Academic competition for kids

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Chase with his fellow quiz bee participants

Some say competition has negative effects especially for kids. Because it commonly depicts one hailing winner above a field of disappointed losers. Some parents thought it is not healthy for their kids to take nor constructive to their development just yet.

That was my first thought when I received the letter from my son’s teacher informing us that he is selected to represent their school to compete in an upcoming quiz bee competition. Worries and fears quickly ran through my head.. What happens if he loses? Can his heart take it? How will I encourage him without putting pressure on him? What if he gets tired and fed up from studying? Is he really ready for it?

Fortunately everything turned out well for us. My son and his team mates enjoyed their review classes and were able to quickly learn their lessons in just a couple of weeks. Chase was able to gain new friends and because of that he never felt he was competing but instead just advancing his lessons.

I realize the whole experience for him would be beneficial and that includes winning or even losing in the competition. Life is after-all a series of winning and losing at one point or another. The pressure set upon them pushes their limits and inspire them to develop and explore additional skills. Competition provides motivation to achieve a goal, instills the value of team work and perseverance to overcome challenges.

Chase and his teammate Gian as champions in the recent CAPRISA Science quiz bee competition

Chase and his teammate Gian as champions in the recent CAPRISA Science quiz bee competition

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Pork Sinigang Recipe

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This is my hubby’s favorite Filipino dish. I can serve this for a whole week without any complain. 😉 It’s easy to cook too! I’m just starting to cook and believe when I say so. Thanks to the inventor of instant mix or powder mix that we don’t have to do it the hard way anymore. Although it’s much better and fresher to use the natural way of getting the soury flavor of tamarind. But since its difficult for me to get a fresh sampaloc, I’m going to show you the easy way and incorporate sinigang mix in this recipe.
Ingredients:

2 lbs of Pork Belly cut into cubes
1 small radish cut into small pieces
1 medium Onion sliced thinly
1 small tomato diced
1 eggplant cut diagonally
1 cup of Sitaw or string beans cut in 2 inches length
3 cups of Kangkong or water spinach
2 pcs. Of Siling Mahaba or finger peppers
1½ pack of Sinigang Mix (I prefer the one with sili)
1 tsp. vetsin (optional)
1 tbsp. patis
1½ quarts of water

Directions:

In a large pot add water and bring to a boil. Then add the pork cover and let it simmer for 3 minutes. Remove scum from the broth then add onions, tomatoes, siling haba, vetsin and cook for ten minutes or until the pork is tender. Then add the sinigang mix, Labanos, and eggplant then simmer with cover for 10 minutes. Finally add the kangkong and sitaw and let it cook for another five minutes and voila! You can now enjoy your hot pork sinigang.

Let it cool for five minutes before serving with rice!

Reading is fun!

Chase & Chaeli loves to read on animals!

Chase & Chaeli loves to read on animals!

While having our grocery shopping yesterday, my kids saw these books and asked me to buy it for them. I usually answer no to whatever it is that’s not included in my list. Only these are books so I really can’t say no to educational stuff not to mention they’re on sale! They cost roughly $8 altogether. Such a steal considering two of them are encyclopedias.

Reading to children especially toddlers culminate a foundation for independent reading later on. The more you read to them, the better they will learn to read on their own. I don’t focus on the alphabet just yet, I’m more focused on their comprehension skills and their recognition of cause and effect in the stories.

My husband and I read to them before going to bed or if we have nothing else to do 🙂 Most of the time we make up our own story to tell and even make them lead a plot. They can choose a book they want or ask a random question to their Dad. If we ran out of stories we google some fable and tales even myths. We use animated voices to catch their attention and ask them after for their own version. Chase usually has extra stories from his dad because he loves  adventurous type and thriller stories which Chaeli doesn’t appreciate yet. photo 1

Chaeli has shorter attention span than Chase and most of time she just want to point at the pictures and ask me what they were. She listens only if she’s still interested and will make you repeat it a thousand times if she is so into it. haha ABCs and reading can be taught in school so it doesn’t matter if they are not ahead in reading or academics when they enter pre-school. Love for learning is what I want to develop and making reading fun is one way for them to enjoy and never grew tired learning. I hope. 🙂

Unplanned pregnancy

Unplanned pregnancy can be devastating and overwhelming for an expectant mother especially if they are not married and still young to be one. One may need some time to process the new reality and the consequences of her actions. If you are facing this dilemma right now, I strongly advise you to take necessary steps to take care of yourself and the life inside your womb.

Tell somebody about it! Develop your own support system. If you have a partner, tell him at once and include him in your decision. If he doesn’t support you, look for someone that you trust to confide to. It will help you lessen the stress and burden you’re carrying. Tell your parents but if you are not ready yet, seek for pro-life mentor or counselor. You can talk to your school counselor, church’s pastor or mentor.

Get a proper pre-natal check up and advice as soon as possible and be sure to take good care of yourself. No alcohols, smoking, drugs, and any strenuous activity for the next nine months.

If your partner doesn’t want the baby, let him go immediately. He doesn’t love you and probably doesn’t deserve you and your baby. Love cannot be forced so do not use your baby as leverage too. It is your sole responsibility to take care of your emotional health. Stress and anxiety is not good for you and the baby’s health.

Face it with prayers, acceptance and courage. You are now a mother and many aspects in your lifestyle will change. Planning for long term is essential and aiming for positive results are vital.

Do not consider abortion. It may have been given to you unexpectedly but it is still a blessing from God. He gave you another life to take care of. You may think of all the loss or negative effect it can give you over material and wordly achievements. But what is more valuable than life? Is it your education? Your marriage? or career? Pregnancy is not the end of your life but a beginning of another’s.

Sofa cleaners

When was the last time you clean your sofa? Perhaps you have been avoiding cleaning it because you’re busy, cannot afford an upholster cleaner or just have no idea how to clean them. News flash! It can be done with in less than 5 minutes (depending on the size) and you don’t need to hire a professional. You just need two reliable products to help you get the job done. Let me share these two cleaner I found in ACE hardware. I have a combination of cloth and leather sofa so I need two different products for each. The glade powder helps me eliminate odors in the cloth while the Wizz spray keeps off the molds in the leather part. I haven’t tried any product just yet aside from these two so I cannot compare. But they work incredibly well for me. If you have other reliable products to suggest, do let me know. Each product cost around $4 and would lasts for more than three months for me (twice a week cleaning)

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To use :

  • Just spread the Glade powder on the sofa and leave it for 15 minutes. Vacuum the powder after and make sure no residue is left.
  • Spray the Wizz leather spray on leather surfaces and let the leather absorb it for a few seconds. Then Wipe it off with a clean cloth or paper.

DIY decorated mirror

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This is a $2 mirror I bought in a local department store. My kids accidentaly bumped this off the wall which broken the upper part of it. It started with a small crack but it grows longer and longer so I just decided to completely cut that portion off and replaced it with my son’s portrait 🙂 I added different shapes of white stickers on it to give it life. Now it serves as  a beautiful wall decor above my staircase.

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Why I have well behaved kids

I am lucky to have a well-behaved eldest son. He never put on a tantrum. He knows how to pack his toys away at age 2 and has never broken a toy. I remember when I accidentally tore a page in his book while reading it to him, he looked dismayed and disappointed on me. Haha I said sorry and promised to put a transparent tape on it so it will look whole again and he answered with a smile. He was never loud or noisy. You can call him timid but he is not shy to join in parlor games nor dance in public when asked to.

I’ve always wished his younger sister would turned out as easy to raise as his big brother. To my surprise, she is the exact opposite of him. She is witty and outspoken. She knows want she wants and will push her limit to get it. She tests everyone’s patience in a cute way. Oh well, no two kids are alike and I love them both so much!

People are asking me how I discipline my kids and how I keep them composed on public (except when Chaeli decided to throw a show) I am no expert on parenting and I am still learning to handle my patience too. But if I have to answer that question, I would say I know when to show my disappointment if I have to.

Some parents may argue that toddlers won’t understand the concept of discipline yet and will just feel remorseful on you for being angry. But I think as early as we can, we should instill the concept of authority and respect. I make an expectation clear and explain it well then I let them analyze it. Slowly, you’ll see that they’ll try to behave in a way that we’ve taught them.  I am not afraid to use my hand if I have to (good thing I haven’t done so) I develop their conscience when they’ve done something wrong and give them a chance to correct it. Tough love you may call it. Whatever it takes to raise them responsible and disciplined individual.

I also teach them the importance of prayer and God in our lives. Don’t get me wrong though, I am a fun loving mom most of time, teaching crafts and colors, letting themselves make a mess and play, reading stories with animated voice but I’m also a tough mom when I see that they’re becoming out of hand.I make them believe in Santa Claus and the reward of good being a good kid.

This is a picture of Chaeli emptying the drawers while Chase patiently putting them back :)

This is a picture of Chaeli emptying the drawers while Chase patiently putting them back 🙂

Right now, I teach Chase to be a responsible and kind big brother to Chaeli. I tell him that Chaeli needs his guidance and company. We practice “lead by example” at home and Chase sets a good example to Chaeli. I hope he never gets tired though and Chaeli picks up faster haha. and if by any chance I may be getting a little too hard on them, I’m confident they’ll always have their Dad (Acting as a cool and spoiler one) and a bunch of grandparents to balance their life 🙂