Monday, November 29, 2010

1st Sunday of Advent - Happy New Year!

I rejoiced because they said to me, “We will go up to the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 122:1)

For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; 12 the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:11-12)

Happy New (Liturgical) Year everyone! :) Just sharing with you some pictures of our simple celebration of the 1st Sunday of Advent :) 

We went to mass in the morning. In the evening, Tim and I made our family advent wreath using this link from Catholic Mom:
Look what we made! :)
This is fun! :) Even if I am sleepy already! 

I modified the craft a bit and we used some real wax candles (previously used) instead of making paper ones. We just covered them in purple paper, and the pink one we used one that was left over from my niece's baptism (she's 10 years old now! haha. Talk about saving one's memorabilia!)

Our family Advent wreath
Then we prayed as a family together. Lolo Mon and Lola Tita led us. We used the prayers from this link: and the readings from this one:

Lolo leads the prayer

Papa helps Tim light the first Advent candle

Lola reads the Bible reading with the theme: HOPE

Singing Isaiah 60 together

Kuya Tim accompanies Papa on the saxophone

Good job Kuya!

Time to blow out the candle!
It's always nice to celebrate Advent and the coming of Jesus with family, especially by creating your own family traditions. Now I'm thinking of something else to do to make CHRISTmas more meaningful for the kids, and us kids at heart too of course!

How about you dear readers? How are you celebrating Advent and CHRISTmas this year? :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

How To Prepare Your Family For CHRISTmas

Advent is fast approaching and this means CHRISTmas is near too! :) Yehey! :) But sadly, a lot of families are blinded by the glitz of Christmas decorating and busyness of gift-shopping that they don't give importance to the TRUE reason behind the season i.e. Christ. Let's bring back the Christ in CHRISTmas by sharing with our family members, especially our kids, the richness of our Catholic traditions during Advent.

One of the ways we can do this is by having our own Advent wreath at home. Teacher mom Lacy shares two great new ideas for Advent in the links below:

Edible Advent Wreath for Kids
Make Pink and Purple Advent Candles

To view all her posts related to Advent/Christmas you can click on this link:

Last year, Tim and I made this Advent wreath using his handprints by following instructions from Catholic Mom's link ( He really enjoyed making it (sorry, I can't seem to find our pictures of it!) and to our surprise he still remembers doing it to this day! So we will probably be doing it again, along with some other crafts. A Jesse tree perhaps?

Or maybe make a Baby Jesus in the manger craft?

How about YOU dear friend? How will you be preparing your children and family for CHRISTmas? :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Smart Parenting Online article :)

Here's the link to my latest published SP Online article:

For my other published articles, you can check out this link:

Happy reading and happy teaching everyone! :)

And remember, the future of the nation, and perhaps of the world, is right in our very own homes! :) May God grant us the grace to mold our children to be blessings to the world! :)

am the Child. All the world waits for my coming. All the earth watches with interest to see what I shall become. Civilization hangs in the balance, For what I am, the world of tomorrow will be. I am the Child. You hold in your hand my destiny. You determine, largely, whether I shall succeed or fail. Give me, I pray you, those things that make for happiness. Train me, I beg you, that I may be a blessing to the World. –Mamie Gene Cole

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Toys for homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike at the Expo Mom Bazaar 2010

Teachermama Tina will be at the Expo Mom Bazaar this Saturday at the Rockwell Tent, from 10am to 8pm. This is part of my "leap of faith" into missionary mompreneurship (which you can read more about here if you like!)  

Featured at our booth, along with original limited edition kids and moms shirts and canvas bags, women's clothing and accessories, plus a bunch of other stuff, are the "Think-ets" toys from Think-a-Lot Toys

This handy game of imaginative play will provide hours of educational fun for the whole family! Ideal for HOMESCHOOLERS and non-HOMESCHOOLERS alike! Fun for kids and kids at heart! ;) 

So please do drop by the Pure Passionistas Lifestyle Products and Events booth at the Expo Mom Bazaar this Saturday, Nov 20 at the Rockwell Tent if you have the time :)  I'd really appreciate your support! :) If you can't come, please do say a little prayer for this venture of mine! :) Thanks and God bless us all!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Teaching Baby Signs - One Of The Earliest Forms Of Homepreschooling

I haven't mentioned in my previous posts what I'll be mentioning now - as I write this, the kids and I are in Brunei with my parents to visit my sister and brother-in-law, who are based here (working). Hubby and I decided at the last minute that the kids and I would join Papa and Mama on their trip here. You could call it a working vacation of sorts. Anyway, either way, I feel truly rich and blessed to be here - there is always that feeling of "coming home" (probably since I practically grew up here!)

Anyway, I'd better go to the topic of this post, which is on teaching baby signs. When I was a new mom to Tim, I wanted to make sure that I was a well-informed parent, along with my husband (who by the way, is not much of a reader, so whatever tips and information I'd get, I would just share with him and he never fails to forget what I tell him! :) Just goes to show, everyone has his/her own learning style!). Anyway, as I was saying, I read lots of books and searched online for useful parenting info. One of the things I learned was the benefits of baby signs. So when Tim was about 7 months old, we started introducing baby signs to him, using signs from books and the Internet. Pretty soon, he was signing well enough for us to be able to know what he wanted or needed. He was speaking fluently earlier than a lot of his peers, and though I believe it wasn't just due to baby signs alone, signing did help him in acquiring language skills at a fast rate. Even when he was already speaking in complete sentences, there were times when he would use signs (like "more" - tapping one's fingers together) to emphasize a word or two.

Fast forward to the present... Tim's little sister Rysse is now 1.3 years old and even if I have not been that consistent in teaching her signs, she has quickly picked up all that I've taught her so far, and has even started to vocalize her own "words", like she says "a-pa" when she sees an apple (or any other round fruit for that matter, and onions as well! hahaha), and she can say "up" pretty clearly when she wants to be carried, "Papa", "Mama," "K-ya" for Kuya Tim, "Wowo", "Wowa" (for Lolo and Lola - grandpa and grandma), "Tito" for uncle and "Tita" for aunt, among other sounds, which fortunately most members of our immediate families can decipher as "words" coming from Rysse's lips. It is amazing when we are able to witness the miracle of life unfolding every day, and God just shows it more and more through the development of our kids!

As I am all for baby signs, I was so happy to have been able to borrow a book on Baby Signs written by pioneers Linda Acredolo and Susan Goodwyn from a Filipina friend here in Brunei. I made myself a copy of the book for personal use, and I am really enjoying reading it so far, especially when it's nursing time for Rysse.
Because of this, I was led to searching for information on baby sign language classes in the Philippines, and was pleasantly surprised to find these helpful links:

Fellow breastfeeding advocate and mompreneur Jenny of the Chronicles of A Nursing Mom also has some  informative posts on baby signing. You can find them here: and

Part of my personal advocacy as Teachermama is to promote what I feel is of benefit to both parents and children, so I hope that through this post, I can encourage other parents to learn more about baby signing and use them on their kids. Hubby and I can personally testify that baby signing has made life a lot easier when it comes to communicating with our children. Even their grandparents, aunts and uncles have seen how it is a huge help for the whole family. And it always gives us a sense of pride whenever people see us signing together and they go "Wow! Ang galing naman ng baby niyo! So smart!" Hehe. Praise GOD for that, and for Baby Signs!

Baby Signs is available in all major bookstores in the Philippines. :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Funny Homeschooling Video :)

Hubby found this funny video about homeschooling a while back. Coincidentally, they showed the same video at the recently held 3rd Philippine Homeschool Conference. It's pretty amusing, so I thought I'd share it here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Disciplining Your Child

The Catholic Filipino Academy held a parenting seminar on "Disciplining Your Child" last September, and the expanded outline of the seminar was recently published online. Here is the link to download or read it:

Hope this helps parents everywhere who have been struggling with how to discipline their kids (that includes yours truly! You'd know this if you are friends with me on Facebook! hehe) Hubby and I are both guilty of not being inconsistent in how we discipline Tim, and many times, we have been more physical with him than we should have (this is me publicly confessing our parental sins, people!). I only pray that God will mold our hearts and break them if needed, so that we can become the parents Tim (and Rysse) deserve. It is really true what was said at the 3rd Philippine Homeschool Conference: "parenting is heart work and hard work!" We need to be reminded of this always! Especially since Kuya Tim is turning out to be a very strong-willed little boy.

It's always encouraging to know that whenever we have struggles like these with our kids, God's grace is more than sufficient for us! I personally want to thank God for leading me to chat with Teacher Mom Josette the other day - her reminder that prayer, regular participation in the Sacraments, and adoration can really change one's way of dealing with the others around her, especially one's kids. This advice came at the perfect time, when I was beating myself up over how I had failed to use gentle discipline on Tim. Thank You Lord for such divine appointments! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

HAP's Bev Alarcon on Homeschooling (MOMents TV Show, Net 25)

I blogged about Homeschool of Asia Pacific (HAP) in a previous post. Since we are discerning about starting Tim on a more "formal" curriculum next year, HAP and Bo's CFA are among our top choices, since HAP has both Catholic and Christian-biased programs. Here is a video of HAP's resident teachermom/owner, Beverly Santos-Alarcon, as featured on Net 25's MOMents show.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My 3rd Philippine Homeschool Conference Favorites

Can I just say, GOD IS AMAZING?!! Come on people, say it with me, GOD IS AMAZING! :) He really knows our needs, desires and thoughts. His ways are really far beyond our ways, thoughts higher than our thoughts! He alone knows His plans for EACH and EVERY one of us, just like He said in Jeremiah 29: 11-13!

Last October 30, hubby and I were so blessed to be part of the 3rd Philippine Homeschool Conference. It was worth every centavo we paid (we were able to avail of the P500 early bird registration fee!) and hubby and I are so grateful to God for providing for this "investment" in our family and kids' lives. I don't have a lot of time to post EVERYTHING I want to write about the Conference right now (more on WHY in another post! :) hehe. Suspense, suspense!), but I will try to sum it up in the following list:

My Top 5 Favorite Things About The 3rd Philippines Homeschool Conference:

1. The inspiring and informative talks 

There were two keynote speakers: Pastor Peter Tan-chi, Christ Commission Fellowship's dynamic leader and Philippine homeschooling pioneer (one of the main men behind The Master's Academy) and Ms. Luanne Shackleford, one of the authors of A Survivor's Guide to Homeschooling and a veteran homeschool mom.

In a nutshell, homeschooling and parenting in general, is heart work and hard work. Without the Lord's guidance, both tasks are very hard to do. Training up a child in the way he should go (Proverbs 6:22) so that he will not depart from it when he is old is something EVERY PARENT should strive hard for (including hubby and myself of course! We've a long, long way to go in becoming the Godly parents our kids deserve! *sighs* But we all gotta start somewhere right?!)

Other points that struck me: "The more you listen, the more you understand your children. The more you understand your children, the more you can influence." Bam! Right through the heart, Lord, Your words cut me! What a loving reminder to LISTEN and UNDERSTAND Timothy (and Rysse) more. Especially on difficult days.

And the pointers on how not to react when your child is acting up (I am now publicly confessing my sins, Lord! Guilty of everything listed below!!! Your grace alone can save me!):

-Do not be angry.
-Do not raise your voice.
-Do not send "busy" signals.
-Do not use words "you never..." or "you always...." 
-Don't answer immediately.

The reminders above apply not only to our kids, but I believe to our spouses as well. Right?! Anyway, since we are convinced and convicted that homeschooling is for us, I realized that I really need to work on my OWN heart and attitudes. This is where I (and hubby) would need all your prayers. (Thanks!)

2. The panel discussion with veteran homeschoolers, recent homeschoolers AND homeschooled kids themselves :)

We learned a lot through the panelists' sharing of experiences and tips. My MOST favorite part here was when a question was brought up related to socialization (this almost ALWAYS comes up when you talk about homeschooling!) - "Where can homeschoolers find friends who they can grow up with? (i.e. get best friends, etc). 

One of the homeschooled kids, a college freshman from Ateneo quickly replied: "My parents are my best friends. I am so blessed to have them support me and pray for me and be with me all the way." (Something to that effect.) Aaawww.. hubby and I exchanged looks after this and both said,"Hopefully Tim will also say that one day." (And Rysse too of course!) Just goes to show, homeschooling can really strengthen the bond between family members, especially parents and children!

3. The exhibit featuring different businesses and services that may be of help to homeschooling families.

We had fun going around the different booths and getting our "map" stamped by the different exhibitors so we could be eligible to win a prize (we didn't however, but that's ok!). There were also 2 photo booths, and hubby and I had a laugh getting our pics taken :) It made for a nice souvenir too! :) I also got some business ideas from the exhibit, which I will blog about in my other "home" online soon. :) Woohoo! Thank You Lord for Your blessings!

4. The chance to meet fellow Homeschooling Mommy bloggers :)

Thanks to my blogs, Facebook and being part of the Pinoy Homeschool yahoogroup, I was able to "meet" other homeschooling mommy bloggers like BlessieMonica and Michelle. It was SO nice to be able to meet two of them in person at the Conference, and it felt like we'd known each other for years! (Too bad Mommy Michelle couldn't make it, I wanted to thank her in person for answering all my questions through her blog posts. Hope you're much better now Mommy Michelle!) 

Because of the Conference, I also got to know Martine who had been serving on the working committee of the Conference, and Chame, a homeschooling mom included in the panel of speakers, who previously had been "unschooling" her son. We are now friends on Facebook and get to exchange messages about homeschooling and the like. Cool huh?

By serendipity, God-chance or whatever you choose to call it, I was also able to meet Irene, whom I discovered was the one and the same Catholic homeschooling mom my friend Michelle had mentioned to me. She had shared their homepreschool curriculum with Michelle, who in turn shared it with me. (We haven't started using it though, since we haven't decided on a particular curriculum yet!) Irene and her husband Arnold are one out of the five Catholic homeschooling parents from Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon (LNP), a Catholic charismatic community based here in the Philippines. Incidentally, our community, Couples for Christwas established in 1981 by LNP as its outreach to evangelize married couples but it severed its ties from LNP in 1993.

Up to now, I am just AMAZED at how God has used homeschooling to connect our family to other Christians and Catholics who want to hand down the Faith to their children and form their kids according to God's ways. 

Last but not the least, my no. 5 fave thing about the Conference was:

5. The time spent with the Lord and with hubby :)

The whole day, from early in the morning (kids were still asleep when we left, thank you Lola! We love you!) up to the end of the Conference (and even beyond, we picked the kids up and went to a birthday party after!), I was blessed to spend time with hubby sans children. Being on mission for the past 5 years, with no one else to watch the kids for longer than 2 hours, it was great to spend time with my Honey. He is my no. 1 supporter when it comes to all my advocacies and adventures, and sharing the HS Conference with him while there were many moms around without their respective partners was truly a great gift from the Beloved. Indeed, we could really feel the Lord's presence with us all throughout the Conference. It made me all revved up and inspired with so many ideas for future events for homeschoolers, especially the Catholic ones! Woohoo! Truly Jeremiah 29: 11-13 aptly describes how great our God is!

The conference ended on a high note with the launching of HAPI - the Homeschoolers Association of the Philippine Islands! With HAPI, homeschoolers and wannabe homeschoolers in the Philippines are able to link up more effectively, and are also able to receive information and tips that are relevant to their journey in home education. HAPI will also be lobbying to have a special Home Education Department under the Department of Education, among other things! Sooo exciting! 

Can't wait for what else the Lord has in store for us homeschoolers in the Philippines! :) Amazing blessings coming our way, thank You Beloved! :)

P.S. Here are some pics of the Conference. For more photos, please go to my Facebook page :)

Stage set-up

Pastor Peter Tan-Chi: Parenting Is Heart Work and Hard Work

TeacherMama Monica :)

Luanne Shackleford: Homeschooling - You Can Do It!

Afternoon Panelists

Chame and Dan Abbey

Homeschooled kids (Martine is no longer a kid, but a pro-homeschooling mom herself now! :)

"My parents are my best friends." Aaawwwww....

Edric Mendoza, HSLDA's official Philippine representative launches HAPI

Homeschoolers dance onstage 

Too bad I wasn't able to take a pic with Mommy Blessie!  :) We missed Mommy  Michelle too!

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