Lent has officially begun for Christians everywhere, and what better way to focus on the Reason for the season than to live it in love.

So I thought I’d try to round up some Lenten resources for you, similar to what fellow Catholic mom, blogger and CatholicConference4Moms presenter Leila has done (you should totally read her post, by the way!). Some of these links go to articles/posts that I’ve written in recent years, others go to my “go-to” sites for anything and everything Catholic:

On Catholic Culture:

Learn all about Lent and everything related to it via Catholic Culture’s Lenten Workshop.

On Catholic Icing:

Lacy Rabideau of CatholicIcing.com has TONS of Lenten resources — start with this one for a list of 40 simple no-fuss traditions.

On CatholicMom.com:

You’re probably familiar with decorating for occasions like Christmas and Easter but have you ever tried decorating for Lent? Try it — read this for a few ideas. You can also check out this extensive list of Lenten activities for children for ideas that you can incorporate into your family routines this Lent. Or read everything Lent-related on the site, if you have the time. ;)

On philstar.com:

How you and your family can have a joyful, meaningful Lent

On family traditions this Lent

On Lent and Life

On Smart Parenting: 

9 Ways to Prepare Your Family for Lent (they’ve edited it though)

Be a Better You This Lent: 5 Things You Can Do (I don’t know why my byline isn’t there, but I definitely wrote this!)

Ways to Teach Your Kids About Holy Week

Lenten Activities for Preschoolers

On The Learning Basket:

Here is a great list of Lenten books for preschoolers — I wish we had these easily available locally!

Lenten resources for families with teens:

Ideas from LifeTeen.com

Lenten resources for teens from the Diocese of Little Rock

Celebrate your crosses — An Ash Wednesday reflection on YouthPinoy.com

2015 Lenten Calendars:

From Loyola Press: Good for parents and older kids

From CalendaronPics: Great for families to reflect on the deeper meaning of Lent

From Morning Star Family Holy Hour: I personally love this one! (Check it out below.)

lent

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Of course, we can’t go through this season without remembering to keep love in Lent, so I also invite you to check out past posts about how a bunch of us bloggers do this here and here.

Here’s to a meaningful and blessed Lent for us all!

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on February 18, 2015 · 0 comments · Catholic, Family, Living the Liturgical Year

Our family is not Chinese and we don’t celebrate Chinese New Year in a grand way. However, since we do try to make our homeschooling lessons relevant and “connected” somehow to current events, we sometimes include festivals and occasions like Chinese New Year in our “studies.” I’ve started trying to “christianize” such lessons though, so that they’re still somehow connected to our rich faith.

This year, the first day of the Chinese New Year falls on February 19, the day after Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of the Lenten season. We hope to continue our Lenten traditions (like the the ones I mentioned here), and will also do the following “Christianized” activities to connect Chinese New Year to our Lenten observance (please feel free to choose any of them and customize them according to your own family’s needs and preferences):

1. Read books about Mary.

While researching for our mini unit study on China (in relation to Chinese New Year), I discovered that the patron saint of China is Mama Mary, where she is known as Our Lady of Sheshan or Mary, Queen of China. It’s a great blessing then that we have a few children’s books about Our Blessed Mother — instant religion and social studies (geography, history) “lessons” for us!

Chinese New Year

The image of Our Lady of Sheshan — isn’t it beautiful?! Source.

2. Learn about saints “connected” to China.

We were blessed to receive a pre-loved copy of Seton’s Great Saints in World History from a fellow homeschooling mom two years ago, and we occasionally use it for our social studies lessons.

One of the saints featured in the book is Saint Francis Xavier, who is known as the “Apostle to the Far East” and the patron saint of the Orient, missionaries, navigators and sailors. We’ve studied a bit about him before and plan to review his life and works again.

This video from CCC of America is fun to watch, too — we got our copy from St. Paul’s. (you can watch the trailer here).

Aside from Saint Francis Xavier, we will also read a bit about the martyr saints of China, and talk about how Lent can be a time of “dying” for Jesus as we make sacrifices for Him.

3. “Explore” China in the comfort of our own home.

A family field trip to China is one of the items on our list of life dreams but since we don’t have the funds for it yet, we’ll make the most of technology and take a virtual tour of famous places in China for the meantime.

Our first stop — the Great Wall of China, of course!

By God’s grace, I was able to score a book about it at a National Bookstore sale a few years ago, and we’ll also use this cool website to go on a virtual tour of the wall, plus this site for fun and interesting facts about China. And this one, too, for geography!

How is exploring China related to our faith? you may ask. Well, being a missionary means being willing to explore new places and learn about new cultures, right? ;) I believe all of us Catholics are called to be missionaries, no matter what our backgrounds or occupations are.

We’ll also take this opportunity to go down memory lane and show the kids pictures of our family in our former “home” as missionaries, i.e. Timor Leste. I think it’s important for Tim and Rysse to know why we chose to birth them in Timor.

4. Learn faith-themed words in Chinese.

We tried using this Chinese online dictionary a while back, and the kids had lots of fun! This time, we’ll use it to learn how to say words like “God,” “love,” “Jesus,” and so on in Chinese. ;)

5. Listen to Christian songs in Chinese.

Since the kids love music, we’ll try to listen to Chinese versions of Christian songs that they are already familiar with, like the one below:

Of course, if you just want to celebrate Chinese New Year in fun and non-faith-themed ways, there are lots of ways to do so — go here and here for some ideas!

If you really think about it, any festival or occasion can become a faith-enriching activity for our families. The key is to look at it from different angles, and to try to view everything in a deeper way. God bless us all as we explore the riches of our faith together!

Can you think of other “Christianized” ways to celebrate Chinese New Year? Do share them in the comments!

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on February 17, 2015 · 4 comments · Catholic, Family, Homeschooling, Living the Liturgical Year

national arts month

Source: NCCA website

I have a confession to make — prior to last year, I had no idea that February is National Arts Month in the Philippines. (I did know, though, that February is remembered as Pro-Life Month. ;) )

national arts month

So there are two things to add to my homeschool to-do list before this month ends — include more “artsy” activities for the kids and pro-life activities, too (which I will also connect to the recent tragedy that has rocked our nation — lessons on valuing and honoring life, etc.)

For activities that are in line with National Arts Month, I’ll be referring to this article I wrote for Smart Parenting for ideas, and plan to use Tahanan Books’ Alpabetong Filipino as one of our main books (watch out for my review of it, and other titles by Tahanan Books—coming soon!).

national arts month

I also hope we can make it to one of Museo Pambata’s activities (see below) — they all seem like a lot of fun! :)

national arts month

Source: Museo Pambata Facebook page

This one of the things I love about homeschooling — we can “adjust” our lessons to “fit” current events! :) Of course, if you’re not a homeschooler, you can still enjoy celebrating National Arts Month with your kids. Please feel free to head over to Smart Parenting’s website for some ideas! :)

What are your plans for National Arts Month? Let’s compare notes in the comments!

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on February 12, 2015 · 0 comments · Family, Homeschooling

Do you struggle with a seemingly endless to-do list? I definitely do! As a work-at-home, homeschooling mom of three with no household help (call me crazy, maybe?!), I always feel like there’s “so much to do, so little time!”

Actually, I think most, if not all, of us have the same problem. Whether you are an executive, a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom or a start-up business owner, we all have at least one thing in common – an overwhelming to-do list!

Take mine, for example: Write/edit articles, pay the bills, do the groceries, de-clutter/clean the house, teach the kids, arrange for the deliveries of certain items to my mom’s place, etc. etc. It can go on and on (and on and on!), I tell ya!

It’s a great blessing, then, to know that there are resources like Tasktics to help keep overwhelmed busy people like me sane!

What is Tasktics?

Tasktics is an online service that helps you find the help you need — just by creating your own account, making a few clicks and typing in a few details!

tasktics

Here’s how it works:

1. You sign up for an account (it’s FREE!). You can be a Task Provider or a “SuperPin.” A SuperPin, or SuperPinoy, is the term given to the trustworthy, skilled Pinoys who are capable of doing tasks or errands for you.

Since I signed up as a Task Provider, I’ll share with you how my experience as one goes. (If you want to join as a SuperPin, there’s a somewhat different process, with community and background checks. This is an added “security layer” provided by Tasktics.com.)

tasktics

My Tasktics profile

 

2. You post a task. (I posted one for “Babysitting” on a day that I had urgent deadlines!) Fill in all the details needed, and indicate how much you are willing to pay for the task.

taskticsHere’s a screenshot of the categories of the tasks that can be posted:

tasktics

3. You wait for SuperPins to bid on your task, then select and assign one to do it.

tasktics

4. Once you have selected the SuperPin, provide him/her with more details as needed. (For example, I had to give directions on how to commute to our home via text to Lecel Calipus, the SuperPin assigned to me.)

5. The SuperPin does the assigned task.

6. When the SuperPin has completed the task, log in to your Tasktics account and reconfirm the “closing” of the task. Payment for the task done will then be released via PayPal. You can also post a “review” of the SuperPin assigned to you and send him/her a message.

My Tasktics.com Experience

tasktics

While I can’t speak for all the SuperPins who may bid for your tasks, I must say that the one I got — Lecel, as I previously mentioned — did a great job in babysitting the kids. My two girls especially enjoyed playing with her while Mama was getting work done. Lecel also didn’t mind helping me do a few light household chores.

Overall, I’d say using Tasktics as a service provider was a good experience, and I’d definitely use it again if needed.

tasktics

“Is it safe?” you may ask. Yes, because all SuperPins have to undergo a screening process before they’re allowed to open an account.

Tasktics.com also takes pride in implementing an additional layer of background checks and interviews on all its registered Super Pins. This helps ensure people like you and me get matched with someone to relieve us of our worries — and not add to them.

Also, I personally got to talk to a few of the Tasktics team members, and they told me that they’re actually coordinating with a team from Gawad Kalinga (GK) because they want to provide job opportunities for those living in GK sites. This is because Tasktics.com aims to help “empower able and willing marginalized Filipinos to achieve a better life, in its own little way, a task at a time.”

In fact, the majority of the Super Pins are members of trusted organizations within their communities who have passed the careful assessment of the Tasktics.com team. So it’s actually a win-win situation for both the task providers and the SuperPins!

Unique Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas c/o Tasktics

Since Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, I thought I’d do a round-up of unique gift suggestions, inspired by my Tasktics experience:

tasktics

1. Get a SuperPin to run an errand for someone you love. E.g. Pay the bills for your mom.

2. Get a SuperPin to deliver a special homemade/handmade surprise to your spouse — be as creative as you want to be!

3. If you don’t have a yaya/helper (like me!), get a SuperPin to babysit for you so that you and your spouse can go for a long overdue date — your gift to yourselves!

4. Get a SuperPin to clean your mother-in-law’s house — I’m sure she’ll appreciate the kind gesture! (I actually tried to do this, but there was a conflict in schedule! ;) )

(Hmmm… can you think of any more ideas? :) Share them with me in the comments! Oh, and if you’ve tried using Tasktics before, do leave a comment, too, and let me know how you found it!)

For more information on using Tasktics’ reliable and fast help-providing services, visit www.tasktics.com and register for a free account. You can “Like” them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TaskticsOfficial), and also follow Tasktics on Instagram@taskticsofficial. Thanks again to Tasktics.com for letting me experience their services, and for the one day that I actually got work done while the kids were awake! ;)

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on February 10, 2015 · 0 comments · I Recommend

If you’re a mother reading this now, you probably know how true the title of this post is — we moms need our fellow moms, right?

Think about it — your own mother is a mom, and when you became one yourself, it’s likely that you turned to her for help, guidance, support and prayers. (I know I did!)

When I became a mom, I felt like I had become part of a “club” — a sisterhood of sorts. And it wasn’t limited to moms who were of the same nationality or belief or religion. It was (and still is) a global community.

I remember my first months as a mother to my first child.

Our family was still on mission in Timor Leste at the time, and there were times when I still felt “isolated” as newbie mom, even if my own mom was there with us. I didn’t have access to parenting magazines or books (save for the ones I had brought with me, mostly about pregnancy), and our Internet access at the time was very limited.

What I would do then was browse through different parenting sites (Babycenter was one of my favorites!), and copy and paste articles into Word so that I could read them later.

I’d do the same thing for “mommy blogs” that I accidentally discovered online (at the time, I didn’t even know that they were “mommy blogs!”). One of my go-to sites then was the Babylicious site, which is run by a Malaysian mom. I loved reading about her parenting adventures, and could relate to some of her stories.

It’s this “moms supporting moms” thing that actually led me to start blogging. Wanting to share our parenting journey with others, this blog became my new “mission field” of sorts — I wanted to reach out to other moms, and “support” them through sharing my own experiences.

Why is it important to get mom-to-mom support, you may ask?

There are so many possible answers to this question, but let me give you just a few:

1. It’s easier to relate to someone who’s already “been there, done that.”

Enough said. Isn’t this oh so true? :)

2. Other mothers’ insights and experiences can help shed light on our own journey as moms.

Whenever I have doubts about my parenting, our homeschooling, and other matters, it always helps to hear from other moms, especially those who are more “experienced” than me.

3. It takes a village to raise a child.

I have found the African (?) proverb above to be essentially true. I actually wrote a whole post about why we sometimes need the “village” two years ago, when our youngest child was sick. I also wrote about how the “village” helps me as a homeschooling, work-at-home mom.

The vision of a “village” of moms around the world, helping and not “hurting” one another, is actually one of the reasons why I joined communities like World Moms Blog, Make It Blissful, and CatholicMom.com. I wanted to be “connected” to other moms somehow, in a more concrete way, and reach out to them as a sign of support and solidarity.

Let’s agree on one thing then, shall we?

This motherhood thing is not easy, and we need all the help we can get, that’s for sure. So let’s agree on just one thing — that we’ll do our best to support one another, no matter what our differences may be.

I’m not going to write about all the different “mommy wars” and issues that have been at the forefront of parenting sites and networks lately — at least, not now, not here, anyway. (I may do so in the future — let’s wait and see!)

What I ask for now is just an understanding that we all have our challenges, and “picking on one another” won’t help at all. Instead, let’s just do what we can to help one another out, and to show one another support and love.

An invitation

For the moms out there who may be raising multiples (twins, triplets, etc.), I’m sure your journey is even more challenging! This is why support groups can be a great help to you.

If you happen to be in Manila this weekend, please do come to this meet-up of “Seeing Doubles,” a support group for parents with multiples that was launched last year:

support group for moms

If you’re not a mom of multiples and think that support groups for moms of singletons — like Seeing Doubles — should have meet-ups too, do let me know! Maybe we can work something out or plan something!

How do you show your support to other moms? Let’s discuss different ways in the comments!

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on February 2, 2015 · 0 comments · Advocacies, Motherhood, Parenting