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April Recap: family, our first garden and my kid’s favorite learning activities

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Tomorrow is the last day of April. I thought to share for today’s post on what we’ve done this month during the time of quarantine, how we celebrated a couple of special events like Easter and my birthday and a few personal DIY projects that I did. I rarely share personal posts about me and my family here on my blog, maybe because I prefer to share them on my Instagram and/or in person. So here’s our month of April recap!

Easter Sunday, my youngest son’s first official egg hunting in the backyard. We used our backyard to hide plastic eggs (with raisins and Cheerios inside) for the boys. Our garden was a great place to hide eggs as well.

 

Easter activity, it’s all about Jesus. After we worshiped via online, the kids have coloring activities that focus on Jesus.

We do schooling in the morning. Here’s my daily routine schedule with my three boys if you’d like to try to set up a schedule with your kids.

My 4 year old son is learning how to write numbers. He enjoys math, like Dada.

Finding letters/words. We use Duplo lego blocks.

I made a chart for “days of the week” and a “weather chart”. Every morning, I ask each of my eldest kids to update these charts.

Little Archaeologists.  My boys tried this for the first time. All you have to do is to put random toys in a large bowl and cover them with water and freeze it. They love doing it but as a mom, I’m a little worried because they have to use pointed metal like screwdrivers to break the ice..imagine there are three little hands :/

Watercolor painting. I asked them if they want to follow a tutorial or paint on their own. Guess what they chose? Hint: Abstract

“Spring” painting using acrylic and fork

Here’s our first garden. Brent planted okra, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, green beans, watermelon, snap peas, peppers, cilantro and four kinds of tomatoes. Brent loves tomatoes so much! And of course, all plants are taken care of by my husband.. Me and my kids are just here to water the garden 😉

Bedtime story with Dada.

Cardboard DIY hot wheels, tutorial here

I’ve been doing a lot of hobbies and DIY projects to try. I think the West Elm Inspired area rug for my boy’s bedroom is my favorite project.

And my second favorite DIY for my boys is the cardboard playhouse.

I don’t remember if I posted here this oil painting that I’ve been working on since the beginning of last year 😉 Not all done… but we will get there 🙂 You can watch this painting process on my Instagram story highlights called “painting”, you will see how I started it.

April is my birthday month and this is how I celebrated my birthday; folding little clothes 😉 Since my birthday month is during COVID-19 pandemic, we are all at home except for Brent who needs to go to work. And hey, I had Pad Thai and chocolate cake. That’s all I want for my birthday 😉 

 

See you next month!

 

 

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Fun Cardboard Playhouse for Kids

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

A cardboard playhouse is always a big hit for my children. If you have followed my blog, I made my first cardboard playhouse a couple years ago when I only had two kids. And now that I have three kids, I wanted the older boys to experience a playhouse again with their youngest brother.

Cardboard is great when I want to create something new, fun and playful for my children. It is a cheap and effective way to entertain my kids,  especially during this COVID-19 quarantine.

I used 4-5 large moving boxes from past years of moving. I also used old twists/wires from buying bread at the grocery store,, legos with holes to keep the wire in place, a glue gun and glue sticks, and packaging tape.

I decorated the front using a black marker for easy decoration. You can draw nature pictures like trees, sun, flowers, grass, clouds, or neighborhood sites such as fences, cars, or neighbors. For the door, I used glued red construction paper to the cardboard, and created a four glass-like design on the door using white construction paper. I finished up the door using cotton rope as a door knob so kids can easily pull open the door.

Building cardboard toys can be a lot of work, but seeing your kids’  excited faces is always priceless. I love how imaginative they become as they use their stuffed toys for pretend play. They also learn to share and build good relationships with each other.

I found a good cardboard tutorial and inspiration – check it out if you’d like to build something out of cardboard for your kids.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be grateful if you share it on your page so other parents with little ones can see it too 🙂 Thank you! Follow me on Instagram and Facebook and don’t forget to subscribe on my blog for the latest DIY or motherhood related topics. See you on the next post!

 

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DIY Hot Wheels Car Parking With Lift

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Before I throw cardboards, I asked myself first.. “Do I need this for something?” and I always said “Yes!” haha My husband knows how I’m a cardboard hoarder. But.. I do inspect the cardboard first before I keep them. I make sure it’s a good quality cardboard that will be good for making diy toy for my kids and even for a storage bins just like the ones I made for my children’s playroom. I think it’s fun to make something out of the cardboard before I tossed it in the trash 🙂

Last week, my sister shown me a doll house toy for her daughter, and because I have three boys, I searched for a playhouse for boys and I ended up watching a DIY cardboard hot wheels with lift in Youtube. Here’s the Youtube video if you’d like to see the tutorial. I copied the main concept of the car parking with lift except for the tracks since my kid’s already have hot wheels tracks. If you already have your own tracks and connectors, this concept will work! The idea of this DIY is that to allow the kid to choose a car from the parking lot and use the lift to pull up the car and have a fun car race competition.  My boys really enjoy it! And yes, I’m not expecting that this diy toy would stay for a long time. My husband already warned me about it 😉

 

This is the place where you will connect the two connectors of the tracks. I used a glue gun to stick the long pieces of cardboard on each sides. Make sure the connectors will fit in the empty space.

Apply the top with same width but extend the length around 2 cm so there will be no gap between the connector and the cardboard.

 

I use different colored papers on each tracks just for fun. I also made a stopper using Popsicle stick (see below image)

 

The lift is fun to play! Not as perfect as you move them but it still works. I used couple of milk lids to attached a wooden stick inside with hot glue.

 

I hope this post inspire you to make something out of cardboard box too! You can check some of my old cardboard works that I made for my kids: DIY cardboard Playhouse / DIY carboard Play Kitchen / DIY School Bus Costume

Follow me on Instagram where I post other DIY projects for my kids and other motherhood related topics 😉

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My daily routine with my 3 boys

Monday, March 16, 2020

Hello friends, it’s been awhile since I posted here. Things are busy but I love it 🙂 I thought to update my blog to share my daily routine and schedule with my 3 kids (ages 2-5) since we are all dealing with this virus. Schools are closed and so I’d like to share with my fellow moms out there what our day looks like and also to share some activity ideas for kids. Fyi, I have a kindergarten that I’m homeschooling only for this second semester and I also have a pre-schooler son who also do homeschooling and I have two year old son who loves to copy his big brothers 😉

7:30AM – 8:00AM Breakfast

Easy breakfast ideas? cereal lol and I do a lot of overnight oats, make ahead casserole, i love making granola cereal ahead or simply scrambled eggs, fruits, milk and bread))

8:00AM-8:30AM  Quiet time / Devotional time 

I used the book “Experiencing God Day by Day”, and sometimes, I do my BSF lesson in case I can’t do it at night. For the kids,  they love to browse Children’s Bible books like “The Action Bible

8:30AM- 9:00AM   Charts / Free Play or walking outside

I made their own charts before where they can check their “to-do list” before playing. You can see it here. They’ve been doing the chart for a year now so it helps them to know what they need to do without reminding them 10x. Basic to-do list for them are rinsing their plastic bowls or plates after breakfast, brushing their teeth, fixing their beds. This only applies for my 4 and 5 years old sons.

If we have enough time before our homeschooling, we like to have a quick walk outside so they can ride their scooters or bikes and enjoy the weather if it’s nice.

9:15AM – 10:15AM   Homeschooling with my Kindergarten

These are the curriculum we use if you like to check it out: these are the main subjects Reading, Math, Handwriting, Christian (Mardel store has tons of amazing activity books for kids or you can use Pinterest for other DIY activities or free printables. I have my  Pinterest board called “Christ-centered activities” for some ideas).

I’m a Filipino so I want my children to learn my native language called “Tagalog” as well, so I do Filipino subject 3 to 4x a week, I used a curriculum from this Filipino site. I only add the reading method like the one we are using from English curriculum.

10:15AM – 11:00AM Homeschooling with my Pre-K 

Main subjects are Reading, Math, Christian.

Same thing for my 4 year old, we do Filipino 3 to 4x a week.

When I do homeschooling on each of my eldest son, one of them entertains my 2 year old son. They are so sweet to him <3

11:00AM – 11:40AM  Free Time 

This is the time they will play together while I’m taking a break; comb my hair, brush my teeth, fix our bed, and maybe response to a 2 day old text from a friend lol. I also use this time to prep lunch too.

11:40AM – 12:15PM Lunch Time

12:15PM – 12:45PM Play with the kids

This time is to bond with my kids and play duplo lego or puzzles or maybe hide and seek. I always pushed myself to have time to bond with my 3 boys because honestly, I prefer to clean all the mess in our kitchen this time. But like my husband says in his Youtube channel , as a parent we should have time to bond with our kid/s at least 15 minutes a day to build parent-child relationship and improves child’s behavior. You can watch Brent’s episode called ” Special Time: Better Behavior and a Closer Bond in Just 15 minutes a day!”.

12:45PM -1:00PM Ready for naptime / quiet time

We read books together. My 2 and 4 year old sons still nap while my 5 year old has a quiet time in the playroom (sometimes, he can take a nap if he’s tired). For me,  this is the time I finally start cleaning the dining area, kitchen and check my cleaning chart

and if I have time, I’ll do a hobby like painting or simply just re-arranging our house (again)

3:30PM – 4:00PM – Snack time

Easy snacks? popcorn, pretzels, fruits, string cheese, raisins or maybe their leftover lunch food 😉

4:00PM – 4:30PM – Outdoor play or art crafts

Art craft and activity ideas are endless in Pinterest. Here are my favorite boards: DIY for kids / other DIY ART

4:30PM – 5:30PM Dinner prep 

This is the time I prepare for dinner. The kids sometimes are in their playroom, playing legos, cars, beyblades and marbles.  Although, I try to encourage them to play in the backyard as much as possible (if weather permits) because you know, it’s nice to play outdoor and also it’s nice to cook when it is quiet 😉

5:30 or 6:00PM Family dinner time 

6:30PM – 7:10PM My husband plays with the kids or we do family walk

7:10PM – 7:40 PM Bedtime Prep

Clean up the toys, bathtime, read stories, prayer and sing a Christian song

HOPEFULLY by 8PM we put our kids to bed!

 

I love routine and schedule because I really like to know what’s the next thing to do. I think this is important for me as a mom of three kids so that i can prepare and to lessen being overwhelmed. Of course, everyday is different and sometimes kids can be challenging for a day; there will be crying, fighting etc. That’s why I need to be flexible if that happens 🙂

 

I hope this post helps and gives you some ideas. Let me know if you have any easy and fun activity ideas for kids. Please share below so others can learn it too 🙂

 

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ”

Philippians 3: 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Celebrate Mother’s Day the Simple Way

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

adidas mothers day helloislandmama 5 Being a mother is one of the most beautiful and blessed experiences that happened to me. Even though sometimes it’s hard emotionally, physically, and mentally, it’s a rewarding and fulfilling job. This year will be my fifth time celebrating Mother’s Day.

My husband and I believe that spending time outdoors is healthy for us. Having kids can be exhausting, so a little activity outside the house is a good way for us to recharge. We also believe that spending time with the family doesn’t always require splurging. Since we recently decided to purchase our own home (Thank you, Lord!), we have to watch how we spend.

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There are affordable, healthy, and fun ways to celebrate Mother’s Day. Here’s a little list to serve as inspiration for your and your family:

Picnic in the park or backyard

Being indoors is comfortable, but spending time in nature is just as important. There’s plenty of research that shows spending time outdoors is beneficial to our health. Take your family with you and enjoy the day, picnic style.

Make homemade breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and spending it with your family is always a good idea. It’s the time to bond and share before everyone gets busy. Gentlemen, surprise your wives or moms with a healthy homemade breakfast! It’s a great gesture to show how much you value and love them.

Relax on the beach/pool

I’m particularly fond of water. It relaxes and calms me in a way no aromatherapy can. When there’s a constant buzz coming from the streets and our phones, it can add a lot of stress and anxiety. Unwinding by the water is a good way to de-stress and to slow down.

Visit State Park

We’re very glad that we have many nature parks here in Houston. Our current favorite is Brazos Bend Park and Arman Bayou Park. It’s walkable, refreshing, and it’s family friendly. It also sparks my children’s curiosity and allows me to see things through the eyes of my children.

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Whenever we go outside, I try to keep my outfit simple and fuss-free. Running after children is never easy let alone three energetic boys! I make it a point to always wear something that I’m comfortable with and will allow me to play with my kids effortlessly.

My current favorite is this tee dress from adidas. It’s the perfect dress for me since I really don’t like stressing myself on what to wear in the morning. The dress goes perfectly with my sneaks! I said bye to heels a long time ago and sneaks are my forever go-to footwear. Running around is way easier and comfier!

There are plenty of ways to celebrate Mother’s Day without splurging. More often than not, it’s the thought that counts. I hope you have a good Mother’s Day and that you find the best way to celebrate them.

In partnership with adidas.

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Blogging tips when you have kids at home

Friday, March 29, 2019

blogging tips kids at home workstation desk (6) blogging tips kids at home workstation desk (4)

A lot of people wonder how I maintain a blog with three energetic kids. My Instagram is only a fraction of what I do every day. There are days when it’s easy (especially when the kids are napping!) but there are days that are extremely challenging. My kids are not always keen on taking a nap every day. All mothers can relate that we “borrow” time for ourselves when the kids are busy with other stuff – which is how I survived blogging all this time.

I’m going to share a few tips on how I’m able to balance motherhood and blogging to avoid getting overwhelmed. I hope this inspires others to keep creating despite our busy schedules!

Set a time for blogging.

Set a time to be online and stick to it. Being a mom blogger/influence demands a lot of time with my phone. With the countless e-mails and comments, it can get quite difficult. As much as possible, I allot time for online activity so it doesn’t take over my whole day. I try (sometimes haha ) to wake up early before the kids and/or do stuff during their naptime and quiet time. No matter how busy it is, I always make sure I have time for my family.

Get organized.

Use a planner, traditional or otherwise, to organize your schedule. I like doing some stuff the old-fashioned way, so pen and paper is still my go to organizer. This year, I started having a separate planner for personal activities and another for my online blogging duties.

Take a break.

I used to feel pressured about blogging that I felt I have to post at least twice a week. There’s a myriad of website online and staying afloat requires a lot of effort. The pressure ruins the focus and sometimes, the content feels unnatural and insincere. I learned that taking a break allows me to recharge and gather better ideas as opposed to forcing myself to come up with one. Taking a breather from it all is key to a healthy mind and body.

Write about what you love. 

Choose a topic that connects with your lifestyle. This way, it’s more authentic. It’s always nice to read about something that really comes from the heart. As a mom blogger, I enjoy content related to motherhood. However, I try not to involve my kids on my campaign all the time to set boundaries. My kids enjoy our shoot when it’s about arts, crafts, or activities that involves sports and eating 🙂

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My workstation is one of my favorite spots at home. It’s a place where I can create and explore. I’m very much into arts so I like dabbling on a few ideas every now and then. This is where I do all the planning, researching, and organizing. My desk is from Ameriwood Home Furniture. It’s the perfect size desk for my computer ko and a few of my favorite trinkets. I like the design especially the metal hairpin style legs that make it sturdy. It has a bottom drawer where I keep all my files and other office supplies.

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I hope a few of my tips helped! Are there any organizing hacks you’re currently doing?

I received this Landon desk as a free sample in exchange for an honest review.

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Do-It-Yourself Fun Chart For Kids and Mom

Monday, January 21, 2019

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Today, I like to share our to-do list chart for my eldest boys and for myself as a mom of three children. This chart  helps me especially my kids with our daily routine. My eldest boys are in pre-school and they are already in the stage where they can do things on their own and even in doing household chores from time to time (putting away clean silverware from dishwasher, making their bed etc.). Also, I decided to create this chart to remind them of other things they need to learn like leading the prayer and memorize Bible verses to name a few.

I believe that being responsible starts at home. They learn not only about cleaning or organizing but also they learn the value of doing things together as a family. I’ve mentioned before that my husband is a child psychologist. He said that charts are also a great way to teach our kids and make them excited to do activities. It also helps me because I don’t need to remind the kids time and again what needs to be done 🙂

 

You are free to do any style you want and to decorate  each chart. Here are the FREE printable icons that you can use for your chart. I hope this helps you and your kids enjoy do things at home.

 

Materials:

Magnetic sheet ( $2)

Metal Board with rope to hang (Walmart)

Construction paper

Magnetic Alphabets (optional)

Pom poms (optional)

Twine (optional

Laminate (optional)

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STEP 1 Print customized icons in 8.5 x 11 paper.

STEP 2 Cut and glue construction paper to add a pop of color. I designated color each of my kids.

STEP 3 If you can, laminate so it won’t get dirty easily. It makes the paper stable to hold as well. If you’ve noticed, I’ve included some blank rounds on the FREE printable file, this way, you can add your own drawing for your kid’s chart.

STEP 4 Cut magnetic sheet in small pieces that will fit the rounded icon.

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(no, this chart it’s not for this little fella 🙂 )

I used a jute rope to create two columns. The left side that says “TO DO” are the icons that I want my kids to try to do. You can add other icons as you go along. I try to feature 4 to 6 icons and once they’re done, they can get 4 to 6 minute of screen time play (they love PBS Kids like Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Wild Kratts) or anything that tickles their fancy in that moment. They are into marbles recently, so I also use that as rewards when they finish a task.

For this chart, I also have a space where it will remind myself and my children to read the Bible and lead a prayer during mealtime. I also included a verse for the month as well.

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So this is my chart as a mom of three kids. I’m a visual person and this chart helps me to track what I need to do on a daily basis. This is super easy and fun to do.  I don’t have the printable to-do list since each of us have different things that we want to accomplish on a day. Here are mine:

 

  • One on one with big bro
  • One on one with mid bro
  • One on one with little bro
  • 8 glasses of water (I’m so bad at this)
  • Hug husband (because I’m not a hugging person that’s why I include this on my to-do list)
  • Read Bible
  • Self-care (hobbies for myself like putting a simple makeup, needlepointing, painting etc.)
  • Walk and exercise (does chasing kids count?)

Once I’m done with all of my tasks, the phrase “good work” will appear. You can print the “good work” here (simply shaded the back using pencil and trace in as your guide. Fill in with marker). You can also use image if you’d like.

If you like this post, don’t forget to pin it on Pinterest. Also, let me know if you’ll be trying this chart! Tag me on Instagram @helloislandmama so I can see your work. Can’t wait!

 

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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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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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