Another season has ended...

Friday was my last day at work for awhile. Another season of work has ended. I've been a seasonal clerk at the Dept of the Treasury for 7 years now. Our work season usually runs from January through September. We are usually always let go just before Labor Day, but last year I was lucky and we worked until the end of October. It's different every year depending on how much work there is. I won't be going back to work until the end of January 2010.

So now I'll have some down time before I leave for the Philippines in a few months. I have to finish making copies for our immigration paperwork. I'd like to go to the park and walk around, take pictures. It would be nice to go to some other places I've been wanting to visit too.

I've been so worried over when we would be furloughed I forgot my birthday is coming up in less than 2 weeks. The other day F.B. & were chatting online and he said, "I'm going to mail you a letter this week." Since we usually only mail letters during special occasions I asked, "Why? Just because?" He said, "Someones birthday is coming up..." Oops! Lol! I completely forgot about my birthday this year.

I ordered some more cubes from my friend Brittney's rat rescue a few weeks ago. They are $10 each and the proceeds go towards Star's Rat Rescue.

My girls love the cubes, Sugar especially. She sleeps in it all the time. They loved their last cubes to pieces so it was time to order some new ones! Here are some pictures of all the girls:






Sugar's tumors are getting larger. She has one under her left arm and another on her belly near her left back leg. Since she will be 2 years old in October, I am not going to put her through the surgery to have them removed. Even though they are getting larger, she is still able to get around, walk up& down the ramp in her cage and comes running for yogurt peanuts!

You can see how larger her tumors are getting in this picture:


Taste Testing! (Asian Aisle)

I had a taste testing Friday night with my parents & three younger brothers. We tried all of the products I won in the Asian Aisle giveaway. (Thank you so much Cindy!) Some of the products, I’ve linked to the Asian Aisle blog where they were featured. (The products that have not been featured yet are linked to their manufacture website, etc.) I had a really fun evening trying all of these interesting and unique products and wanted to share my reviews.

SOO Singapore Jerky: Pork Jerky & Hot Pork Jerky.


The jerky had a sauce like coating on it. It tore really easy into smaller pieces and was really yummy. It reminded me almost of boneless spare ribs from a Chinese takeout place. I actually liked the spicy one better.

Philippine Dried Mangoes


Ahhhh this is why I entered the giveaway in the first place! I love Philippine dried mangoes. There is no better mango then a Philippine mango. These are sweet and chewy and addictive! F.B. and I would buy them everytime we visited the grocery.

Kasugai’s Gummy Candy. (Flavors: Apple, Grape, Muscat, Pineapple, Orange.)


I love the packaging. Each one would say the flavor and, “Comes in a attractive small bag” Heehee! Apple was good, I love orange. Even the muscat flavor was good. Kind of a cross between an apple & grape flavor to me. Pineapple was not so good. My brothers agreed- it didn’t really taste like a pineapple.

Pocky: (Almond Crush & Strawberry Cream.)


I’ve seen pocky in the international aisles at the supermarket, but I’ve never tried it. I really liked it. The chocolate on the almond crush one was really rich and creamy. The strawberry cream was awesome too. They have a nice crunch to them almost like a cracker or cookie.

Yan Yan Vanilla Cream Snack


Everyone had so much fun with these! All of the biscuit cookies have silly sayings on them. My Mom cracked up because she got one that said, “In a hole.” She made me take a picture. My Dad got “Beware of lies.” You dip the cookies in the vanilla cream. I would definitely get these again. My fiancé said he’s had them in the Philippines.


Nagaraya Barbecue Cracker Nuts


Wow! I’ve seen these in the Philippines and F.B. said he’s also had these before, but I never tried them. These were everyone’s favorite. The peanuts are so light and airy with a crunchy coating. Never tasted anything like them. I love the smokey barbecue flavor too. Will definitely be bringing some of these home on my next trip to the Philippines!

Hello Panda (Biscuits with chocolate cream.)


Yum! Yum! Yum! These were soooo good! The cookie is light and airy and crisp with rich chocolate cream inside. Everyone loved these! F.B. said he has had these before too over in the Philippines. I would definitely buy these again!

Ramune Carbonated Drink (Melon)


Opening the bottle was quite an experience! You have to use this plastic plunger thing and push it into the top of the bottle; this releases a marble. When you open it, it sounds like a bottle of champagne opening! The bottle’s unique shape keeps the marble from going down into the bottle. We each tried a little of the soda. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t sweet enough for my liking. I’m keeping the bottle; it’s so different and neat looking!

Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce


It says HOT for a reason! I only had the tiniest little taste of this and my mouth was on fire! It might be okay diluted with other sauces; it’s not bad, just hot. My 14 year old brother has a fondness for hot stuff. He took a spoonful of this stuff! And his eyes were watering, but he loves it! Haha!

Sambal Oelek Ground Fresh Chili Paste


This wasn’t as hot and has a different, almost sweet taste to it with a thicker texture. Will definitely find a use for this. I have some rice noodles in the cabinet; I will have to put together a stir fry dish with this sauce.

Philippine Brand Mango Juice Nectar


So yummy! Everyone enjoyed this too. Like I said, Philippine mangos are… well, heaven! It reminded me of sitting at my fiancé’s dining room table eating a fresh mango. (He would cut a half, and you would eat it with a spoon.) This was really good juice!

Ginger Candy


I’m not too fond of ginger, so I didn’t know what to expect with this candy. The rice paper covering was different- I did try to peel it off, even though it's supposed to disolve in your mouth, haha! It was chewy and spicy and I was surprised that I loved it! It reminded me of Brachs cinnamon heart candies. My Mom really enjoyed this too.

Flower’s Kiss Candy


Unique flavor. I’m not sure what the fruit flavor is supposed to be. I love the pretty paper and flower design. These were not bad at all, I liked them.

Meiji Gummy Choco (Strawberry, Muscat, Orange.)


I had a similar candy in the Philippines that I didn’t like because they were too gummy. But these were firmer and very fruity with a chocolate coating. You can smell the fruit when you open the container. I love the container- I think I’m going to keep it when their all gone, it’s so cute!

Hi-Chew (Flavors: Orange, Lemon, Green Apple, Strawberry, Melon)


Love love love these! I’ve never tried these before. The remind me of a firmer chewier starburst candy. Orange was the top favorite with everyone, followed by strawberry. Melon was surprisingly good, it tasted like fresh cantaloupe. The orange flavor, as well tasted just like an orange! All of them were good; I’m going to have to hunt these down around here in Philadelphia!

Botan Rice Candy


Different, another candy with a rice paper coating, hehe. These were chewy, with a slight orange citrus flavor. Not overpowering though, not bad.

Marukawa Bubble Gum. (Various Flavors.)


When I think of gumballs, I think of that hard crunchy break your tooth coating, haha! These were really soft and chewy & had a strong fruit flavor. All of the flavors were really good. Everyone liked them.

I also thought it was funny that underneath there was a piece of styrofoam that said this!


I had alot of fun with this taste testing! I really want to do another blog like this, with Philippine snack foods & candy when I am back in the Philippines in November. I would also like to do a Philippine snack food giveaway! (Look forward to at least 2 giveaway's while I'm in the Philippines! *wink* )

Similar Blog Posts:

Phil-Am Foods

Philippine Snack Foods

Foreign Food Cravings


Wow! (Updated)

I can't believe it! I've won my 1st blog giveaway! Wow! Wasn't expecting that!

I've been reading Asian Aisle for about a month now. I love this blog. It is all about different foreign foods around the world; mostly snack foods. Since I've been to the Philippines 3 times now (getting ready for my 4th trip in 3 more months!) I'm intrigued by foreign foods & snacks. There are really some interesting ones out there!

So excited! Here is what I entered to win. I have to admit the Philippine dried mangoes tempted me- they are so good and I can't find them anywhere around here! F.B. & I used to buy a bag every time we went to the supermarket. I love wandering around the supermarkets in the Philippines. I will have to take some pictures of interesting products my next trip back!

Edited 8-6-09: Thank you so much Cindy, from Asian Aisle! My package from the giveaway arrived today and check out all of the goodies! So exciting! I just love the little ribbons too & the ducky stationary! I can't wait to have a taste testing with my family this weekend. I will try to blog about all of the neat products! Thanks again!


My Favorite Books! Updated!

I wanted to share a list of my favorite books. I love reading, I read almost every day. Usually before I go to sleep, to relax and unwind from the day. I also read the same books over and over if I really love them. I especially love to read Tudor history or Tudor fiction. I am obsessed with the Tudor Dynasty! You can view my complete book list here.

I've updated my list and I had to move my book catalog to a new website since the old website shut down. You can also browse my books below in the widget. It will show random covers every 10 seconds. You can click on the book covers for information about each book.


Have been MIA...

I haven't posted in a few weeks. July 3rd, I was finally able to visit the Mütter Museum after wanting to go for years. I went with my cousins. We took the train down to 30th Street and walked about 3 blocks or so down to 22nd Street where the Museum is located. Definitely better than driving in downtown Philadelphia traffic or looking for parking! I wish I had pictures, but photography is not allowed inside the museum. It is a medical oddities museum. They had Siamese twin skeletons, babies with birth defects in jars from the 1800 & 1900's. A full wall of skulls from people that passed from different diseases. They had animal brains in jars, rats, ferrets, cats, dogs, etc. Any organ you can imagine. The world's tallest man skeleton, a dwarf skeleton. Human leather... some of the stuff makes you go "Ew!" or "Wow!" but it's a really interesting museum. My mom & brother want to go some time so I will definitely be going back!

About 4 more months until I am off to the Philippines. I can't believe it's already July! In September I have to apply for my visitor's visa from the Philippine Consulate in New York. I am still making copies of everything for our immigration process next year. It's slow but I'm getting there!

Sugar's two tumors are growing very large. She has one under her right armpit and another near her right back leg on her tummy. She is still able to get around but I've had to learn to pick her up differently now by supporting her bottom in my hand when holding her instead of picking her up around her waist. A few years ago I bought a carrot shaped calcium chew for the rats but no one would touch it. Then Spice developed a mammary tumor and she would chew and chew on the calcium chew. After Spice passed no one touched it again. Until Sugar developed her tumors... I am thinking with the tumors sucking nutrients from her body she needs the extra calcium and vitamins. I've been buying her calcium chews at the pet store. (Never salt chews! Salt is bad for rats as it can dehydrate them quickly.) She really loves these ice cream shaped ones.

I discovered Pet Discounters through a Yahoo Search. Their prices are unbelievable! I pay $5.99 at Petco for Sugar's calcium chews. For some of my girls other treats I pay $3.99-$4.99 each. I bought 9 items at Pet Discounters and only paid $30 including shipping! I would have spent $50+ for the those same items at the regular pet store. Fast shipping too! Everything arrived this morning and I ordered on Monday!

What else have I been up too? I finally caved and purchased The Sims 3 during my mini vacation from work. (Love The Sims!) Thought it might be a bit much for my 3 year old PC. But it runs really well actually on my 2.0GHz Duel Core Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, 256MB video card PC. (Even with the graphics set to medium & high on some options!) The biggest issue I have with my laptop is space. I only have a 87GB or so hard drive. (Originally 100GB but system hardware & Windows XP take up some of that space.) I have about 23GB left. I uninstalled some other programs, but I do still have The Sims 2 and all it's expansions, plus 2 stuff packs installed. I want to get an external hard drive at some point.

Actually, at some point down the road I want a whole new laptop from Dell. I asked F.B. when we're married if we get a new laptop can I have it and I'll give him this one, haha! He said since he likes older games my laptop would run his games perfectly with my specs so he would love mine. I really want a higher 2.0GHz processor. Probably Core Duo 2. (It's the fastest processor for a laptop.) Windows 7, 4GB of RAM would be nice and a 512MB video card! A bigger hard drive too. Anything from 200 to 500GB. Sigh.... Haha!


Sugar in the newspaper!

The Metro Newspaper started a 'pet of the week' article. I sent in Sugar's picture and it was published in today's newspaper.

Of course I was late to work today because I had to take Sugar to the vet. (How Ironic!) When I got to work everyone was like, "Hey! You're in the newspaper, you're famous!" Hahaha! I scanned the article to share:

Here are the original photos:

Sugar had her appointment at the vet. And we are going to use the same treatment we did last time that helped clear up her abscesses. He gave her a Baytril injection and more Clindrops for 2 weeks. While she was there she somehow managed to get her scab open and was bleeding so he had to take her in the back to cauterize her wounds. Poor Girl. He also said because of her age it could be risky to have her 2 mammary tumors removed and as long as she is eating & getting around she should be okay.


Places to go, things to do!

Wednesday starts my mini vacation. I have Thursday off. And Friday is our holiday at work since July 4th falls on a Saturday this year. And I'm also taking Monday off. So at least I won't have to go back to work until July 7th! Yay for vacations from work even if it's only a few days!

Monday I will be going into work late as well. Sugar had a vet appointment at 9:20am to deal with her recurring abscesses in her arm and also this blood blister thing. Poor Girl. Sugar now has 2 tumors. One on her belly near her right back leg which is growing very rapidly. And another under her right front arm. Sugar is too old to get them removed and I don't want to put her through the surgery. (She will be 2 years in October.) I just hope they don't grow anymore. At the moment she can still get around and comes running for treats.

I have a list of places I want to go to this year or next year. If I ever have the time or money to get around to everything. I know when F.B. moves to the USA we will be going to lot's of tourist places, there's definitely not a lack of that in Philadelphia!

Here is my list:

Mutter Museum

Academy of Natural Sciences

Bryn Athyn Cathedral

Glen Cairn Museum (Same grounds at Byrn Athyn)

Ryerss Museum

Philadelphia Zoo

Dorney Park

I would love to be able to go to the Mutter Museum sometime on my vacation. I've been wanting to go there for years. It's just a few blocks from 30th Street Station so I could take the train there and walk. Philadelphia Zoo & Dorney Park are way down on my list because of the admission costs. Though Dorney does have discounted days in September so maybe I will go then.


Printers, Immigration, eBay & A Day At The Park!

So last year when I found & talked to our immigration lawyer. He said immigration would need proof of our relationship. He said making copies of my plane tickets, our letters, etc would help to establish proof of our relationship.

I bought a all in one printer last weekend from Walmart. Surprisingly they had an HP Deskjet for $34! And it doesn't seem to be a sale price. It does seem to be an online only purchase though. I couldn't believe the price when I ordered it!

It arrived this week and I set it up and started making some copies. I've kept every boarding pass, every email from I have receipts, movie stubs, play tickets, basketball game ticket stubs from the times I've been in the Philippines. I'm planning to make copies of these. Maybe not every receipt, but I'm sure ones from the hotels we've stayed at, etc may be helpful. Since F.B. & I have sent tons of letters in the past 5 years my lawyer agreed making a copy of the 1st page of the letter and the front of the envelope with postmark should be sufficient.

F.B. has also kept trip journals each time I've been in the Philippines. He wrote down what we did on each day of my stay. I'm going to make copies of those too. F.B. will be making copies of my letters. These are all to provide immigration with proof of our relationship. We will need other documentation and even statements from relatives to prove our relationship to immigration. The more proof we have the better! It's going to take awhile to make copies and records of everything but that is why I am beginning now so we are prepared when we start working with our immigration lawyer in early 2010.

I've also been bidding on eBay again like crazy. When am I not?! Whenever I want something, I always check eBay first for a great deal. I am always saving money that way. I've gotten books recently and clothes and I've been wanting Bose in ear headphones for awhile now. They are so expensive. They retail for $99! I can't stand my tin can sounding ipod buds anymore. Not since I started listening to my music through my new car stereo! I have sony in ear headphones for the plane but they are uncomfortable so I was looking for something that sounds great and is comfortable too.

I was bidding on Bose headphones for the longest time and always getting outbid until a week ago or so. I was outbid on an auction but a few days later I received a 2nd chance offer because the winner the auction failed to pay. I got brand new in the box Bose headphones for $40! My highest bid. They are amazing too! They don't go in your ear all the way so they are comfortable and I barely have to turn the volume up on my video ipod at all it's so clear & loud! With the ipod buds I had to turn up the volume almost all the way and it still didn't sound so great. I'm very happy with them!

So it's been extremely rainy in Philadelphia for a week straight now! It was supposed to overcast for the weekend and then it changed to scattered thunderstorms. I've been wanting to take my new rattie girls (Ginger, Nutmeg & Saffy) to the park to get some nice outdoor shots of them like my older girls. Well I woke up by chance this morning around 8:30am and the sun was shining in my window so up I got. I was definitely heading to the park! My brother & I stopped for breakfast sandwiches and redbull at Wawa and then took the girls to the park where I got some lovely shots of them outside.

They were very curious sniffing and looking around at the park. And of course people had to stop us and say, "Is that a rat!?" "Are they good pets?" "What do they eat!?" And others just pointed. Yes, I'm the crazy rat lady at the park, haha! It was really humid out though. And it did start raining just as we were leaving and heading to the parking lot but we had a really nice morning.

Here are some pictures from today:

You can view the rest of the pictures at my photobucket album here!


You're not having a wedding!?

December, F.B. & I will be getting married. We've been together 5 years now and have been engaged for 2 years. We never wanted a big wedding. We never really wanted a wedding party at all. That's just us, haha. We aren't big party people and we just like to spend time with close friends or family. We always decided if we got married it would be small and we would just have a dinner afterwards with a few friends & family.

Since we are getting married this December alot of people like to ask me, "How are your wedding plans going?", "Did you get a dress yet?", "Where are you going for your honeymoon?", "What day are you getting married?"

My favorite question is the last. Because... we have no idea what day we will be getting married! I asked F.B. recently, "Isn't it weird not knowing what day we will be married?" He said, "Not really, maybe a little." People always give me a look when I answer that I don't know what day I'm getting married and then I have to explain.

Why? Because after I arrive in the Philippines at the end of November F.B. & I will be going to the United States Embassy where I will have to get a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage. After we have gotten that paper we will file for our marriage license. There's a 10 day waiting period and we will have to attend pre-marital classes. Then either during or after our 10 day waiting period we will make an appointment with a judge in Cainta, Rizal Philippines to be married. We are planning on getting married in December. Since it's around the holidays it would be nice if it will be before Christmas, but it depends on how fast we get our paperwork & marriage licence.

I'm actually planning on having a blog contest before I leave for the Philippines this year. I want to ask you all to guess what day you think F.B. & I will be married and I'm planning on awarding the winner a souvenir from the Philippines! But that won't be until November. *wink*

I get asked alot about how my wedding plans are going. This is the other question that bothers me. Or my answer seems to bother other people? Like I said before, F.B. & I never wanted a wedding party. That is the main reason we are having a civil ceremony. We just want a few relatives with us when we get married. We would like to have a dinner with family & friends afterwards but I know F.B.'s family might be planning us a "reception" anyhow. They were thinking about it. F.B. has alot of relatives and they always have reunions and dinners together so if his parents want to plan a "reception" for us we don't really mind. I know all of his relatives would like to greet us after we're married.

Another question that annoys me, "Have you gotten your wedding gown yet?" No. I'm not planning on wearing a wedding gown. I'm not a dressy girl. I can tell you right now, I only own 1 skirt in my entire closet that I wore to my cousins wedding 2 years ago! I'm a t-shirt & jeans girl, a converse sneakers girl. I'm very casual. I don't really do dresses or skirts. I don't feel comfortable in them.

But, I do plan on wearing a skirt & dressy top for my wedding. And yes, it's that skirt that's in my closet... but I love that skirt. It's a pretty flowy black skirt just below the knee. It's the only skirt I've actually felt sexy in and fits perfectly. I plan on wearing it with a lacy tank top with an empire waist from... American Eagle. Yes. Haha. They always have gorgeous lace tank tops with empire waist's that makes it look very pretty & dressy. I haven't figured out what color I want yet though.

I have very pretty dressy silver sandals to wear with my outfit:

And I'm going to be wearing a white pearl drop necklace on a silver chain. And white pearl drop earrings I bought in the Philippines, along with a white pearl bracelet.

And of course we already have our wedding rings! Mine & His!

As for the last question, where are we going for our honeymoon? That's another thing that's still up in the air. It's hard to plan a honeymoon when you don't even know what day you're getting married! We haven't really decided where we want to go for a honeymoon. We'd be content with staying in Makati City for the week going to all our favorite places and maybe planning on a day trip or weekend trip to the beach. We will figure everything out when we have an idea of what day we will be married.

After we get married I will be coming home to the USA in late January 2010 so we can being the immigration process with our lawyer. F.B. will be staying in the Philippines while we go through our process. It will take 16-18 months before he will be able to come to the USA as a permanent resident but we are okay with that. It gives us time to get more settled and save more money for when we will be together. When F.B. does come to the USA we will be having a renewal wedding ceremony. This way both of our families will get a "wedding". And that way all of my family & relatives can meet F.B.

NOTE: Our lawyers Peter J. Gonzales & Shanna Stanton have changed firms. They are no longer with Kahiga Tiagha. They are now with Green and Spiegel LLC, but still located in Philadelphia.

Just some things I wanted to explain and get out of my system because I get asked so many questions all the time about our wedding. We have an idea of how we want things to be and a big wedding was never important to us. What's important to us is getting to be together on that day and getting married and working towards being together forever. After all, we've been doing this long distance thing for 5 years now! I can't wait until December!

NOTE: If you are getting married in the Philippines and you are a US citizen these requirements from the US Embassy in Manila Philippines, will be helpful: Getting Married in The Philippines.

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