A useful housewarming gift.

A family friend and her whole family, husband and three kids, are finally moving to a house that they can call their own. It is a decent size house that they got outside the city. They are excited to move in it because they lightinghave been renting since the wedding.

We were one of the first ones to be told of the move. We live near each other so they thought it would be best to tell us they will be moving out in a month’s time. I talked to my siblings about it and we came up with the idea to give them a housewarming party. We are going to talk to the eldest kid so she can be our accomplice in the intimate party we are planning to throw for them. I also came up with the idea of asking common friends if they want to chip in so we can give the family something they can use for their new home. My suggestion is aesthetically great lighting. It came to me when the wife was asking me about appliance repair experts in Oshawa. They have a few items at home that they needs checking and repairing so I thought why not give them something that we all know they will find useful when they move in to their new home. Everything is in place and we already talked to some common friends who chipped in so we can buy lighting for their kitchen and dining area.

If you are also planning to throw a party or buy a gift for someone moving into their new home, here are two housewarming gift ideas if you are under budget constraints.

Rugs

There are different kinds of rugs you can get for the house. I am thinking about the ones you can use to wipe your feet on and the ones you can use to wipe surfaces in the kitchen. These household items are the ones you don’t think of when you go shopping but something that is most needed especially when there are visitors around. I am saying this based on experience. It is always handy to have a couple of rugs around the house.

Believe me, it may not be something grand to bring to a housewarming party but the rugs you will give are the items that will be most used on everyday normal life inside the house.

Plants

Indoor plants that clean the air are the best to bring to a housewarming party. It will be most appreciated, believe me. With so many people suffering from allergies, asthma, and other similar illnesses, it is best to have something inside the house that will clean and purify the air naturally.

There are snake plant, spider plant, peace lily, weeping fig, and so many others that you can buy for inside the house. You can ask your plant vendor the best one you can buy that doesn’t need to much care and sunlight.

There are other great housewarming gift ideas but the two I mentioned are the ones best for me.

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A new avenue of work.

The virus that hit the world brought so much sadness and misfortune to a majority of the people affected by it. But there are those who found their calling and hit the jackpot in this pandemic we are all in. One of those people is studioa friend of mine. She lost her job middle of last year. She was devastated when the company she was working for the past couple of years closed shop. Bankruptcy. She immediately looked for a new job but since a lot of people lost their jobs, too, competition was really stiff. After a month of job hunting, she was forced to accept the fact that a new source of income was needed.

She started baking cakes for birthdays. Cupcakes and pastries, too. She, also, started an arts and crafts studio, heated floors for winter, where she wraps gifts beautifully for others. It was the start of her online shop which now includes seasonal decors as well as distressed tables and chairs. She recently joined Etsy where she sells majority of her products and services. Income is not as steady as when she has a nine to five job but it’s more than enough to cover her bills and then some.

More than a decade ago, I found myself in a dilemma. I wanted to concentrate on my online work but I was afraid of letting go of my job. I was earning so much online but I think being an employee, earning every 15th and end of the month, is easier than to risk it and focus on going freelance. It took me a year before I finally decided to go freelance and concentrate on online work. It was scary in the beginning but when income started pouring in steadily, I gained confidence in my decision. I stayed freelance for about a decade before I decided to go back to the corporate world.

I think that each of us has this survival instinct embedded in our psyche. When we are thrust into a difficult situation our instincts will naturally kick in. We find ways in order to survive just like what happened to my friend. Especially if there are love ones who rely on us, we’d be quicker to find a new avenue of work in order to replace the one that we lost.

In my case, when I felt that online work was not giving me the same amount of income as when I started, I slowly disengaged from it. I picked up where I left off in my corporate life and, luckily for me, it was not as hard as I thought it would be.

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No to hoarding.

One of the realizations of old age is that there is so much wastage in one’s younger years. Do you agree with that? I am in my 40’s now. And I may not be old old yet, but when I look back to my 20’s and 30’s, yes, there was so much I could have saved. There was so much waste, literally and figuratively.

bedroom
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I remember watching this reality show where people hoard different items to the point that their homes and lives are being destroyed by the items they cannot dispose of. One lady hoarded tons of books. She literally made a bed out of the books inside her house. It was a mess! The intervention team brought a rent a bin for junk removal to help her clean her home so they could give her back a semblance of life she once had. The lady refused to part with her books in the beginning. But when the intervention team pointed out that rats were living alongside her on those books, she reluctantly agreed.

After watching that show, I looked at my boxes and boxes of books and stuff realizing that I have wasted so much money hoarding books that looked really beautiful but I had no intention of reading. Book covers used to attract my attention a lot. So, even when I didn’t like the story, I’d still buy the book so I could display it. I also did this to notebooks and notepads and any kind of paper for that matter. My sister used to call me a hoarder because I was one. But that show opened my eyes to the waste around me. I sorted my books, separated the ones I haven’t read yet that I wasn’t too keen on reading, those books I already read that I didn’t want to keep anymore, and sold all of those books. I kept three boxes of books that I truly liked and wanted to read sometime in the future.

These days, I think a million times before I buy something. Not only books but also other personal stuff. I will add it to cart (because I now mostly buy my stuff online) but I’d keep the items there. After a few days, realization will come and I’d either check the items out or I’d empty my cart. A few years of life gave me a percentage of wisdom I need.

I used to dream of filling my room with books. Shelves and shelves of books that I could show off to my family, friends, and acquaintances. I visualize their eyes going wide with my bedroom looking like a library. It was a dream of mine. Not anymore, though. These days, a clean, clutter-free room is what I like to maintain. I use a Kindle e-book reader nowadays. Cheaper and space saver. Also, more environment-friendly.

I still dream of a house with a big library with all my favorite books displayed beautifully on it. It will remain a dream for me because I will not return to hoarding paper stuff anymore. Or any other item for that matter.

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On mental health and fun times at home.

This pandemic is taking a toll on our mental health. You may not notice it because you may be working the same number of hours, doing household chores like before. The restlessness, the feeling of being stuck in a rut, the cabin fever… it’s all there and we’re pushing it to the side so we don’t deal with it right now. But what we don’t know is that those negative emotions are attacking us from the inside. We don’t want to find ourselves struggling mentally, emotionally, psychologically, in the brink of a breakdown. Right?

We can take care of our mental health through simple activities. Did you know that a simple competitive game at home, enjoyed by members of the family, can have a huge impact on our mental well-being? Physical or virtual ones, it doesn’t really matter as long as we are playing with family members. And as long as we are enjoying ourselves! It will lessen anxiety and stress. And I am speaking from experience here.

Let me share here two games that we play at home: one game is for the older ones while the other is for kids and the not-so-young at hearts.

Solitaire

Solitaire

Obviously, this card game is for the older ones in the family. Solitaire. I believe most of us know what this game is. Right? You can choose to use physical cards or, like us at home, we love playing online. Seven cards will be dealt to you and from there you will complete the line up of each type of cards in a deck, regardless of color. All four suits (clubs, hearts, spades, diamonds) should be lined up in one column from King to 2. Aces should be lined up on top of the tableau where each card type will go from 2 to King this time.

It’s fairly easy to play, believe me. It’s actually a no-brainer considering all you will do is line up the cards and deal. If you really just want to pass the time, relaxing, just having fun, this Solitaire card game is for you. Take turns playing it. What my sisters and I do when we play is that we take turns, listing down scores of each one. We do three rounds. Whoever scores the highest is the winner. The loser always have to do a household chore that nobody wants to do.

I should warn you, though, that Solitaire is so much fun to play that it is addictive! I can play this all day long all by myself. And it is what I usually do when I don’t feel like tackling any chore or work task.

Another fun game that I want to learn is mahjong. The older members of the family, uncles and aunts, are experts on this game. I’d like to learn, too, so I can play with them.

at-homeAside from online games, another fun activity that you can do with the family at home, with or without any occasion, is videoke singing. Yes, the one where you will get a score in the end. We do this with the kids because they also know some songs and they are so happy when they beat the older ones.

Our mental well-being is very important. I speak from experience because I had a recent bout with depression. It really affected my over-all health. This pandemic is taking a toll on all of us, young and old, and we need to be able to find something, a tool, in order to fight the side effects of this situation we are all in.

Whatever makes you happy these days, take advantage of it!

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In tip-top shape

car-breakdownOne of the things that my father taught us was to always make sure our vehicles are in tip-top shape. Make sure it is functioning properly. The battery is good, parts are in good condition, the car itself is clean and ready to go when needed. Of there are services like Best Buy Auto Equipment‘s 2 post car lifts but my father believed that learning the basic in troubleshooting is best. What happens if you are in the middle of nowhere, your car broke down, and you can’t call for help?

In these times, it is always best to have a service like two post car lifts on standby. A car has become a necessity nowadays. Have you noticed that? I remember last year when this pandemic broke out and there was a nationwide lockdown by the government, people without cars found themselves struggling in commuting to different locations. We are lucky because we have two vehicles on standby. I remember seeing posts in social media asking for available car pool services. That was a tough time for everyone, I guess.

It’s a good thing that car companies have lowered the down payments and monthly amortizations to their offered vehicles. You can get basic sedans for even zero down payment now. My brother used to be a marketing professional in a leading automotive brand so I am updated on car offers.

Truth is that I can’t wait for this pandemic to be over. I already saved up to get our SUV tuned up. I have more than enough to pay for an auto lift. I will get it checked thoroughly. I will make sure that I will utilize that two post car lift and when I am sure that our SUV is in good shape, I will gather my siblings and nephews for a roadtrip!

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Do not block the driveway.

There is a reason why majority of houses in this side of the world has a written reminder on their garage doors that says “Do not block the driveway”. Some car owners are careless on where they park their cars. In times when you are in a rush due to an emergency, you cannot take your car out because another car is blocking the garage door or driveway.

do-not-block-driveway

Let me tell you of the same predicament we are always in. Our house is in a busy street. Our neighbor is a dentist and the front of his house is converted into a dental clinic. Naturally, when he has a number of regulars come in for their appointments, parking space becomes a problem. We often find a car parked in front of our driveway even when we already put a “no parking” sign and a “do not block the driveway” warning sign in front of the house. It is a lot of hassle when we need to go out. I have to go find the car owner for the car to be removed so we can go take our own SUV out.

When my Dad was alive, he was our guard. Since he always parked himself near the door, when he would hear a car parking, he’d go and check to make sure it’s not parking in front of the driveway. He’s very protective of our residence he was the one who put up the signs. He even went and get driveway sealing to make sure we are safe when our vehicles are being driven out of the garage.

It is a good thing that my Dad trained our dogs to bark when a car or a motorcycle is parking in front of our house. Now, we know when to go out to check. I already talked to the dentist next door. I told him to gently tell his regular patients to park somewhere else and not on our driveway. He already told his regulars but there are still some who would ignore the reminder on our garage door. I told the dentist next door that next time one of his patients would park on our driveway and the car is blocking our path when we need to go out, I’d call a towing company to get the car towed.

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Fixing things around the house.

handymanOne of the things I have always wanted to learn is to become a handywoman for the family. Someone who knows how to fix things around the house. Fixing leaking pipes, changing broken faucets. Just someone who can be called when something needs to be righted inside the house instead of calling someone else to do it.

These days, getting things done by yourselves can save a lot of money. Especially in these trying times when you are not sure when the company you are working for will close shop. And it is not a baseless fear because a lot of big companies are ceasing operations left and right. So, I am challenging myself to learn how to fix things around the house to save on repairs and maintenance cost. I have asked uncles and male cousins to teach me the basics and I will do the rest. Naturally, how to fix home appliances will be left to the professionals. I am a bit wary of anything related to electricals. I grew up with my Mom’s constant reminder not to touch anything that can electrocute me. It instilled in me a fear of electrical wires.

fixer-upperMy first project, a place for the two nephews to get their schoolwork done. A homework station for them. I already have the exact look in mind and how I would go about to do it. I just need to make sure I have all the tools on hand so when I start working on it, I don’t have to pause to get stuff. I am excited to do this because the kids are doing their work on their bed. What I have in mind is a long desk for them to work on and small storage spaces where they can keep their books, notebooks, pencils, crayons, and all the other stuff they have for school.

In some ways, I envy students these days. They have all the necessary tools they need to be better in school. They have Google! When I was a student, I needed to go to libraries in order to do research. Encyclopedias were a thing back then. Thick, old books were browsed and read in order to learn more about a certain subject. These days, all a student needs is Google and a discerning mind in order to do research properly. All those beautiful notebooks, pads, pens, highlighters… I can go on and on.

Well, on to learning the basics on repairs and maintenance, to expanding my hands on experience, and to the schoolwork station of my nephews.

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