Monday, March 29, 2010

Pics from Kids Earth Hour at the Fort

I'm currently swamped with work. I'd write more about the Earth Hour last Saturday, but I'd just feel guilty about spending this time blogging. So, instead I'm just sharing this album with you. It's mostly pics of my daughter at the Kids Earth Hour event. It was really fun. Hope there's another one next year. :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

More Egg-citement

Decided to make some more Easter eggs yesterday. That kind of flopped, lol. I don't think they look very good, but they're still hanging from the earring organizer masquerading as an Easter tree. I made a no-bake, potato crust quiche out of the content of those eggs. It was supposed to be a cabbage and sunflower seed quiche, but I forgot all about the sunflower seeds as I was distracted by Survivor Heroes vs. Villains. The quiche was already cooking when I saw the pack of seeds quietly minding its own business in a fridge door rack. Marguerite and I also made paper chains from the dyed paper towels from the first Easter egg project. Our place looks more Easter-ish now, lol.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Berets and Rants

There's the slip stitch beret I've been making for my sister (hey, Chip, it's done) and there's my early morning face with evidences of my early morning allergies. I'm one of those people who wake up with a cold, which gradually clears as the day progresses. That's kind of weird as I'm a morning person. I like waking up early and accomplishing as many things as possible before most people wake up. Anyway, things must have come to a pretty pass if I'm bravely posting pics of my ungroomed face (if anybody cares, I had already brushed my teeth) and unkempt hair (not that there's much difference, really). I just wanted to show off the beret, this mass of knotted brown yarn I'd been painstakingly putting together with my arthritic fingers (I swear I must be at the beginning stage - gotta take care of that, my mom is a cautionary tale, she has a hard time crafting now - pls ignore the shamefully erroneous punctuations). I wanted to finish the beret before the Holy Week as Chip intended to use it during our church camp in Tagaytay. Now, because of incompetence, greed, and other horrible qualities, we now have to scramble for a new camp venue.
If I may just vent a little...
Since last year, my dad has been in talks with the management of this campsite in Tagaytay. I think the first time he went there, he was told that the place was already taken for the dates we wanted, but when he followed it up, he was told that the group that was supposed to rent it was no longer pushing through since they had already built their own campsite. Good for us. The next time my dad went there, he already gave them a down payment for which they issued him a receipt. That was early this year. Our camp starts on Wednesday next week. Tuesday this week, Dad went to the venue to check on the facilities again, make sure things are ready for the camp. It was to my dad's shock and immense dismay that he was told that they had already given the place to another bigger group, which is three times our size. Ding, ding, ding - that is supposed to be a cross between an alarm and the sound of a cash register. :( Bad enough that they reneged on their transaction with my dad, they had the NERVE to pass the blame on to my dad... allegedly they couldn't contact my dad, allegedly my dad didn't go back to confirm... Could we just point out that the transaction was done? They issued no conditions, nothing about returning in a month's time to finalize or something like that.  Nothing, zilch, nada... There's a receipt from them supporting this. The amount was not a reservation fee. It was for the down payment! But, wait, the plot thickens! They then altered their story. Oh, it's not actually about the lack of confirmation. It's just that they had overlooked the earlier reservation of this bigger group. Ridiculous! That reservation was scribbled on some scrap paper while our church's name was officially marking the pertinent dates on their official calendar. And, come ONnnnn. Overlook a reservation for that much business? Who'd believe that? Why couldn't they just admit that they were blinded by the promise of a bigger revenue from that bigger group, that it was just too good to pass up, so they had to sacrifice us, the smaller group apparently of no consequence? I mean, that would be understandable. It's not like they're this Christian mission-related campsite and not just a business venture through and through... Oh, hang on. Right. They are in fact a Christian campsite run by pastors. Oh hey wait, did I forget to mention that the perpetrators of this wrongdoing are ordained pastors? Infuriating and saddening at the same time, no? My dad doesn't know I'm blogging about this. He wouldn't approve. As far as he's concerned, God will take care of things. That's true, of course, but I need to let this out. I know there's a part (or several) of the fruit of the Spirit that's not at work in me right now, but I felt so sorry for my 63-year-old father who traveled all the way to Tagaytay from Marikina just for some reconnaissance of sorts only to receive this, believe it or not, heartbreaking news. And no, those pastors haven't returned the down payment yet. Why should they? Forget the fact that they're a Christian mission campsite. Any respectable, religious or otherwise, business wouldn't have pulled what this group had pulled on us. If they're capable of baling on a legitimate, supposedly binding transaction, they're probably not above pocketing an amount, meager though it may be, that no longer belongs to them. That group of professing Christians, pastors at that, wronged us. They essentially broke their word to my father and then tried to make him appear as the one in error (they can insist as much as they want about their idea of confirmation, it wouldn't make their justification valid), they belittled our church, and they intended (if they consciously reneged on the done deal, then it was intentional) to derail God's activity. I hope they realize what they had done and repent accordingly.
Rant over.
As to the new venue, we're still looking for one. God will provide.

Waste Not

The concept of alternative energy or renewable energy has always been appealing to me. I've often dreamed of living off of solar panels or wind turbines and producing as little waste as possible. I'm sure we all try to do what we can to be more eco-friendly, but it would be awesome if the initiative would also be taken up by companies and governments. Something like the clean coal technologies of N-Viro International Corporation can help in a great way. Their patented processes, which use lime and/or mineral-rich combustion products, ultimately turn waste into something useful again. Endorsed by Robertson Stephens, Raymond James, Oppenheimer & Co., and Paine Webber, the technologies have been offered to the public since 1993.
If we can't totally eradicate the production of wastewater sludge and other bio-organic wastes, at least we can convert this waste into opportunity fuels, such as biomineral agricultural and soil-enrichment products with real market value. You can learn more about this at

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Egg-cited for Easter

I felt like I had eggs leaking out of my ears, but in reality it was just four eggs. I think I experienced what it's like to be a chick hatching out of an egg, but in an inverse way.
I finally got around to presenting the Easter decor project and Marguerite enthusiastically agreed (Marguerite's thoughts: That sounds messy! That's messy, right? I'm for it! WITH BELLS ON!). It consisted of blowing out eggs (I used a big needle and a straw). Since I'm not about to waste perfectly good eggs, we made blueberry pancakes with one (my Dad gave us a jar of unsugared blueberry preserve and we've been trying to figure out how to use it - so far, I've used it in pancakes - I get Marguerite to mix a dollop of it with a dollop of honey and then mix the concoction with pancake batter... Any other ideas for use of unsugared blueberry preserves?) and a Spanish tortilla with the other three. We finished cooking the pancakes first. We were going to freeze all of them for breakfast the following morning, but Marguerite started eating one, so I had one too, lol. Four more for this morning though. To keep Marguerite busy while I was chopping potatoes, onions, garlic, and tomato, I had her pluck malunggay (moringa) leaves and collect them in a cup. 

With the cooking out of the way, Marguerite and I started the marble eggs project. That was messy and fun. From that, we accidentally discovered a side project - faux tie-dyed (no tying done) paper towels. They look pretty, so we'll use them for Easter decor too. We'll probably make more today, but a slightly different one. So, more egg dishes coming up, lol.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Call Marguerite for Impromptu Parties

I haven't been in the mood to blog lately. I was reading this book, crocheting this beret, bonding with my daughter... I guess I wanted time off the online world. That's not to say I didn't go online at all. I checked my mail, read news, researched a couple of things... 
Anyway, what I had lined up for yesterday was an Easter décor project that would eventually lead to the creation of a fritata or tortilla española (dinner essentially), but I made the "mistake" of asking Marguerite what she wanted to do inside (I also make this "mistake" before going outside the apartment, lol - okay, I don't really think it's a mistake, but it could be asking for trouble, you know). She usually answers "play Sunday school/house/office" or paint/draw/color/collage. I had ideas on how to segue from her idea to my plan, but yesterday she answered with "have a party". She liked our little St. Paddy's "party" and wanted to do it again. So we made a list of things we'd include in the party. We used her two-sided drawing board to make a sign that said "Ivy and Marguerite's Party" (It was supposed to say "Ivy and Marguerite's Silly Party for Two", but that was too long, lol). She picked her dress (a too short one from when she was just two years old), the nearest tiara on the floor (cue in wry laughter from me), her shades (also from the floor), and the extra tube from her hula hoop (don't ask me). I got out my too long yellow shift dress and Marguerite's hula flower crown thingy (which made me sweat like a pig). We made a cheese sandwich and a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich and cut them into squares and triangles. I got out the flopped dessert mints and heart-shaped sugar lumps (from last Christmas! couldn't throw them out, lol) from the freezer. Marguerite got out sunflower seeds, peanuts, and raisins. I made a pitcher of spiced tea (that was all sugar, so Marguerite got an orange-carrot juice instead) and we had our "party". Marguerite still had river dance on the brain so even though it was no longer appropriate, that was our music and dance activity for the party (which later turned into songs from Annie - I have no idea what inspired the transition). As usual, I was the ever enthusiastic audience (audience participation is a given, of course). I thought that was fun. Marguerite's ideas usually do seem to be more fun than mine.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

This Is How We Jell

Yesterday we made jello. Except it's not really Jell-O, it's Nutrijell. Marguerite likes fruit gels, but I'm not too comfortable with the idea of giving her food products that are probably mostly white sugar. When shopping for this, we just inspect the nutritional content in the package and go for that which has the most number of nutrients listed. We used to buy a bag of this kiddie gelatin packed in individual small cups because it had several vitamins, selenium, and I forget what else in it (and no, I didn't let Marguerite suck the gelatin from the cup. I always popped a couple into a bowl and then cut them up into safer sizes), but I didn't feel right about that because of the individual plastic packaging, the artificially bright color, the fact that it's all sugar, etc. Anyway, I've used Nutrijell before but they're kind of hard to find around here. Husband found some the last time he went to the store and bought several. If I'm going to give commercial gelatin to Marguerite at all, this brand would be my preference. It is made of seaweed and konjac. It doesn't have preservatives and has been fortified with vitamins, calcium, and prebiotics. In preparing it, you get to add the sugar or sweetening alternative yourself, so you can control the amount or presence of sugar in it. I also like that you have to make it as opposed to just getting it ready-to-eat. Yesterday, Marguerite and I made a batch from one sachet. We made the first one plain. We added milk to the second one and banana chunks to the third. It's pretty good if you're not looking for the sweetness of the usual commercial brand. I have to note though that it does have artificial flavor and color (studies show risk of promoting hyperactivity in children). It's okay as a sometimes food in my household, especially if the process of making it is part of our homeschool session. And here is Marguerite eating her creation.

I don't know what inspired her to wear this ensemble. It makes me think of a superhero, but I know she hasn't been introduced to the concept. The wrist band she actually made me put on her arm before she even donned the bathing suit. She found a strip of yellow art paper (leftover from our paper chains) and made me glue it to form a sort of bangle on her wrist. She changed into the bathing suit for our dance session and added the hairband (Thanks, Lalab!) later on. I guess it's just a cowinkydink, but I've gotten it in my mind now to make a cape for her, lol.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Organic Stuff I Can Afford

My SILs along with my niece and baby nephew came over the other day to visit us. It was really fun. We mainly shot the breeze, but just sitting around and watching the baby was already plenty entertaining anyway, lol. Christine told us about her new venture. Right now she's selling organic beauty and hygiene products. I was so glad to learn about them since I do prefer to use organic if only they weren't so goshdarn expensive. Human Heart Nature products are so much cheaper than the usual organic products. They're locally made so that alone does away with the added cost of importation. Christine gave me five samples - night and day moisturizers, body butter, body scrub, and hand/foot salve. She also gave Marguerite a bottle of kid shampoo and body wash (which smells deliciously of watermelon, btw). I wish they had been around when I was pregnant with Marguerite. I was really paranoid about the beauty products I was using then. I'm really interested in the kiddie products as well as their hand sanitizers and bug spray (DEET-free). I might get a lip balm for Marguerite too since she's always at me (her Nannie, Aunt Chip... whoever she can bug about it) to put lipstick on her. If you want to know more about this, I'll just direct you to Christine. :)

Writing and Finding Articles

I love creative writing. More than anything else, I love writing feel-good stories. Right now, I’m trying to get down and write a fantasy love story. It’s not a genre I’m familiar with, but there’s a submission callout for it, so I thought I’d give it a go anyway. Mostly, I write articles. I don’t mind doing that. It’s particularly enjoyable when I write about something that I’m interested in. Of late, I’ve been fortunate enough to have had gotten assignments on home décor, classroom management, blogging, and parenting. In the past, I’ve had to write car reviews (ironic since I don’t even drive), articles on prostate health (even more ironic), the oil industry, the stock market, etc. It’s a worthwhile activity anyway. I earn and learn. To keep the balance though, I also write articles on topics I want to write about and submit them to an article directory. It’s a refreshing change from all the writing assignments. Not only do I get to write about matters that are relevant to me, I also get to use my byline if I so choose. I rarely get to do that with the online assignments I get. Incidentally, I also consult article directories when I do research on topics I have to write about. That's a pretty fair exchange, isn't it?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This Homeschool Session Was Brought to You by the Color Green

So this is how we celebrated St. Patrick's Day in our home school. We wore green (Marguerite's also wearing the new green ring from Tita Christine). Marguerite and I made a sign (she colored the shamrocks) and a shamrock button (Marguerite smeared it with sparkly green glue, but you can't see it in the pictures I took with my phone, go figure, lol).

We also made Colcannon (we used cabbage, M helped with the potato mashing and the pepper grinding).

We watched some river dancing and tried to copy, but, uh, I found myself too heavy. Marguerite got a kick out of it though. She was getting wild at that time though, so close to nap time. I tried telling her about Finn McCool, but she kept confusing the story with Glee, so I gave up. Come to think of it, both Finns are giants, lol.

This Pen's a Keeper

I’ve mentioned before that I love to write, meaning both composition and the act of putting pen to paper. I have a notebook fetish and like to collect them. I do write on them so they don’t go to waste at all. The main problem is the accumulation part. Naturally, I just store all of my old notebooks, to the point where non-packrats start to tear their hair out at what they perceive to be pure clutter. Those notebooks have come in handy time and again though. I know I can look up dates, events, and other information by consulting them. They gather dust bunnies and years later, I retrieve them and feel all nostalgic reading the stuff I’d written before. As for writing implements, pens are important too of course. Don’t worry. I don’t store old pens. Even to me, that’s just going too far. Once they run out of ink, I throw them out. It’s not very eco-friendly though, so I want to get something that I can refill and use for a long, long time. Pens are notoriously transient though. Somebody can take off with my favorite pen and I practically have no claim on it. However, if I get personalized pens, then those pen pinchers can’t pretend to just have the exact same pen. I probably wouldn’t want to discard something that has my name or personal emblem on it either. Even if it does run out of ink, I’ll still store it as a keepsake. :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Toes Are Ready For St. Patrick's

We don't really observe St. Patrick's Day here in the Philippines (I don't think the Irish cared to migrate here, lol - unless there's a local Irish community here I don't know about; if so, let me know), but since we're curious homeschoolers, we'll ignore that and celebrate as much as we can anyway. Today, Marguerite and I are wearing green (thankfully, my toenails are already green), doing a shamrock art project (maybe a kind of brooch/button), preparing something Irish-ish for lunch (maybe a version of Colcannon or some other Irish potato dish - obviously we already have potatoes), learning an Irish song or folklore (maybe that one about Finn McCool - Gleek! - I don't think Marguerite is up to St. Patrick's story yet, but I'll explain what I can and if it sinks in, good; if it doesn't, no worries either.), and learning to say "Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig". If my sister were here, we'd probably try to speak with an Irish accent (we've always been crazy about accents, it's obnoxious, lol)... and then I'd probably listen to "Galway Girl" over and over again (because I really like it and Saint Patrick's Day is a good - well, an excuse anyway - to indulge, lol). I'd say that's a good way to celebrate even without a pint of Guinness. :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pics from the Weekend

Too busy doing Waldorfish stuff with Marguerite, so it's just pics today. These are from the weekend: the birthday party of Ram, the son of friends and churchmates; and the picnic fellowship of our church's 30-something group (naturally, it didn't start until after Pacquiao's victory against Clottey, hee). Fun days. Looking forward to the summer activities our church has lined up.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nothing Like a Jane Doe to Lure Me in

I love a good mystery. I followed almost everything on the Crime and Suspense channel (Listen, Solar. I want it back. Or if you did something like put the shows in another channel, like the crime investigation one - is that even yours? - please let me know somehow because I remain unenlightened). I followed even the rather obscure shows (I don't know how popular they are in the States, but I base my judgment on whether my pop-inclined sister cottoned to them) - Close to Home, Women's Murder Club, Crossing Jordan... For a time, I was even watching Dominick Dunne. I just avoid Law & Order SVU because it really messes me up. Anyway, you get the idea. I'm the same with novels. Shhhhsh, keep it quiet, but I confess to still collecting those vintage Bobsey Twins and reading them. Anyway, my favorite contemporary mystery writer (man or woman) is Sue Grafton. I've been collecting her alphabet mysteries and recently acquired the Q one. I actually got copies of R and S before I got hold of it. As expected, I loved the story. As usual, it was masterfully written. This is not a review (mostly because I don't know how to write one and I'm such a flake I'm usually self-conscious about my opinions since they are usually very lonely creatures, lol... that's actually a lie. I'm always mouthing off like an unstoppable moron... h-anywayz), just a vague rambling about something that fascinated me. I almost missed the author's note at the back, but there Sue (I can't call her Grafton) explained about what inspired her to write the story. The novel was actually based on a real life Jane Doe found in Santa Barbara in 1969. Up to the publication of the book in 2002, the victim (also the killer) remained unidentified. The body of this Jane Doe was actually exhumed and with the technology present now, forensic artist Betty Gatliff was able to reconstruct her face. The book included pictures of the reconstruction with an appeal to anybody who recognized the face to get in touch with the Sheriff's Department of Santa Barbara. Naturally, I was curious about the progress the case had made in the last 8 years, so I googled it and learned that Jane Doe remains unidentified (Why couldn't it be like in fiction? Kinsey Millhone found out the identities of the victim and her killer within weeks of taking on the case!). I do hope the case can be solved even after all these years. I know it's possible. Kathryn Morris does it all the time on Cold Case. :D

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Children's Books to Pass on to My Daughter

There are so many books that I'm so eager for my daughter to read. These are books that I enjoyed as a child and I want to see if they would spin their magic around Marguerite as they had with me. There were many books that filled me with such joy that they had me literally squealing and hugging them to my chest afterward. I love children's literature. In fact, I continued collecting them into adulthood. If you ask me who my favorite writers are, authors of children's books and young adult fiction would dominate the list. Elizabeth Enright, E.L. Konigsburg, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Cynthia Voigt, Betsy Byars, Sharon Creech... Obviously, I can go on and on about this. Anyway, one of the books that I'd love for Marguerite to read is "The Secret Garden". I'm sure most of us got to read the book as children. Most of us probably pretended to be Mary, Dickon, and Colin as we played in the dirt. When I was older (high school? college?), a local TV station started airing an animated series of the novel in Tagalog (they also did it to "Little Lord Fauntleroy", "The Little Pricess", "Heidi", "Daddy-Long-Legs", "A Dog of Flanders", etc.), but I wasn't interested in it at all. So many of the important elements would have been lost. Like how do you talk Yorkshire in Filipino? Anyway, during my recent stay at my parents' house, I found the book in the picture above in the bookcase inside my old room. Fresh from the dinner on KIDS EARTH HOUR ("Save Energy Indoors. Use Your Energy Outdoors."), the book appealed to me, so I took it down and reread it. It's no surprise that I still love it. This copy is actually a newish one. The copyright said 1999. My sister has the older copy in her bookcase. I haven't been to England yet, but I'd love to experience the moors in spring and summer as they were described by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Of course, since then I've also read the Brontës and the "wuthering" image has been impressed strongly in my mind. It doesn't matter. The following words also stick with me: "It's fair lovely in spring an' summer when th' gorse an' broom an' heather's in flower. It smells o' honey an' there's such a lot o' fresh air--an' th' sky looks so high an' th' bees an' skylarks makes such a nice noise hummin' an' singin'."
Sigh.The magic one experiences in reading, anybody's childhood is the richer for it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Of Keyboard Killers and Ant Thugs

You may be going, what on earth is that a picture of? Nothing so mysterious, just a new keyboard that I haven't taken out of its plastic case just yet. This would make our third keyboard in six months and I'm not taking any chances. Remember the episode with the oatmeal and the gazillion rubber cups that almost made me pop a vein? That happened in October. Husband immediately got me a replacement and it lasted until a couple of days ago when Marguerite spilled some cranberry juice on it. As you know, we're held hostage by several colonies of ants who are such thugs, they've dragooned us into meek submission to their presence here (I kid you not. The wretched creatures are INDESTRUCTIBLE! And the tiny ones are the worst! They're scrappy, but completely not in an endearing manner... Effectively, they'll completely drive us away in May, a mutual "good riddance" issuing from both camps). Anyway, with the current heat and the allure of cranberry sticky sweetness, they've set up residence under the keys of the keyboard, which led to said keyboard's retirement, which then leads us to the plastic covered third keyboard. I know it's silly, like one of those nouveau riche caricatures with expensive gaudy furniture that are forever to remain wrapped in plastic. Chances are, things will get spilled again and the tacky plastic case will be the new keyboard's savior. Anyway, I can type fine. I do end up accidentally pressing two keys every so often, but it's not like it's a typewriter with no "backspace" and "delete" keys. Don't get me wrong. I love typewriters. As convenient as computers are, my imagination still clings to that childhood daydream of my grown-up self, an eccentric writer in Greenwich Village, pounding away at a typewriter in the wee hours of the morning. Here's my grown-up reality: I live in Metro Manila, I'm dependent on the computer, and working in the wee hours of the morning has lost all its romance.
Okay, I'm off to be perky for the rest of the day. Starting now!  !!! :D

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Psalty on MP3

The other day I came across Matthew 16:24 (Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”) and this song from Kids Praise Vol. 2 came to mind. That got me thinking about Kids Praise in general and whether church kids these days still know Psalty the big blue book. I don’t mean to go on and on about the ‘80s, but Kids Praise was from that era. I think my sister and I must have gotten to the third album (Psalty was already married to Psaltina and they had 3 little booklets: Melody, Harmony and Rhythm) before we moved on to “grown-up” Christian songs like Sandi Patti and Amy Grant. Anyway, Chip and I can probably still sing (and recite; there were dialogs) the Kids Praise albums even though we haven’t listened to them for about twenty years. Even if we were able to store the cassette tapes, they would have been damaged in the  flood that devastated my hometown last year. I plan to haunt an MP3 Search Engine until I find those old Kids Praise songs. While it would have been neat to still have the cassette tapes, they would really just be for collection at this point. It’s just not practical to listen to them regularly because for starters, you wouldn’t want to ruin something that’s on its way to becoming truly vintage. Do you remember how careful you had to be to listen to tapes? No matter how much you wanted to rewind, you resisted the urge because constant rewinding would muck up the tape and before you knew it, you would be pulling out lengths of tape, attempting to fix it yourself, which naturally just spelled doom for the record. Those were the days. I think of the MP3 players and iPods that we have now and reluctantly register that it has, in fact, been more than twenty years. Of course, back then, parents looked at the tapes and felt the same nostalgia for vinyls.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Kids Earth Hour 2010

 I thought I'd start with the invitation outright before I get distracted and drone on and on with mere digressions. I just want to remind everybody that the Earth Hour this year is on March 27 (last Saturday of the month). Basically, to observe this, you turn off power in your home for an hour from 8:30pm to 9:30pm. Last year, the Philippines was the number 1 participant in the event with more than 15 million Filipinos in 650 towns and cities taking part in the hour-long affair. In the process, the Philippines saved more than 611 Megawatt-hours. According to the WWF, this is equivalent to shutting down a dozen coal-fired power plants for 60 minutes. This year, in conjunction with the general Earth Hour, the World Wide Fund (WWF) and Mead Johnson are collaborating to initiate the Kids Earth Hour, which not only promotes the concept of energy conservation, but also stresses on the importance of outdoor play for children. The correlation is explained in the Kids Earth Hour catchphrase, "Save Energy Indoors. Use Your Energy Outdoors." To celebrate the first ever Kids Earth Hour, the WWF and Mead Johnson are hosting three simultaneous events FREE OF CHARGE at the following venues:

SM Mall of Asia, San Miguel by the Bay
Bonficaio High Street

All three events start at 6pm and last 3 and a half hours. From 6pm to 8:30pm, the kids can enjoy various fun activities such as wall climbing, stilt walking, hopscotch, trampoline, human parachute, hopball, etc. There's something for both the little kids and the older kids. Parents can rest assured that they'll find a variety of age-appropriate activities for their children to participate in. They'll also get to meet the Kids Earth Hour Mascot, PLUGGY. I think he's part socket, part plug, and he's very friendly, lol. Anyway, there'll be a countdown towards the actual Earth Hour and then when the lights go out, the kids can have fun with their glow sticks (the kids get them free) and then settle down to watch a shadow play. It's loads of fun and toward such a great cause. It's a great idea to have your kids supporting this advocacy as young as they are. Hopefully, energy conservation will be a lifelong habit for them. Again, the events are absolutely FREE. You don't need an invite although there are invitations going around. Just show up at the venue at 6pm and register.

This is an awesome idea that parents everywhere can introduce to their kids. For those who live outside of Metro Manila, they can simply take the initiative to plan fun outdoor activities to coincide with the Earth Hour. Those who love festivities can organize block or street parties, the unplugged kind, of course. I remember back in the '80s, anytime the power was interrupted at night, the kids on our street would all troop out of their houses for a game of capture the flag or hide and seek. If it was a spooky night, we would gather around and tell scary stories. Being unplugged can bring on some old school fun.:)

Of course, outdoor play should be pushed beyond the Kids Earth Hour. It's simply healthier for kids to be outside moving and to be closer to nature at the same time. I live in a building and I believe going outside our apartment still makes us closer to nature even if we don't have a garden or a typical natural setting to speak of. My daughter and I can still encounter bugs, weeds sprouting from cracks in the concrete (okay, this is beginning to sound pathetic, lol), funny-shaped clouds, beautiful sunsets, etc. Of course, it's better if we were surrounded by lush wild greenery, but since we're not, we just need to be more creative and persistent in our quest for exposure to nature. For those who are also interested in getting their kids to enjoy outdoor play more, you can get many ideas from sites such as SouleMama (check out the comments as well) and books such as "I Love Dirt" by Jennifer Ward.

I'm the kind of parent who believes in raising kids as unplugged as possible. I don't think TV is evil, but I'll be happy to do without it. Right now, while I've been able to minimize my daughter's viewing, I, on the other hand, do watch too much of it. I think, ideally, we could have a TV with no reception and just hooked up to the DVD. I don't want video games in my home. I think they're too addictive, unsociable, and plain unnecessary. I don't mind if my child played them at a friend's house. It will just be a friend's toy she gets to experience as well, but I personally don't want one here and I'm not spending money toward acquiring one. Having said that, I think educational computer games are fine in moderation. The internet is also fine in moderation. As for toys, I prefer ones that don't necessitate the use of batteries. Old school toys such as blocks, puppets, dollhouses, etc. just strike me as better at stimulating creativity and imagination. I'm not saying my way is better than the next parent's, but this is my personal conviction and one which I think will support the values we want to instill. How did I get to talking about this? Anyway, my original point was supposed to be I believe in outdoor play, hence when I got an invitation to attend a dinner/discussion about the Kids Earth Hour, I accepted it without a second thought.

To learn more about the Kids Earth Hour, you can visit the following sites:
Kids Earth Hour Facebook

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Very Brief Hiatus

I've been here over at my parents since Thursday night. Won't be back at home until Sunday evening. Probably won't get back in the blogging swing until Monday morning. Until then. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Collage Homeschool Project

We're forever working on art projects around here. Yesterday, we went beyond the usual paint, crayons, and markers and did some mixed media collage. I included here a picture of the other day's art project which was string painting. Oh wait, that picture is of the project that followed the string painting one - painting with cotton buds. That was pretty wasteful, in my opinion, but I went to the bathroom for a few minutes and when I got back, Marguerite had already used up several Qtips. Painting as usual got a little hairy.
I thought the collage would be messier, but it wasn't.
And yeah, Marguerite insists on wearing bathing suits everyday. With the weather getting really crazy hot (it's not even officially summer yet), Marguerite and I don't go out until later, when it no longer feels like we're baking. Outside, Marguerite plays a lot of hopscotch (or hopstocks, as Marguerite calls it sometimes - meaning she and her friends just hop around like bunnies). I taught her the Laverne and Shirley hopscotch chant (Schlemiel, Schlimazel, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated... sp?), which she learned, but she prefers the chants that she invented herself. Some sound just as Yiddish/German, lol, although I think one was about fruits as she was going orange, apple, grape, trossberry (strawberry)... I play too and so far, I learned that hopping is not as easy when you're older and fatter. Anyway, the hula hoop is also a hit around here and Marguerite does the cutest version of playing with it. I'll try to capture that in video... I'm feeling a little listless on account of a couple of things, but hey, I must forge on.
The layout of this post is crazy because... I could say it's a reflection of my mood, but who'd buy that. I just don't know how the spacing of this thing works. :(