Fun Family Idea: Kids’ Easter Crafts

For the past few days, I have been trying to perfect my impression of a bunny blurting out “What’s up, Doc?” in perfect pitch, when suddenly my daughter says, “Mama, that’s Bugs Bunny you’re doing!  You should do the Easter Bunny because Easter Sunday is coming soon!”  Okay, so my attempts at impersonating a Looney Tunes character have been foiled.  I will then direct my energies towards coming up with worthwhile activities to do with my kid for Easter.

Easter crafts are always a good idea to do with kids.  It enhances creativity- both theirs and yours- and helps add joy to the occasion.  More than that, you get to bond with them without having to spend so much.

The basic materials to use will have to be a couple of paintbrushes, a few bottles of poster paint in primary colors, colored paper, scissors, and virtually anything around the kitchen or house which you can reuse instead of throw away.

If you plan on having an Easter egg hunt, you can first paint the eggs (preferably hardboiled, of course).  Tell your kid to paint whatever he or she fancies.  There are absolutely no rules when it comes to your child expressing himself through art.

Even those empty egg cartons can be transformed into works of art.  Turn it upside down, paint it over, stick on some buttons as wheels, and you have a tiny Easter car.

Get some pieces of cardboard, and make an Easter card with your kid.  She can decorate it however she likes, even put some bunny ears sticking out of the corners of the card, and give it to her favorite aunt or playmate next door.

If you can’t seem to get your creative juices flowing though, you can always get ideas on Easter crafts for kids off the internet.  There are also free printables which your kid to color in, or paint, if she wishes.


Traveling With Kids: Things to Remember

Life is a highway, and I want to ride it all night long- sure, as long as I don’t have a bunch of attention-deprived kids screaming in the backseat as I drive!  It’s a breath of fresh air to finally have gotten them to agree to step out of the house, put down the Wii console, and venture into places we’ve never been before, but with their short attention spans taking over, I can hardly keep my eye on the road without having to glance at the rearview mirror to see if the kids are ok.  Thank heavens I read about The Guardian 50 tips for travelling with kids the night before.  A single mom like me does get by with a little help from online articles.

The key to surviving long road trips with children is to keep them entertained.   Try popping in that Barney CD, even your ears hurt from listening to it over and over again.  Play I Spy and other classic car games.    It also helps to travel at night, so the kids will nap most of the way.

If motion sickness gets the better of your kids, open a window and do keep a bag ready- just in case.  Try preventing untoward incidents by making sure everyone in the family isn’t hungry or thirsty.

To save on travel time, plan your trip ahead and take the shortest route possible.  Ask around for any ongoing roadwork, so you can take alternate routes.

It goes without saying that safety is an important concern when travelling with kids.  That Direct gov using a seat belt advisory can be put to good use this time.  Tell your kids to buckle up, even if that means arm-wrestling them just to have your way.

Be a responsible parent and make sure that your car is in tiptop, roadworthy condition.  Check the brakes, lights, water, oil, etc.  Be sure that you have car insurance, to help keep your mind at ease, in case of any eventuality.

Near or far, travelling with kids is always a worthwhile experience.  They learn things which they normally wouldn’t in the confines of the four walls of the classroom.  Travel opens up a whole world of discovery for them.  You get to see aspects of their personality you’ve never seen before, and you yourself inevitably get to unleash certain facets of your persona which only traveling with your children manages to bring out.  It’s a win-win situation, so go ahead, pack your bags, be like Dora the Explorer and travel the world!



Ditch the TV, Bond with Your Child

King Midas was known to have the power to turn everything that he touched into gold.  In today’s financially-challenging times, anyone would fight tooth and nail just to have a power like that. 

But we parents do know that more than wads of money and chunks of gold, a more priceless commodity would have to be spending time with our children.  Time, once passed, is gone forever.  We can never take it back or adequately “make up for lost time.” 

Our jobs are often the culprit when it comes to grabbing us of time with the kids.  Since we can’t afford to do away with the things we do to put food on the table and a roof over our heads, we simply have to devise ways to work around the situation.

Although it is highly tempting to just sit in front of the TV with your kid and a huge bowl of popcorn in hand, that doesn’t really do much for interaction and bonding.  If anything, you just might end up with even wider hips from all the butter in that popcorn!

Take your cue from those worn out sandals your kid has been wearing for the longest time.  It would be a good idea to jump in on the MYOH Havaianas craze and try making your own funky pair of sandals.  It’s a novel idea, enhances your creativity and is downright fun!  Imagine customizing your own footwear as you spend precious time with your child.

Don’t let your imagination stop you.  Come up with other non-TV ways to connect and reconnect with your child.  Those activities will help you bond like crazy glue.


iMickey or the Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival

Even before the advent of the  iPhone, iMac and iPad, there was a much bigger icon than Steve Jobs.  That is none other than Mickey Mouse.  I can hardly imagine anybody not growing up with this iconic cartoon character.  He, along with Donald, Minnie, and Goofy have influenced- and continue to influence- kids from 1 to 92.

I just had to have my M-I-C-K-E-Y fix, so my daughter and I excitedly hopped over to the Araneta Coliseum here in Metro Manila on a rainy Sunday afternoon to catch the Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival.

It was pretty much similar to the Disney on Ice shows- just without the ice!  The show was entertaining, the music infectious.  That- without a shadow of a doubt- outdid my home sound system by a mile! It was simply heartwarming to see my daughter’s- and mine too- favorite Disney characters come alive to sing their famous ditties on stage.  More than that, they jazzed up a few popular hits from the 80’s to today as well.  I especially liked Goofy dancing to “Who Let the Dogs Out” and the Mermaids of Triton shaking their booties to “Single Ladies” by Beyonce.  And I must say, I must find out Princess Jasmine’s workout routine, as her tanned and toned abs are to die for!

On more than one occasion, I felt the aching urge to get up on my feet and dance to the beat.   But even if the performers on stage tried to engage the audience in song and dance, only a few actively participated- mostly kids, of course.  Blame it Filipino culture, I guess!  We are admittedly quite a shy lot.

I believe the Mickey Mouse gang will be touring most of Asia and Australia in the following months.  If they happen to be near where you’re at, don’t pass up the chance to see them in action.  Disney never fails to bring out the kid in us.  When the show ended, I found myself craving for more.

As I was driving home in the pouring rain, I felt as if my daughter and I were “soaring, tumbling, free-wheeling on a magic carpet ride…” Disney will forever be a part of my life.

This Post Is Brought To You By a Sentimental Fool

I have to admit, I am that fool.  Whenever I spend fun times with two of the most important people in my life, I can’t help but keep replaying every moment in my head.  My brain hasn’t kept up with the times, though, so it still is in video cassette mode, rewinding, pausing and replaying those cherished moments.  Those two people whom I love the most and would die for-without batting an eyelash- are my daughter and Significant Other.

The fates were smiling down on me this weekend, as ex-husband agreed, without force or grave threats, to not “borrow” my daughter.   That didn’t sound quite right, did it? I think I just made my daughter a commodity there.

Anyway, I never thought that spending hours at the mall with a five-year old can be so much fun.  She proved to be a worthy shopping companion, spewing out fashion tips along the way.  It was the first time she joined me in the department store changing room.  It’s utterly amazing and amusing to see how she thinks beyond her years.  Eating out with her was an enjoyable experience too.  I finally found someone who’d willingly laugh at my jokes- and totally get them!

As for Mr. SO, it was heartwarming to sing the Bangles’ Eternal Flame with him in the car while braving rush hour traffic.  I was almost dumbfounded at how he knew the lyrics to the song, considering that he’s many years younger than me.  Must be an old soul, this guy…

These two people have shown me love in its truest and purest form.  I don’t know how else to describe how happy and inspired they make me feel.  Whenever I feel  my mood doing a nosedive, I can always replay our happy moments together… and I am once more alive.

How a 5-year Old Influences a Thirty-something

Don’t be fooled by their diminutive size, but a preschooler can manage to influence her parents in so many ways. In my case, my pint-sized five-year old always does Jedi mind tricks on me. So well in fact, that she would make Darth Vader proud. I’m not one to complain, though, as these have had a positive effect on me thus far. If anything, I have developed my sense of rhythm and deep appreciation for the arts. [Read more…]

The three P’s of a lunar eclipse

What is it with me and astronomic phenomena? Ever since I can remember, I keep missing these close encounters of the lunar kind.  I didn’t get to catch the lunar eclipse the other night.  Now, I have to be content with viewing other people’s pictures of this magnificent wonder.  Nonetheless, I am still left with my mouth gaping in awe at this beautiful sight.  The next time you are fortunate enough to witness a lunar eclipse, here are some P’s to remember, to get the most enjoyment out of your lunar experience:

Picnic–  Being in the company of friends, family, or your special someone under the stars spells “fun” in anyone’s dictionary.  A lunar eclipse, or meteor shower, as the case may be, would provide the perfect backdrop for a night together with the people dearest to you.  Bring out the picnic blanket, throw in a few munchies and drinks, and you’re all set for a fun night outdoors.

Propose–  What could be more romantic than proposing marriage to the love of your life under a beautiful lunar eclipse?  Both of you are sure to remember this day for the rest of your lives. It makes for a good story to tell your grandchildren too.

Pepper–  No, I’m not talking about a condiment here, nor am I being overly narcissistic, because that’s way out of my league.  Ok, in effect, I am talking about myself here, because I want to stress the need for quiet “me” time.  Whatever you do for a living, whether you slave off for hours in the office, or you are a busy homemaker 24/7, you deserve and badly need time to just be still and relax.  A lunar eclipse is a good opportunity for you to just sit under the blanket of stars, and ponder on the greatness of God.  Even for a few minutes, you can simply sit back, enjoy the view, and clear your mind of all your worries.


How to help your child make friends

Photo credit: Google Images

It’s always a delight to witness our kid playing alone with his Lego blocks, as he unknowingly develops his creativity. They say that a child at play is seriously at work, so we do everything in our power to support our child as he plays.

What’s even more delightful, is seeing our kid socialize as he plays with other kids. If your kid happens to lean towards the shy end of the spectrum, you can do something to help prod your child along and make friends.

Create situations where your child has the chance to interact with other kids in a comfortable atmosphere. Organize play dates with kids of some of your friends, or maybe schedule a mini get-together with some of the parents of your child’s classmates. To keep things simple, you could perhaps start with inviting one of your neighbors’ kids over to spend a couple of hours playing with your kid.

Make sure your kid and his playmates have enough to do during the play date. You can do arts and crafts with them, or teach them some easy board games. Don’t impose, though. It would be a good idea to ask your child beforehand, as to what games he’d like to play.

If you’re concerned about your child’s inability to make friends, you could have a chat with his teacher in order to get some insight on how your kid interacts with his classmates on a daily basis.

It’s essential to develop healthy social skills early on in childhood, so just continue to support your kid as he comes out of his shell and makes friends.

Family Time#7: Fun at the Fun Ranch

I’m lucky enough that the company I work for has extended our weekend to today, Monday, in lieu of the May 1 Labor Day holiday. My daughter and I couldn’t help but give out a shrieking “Weeeeee!!!!!” This is one of the rare times when I get to spend time with her, as normally, she gets to stay with my ex-husband on weekends.

Sunday, we went to Fun Ranch near Tiendesitas. It’s the one place she never gets tired of going to, much to my chagrin, because the place is extremely hot! We always make the mistake of going there at near noon, so you could just imagine the blazing heat. But I always give in to whatever makes her happy, so even I ended up a happy camper, notwithstanding the sweat brewing on my armpits.

My daughter went on all the rides as many times as she desired. I almost pitied her, as she frolicked around Fun Ranch alone, hungry for a playmate. If I had it in my power, I’d give her the little brother or sister she has been asking me for the past few days. But of course, given my present status, that is best left to wishful thinking.

Sentimentality aside, we both had a blast that day. In the final analysis, that’s all that matters.

This is my entry for this week’s Family Time. View other precious family moments here:

Introducing photography to your kids

If you feel your little one has grown tired of his crayons, poster paint and clay, take consolation in the fact that there is still another option out there to enhance his or her creativity: photography. Don’t be too quick to think that this is a hobby best left to adults. You’d be amazed to see how even your preschooler can handle a point-and-shoot with unbelievable skill.

photo by Google Images

For your preschooler, you don’t need to get him a DSLR or any of those other fancy photography equipment. You can start with any old 2-megapixel digital camera with automatic settings. If you feel you’ve got a few extra bucks to spare, go get him one of those shatter-proof digital cameras made especially for kids.

To start with, tell your 5 or 6-year old to stay still while holding the camera. Tell him to make sure that the subject of the photo is in the finder. Gradually introduce basic principles like taking pictures with the right distance from the subject, lighting basics, etc. Remind him to keep the camera inside its case when not in use.

You can start with animals or scenery as subjects. His active pet hamster could be a willing model for a photoshoot. When you go on a picnic with your kid, encourage him to take snapshots of the scenery, or even of still life like fruits in a basket or a huge rock by a tree.

It’s never too early to introduce your little kid to photography. When you teach your child how to take good pictures, you teach him a skill which develops his independence, creativity, and at the same time, helps him value life’s precious memories.