We don’t need to go out of town or spend a huge amount of money to have a good time with the family. Sometimes, all it takes is Php 30 and a quick stopover at a convenience store nearby. Our family spent the whole Saturday with each other and one of our random activities during the day was to try the twirl-all-you-can at Family Mart, Ayala Triangle. My eldest sister knew about the fun experience I had when I first tried it last year, so she recommended to do it with the family.
Upon entering the store, we sat down on the comfortable chairs and waited for dad who bought a cone for himself. He bought just one cone because we were all full and we didn’t feel like eating ice cream after having our heavy breakfast. Dad knew that I enjoy twirling (which is also similar to piping frosting on cupcakes), so he gave me the opportunity to twirl the ice cream for him. Woohoo! It really is something that I can do all day. After six twirls, the ice cream almost fell, but I immediately used my two fingers to catch it just in time. Oops. Hahaha!
Both my brothers suddenly had the urge to give the twirling a try even though they didn’t feel like eating ice cream that morning. Haha. Our younger brother bought a cone and started twirling the ice cream. He started with beautiful twirls at first, and then, the funny part happened. Because the machine was releasing the ice cream fast, his hand panicked and lost control of the cone. It resulted to producing a funny twirl. Nonetheless, it did have a generous amount of ice cream, so, good job, Gabo! Hehehe.
At this point, my older brother was already coming up with a strategy to produce the best twirl – one that would have the most ice cream on the cone. He came up with an interesting and crazy idea to tilt the cone sideways until it is positioned horizontally while allowing the ice cream to twirl awkwardly on top of it. We didn’t expect him to do it, but he did. Hahahaha! Just like Gabo, he started out with neat twirls, and then, chaos took over! Instead of twirling the ice cream, he started to twirl his hand and body. It was the funniest thing! Hahaha. By this time, we were all laughing because of the masterpiece that he was creating. After a number of twirls, he finally took out the cone with the best twirl that morning! Woohoo!
Thanks, Gabo, for the video! :)
Twirling the ice cream seemed like it was a very easy thing to do. But, when panic creeps in while you’re in the middle of twirling, it makes you come up with interesting shapes of ice cream. Kudos to all the expert twirlers at the convenience stores! How do you do it?? Haha. This is only the beginning of our family’s twirling experience. Someday, in the near future, I know that we will be back! Thank you, Family Mart, for providing a fun experience for family and friends. Thank you to my family for also making yourselves available last Saturday and for being competitive. :))
Yesterday was my last work day for the week! Woohoo! Usually, before a long weekend, I would stay an extra hour in the office to finish a few more tasks that are important but not that urgent. However, last night, I left the office as soon as I could because I didn’t want to be late for our family date night at Sip and Gogh.
I’ve heard about Sip and Gogh from my friends before and it seemed like an interesting activity. But since I wasn’t artistically-inclined and I didn’t know how to paint, trying it out never really crossed my mind. But, thanks to my artsy, eldest sister (Camille), a few days ago, she encouraged our family to bond at Sip and Gogh. After a wonderful time last night, I would have to say that it was definitely one of the funniest and coolest experiences we’ve had as a family. Hahaha. Thanks, ate!
Here are some of the reasons why I enjoyed our family date night at Sip and Gogh:
1. Painting skills weren’t required. The Sip and Gogh artists helped us out in sketching the photo, gave tips on how to stroke the brush, and helped us choose the right colors.
2. There were numerous options of paintings to choose from.
3. In their Open Sessions, you can even bring your own photo and the Sip and Gogh artists will help you paint it.
4. They served refreshing drinks (e.g. wine or juice) and appetizers (e.g. cheese, cold cuts, and grapes) while you’re painting.
5. The ambiance of the place and the music playing in the background were relaxing and perfect for the experience.
6. The Sip and Gogh staff were very friendly, approachable, and encouraging.
7. They captured photos of the participants and their artworks and they immediately posted them on their Facebook page. Bravo! Love it!
8. And of course, we got to bring our babies (finished artworks) home.
When we got home, our family still couldn’t believe that we were able to paint our own artworks! Haha. We shared about the funny and interesting moments we experienced while we were painting. One of the common ones we had was the moment when we trusted the Sip and Gogh artists as they guided and helped us paint.
While I was painting a photo of our Pomeranian (Copper), Jade (our Sip and Gogh instructor) suggested that I dip my paint brush on the orange blob of paint and create strokes on Copper’s fur. At first, I was hesitant because Copper’s fur didn’t have a bright orange color, he had a dark, golden brown one. But, by God’s grace, I trusted her and did my best to create the orange strokes (alone with the white and brown ones) and the result was pretty cool. It looked like Copper! Hooray!! My siblings and parents also shared about their own similar experiences in trusting the Sip and Gogh artists and their paintings were beautifully done as well!
Even though I don’t paint, I had a better appreciation of paintings and arts after our time at Sip and Gogh last night. It was inspiring to see the Sip and Gogh artists have the natural skills and passion for arts! When I first looked at my blank, white canvass, I couldn’t really see or understand the possibility of painting a photo of Copper. I just imagined that there would be a huge, golden brown, abstract figure. But, with just one look, the Sip and Gogh artists confidently sketched our photos and encouraged us along the way.
Even if we didn’t know what we were doing, the artists knew exactly what we needed to do and they knew how to help us finish the artworks well. It reminded me of our relationship with God. Sometimes, we may not always understand how and why things happen in our lives, but when we put our trust in the One who sees the bigger picture, we experience peace because we know that He is able to create good and beautiful things (even) out of our messy strokes.
Isaiah 26:3-4 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you.”
Thank you, Sip and Gogh, for the inspiring experience. Thank you, family, for our date night and my sister, for your initiative and generosity. And as always, thank You, Lord, for encouraging moments with You.
Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)
SIP AND GOGH
Address: 1 Capitol Hills Drive, Capitol GreenStreet, Old Balara, Quezon city
Studio Operating Hours:
Tuesday to Friday, 4pm – 11pm
Saturday to Sunday, 10am – 11pm
Our family has this tradition where we celebrate birthdays in the middle of the night. But, when it comes to celebrating the birthdays of our two dogs, we usually do it over dinner. Two days ago, I sent a message to my siblings and invited them to join me after dinner to have a mini-bonfire and s’mores birthday party for Clue (our schnauzer) at the clubhouse. Originally, my two sisters and I wanted to start early so that we wouldn’t sleep late, but since my older sister and I suddenly needed to work overtime, we had to postpone the party.
I got out of the office at 8 pm and rushed to the nearest grocery store to buy a portable and affordable grilling pot and charcoal. However, it was only until an hour later that I was able to buy the ingredients and materials I needed. Before leaving the grocery store, I sent a message to my siblings and informed that the mini-bonfire will push through and will start at 9:30 pm. I honestly didn’t think that they would make it because we were already three hours late. But, some of them replied and confirmed that they would be joining me, so I hurried home.
As soon as I got to our house, we prepared the ingredients and things we needed for our midnight “bonfire” party and we left a note (“Bonfire near the pool”) on our front door for my dad and older brother who were still out for a meeting/work. We then went to the clubhouse and started our attempt to make fire. It wasn’t as easy as we thought it would be. We tried to burn coals for an hour, but most of our methods didn’t work. Haha. Thankfully, dad arrived and joined us in our next few attempts and after ten to fifteen minutes, more coals were burning.
While some of my siblings continued to help dad with the fire, my older sister and I played with our two dogs, Copper and Clue, on the grass. Our fluffy dogs really enjoyed their night out with us and we had fun hanging out with the family too! We took turns fanning the burning coals, playing with the dogs, and stargazing while enjoying the cool breeze. When the burning coals were ready, we started arranging the graham crackers and chocolate chips on a plate and roasted our own marshmallows on the sticks. After a while, I heard my dad shout “Hey, kuya!” (referring to my older brother). I think it was already past 12 midnight at that time and my older brother just arrived from work. Woohoo! We were finally complete!
While my dad and younger brother were helping us with the fire, I remember them giving us a tip: “We have to start with one coal first. Once that coal is burning, that’s when we add more coals beside it to help spread the heat.” I’ve only tried to make fire with coals twice or thrice in my life. So, it was really interesting for me to try it again and learn from the experience with my family. The tip my dad and brother gave us reminded me of the similarity it has with developing the relationships we have in the family. Just like heating up the coals, we don’t always have to start big, we don’t always have to come up with extravagant plans or spend time together only when there are birthdays or special events. Sometimes, all it takes to maintain good relationships within the family is to heat up one coal at a time, to regularly do small things with and for the family.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” – Philippians 2:3-4
Doing small things like, sharing what’s in our hearts after a long day at work or giving each other a hug or a pat on the back every now and then or planting more vegetables in the garden with your mom or discovering how to make origami schnauzers with your older brother or picking mangoes with the siblings while walking the dogs or sending encouraging words to each other via SMS or patiently listening to and sharing with the joy of your sister who can’t get enough of her favorite band and music (HAHA. Thank you, dear family. You know I love you.), etc. Sometimes, the smallest things we do with and for the family make the biggest impact.
During Clue’s birthday, I knew that my dad already had a previous commitment for dinner that night and that my older brother would be working late at the office, so I didn’t really expect them to make it to our family’s mini-bonfire party. However, it was encouraging to see God use certain delays that evening (e.g. when I experienced delays in the grocery store, when my older sister and I suddenly worked overtime, when we struggled with starting the fire) to allow our family to be complete at the party. If there weren’t delays, we would have started and finished the bonfire party earlier, without the company of my older brother and our dad.
That mini-bonfire party was a reminder for me to always find joy and have hope in Him who loves families, who desires for families to stay together. Sometimes, it can be quite disheartening to feel hurt or witness unresolved issues within the family. Sometimes, there may also be delays in extending forgiveness, grace, and unconditional love towards each other. But, God is able to help us burn one coal at a time. He is able to encourage families to spend time together. And more importantly, He is able to change hearts and help families become more like Christ.
We ended up sleeping at 1:30 in the morning after the mini-bonfire, but the late night hangout with the family was definitely worth it. Here’s to making some more memories with the family. Happy birthday, dear Clue!:)
Dad and Mom are finally back! Woohoo! They spent the whole month of October attending conferences, touring, shopping, and visiting our relatives in the United States. It was the first time that we (children) experienced being separated thousands of miles away from our parents for a month, so it was very interesting for us. One of the things that I learned during that time was how valuable it was (and still is) to be intentional in spending time with the family — especially while we’re still single. ;)
I’ll be sharing some of the moments we’ve had as a familythroughout the month of October.
STAYING IN TOUCH
Usually, we would coordinate our schedules and tasks for the day with mom and she would help communicate with the rest of the family. But since mom wasn’t around, we needed to let everyone know (via SMS) what our schedule was and help each other out with the transportation, meals at home, etc. Because of this, my older sister volunteered to use her line to send group texts to me and our siblings. Instead of sending four text messages every time we have updates and concerns, we only needed to text her and she’d send it to everyone. Thanks, ate Michelle! Also, we were able to send updates to our parents and vise-versa thru Viber. Hooray for a user-friendly application and awesome technology that allows us to communicate instantly!
Moreover, since we rarely get to spend time with our grandmother from mom’s side of the family, we reserved one Sunday afternoon just for her. It was supposed to be a surprise, but we ended up informing her in advance. Thank you, Nanay, for a lovely time with you and for your delicious food.
SUPPORTING EACH OTHER
Last October 11, the youngest member of our family, Gabo, reached a new milestone in his life. He graduated from college! Way to go, bro! We (older siblings) celebrated with him by treating him out to lunch and dinner with some of our relatives that weekend. Also, even though our parents were still in the United States at that time, it didn’t stop them from celebrating with us too! They sent their video greetings thru Viber/email and we watched them at home after we gave our simple yet awesome graduation gift to our brother. *woofin*
Another milestone that our family celebrated last month was the talk that I had on Food Blogging. By God’s grace, He gave me the privilege of speaking to a classroom of students from the University of the Philippines during their Alternative Classroom Learning Experience. It was my first time to speak about blogging and I remember feeling inadequate and weak. But it was only because of God that I was able to do so. My parents and siblings were also very supportive. They prayed for me and sent messages to me on the day itself. It was really very encouraging. I also want to give a special shoutout to my older brother (kuya Michael), who took the day off and accompanied me to the event. He graciously carried most of my things, listened to me while I was getting really nervous in the morning, and assisted me during the talk. I thank God for an awesome support group at home!
Just to give you a background, we don’t have household help. And because mom usually has a more flexible schedule compared to the rest of the family, she does a huge bulk of the chores at home (e.g. doing the laundry, sweeping, mopping, dishes). Sometimes, we get to help out, especially during the weekends. But, when Dad and Mom were in the states, my siblings and I needed to seriously fix our schedules, go home earlier, and help each other with cooking, cleaning, taking out the trash, walking the dogs, doing the laundry, gardening, cleaning the tables and floor, etc.
During one weekend, my siblings and I helped each other do the laundry. After finishing two batches of colored clothes and one batch of black/dark clothes, we started to soak the white ones. We were supposed to soak them in the soapy water overnight. But we accidentally left them in the washing machine for four days. It was a disaster! We were so caught up with work and our activities that we forgot about it. Haha. When we opened the machine days later, we saw that the water was dirty and the clothes smelled so bad – like rotten food/waste. We certainly learned our lesson. Yikes! Next time, it would really help us if we set alarms on our phones to remind us of the laundry. Speaking of lessons learned, we also almost burned the place down while my parents were gone, you can read about it HERE.
Another moment that we had at home was during one Sunday afternoon. My younger brother willingly helped me prepare Sinigang for dinner. He chopped the vegetables, cleaned the fish and shrimps, and cooked the dish. While I was assisting him with cleaning the fish and shrimps, he said something like: “Heeey, cool. You’re teaching me something.” Haha. I think I was showing him how to remove the shell of the shrimp easily. I don’t remember anymore, but I remember appreciating the time that we had learning together through cooking.
When our parents flew to the states, I had questions in my mind. “What if something happens to them and they never return? What if bringing them to the airport was our last moment with them?” But as I went through the weeks without our parents at home, God used numerous moments and His Word to speak to me. He encouraged me to trust in Him as I make the most out of every situation. It helped me appreciate my family even more. Also, it helped me brush off negative vibes at home because I knew that loving God and loving my family would be pleasing to Him – even in the midst of conflicts and misunderstandings with my siblings.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” [1 Corinthians 13:4-7]
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today”… [Hebrews 3:13]