Ivy and Bean

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There’s a book fair in Yumi’s school this week and she came home last Tuesday with a wish list of five books, I think.  I told her she could get only one.

My kids love going to bookstores and reading there but they seldom touch the books they have at home.  They always request for books but end up buying coloring books or art materials but never books.

This time, I decided that we would buy a real book. Not a magazine. Not a fact book. Not a short story. Not a collection of stories. A real book. She wanted Diary of a Wimpy Kid but I think she’s only interested in it because of the movie. I have read some of it but I didn’t really want to start her off on that.  As I was browsing at the fair, I saw Ivy + Bean which looked interesting.  I read some parts of it there and I decided that this would be a great book for her.

When we got home, she immediately started reading.  This was the first time that I saw her absorbed in a book for hours. She only took a break from reading to do her homework, to eat dinner and to take a shower.  She even chose reading over going outside to play with the neighbors.  That is amazing. The book is 120 pages and she’s already on page 103.  I am really happy at how fast she read and how interested she is.  I hope that this will be the start of a life long love affair with books.

The book is about Ivy and Bean who are both seven years old and all the stuff that they do.  My daughter is seven and I think this is why she likes it so much. The book is the first one in a series.  My daughter now wants to read all eight books in the series.  She asked if we could buy the second one this weekend.  Hmm, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.

The Impossible Goal

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Last Saturday, we got a free energy meter from Milo.  They had a promotion where you can get it for free for every Php 200 worth of purchase of Milo products.  So we got one when we went to the supermarket last weekend.

It was basically a pedometer and it also gives an estimate of the miles and kilometers walked as well as the calories burned from walking.  The packaging also said that making 10,000 steps or more per day is an indicator of an energetic life (or something like that).

It’s actually the second time that I’ve received a pedometer.  My sister gave me one a few years ago which I unfortunately lost.  But at that time, I didn’t really have a goal and I didn’t know how many steps I should be making in a day.

So I was really excited to find out this time if I am making 10,000 steps in a day.  I wore it the whole day on Sunday which was a typical weekend for me.  I wasn’t terribly busy but it wasn’t a lazy day either.  I did the laundry, defrosted the freezer, made pizza dough and cooked vegetables for Yumi’s lunch the next day.  At the end of the day, I ended up with just 2,300 steps.  That was a real disappointment.  And I thought I had been active that day.

The next day, Yumi wore it to school.  She did all the regular things 7 year-olds do and she ended the day at 10,480.  She’s a really active child.  Sometimes she’s telling a story and she’d just walk around while doing so.  She plays with the neighbors and is hardly still, unless she’s drawing or studying.

On Tuesday, Jari wore it school.  Again, it was a regular day, no PE or training or anything.  And he ended the day at roughly 11,000.  He said his classmates pressed the reset button so he just added up what he remembered and the ending tally at the end of the day.

So now, I really wanted to reach 10,000.  Yesterday, I wore it again.  I knew for sure that I’d reach it that time since I went on my usual one hour walk after bringing Yumi to school.  Then of course I did my usual chores around the house and picked Yumi up in the afternoon.  So, do you think I made it?

I didn’t!  I ended up with 9038 steps!  I think the pedometer’s broken.  Don’t you?

Advertising rules

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We all love watching Phineas and Ferb on Disney channel.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.  They’re very creative and imaginative brothers who create the most amazing things.

Anyway, yesterday’s episode was when they were toy designers and they created Perry the Platypus toy.  And it became a big hit due to advertisement even though it does absolutely nothing.  The toy store even sold a brick as a toy and all the kids wanted one.

This episode shows how people are really influenced to buy stuff just because it’s on TV.  If it’s advertised, it must be good.  And it’s just ridiculous how people actually go for the most inane stuff.

I just think that our commercial culture is brought about by all the advertising that we see.  We get disappointed time and again (think infomercials), and yet we still keep coming back for more.  Advertising shapes how we view ourselves, our neighbors, our friends.  It tells us how to be cool and what we need to get respect.

In fact, I think a lot of items we have that we think we need, we really don’t.  But advertisers tell us that this is what we need, what we should get to show everyone that we are cool, that we are in, that we are successful and happy.

But life doesn’t work that way.  Chances are, everything you need, you already have.  And things that we think we want, probably won’t make us happy in the long run.  I try to teach this to my kids.  They always want the newest toys but most of the time, once they have the toy, they play with it for like a week, then they forget about it and they want the next new thing.  Or they go back to doing what they enjoy more, like riding bikes, playing outside or drawing and painting.

I think we should always view advertisements with a discerning eye.  Don’t believe everything you see and if you think that an item is ridiculous, it probably is.

 

Big Construction Job

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A couple of days ago, classes were suspended due to a typhoon.  The weather was really bad with strong rains and winds.  That left me with two bored kids at home.  I don’t want them watching the TV or playing on the computer the whole day and they can’t go out to play.

Good thing they remembered that they had this kit.  It was a Christmas gift for Jari but they never got around to opening it.

They love watching Handy Mandy and this is a good activity for them to somehow build something.  They decided to make a birdhouse.  They said they feel sorry for the birds who don’t have shelter and are wet due to the rains.  I took some pictures of them working on the project but for some reason, it got lost so I had to settle for pictures of the finished products instead.

After working the whole afternoon, they completed making the birdhouse and a table.  They still have to finish the painting job though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kids were pretty happy with the result.  I’d have preferred it if the material was real wood and the product could actually be used.  But I guess it’s still good practice and a great way to engage children and get them interested in doing something outside their realm.  I hope that they will graduate to making actual useful stuff as I think carpentry skills are pretty useful to have.

Mr. Slowpoke

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Meet Mr. Slowpoke.

The kids found him yesterday when they played outside in the rain.  They decided to keep him as a pet.

This morning, he was gone.  I guess even a slowpoke can escape given enough time…

Singing in the Rain

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And playing soccer too.

School was suspended today due to heavy rains last night.  So the kids were bored with nothing to do again.  And it started raining again.  They asked if they could go out and play and we allowed them to.

I don’t remember being allowed to play in the rain as a kid.  My mom was always afraid that we’d get sick.  But I figured a little rain never hurt anyone.  Who knows, exposure might even increase your resistance to sickness.  So I let my kids play in the rain, even for just half an hour or so.    They have fun, they enjoy the physical activity and they would have nice memories to remember when they have their own kids.

But the rain just got harder and I think our street will be flooded soon.  So I have to go and get my kids now.  Leptospirosis is a different matter…

Cooking Mama

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I can’t believe I’ve been sucked by another FB game.

Hi, I’m Cherie and I’m a Facebook games addict.  I used to be addicted to Mafia Wars.  I even became part of a clan and joined discussion groups and such.  Worse, I added total strangers as friends just to add to my Mafia family.  In fact, the reason I joined FB in the first place was because of Mafia Wars.

After a few months, I started Cafe World.  This time, I had to time my internet usage to the time my dishes would be ready for serving.  I even developed strategies with my sisters to meet special goals.

I had a brief flirtation with Farmville but it was very short-lived.  It always took too long to load and I got tired of it.  It made me want to have farm though.

After a while, I quit Mafia Wars (as I’m inherently a peaceful person) and just concentrated on Cafe World.  I was very competitive and my main goal was to be number one among my neighbors.  It was devastating when my sister got my spot because I didn’t have internet access for a couple of weeks when our laptop getting broken.

Eventually, I realized that I was wasting so much time on a game that doesn’t really give me much pleasure anymore.  And just like that, I quit, cold-turkey.  And I never looked back ever since.

Until today.  My kids asked to use my account to play Cooking Mama which they see their friends playing.  I agreed and of course I had to see what they did.  And I had to give it a try.  And before I knew it, I spent an hour playing already.

I really need to get help…

First day

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Today was Yumi’s first day in Grade 1.  She’s been waiting for school to start and she’s very excited to see her old friends and meet new ones.  She’s also getting bored at home since she’s been on vacation for almost three months.

I remember that when I was a student, I’ve always had mixed emotions with first days.  I feel both excitement and trepidation.  It’s a fresh start and I know that whatever I did last year won’t matter and won’t affect how I’ll perform this year.   But I’m also afraid of the challenges to be faced.  I don’t know if the teachers would be reasonable or terrifying.  I don’t know if I’ll like my classmates and my adviser.

Most of the time though, first days give me hope.  Hope that this will be the best year ever.  I always make promises to myself to make it so.  Unfortunately, just like new year’s resolutions, after a month or two, I’ve forgotten these promises and have reverted back to the old me.  After all, there’s always next year.

Now, it’s my children’s turn.  And I still make promises.  Like, stop nagging, let them make mistakes, let go.  And just like before, I’m hopeful that this will be the best year ever.  If not, there’s always next year. 🙂

 

Lemon Squares

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Tomorrow is Yumi’s first day in school.  I asked her what she wanted to bring to school for recess and she asked for lemon squares.  We used to buy individually packed snacks but I’m really concerned with the volume of trash generated so I thought, since I’m home anyway, I’ll make the snacks that they can bring to school.

I was supposed to make the lemon squares today so they’ll be really fresh for tomorrow but since I had to do some bread rolls yesterday (we bought some burger patties that we’re trying out), I decided to bake them yesterday as well.  I try to maximize the use of my oven to conserve gas and heat.

This is probably the fourth or fifth time I’ve made these.  The first time was a disaster, looks-wise since it stuck to the pan and it was really difficult to remove.  The next two or three times, I used parchment paper and that was good but wasteful in terms of parchment paper.  Yesterday, I decided to use Pyrex and it was the best decision ever.  It didn’t stick at all and no waste!

Of course we had to give it a taste.  I ate some, Yumi ate some, and Jon ate some.  By today, there were only 5 squares left and of course, I had to have one with my coffee and Yumi and Jon had to eat some too.  I actually wanted more but it’s all gone.

So, tomorrow, Yumi will have the same packed snack for school.

 

Maybe next week, she can bring an honest to goodness homemade snack to school.  🙂

Lemon Squares (recipe sent by my sister)

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

1/4 cup powdered sugar (plus extra for dusting)

 

For the top layer:

1 cup sugar

2 T flour

1/2 t baking powder

2 eggs

1/2 t salt

3 T lemon juice

2 t lemon zest

(I’m very lazy so I actually just used the juice of one lemon)

 

Procedure:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C

2.  Cream the butter and sugar for the crust.

3.  Add the flour and mix well.

4.  Press the mixture on the pan and bake for 15 min.

5.  While the crust is baking, mix all the ingredients for the top layer together.

6.  Pour over the cooked crust.

7.  Bake for 25 min.

8.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar while still warm.

9.  Cool, cut, then serve. 🙂

 

 

Downtime

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Last night, Skype unexpectedly stopped working so I couldn’t conduct my lessons.  I suppose it would have worked after a couple of hours but I didn’t really want to keep on trouble shooting and waiting so I decided to cancel the rest of my lessons after 8 pm.

My children rejoiced with the decision.  We seldom have time time together at night since I work weeknights so last night was a treat.  We played UNO and scrabble while listening/watching to their favorite songs on You Tube.  They would have wanted to play Monopoly but I know one night is not enough for that.

I should really start treasuring these moments.  My kids are growing up and pretty soon, they’d have their own lives and wouldn’t have time to spend with us anymore.  Even now, they spend most of the day with the neighborhood kids and making plans with them.  I’m happy that currently, they’d rather play games with us than with friends but I know it won’t last.  Eventually, I guess we’ll be happy if they have dinner at home everyday.  But until that day comes, I’d continue to spend my downtime with the kids the best way I know how. 🙂

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