Kayla’s interest is in culinary.  As of the now, she says she wants to be a chef someday. One Sunday, I told the girls it was going to be a baking day.  Being the kinesthetic learner, Kayla was the more excited one.  She pulled out a boxed cake mix from the shelf (We usually bake from scratch) and the rest of the ingredients and tools we would be needing.  Well, she ended up doing everything by herself from measuring the ingredients, mixing them, cleaning up (This is still a work-in-progress), lining the cupcake pans, and pouring the batter into each hole in the pan.  She also did the frosting all by herself: measuring, mixing, and preparing the piping bag and decorating tip, and decorating the cupcakes.  The only thing that she can’t do yet is turn on our gas-fired oven, put the pans in and pull them out when the cake or cupcakes is done.  That’s still my role.

I congratulated her for doing a better job this time and really showing that she can bake by herself with less supervision.

On another occasion, she again baked cupcakes but from scratch.  She chose the recipe from her own recipe book and came up with her own combination of a chocolate kind of cupcake and frosting which she hasn’t tried doing before.  And VOILA!  This is her cupcake creation!  I was kinda uncertain at first as to how her cupcakes would taste like because it didn’t make use of butter, which I think is THE  ingredient that always makes cakes, cupcakes or cookies flavorful.  But when Arielle and I tried what she made (actually, not tried but ate! I avoid white sugar and bad carbs these days but I just couldn’t resist!), we were really surprised to taste a VERY YUMMY FROSTED CUPCAKE! I’m not kiddin’! It was the frosting that did the magic! JUST PERFECT for the chocolate cupcake!  We gave Kayla a two thumbs up!

Kayla’s tweaked and simplified version of S’mores cupcake


She decorated her cupcakes with mini marshmallows


She did a photo shoot of her creation.


Kayla’s BEST cupcake recipe so far! YUM! YUM!


There are a number of other skills and lessons learned from simple baking.  These are:

  1. Reading recipes
  2. Following instructions or procedures
  3. Math concepts:  measurements, fractions
  4. Hygiene, cleanliness
  5. Safety
  6. Chemistry (although we didn’t dig deeper into this last Sunday)
  7. Workflow efficiency
  8. Home economics: food handling and storage
  9. Creativity
  10. Sharing with others 🙂 – A remark we would always hear from Kayla is that she’ll bake cookies or pack food items and give them to the poor or those in the streets.  That’s her.  That’s her heart ❤.
  11. Entrepreneural spirit – She’s been wanting to make this a full-blown business but I just haven’t found the extra time to do it with her.  We’ve however touched on the topics of product development, packaging, purchasing, suppliers, costing and pricing, marketing, etc. and still continue to discuss the processes involved to set up and operate one.

Baking. Another life skill to teach our girls. What else?  Cooking. Knife skills. Basic hygiene in the kitchen. Food preparation. Marketing. Budgeting. A lot more! (No wonder the kitchen is usually the place where homeschooling families gather ’round!)  This is another way we make LEARNING REAL and BETTER for our girls.

Have you baked with your kids lately? It’s fun (and yummy, too!)


Photo Source: http://plushblush.updateordie.com/2013/01/11/oscar-2013-les-miserables/anne-hathaway-in-les-miserables-1920×1080/


We are a theatre-goer kind of family.  Theatre, as in, movies, the cinemas.  And theatre, as in, performing arts, plays, musicals! (I think this is pretty obvious by now.)  It is one way we take a break from the books, recharge from our usual routine and yet still end up talking about the film or play like an academic subject…but only in a more engaging manner. You can say that the theatre is one of the many classrooms we have in our homeschool 🙂

Last January 18, we went to watch the much-awaited movie Les Miserables, starring Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, and Russsell Crowe as Inspector Javert.  

Photo Source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1707386/


I made sure that it was written down in my planner and it was going to be ticked off in my to-do list at the end of the day.  No way are we going to miss this film!  So there I was, lined up at the ticket counter, by 11:00 in the morning. I chose the 4 pm screening and I wasn’t surprised to see that most of the center seats were already taken. We had time to eat lunch and wait leisurely until it was time to enter Cinema 1.


East meets West. Thai for lunch and Les Mis movie after!


I’m not going to do a review or critique of the movie.  Overall, we LOVED it even with its imperfections (Arielle and I did not really like Russell Crowe’s singing) and scenes that really needed our parental guidance. None of us dozed off given that it was 2 hours and 45 minutes long.  Plus wouldn’t sniffs and wet tissues be enough proof of how engrossed we were from beginning to end? 

Whenever we watch a movie or a stage play or musical, we always talk about it afterwards. Over a snack or dinner.  In the car.  Till we get home. Until the next day or an occasion related to it comes up. It’s like a protocol for us.  We all engage in a lively exchange of views and opinions.  Questions often lined up for discussion are: 

1.  Did you like it?

2.  What’s your favorite part?

3.  What is/are the lesson(s) in the movie?

4.  What would you do if…?

5.  If you were (a character in the movie), what would you do?

6.  Was it a good movie? Why?

7.  What didn’t you like about the movie?

8.  How did the movie affect you?

9.  Is it realistic?  Do you think it could happen in real life?

10.  What’s your best song/dialogue/scene?


For Les Mis, Mike threw the first question after we left the cinema, which I think is really the best take-away to ponder:  What is the lesson in the movie?  I didn’t attempt to take over because I wanted to see where exactly he was leading us with his question. Arielle immediately answered, “Accepting Jesus Christ can change your life.” (That made me so thankful that all my efforts in teaching the Christian Living subject and the Catholic faith were not put to waste!)

Then, Mike followed it up and ahhhhh! He was taking it from the character of Jean Valjean. 

Lesson:  Do not judge people.  People can change.

That kept me quiet and it was indeed a very good lesson to remember from the movie. Perhaps something we could do to make this world of ours a much better place to live in?  Where chances are given to others who have wronged and we see the innate good in them instead of the bad?

It’s been four days since we saw the film and Les Mis is still on my mind.  What else does it impart?  Sacrifice. Love. Different kinds of love. 

  • Love of a mother for her child (Fantine to Cosette);
  • Love of a young lady rebel for a man (Eponine to Marius);
  • Love of a young revolutionary for a young, beautiful lady (Marius to Cosette);
  • Love of one for money (the Thenadiers);
  • Love of men for their country (Marius and the rebels to France);
  • Love of a father for her adopted daughter (Valjean to Cosette)


For a more in-depth review of this film, you may read more

As for me and my family, it was one magnificent film. I’m sure if we had watched the musical, it would be a totally incomparable experience we’d be raving about all the more! 
Would you believe, I couldn’t recall and wasn’t too sure if I did have the privilege of watching the musical in New York  back in the early 90’s with our very own Lea Salonga as Eponine?  I was still too young then and oblivious to really appreciate the production. When I told Arielle about it and the souvenirs I may still have of it, her reaction was “You watched Les Mis in New York?!!!”  She wanted to make a dash for the bodega (storage room) and look for the souvenirs herself! 

Souvenir Brochure and Playbill of Les Mis
staged at Imperial Theatre, New York


Souvenir Brochure, Playbill, and my old copy of the book


My book with pages turned yellow, pulled out from our bodega

Apparently, Arielle had already drawn this with her tablet and Photoshop before we watched the movie and blogged about it. She’s been working really hard to learn as much as she can (on her own!) and improve her skills in art.  I’m waiting for her to do the cover of the song “On My Own” she said she plans on doing (will share that as soon as it’s done).  Hmmm…on her own…On My Own.  

My book with pages turned yellow, pulled out from our bodega

As expected, she’s been listening to the movie soundtrack with Kayla, and BOTH of them have been singing the songs at the top of their lungs.  I can tell that Arielle’s dreaming of performing again on stage (She wants to play Eponine or Gavroche)!
The theatre. When we feel like changing “classrooms”.  When we look forward to and need a bit of inspiration.  When we go beyond the large screen (or stage) and popcorn and talk about art, technology, music, character traits, our dreams, history, childhood, the past and the future, life lessons, etc, etc!  Yes, this is how it’s like for us when we say “Let’s go watch a movie!”

Any movie/show/stage performance you watched with your kids lately? How do you end your movie or theatre dates with them?



It’s been a little over a month since I thought of my one-word for 2013. 

Thank you, Melanie, (OnlyABreath.com) for making my one-word artwork!

For free one-word blog button, make your request here.

After publishing that post, I was very conscious of the little things I did everyday, thinking if each one was aligned to my personal goals for the year.

I looked at my planner and so far, so good.  My activities and commitments have all been a growth step for myself and my family.  I still have time to start working on those goals for my church/faith, my country (the Philippines), and the world. 
At one point, I questioned if I chose the correct one-word.  Or was I being idealistic or too optimistic and hopeful at the start of a new year?  I continued to pray about my goals and my one-word even after I had already blogged about it.  It is comforting and reassuring to know that my intention to grow in the best of my  abilities, with the time and resources I have, and not at the expense of my physical and emotional health, is according to God’s command which is “Honor the Lord with your Body”.
1 Corithians 6:20 says “You were bought at a price.  Therefore, honor God with your body.”
This verse is reminding me to first and foremost, take care of my body and respect it.  Not to abuse it with unnecessary stress and negativity.  That is how I really intended to approach each day of this year to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself and my family.  To be more specific, I have:
1.  continued to make fresh juicing as part of our family’s daily regimen:

  • A 6-8 oz glass of freshly squeezed oranged juice for breakfast for me
  • A 6-8 oz glass of green juice for Mike: pineapple, cucumber, celery, spinach
  • Two 8-10 oz of green juice for my morning and afternoon:  green apple, green bell pepper, parsley, and red cabbage (if available)
  • One 6-8 oz of apple-carrot juice in the afternoon for me
  • One 8-10 oz of apple-carrot juice each for the girls
I really want us to go into juicing more because I personally am feeling its great benefits.
Photo Source:  http://www.puraliving.com/2012/02/20/the-skinny-on-juicing/


Photo Source: http://www.raw-wisdom.com/hurom-juicer
This is the Hurom slow juicer we use in the house.

2.  been more mindful of our food and ingredient choices (We still have to give up a lot of the kinds of food we’ve been used to eating.  Actually, if I really want to do a lifestyle change, I would need to discard  everything in our pantry and ref!  A dream lifestyle!)

3.  been exercising 2-3x a week (I do either one of these: jump rope, stretching, dumb bells, kettle bells, floor exercises)


Photo Source:  http://www.eyeheartstyle.com/2011/02/time-to-shape-up.html

I can’t do both feet. I can only do the alternating kind (Hee, hee!)


4. been getting my 8 hours of sleep, making me more  restful, less sluggish, and energized the next day

5.  been more aware of our girls’ need to have more short breaks during the day.

These are just a few of the small, conscious, and measurable steps I have started to take care of myself and family, to let my body grow physically. 

Even if it seems pretty obvious, I now better understand that when I really do nourish and take care of my body, I am physically well and able to do my different roles and responsibilities.   I live each day loving God with my whole heart, mind, and strength.  My relationships are more harmonious and I deal with others more positively.  I honor Jesus Christ in everything I do and therefore, am living my life according to God’s design for me.  I feel the fulfillment.  I feel the joy.  I feel the inner peace.  I embrace the meaning of my life! 

How have you been taking care of your body?

Every 15th of the month, Melanie of OnlyABreath.com is having a Link-up Party to encourage us to keep going with our one-word for the 2013. A great way to keep us motivated and help us in keeping our one-word alive throughout the entire year!


Last January 3, Mike accompanied Arielle and Kayla to the bank.  It’s been a tradition for us to deposit the cash money that they received as Christmas gifts every start of the new year.  This teaches the girls the process of making deposits, makes them familiar with the bank atmosphere, transactions, forms used, procedures, etc.  This time, Mike made Arielle and Kayla do the deposit themselves which was via a computer screen first then, the teller. (They said they were no more deposit slips to be used.)  Arielle also deposited a cheque to Mike’s account.

The next day, January 4, Mike and I had to go to Manila first thing in the morning.  Mike asked Arielle to deposit a cheque to his bank account in another bank.  Kayla went with her.  Arielle was able to do the transaction without adult supervision.  The teller praised her for being able to know what to do and how to do it (She was told that she just missed writing down the branch of the bank. It looks like this bank had a different procedure, this time, with the use of deposit slips).  

Making bank deposits is important.  It is one of the many life skills we must teach our children, and I have more in my list that I want them to learn and need to teach to them! For those with younger kids, they may not be capable yet to make deposits or withdrawals from the bank, but you can already teach them about money and what the bank does by tagging them along the next time you yourself go to the bank.  Make it a mini field trip 🙂  Same with the grocery, bake shop, restaurant, hardware store, repair shop, etc.  

I like seeing and meeting kids who show independence and self-reliance at quite a young age, or at least, at their age level.  I’m not talking about “being advanced” here.  Just being developmentally age-appropriate, perhaps?  Essentially, this is also just one way that we make our LEARNING AND SOCIALIZATION REAL.

What life skills have you taught your children and how do you teach it to them?  



I just made my personal goals for 2013 and so did every member of my family.  I’m doing a step further by thinking of that one word to represent the direction and focus I’m taking for 2013.  One word to serve as an umbrella for my goals this year.

This 2013, my word is GROW. Not grow physically, although gaining a few healthier pounds would be something I’d welcome, but grow by 

  • becoming more the person I am called to be, 
  • doing more, 
  • learning more 

in the BEST of my abilities, with the time and resources I have, and NOT AT THE EXPENSE of my physical and emotional health.  It’s not going to be easy since I already am juggling tasks every single day. (That’s another growth area I need and want to work on.  Time management, as you’ve seen in my goal mindmap.)

I feel that I’ve somewhat plateaued these past years, taking care of my family and the girls, and it is now time for me to grow. A personal experience that’s uniquely for me and by me. It excites me and I’m really hoping that 2013 will bless me with new opportunities and challenges which I’d successfully face and overcome.

So now, before I say, do or commit to something or someone, the question I must ask myself is “Is this helping me grow?” 

How about you?  What would be your one-word for 2013?



Photo Source:


I started my day today with my daily devotional on Loyola Press.  I always try to make it a morning habit when we’re  normally at home and not on the go.  The The 3-Minute Retreat is just perfect for me to have a short quiet time to receive God’s word and have some reflection.  Short but enough to feed my spirit and faith.  It’s a good way for me to start my day with the right frame of mind and attitude.

Today’s reading (Click on ‘Continue’ to begin the retreat) is taken from Matthew 6:14 –

If you forgive others their transgressions, 

your heavenly Father will forgive you.

Forgiveness.  The Catholic in me says I know this passage already, but wouldn’t it be nice and right to start the new year with it?  What really touched me the most was this:

To be forgiven, we must first forgive. 

This is not a suggestion; it is a condition 

for being in right relation 

with God and others.


I’m not going to write a sermon or give a personal sharing on this one.  I really just wanted to share it, hoping it would also touch you the way it did to me.  We all have our shares of hurts and pains.  Our big and loving God know every ounce of it.

Forgiveness.  Let go and let God.


Photo Source:  http://devotionalchristian.com/bible-verses-forgiveness/