Sunday, April 29, 2012

Flu Vaccination

Its almost Flu season, so my family and I decided to avail of the flu vaccination organized by the Knights of Columbus at the Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Philamlife Village today.  Flu+AH1N1 vaccine costs Php550.  My son and I had our flu shots same month last year.  This year, hubby decided to join in.  I appreciate this program of the Knights of Columbus and I hope that they continue to have this annually.

Flu vaccination is just one step to prevent ourselves from getting the flu.  The other steps should be part of our daily routine like proper hand washing, exercise, getting our daily dose of vitamin D through sufficient sun exposure, healthy diet, enough rest and having effective tools to fight stress.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Divisoria Shopping for Mickey Mouse Giveaways

Hubby and I went to Divisoria today to purchase the giveaways for Ethan's birthday party.  Everyone knows that Divisoria is the premier place to purchase novelty items and party favors on a budget when in the Philippines.

Anyway, hubby and I reached Divisoria around 2pm.  Traffic was light, as well as the number of people shopping.  Light meaning you can work your way through the maze of alleys without getting stepped on or hit by anything. We went around Divisoria mall with ease scouting the items to purchase.  We easily found what we needed and head for home faster that it normally takes.  I assume that if we did the shopping next week, it would be a different scenario as people would start swarming in by then, in preparation for the start of the next schoolyear.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Birds of the Philippines

Yes indeed!  There is a book of birds in the Philippines.  We have so many species of birds here in our country that a compilation of photos has to be made into a book.  "A Photographic Guide to Birds of the Philippines" is a book by Tim Fisher and Nigel Hicks.  I bought this book about 12 years ago for Php345.00.  I love this book because of the detailed description of the birds and the beautiful photos.  It is also very handy, making it easy to bring along when you want to go bird watching.

Eurasian tree sparrow commonly mistaken as the "maya."
The real maya is the Chestnut munia.
I learned from this book that the birds I grew up knowing as the maya is not actually the maya.  I think the maya was for sometime noted as the country's national bird until it was changed into the Philippine eagle or the Pithecophaga jefferyi.  What we had been referring to as the maya is actually a Eurasian tree sparrow while the real "maya" is called the Chestnut munia.

I have not seen a single Chestnut munia here in Manila.  It is the Eurasian tree sparrow that abounds here in the city which is probably why the new generation thinks this is the maya.  The only time I was able to see a Chestnut munia is in the forest of Lanote, Basilan.  They fly in groups which is a cute sight to see because they are small birds that is brown and black, reminding me of a short cartoon film by Pixar.

The Pied Fantail or Maria Capra.
I love watching this bird dance around our backyard.
Having this book at home has made me aware of the other birds that reside in our community.  A regular visitor at our backyard is the Pied Fantail or the Maria Capra.  This bird is such a joy because it loves dancing around with its tail spread out like a fan.  Another bird I commonly see in our yard is the Long-tailed Shrike.  This bird is usually seen perched on high areas like the telephone line.  It has a proud majestic look sitting there, sometimes I feel that it is watching me too.  Anyway, it sits there for awhile and then swoops down on small insects or lizards that it sees. One time, I was able to see a Zebra Dove walking around out neighbor's roof too by the way.

When I stayed in Basilan with my family for 9 months, I usually see a Rufous-lored Kingfisher perched on our neighbor's tv antenna.  Barn swallows abound at the Lanote farm as there are nests made of mud attached to the farmhouse.  When we stayed in Davao, a common garden visitor is Olive-backed Sunbird.  It loves flowers and they usually feed at our garden in the morning.

This book has definitely leveled up my knowledge and awareness of our feathered friends.  It also feels really cool being able to attach a name to a certain kind of bird and not shout out "Hey!  Look at that bird!"  Now, I can confidently tell my son, "Look!  That's a Pied Fantail!"  And my son would say, "Ohhhh!  A Pied Fantail!"

Word of Thought
I have seen kids using airguns shooting birds from trees.  We should teach our kids to refrain from doing this as they do not even know if the bird they are actually shooting down may be endangered.  Part of taking care of our environment is learning to take care of our feathered friends too.  Note that there are 214 species of birds as noted in this book that can be sighted here in the Philippines.  I read that around 80 of these species are endemic to the Philippines, and sadly, many of them are already on the endangered list.  Let's take part in protecting them from extinction, please.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Mom Loves White Roses

Its almost May! Aside from the number of birthday celebrations in our family on this month, there is Mother's Day.  Back in College, every weekend is Mother's Day for me.  I make it a point to drop by Macy's along Grove at UPLB to get my mom a white rose before going home to Manila.  My mom loves white roses.  It is the one thing that she loves that I remember even after she has gone.  A bouquet of white roses was the sign she asked from God before she said "yes" to my dad's proposal to marry.  Although she welcomed red roses on certain occasions, white roses always made a big difference.

I came to love white roses too because of my mother's fondness for it.  White roses are so delicate that its condition shows how much you are cared for.  I know this because it is not easy commuting by bus from UPLB to Alabang with a white rose in one hand and a large backpack full of dirty laundry.  The joy and fulfillment of handing it intact and still beautiful to my mom is priceless.  The glow on my mom's face and the bright smile she would give out the moment she receives the white rose is a fond memory I keep in my heart.  At times I would dig deep into my memories to recall that smile when I miss her terribly.

I stumbled upon this picture of a white rose we brought to my mom's tomb on her death anniversary and remembered that tomorrow is April 26, my mom's birthday.  Happy birthday mom!  We miss you so much!  May you be in a garden of white roses up there in heaven on your birthday.

Although a white rose is known to symbolize purity, innocence and secrecy; early traditions used it to symbolize true love.  It also symbolizes young love and is known as the bridal rose.

For funerals, the white rose symbolizes honor and reverence...or the beginning of a new life.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Workbooks for Summer

Although its summer, I make it a point to inject some lessons just so Ethan's brain won't be rusty come start of school in June.  I would randomly pick an activity for us to do be it reading, writing, math or science.  At this point, Ethan has already learned how to multiply up to Table of 5 and we have reviewed English up to the use of "this" and "that."

While we were shopping at Festival Mall yesterday, I decided to drop by National Bookstore to look for workbooks that can help Ethan with his Math, Reading Comprehension, English and Cursive Writing.  I know all these will be learned in school, but I find that he learns better if I can slowly tackle the lessons in a less stressful, more fun environment here at home.  When school starts, everything will be hectic again and lessons tend to be fast paced and less enjoyable.

Anyway, here are the books I purchased which I found great to buy for an incoming grade 2 student here in the Philippines.

Multiplication Facts Made Easy

A book printed in Korea by School Zone Publishing Company.  Its a great book to learn multiplication because its reusable.  The child has to use dry erase markers to answer the workbook so the book can be reused.  The pages are colorful and there are various ways given in attacking a multiplication problem which I find very helpful in explaining to my kid.
Multiplication Facts Made Easy is Php 99.00
 My Exercise Book for Cursive Writing

Ethan started learning cursive writing in Grade 1. Their Writing Workbook at school actually ended in cursive writing.  I decided to buy an Exercise book to supplement what he learned and have him practice cursive writing so he would not have a hard time writing when in Grade 2.

There are actually a lot of exercise books for cursive writing out there.  This book is Ethan's personal choice probably because of its size and the quality of paper.  It is an ETL book, a co-edition of Lampara Publishing House.  I love ETL books because they are fun to teach to children because of the wonderful illustrations.  This is not the first ETL book that Ethan has as I already bought a couple of ETL Books in the past from the Manila Book Fair held at SMX Convention Center.
Exercise Book for Cursive Writing is Php 99.75.
Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension is one of a series of books under School and Home Workbooks by ETL.  As I said, I love ETL books and this book is the 4th book that Ethan has.  The books are coded based on the learning level of the child. Reading Comprehension is level 3 under Phonics and Reading.  The other School and Home Workbooks we have are Sight Words Puzzles and Games, Getting Ready for Kindergarten and Beginning Reading. 
Reading Comprehension is Php 49.75
My World in English Ages 7-9

My World in English Ages 7-9 is a book by Future Ace Publishing Pte Ltd Singapore and printed in Malaysia. It is also a book that is part of a series.  Since Ethan will be in grade 2, this level is appropriate for him.  The book is filled with activities in grammar, vocabulary, comprehension and composition.

My World in English is Php115.00

So there it is!  Four books that would make a child busy for the summer.  How about you?  What books are your kids working on this summer?

Mickey Mouse Themed Birthday Party: Celebrant's clothes and giveaways

Its 3 weeks away to my son’s birthday party at McDonald’s and I am excited as he is.  About 3 weeks ago we had been contemplating on his attire for the party.  As we were shopping at Landmark I saw a Mickey Mouse tie and a Mickey Mouse cap that were both so cute!  No second thoughts, I bought both of them.

Mickey Mouse tie P199.95
from The Landmark (Makati, Philippines)

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cap Php299.99
 from the Landmark (Makati, Philippines)
For giveaways, I came up with this.  Its a metal die-cast car from SM Center worth P30.00 and I just wrapped it with plastic floral wrap and placed a customized sticker I made myself. 

My box of giveaways.  The red box that says Chocolate is from SM Southmall
and it is actually a box of erasers worth P40.00.
I just attached my customized sticker and tadahhh...Mickey Mouse giveaway!

Yesterday, Ethan and I decided to go to Festival Mall Alabang to scout for an extra shirt for him to wear for his birthday and additional stuff for his giveaways. This is what we found:

Mickey Mouse red shirt Php 499.75
from Robinson's Festival Mall

Mickey Mouse blue collared shirt Php 599.75
from Robinson's Festival Mall

Mickey Mouse red hanky Php 49.75 each and
Mickey Mouse pencils Php 49.75/pack from
Robinson's Festival Mall

Since May 13 is also Mother's Day, 2 moms will be winning a Mickey Mouse keychain I got from Daiso Japan Home.
Mickey Mouse keychain Php 66.00 from
Daiso Japan Home, Festival Mall

I so love this badge for Ethan to identify him as the birthday boy since
most our guests are non-relatives.  Ethan loves this badge too.
He says, "It's like I got a special award!"
Php 66.00 from Daiso Japan Home
This isn't over yet as I am still on a lookout for cool lootbags for the giveaways. wondering when co-blogger Cindy would respond to my queries.  Siya kasi ang may alam saan mabibili yung PVC tab-top box bag.  She bought it for her daughter's bday party last April 14 and it was sooooo cute! 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Kiddie Crew Fun at McDonald's Las Piñas

As I stated in one of my previous blogs, its is my son's 3rd year of joining the McDonald's Kiddie Crew workshop.  Why he keeps on coming back?  "Because it's fun!" he says.

This year was really fun at the McDonald's Kiddie Crew workshop because in additional to the usual floor and counter duties for the kids, they embellished an apron which they get to keep and they also had the chance to assemble a cheeseburger step by step the McDonald's way.

Allow me to give a run through of the weeklong activities in pictures.

Day 1-Orientation Day

Learning the proper way of washing hands
Off to the floor single file.

Ate Joerlyn telling the kids what they should do while on the floor.

Playplace orientation

Counter and Kitchen orientation with Ate MJ.

Proper way of putting together the child seat.

Time to relax with Ronald after 2 hours of work.

Day 2 - Floor Duty
Greeting the customers and thanking them when they leave.

Buzzing the tables

Thanks Ethan for buzzing my table!

Craft time!!!

Ethan painting his Kiddie Crew apron.

Day 3 - Showcase of Talents

Sorry no pictures.  Anyway, this is the day the kids get to show their talents individually or with a group.  Ethan opted to go solo and sing the song "Every Single Cell in My Body is Well."

Day 4 - Counter Duty and Cheeseburger Assembling Day

Big enough already to see the counter top.

Waiting for customers to order
The kid with their aprons on, getting ready to make cheeseburgers.

Ate MJ giving instructions to the kids.

The cheeseburger assembly line.

Waiting for instructions from Ate MJ
The BIG SMILE for assembling his first McDonald's cheeseburger.  PRICELESS!

Day 5 - Kiddie Crew Recognition Day

Getting ready for the program

Batch 9-11 lining up for the parlor games
Batch 9-11 dancing "Do The Ronald."  I honestly like the beat of this dance.
At home Ethan and I get to dance this together.
"Do The Ronald" is fun because there's a lot of arm flapping and jumping around.

Ethan with the Ate's at McDonalds after receiving his certificate.

Singing "Make It Happen."

Paparapapa...Love Ko 'To.

So that's it!  After singing the Kiddie Crew Song "Make It Happen" the kids get to eat their McChicken Meal.  The Workshop is over and Kiddie Crew Graduation according to Ate MJ will still be held at the World Trade Center along Roxas Blvd, tentatively on June 2 or 3.

Our favorite neighborhood McDonald's

Thursday, April 5, 2012

McDonald's Kiddie Crew Workshop 2012

This is Ethan's 3rd year of joining the McDonald's Kiddie Crew Workshop.  He started when he was 4 years old.  Since he has football training I actually wanted to give the Kiddie Crew Workshop a pass, but after learning that they'd be assembling cheeseburgers this year my son insisted that he take part.  The fee is still Php550 inclusive of snacks, a shirt, a cap, a backpack and the ID lace.  I was also informed that they would be embellishing an apron this year as part of their arts/craft time.  How exciting!  Oh well, so Kiddie Crew Workshop it is from April 9-13 (Batch2).