Friday, September 28, 2012

How to encourage kids to bring their own baon

Here's an article I wrote for Buhay Pinoy of Philippine Online Chronicles.
Encouraging your kid/kids to bring their own baon to school is one way to help the family save hundreds or thousands of pesos. Here are a number of tips to help you rally your brood to help save money for the family.
Explain to your kids (no matter how young they are) how bringing their own baon to school can help you and Dad save money. It would also help if you give them concrete examples of where the money the family is able to save can be channeled. An example would be for family bonding like enjoying ice cream on a weekend or going to the movies. This way, even young kids are encouraged to contribute to the achievement of family goals. Thus, the lesson is not only on finances but also on values like cooperation, unity and goal-setting.

Invest in quality containers for your kids’ baon. Before thinking about the appearance of your kids’ baon containers, make sure that they are of high quality, durable and safe for children. It might be a bit more expensive in the beginning but you can save in the long term because you will not be buying a new container every time it gets broken or damaged. Teach your kids to be responsible also by reminding them to take care of their lunch boxes/bags or baonan so that they can use them for a long time. Another consideration in deciding what kind of container you should use for your kids’ baon is its ability to keep warm food warm and cold food/drinks cold. Lastly, choose containers that are spill-proof. Otherwise, the baon runs the risk of being wasted. Most of all, this is troubling to a youngster especially if the food or drink spills on his bag, school supplies and uniform. It won’t be surprising if eventually your kid refuses to bring a lunch box to school.

Make the packaging and food presentation attractive. You can use containers with images related to your kids’ interests. For example, if they like the movie Cars, Spiderman, Mickey Mouse or Dora, then choose containers with pictures of these characters. That way, they are excited to use these containers and are eager to see their baon. You can factor in the color of the food you pack for your kids’ baon as well.

Take time to plan for your kids’ baon, be it for snacks only or lunch included.

Click here to read the full article.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Activities Inspired by the Book In the Forest

I just finished meeting with a client regarding a new HR project I was going to do when I saw that there's a Booksale at the ground floor of their building.  The book lover that I am, I gave in to the urge to search for good books from the pile displayed.
That was almost two years ago and this book that we read again today is my great Booksale find that day.  In the Forest, a touch-and-feel adventure is a nature trail book by Maurice Pledger.
"If you love nature, take a look at what is hiding in this book.  All sorts of wonders are in store, as round the forest you explore.  There are things to feel and things to see -- a scaly snake, a fuzzy bee, a velvet flower, a snail's shiny shell, and lots of things to count as well.  So come, get ready.  Don't delay!  We're on a nature trail today."  These are the opening lines that you'll read when you open first open the book. 
I loved the book right away as soon as I went through the pages.  There are many things that a young reader can explore in it.  Every page is filled with surprises that the child can either touch, count and feast his eyes on.  It's truly an adventure!  It also made use of rhymes and rhythm making it fun to read aloud and listen to.
My kids took turns exploring the book -- lifting the flaps and touching it.  There were also questions on every page asking the child to search and count for things with a specific color.  My eldest eagerly looked for these things and counted them aloud while pointing them to me and his baby brother. 
My eldest son and I also had an art activity.  We made a "fuzzy, buzzy bee" which he played with after we finished making it.
Here are the steps in making our bumble bee.
1. We looked for a toilet paper tube.
2. We drew lines on yellow paper which my eldest son cut using a pair of scissors.
3. My son put some glue on the yellow strips of paper.
4. I helped him paste each strip around the toilet paper tube.  We left spaces in between for the black strips of paper we will later glue.
5. We drew lines at the back of a used bond paper using a pencil and ruler.
6. My son cut them along the lines to form strips.
7. My son painted the strips with black paint using his fingers.
8. We air-dried the strips.
9. Then, my son put glue again on them when they were already dry.
10. I helped him paste them and put them around the toilet paper tube beside the yellow strips so that they form alternating yellow and black strips.
11. While we were letting the black strips dry, we drew circles on white paper for the face of our bee and for the tail end.
12. My son glued googly eyes on the face and drew a smile using a colored pencil.
13. Next, we attached the white round papers including the face of the bee at the ends of the toilet paper tube. 
14. We cut short, black strips from the excess black strips we used earlier to form the antennae.  We used glue to attach them near the top/face.
15. I drew some wings on white paper which my son cut using his scissors.
16. We pasted the wings on the body of our bee.
That's how we made our bumble bee out of a toilet paper tube! 
Next time, we will make ladybugs, another colorful creature that we saw in the book. 
Until next time!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Because God Keeps His Promises

God keeps every promise he makes. He is like a shield for all who seek his protection. – Proverbs 30:5
These were the first words I read today when I woke up.  And I could not help but praise and thank God once more because He has answered my question yesterday after we heard Mass as a family  (one of our simple ways of celebrating my husband's birthday aside from sharing a meal as a family and painting). 
The priest's homily yesterday struck me.  He shared about Mama Mary's possible struggles or challenges as the mother of the Savior.  He reminded us of the difficulties and sorrows that Mary experienced.  He also said that she must have asked herself "Is this really the Son of God?" a number of times as she witnessed and experienced painful events unfold in their life as a family.  His homily yesterday inspired me more to follow Mary's example and encouraged me to keep on saying "yes" to God every moment of my life.  Just like Mary who said "yes" to God repeatedly even during the most sorrowful times of her life with our Savior, I prayed for grace and faith to persevere and to trust God with my life and our family's future.
I found his homily striking because I could somehow relate with Mary's experience.  I recently said yes to God once more in a big way.  I said yes to God's prompting to reserve a house and claim that God will enable us to buy that house.  For me and my family, this is a big leap of faith because we reserved the new house even before we have sold our condominium units where we are currently residing.  We did not even have any extra funds as contingency in case we experience delay in finding a buyer or buyers for our condominium units.  It was irrational and if we only considered reason in our decision-making process, we would definitely not pursue that course of action. 
But God's voice was so clear to my heart and His prompting very strong that I could not deny His message.  You may read here how God spoke to my heart to make this decision months ago.  

Months passed and here we are still looking for a buyer for our condominium units.  Every end of the month since we made that choice, we keep wondering how we are going to tell our developer that we can't pay the full downpayment yet because we are still waiting for our condominium units to be sold.  Time and again, God provided a way and an answer and He keeps on moving our developer and his staff's hearts to extend their consideration to us.  All throughout this time, I had been experiencing mixed emotions.  Like Mary, there were times when I would pause and wonder if this new house is for us.  God's grace however is more than enough to always help me emerge victorious during those moments.  I get to surrender my expectations of how God would deliver us and answer our prayer every time. 

Photo source here.
Yesterday, the priest said in his homily that we should always be ready to give up our plans and expectations to God and just let God show us the way.  We may have plans but God can anytime change our plans and bring us to a new path.  He cited again examples in Mary's life.  It's true.  Mary might have plans of living single said the priest.  But she gave up that plan or thought to make way for God's plan for her which is marriage and to have a family.  When she was finally betrothed, she must have imagined a peaceful, ordinary family life.  But they had a far from ordinary experience as a family beginning with her pregnancy with Jesus.  The priest said that Mary might have asked the question "Is this really the Son of God?" many times until she reached the foot of the cross and the tomb of Jesus.

What is admirable in Mary, the priest pointed out, is that she just kept believing and responded to each situation with all the faith in her heart.  That's what makes her a great disciple of the Savior. 
I reflected on these things and pondered them in my heart just as Mary did with her circumstances.  The priest's words yesterday affirmed me.  He said that time and again God showed Mary that Jesus was and is the Messiah and His Begotten Son.  He showed Mary that she has indeed given birth to the Savior (physically) and to the Church or Christ's Body (mystically).  God showed her gradually His perfect plan of salvation.
I thought about our current family concern and I couldn't help but feel God's loving assurance to me that all shall be well and that He is in control.  I took His words through the priest both as a promise from Him and as a declaration of His provision for our needs.  Yesterday, during the Mass and my visit to the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, I declared my own fiat once more.  I chose to believe and abandon my plans and expectations again.  I surrendered to Jesus my burden and my concerns.  Like Mary at the foot of His cross, I looked up to the heavens and asked God to show me that what my circumstances show me now are temporary setbacks and that these are all part of His grand and perfect plan for me and my family.
So, today when I read the Bible verses from the devotional that I use during my prayer time, I knew that it was the Lord speaking to me again.  I was also amazed that the title of the reflection for today is Great Expectations.  I felt God telling me that it's alright for me to have great expectations of Him being my heavenly Father.
Then, as I checked my email today, I saw a message from one of our potential buyers who saw one of the advertisements I posted online negotiating for a payment scheme.  This is the Lord, I thought. 

Last night, when we got back home and found out from our maid that an agent and a potential buyer went to our condominium to inquire and request for viewing, I knew that it was the Lord honoring my declaration of faith during the Mass and at the Blessed Sacrament adoration chapel.  
Some may call these developments coincidence but I call them God's miracles.  I continue to believe that God can move or bring a buyer to us anytime if He wants to.  He can either meet my great expectations or surpass them just like what He did in my life many times in the past wherein He answered my big problems or concerns in an amazing way, exceeding my expectations.  I just need to keep on believing and let God be God in our current situation.  So, I did my best to communicat with our agent and to answer the inquiry I received through email while waiting for God to hand me and my family His best answer to our concern.  May God's perfect plan for our family unfold before our eyes and may His Name be glorified!  May His deliverance for us happen at His most perfect time!

Handpaintings for Daddy

I'm writing this post mainly to document what my eldest son and I did yesterday for his Dad as we celebrate his Dad's birthday.
Initially, I wanted us to write a secret message for his Dad which I read about from a book I once bought.  But my son was not yet in the mood to do something yesterday morning.  He started to warm up after lunch and his Dad was actually home already by then after taking a half day leave from work.  So, I suggested that we paint something for Daddy instead while his Dad takes a nap in the bedroom.  Finally, he agreed and excitedly went about looking for our painting supplies.  
We have been painting a lot of things from nature lately and yesterday was no exception.  We agreed to paint a caterpillar and the sun.
Here is my son's painting of the sun using his hand prints.
We chose to paint the sun because my husband's family, relatives
and classmates in his province call him Sonny, Son or San-San.

Below are the simple steps in doing this sun hand painting:
1. Paint the child's hand (palm and fingers) yellow.
2. Press it on the bond paper or whatever material you have chosen to paint on.
3. Apply paint again on the child's hand as in step 1.
4. Repeat step 2 but make sure you press in the opposite direction so that the fingers are on the opposite sides.
5. After doing step 4, you will have some spaces or gaps.  Paint one or two fingers of the child again and press on the spaces to fill the gaps with more "rays" of the sun.
6. You can opt to draw a happy face after you have air-dried the painting or you can let your child write a caption or message on the paper.
Here is the other hand painting we did yesterday.
I asked Yanthy what color/s he would like to use for his caterpillar and he chose red and green.
Below are the steps in making this caterpillar hand painting:
1. Paint your child's hand with his/your chosen color.
2. Press on the paper or chosen material.
3. Repeat step 1 and press the hand again beside the earlier hand print.
4. Do step 3 several times until you get your desired length of your caterpillar.
5. Air-dry.  Wash the child's hand while you let the painting dry.
6. Glue the googgly eyes on your caterpillar once dry.
7. Draw the antennae using a black colored pencil, crayon or pentel pen.
8. Let the child write his name or a caption for his painting.
9. Last step for both paintings is to pack away and clean up the mess. :)
Now, here is my birthday wish for my husband and my reason for encouraging our eldest son to paint these pictures.
I wished that he'll experience joy on his birthday, from the simple joy of seeing the morning sun shining on him as he wakes up to celebrate God's gift of life to him to the joy of being aware of God's love for him.  I wished that he would one day discover his greatest passion and that he'd get to enjoy doing it as a hobby or as a business like a caterpillar transforming himself into a butterfly.
Happy Birthday again, Hudson George! :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bringing Kids to Dolphin Shows is Bad Education, Says Experts

Have you ever brought your kids to marine parks to watch dolphin shows with them? Or, has your child joined a school field trip to one of those theme parks where there are dolphins or whales? Did you think that it was good for their education to see these marine animals in these venues?


Ric O’Barry, world-renowned Marine Mammal Specialist and dolphin advocate, said in a press conference in Manila last Friday, September 14, 2012, that bringing kids to ocean-themed parks with captive dolphins and whales is bad education.

“What are the children learning from dolphin tricks?” asked O’Barry. “They’re learning that abusing nature is okay. It’s really a form of bad education.”

He said that it’s like telling the children that it’s alright to take these animals from their natural habitats and imprison them in ocean-themed parks because they are nothing more than performing circus clowns. Thus, children walk away from these parks miseducated after their field trips.

The 1991 Environmental Achievement Awardee of the United States Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program (US/UNEP) shared this analogy, “To teach a child not to step on a butterfly is as important to the child as it is to the butterfly. The same is true with the dolphin shows.”

Photo courtesy of Wendell Rupert Alinea.

Trixie Conception, Regional Director for Asia Pacific of Earth Island Institute, said in a documentary showed during the press conference that dolphins trained to perform in dolphin shows are deprived of food for certain periods so that they would obey their trainers. Thus, these highly-intelligent creatures are not really happy to perform in these shows. They seem happy; but the truth is they are not. They only obey their trainers because they want to be fed and do not want to starve.
Click here to read the full article.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My little butterflies

“He built a small house, called a cocoon, around himself. He stayed inside for more than two weeks. Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out and... he was a beautiful butterfly!” This is a quote from Eric Carle's famous children's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
They first built a home in my womb, then in my heart, and eventually in my arms, where I bathed and wrapped them with my love. 
Now, my first born son is like a little butterfly enjoying his flight; fluttering from one beautiful and colorful flower to another that fills his heart with delight.
"Beautiful and graceful, varied and enchanting, small but approachable, butterflies lead you to the sunny side of life," as Jeffrey Glassberg said of butterflies.
Though I had been at home most of the time since I carried them in my womb, I sometimes feel that my baby boys have grown so fast and I wish that time would be still.  That wish I know could not be granted.  I can however create many beautiful memories that these little butterflies of mine can carry with them as they fly.
So, yesterday, just like what we did the other day, we created something that warmed our hearts.  We painted butterflies.  We stamped our paper with vibrant colors and formed the pattern that we envisioned in our minds.  We stamped our love and strengthened our bond through another activity of art.  Painting, just like reading, has become part and parcel of our lives.  It has become our weekly rhythm.  It has helped us establish a pattern that weaves our hearts closer to each other. 

These activities have become our simple joys as mother and child, as brothers for my boys.  And these art works have become some of the tangible proofs or witnesses of the magical moments we share from day to day.  Like the paintings we made from their crude little hands and clumsy little feet, and my limited skills, our days are not perfect and without glitches.  Every experience though brings with it a unique imprint in the bigger art work that all of us are contributing to in this life.  
So, today I pause to thank the Lord for these little butterflies... these beautiful and tender, loving butterflies that grace my heart.  They bring me much joy.  They bring me God's love.  They give me a sense of fulfillment.  That at the end of each day, no matter what I experience, I feel glad for I spent time with them to play.  
Next month, my little boy Yanthy will be turning four.  He sometimes feel that he's already a big boy.  He is very spirited and loves to be on the go.  He has already learned so much.  In fact, he's advanced for his age. But he's still craving for more, always ready to explore.   

My baby Mateo will be turning one soon.  He has captured our hearts from the moment he was born.  He is capturing them still as his many milestones, he hits... filling our days with laughter, filling our hearts with joy and love, filling our minds with memories, and our souls with gratitude for God.  His smiles, his claps, the way he stamps his feet to music and song, his giggles, his laughter and his "hellos" -- all these give our hearts and our home a warm glow. 

So, cheers to my little butterflies!  Stretch your wings!  Fly!

If you're wondering how we did our butterfly paintings, here are the steps:
1. For Yanthy's butterfly, we painted his hands with the colors he chose.  He chose red. 
2. Then, we painted his thumb and pinky red.  He used them to stamp his finger prints to fomr the body of his butterfly.
3. I finished his butterfly by drawing the outline around his hands to form the wings.
4. I drew the antennae and used my thumb to add flowers, leaves and yellow designs on the wings.
5. I used a small paint brush (the one included in a water color set) to add some small dots on the butterfly's wings near the body.
6.  For Mateo's butterfly, we painted his feet first.  Yanthy chose yellow for Mateo's butterfly.  After stamping or pressing it on the paper, we cleaned his feet first before painting his hands.  We painted his hands yellow too.
7. I drew the outline once more of the wings.
8. I used a big brush to paint the body of the butterfly and the antennae as well for the lavender designs on the wings.
9. I used the small brush to put the red, round designs on the wings.
10. Then, I painted my thumb to make the flowers and my pointer for the leaves.
11. I used the small brush again dipped this time in lavender paint to put some small dots on the wings.
12. Last step is to air-dry them.
Try painting butterflies with your kids.  It's fun!  You can click here to see and learn how to paint flowers using your fingers.
Happy painting! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

More books from the Booksale

My kids and I went to the Book Sale again last September 19.  It was one of our simple but fun ways to celebrate our baby Mateo's birthday.  I was looking for new toys to buy for Mateo that day.  Sadly, I did not find the toys I was looking for at the department store.  We were told by the sales lady that they are currently out of stock.  Thus, after buying some items that the kids need, we headed to one of our favorite places -- the Booksale!
At the Booksale, we all had a blast looking at books and reading some of them.  Yanthy had a stack of books he wanted to buy after going through the display.  I had to trim it though for I have set a budget for our book shopping that day. :) Even Mateo made it known to us which book he wanted to take home!  (Out of the many books I showed him, there's one book he doesn't like to let go.)  We were ecstatic to find so many good books and almost all of them are board books that are sturdy enough for Mateo to play with and explore. 
I was very happy too that the books we got are highly recommended books and some of them even won book awards.  We stepped out of the Booksale the other day with 5 new books for only P235!  Isn't that great?
We devoured our books (the bookworms that we are!) as soon as we got home.  They have now become our new favorites as we bond daily during our reading times.
Here are pictures of our new books.
This is our new morning favorite. 
We now read this Boynton book as soon as my kids wake up.  It helps my eldest to get ready for breakfast.

This is our new bedtime favorite.
The kids love to snuggle with me as we read this book.  We also enjoy kissing each other as we read about different kinds of kisses from the book.

This is Yanthy's new favorite. 
Yanthy was the one who found this in the Booksale.  He was delighted to find a book similar to our Go, Dog. Go! book and it was about one of his favorite characters -- Thomas!  He declared that he will buy it!  He has been reading it repeatedly since we bought it.  He plays with his Thomas the Train building blocks after reading.

This is the book Mateo didn't want to let go of.

This Scholastic book is a steal at P25!
This book is a silly and funny book to read!  We read it anytime of the day.  We end up having a good laugh every time.
I wished that I had more time to go around during the recent Manila International Book Fair because I felt that I could have found more great books at good prices.  Now, I know why I didn't buy that much at the fair.  It's because God would be leading us to more great books (within our budget) at the Booksale and books that my kids would enjoy more reading.
How about you?  Have you found nice books in the Booksale recently?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Studying and Painting Flowers

My eldest son and I had been reading books on nature, ecology and environment in the past days.  We read about flowers, pollen, leaves, photosynthesis, trees, roots, clouds, and rain from them aside from many other things.  We had discussions about them while we were reading and after.  Today, we had finger painting as part of reinforcing our learnings from the past days. 
We painted flowers of different colors.  Even our baby Mateo who turned ten months old yesterday joined in the fun.

Here's how we did it in case you're interested to do a similar activity.
1. We looked for coins of different sizes.  We used a 25 centavo coin and a five centavo coin.
2. We mixed some paints to get our desired colors.  We mixed red and white to get pink; then blue and white to get light blue.  At some point, I wasn't sure which paints to mix to get purple or lavender.  I suddenly forgot.  What I didn't know was that while I was thinking and preparing our other painting supplies, my eldest son was already mixing the light blue paint with the pink paint.  He proudly showed it to me we when he saw that the paints he mixed turned lavender.  :)
3. We positioned the coin first on the bond paper. 
4. Next, I painted Yanthy's thumb with pink paint.  He pressed his thumb around the coin repeatedly to form the flower's petals, brushing paint on his thumb every now and then whenever the paint gets completely wiped out.
5. It was Mateo's turn after Yanthy finished painting his flowers.  We used light blue paint for Mateo's flowers and a smaller coin.  We painted his big toe instead of his thumb because he still likes to put his fingers in his mouth.  I was afraid that Mateo would ingest some paint when he puts them in his mouth should we fail to remove all the traces of paint on his thumb.
6. It was my turn after Mateo.  I used shades of lavender for my flowers.  I followed the same procedure ealier.
7.  After all the petals were painted, Yanthy and I finger-painted (using our pinkies) the middle of the flowers including the flowers made by Mateo.
8. Next, we painted leaves around the flowers using light green paint (a mixture of green and white).
9.  We air-dried our painting.
10. We packed away. :)
It was another simple, fun, and creative way to bond with my kids and document Yanthy's finger prints and Mateo's toe print.  I also liked what Yanthy said while we were painting.  He said that these flowers are for Mama Mary.  I took that opportunity to remind him that it's Mama Mary's birthday month this September so his idea to dedicate those flowers to her is very apt.
By the way, here are the books we were reading these past days.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dolphin Heroes Paint to Save Dolphins

Here's the article I wrote about the recent mural painting that we were supposed to go to last weekend but failed to attend.  Good thing I got the details from my friend A.G. who led it.
"End Dolphin captivity and slaughter! That is the strong message of dolphin heroes Ric O’Barry and A.G. Saño.
Ric O’Barry used to capture and train dolphins in his younger days. He was the former head trainer of dolphins in the 1960s hit TV series Flipper. Years later, he had a change of heart when one of the dolphins playing Flipper died in his arms.
This led him to start The Dolphin Project, an organization committed to educating the public about the plight of dolphins in captivity. Ric O’barry has since dedicated his life to this advocacy by giving lectures and discussions and campaigning around the world about the negative effects of capturing dolphins.
Ric O'Barry paints a dolphin.  Photo courtesy of Wendell Rupert Alinea.

He co-authored the books Behind the Dolphin Smile and To Free a Dolphin with Keith Colbourne. He also wrote Die Bucht about dolphins and The Cove with Hans Peter Roth which were published in Germany. He is currently a marine mammal specialist for Earth Island Institute and the director of Save Japan Dophins Campaign. He received the 'Environmental Achievement Award' in 1991 by the United States Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program (US/UNEP).
He was featured in The Cove, a 2009 documentary film that won over 25 awards worldwide including Best Documentary Feature at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards in 2010 and Best Documentary from the Environmental Media Awards. Louie Psihoyos, former National Geographic photographer directed the film. Paula DuPré Pesmen -- whose film credits include the three Harry Potter films, produced the film together with Fisher Stevens. The film was written by Mark Monroe. The Cove exposed the hunting and massive slaughter of dolphins that happen every year in Taiji, Wakayama, Japan.
A.G. Saño, on the other hand, is the artist and dolphin advocate who leads the Dolphins Love Freedom network. Seeing The Cove stirred him so much that he expressed his deep sadness and disgust for the trade and killings of dolphins in Japan by painting 23,000 dolphins as a tribute. Saño has successfully raised the awareness of people through his dolphin murals in the past years. He led volunteers from various sectors in the mural painting of the perimeter wall of the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City last March during the 2012 Month of the Ocean celebration. The mural is considered the longest mural in the Philippines. Another mural that he recently painted with other local artists, marine mammal advocates and volunteers is located at the Quezon Avenue tunnel. He was awarded as WWF Hero of the Environment in 2011 by the WWF-Philippines, part of the world’s largest conservation organization (WWF).
A.G. Saño paints a dolphin while on a ladder.  Photo courtesy of Wendell Rupert Alinea.
Please click here to continue reading the article.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Our 33rd Manila International Book Fair Experience

There were some changes in our plans last weekend but it was still a great weekend for me and the kids.


We still went to the Manila International Book Fair as part of our field trip.  But we went there a day earlier than scheduled because I needed to attend a press conference last Friday.  I called up the Adarna House to check their schedule of activities.  I found out that there was a scheduled storytelling session last Thursday afternoon.  So, off we went -- my two kids and our two househelps.  We went straight to the Adarna House since their blog said that the storytelling session was at 2 PM.  Unfortunately, they seemed to have changed their schedule.  I asked one of the staff if they will still have the activities mentioned in their blog.  She said that they will start with the activities in a while.  Meantime, we checked out their books. 
Yanthy liked looking at the pages of the children's books.  He was so eager to read them but when he sees that they are in Filipino, he would put them down again.  He looked for the books written in English because he can only read English at this time.  He seemed to be overwhelmed by the books with a lot of text also thus the bilingual books didn't attract him much.  After a while of checking out their books, I decided to bring the kids to explore the other booths since the storytelling activity hasn't started yet. 
We checked out ETL's booth which gave us free tickets to the book fair aside from the e-tickets from the Adarna House blog.  Yanthy played with Walter (a battery-operated toy that comes with ETL's set of knowledge books), read some books and played with their magnetic board with letters and numbers.
While Yanthy was having fun at the ETL booth, I requested one of our maids to go back to the Adarna House booth to ask what time they would have the activities so we could go back.  The staff said that they will start when we come back.  We said goodbye to our friends at the ETL booth first and headed to the Adarna House booth for the storytelling activity.
A boy and a girl joined our group as we listened to Kuya Jay tell the story of the town of Alikabok from the storybook When Color Came to Town.  Kuya Jay did a good job in telling the story.  I even learned some new techniques from him as I watched and listened to him.  Even Mateo was paying attention and making sounds as if trying to answer his questions.

There was a facepainting activity after the story.  But Yanthy didn't like his face painted so he asked the artist to paint a frog on his hand instead. 
We then bought the books that Yanthy liked -- The Life of Jesus and Jonah and the Big Fish
I was trying to convince him to choose a story that we don't have at home yet but he really liked the story of Jonah.  Since it's his first time at the book fair and it's his field trip anyway, I gave in to his request. :)  We got a loot bag with some bookmarks, note pads, folder and a whistle as promised in their blog.  It also has a catalogue of their products.  Yanthy was so happy to get a red whistle and he used it right away.  He hanged it around his neck (because it had a string attached to it) and whistled as we went to the next booths.  To discourage him from whistling too much, I told him that he should only use it when he gets separated from us or he gets lost in the fair.  It did not stop him though from whistling quite often.  He was just so happy that his long time wish to have a whistle has been granted and in an unexpected way.
We went to the Scholastic booth too.  I heard that they have a free reading assessment and they will also give a surprise to those who will try.  I've been wanting to have Yanthy's reading skills assessed so I thought that this would be a good time.  I was wrong!  Yanthy was so obsessed with his new toy -- the whistle he got!  He kept whistling even while we were having the reading assessment.  He was so distracted.  The crowds and the many things around the fair distracted him too.  So, to help him focus more on what he needs to read as part of the reading assessment, I told him that he can whistle at the end of each page.  It limited his use of the whistle but it was not enough for him to really focus on what he was reading.  He was in a hurry to answer the questions without much thinking because he wanted to whistle and he heard through the public address that there are robots in the fair.  We got to answer some questions but he still didn't finish it eventually.  We stopped when he said he didn't want to do it anymore.  I was disappointed but I didn't force him when he said he didn't want to continue.  We were about to look for the robot exhibit when one of the staff from Scholastic told us that Yanthy can still get a book even if he didn't finish the assessment.  She said that it's his prize for still trying.  What a wonderful surprise!  Yanthy was asked to choose from a number of books on the shelf.  Below is the book he chose.
We went around more booths in the next hours after having our snack.  We had our picture taken with people in Bible character costumes.  We went to the Heartshaper's booth, which is owned by one of my former employers (Danny Lim).  Danny introduced me to a publisher who is his friend, who gave me some advice.  Yanthy watched a video about Moses while in their booth.  We went to OMF's booth also and Mateo and I won a prize as we were entering their booth.  Incidentally, they were having a bring me game and as we stepped into their booth, the emcees asked that we bring a loved one with us.  It was so funny!  I was wearing Mateo using the Ergobaby carrier then and we were in front of their stage area when the female emcee said that.  I stepped into the stage as soon as I heard it. :) I got a free journal for that.  I also found out that there's an Oh, Mateo! Series of books when the emcees asked for our names.
We inspected more toys, educational materials and plenty of books.  We had so much fun going around that we didn't realize it was almost closing time, 8 PM.  Sadly, Yanthy lost his red whistle while we were at the last booth we visited. 
It was raining last Saturday.  There were even warnings from PAGASA due to the bad weather when we woke up.  We were not able to join the dolphin mural painting anymore at Q.C. Science High School.  We checked out one of the venues we were considering instead for Mateo's first birthday before lunch before heading to SMX.  Mateo and one of our househelps joined me in the free literacy seminar hosted by Adarna House.  Yanthy and our other househelp accompanied my husband to Asian Hospital for his follow up check up.  There were 3 wonderful speakers.  The first was a mother who is a children's book author herself.  The second one was a pediatrician while the third one was a reading expert. 
It was a big blessing that I got to listen to all of them!  I learned a lot from their talks and sharings.  God affirmed my desire and plan to write a children's book/s in the future through the seminar.  The people from Adarna House said they are actually encouraging more authors to write children's books in Filipino especially for young readers.  Their readng program to help the children of poor families inspired me to write a book based on one of my childhood memories as a student.  Moreover, I learned that I can go ahead in teaching Yanthy how to read in Filipino now because he is already good in reading English on his own most of the time.  I was also happy to get loot bags for attending the seminar.  Each loot bag contained a bilingual board book among other things, something that Mateo and Yanthy loved as soon as they saw it.  They were reading the board books while we were on our way back home.  (My husband fetched us from SMX after his check up.)

Our experience at the MIBF ended with a bang.  I had the opportunity to attend Dr. Isagani Cruz's talk Write Your Own Book organized by Central Books.  It was SO INSPIRING!  God spoke to my heart once more and encouraged me even more to write not just one more book but more books.  Thus, I now have THREE (3) book projects in mind.  Other authors who published their books through Central Books' Publish on Demand service shared their experience.  One of them was Rose Fres-Fausto, a mother of three boys and the author of the best selling book Raising Pinoy Boys.  Her sharing moved me and inspired me so much to write about my experiences with my boys as well. 
After the talk, we got our sample copies of ETL books and the toy that goes with it, Walter.  I'll be writing a product review on the books and the toy that goes with the set soon.
It was an amazing and blessings-filled weekend for us, me most especially!  It's just like what one author said before that the universe conspires to give you what you desire and need.  I'm so excited and humbled at the same time to realize that God truly wanted me to do these projects at this time of my life.