It’s been 9 days since my last post here! And exactly 20 days (!) since I last wrote about what we do every day, mostly in our homeschool. *gasp* So many things have happened and I don’t even know how to begin sharing them with you all!

So I won’t.

Yup… you read that right!

As much as I’d love to tell you about everything that has happened these past few weeks, I’m not going to… well, at least not in detail.

That’s because I realized something lately… I’d rather spend my time “being” than blogging.

“Being” a fulltime work-at-home homeschooling mom that is. Plus a supportive and caring wife of course.

Don’t get me wrong here. I love blogging too. I like sharing things with you, my dear readers (even if most of the time I wonder if I even have loyal readers out there!). As I’ve written before, this blog and everywhere else my writing appears is, in a way, my ‘mission field.’ I blog, I write because I hope to inspire at least one person out there to be rich in what matters most.

However, I also realize that blogging, writing and balancing everything else on my plate is not helping me so much in the “being” part of my life.

When Lent began this year, I encouraged all of us, myself included, to do all we can to keep the love alive — the love for God and for others. Sadly, I don’t think I’ve been doing a good job at it.

Palm Sunday is this Sunday already, and Holy Week is fast approaching. Our Jesus Tree is still empty, and the recycled prayer chains that were supposed to be part of our Lenten countdown still remain in their basket. We’ve been neglecting our daily decade of the Rosary and I’ve been short-tempered again, even if I vowed not to be so after my last Confession 2 weeks ago.

It seems that I’ve ‘failed’ at making Lent more meaningful — for myself and for my family.

Thankfully though, it’s NEVER too late to try to make amends.

I thank God for second chances. I also thank Him for the chance to just “be” with my family these past 20 days. I also look forward to more days of “being” — and promise to be more intentional, more purposeful, more present in the coming days — especially with our kids.

Before I go (and possibly ‘hibernate’ again for a while), let me share with you a few snapshots of what I/we have been up to (see, I told you I like sharing things with you!):

The week of March 17 to 23

Tim started "working" so he could save money to "buy Legos" and "give to the Church."

Tim started “working” so he could save money to “buy Legos” and “give to the Church.”

We went on a "field trip" to St. Joseph Shrine, in honor of St. Joseph's Feast Day on March 19 — and were able to attend Mass and see the procession!

We went on a “field trip” to St. Joseph Shrine, in honor of St. Joseph’s Feast Day on March 19 — and were able to attend Mass and see the procession!

I attended Catholic Filipino Academy's Moving Up/Graduation Day, to document it for their newsletter. So blessed to serve with these people! :)

I attended Catholic Filipino Academy’s Moving Up/Graduation Day, to document it for their newsletter. So blessed to serve with these people! :)

We joined The Mind Museum's Media Family Day — this deserves a different post altogether! Needless to say, we really enjoyed this fun 'family field trip'! :)

We joined The Mind Museum’s Media Family Day — this deserves a different post altogether! Needless to say, we really enjoyed this fun ‘family field trip’! :)

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The week of March 24 to 30

My first article in Mothers Magazine came out!

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I gave a seminar on “The 5 P’s of Powerful Parenting” in Batangas — and the whole family came along too! So it was kind of like a field trip for the kids! It was also my first time to speak again by myself after giving birth to Anne!

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It was really nice to see this altar at the PhilHealth office in Batangas!

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The enthusiastic audience at the Parenting Seminar :)

Another “field trip” that week was to the Phil Post branch in Ali Mall — Tim was finally able to send his letter to his pen pal in the U.S.!

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Of course, there’s always time for playing with blocks and other open-ended toys!

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The week of March 31 to April 6

We continued our ‘lessons’ in preparation for our trip to Boracay — a HUGE blessing given to not just our family, but to the families of 234(!!!) other employees of Bo Sanchez’s ministries and organizations.

boraprepsOf course, we thoroughly enjoyed every bit of our days in Boracay! :) Our homeschoolers also had lots of opportunities to socialize with other people and lots of ‘sensory play’ in the sand and water! Thank you, Kuya/Bro. Bo, for your generosity!

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Photo from Bro. Bo Sanchez's Official Facebook page

Photo from Bro. Bo Sanchez’s Official Facebook page

Of course, when we got back, the ‘realities’ of my life as a work-at-home mom ‘hit’ me right away — I have a mountain of laundry downstairs waiting for me as I type this! Thank God the clothes are already clean though, thanks to my husband. Now I just need to ‘recruit’ the kids into helping me fold and keep them!

Besides our Boracay trip, the highlight of last week was yesterday’s tea party and photo shoot with my fellow Make It Blissful contributors. It was a milestone for me because it was the first time EVER for me to go somewhere without a baby “attached” to me! I had fun chatting with the other #blissmakers there, and the crepes at La Creperie were delish!!! (Special thanks, by the way, to my sister-in-law for my hair and makeup! Teehee!)

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Photo c/o Martine of MakeItBlissful.com and MartineDeLuna.com (Standing, L to R: Denise of Bebengisms.com, Martine, Maricel of ASweetCottage.com, Ginger of MommyGinger.com, Mariel of TheLearningBasket.com. Seated, L to R: Moi, Marilen of Marilen.ph, Van of ShedMom.com, Toni of WifelySteps.com, Louise of MommyPracticality.com and Rhiza of ChasingDreams.net

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Photo c/o Louise of MommyPracticality.com (Clockwise from L to R: Denise of Bebengisms.com, Mariel of TheLearningBasket.com, Van of ShedMom.com, Martine of MakeItBlissful.com, Me, Louise)

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I split this SUPER yummy “The Spoiled Mummy” crepe with Ginger — and almost regret that I did, because I would have loved to have had it all to myself! Ha, ha! :)

Now that I’ve given you a peek at what my life’s been like lately, it’s time to say “goodbye” — but not forever, of course! With Holy Week coming up very soon, I want to try to make the most of what’s left of the Lenten season — to give more time to God and my family, especially the kids. Even if I’m home with them almost all the time, I know I am not ‘all there’ every time we’re together. Work is also taking up a lot of time, but hopefully things will ease up by May.

And so, dear friends, allow me to bid you farewell for now. I’ll still be around elsewhere — specifically here, herehere and here, so feel free to ‘drop by’ in case you miss my writing. ;) Of course, you can still connect with me on FacebookTwitter and Google+ if you want to! I shall miss you all and will be lifting you all up in prayer. Please pray for me too as I want to focus on “being”!

So what have YOU been up to lately? I’d really, really love to know. If you’re a regular reader here, THANK YOU for staying around — and please, do leave a comment. If you’re new to my blog, WELCOME and don’t worry — I’ll be back! ;)

*Linking up to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and Conversion Diary (even if this wasn’t written in the 7 Quick Takes format!).

 

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on April 7, 2014 · 12 comments · Family, Homeschooling, Seven Quick Takes, Weekly Wrap-Up

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been elsewhere virtually this past week. I’ll share the links to my articles and posts on other sites at the bottom of this post, in case you want to read them. In the meantime, let me share the following excerpt from my first post on Make It Blissful:

Let me begin this post with a confession: I don’t like my husband all the time. In fact, on some days — days that have been extra challenging — I find myself wondering, “How in the world did we ever end up together?”

Okay… there, I’ve said it.

Thankfully, those days are few and far between now. After being married for seven years, I know that moments like those are fleeting and I know now how to handle those thoughts. There are many “strategies” laid out by marriage and relationship experts on how to deal with difficulties with your spouse but I always find myself coming back to this: prayer.

Read my entire post about The Power of a Praying Wife here and feel free to answer this question, “Do you pray for your husband?” in the comments! Or just share about how prayer has helped your marriage. :)

P.S. Elsewhere on the Web these past 8 days, I was over at Smart Parenting’s website sharing tips to foster openness with your kids; on CatholicMom.com with an old but still timely post on decorating for Lent; on Philstar.com sharing about the inspiring young people behind the Noche Buena and Start Again projects; on theAsianparent.com editing useful articles for parents, and helping tweak Catholic Filipino Academy’s website — won’t you drop by and take a look? :)

 

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on March 29, 2014 · 1 comment · Uncategorized

It’s been a busy, busy week and it seems that the days ahead will be even busier — which explains the lack of posts here! I’ve ‘been’ elsewhere on the Web though (more on that later). I just wanted to share about this great back to back Parent Seminar organized by Mathemagis and The Learning Library:

mmThey had the first run of the seminar last week, and this week’s run (tomorrow!) will be at the Mathemagis Katipunan branch. I’ve written about Mathemagis on Philstar.com before and the kids and I really enjoyed our time at their Katipunan branch.

mathemagis

I also learned a lot from The Learning Library and The Learning Basket’s seminar on how to make reading and effective and lasting habit 2 years ago. We also visited The Learning Library’s branch in Katipunan.

llThat’s why I’m sure those of you who will be attending the FREE parent seminar tomorrow will learn a lot too — the people from Mathemagis and The Learning Library really know their stuff! :) Here are the details again:

Date: March 29, 2014 (Saturday)

Time: 9.30-11.30am

Venue: Unit 529, Elizabeth Hall, Katipunan, QC

Admission is free but pre-registration is required. Please text 0932-8425551.

A GIVEAWAY FROM THE LEARNING LIBRARY!

I’m happy to announce that our friends from The Learning Library are giving away a gift certificate to a blessed Truly Rich Mom reader! :) Please read on for more details:

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*There will only be ONE (1) winner. The winner will receive a gift certificate for a one month program (worth P4,800) in Reading or Filipino.

*The Learning Library’s Summer Programs will run from March 31 – May 2.  The winners can choose which workshop they want their kid to join in and also which venue he/she will go to. (Here’s the list of The Learning Library’s Summer 2014 programs and venues.)

*Please take note that the Summer Programs are for children ages 3 to 16 years old.

*The giveaway is open to Metro Manila residents only, or those who are willing to travel to Metro Manila for the Summer Program.

*The winner will be notified via email and will then coordinate directly with The Learning Library branch of their choice regarding his/her child’s slot in their Summer Program.

*To join the giveaway, please follow the instructions via the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on March 28, 2014 · 8 comments · Amazing Grace Giveaways, Events, Free Events, Freebies, I Recommend

If you’re active online (and you most probably are), you’ve probably already seen this video of Suor Cristina i.e. Sister Cristina Scuccia on The Voice Italy. She wowed all four judges and the audience with her rendition of Alicia Keys’ track “No One,” and even brought one judge to tears! If you haven’t seen the video, here it is: (And you MUST see the judges interview her after her performance — for English subtitles, make sure the “Captions” setting is “On” — if you can’t find it below, watch the video on YouTube):

I was in tears after watching the video actually… Sister Cristina’s energy and joy is SO inspiring! I love what she said, too, about why she auditioned for The Voice:

Screen shot 2014-03-24 at 5.49.13 AM

“I have a gift and I am giving it to you… shouldn’t it be this way?” I don’t know how accurate the subtitles/captions on YouTube are but in this article, it says her reply was:

“I came here because I have a gift and I want to share that gift, I am here to evangelize.”

When she was asked what the Vatican had to say about her auditioning for the voice, she gamely answered:

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Screen shot 2014-03-24 at 5.56.35 AM Screen shot 2014-03-24 at 5.57.00 AM

This may be just the idealist in me speaking, but I think all the judges and everyone watching the show were moved by Sister Cristina’s performance and her answers to the judges’ questions. I know I was! (And still am!) This is the New Evangelization at work!

You know what’s even more inspiring? Sister Cristina used to not be a believer! In this article on Liberty Voice, it says:

The Voice of Italy’s biography of Sister Scuccia says that she had always wanted to become a singer, that it was her “childhood dream.” As of 2008, Sister Cristina Scuccia was a “non-believer, and against the Church.”

Cristina Scuccia, seemingly by chance, found herself in a music hall which the Sisters of the Ursuline Holy Order had organized. While in attendance there, Cristina felt moved by the Spirit of God, and that led to her decision to become a nun.

Our takeaway from all of this:

You have a gift and God wants you to use it. Sometimes, He will speak to you about it in the strangest places, just to get His message across. When He does, your life will probably never be the same again.

As it says in 1 Peter 4:10:

As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

So this week and beyond.. I urge you, dear friend… GO! Use your God-given gift! Don’t be afraid of what the world will say — God will lead you every step of the way!

Thank you, Sister Cristina, for reminding us of the real reason why we’re here on Earth. :)  

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on March 24, 2014 · 2 comments · Catholic

You know the feeling when you wish you keep a journal where you actually write (not type) things down, or even just jot down notes and snippets about your daily life, so that when it’s time to publish a long-overdue blog post you can just whip your journal out and type away, without straining your brain to recall the weeks and days that were? No? Oh ok, so it’s just me then! ;)

Yes, it’s actually been TWO weeks since my last (sorry) attempt to write a Weekly Wrap-Up/7 Quick Takes post. So that means I have THREE weeks “undocumented” over here! Needless to say, this is going to be a rather lengthy post! (Prepare yourselves, people! ;) ) I’ll try not to be too detailed though, since I still have other stuff to do! (Can you say “backlog”?!)

— 1 —

Well, you all probably know that we lost my grandfather, our beloved Ama, on March 2. We found out that he had passed away on the night we got back from our trip to Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay (which I was able to write about here — what a wonderful blessing for our family!).

ama-wake

Ama would have been 89 on his birthday, March 5, which coincidentally was Ash Wednesday this year. I thank God that my youngest brother and I were able to visit him two nights before he died, the night before we left for Tagaytay. We weren’t allowed to talk to him much because he was already having difficulty breathing that time so nagmano lang kami (“mano” is a Filipino tradition where we ‘seek the blessing’ of our elders by getting them to place their hands on our heads/foreheads). *sigh*

I wish I could have told him all that I wanted to tell him then! I wrote a post on Philstar.com in his (and my grandmother’s) honor though — in loving tribute to them and their legacy of love. Ama at Ina, mahal na mahal po namin kayo!

— 2 —

The day before our Tagaytay trip (and before going to Malolos in the evening, to visit Ama), we attended the Parents’ Orientation of The Master’s Academy. This is part of our current “discernment process” — about whether or not we should enroll the kids in a local homeschool provider or continue being independent homeschoolers. It was SO nice to see fellow homeschooling-work-at-home momma Blessie there! :)

blessie

If you’re wondering whose hand that is, holding Blessie’s ear, it’s her son’s! :)

So… are we going to enroll in TMA Homeschool? We’re still praying about it! ;) Of course, we’re also praying about our other choices for DepEd-accredited providers, namely Catholic Filipino Academy (CFA) and Peniel. CFA has new tracks this coming school year, so we’ll see how it goes (Lord, lead the way)!

Since we were already in the area, we treated the kids to a few hours at Ark Avilon Zoo. They had SUCH a blast feeding the animals!

kidsatzoo

My main concern (and my husband’s and the kids’ too!) about the zoo is that the animals seemed SO hungry whenever we would feed them. I was pretty shocked when the fish seemed to be in such a frenzy when we put in the fish food! Calling on the Ark Avilon Zoo management — is this a ‘normal’ thing? Do your animals get fed regularly? Please do something about this!

Needless to say, for that particular week, our homeschool highlights were the two ‘field trips’ we took — to the zoo and to Tagaytay! Both were blessings I/we did not expect to receive this month! Thank You, Jesus! :)

— 3 —

The next week — March 2 to 9 — went by in a blur. Since my grandfather passed away on a Sunday, we went to his wake on Monday with my brothers. (Anthony was in Baguio for a teambuilding session.) It was bittersweet to have an instant ‘family reunion’ with my mother’s side of the family, to mourn Ama’s death.

ama'swake

Tuesday was spent catching up on chores (read: A LOT of laundry! ;) ) and trying to squeeze in homeschooling and work.

laundry

This is what happens when you leave for the weekend (and have a busy week prior to your trip)! ;)

The kids and I also prepared our Jesus Tree ornaments and other Lenten ‘materials,’ i.e. their sacrifice beans jars and our ‘repurposed’ Lenten countdown prayer chain (we took the chains from last year and just placed them individually in a basket).

lent2 lentenornaments

To be brutally honest with you all though, it’s already almost two weeks since Lent began and we still haven’t hung a SINGLE ornament on our Jesus Tree! And used any of the prayers in our basket! We’ve just been following along the Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure and praying one decade of the Sorrowful Mysteries every evening. Hopefully, we’ll be able to catch up on the other stuff this week!

On Ash Wednesday, I left the kids with my mother-in-law and met up with my new ‘colleagues’ from TheAsianParent.com. I’ve started working for them part-time as the copy editor for the Singaporean site (the main website) — it’s been such a blessing so far! :)

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Here I am with Roshni, the founder and CEO of Tickled Media, and Lacar, the new EIC of the Philippine edition of theAsianparent.com (http://ph.theasianparent.com).

I went to Mass afterwards then met up with Anthony (I so love him!) and the kids — he came home from his Baguio trip early so we could be present on the last night of Ama’s wake. We returned on Thursday for the burial of his remains. In the midst of our grieving, we rejoice still, knowing that Ama is no longer in pain.

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At the last Mass for Ama

Friday to Sunday was all about chores (again!), work, the kids’ activities, plus Holy Mass of course. We also got to attend the surprise baby shower of a dear friend and fellow homeschooler. It was good to connect with other families — and the kids made new friends! And got to take home small tubs of slime, which they totally enjoy playing with! :) Time to try making our own slime again, I think!

A special blessing for that weekend was also the opportunity to watch our first ballet show together — for free! Thanks again to fellow homeschool mom Liza Castaneda of Ridgepointe Ballet for inviting us! :) Our little aspiring ballerina especially enjoyed the show!

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— 4 —

The week after that — March 10 to 17, last week — also passed by so quickly! We didn’t do much ‘formal’ work in terms of lessons but I did try to have more read-aloud time and outdoor time again with the kids. I also had Tim take some of his third and fourth quarter exams (they come in the ‘packet’ sent by Kolbe when you enroll, along with the curriculum and daily lesson plans).

We’re done with Phonics (yey!) and are more or less three-fourths done with the other subjects in Kolbe’s First Grade curriculum (except Geography, which we opted not to cover). We are also not formally doing Spelling, and Reading is also done informally lately — more of having Tim read aloud to me and answering questions orally. Sometimes he chooses what to read, sometimes I do.

The Science lessons in Science and Living in God’s World seem a bit ‘fluffy’ to me, so we need to ‘beef’ it up with more hands-on experiments and supplemental reading material. We need more Art and P.E. activities too! For starters, I think t’s high time we used the KaHone box that we were blessed with a while back!

kahone

For Filipino and Sibika (Civics), I hope to enroll Tim in The Learning Library’s Summer Program for Filipino, and finally continue using the Civics book I got on sale (One Country, One People). We started using this on the anniversary of People Power but haven’t been consistently doing so.

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— 5 —

Last week was also the time we commemorated the first anniversary of my father-in-law’s deathBabang luksa, as we say it in Filipino. It was a time of prayer and reconnecting with family and friends too. Grieving but also rejoicing. Life’s like that, isn’t it? There are times when we are sad and times when we are happy.

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We also had a fabulously fun playdate with our friends from The Learning Basket and their kiddos later in the week. The kids absolutely loved it, and we’re already planning for the next one! :) The kids and I spent the weekend at my parents’ place because they were set to leave for another mission trip — more fun playtime for them, this time with their cousins!

— 6 —

Yesterday, Monday, was my attempt at returning to a more ‘normal’ schedule. It was Saint Patrick’s feast day, too, so we did some activities to celebrate before our formal ‘Learning Time’ in the afternoon.

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Read-alouds for the day! :) Books from TheLearningBasket.com and TheBookDepository.com

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Instant ‘art’ and ‘social studies’ activity: Make flags of Ireland and shamrock ‘art’

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Our youngest ‘student’ joins in the fun!

— 7 —

We are so blessed in so many ways and although I feel like I’ve been failing A LOT lately, especially with it being Lent and the time for repentance and change and all, I am greatly encouraged by the knowledge that my God (and YOUR God too) is more than enough for me. He will fill in where I lack. I will not allow satan to steal my motherhood and I will do my very best to keep love in Lent and beyond.

Whew! And that’s it! How have YOU been lately, dear friends? Come share! I’ve missed you so!

Posted by Tina@TrulyRichMom on March 18, 2014 · 1 comment · Homeschooling, Seven Quick Takes, Weekly Wrap-Up