Photo Source:  Sew Easy For Kids / Anne del Rosario

Photo Source: Sew Easy For Kids /
Anne del Rosario

These crafty kids are on a roll! They are even busier these days as they turn their craft and life skill into a business! As I write this blog, they’re all preparing and gearing up for their first bazaar this coming November.  Their hands are all so busy cutting and sewing the different cute stuff they will be selling…ALL SEWN BY THEM!  Teacher Anne del Rosario of Sew Easy For Kids and I (and I’m sure all the other parents are, too!) are sooo sew excited about this!  Thank you, Brother Philippines, for sponsoring this event!  Thank you for being at our side 🙂

I invite you all to go to the:


WHEN:  November 23-24, 2013

TIME:   9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.



This is REAL LEARNING.  A CRAFT INTO A BUSINESS.  ENTREPRENEURSHIP at WORK!  Save the dates and hope to see you there!


You Can Homeschool!
Be Inspired, Be Informed,
Be Empowered
By Manila Workshops and
The Learning Basket


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about an upcoming homeschooling conference with a simple yet fun promo for the event.  Well, it’s time to announce who the lucky winner is!  I think she’s going to have some artsy and crafty days with these loot!

  • A set of High School Musical stamps
  • 1 roll of washi tape
  • A 6×6 journal
  • 10 tiny, cute clothespins
  • 5 meters of baker’s twine

Thank you Bee Happy Crafts and Party  Supplies for these giveaways! 

Plus, she gets two entrance tickets to Philippine Science Centrum, too! 

Out of 450 entries, we have a lucky lady 🙂


AND THE WINNER IS….drumroll!!!




Congratulations, Kinney Palma and thank you for supporting this event!  I hope you are going to the Homeschooling Conference: You Can Homeschool! on November 16, 2013.

And THANKS to everyone who joined the promo and showed their support! 🙂 We may have a winner already for the giveaways but the event is still in November.  You still have time to register and invite your friends to BE INSPIRED, BE INFORMED, and BE EMPOWERED!




A Milestone in Homeschooling

A Milestone in Homeschooling

Last Friday, October 11, it was TMA’s 2012-2013 Commencement Exercises.  Yes, TMA holds their graduation ceremonies twice a year, one in April and the other in October.  Since I felt that joining the April batch would be too hectic for us and we would only end up rushing as we close our schoolyear, I decided to let Kayla join this October batch of graduates instead.  Kayla graduated from elementary (Grade 6) and that makes it six years of homeschooling her! It is truly a milestone to celebrate!

The day, despite having a storm signal in Metro Manila and in some provinces, started well with my morning devotional which was perfect for the occasion.  I couldn’t help but post it as a status in Facebook.

After having our usual early breakfast, from Alabang in the south, we headed to our first stop in Mandaluyong and I didn’t expect the traffic along the Skway to end up looking like EDSA!  The girls and I had a quick makeover at the parlor, which I felt was the perfect way to de-stress me from that morning traffic…UGGGHHH!!!

The ceremonies went well with prayers, brief talk by key speakers, and the graduates’ marching and walking up on stage.   There were a total of 45 graduates from pre-school, elementary, and high school.  Three things I particularly like about TMA graduation ceremonies are (1) toddler and homeschooling photos flashed as a presentation for each graduate, (2) the Character Trait award given by the parents to their child, instead of the honors based on grades that I have been accustomed to, (3) letter by the graduate to their parents which each of them read up on stage. For me, it was really a momentous occasion to remember both our triumphs and defeats as we made learning more personal for our children and personally, go beyond books and walls.  Looking back, it was really a challenge for me to homeschool Kayla whose kinesthetic learning style is so opposite of mine and my teaching style!  Having been able to graduate Kayla after six years is no doubt, a milestone!

Proud of our graduate!
And thanks to Ate Arielle,
the designated photographer of the event 🙂

My parents, who came all the way from Batangas, joined us to celebrate this homeschooling milestone. They weren’t actually for it (totally not for it!) when we started out but I believe that with God’s hand at work through the years, they somehow have accepted and now respects our decision.  They probably still don’t understand how this whole homeschool thing really works but if there’s a blessing I will never forget, it’s them witnessing how Arielle and Kayla have grown to bond and love each other as if they’re BEST FRIENDS and not sisters.  Those were the words of my dad (my conservative, traditional dad!)

Best Friends :)

Best Friends 🙂

By 4:30 p.m. (The ceremonies started a bit before 2:00 p.m.), we were all starving!  After a few more photo ops, from St. Francis Square, we immediately headed to Shangri-la Mall to eat at this new resto I wanted to try on my birthday.  It was, unfortunately, packed with customers that time and so, we opted to make reservations as a celebration of Kayla’s graduation, the week after.  We ate at Green Pastures, which turned out to be a super-duper late lunch for my parents and a super-early dinner for all of us.  

Overall, I would say that their food was good!  Something to really try and worth going back to a couple more times!  Since we were all very hungry, I don’t think I’ll be able to give an objective review of our orders.  Anything tastes uberly delicious when one’s starving 😉 But from someone quite particular and meticulous with the food she eats these days, I can say that the food and beverages in Green Pastures really taste more natural and organic, with less hint of the seasonings you would taste in the food other restaurants serve to make the flavors more pronounced. I just wished though that their pasta and bread would also be the more healthful kind, and I also forgot to ask what kind of sweetener they use.  Something to take note of when we go back. 

Just feast your eyes with these!

Farmhouse Salad

Farmhouse Salad

Combination of Ricotta and Stracciatella Cheeses (fresh cow and carabao's milk)

Combination of Ricotta and
Stracciatella Cheeses (fresh cow and carabao’s milk)

Their version of Salpicao named as Sloppy Cow

Their version of Salpicao named as Sloppy Cow

Crab Meat and Sea Urchin Pasta

Crab Meat and Sea Urchin Pasta
(Mike’s adventurous taste)

Spicy Organic Tripe

Spicy Organic Tripe
(My dad’s choice; at least it’s organic)

Grilled Blue Ribbon Burger with ground wagyu blend

Grilled Blue Ribbon Burger with ground Wagyu blend

80/20 Burger (80% Wagyu, 20% organic pancetta)

80/20 Burger (80% Wagyu, 20% organic pancetta)

Homemade Ketchup

Homemade Ketchup

Organic Melon Green Tea

Organic Melon Green Tea
Mike also tried their Kombucha Tea,
a detoxifying and probiotic drink.

Strawberry Banana Almond  Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Almond Smoothie

Salted Caramel Smoothie (Salted Caramel seems to be the new flavor being offered by different restos and cafes these days!)

Salted Caramel Smoothie
(Salted Caramel seems to be the new flavor being offered by different restos and cafes these days!)


* One dish I failed to take a photo of was their Organic Mushrooms with house made ricotta on toast.  That was YUMMM, too!

What started as a surprisingly stressful morning ended with a relaxing afternoon until evening. After our tummies have been filled, my parents braved the rush-hour traffic and the rains and arrived home in Batangas safely while we stayed on in the mall to watch a movie 🙂

This was one happy and blessed day to celebrate a homeschooling milestone.


We’ve been homeschooling for seven years and up to now, I still get asked about it.  Why did we decide to homeschool?  How about the kids’ socialization?  Who are the friends of your girls?  Who teaches them?  Why are you still homeschooling?  Etc, etc, etc.  And still…what made you decide to homeschool your girls?

I remember when we started out, we were a handful enrolled in The Master’s Academy (TMA), our homeschool provider.  A year or two later, the number had at least doubled!  Today, I don’t have any idea how many homeschooling families we are now just in TMA alone.  There are other homeschoolers enrolled online, with other local providers, and who are doing in independently.

One of the events that I look forward to are the homeschool conferences.  They were my venues to meet, connect with, learn from the key speakers and from the other families as well, and source materials for our books and supplements.  This coming November, Manila Workshops and The Learning Basket will be coming up with a Homeschool Conference “You Can Homeschool!  Be Inspired, Be Informed, Be Empowered!”

You Can Homeschool!

You Can Homeschool!

This is a one-day event:

WHEN:  November 16, 2013, Saturday

TIME:  9:00 a.m. (Registration starts at 9) to 4:00 p.m.

WHERE:  One Cafe and Events Place, One Corporate Center, Julia Vargas cor. Meralco Ave., Pasig City

WHY:  You are a new homeschooler, an old-time homeschooler, are considering to homeschool your children, or are simply curious about homeschooling, and would like to be inspired, informed, encouraged, and empowered

BY:  Key speakers

  • Thammie Sy (a homeschool mom of three),
  • Frannie Daez (a homeschool mom of eight),
  • Edric Mendoza (Director of Homeschooling Association of the Philippine Islands or HAPI),
  • Homeschooled Children,
  • and Group Facilitators who are homeschooling parents themselves


For reservations, you can find the link in here.


One of the sponsors of this event, Bee Happy Crafts and Party Supplies, would like to give away some of their fun stuff to my readers.  What prizes can you win?

  • A set of High School Musical stamps
  • 1 roll of washi tape
  • A 6×6 journal
  • 10 tiny, cute clothespins
  • 5 meters of baker’s twine

Plus, the Philippine Science Centrum is also automatically giving away two entrance tickets to the winner!  Woohoo!!! 


To join, all you have to do is:

  1. Like and follow Bee Crafts and Party Supplies on:


Instagram: @beehappycrafts

Twitter: BeeHapppyPh 

2.  Like Manila Workshop Facebook Page (

3.  Like The Learning Basket Facebook page (

4.  Leave a comment below with your FULL NAME and ACTIVE EMAIL ADDRESS.

5.  Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Bloglovin’.

Just a way of spreadin’ a little love and support 😉


This Rafflecopter giveaway runs from October 8 (12:00 a.m.) to October 22 (12:00 a.m.), 2013 only.

  • This is open to Metro Manila residents only.
  • Only one winner will be randomly selected.
  • Winner will be announced on October 24, 2013.
  • Prizes will be shipped to the winner by Manila Workshops after a validation of the winner’s entry.


Good luck and I encourage you to go to this Homeschool Conference next month especially organized for YOU who want to be more involved and hands-on not only in the education, but also in the character development of and in raising your children!




I turned 44 last Friday, October 4!   We were on our usual homeschool weekend schedule, and there wasn’t really a big celebration or fireworks.  I’m not the type of person.  At the end of the day, my family and I headed to Shangrila Plaza Mall to try out this resto that just newly opened and I asked my brood of 4 a couple of weeks before, if we could eat there on my birthday.  They gladly said yes. The restaurant I’m talking about is Green Pastures, an organic, farm-to-table resto, which was blogged about by Anton Diaz of Our Awesome Planet.  We arrived at the resto before 7 pm (around 6:30?) and the place was FULL!  We had our family enlisted in the waiting list and we were Number 26!  Since we were all excited (even Arielle and Kayla, who I have slowly converted to being more conscious of what they feed their bodies) to try out the new dining place, being one of the new concepts offering organic and the healthful kind of food, we waited it out.  But our waiting game only lasted for about an hour or an hour and a half.  By 8:00 pm, I was asking Mike and the girls if they would still want to wait.  Because my tummy was beginning to give me signals that it couldn’t!  Eight o’clock and there were 20 parties ahead of us!  As much as I would have really wanted to try their salad, Stracciatella, 80/20 burger, vegetarian burger, fresh citrus beverages, my common sense (with Mike’s calculation on how many can be served within an hour’s time) told me that we should go back another time and have dinner somewhere else.  At least, we already had a glimpse of what to order from their menu

We looked at the nearby restaurants and by that time, they were full as well.  Luckily, the one right across Green Pastures still had a few empty tables when we decided to change venues.  Just a few steps away and we were seated at Lombardi, an authentic Italian restaurant.  A quick look at their menu, and each one of us ordered our favorite Italian dishes:  Insalata Mista, Minestrone Soup, Spaghetti Frutti de Mare, Quattro Formaggi, Penne Puttanesca , and Spaghetti Aglio Olgio.   I was starving!!!   Oh!  To make sure that we were going to go back to Green Pastures, I asked Arielle to make reservations for us for October 11, next Friday! 😉   While waiting for our food to arrive on our table, I thought that Lombardi was going to be another Italian restaurant.  I’ve tasted quite too many of it already and that this was going to be no different from them.  But I was wrong.  This place really tasted more authentic than the other restos we’ve tried!  Even Mike, who’s not a pasta-eater, liked what he was eating (Spaghetti Frutti de Mare).  From our table, we could see an Italian-looking chef spanning the resto with his eyes, making sure that everyone’s being attended to.   It turned out (from my research for this post), he was Chef Davide Lombardi. When we are about done with dinner, he approached our table with a complimentary dessert glass with a scoop of panna gelato.  We all loved its homemade taste (it really is homemade) that Kayla asked if she could order one more.  Well, Kayla was so happy when the single order was actually two scoops and not just one!  Since it was my birthday, it was my cheat day and I ordered Tiramisu, which means “pick me up” or “lift me up” in Italian.   I now know that having a spoonful of gelato on top of a spoonful of Tiramisu could perfectly end one’s Italian meal 🙂  Here’s an anecdote to share.  I think it was Arielle who asked what Tiramisu means and I quickly answered “Touch me not”, which Arielle immediately reacted to with “Ma, that’s Noli Me Tangere!” Talk about too much homeschooling!:D

The next day, October 5, Saturday, was the date I had set to meet up with Bernadette Ramos. We’re both part of a closed group in Facebook whose members keep a blog.  Dette doodles and paints with watercolor, the one medium that I am particularly interested to learn.  When I started to see her blog posts and artworks she began sharing with the group, I couldn’t help but admire her work and she was very kind and willing to meet up with me and share what she knows!  Initially, it was just supposed to be me and Dette, then another lady in the group also posted her watercolor painting, which just WOW-ed me!  Her name is Diane Sese-Hernandez.  So, I asked Dette if it was okay to invite her as well.  Then, I remembered Cheryl F. Goodman, too, from Seattle, Washington, who’s in town for a couple of week and had told me that she would love to meet other moms while on her vacation here (Unfortunately, she got her schedules mixed up and she wasn’t able to join us that day).  Lastly, I invited Patricia de Castro Cuyugan of MrsC’s Sugarcoated Life, because I remembered that she’s also from the south and had mentioned about “crafternoons” in one of her comments on a post.   So, what started out as a meetup of two became a group of 4 ladies, all moms, who all have art in mind (and in heart!) and want to explore art as a form of self-espression.  I personally wanted to learn from Dette and Diane who seem to be dabbling on watercolor painting for quite some time!  

I decided to be at Starbucks-Alabang Town Center earlier than our agreed time (1:00/1:30 p.m.) since I initiaited this meetup and so I could also reserve that long table inside the coffee shop!  Good thing I was able to.  Patty arrived first and even before she came, she kept on telling me that she will just “watch” and be a “saling kit” (or extra; or someone not officially part of the group).  She was hesitant to start anything on paper.  But when Dette followed and she started to put on the table her caboodle of art materials (I had already put mine earlier to reserve the seats on the table! :D), Dette and I were able to convince her some more to just draw according to her own style and to feel free to use our materials.  It was really a free-flowing afternoon.  We chatted over coffee, showed our doodle notebooks and pens, talked about our families, and a whole lot of etc., while we doodled-painted-drew on our own.  

These water brushes, by the way, are my new discovery from Dette 🙂  What a cool thing to have, especially when you’re on the go and traveling.  You just put water inside the body of the pen brush, give it a little squeeze to let the water come out, and dab it on your watercolor set!   


Water Brushes of Dette


Here’s Patty starting to draw her animals, which according to her are like 2nd Grader drawings.  I refuted her because we have a book on simple illustrations of animals which are not far off from her style.  I HAVE to show her our collection of that series to prove to her that she has her own style of drawing, which she should not be ashamed of.  She could even be an illustrator of a children’s book or perhaps, tags and greeting cards! 

At around 3:00 or 3:30 pm, Dianne arrived.  She hasn’t even taken a seat yet and she was already showing her bubbly self and started to talk about art!  She came with her “toolbox” of art stuff, which she so happily opened up and showed the contents to us, and even pulled out a wide paintbrush and explained why it is handy to have one!  Patty and I couldn’t help but look blankly at each other across the table, perhaps both of us thinking “Where did this jolly lady come from?” She has shared soooo much project ideas from the moment she arrived that I was both speechless and nodding my head all the time, agreeing to her brilliant ideas!  To me, she is the Martha Stewart of the Philippines! It was as if she walked out of the pages of a Martha Stewart magazine, I’m not kiddin’!  Diane is one COOL MOM, if I were to desribe her in just a few words! 

Below are the pointilism works Dette and I immediately tried doing after Diane taught it to us that afternoon.  Pointilism using colored pens or watercolor and not the usual black pen!  Dette did the tree and I did the coffee cup.  Definitely something new learned! 

Sad that the meetup that turned into a mini art date and session had to come to an end.   My mommy duty was calling and by 4:30 pm, I had to leave.  Mike and I had to pick up our girls from their meetups too with friends.  But I am really glad and thankful that this pushed through! I met new friends (playmates, you may say?) and learned a whole lot from them!  Thank you, Patty, Dette, and Diane for accepting the invitation to meet up!  I’m looking forward to our next!  

Watercoloring and doodling on
index cards
I learned from Dette


Happy Patty :)

Happy Patty 🙂


Surprise birthday presents from Patty (felt owl) and
Dette (fine point white pen
I’ve been looking for!)
which I will keep and treasure!


Hopefully, it won’t be long till we have
our next “art date”!



And that’s how my 44th birthday weekend went.  With my 4-some family and 4-new art friends 🙂  Birthdays can be happy with simple activities and by surrounding yourself with people who make you smile, right? 


I was praying to God one morning to help me start another homeschooling day.  After starting off my prayer with thanksgiving, I was already giving God a rundown of all my fears.  The FEARS that I’m having these days and that are constantly bugging me!

  • Fear that after all these years of homeschooling Arielle and Kayla, I have failed  
  • Fear that Arielle won’t pass the college entrance exams 
  • Fear that Arielle won’t get into the school that she wants 
  • Fear that she won’t make it to the course she has already set her mind on 
  • Fear that she’d be settling for her second choice course only  
  • Fear that Kayla won’t be able to discover what she really wants to do  
  • Fear that I failed to show her what her strengths are 
  • Fear that I also failed to pinpoint her weaknesses and turn them around to make them into strengths or at least, a comfortable acceptance of them  
  • Fear that I failed to teach them the skills that they need when we finally release them to the world 

All these fears are really making me feel like they’re rolled up into one, ugly monster following me wherever I go and the only weapon I have is my prayers day and night and in-between which act as my sword in order for me to survive each day.  It does feel like the story of David and Goliath in the Bible and of course, I’m the little David. 

How I wish I could fast forward our lives and peek into the future, especially the future of our girls. How I wish I’d know what’s going to happen so I can do something about it now!  To spare us from hurts, struggles, rejections, and disappointments.  But that would be insulting God.  That would be losing my faith in Him.  I’d be looking only at my efforts and failing to look up, believing that I have a God who’s a lot BIGGER than all my  problems and fears combined! 

But my fears are so real, I want to cover myself up in a blanket until someone can come up to tell me that everything’s going to be okay.  That’s how strong and real my fears are.  So what do I do? What is really there to do?  Each day, I can only continue to do my best to homeschool and parent our girls.  The days are not always perfect but I honestly do try my best (You know that, God!)! I not only look at and live in the present but I have come to see now the need to plan ahead and study the options out there for our girls, especially for Arielle, who will soon be in college.  Now that’s what’s making my fear so big.  It feels like I’m exploring the unknown and am faced with the “real thing” as I join the rest of the world when all these years, we’ve been comfortable with our lifestyle choice of homeschooling on this so-called road less traveled.

All the “What if’s” are cropping up and I am asking God to show me how to homeschool these days (and I mean, REALLY HOW). To show me specifically which areas I failed to cover and now need to make up for. These are the times when homeschooling parents like me say “It feels we haven’t done enough!”. But I suddenly get a reality check.  And I do mean A REALITY CHECK! A friend, the girls’ teacher for a brief period of time, a coach, a person my girls and I sometimes go to for advice, posted a short testimony in Facebook on how her life was and is right now.  I am talking about Martine de Luna.  What makes and keeps her close to my heart is she was homeschooled and this is her life story in a nutshell.  Truly encouraging! Truly inspiring! 

Who is Martine de Luna?   This is her life story in a nutshell.

Who is Martine de Luna?
This is her life story in a nutshell.


Turning fears into faith, can’ts to can’s!


The Expert Enough Manifesto
which Martine is living up to.


Isn’t that just amazing?  To make her story even more interesting, she adds: My two homeschooled brothers have the same story, and yet, they are the CEOs of a company that strategizes and consults for some of the most successful and innovative companies in the Philippines. Life hacking and an insatiable lifelong love for learning: this is truly what has allowed us to live towards our “unschooled” lifestyle, which we lived out as kids.

WOW!  After reading her post, it felt like my fears were suddenly doused with cool, refreshing water! Here is one real person I know who was homeschooled, unschooled, went beyond the conventions, and is now successful in what she’s good at and living the kind of life she had pictured and planned for. What she had shared showed me that:

  • My girls have more options out there than I thought.  
  • The options and paths to success are LIMITLESS!
  • Success too is a RELATIVE word! 
  • I was and actually am putting my own limitations, or call it walls and boundaries, to the future of our kids.
  • I’m holding too tight to my CAN’T’s instead of my or our girls’ CANs.
  • LEARNING is, no doubt, a LIFELONG PROCESS that does not end with a college degree or diploma.
  • THAT piece of paper is not the sure end of it all! A diploma is not a sure ticket that will 100% guarantee one’s success.
  • The suffix -less and the word LESS could, on the contrary, mean MORE.


Do you know who Martine instantly reminded me of?  If you ask me, Martine is no different from Bill Gates and Steve Jobs :).  Like these big, iconic guys, she followed and is following her passion, her bliss, and she is LOVING what she is doing.  She did not limit herself to how everybody else should be doing what.  She went out-of-the box and carved her own path.  And that’s what she continues to do! Now doesn’t that make one an EXPERT of his/her own life?  Isn’t that taking charge of it and not letting anybody else dictate and run it?  To read the full story of Martine, click here for Part 1, and here for Part 2.

I can’t stress enough how Martine’s story really inspired and encouraged me. Her story is proof that there’s SO MUCH MORE WE CAN DO THAN JUST WHAT WE and OTHER PEOPLE THINK WE KNOW.  ONE’S STATUS and WORTH is NOT SUMMED UP BY A COLLEGE DEGREE OR DIPLOMA.   It is how you live each day using and sharing the talents and gifts God has given you to its best and fullest that makes your life an A+.   And to keep in mind that LEARNING is a LIFELONG PROCESS.  As Aristotle had put it,  “The more you know, the more you don’t know”.

So, I really shouldn’t get stuck in my fears allow myself to get stuck in my fears.  As long as our girls know:

  • what they CAN do and are STILL CAPABLE OF DOING, 
  • and are WILLING to LEARN
  • and to GO BEYOND the NORM and what’s ACCEPTED
  • that BEING DIFFERENT doesn’t give others the license to judge, label, and discriminate you
  • that BEING DIFFERENT could actually mean BEING BETTER

then THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS! What works for one doesn’t necessarily mean it should and will work for all and vice-versa.  

If and when Arielle and Kayla would come to a point where they realize that they made wrong choices, then I put my trust in the Lord and am confident that they will be able to make wiser and better decisions as they go through life.  (After all, that’s one of the main reasons why we chose the homeschooling path…To first and foremost, build and develop strong and godly character traits in our children!) One will never find out what works unless he makes choices, does it with faith and courage, and is ready to accept its fruits or consequences. Life is after all, all about making choices, and the choices one makes spell out the difference.   Then and only then can you say that you have lived a FULL, SUCCESSFUL, HAPPY LIFE!   No “If only’s”.  No regrets!