Friday, November 25, 2011

Thank GOD for our (locally-made) Jesse Tree! ;-)

In the Philippines, the Jesse Tree is not such a commonly-known Advent Tradition. (If we weren't homeschooling, I'd probably still not know about it now! hehe! Yet another reason why I'm grateful to be homeschooling, esp. after all my realizations after our TV interview)! ;-)

Since we wanted to include the Jesse Tree in our family's Christmas preparations this year, I thought I'd ask my friend and fellow Catholic pro-life and breastfeeding / babywearing advocate Buding about a locally-made version of the Tree that she and her friends were promoting last year. However, I never got around to asking her, and only posted a question about the Tree on Bistro 3846's Facebook page, which is where I first saw it last year.

I got a reply to call the Everest Academy, the first (and only, I think) Catholic International School in the Philippines, but didn't get to do so. Also, I thought the Tree might be out of our budget, which is, as you already may know, very, very tight (with hubby and I being lay missionaries and all :-).

BUT LO AND BEHOLD! ;-) God knows my heart's desires, even the seemingly "insignificant" or "petty" ones!

Out of the blue, Buding says she might be able to get me a Jesse Tree kit by the Mano Amiga mothers FOR FREE! ;-)

We just got it a few hours earlier (thank You Lord for Buding's generosity - she even had it sent to our apartment!) - AND I AM SOOOOO EXCITED TO USE IT!!! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! ;-) *squeals in delight*

Check out our fabulous JESSE TREE, proudly made in the Philippines! ;-)

The Jesse Tree kit by Mano Amiga mothers
 The kit is COMPLETE and a perfect gift for any family / individual - it has the "tree" (a tree branch nicely painted in gold, and "planted" in "silver" sand!); a box of 27 hand-crafted felt ornaments; and, a Jesse Tree Devotional Booklet, containing detailed instructions and a daily Bible reading / activity guide. ;-)

The ornaments are arranged by week (weeks 1 to 4) and labelled at the back per day ;-) 

All 27 Jesse Tree ornaments! ;-) Yey, no need for me to make our own! ;-) Day 28 and 29 have no ornaments thought; families are encouraged to hang a family photo, etc.

More photos here. :-) It's not too late to get your own Tree! ;-) Blessed Advent to all!

*Jesse Tree Advent devotional sets are now available for sale in Everest Academy Manila. All 27 handmade ornaments were crafted by moms of Mano Amiga as a livelihood program who are the beneficiary of this yearly project. Please call Everest Academy Manila for more information +632-8824981 :-) It is truly a Gift of Love!* - from the Bistro 3846 page. I received the Tree as a gift from Buding, who is part of the Mano Amiga team. 
:-) She did ask me to blog about it, but I told her that I'd blog about it anyway even if she didn't give me a kit. ;-)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Remembering St. Cecilia in our own little way

Yesterday, November 22, was the Feast Day of St. Cecilia. It was a Tuesday, so I had to report to the office. (Although my dream to be a fulltime, stay-at-home mom is not financially feasible for us at this time, I am still blessed to have a work-at-home arrangement that requires me to go to the office at least 2x a week - thanks to my dear elders at Couples for Christ, who are so supportive).
St. Cecilia<br>Third Century
St. Cecilia, patron saint of musicians
So anyway, I left some activities for Tim and Rysse to do with their Ate* (yes, we have a helper now!). She has been a HUGE help and blessing, so yes, I'm not the "do-everything-by-myself-supermom" you may think I am! Still, I am AMAZED at the many homeschool moms out there who keep their homes, teach their kids and blog/work on the side WITHOUT any help whatsoever - hats off to you!

Back to the reason for this post. Hehe! I wanted Tim (and Rysse) to celebrate even in a simple way, St. Cecilia's special day. So what did we do before our regular storytime / booktime?

Play "Guess What Musical Instrument"!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ideas for Celebrating Advent: Preparing for His Coming!

Advent is upon us! But what exactly is this blessed season all about? Let's take a look at just ONE of the definitions of Advent, from

The word Advent derives from the Latin word meaning coming. The Lord is coming. We may reflect that every year at this time we celebrate his coming , so that in a sense we can lose the feeling of expectancy and joyful anticipation, because at the end of the season, everything seems to return to pretty much the same routine. If that is the case, then our preparation may have been lacking and we have therefore been robbed of much of the true meaning of this season.
During Advent we recall the history of God's people and reflect on how the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament were fulfilled. This gives us a background for the present. Today we can reflect on the past track record of God and so begin to understand what it means to us now for the sake of what is to come, in our own future and that of our world.
© Liguori Publications Excerpt from Advent - A Quality Storecupboard The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer
And what better way to prepare for His coming than starting (or for some families, continuing) our own Advent family traditions? 
Here in the Rodriguez home, we're excited to do the following:
First up is the Advent Calendar from the Story of Christmas book set I bought at Fully Booked in Gateway Mall (I don't usually buy new, expensive books but I made an exception for this one!) 
The Story of Christmas: Story Book Set & Advent Calendar
You can also buy this on Amazon.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Timely Reminder About READING from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (and a Freebie!)

I receive regular e-mails from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (TOSH), and this most recent one helped me remember why we are homeschooling. I'm having one of those weeks when I am questioning our homeschool journey, and feel like I'm not doing "enough," and am half-tempted to enroll Tim in one of the local Catholic progressive preschools! 

Thank God too for fellow ROCKERs mom Maricel of Medela Moms, who was very assuring and encouraging too during our online conversation yesterday!

This is JUST what I needed, Lord! Thank YOU! ;-)

P.S. Don't forget to scroll down for a freebie especially for TOSH subscribers! If you aren't one yet, it's super easy to subscribe! Click here for more details.

At what age do children learn to read? It depends . . . your 5-year-old may read sooner than your 7-year-old and some kids don't read until they're 11 or 12. Kids are different and not everyone learns at the same speed. For example, we've probably used a different phonics program for every kid. What works for one doesn't always work for another. Some kids are ready to read in kindergarten; some kids aren't ready to read until later. Homeschool isn't a factory where we turn out cookie-cutter students (grin).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Advanced Happy New Year from My Masterpiece Movement! (Free creative play group sessions! for 2012)

If you're a regular reader of my blogs, you've probably read about My Masterpiece Movement (MMM) before (I attended their Creativity Workshop for Mompreneurs last year, organized by Mommy Mundo, and have posted about some of their events, as well as their FREE enriching Wonder Wednesdays sessions for adults as a way to enrich one's self).

More recently, God used MMM founder and head-teacher Anna and her team to bless our new homeschool group with a free, fun-filled, fabulous workshop, which the kids (and parents) thoroughly enjoyed! (Now, whenever we get ready for ROCKERs meetings, Tim always asks me "Will the teachers who told the nice stories be there?" - referring to the MMM team of course!)

Recently, Anna posted this on my Facebook wall:

I have been praying that God will make a way for the kids to have a regular session where creativity is encouraged! Actually, ever since attending MMM's Creativity Workshop last year, I have been wanting to enroll the kids, but, to be brutally honest, we just can't afford it right now! (Believe me though, we are blessed to be missionaries!)

So when I saw this, of course I immediately asked Anna to reserve 2 slots for Tim and Rysse! Thank YOU Lord for answering my prayers! ;-)

Slots are limited only, so reserve yours now*! ;-) Contact Teacher Anna at 0915-4327439You can also send an e-mail to * Or better yet, like MMM on Facebook or follow MMM on Twitter for regular updates. 
Sorry for the pixelation. ;-) This was from MMM's FB page. ;-)
*Super Saturday sessions will be held at 10am every Second Saturday of the month starting January 2012. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Helping Your Child To Love Reading

*Note: This article is a re-post from Remember, a love for LEARNING begins with a love for reading ;-) Take advantage of the long weekend (here in the Philippines) - spend some time reading books to your kids! ;-)
Image from

Helping your child to love reading

There are lots of fun ways to help your little one learn to love books and stories. And, surprisingly, not all of them involve sitting down with an actual book. 

Use books to bond 

It's not all about reading the words. At this age, it's more about enjoying the interaction with Mom or Dad. When your child sits in your lap as you read aloud, she doesn't just enjoy books, she also enjoys the security of your undivided attention. 

Set up a ritual 

A regular reading time establishes a calming routine young children love -- that's why the bedtime story is a time-honored tradition. But don't forget that many other daily events also provide good reading opportunities. Once in a while try establishing a new ritual with a breakfast story, a bathtime story, a just-home-from-nursery story or even an "on the potty" story. Some toddlers (and older children) who are heavy sleepers are much better able to face the day when their parents "read them awake" rather than hustle them out of bed. 

Choose appropriate books 

Toddlers love board books, bath books and pop-up books -- any type they can hold easily and manipulate themselves. They love stories accompanied by bright, clear realistic pictures. And, of course, they love rhymes. That's not to say your 2-year-old won't appreciate the stories her big brother chooses -- who knows, Harry Potter may end up being her favorite book! Just make sure she has access to simpler books as well. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New post on ROCKERs Philippines!

Just a quick post (actually a link, haha!) about our Catholic homeschool group's All Saints' Day celebration yesterday. Read a bit about it here.

I'll post more about it later on though. In the meantime, you can check out our photos here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Videos of Catholic saints for kids ;-)

Just sharing these.. Found them while looking for stuff to help prepare the kids for celebrating All Saints' Day. Tim is excited to don his "St. George the Dragon-slayer" costume at our homeschool group's All Saints' Day celebration! (Rysse will be an angel; though she can be St. Cecilia too if she decides not wear her angel wings!)

This one was done with Lego! ;-)

A Day in the Life of St. Francis

Saint for Kids video featuring different saints:

Communion of Saints on EWTN (incomplete though):

The Story of St. Perpetua (martyrdom scene):

Our Lady of the Roses appears to San Juan Diego

St. Therese of Lisieux:

More Catholic Cartoons found in this link! Thank You Lord for the Internet! ;-)

Teachermama Tina writes about

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