Thursday, December 3, 2015

"Why Can't It Be Christmas Everyday?"

Happy "Merry Month of December" everyone! I am inspired by my little love bug to write this post. Two days ago, we have started doing our "Jesse Tree", one of the traditions I would like our family to do every Christmas season. Last year, we did the Advent Calendar while we were in the US. I'll try my very best to share it with you before this month ends.

On the evening of December 1st, we started our Advent study of The Jesse Tree (special thanks to Erica Arndt of Confessions of a Homeschooler for the free printable). She was really excited about the idea and I saw the glitter in her eyes as we were doing it. Then on the morning of the December 2nd, she asked me this thought-provoking question, "Mommy, why can't it be Christmas everyday?" To be honest, I didn't know what to say because I wasn't expecting her to ask that question. I paused for a while then tried to come up with a convincing and gratifying answer. I smiled at her and said, "It's because Christmas is the birthday of Jesus and it's just for one day, just like your birthday." (I know it's not satisfying at all). Curiosity got the better of me so I asked her, "Why do you want it to be Christmas everyday?" Her reasons may be trivial or insignificant (for some of us) but it made me ponder what she said.

"Because Daddy is here and doesn't have to go to work... 
In the eyes of my child, being together as a family is sacred and precious. I remember when she just turned two and I tried to teach her "big A and small a", I used "mommy A and baby a". She looked at me and asked, "Where is Daddy A, Mommy?" At that young age, she believes that daddy, mommy and baby always go together and I couldn't be happier. :)

Since birth until she was three years old, we stayed in an apartment that was just a stone's throw away from my husband's work place. She was used to seeing her dad come home for lunch and after office hours (except on days when he was on business trips). That changed after we came back from the US. We have to stay in my mother's house in the province while my husband works in the city on weekdays. He only comes home every weekend. So everyday she misses her dad. Knowing that Christmas would mean "Daddy is home" made her want to be Christmas everyday.

As adults, how often do we look forward to being together with our loved ones? Hurriedness and/or busyness of life, more often than not, makes us take for granted the presence of our loved ones. We are there and yet not really there. Connected but disconnected. I remember a Christmas advertisement wherein the father longed for his children and he invited them to come home for Christmas. All his children (now successful adults) said they couldn't come so on Christmas eve he ate his dinner alone. Then his children got a sad news that their father died. All of them were in a hurry to go home then found out their dad was still alive, prepared a sumptuous dinner for all of them. He just wanted to be with them so he thought of a way to make them come home. I hope that our loved ones will not have to resort to doing something like it just to get our attention; just to feel our presence.

May we be like a child that wants Christmas to be everyday "so Daddy (or any loved one) is home."

... my cousin and Daddy Jon and Mommy Claire will be here...
My daughter is an only child (for now). In spite of it, she is a people-person. She loves babies, children and even adults that play with her. :) When we went to the US last year, we stayed in my brother's house for 6 months. My daughter got a chance to meet and live with her cousin who is also a girl and an only child (as of this time). As toddlers, they have their sweet moments together and not-so-sweet ones, but at the end of the day they love each other and consider each one as best friend. Since we came back, my daughter never missed a day to say she misses her cousin, my sister-in-law, my brothers and my parents. It went on for 5 months. Nowadays she says it once in a while, but she still misses them. When she found out that my brother and his family are coming for Christmas, she's ecstatic and couldn't wait for the day they will arrive.

Christmas has been so commercialised that many of us look at it as just a typical day that makes you spend. Other people I know would go out of town just to "hide" from their godchildren because they don't have gifts to give them. Is this really the meaning of the season?

May we have the eyes of a child that sees the excitement the Christmas season brings; that looks forward to this special day because of the  message it conveys.

... and CJ (her cousin) and me can play together with my toys."  
Sharing. That's what Christmas means for my little girl. She wants everyday to be Christmas so she can play with her cousin and share her toys with her. Modesty aside, I have always seen my sweet little girl sharing her stuff: food, drinks, toys and clothes.  Just a while ago, she saw one of her favourite dresses. It was a little bit small for her now and she told me, "Mommy let's give this to another children, this is small for me already so she can use it." It melts my heart to hear her say this with all innocence and yet full of sincerity.

Giving and sharing. How come it is so easy for a child to do this? Why does it become hard as one grows old?

May we have the heart of a child that gives and shares without expecting something in return.

We can't make it December 25th everyday but I believe we can make everyday feels like Christmas. Happy Christmas everyone! :)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Learn with Joy: Homeschooling Preschool

Hello! It's another homeschooling post and I would like to share with you about what I have learned (so far) as I homeschool my preschooler. Also, beginning today, you will see that every homeschooling post is now entitled Learn with Joy. It's just that I realised that if my student (who is my daughter) learns with joy, she learns better and more effectively. Not to mention that that's also my name, so, if she learns with Joy (that's me, her mom), she's happier. Enough said. :)

Homeschooling a preschooler could be exciting and enjoyable for you and your student while at the same time nerve-wracking (only for you not for your student)! It's a gentle (and fun!) way of introducing a little bit of structure and schedule to your learner without you experiencing the pressure  of being tied up to it (or guilt if you're not able to follow your schedule). It's a good opportunity for you to check if your kid/s is/are now ready to transition from an informal set-up to a little more formal one.

Inform the preschooler.
We started our "a little bit formal" homeschool last August 2015. Of course, a couple of weeks before that I informed my preschooler about it. I didn't expect it but she was very excited. She was already thinking of what dress to wear (on the first day of "school"), what school bag to use, what her table will be, what crayons and coloured pencils she will use (she has lots as gifts for her last year's birthday). She was so thrilled about it and just couldn't wait for the "big day" to come.

My preschooler on our first day of homeschool

Prepare the homeschool/learning area.
We just came from the US and currently stay at my mom's house. A lot of our stuff from our apartment where we used to live (before we left for the US) are lodged in our bedroom. So, just imagine how packed our tiny room is! But I still managed to find a corner where we can have our learning time. Also, I used what is available such as side/night table, my old study table, my old chair and my daughter's stool. I make sure that our area is always clean and bright (that is, I always open the window blinds to let the sunshine in); conducive to learning.

Free printable (Daily Learning Notebook) from Confessions of a Homeschooler
Free printable (Daily Learning Notebook) from Confessions of a Homeschooler

Keep the curriculum simple and fun.
When my preschooler was just a year old I was on the lookout for a curriculum that I could use to "teach" her. Then in March 2014, I came across The Learning Basket's  invitation to their Start Your Homeschool Preschool seminar/workshop. Of course I grabbed the chance to attend this event. The seminar/workshop was an eye opener to me. It made me realise that I don't need an  expensive curriculum, I don't even need to buy. I just have to create an environment that would spark love for learning of my tot schooler. The mantra "better late than early" stuck to my mind like a sticky note that whenever I itched to introduce "academic learning" to my precocious toddler, I backed down a bit. You may ask what then was my curriculum at that time? Well, it was just pure play, hahaha! Because that spelled f-u-n for my daughter and if she's having fun she learns quickly and better. The good thing was, my toddler was (and still is) always curious. I provided opportunities for her to ask questions, and when she asked them, I made sure I gave her an appropriate answer (which means, based on her ability and capability to grasp and understand the concept). And since it was always fun for my toddler, I never thought I would always hear this from her, "Mom, come on let's go. Let's homeschool already!" This is music to my ears. :)

This year, aside from "play", we are doing the Letter of the Week and hopefully before the school year ends we will be able to do the Before Five in a Row. I am so thankful for the availability of free printable from some of the "joyful links" that I have found in the net, such as, Confessions of a Homeschooler by Erica Arndt, Delightful Learning by Michelle, Homeschool Creations by Jolanthe,  Homeschoolshare and of course, The Learning Basket (though I haven't gotten any printable from TLB, the wealth of ideas that Mariel and Sanne share are just awesome). In one way or another, they have helped me create a simple and fun curriculum for my preschooler. One day, I hope to share with you some of our joyful learning together.

Recognize your preschooler's learning style.
For me, it is imperative to know and acknowledge your student's learning style. Learning style is how, or the way your student processes and learns new information. When you know your learner's learning style, you will teach effectively and efficiently. Most preschoolers are auditory, visual and tactile/kinesthetic learners. My daughter is a little bit of everything but predominantly kinaesthetic/tactile so when I prepare  our lessons and activities I make sure I take this into consideration.

I also acknowledge that my preschooler's attention span is definitely shorter than mine. So when I still feel like doing our lesson for the day and she is becoming restless, we stop and let her rest for a while. I also let her have her snacks even if she has just eaten breakfast. She just loves to eat, what can I do? :)

Be prepared... Always!
I mentioned above that homeschooling a preschooler could be nerve-wracking at times. That is, if you're not prepared. One time, I thought I had prepared everything that could be done in an hour or so but since my daughter is quite a quick learner (in some areas), what I assumed to get done in 30 minutes she finished in 10 minutes and she's like, "What's next, Mom?" So, I always come prepared. If everything else fails, reading a book or two always saves the day. :)

Pray! Pray! Pray!
My husband and I prayed for it before we decided to homeschool our daughter. I pray for our homeschooling regularly. My daughter and I pray before we start our homeschool. Everything begins and ends in prayer. That's how powerful it is. I know I can do this only because of God's abundant grace in my life. As I have mentioned here, the struggle is real. To be honest, there are times I almost would like to give up. Whenever it happens, I stop, "look up" and ask for the Lord's strength, wisdom and grace so I can continue on. Refreshed, I go back to the reasons why we do what we do. :)

Homeschooling a preschooler is not a piece of cake but the effort and time you put into it is definitely worth it. How about you, are you homeschooling too? Please feel free to share your thoughts about your homeschooling experience in the comments section. Thank you.

Friday, November 13, 2015

All I Ever Have to Be

There comes a time when I feel like I would like to do more than what I am doing right now (as a wife and mom); to be somewhere more "exciting"than when I am right now and to become somebody than who I am right now. It's a gnawing sensation that doesn't seem to stop unless I do something about it.

Oftentimes, I find myself living in the past; thinking what could have happened if I had only chosen the other path of the bifurcating road that was in front of me then. I could have been this; I could have done that; I could have been there. What adds fuel to the fire is that, in many cases, I compare my life and myself with others. Why am I not like him/her?

Then this song I learned when I was younger than today (heehee) reminded me of where my perspective should be...

When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavily on my head
And the thoughtful words of help and hope
Have all been nicely said
But I'm still hurting, wondering if I'll ever be the one
I think I am
I think I am

Then You gently re-remind me
That You've made me from the first
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst
And I realise the good in me is only there
Because of who You are
Who You are

And all I ever have to be is what You've made me
Any more or less would be a step out of Your plan
As You daily recreate me, help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do what I can find
And all I ever have to be,
All I have to be,
All I ever have to be
Is what You've made me.

It's not about me. It's not about what I do. It's all about Him who has wonderfully created me and purposefully placed me in this world. Like the potter to a clay, He designs me according to His divine will and reasons. He directs me towards the path that He wants me to traverse.

It's not just about the dreams (whether immense or small) that are seemingly sleeping inside my heart but it's about the Giver of these desires and aspirations. It's about being obedient to His call. I may be doing "great" or "more" things in people's eyes but if they're not part of His perfect design for me, then that will mean nothing; those are nothing. And since He lovingly placed those dreams in my heart, He is also faithful to fulfil those through me. All I need to do is to trust Him; obey and believe that all I ever have to do, all I have to be, is what He has made me.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Learn with Joy: Why We Do What We Do

"If there is one thing we can give you all, our children, that'll be education." Those were the words I heard from my parents when my siblings and I were just littles. We are not wealthy but our parents made it a point to send us to school, good schools for that matter. So, I grew up  valuing education and its benefits. I told myself at the time, "When I have my own kids, I'll make sure to send them to the best schools in the country." After completing one college degree, I even pursued a Certificate in Professional Education and took a licensure exam to become a licensed educator. Fast track to today, I am now married with a precocious daughter in tow. However, my idea about education has changed a lot. It is no longer about being accepted to big and "best" schools. It is more about the quality of education that we (my husband and I) would like our daughter to attain.

My husband and I decided to homeschool our only daughter (yeah, only daughter and to be homeschooled, quite a recipe for "socialisation problem" huh?) the moment we had her. We want to give her the best and like every first time parents we want to give her the "world". I started asking family friends about homeschooling and although not all the ones we asked are familiar (and agreeing) with homeschooling, there is a missionary couple who gave us an idea on how they did it. The more I seek, the more I got interested and the more I learned about it. Thankfully, a lot of parents nowadays are opting to homeschool their children. There are also hundreds of blogs about homeschooling that are indeed helpful and useful.

After much prayer and contemplation, "against all odds", we took the less traveled road. To be honest, it's not always a walk in the park. Just like what other homeschooling parents say, (hashtag) "the struggle is real". It really takes a lot of strength and grace from the One who made it clear to us that this is the path we're going to take; it takes commitment and dedication on our part. But why still do what we do?

We Acknowledge that we are God's stewards.
My husband and I have always said that "we are owners of nothing but stewards of everything", and that includes our daughter. Being entrusted with a precious gift, we must prove ourselves faithful to Him. As stewards, we want to make sure that we are giving our daughter what we ought to give her, not holding back what is due her. Homeschooling her is accepting that we have been given a responsibility and taking care of what the Lord has charged to our care.

We want to give the "Best" to our daughter.
Every set of parents will agree, I know, that our (yours and ours) offsprings deserve the very best. As I have mentioned above, as parents, it's like we want to give the "world" to our children. Not that I could literally give the world to my daughter but it's the desire for her to receive the good things in life. The best may not always be the most expensive. It could be something that comes from the heart knowing that it's "all of you" offering it and using it for the well-being of someone. Homeschooling my daughter is giving all of me to her. A lot of people have asked me why I opted to stay at home, breastfeed my daughter and homeschool her when in fact I could have chosen to pursue a career and live my dreams. And when I tell them, "This is my career. I am living one of my dreams by being with my daughter," most of them would shake their heads in disbelief. I know it sounds crazy to them but to me and my husband, specially to my daughter, it says, "We love you that's why we give you our very best."

We believe that Character formation and development begins at home.
It is my belief that the heart of education is the education of the heart. A person with a knowledge-filled brain may succeed at first but won't necessarily endure. However, an individual with the right character will definitely survive in this broken world. More than loading her brain with a plethora of information, we would like our daughter's heart to be filled with experiences that will shape her heart to live for God, that is, produce a character that is approved not only in the sight of man but most importantly in the eyes of God; a character that is strong enough to stand for what is right, true and moral; not influenced by peer pressure nor agitated by unfavourable circumstances. I am not saying my husband and I are perfect enough to be able to do this. No, in fact, we're just ordinary people with perfect imperfections. However, I know that by and with the grace of God in our lives, we will accomplish it.

We desire our daughter to be a Disciple of Jesus. 
As believers and followers of Jesus, we would like our daughter to have the same relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. I firmly believe that it's the best legacy we could leave her. When we homeschool, it's not just the facts that we share but the faith as well. The Bible says, "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it" (Proverbs 22:6).

We aspire to Excellence in education.
Every Filipino child deserves not just education but a quality education. That has been my "mantra" as an educator. As a homeschooling educator and parent, I know my husband and I will be able to give our daughter the quality of education we would like her to get. There will be no pressure to strive for perfection but encouragement to pursue excellence.

These are just some of the many reasons why we do what we do. If you noticed (I hope you did), I gave you our A to E reasons :). Hopefully, I'll be able to add some more sometime.

How about you? Are you a homeschooling mom/dad too? What are your motivations in doing so? I would love to hear from you! :)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Homeschooling: Learn with Joy

Hello everyone! I have finally decided (or got the courage) to tell you about our homeschooling journey through a post at least once a week. Let me just say that it's not perfect. It's a work in progress. I am a work in progress, haha! I am simply hoping that through my posts, homeschooling parents will be inspired to continue doing so, while others who are still contemplating whether to go this route or not may firmly decide and do what they believe is best for their family.

Since I know for sure I will be not able to post everyday, I am thinking of posting every Friday, that is, after one homeschool week has gone by. I will put it under the label TeachesI will simply give the highlights of what happens in a day. There'll be pictures (of course), helpful tips and ideas and useful links.

I am so excited about this and I hope and pray that you'll join me and my little family in our homeschooling journey!

Note: Your comments, suggestions and questions are welcome anytime. Please feel free to post them in the comment box. Thank you.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Why I Am Still Breastfeeding My Preschooler

It was exactly a year ago when I wrote about the How and Why of My Breastfeeding Journey. I can't believe that until now I'm still going to write about it. It's not that I'm tired of telling my story about it, it just amazes me how far I have come. I won't ever forget, it's because of God's unending grace in my life.

My Love Bug is almost 4 years old now, 47 months and 28 days to be exact. And I'm happy to tell everyone that she still loves "Mommy's milk". That's how she calls it. Sometimes I wonder if it's just out of habit that she asks for my milk, but as I look at her every time she tells me she wants to "dede" (Filipino word for "nurse"), I can tell that she still likes it. There are times when people around us, specially family members would tease and discourage her from getting this liquid gold but she couldn't be dissuaded. She would always get assurance from me that it's just fine to "drink Mommy's milk".
My Love Bug at 47 months. She nurses when she takes a nap and at bedtime.
"She's older now; a preschooler. Why do you still breastfeed your daughter?" you may ask. I may only have a few reasons why I still do it, but I believe these are enough to continue doing it.

It's just the natural thing to do. From day 1 until today, I believe that feeding one's offspring is a natural thing to do, isn't it? Although there are lower forms of animals that do not care for their young (because they are not given the ability and the wisdom to do so), female mammals (including human moms) are gifted not only with the ability to care for their young but also with this precious milk to nourish them. My daughter would always say, "Mommy, it's okay for me to 'dede', di ba (isn't it)?" And I would assure her, "Yes, it is." :)

I remember that time when I gave birth, I was so afraid I would not be able to breastfeed my daughter. We (my husband, the nurses and I) did everything we could possibly do. Because not even a drop of milk was coming out from my breasts (I have inverted nipples), the nurses got an electric pump and start pumping my breasts. Nothing happened. Then they used a syringe so my nipple would "come out". Still nothing happened. I was petrified. But prayers with faith and persistence really do work. I was determined to breastfeed. So even without seeing that liquid gold I let my baby latched onto me (which I believe is a natural thing to do). And then the "natural thing" happened. The milk just flowed out! Until this day, my preschooler is enjoying and loving it!

The bonding moment is priceless. If I may say this, it's not just my daughter who is emotionally benefitting from breastfeeding her. I am too. I can't describe how I feel every time my daughter nurses. I'm overjoyed! And I can feel how happy she is too. It's like our "date", a special moment between us that even though we don't say a word, she knows she is loved and I am too.

It is a gift that you receive and give as well. I feel so blessed to be given this precious gift. I have learned from a medical practitioner that generally, women have the ability to breastfeed their children and there's only about 1% who wouldn't be able to do so. I am humbled to be part of the 99%. This is the kind of gift that you wouldn't want to keep for yourself. This is the gift that doesn't bless you alone (Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mom) but the recipient (your children) as well. Who wouldn't want that kind of gift? :)

Are you a breastfeeding mom too? What are your reasons for doing so? Please feel free to share your thoughts on the comments below. I would love to hear from you.

Happy Breastfeeding Week to all the breastfeeding moms out there! We are blessed so let's be a blessing! :)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Grace and Gratitude

Grace is such an amazing and encompassing word.

It always gives, overflows and overwhelms.

It's like the evening sun in the coolness of spring; warm and comforting.

I'm one of the many undeserving recipients of God's grace. My heart-cup is filled up to the brim. It is not because of who I am but because of who He is. My soul rejoices. It is saturated with thanksgiving.

Grace from the Giver. Gratitude from me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

And The Liebster Award Goes To...

Me! Hahaha! Imagine my surprise and excitement when a dear friend of mine informed me that she nominated me for the The Liebster Award. I was like, "What is it?" But I was (and still am) so grateful and ecstatic. Haha! The Liebster Awards turns out to be a cool and awesome way to promote and discover new blogs and the bloggers behind them. So, how does this work? A friend (or virtual friend) who is also a blogger nominates you and gives you some fun personal questions and you answer them through your blog. Then you pick or nominate other newbie bloggers to do the same. Of course, don't forget to thank the one who nominated you and link back to her so others can read her blog as well! ;)

My heartfelt gratitude goes to Ivy of Loving A Simple Life for remembering me and giving me a chance to be a part of, well, this "prestigious" award! Hahaha! Thanks, Ives! Now, I'll be answering her 10 questions. Here we go!

1. What is your vision for your blog?
     I would like my blog to be a source of inspiration to all women regardless of age, color, size, race 
     and religious affiliation; that it will serve as a "nesting place" for every tired and weary woman or 
     maybe a safe haven where she can just be herself.

2. What are your reasons for blogging? 
     I'm blogging because, first and foremost, I would like to glorify God through my blog. Another 
     reason is because I would like to help and inspire other moms like me. Still another is because I 
     really love to write. :)

3. What are your plans in the next five years for your blog?
     Well, I'm hoping that I'll have my own domain; my blog will be an avenue to my other pursuits.

4. How many children do you want to have? Why?
    I would like to have three kids - one girl and 2 boys. I just thought it would be fun to have three 
    kids. The Lord has blessed me and my husband, however, with one precocious girl and we are very 
    much thankful for her. We are already content. ;)

5. Where do you want to retire?
     Here in my native land, Philippines my Philippines!

6. Where is your dream vacation place?

7. What are your plans to grow financial life?
    Pray! Save! Get informed! Save!

8. What is the best decision you ever did as an individual, wife or mother?
     I believe the best decision I have done in my life is to know Jesus and accept Him as my personal 
     Lord and Saviour. Next to that is to marry God's best for me. As a mother, I believe, staying at 
     home so I can be a full-time and hands-on mom and wife and breastfeed my daughter is one of the 
     best decisions I have ever made.

9. Do you prefer your child/ren to be homeschooled or to attend the regular school? Why?
    My husband and I prefer to homeschool our daughter. Here are our reasons why.

10. What makes you happy and sad?
     A lot of things make me happy, really. It's not difficult to make me smile or laugh. What makes me 
    sad? Sad movies (haha!), injustice, loss (family, friend or pet) and sickness.

There you have it! Now it's my turn. You are hereby invited/nominated:

Gracie Maulion of the FabMama
Dani Vita of StarfishJourney

Please answer the questions below and... Enjoy! :)

1. If you were given a chance to change something in your life, what would it be?

2. Give the top 5 persons/things that matter to you the most (I know it's not in question form but you still have to answer it, haha!)

3. What's the best compliment you have ever heard from a child?

4. What will make you a "child" again?

5. In your own little way, how can you change the world? :)

6. What is your pet peeve?

7. How do you manage stress?

8. Which do you prefer, coffee or tea? Why?

9. Who is your favourite cartoon character? Why?

10. If I were to give you a gift,  what would you like it to be?

Friday, July 3, 2015

Signing on... Again.

Oh... It's been two months. I have been wondering (and wandering places where I had only dreamed of going to) where time has gone. Changes... changes... changes... Why does that surprise me? After all, there's one thing in this world that is always constant and I know, you guessed it right. Yeah, change. A lot of changes had happened and continue to happen.

But, here I am again. After being disconnected from the blogosphere (not that I have totally shut my eyes and ears from it), I'm coming back and signing on again. Grateful indeed...

Welcome back, my beloved readers! :)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Resting in His Grace

What does it mean to rest in God's grace?

Is it do-nothing-and-just-leave-everything-in-God's-hand kind of attitude?
Or perhaps it is like sleeping on whatever bothers you as if it's not even there in the first place?


To rest in God's grace is simply to believe that God will fulfill what He says He would after you have done what He told you to do. More often than not though, it's easier said than done. However, we could always look in on the past and see what God had wonderfully accomplished in your life; miracles, surprises, blessings. 

Whatever they are, we can always trust Him to bring about the best... Therefore,
rest in His grace.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

How My Toddler Learned to Say "I Am Sorry"

Just like any toddlers, my daughter is not perfect. I mean, she has her meltdowns, is sometimes mischievous and behaves like, well, like a 3-year old should do. But if there's one thing that I'm very proud of is that, at a very young age, even before she learned to say the word, she already knew how to say "sorry".

I can still remember, when she was one and a half year old, whenever I called her attention because she's not "listening" to what I'm telling her - of course, that would make my voice firm and a little louder than usual - she would immediately come to me then hug and kiss me. At that time I didn't know what she's doing or what she's up to. Eventually I realized it's her way of telling me she's sorry for whatever she might have done or for not listening to me. Soon she's able to talk and could "articulate" her feelings of regret. It melts my heart every time she does it.

So, how did she learn to say these 3 precious words? I am not claiming to be an expert in this matter but my experience has taught me that these "steps" (or whatever you may want to call them) really work for us.

Start early. It is never too early to teach our children the kind of values we want them to have.
As early as possible we should exert effort to inculcate in them the beliefs that hold true to us.

Teach by example. It is one thing to say it, doing it is entirely a different thing. Our actions speak volumes to our children more than the words they're hearing from us. As far as I can remember, I didn't tell my daughter at that age to say "I'm sorry" whenever she "offended" me or her dad. My thought at the time, "How will she understand it? Wait until she turns two." However, whenever I did something wrong (that would mean, I got mad at her for no reason or I had misjudged her actions), I was quick to say, "I'm sorry, baby. Mommy, didn't listen to what you're trying to tell her. I'm sorry. I won't do it again. I love you so much." Little did I realize that that left a deep impression in her heart- that there's nothing wrong with admitting you're wrong and it's okay to say you're sorry.

Sometimes the challenge with us adults, or parents for that matter is that, we're too "proud" to acknowledge our own mistakes. We think that because our children are "just kids" and we're the grown ups, we are always right. As a result, we don't say sorry to them and in turn, they won't as well.

Be a good model. Growing up, my siblings and I would say "I'm sorry" whenever we would offend anyone among us or even our parents. Why is that? Fortunately for us, my mother is a good role model. As a result, I have carried that "habit" until now. Being a couple, my husband and I are quick to admit our faults and say "sorry" to one another when we know that we've offended each other. We're unabashed to acknowledge our mistakes before each other and even in front of our daughter. And I believe that made a great impact to our daughter. Remember, in the eyes of a child: If daddy and mommy are doing it, then it must be right.

Commend the act. One of the things I do after our daughter say, "I'm sorry" is hug her. Since her primary love language is physical touch, mommy hugging her after she admits she's wrong makes her feel forgiven and loved. I believe that just like us adults, it takes a lot of courage for a child to confess she regrets the wrong she's done. So appreciating the act will encourage the child to bring out the same positive response when a situation calls for it.

I hope these simple steps help you as well in teaching your child/children say "I'm sorry" and other common courtesies. Can you think of other ways/steps? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

7 Things Every Wife Should Know: A Book Review

Have you ever read a book and felt like it was talking to you or about you? Well, that's how I felt as I read 7 Things Every Wife Should Know. Written by Viviene Bigornia, a newly wed herself, she tackles the subject of marriage with vividness and clarity.

The book (or ebook) is easy to read and to the point. Viviene shares her joyful experiences as a new wife. Although she is honest to tell her readers that there is no such thing as a "perfect marriage", she  believes that a couple can have a successful and happy married life through the 7 key virtues that every wife should know (and may I add, follow as well). She uses the acronym T-R-I-U-M-P-H and devotes one chapter for each virtue. Furthermore, she expounds each one by citing insightful stories of hers and some married women whom she is closed to and has witnessed their married life.

At the end of each chapter, Viviene provides sections which give reader a chance to reflect, read, respond, pray and take actions on every nugget of wisdom gleaned from the topic. The author also includes Real Lives of Real Wives which is about real stories of married women that tell happy and contented married life is possible and can be achieved. Viviene concludes her book with her own love story.

My Thoughts
As I have mentioned above, I felt that this book was talking to (and about) me as I was reading it. Being married for 7 years, I am reminded once again to "be the kind of wife" that I know God has called me to be. Just like Viviene, I am also a passionate marriage fan and desire to see that every couple who decided to tie the knot will not only have a blissful wedding day but also a long-lasting and successful married life. It pains me to see couples, who after that 2 - 4 hour wedding ceremony and party one day find themselves "falling out of love" for reasons that could have been worked out or resolved. Just like anything in this world, perfection cannot be achieved in married life. But who says that one has to be perfect to be happy? In this life, we may never attain perfection, however, we can always strive to be content, satisfied and successful not by our own strength but with God's grace.

And for me, that is what this book is all about: God's grace. It is by God's grace that a happy and successful married life is possible; that the 7 things/virtues can be applied by the wife; that marriages will be strong and successful. Only by His grace. I believe Viviene made it obvious by consistently mentioning about God and His intervention in married lives throughout the book. She constantly seasoned every chapter with Bible verses which help get her message across. Now I'm not saying that this is just a "feel-good book", no, not at all. In fact, what Viviene shared are practical stories and insights which a wife or aspiring ones will find inspiring and then realize, "Indeed, a happy married life is achievable."

The book can be finished in one sitting but I will not advise you to do so. Take time to chew and digest what is written in every chapter. The sections Viviene provided at the end of every chapter are helpful for meditation and think through process. What's more, you can share and discuss your thoughts about what you have read with a fellow wife or even a group of wives.

I say that this book is best for those who are planning to get married. You should secure a copy before you say "I do" to the man of your dreams. As for those who have been married for a year or even "forever", this book will give us a gentle nudge on the elbow and remind us of the promise we  once made on that one blissful day we had so longed for.

How to Get a Copy

You can get this book in paperback copies for Php 399 and Ebook (PDF version) for Php 199 by clicking here (for Philippine residents only. For non-Philippine residents, you can get a copy from Amazon). And because it's the love month, Viviene is offering a 15% discount for my readers until the end of February. Yay! Simply order by sending her an email at Please don't forget to write 15%OFF on the subject line. Bonus: free shipping nationwide!

Hurry! Get your copy/copies now! :)

Disclaimer: I have received a free copy of the ebook in exchange for a review. However, the opinions I have mentioned here are purely mine and were not influenced by the free product given.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My Journal 2015

I have always been a stationery/paper/planner/journal addict. Ever since I was in grade school, I had been on the lookout for cute papers/stationery. My love for these cutesy and eye candies didn't die down but just flourished all the more growing up. I remember when I was still single, there was a year that I bought 2 or 3 planners because they were all so cute and "functional" but sadly I didn't get to use all of them because I was not really a businesswoman nor a busy-woman. Then the sticker card from a famous coffee shop was introduced in the Philippines. And because my husband and I are coffee lovers, we would frequent this store not just for the caffeine kick but also for me to get a planner (Note: This promo starts in November and ends in January of the next year). If my memory still serves me right, I think I was able to get 5 planners for 5 consecutive years. Now, that we're in the US, I missed that sort of "tradition", hahaha!

So last November while at a mall, I started looking for the "perfect" planner for me. Much to my dismay I wasn't able to find store where "my planner" might be hanging around. Until one day, on January 5th, I found "the one", and boy am I so grateful! It was so pretty I could not afford to leave it there. It was as if it was talking to me and begging me to get it. My husband actually saw it first then asked me, "You want to look for another one in another store? I'm sure we can find more in other stores." "No, thank you," I said. Hahaha!

My Journal 2015

Got it from Michaels' Store

It is not a planner with dates and tabs; it is more of a journal and I'm really dying to use it. I'm not obliging myself to write something every day though, I'm thinking of just putting into words memories that really matter to me. Also, I want to make it as my art journal or journal where I can write down the things that I'm grateful for.

It was "love at first sight."
This journal has different colorful pages. Most of them are unlined so you really have the freedom to do whatever you want to do with it. It is a 3-ring binder so you can refill if you run out of pages. You may stick your photos, souvenirs and other mementos you may have chosen to remember in a day.
Fantastic indeed! Using my Sharpie and Faber Castell pens to doodle and write down my thoughts

Can also be a travel journal

This is really love! :)
Are you a planner/journal addict too? Do you already have your planner/journal for this year? What do you love about it? I would love to hear your thoughts. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

How's Your First Week of 2015?

Most blessed and blissful new year to you! I know I should have said it a day before the first day  (or on that day itself) of this first month of 2015. I intentionally controlled myself from doing it. I would like to do it differently by letting the first week go by. And in case (well, just in case) your first week didn't go the way you dreamed or planned or envisioned it to be, then let my new year greeting now inspire you to move forward in spite of.

To answer my own question (if it so happened that you think you missed my question, just take a look again at the title of this post.  ;)), please allow me to give you a brief rundown of what transpired in my life during the first week of 2015. 

December 31st - My family and I were fetched by my husband's cousin to go to Pasadena and witness the Rose Parade the next day. It was a short road trip (thank goodness for very light flow of traffic) with side trip to the Blue Yonder of Los Angeles. It is 3,000 feet above sea level. You can see the whole city of LA and it's just stunningly beautiful.

With my loves
Spot the moon
We stayed at my cousin-in-law's cozy house for a night. Our little ladybug enjoyed not only the company of her uncle, aunt (my husband's cousin's wife), grandma (my husband's aunt) but also Leo's and LJ's as well. Leo and LJ are their cute and charming shih tzu puppies.

Our little ladybug as she watched with amusement the moving train

January 1st - We all got up early including our 3-year old. I could tell that she was really excited for this. It was freezing cold (at least for me) outside. The temperature dropped to 13 degrees (Celsius) if my memory still serves me right. Good thing we were ready for it because our generous hosts provided the jackets/sweaters, gloves, bonnets and ear warmers that we would be needing. We were even served with hot arrozcaldo (rice porridge) before we were dropped off at the site. Below are some pictures I and my husband took during the course of the Rose Parade. We enjoyed watching the parade for about 2 hours or so.

New Year's Eve

After the parade, we were fetched, brought back to our hosts' house and served with a very hearty meal. Although the food were not cooked at home (they ordered it from a hole-in-the-wall kind of restaurant), it was really scrumptious. Everyone loved what was on the table. We were all filled and satisfied.

Right after that sumptuous meal, we headed back to our place. Once again, my cousin-in-law drove for us and made sure that we're back home safe and sound. 

 January 2nd - My husband, our daughter and I went to the mall to buy a simple orange juicer. We have an orange tree in the backyard and it produces tasty, sweet and juicy orange fruits. Our daughter loves to drink freshly squeezed orange juice. She doesn't just enjoy drinking the juice, she also wants to make it herself.

At the mall. One of her simple joys.

Pretend play at the grocery store
"I'm helping Daddy make orange juice, Mommy."

Tot in the kitchen
January 3rd - It was Make-A-Meal day for our little ladybug and her cousin. I found this Melissa and Doug Sticker Pad in a shop at the mall. It includes 15 place settings and over 225 stickers. The kiddos had fun doing it together. My husband was around to guide supervise them. ;)

It was also our laundry day. One of the things I am proud about my daughter is her willingness to help. Since she started to walk, she would always offer her help no matter how "big" the work to do is and how "little help" she could offer. That attitude is so natural in her.

"Daddy, you need my help?"

"Ako na po dyan." (I'll take care of it)

January 4th - Sunday is always worship day. We went to Inland Hills Church and heard a life-changing message from the senior pastor. While the grown ups (that include my husband, my brother and I), were listening attentively to the message, our little ladybug was quietly busying herself with some "writing/drawing" activity. 

 January 5th - The household (husband, daughter, niece and sister-in-law and I) were busy preparing for the 3rd birthday of my niece. The five of us went to Baskin and Robins to order an ice cream cake; Walmart, to buy party food ingredients and some party supplies; Michael's store, for other party paraphernalia. It was a busy and productive day.

 January 6th - The day we're all busy and had a fantabulous time. The birthday party was a success! Kudos to my sister-in-law who worked in the kitchen all night (January 5th) and all day today to make sure that the menu she planned for her daughter's birthday will definitely be prepared and served. My husband (although he's not really feeling well) helped me in putting the decoration. We're all happy with the turnout, specially the birthday princess (Disney Princesses is the theme) my niece and my daughter as well. We only had 3 guests (2 adults and one kid) since we're new to this place and don't have friends yet in the neighborhood.

The birthday princess with her parents
The birthday princess with my family

Princess Ariel, Mama, Me and Queen Elsa

So, that's pretty much how my year started. I'm looking forward to making more memories, learning from life's experiences and becoming a better (that is, more grateful, more patient and more loving) person this 2015. Of course all of these will happen with His amazing grace showered abundantly in my life.

Blessed New Year everyone! How is it so far? I would love to hear from you.