How to Spend a Productive 5-Day Special Holidays

The Pope would visit your beloved country and the government announced that the Papal visit was going to be special holiday. No, with an S. HolidayS. Yes, five long days of no work and school in Metro Manila, just 2 weeks after your long Christmas break. High five while jumping up and down! 😀

Since you’re not a Catholic and your husband is a non-practicing and a non-devotee Catholic, both of you think of ways to spend this 5-day break. An out-of-town beach outing with the kids? Sounds good but not part of the budget. A day-trip to Tagaytay to feel it’s cold, fresh air? Heard that Tagaytay traffic is worse during this cold January season. Stay home? Check! The best and least expensive way to spend an unexpected long holiday.

And stay home and get all domesticated was what we did and we enjoyed and felt productive without spending! Well, spending something that is not budgeted 😉 How to do it? 🙂

1. Play with your kids.

This is one of the reasons why a parent always looks forward to a holiday, right? 🙂 So I built a makeshift play tent out of a straw string and a blanket, laid down some rubber mats, set up the tiny cups and plates and played tea party with the Little Princess and her Elsa and Anna dolls. 😉 My adorable daughter enjoyed “clinking our cups” and making Elsa and Anna “drink and eat” at the tea party and the joy on her face is priceless! 🙂 We also did a little dress up with some necklaces and bracelets gifted to her by her Ninangs last Christmas. Next time, we’ll be doing not just pretend play but real “kikay” stuff like going to nail salon 😉 ).

teaparty

Enjoying the Tea Party

While we, girls, were having fun playing dress up and tea party, the boys — Daddy J and the Big Boy — were busy building a Lego toy together. I wasn’t able to snap a photo though but the Big Boy was equally elated that he finally could play with his Lego. 🙂

On another day, the Little Princess and I went out for some exploring around our place by running on the grass and picking some flowers while the Big Boy and his Daddy went biking. These are moments hubby and I are so thankful we are able to spend with our kids.

2. Organize your kids’ cloth diapers.

Yup, I’m a cloth diapering momma. 🙂 I only have one cloth diaper-ed baby now as the Big Boy has been completely potty trained since he started schooling but imagine the pile of cloth diaper (CD) laundry we have when both of the kids were on diapers! I’m very thankful and I appreciate our househelp who never gave up on washing the kids’ CDs and have never ever complained (probably not to me directly? 😀 ) for the additional laundry every 3 days.

I love cloth diapers that I didn’t realize it has turned into an addiction. Haha! I didn’t have the total count of our CDs until I sorted them all last Saturday but I am aware that we have built a huge stash especially for the Little Princess. Admittedly, I still purchase some pieces because I couldn’t resist the cute prints! 😀 Well, I have stopped since God made me realize I’m not being a good steward of His money when I buy more than what we need and I’m already running out of reasons to explain to hubby the packages that arrive at our doorstep. I can hear his words ringing in my head now. “Doesn’t A have enough cloth diapers? I thought we want to make savings from buying disposable diapers that’s why we cloth diaper her?” He has a point, a valid one. My rebuttal, “That’s why I will destash those that we are not using anymore.” 😀 (Yes dear, please dispose them asap 😀

So, before my husband asks me again about this issue I’m trying to avoid (haha!), I finally pushed myself to gather together all of the 2 kids’ cloth diapers and sorted them to know which one goes back to the storage and which ones to let go.

clothdiaperstash

Presenting our collection of cloth diapers 🙂

I put order in this chaos by grouping them into:

  1. The Big Boy’s old nappies — I’m torn if I should keep them or destash them because my thought bubble says, “What if God blesses us with another curious boy? We can just re-use the CDs.” So I dropped them on the storage basket. I can destash them anytime anyway in case my mind changes. 😉
  2. The Little Princess’ nappies which I further grouped into morning/early evening diapers, naptime diapers, nighttime diapers and going-out diapers
  3. For destash — The good thing about cloth diapers is that you can resell them. I’m a member of an online group of cloth diaper-ing parents, the Modern Cloth Nappying Pinays (MCNP) which encourages buy, sell and trade of CDs as a way to also promote cloth diapers especially to those who would like to try or prefer cheaper options. The CDs that I’m destashing will go here. 🙂

I also made a census of our CDs and figure shows we have a total of 113 unsoiled/un-peed nappies. 🙂

clothdiaperstash2

All accounted for (except the ones in the diaper pail and laundry) 😉

3. Organize your kids’ play area.

We squeezed in a small play corner for the kids, about 2.5 x 1.25 meters in our tiny house so that books, toys and stuff are not scattered all over the house. This area is a reading nook, play area and study area all in one. So I think I shall call this an All-in-One Kid’s Corner. Haha! Anyhow, as I always tell my husband, I have a vision for this spot in terms of design but it’s part of our home improvement project in the near future so for the meantime, I just organized everything in this area following the blue, green and orange color palette and using all the available resources we have. I also took this opportunity to spring clean the kids’ stuff.

Tada! Looks more pleasing to the eyes now. 🙂

4. Organize an unruly corner of your house.

This spot in our home was an eyesore! See evidence below. We use this space as storage for books, office supplies and other stuff using stacked filing storage but it turned into Daddy J’s mud area/bag storage. Since this spot is very visible from our living area and it’s quite embarassing for visitors to see its ugliness, I promised myself to make it look like a part of our house rather than a stock area.

before1

Using the storage and shelf we have at home, I replaced the 2 filing storage with a side table and displayed the books instead and used a small drawer as storage for office supplies. Here’s how it looks now. 🙂

after1

 I was worried the kids might bump unto the sharp corner of side table so my quick child proofing solution: cover the table with an unused but nice-looking rug thick enough to serve as a cushion. Voila! No more dangerous corners! The rug also added color and texture in this spot.

sidetable

This rug which has been lying around the house now serves another purpose. 🙂

The side table became a bookshelf and it’s a little boring if all the books will be displayed horizontally and the rug’s pattern is also horizontal stripes. The other books on top of the shelf had to go vertical. This way, Daddy J can also effortlessly grab the book he would like to read. So I used our coin cans as decorative yet functional bookends slash coin storage where we can easily scoop some coins for quickly buying stuff at the convenience store or as shuttle, tricycle or jeepney fare. 😉

bookends

It’s just half-filled now. 😀

5. Attend church service then spend some more quality time with your family while buying stuff needed for your house afterwards. 

A weekend is not complete without a Sunday worship and thank God we were able to go to church after missing the past 2 weeks’ service and settling for the online streaming instead. After the church service, we went to a nearby Wilcon Depot with the 2 kids without a yaya to buy the needed things at home. You know how much of a struggle it is to go shopping with 2 kids but Daddy J and I made it! 😉 With the Big Boy sleepily sitting in the push cart and the Little Princess snugly sleeping and nursing on Mommy, we were able to get a ceiling fan for our room, some pretty knobs for my DIY hook project, Daddy J’s gardening stuff, a nice decorative wall clock and some other home stuff. We also wanted to get a pull-out dish organizer but we weren’t sure of our cupboard’s dimensions so we just set it aside for the meantime.

atwilcon

Babywearing saves the day! 🙂 My 20-month old little girl nicely tucked in our Saya baby carrier.

I forgot to mention that Daddy J was also specifically looking for a vacuum cleaner in a budget which we were able to buy after going to 3 stores. 😀 We no longer tagged the kids along so they could rest and for us to easily move around. My dear hubby was also in the mood to shop for some items so I took the chance to persuade to him to get us an area rug for our living area and yay, we went home with one! 🙂 I’ll share a photo sometime in the future when our living room is a bit more organized. 😉

6. Cook for your family.

My husband knows when he married me that I have very limited cooking skills (I was upfront with him about it. 😀 ). So aside from fried and boiled dishes, the other food I can prepare are sinigang na baboy and sinampalukang manok which I was forced to learn back in college, tinolang manok and to some extent adobo which I voluntarily learned when we got married. I’m absolutely sure my family wouldn’t want to eat 4 dishes in rotation everyday. Again, big thanks to our house helpers who cook our food or else, we will all get hungry at home. 🙂 However, the wife and mommy in me want desire to expand my cooking skills so once in a while, I take charge of the kitchen and last Monday was a perfect chance. 😉

I prepared a tomato and chicken pasta (well, that’s what I call it 😀 ) based on the recipe and tips that my friend Raissa taught me. Much as I’d love to share my recipe, I can’t recall how I did it step-by-step. 😀 And the ingredients were measured based on my instinct slash gutfeel slash estimation. 😀 But I don’t want to be selfish (as if I’m a very good cook! haha!) so I’ll share some of the things I did which I learned from Raissa:

  • Use fresh tomatoes to make the sauce taste more fresh and natural by stewing them and peeling the skin. Make sure to squeeze the juice upon putting in the cooking pan.
  • Use cheese in lieu of salt to make the taste more flavorful rather than just salty.
  • Use ground chicken instead of beef to avoid having an oily/sebo and beefy taste/mouthfeel.

I’ll explore other dishes next time and maybe practice cooking at least once every week? 🙂

There goes our wisely spent 5-day break! 🙂

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