I honestly don’t know how to begin this post. I actually had to change the post title a few times, because I wasn’t even sure about what I want to write about.

To tell you the truth, when October started, I thought I’d be able to update this blog more often… even if it was just to share how we’re trying to live liturgically despite our failures and imperfections.

"T" is for "Therese" -- our simple "cake" to celebrate Saint Therese's feast day!

“T” is for “Therese” — our simple “cake” to celebrate Saint Therese’s feast day!

I thought I would finally be able to write about the different events I was able to attend recently, like the Smart Parenting Baby Shower 2015, and the first Blissmakerie for this year (which I was finally able to write about for Philstar.com after almost a month — eek!)…

keeping it real

With my fellow Blissmakers at the September 2015 Blissmakerie (Photo grabbed from Rhiza Oyos on Instagram)

I even thought that I could (maybe!) write about all the blessings (i.e. gifts!) I’ve received lately… like the healthy and yummy juices from Juice Hut Manila, or the other goodies from Urban Essentials, TAN Homeschool, Franciscan Media {c/o my AWESOME CatholicMom.com editor Lisa Hendey!}, Mighty Baby PH, Mommy Matters and so on!


Thank You, Lord, for all these blessings and so much more!

But, as usual, life happened. It still does… every single day.

Most days pass by in a blur actually. And when people ask me how I’m doing, especially since I am now around 6 and a half months pregnant (and HUGE for Baby’s age, me thinks!), I usually answer:

“I am/we are OK, by God’s grace. Taking things one day at a time.”

Because that’s really how it has been lately. I’ve been just getting by each day… knowing that I can do only so much (or so little, haha! Thank God I have such a helpful and supportive husband, plus parents and siblings who are always willing to take care of the kids when needed!).

I post about my reality sometimes on Instagram and Facebook (I’ve recently changed my official page name, by the way!). I use the hashtag #keepingitreal, because I want other people to know that I’m not “perfect,” nor is my life perfect.

I don’t have the perfect marriage, nor perfect kids. I’m certainly not “Supermom” (remember there’s only ONE “Supermom” in my book!).

Our humble home is far from perfect — it’s often messy, and is in dire need of decluttering and deep cleaning! And our homeschooling days? Certainly not Pinterest-worthy, or even social media post-worthy most days!

So, am I complaining?

Nope. Or at least I’m trying not to.

Because I know that the state of “being” I am in right now is a blessing. Whether I realize it or not, it’s part of God’s plan for my life.

Being pregnant right now is a blessing… even if, initially, I had different reactions and feelings about it — but that’s for another blog post! The ability to bear the gift of life in my womb, and to nurture that life, is a blessing.


We’re having a boy, by the way! :)

Being a work-at-home mom right now is a blessing… even if there are moments when I just want to tear out my hair in frustration over toddler-caused interruptions and cry over missed deadlines and never-ending-to-do-lists! (I’ve actually done the latter quite a few times!) The ability to do meaningful work that also helps provide for our family’s needs is a blessing.

keeping it real

Mustard Magazine is on the list of finalists for Best Children’s Magazine at this year’s Catholic Mass Media Awards! Yay! :) #proudeditorinchief

Being a homeschooling mom right now is a blessingeven if most of our homeschooling “lessons” these days are just focused on the “4 R’s for Early Learners” of Susan Lemons — relationships, routine, readiness, reading aloud — even if 2 out of 4 kids (yes, we count the one in utero already!) are no longer considered “early learners” or preschoolers! You could also say that we try to be consistent with daily “lessons” for these 4 R’s: Religion or Christian Living Education; Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic (Math). The ability to to teach our kids at home and everywhere else we may be, and to learn new things with them, is a blessing.

keeping it real

Teaching math, reading, and life skills using Bug-opoly! :)

So what is the point of this #keepingitreal post, dear friend? :)

Well, it’s simply this:

No matter what you’re facing right now, there is always a blessing somewhere, somehow. You just need to look for it.

The truth about being a pregnant, work-at-home, homeschooling mom (with no hired helper!) right now is this… it’s tiring. It’s overwhelming. It’s frustrating. It’s maddening. But it’s also soul-refining… heartwarming… refreshing… inspiring.

Only by His grace.

So lean in, friend… lean into the season you’re in. Embrace it. Lean on Him; seek His grace. He’ll see you (and me!) through.

Honestly, I don’t know when I’ll be able to come back here again to write a post, but I do hope you’ll stick around — God’s been pushing me to do something different with this space, and I would love for you to be “here” when it becomes a reality! :)

keeping it real

In the meantime, if you want to see more of my writing elsewhere, be sure to check out Smart Parenting and Philstar.com, to which I contribute regularly! Thanks for being “loyal” all this time — hope to “see” you again soon!


If you want to catch me in person, I’ll be speaking at the “Ready For The World: Philippine Homeschool Conference 2015” this Saturday, October 17. My talk is primarily for those who are exploring homeschooling or are just starting out. :) If you’re already homeschooling though, be sure to catch the other talks! Hope to see you there!
keeping it real

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on October 14, 2015 · 0 comments · Catholic, Family, Truly Rich Reflections, Updates

Today is the feast day of one of our family’s favorite saints: Saint Therese of Lisieux. :) We named our second child after her — so today is also our daughter’s “Nameday”! (“What’s a Nameday?,” you may ask… More info here.). We only started celebrating our children’s “Namedays” last year, so I am still getting the hang of it. 😛

To celebrate, we plan to read about Saint Therese, have some cake and, hopefully, visit Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, just as Saint Therese loved to do. :) We will also watch these videos:

A simple but meaningful (I hope!) celebration. 😉

In case you want to celebrate this special day too, here are some links to great resources:

saint therese

Background of today’s feast (Memorial of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, virgin and Doctor of the Church) via Catholic Culture​ (includes suggested activities)

Printable Activity Sheets from Shower of Roses plus more ideas

Ideas from Holy Family Classical Academy

For us parents — a good read from CatholicMom.com: Can We Help Our Children to Become Saints?

To end, here’s one of my favorite quotes from the Little Flower of Jesus, taken from my latest article for CatholicMom.com:

saint therese

May we spend this day and beyond with hearts surging, looking towards Heaven, and crying out in recognition of God’s amazing love for us! Saint Therese of Lisieux, pray for us! :)

saint therese

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on October 1, 2015 · 1 comment · Catholic, Family, God, Homeschooling, Living the Liturgical Year, Parenting

Now that I am pregnant again, I have found myself thinking a lot about how quickly my other kids have grown. I still remember how it was giving birth to our first child — it was one of the most unforgettable, life-changing moments of my life! Of course, giving birth to our second and third children were also unique experiences… I can’t believe I am a mama of four now!

And because I am infanticipating, I’ve been trying to “review” the basics of caring for a baby again — not that I consider myself out of “practice,” since Anne was born only a little over two years ago. 😉 Anyway, I thought I’d share a bit of what I’ve been reviewing, and what I’ve learned from almost 9 years of experience, with you all — perhaps one or some of you might find it helpful!

So, without further ado, here are 3 simple ways to provide the best care for your baby:

1. Don’t overspend but invest in quality products.

You might be surprised at this first tip, but I just thought I should emphasize this: You don’t need to spend a mountain of money to give your baby the best care. However, I do believe in investing in products that are of good quality and come recommended by fellow parents plus experts in baby care. :)

So, if you’re out to shop for products that will help provide the best care for your baby, be discerning and wise, and spend your money on items that are useful and a good investment for your money.

For example, I am 100% pro-breastfeeding and plan to breastfeed our fourth child — just like her siblings — because I believe that breastfeeding is one of the ways by which I can provide the best care for my babies. Because of this, I would consider investing in quality products that would help me in my breastfeeding journey. For example, the Snug-A-Hug pillow:

Huggies Gentle Care Baby Wipes

Photo courtesy of The Parenting Emporium, where you can find Snug-A-Hug plus so many other quality brands that can help you provide the best care for your baby! :)

The Snug-A-Hug is a pillow created by local mompreneur Minnie Jumaquio, which can be used during pregnancy (like I do now), and after pregnancy — for breastfeeding, alleviating pressure from your pelvic area post-partum, etc. It can also be used as an “everyday” pillow of course, and for post-operation situations. I was blessed to receive a Snug-A-Hug as an advanced birthday gift of sorts from Minnie and the whole family has been enjoying it immensely! :)

Huggies Gentle Care Baby Wipes

Our little Anne enjoys using the Snug-A-Hug so much! :) She also LOVES her Belly Armor blanket!

Here’s a bit more info about the Snug-A-Hug pillow (just click on the image for a larger view):

Huggies Gentle Care Baby Wipes

Now, I just want to clarify something before I go on… If you noticed, I emphasized the word “help” in my aforementioned statements. This is because I believe that products like the Snug-A-Hug are “tools” to help make parents’ lives easier — they are not necessities (in my humble opinion).

I just want to clarify that because I am, after all, a frugal mom too, and I believe in spending one’s money wisely — all part of the journey to being #trulyrichandblessed, even financially!

Having said that though, I do appreciate well-thought-of products like the Snug-A-Hug, because you can use it for a long time, and help make things like breastfeeding more comfortable for mom and baby. :) Every member of the family can use it actually! So, if you can invest in products like it, go ahead! :)

Huggies Gentle Care Baby Wipes

Photo from the Snug-A-Hug FB page: The caption reads: This sleepyhead has invaded my #snugahug. Photo reposted by Minnie via @cuaresmuch on Instagram

2. Get the support of your “village.”

I cannot emphasize this more: I believe that “it takes a village to raise a child,” as my friends from The Parenting Emporium always say, and it is so, so, SO important to get your “village” to support you as you provide the best care for your baby.

Your “village” can be composed of your spouse, other family members, officemates, friends, extended family, househelp, and experts in different fields who can give you tips and information on how to care for your child… basically, every person who also wants the best for your baby, and is committed to helping you give the best to him or her.

Huggies gentle care baby wipes

Me with two of the people from my “village”: Dear friends, sisters in Christ, and fellow homeschoolers Mariel and Sanne of The Learning Basket (who, incidentally, will be giving a workshop on Positive Discipline this weekend! You might want to attend!) This photo was taken at The Parenting Emporium — whose owners, Maricel and Beng, happen to be part of my “village” too! :) #parenthoodshared indeed! {Photo courtesy of The Learning Basket on Instagram}

I am a living witness to how important having a strong, supportive “village” is — I know I am a better parent because of everyone in my “village”, yet even on the days when I fail and am a “monster mom,” I know I can still count on my “village” to pray for me and help me out; to encourage me to continue giving the best care to my kids! :)

3. Use products that are clinically tested to be gentle and safe for babies.

I would like to confess something right now: I am all for practices like cloth diapering, using organic products, being 100% eco-friendly, using natural remedies, etc. But I must admit that doing all of these consistently is still a challenge for me — especially the cloth diapering, being 100% eco-friendly part.

I have three kids plus one on the way, no household help, work at home fulltime, homeschool, etc. I know some moms can do the things I mentioned earlier even if their situations are similar to mine — and I applaud them (and am a bit envious, ha, ha!).

Huggies gentle care baby wipes

Just look at these adorable cloth diapers from Fluffy Pwets! (Photo courtesy of The Parenting Emporium on Facebook) MAYBE I will attempt to use cloth diapers again with my fourth baby, but for now, I am perfectly happy to use Huggies! :)

Actually, I used to feel SO guilty about not being able to do all those things consistently! Cloth diapering especially! 😛 However, a few months ago, I decided to just kick that “mommy guilt to the curb,” as MommyProofing Coach Joy Dejos would say. I didn’t want to be bogged down by guilt — and depression because of that guilt — so I told myself to just.stop.it.

As a consolation-of-sorts, I also reminded myself that what is important right now is that I do my best to give the best to the kids, given our current situation and resources. :) That’s why I’m glad that there are gentle and safe products for babies and kids out there that can help make the parenting journey easier for me.

For example: Huggies Gentle Care Baby Wipes

Huggies Gentle Care Baby Wipes

My new handbag — my birthday gift to myself — always has a pack of Huggies Gentle Care Baby Wipes in it, plus two Huggies Dry Pants diapers :)

These baby wipes are clinically tested to be safe to use on our babies’ skin, and are enriched with aloe vera and vitamin E. They’re made from natural fibers, and are alcohol, soap, and fragrance-free. You can use them not just on your baby’s diaper area, but on his/her face and hands too! :)

Incidentally, a pack of Huggies Gentle Care Baby Wipes (80 pieces per pack) usually retails at P160 — which makes it a relatively good buy, considering its safe, gentle-to-use features.

So, yes, we can aim for the “ideal” when it comes to practices and products, dear fellow moms, but if we aren’t able to live up to the “ideal,” don’t beat yourself up over it! Just try to look for alternative options, that are still safe and gentle enough for our babies. :) (Come to think of it, what is “ideal” anyway? Who can classify something as “ideal”? We each have our own preferences and parenting styles!)

Parenting itself is a challenging journey, and so I encourage you to just do the best you can. :) You know what’s best for your child, and armed with enough research and expert-backed information, plus the support and encouragement of your “village,” you can provide the best care for your baby. So, go ahead — just keep calm and mother on! :)

huggies gentle care baby wipes

Keep Calm and Mommy On! :) Love this logo from KeepCalmandMommyOn.com on Facebook! :)

How do you provide the “best care” to your little one? Share your tips in the comments!


*This post is brought to you by Huggies Philippines. Thank you for being a blessing to our family! :)

*Special thanks also go out to Minnie Jumaquio of Snug-A-Hug — thank you SO much for your gift! :)

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on September 23, 2015 · 0 comments · Family, Parenting, Sponsored Post, Truly Rich Recommendations

I have a raw, honest (and very embarrassing) confession to make: This past month — my birthday month! — I have had a lot of downright ugly, crying episodes and “crazy mama” breakdowns. :(

It’s like I was on a big emotional roller coaster ride, and while many people say that it could be mostly due to pregnancy hormones, I know that it’s also because I have been trying to run on my own strength lately. Which is kind of ironic, really, since the last episode of “The Truly Rich Mom Show” had me reminding everyone that “Even Jesus Needed Help.”

The truth is, I haven’t really been walking my talk lately… and my ugly-cry-mama-is-acting-like-a-basket-case episodes were the result — I failed, time and again, to seek help. I didn’t ask God for help; didn’t bask in His presence; didn’t rest in His embrace; didn’t lean into His Word. *sigh*

This is sort of what I looked like on bad days! :( (Image by David Castillo Dominici | FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

This is sort of what I looked like on bad days! :( (Image by David Castillo Dominici | FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

The good news is… it’s never too late to get up and start again, right? That’s what I love about our God and His grace. That’s why we are all #trulyrichandblessed — because His love and forgiveness are never-ending. Praise God for that! :)

Now, you might be wondering… why on earth is she baring her soul again? Why is she so open about all her weaknesses, struggles, hardships?

Well, my friends, it’s all about #keepingitreal. :) I receive a lot of comments from friends, family members and acquaintances about how I seem so great at “doing it all,” and “keeping it together,” and “balancing everything.” About how I am a “supermom” even.

And, like I always tell them, I don’t do it all, I suck at keeping it together, I have a hard time balancing everything (and one of the “things” that I’m trying to balance always ends up falling!). Most of all, I’m NOT a “supermom.”

But I can introduce you to someone who is… the TRUE “Supermom” actually! :) She is a powerful ally and intercessor for all of us, especially us moms. Watch the latest episode of the show below to find out who she is:

My prayer is that we will all learn to seek God’s help, no matter how “rock-bottom” our situations may seem. May we also seek the intercession of the True Supermom, our Blessed Mother, to help us live out our calling every day, all for God’s greater glory! :)

I love this image of "Madonnina," also known as "Madonna of the Streets" by Roberto Ferruzzi - I used to have a big poster with the same image on our bedroom wall in Timor! I remember looking at it during my first-time mom days, when my eldest was still a newborn!

I love this image of “Madonnina,” also known as “Madonna of the Streets” by Roberto Ferruzzi (Source). I used to have a big poster with the same image on our bedroom wall in Timor! I remember looking at it during my first-time mom days, when my eldest was still a newborn, and asking Mama Mary to help me during those trying, challenging days!

Reflect: Do I consider the Blessed Virgin Mary as my own mother? Do I seek her intercession and help every day?


Special thanks to Elin for sponsoring my dress for this episode! :)

For fabulous and functional options for your wardrobe, please visit Elin’s website or click on the image below. :)

Elin logo new

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on September 20, 2015 · 0 comments · Advocacies, Catholic, Family, God, The Truly Rich Mom Show

It has been quite a while since my last post here, I know.

To tell you the truth, I have had my hands full again with oh so many things (the usual — the kids, chores, WORK, etc.), not to mention events that I have been attending as “media” (though I am still not used to being labelled as such!) and events to which I have been invited as a speaker (Invite me, invite me! Before I give birth, haha!).

HSS talk

I was invited to give a talk lately at the PTA Assembly of Holy Spirit School — I learned a lot from chatting with the teachers and parents! :) Photo from my Instagram feed (yup, I’m finally on IG — follow me there, if you want! 😉 )

Then there is also the “laziness” that comes with being pregnant — many days, all I want to do is lie in bed and read a book (or scroll through my social media feeds! Aaarrggghhh!).

On the few occasions when I did get to sit down and attempt to write a blog post, I was dismayed to find out that I couldn’t log in to WordPress! Huhuhu! :( (It’s a loooong story, but let me just say — I need to subscribe to a new internet service provider!)

Anyway… here I am now, at my mom’s place, taking advantage of the fact that I can finally access the back end of this blog. (Thank you for your patience, everyone!)

First thing on my bloggy agenda is to share important reminders about reading and problem-solving, and learning in general — based on lessons that I learned from attending the Scholastic Readers Cup 2015 last month.

scholastic readers cup 2015

I was most inspired by the talk given by Dr. Duriya Aziz, Vice President of Scholastic Asia — she sounded a lot like some of my former teachers in Brunei, actually! :)

I won’t go into the nitty-gritty of the event though, because:

(a) I already wrote about it for Philstar.com;

(b) it’s 4.30 a.m. and I should be sleeping (so says every person who discovers that I am awake and online at hours like these! “You should be resting; growing your baby requires enough sleep; etc.!”); and

(c) the toddler might wake up to nurse and I won’t be able to finish this post because I’ll end up falling asleep beside her! 😛

So… please forgive me but I’ll just go straight to the point of why I found the Scholastic Readers Cup 2015 truly educational and insightful, especially as a parent and an educator-of-sorts (since we homeschool and all :) ). Here are my four main takeaways, which, I believe, serve as important reminders for all educators and parents, since we parents are considered the primary educators of our children:

1. We need to teach children how to learn and how to use what they learn.

scholastic readers cup 2015

As a parent, one of my goals is to raise independent learners who know how to learn, meaning, how to get information on anything and everything they want to. I think this goal would apply whether or not we homeschool.

At the Scholastic Readers Cup 2015 though, I was reminded that, in today’s society, it’s not just what you know that matters; it’s what you can do with that knowledge that is most important. This is something that both parents and teachers should remember when teaching kids. We need to teach them about the “usefulness” of what they learn; after all, learning should be purposeful, right? :)

2. We need to encourage children to read beyond what is “required” of them.

scholastic readers cup 2015

This is something I have been personally struggling with working on with my kids. They LOVE it when I read aloud to them, but are not yet very big on independent reading beyond what is required of their curriculum. So, we’re working on improving the culture of reading that we currently have, by hoarding getting books which the kids find interesting (many of which are actually from Scholastic!).

I also plan to use charts to help us achieve our goals, which will help the kids track the number of books that they read. Of course, since our Kindergartener/beginning reader doesn’t read so fluently yet, her book “requirements” will be simpler, and limited to the phonics readers we are currently using.

3. We need to encourage and teach children to be problem-solvers.

scholastic readers cup 2015

Based on the slide pictured above, plus Dr. Aziz’s talk, we must remember that both reading and problem-solving (related to proficiency in mathematics) are important. I personally was both a language and math “nerd” when I was still a student, but admittedly loved language more (hence, my current “job description” as writer/editor/communicator!).

As a parent (and a teacher), I hope for my kids to love (or at least like) both too — reading and math. I know that I need to encourage and inspire them to actually have that “love” though, and it is definitely challenging! Time to make concrete plans for the new school year! 😉

Schoolteachers would also do well to encourage their students to be proficient in both math and reading, as this would mean better opportunities for the children later on in life.

4. We need to assess children to help them prepare for the future.

scholastic readers cup 2015

Personally, as a recently self-declared “Catholic Relaxed Homeschooler,” I am not very fond of assessment tools like tests and exams. I actually don’t give my kids regular quizzes, tests and exams. But after attending the Scholastic Readers Cup this year, I was encouraged to look at tests and exams in a different light — more as a “teaching tool,” rather than a way to see what grades my kids are capable of getting. (I know, I know — my bad for thinking of them as such!)

Assessment is not a bad thing — it helps us parents and teachers determine a child’s certain level in a specific subject, so that we can identify areas that need improvement. Something I need to constantly keep in mind! :)

In hindsight, I can say that I am really glad that I was invited to the Scholastic Readers Cup 2015. I learned a lot, and am even more inspired to be my children’s “first and best teacher,” as my friends from The Learning Basket always say! :)

Scholastic is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of over 600 original titles every year. The Readers Cup is an event that recognizes the exemplary efforts of educators — from teachers and librarians, to principals and schools. At this year’s Readers Cup, Scholastic also launched its new programs, namely Literacy Pro, Literacy Pro Library, and PR1ME Mathematics.

For more information on Scholastic, and its products and programs, email educteam@scholastic.com.ph or contact (02) 944READ (7323). You can find also them online via their website: http://scholastic.asia/en and on Facebook: facebook.com/ScholasticAsia.

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on September 20, 2015 · 0 comments · Advocacies, Events, Homeschooling, Parenting, Sponsored Post