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.
As moms, it is almost second-nature for us to look after the health and well-being of the members of our family. I am hoping this is not true for you, but I find that a lot of the moms I talk to (myself included) tend to put their own well-being last on the list.
A few weeks ago, I listened to a talk by UST OB-Gyn department chairman, Dr. Corazon Gamilla. I agree with one of the things she said: “As a woman ages, she also faces greater demands. In order to cope, she needs to pay attention to her health.”
Did you get that, ladies?
We need to pay attention to our health.
As women with so many hats to wear, it is important for us to evaluate the state of our health, and to address our needs accordingly.
One of the more common health issues that concerns us women is iron deficiency. Iron is a vital mineral that carries oxygen throughout the body. It is also a plays a very important part in many bodily functions, being a major component of enzyme reactions in our tissues. When the body lacks iron, the functions of our organs are greatly affected. Basically, if we want to stay healthy and function optimally, we cannot ignore iron deficiency. (I am preaching to myself here since I’ve had a very low hemoglobin count ever since…..forever!)
Here are the most common signs of anemia:
- Pallor (pale appearance)
- Lack of concentration
- Easy fatiguability/tiredness
- Shortness of breath
- Headaches/dizziness (vertigo)
Other signs and symptoms include:
- hair loss
- brittle/grooved nails
- impaired immune function
- restless leg syndrome (characterized by odd, uncomfortable sensations)
- pagophagia (compulsive consumption of iced drinks)
Looking at all these symptoms, I realized that most of the health problems I’ve had over the years were really due to the lack of iron in my body. I must confess I was never keen on taking anything to supplement my iron since I always associated it with aftertastes that increased my morning sickness during pregnancy and to increased difficulty in bowel movement.
Just recently, I’ve discovered Sangobion– an iron supplement that not only helps restore iron reserves, but also contains vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Copper Sulfate, and Manganese Sulfate. In addition, Sangobion is more easily absorbed by the body and has a less metallic aftertaste (which I was complaining about, remember?). It also contains Sorbitol, a known anti-constipating agent (again, one of my apprehensions with the usual iron supplements).
If you suspect that you are suffering from iron deficiency, do consult with your doctor. Ask about iron supplements and other measures you could take to help with your iron reserves. In any case, it is also good to boost your iron and over-all health with the proper food.
Iron-rich sources include red meat, egg yolks, legumes, lentils, and green leafy vegetables.
For more information on Sangobion, visit www.sangobion.ph.
I never considered my skin to be sensitive. I never had to be particular about brands of makeup and skincare products.
Not until after I gave birth, that is.
I don’t know if it’s hormonal, or if it’s because I’m getting older (I sure hope it’s the former!). For some reason, I am now prone to having rashes all of a sudden. What I thought to be normal hormonal breakouts were actually allergic responses to shampoo, conditioner, soaps, and other skincare and cosmetic products that had hints of fragrances.
Because of this recent realization, I have had to choose brands more carefully. From hair care to facial wash, to moisturizers, and makeup, I now have to make sure they are mild on the skin. My most recent discoveries are as follows:
- Shampoo- Gugo shampoo!
- Conditioner- No problem here are long as I use brand that do not have strong scents, and as long as I don’t apply too much.
- Facial wash- Physiogel Cleanser
- Facial Moisturizer- Physiogel Cream
- Lotion- Physiogel Lotion
- Makeup remover- Physiogel Cleanser
- Powder- Estee Lauder Double-Wear Stay-in-place Powder
Thankfully, my derma-friend said the eye area does not react the way the rest of our facial skin does, so it’s not as sensitive.
For those of you who also have sensitive skin, here are some tips:
- Be sure to check the labels of your products! Are they hypoallergenic? Non-comedogenic? Fragrance-free?
- Find a foundation that has few chemicals and preservatives in them. Hint: The shorter the ingredient list, the better.
- Find foundation and moisturizers that have an SPF between 15 to 30 for added skin protection.
- Foundations that are silicone-based and in powder form are best because they don’t irritate skin and don’t clog pores.
- If your skin tends to turn red and flaky, or often stings, go for mineral makeup.
- Check to see that your makeup is free from fragrances and dyes.
- Sensitive skin can be rosy. When choosing a blush, pick one that is closest to your natural skin tone. (Powder blush is easiest to use and stays on longer.)
- Use a brush to apply your makeup— not your hands!
- Make sure your brush is clean! (I am so guilty of this. Laziness often gets in the way of a clean brush and clear skin!)
- Always. Remove. Your. Makeup.
Finally, don’t fret.
You are beautiful— sensitive skin and all.
Physiogel is formulated with the Derma Membrane Structure Technology, which basically means that it moisturizes by mimicking the natural lipid composition of our skin. It resembles the natural building blocks of the skin so it effectively helps repair the skin barrier and prevent moisture loss (Skin is kept hydrated for up to three days, even with washing!).
For more information on Physiogel and its products, visit www.physiogel.ph or www.facebook.com/PhysiogelPH
Posted by Thammie Sy on Oct 3, 2013 in Breastfeeding, Child Development, Child Training, Discipline, Events, Family Health, Fitness, Mothers, Parenting, Reviews, Tips and Principles, Wellness | 0 comments
With the desire to help make feeding a pleasant experience for moms and their babies alike, Philips Avent continues to improve their products by partnering with those who understand a mother and child’s needs best— mommies and their children, of course!
Last week, Philips Avent held a very informative session for its Trusted Moms. I would gladly share my notes with you here, as I know you, too, would appreciate the things that were discussed about developing healthy eating habits in our children.
Most of my notes are from the presentation given by Miss Ruby Frane, a licensed nutritionist.
Before anything else, here’s a tidbit that I hope would encourage you to really go for breastfeeding:
Exclusive breastfeeding decreases the odds of preference for specific food preparation methods by 78%, food neophobia by 75%, and food rejection by 81%.
That was a side note. Okay, now let’s move on.
Here are parent characteristics that predispose our children to feeding difficulties. As you read through the bullet points, try to assess yourself. Do you have any of the following characteristics?
- Over-active or too stimulating
- Under-active or not engaging
- Chaotic or disorganized
- Rigid or over-controlling
- Over-concerned about child’s food selection or weight
- Has a particular agenda for growth
Let us expound on this.
Here are four parenting styles in the context of feeding. It is important for us to honestly evaluate our feeding style, for it greatly determines our children’s responses and eating behaviors.
- Try to control your child’s eating?
- Pressure your child to eat?
- Bribe your child to eat with rewards?
- Ignore your child’s hunger signals?
If we try to control our children and their eating habits too much, they would most likely adjust calories poorly, eat fewer vegetables and fruits, and have more chances of being underweight or overweight.
- Give up your feeding responsibilities?
- Set no limits?
- Ignore your child’s hunger signals or emotional and physical needs?
Negligence could increase our children’s chances of being overweight.
- Set no limits?
- Feed your child whatever he wants, whenever he wants, wherever he wants?
- Make special dishes for your child just because he refuses what is already on the table?
- Ignore your child’s hunger signals?
Failing to set limits for our children increases their chances of being overweight, and increases the likelihood that our children would eat diets lower in nutritional value except for fat.
- Guide your child’s eating?
- Set limits with the 3 W’s— what, when, and where he eats?
- Model eating and talk about food in a positive way?
- Respond to your child’s hunger signals?
As we learn to respond better to our children’s nutritional needs, they are more likely to eat more fruit, vegetable, and dairy products, and eat less junk. In effect, we protect them from becoming overweight or undernourished.
There you have it– the four feeding styles. Honestly now, which one do you practice?
Of course, we all want to become more and more responsive to our children– and not just in the area of feeding. For most of us, it is really the lack of proper knowledge that keeps us from practicing the right style. It is never too late to improve (or change) though, so take heart.
If you are currently encountering some feeding difficulties with your child, do read on….
Feeding difficulty case number one: “My child is so picky!”
Here are some things that you could do:
- Offer only foods that your child accepts without protest.
- Eat new foods in the presence of your child without offering any; provide a taste at your child’s request and stay neutral about his/her reaction to the food.
- Avoid confict and prevent your child from becoming anxious by making your child’s limited diet a non-issue.
Here are things that you should NOT do:
- If a food causes your child to spit it out, gag, or vomit, do not offer this food again, but continue with preferred foods.
- Do not force your child to eat refused foods by keeping him/her at the table until finished, and do not punish him/her for not eating certain foods.
Feeding difficulty case number one: ”My child has really poor appetite, often apathetic and/or withdrawn.”
Please consider the following steps:
- Investigate and observe the relationship between the child and the caregiver. The child will respond to a warm, caring, and experienced feeder.
- Identify and address the factors that may be contributing to your child’s behavior.
- If malnutrition is evident, use oral nutritional supplements as advised by your doctor.
Please do NOT ignore this kind of behavior.
Finally, here are some basic feeding guidelines:
1. Maintain appropriate parent-child boundaries. This means that YOU decide WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE your child eats.Your child determines how much is eaten.
2. Avoid distractions during mealtime. (A personal guideline for us is no gadgets– TV, phones, tablets/ipads during mealtime)
3. Feed to encourage your child’s appetite. Avoid giving juice, milk, or junk food between meals.
4. Adopt a neutral attitude towards eating.
5. Limit mealtime duration. Feeding should last not longer than 30-35 minutes.
This is a guideline. In our home, I find that a normal duration for us is about an hour. I have two little girls…does that explain anything? (In case you still don’t get it, here’s a clue: yakety-yak, blah-blah-blah, chat-chat-chat, talk-talk-talk!)
6. Serve age-appropriate foods. A reasonable serving would be the approximate size of your child’s fist.
7. Systematically introduce novel foods into your child’s diet.
8. Encourage independent feeding.
9. Tolerate age-appropriate mess.
…And because I am one who feels it is easier to remember things if they are in multiples of five (or three’s!), let me add a another one to make it ten.
Mealtimes can be one of the best bonding experiences for you and your child. It is up to you to make it as such.
I love these feeding products from Philips Avent!
My favorite features here: This spoon bends–making it easier for our young kids, and this lunch box has a suction underneath (in addition to its air-tight cover and “yehey-it’s-already-included-here spoon”)– making it easier for us!
We had our session at the newly-reinvented Spaces at Babyland (along Shaw Blvd.).
Spaces at Babyland has a play area for the kids.
Wow….Thank you for staying with me up until this point!
To know more about Philips Avent and their products, go to www.facebook.com/PhilipsAventPH and follow them on Twitter @PhilipsAventPH.
If you are looking for a venue to hold an intimate party or seminar with kids in mind, check out Spaces at Babyland. Their address is 548 Facilities Center, Shaw Blvd., 1500 Mandaluyong City. Check out www.facebook.com/babylandstore.