• About

    Charmed Life
    Thank you for visiting this blog. I have recently transferred all my post in my new blog. I will not be blogging here anymore. I hope to see you there.
    Life’s a Charm!

  • Disclaimer

    All photos and information contained within https://charmedlife.wordpress.com and its subdirectories and sub-sites, unless otherwise referenced, are the property of Charlotte from https://charmedlife.wordpress.com. No use, including reproduction, retransmission, or editing, may be made without prior permission from the owner.

How to Eat Apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. ~ Proverb quotes

Mark's Apple Mark's Apple

Mark's Apple Mark's Apple Mark's Apple

Mark, 18-months

Click photos for enlarged view. Click here to view more photos.

How to eat apple, Mark style: In the kitchen, in the drawer, with a spoon.

Mark SO loves this drawer. This drawer used to store our produce, but he kept emptying it, throwing all the produce to the floor and bruising them. I stop bothering with this drawer, and he made it his special place. Unfortunately, this drawer became his way to reach the counter, too.

And Mark loves apples, too!


Top 3 – Blog Design and Functions

My current blog design started at Spring. I designed it myself. I was happy about it until now, that Summer is coming. I am again itching to change my blog design, but I have no inspiration for now on how I want it to look like next. Last year, I change my design more than 3 times.

This blog is powered by WordPress. I have added in this site about 20 plugins, or application or function. My top 3 favorite plugins that I have always maintained in my site are Contact Form, jQuery Colorbox and Comment Reply Notification.

CONTACT FORM (Credit: Contact Form 7 by Takayuki Miyoshi)

Because I don’t like to publicize email addresses, including mine, I added a Contact Page with a comprehensive and simple contact form to contact me.

I honor all email addresses, including mine. Emails addresses shared in this site will be used only for reply purposes. Email addresses will never be displayed publicly and will never be shared to others.

jQUERY COLORBOX/LIGHTBOX (Credit: jQuery Colorbox | Techotronic by Arne Franken)

Family Portrait

Mark (12-months) and Matthew (4) with Mommy and Daddy

When image that is linked to the original image is clicked, the orignal image or photo is displayed on a layer on top of the current page. I just love this plugin because it allows the reader to view the photo in a bigger resolution without leaving the current page.

Click photo at the right for a demonstration of this plugin.

COMMENT REPLY NOTIFICATION (Credit: Comment Reply Notification by denishua)

Comments are made better with replies, and comment-replies adds to the discussion in the posts! And I like to reply to comments.

I just love this plug-in because when a reply is made to a comment through the reply function of WordPress, this plugin automatically notifies the comment-author of the reply. The reply is posted and public in a thread under the original comment, and the author at the original comment is automatically notified of the reply without me having to email them about the reply. This will allow the original comment author to follow up the comment and expand the conversation if desired.

How often do you change your blog design? 

Who or where is your favorite source for blog design and inspiration?

What blog plugin or function is – your favorite in your blog, OR you have seen from other blogs that you would like to add to your blog?

Odd Habits and Conversations

Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Playroom Regulars, Matthew (4) and Mark (13-months)

Mark, my 13-month old, has this habit of pressing his ear against the dishwasher that’s running. He does the same thing by the washer and dryer, when we are doing loads of laundry. A few days back, I caught him sticking his tongue out, pressing it to the door of dishwater, also while it’s running. It’s such an odd behavior, and yet, it’s so funny!

They say, you get maximum sensation through the mouth.

Mark’s favorite these days, saltine crackers! I give him these crackers when he’s being fussy, and it quiets him down. He would munch on it and walk away. When I don’t see a trail of crumbs of it, I figured that he’s eaten them all. But yesterday, I caught him dropping the little pieces of the cracker to the vent at the floor. I looked at the vent, and there they are, all the crumbs from the previous days. Sigh!

Conversation with my 4-year old Matthew, after this GEICO ‘Do you live under a Rock’ TV commercial, [View commercial here]…

Matthew: Mommy, do you want to live under a rock.

Me: No, Matthew.

Matthew: Why not?

Me: I don’t want to live under a rock.

Matthew: But I love it.

After this Uloric TV commercial, [View commercial here] …

Matthew: Mommy, do you want gout?

Me: No, thank you. (So baffled! Of all the words from that commercial, he picked ‘gout’ !)

I have a lot more funny and most of the time odd conversations like these with Matthew after watching commercials. Commercials certainly take his attention.

On a not-so-odd but very proud note, Matthew can now spell his firstname and his lastname. YAY!

Our Family Portrait

IF the family were a container, it would be a nest, an enduring nest, loosely woven, expansive, and open. IF the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable—each segment distinct. IF the family were a boat, it would be a canoe that makes no progress unless everyone paddles. IF the family were a sport, it would be baseball: a long, slow, nonviolent game that is never over until the last out. IF the family were a building, it would be an old but solid structure that contains human history, and appeals to those who see the carved moldings under all the plaster, the wide plank floors under the linoleum, the possibilities. ~ Letty Cottin Pogrebin

Family Portrait

Mark (12-months) and Matthew (4) with Mommy and Daddy. (Photo Credit: Stan Winslet)

I am so happy with how our family portrait turned out. This was taken at the Military Ball last week. There are only very few photos of the four of us together. And nothing beats a photo taken by a pro. I could have done a lot more to my hair, got Matthew to wear a lighter-colored shirt, and Mark to smile and look at the camera, but otherwise, it’s perfect!

I am so excited about this photo. It will definitely make its way into a frame to a wall somewhere, and copies of this photo will definitely be sent to family and friends, even if they don’t want it!

Let Me Drive

I was asking hubby what he wants to do on his summer break. Working for a school allows him to have that 2-month (more or less) long summer break, and summer break is not too far along.

Hubby: I want a stress-free summer doing nothing.

Me: I want to get my driver’s license.

Hubby: That is not stress-free for me.

While having just a Learner’s Permit, I can only drive a car with a licenced driver. And so far, hubby has been an unwilling ‘licenced driver ‘ to let me practice driving.

Growing up in the Philippines, I never really thought about driving since we never owned a car and the public transportation is so accessible.

While in Japan (4-5 years ago), I did take driving lessons. Coming the United States in 2008, I got a learner’s permit but since then, I have only driven very few times. And on those few times it was so challenging to get hubby to be relaxed on my driving. I am really out-of-practice and I can’t deny that I am lacking in ‘driver’s instinct’. Sigh!

I really would like to drive confidently, and get myself an actual driver’s license soon, but don’t know how to start. I especially would like to drive soon since Matthew is starting school and would like to be able to go to his school as much as I am allowed to.

How about you, do you drive? Who taught you to drive? How did you learn? Who has/had been your driving critic?

The Movie Barn, Some Kind of Crappy

Have you ever watched a movie you wish you didn’t watch? OR a movie you can’t get your eyes off because you wonder how it’s ever going to get crappier, and it DOES get crappier? Or that movie with a very unsatisfying ending, you want to change the story?

What crappy movies have you seen lately?

Machete (2010) 

This is that movie, so over-the-top, so well produced, so full of gore, and so bad! But it’s so funny and so entertaining how bad it is. I couldn’t get my eyes of it because I wonder if this movie is ever going to get worse and crappier, and it’s so funny that it actually  DID!

I can’t believe how well-casted this movie is Jessica Alba, Robert Diniro, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan…

Jessica Alba even went nude for this movie. Unbelievable!

Due Date (2010) 

I usually like a Robert Downey movie. But I cringed at this movie because of the other leading character of the movie, Ethan as portrayed by Zach Galifianakis. I am really annoyed by the deliberate inappropriateness this character showed, that I keep forgetting the movie is supposed to be a comedy. The Ethan character is jsut so awful, made me hate this movie!

Going the Distance (2010) 

There were times when Drew Barrymore makes fun and great movies, feel-good and timely romances or movies about self-discovery and women empowerment (Ever After, Charlie’s Angels and more). Most of her previous movies were great! Some of them I like to watch over and over… until Going the Distance. It’s crap! The story and dialogues are distasteful. And Drew Barrymore and Justin Long don’t have onscreen chemistry. I did not like this movie at all.

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010) 

Umbrella Corporation did it again – make zombies!

I like the previous Resident Evil movies. My favorite is the very one which came out in 2002. With the coming out of the 4th installment, Resident Evil: Afterlife, I think the story went so overboard, but then it’s science-fiction. But still, I think it’s gone overdone, and I want better story, better twists ..

The Great Easter Truth

The great Easter truth is not that we are to live newly after death – that is not the great thing – but that, we are to be new here and now by the power of the resurrection; not so much that we are to live forever as that we are to, and may, live nobly now because we are to live forever. ~ Phillips Brooks

Have a great Easter everyone!

Choices, #4

Style: Classic, Contemporary or Country?
Crushed Ice or Ice Cubes?
Dogs or Cats?
Books or Movies?
Twitter or Facebook?

My choices are Contemporary, Ice Cubes, No pets, Movies and Facebook.

Read Previous Choices: #1, #2, #3

My Hopes Too

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again. ~ Movie, The Curios Case of Benjamin Button, Letter to his daughter.

Among many others, these are my hopes too for my little ones.

Playtime, Matthew and Mark

Playtime, Matthew and Mark

Playtime, Matthew and Mark

Playtime, Matthew and Mark

View more Playtime Photos.


Every year it seems to me I hear complaints about spring. It is either “late” or “unusually cold,” “abnormally dry” or “fantastically wet,” for no one is ever willing to admit that there is no such thing as a normal spring. ~ Thalassa Crusso

We certainly have those abnormal spring weather. Sometimes it’s chilly and sometimes it’s too hot, dry and humid, and then suddenly it hails. Crazy weather! But it’s all good. After a long winter, mostly coop up in the house, we were finally able to get out without being worried about wearing three layers of clothing. And of course, I am not complaining about the colorful flowers in bloom this season. They are just so lovely to look at. Thank goodness, I have no allergies to Spring’s pollen, neither are my kids.

Spring unlocks the flowers to paint the laughing soil. ~ Reginald Heber

I chanced upon taking photos of the blooms in our front yard after my boys and I are walking in the campus. The photos turned out great with the pink flowers in full bloom, the freshly mowed green grass in front of the white house. I wished I had taken photos around the campus. A lot of areas in the campus are still filled with Spring blooms.

Spring 2011


Spring 2011

Matthew (4) and Baby Mark (11-months)

Spring 2011

I shoot a lot of pictures just to catch the two of them looking at me, preferably smiling, at the same time. I get lucky SOMETIMES. But MOST of the shots are like this - the two of them looking away to the same direction at the same time. What a joke!


Spring 2011

The house at Spring.


Photos taken on April 4, 2011. Click photos for enlarge view.
Click HERE for more Spring 2011 Photos.

And guess what, the night when these photos were taken, there was a thunderstorm, and temperature dropped again. Sigh! And now, it’s back up again.

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter. ~ Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964)

Spring, love it or hate it?

I love Fall, my favorite! And I love Spring, second.

Gift to the Heart

On my birthday this year, my thoughtful younger sister, Jessica, wrote this for me.



the last time i saw my sister was summer of 2007. she and baby matthew went to the Philippines to visit the Filipino family. back then, my sister as a mother was not yet evident. i still saw her as the rational elder sister. now though, as we communicate through her blogsite and facebook, i see a mature, happy and lovely mom in her. i just know in my heart that my nephews would grow passionate and embrace life with positive eyes just like their mother.

i miss my sister. she’s one of the few people i truly trust. being around her makes me want to hope more and not be worried with where my life is heading. she is one of the people who can really see the goodness in me. i know that she will never give up on me no matter what happens.

i wish she continues to be positive in life. i wish that whatever she has right now will be there always, but if it does not, i wish she knows that we are always here no matter the distance.

~ jessica

A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit,
a golden thread to the meaning of life.
~ Isadora James

I grew up with a younger sister, 2 years younger than me. It took us our teenage years to finally get along and became each other’s best friend. Our teenage years was the time we had to rely on each other, cover up for each other, and listen to each other’s stories on crushes and heartaches. What a heartwarming and memorable time that was, especially when shared with a sister!

I can not remember a significant event in my childhood, or my younger years without my sister in it. And although we have been living in different countries for too long now, I just can not go by a milestone or experience in my life without telling her about it. ~ I Carry Your Heart With Me

It’s been a long time since we saw each other, too long! And while I miss her so much, she remained the one true old friend I can’t get rid of, the one who truly gets me, the one who wishes good things for me and I deeply hope and pray all good things for, and the one whose fragile heart, if only, I want to put in a glass box to shield from heartaches and pain.

As she celebrates her birthday tomorrow, April 4th, at her side of the world, I hope it will be a fine day!

Have a great birthday, Sis! I Love you! ~ Manang

Life’s a Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2011If you haven’t heard yet, there is an ultimate blog party going on until April 8 and I’m in! I welcome you, who are coming from the Ultimate Blog Party originated from 5 Minutes for Mom . For those who follow my blog, this is something you don’t want to miss. I encourage you to join, too!

In this blog and all my public profiles, I write this to introduce myself:

My name is Charlotte – born and raised in the Philippines – true Filipino by heart! I am wife to Michael, mother to two boys, Matthew(4) and Baby Mark (turning 1). We live in Alabama at the campus of the military school where hubby works. I am a movie enthusiast, aspiring web designer, an artist and lover of life.

This introduction will tell you the things that I blog about:

  • About myself, my story and my views. As a Filipino who experienced an expat life in Japan, and now living in the USA (Alabama), my views may be different than usual. Then, maybe, they are the same as yours …
  • About my life as a wife to an American husband retired from the US Army; our interracial, inter-cultural marriage, but then, truthfully the difference in race and culture between me and hubby is never an issue. Over the years, our differences brought about more laughs in our marriage.
  • About my life as a mother, my adventures and misadventures of raising my two boys, Matthew (4) and Mark (turning-1). I have learned that boys are messy
  • About our not so typical life in the campus of a military school in the woods of Alabama
  • About some movies I’ve seen, what’s current and most of life in general


On blogging, I am an advocate of real personal contents on both, the blog posts and the comments. To me, blogging is more than telling one’s story but it’s also about reaching out, making friends and creating a genuine connection, while having fun doing it.

I have written this in the my previous post, but it still holds true after years of blogging:

As much as I love blogging, I am more interested in blog hopping. I find that blog is a wonderful window to people’s lives. I like reading about differences and similarities between other people’s lives and mine. It feels good to know that I’m not the only one feeling the way I feel, doing what I do, and thinking the way I think. And there are those who are completely, if not slightly, opposite, but yet still there is shared camaraderie. ~ Charmed Life Party

Matthew and Baby Mark

Matthew (4) and Baby Mark (11-months)

Feel the ease of being playful, the excitement of being alive,
the joy of embracing your life.
~ Philip Berk

On life, well, it’s a celebration! Life is and should constantly be a party! For life continually gives us affirmation of our lovely existence. Some days are plain simple while others are tougher than usual , that makes life hardly ever considered a party. But more often than not, we get over the toughies! What’s left is our stronger selves, wiser and ever more capable to face life and all it’s challenges.

It’s always a party in my home. My son Matthew always calls it a dinner party when we eat at the dining table, even when what’s in front of us are his mac-n-cheese, which is all he eats, and whatever packed meal hubby brought home for me from the school cafeteria. And while we are having this dinner party, all my independent 11-month old Mark wants to do is climb up and play in the stairs.

Baby Mark Big Brother Matthew and Baby Mark

Or when hubby’s at work and we are just at the living room in our pjs, with me on my laptop clicking and tapping on the keys, Matthew playing the Wii, and Mark playing with his toys or fussing his big brother, life’s still a party! Hubby continues to have the job that he likes and he’s good at, while the babies and I are safe in our comfort zones and doing what we enjoy the most. That what makes life a charm, a party!

View my Photos | View my Archives




In the past few weeks, there is a spike in my blog statistics and the number of my followers and subscribers. I can remember a time when all those who left comments in my post and who subscribed to my feeds are real-life friends. These days, I have 12 Subscriptions in Feedburner and 22 Following in Google Connect by those I have not met in real life. You may think, that’s not a big number, but hey, for the longest time, my numbers were 3 and 2, respectively.

While being picky with the blog hops I participate in, I am at awe and delight for every new subscription or following to this blog since I really have nothing to offer in this blog but my story and views and my friendship. I am thankful to all my followers and subscribers, to those whom I have genuinely connected through blogs, and especially to those who constantly leave thoughtful comments on my posts. All these blog loves somehow gives me a validation to my existence in the blog-o-sphere.

If you are subscribing, following or has joined this site, or if in any way you are constantly reading my post whether in the previous posts you have left comments or not, this shout-out of appreciation is for you! Please drop a comment or two to introduce yourself. Tell us about you, your life, your blog, your advocacy…

Party with me! Let yourself shine and be known!


Today, I would also like to bring awareness to Autism. April 2, 2011 is Autism Awareness Day. Let us all remember that children with autism are not, in any way, less than normal or average. They are awesome! They are different but aren’t we all. They should be treated with patience, love and respect, as we should treat everyone else.