Food for the Soul

Words of Wisdom

Bid Goodbye to those Stubborn Stains

It’s Saturday and the weekend of your multi-tasking mom is not complete without giving full attention to her laundry chore.
For several months, I have overlooked and disregarded those perennial stains on Cj’s (my son) white school uniform until it dreads me and cannot anymore stand to see those eyesore’s stubborn tinges. So I need to make myself offline for a while to prepare me to a journey and give way to a new career – meet the stain-buster mom (lol).

Let’s get started. When I separated the whites from the colored ones, I have spotted a lot of stains that need careful handling and special treatment. Although this chore is no fun task, worry no more, there were home products or stuffs readily available right in our kitchen and in our home without requiring me to buy for a consumer brands to combat those persistent blots. This time, I went out of my way to really go green on white fabrics with deodorant stain around the armpit and rust stain. I applied splash of lemon juice on the affected area and place it under the sun. Lemon freshens up the clothes too and the sun offers free and non-toxic incredible bleach but be careful in colored ones.

Before removing those intermittent stains, please be cautious to check the care label on the soiled garments. Prior testing on the inconspicuous area should keep in mind to avoid further damage to the garments.

Let me share with you some of my get-rid ways I have researched, tried and tested myself to fight those stains.. stains.. and stains.

Black Mildew
Mildew is a living fungus that thrives in warm and damp areas. Pour a good amount of peroxide all over the stain and add some baking soda. To remove mildew in carpet, you can also mix one teaspoon ammonia to a half-cup of water and dab on the stained area. But be warned that hydrogen peroxide can bleach your fabrics, so try a dab on in an inconspicuous place first to see if it'll bleach the fabrics.

Dried blood
Soak overnight in cold water and two cups of salt. Wash as usual in cold water.

Fresh blood

Rinse well in water. Dab on hydrogen peroxide with a damp cloth and allow it to bubble then wipe with fresh cloth. Repeat as necessary.

Candle wax and crayons
Scrape off as much as possible. For white wax, place a power towel under the mark. Iron on medium setting. The wax should be absorbed by the paper towel. For colored wax, put in the freezer. Once the wax is frozen, shatter it with the back of knife. Iron as prescribed above. Launder as usual.

Before washing the stained garment, put paper towel under the affected area and spray with hairspray. The paper towel absorbs the ink. Repeated application will get best result. Alcohol too, helps eliminate the spot by dabbing the affected area. Rinse with cold water.

Oily Food

Pour amount of shampoo on the stain and gently rub. Baby powder and dish washing liquid can also serve as grease-cutter and absorb grease and oil. Put generous amount of baby powder on the stained area and let sit at lease overnight. Wash as usual.

Squeeze a lemon and sprinkle salt on the affected area and place under the sun. Launder as usual.

Shoe polish
For white fabrics, apply straight rubbing alcohol. For color-fast fabrics, mix one part alcohol to two parts water and sponge directly on the spot.

Stains produced by the human body
Apply generous amount of shampoo (which is a strong cleaner) on the under arm stains and ring of spot around the collar.

Drop Aspirins into the white garments and let sit for few hours. (I haven’t tried this one but I will definitely give Aspirin a try)

Scrape the stain. Vomit or baby spit-up contains acid that can permanently ruin fabric if it is allowed to sit. Sprinkle baking soda and rub on the affected area.

Make a mixture of vinegar and water solution. Sponge onto the the spot, let it sit a few moments. Wash as usual.

Some other helpful tips
  1. Vinegar does wonders not only to my laundry but a cleaning agent to my jewelries, kitchen utensils/appliances, sinks and other things around the house. It has added benefit of breaking down laundry detergent more effectively. Adding ½ cup of vinegar and splash of lemon juice to the rinse will serve as fabric softener and freshener respectively.
  2. Washing a new cool black t-shirt or black jeans with ¼ cup of vinegar for the first time would lock the color and prevent the fabrics from fading easily.
  3. Adding about 2 tablespoons of regular table salt to your colors in cold water and allow to soak for a while will brighten and enhance the colors.

Do you have great washing clothes tips that you may want to share and contribute? Please feel free to post it here.

A Hobbyist's Mania

As a hobbyist, I am always enthralled working with my hands. I find bliss in cross-stitching, crocheting, quilting, sewing, beading, and anything that flexes my nifty muscles. Even when I was still a little girl, I got thrilled when my Home Economics teacher back in my elementary days would bring in and teach us new arts/crafts project. During those times, I can’t remember submitting any piece of my work that was half-baked and without displaying my keen eye for details attitude. If there was a need to start doing it again, I would painstakingly redo it entirely to come up with the finished products in almost great precision. Since then, the discovery for my fascination, obsession and passion to the world of craft began to burst.

Here are some of my hand crafted creations.

My addiction and crave for crafts learning grew more when my friend sent me a coin-purse made out of crystal beads as a gift. The moment I handed the beaded purse, I whispered to myself, hmmm, this is something I will really enjoy doing from our home and put my unexploited ingenuity into maximum use. For 3 consecutive struggling days, working until wee hours just to study the twists and turns how the coin purse was made, I was able to carry out the finished product well. From the beads making, I got a kick out of all the crazy designs I could come up with and each piece of crystal bead comes out differently producing cellphone case, bowl case-protection, jewelry, bag, flower vase holder, and even fruits/animals miniatures. I regret that I haven’t taken a snapshot of some of my handcrafted creations prior to giving out to friends as my personal-touched gift on a particular occasion. But from now on, I will and I must. Promise!

Although I have no formal education nor did I attend any short course on jewelry making, it surprises me to produce something which I really enjoy and finally uncover my newfound knack. Of course, if my budget and time permit, I would definitely love to enroll in special classes or crash courses on jewelry making or Gemology to acquire techniques and knowledge.

This hobby really gives me enjoyment in accessorizing myself; flaunting my designs and then got noticed by others and eventually accepting made to order jewelry.

You are welcome to drop me a line. Thank you.

Stay-at-Home Ways to Earn Extra Income

In today’s global economic turmoil, we are challenge to find techniques on how to supplement our income especially if we are hit by uncertain corporate shutdown and downsizing. In the midst of this world’s market slump, I am optimistic that we can rise above adversities and turn it into opportunities. There are many accessible, viable income-earning approaches, which will help sustain and make our ends meet.

Here are some helpful tips that you might consider:

  • Earn money from your hobbies – Put your craft skills to good use, sell them and make them profitable.
  • Have a garage sale or put unused and unwanted items up for sale.

  • Allow to run free the chef in you – For special occasions, you may offer cooking services to your friends and neighbors or cook delicacies, bake goodies and sell them.

  • Unleash your musical talents and profit from them – Offer to sing at small party or provide music/instruments lessons for a fee per hour.
  • Babysit for neighbors
  • Rent out a room - Think about renting out spare room in your house.
  • Gain from your events organizing skills - Let loose your events organizing skills by coordinating or planning events like wedding, christening, baby shower, stag and bridal shower parties, etc.
  • Become a tutor - Share your expertise with the kids within the neighborhood by teaching subjects you are good at.
  • Explore the power and wonders of internet - If you are a freelancer or stay-at-home moms, here's a legitimate online home-based income opportunity that I found myself. You can do this and earn from the comfort of your home.
  • Go into direct selling - There are many available legal and lawful direct selling companies that offer sound business opportunity.

Our Own Frontier - The Fountain Spring Resort

Fountain Spring Resort is our family-owned-managed business established on February 12, 2004 and located at Masoso, San, Isidro, Iriga City, Camarines Sur, Philippines. It is the brainchild of my husband and our turning point in our respective careers shift from being plain employees for several years to entrepreneurs.

From a bare fishpond, he took full advantage and utilized the crystal clear flowing spring water (which Iriga City is abundant for) coming up from the surface and converted it to a small recreational establishment. Produced from our own blood, sweat and tears, this is how our humble Fountain Spring Resort was born and came into existence.

It is a family-friendly haven within the city that offers cool, fresh and profusely clean free flowing water complemented by a gushing water often emit on trickle that will definitely de-stress, calm your senses and will soothe to both your body and soul after a hard day’s work.

An escape, away from the frantic pace of city life perfect for family/friends’ gatherings and get together. If you are in town, please come, relax and enjoy your bonding experience with your family in our place.

The venue is best for birthdays, baptisms, weddings, small group seminars, reunion, and other get together parties.

For inquiries, please contact mobile no. +(63) 92155432 or tel. no.+(63) 054 2994682 with address at Opal St., Masoso, San Isidro, Iriga City, Camarines Sur, Philippines.

One of our dreams is to have it undergone a complete make-over and be it known to be a high-end resort if not within the Bicol Region, but at least here in Iriga City to be able to provide jobs and help our fellow IrigueƱos. But due to budget constraints, we are restricted not to push through with the total overhaul project at the moment. We are positve, struggling very hard and continuously praying to God that He will grant our request. Meanwhile, we will leave it to that and we'll keep it that way.

After a refreshing plunge into the pool, take advantage of Iriga's best that has to offer. You may also want to experience indulging your family for a nature tripping, slight adventure and stay at Gawad Kalinga's (English translation: to give care) Bed and Breakfast situated at Perpetual Help, Iriga City.

Bed and Breakfast offers a hotel-type accommodation for tourists and it is GK's one of its kind sustainable development project where units are being offered not only to promote tourism but also, can gain access to employment opportunities for the residents within the GK community. Oh, by the way, my husband and I are members of the Couples for Christ and volunteers serving GK-Iriga City. The former is the Productivity Program Manager assigned at GK-Iriga City.

ANN:) Unexpected Things Happened in October 2007

For several years now when I got pregnant to my first son, CJ who is 16 y/o now, it was astonishing to know that I was pregnant again after a loooooooong 15 years of waiting. Thank you God was the first word I mumbled when I saw before my very own eyes, the two purpled lines appeared on the home pregnancy test kit. It was like, my hubby and I hit the lottery jackpot so to speak, after learning I was pregnant again. Finally, the Lord granted our wish to have another baby, so we headed off to Naga City to see an OB-Gyne and had myself submitted for an ultrasound. The result showed that I was 6-7 weeks pregnant but negative fetal heart rate and upon seeing the result, my OB-Gyne advised me that I was likely having a “blighted ovum” pregnancy and was told to come back for a repeat scan after two weeks to confirm fetal viability.

We went home with heavy hearts, as if they will collapse. So, I immediately investigated and researched more on blighted ovum what this complex word was. It was an enormous shocked and heart-breaking to accept, knowing that something was wrong with my pregnancy.

Throughout the first trimester stage of my pregnancy, it was very distressing. I had spotting, noticed some reddish-brown stains and got hit with terrible abdominal cramps. After two weeks of waiting, the moment of truth had arrived when I went through for another ultrasound with a diagnosis saying “repeated scan shows minimal increase in the size of the gestational sac with no fetal pole or cardiac activities.” It was confirmed blighted ovum, an early pregnancy complication that will always end in pregnancy loss within the first trimester, and it will aptly to have miscarriage. I had a fertilized egg implanted in my womb but no visible developing embryo, shattering news that was difficult to accept. My OB-Gyne bestowed upon me the decision whether I would want to be admitted in the hospital for dilation and curettage (D & C) procedure to remove the placental tissues or wait for the miscarriage to happen naturally. I settled for the latter. My OB-Gyne shared that most women who have had a blighted ovum go on to have successful pregnancies (but, what if I am no longer capable of getting pregnant and not in my child-bearing years anymore? LOL). Well, that's the least comforting word that I could get.

We left disheartened, devastated and all I could do was to sob. Back at home, the miscarriage process (heavy bleeding, severe abdominal cramps and pain in the pelvic and lower back) continued over several days.

Grieving is something that every individual has to do after one has experienced a pregnancy loss. This miscarriage thing was new to me as this was my first. I am earnestly praying that it will not happen to me again though our Almighty God has HIS own reason “even a falling of a leaf has a reason,” so to speak.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8

In trying to be helpful and caring, we often find ourselves saying things that we think would make the person feels better, but in fact, makes that person feels worse. Sometimes, some comments may come across as being hurtful even if not intended that way and I was no exception to this as I had my own share of this comment. Someone remarked, “You should see a priest and request for a confession!” Whaat? Did this person know what she was talking about? Yes, I go for a confession but not for this purpose. As if I have done a heinous crime or committed a mortal sin. It was not my fault to have had a blighted ovum pregnancy. Please try to avoid giving advice or saying anything that minimizes the loss.

Here are “what not to say” tips to those who have experienced miscarriage:

1. "Everything will be fine next time."
What if I’m no longer capable of having a baby next time because of age factor?

"You can always have another."
I don’t want another baby, I want this baby.

"Now you have an angel looking after you."
I don't want an angel, I want my baby back.

"It's for the best."
Best for whom?

"Did you do something you weren't supposed to do?
Did I cause this? How could I have hurt my own baby?

"I understand how you feel."
Everyone feels the grief uniquely.

"At least you have other kid.”
A baby lost cannot be replaced even if I have a living child.

It happened because ________.”
Please avoid speculations over what caused the miscarriage. No one really knows.

Things to say:

1. “You are always in my thoughts and prayers”

2. "I'm sorry."

3. "What can I do to help?"

4. "I'm just here, if you want to talk.”

Every woman has her own ways of grieving and timeframe. We may find ourselves struggling to think of the right thing to say when someone close to us loses a pregnancy, especially if we have no personal miscarriage experience. A comforting hug, pat on the back, offering a shoulder and assuring her that we are here if she needs somebody to talk to maybe the best way to lift her spirit.

To cope for the grief and as part of my healing process, I buried the placental tissue to lay it to rest and together planted a mangosteen seed in our backyard that will serve as a memoir to put in my memory box. It was also a means to contribute something, in my own little way to my mother earth. Here’s the mangosteen plant now after 1 yr. and 3 months, to be exact.

My hometown - the beautiful City of Iriga

Come on in to my hometown Iriga City!

Beautiful City of Iriga Video by Noel Cabangon

Iriga City known as the Conscience of Bicol, the Character City, and the City of Crystal Springs with more than 30 natural springs providing a rich source of drinking and irrigation waters is nestled at the foot of fabled Mount Iriga (4,823 ft.) and located 491 kilometers South of Manila and can be reached by air (45 minutes from Manila) or by land (8 hour ride).

The 425 year old settlement established by the Spanish conquistadors in the heart of Bicol is among the few booming urban centers in the Bicol Peninsula. Considered as 3rd class city in the province of Camarines Sur, it has 36 barangays with a population of 100,649. The city's climate is tropical, with two spelled seasons: wet, from June to December; and dry, from January to May.

Iriga's topography varies from flat to rolling terrain with elevation ranging from 10 to 60 meters with Mount Iriga reaching 1,149 meters above sea level and land area of 17,400 hectares (78% is agricultural, 16% built-up and 6% forest area).

Take a glimpse of some of Iriga City's attractions and destinations:

Mount Iriga

Rising some 4,823 feet above see level (1,196), Mt. Iriga or Mt. Asog or also known as Mt. Sumagang which means "Mountain of the Rising Sun" is a challenging climb and offers a panoramic view of the entire Bicol river basin area. A crater and gully was formed during the mountain’s last eruption on January 4, 1614.

The trek to the mountain is not that strenuous and can be made in one day. Regular mountain climbing activities are held yearly with participants coming from local mountaineers, its neighboring towns and from as many parts of the country. Its cold surrounding makes it a perfect habitat for wild berries, local specie of pine called agoho, which abundantly grow in the area.

It is also an abode to Iriga’s own Rafflesia Irigaense, one of the smallest species of Rafflesia, a rarest flower in the world known to be parasitic including its crackling sound and foul smell.

Emerald Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes

This grotto is built on top of Calvario Hill. The grotto faces Mt. Iriga and offers a bird's eye view of the city's central business district. This is where the Tinagba Festival culminates with the offering of the first and freshest harvest. During lent season, the grotto is also the set for the Crucifixion scene of the street play on the Passion and Death of Christ.