Posted by Thammie Sy on Feb 4, 2014 in Child Training, Decorating and Entertaining, Discipline, Faith, Family, Fathers, Homemaking, Homeschooling, Household Help and Nannies, Marriage, Mentoring Women, Mothers, Organizing and Decluttering, Parenting, Personal Faith Journey, Personals, Random Thoughts, Relationships, Tips and Principles | 1 comment
“Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.” (Exodus 40:36-38)
I was reading through these verses this morning and I realized how hard it must have been for the wives and moms during the time of Moses!
Here I am, easily caught up with “stuff I have to do” so that the family can have a more stable routine, so that I can find a structure that works really well for m—- er, I mean for us, so that the schedule will be more predictable and hopefully everyone’s lives will be a bit simpler….and then I once again encounter this account of the Israelites’ journey.
Since the time they left Egypt, throughout all their travels, the Israelites had to wait on God before they made a move. They couldn’t get too comfortable since they had to be ready to pack up and leave once the cloud was taken up; But they did have to camp out and stay as long the cloud was not yet moving.
If you were a mother or a wife back then, how would you have felt???
Yaay! We’re here!
Darling, please bring unpack our luggage while I pitch our tent.
Oh, and what do you think we should put in our tents to make it feel more welcoming?
Those linens look good! Quick! Let’s use those!
There! Don’t you think this bed is so comfortable?
Now, wait. Let me just work on the rest of the…….
*Clouds start to lift and move*
Aaaacck!!!! Pack up! Pack up!
I dread to imagine how it must have been.
But come to think of it, isn’t this how we should be living?
I don’t mean in tents or in the wilderness. I mean waiting on the Lord and His move, looking to Him, and pacing our lives according to His pace, not ours.
If we start looking at our desire and preoccupation with trying to make things comfortable and stable for our families in the light of how it was back then for the Israelites when they had no choice but to wait on God and trust Him and listen to His instructions and leading, then could it be that perhaps we’ve been trusting our systems more than God’s leading for our families?
Of course I’m not at all trying to imply that it’s okay not to plan nor am I encouraging disorganization, but it might be good to take a heart check every now and then and ask ourselves these five questions:
- Am I doing this * insert whatever activity or plan here* because God told me to or did I just go ahead of Him because it seems that He’s not moving on my behalf?
- At any time God tells me to ditch this * insert whatever activity or plan here* and move on to what he wants me to do next, will I be willing to say yes? Or am I holding on to my agenda more than I am trusting and waiting on God’s leading?
- Am I placing a higher premium on the level of my comfort rather than the growth of my character?
- Do I find my security in the stability of my situation or am I secure simply because God is with me no matter what situation I am in?
- Who/What determines my steps?
Posted by Thammie Sy on Jan 17, 2014 in Breastfeeding, Child Development, Child Training, Family Health, Freebies and Giveaways, Household Tips, Parenting, Products, Reviews, Tips and Principles, Wellness | 2 comments
When it comes to oral hygiene, it is so easy to assume we are doing enough, only to find out later on that the habits we’ve developed are not really the best ones.
I wanted to share with you some of the best oral care tips and facts from our dentist, Dr. Bu Buenazedacruz of Buenazeda Dental Clinic (I personally think he’s one of the best– I even fell asleep when I had a procedure done– and I was nine months pregnant that time!).
[ ] Bacteria and acid start to destroy our teeth 30 minutes after eating or drinking flavored drinks.
[ ] Fluoride treatment twice a year can strengthen your child’s teeth.
[ ] Dental sealants are used to seal the deep grooves found on the pre-molar and molar teeth to prevent dental caries (decay).
[ ] Oral bacteria + acid + sugar = cavity
[ ] Brushing only cleans 70 percent of our teeth, while flossing cleans the remaining 30. Everyone needs to floss– including kids.
[ ] Kids should be trained to brush their teeth in small circles because they lack dexterity to do the adult and best way which is to brush away from the gum line.
[ ] Train kids to brush at least two minutes and make sure they brush all their teeth surfaces.
[ ] Our teeth have five surfaces: front, back, chewing surface and the two sides in between.
[ ] The right amount of toothpaste to be used about the size of a pea.
[ ] Your kid can’t floss by themselves, you have to do it for them until they can do it on their own.
[ ] You can clean toddler’s teeth while they are sleeping (with moistened gauze or small amount of fluoride free toothpaste). The goal is for them to get used to brushing so they won’t get bothered by it, but instead would look forward to it as part of their daily routine.
[ ] Train kids to use FB before sleeping (No, not Facebook— floss and brush).
[ ] The best way for kids to have a good oral hygiene is by following parents’ example.
[ ] Train also your house help regarding oral health and disciplines because they might be spending more time with your kids than you do.
[ ] It is best to check your kids teeth after they brush. Parents must learn to identify if their kids have removed the dirt from their teeth. If it still dirty, send them back for another round.
[ ] Kids can start to visit the dentist starting two years old. It is important to get the child familiarized with the clinic first.
[ ] Finding the right flavor of toothpaste can make your child motivated for brushing.
[ ] First dental appointment should never be traumatic. Hopefully your kids’ first dental visit is not due to tooth ache.
[ ] Motivation is key– you don’t have to nag kids into doing things that are FUN for them.
In line with these tips and tricks, I wanted to let you know about Pepsodent’s Brushing Adventure campaign. The goal of the campaign is to encourage more kids to view brushing as a fun experience rather than a chore.
We just started using these stickers with the girls. They love stickers, so this is probably one of the best ways to motivate them to brush their teeth consistently, and without having to be reminded again and again.
Aside from stickers, Pepsodent has come up with a brushing song. This is a fresh break from the usual “This is the way….” tune we sing!
Oh, and finally, there are fun stuff for you to download for your kids, too! Simply visit their Facebook page to find puzzles, games, and activities your kids can enjoy.
Last Saturday, I attended a session on building better relationships with our helpers. I think most of us really do want to have better relationships with our helpers, not only for our convenience or sanity, but also for the peace of the entire household.
I grew up with a nanny. From the time I was born, and up until now, that nanny is still serving our family in the province. One of my greatest wishes is to be able to find a nanny that’s as loyal, competent, and loving as her.
For those of you who have followed this blog since its birth, you would know that I actually found two very good helpers during the early years of our marriage. Those two were with us for a number of years already, and were one with us in looking forward to moving to a smaller, more manageable place to live in back then. Unfortunately, one of them became a single mom and had to leave to take care of her baby, and the other one got sick and passed away.
And so, the wish still remains as such. I do have helpers now that I am happy with, but I have yet to see how it goes with them.
I will be sharing with you some of the main points I learned. But before I do that, I would like to share with you some of the practices that I’ve been doing over the years– what have worked for me, at least (If I were to share all the mistakes I’ve done, this post would probably end up too long! hehe).
Be on the same page with them.
Notice I didn’t just say “get them on the same page with you”. I wish it were as easy as just laying down all the rules and handing them your policies and all, but it isn’t. I used to get so frustrated at why our helpers never seemed to be able to follow through with my instructions. But after asking about their backgrounds, I realized that most of the time, it wasn’t really about them wanting to disobey as it was about them just having a different orientation, and them growing up with a totally different value system.
One simple example I could think of is when they would always keep the left-overs out of the refrigerator for a long time, even if I’ve told them so many times about “how bacteria multiplies at blah blah temperature and therefore blah blah blah…” I was getting frustrated at why they never seemed to get it until I asked them about this. I then found out that it was really because one, most of them do NOT have refrigerators at home, and two, most of them have not had to deal with leftovers. A lot of times, they would have nothing left.
Being on the same page with them entails the following:
1. We learn their background.
- This includes family background, values, educational background, aspirations, etc.
2. We share our values.
- This, however, is not a one-time “I get it now” thing. We would have to share this over and over again.
- Before we tell them the tasks we want them to do, we make it a point to emphasize what we value in our family, and how those tasks lead to creating an environment at home for those values to be achieved.
3. We set expectations.
- We set expectations, both theirs and ours.
- Lay down the basic structure and routines we have at home.
- We set the rules we expect them to follow.
4. We set priorities.
- If we can get overwhelmed with all that we have to accomplish, imagine how it is for them…
- We set priorities not only in terms of tasks to be achieved, but here we also clarify whose priority each task/area is.
5. We give feedback.
- They have to know how they are progressing. Now in all honesty, this is where I am weak. I am very proactive when it comes to the first four things. In fact, I think sometimes when I repeat WHY I ask them to do something or explain WHY I want things done a certain way, they might think I sound like a broken record already (but I don’t mind). Okay, back to this weakness of mine. Since I admit I do not like confrontation, we have opted to have regular “staff meetings” at home, wherein we discuss the things that they are doing well, AND the things that need improvement. So far, this has given me an avenue to confront them without them having to feel defensive (well, at least I wish they really do feel that they don’t have to get defensive).
Now on to Coach Pia’s session. Here’s my MAIN take home:
GIVE EFFECTIVE FEEDBACK.
Giving feedback is not enough. Giving effective feedback is what counts.
And here are the main action points for me. Here are some keys to giving effective feedback:
1. Communicate clearly.
- For me, this applies to my tone and facial expression. If something is really important to me, I cannot make it sound like a request. Our helpers need to be able to tell the difference between what is just something that is nice to have at home (want), versus what we really think is essential for our home (need).
- HOW we say things can make all the difference.
2. Clarify expectations.
- It is best to do this one-on-one, in private.
- Again, communicating clearly comes in here.
3. Work towards competence.
- Since it is almost always a given that they come from different background with different habits and different values, we cannot expect them to get it right away.
- Always DIRECT first…then SUPPORT…then DELEGATE.
There you have it!
What about you, what are your best practices with your helpers?
Before I end this post, let me share with you some bits of information about our sponsors who made this learning session possible, as our way of saying thank you.
Marca Pina! Honestly, I tried buying other local brands of “Queso de Bola” before, but I ended up disappointed. Since then, I always got Marca Pina each time. Did you know that these are imported from Holland? And you can always be assured that you are buying a fresh batch since they are sold out every year!
Tonkita cleaning products by Arix Philippines…
Tonkita is a complete range of tools and accessories for cleaning and taking care of all domestic spaces, designed for ease of use. Their materials are 100% recyclable. I was actually surprised that the prices are really reasonable, considering the quality and durability. To know more about their products, check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ArixPhilippines.
You have to try their Black Pancit and Crack Pie! The Black Pancit is actually sotanghon soaked in squid ink, then mixed with crushed chicharon…the kamias you see there isn’t just for garnish, it really goes well with the pancit and…..just try it. Check out their Facebook page (and order from them!) .
….I realized I was so engrossed in the discussion I wasn’t able to take a single photo of Coach Pia or of the group once we started!
Posted by Thammie Sy on Dec 4, 2013 in Child Development, Child Training, Daughter Dialogues, Discipline, Events, Everyday Life, Family, Homemaking, Homeschooling, Mika Dialogues, Mothers, Parenting, Random Inspirations | 2 comments
What I love about homeschooling is that I can take my kids with me anywhere I go, anytime I want to. Whenever I need to go somewhere for work and I am allowed to bring one child with me, I can always do so, and the kids actually consider it a date and a special moment with me.
I didn’t realize how big of an impact these “take your kid to work” pseudo-dates made until recently, when I took Mika with me to an event by Electrolux. I went there to support of our friend Janice Villanueva, founder of Mommy Mundo, and one of the digital brand ambassadors of Electrolux.
The event was all about celebrating our passions. They named the campaign “Wear Your Passion,” with the premise that a woman’s wardrobe actually reflects her many passions and roles in life. (Side note: At the time of the launch of this campaign, Electrolux was already busy receiving, washing, and distributing clean clothes to the survivors of the earthquake in Bohol and the more recent Typhoon Yolanda.)
I didn’t really explain all this to Mika. She was actually just there, taking photos (and eating a lot of marble potatoes!). I don’t even remember mentioning the title of the campaign to her, nor do I remember even telling her about Electrolux.
Up to this day, however, each time– and I say this with no exaggeration– each time we see a billboard, a print ad, or an appliance with “Electrolux” written on it, Mika’s face starts to beam, and she always says with excitement “Look, mom! OUR event! It’s Electrolux Wear Your Passion! It’s our event! It’s our event!”
Here are some of the photos that Mika took (some were really blurred, because her hands were sticky and she touched the camera lens!)….and here’s Mika eating her potatoes.
“OUR event” – I really like the sound of this. It reminds me that what can seem so ordinary for us can actually be so special for our kids. It reminds me that the small things we do to involve our kids really do leave an imprint in their hearts. It reminds me that the what or where doesn’t really matter to our kids as much as the who they do things with.
“Look, mom! It’s OUR event!”
….May it be, mom-friends, that our children will always be able to say this about the activities we do.
Posted by Thammie Sy on Dec 2, 2013 in Faith, Family, Fathers, Finances, Homemaking, Homeschooling, Marriage, Mentoring Women, Mothers, Personal Faith Journey, Random Inspirations | 0 comments
For the past several months, our family has been praying for a printer with a scanner.
When our last printer finally conked out after we moved houses, Dennis bought a new one, but without a scanner. I was thankful, of course, and it has served us well, but being a homeschooling family, a printer that doubled as a scanner would be very useful, especially since I have two students, and a lot of the books that I want to use for both of them are colored.
If I had all the budget in the world, the ideal way is to get two copies of all the books I use– one for each of them. But I’m just being realistic, and the sustainable thing for me has been to just get one copy, then demand that they use pencils in answering their books. This way, I can erase their answers before the start of the next school year, and the younger child can re-use the books.
This was a perfect plan, until I realized that my second daughter is pretty madiskarte. I was so impressed by how quickly she understood all the language lessons and how quickly she was able to answer all the math problems…. until one day, when she finally told me her “technique”. Apparently, there was an “invisible answer” that she just had to trace– and she got the right answers, without even having to think!
There goes my perfect tipid plan.
So yeah, this is why we have been praying for a printer with a scanner. Now when I say that we have been praying for it, I don’t mean to say that we’ve been seriously praying for it. I mean, if we didn’t get one, we’re still happy. Our homeschooling life still goes on (though getting one would be really nice). But it was one of those “Oh, Lord, it would really be nice if you gave us the budget for a printer with a scanner. Please– can we have one?” kinds of prayers— very simple and casual, yet still, filled with faith.
In fact, because we had no budget for another printer, and because we were in faith that God would provide us with one, we began to pray another prayer: “Lord, if you want us to give away this new printer we have, just let us know who you want us to give this to.” By doing this, we wanted to exercise our faith, at the same time teach the kids that whenever we are in need, we should choose to sow a seed (I love how this rhymes!).
We know that there would always be a need– major needs, as well as trivial ones. Even in this small matter as believing God for a printer with a scanner, we wanted to teach the kids to wait on the Lord with the right heart and right mindset.
I am sharing all this because a few weeks ago, God actually surprised us with a brand new HP printer…. WITH A SCANNER.
I attended one of the BetterMe sessions that the Mommy Mundo SoMoms had over brunch at Cafe 1771 (good food, by the way, as always!). Coach Pia Acevedo of the OneCore group gave a talk on building our children’s self-esteem, and the “culminating” activity to apply what we learned was to make some sort of a scrapbook page of our take-home lesson from the session (the pictures and the scrapbook pages were all printed from HP printers of course!).
Honestly speaking, I am aware that being the safe, conscientious person that I am, my output was not as artistic as I wanted it to be. I am not good with time-pressured activities! We were given 15 minutes to finish the entire task, and on a normal day, it would already take me that much time just to choose pictures and prints!
Why am I being so critical of my work? Because I want to tell you that I believe with all my heart it was really just God who made it possible for me to win in that activity, and to be able to bring home the prize— yes, the much-desired HP printer with scanner (emphasis on the scanner again! hehe).
Allow me to share my work here, anyway, will you?
Incidentally, the picture they chose to print out among the choices I gave them was the first picture that Isaiah had with the girls upon his homecoming from the hospital. Using this as inspiration, I chose to make the theme of my scrapbook page “I Am Home”. Here’s what I wrote, in relation to building our children’s self-esteem:
“Home is where I am loved.
Home is where I am accepted.
Home is where I am forgiven.
Home is where I am significant.
Home is were I am secure.
I am home.”
That yellow thing on the upper right hand corner was my attempt to make a house origami, by the way. Hehe
I really do believe that the most essential aspect of building up our children is to provide them with a home where they know they are loved, accepted, forgiven, significant, and secure. The key factor of building them up is the home.
Okay, back to my printer WITH SCANNER story. I just wanted to encourage you with this these thoughts:
1. Our Heavenly Father knows what you need….and what you want.
2. He can give you what you need…..and even what you want!
3. God is not moved by our need. He is moved by our faith.
4. Even if it seems trivial, ask God anyway. He is concerned with every detail of our lives!
5. When in need, sow a seed.
…On good soil.
…Then wait and see how God would cause it to grow!
If you wish to know more about HP and their line of products and printers, head over to their Facebook page or visit their website.
Posted by Thammie Sy on Oct 14, 2013 in Child Development, Child Training, Decorating and Entertaining, Discipline, Holidays, Homemaking, Homeschooling, Household Help and Nannies, Household Tips, Organizing and Decluttering, Parenting, Tips and Principles | 1 comment
Ever since we moved into this house we are now living in, I’ve been trying to get the family back to a predictable, more structured routine. For the past few months, this has been my goal: Structure.
Have a structure for homeschooling.
Have a structure for housekeeping.
Have a structure for scheduling.
Have a structure for menu planning.
Structure, structure, and more structure.
Now, I am not about to say this structure thing is bad, or has been bad for us. It’s really been needed, given the recent changes and major transitions that all of us have gone through. It’s been needed, and it’s been good for us to try to achieve this.
Structure keeps us sane.
Structure gives us stability.
Structure makes things more predictable for everyone (again, I go back to the issue of our sanity).
Yes, structure is good.
But we must not confuse setting structure with creating culture. We must be careful that in our attempts at setting structure, we do not neglect (or worse, go against) the very reason why we want to achieve structure in the first place– to be able to live out the culture we want at home. Sometimes in our effort to be able to do things right and set things properly, we allow anxiety, stress, and pressure to creep in, thinking that they are necessary ingredients to push everyone and get them involved and on board with our plans.
Then we go back– why do we want to have structure again??
Sanity. Stability. Predictability.
To have less stress. More joy. More fun.
To be more relaxed.
And we go back again– then why are we STRESSING over having that structure??
Isn’t it so easy to lose focus?
Remember: The goal is to create culture.
Joy. Love. Acceptance. Forgiveness. Patience. Kindness. Graciousness.
The structure is just a tool to create the culture we want for our homes.
It’s not the other way around.