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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nutrition Month

One thing I love about my daughter's school is how they don't make a big fuss about extra curricular celebrations. While other schools had to prepare weeks for United Nations Day, Linggo Ng Wika, Christmas parties and the like, they usually go about with these activities with utter simplicity. I like that because I am a working mom who doesn't have the luxury of time to scour for costumes and props. And I also find it very impractical for me to buy items that my kid will only use once. And yes I know there's plenty of how-to's online but my claim to craftiness stopped at amateur and I admit with no shame that I am only really good at freestyle art. So there. I've laid it out in the open. Haha.

This July I think majority of the schools here celebrate Nutrition Month. My kid's school was not spared of that. Well, I actually have no issue on that. I'm all for educating kids of proper nutrition as early as preschool age. Last Friday, my kid went home with a note on her diary saying Wednesday is going to be Nutrition Day celebration in school. "Bring a basket full of vegetables and fruits. Just enough for your child to carry"

Normally, those notes come a day or two before the activity so I'm actually glad we were informed earlier than the norm. I had the weekend to look for a small native basket. I checked the nearby palengke but could not find one. I was tempted to buy one from the mall but reminded myself of my self-imposed 'practical' policy. Fortunately, my aunt who has great fondness for the little miss had a small native basket stowed away. She gladly offered it to the little miss. I just had to do minor repairs (mostly gluing) on it and it was good as new. 
I made the extra effort to arrange it nicely in the basket. Complete with the 'recycled' sinamay trimmings.
BUT NO. I didn't make the cut. Haha. OA lang kasi, Mommy!
Tuesday night I arranged the fruits and vegetables that we had set aside for the activity. I bought tiniest local veggies I can find in the supermarket so the kid won't have any trouble carrying her basket. I had tiny ampalaya, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, tiny bunch of bokchoy, a bunch of grapes, a small orange, potatoes. These were vegetables and fruits that the kid eats so I'm also confident she can identify them in case she gets asked what she brought for the activity.

Wednesday morning, I asked her to try and carry the basket but she complained it was too heavy. And told me it's because I did not arrange the items well. She went on to point to where I should place the orange and where I should have placed the potatoes. "That's where the leaves were supposed to go, Mommy. And the grapes should be here". And then she emptied the basket unto the table and went to re-arrange her healthy basket. To her liking. (And that mommy is a warning to leave the arrangements to the expert. OKAY?)

I was silently laughing while watching her arrange the food items. When she was done, she tried to carry it again and proudly announced: "THERE I CAN CARRY IT NOW. SEE?" 

Sadly, her dad and I couldn't take a day off from work so it was Ate Inday who went to school to witness her parade her veggies. The parade was only held within their building but she was so excited to tell us about it when we got home last night. We all had fun watching her videos. My little preschooler didn't mind our absence. Happy that she always understands her parents. :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Natural Toys From Vigan

I've always dreamed for Maia to own a plastic-free, all-natural set of toys. I was never generously endowed with a lot of toys during my childhood (no Barbies, Legos, and nor popular stuffed toys) but I had the abundance of natural toys. Balls made of coconut leaves, plates made of weaved Banana leaves. I think that's mainly where my love for nature is rooted from. I wanted my little girl to experience that. But of course, I know that will somehow remain a dream. With Maia, at least.

When we first came to visit St. Michael Playhouse for a trial, I fell in love at first sight with their collection of natural toys. I wanted to get Maia the set of dining toys and mini-furnitures that they have but I never got around to asking the nurturers there where the toys were sourced. Later on, I would come across several natural toy resellers in Multiply but would balk at the steep prices of the toys. I know my husband would never approve. 

So I settled for wood scraps and a bag of Ecobloks and shells and stones and mahogany shells that we would collect during our vacation to Antique. Seeing how the kid enjoy playing with those already gave me some sort of contentment. I stopped ogling and drooling over wooden toys in Etsy and Multiply. I stopped daydreaming on when we'd ever be able to afford a fully furnished wooden kitchen set for the little miss. I thought the scraps we had were already enough to fuel her imagination. (And they really were I'd like to think so) 

Not till I came across these cute mini-furniture toys in Vigan while walking around yesterday. Like a kid who just saw a candy store, my eyes just brightened at the sight of the tiny furniture lined up. My husband knew he only has one option, to say yes. Haha. I wanted to buy all of the items there. They had mini-rocking chairs (complete with the detailed rattan weaving on the backrest), living room set, and several types of dining sets for kids.
This was priced at P300/set. It came with a table and 4 chairs. I was able to
haggle for P250 but I think they can go down to P200 if you're buying more.
I got the little miss this round table dining set and she immediately showered me with kisses when she opened the package this morning. 

The other night I also got her this mini-kitchen cooking set made of clay. She already owned something similar to this but the ones we found in Vigan were even smaller than the ones she currently owned and I just thought I ougta buy it too. Who knows, maybe she will be more careful this time and we can pass it on to her kids (maybe) in the future. 

Bought the little set at the bottom for P100/set. Initially priced at P130. I go, daydreaming again. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Maia's Favorite: Kindergarten Review Materials Online

As much as I would like to be hands on with my preschooler's needs, being a working mom doesn't give me a lot of extra time to make our own review materials  for lessons, quizzes and quarterly exams. I maybe idealistic but I am also a practical working parent so I try to make use of every help I can get especially when it comes to helping my preschooler review.

If you are like me who is frequently online, then no need to worry. There are a bunch of readily available resources online to help you and your preschooler get through exam season.

I am just going to list our favorite spots online. But I'm sure if you Google "Kindergarten reviewers" there's plenty for you to choose from. My list is short as I really do not like being overwhelmed. I stuck to these 4 sites for long because they are more than enough for our preschool needs. Without further ado, here they are:

1. STARFALL - Starfall was the first free-online resource that we explored when the little miss was just a toddler. She is now very familiar with the site and can navigate it well on her own. From ABCs she has now moved on to reading short, simple stories on this site.

2.  SCHOOL SPARKS - I love this site. It is a treasure trove on its own. I usually download most of my math and reading review materials from this site.

school sparks also has tips for parents at the bottom of each worksheet.
nice touch, don't you think?
The next 2 websites also offer free resources but I've paid for membership subscription for these this year because I wanted to have access to answer sheets, to more worksheets and online exercises (which are usually perks offered to valid subscribers).

3. SCHOOLKID.PH - I like that this site was founded by a mom. The worksheets here are the ones she used to review her kids too and some were shared by other parents as well. I used most of the worksheets here last year when Maia was just starting out. I have yet to revisit the site again. But there's plenty of worksheets you can use here. I can say that I got fair value for the membership fee that I paid for.

4. IXL - During schooldays we impose a no TV/no electronic gadget policy. Since the little miss started with regular school, she has been very diligent at abiding by this rule. I can't say yet if 'breaking' our rule to make way for review sessions using IXL online exercises is a good thing but so far, the kid is really enjoying reviewing her math lessons using the exercises here. I paid a minimal fee to subscribe to this site so I'd say it's also fair value. Kid has no trouble answering the worksheets and the time limit on every exercise somehow adds a fun factor to the activities. I try to limit our sessions to 2-3 exercises every other day though so the kid won't get overly stimulated and to keep the fun going. I wouldn't want her to eventually think logging in to this site is 'schoolwork' that she has to complete.

So far, those are the online resource sites that have proved to be very useful to us. I'm still on the look out for an online resource for Science. Would you know of any? Care to share?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Maia Travels: A Weekend At T-House, Tagaytay

The minute our kid laid eyes on our wedding photo album, T-house (where I had my bridal preparations done) immediately grabbed her attention. Every year, during our anniversary, my husband and I would troop over to Tagaytay to hear mass at the church where we got married and last year we decided it was time for us to bring the kid along as well. T-house is conveniently located beside the church and she immediately saw it.

"I want to see what's inside, Mommy! Can we get in, please?"

Unfortunately, our anniversary trip to Tagaytay is always riddled with other plans so we never had the chance to take the kid inside even for a peek. But the kid is persistent. Once in a while she would take out our wedding album and declare "ONE DAY, I WILL GO AND SEE THIS PLACE".

Thanks to Deal Grocer, her ONE DAY finally happened last weekend. The husband booked us an overnight stay mainly to celebrate my 35th birthday quietly (away from the noise of the city). We planned to do it on a Saturday, but apparently, you will need to book at least 2 weeks prior if you want to reserve a slot. So we grabbed the next best thing which was Sunday. Being a commuting family, we prayed hard for good weather. But an hour before we left the house, the sky turned grey. It dampened my mood but not the kid's. And her excitement is really contagious it seemed to push the gloomy clouds away. After a heavy but brief downpour, the sky cleared and we headed out. Kid was singing and hopping. You can tell she's over her head happy. 

grey as grey can be. but didn't stop us from having the best weekend ever!
T-house is 4 rides away from our place (3 jeepney transfers and one bus ride). Because of the prior downpour, it took us almost an hour and a half to get to the place (twice the travel time of 45 minutes on ordinary, sunny Sundays). Oh and we also made a short stopover at the grocery to buy snacks (mostly chips and cookies for the kid. READ: Junk haha). We planned to stay in for the rest of the day so we wanted to be armed and ready with our potato couching must-haves.

"Mommy, are you going to wear your white gown again when we have our pictures taken?" It just dawned on me that the kid was probably expecting us to 'get married' again. To replicate everything that she saw in our wedding pictures. Oh my poor little girl. In between chuckles, the husband explained to the little girl that we are just checking in to rest for now. When she's a little older, maybe we can replicate our wedding again even if just in pictures. (OR maybe we can afford to do a renewal of vows with immediate family members then, we'll see). She didn't cry (thankfully). I guess, she didn't make room for tantrums and drama on this trip (fortunately for us!).

When we arrived at the hotel, kid was speechless and just beaming from ear to ear.When we were handed our key, she immediately grabbed it and proudly carried it till we got to our room.

welcome drinks and a question: "bakit F3 yung binigay na room number sa atin?
bakit hindi F1?"
"Hmmmmm, ang bango bango naman ng room natin Mommy!" 

Ahhhh soft sheets and cable TV. THIS IS THE GOOD LIFE.
She proceeded to claim her space on the bed and feign sleep (with a matching loud snore). She was so amusing to watch. The husband and I couldn't stop laughing at all her comments and observations. She really is a great travel companion now.

I'm really glad we took this trip. Seeing how happy she was, I already received the best 35th birthday gift ever.

(more photos after the jump)

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Good Life by Maia

So this what the good life feels like.

Sunday went by like this: Sleep, Eat, Sleep.

I would squeeze in a few minutes of walking and talking with my Mom every few hours but I immediately miss being in the comforts of the soft bed and hearing the noise of the TV so I demand for my Mom to take me back to our room every so often.

I think I love this life. I hope my wonderful parents realizes that.

How's your weekend been? I hope it was just as good as mine. Have a great week everyone!



posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Raising An Independent Kid

I used to be a very bookish parent. When something scares me, I'd read up and read up thinking that if I read more about it then I'd be so knowledgeable I won't ever make a mistake about my parenting decisions. I thought reading and more research would make me a perfect parent.

But I would later find out that such is not the case. And that parenting is still led more by instinct than learned through research  And that it is a learning in progress and not something you learn overnight or over weeks of reading. I believe that each child is unique and it's probably wiser to say that they demand the equal amount of uniqueness in the parenting style department.

I'm not very fond of labels because I easily forget them and confuse them between one and the other. So I really don't have a label for the parenting style I subscribe to. What I am sure though is, I would as much (given my limitations as a working mom) want to be an active participant in raising my kid. And I believe I can only maximize that if I become intentional with my parenting decisions. 

So even if I am tempted to always give in to my kid's every whim, every want, every desire and every request I try to step back and survey my options first. I try not to be dictated by the norm which is to measure my motherhood success by being able to immediately provide for her every need (and even want). Even if turning down some of her request pinches every corner of my heart, I do it because my natural parenting instinct tells me I am teaching her to be independent by doing so.

Yes, it is very fulfilling to be able to provide for all of our kid's needs. But the fact remains, we will never always be around to give them and help them with everything they need. I do recognize that part of my responsibility as a parent is to equip and teach my daughter fundamental life survival skills. I do not have a list of what they are, I only have my own personal experiences to guide me through. I do think life has somehow equipped me with enough lessons to impart to my kid. I will try my hardest to take only what is necessary though. I would not want to overwhelm her with my must-do's. I do not want her to live my life. I want her to create her own adventures but armed with just enough wisdom from mom to help her make her own decisions.

I watched my baby grow from a very dependent infant to a strong-willed preschooler. I'm sure there's going to be more fascinating developments to look forward to in the coming years. But every time she comes to me to show proudly how she'd managed to do something on her own, my heart swells.

Such is the delight you get from being a hands on parent. My husband isn't as hands on as I am. But I do hope in time, I inspire him to get more involved. Because the fulfillment you get from it is always a hundredfold. 
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