Just Dance 2016

guy dancing on the street

The boys excitedly handed out a  second-hand Just Dance 2016 game to me one Sunday afternoon. We tried to play the game out of curiosity. As a mother, here are my ten thoughts about the game.

  1. It is a game that hit me with the reality about the status of my weight.

I love to dance but the moves made me feel my toned fats were too heavy. I was trying to catch my breath after a more than 3-minute song! It was the day I discovered how badly I needed to lose weight. Talking about an in denial mum!

Photo by Carlos Bretón

It is time to take a stand and LOSE THIS BELLY FAT!
  1. It gave me the opportunity to play a game with the boys.

I have driven for years but the boys kept giving me advice on how to drive in a Mario Kart game.

“Keep your hands still mummy.” Of course, I always fall off the cliff in that game!

Just Dance gave me the chance to shine and receive my 3 or 4 or 5 stars just following the dance steps! I no longer hear the bits of wisdom coming from the boys this time.

  1. It is an alternative to gym exercise.

It takes dedication to go to the gym, run on the treadmill and use the gym equipment until the muscles hurt.  I had the option to sweat at the comfort of my home with Just Dance video game. Fit and healthy me soon! Fingers crossed.

  1. Learning the modern dance moves made me feel young.

It really looks cool doing those moves. So this is the kind of dance they are doing now! So what if I am doing it wrong? Dancing with the boys rubbed in me their youthful energy.

  1. I discovered new songs I like to dance to.  

Gibberish by Max

Animals by Martin Garrix

Blame by Calvin Harris featuring John Newman

I can still appreciate songs of today. My playlist is not limited anymore to the songs of my generation.

  1. It is a game that makes the boys move and dance.

I try to limit the video game time of the boys. I just see them sit around staring at the monitor or television. With this game, it is like inserting exercise in their schedule!

  1. I felt good after dancing the playlist.

I could have eaten a brownie or devouring my favorite chips. NO. I used my 30 minutes to dance. It was the right decision.Raising my heartbeat and sweating away my fats felt sensational.

Based on my experience, you must have a dance buddy to push you to dance and exercise or else, excuses will start rolling in.

  1. It is another way to do family bonding time.

Weekends come by so fast. One way of spending quality time indoors is to play this game.  It was fun teasing or challenging the boys to dance a particular song we know the steps are suited for girls. My son remarked “Seriously!” after dancing to Born this Way by Lady Gaga.

Furthermore, you will encounter songs that are easy or difficult to dance with. The good news is if you keep on dancing the same song over and over with family, you will get used to it even if you have two left feet. Watching ourselves and laughing about it is time well spent.

Photo by Simon Noh 


  1. We could sing while waiting for our turn to dance.

While the song is playing, the lyrics are shown at the bottom left corner of the screen.  When we are not sure what the word we heard was, we just look at the lyrics and sing our hearts out.

  1. The little technophobe in me is gradually slipping away.

Oh sure, just press x or the circle then go up.  Trying to learn how to turn on and off and reading the options was a bit too much for me. Learning how to manipulate technology is one step away from feeling obsolete.


My family gave me Just Dance 2017 for my birthday. Hopefully, I could dance away the food I ate during winter time. Spring is here and it is time for new beginnings and new YOU! Are you with me?


10 Advantages of Having a Mums’ Night Out

shadows of three women

The definitions of mums’ night out for me are the following:

⁃ going out on a Friday night with other mums in a restaurant that will offer excellent food and service while chatting to your heart’s content then go to one of the mum’s home  for wine or coffee until late night or

⁃going out on a Friday night to one of the mum’s place with a share of food or wine, then conversing late at night while  the responsible dad takes good care of the family while mum is out or hosting

The reason Friday is the best one is that even if you come home late, you still have Saturday to do the rest of the household chores and catch up with the needed rest and sleep! You still have Sunday for family time, grocery shopping and homework if there are project materials that have to be purchased.

Photo by Yutacar

glasses of wine
Let’s drink to that!

Furthermore, the mum that will drive the rest of the group will have to make the ultimate sacrifice (for some) …drinks only one shot or stay sober for the rest of the night. We are two in the group alternating this task but she does more of the driving. It is not a big deal really because we are not into drinking and the company of the mums is what we are after. We love them so much.

So here are my 10 advantages of having a mums’ night out. Better start organizing your own because YOU DESERVE IT, my friend.

  1. You can eat food that you don’t usually get to cook or prepare.

As a mum, you get tired of the usual food you prepare daily.  Your family or other people may appreciate your meals but as a mum, it is a delight to eat other people’s cooking for a change. You are dressed up for the night and ready to try a cuisine with friends.

If all the mums were happy with the food and service then it is a guarantee that they will recommend it to friends and family. They may even go back to the same diner with their family next time. Happy and satisfied mums can spread excellent feedbacks like wild-fire when they had a wonderful night out in a particular restaurant.

Photo by Paula Borowska

Eating what I don’t prepare at home
  1. Knowledge of alcohol is enhanced.

Before, I do not have the slightest idea about the different alcoholic drinks. When mums’ night out started way back in 2013, I got the chance to try various beverages from red wine, white wine, vodka, gin and cider.  It took me just a couple of sips then stop. I do not like it. Really, you might think. Yes, really.

Alanis Morissette’s song Ironic has lyrics  There’s a black fly in my Chardonnay. I got excited to try it but I didn’t like it as well. Recently, we do not drink as much as we used to. As a mum, it is a must to think of good health long-term.

  1. Friendship is strengthened.

If there is family bonding time, there is also connecting time with friends. Household chores will always be around 24/7 but your friends may not. It is easy to say no to an invitation because there are cleaning tasks, monotonous errands or even a job requirement that demands your attention.

Looking back, I don’t regret leaving the clothes that required ironing or the messy rooms that needed organizing. I appreciate the belly laughs and tears of joy about silly things with the mums.  They have your back because they made time to see you. You are not alone in the struggle.

Photo by Levi Guzman

shadows of three women
Vacuuming is better than this! Hell… no
  1. It is a FREE outlet of unexpressed emotions, insecurities, doubts and all the issues mums deal with.

As a mum, it is normal to feel confused and overwhelmed. The responsibilities and decision-making both at home and work result in STRESS. When the plan goes awry, sometimes there are things you can say to your friends but not to your spouse. The spouse may interpret it differently. Here are the close friends to save the day. After the release of all the fears stuck in your head, it felt good because the burden became light.

There is a note of warning to this. Be careful whom you trust.  Some can be good listeners and may even give good advice throughout your discussion. After you spill your guts out, the world will know your dirty secrets in minutes.

Photo by Rob Potter

diving airplane
May Day!May Day! My reputation is going down!

My point is trustworthy friends are treasures here on earth because they will not judge. They will accept you for who you really are, no pretensions. True friends will genuinely care about your well-being and will help you.

Moreover, they have the capacity to keep secrets no matter what. Close friends can be mums like you because they know what you are going through first hand. They will say in your face things YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR. Ouch. Don’t be too sensitive about it. YOU COULD BE IN DENIAL FOR SO LONG.

  1. IT FEELS GOOD but preparation is important.

Isn’t it exciting when the mums’ night out is set?  Anything goes during conversations. It is an opportunity to unwind and enjoy the moment.  Because the night out is scheduled mostly Fridays, we tend to prepare EVERYTHING beforehand like the dinner of the family.

Do not forget to comfort the youngest child with the idea that mum will come back and she is just out with friends. The spouse should be well-informed like sleeping routines of the children and your whereabouts.

One good tip is NOT TO PROMISE the time you are going home.  As long as he receives texts that you are okay, it’s good. Keep the phone near if your spouse calls or texts you about urgent matters. The first mums’ night out will be a lesson learned but the following ones will get better.

Photo by Adi Goldstein

man lying in bed
So tired with the chores… Thank God the dads night out will be next week!

Alternatively, it could be the dads turn to have a night out in one of the dad’s home. You are just being fair. If it becomes a part of your social activity every year then you started a tradition that makes everyone feel good.

  1. You can get advice or another point of view.

An issue has nagged you for weeks. You blurted it out to the group and asked for an advice. Your close circle of friends will have a say on the matter and it is up to you to filter which ones will make sense.

All of you mums could be crying during the night out because the subject is upsetting. Occasionally,  there are breakthrough solutions for the troubled mum. All it took was a night out and she got an answer to a pressing matter.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

Laughing woman
Hahaha! Why didn’t I think of that?

At times, a way will be made because the person you are talking to know someone who can help. Furthermore, your friend might say a keyword that will give you an idea. Finally, you can customize the choice you have made based on their ideas and yours. Listening to another mum about your issue wakes you up to a realization that “Hey, it is not a big deal after all. I need to relax. I can handle this.”

  1. You learn information mostly based from experience.

When the boys were younger, they always called me while I was driving.

Example:  Son: Mummy.

Me: Yes?

Son: Mummy… Mummy…Mummy… Mummy..

Me:  What? One mummy is enough… What do you want?

Son: I just saw a flying bird.

Seriously? There was a minimum of 5 mummy words before they told me what they had to say. I told them repeatedly that 1 mummy is enough.I told the mums about it one night out because it was driving me crazy! It turned out that I was not alone. Their children too even teenagers called them multiple times before saying their topic. HA! I thought I was the only one suffering from this. I rest my case.

In addition, information is available on the internet but if the data are proven with experience, then I try those tested methods first. You can learn a lot of general facts from mums’ night out. It could be about:

  • Raising children

Example:  As parents, do not contradict each other in front of the children. It results in confusion.

  • Recipes

Example: The secret is to add sugar. It makes the dish tasty. That’s the reason why.

  • Personal development

Example: The mum informed the group about a seminar about handling your finances.

  • Epic mistakes worth sharing (I don’t want that to happen to me!)

Example:  Read the fine print.

  • Sale, discounts and free stuff

Example: Hey! The rice is half-price this week.

  • Relationships

Example: Don’t forget your spouse. He needs your attention too. Experiment.


  1. It maintains your sanity.

One time my son was talking to me about his classmate in school. I know I could hear him but the words don’t register in my mind. I was so absorbed with my own thoughts that my son finally exclaimed, “Mum, you are not listening!”

I answered him with a weary and confused “What?” He gave a heavy sigh then continued his story. I captured random words: YouTube, handball, lunch and the word hungry. On the contrary, the keywords that wake me up no matter what are:  homework, submit, buy and problem.

Photo by Aaron Andary

I can get through THIS!

When the day becomes like this, it is time to unwind and have a mums’ night out. You are tired, stressed, sleepy and cranky. After a night out with the mums, you are ready to face the world again invigorated. It took you out of your rut.


  1. It is one way of taking good care of yourself.

Resentment emerges when you have to sacrifice most of the time. I know you love your family but sometimes the duty that comes with it makes you sick. Going out with other mums reminds you that it is okay to treat oneself once in a while because you love yourself too. The well-being of the mum affects the overall mood of the household. The family is not anxious because they notice that mum is cheerful and not snapping everyone’s heads off.

 Photo by Krista McPhee

Do not forget it.
  1. You create memories to reminisce that will make you giggle in your lifetime.

I have a friend in the group who has her smart phone ready for documentation. The selfies she was able to capture were really good. Also, we always ask the service staff to take our photos. Most of the pictures ended up posted on Facebook while the rest are not for public consumption.

There are three memories that stand out among all the mums’ night outs:

  1. We saw an adorable baby koala passing by across the road. The driver stopped the car and we just gushed how cute the koala was. The koala successfully crossed the road.
  2. We went on a road trip after eating at a restaurant. One mum recorded our non-stop laughter in the car. In the end,  we ordered chocolate loaded sundaes at Mcdonald’s just because we wanted to.
  3. When one mum was experiencing a difficult time and all the mums set up a night-out just to be with that worried mum for encouragement and support. You will schedule a time for people you love.

Photo by Joanne Turner

2 seals lying on ice
I can’t take it anymore!
I feel you friend.


There you have it. Mums’ night outs are the best! Our way may be different from yours but we definitely get lots of benefits from it.  I hope you will find time to organize one because it is FABULOUS.


Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art: An Eye-Opening Review 2013-2017

If you are going to Brisbane, Australia then I highly suggest you visit Gallery of Modern Art or GOMA for short. If you are an Art lover then you will certainly appreciate it.  I love GOMA and let me count my 10 reasons from the year 2013.

14 April 2013 Photos

children with an upside down elephant
Upside down elephant: The art that is a good prop for a photo shoot
children playing trains
Playing with trains inside an artistically designed room

10 Reasons why I love Gallery of Modern Art

You don’t know what to expect.

When we went to Gallery of Modern Art for the first time in 2013, we didn’t know what to expect. We saw it as a Brisbane tourist attraction in Google. We decided to visit it out of curiosity. Now we know why it is a part of a must visit in Brisbane. We have gone there for 4 years now and the art gallery never ceases to amaze me.

18 July 2014 photos

mother and son with bulls made out of tin cans
Recycled tin cans
father and son looking at an exhibit
Hey, look up!

The exhibits of the Gallery of Modern Art are visually appealing and often unique.

Our 2014 visit made us say “ What is that?!”  The problem with having a preschool child with you was we had to keep moving to see the next exhibit. Expect not to have enough time to read the information about the interesting displays when you have a youngster pulling you to the next item.

19 April 2015 photos

small boy with Aboriginal Art behind him
Aboriginal Art
Japanese Art
Japanese Art

A visit to the Gallery of Modern Art exposes you to different types of art across cultures.

I have seen excellent artworks of different cultures and among them is Aboriginal Art. I always make it a point to stop and appreciate the beauty of it.

The children had the opportunity to learn by getting involved with the exhibits.

Going inside a colorful room full of stickers was eye-catching. We all had our own stickers and started adding more all over the place. It was a delight to see and be a part of it! If there is a computer in the room, expect the child to sit and start clicking or tapping if it is a touch screen. It was learning by doing.

two boys inside a colorful room full of stickers
Colorful stickers all over the room. Start sticking!
boy creating a face on a touch screen
Technology is definitely a magnet for children.

12 January 2016 photos

Moreover, Gallery of Modern Art balances the child-friendly activities by teaching the youngsters the old ways and new ways of doing things.

Showing the designs of the patterns on paper
Showing the designs of the patterns on paper
The high-tech way of playing cars and writing at the same time
The high-tech way of playing cars and writing at the same time


16 April 2017 photos

Boosting children’s creativity is a guarantee because there were always available materials for them to use.

There is an option for the young ones not to go in front of a computer or touch screen. The good old pieces of paper, scissors, glue, pictures plus their wild imagination were enough to consume 30 minutes for them to create a distinctive artwork. That is also the parents’ time to sit down and relax before walking starts again!

father and son making masks
Mask making with daddy

Gallery of Modern Art is a free venue for family bonding time.

Every time we went to the city of Brisbane, we first dropped by GOMA to see the latest displays. The family got to marvel at unusual collections. We created artworks together that we could take home. Gallery of Modern Art is already a part of our treasured memories because through the years we all had a marvelous time in this place.

The art gallery became a playground for children and adults alike.

When we decided to look around at GOMA this year 2017, the museum was celebrating its 10th birthday. The collection was its best displays. We will not forget the almost two-story high slides because it was near the entrance of the gallery. The queue was long but the boys loved it and kept going back. Even adults had fun!

Two boys beside almost two story high slides

We saw endangered birds.

We didn’t have to travel far or take a hike to see the endangered birds in Australia. Just be quiet and listen to them. It was bird watching in an air-conditioned room!

boy with birds behind him
Ssshhhhh… be quiet. Look at the birds!

Throughout the four years, the photos during our visit were always amazing!

The pictures were all Instagram worthy ones and admirable Facebook posts. However, flash photography is not allowed.

boy with a giant fluffy exhibit
It looked like a huge cotton candy. (2017)


boy with a giant skeleton behind him
Mum, take my photo with this!(2017)
mother and son with giant white horses behind them
HORSES! (2016)
two boys with the Lenin Peak background
Lenin Peak ( From Queensland to Kazakhstan album) 2013

The boys loved the automatic shots.After 10 seconds, the huge camera will take a photo again.

30 July 2017 photos

Gallery of Modern Art showed their popular exhibits this Year 2017 with their theme Marvel Cinematic Universe.

All the images and activities you saw through the years were all free. However, the last visit we had was not and we had to pay $60 for 2 adults and 3 children. The good news is, IT WAS WORTH IT!! ( screaming loud and I do not care!) My family and I are all Marvel movie fans.

If you are a MARVEL movie fan, then I highly suggest to you to go to Gallery of Modern Art as soon as you can because the exhibit will only be until 3rd of September 2017. We enjoyed it a lot!

The costumes of Captain America, Iron Man, the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Dr. Strange and other Marvel characters too many to mention were impressive. The captivating props were also there!

a boy with three Iron Man suits
Iron Man’s suits through the years

All the people in there were like small children thrilled to see everything. I was screaming inside with excitement when I spotted the familiar items like Thor’s hammer, Captain America’s shield, Iron Man’s suit etc.

three boys in front of the Asgard Throne Room
Asgard Throne Room

We were able to find the props used for the upcoming movie Thor Ragnarok this November 2017. We had our re-entry stamps on our wrists because I wanted to go back to stare at the displays some more. The boys wanted to play with the computers presenting trivia about all the Marvel characters like their origins and powers.

A woman having a fist bump with Hulk Buster
Fist bump with Hulk Buster

Even if you didn’t watch any Marvel Movie, you will still appreciate the objects on display because there were film clips from the movies showing how the props were used. As a result, most of the people took the time to watch the short videos because they showed the highlights of all the Marvel movies.

a boy with Ant Man costume behind him
Ant Man costume

Gallery of Modern Art will always be a part of our journey when we visit the city. It is a place where learning is fun!

A woman with Rocket and Groot behind her
Rocket and Groot


Share this article with someone who loves to travel or visit museums.


What are the 10 Lessons Learned in a Funeral? Are you ready?


Attending a funeral is personal and emotional. Experiencing it in Australia gave me 10 lessons worth pondering about. It was a wakeup call for me.

  1. Friends come and go.

The woman delivered a touching eulogy about our family friend about how they met and became friends. She was calm and composed. To my surprise, she took a seat near me, covered her face with her hands and silently wept. I felt her pain.  The sadness is intensified when a friend who loved you for 25 years passed away. I have known Nanay Lena ( Mother Lena)  for more than 4 years but I had a heavy heart during the funeral. She was our second mother here in Australia.

  1. Your own funeral shows how much you have loved in your lifetime.

It was my first time to attend a funeral in Australia. I was amazed to see a lot of people who came to pay their last respects. It looked like a multicultural gathering. The chapel was fully packed and there were people standing outside. Love given is much appreciated across cultures.

two hands reaching a rose
Just be there.
  1. People will find the time or make time for someone they consider important.

The funeral was a weekday. The attendees could have been working on their day jobs or attending meetings or handling transactions. No. All of us were there.

  1. The unity and support of family and friends are essential.

Dying overseas has a disadvantage. The relatives can’t attend the funeral especially if the country where you came from is far away. Migrants who live with relatives are fortunate. In times of grief, the emotional burden becomes bearable when there are available family and friends offering assistance.

  1. Observing a funeral makes you think about your own death.

Death is certain. It will come to all of us. Questions will start pouring out. What will I choose: cremation or burial? Am I ready to die? What will happen to my family if I die young? Are my finances sorted out when I die? Sad to say, I am not prepared. I should be.

Time is up!
  1. You will never know when your time is up.

I am turning 40 next year and I am thankful I reached my late 30s. My childhood friend died of leukemia at age 7. My grandmother (mother’ side) died of cancer at age 43. Our college school mate gave me a doughnut before his tragic car accident.He passed away at age 21. My grandparents (father’s side) lived up to their early 80s.

A funeral gives you a subtle reminder that you will never know when your time is up. Better LIVE your life to the fullest!

  1. Crying is the best way to release your pent-up emotions during a funeral.

The request of Nanay Lena before she died was no one should cry at her funeral. I admit. I couldn’t do it. My other friend and I hugged the bereaved daughter and sobbed our hearts out. I tried not to cry but tears kept rolling on my cheeks.

Crying for me is one way of:

  1. coping or accepting the fact
  2. gathering the strength to move on with life without her.
a family friend and my son
She bought a cake for my son during the time we couldn’t afford to buy an expensive cake.
  1. Appreciate the presence of a loved one while they are still alive.

Looking back, I am pleased I found time to attend all the get-together parties my friend had set up. Nanay Lena was the coordinator that connected us all. She attended the last ladies night out I hosted at home. Even if she was not feeling well, she took the time to mingle with my new-found friends. Catching up with friends is a great way to strengthen the bond of friendship. Time is NOT wasted when we enjoy each other’s company with laughter and drama.

I am glad my family and I took the time to visit her in the hospital or called her on special occasions. If I didn’t, it could have been one of my regrets.

  1. Money and emotional stability are needed for the funeral services and reception.

Funeral insurance seems a good idea. I should get my act together and start planning for this. Cremation or burial services are not cheap.

Losing a loved one is tough. Grieving for the loss but still have to do the paper work and make phone calls force you to control your emotions and have the utmost presence of mind. Though it was a difficult time, the bereaved spouse and daughter were brave to go through it all.

  1. The reception after the funeral made me realize that whatever you did in your lifetime, it will come back to you even after death.

Nanay Lena was an excellent cook. She cooked for me when I hosted parties or shared a dish worth drooling for. She even invited us when she had some special food prepared.

During the reception, there were two long tables filled with different types of food all shared by the attendees of the funeral. The home cooked dishes were their best recipes and all had a good meal. As if my friend was there overlooking the get-together of friends just like the good old days.


pug on a floor
Missing you

In addition, I miss her especially when Facebook shows the photos of the good times we had when she was still with us. I forced back the tears because I saw those photos while riding a bus. My seatmates might think I was going crazy.

Overall, let us make an effort not to take family and friends for granted. It is so easy to say ” I am busy now.” Do not create a lingering regret in the future that is difficult to live with.  LOVE while we still have the TIME. Are you ready?

Share this article with someone who needs a WAKEUP CALL.


20 Acronyms my sons asked me

Have you encountered an acronym that made you ask yourself “What does it stand for?” It becomes frustrating when my sons asked me the meanings of the acronyms and I just cannot remember! Therefore, I surfed the internet just to satisfy their curiosity and to maintain my peace of mind.  Here are my 20 answers to their most pressing questions in no particular order.

Wifi – Turn on the wifi, please!

Meaning: Wireless Fidelity in the 1990s but officially it has no meaning at present. However, the meaning wireless fidelity is still being widely used.

USB – “Mum, have you seen my USB?”  It is an acronym that made me say          “Where did you last put it?” lots of times in the past.

Meaning: Universal Serial Bus

QANTAS – When I was young, my father told me the meaning of QANTAS twice because he loves to read his encyclopedia. I tried to recall what my father said but I forgot when my sons inquired about it. It never occurred in my wildest dreams that one day my family and I will book this airline and live in Australia. Mindblown!

Meaning: Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited

TNT – Have you watched the funny cartoons featuring Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote? Wile E. Coyote often used TNT to catch Road Runner.

Meaning: Trinitrotoluene

NASA – Every time we watch a science-fiction movie, the boys always make me say the meaning of this acronym. I already know it by heart for a long time.

Meaning: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

am / pm – What is the time? 6 am or 6 pm? I surfed the internet just to make sure the spelling is right.

Meaning:  am  ante meridiem  (before noon)

pm  post meridiem   (after noon)

idk – I giggled after I discovered the meaning of this.

Meaning: I don’t know.

RSVP – Most people know the meaning of this in English but how about the spelling in French?

Meaning: répondez s’il vous plaît  ( Please respond.)

TBA – I often encounter this in rosters and meetings.

Meaning: To be announced

P. S. – I seldom use this but when I wrote a note for my son, he asked me what it was. Youngsters nowadays seldom post letters by snail mail for this acronym to be utilized. I belong to the generation who wrote letters with lots of P.S. in it.

Meaning: Postscript

Kmart photo
To shop or not to shop

K-Mart – My sons and I often visit this store but what does the K mean?

Meaning: Kresge

Big W sign
shopping and window shopping

Big W – After the K we need to look for the W. It is another store we love to shop and window shop.

Meaning: Woolworths

SPAM canned goods
It is time for hoarding.=)

SPAM – I immediately buy Spam when it is half price.

Meaning: Spiced Ham or Shoulder of Pork and Ham

M & Ms – When I was young, it was definitely a treat to eat one of these.

Meaning: Mars and Murrie

M & M's bars
To buy or not to buy

EFTPOS – We saw the sign EFTPOS not available which made us say “ What’s that acronym?”

Meaning: electronic funds transfer point of sale

CVV – This is the three or four digit number depending upon the credit or debit card you have.

Meaning: Card Verification Value

AMF – Every time we pass this place we go bowling to, my boys always nag me what does AMF stand for? After around 5 times of inquiring, I finally searched the meaning of it.

Meaning: American Machine and Foundry

party giveaways from AMF bowling
party giveaways from AMF bowling

SIRI– Hey, Siri!

Meaning: Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface

XXXX – We watched the third game of State of Origin and my second son inquired about it.

Meaning: You read it as Four X. There is no meaning to it. It is a brand of Australian beer.

GIF – Some gifs are really funny.

Meaning: Graphic Interchange Format

There will be new acronyms in the future that my boys will want to know but that will be written in another blog.


What acronyms made you ask yourself ” What does that stand for?”  Please leave a comment so I could learn from my readers.

Share this if it made you think ” So that’s what it means!”




Open Colleges:Ten things to think about before enrolling an online course based from my experience as a mother

laptop and notebook on a table


I will give you my Top Ten things to think about before enrolling an online course.  These are based on my experience as a middle-aged mother. I enrolled at Open Colleges.

1.There are various ways to pay.

There are options like paying in full or monthly payments. I chose to pay the full amount because, in the long run, it will be cheaper.

white light covering the hair
Downloading tons of information

2. Starting to study is the hard part.

Studying all over again made my head hurt literally. Imagine, reading, writing and submitting assessments again! The good news was my middle-aged working mind gained momentum after a month.

3.It takes discipline to make time to study.

The family is watching television or enjoying a movie marathon. There I was sitting in the lounge desperately telling myself to stand up and go to your laptop. Submit the tasks!

The temptation to procrastinate is great. Sometimes, I gave in to the temptation and had a marvelous bonding time with family. Other times, I suffered the consequences of sleep deprivation. Your choice.

tired mother with two boys

4.I felt isolated.

There is a study buddy online where I could connect with other students near my area. I didn’t choose that. I rather surf the internet than connecting to someone whose profile picture is blank.

It took a heavy toll on me. I grew up in a traditional classroom where I could talk to real people. I missed that. I studied in front of a laptop while my boys were at school and my husband was at work. I had to leave the house just to relax and talk to people.

5. Sometimes, staying in front of the computer for hours is necessary.

In the real world of mothers, everything changes when a child gets sick or the husband had to stay longer at work. The only option was to do all the tasks for submission in one weekend. That means sitting all day in front of the computer. Managing time is essential.

macbook and phone
I need to send this NOW.

6. I learned a lot.

Submitting assessments made me read books and surf the internet for reliable information.  What made it difficult was to find the right answer to the question which means skimming and scanning websites. Through it all, it opened my mind to issues  I didn’t know existed. It broadened my understanding.

stepping on a see through floor
Going beyond

7. It pushed me to my limits and let me out of my comfort zone.

There were times I wanted to give up. What made me held on was I already paid the tuition fee in full haha!  On the serious side, I have a strong belief in this When I start something, I want to finish it. No excuses.

8. Feedbacks from instructors during the last assessment were nail-biting.

I had a lovely opportunity chatting with the instructors for questions and comments during my study. All of them were kind and accommodating.  However, the last assessments caused me sleepless nights. Were they good enough?

lots of balloons in the sky

 9. It gave a feeling of accomplishment.

When I read the word PASS with my final assessments, I jumped for joy! Yes! I finally finished my course! After all the hard work and dedication to do it, I finally made it. It was an achievement itself taking care of a family and studying online at the same time.

10. Finish your course as soon as you can because sometimes the curriculum changes.

At the middle of my studies, the curriculum suddenly changed. If you do not want to have more assessments or retake exams, better finish it in one year.


Australian Words and Phrases I often encounter in everyday life: A quick read for migrants to Australia

These are the Australian words and phrases I encounter in everyday life. I learned them in everyday conversations, advertisements, newsletters and invitations.

view from picnic point
G’day mate!


Arvo – afternoon

I encountered this in a text message. See you this arvo.


Barbie – barbecue

Let’s have some barbie.

Bloke – man or guy

Did you see that bloke out there? He is huge!

Bottle-shop – liquor shop

The wine costs $10 at the bottle-shop.


Bush- the Outback, anywhere that isn’t in town

I think we are lost. The GPS led us to the bush!

BYO – Bring your own

Brekkie – short for breakfast

Let’s have brekkie at Macca’s.

Bring a plate– share some food, bring your own food

The meeting is at 4 pm, bring a plate.

close up face of a boy
Please bring a plate on my birthday.


Chook – a chicken

The chook tastes good!


Ekka – the Brisbane Exhibition, an annual show of animals, goods and rides galore

I really wanted to go to the Ekka!



Fairy floss – cotton candy

Fairy floss booths are often seen in school fiestas and holiday events.

Freddo – a frog character on one of the small wrappers of Cadbury chocolates

Let us sell some freddos for fundraising.

freddo chocolateG

G’day – This means good day but it is used to greet someone like Hello.

G’day is often the word I hear every time a bloke greets me. 

Gold coin donation – $1 or $2 donation

In fundraising events, the entrance is a gold coin donation.

Grog – liquor, beer

They drank too much grog at the party.


Joggers- rubber shoes, running shoes

Don’t forget to bring your joggers for P.E.


Kindy – Kindergarten

I enrolled my son in Kindy.


Lollies – sweets, candy

Too many lollies are not good for your teeth.


Macca’s – Mcdonald’s

I want to eat a happy meal at Macca’s.

Mate – buddy, friend

What is going on mate? Are you all right?

Mozzies – mosquitoes

Wear insect repellent! There are so many mozzies out here!


No worries-  expression of forgiveness or reassurance

Oh, I am sorry. I cannot come to your party. Answer: No worries.

This is my favorite expression because it calms me.


Oz – Australia

On a t-shirt: I love Oz.


Pavlova – rich, creamy dessert with strawberries, kiwi, raspberries and other fruits on top

Pavlova is a dessert worth trying. It is a meringue with fruits and cream on top.

Prawn – use prawn not shrimp. I don’t hear Australians say shrimp at a seafood market.

A kilo of prawns is worth $11.


See you later – expression after talking to them

The bloke at  the cash register said, “ See you later.”  I took that seriously. In my mind I was thinking:  Why will the man see me later? Does he know my address? Is he a stalker? I learned it was just an expression.

State of Origin – It is an epic rugby league football battle between Queensland Maroons and New South Wales Blues.  The games are really awesome!

Sunnies – sunglasses

Wear your sunnies not just to be cool but to protect your eyes.


Togs – swimwear

Don’t forget to bring your togs for your swimming lessons.

two boys doing karate kick at the beach
Togs in Summer!

Tradie – tradesman

We need a tradie to fix the roof.

Tuckshop – canteen

Students get their snacks and lunches at the tuckshop.


Ute- pick-up truck

The ute was used to deliver the sofa bought from a garage sale.


Vinnies – St. Vincent de Paul’s, charity thrift store

 Families starting a new life in Australia can buy second-hand goods at Vinnies.


What do you reckon? – What is your opinion?

Do we need to serve more drinks? What do you reckon?

 Do you want to learn more Australian words and phrases? Click here.


Wellington Point Recreation Reserve: The Place We Go To When I don’t want to face Mondays

kayak near the beach

small tree near the beach

“Let us go to Wellington Point.” is what I say to my family after attending Sunday mass. I do not want to drive yet to the grocery store. I do not want to go home and do the cooking and ironing.

It is Sunday morning and the weekend is almost over. I want to breathe! It is too late to go to far-away places to relax. The nearest place to go that I really like (a 10-minute drive) isWellington Point Recreation Reserve!

We came here in Australia in 2010 but the appeal of this place is still the same: peaceful and family friendly.  It is free and open from 4 am to 10 pm.

Let me share with you why I love this place.

1.   It is calm and peaceful.

bench near the beach

This is my favorite bench. I always sit here when it is available. While the boys are in the playground or playing ball games with their daddy, I stare at the sea. Are you like me or am I just creepy?

2. The park has a wide open space to fly a kite, play ball games or enjoy other outdoor activities.

Children today spend a lot of time with their gadgets. Solution: Let them go outside to play like what my generation used to.  It is my duty to make them normal human beings. Playing in the park gives them the chance to interact with other youngsters.

big trees
family bonding time
  1. Have a picnic under the tree or under a roof.

There is always a picnic rug in our car if we decide to eat somewhere. Sometimes, we bring the leftovers in the kitchen or buy fast food like roast chicken! Yummy! My family will survive as long as there is cooked rice and roast chicken. This is family bonding on a budget. Boom!

  1. The park is the walking path of dog-lovers.

Wellington Point Recreation Reserve gave me the chance to see various breeds of dogs from the cute and fluffy to the massive ones that can absolutely put me down with its weight.

  1. It is the perfect venue for birthday celebrations except during thunderstorms.

I cannot count anymore the birthday celebrations I attended at Wellington Point. Every time I see the place, it reminds of the happy memories of eating and talking non-stop with friends.

One advice I can give you is to come very early to get the tables and benches you prefer. There are many kids celebrating their birthdays on Saturdays and Sundays.

Appoint someone who will prepare the table cover and birthday decorations so when the party starts, the guests can see immediately where you are.

barbecue place
The barbecue place
  1. There are playgrounds for small and big kids.

playground at Wellington Point

Playgrounds are the solutions to improve the social skills of children who got used to being by themselves and their gadgets. I noticed my boys talking and taking turns with other children in the playground every time we go there.

  1. I love the big trees.

three boys near big trees

The trees remind me of my carefree days of climbing the guava tree with my cousins and enjoying the breeze. Those were childhood memories worth remembering.

  1. You can purchase food and drinks near the beach.

There is coffee for people who want to chat.  Feed the hungry family with fish and chips. Ice cream is available all year-long.

  1. King Island is the reason to start walking while it is still low tide.

My husband and I tried to walk to King Island during low tide. It took us 30 minutes to reach it. We made sure we went back to the mainland before high tide.

  1. It is the place to relax from sunrise to sunset.

The sunrise and sunset views of Wellington Point Recreation Reserve are stunning. It is a relaxing place for everyone from families, couples, people with pets and people with their super cool boats, kayaks and other water sports equipment.

kayak near the beach

What is your favorite nearby place to go to?