Posts in “Faith”

Christmas Count Down Calendar + Christmas Activities For Toddlers

Thursday, December 1, 2016

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As my kids grow up, I want them to know what the true meaning of Christmas is. I know they will be more excited to see the gifts for sure, but I think as a believer of Christ, it’s a perfect gift for Him; sharing His stories to children and teaching them that He is the reason for Christmas. Today, I’m sharing our Christmas countdown calendar for toddlers, which does just that. It was inspired by Pinterest. Although, some of the activities below are improvised depending on what my kids will be excited to see and do. Each day, in addition to their Christmas activity (whether it is simple or requires more effort), I’m planning to read a Bible verse to them. Here’s what’s inside each paper bag, and the fun, inspiring activities for the kids to learn about the true meaning of Christmas. Enjoy!



Dec 1: A printed photo of the kids for a DIY Salt Dough ornament with photo. (Recipe from h e r e). Read: John 1:1-5.


Dec 2: Inside is a plastic ball (can be a Pom Pom or any type of small, round object). The activity will be a ball sorting stand. (Inspired by this). I used an old diaper box and made holes for the balls. I drew (you can print out pictures too) of characters from Jesus’ birth like Mary, the Star, Sheep etc. I will ask them to find a character like, “Find the mother of Jesus.” Then I will have them insert a ball in the matching hole. Read: Isaiah 9:2-7

Dec 3: Lego figurine of a boy (young Jesus) with a colorful string on the waist (symbolic of righteousness), a brown tape sash that says “faithful,”  and small toy animals. I will use these to simply tell the story from Isaiah 11:1-10.

Dec 4: A bandana to use as a cape for kids. My kids love to do the Superman (photo of us like this), so I thought of this activity for them to show that Jesus is our true hero and savior, sent by God to save us from our sins. Read: Jeremiah 33:14-16

Dec 5: A note that says “Water a plant.” My kids love to do this, especially with their Lola (grandmother) right now, so I thought this would be a great way to explain the verse in Bible Verse to Read: Luke 1: 5-10. It tells about how John the Baptist was born. He was the one who baptized Jesus in the river. If you don’t have a plant (Why wouldn’t you!? Haha Kidding!), you may use a bowl of full of water and use plastic toys to simply demonstrate what John the Baptist does.

Dec 6: Cotton balls. Prepare a drawing of an angel on a piece of paper where kids will stick the cotton balls on the wings (using glue or tape).

Read: Luke 1:11-17 Angel show to Zechariah and tell that Elizabeth will have a baby. Tell them that God sent angel to tell the good news about Elizabeth will have a  baby.

Dec 7: A balloon. I thought of using a balloon to put it inside my front shirt, to create a baby bump. 😉 My kids are excited to see a baby bump, especially when they see my sister who is pregnant right now. I will use this simple activity to teach about Luke 1:18-25 where Elizabeth was pregnant with John. You may put the name “John” on the balloon too if you’d like. While doing this balloon baby bump activity, I will share how everything is possible with God. Even though Elizabeth was old, she still became pregnant with John who was chosen by God to baptize Jesus himself.


Dec 8: A dry erase marker. I will do the “Mirror Lesson” to demonstrate how God chose Mary to give birth to Jesus who washes away our sins. I will let my kids scribble or draw whatever they want on the mirror. Full instructions here.  This is going to be a fun activity!!  Read: Luke 1:26-38 Angel Visits Mary

Dec 9: A note that says “Open a gift under the tree.” My kids love to listen while we read books to them, so I got them a new book about Christmas. Read: Matthew 1:18-21 


Dec 10:  Cotton balls, and a piece of paper with a big letter “J” (teaching them Jesus starts with the letter J). The kids will put the cotton balls on the lines to follow the letter “J”. (Similar to h e r e). Read: Matthew 1:22-25

Dec 11: Your child’s baby photo. I will share how God blessed their dad and I with them! Read: Luke 1:39-45 to explain how baby Jesus came from Mary, but Jesus was the son of God. They have oneness.

Dec 12: Glitter pen for coloring, which is cheap at Walmart! I’ll use a piece of paper with an outline of the letter “J.” I know. I love using J. It’s because this activity is all about Jesus! 😉 Then, we’ll play a worship song. Read: Luke 1:46-56


Dec 13: Use Pom Poms to insert in the hole in a box (Similar to here). Read: Micah 5:2-5 Jesus gets strength from God. The Pom Pom as sign of strength that God is giving.

Dec 14: Cloth (like baby wrap) and old white socks for my kids to draw a face on. Then they’ll put other socks inside (Similar to here). We will play and use the socks as “Baby Jesus” while reading Luke 2:1-7. Joseph needs to go back to Bethlehem. He was with Mary and she was about to give birth. She gave birth in a manger.


Dec 15:  Make angels out of Popsicle sticks and put cotton balls on the wings (Similar to here).  Read: Luke 2:8-12 Good news! Angels appeared to the shepherds and told about Jesus’ birth.

Dec 16: Put a note saying, “It’s Music Time!” or an egg shaker, something small for creating noise. We will play and sing a worship song with our flute, ukulele, shaker. Read: Luke 2:13-14 Angels in heaven praise God and rejoice for Jesus’ birth!


Dec 17: Small paint bottle. We will create a hand-painted Christmas tree (Similar idea). Read: Luke 2:15-18 Shepherds visit Jesus in the manger. Teach them that God chose shepherds to see Jesus first. His choice was not based on their position or status in life.


Dec 18: Put letters that says Jesus. Use a big bowl filled with fake snowflakes or gift fillers and have the kids search for the letters inside the container. Then, spell it out after they all the letters. (Similar to h e r e). Read: Luke 2:19-20 Everything the angels told the shepherds happened. They were amazed!

Dec 19: Star and Tree Cookie Press. I will use play dough to play with these presses, while reading Matthew 2:1-2 Magi worship Jesus. They saw the star.

Dec 20: A letter “B” magnet that we have. You may just make a simple cutout or write on a piece of paper. I will show them things inside the house that begin with letter “B.” I will also use the Bible and show a picture of Bethlehem where Jesus was born.  Read: Matthew 2:3-6

Dec 21: A star cutout from cardboard (I will make 2 since I have two kids). I will have them put Pom Poms on the stars with glue. Read: Matthew 2:7-8 Herod wants to kill the Messiah. The star appeared at the exact time when Jesus was born.


Dec 22: On a piece of paper, write down what the kids thank Jesus for. I wonder what my eldest will say… Maybe “fire truck…” or “goldfish…”  🙂 Put it on a container and put it under the tree. This is a beautiful act, serving as a gift for Jesus. Read them together next Christmas, and do it again! (Similar idea here). Read: Matthew 2:9-12

Dec 23: Put a note that says “Watch the birth of Jesus.”(I love using Youtube for this, I only show them up to 26:26.) Read: Matthew 2:19-23 Return to Nazareth



Dec 24:  Put a note that says “Go to the bathtub” Surprised your kids with some red and green balloons in the tub, maybe do this on Christmas Eve!!! (Similar idea). Read: John 1:1-4 Word became Flesh (Jesus)

Anyone else doing a Christmas countdown? How do you teach your kids or the kids around you about the true meaning of Christmas?

For other fun Christmas activities for kids, visit my Pinterest board!


Giving Thanks On Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 24, 2016


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Happy Thanksgiving to you! Unfortunately, we aren’t celebrating Thanksgiving with my husband’s family in Dallas this year since we moved to Houston. This year, we are happy to celebrate it in a simple way with my family. Today, I want to share what I am thankful for. I am thankful for these things not only today, but everyday! This is not my complete list, but here are my favorites!

  • My Husband  – I am thankful for having my husband Brent, and his understanding, patience and continually loving me, even when I’m in a grumpy mood. 😉 I am also thankful for him being the father of my two loving and handsome boys. Well, God made them, but I’m thankful for Brent’s handsome genes and his IQ… 🙂
  • Playful Kids – I thank them for teaching me to learn to be more patient and control my emotions. I am so thankful for their hugs, smiles, giggles, and the times my eldest son says, “I love you, Mama.”
  • Daily Challenges – I thank God for letting me experience challenges with my family, myself, or spirituality. These problems teach me to depend on Him and not only on the people around me, nor on materials things. This has helped me grow closer to Him.
  • God’s Word – I am thankful that now I’m 30, I’m learning God’s words by reading the Bible. His words feeds me in my weakness and temptations. I thank God for His word because it helps me discern between what is right and wrong. I also feel thankful that I’m learning to share His Word with my kids and hopefully, to the people who follow my blog.

What are you thankful for? Let me know in the comments section. I always love hearing from you.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!


DIY Painted Canvas With Inspiring Text

Monday, November 14, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #OREOThinSide #CollectiveBias


I’m finally done organizing my work station, AKA my “me time station.” Having this area gives me a space to relax, blog, work, and reflect.. I’ve always believed that it is healthy for moms to have time for themselves. It’s important to have the time to keep yourself healthy, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. I love my kids and I try to stay active with them during the first part of the day, but once it’s naptime… yahooo! Mama Time starts! (Insert dance move.) 😉 Instead of napping, which I rarely do, I chose to go back to do something I used to love before I became a mother. I’ve been going back to the days when I was an artist and have started painting. It makes me feel like I’m in college again! 


I thought about what I wanted to paint and decided on an abstract painting, with inspiring words from Colossians 3:2. I love the message of this verse: “Set your mind on things above.” It actually cut right through my heart when I read it for the first time. I knew this would be a perfect reminder for me, especially around my work station, to balance life, work, and family and to focus on the things God wants for me. Today’s partnership is with OREO, one of my favorite snacks ever since I was younger.  Keep scrolling to learn to easily make your own inspirational painting. diy-abstract-painting-with-text3

Materials I used:

  • Canvas (I used 11.5″ x 15.5″)
  • Printed Text (Here’s a FREE Printable that I made)
  • Blue and White Acrylic Paints
  • Small Paint Brushes
  • Small Foam Brush
  • Pencil
  • Pen
  • Masking tape
  • Paint Palette (Optional) or you can use any kind of lid cap
  • Water


Step 1: Begin applying the blue acrylic paint on the canvas.

Step 2: Use a small foam brush to even out the blue paint all over the canvas.

Step 3: Next, squeeze white acrylic paint on top of the blue paint as shown in the picture above.

Step 4: Use a small, flat brush to brush off the white paint in a horizontal motion. Do this to create a blend/blur effect between the blue and white paints.


Step 5: I added more white paint to the bottom of the canvas to create a transition from light to darker blue across the canvas. I dampened a small foam brush with water, then squeezed the foam to remove excess water., I then used downward brushstrokes, followed by leftward brushstrokes, to create texture (see image below). Do this in a fast motion. Also, don’t forget to paint the side of the canvas.  After you’re done painting, let the paint dry


Here’s a close-up of the brushstrokes and the texture. The stroke I used was inspired by the texture of a “banig,” which is a handwoven mat in the Philippines. You can follow this brushing style if you’d like, but since it’s an abstract painting, I think it’s more fun to follow your own feelings on what kind of brushstroke to use for your painting 🙂


Step 6: While waiting for the paint to dry, write or print the text you would like to use on a piece of paper. Then start shading the back of the paper you’re using with a  pencil. Make sure you press hard with the pencil so the graphite will transfer onto the painting.

Step 7: Center the paper on the canvas and tape it on all four corners. Start tracing the text with a pen or pencil. Remember to trace firmly so that the pencil transfers onto the canvas. You may touch-up the text drawing to make it more visible if needed.


Step 8: Start to fill the traced text using white acrylic paint. I used a small detail brush for small areas and a flat brush for wider areas. Tip: I like to mix a little bit of water with the acrylic in the palette for smoother application on the canvas. I put 2 coatings of white paint to make the color more opaque and brighter.


Step 9: You’re done! Hang on a wall or lean on a shelf or desk to add inspiration and good vibes for your home. 🙂

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Thanks to OREO for keeping me company while doing this painting. I enjoyed eating their thin and crispy cookies, which I grabbed from my nearest Kroger grocery store.
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How do you enjoy your “me time” moments?

Be sure to check out other fellow bloggers’ fun and inspiring stories here!


A Simple Autumn Dining Home Tour

Sunday, November 6, 2016


The first few weeks after we moved here, we didn’t have a complete dining table set. We had sold most our stuff when we left LA. Thankfully, I found a second-hand dining table online that Brent and I liked, which only cost $150. Its original color was black, and though I preferred white, the main top wood is what made us choose it! One of my good friends, Denise, has been repainting her own furniture lately. She inspired me to paint my own dining table since I like the color white. I think the color white makes our home feel more spacious and look brighter. It was my first time painting furniture, so it was a good thing that my friend recommended chalk paint. It’s really easy to use. Since it’s fall and Thanksgiving is coming, I wanted to make a simple fall-themed centerpiece for our dining table. Here’s what I came up with.
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My kids and I were walking outside and we saw these big, wide leaves that I thought I could use to style our centerpiece. I wrote words that inspire me on them saying: “Family,” “Thankful,” “Blessed,” and “Gather.” I added small pumpkins and used a tall rounded glass vase to place them in. I love the simplicity of it, especially since it doesn’t take up a lot of space on the table. I also added a wooden table runner that my mom brought from the Philippines. Below are a few similar products that I thought you might like to check out!

Natural Table Runner

Simple Farm House Dining Set

Glass Vase

Sleek Bench

Modern Square Canapé Plates

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Anyone else like styling their table centerpiece? What kind of style do you like to do for autumn? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.



7 Ways How To Feel Beautiful Fast

Monday, October 24, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WetSkinMoisturizer #CollectiveBias


I love the cool weather of early fall and late spring, but I can’t take the colder months. How about you? It’s been 5 years since I came to America from a tropical island, and I’m still not used to cold weather. Not only do I get cold easily (My husband says I need more fat), but the cold makes my skin much drier and I get lazy to fix myself up. Oops… Today, I’ll be sharing few of my favorite ways on how to feel beautiful fast during the cold months. These tips are also great for busy moms who have active toddlers like me!


If you’re tired of having your hair up everyday, try to braid your hair (when it’s dry) before you go to bed. When you wake up in the morning you’ll have an instant wavy hair look!  My favorite way to braid my hair is on the side (image above). I like to put down my hair during the cold season because my long hair acts as a shield for the cold breeze. 😉 This overnight braiding is perfect for busy women or moms, who are looking for a time-saving hair style in the morning.



Moisturize your skin immediately. I love how Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer offers an easy way to moisturize my skin. Right after showering I apply it to my wet skin – no need to dry off first!  Then, I pat my body dry afterwards. I like how convenient the process is: it keeps me from skipping moisturizing my skin after I shower. I picked up two different scents at Walmart. The first one was Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer with Cherry Almond Essence, a new scent that is is exclusive to Walmart. I also grabbed a bottle of Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer with Calming Green Tea Oil, and I love the smell!



Cold weather makes my face dry, and that’s why I choose a foundation that also moisturizes my skin. I love to use tinted moisturizer. If you don’t have this product at home, you can make one on your own by mixing your favorite facial moisturizer and foundation together. Not only does it moisturize your skin, it also quickly evens out your skin tone. The application is fast and easy, as all you need are your fingers. Just apply it as you would regular moisturizer. Tip: If you have matte foundation, try to squeeze a little bit of highlighter liquid or a tiny bit of baby oil onto your DIY tinted moisturizer, and then blend them well.  This will help your skin look radiant and dewy during the cold season.



Like I often mention in my beauty posts, cream blushes are fast and easy to apply and they last longer throughout the day. Plus, they give natural blush to your cheeks without looking powdery. I also love to use liquid lipstick that comes with a wand. It’s convenient to use and I can also use it as an instant-blush.



During the fall and winter, it is so easy to stay in pajamas all day. Sometimes I notice my mom or husband are dressed up, and I ask, “Where are you going?” Often they are not going anywhere – they just like to look nice! One of the things I learned from my husband (who is a psychologist) is that taking the time to dressed up in the morning, makes you feel more awake and positive. You don’t have to dress up in formal attire or anything, just something nicer than your pajamas. Changing into some nicer clothes and fixing your hair and makeup a little bit can help lead to a beautiful feeling. Not only are you taking care of yourself, but you also inspire others (like your kids) to take care of themselves as well.  


Whether you chose to wear sunglasses or add a scarf to your wardrobe, this is a quick and easy way to definitely boost your confidence and make yourself feel beautiful fast!



Reading the Bible is one of the best ways to feel beautiful fast. Before my day becomes busy with the kids, reading my Bible in the morning helps me to think and feel positively beautiful. It’s a great foundation for your heart and mind, to feel and see the beauty of God working in you. I’m in the book of John right now, and I really like the verse where Jesus says, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give will become a spring of water gushing up inside that person, giving eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)


By the way, Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer has other scents like Nourishing Monoi Oil, Refreshing Coconut Oil (I’ll try this one next!), and Restoring Argan Oil. All of these scents are essential oils that work with your wet skin to lock in moisture. Try using this product right after you shower to experience how quickly it moisturizes, keeping your skin soft throughout the day.


For more inspiring stories and tips for the fall and winter, check out the Jergens community bloggers here.


What makes you feel beautiful fast this season? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂



Feels Like Home: Moving Back to Houston

Monday, August 15, 2016

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Houston is the first place I lived when I moved to the United States. It was where I met new friends, and learned how to drive, not to be shy, and say, “Hi” to people passing by on the street. I made some improvements with my English too. For example, instead of saying, “Turn off the lights” I used to say “Brent, can you close the lights?” He would tease me and reply with, “It’s not a window.” Houston has been a big part of my adjustment with culture, language and style of living. When it came to culture shock, I had so many different experiences with it. I was shocked by things like the large food servings, big fast food drink cups, unlimited refills, etc. I saw other things that amazed me as well, things which are not a big deal for others, like the garbage disposal! I also remember my first year in Houston, I tried to make friends with our neighbors. I knocked on their door and the couple that lived there were so confused when I handed them some dessert. I don’t know if it’s uncommon in the U.S., but in the Philippines it’s common to bring food over to someone who has just moved into the neighborhood. It’s a friendly gesture and way of welcoming them. 


A couple weeks ago, we came down to Houston to check out possible places to live, and I’m so thankful that we found one that we like! Brent and I are SO excited that we are finally moving back there in the next few weeks. Due to Brent’s grad school, internship, and post-doctoral fellowship, we have been moving a lot! We’ve gone from Houston to LA, to Dallas, and now back to Houston again. I think we’re experts with packing our stuff now. 😉 Going back to Houston and having our own place to live with our children, are one of the things that we have been praying about for the past year. Now, God has answered those prayers!


Here are a few photos I snapped during our trip. We just celebrated our 5th year anniversary! I praise God for teaching us a lot of life lessons concerning love, understanding, and patience. What we’ve learned has helped make our relationship stronger, with unity and hope as a married couple.




I found this J.Crew dress and Talbots handbag in thrift store. But here are other design items to buy for DRESS and HANDBAG 🙂


5 years of marriage!


P.S. Hello Houston makeup clients, Em Smith makeup artistry is back! For bookings or inquiries, contact me 🙂


Sailboat First Birthday Theme Ideas

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


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We celebrated our youngest son’s 1st birthday over the weekend. I can’t believe that he is 1-year-old now! I also can’t believe that he has no reflux anymore! Hallelujah! My son is such a happy boy, he is such a sweet baby boy and patient too. For his 1st birthday, I thought of using a sailboat theme for his party, since his second name “Alon” means “(Sea) Wave” in Tagalog. We had a small gathering with my husband’s family and I made lasagna rolls (love this recipe, but I tweaked the sauce and added ground beef), Filipino BBQ on a stick (my mom’s recipe! YUM!), and some desserts. Below are the D-I-Y decors I made for my son’s birthday party. They are simple ideas perfect for small gatherings, like the one we had. Most of the decor is made of old boxes and construction paper. You can find the materials at most arts-and-crafts stores. Personally, I love going to Hobby Lobby to grab these art materials. It’s like heaven for an artist like me!


I found this first birthday cake idea from Pinterest while looking for a cake recipe without egg whites. His cake is easy and fun to make. I found the frosting recipe from

What’s great about these ideas is that they are not only for birthdays! They can also be used for baby showers too! Share and pin your favorite sailboat decor idea 🙂

Have a great weekend and enjoy your 4th of July!!

“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved — you and all the people in your house….then he and all his people were baptized immediately.” Acts 16:31-34


P.S. If you’d like to get a glimpse of my daily life with my boys (and of course some things about makeup too), follow me on Snapchat: ememist


Father’s Day Gift Idea: DIY Taped Crayon Art

Monday, June 13, 2016


Father’s Day is coming up! Here’s one idea, perfect to do with your kids for surprising your husband with. My eldest son and I (with youngest son was there for moral support) actually made this crayon artwork for Brent’s birthday a few months ago. Since Father’s Day is coming, I wanted to share this idea and how we made it.


Choose the paper you want and start to draw a message. The shorter the message, the better. It keeps it readable and easier to make, which is important right. Start covering up the art and create a border, using tape. With the artwork we made, I used regular scotch tape. Make sure to lessen the stickiness of the tape before applying it to the paper. This will make it easier to peel off later. I did this by applying the tape on my son’s shirt so that some of the lint would stick on it. I’ve actually used this method since I was in college, but of course, you can also use easy-to-peel off tape like blue painter’s tape.


I used box cutter knife to start gently tracing and removing the excess tape.


Have your kids use different kinds and colors of crayons! Tell them to go crazy! 😉 Of course, you may help them to fill up the image more. DIY_do_it_yourself_fathers_day_gift_idea_made_by_love_kids_activity_crayons_abstract_we_love_dada_5

Once you think the paper’s filled with enough crayon and colors, you may begin peeling off the tape


It’s fun and easy! Happy Father’s Day! 🙂

“For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” Genesis 18:19


Welcome to Hello Island Mama! I love to share about motherhood, makeup, DIYs, home styling and faith. Based in Houston, Texas. Originally from Philippines. Thank you for your time to read and don't forget to subscribe above! - Em

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

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