’t have slip covers I threw a white duvet cover over it… and it didn’t look bad. In fact, I liked it. My throw pillows look so much better on it. I never would’ve gone for a white couch, but with the rug and all, I just really ended up liking how it looked. I didn’t realize how white can really bring out the wood quality.  The boys approve, too. Plus, more seating, so everyone happy.

I also ended up using our bench as a coffee table. The loveseat and small round coffee table (which I had made to size with our loveseat in mind) went to the lanai. The loveseat replaced the wooden daybed (which I again didn’t get around to buying a mattress and cushion for) and is just so much more comfortable for the kids when they watch videos there.  I moved the Muji lounge chair to the shared boys’ room and used our round coffee table as a side table in the lanai. The daybed I returned to my folks. The lanai is not the next corner on my list right now, but these little changes have helped to improve the space, too! So two rooms with one stone, just because I got the couch back! 

Here’s a full(er) shot of that corner. I also finally took down the dirty half curtains and had our help wash them. I also removed the chunky wooden curtain rods. Obviously, from the photos alone, there are still things to do with this corner (for instance, the play gym should be in the lanai).  But I feel more optimistic now. I have felt stuck on progress with the living room for a while now – like that time with our Family Command Center, I was getting more and more frustrated because the space just wasn’t coming together. Well, I have a better idea on how to move forward, and have drawn up my Bare Essentials List for the living room – which is up next!