Monday, June 30, 2014

Manic Monday Quotes: It's now...

Here's to the beginning of the work week, the end of June, the end of the first half of 2014, and the beginning of the rest of our lives.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Storytelling in Mandarin

I read three to four different books to my kids before they sleep at night. Sadly, none of these books are in Mandarin. First, there are hardly any good Mandarin children's books in Manila. Second, even if there were, I probably would not know how to read them well. In this day and age though, with the internet at the tips of our fingers... anything can be found online. So I googled "storytelling in Mandarin" and I was led to these wonderful youtube videos! 

There are videos by Miss Panda. These are great because they are of familiar books that children already read and love. I love that she read Goodnight Moon and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I'm sure there are a lot more kids and moms who will enjoy these. If you've memorized the books already, it will be very easy to align the Mandarin word to the English word. 

Then there are these videos by Hongen education. The nice thing about these vidoes is that there is a portion at the end where the host (who reminds me of the wizard at Enchanted Kingdom) reviews key vocabulary/phrases in English and Mandarin. There are English words and phrases interlaced in the entire story so it's easy to pick up the story line (not to mention we must all be familiar with the story of the Three Little Pigs already!) 

Mandarin is a language that requires a lot of repetition and memorization. These videos sure are great tools for our kids to learn the language in a much more fun way. Do share your Mandarin language tools in the comments section! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I didn't realize there's an actual term for it. Do you have a child born in the second half of the year? Have you thought about delaying sending him/her to school? There's an actual term to describe it... Redshirting!

Over the past several years, I've had discussions about this with fellow moms, and even some educators. I've hear of anecdotes about children who entered school too early, and were forced to "adapt" to school. Their handwriting turned out less nicer (because their fine motor skills were less developed). Some of them struggled with math concepts, or reading. There were also those who succeeded, and had not a lot of problems academically. In my own personal academic experience - I also had experiences with both. My birthday falls in the month just before school starts here in the Philippines, so I tended to think that I was just at the right age for that school year. I had friends who were a full 6months older than me, and I also had friends who were almost a year younger than me. I personally could not tell the difference.

To be honest, I have seriously considered redshirting my second child. It was very enticing - it means she can stay a full two years in progressive school, and it also gave me the remote chance of perhaps seeing her very successful in her future trad school. And she may end up with better handwriting. But then, she may turn out to be one of the oldest in her class. Who would her friends me? What would her younger friends think? What will she ask me if she graduates at an older age than her sister? Tough decisions.

 This article got me thinking again. It's actually a practical article... Does not cover all bases but it sure is logical enough to be followed. I'm sure educators all over the world have thought about the rules behind accepting kids of a certain age to kindergarten. Our role, as parents, should be to be standing alongside our kids year on year, guiding them through obstacles, cheering them on their successes and fully supporting them, whatever the outcome may be. 

Unless your kid is a superhuman or a truly gifted child, chances are they will struggle over some things. Some will struggle over science. Some will struggle over reading. Some will struggle over friendships. I look back at my own childhood and I really cannot recall a single person who was perfect at everything. I do recall the kids who had parents to support them all the way! So yes - before you think about redshirting... Think first about what you're willing to commit to your kids... With your support, they are sure to be successful! 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I cooked: Baked Eggs and Sardines

We wanted to make something special for Father's Day beeakfast. K suggested fried eggs, or roast beef, which obviously will not make the cut. I decided on baked eggs because the girls can help me with some of the steps in making it. I've been seeing this recipe in several magazines for some time, and have been meaning to try it. We found the link to a basic recipe online, and we started preparing. I usually don't follow ingredients down to the last step... I like to improvise along the way. 

First, we put some sardines in a clay baking dish. I used a Spanish style baking dish (similar to a paellera) that we got from Terry's a long time ago. This is the kind of dish that Casa Armas would use to serve their appetizers on. Then I let the girls sprinkle on some herbs and spices - we used turmeric, sage and some pepper. I then put this dish inside the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes.

After five minutes, we mixed in 4 eggs into the mixture - and let it bake in the oven for another 7 more minutes. There's no need to "scramble" the eggs... Just crack 4 eggs into a bowl and pour the eggs on top of the sardines. I let K do this step. After 7 minutes, you can take out your dish from the oven and leave it to stand and cook a bit more on its own. 

Just before eating, we sprinkle some sea salt on it for seasoning... You can do this right after you pour in the eggs too.

This was our inspiration. 

The man of the house is still asleep... Hope he likes it! Happy father's day to all of you who have been fathers or father figures!