Aside from my usual photography and crafting stuff, one thing I also really enjoy is cooking. For some reason, my mom really didn't like cooking but she was a really good cook! One of the reasons that she told me was that she used to cook all the time that she kinda got burned out. I guess it happens?
I'm a big foodie, so for me it's a really fun thing to do. One thing I super hate tho is having to wash dishes. I really am making it a goal that I'm getting a dishwasher! Another challenge that I face most of the time is the availability of Filipino ingredients, or Asian goods in general. Living in the Midwest, there aren't really a lot of big Asian grocery stores with a lot of variety. There are some places like in MIlwaukee or Chicago, but I don't live in those big cities so I somehow have limited quick access.
I'm still happy tho, because there is quite a large Hmong population in Wisconsin there are a lot of Hmong Asian stores in Oshkosh. Not bad, because they do sell quite a bunch of Filipino stuff!
My Filipino Spaghetti!!
I have been really craving my Filipino-style spaghetti a.k.a. sweet spaghetti (or so that's how foreigners, well, non-Filipinos) describe it. It's kinda hard to use the "term" foreigner now because I just realized that I'm the foreigner LOL.
I got several packs of the sauce from Seafood City in Chicago, and finally I'm able to make it! My recipe is a little bit more intricate than the usual, probably because I add a lot of other stuff in it. One thing about my sauce is that I love making it extra meaty. So basically it's meat, mushrooms and whole lot of good yums with some sauce.
And what's the best thing to pair with Spaghetti? Chicken!
I was to lazy to grill outside so I just grilled this one on the griddle.
TA - DA!!!
Cooking can be so relaxing, it makes me so happy (and fat!).
So aside from my beloved Pinoy spaghetti, I also crave so many Asian food that's really hard to come by here. And even if I do, since they're considered delicacies, they're usually quite pricey. Relatively speaking, I'd say they're fairly priced - but knowing how to make them myself, I still find it hard to spend that much.
Yes, I know. I'm stingy.
So I decided to just take a stroll at the store and came home with some wrappers, meat, veggies, and...
TA - DA!!
Gyoza and Siomai!
These are pretty tedious to make, but I actually find it really relaxing (more than the cooking itself). Just sit there and make dumplings.
Then of course, I had to make some Palutang / Palitaw! It's basically similar to mochi but cooked differently. It's sticky rice flour, molded and boiled. The name itself roughly translates to "to float" or "to show up" - which is how this snack is cooked. Once it floats to the top of the boiling water, it's basically cooked.
There's more to come, and maybe I'll post some recipes in the future too.
Hope you enjoyed all the foodie pics! :)
Last Friday, AlexBear and I went to Chicago to renew my passport and (finally!) file my Report of Marriage at the Philippine Consulate. It was a dreaded trip, we weren't really looking forward to the traffic and all. Normally, the trip would take three hours - with what Google Maps considered as normal traffic.
Well, it took quite a bit more than that. We also didn't expect that it would rain. It wasn't bad, but it definitely added to the slow movement of vehicles. Now I sound like weatherman. Lol!
As we got closer to Chicago, it felt soooooo nostalgic. I don't like heavy traffic, but it sure made me homesick! I mean, big city, the smog, the traffic and the skyscrapers. The whole time I was saying, OMG I feel like I'm on my way to Manila/Makati! Especially from this view - it felt like a Cavitex trip.
When we arrived in downtown Chicago, traffic was a lot different from Oshkosh. There were hardly some lines on the road and I swear I will not drive there ever. The buildings were all beautiful tho. I won't deny that this really made me miss my days hanging out in Makati, and crashing over friends, going shopping and all. I don't really miss the busy big city life, but I still do every now and then.
Back to Chicago - I'm sure the city would be more beautiful and picturesque if it was a sunny day. So I took the best photos I could with my phone.
NOTE: Click images to enlarge.
And of course, I need to take photos of my favorite stores. I mean, yeah, it's quite childish - I go to the same stores here but still... LOL.
Except Burberry tho, I don't think we have that in Oshkosh at least.
The Philippine Consulate
Honestly speaking, I was kind of dreading going to the Consulate itself. I've read some reviews and there were some people who said that it was really slow and they were told to come back the next day. I really don't want to come back on Monday because that means I'll have to take another day off and we're going to have to travel ways away again.
I mentioned earlier, we had no idea how bad the traffic was going to be so we actually arrived more than three hours later. Luckily, there is an underground parking area. Unfortunately it costs a lot. I mean, parking in Appleton, WI is about $10 at most. Parking for 3-8 hours was $37! And no, there was no 3-5 hours but it's just a bracket of 3-8 hours.
When we arrived, it was also raining quite hard so we did get somewhat wet trying to find the right place. Turns out the Consulate was in a building whose entrance said it's a school. It's the right place, there's just no indication outside. That part was kinda irritating consider that looking for the right place while it's raining is no fun.
The consulate itself was a small place so it's not really busy and full of people. There were several other who were there before us and a movie was playing for those who are waiting.
The lady at the counter did ask me why I was late, technically I wasn't because it's about 1pm and they close at 4pm. But she said it takes a while to get the Report of Marriage done, so I explained that we came from Wisconsin and that we didn't expect this much traffic. They were really nice and they managed to get our paperwork done within the day.
I was also able to file for my passport renewal! Woohooo!!
The Highlight of it All
Now the thing I was really looking forward to was...
Going to Seafood City!!
Seafood City is actually a Filipino grocery store that has all sorts of Pinoy goodies. Then it also has some Filipino restaurants like Jollibee and Red Ribbon. This is the reason of my enthusiasm to come! There are a lot of Asian stores here in Wisconsin, but there are a lot of other Filipino products that they don't sell here like my Pinoy Style spaghetti sauce haha!
And of course... I gotta eat all that I can in Jollibee!!!
And when I said eat all I can, I meant that. So I ate the spaghetti, chicken, burger steak and peach mango pie.
I deserve it!!!
Moving forward, we did our groceries finally and oh boy did I overspent! No brainer. I took most of what I think I need, but I know I will need a lot more.
I'll be coming back...
The only thing that really got to me is how expensive things are. AlexBear and I love hopia but sheez, $4 for a pack of four pieces. Oh lawd have monetary mercy!
And I thought, oh let's get some local beauty stuff... simple but smells like home...
Uh.. okay, I'll skip this one.
But overall, I think we're all solved at the moment! Especially that the Bear has finally gotten his San Miguel Pale Pilsen!
Was it a good day?
Overall, of course it was! I got to talk to some Filipinos at the Consulate, ate my Jollibee and bought my groceries. I was also able to stock up my pancit canton (wahahah *insert evil laugh*).
See you next time Filipino goodies!
#AZN Driver Incoming!
Took me this long to update - as usual adulting and laziness has taken over and I just feel like I have so much on my plate that I can't prioritize anything other than work, paying bills, and sleeping. Harsh reality.
Anyways, last May 24th, I finally took the courage to take my driver's test for the first time! I've had my learner's permit since October of 2016 but I just never felt confident doing it.
Oh, trust me - my toes were cold. Like dead cold. Like colder than a frozen deer buried in -20°F!
Thankfully, the examiner who rode with me was super nice! The test itself was brief and I did score a couple of deductions because I didn't look left and right at some intersections but I did, but ok, I guess it's still fair enough!
Oh and one thing he pointed out - you stayed 5mph over speed limit. Try to avoid doing that.
Dude, who drives 25mph at 25mph? LOL
Needless to say, I passed!
...and no, I'm not showing you my dumpling driver's license! ^_^
Here's my first time driving alone, while AlexBear was sleeping. Enjoy!
Spring is fast approaching, and March hasn't been really nice to most people so far. For the past few weeks, all I've been saying alongside everyone else is that "this week's been rough" and it just gets worse. A lot of things also happened, at work, with the family. It's been a roller coaster of emotions and all I could hope for is for everything to get better.
I'm really trying to be positive and I'm know for sure I've had worse days.
We all have our battles, others lose their fight. It doesn't mean it's the end of the road for everyone. While I know things are easier said than done, keep the flame inside you burning. I always keep in mind, this life is not mine - I live for the ones I love.
I treasure my weekends. Very much. I really hope that it lasts a lot longer, don't you feel like we all have too much weekdays?!
Today's just a typical Sunday morning, nothing special. The day in itself that I can just relax (like yesterday) makes it special enough. I just wish I can curb my epic procrastination and actually do something worthwhile.
Well, as lazy as I am, I cherish every waking day. I think I get to appreciate it more on weekends - because I don't have to hurry to get ready for work. I usually wake up early, as if I'm going to work, but everyone's still asleep. I know this is something I should appreciate very much. I've been warned, having kids will soon rid of this luxury. Not that I'll be having any cutie pies soon ^.^
The best part of my Sunday morning is waking up to this...
Okay, so maybe that wasn't so fair to capture a stolen sleeping shot! LOL!!
Actually, this is not the actual wake-up photo. We're usually cuddling and I guess it's too much sweetness to capture (in reality, I look like crap all the photos I took were horrible lmao!). But to wake up next to the ones you love is priceless.
Especially when you got a droolly pup right next to you... makes the morning even better!
And the procrastination begins...
Now, I get up at around 8am - and have all the time in the world to do something worthwhile. Alexbear doesn't really get up until like 11am or noon. All the fun stuff to do, right!!!!???
Nope. I'm lazy AF and I waste the first few hours rolling in bed, taking photos, rolling some more and finally... playing some games on my phone (which I am very tempted to do right now, that I mentioned it. But I won't. Fight the urge. The ADD is taking over... must not).
No I didn't play on my phone. I did check tho. For messages.
(I ended up going to the kitchen instead, washed the dishes.. and oh right, blog... 4 hours later)
It's a good Sunday.
...and hopefully do something for real!
My craft corner is such a mess, just waiting to be actually used for longer periods of time ^_^
...and it's no fun!!!!
It all started last year when Alexbear and I got our very first fraud transactions posted on our accounts. They took out some hundred dollars for travel expenses such as Uber, Lyft and plane tickets. We got that fixed fairly quick, the transactions reversed and changed the cards.
Just a month ago, someone tried to take about a grand from Alexbear's account. It was declined and we had to change our card numbers again.
Last week, someone successfully hacked into our eBay and buy pool filters worth $600. We don't have a pool. So we informed the bank, informed Paypal... and over the weekend, the transaction still went through and took out this much from our bank account.
Awesome Sauce. Not.
Now we have to go through a lot of phone calls, and hassle to say the least, to get it all fixed.
It's very disheartening and annoying that people do this. It's no different that personally stealing. While, yes, they don't get to physically assault anyone, they are destroying the lives of so many people. What if we had bills to pay and the money we have is not enough? What if we're people who live by each check? It takes a while to get all the funds back (in fact, the process is still ongoing as we speak). What if we're people who don't have savings to get us through a week? It affects lives, credit scores and a lot more. If it affected any of our bills, then we would have to call them and explain to them the situation.
I wish these people will actually have the motivation to do the right thing and actually work.
I hate thieves praying on people who worked hard for what they earned.
"Uhm, we're not going to do "accidentally" buy a bed when we walk out that door... ok?"
January 1st, 2018 - the first day of a brand new year. Technically, it's just another day but it gives us the chance to mentally reset things and try to start new, try to do something differently.
We went to a couple of stores including Menards. All Christmas decor was on sale so we got a bigger Christmas tree (yay!). Totally unplanned but we did talk about it a couple of times. Consider that it is 50% off, it was really hard to pass the deal. We got a small tree this year because we know they will be on sale after the season anyway. So finally, we got the big snowy Fir tree which was really nice! Now I have an small extra tree that I can put elsewhere around the house next year. My dad in law asked why, well Alexbear sure knows the answer... "Because she's her!" Yep, Christmas is me.
On the way home, we dropped by Harbor Freight with me hoping to find some sculpting tools. I didn't find what I actually need and I'm probably going to get them in Joann or Hobby Lobby instead. Then we went to WG&R, which was just next door. Who would've thought that this is such a dangerous place to be?
While walking across the parking lot to WG&R in 2°F (-16°C) in two sweaters, I warned Alexbear that we were not going to "accidentally" buy a bed on our way out. You see, we've been talking about getting a new mattress because the one he is currently using is already quite worn out. I said, well if we're going to replace the mattress might as well get a bigger bed because Hans is taking up a lot of space.
And it's like half of the bed...
Of course I suggested that we get a king bed. I mean come on, if we're going to spend on it might as well get a good one. Afterall, a bed is an investment. You sleep on it almost every night, unless, of course, if you are always on the road. Your sleep affects your actual life from your back's posture to your actual rest and health. Overall, sleep is a sacred thing! Being alive three decades now, I value the importance of this beautiful thing called sleep.
We started looking around and omg, I never thought I would say this but I just love furniture shopping. Actually - I love building furniture, I love refinishing furniture.
Oh... I just love furniture in general.
We started looking at the prices, and I started estimating how much we'll probably spend. After walking around, we saw a bunch of really nice ones. The store was also having a New Year sale with 20% off including items already on sale (except this thing they call "Power Buy").
I love the classic, rustic feel. I didn't like the shiny ones, but wood is just beautiful. I used to wonder why my mom and aunt were so into wood stuff and I never thought I would love it too! I used to be more modern, but I don't know - wood is elegant and beautiful.
Then we started checking out the mattresses. I almost had a heart attack, I never thought mattresses here were really expensive! Well, they're also nicely made relative to what we can buy back home. We had a lot of "affordable" options back in PH but they're also not the best quality - usually mattresses that you would like to replace after two years or so.
The sales guy checked up on us. I like his style, he didn't follow us around nor was he intrusive. I think he noticed how Alexbear and I liked our privacy. Then he just put it out there that he can do the Early Bird special that was 25% - which was until like 1pm. It was already about 5pm so... ah ok, he is doing his sales pitch. Not bad, well played.
The worst question to ask if you don't want to accidentally buy anything?
"Do you offer financing?"
I know they do, that's where we bought our couch. So, of course he said, yes.. but this time they offer it up to 20 months with no interest.
Welp... so this beautiful bed is getting delivered next week.
Happy New Year!
I've always kept a diary growing up, and come the digital age I always maintained a blog - until life got too busy.
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