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.

Polvoron Activity

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A couple of months ago, I bought a polvoron mold.  We all love polvoron and I decided to give it a try since I know it’s fairly easy to make and cheap to boot. I looked for a recipe online and there were a lot to choose from. They’re all very similar but I chose this since I like Goldilocks polvoron, too.

But of course, life happens and I never did get to make polvoron. Until a couple of weeks ago when the kids kept on asking me to buy polovoron. I finally said we’ll make polovoron and they can help.  They ended up doing the bulk of the work.  I only toasted the flour and they did everything else.

Please forgive the messy table.  Cousin Aliana was there to help. We doubled the recipe and in a couple of days, they were all gone.

This is definitely a successful activity and it may be something that we’ll do again real soon.  Give it a try!

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?

Manual Labor

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Our printer had gone to printer heaven months ago but we haven’t replaced it yet.  We seldom print anything at home so it wasn’t really an issue.

Yesterday, though, Jari had an assignment for school that he needs to type and print out.  Good thing my mom has a typewriter that we can borrow.

It was the first time my kids had seen and used a typewriter.  Actually, it wasn’t too bad since it was an electric typewriter and you didn’t have to pound on the keys, unlike the manual typewriters I’ve used when I was younger.

So after Jari wrote what he had to type, Jon taught him how to use the typewriter.  He liked the experience of typing but of course kept on making mistakes.  After an hour and lots of paper wasted, Jon finally did it for him.  I know, I know, we shouldn’t do our children’s homework.  But he did write it himself and he did try.  It was getting late though and he needs his sleep and we also have to save the trees. 🙂

I remember back in high school, I had to type several papers using a manual typewriter.  In fact, now that I look back, I also used a typewriter for papers in college (I just dated myself).  I literally went through reams of bond paper to make reports.  And I hated having to put in footnotes because I had to manually adjust the roller to put in the footnote numbers.  And you had to be mindful of the margins, etc, etc.

Young people don’t know how easy they have it now.  They can research online instantly instead of poring through card catalogs in the library, finding the books, borrowing them, writing down notes in index cards, and returning the books.  They can edit several times without having to waste paper.  They can copy and paste without actually copying and pasting.

Sometimes I think the convenience that technology brings makes people lazy.  They want things instantly and expect instant gratification.  However, life doesn’t work that way.  I think we appreciate things more when we have put a lot of thought and sweat in it.  For me, home-made gifts are always better because you know that the person has put time and effort in making you something.  This is probably also the reason why we are never satisfied with stuff we buy.  We buy something that we think will make us happy but after a few months, we’re looking for the next thing to buy.

It’s nice to expose our children to the old-fashioned way of doing things.  Cook and bake together, instead of take-out.  Do projects around the house.  Play real games, instead of virtual ones.  Use the phone and have conversations and not just chat or text messages.  Have them write, draw, compute and type manually.  This will help all of us to appreciate the benefits that technology has given us but at the same time keep us grounded and realize that we are not slaves to technology.

Technology is a wonderful thing.  We can save time, money and effort by using it properly.  Manual labor may not be as efficient but if it is a labor of love, then it becomes a beautiful thing.

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.