Back-to-School Checklist and Jolly’s Baon Ideas

While some students were already back at school, my kids are still at the house still waiting for classes to start next month. That means they still have 2 weeks to wake up late, play, complete their assignment or just get bored. As for me, this means we still have 2 more weeks to prepare school.

This school year will be my tween’s last year in her primary years. She’ll be a high-schooler next year and that story deserves another post :). Its “Hello primary years” for my son as he will be first grader this school year and thankfully has the same schedule during his kindergarten years — morning session and will only spend 5 hours of school activities. Sure enough our early morning chaos like the constant nagging and fighting will definitely resume. Part of our morning routine to making sure they have eaten their breakfast before going to school and that they provided with snacks (baon) in case they get hungry.

Since, it is back to school time! We’ve been checking the back to school list and so far we’ve done notebook & shoe shopping, bag fixing, uniform fittings, looking for lunch boxes and water bottles that are leak-proof, checking for new baon menus and everything school stuff.

Here is our Back-To-School Checklist:

  • Books – should be covered and labeled
  • Bags – check theirs from last years
  • School Uniforms – check for lost buttons, broken zippers or torn pocket
  • Inner Wears – check if it still fits
  • Shoes and Socks – last year’s shoes might no longer fit
  • School Supplies – notebooks, pens, pencil, crayons or rulers
  • Get the kids haircuts
  • Completely accomplished summer assignments
  • Baon (Snack) Boxes / Lunch Boxes – last year might still be usable
  • Baon (Snack) / Lunch Menu – varied options to add excitement

LotusBiscoffandJollyChocolateMilk

I’m also excited with going back to school because this is again an opportunity for me to prepare their school lunches and snacks. My way of showing my care despite being busy at work. While I make sure I give them home-cooked meals for their snacks and lunches, I run out of ideas. Good thing we have biscuits and ready-to-drink drinks to give them. However, if I give them the same baon combination, expect the biscuits to be untouched sooner. They hated the same combination.

Thankfully, Jolly Eats of Fly Ace Corporation introduced me with Lotus Biscoff Biscuits and Jolly Cow Chocolate Milk Drinks. Aside from the fact the biscuit is my namesake, the kids like it so much that they already consumed it even before the start of classes. This is definitely an addition to our snack options.

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Disclaimer: I received Jolly Eats Products mentioned above. No other compensation received and opinions are my own.

Tips To Save Yourself and Your Family Time

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When you’re a busy mom, you can often feel like you’re running at a mile a minute (and on empty). To say that life can be tough is an understatement. But just because it’s tough, it doesn’t mean that it has to be a challenge. In fact, there are ways that you can make life fit into your business schedule and not the other way around. If you want to be able to enjoy more time with your family after work, and not focus on all the other jobs you have to do at home, here are some of the ways you can speed things up.

Fun Plans

First up, let’s make time for those super fun plans you always mean to make. When you get in from work, you want to relax, not start planning and organizing and arranging, right? So, you need to make this as quick as possible. Be sure to plan your fun activities in advance – definitely by weeks, by months too if you can. Then, you have more things to look forwards to throughout the year. Whether it’s a playdate with friends or a trip to the zoo with family. Spend an hour or so each month or every few months booking in plans and then forget about it until you need to add more.

Cleaning

Unfortunately, cleaning is just one of those chores that have to get done – especially if you like living in a clean and tidy home. But, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend lots of time each week doing it. If you’re super busy and the budget allows it, hire a cleaner. For a small fee each week, your home will stay spotless and your time is freed up to spend with family. If that won’t work for you, make up a cleaning schedule and stick to it. That way, you can spend more time with your kids.

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Checkups

Then there are those regular health checkups that we all know we need to make (and attend) but always forget about. So, now you’re going to book everything a year in advance and mark it on the calendar. Job done! From your routine doctor appointments at the local clinic to your dental checkups at somewhere like Care Family Dental, by booking in advance, you just have to turn up.

Vacations

We all want to go on regular vacations, but the thought of finding a week to do it in, finding a hotel and booking everything can be a little bit too much. So, to make it easier, why not book a break at the same place each year? Especially while your children or young. You could even think about buying a vacation home so that you don’t even have to make standing arrangements each year.

Cooking

And then there’s the dinner. Planning meals can drive a mom mad, but it doesn’t have to. Find yourself some crock pot recipe inspiration and sort everything in the morning before work. Then, when you get in, you’ll just have to prepare a salad or some rice and serve up. Easy peasy!

The Ultimate Ways To Relax After Work


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After a busy day at work, you can often feel as if you need to enjoy the ultimate indulgence when you get home. For some people, helping their kids with homework and getting to bed will always be all they need. But, if you find yourself needing more, then there are other ways that you can kick back and relax with your family after work. With summer  just around the corner, your evenings get lighter and longer, meaning there’s a lot more time for relaxation after work, as well as on the weekends. So if you’re stuck for ideas, try one of these on for size.

Movie Night

Everyone loves a movie night. But they can also be a really great way to unwind with your family when work is done. Whether you’ve got older kids and you all fancy making pizza and watching the latest comedy on a Wednesday night, or you spend Friday nights staying up a bit later with your little ones, you get to spend quality time with your family in the evenings and unwind. You’ve also got the option of having movie night at the weekend, or reserving it for you and your husband alone.

Family Dinner

For some people, making sure the family sits down together every night is the most important part of their day. And it can be for a very good reason. Not only do you get to enjoy a lovely meal together, but you can talk to your kids and your husband and forget all about the busy day at work you just had. If you’re always stuck for recipe idea, these family favorite ideas can work a treat. Then, your family dinners will start to get a little more exciting.

Working Together

Okay, so the idea of working even more when you get off work might put you off, but this isn’t strenuous work at all – it’s the kind you and your kids will love. Perhaps more suitable to the weekends than evenings, but a great way to relax with your family is to spend productive time with them. Whether you want to get out into the garden and plant some vegetables and flowers or bake up a storm in the kitchen, you can find yourself relaxing and having a great time all at once.

Pamper Evenings

Every girl loves to pamper – some men too. So, isn’t the most amazing relaxation idea an evening full of pampering? Even though a night with a face mask and painting your nails might not be the best idea for the entire family to enjoy, but you can all certainly have a great time in the hot tub. Even if it’s something just you and your husband enjoy when the kids have gone to bed, you can find a wealth of hot tub reviews online to help you decide on the right one.

Having Fun

And of course, there’s always the super fun family activities that we all know and love. Again, this one might be more appropriate for the weekend, rather than an evening, but a day out rollerskating or at the beach could exactly what you need to get your mind firmly off of work!

Spending Summer

As the seasons change, so do our lives. Whether it is summer, autumn, winter, or spring, we look to make positive resolutions that better the lives of ourselves and our family. There are ways to improve the relationships with our families at the start of every season, so with summer still on us, let’s take a look at four activities and habits that you can share with your family.

Personal Paradise

The outside of your home is just as important as the inside of it. Utilising nature is one of the best ways to enjoy your time spent outside for the development of your children. However life’s simple luxuries are not important to only children, but adults as well. We sometimes get lost juggling between family and job or work responsibilities that we forget to enjoy the fresh air and greenery around us, and there is no better place to do this than in your own garden.

Your home garden is the perfect place for you to wind down and clear your mind after a long day of hard work. One of the most important parts of an enjoyable and well-defined outdoor living space is furnishing it comfortably to suit your style with items such as Bridgman garden furniture. Fill it with life and a natural perfume scent to match by planting vibrant flowers and fruits. Landscaping and adding stone pathways or ponds are also things you may be able to consider, but they are fairly costly renovations that need to be planned in advance in order to be ready by summer.

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An Apple a Day

With summer just around the corner, now would be a great time to alter your diet. As tempting as grabbing a bowl of ice cream may sound during the hotter months, try curving your desires to a more healthy choice. Everyone’s favourite fruits and vegetables are in season during these months including apples, bananas, strawberries, oranges, and more! Do not miss out on eating the refreshing healthy foods you enjoy while they taste the best. There are lots of unique ways to prepare meals and snacks with fresh fruits and vegetables in mind for your family.

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Around the World

The start of summer signals the closing of schools. Your children are free from drowning in homework assignments and after school activities are over for the next few months. Spending time with your family is made easier so take advantage and go on a vacation together. Travelling to see sites as a tourist, attending amusement parks or special events, or going to beaches, camping trips, and cruises are all family-friendly activities that everyone can enjoy.

Reflect and Learn

Recall previous resolutions you and your family made and bring them back to life this summer. Reflect on how your goals went for the spring season and how you can revitalise and improve them in the coming months. Share them with your family and work together to accomplish the new obstacles. Coming together and discussing what everyone would like to accomplish over the summer season can spark new creative ways you and your family can move forward.

Using Nature to Nurture

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Nowadays, fewer kids are getting experience the thrill of the great outdoors and mother nature. Cities are becoming less green. And, more people are living in cities than ever. So, to make sure you kids get their fill of the natural world; you have to force them into it. This might not be easy. And, you might have to spend a little bit of money along the way. But, it will be worth it when you see your kids enjoying something so simple with such vigor. To help you out, this post will be going through some of the ways to get your kids outside. And, why it’s so important that this is a part of their life.

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First, you should think about the spaces away from home. It’s very unlikely that you have a woodland or forest attached to your property; especially in the city. But, these are some of the best places for kids to enjoy nature. They enable your child to see things that they would never see at home. And, they give your child a chance to explore something they may have only seen on television. Along with wooded areas, beaches can be great for kids. These spaces are usually nice and safe; as long as you keep your eyes open. You can do a lot of this for just the price of travel. This is much cheaper than most modern days out. And, it will provide your kids with much more.

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Next, you can start to consider the space you have at home. Your kids will spend a lot of their time in the garden. They will want to be outside for a lot of the time during summers. And, they will enjoy having somewhere to play with friends. Your garden provides a great place for you to let your kids run free; without having to worry about strangers. Of course, you have to make sure that the space is safe, though. To start, it’s a good idea to talk to a landscaping company. They will be able to work on your garden to make it as safe as possible; while still making it look nice. Having this work done for you will give you a chance to think about the other parts of your garden; like swings and other toys for the kids.

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Kids who spend more time outside will almost certainly have a more fulfilling childhood. The time that they spend in these places will teach them about the importance of nature. Hopefully, it will give them a strong feeling of empathy towards animals. And, it could even have an impact on their education. Screens and digital devices aren’t the most enriching ways to entertain yourself. Instead, it’s better for a developing child to have to deal with natural challenges; not digital ones.

Hopefully, this will give you a good idea of what can be done to give your kids as much outdoor time as possible. This sort of work will be greatly beneficial to your kids. And, they might not know it; but, they will appreciate the work you do into their later years.

Kudos to mommies who love outdoor adventures and bringing with them their children when exploring the nature. :)

How are you today?

HowAreYouToday

I chatted with my sister last weekend. Remember that sister who experienced fire incident three times? We talked until I asked about how is she doing. I saw her read it  (thank you for “Seen” info in messenger) but I then our conversation unexpectedly stop and I hesitated to ask again.

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Until I got her reply yesterday. Read on…

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It’s been a while since the last time I’ve translated my thoughts to writing, after watching a clip of an interview of Sheryl Sandberg, somehow, something triggered me to write again.
She said, instead of asking “How are you?” to a person who is heartbroken/grieving ask “How are you today?” instead; at the back of my mind, indeed it’s easier to answer the latter.
Let me tell you a short story, I was 10 when my parents lost their house, our home; I was only a child when my first fire incident happened – I had nothing to lose, right? I cried thinking of my schoolwork and school books and that’s all.

Fast forward to 18 years later, I got married, rented a house, we made a home of our own and some years later – poof – second fire incident, house was razed to the ground, all gone. Knees were wobbly as I saw the remains, cried all night and I recovered swiftly.
And as if I forgot all the sadness of losing (our stuffs) when we found out that we are expecting.
I had a normal pregnancy until the baby had an irregular heartbeat and needs to be delivered prematurely – never been so anxious in my entire life – anxious in its superlative form.
As the NICU graduation is nearing – we are at lost as to how to pay the bills since we have nothing to sell and 2-month NICU stay – Only God knows how we did it but we did it – he sent us angels.

And we were fine.
I guess – still recovering from the financial breakdown.
We had normal ups and downs.
We had laughters and tears.

Until, another fire incident happened – never in my wildest imagination, no one was ready for a third.
It was my parents’-in-law property and it’s been our home for some time, my daughter had memories with her late Grandpa there. Nothing was salvaged. We were heartbroken and still we are.
I think I had a mental breakdown – I was unable to function well. I was at lost again and “lost” is an understatement. I feel disconnected. I had to let the feeling out but – how to?
How can I console my husband, my mother-in-law when I feel I’m at my weakest?
Where do I begin?
How do I comfort me?
How do I call my inner strength?
All I did was cry….
Words of comfort poured in, help came in from all directions and in all forms.
Though my yoke is heavy, I know my God is with me and reconnected with Him. We will be okay.
WE WILL BE OKAY!

HowAreYouToday_Kellen

So, if you ask me “How are you?”, I may give you are blank stare and nothing more.

But…. If you ask….

“How are you today?”.

Still struggling but we’ll get by. Better than yesterday. Stronger than ever.

It’s been 3-months now since the fire incident, we’re still heart broken – not that we lost the material things but the thought of losing all the things where you invested time and sweat – it’s heart breaking.
We are slowly putting back the pieces and writing a new chapter.
We may not forget the feeling but things will get better. I know it will.

And by the way….
How are you today?

Messed-up Friday and Patience

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I had a rough start Friday. I slept late last night and even if I’m still groggy at 5AM, had to force myself to get up and prepare for the day. It still Friday and that means the kids still have classes today. Had to walk me back for more snuggle. As I open the freezer, turns out that the fish and pork which was planned to cook this morning was not thawed, thus, still as hard as rock, no deciding to change breakfast plan, I waited and grumble thus, breakfast was prepared late. Then, my heart burst when the kids didn’t have interest on my cooked meals that I had to lecture them not to be choosy and eat what is being served on the table even if that food is not yummy. Still cramming preparing their baon, afraid not to completely done in time for the carpool’s arrival. And while I’m on panic mode, the husband was just calm.

Not able to hold my feelings and not want to make a scene, I went upstairs and cried.

The kids followed me (they noticed it). The eldest said she’s sorry but when I asked her what she’s sorry for, she cried too. But our drama was cut short when the carpool arrived, so we just said our goodbyes and our take cares.

Still upstairs, I fixed the bed, then took a bath. Feeling refreshed, went down and ate my breakfast with the husband asking me what happened. See how insensitive, hmp!

Went to work lightheaded. My manager greeted me with a reminder about my multiple late last month. Which reminds me adjust my schedule at home to avoid being late at work.

Thought about having an early lunch but had to buy a birthday gift for my son’s classmate. I almost forgot that my son had to attend his classmate’s birthday party. Thus, had a late lunch instead.

Good thing, no urgent tasks at work.

The husband was mad that I had to let him wait a little longer outside my office. He wants to avoid the traffic and because I’m late, we had to endure again that terrible traffic jam.

Got home safely and found out that I had my period.

So had to conclude that today was a messed-up day due to female hormones… and if only I handled things differently.

Seriously, having no house help for more than a month is stressful and it tested our limits. Even the husband already complained. But with all the challenges we encountered, how we react and handle it matters most. If only I have the patience. The patience…
to accept and learn to reconsider,
to suffer and learn to alter,
to welcome and and learn to improve.
I’m no perfect mom, I had my tantrums too but I just hope I can control them. Lord, I pray for strengthening my patience so I could be able to think before acting..to avoid broken hearts and relationships.

I am thankful that despite the setbacks this morning my kids still love me.

Oh, patience…please let me be your friend.

Rashes and Human Nature Baby Wash & Wonder Oil

3 months after I gave birth to my son, rashes are all over his body.
Could be because I stop breastfeeding him and was not able to adopt with the formula milk?
Could be our place due to too much dust or allergens? (Rented apartment was near highway.)
Could be his shampoo or the laundry soap used in washing his clothes? or soap for his bottles?
We just don’t know the reasons.

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Whatever it is, these rashes took us multiple trips to his Pedia, Dra. Myrna Lopez, an advocate to natural healing and healthy lifestyle.
She recommended breastfeeding but its just that my boobs are not cooperating :( so we tried different types of formula milk.
She recommended general house cleaning. She also advised us to avoid stuff toys.
She even ask us to change our laundry soap to the mildest possible type of soap as well as the soap for infant formula bottles.
If you are formula feeding, you may want to check out Kokopax for their Infant Bottle Reviews.
She also recommended change of baby soap and shampoo and initially advised to use Cetaphil.

Cetaphil Skin Cleanser has a mild formulation that soothes skin as it cleans. Since it is mild, I assume it is gentle for a baby’s delicate skin.

Well, I see improvements.
But as much as we want to continue using the product, we just can’t.
Afraid that my baby might get used to the product in exchange of an empty wallet is impractical.
Because, we just can’t afford.

Hearing our concerns, Dra. Myrna Lopez, recommended Human Nature Natural Baby Wash and Wonder Oil.

According to Human Nature, this baby wash is 100% free from harmful chemicals to give mommies and daddies that peace of mind that only goodness touches the baby’s skin. It gently cleanses the baby’s skin and hair with soothing and calming lavender, rosemary, and chamomile extracts. It’s dermatologist- tested so it’s gentle enough to use even on a newborn’s delicate skin. While the Natural Baby Oil uses pure, premium-grade sunflower oil that’s perfectly safe and mild for your baby. Also ideal to infant massage, a few moisturizing drops of this wonder oil can help soothe itchiness.

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Photo Credits: Human Nature

HumanNature-WonderOil

Photo Credits: Human Nature

And it did wonders!
Moreover, we need not to worry on our budget since these products are affordable.

And it has been 6 years and we are still using Human Nature Baby Wash and Wonder Oil.

Disclaimer: This is not a paid post, just one happy mommy here.

Flood and Fire

Monday, January 16, 2017.
Northern Mindanao was greatly affected by flood due to heavy rain brought by LPA (Low Pressure Area) and tail-end of the cold front.

I was born and raised at Cagayan de Oro City. We live near that school which became famous for its wait-deep flood and stranded students. That school is my Alma Mater. That school is MPSC, MUST and now USTP. During my high school days, I like when it rains because there is a possibility for classes to be suspended due to classroom flooding. Our classrooms were a foot below the ground level since it is located below the school’s gymnasium, thus the water easily gets in.

Our house is just a minute walk from my school but that doesn’t mean that our place gets affected from the school’s flood. There maybe flood in the neighborhood, but not inside our house.

Then there’s flood control implementation — the school elevated their school grounds, the main highway is also elevated and the creek is modified. Lim Ket Kai mall which is in front of the school made some changes as well, you know — urbanization, modernization.

For some reason, last January 16, 2017, flood finds its new path to our place, in our house which have caused a waits-deep flood. The main highway flood is also deep enough to submerged a 4×4 pick-up thus causing students and other commuters to be stranded. That was only a 2-3 hours heavy rain. This is something the community of Cagayan de Oro City should be to be alarmed with. Remember Typhoon Sendong last 2011? Had the local government done something then to prevent another disaster? Hope for more improvements, CDO!

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Photo Credits: Catherine Heruela via Dodong Tipoy http://www.cdodev.com/

Wednesday, January 18, 2017.
Another heartbreaking news we received early in the morning. I called my father to ask about the flood updates in our house and instead of talking about flood, he told me about fire. My brother-in-law’s house was caught on fire, burned down everything. All consumed.

Worst, this is the my sister’s second fire experience. Personal belongings and stuffs gone the second time. This time, the livelihood of my brother-in-law’s mom has nothing left as her 20 computer set vanished in a matter of hours.

The greatest comfort from the news was that my sister, brother-in-law, niece and all the family members are safe and alive. Thankful that nobody was hurt.

FireJan2017

Photo Credits: Omar Jensen Garcia

Your generosity will be very much appreciated if you have extras.
Clothes for 1 yr old baby and for 3 yr toddler is a big help.
Text or Call 0917 623 2712 for details.

Unfortunate events either break or make you:
It may break the family’s planned vacation yet make your family’s bond stronger;
It may break your heart for the lost possessions, yet make you appreciate compassion from everyone’s help.
It may break you or overwhelm you from the challenges, yet make your faith stronger, closer to Him and learn to let go.

Praying for my sister, brother-in-law and family for strength despite the sadness, to be able to smile even if its hurting, to be able to get up and start again even if it feels like quitting.

Welcoming Year 2017 with no HouseHelp

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Happy New Year Everyone.

Its already 2nd week of January since we welcome year 2017 with a big bang and cheerfulness. First time to celebrate new year in our new house. First time to celebrate new year at a distant from our families in our hometown. Its kind of “mingaw” or lonely but at same time proud for this achievement.

We are back to the daily grind and this time without a house help/yaya.

We survived the two weeks. Yet tiring.

Our house help/yaya decided not to stop working as per her husband’s advice. Her supposed replacement didn’t show up. Last week, the husband and I had to take turns attending to our kids. This week, I am thankful for neighbors. We are blessed to have good neighbors that offer help. So, apart from our neighbors watching over the kids after school hours while we are still at work, me and husband shared the house chores.

House chores are not new to me. However, when you were used to have someone do the chores for you, it definitely has an effect.

Growing up, we didn’t have a house help and together with my siblings, we do the mundane tasks at home. There are still chores to carry out when I decided to work miles from home. But as a yuppie, you get used to sleeping late, waking-up late and decided to eat breakfast at work, overtimes, piled-up laundry, going home late — meaning you get to perform those chores…on a later time. Then we have weekends that were spent sleeping or malling — not minding the chores.

When I had my eldest, I didn’t quit my job for financial reasons. Aside from the fact that work helps us pay the bills, for food and house expense, it is of great comfort that the our works suits or likes and passion. Try Online Resume Builder to help you create an excellent resume now. Anyways, because of work, we hired a nanny and even though her focus is to take care of my baby, she also takes care of us. This time less chores.

But now, with no house help, we do the chores!

Having no house help may be a good thing as it teaches me to become what a wife and mommy at home really is. My kids get to learn house chores as well as taking accountability of the assigned tasks.

While we can’t afford to let go of my work (job) yet and while the neighbors are still willing to help us, might as well embrace this opportunity to personally do the house works.

Honestly, it drains me. While chores are done and the kids are at school, we had to prepare for work. When you want to rest from 9-10 hours work and traffic, you think twice since you can’t just yet coz there are still homework and chores to finish before you go to sleep.

It is fulfilling, yet exhausting.

Anyways, let’s see… but for now, got to go, need to sleep as I still have to wake-up early tomorrow.