Thursday, April 15, 2021

LIFE IN THE NEW NORMAL: THE RISE OF THE "GAMER MOM"

 It has been a year since the pandemic started, and we are constantly adjusting to our “new normal”. The teens are into online learning. Husband and I are still working from home. My husband has an eight-to-six job, while my work schedule is flexible as a freelance writer. 

 

At the start, I thought it will be a breeze adjusting to this new normal. But as time passes by, we all discovered how stressful this set up is. One, there is no clear separation of work and family hours.  There can be work demands even on weekends.   There are times when my husband has to revise work even after office hours. Sometimes, he may need to wake up in the wee hours of the morning just to check up on office work. The teens are glued to their laptops, even on weekends finishing some schoolworks. 


 
And how to we keep our stress at bay?  

 

>> In between online works, my husband and I squeeze in some yoga/stretching exercises just to give our bodies a breather from the long hours of sitting in front of the computer. 

>> We listen to our favorite music, tend the garden, play with pets during scheduled work breaks. These are some of the activities that we truly enjoy.

>> At night, we unwind by watching comedy films.

>> Lastly, we play some online games, not only as the break the monotony of work, but to exercise our brains with some puzzles and word games!

 

PLAYING VIDEO GAMES BY KIDS AND ADULTS:

 

I did some research and found some studies about kids playing video games. They become more creative when it comes to writing and drawing. Puzzle video games improve verbal comprehension, visual and spatial processing, visual perception, planning and reasoning.

 

In one article, it is said that video games can reduce stress in adults. Also, video games might just slow down the aging process. The “brain games” involving problem solving and memory have been shown to have a positive benefit in older players. In one study, just 10 hours of play led to increased cognitive functioning in participants 50 and older.  

 
 
FUN ONLINE GAMES FOR FREE:


During the pandemic, I discovered this site where I can play games for free! It is called https://plays.org


The games can be quickly played from the browser. With loading time just for a few seconds. I can play it both on my laptop and on my phone. They have more or less 100 games on their site, and the hardworking people behind it try to publish a new game or two every day!


Two of my personal favorites when it comes to free and fun onlines games are:  FALLING CUBES, a remake of the classic puzzle game that I had fun in early 2000, Tetris; and WORDS FAMILY, a simple word game where I try to spell words across using the letter tiles to fill in the puzzle.




CATEGORY BASED NAVIGATION FOR THE GAME COLLECTION 


What has the pandemic taught me? That is OK to spend quality playing the computer to de-stress. That somehow this "new normal" has turned me into a "gamer-mom" for my own mental health. And that it is highly acceptabe for majority of working moms to play these online games to relax when they have free time. 


And I have to be thankful, that my husband and my two teens share the same interests in online games. We truly live by these words "the family that PLAYS together, stay HAPPY together"!







Sunday, April 4, 2021

CREATIVE WAYS TO STORE YOUR BATH TOWELS WITHOUT SPENDING MUCH

As a work from home mom, the pandemic has brought me opportunities to survey home concerns. I have the luxury of staying at home and focus my energy on home improvements that will make staying at home pretty relaxing for the entire family, especially that my husband is also working from home and the teens are into online schooling.  By relaxing, I mean… organized and clutter-free. 

 

I decided to start organizing the bathroom.  It is definitely on of the rooms in the house that is frequently used. As a DIY enthusiast, I browsed the internet for projects that are simple to start and using recycled things. My target first project in the bathroom – storing my bath towels.

 

A mommy friendly reminder though – find a good place to store your bath towels. Bathrooms are not the place places for it because they are damp and can breed mildew and other harmful organisms. It is advisable to store your bath towels in a dry area or airy shelves, in your bedroom or walls farthest from the shower area.  Fold them well or roll them after washing and drying. 

 


photo credit: bhg.com

 

USE NATIVE BASKETS

Do you have native baskets lying around the house? You can use it as a towel storage. You can put it on top of your sink to store hand towels. Or a bigger one can store your rolled-up bath towels. A good source of these native baskets are the stalls in Quiapo or Dapitan Arcade.

 



photo credit: decoist.com

photo credit: architecture design.net

RECYCLED PALLET BOXES  

As a blogger, I get to receive packages in pallet boxes. Over time, it accumulated in numbers. I recycled them to store bath towels in the master’s bathroom.  It can give your space a rustic, shabby chic vibe. You can opt to paint it to add color into your space. 




photo credit: sarahshermansamuel.com

 

LADDERS 

If you have a small bathroom, it is ideal to store towels using a repurposed ladder. It keeps your towels organized and you maximize vertical and wall space. It is even portable; you can move it anywhere in your bathroom. 



photo credit: https://creatingmaryshome.com

WINE RACK

Another great idea to create a vertical storage for your bath towels is to use a wine rack. As an added tip, choose a stainless-steel wine rack if you decide to use one in your bathroom. It is the safest to combat moisture and it will not rust!


 

photo credit: photos.hgtv.com


OLD MAGAZINE HOLDER

When everything turns digital, I know a lot of mommies can identify, that magazine holders became obsolete. When you use your smartphones or tablets in reading articles and news, I am very sure, we already stopped buying magazines. What to do with those old magazine holders? You can use it to store your towels.  

 

 

Aside from being organized and clutter free in towel storage. I am also being mindful to practice minimalism. That would mean 2-3 bath towels per person in our household. We can live with 2 towels in summer, when we alternate usage and washing. But during rainy season, we need to have a spare one, if washed towels do not dry on time.

 

Maybe you are also wondering if it is about time to replace your bath towels. If you wash it frequently, chances are it becomes worn out or frayed on the edges. If they are not as absorbent as it used to be, you should replace them already. Old, worn out bath towels won’t dry you thoroughly and will be infested with unseen germs and bacteria. A big NO for OC mommies!  Experts advise, you should replace your bath towels every two years.




 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

INVESTING IN REAL ESTATE DURING THE PANDEMIC: WISE OR NOT?


In 2004, my family invested in real estate. We bought a 240sqm lot in the heart of Quezon City. We thought it was the perfect timing, because the kids were just toddlers and were not enrolled in a school yet.

 

It took us four years, to have the courage to build our very first home. We used some of our savings, but a large part of the building expenses came from a bank loan. I remembered physically visiting several banks, personally inquired on their mortgage packages and installment interests. After several meetings with bank managers, we chose a mortgage package with this condition: 10 years to pay with a fixed rate of 10.5% per year for the first five years.  

 

We built our house in 2008. In 2018, we were thankful to have fully paid our bank mortgage. We are now on our third year of being debt-free and we are primed to think and plan for another investment. 



 

 

We are contemplating to purchase a small farm lot, where we can build our second home away from the hustle and bustle of city life. A small property where I can pursue my dream of becoming an organic farmer. A safe haven where the family can rest, unwind and bond at the same time.

 

But the question now: is it wise to invest in real estate when we are in the middle of fighting the Covid war? In an article in Lamudi, an online real estate marketplace, it is reported that when the pandemic happened, the real estate industry saw a big change in buyers’ preferences. More people are interested to buy house and lots than condominiums. The interest shifted from vertical to horizontal residential real estate now.

 

With this real estate trend, my husband and I think we are on the right track with our plan of investing in a farm lot and building a small house. Surprisingly, the pandemic has given us the opportunity to save. My second child got a college scholarship. And working from home eliminated expenses like eating out and commuting. 


 

YOUR HOME IS YOUR SANCTUARY

The pandemic made us realize that our dream home must truly be our sanctuary. It is not just a house and a roof, it will also be our office (since we are both working from home since March 2020), a school for my teens (both of them are attending college online classes).  

 

THE NEED FOR A BIGGER SPACE

Presently, I have a small garden in front of our house. But I plan to expand my hobby into something big scale. Would love to have my own farm with lots of veggies, fruit trees and a greenhouse for my herbs. We also, at present, have 2 dogs and 9 cats and they will be needing more space for them to roam around. We also plan for a bigger kitchen, as we want to aim for sustainability – the idea of farm to table living.

 

ROOM FOR DIY HOME IMPROVEMENTS

During the pandemic, people became busy with home renovations. With more time, they redesign spaces that will suit their needs. The ordinary bathroom was transformed into a home spa to create a relaxing ambience. Decks were added in the garden to fit all the plants grown during lockdown. A house and lot investment will let you do home improvements when your budget permits. You have to deal with certain restrictions in condominium improvements.

 

WIDER SPACE WITH LOTS FRESH AIR

With horizontal real estate, properties are set apart. It is the perfect condition for social distancing. And with increasing infection cases in the city, the dream of breathing fresh air in a farmhouse will truly contribute to a healthier lifestyle.

 

Dream house design #1 on our future farm house
photo credit: https://designingidea.com/tiny-house-designs/


Dream house design #1 on our future farm house
photo credit: https://designingidea.com/tiny-house-designs/


After assessing what our dream home goals are, there is the financial side that we need to consider. When we applied for the mortgage of our first home, I remembered visiting different bank websites just to calculate how much will be our loan interest, given the loan amount that we are confident to borrow. Mortgage calculators are truly helpful in deciding the loan amount and the monthly amortization that would best fit your income. 

 

I know that we are still in the middle of a health crisis. 2020 was a challenging year for the property industry. But reports are pointing to signs of recovery. And while many people are getting interested in investing in houses and lots, as a potential buyer myself, I think it is still important to determine your needs and goals in choosing the types of real estate investments to pursue. Your property purchase should match your lifestyle and life goals.