A Bobbing to Blissful Year

I looked at the calendar today, and saw that there is only 1 more day left for the year 2015. I’ve got an opportunity to write today, so I thought of sharing how the year 2015 went our way. Well, there are happy and sad events in our family this year. Let me begin with the happy ones.

Late last year, my husband was transferred into a new work place. So, we started our 2015, with a desire of moving the whole family to his workplace. This has always been our desire for the last 3 years of being separated due to work.

This year, our eldest son Zoe, had a remarkable milestone.
 photo 23e3064a-d8a0-4e51-9f14-ea80be77815b_zpsitrd6scm.jpg
Late March, he finished Nursery in a traditional school, ranking third for the whole nursery level. I was happy and proud with the little boys’ achievement. But, it was also in this month, we seriously thought and consider homeschooling our children as a preparation for our big move.

It was April, when we officially enrolled Zoe in a Homeschool provider.
 photo 1853FEAD-3772-4F10-9B23-AFD68DB6679C_zpsnfmvab6v.jpg
And as we get closer to our desire of moving, anxiety found me. And as I try to think positive and avoid worrying, I got hit by a total sadness. My father, whom we thought was strong and healthy at his age, left for eternity. I was so shock that it happened in less than an hour. It was painful and tearful. And grasping the truth, that I and my sister are totally orphaned was even more painful.

While coping with that great loss, we need to pause the preparation for the big move. I had to learn estate and estate tax, death claims etc. I was still in disbelief, that I was processing such.

May was supposedly a big month for us, coz it’s our youngest son birthday and my dad would have turned 61 that month.
 photo 33ED406D-A84D-4001-9853-217AA0DA6D93_zpsf43oezjz.jpg
It was also at this month that I spent my last days with my wonderful colleagues as I left my position at Dewan Architects the same month.  photo 250A3E3D-F759-4F51-BE78-836DBEAD1EE5_zpsh0rhwvst.jpg

Oh, and just before the month of May ends, I was stupefied again when I found out that our house maid was rushed to hospital due to transient ischemic attack. But God is so Good that everything went back to normal, no complications at all.

June of this year, I was a stay at home homeschool mom.
 photo 49C98BCA-C3A5-4945-A98F-A2A02CEECB0E_zpstr7pzlda.jpgHomeschooling our eldest was challenging, but definitely rewarding. Being with my children all the time was priceless. Going against the flow of the society and choosing to be intentional in parenting our children is a big and challenging decision. But we always believe that God will fill up the areas where we lack.

The big move happened in August.
 photo 11870789_10152975228867026_4431646890833527368_n_zpsz3d7gx6j.jpg

1 John 5:14-15 says, and this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. 

It was always our desire for the family to be together. We were holding on God’s promise and believed that in his perfect time it will be granted. He is indeed true to His promises. I can’t thank Him enough for this blessing. And in September, a few weeks after the big move, God has blessed me with a work. This made us face a new challenge being working homeschooling parents. oh, yes we are. It may sound backbreaking, but it is heartening discovering that we can do this, but of course with God’s grace.

October, the family was still adjusting to the new life; new time zone, extreme weather, food, away from our comfort zone, homeschool schedule, new place and new friends, but we were having a whale of a time being together and reunion with old friends. We celebrated my husband’s birthday and my mother-in-law’s birthday. And in November, I get to celebrate mine as well. photo 12460089_10153541449988423_1856640566_n_zpsi2bpcoht.jpg

December is a busy month for us. Aside from the holidays, it is our eldest son birth month. So before the Christmas bustle we celebrated zoe’s birthday with new friends.
 photo CC9E58E1-E1EC-4706-A4D7-EED16F0BE185_zps9obemcnw.jpg

And also,  we get to celebrate our wedding anniversary & Christmas together after years of celebrating it apart.
 photo 374FD71E-EE88-45EF-8EDD-D18C4D68A595_zpslum7d3ia.jpg

It was a bobbing to blissful 2015 for us. I am grateful for all the blessings and trials we’ve faced this year. I thank God for walking us through 2016. And now, I am looking forward for a wonderful and fruitful year ahead for our family and yours. Happy New Year!

Ms. Philippines is Ms. Universe 2015

 photo 122115-celebs_PUSH_zpsdwqbixze.jpg

Filipino nitezens took a break from the hyped-up debate on which presidential candidate should we vote this coming 2016 election, after Ms. Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach grab the crown at the recently concluded Ms. Universe Pageant 2015. The dramatic crowning of Ms. Philippines as Ms. Universe 2015 took place in Las Vegas on December 21, 2015. The host, Steven, mistakenly announced Miss Columbia as the winner. Later on, he took control of the stage and announced public apology. Responsible as he was, he admitted he made a horrible mistake, but insisted that the cards (he was holding) bears the true winner. He then proclaimed Ms. Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, The Miss Universe 2015.

Wow! Yey! I’m happy! But felt sorry for Miss Columbia as I watched the crown slips away from her. Finally Ms. Universe after 42 years. Confidently beautiful Pia, you made the Filipino people proud.

Montessori Teen Board

I have been reading a lot about the Montessori teaching, and right now it seems that our home will be leaning towards montessorri approach. I have no background of teaching at all, but I know it wouldn’t be a pain if I bring Montessori to our home. Thanks to the bunch of resources available online, it gives me a bunch of ideas in teaching the Montessori way.

Why Montessori? I know friends who send their children to a Montessori school, but I don’t know how Montessori works at all until I stumble upon a Montessori blog by a fellow homeschool mom who happens to be a Montessori teacher. So, reading the blog, I was impressed by how she teaches math to her students. The materials and strategies caught me, that I wanted to apply the same teaching approach to my children. I like how Montessori translates factual to abstract as It gives children an idea how things are structured, rather than just memorizing it.

And so, to kick off Montessori at home, I did a DIY ten boards to teach my boys the linear counting.

The original ten board looks like the image below.

 photo ten_boards_iii_quantity_zpsyw2rkaei.jpg
photo from carrotsareorange.com


And this is my DIY ten board.
 photo b92a30df-2958-4bf4-b97d-f0431cde7d34_zpsnf4ezu4p.jpg

For the board, I downloaded a free template from Liveable Learning . Then I printed and laminated it. For the bead work, I use a plastic silver bead. I was originally planing to use yellow or gold silver, but it was not available in the stationary shop near our place.

Ten Board can be use in introducing quantity and symbols as well as the association of both. It is also a good strategy to teach counting 1 to 99 to kindergartens.

 photo b789736b-c70e-4e7f-9a45-d0ae1aa4817e_zpss4esagtn.jpg

My boys were curious the first time they saw the board and they were attentive and responsive during our session. We will be doing more of this, and I hope to finish the thousand block diy.

How about Ukulele Son?

A friend asked me if I am interested of enrolling my children to a ukulele class. Well, I’d like to, but I’ll have to ask my children first before doing so. Zoe has been showing his interest on drums lately, but how about ukulele son? I cannot force them to learn a musical instrument without their interest.

 photo ukulele_zpsbjhcrogy.png
Art by Cyclopsette

Having thought of this, I wonder where in UAE I can buy a ukulele. Back home, I can always drop by our favorite music store near our area to check availability. In UAE, I haven’t personally visited a music store since coming here four months ago. But Google has given me a few stores around the city. Good thing is that most stores offers online service so I can just schedule for ukulele pickup once my children has decided to learn ukulele. I really want them to learn music instruments, that’s why I am exposing them early to music instrument.

Self Service Gift Wrapping at ToysRus

Our little celebrant was hoping to receive a color changing car from hot wheels on his 5th birthday. So last night, before the long weekend kicks off we bought one at toysRus. Since we knew exactly what we want to buy, it didn’t take us a long time at the store. We immediately head to the payment counters upon getting hold of the item. And since it’s our present for our son, we wanted it wrapped, so I told the cashier to have it wrapped for us. But I was surprised when she pointed me, to the self service gift wrapping counter.
Okay, that was cool.

My first time actually to encounter a self service gift wrapping at the mall. It’s definitely cost efficient for the store, and for the customer, we get to practice our gift wrapping skills. They have different size of pre-made gift bags and a few designs of gift tags.  Hubby initiated to wrap the gift. Here he is thinking, how he would wrap the item creatively.

 photo IMG_51431_zpsazktgaxx.jpg

This is one is at the Sahara Mall in Sharjah, I am not sure if all ToysRus branches in UAE are doing this self service gift wrapping.