His Superpower is Jumping

One of them, anyway. (The other is making water dance!)

Alphonse started jumping even before he could walk. With our hands on his sweaty little armpits, he would bounce and jump for hours till he was tired and ready for bed. It wasn’t all uncommon for him to bounce when held up and this skill evolved into jumping independently by his first birthday.

As he grew older, jumping became his second favorite physical activity (playing with water was the first) and over the years, he has worn out our spring beds, not to mention countless trampolines. Having learned our lesson and refusing to make King Coil any richer, we did away with springs and changed our bed foams to US rubber. The trampolines — well, we didn’t have any real choice on that.

Now that he is adult-sized and heavy to boot, even the largest personal trampoline available in local sports stores gets broken within weeks. We were not only spending money so often for his trampolines; we were also wasting time and energy looking for sports stores that still carried the largest sizes. Only our suking bote-diyaryo guy was ecstatic at the number of trampoline frames and broken springs we were giving him.

Yesterday, we got Alphonse a new trampoline. Finally! He hasn’t had one in months and he has grown fat around the belly from not getting enough exercise. We were afraid he would not like it. Thankfully, he took to it like fish in water. In fact, he loves it so much that he said yes to making a short video! I was so impressed that he even got dressed for it when he is almost always in his birthday suit at home.

See that nice little smile he has? ūüėä

I’m so glad Bubi Trampolines went on sale. Thank you, Bubi Trampolines, for the great product, as well as your home service and delivery. Special mention to Mr. Jonel Sumbillo for answering all my inquiries and to Mr. Fer John Nicolas for delivering and assembling the trampoline here at home.

P. S. His Mama is his spotter, dancing and jumping like crazy beside him. 3Es, yeah!

P.P.S. This is not a paid post. We paid for the trampoline at listed price.



Grails and the Secret of Happiness

grail /…°rńĀl/ (plural grails)¬†a thing that is being earnestly pursued or sought after

I don’t have a grail doll. Honest.

I don’t even have a grail Sylvanian anymore. I used to. But I’m different now. I feel different.

I started thinking about this when a friend brought it up in a recent conversation. “You have so many toys now. Do you still have a wish list of dolls or toys? Do you have a grail doll? A grail Blythe doll?” I couldn’t really answer her without thinking about it.

And so I ruminated on this question for a couple of days. I ran through a list of what I could possibly want. I looked at pictures on the Net and surfed for dolls and toys. But the more I thought about it, the less I found to really ask for.

Some people -collectors most of them- find it strange that I don’t have a wish list of dolls and toys. I really don’t. Now that I think about it, I haven’t had one in a while. In the beginning, when I was starting out, I would spend hours looking at dolls and Sylvanians on the Net. I had a list; I knew what I wanted to look for on trips abroad or in local sales. Today,¬†while there are still many beautiful things in this world that make me catch my breath and dream- even for a split second, for the most part, I am quite content to simply look at them from afar. In the last few years, I have torn my original list into pieces and started a new one filled with experiences and activities, of things to do and places to see, and of memories I would like to make¬†with my husband and children. But things? No more.

I suppose you could say that¬†I’ve experienced a change in mindset. By simply accepting what material graces come my way, I don’t feel the envy or covetousness that ruins the act of collecting. The truth is, I don’t beg or ask my husband for dolls and toys because he gives them willingly. Perhaps one could argue that I have it easy, and that would not be an unfair assessment at all. But I have seen firsthand what material want does to even the most prolific of collectors and it is not something I’d like to happen to me.

I don’t covet anyone else’s collections. I’ve never felt jealous or envious of things my friends own. On the contrary, I feel a great deal of pride in knowing they enjoy what they have, without reservations. I don’t “snake” someone else’s reservations or purchases to add to mine. And if I ever once thought of you as a friend, even just once, I would never ever think to compete with you.

I guess when you live with the gratitude that comes with knowing you have enough, another doll or toy won’t make a difference. I have what I have, and that’s enough. If I don’t have it, then it’s just another one of those things that I can probably live without.


In the end, it all boils down to knowing that everything material in this life is transient, but love, peace, friendship, these things are eternal. These are my real grails.

Sylvanian Page Update!

SF Cleaning TipsI am reposting the Care tips from PH Sylvanian Families in this blog to make it easier to find. Mobile Facebook, unfortunately, does not make accessing¬†notes easy for fans of the page. I’ve added a new section in¬†my Sylvanian¬†pages¬†called ” Sylvanian Play Tips: Collecting, Organizing, and Taking Care of Your Sylvanian Families Toys.”¬†¬†You can either click this link to go there or click the tab and scroll to the subpage.

If you have any more suggestions and helpful tips, please feel free to comment so I may add to the lists.

Happy Sylvanian collecting!

The PH‚̧SF Love Photo Contest 2015

Thank you 03 copyThe final entries came last night in a flurry of last-minute submissions. There were more entries in the past two days than in the first three weeks of the contest and I was floored with all the e-mail and private messages I got one after the other.  I was also pleasantly surprised to find that this year, despite the absence of international submissions, we had 70 local entries- a record number!

While the judges set about to studying each picture in detail, I’d like to invite you all to please check out the submissions of our local contestants. You can find them at the PH‚̧SF page in this album: The PH‚̧SF Love Photo Contest 2015.

PHSF timeline old

My thanks to all those who Liked the page, who made time to set up their¬†detailed dioramas,¬†painstakingly took photos, and¬†submitted¬†their entries, and who stayed tune to all the developments in the page. I am also deeply grateful to Ban Kee Toys, the official distributor of Sylvanian Families in the Philippines, and to Mr. Joseph de Leon, Brands Department Manager, for the support they have shown me and the PH‚̧SF community.

And with yesterday¬†being¬†Sylvanian Families’ 30th birthday,¬†I must say these¬†entries were all wonderful ways to celebrate this important milestone! Salamat muli!

HBD Sylvanian Families

Mabuhay ang Sylvanian Families sa Pilipinas!


A Time to Play

Sometimes, to get out of the rut of very long, difficult days dealing with meltdowns and self-injuries, I need to set aside time to play. Of late, all my toys have been forgotten in the worries of every day. My Sylvanians are still in boxes, waiting to be photographed. My dolls are unboxed and languishing in a limbo of neglect. Even Nimes, once my trusted companion, has remained in her pink suitcase, unloved and untouched.

Yesterday, however, was different. I took out a few¬†pieces of doll clothing to wash and a wig to¬†do a hair spa on, and soon enough, I was¬†already setting¬†Nimes¬†up for pictures. One of A‚ô•’s gifts, the boxed Blythe dress set Pinky Doodle Poodle, has turned out to be favorite, what with the fifties poodle skirt, the pink wig, and high boots! It is simply beautiful!

Dress set- Pinky Doodle Poodle

After dressing Nimes up, doing a spa on the wig and setting it up with foam rollers, I thought, “Why not take a picture to remember all the work, ehrm, play I did today?”¬† Well, the picture turned out nicer than I expected. I liked¬†it so much I thought to share it with you and save it¬†here on the blog¬†for posterity.

Nimes does the fifties

Nimes does the fifties

It even inspired me to write a few lines of fifties nostalgia, sung to the tune of “My Favorite Things:”

Poodles on swing skirts
And cute roadside diners
Corvettes, convertibles
Checkered recliners

Pin curlers and rollers
Worn all night, it seems
These are a few of my favorite things! 

As it turns out, I did need the couple of hours of play to feel¬†“normal” again.¬†The constant anxiety I carry in¬†the pit of my belly has subsided¬†a bit, no longer the pressing, urgent, demanding monster that it is on a daily basis. I know tough times are ahead of me and my family so I need to keep reminding ¬†myself to find a little happiness where and when¬†I can.

Wishing for Ribboneta

Ribboneta is 2009’s Hello Kitty x Blythe collaboration especially created to celebrate Hello Kitty’s 35th year. She is one of my dream dolls, a grail doll, if you will.

Back in 2012, when I first dreamed of getting a Blythe doll for myself, the very first thing I did was to search for her. Alas, even then, her price had soared to a point where you could easily buy two or three new Blythe releases. And because I was unsure then if I really wanted to start another collection, I let that dream go, but not without regrets.

Fast forward to 2013, and the day I received Slow Nimes. Who knew I would love¬†Blythes as much as I do Hello Kitty and¬†Sylvanian Families?¬†These days, they (the Blythe girls) coexist happily with my other collections, forefront among them, my Sylvanian Families. ūüôā

Now, back to Ribboneta. As most Hello Kitty collaborations go, she is one special girl indeed.


She has reddish brown hair fringed with bangs. Her hair holds a slight curl at the ends.

Blythe ribboneta 02

Her eye chips are special too, as they have been marked with a ribbon in one of the irises of the pink and green forward-facing eyes. Her eyelids are light pink. ūüôā¬†Blythe ribboneta 07

She has one of the prettiest clothes ever, with a pink shantung silk halter dress and a magenta bolero which matches the ribbon in her hair. The dress also has a ribbon behind the neck and more colorful ribbons near the hem. Small faux pink pearls are seeded on top of the ribbons.

Ribboneta¬†has a Hello Kitty bag with handles made of the same faux pink pearls and a Hello Kitty necklace (HK head in a gold chain). Matching pink stockings and shoes complete the outfit and scream “Hello Kitty!” from top to toe.

Blythe ribboneta 01

When RW was released in 2009, she was pegged at JPY21000, or something like USD207 in today’s exchange rate. Today, a quick search of eBay shows the price to have gone remarkably from its original SRP to as much as USD700 for a never opened, MIB (mint-in-box) doll. Oh, my aching heart!

I’ve sort of resigned myself to never ever owning Ribboneta Wish. It’s just too much money for one doll, and unless I win the Lotto soon, I can’t justify spending that much money for her. Still, a part of me longs for that unattainable doll, and will always do.

There is a happy ending to this sad tale, though. Just when I thought I would never even see a glimpse of RW, here comes A‚ô• to the rescue! No, it is not Ribboneta, but close enough:¬†RW’s stock clothes! *squeals*

And so, despite not having Ribboneta, I am ecstatic that Nimes can wear her clothes and pretend to be her, even for a short while. Moreover, being the recipient of such a thoughtful gift, well, that alone is a remarkable gift in itself, one I will always remember with love and gratitude.

Nimes as RW

Now, can anything be lovelier than that?

Sweet Dreams Are Made of These

I received the cake shop as a gift from A‚ô• in early 2010 and have never had the chance to set it up for play until very recently. With all my Sylvanian items pouring in from different sources, sometimes, just cataloguing them in a list is all I have time for. But inspired by my friends’ enviable efforts at showcasing theirs, I finally sat down to make another tableau. It’s not meant to stay permanently displayed as Alphonse might get into the little things, but at least, for the few hours they were up, they were a lovely sight.


The Cake Shop at Kitty Little Lanes

Early morning, long before the sun rises to its full glory, the Keats are up and hard at work at The Cake Shop. It’s been that way for many years and the Keats take pride in their pastries and cakes, known as the best in all of Kitty Little Lanes, and yes, Sylvania.

They built the business from the ground up and it was fortunate that husband and wife had a common passion. These days, while The Cake Shop still runs under the husband and wife team, the kids are also learning the ropes. Today, being the early days of summer, they’ve decided to let the kids sleep a little late. There’ll be time for hard work tomorrow, they say.

Their day begins with a cursory inspection of the grounds. Because they implement a Clean As You Go policy in the shop, there is very little to do by way of cleaning at the start of each day. They’ve upgraded their single wooden table and chairs set into the ornate green table and chairs sets to give a more elegant ambience to the place. The green reminds you of a French patisserie, doesn’t it? The patio sitting, once confined to that small sliver of wooden space in front of the store, has given way to a stone patio to accommodate more people who’d like to sit down under the late summer sun. A chiller of cakes now stands where the old seating used to be.

Father Rosetti mans the kitchen. As Pastry Chef extraordinaire, he is in charge of making all those delicate puff pastries with special melty, gooey, yummy fillings. They don’t call him a “poet with flour and yeast” for nothing! Papa has all these lovely concoctions he created from scratch and from his own recipes! Salty chocolate caramel cake? Done that! Dark Chocolate Kiwi Durian Delight? That too!

Today, he is frosting a simple chocolate cake. The cookies are already done and cooling. The pink strawberry-peach cake with white frosting is a special order, waiting to be picked up by its owner.

Smile for the camera, Papa Rosetti!

Mama Bronte is in charge of the front store and takes pains to make sure all her husband’s delicious creations are displayed well. She is in charge of inventory and makes sure to remind Papa to make the creamy cheese cakes his clients love. She’s certainly an old hand at finance and balancing budgets and Papa relies on her to make the list (and budget) for supplies shopping.

If The Cake Shop is even considered successful, it owes half its success to Mama’s business savy. But you know what makes Mama Bronte Papa’s best partner? Mama Bronte has an honest charm all their patrons love and she never forgets a name!

Today, Mama shows off the sliced orange cake Papa Rosetti’s friend, Ms. Pei from far-away South Australia, sent in for their special clients. It’s a rare treat when special creations make their way to Kitty Little Lanes and the Keats only feature special bakers like Ms. Pei!

Their first customer for the day! Mrs. Myriam Chantilly (Mims to her friends) comes in with a tray for her orders. Oohh, everything looks so lovely!

Mrs. Josephine Ocher follows suit with a tray of sliced cakes for her girls. There were so many to choose from but strawberry cake and cheese cakes are the girls’ favorite!

Outside, little Esme Chantilly thinks long and hard if she should even bite into her turtle melon pan, again one of Ms. Pe√≠’s baked creations. Esme imagines all the creamy goodness inside the turtle shell and hopes it has melon cream inside. Papa Rosetti gave the melon pan to Esme because Esme received the Most Improved Student Award at St. John’s School this year. All that hard work deserves a great reward!

While Esme decides on her turtle melon pan, the Simpkins face a similar quandary. Which should they choose to buy and bring home to little Gwendolyn, now sick and home all alone? “Buuuy all, Mama, all, all, all, meow, meow,” pudgy Glynn whines as Mama looks at all these delicate things seriously. Mama Suzette has to keep tight rein of her budget as a waitress’ salary does not go far these days. Besides, if she indulged chubby-cheeked Glynn with all this sweetness, she’d soon be paying Dr. Clearwater for cavity treatments. But boy, they do look good, she muses silently to herself.

It’s a good thing Baby Jojo isn’t quite as greedy (and as chubby, haha) as little Glynn. She’s quite happy with her unfrosted chocolate cupcake! “Fank you,” she gurgles happily, taking a big whiff at all that super chocolatey aroma. “I wuv chocyait vewy much.”

As families begin to fill the little patio. old friends meet unexpectedly. Jack Ocher spots Maurice Chantilly chugging down a chococcino and rushes over to say hello.

I hear you have the best barbecues in town, old friend,” Papa Jack tells Papa Maurice.

They’re certainly not in the league of Rosetti’s cakes, Jack, but my family swears by them. I’m thinking of setting up a small side business at home. The kids are growing up and a lollipop man’s salary no longer cuts it,” Maurice replies.

Oh, my wife swears by them too! Mims sent some over to the house the other day and Josie said they tasted like her grandma’s honey bourbon ribs! You know what she else said- that they were hea-ven-ly! Good luck, man! And save me some of them barbecues next time, will you?” Jack taps Maurice on the shoulder goodnaturedly.

As you can see, The Cake Shop, with all its scrumptious and delicate delights, adds sugary sweetness to life at Kitty Little Lanes. It’s a special place for families to come in and unwind, take in a bit of fresh air and summer sun, and reconnect with loved ones and friends. There’s always something sweet in this special place.

It’s been a long and busy day, friends! Thanks for coming to the Keats’ Cake Shop! Papa Rosetti and Mama Bronte certainly appreciate the visit. ūüôā Do come by soon!