Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Activities for Kids 2012

Last year, I attempted to make an origami Nativity Scene. In a nutshell, it didn't go
very well. So, I decided to look for more "artistically-friendly" projects for this year.

Here's a round-up of activities that really got me inspired. Click on the links for the
how-tos :)

Nativity Scenes

This DIY Nativity Scene by Marloes de Vries is one of the easiest projects around.
All you need to do is cut, fold then glue the images. How simple is that!

If you've got spare toilet paper tubes, Catholic Icing's Nativity Set is the project for you.

Christmas Calendars

Here's a cute Santa Calendar from Maestra Valentina. The kids can cut off the portion
of Santa's beard that corresponds to the date. You know it's Christmas when you've
reached Santa's nose!

This Santa Calendar from Busy Little Bugs is great for the little kids. They can put a
pompom ball or sticker on the dates leading up to Christmas.

This is one of those things on my wish list. Homemade by Jill's Advent Calendar
is one of those labor of love projects. It's all hand sewn. The tree ornaments stay
in the box and a new one is hung up each day.

Jesse / Christmas Trees

Tired and Need Sleep has a Jesse Tree 2012 printable: included are the readings,
prayers and ornaments needed for your Jesse Tree.

Here's another project for the little kids. This Felt Christmas Tree by Sol and Rachel
allows your little one to decorate and redecorate the tree.

Activity Packs

We'll be using some of the activities here for our homeschooling this December.
But kiddies who're on "traditional school" holiday break can join in on the fun!

Nativity and Winter Wonderland Packs by Over the Big Moon

It's beginning to feel like Christmas in our home. We've been listening to Christmas Songs
and finalizing Christmas plans.  All we need is our Christmas Tree. Yes, I'm still hopeful
that we'll get one this year.

Photo Credit

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Christmas Traditions 2012

If I had my way, the Christmas Tree would already be up. Unfortunately, we still haven't
had time to buy the tree. And with all the other stuff that needs to be bought (we have a
baby on the way), I have considered making our own Christmas Tree.

It's sad how many have become disillusioned with Christmas. For some, Christmas has
become one giant party gone overboard. One thing I've learned is that you don't have 
to do what everyone else is doing. Just do what makes sense.

The Gingerbread House
Every year, I look forward to Market Manila's Christmas posts. I must admit, Christmas
at Market Man's home is a bit grand for my current budget. But I can still dream right.
I love the decor, the tables, the menu, and all the little details that lovingly go into their
Christmas celebrations.

One thing unique about their family is that they make their own Gingerbread House.
They also create a few for select organizations to spread some Holiday Cheer.

The Advent Wreath
When I was younger, the Advent Wreath served as our family's reminder that Christmas
was just around the corner. We would gather as a family, sing "O Come, O Come,
Emanuelle", light the candles and say the prayers. This is one tradition that I just might
bring back this year. Church Year has a weekly guide that is easy to follow.

The Advent Activity Tree
Speaking of Advent, The Imagination Tree has this beautiful post on how their family
is celebrating Advent. The family does one activity daily together; all these leading up to
Christmas day.

The December Daily
The December Daily is Ali Edwards annual December scrapbooking project. It's a
great way to document the many activities that go on in your family in December.
You might want to read Ali's must read post on the simple things that make for nice
Christmas memories. The things we take for granted that can count too.

The Christmas Mini Album
I know, not all of us are ready for daily scrapbooking. Paper Vine has this How To
on creating a Paper Mini Album. This can be a special way to store your favorite
Christmas Photos.

Yes, having a Christmas Tree is tradition on both sides of the family. But it is just icing 
on the cake. In our family, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ. Come to
think of it, we don't need a tree to celebrate that.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Christmas Color Themes 2012

Christmas is just around the corner. Oooh, love it!

The last quarter of 2011 was a such big adjustment for the family that I didn't get
to properly prepare for last year's Christmas. This year, I'm planning ahead and
devoting the Fridays of November to Christmas Planning for 2012. There will be
a few areas that I'd like to touch on. I'm splitting things up into weekly projects
so that it's all more manageable. Do join me in the fun!

I'll start by sharing with you some Christmas decorating ideas that you can easily
do at home. I know, it's a lot easier to just go to the store, buy a tree then buy a
box of ornaments. However, putting in that little extra effort will help add character
and personality to your holiday decor.

Start by choosing a a color theme. If you dont have the time, nor patience nor
budget for things, this is the one idea that you should definitely do. Think of your
Christmas Color Theme as your base; the one unifying factor for your decorations.

Christmas Color Themes for 2012

1. Red and Gold
The red and gold color theme is such a classic. It's a very nostalgic color theme
for many. You can freshen up red and gold by choosing a few pieces and presenting
them in a different way.

Christmas Balls have traditionally been reserved to the Christmas Tree. Dabney spiced
things up by placing the balls in a bowl and using them as a table centerpiece. 

Fresh Poppy Design hand made these glitter balls and hung them up on the 
curtain rod. If you're the crafty type, this will be an easy peasy project for you.

33 Shades of Green used a few candles and transformed them into these fabulous mood

2. Blue and Silver
Blue and silver is the way to go if you want a classic Christmas Color Theme that's
sophisticated and crisp. Be warned that there are many shades of blue. The trick to
this theme is finding a shade that's perfect for you.

Wrapping empty boxes and placing them under the tree is an easy to replicate Christmas
decor "cheat". Maintaing the same festive shade of blue for the presents and balls makes
things nicely coordinated.

Why not use a blue and silver Christmas wreath to welcome guests into your home?
Make the Best of Things has a tutorial on how she created this one.

Inspiration for Home shows us how decorating the table for the holidays can be as simple
as adding a few ornaments and bows.

3. Tiffany Blue and Chocolate Brown
If I had my way, I'd have more pieces in chocolate brown; clothes, personal items
and Christmas decor. It's a shade of brown that's not easy to come by which makes
the color more dear to me. I know, blue and brown is a popular wedding color theme.
But it can make for an elegant Christmas Color Theme as well.

Coco + Kelly can show us a thing or two on how easy it is to execute a blue and
brown Christmas Color Theme. It's all in the details!

What's Christmas without dessert? You can definitely pick up a few dessert ideas
from A Dozen Eggs' dessert buffet.

Check out Better Homes and Garden's Christmas feature on holiday decorating in
Blue and Brown. Focus on one or two elements to keep it budget friendly.

H and I have yet to decide on the color theme we'll go with. I'll share pics of our
home when the decorations are up. How about you, which Christmas Color Theme
will you be using in your home this year?

Photo Credit

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Monday, October 22, 2012

FREE Organizing Printables for You

I'm always on the look out for new ways to organize my life. Some people will not
"get it". After all, I just stay at home. In reality, life as a wife, work at home mom
and homeschooler can be quite the balancing act.

Here are some great FREEBIES I've come across:

Ginny of Organizing Home Life is giving away for free Home Management Binder printables.
It's going to be an interesting 31 Days of home organization ideas!

Kathy of Cornerstone Confessions is also giving away for free her All-In-One-Notebook
printables. Subscribe to her blog and she'll send over the link to you.

Pardon me for rushing off again.

Things have really been BUSY! In the last month or so we've managed to find and shift into
a new home. Next on the agenda, last minute preparations for the arrival of a new bundle
of joy! And yes, we do intend to celebrate Christmas this year!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Yes! You Can Read Your Bible in 90 Days!

Bible in 90 Days

I am attempting the impossible LOL! I've joined the The Bible in 90 Days
Program hosted by Mom's Toolbox

Yes, you read that right, with God's grace, I hope to read through the
entire bible in 90 Days. I feel really blessed as I've been placed in a
Catholic Bible group. So yes, I am reading the Catholic Bible from
cover to cover.

Why do this in the first place? At the start of the year, I realized how
the Lord was inviting me to a deeper relationship with Him. In the past,
I had grown in the faith by attending Mass, attending households and
listening to talks. This year, I've been "invited" to more prayer time
and to reading His word.

Flash forward to today... I'm on Day 1 of the Bible in 90 Days Program
and I've discovered that this challenge will take up an hour of my time
daily, thereabouts. Every Monday, I'm expected to check in with my group
leader and fellow members to update everyone on my progress. So far so

Click here if you're interested in knowing more / joining the Bible in
90 Days Program hosted by Mom's Toolbox. Do pray for us, that we will
have the grace to complete this program!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How to Teach Your Child the Alphabet

One of our current learning goals is to learn our ABCs. There are many ways of going
about this really. We're currently using a Montessori inspired approach: 

Order of the Alphabet
The order suggested in How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way 
by Tim Seldin:

First set:        c  m  a  t 
Second set:    s  r  i  p
Third set:      b  f  o  g 
Fourth set:    h  j  u  l
Fifth set:       d  w  e  n
Sixth set:       k  q  v  x  y  z 

Core: We have a youtube ABCs playlist for M. It's composed of various Alphabet Songs.
Some songs are focused on the letters while others are focused on the phonics.

Every 2 weeks: We focus on a set of letters for the week:
- There's a separate youtube playlist for the specific letters of the week. I chose 4
songs per letter. This gets played after the Core playlist has finished.
- We started with 1 art activity per letter. We might progress to more if Tot M shows
interest in doing so.

Progress Report
- After 3 weeks of using this method, Tot M can recognize most of the letters. He still
needs to learn them all but I'm confident that he's getting there.
- We now need a new Core playlist. Tot M is bored with the old one. Yes, after 2-3
weeks!!!, Tot M has grown tired of his favorite alphabet and phonics songs. Time
for us to retire the set and create a new one.

Getting Started
* Living Montessori Now has an informative post on the Montessori way of introducing
the alphabet to a child.
* If you're looking for youtube videos for your child, here are some that you might
want to check out:
KidsTV123 has a great collection of "starter" videos - ABCs, numbers, colors, shapes
and more.
- Sesame Street is a favorite for many kids. I grew up with Sesame Street so I used
classic Sesame Street videos.
- Hooked on Phonics has great catchy songs. As the name suggests, it's mostly a
phonics program.

Happy learning!

Photo Credit

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

3 Tips on How to Capture the Interest of Your Child

Tot Tray - Pasting Cars

A friend once asked me, "How do you get Tot M to do the homeschooling activities?"

I must admit that Tot M prefers some learning activities over others. Reading is one
activity that Tot M really enjoys. I am not surprised when he grabs his books and
requests that we read them together.

Up until this week, arts & crafts activities didn't appeal much to him. He enjoys playing
with his play dough. But don't expect him to spend time on his coloring book. A few
scribbles was all he was willing to do. I'm amazed at how a few changes can improve
the learning experience of a child.

3 Tips on How to Capture the Interest of Your Child

1. Make the most of your child's preferences.
Some boys like dinosaurs, some boys like blocks. Tot M likes cars. Even at his
playgroup, he is the child that plays with the toy cars the most.

Last week, I decided to do a pasting activity.  I cut out images of cars from the
classifieds. Tot M put paste on the back of the images then asked for help to stick
the images on his activity book. Tot M really enjoyed the activity! As a bonus,
that activity made him more willing to do other arts & crafts activities.

Now, I use cars and other vehicles as a starting point for our activities. It is
just a starting point and it helps us transition to other things after.

2. Try different methods.
I've learned that there are different ways of presenting a concept to a child. Some
methods will appeal more to your child than others. Reading, watching videos,
doing arts and crafts, playing with toys, cooking, exploring nature, and so many
other things can be done to teach one concept to a child. Try different approaches
until you find a method that your child will enjoy.

We're still learning our ABCs. Aside from what I've mentioned here, we've now
used a few other ideas to make this a fun and enjoyable experience for Tot M.
More of that in a separate post.

3. Keep it fresh.
Hurray! So, you've found an activity that your child really enjoys. Keep in mind
that at some point your child will tire of that activity. This will happen a  lot
sooner than you expect. You may want to temporarily retire the activity or totally
replace it.

I am constantly researching on new activities for Tot M to do. Thankfully, many
teachers and homeschooling moms are sharing their experiences online.  

In addition, I rotate the toys, books, videos, etc that Tot M uses. This prevents
him from getting tired of one particular activity. It's interesting how unearthed
old toys can once more capture his interest.

I cherish the fact that I am able to watch Tot M grow before my very eyes. I
feel privileged to be homeschooling Tot M. But I know it's not for everyone.
What's most important is that we love our children and genuinely do what's
best for them.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Learning Our ABCs

Tot M is quite eager to read on his own. Here are some of the things we're using
to help him learn his ABCs:

Leapfrog Fridge Phonics - we bought this game because its been highly
recommended by other homeschoolers. It sounds off the name and the
sound of the letter. Quite useful as we want Tot M to learn phonics.

ABC Books - There are many ABCs books. Our current fave book is 
Dr. Seuss' ABC.

Starfall - We've recently started going through the Starfall ABCs. Starfall is 
great as it is a free online resource. I am considering getting the one year 
membership so we have access to the other lessons.

ABC Songs - We've been singing many ABC Songs. One of our new favorites
is the Phonics Song which we discovered through mommytg.

Photo Credit

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Homeschool 2012 Updates

Tot Tray - Scooping Pasta

It's weird. Tot M is only 2.5yrs old and yet we are already feeling some of the
societal pressures other home schoolers are experiencing.

The Primary Schools here have a "big school" set-up. It is normal for a 3yr old
to start going to Kindy. It's really more of a preparation phase for the children.
If we're bent on sending M to a particular Catholic School, we've been told to
consider registering him with the Kindly this or next year. This is to ensure he
has a slot for the upcoming school year. After that, we run the risk of having to
send him to another school school. Hmmm... When M turns 6, we are required
by law to send him to school. If we do continue homeschooling, we will have
to register ourselves with the state. Hmmm... Thankfully, for now, we still
have time to enjoy our homeschooling. AND there is time to pray and to

What is a typical homeschool day for us?
This year we started homeschooling in January, our activities include:
       - A short morning prayer
       - 30 minutes of reading books
       - 1 Tot Tray Activity (occasional)  

At random times during the day, M plays with his toys, and reads books with
us or by himself. TV time is sadly a necessity --- I do have to cook and clean.

One of our homeschooling goals is to develop in M a love for learning. We
think we're headed in the right direction as Tot M enjoys reading his books.

M sings the ABC, counts 1-10 and says words and sentences. It's quite exciting
that he has shown interest in learning how to read.

We're quite happy that M knows how to make The Sing of the Cross. He's
slowly but surely learning the The Guardian Angel Prayer.

H and I are aware of the socialization issues people have with homeschooling.
We have made it a conscious decision to ensure that Tot M has adequate
opportunities to socialize with other children. Thankfully, we found this great
playgroup in our area. It runs for around 2 hours, once a week. On weekends,
M gets to play with the children of friends.

Areas for Improvement
Early childhood educators recommend that toddlers be allowed to just play.
Learning occurs while the child is playing. Sometimes I worry that Miguel
enjoys certain activities but not others. I had the chance to talk to one of the
moms at the playgroup. Afterwards, I realized that sometimes it's just a matter
of personal preference of a child.

One thing I feel I should do more of is to expose M to varied activities. It's
quite easy to just let him do what he enjoys doing. I think it's important for
children his age to try out new things.

Things to Do
I've been trying to look for a curriculum for Tot M. Something that will
develop M's 3Rs via play. I haven't really found one for his age.

I've decided to make a curriculum for Tot M. I have a basic outline but I'm
sure there will be plenty of fine tuning as the weeks progress. Get ready for
exciting times ahead!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Philippine Homeschool Conference 2012

Philippine Homeschool Conference 2012
May 19, 8:00am - 4:00pm
Registration ongoing at HAPI

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What is WEALTH?

What is WEALTH?

W-orship God
E-nrich your relationships
A-ttain and maintain good health
L-ive Financially Free
T-rain your intellect
H-elp others live a meaningful life

Special thanks to You Are Truly Wealthy by Mannix for this inspiring

Photo credit

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Blessed to be a Work At Home Mom!

Thank you Lord! I'm quite happy to be working again. Mind you, my current work
is really God sent. Not in an "i think so" way. But, in an "i KNOW so" way.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me - Philippians 4:13
I really thought being a WAHM had become a far stretch. My cost of living had
gone up. Naturally, my rate just had to be higher... Suddenly, I found myself
competing against "native" speakers. Sure, I was confident I was as good as them.
I wasn't as confident that people will look past "heritage". And so, I considered
going back to work. I had to think long and hard about that. After all, that meant
sending our 2y.o. M to daycare!!! But he's so young!!!

Then I realized, maybe being a WAHM wasn't just a matter of convenience.
Maybe being a WAHM was really part of God's plan for our family!?! So I
said, "Lord, I will give this my best. That's all I can do. If you want me to be a
Work-At-Home-Mom, then you will give me a work-at-home project/job."
As soon as I meant it, the opportunities arrived and my current work materialized.

Once you're lucky, twice you're good - Tim Ferriss
I have to admit it's taken me quite awhile to share this. And by that I mean I've
been working online since July 2010; fellow Virtual Assistants normally share
their good news much much sooner. It took time for me to share this because
I thought my previous VA work was a stroke of luck. Add to that "well
intentioned" people who hinted that working online was not a viable career.
Thus, it's only now that I'm back working that I can say for sure, this is the
real deal.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people 
permission to do the same. - Marianne Williamson
The good news that fellow VAs shared in our Facebook Group, really
inspired me when I had my doubts. If they could do it, so could I. Now it's
my turn to pay it forward.

I hope that in some way I have inspired you. Nope, I am not telling you
to quit your job and work at home. Work at home is not for everyone.
Pray about it and discern if this is the direction that the Lord is leading
you. If it is, do know that you are not alone. We are doing it, so can you!

I would like to give special thanks to Jomar Hilario for being an excellent
mentor. Thank you for generously sharing what you know to us all. Thank
you for believing in me and encouraging me to succeed. My learning
investmentS --- yes, I've invested and still invest in Jomar's seminars and
workshops --- are worth it!

Thank you to Ella, Eihdra, Paul, Hyatt and Jay for sharing your story and
inspiring us to pursue online success.

Thank you to Marvin for sharing the work opportunity.

Thank you to H for the love and support.

Jomar is conducting a Virtual Assistant Seminar this Sat, 17th March.
It's the last for the next few months as he has other events lined up for
April and May. It's best to sign up before the seminar as the walk-in
rate is higher. Click here for details on the Virtual Assistant Seminar:

If you're interested in attending the Virtual Assistant Seminar but can't
make it on Saturday, you can avail of the online version. Go here for
details on the Online Virtual Assistant Seminar: http://bit.ly/onlinevaseminar

Photo Credit

Monday, March 5, 2012

Gratitude 101

Thank you Lord for all the blessings!

March is the month I give special thanks to the Lord for the gift of life and
all that is in it which I hold dear. 2012 is remarkably different as it is the
first year of our overseas adventure. God's wonderful plan for us is slowly
unfolding before our eyes.

Thank you Lord for the gift of love, family, friendship, good health and
opportunity. Thank you for the challenges that have brought us closer to

In a special way, I give special thanks to God for the gift of technology.
Today marks the 101st blog post of Pinay Mom Adventures. Very happy
to still be here! May God use this site as a means to bless you. Amen.

Photo Credit

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent 2012

Today, 22 February 2012, is Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday marks the
start of the Catholic Lenten Season. Lent is a beautiful season; 40 days of
prayer and sacrifices, all leading up to glorious Easter.

If you're searching for things to do in observance of Lent, here are some
suggestions for you to consider:

1. 101 Practical Ideas for Life by One Catholic Life
- Practical suggestions on simple yet meaningful sacrifices for Lent
2. 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting by Bo Sanchez
- A how to on Prayer and Fasting
3. Ignatian Prayer Adventure by Loyola Press
- A daily reflection guide that runs for 8weeks
4. Lunchtime Examen by Loyola Press
- A 6 section prayer guide
5. 9 Ways to Prepare Your Family for Lent by Tina Santiago-Rodriguez
(Smart Parenting Philippines)
- Practical suggestions for celebrating Lent as a Family

I look forward to changes in the church calendar as I do believe the different
celebrations serve as opportunities for us to further deepen our relationship
with God. May you have a grace filled season of Lent!

Photo Credit

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Homemade Al Fresco Breakfast

I was in the mood for a really nice breakfast. The type that came along with an
overnight stay or so in some picturesque locale. Ahhh... The real thing will have
to wait... This went pretty well too.

Vegetarian Open Face: Tomato, Alfalfa Sprouts and Blue Cheese on Rye

Fruit Platter: Orange, Kiwi and Grape