lucky charm

My niece arrived home from Japan and she sent me these goodies. She actually asked me what i wanted and i said Maneki Neko. It is believed that it is best and luckier if it is to be given by someone. Well, i got what i wanted with some bonus goodies.

Maneki Neko is a Japanese cat figurine that is believed to bring good luck. Right paw up attracts money and success. Left paw up attracts customers which is good for businesses. Luckily, i think i have both as the middle kitty in my maneki neko has its right paw up.

My figurine is white and it is for happiness. Black ones are for protection, red for love , gold is for wealth, green for good health and calico or tri-coloreds are for extreme luck. I am glad i received a white one as my ultra wish is to be genuinely happy as it’s so difficult to put on a smile if deep inside the heart there are worries, pain and sadness. I need all the lucky charms in the world.

Lucky charm or not, i believe that to really achieve my dream of being happy i should start with the way i see things and find something good in everything. I should have a mindset of being positive and not be affected easily if sometimes things would not turn out the way i want it and just think of how to make it better. I should avoid overthinking as i know it would just get me nowhere. I should always start the day with a smile. And more than anything else, i should be grateful for all the good things that happened and try to bury the past, all the heartaches and pain because at the end of the day it is only me that could create my own happiness.

The Daily Post Daily Prompt: CARVE

if i fitz i sitz

Cats are so fond of tight places.. my salad bowl which i just temporarily placed on the center table became one of their favorite nap spots. A salad bowl became a cat bowl. Same thing goes to my fruit basket which is now officially a cat basket.

“If i fitz i sitz” is the famous TRADEMARK slogan of cats.

My cat Tiger loves to squeeze himself into my salad bowl and my fruit basket. He is a big cat but he still fitz.

Since Puti is the youngest among my cats and is the smallest, she could pretty much fitz herself in.

Ashton, the tabby cat has the biggest belly and is always having a hard time to fitz. Kuting is obsessed with boxes. He’s always the first one to dive in whenever i place a new box to play with. Tiger sometimes love to snuggle tightly at the back of the curtains. Lower right photo features Puti who managed to force herself into the trash bin.

Cats are oftentimes silly and mischievous whenever they are on play mode but are sweethearts during relaxed moments. But most of all, they lower my stress level, great companion, fun to talk to and absolutely are the best in the world in keeping secrets hahaha.

 

you complete me

There is only one thing in my kids’ mind when you ask them about their ultimate comfort food… it’s lasagna. (See below if you want to know my lasagna recipe). And what is lasagna without cheese, lots of cheese? My fridge is never without cheeses… cream cheese, quick melt cheese, cheddar and mozzarella.

Cheese makes everything delightful. It is so FLAVORFUL, so good, so addicting. It is so versatile too. It could be an appetizer, a dip, mixed with desserts and great for baking/cooking. Just thinking about it makes me want to grab for some bread right now and make a grilled cheese sandwich. Cheese… you complete me. Yum!

How about you? What’s your ultimate comfort food?


My lasagna recipe. (I’m sure i already blogged about this but i’m sharing it again)

As a busy mom, i oftentimes make shortcuts when cooking. So i use ready bake lasagna sheets and store bought spaghetti sauce when i cook the ground meat. I sometimes make use of mozzarella sheets if i have them. It’s not often available so grated mozzarella is the next best thing. If out of mozzarella or on a budget? I also make use of quick melt cheese.

For the white sauce. Just melt butter in pan, add some flour, stir to cook and slowly add milk. Stir to prevent lumps. Season with salt to taste or in my recipe i just drop a pork bouillon cube to add more flavor. You may add some cream too for that creamier texture. Bring it to boil with constant stirring to make it even more glossy.

For the ground meat. I usually buy a combination of pork and beef. Based on my own experience, purely ground beef results to an oilier meat sauce. Put ground meat on pan, add some salt, chopped garlic and onion. When cooked, stir in store bought spaghetti sauce. Give it a dash of italian seasoning, some salt if needed and a little sugar to balance acidity. Simmer and set aside.

For layering. Just alternate white sauce and ground meat on a baking pan adding some mozzarella if you want an ooey-gooey lasagna but quick melt cheese will do just fine. I bake it for about 40 minutes with the pan covered in foil at first to prevent burnt cheese topping then i remove the foil covering and bake it just a little more time until the topping has a golden glaze. (Tip: To test if your pasta is cooked, just pierce it with a toothpick or a chopstick and you will know and feel if it’s done.)

Cool… serve… and enjoy! Best paired with toasted french bread with garlic parsley butter spread.

Boots: Mom… did you just say LASAGNA?
Mom: Yuppp! Oh! I thought you’ve just eaten ’cause you still have food stains on your mouth, hahaha… 

priceless things i could afford

A Hermes Birkin designer bag is priceless for an ordinary person like me. I couldn’t buy an island nor have my own jet.  But the rich and the famous could afford them and they don’t seem to be that priceless. Lucky me, i do have priceless things that i really could afford.

Time. Yes, i could afford to live every moment of time. With so many bad decisions in the past i need to be really careful now in the choices that i make. What’s done is done and i cannot turn back the time.

Happiness. The key to achieving happiness depends upon one’s outlook in life. I may have endured a lot of challenges and problems because of a failed relationship but the power to be happy rests on me alone. I choose to be happy in spite of everything. As they say, happiness should not depend on things that we don’t have but appreciate and be happy on things that we have.

Family. I am thankful for having a wonderful family. It is a busy world and we all have our own lives to live but we do make it a point to celebrate every occasions together.

Nature. The gift of seeing nature is priceless whether it is just a pocket garden of flowers or just a tree in the yard. I love watching the birds that occasionally visit my one and only citrus tree. I love butterflies that hover from one flower to another. I love the bees that make stopovers from one flower to the next. I love watching the sky on a clear night. I love to watch the phases of the moon. Just yesterday i managed to take a photo of the sky and saw that the moon is almost full. Maybe tonight it would be.

Oh wait, i almost forgot… My cat Star is PRICELESS too.

what 3 months of TLC (tender love and care) can do

Several months ago as i open the sliding door leading to the terrace, i was surprised to see a thin small cat by the door meowing for attention and food. I knew he was hungry as he was meowing nonstop. I hurriedly gave him food and water and he gobbled up as soon as i put down the bowl.

I tried petting him as he ate and did not hiss. As i stroked him, i noticed he was thin as i could feel every bone under his thin fur. He had a lot of bald patches, lots of scars, some open wounds and lots of cat lice eggs that look like white dots on the strands of his fur. I knew this kitty needed help. He looks like he had a rough time in trying to SURVIVE out of his own fending for himself. So, I just let him get settled at the terrace and by late afternoon i noticed he was still there. He made the terrace his home. After several days when i felt that he was comfortable enough to trust me, I brought him to the vet for a much needed exam. He was vaccinated, dewormed and given anti-lice treatment. After 2 weeks i took him to the vet again for anti-rabies shot.

These days he is rounder and definitely gained a lot of weight. And as i stroke his fur now, it is evident how thick it has grown. In just a short time, he transformed from an ugly thin and sick looking cat to a beautiful black panther with bright golden eyes… truly a GOLDIE.

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: EVANESCENT

Update: Goldie got neutered and finally an indoor cat. He is my number 7.

star at play

I’ve been hibernating for too long… and to make up for that, here’s a collage of photos of my cat princess at play to make you smile.

Star had so much fun playing with fur balls. What to do after so much playing? Sleep and be a big fur ball.

In case you’re wondering what those fur balls are. They are actually Star’s own fur.

How i made a fur ball? So easy… here’s how. Just have enough fur on your palm, roll it with both palms, slowly and gently at first. And if you notice that it is becoming to be a ball then gently apply a little bit of pressure while rolling it with your palms. Keep rolling until it’s firm. Too little fur will result to a very small ball so eyeball the amount of the fur you will roll to come up with a desirable size for your own liking.

Anyway, i had fun making fur balls. Hmm… not yet sure on what i would do with those but i found a tutorial on the web on how to make them into bracelets or necklace. I think i would make them into a necklace for Star but i would experiment on dyeing the fur balls with different colors so when Star wears it, the necklace would really stand out. To avoid using artificial food colors, I am planning to use real food coloring instead like juice of carrots to make it orange, beets for red or pink, spinach for green and turmeric for yellow. I would keep you updated on this experiment.

Today weather is so hot. It is supposed to be the start of the rainy season. Thermometer reading is at 32 degrees C. Too hot even for the fur babes. My german shepherd Marwind enjoys water sprays from the hose. I wet him regularly and give him lots and lots of water to drink to prevent heat stroke. The kitties sleep under the sofa or cabinet where it is a bit cooler but Puti prefers to hang out at the cat condo.


a conversation with a stupid neighbor

While in the kitchen, i was alarmed by a succession of pellet gunshots coming from a neighbor’s house. I could see that he was targeting the wifi antenna on the roof of another neighbor whose house is just adjacent to mine. From my kitchen window, i could see that he is really hitting it because of the sound that it created upon hitting a metal object. He had the guts to aim at the wifi antenna because he knows that the house is vacated. And from the corner of my garage i could see him firing his pellet gun just everywhere hitting cans, rocks and plants. It looks like a machine gun with a big cartridge. I became so worried that he might hit someone or any of the pets or other stray animals in the street. Of course i have to do something. I went out and talked to this stupid neighbor. Here’s a TRANSCRIPT of our conversation.

Me: Is that a pellet gun? (i pretended i didn’t know)

Stupid neighbor: Yes. (he is totally avoiding seeing me eye to eye)

Me: Can you please stop firing it cause it may cause harm especially to cats. You see, i suspected that one of my outside cats got hit by a pellet gun.

Stupid neighbor: No, i just fire at one black cat because he jumps on my car and poo in my yard. The nerve!! What a stupid idiot!!! And i thought, i have a black cat that i regularly feed and luckily never stray away and never left my terrace since he walked in.

Me: Can you just shoo the cats away instead of firing at them with a pellet gun. It is very dangerous. 

Stupid neighbor: It wouldn’t kill the cat, this is just a pellet gun. Oh my gosh, he is so airy, conceited, arrogant, stupid and an idiot. Pellet guns could kill. He doesn’t even have a drop of common sense. What a stupid idiot!!! The stupid neighbor doesn’t have any respect for animals. I wonder how he treats his family. I could really feel my blood boiling but i tried to keep my cool.

Me: Please, don’t shoot at cats. It could really hurt and kill them. 

After our conversation, i’ve never heard of any pellet gunshots anymore today and i am hoping i would not hear it again forever. That stupid neighbor just made me very angry… boiling angry.

Upon arriving home i cuddled up with Tiger. Among all the kitties, he has the softest fur. Slowly, i could feel i am getting relaxed and Tiger is also getting relaxed as he really loves being cuddled.

Cats are really wonderful and magnificent creatures. They help in lowering the anxiety level. They calm the nerves, lower stress and soothe one’s feeling. Which by the way the stupid neighbor doesn’t know and see. Okay, forget about the stupid neighbor… hey Tiger, more cuddle time please. Mommy needs more… 

20160925_202626aaa

In response to The Daily Post daily prompt: UNSEEN.

 

the whole world is celebrating my birthday

Hello dear friends. I am STAR and today is my 5th birthday. Mommy says i’m so lucky being born December 31 as there is always lots of food for the family to share during New Year’s Eve. Just imagine, the whole world is also celebrating with me complete with fireworks. How awesome is that. Tomorrow is a brand new day of a brand new year. My wish is an unlimited supply of hugs and kisses from mommy. I could never wish for anything more because i have been so lucky to have a home with lots and lots of food, treats and toys. I hope that more kitties would also find their forever home.

bdaygirlaaa

We also celebrated yesterday because it was the 2nd birthday of mommy’s big boy MARWIND. Yep, he is huge but still very much a puppy at heart. Mommy gave him big hugs and kisses too. 

bdayboyaaa

Wishing everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Love… STAR. 

As i write this, 2016 will soon come to a close. There are many happy memories to cherish but there are lonely ones too like the loss of a loved one, a missing cat and other personal problems. But… i couldn’t miss out in celebrating the end of the year and the welcoming of a new year. A new year means new hopes. We are all HOPEFUL that the new year will shower us with more blessings and fulfillment of our dreams.

From my family to yours, HAPPY NEW YEAR. Peace, Love and Happiness to all.

mushroom and vegetable chips

I hope everyone is having an awesome Wednesday.

I had some free time today and managed to clear out the garage of clutter. It was tiring but so worth it. As a reward for myself i munched on my new found love and addiction… mushroom chips.

20161227_010019aaa

20161227_010640aaa

I super love the crunchiness in every bite. It has that deep umami flavor that brings out the taste of the mushroom. I’m quite sure it is dehydrated thus it doesn’t have the greasiness found in most chips. Unfortunately it is not available locally which means i need to tell my sister that the next time she comes home from Dubai, she should bring me lots and lots more of these chips as they are so incredibly good. I think this is a healthier version of the usual kind of chips. Based on the product description, there is no chemical preservatives as it only contains canola oil, salt and sugar.

Last night i tried the vegetable chips… they are absolutely addicting too.

20161223_010638aaa

20161223_010747aaa

I love the crunchiness of the vegetables. Like the mushroom chips, these are also dehydrated and almost greaseless. Included in the pouch are sweet potato, purple sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, green bean, okra and onion. Oh gosh, it’s heavenly in every bite. I could taste the sweetness of the veggies and that hint of saltiness from the sea salt. Too bad, these are also not available locally.

It’s 3 days before new year and sooner it will be Star’s birthday too. Yep, she was born December 31 and will soon be turning 5. How time flies. Will surely give Star lots of cheers and kisses on her birthday… and gifts too.

20161224_031342aaa

In response to The Daily Post daily prompt: OVATION.

minus one plus one

We all enjoyed opening our gifts on Christmas Day. I had fun too.

My sister gave me Pandora arm candies. Star, cat, paw and heart beads are all my favorites. Each bead has a meaning. Star is my cat’s name and Starlight is my WordPress site, cat bead represents my love for cats, a paw bead represents all my pets and the dangling heart bead stands for sisterly love. It has the word “sister” written at the back. My sister is keeping the other half and the other half is with me. How cool is that!

20161225_124422aaa

I also received a gorgeous Long Champ handbag from her and a 2017 planner that i absolutely adore. But there is still one Christmas wish that i still long for. I hope Potty, one of my outside cats will find his way back home. It’s been 12 days. I am still heartbroken. He is a sweet and friendly cat and i miss him everyday.

A week ago, my eldest son found a black kitty sleeping on his hamper at the terrace. Because of his bright golden eyes i named him GOLDIE. I have been feeding him everyday and he hasn’t left the terrace since then. I guess he considers my home a RETREAT.. a place of unlimited supply of cat food and water which he desperately needed, a haven where he could finally relax, and a shelter where he could sleep peacefully. I think he had a tough time from where he came from because he has some battle scars, he is thin and some fur missing but he is very sweet cat. It’s been a week since then and he already made my terrace his home.

20161220_104148aaa

20161220_103948aaa

One cat missing and one cat knocking on my door… minus one plus one. Rescuing a cat is sometimes not planned. Goldie begged for food and i just couldn’t turn my back on him. He is welcome if he decides to stay.