Cruising on the Saguaro

It was a beautiful day, and we decided to go on a relaxing cruise ride on one of the nearby lakes in the area.

This trip was actually not impromptu, but brought about by a LivingSocial deal I got many months back. It was for a 90-minute narrated cruise ride on Saguaro Lake (about 30-40 minutes drive away). It’s by Desert Belle Cruises ( and something we wanted to try a while back. The deal was great, $35 for four adults, which normally would have cost us $80, or $20 per adult. Miggz was free because he was under four years old.

Saguaro Lake’s views is different from Canyon Lake’s. On Saguaro the views are more nearby low-range mountains and desert landscapes with lots of desert flora (and fauna, if lucky). Here are some pictures from our trip…

Miggz being Miggz.

Miggz being Miggz.

Grandma and Lolo came along.

Grandma and Lolo came along.

Miggz and I.

Miggz and I…LOVE this pic of us!


Can you spot Elephant Rock?


Beautiful desert flora.


Arizona’s desert landscape.


Ripples on the lake.


Lots of cacti abound.


Did you know that Arizona is home to hundreds of species of birds in the winter time? Hence, the term “snow birds.” We found some of them while cruising on Saguaro Lake.


Miggz and I.


Miggz and Daddy.


Me at 21 weeks pregnant.


It was a gorgeous day in the 60’s.


Miggz and I by the captain’s deck.


Terrence and I overlooking the lake after the cruise.

All Photos by Terrence G. Photography | Copyright 2012 | All Rights Reserved

A New Christmas Tradition

This was the first time we made gingerbread anything. I’ve wanted to try it for a couple of years but knew that Miggz was probably still too young in the years earlier. I thought this year was just right…he is three years and four months old, and can actually help out with the building and decorating.

Instead of making the traditional gingerbread house, we opted for a gingerbread train kit.

This is me doing a little prep work while Miggz looks on…he’s got his hands near the red and green M&M’s for easy access 🙂


And the rest of our photos chronicling what we hope would be a yearly Christmas tradition from here on…

Candy in his hands = candy in his mouth! Hence, that smile!!!

Candy in his hands = candy in his mouth! Hence, that smile!!!

Miggz helping me with the train cart's body.

Miggz helping me with the train cart’s body.

Create an annual tradition by purchasing a kit like this for less than $10 at your local grocery or arts & crafts store.

Create an annual Christmas tradition by purchasing a kit like this for less than $10 at your local grocery or arts & crafts store.

Miggz in action...

Miggz in action…

He enjoyed alternating between eating and decorating the gingerbread train!

He enjoyed alternating between eating and decorating the gingerbread train!

Detail shot...

Detail shot from above…

"M" is for Miguel.

“M” is for Miguel.

Detail shot of the train's engine.

Detail shot of the train’s engine.

This is me enjoying this activity, probably a LOT more than Miguel did!

This is me enjoying this activity, probably a LOT more than Miguel did!

The finished product ;)

The finished product 😉

Can't wait to make another one next year!!

Can’t wait to make another one next year!!

Hangin’ with the Jonoses

The Jonoses–made up of my hubby’s long-time friend Jay, my long-time friend Christine, and now their son JJ–took us on quite THE busiest but funnest time of our lives during our short visit to NJ back in May.

Our friendships with Jay and Christine date back to our young adult lives…our early 20’s–quite historic now if you think about it. They actually ended up together after our wedding, to which Terrence and I endlessly credit ourselves to such a successful hookup. Jay was one of the Groom’s Men and Christine was my Maid of Honor.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Fast forward to the present, what with all the highs and lows of friendships with a history, I am SUPER glad our friendships with this couple have remained in tact. They are godparents to our son and we to theirs, and I am even more glad our boys can grow up–despite the distance–knowing that their friendship has a chance of an even longer history than that of their parents.

While in Jersey, we stayed with the Jonoses for a short two days and three nights at the Jonos family home in Trenton, during which time the big boys bonded over fixing a car–like always, us mommies chatted away, like always, and the little ones happily played and made a mess of all the toys around them, like always. All of this done in between doing some serious food-tripping in Philly, crazy bonding and play time at Liberty State Park, and while being a bunch of tourists in Times Square.

Terrence was able to capture some precious moments during all of this–a time well spent with people whom we not only consider our friends…

Because this, right here, is family.

Us and the Jonoses = Family

Here are some snap shots of our time with the Jonoses…

Food Tripping in Philadelphia

Christine and I with the boys, in front of Geno’s…

…and Pat’s!

The endless selection of yummy cheese steak sandwich goodness at Pat’s.

Yeah…I’d go back to Philly JUST for this–a Pat’s cheese steak sandwich!

The boys hanging out at Geno’s Steaks. We have well eaten our Pat’s cheese steaks by this time, but the mommies still managed to eat and try Geno’s. Pat’s Steaks hands down wins the epic battle of which one is the yummier cheese steak!

Philadelphia’s Chinatown. We are on a mission to find a sweet house and get some TAHO.

Terrence and I in Philly’s Chinatown. We have been here as a couple. I never imagined we’ll be back here with Miggz in tow.

Mission accomplished!! Jay hangs out in front of the sweet house while Christine and I get tubs full of TAHO…a warm dessert made up of soy milk, sweet syrup and tiny taro balls (sago).

I find another sweet house in Philly’s Chinatown. This time I pick up some egg custards. Yumm!!

The boys are obviously bored!!

More of us in Philly’s Chinatown.

A few sites we saw in Philly…

The Liberty Bell

I didn’t realize the Liberty Bell was enclosed. I’ve always pictured it just being out in the open. Perhaps from the movie, National Treasure?

The Next Day at Liberty State Park (Jersey City)

Terrence and I

Miggz and I in the Jonoses’ Acura…our everywhere vehicle!

The Statue of Liberty in the background…

Terrence captures this precious photo of the boys.

Miggz and I pause for a juice break.

Thou shalt not come between a little man and his juice box!

Terrence, Miggz and I

Terrence Captures More Precious Photos, this time of Christine and I and the boys…

That is the World Trade Center Freedom Tower being constructed on the far right.

And Then There’s Times Square (NYC)…

Tired Miggz! It was two long days. Two long but GREAT days. Great days indeed.

What memorable trips do you most remember doing with your friends? Did they include kids?

What trips are you looking forward to doing with your friends??

Do share!!



All Photos by Terrence G. Photography | Copyright 2012 | All Rights Reserved

Parent-Child Bonding Moments

On any given day…at any stage in life–whether consciously or sub-consciously, parents and their children get close and set up a special relationship through different bonding moments.

Mother-daughters do this through shopping, cooking, reading books, etc. Father-sons do it through sports, outdoor activities like hiking/camping, or cars.

Growing up, I’ve had (or still continue to have) very defined (albeit, UN-typical) bonding moments with my parents.

I’m not sure if my parents realize that I’ve “bonded” with them through these but…

With my Mom, it has always been through watching TV. Now we’re not die-hard TV show fans by any means. Somehow it just happens that my Mom and I both LOVE to watch Filipino teleseryes (soap operas) on The Filipino Channel (TFC). There are certain shows we just went “ga-ga” over through the years… Maging Sino Ka Man with Eli and Jackie (John-Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo), Dahil May Isang Ikaw with Miguel and Ella (Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa), and now, Walang Hanggan with Daniel and Katerina (Coco Martin and Julia Montes), and Dahil Sa Pag-Ibig with Alfred and Jasmin/Oliver and Agnes (Piolo Pascual and Christine Reyes/Jericho Rosales and Maricar Reyes). There are more shows I didn’t mention, but these are the more recent ones I can remember off the top of my head. We also like the ones Erich Gonzales have been in (Katorse, Maria La Del Barrio).

I have to point out that my Mom is more of a bigger FAN of teleseryes than I am. She is more the I-can’t-afford- to-miss-these-shows type, while I don’t go crazy if I miss an episode or two (as long as she tells me what I missed…hehehe).

I’ve bonded with my Dad through work. Always been that way. Every summer while I was in high school/college, I worked at the swimming pool company my Dad worked for. I made lots of money doing over time during those summers!! It was around those times that I learned how to work hard, make money (spend money too!!), and what it was like working in the real world. It’s just funny that after many years, I am now back working with my Dad, this time as a real estate agent like him.

I don’t remember many moments when I’ve bonded with my parents when I was younger. I do recall when I was around age 6/7 and Mom would take me to her office at S.G.V. (Sycip Gorres Velayo & Co.). I would pretend to “work” as well, while she went about her day. Looks like my bonding moments through WORK started with Mom and not with Dad after all…

This makes me think consciously about how we–Terrence and I–bond with Miguel…IF he’ll remember the conscious efforts we are making to bond with him now.

I know with Terrence, his special time with Miguel is spent playing outdoors…either going to the playground or playing in the backyard. Miguel just has a blast every time he’s with Daddy and is given free rein to be a boy and get dirty (hehehe).

As for me, my bonding moments with Miguel are more the quiet moments…book-reading, story-telling, teaching-learning, bedtime…that type of stuff.

I wonder how our bonding activities with Miguel will change over time. I hope he enjoys us and our company as long and as much as we enjoy his.

How do you bond with your child? Do you make a conscious effort to do so?

My bonding time with Miggz: some reading moments spent at Barnes & Noble. Sometimes he doesn't want me to read and prefers to TELL the story instead. He always starts with, "ONCE upon a TIIIIIME..." So cute.

Diego Overload!! Miggz saw Baby Jaguar from Diego on a shelf, so he picked it up. I gathered a few more Diego pieces for him to read/play with. His favorite was the book with the clock. He kept asking me, "What time is it, Mommey, what time is it?"

And of course...a stop at Barnes & Noble is not complete without Miggz playing at the Thomas & Friends train table display. The hard part is when it's time to leave. He cried and cried when we left the bookstore. I don't blame him...I LOVE B&N myself!!!

Aloha Festival

We spent part of Sunday at the Arizona Aloha Festival in Tempe Beach Park. We’ve never been to either the festival or the Beach Park, so I thought it would be nice to do both in one visit.

I was looking forward to one thing, and one thing only…

Hawaiian Shaved Ice!!

Terrence got blueberry-watermelon and I got strawberry-mango. It was delish!! Perfect for the hot and sunny weather.

Can you tell I enjoyed it a lot??!?

I am banning myself from the use of jeans between the hours of noon and 7 p.m. It is just too hot to wear jeans now at those hours. I would have been more comfy in a skirt or short dress (and Miggz and Daddy in shorts). FYI, Sunday’s weather in our part of the world was in the upper 70’s. It had been cooler days earlier though…even up to Sunday morning, so we didn’t think too much about wearing jeans at the festival.

As you can see in the next pic, our entire party all wore jeans. Too hot!!

At the Aloha Festival, Miggz got to hang out with Auntie Anna and Uncle Jon…

Miggz tried on some Bruno Mars-type hats at the Hawaiian marketplace with Auntie Anna.

At the Beach Park (it was actually a lake), there is fishing and paddle-boating and all sorts of watercraft. Miggz and Auntie and Uncle and Daddy went canoeing…for FREE!! I passed on this activity–I did NOT want to be in the sun doing all that work! (I must remind myself to throw in the sunscreen in my purse from this moment onwards.)

They seem to have enjoyed it!

At the festival, we got to sample some Hawaiian coconut oil and body soufflés made of cocoa butter that smelled of sweet gardenia, plumeria, mango, and other scents.

Of course, we took some home!! Spring might have just started, but gardenia soufflé on my hands first thing in the morning just fast forwards everything to summer.

And if you live in our part of Arizona, summer’s not just fast-forwarded. It has begun!

Bedroom Corner Makeover {Before & After}

A few months back my husband and I–along with little Miggie’s help–did a quick make-over on one of the corners of our bedroom.

I desperately needed a place to study for my real estate exam (because sitting at the lounge chair in my son’s room was not cutting it for me). Studying on our laptop desk also wasn’t working out…it was simply too distracting.

Our solution was to turn this neglected part of the bedroom into a bookstore/cafe-bar inspired little nook.


The corner used to have some leftover boxes from our move, a couple of bins and keepsake boxes, and our laundry basket.


I didn’t want to buy anything new for this space. A few items that have been put away in the garage for storage did the trick.

My hubby installed a wall shelf to house some books. A bar-height stool and table (that used to be in our apartment kitchen in Jersey) made for the perfect sit-down study area for me (a bonus is that my little one can no longer get to the stuff on top of my desk).

Here are some shots of the made-over office corner:

The bar-height table-top area provides ample space to spread books + a refuge to keep tools and trinkets away from a toddler.

The only thing we bought for this space…a poster of the Holstee Manifesto I featured in my post entitled, “And So I Turn 30…

Favorite books grace the small shelf over the table. These days, most of my reading is done on the iPad.

A friend and former co-worker of mine brought me this carved elephant from one of his trips to India. It’s one of my favorite gifts. If you look closer, there is a baby elephant inside…it’s a Mommey!!!

A printable I got from Pinterest…

Dove Dark Chocolates…always a must-have on my desk…

I hope this post has inspired you to create a little nook for yourself, for whatever purpose it may be.

Here are some *behind-the-scenes* look at how this make-over came to be…

Miggz helping out...

Daddy's eager helper.

Snow Day, Fun Day in Flagstaff

We’ve wanted to go on a snow trip to Flagstaff for a while. This was a short one…just a day trip to take the kids sledding.

Flagstaff greeted us with some fresh snowfall upon arrival (it was awesome to see winter again…as it should be: snow-covered pine trees, powder-soft grounds, white-capped mountain tops). Even though our target destination–Wing Mountain–ended up being closed, the day made for a quick wintry escape our whole family enjoyed.

We–along with other families who drove up hoping to play at Wing Mountain–had to settle for one of the side lots along the road leading up to Snowbowl. There was ample parking for all, but not enough hills to sled. We had to make the most of it because of our two-and-a-half hour journey. I saw that most families with their kids also did the same. All in all, we had a blast (but we are hoping for more snow on our next trip).

I purchased our sleds from Amazon. They came in a pack of three for around $36, but I see that they have gone cheaper ($32 for a three-pack as of this post).

We didn’t get to do much damage on the sleds as we were in a very modest, toddler-friendly hill most of the day. They held up even with the grown-ups having a go on the sleds. I’m glad we’ll get more use out of them on future snow trips.

Here are some photos from our fun Flagstaff day trip…

Until our next adventure…

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