Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Raising Money-Smart Children

Just recently, Daddy Bry and I attended another parenting seminar offered by Ben's school.  The topic is about how to raise your kids so they'll be smart about money.  It took quite an effort for us to fix our schedules to make it but we weren't disappointed.  Here are the highlights:

(1) Start Early
Toddlers can be taught about money by teaching them to save in a piggy bank and about spending by not always saying yes every time he sees something he likes at a toy store.  Teaching them how to be smart about how to deal with a small amount of money at an early age will enable him to take on more financial responsibilities in the future.  It's also a fun way to learn math.

(2) Be consistent and concrete
Kids like routine and tangible stuff.  It's easier for them to learn about money by seeing cash on hand than a credit or passbook.  If you want them to save for a specific object, why not put a photo of that item on his piggy bank or money jar?  If you do agree that he can buy a certain toy if he saves enough money for it, keep your word (no matter how outdated the toy may be by the time he's able to buy it)

(3) Allowances should be more than enough
This is applicable most especially for kids going to school.  An allowance is an allowance if there is a little something left for them to save or spend as they please.  If you only give exactly enough for their meals, they lose the opportunity to learn how to save and spend for their weekend activities, etc

(4) Spend, Save and Share
How about setting aside a jar for leisure spending, another one for savings and another one for sharing (like donations to church, etc).  How you divide the funds is up to you.  The important thing is to train your child that he doesn't need to spend all his money on one single thing right away.

(5) Involve the whole family
Once your child is old enough, why not involve him in deciding purchases that you make in the household?    The speaker shared about a family who would take turns treating each other even if it's just a scoop of ice cream.  Adults who are wise spenders grew up from families who are honest and open with each other about money.  Oh, and get the grandparents involved, too! Let them know how you intend to discipline your kids when it comes to spending but at the same time give them some opportunity to spoil your kids once in a while.

Something to think about:  It is challenge to find a good place to invest your money but keep in mind that your goal is at least to put it in a place where it grows at an interest rate of at least 5% (to fight off the inflation).  There are a lot of options out there, from conservative to the risky ones.  Lets all do some research and be informed :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

On Managing the Household

Since I am in the process of (hopefully) resolving another helper crisis .. here are my thoughts :)

I was brought up with the mindset that when it comes to helpers you should treat them the best you could.  The general rule is having someone to help you around the house is better than none.  One of my most vivid childhood memories was my dad getting mad at me for not washing my own dishes to help out our lone helper at home.  I remember crying while I was washing my dishes while the new maid tried to help me out of pity.

My mom, on the other hand, was the stricter one.  She never raised her voice but didn't hestitate to tell our helpers if they didn't follow her instructions correctly.  She knew how she wants things done at home and wouldn't settle for anything less.  Bry would always tell me that if we need our helpers trained, mama was the best person for the job.  I honestly think it was my dad who was more afraid to end up having no help at the house than she was.  My mom was able to handle things during those times we didn't have outside help.   In fairness to my dad, though, he does pull his weight during those instances even if he was tired from working at the office.

Fast forward several years later,  I am running my own household.  I think I'm learning to strike a balance between how my parents handle things.  In our close to four years of marriage, I can say that handling helpers' woes is one of the things that made Bry and I stronger and wiser as a couple.  We still have a long way to go but we've learned ..
if only doing the chores were this easy .. :)

BE FAIR - Apply your rules to all of your helpers from the yaya, to the cook, to the one who cleans.  I only have a yaya and an all-around helper but they'd compare themselves with each other even with the slightest of things.

KNOW YOUR NON-NEGOTIABLEs - Hurting Ben, Stealing, Leaving without permission are a definite no-no for us.

DO NOT BE ATTACHED - When we first got married, I was attached to our helper in a way that I took it personally if they don't come home after their day off  without any news and I'd try to talk them out of leaving.  I now realize that it's just really a job for them so there's no point in trying to make them stay if they want to go.  You treat them the best you could but move on if they leave

BE THANKFUL - I've heard of so many horror stories about helpers that whenever I'm faces with a crisis, I just tell myself that things could be worse.  There'll always be a better and a worse situation so just look at your healthy family, count your blessings and trust that things will eventually work out.

THAT NEWS AND RUMORS TRAVEL FAST - Blame it on Unli-Text, Unli-Call .. my helpers usually know what's going on with my mom's helpers even before my mom finds out what's going on ... and believe me, even if two helpers doesn't seem to get along, chances are they still have each others number.  Don't bother asking them to keep secrets from each other even for a day!

Ultimately, it's only you who can decide if your helpers are more of a help than a headache.   I wish everyone the best of luck :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mommy and Ben loves Crayola Washable Kids' Paint

Just a short post to share that Ben and I enjoyed painting with Crayola's washable kids' paint last weekend. I bought this a few months ago.  The first time he tried it, he only painted a few strokes and was more interested in other toys.  He recently saw the paint set again and I was glad that he was the one who said he wanted to use them.  I think the art activities at school really helped Ben become more interested in painting.  It lets him learn colors, too :)

What I love about this type of paint is that it's easily washable.  We were so messy but it didn't take much effort to clean up.  I washed his clothes myself and was quite happy that I wasn't so stressed about taking out the stains.  (sorry, no before and after photos of the clothes.  I was busy making sure he didn't use up all the paint, hehe)

Anyway, so if you're looking for an idea what to do with your little one at home, why not try out painting?  You can even get an easel or a sketch book.  Have fun!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mommy Review: Ace Water Spa Pasig

Two weeks ago,  Ben and I were invited to Coach Angelo Lozada's Baby and Me demo class at Ace Water Spa in Pasig.  I was quite excited since I've always been curious about the place.  Allow me to share with you our experience.

There was ample parking and the guard was quite polite and accomodating.  The pool area is quite big.  There's a big lap pool and several small pools.   The small heated pools even have fountains and windmills. Cute, enticing, but do take note that they only allow kids in the small pool with the slide (which Ben liked a lot!).  The  lifeguard on duty is quite alert and friendly, especially to the kids. Oh, and they require everyone to wear  the swimming caps they lend you (for sanitary purposes, I suppose) so take note of that in case you want to bring your own.

It's a long walk towards the locker room and even a longer walk from the locker room to the pool area.  It shouldn't be a big deal but the attendants make you shower before leaving the locker room.  They probably mean well, but the long walk towards the pool can be quite chilly if you have already showered.  Also, if you are attending a child's swimming class, Coach Angelo recommends that you wait for the actual class to start before going down the pool so the kids don't use up their energy right away.  This is another reason why it may not be wise to let the kids shower before leaving the locker room.  If they're a little early for their class, they'll just end up feeling cold staying by the poolside.  Then there's this rule about not being allowed to wear a towel while sitting by the pool.  During our time there, I was so concerned about Ben feeling cold while we wait for our turn to swim that I wanted to wrap him with a towel but rules are you have to leave them by the rack.  I wonder what's behind that rule.

Okay, so back to the locker room, there was ample space, a dryer and a some toiletrees.  No complaints about that.  But I do wish that their dressing and shower rooms have actual doors than curtains.  Yes, they do the trick most of the time, but still, actual doors could give the users more privacy.

Now, on a final note, what I really hope that the place improves on is consistency with their rules. For example, the attendants of the locker room say they don't allow board shorts on the pool but there were some who got away with wearing them.  Maybe they should rethink that rule.  I mean, how about men who don't what to wear swimming trunks or spandex shorts to the pool?  Also, the attendants said they don't allow yayas beyond the locker room, but there were a couple that were able to go close to the pool area.  What's up with that?

My verdict is that the place can improve on making itself child and mommy friendly.  And honestly, I was glad we were able to try out the place for free because to spend around P500 per person to swim, I expected more :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sharing my favorite breastfeeding advice

"Welcome to the Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (February). For this month, we focus on back to basics. Participants will share advices - either the best breastfeeding advice they received OR/AND the best breastfeeding advice they can give to new moms.  Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries."

I've received and given quite a number of breastfeeding advice over the past two years.  For this month's Milk Mama Diaries Carnival, allow me to share with you my two favorites ones


Ben and I @ Day 1: a 6 pound boy that makes mommy panic all the time!

When Ben was a newborn, he cried a lot!!! He was basically crying if he wasn't being fed or asleep.  The only break I had was to go to the bathroom.  That was how things were the first time I met Maricel of Medela Mom who told me that she went through the same thing and that she was only able to somehow enjoy breastfeeding after doing it for 3 months.  It comforted me that I wasn't the one with the breastfeeding blues and true enough, things did get a little better after a couple of months.


2 years later: 24 lbs heavier, a little wiser :)

For me, there is nothing that can motivate a mom to breastfeed that being aware of it's benefits.  Also, know how your body works when it comes to producing milk so you don't feel so anxious about your supply.  Being informed also means busting breastfeeding myths (like breastfeeding after 1 year is not beneficial or that breastfed children don't ever get sick).  I wouldn't be breastfeeding until now if I'm not part of a network of moms who share breastfeeding resources to validate our choice.

Read what my fellow mommy bloggers have to say and share your own stories, too!

The Articulate Pen's Breastfeeding needs Patience
Diapers and Stethoscope's Back to Basic
Ms. Masungit's From One Mom To Another
The Odyssey of Dinna's Breastfeeding Words of Wisdom
I Am Clarice's Paying it Forward
Planet Marsy's Better Than None
Mommy {T} Coach's Saved by the Nursing Mommas
Adventures on Planet Mom's Stubborn Me! Sure Glad I didn't give up
Starting at Twenty-Five's My Husband's Best Breastfeeding Advice
Mec as Mom's Enough is Enough
Chronicles of a Nursing Mom's On Breastfeeding Number Two - Redux

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ben's first stint as a ring/coin bearer :)

It was a big day for Ben last Saturday :) He was the ring and coin bearer for a very good friend of mine, Steph.  Steph is one of my very best girl friends back when I was still doing SAP work.  She's was there for me when I was "finding myself" during my Accenture days (enough said, haha!)  I'm quite glad and honored that it was on her wedding than Ben made his debut.

Bry, Yaya and I were quite nervous for him.  Days before the big day, we were already thinking of scenarios like what if he suddenly starts throwing the pillow around or sings the ABC (or worse!).  When we arrived at the church, he'd only hold the pillow for a few seconds then drop in on the floor.  We already decided that Bry will walk with Ben.  When the moment arrived, this is what happened

No fuss, no crying, no shouting.  Just straightforward walking! When I asked Bry what he told Ben, he said he just told Ben to go and give the pillow to Carlo (the groom) who was waiting in front of the altar.  My hands were shaking the whole time because I actually couldn't believe it.  Not only that, he was quite behaved the whole time.  He posed for the cameras then ate properly and danced during the reception.

Whenever Bry and I feel  overwhelmed with Ben's kakulitan, we will always look back on this day with fondness and pride :) Thanks Carlo and Steph! (playmate for Ben soon, okay? Wink!)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Winner of Ben's Birthday 2012 Giveaway!!!

 Here we go, mommy and daddy friends!!!! It's time to pick the winner for Ben's birthday giveaway.  It was just a simple raffle of our little master.  As you can see, he tried to follow my instructions but manged to be pilyo as ever!

Congratulations, Katherine Dalope !!! I'll send you an email as to how you can claim your prize.  Thanks to everyone for joining and supporting our "munting" blog :)  Enjoy!!!