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My Grandma, a tribute to my living Angel

“Grandmothers are voices of the past, role models of the present and opens the doors to the future.” Helen Ketchum

With all the global tribulations that humanity is facing in modern history today, I decide to dedicate this blog to my grandma, whom I call “ Lola Vita “ , as a breath of fresh air from all the hustle and bustle. To set the record straight, this is a tribute for my grandma but she is still alive up to now. I hope that whoever reads this blog, will find in their heart the importance of family, specifically the grandmas, and what this blog is all about.

Having lived for 38 years and counting, my life revolves around the two strongest women I know that ever exists, my Lola Vita and my mom Nelia. I don’t know, but writing this blog makes me teary eyed. It invokes a web of emotions, ranging from happy to sad and scared. I am always mushy whenever I talk about these two people, whom I look up to the most. I will just make another blog for my mom Nelia.

Let me start my narrative in chronology- from my elementary to high school, post-graduate and the present.

I lived in the province of Agusan del Norte, in the municipality of Buenavista. Our place was quite laid-back. With all the green rice fields, untamed landscape of the mountainside, and the briny breeze of the abundant seas, I could say that people in our place were calm, respectful and congenial. However, my life growing up was not privileged. It was a constant wrestle of what food to put on our table on a daily basis. It was really hard life. But, without my Lola Vita, it could have been a totally different ugly face of poverty. Revisiting these memories of my childhood drew a flashback of hardships and triumphs.

During my elementary years, my Lola Vita had played an essential role, not only financially, but also an icon for my morals and values formation. She had sold anything under the sun. If she taught she can earn a peso or even a cent out of it, then my Lola had definitely found a way to market it. She had absolutely been a jack of all trades. Talking about money, she had been really good at that. She had not earn much but she was able to send her seven children to college single-handedly. My Lolo Cesar( Lola Vita’s husband) died when my mom was still in high school.  Today, I kept wondering how she had managed her finances while raising seven children. I am baffled up to now. She really did a remarkable job as a parent and was indeed pedestal-worthy.

Whenever I asked for something, my Lola Vita had not given anything to me right away. I needed to toil and sweat first. I remembered one time, I asked Lola for a xylophone because joined the drum and bugle in our school. She gave it to me; however, the condition was that I needed to dry ten sacks of rice grains in the street. At that time, I pitied myself having to undergo all the ordeals before I can get something I want. I also asked myself why my classmates were able to afford all the materials things they needed without having them to work for it. Nevertheless, my Lola Vita had never failed to reward us all her grandchildren after all the hard work. She had done an exemplary job in balancing hard work and reward. She treated us by going to city in her favorite restaurant, at that time there was no Jollibee or Greenwich. Whenever she brought us to the restaurant, she had reminded us always that she would only pay for one cup of rice. So, if I wanted to eat more, I needed to bring my own rice but I had to hide it in the bag. I graduated 1st honorable mention in elementary. I could remember, during my graduation, Lola Vita was there and standing so proud of what I achieved. Those memories in my elementary had a special part in my heart.

My high school had been fun-filled. This time was different, because I developed my own circle of friends that I pretty much got along. I remembered when my parents had a big fight; I would go to my Lola Vita to asked money for school. She was not hesitant to give me because she knew back then that I was serious about my studies. During summer, as a growing up teenager, I envied some of my classmates because they had things like organizer, nice notebook, and nice lunchbox. I would go to my Lola Vita and asked for these things. She would give me chores to do, and if I could finish it, the she would give me what I needed. My Lola Vita had always been there for me and the rest of her grandchildren every step of the way. My high school had not been completed without my Lola Vita in the picture.

A smile more precious than gold

After I graduated college, I realized a lot of things that my Lola Vita taught me and those were not gone to waste. I valued money and I did not squander my earnings. I always prioritized needs over wants. I learned to give respect to the people around me regardless of their position in the society or what their job was. All of these, I paid gratitude to my Lola Vita.

Fast forward to present, today, year 2020, my Lola Vita is 90 years old and physically getting weaker day by day. I am having a hard time reconciling my thoughts that her days are limited. As to when she will still be with us, no one knows the answer. She now has Alzheimer’s disease and she could not recognize me anymore. It torments me so much; that looking back, the person I used to see who is agile and full of life is now lying in her bed staring back at me like I am a blank wall with all her memories erased. It seems like her memories are stolen from her, kept in a void ,and lost in the abyss of a black hole that cannot be retrieved. I don’t know how I could ever repay her for all the good things she has done for me. I wanted to tell her that I am so lucky and grateful, and I love her so much, but it has no use now because she could not even recognize me.

She looked very happy singing her favorite Visayan Song “Rosas Pandan” even if she is still in her hospital bed.

Whenever I go to her room, I would play classic Visayan songs, songs of Pilita Coralez, and that would lighten up her face and started singing these songs. It is a bittersweet emotion because I am happy that she still has memories of these songs ,but ,sad as well that all the memories of me, she already has forgotten. I wanted to teach her about how to use the gadgets and apps like Facebook but she would just stare at me like I am not even there in front of her. My mom is the one taking care of her full-time and I will just take turn when my mom needs to go out and do some errands.My Lola Vita now wears diaper because she no longer can feel the call of nature. It pains me so much every time I ask my Lola if she is okay and she would reply to me that her body aches. If only she could transfer all her physical pain, I would gladly do that.

Just recently, this March 2020, she got confined in the hospital because she is having hard time breathing. She is diagnosed with pneumonia and enlarged heart. As she is in her bed, with all these equipment to her mouth to help her breath with ease, like oxygen and dextrose, it is a a very depressing sight to look at. She could hardly talk and move. We , her family, are all gathered together around her to give her moral support and make her feel that we all love her and we still want her to fight and be with us. Days gone by and she is slowly gaining back her strength. She is back on her feet after being confined for four agonizing days. I thank God for giving Lola another chance to live and spend more time with us.

What makes life precarious is that there are things that we don’t really have control. We are just here passing in this world for a time and it has an ending. I will just cherish the remaining time that my Lola still has for us and up to when, well, only god knows. I just wish there will be a day wherein my Lola could be strong again and with a sharp memory, I would really tell her how much I love her and I will be forever grateful. I will not be the person I am today if not because of her. She occupies a big chunk in my life. Thank you so much Lola for everything and as long as you are still with us, I will always play the Visayan songs you like. I always wanted to see the smile on your face. It is priceless and something money can’t buy.

My Lola Vita is an indestructible bond that holds our family together.  She is my angel and my hero.

Written by: Ronald E. Oclarit a.k.a Rhownah

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BABYWEARING 101: WHAT I’VE LEARNED AS A BABYWEARING MOM

BABYWEARING is holding or carrying a baby or young child using a cloth baby carrier. Holding babies is natural and universal; baby carriers make it easier and more comfortable, allowing parents and caregivers to hold or carry their children while attending to the daily tasks of living.

Babywearing International

Babywearing allows me to bring my 8 month old daughter wherever I go without the agony of carrying her with my bare arms. It also allows me multitask since I am hands free. At times, I breastfeed my daughter in a carrier as well. My baby loves it too – she sleeps well in a baby carrier and even stops crying or being fussy. Being close to me, it creates a deeper bond between me and my child.

CHOOSING YOUR BABY CARRIER

There are lots of baby carriers available in the market. For someone new to babywearing, choosing can be a bit overwhelming. There are lots of factors to consider, but it’s best if you can try one before you buy.

Sling meets are usually organized by babywearing support groups. Local babywearing consultants are available if you want to seek professional help. You can opt to rent baby carriers from local retailers at a minimum fee. Some brands are also available in department stores or in baby fairs.

Here are the common types of carriers:

  • Ring sling

A Ring sling is a long fabric with attached rings on one end. It is a one shoulder carry and is easier to put the baby in and out. This type of carrier is advisable for newborns.

Ring sling
  • Wrap

A wrap is a long piece of fabric that you need to wrap around you and your baby. By tying the ends, you are creating a snug and safe place for your baby. Among the types of carriers, wraps (especially woven wraps) are very versatile since there are various carry types to try on.

Woven wrap
  • Soft structured carrier (SSC)

SSC or buckled carriers are the most common type of carrier. The waistband and straps are adjustable in order to adjust to the size of the wearer. The width of the panel must be considered to ensure that it supports ergonomic positioning. This type of carrier can be easily shared among members of the family. SSCs now come in fully adjustable types wherein you can usually use it from birth to toddlerhood.

SSC

PROPER AND SAFE BABYWEARING

In babywearing, you don’t just pop in your child in a carrier. His safety must be considered first above everything else. Here is an acronym which most babywearers remember because it’s easy to recall:

TICKS used with the permission of the UK Sling Consortium

Your baby must also be positioned properly to optimize the benefits. Baby’s knees must always be higher than the bum, his knees spread out in order to allow healthy development. This is what we commonly call as the M-position or a deep seat.

Thighs spread around the mother’s torso and the hips bent so the knees are slightly higher than the buttocks with the thighs supported. Photo from International Hip Dysplasia Institute.

Forward facing carriers and carrier’s where baby’s legs are dangling (commonly called as narrow-based carriers) should be avoided, as they do not support proper positioning.

Narrow-based Carrier

OUR BABYWEARING JOURNEY

Our babywearing journey
Babywearing my daughter at 29 days old in ring sling, 3 months old in SSC and
8 months old in woven wrap. All carriers are from local brand, Shadrach’s Collection.

It started when I attended a sling meet near our place organized by a mom blogger in partnership with a local carrier brand. It helped me gain the confidence to wear my preemie baby in a ring sling and woven wrap as early as 29 days. This was even before she reached day 1 of her corrected age. So yes, babies can be worn in a carrier staring day 1 as long as the carrier used is age appropriate. I started with a ring sling, now we also have an SSC and a woven wrap.

Until today, we are enjoying the convenience of babywearing my daughter wherever we go. My husband, although not frequent, babywears too. I also spread babywearing awareness by reaching out to soon-to-be parents in our work place and in my friends list.

If you want to learn more about babywearing, join the Facebook group Babywearing Philippines (https://www.facebook.com/groups/BabywearingPhilippines/). BWP is a support group that supports safe, responsible and proper babywearing.

Written by: Camille Anne L. Hernandez

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RAISING A CHILD MODEL

“Uy ang cute cute naman ng baby mo, mag-aartista yan paglaki.” (Your child is so cute; he will become an actor when he grows up.)

These are the exact same words I often hear when my son, Lulu was still a baby, but I often just shrug it off because I thought it was something next to impossible. Until one day while strolling around Mall of Asia, a guy approached us and introduced himself as an agent inviting Lulu for a VTR. After a thorough discussion with my family, we decided to give it a go since there’s nothing to lose anyway.

He was only 11 months old when he had his VTR file. I remember at that time, I had to carry him while the photographer takes his photos and video file while I introduce his name, age, gender, etc. I thought well that was easy – Lulu did a great job and didn’t have any tantrums. The camera just loved him. We bid goodbye to the agent and we were advised that we’ll hear from them once a project is matched and approved for him.

3 months went by when I suddenly got a message saying that Lulu was scheduled for a PRINT AD SHOOT FOR A REAL ESTATE. I was ecstatic! I never thought he will actually land a project. So that was the first time, my son who was 14 months old at that time got his very 1st paycheck. And the rest as they say is history.

Lulu did not only land several print ad projects after but he also joined and won several modelling contests like Robinsons Model Search, Mossimo Kids CastingCall and our favorite, Gingersnaps Model Search. I never had to buy him clothes during those years because winning these contests meant that he will be given monthly supplies of clothing for FREE. This is most certainly true with Gingersnaps, he was given Php 5,000 worth of clothing which is somehow equivalent to at least 10 pieces of clothes every month.

To say that everything went smoothly during his modelling years will be a lie. There was a time when we had to stop from accepting projects and this was when he was between 3 to 5 years old. He suddenly grew scared of seeing cameras and one time threw a tantrum in one of his shoots. This was the sign for me to stop until he’s ready to model again. If that time will come again was uncertain to me at that time but my son’s well-being is and will always be at utmost importance.

For those parents who are considering joining their children in the modelling industry, here are some tips and advice from me:

  • Evaluate your child if he is really comfortable working in front of the camera and with other people.
  • If your kid is acting out or throwing a tantrum during a shoot, do not create a scene especially in front of the clients; do not hurt your children to make them follow you ( I have personally witnessed some horror situations like this back stage and behind the scenes of some shoots.)
  • If you feel that your child is not interested in modelling anymore, do not push him; rather support him with his other interests.
  • You shouldn’t pay for VTR filing and DOLE permits – these are FREE and care of the agent/ client. (Department of Labor and Employment requires children below 15 years old to apply for a child working permit every time they have a project.)
  • Save your child’s professional fees/ talent fees; after all they are the one who worked for it, NOT YOU. Get him a savings account. (One of the requirements to secure a child’s working permit is a savings account under your child’s name. They check it every time you apply for a new project and make sure that his last project’s talent fee is deposited.)
  • Do not pressure your child; let him enjoy the experience

Lulu eventually returned to modelling when he was about 6 years old. He gained his confidence and self-esteem through the years of doing photoshoots and fashion shows. It taught him to become more responsible, committed and be professional.  It made him develop patience especially that not all shoots and fashion shows finish within the schedule – this is not just a virtue but a LIFE SKILL. At a very young age, he learned that not everything will be given to him but he has to work for it. He values hard work and the rewards and payments that came with it. He was able to learn how to save his hard-earned money. These among many others are some of the things he learned through the years of becoming a professional model.

Lulu at present – photo taken on his 11th birthday

Now that he is 11 years old and stands 5 feet 5 inches, he rarely gets projects nowadays because he is in that “in between stage “wherein he’s not considered a child anymore but not yet a full pledged teenager either. He currently enjoys being a part of his school chorale group and training basketball at the same time.

No one can really dictate what your child should become when he grows up; what we can only do as parents is to support and guide our children throughout his journey from childhood to adulthood.

Hazel Casino

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3 Easy To Make Healthy Baby Food Recipes

The journey to a healthy diet is not easy, but it will always be worth it.

As a mom, we only want the best for our little ones. That includes giving them a healthy solid food eating journey. It may not be an easy journey, but I’m sure it’s worth it.

Let me share to you 3 of my healthy recipes that my baby loves to eat.

  1. Banana and Mango Rolled Oatmeal
  • Bring distilled water to a boil
  • Put some rolled oats and cover for 10 minutes
  • Continue stirring the mixture until cooked
  • Add pre-soaked chia seeds
  • Mashed fresh bananas and mangoes on the side
  • Put the mashed fruits to the oatmeal
  • Let it cool and serve
My little one loves the fruit oatmeal and in fact, oats are good for digestion.

2. Banana Rolled Pancake

  • Blend the whole rolled oats until it becomes powder-like
  • This will serve as the flour in the mixture
  • Put some fresh bananas and cinnamon powder
  • Add water and blend together to achieve smooth batter
  • Fry in olive oil to a medium heat
  • Remove excess oil and serve

3. Mixed Vegetables Porridge

  • Chop some pumpkin and upo into tiny cubes
  • Saute onion and garlic and put the vegetable mixture in a pan
  • Pour some distilled water
  • Add pre-soaked chia seeds
  • Cover and let it cook for 30 minutes
  • Sprinkle some chinese pechay.
  • Let it cool and serve.

Note that you can always modify the recipe. You can cook any vegetable according to your preference. Happy Eating!

Written by: Lucille Ann Z. Errojo

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The Arts of Love

Arts and Family are the ones who made me happy…

.

When I was young i love making things with my own hands. Drawing, painting, sewing, and creating crafts from scratch, and making it something beautiful and useful. Until i reach this age, i still love crafting and its made me happy whenever i see the output of my works.

I didn’t imagine that this passion of mine will be part of my wedding. Of course its a wedding, it has to be beautiful and meaningful.

Being an Artist i want my works to be part of my wedding. That’s why i decided to do the flowers for my entourage and also for my bridal bouquet. And almost all the crafts in my wedding even the props for the little ones.

But that’s not the reason why i did that. It is also to save money and being practical. Real flowers withers in time but artificial serves as remembrance.

And now my bridal bouquet is now well restored in our house as a souvenir, it is place on a wide frame to preserve its proportion and beauty.

Every time i see it, I remember the most memorable day of my life as a lady. The day we cherished and the moment we’ve spent together with my loved ones.

From that day , my heart and my hand unite, My Passion and My Love.

I Hope you enjoyed my blog. See Yah.

BY: GRACE P. LUNASCO

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Awesome Tips For First Time Mom With A Preschooler


These past days, I have been seeing posts about how proud my batch mates are, as their children graduated from high school and some from college.  I feel happy for them but this is not my case.


I started my journey as a first time mom only at the age of 38. For the past two years, I had won the challenge of breastfeeding and running after her when my daughter started walking. And this year, I’m facing the preschooler challenge! 

Here are some tips I got from my sister. 

  1. Bring your child with you to the school a few times before the class starts. 

Mia becomes really more excited when she sees the colorful classroom!  She tries sitting on the chair, writing on the blackboard and keep looking at the different pictures on the wall.

  1. Adjust the daily routine before the class begins.

I now give Mia a bath after breakfast. She now knows she will dress up for school starting next week.

  1. Believe and trust your child’s teachers.

I had a one on one talk with Mia’s teacher. And I feel more comfortable now as her teacher sets an expectation. I feel assured that her teachers don’t only have the expertise but more importantly have a passion for teaching toddlers.

  1. Arrive early at school and leave promptly. 

Leaving Mia for the first time in school won’t be easy.  To be honest, it will be easy for Mia but not for me. Lol! My sister told me to arrive at least 10 minutes early so Mia can explore and get comfortable with the other children. Bid a loving “See you later.” and leave. 

  1. Enjoy quality time for yourself.

Mia will be at school for 2 hours daily. It’s best to spend this time to relax and refuel. Simple Truth says it best: We must commit to our own well-being and self-care, lest our flames flicker out. So take some time, sweet sisters, to rest, recoup, relax and regroup.


My journey of having a preschooler just begun. I know there’s so much more to learn. And I would love to hear your experiences and best practices too as we go along the way to mastery.

By: Charie Dimayuga

 

The “YES” Woman.

Yes.

A term I used often and heard a lot growing up. I choose to say yes to life more often than not. Yes to the trip I think I can’t afford. Yes to the 3rd pizza this week. Yes to the new and scary opportunities coming my way. Yes to experiences. And yes to being 100% myself because I’m finally in a place where I can say, I love who I am. I’m happy ( most days ) with my body, my heart, my mind, my amazing little family and it’s only going to get better as I grow.

After all, life is about making the best choices that can help you and the people you care about live a better life. However, these choices are not always easy to make. A decision made might, for instance, have great short-term value, but hurts you or others in the long-run. At the same time, other decisions might have the opposite effect. The important life decisions you make are therefore rarely easy. However, my hope is that saying yes will help you to make more effective decisions moving forward.

The Passion of Saying YES

Saying YES means making the most of every opportunity and encounter. It means taking chances to stretch your comfort zone, to overcome your insecurities, to beat fear, to get through failure, criticism, rejection, and embarrassment with a positive spirit. It essentially means knowing what you need “more” of in your life to help you live a more optimal life. And often the things we need most we resist because they make us feel uncomfortable.

Saying YES, of course, isn’t easy. In fact, saying NO is often the easiest thing to do, however, maybe we should start saying YES more often when saying NO feels more convenient. Just maybe we should start living life more adventurously.

This is all of course fantastic, but what exactly does it all mean? And exactly what kind of things should we be saying YES to? Here is a list of things that I think we should be saying YES to that will help us live a more optimal life:

  • Say YES to opportunities to attempt something new that you hadn’t tried before.

Dare to try something new and something different. Convince yourself that you have no limits. Remember, if you never try, you’ll never know.


  • Say YES to possibilities for new adventures, challenges, and experiences.

Never be afraid to branch out and explore new things. Grow in your experiences. You’ll never be bored when you try something new.

flickr.com
outsideonline.com
  • Say YES to things that somewhat scare you or that you don’t quite understand.

Face your fear. Yes, it can be scary and confusing, however, allowing fear to stop you from growing, evolving and progressing is even much scarier.

Photo from lifeoperatingsystem.com
  • Say YES to things that break your monotonous habits, and routines.

Change it up! As the age-old saying goes, a change is as good as a holiday. Challenge yourself and break your routine. Try new activities and upgrade your mindset.

Photo from addictedtosuccess.com

  • Say YES to things that help you learn something new about yourself, about others and about life.

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zones. Care to learn something new about yourself as you do for others.

equipher.net
  • Say YES to building friendships and connections with strangers.

Learn to say the magic word “Hi!” and turn strangers into friends. Building friends is also building trust in the people around you.

Photo from verywellmind.com
Photo from vocal.media

This is by no means some of the exhaustive list of things that I think we should be saying YES to more often, however it does cover quite an array of scenarios that can help everyone experience more of what life has to offer. Saying YES in all the above scenarios possibly won’t make much of a difference as to how you live your life. And yes, that can certainly be true. It might not make much of a difference at all, but on the other hand, it just might. 🙂

So, saying YES today might not make a significant difference tomorrow, however, it might very well send your life in a brand new direction that will bring about tremendous benefits in the future.

“Some of the best things that have ever happened to you in life, happened because you said yes to something. Otherwise things just sort of stay the same.” – Danny Wallace

Written by: Willyn Enriquez

The Other Thing that I love to do is Healthy Option

Nowadays, people are getting more health-conscious because many are having a health problem like obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol level, etc. Even animals are being infected with different kinds of diseases. With this, we need to change our lifestyle and look for alternatives.

Before, a mushroom grows wild in nature, believed to be ” flowers of thunderbolt and lightning” since they usually appear a day or two after heavy rain and thunderstorm.

Truth is, we don’t need to wait for thunderstorms and lightning to have a mushroom. We can have it grow inside our house or backyards.

Our agricultural department is encouraging our farmers to do this as an alternative to farming since mushroom is readily available all year round through culture, a method of cultivation using spawn inoculation.

It can be grown in various ways using inexpensive industrial and agricultural waste material like sawdust, rice barn, cotton waste, banana leaves, etc. The bio-conversion of these materials would definitely help reduce pollution and waste disposal, produce food, generate employment and improve the standard of living of people.

There are really good potentials in mushroom farming such as Health Benefits, Low Capital Needed, Skills easily acquired, and Environmental Friendly.

However, there are also challenges in mushroom farming such as:

  • Contaminants due to unclean area, incomplete sterilization, and pasteurization
  • Pests such as mites, rats, maggots, mosquito, cockroaches, and ants.
  • Factors affecting the growth like temperature, light, humidity, food, and air.

I’m going to share with you the journey of the fruiting bags of my oyster mushroom that I store under the lavatory.

It started on the bottle where I put the specimen of a mushroom and started to scattered for 5 days as seen in the second picture. Then it is ready to transfer the seeds on the fruiting bag which is the composition of agricultural waste materials. The third Photo, after 7 days you can see the fungus stems starting to spread. The fourth photo, after 2 weeks the stems reached half of the fruiting bag. Fifth photo, completely covered with fungus.

Then, at last, the pinheads are out. It grows overnight and ready to harvest the next day. It was an exciting experience to grow an organic oyster mushroom in our household.

It was an exciting experience to grow an organic oyster mushroom in our household.
The good thing about this is that it bears fruit every day for up to 3 months and the health benefits that it has which are:
Rich in Protein, Vitamins, and Minerals
Rich in Calcium, Iron and Zinc
Low in Calories and Cholesterol Content
Anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, Antibiotic, Anti-viral and Stimulate the immune system.

I am so excited to experiment with the different menus with this healthy oyster mushroom.
Here’s also the list of products for enterprise and recipe that kids will love.

By: Rosette Laqui

Decisions… Choices…

“If you were given one do-over, anything in your life, what would it be?”

13 going 30 movie, 2004

30 years of existence, I find myself looking up at the ceiling in our four-walled room, many questions that can help me ease my anxiety. What if I never gave up my career? Would life be still the same again?

I was at the peak of my career having the best companies that I worked, having the salary that I wanted, being an independent person. 

But all that I have suddenly changed. When I got pregnant, I stopped working focusing on my pregnancy and taking care of my baby. In an instant the independent, career woman known turned unto jobless, stay at home mom. The industry world became the four corners of my parent’s home.

As years passed, I felt being the worthless person in the family. I cannot provide financially to my kids when my husband has no schedule for work in the ship, I cannot buy the things that I wanted because I don’t have my own money. 

Seeing my friends and colleagues before climbing those corporate ladders of high positions in the company, well-compensated and carrier-based that everyone wanted. All of these feed me to feel to become small and insecure. It always took me the regret why the choice of being at home. I should have been a working mom like everyone does but I still choose to be the one taking care of my child.

I could have done being in a corporate world again but another blessing came to our world which gives me less opportunity to work again. This hit me so strong that I lose hope in getting back on my feet. How would people react? How my friends might say? I had another baby on the way and the gap was less than a year.

But being with my kids and in their every milestone, makes me realize that I made the best decision of staying with them. I may not be able to provide them financially but I am able to provide my love and care that is worth more than a penny in every company that I would work on.

I am not sure of getting my work back on track right now but one thing is for sure, I have my important career in my life now, MOTHER and no one can ever replace that position in my kids’ life. My kids made me more independent than before, more responsible than before and worthful in my kids’ world.

Life gives us hard times to make us realize and see the good things in life. I may have what-ifs and regrets up until now but looking at them makes me realized to see and appreciate what you have. 

-Dionice J. Monsanto

One of the Best Decision I’ve Ever Made

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

It all started with curiosity and never have I imagine that this will be the platform where I’ll belong.

I started my online career as an ESL Online Teacher wherein I easily got hired and started immediately. That was easy! Then I tried creating my online profile as an Admin Assistant and Customer Service Support as I’ve got a wide experience of of these niche. Luckily I got booked for a project based task of creating Powerpoint Presentations and was able to make $100 from it. I got hyped up and realized I can get more project based or event part time jobs. I still got a 9-5 job back then so i’m only open to project based and part time jobs.

As I continue getting hired, I had to make a decision and choose between my 9-5 job and online jobs. It was a tough decision and I had to weigh things carefully. And then March 2017, I officially resigned from my 9-5 job and go fulltime with my online job.

Transitioning from a 9-5 job to a homebased online job is not as easy I thought. For 13 years, I’ve been surrounded with people and used to working with different people. And so working from home made me feel lonely. Eventually I was able to get use to the hang of it and become assertive in joining freelancing groups.

I’ve also handled various VA jobs for different clients, get scammed and I can say that I’ve grown immensely in this career. This is also the platform where I was able to reach out to a lot of people and use this platform to make changes to the lives of other moms, who wants to transition from 9-5 to working from home. And so I must say, that this is one of the best decision I’ve ever made in my life!

A MOTHER’S HEART: EMBRACING AUTISM

The most magical day of my life was the day I become a MOTHER!

Having a child puts my whole world into new perspective. Everything has new meaning and all worries and sadness just disappear instantly.  My happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future. It gives me the excitement to be my very best. It fuels me in ways I can’t explain to keep me going no matter how exhausted I am. It is an indescribable feeling of pure love that only exists between a mother and her child.

Being a mom requires a bravery that I probably didn’t know I had. Just making it through birth takes bravery. Even after birth, I need to be brave as I raise my child alone…But how can I be brave when one day you found out that my child has Autism?

When Sophie was diagnosed with autism spectrum condition in that late 2013, I can feel as though my world has stopped turning. As parent, I spent a lot of time thinking about my child’s future. I have million and one questions and sense of What now?

“It can’t be.” “Why me?” “What have I done to harm anybody else?”

“Why should my beautiful daughter suffer?

My journey started with denial or non-acceptance. I don’t want to believe it but I have to run and do everything I can.

Sophie was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. A condition of the brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communications.

Autism symptoms typically become clearly evident during early childhood, between 12 and 24 months of age. However, symptoms may also appear earlier or later. Sophie began showing sign of Autism at the age of 2 which includes:

  • Difficulty using eye contact. Does not look right at person or hard to get them look at you
  • Does not respond when someone call her name
  • Delayed speech or no social babbling/chatting
  • Makes odd sounds or has unusual tone of voice
  • Little or No imitating skills
  • Uses another person’s hand as tool
  • No interest in books or toys or play
  • Develop rituals such as lining objects up or repeating things over and over
  • Very attached to unusual kinds of objects like strings, ball, spoon, cabinet doors
  • Sensory issues such as loud sounds, food and touch.
  • Easily gets frustrated

Practice Acceptance

Rather than focusing on how my child is different from other children and what she is “missing”. I enjoy my kid’s special quirks and celebrate successes. Feeling unconditionally love and acceptance will help a child more than anything else. Accepting my child fully and totally…means accept myself fully.

Stay calm

When your patience is low, your tired, and you’re feeling stressed, it’s easy to lose your temper. I learn to reframe my frustrations so that I could stay calm instead of screaming or taking it out to my kid. Staying calm is big requirement.

Autism is not a disability, it’s a different ability

Don’t give up! Don’t jump to conclusions about what life is going to be like for your child. Children with autism have an entire lifetime to grow and develop their abilities.      Do not push your child to achieve goals. Do not compare your child to other. Comparison is the thief of joy. Every child is unique – they will develop on their own pace in their own way.

Create a personalized autism treatment plan

It can be so tough to figure out which approach is right for my child. Remember there is no cure on Autism but early intervention will be the big step for a treatment plan. Seek advice from expert like developmental pediatrician, occupational and speech therapist. These people have all the knowledge to address the child needs.

Find time for you

               Being a parent is tough and being a parent with special needs is tougher. It is imperative to find some time for you.  Time to recharge for the next sleepless night…for her next meltdown.

Get support

               Support groups can be a good way to share advice and information and meet other parents dealing with similar challenges. Whether online or face-to-face, support from family and friends and healthcare professionals can be a big help.

Things get challenging and overwhelming. I am infinitely sad. My dreams for Sophie has been shattered. But when I feel hopeless, I hug my child. It reminds me then our LIFE is always full of LOVE.

 Autism has pushed me and pulled, drained me and fueled me, beat me up and strengthened me, hurt me and helped me. It’s been a part of my growth and no kidding I’m THANKFUL.

Written by: Leah Lacdao

Ysabel’s Cloth Diaper

Hi mommies! I wrote this blog to share my journey about using cloth diaper to my 8th month old baby. Since i have three children, i think of other way to save money. First, i breastfed my baby, second, i used cloth diaper instead of buying disposable diapers for my baby. Cloth diaper helped me to save more. I spent one thousand five hundred pesos (P1,500) a month on buying disposable diaper. But when i started using cloth diaper, i spent two hundred forty pesos only. I save one thousand two hundred sixty pesos (P1,260) a month.

Below are samples of cloth diaper i bought.

Before, my baby used six to eight disposable diaper in every single day, amounting to fifty to eighty pesos each day. But when i started using cloth diaper for my baby, i just spend eight pesos a day because my baby use one disposable diaper only at night. It really helps a lot to save money, you just need to be patient because it is washable diaper.

Below are the details of the alva brand cloth diaper i bought.

Style of diaper: One size Pocket diapers
one diaper includes one diaper shell and one separate insert
Material:
Outer – A waterproof & breathable PUL
Inners – Suede cloth: Suede cloth wicks moisture away from baby’s bottom. It is an excellent choice next to baby’s skin for pocket style cloth diapers. Liquid passes right through suede cloth into the inner absorbent layers of the insert. Unlike fleece there is no pilling.

Pocket diapers are easy to use, machine washable and dryable.

The bottom three rows of snaps (the rise) are for adjusting the size to fit a small (8-15 lb), medium (12-25 lb), or large (20-35 lb) child. Simply adjust the size as your baby grows make this diaper a one size style diaper from birth to potty training!

Length of nappy:39cm in length X 35cm in width,for babies weighing 3-15kg
Wash temperature: less than 86 °F to avoid the PUL from delaminating.

Tips in washing cloth diapers:

Before use:
-Make sure to wash your cloth diaper shell at least once before using.
-Separate the cloth diaper shell and insert first.
-Prewash the cloth diaper insert in hot/warm water with a small amount of laundry detergent 3-5 times.
-It will take 10 washes to reach their full absorbency.

Regular use:
-Change the cloth diaper as soon as you notice your baby is wet or soiled.
-Dump solid material into toilet.
-Separate the cloth diaper and insert.
-Put diapers in (dry) pail until wash time.
-Wash cloth diapers with laundry detergent (fragrance and color-free) in hot/warm water.
-Rinse thoroughly in warm water to avoid stains and odor develop.
-Dry diapers in the sun or in your automatic dryer.
-Don’t iron
-Don’t use fabric softener
-Don’t bleach and use whitening material
-Avoid using soap products
-Don’t use too much detergent
-Wash diaper shell and insert separately
-And do some research which process works best for you

Below are the photos of my baby Ysabel wearing alva 3.0 cloth diaper.

First, i ordered six pieces of alva 3.0 cloth diaper and bamboo charcoal insert to try if it fits to my baby. After that, i ordered at lazada christmas sale last december and it’s very affordable. The regular price is one thousand three hundred pesos (P1,300) for 6pairs but on lazada christmas sale it’s only nine hundred pesos (P900) and i ordered two dozens.

I recommend alva cloth diaper because it is budget friendly, eco friendly, and it avoids to develop rashes or allergy. My baby has a sensitive skin, i tried different brands of disposable diaper like pampers, eq, mamypoko, and huggies but it’s not suit to my baby’s sensitive skin.

My baby used huggies dry pants only at night, to minimize the changing time of cloth diaper.

My baby Ysabel and I.

Written by: Shiela P. Kenniker

Things I learn being a Single mom

“We make Our own plans, but the lord decides where we will go. ” – proverbs 16:9-

Its Almost A year I become A single mom , things dos en’t work according to my plan, all the trust are gone, and my world fall apart, but what to do all things happen like a blink on an eye stress , postpartum ,feeling down mix emotions comes up,

“You can choose your husband but your kids can’t choose their father, choosing a good dad for your future kids is your responsibility and its not one that you should take lightly”.

No women want to give a broken home to there child, but life taught me that you cant control someones loyalty , No matter how good you are to them doesn’t means that they will treat you the same no matter how much they mean to you doesn’t means that they value you, he left us without any explanation and without a valid reason,

When life’s gets hard and you feel alone , remember ,you mean the world to somebody, and that person call you Mama,

Letting go ,moving on is the hardest things I’ve ever done ,I have a child and I need to be strong for her , need to teach my daughter how precious she is , making her my inspiration day by day, seeing her healthy raising her well is my number one priority right now.

Don’t focus on your problems, focus on god he is the solution

I know that I made right decision, I stop listening to what people says,instead of being frustrated I make my self busy , I try to learn new things giving a chance to my self , and put god first.

-Jessa

My Liquid Gold Locket – Breastmilk

For every struggle, tear & hard work, this will forever remind me that True Love is a Sacrifice.

Heart Locket with my breast milk and baby’s hair DNA.

Four years ago, I gave birth to my first child, Leory Matthew.
What a wonderful and priceless blessing from up above as I look at my reflection, only in its little form. “I love you”, I said. “And I always will”.

I have always thought of breastfeeding my child.
Looks pretty easy, but it was not as easy as it seemed to be.
Our first day of this journey is a struggle. Same as with my second, third, fourth and more days passed. My little one doesn’t seem to know yet how to latch properly to help my milk come out on its own. Plus, an inverted nipple is another jeopardy. While I also don’t have anybody to support me. No family. No husband. No household help. Just me.

“Why can’t we do it just the way we watched it on video tutorials? Why can’t we do it right the first time? Why don’t you just nurse and sleep? Why do you always have to cry? There are so many WHY’s. No matter how hard we try, we just couldn’t do it like how others did. I am already depressed and exhausted. Could this be part of postpartum depression? Well, I don’t know.

Then I decided to give him formula milk on his first day. He’s starving and I’m a first time mom who can’t afford to see my child crying to death. As much as I love to give him the best nourishment I can, it just didn’t work out well.

To help me ease some boob pain, I have to pump the milk out of it. Good thing at least we can do mix feeding which somehow helps to give him strong immunity. But still, every day I try to offer my boob to let him latch but didn’t make any success.

My friend once told me to try using a nipple puller to help me out with my inverted nipple. Sad to say, It didn’t work. Then a breast pump, it didn’t work too. Then I tried a nipple shield. YEY! He is latching. It’s working. Been using the nipple shield for few days but most of the time he’s bothered with it. Also, it added work for me since I have to wash and sterilize every after use. Imagine how frequent a baby latches to their mom. I am starting to feel more depressed each day. And starting to regret the new chapter of my life.

I want to breastfeed my child. I have to. I need to. I know I have to be more patient and committed to doing so. I want my child to be strong and healthy as I knew the benefits he’ll get out of it.

Every day I pray to God to help me with my struggles. To help me with my breastfeeding journey.
Then, that same day, exactly a month from the day my son was born, like the usual routine, I offered him my boob covered with a nipple shield, he’s latching, then unlatched, then latched again, unlatched, then cry and cry and cry. I too have been crying the whole time. Right then, I said, “alright I am giving up!” while I removed the nipple shield, and offer him just my boob. I’m done. We are using formula milk for good. To my surprised, he latches my boob and keeps nursing without crying. He’s doing it for a while until he gets to sleep. My tears didn’t stop falling because I knew God answered my prayer just right on time. Since then, my little one nurse directly to me. Without anything. Yes, nothing on it. Thank God. Praise God. I have not asked anything special to God since I already feel blessed for everything but this.

And to remind me of my beautiful breastfeeding journey, I had a keepsake of my breast milk in a locket. I can say that I am proud that this liquid gold- breast milk is made of love, tears, and hard work.

My First born – Matthew -Breastfed for almost 3years
My youngest – Gavin -Still breastfeeding and counting

Breastfeeding requires a lot of prayer, patience, effort, and commitment.

You may visit their Facebook page at https://web.facebook.com/PumpedwithLove/

Breast milk is a love turned into food, the most precious gift I can ever give my children.

Written by: Mary Rose D. Asuncion

THE IMPORTANCE OF FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

MONEY SPEAKS ONE LANGUAGE:

” IF YOU SAVE ME TODAY, I’LL SAVE YOU TOMORROW “

I grew up in a very poor family. My mother is a housewife and my father is a fisherman and a farmer. He is so hardworking that he was able to provide food on the table. We have a  piece of land and he planted different kinds of root crops like sweet potatoes, cassava, bananas, corn.. etc…. and during the harvest, we sell it to the villagers.

I really thought we are good, We are living ok, until one day my eldest brother got into an accident. I saw my parents so terrified because they can’t able to bring my brother to the hospital because they have no money. No savings at all. They needed to borrow money from our neighbors for that emergency situation. ( Thanks to my kind-hearted neighbors, I never forget their help! ) But at that very moment, I clearly understand how important savings and emergency funds are. If only my parents have knowledge about finance management then I am sure we are so prepared for that emergency.

Always have this thought, What if no one helped us at that time? What will happen then? The lesson learned here is you cannot take risks when life is at stake. We have to be prepared for any emergency situations in our life. Not all people know how to manage their finances. Why do you think poor people become poorer? And rich people become richer, there is one thing in common in majority of the people today and that is…..

“The lack of knowledge about financial literacy and mismanaging of their finances”

It is important for us to set our financial goals and managing our finances in the right way. Always remember this formula: INCOME – SAVINGS = EXPENSES meaning as soon as you get your salary set aside a portion for your savings before you use the remaining money to pay for your expenses. Here are the steps on how to help you manage your finances:

 7 BASIC STEPS ON HOW TO MANAGE FINANCES

1. ELIMINATE DEBTIf you are the type of person who is fond of using credit cards I’m telling you to be wise in using it.  I am not against credit cards but to some people, they lost control of using it. they Just swipe here swipes there only to find out that they are overspending already.   A credit card can be a good tool only if we know to use it properly. Because if we don’t, better to just cut it off and stop using the card. Also please avoid borrowing money from a friend, from neighbors, from any lending company. Always remember the savings formula above. So won’t mess up your budget plan. 

Eliminate Debt

2. TRACKING EXPENSESWrite down every single peso that you spend. Make a list of your expenses or make a monthly budget plan. That way it is easy for you to track where did your money go. Stick to your budget and live within your means. 

Tracking of Expenses

3. PERSONAL SAVINGS AND INVESTMENTSThis is where you save for your future goals, like if you want to buy a house, buy a car, pay for your children’s education, and for your travel expenses.

Savings

4. BUILD AN EMERGENCY FUNDSave an amount equivalent to your salary for six months. should be enough to cover any emergency situations. Set aside that money and never touch it. I repeat only for emergency purposes. One good example of this is the crisis we are experiencing now. The COVID 19 outbreak. In just a snap too many people have lost their jobs, businesses are shut down, it is now a global crisis. Who would have thought this would come? Indeed it is unpredictable.  It is painful to see people are begging for help, for their food, for their everyday needs to the government just because they are literally out of money.  A situation like this your savings and emergency fund is a big help because you don’t need to wait or beg for help from the government. You can just take out your emergency fund and you’re all good for the next sixth months! No more worries. No more stress. Just sit back and relax!

Emergency Fund

5. SAVE FOR RETIREMENTGetting old is part of life and some of us often forget that. We were too busy working, too busy providing for our family, We tend to forget what kind of life is waiting for us ahead when we get old. We have been working hard all our life. We all deserve to have a comfortable life when we cannot work anymore. Your children are not your retirement fund. Time will come they will have their own family. They will have their own problems. Don’t be a burden to them. Be a responsible parent and start saving for your retirement fund now. 

Retirement Fund

6. TITHESNever forget to share your blessings and give it back by donating a small portion of your salary to your chosen Charities or Church. Be a blessing to others!

7. GET A LIFE INSURANCEGetting life insurance is a must. You may not see the value of it now but in times of health emergencies you can benefit it to cover up your medical expenses without passing the burden to your family member or in times of your sudden loss life insurance will protect your asset and your family. If you are the breadwinner I suggest you get one, we don’t want our loved ones to suffer . Make sure they can still continue to live with their lifestyle even after youre gone. 

Life insurance

Now you’re done reading those helpful tips from me! I hope it helps you manage your finances in the future. Cheers to our brighter future ahead!

WRITTEN BY: ROWENA SERAFIN

Edited By Love

God Perfect Timing is Never Early , Never Late.. It Takes a Little Patience and Whole a Lot of Faith…But its Worth the Wait.. ”

July 2014 when was my flight going to Taiwan for work.. I was just a simple daughter trying to worked overseas to help my family financially and to saved for my future.. Almost 2 years of working there all I is well..I enjoyed my work and exploring Taiwan together with my friends every weekend off. Before I slept to bed it was my routine to open my Facebook account and scroll the news feeds, watch videos, edit videos and photos via Blend Collage apps ..

April 2016, Philippines Election period I really want Pres.D30 won as our Prisedent, I voluntarily edit photos for a group of D30 suppoters,most photos I edit was from other Ofw ,(one way of showing my support) ,Until one message request Bumped to my Inbox and this message change my perspectives of life.. 😄 ..

My edited photo .

“Hi how are you? You’re here in Taiwan too? ” Can u help me to edit my photo? I’m D30 supporter too” This messages starts a perfect conversation..

His edited photo

Were both Ofw from Taiwan but different Cities but both of us were from Mindanao. A simple message request to friend request, until we became friends and Ends to Lovers.. I never planned to have a boyfriend that time but I think it was really Gods will.. After 4 mos of being Boyfriend & Girlfriend he proposed to me ..

He proposed during Anniversary of our Group Mindano Alliance in Taiwan
And I said Y E S… August 14,2016

It was not planned nor included to my plan..Its God’s will in His Perfect Time…

We Sealed our Love dated July 16 2018
With our Best Gift ever.. Our little bundle of joy … Stephen James & Soliel Jhea

Best Things Comes Unexpectedly.. Just enjoy life and Ask Guidance from Above….

BY: Sheryl Sumanting