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Posts in “Family”

Happy Halloween! We are on-call!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

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Our Halloween Family Costume 2018 is easy peasy, a perfect costume for busy parents like us and especially perfect for someone I know who isn’t fond of wearing costumes.. Hmm can you guess who? (Hint: someone who just came home from work this evening 😉 )

Materials for the wheelchair and props:

Big cardboards for the wheels

Velcro

Acrylic Paint and Paint Brush

Glue Stick and Glue Gun

Secure-Flex Wrap

Stick

Empty Soda Plastic

Masking Tape

IV Tubing (I got it from Amazon but you can just use white clothesline)

Stroller (We’re using Diono Quantum Stroller. We love it and it’s on sale!)

 

For my eldest kids:

Medical Kit Toys (Thanks Grandma Kelly!)

Toddler Scrubs

My ID from my Bible group

Clipboard

 

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Here are some of the behind the scene and quick video on how I created this wheelchair.

Anyone you know who wears scrubs to work? :)

Happy Halloween!

P.S Special thanks to our nurse friend, Lesley for my pink scrubs <3

CATEGORY DIY, Family
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Who Inspires You?

Thursday, October 25, 2018

This post is sponsored by adidas. All my opinions are my own.

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Adidas Harden Pants / Adidas Samba Classic Shoes

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We all have people or things that inspire us. They’re the people we look up to when we need a little boost, or the activities we do when we need to refresh. I don’t need to look far for someone inspires me. I see him every day, share a home with him and our boys, and build dreams together.

My husband is one of my greatest sources of inspiration and hope. My husband is a pediatric psychologist, a great father to our three boys, God-fearing, and the most hardworking person I know. He inspires me in so many ways, especially on how to be a good parent. He  encourages me to take care of myself emotionally (he gives great advice on how to handle stress!) and physically. He is self-disciplined in taking care of himself, eating healthy, and exercising, including running after work.

I thought it best to do a little interview with my husband. If there is anyone out there who influences and inspires me the most, it’s the person who I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my life with. Hopefully he inspires you as well!.

Q: As a pediatric psychologist, what’s the best part of your job?

Brent: I love getting to be a part of a child’s recovery from a serious injury. It amazing to see the strength and resiliency of children and their families.

Q: As a pediatric  psychologist, what’s the worst part of your job?

Brent: Sometimes it is difficult to see children dealing with serious injuries and severe pain. Thankfully, I get to see them progress and overcome many of their difficulties.

Q: How do you handle stress?

Brent: I find that managing stress is easier if I am proactive in being spiritually and emotionally healthy. That means reading my Bible, meditating, and praying daily. Playing with my kids and watching a lighthearted comedy like The Office with my wife after work helps a lot as well!

Q: How important is exercising in your daily routine?

Brent: Important! Physical health has a big impact on emotional health and stress levels. I find that doing a few sets of pushups and pullups a few nights a week, as well as a 3-4 mile run twice a week, makes me feel a lot better. It can be hard to find time to exercise as a parent, but I like to involve the kids whenever possible – it sets a great example for them.

Q: How do you manage to take care of yourself while being a dad to three kids?
Brent: Realize that this time in your life is not about you. It’s about your children. The way we think has a big impact on how we feel. If I come home and think negatively (e.g., “I just need time for myself”, “I’m so tired”, “Why are the kids so loud?!”) then I feel irritated and annoyed. If, instead, I think about how I can help them and help my wife out, I forget about myself and feel better. Of course, we all need time to recharge our batteries – that’s why it’s important for us to have the kids in bed by 8PM.

Q: Any advice how to handle stress, especially for parents with little kids?

Brent: Find a good support network, whether that is family, church, close friends, or a parent group. Make time – even a few moments – each day for spiritual activities, physical exercise, and relaxation. Remind yourself that your kids won’t be small forever, and treasure the time you have – these difficult moments will pass all too quickly, and you will miss this time in your life. Be okay with not being able to do all you want to do: you may not be able to get the house as clean as you want, or work as much as you’d like, etc. That’s okay :-)

Q: Who is your inspiration?

Brent: My wife inspires me with her work ethic. She works hard all day, and sometimes that helps me when I want to just crash when I get home from work. My grandmother was also an exceptionally hard worker, even when things were difficult, and she is another inspiration for me.

Q: What activities can you recommend to help others de-stress?

Brent: Diaphragmatic breathing is a deep breathing technique that you can do in a few minutes which can lower heart rate and blood pressure. This type of breathing works well with mindfulness practices, in which you engage in the present moment and simply notice and appreciate what is happening right now.

Q:  Are there any self-help books you can recommend?

Brent: Unfortunately not… I think everyone should learn a bit about cognitive behavioral therapy, as techniques to change your thinking and behavior to improve your mood can be utilized by almost anyone. There are many books on CBT out there, but I haven’t reviewed them personally so I don’t feel that I can ethically recommend any of them.

Q:  Any advice for building/starting a family?

Brent: One of the best things you can do before having kids is to finish your education, get a job, and get married. Staying married is also very important, as the research is clear that kids do best when they have the love and attention of their mother and father every day.

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Who inspires you?

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A Cup of Good Health

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

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This post is sponsored by Total Tea. All my opinions are my own.

Drinking tea is one of my favorite ways to start the day. It gives the same energy as coffee but with less amount of caffeine. I’m so happy to come across Total Tea. I’m already a tea drinker and seeing their wide variety of flavors, I simply couldn’t wait to try. Total Tea is a family owned business based on Texas that believes a healthy life is a happy life! Their teas are organic, delicious, safe, and with no artificial flavors.

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As mother of three boys, I need all the energy boost I can get. Total Tea helps me especially when I don’t have enough sleep or when the boys wake up earlier than usual. I don’t really drink coffee but I drink tea. I prepare a cup for myself when the kids are napping, when I work on my blog, or even when Brent and I watch on Netflix. Some of my favorites are Pure Boost – it’s a natural energy aid with natural flavors; Organic Black Tea – I like to add milk, sugar/honey for a more mellow taste; Organic Chamomile Tea – which makes me feel calm & relaxed. Chamomile is also known to promote a good night’s sleep making this a favorite! There are many known benefits of drinking tea. It helps fight radicals, a natural booster, reduces risk of a heart attack, and is actually hydrating to the body even with its caffeine content.

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Total Tea promotes a healthy lifestyle with every bag of tea. They’re already in the business for a decade and their natural teas are sold over 1,100 doctors and chiropractic offices around the USA. Their best-selling Detox Tea is available and number one in Amazon. It reduces bloating, weight loss, and constipation. They also have other tea flavors from Peppermint, Organic White Tea, and Organic Green Tea to name a few.

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Drinking tea has many health benefits. No matter what the season, it’s a tasty beverage since it can be served either hot or iced. It’s delicious and safe to drink every day. Browse your favorite flavor and Total Tea’s line of all-natural energy teas here.

What’s your favorite cup of tea?

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Summer Reading with Kids

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

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Our backyard is one of my favorite spots at home. The kids not only enjoy playing but they also like it when we lay down our mat (we love our banig that’s made from the Philippines!) to hang out and read. We do this early in the morning to avoid the intense heat since we live in Texas. Brent and I teach our kids the importance of reading and books. It helps from brain development, creativity, to broadening their vocabulary. Books and activities refrain them from being too dependent on gadgets. Whenever my kids read, it also serves as my “break time” from all the noise in our household. It gives me time to recollect and recharge even for just a few minutes.

Our books are mostly given by families and friends while some we bought from Amazon. I also love buying books from consignment stores. I score some pretty good finds because most of the time they still look brand new. My kids and I love going to the library to look for new reads. This is also a good way of checking whether a book is worth buying or borrowing. I made a list of what books my youngest son likes when he was little in my previous post. You can find that here.

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I like to expose my kids in Tagalog books, too. This way they can recognize and learn Tagalog words easily.

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Reading and sharing stories at an early age can help your child become familiar with sounds, words, and language.

Here’s a list of books that what we currently enjoy now:

English Books

Amazing Animals (a nature adventure. One of our favorite books about animals. Thanks to my sister-in-law, Suki!)

The Curious Little Kitten

Little Bear’s Friend

My First Prayers and Psalms

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

Summer (my husband’s favorite summer childhood book)

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt (My boys love everything in this book. Make sure when you read you read the part “What’s that!??”, make it sounds exciting 😉 )

Put Me In The Zoo

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Tagalog Books

Bahay Kubo

Halu-Halo Espesyal

Ang Arko ni Noah

Alphabeto sa Bayong

Hating Kapatid

Tagu-taguan (a counting book in Filipino)

Ako si Kaliwa, Ako si Kanan

Araw sa Palengke

I think it’s important to introduce books to kids at an early age. There are countless educational apps out there but nothing beats learning from books. It sparks curiosity and imagination that surely will benefit them as they grow up. Are there any books you and your kids like to read?

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Summertime at Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston

Friday, August 17, 2018

This post is sponsored by Schlitterbahn Waterpark  Galveston.

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We had so much fun at Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston, which was our first waterpark experience as a family! Schlitterbahn is a perfect place for families since it has many different rides for kids of all ages, lots of areas for kids to play and swim, friendly and attentive lifeguards, and allows families to bring their own food and drinks. There are three parts of Schlitterbahn waterpark: Surfenburg, Blastenhoff and Wasserfest (check out the map here). We explored each of the parts and had so much fun in each area!.

We went to Surfenburg first, where we went straight to the kids play area called “Tiki Tikes”. The kids loved Tiki Tikes because it has two kid-sized water slides that the kids slid down over and over again. It also has a shaded lounge area nearby where we could relax and watch the kids. Then we went on our first ride as a family, which was the “Wolfpack”. This was the most exciting ride we went on as a family. Up to 4 people can ride on one raft, which was perfect for my husband, two boys, and me. The Wolfpack starts high up in the air, and you can see whole waterpark as you get in the rafts. We twisted and turned down this fast-flowing, curving slide on a giant pink tube! It was pretty awesome!! I screamed a lot! I really recommend this ride for families with kids I think this was my favorite ride!

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Here’s the view from the top taken by Brent.

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Brent tried the Cliffhanger for couple of times. He said it was really fun! But that is something I couldn’t do!

There are many other good rides that we enjoyed such as the Dragon Blaster, Thunder Tub, and Loopy Luge. If you are looking for something relaxing that turns exciting, try the Kristal River. This is a lazy river that connects to the Whitewater River and Torrent River, and lets you enjoy floating throughout the entire waterpark. One of the most fun parts of the river is when it meets Torrent River. Here there is a giant wave that pushes you through a narrow part of the river over and over. We went back on the river several times since we enjoyed these giant waves so much. It was so much fun!

An indoor waterpark is available in the Waserfest area. This is a nice, shaded play area for the kids. They enjoyed climbing onto the ship and sliding down the slides. It was good thing my mom came along to watch the kids so Brent and I had a chance to try some of the adult rides. We went on the Faust and Furious, which was definitely the scariest ride I went on! Brent went on the Rohr! and loved the steep drop-off of that slide. Later we brought the kids on the Guada Loopy, which was an exhilarating ride on a two-person raft from 40 feet up in the air down a twisty, dimly lit tunnel.

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While the rides were a blast, there were a lot of other things we liked about Schlitterbahn. The parking is free and close-by. There are many places to buy food,but Schlitterbahn also lets you bring your own food, and even to bring your own ice chest (as long as there is no glass containers or alcohol). There are many tables and benches around the park, and even lounge chairs along the water so you can relax and see your kids at the same time while they’re playing. Private cottages and luxury loungers are available as well.The lifeguards and other staff were very friendly, and I always felt like my kids were safe because there were so many attentive lifeguards.

One tip is to consider going on the weekdays. We went on a Tuesday and it was not too crowded, especially in the morning. We didn’t even have to wait in line the first hour! Also, you might want to check the weather before going, because if it begins to thunder and lightning, the rides will be stopped and everyone will have to get out of the water.

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I think this was the coolest summer experience we had this year! Schlitterbahn is such a fun place for families with amazing rides, kid-friendly play areas, and a friendly staff. If you live in Houston or happened to visit, you can purchase ticket online or buy season pass to continue the fun throughout the summer.

What rides do you enjoy at Schlitterbahn waterpark?

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Summer Backyard Grilling

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

This post is sponsored by Adidas. All my opinions are my own.

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There’s something about spending time outdoors that no mall or gadget can offer. I have three boys and I like exposing them to different kinds of activities such as painting, reading, and sports. From time to time I introduce new things that spark their interest. One of the fun and family outdoor activities that we have recently been doing is playing Frisbee. While this makes my children happy and healthy, it also makes them hungry! I decided that a great after-Frisbee dinner would be simple and easy-to-make Shrimp Skewers for us to enjoy.

I grew up in the Philippines where we love to grill seafood such as milkfish, tilapia, squid, and shrimp. One of my favorite dishes is sinigang shrimp. But since it’s summer here, I went for grilled shrimp instead. Shrimp is a good source of protein, and with a little marinade before grilling they taste amazing.. They’re perfect for delicious, healthy eating!

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This Shrimp Skewer is easy to prep and make.

All you need is the following:

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of Sriracha hot sauce

1 cup oil

1 teaspoon of parsely

½ teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

Jumbo shrimp (1 lb, no shell)

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Instructions:

  1.     Preheat grill on medium high. Soak barbecue sticks in water to prevent them from burning easily while grilling.
  2.     Combine all of the first seven ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir well. This is your marinade.
  3.     Set aside half of the mixed marinade.
  4.     Mix the shrimp in the medium bowl with half the marinade. Leave the shrimp in the marinade for up to 2 hours to add more taste.
  5.     Place shrimp on soaked wooden skewers and place skewers on the grill over medium high heat. Cover the grill for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the shrimp turn pink or opaque.
  6.     Brush marinade on the shrimp occasionally while grilling to keep them from drying and to add flavor.
  7.     Remove shrimp from the grill and brush marinade on the  cooked shrimp again.

8.     Serve with sliced lemon on the side, or make a simple green salad of your choice.

 

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These are so easy to make and prep time is a breeze. It’s a simple recipe you and your family can enjoy on any occasion.

Also, big thanks to Adidas for my activewear! I love that my top is comfortable, light-weight and well-fitting at the same time. The shorts are a breeze to wear, too. They’re made from sweat-wicking fabric that helps keep me dry and sweat-free even when I’m busy. Finally,I love wearing hats   when I go out, especially in the hot Texas summer! This strap-back hat is so comfortable to wear and fits perfectly. My son is also wearing one, which you can find here.

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Are there any activities you’re looking forward to this summer?

If you happen to make these Shrimp Skewers, of if you discover any ways to improve this recipe,, please let me know. Happy grilling!

 

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Fun strolling with Diono Quantum Classic

Friday, July 13, 2018

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Even if my days are packed, I always find time to go for a walk or do some window-shopping every now and then. It’s a good way to unwind and at the same time, walking is also a good exercise. However, we mothers know how difficult it can be to go out with kids. There are so many things that needs to be prepped including extra clothes (just in case of spills!) and diaper bag. That’s why having a stroller is essential for me whenever we go out. The features I’m looking for a stroller is one that is easy to maneuver and gives comfort to my son. An extra space underneath the seat is also a bonus. All of these I found in Diono Quantum Stroller.

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Finding the right stroller that fits your lifestyle can be quite challenging. All factors must be considered from “Is it easy to carry?” to “Will this fit in our car?”. I’m so happy that Diono Quantum Stroller is very easy to use. One of my personal favorites is the adjustable hand bar, which can be changed up to six positions. This is such a blessing because Brent and I are both tall. It’s easier to maneuver when the hand bar is just the right height.  The stroller is light and smooth to push whether on cement, rough roads, or grass.

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Diono Quantum Stroller‘s design is unique, functional and clever. It looks classy and beautiful with a leather hand bar for parents and baby area. It’s quick and easy to assemble and the extra space is such a pleasant surprise. I place my kids’ sippy cups and extra bags here so I my hands are free to play with my kids. There’s a cover you can adjust too for a breathable air flow.

If your baby is ready for toddler seat, just secure the four clips underneath the seat and move the seat to the upright position. The seat is also adjustable to three reclined positions and helps a lot when my son likes to nap.  The seat can be positioned to parent-facing so I can see my son and also sometimes my son feels secure and less fidgety when he sees me. I can also switch it the other way so my son can see the view. Changing is simple and can be done by attaching the seat to the chassis.  It also has a zip up cover that is totally perfect for winter since it will cover your child’s legs and feet. A helpful feature for parents who live in places prone to cold weather.

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Finding the right stroller that works can be frustrating but once you’ve found the one that actually fits your lifestyle, it is so worth it. It makes going out with our kids in tow such a breeze and worry-free.

What are you favorite features of Diono Quantum Stroller?

Use ref9129712 for coupon code at Diono’s website.

* Thank you Diono for partnering with Hello Island Mama!

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The Art of Fireworks: Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 6, 2018

 

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I’m sharing some of images in celebration of Independence Day celebrations at Friendswood Centennial Park. We’re glad the rain stop before the celebration started – but the grass was still wet all over  (wish we had brought a tarp to sit on instead of our “banig” 😉 ) A lot of people came to celebrate and see the fireworks. It was our third son’s first time to celebrate 4th of July and to see fireworks.

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Surprisingly, he didn’t even cry when the fireworks started. The kids stayed up late and were excited to ride the shuttle bus, which was a school bus, to and from the park.

I love watching fireworks! I think the coolest thing about fireworks when it comes to photography is that you can play around with the images in editing software to create some pieces of art. I used my old  Nikon DSLR, Sigma 35mm lens and Photoshop.

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I hope everyone had a great 4th of July!

Thank you America!

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Hello Island Mama is a makeup, DIY, photography, motherhood and lifestyle blog by Em Smith. She is the mother of three boys and a wife, who loves to inspire and encourage others through her works and stories. Based in Houston, Texas. Originally from the Philippines.

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

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