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Juggling Family and Volunteer Activities

18 Nov

Between errands, my husband’s and kids’ events, and the URGENT, URGENT need to help Typhoon Yolanda’s victims, what’s a soccer mom to do?

Here’s how last weekend played out –

Saturday Morning. Early. Canon Photomarathon at BGC.

Accompanied hubby for the first time. We had the kids in tow. B1 was registered. B2 and I just tagged along.

Waited at a coffee shop for the opening program. Ordered a breakfast dish to feel worthy of seats. As B1 was playing with the iPad he said, egg. I automatically fed him some. I then made sure he realized he was so lucky. All he had to do was say egg and egg went to his mouth, while Typhoon Yolanda’s victims had gone hungry for days and still have to do with rationed relief goods. Don’t worry, this is not how it happens everyday. I made sure I lectured them about how lucky they were to be having another meal even before lunch.

We only stayed through the first challenge, which ended at 1 pm.

Saturday. Mid-afternoon. Memorial Park.

Visited the dear baby we lost to congenital heart disease.

Saturday. Late. Colleague’s celebratory BBQ.

At least late for moms like me who get sleepy when it’s the kids’ bedtime! The kids had a lot of energy and were running all over the place though.

Sunday. Morning. Cram homework.

Sunday. Noon-ish. Oplan Hatid prep.

This included dumping our kids at a classmate’s house so they could still attend their late afternoon soccer clinic.

Quick lunch with my side of the family. We gathered at our place where my brothers could dump their kids so we could all go to Oplan Hatid. Except for my youngest brother, who had been up with his web developer friends putting together a site to match volunteer options with needs. He got the enabler part of babysitter and command center manager, in case any of us got lost, etc.

Somewhere among the usual commotion of having all of us in one house, my mom cornered me by the pantry to admonish me about my weight and my hair.

Mom: You’re too thin. Don’t try to get any thinner.

Me: I’m not trying to get thinner. I’m trying to be more fit. *pointing to some flab* I need to tone up.

Mom: Whatever you’re doing or not doing, stop getting thinner. You need to go to the parlor.

Me: Yeah, I’m due for a haircut.

Sunday. Mid-afternoon – early evening. Oplan Hatid.

Went to Villamor Airbase – my parents, 2 brothers, 2 sisters-in-law, my hubby, and I. How many were going to St. Ives? We decided to buddy up by couple so that each car had a navigator.

Waited hours as evacuees got processed and matched to the drivers who were there ahead of us. Finally got Lola Berting’s family, whose story I still have not gotten to. But see, it’s way past my kids’ bedtime and I am too sleepy to write more. Drove her family to Muntinlupa.

Sunday. Late.

Again, late for me. Don’t I sound like fun?

Claimed our kids. Went home. Everyone from St. Ives was already there. Shared stories about our passengers.

It was a hectic, fulfilling weekend. Especially Sunday. Who cares that we didn’t have time to do our groceries and so tomorrow we have to squeeze it in after work?

Before leaving, my mom walks up to me again and says, make time. She still means my hair, of course.

A Mask Out of Daddy’s Handkerchief

17 Jun


Ok, so we’re still into weapons and masks.

Also, I don’t want to keep changing what I call them each year so they are now officially B1 and B2, as opposed to G4 and G1 .

So, we checked out the toy store yesterday. B1 had enough allowance saved up to buy a Donatello set he liked. It included a bo staff, mask, and 2 shurikens. B2 has been buying PHP50 weapons and so didn’t have enough to buy his own TMNT set, which resulted in a lot of harping for me to make him a mask again.

We rummaged through his closet for a shirt to cut up as his previous paper masks just kept getting torn. We found some red shirt candidates but he wanted his mask to be blue like Leonardo’s. We thought his blue shirts were still nice so hubby graciously sacrificed a handkerchief and cut holes in it.

As G1 would sweetly put it, thank you, Daddy! You’re our BFF – best father forever!

And yes, that is a yellow plastic baseball bat – one of B2’s favorite pretend swords. Simple weapon joys. 🙂

Love of Learning

16 Nov

I love that when G3 gets interested in something he goes and learns about it. Origami, magic tricks, simple music tunes.

Yesterday, it was learning how to play Call Me Maybe on the keyboard our parents had loaned us out. He even called my dad to ask permission to stick masking tape note labels on the keys. I thought it was just so he could easily follow notes that he had googled. Turns out he had those, but he had also found this simple piano tutorial video with labeled keys:

Posted by ScarlettTear on youtube

Next on his list: Payphone by Maroon 5.

I asked him if he wanted to take piano classes next summer. He said he wanted me to be the one to teach him. Let’s see how that goes. I’ve been trying to get him to curve his fingers and use proper finger positioning but he insists on using his pointers, holding them as straight as chopsticks. I’ll get him one of those John Thompson beginner piano books and hope it inspires a desire to learn the proper techniques.

Kabataan: Tagapag-mana ng Kultura at Kaugaliang Filipino

30 Aug

A Buwan ng Wika (Filipino Language Month) post –

Ito ang aking mensahe sa programa ng paaralan ng aking panganay para sa Buwan ng Wika noong 2009 na may temang “Kabataan: Tagapag-mana ng Kultura at Kaugaliang Filipino.”Inililipat ko dito dahil isasara na ng multiply ang mga blog. Nilathala sa multiply nonog ika-11 ng Agosto 2009.

Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat at salamat po sa inyong pagdalo dito sa ating programa para sa Buwan ng Wika.

Mayaman sa tradisyon ang kulturang Filipino. Nariyan ang mga tanda ng paggalang gaya ng paggamit ng mga salitang po at opo, at ang pagmamano sa mga nakatatanda. Nariyan din ang mga alamat, awitin at sayaw.

Sa panahon ngayon ng globalisasyon, mas madaling mabaon sa limot ang mga ito kung hindi natin sasadyain ang pagpapamana nito sa ating mga anak. Pagbukas pa lamang ng telebisyon ay andiyan na ang Cartoon Network at Nickelodeon. Pag lumabas naman ang pamilya, o-order tayo ng burger at fries; may kasama pang Ben 10 o Totally Spies!

Hindi masama ang pagiging mahilig sa mga palabas, pagkain at mga bagay na ito. Sana lang ay maipamalas din natin sa mga bata na may mga magaganda, mahuhusay, at masasarap din na mga bagay na likha ng Filipino.

Nung isang taon nataranta ako nung malaman ko na kasama sa magiging pagsusulit ng aking anak ang mga iba’t-ibang klase ng pagkaing Filipino. Mga pagkain gaya ng ube at sapin-sapin na madalas hinahanda lang pag may salu-salo, at hindi pa lagi dahil nahihilig din tayo sa ice cream at cake. Napabili ako ng leche flan sa SM Hypermarket. (Hindi nakatulong na apat na taong gulang pa lamang siya at kakabalik pa lang namin mula sa isang taong pagtira sa Estados Unidos).

Naisip ko tuloy na ituro man ng paaralan ang iba’t-ibang mga sagisag ng Pilipinas, magiging mababaw ang pag-unawa ng mga bata dito kung hindi natin isinasabuhay. Paano? Maaari natin silang turuan gumamit ng po at opo, ate at kuya. Pwede natin silang kuwentuhan ng isang alamat bago matulog. Maaari natin silang dalhin sa Luneta isang linggo imbes na sa mall. Pwede rin tayong magbakasyon sa iba’t-ibang magaganda o makasaysayan na bahagi ng Pilipinas, imbes na laging sa ibang bansa.

Sa mga nakaraang linggo ay naghanda ang mga mag-aaral at guro ng Reggio para sa ating programa ngayon, at sa pamamagitan ng paghahandang ito ay namulat ang mga bata sa isang manipis na bahagi lamang ng ating mayaman na kultura.

Sana po ay matuwa kayo sa kanilang programang handog sa inyo, at sana rin ay ma-enganyo tayo na kahit sa mga simpleng paraan sa pang-araw-araw na buhay ay maipamana natin ang yaman ng ating kultura sa mga bata at nang mahubog natin sila upang maging mga taas-noong Filipino.

Salamat po.

A Real Kid-Friendly Bible

28 Aug

Would you like to get your kid more interested in the Bible? As in THE Holy Bible, not a Bible Stories for Kids kind of book?

G3 needed to bring a Bible for Catechism class. The only physical Bible at home was the one from our wedding – covered in old rose cloth and heart rhinestones, in line with our wedding motif. Not exactly the kind he would be proud to whip out in class, huh? I didn’t want him to bring this to school either, for fear of having its pages getting torn, as kids his age still tend to be rough with things.


We had a Bible on the iPad. We didn’t want him bringing that to school either, so we decided to get him his own Bible.

Looking through the different versions available at National Bookstore Shangri-la Mall, we were drawn to one that looked kid-proof – the United Bible Societies’ Good News Translation Holy Bible. It had a zippered cover that would be perfect for protecting it through all the times G3 would have to take it in and out of his bag. The cover was made of spill-proof material too!


We bought the Bible with its being kid-proof as the main consideration. What came as a bonus were the colored illustrations and passage titles. It gave the Bible the appearance of  a compilation of children’s stories! Now G3 takes his Bible with him, around the house, to church, sometimes just to the car. He is genuinely interested in reading Bible stories (credit goes to his animated Catechism teacher this year too) and asks things like, Mom, can you help me look for the story of Samson? The iPad Bible remains my ally for quick searches, of course! 🙂

Paper Weapons and Masks

8 Aug


What’s a mom to do when the monsoon rains don’t let up?

  1. Make sure the family has food and water for at least 3 days.
  2. Entertain the kids indoors.

#2 has proven to be more difficult for me as G3 has gotten into paper art. I am no good with arts and crafts.

Last week, he excitedly showed me the paper shuriken (ninja star) he and his Grandpa made. He has gotten pretty good at googling these things. He showed me the video on How to Make a Paper Shuriken and asked me to help him make more. I tried… I really did! My shuriken just wouldn’t come out looking nice. I explained to him that some people find these things easier than others, this is one thing I’m not good at but I could get better with practice. We later figured out we were starting with a rectangle with the wrong proportions, i.e. half a bond paper torn length-wise instead of cross-wise. He stuck to his conclusion that it was better to make these things with Dad. This provided me temporary relief.

When classes were suspended yesterday, he thankfully chose to create weapons that were simper to make:

  1. A staff – we simply rolled up pieces of paper and taped them together. When one part got limp, G3 started stuffing it with crumpled paper. We reinforced some parts with stiffer strips. Crude, but twirling this staff around made him happy.
  2. Some kind of knife. His dad must have helped with the blade. I just helped with the ring at the tip of the handle. I was smugly proud of my ability to create this little ring for him.
  3. The orange dagger in the picture above. He was following instructions for what he thought was a sword, hehe. He needed minimal assistance from me here.

He did ask for help making a paper airplane. Again, I tried. I got about 3-minutes into the 10-minute video before messing up. Only then did I realize we weren’t making a simple paper airplane. What simple airplane had a 10-minute how-to video? Duh. He had not shown me the intro to the video instructions. We were attempting to fashion a JAS 39 GRIPEN airplane out of paper. I don’t even know what that is. Some kind of fighter plane, I guess. I tried before lunch and I tried after lunch. I told him I should start with something easy and I could eventually progress to something as complicated as the JAS 39 GRIPEN airplane. This is on his Dad’s to-do list now.

Today, he wanted to make a mask. Aaaah, another item within my current competency level. I created a mask each for G3 and K2 and they colored it with oil pastel crayons. G3 colored his mask black while K2 made his half-brown and half-green, with hints of the orange paper peeking out, which he says is how he likes it.

Missions accomplished.

Pinoy Henyo

30 May

Photo credit: Levitan software

It’s a national disease. In our quest to rear English-speaking global citizens, sometimes our mother tongue gets taken for granted.

I have had to play catch-up since I read in a Howard Gardner book that language capacity develops naturally in the language part of the brain only until age 8. G2 turned 8 this summer and so, cramming to get some natural Filipino-speaking skills in his brain, I enrolled him in a Filipino class. I hear it’s good business. Who knew that one day Filipino parents would have to pay for their kids to speak Filipino well?

I recently stumbled upon a fun and free way to develop G2 and K1’s Filipino-speaking skills though. It’s called Pinoy Henyo (Filipino Genius), which is similar to the 20 Questions game. And yes, there’s an app for that! You can input a word (so it actually works for any language) or have the game generate a word for you.

Click here to go to Levitan Software’s site for Team-Up game, which is based on Pinoy Henyo.

Bale Capampangan

3 Jan

On our way to a Pangasinan-Baguio family vacation I decided to explore the provinces we usually just plow through. My husband was supportive. We typically just have lunch at one of the stop-over restaurants, Luisita, or Isdaan in Tarlac.

I found Bale Capampangan through Google. It’s a buffet restaurant with a nice, warm ambiance and really reasonable prices – P195 for kids and P295 for adults. They had standard Filipino fare along with Pampanga delicacies.

I’m not an adventurous eater – I did not try the snail dish. Of the dishes I sampled, I liked the spicy seafood one best. I had yummy halo-halo for dessert. It was simpler than what is usually available, with just sweetened bananas, sago, cereal and buko strips as ingredients. No leche flan and ube ice cream, this one!

I ordered fresh coconut juice. Be warned, you get what you ask for! It was just plain that – a half-opened coconut with a straw. I would have preferred it cooled and sweetened the way other restaurants adulterate their buko juice. I did not ask for ice or sweetener though, deciding it would be good for me to drink this pure thing.

I was happy we took our little detour to Bale Capampangan. It made me feel like we were enjoying life more, as opposed to rushing to our destination.

To get to Bale Capampangan, take the San Fernando exit from NLEX. From x road, turn right under the flyover to McArthur aka MNR. Soon after you pass the Subaru dealer the restaurant will come up on the left side of the street. If you see Jun-Jun’s, another popular restaurant, turn back coz you’ve missed it.

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