All Time Favorites! Materials to Pass on to the Next Generation!

After 15+ years of homeschooling, we’ve probably had 30x of major decluttering of homeschool materials, books, supplies and yes, even toys. I’ve passed on many of our favorite story and reference books to younger cousins but I’ve kept my all time favorites because the children, though a bit older now, still love looking at many of these timeless pieces and I guess, I still use several of them with my last homeschooled son at level 5.

But there are indeed timeless pieces which I want to keep in a room with a rocking chair and a rug!  Can you picture what I am envisioning? God willing, I will one day become more than just Tita Donna welcoming little and grown up nieces and nephews in my home with their favorite chocolate chip cookies. For the little ones, I sometimes read them a book, do some arts and crafts or homeschool a bit here and there.  God willing, I will be, hopefully  be a cool, endearing and warm grandmother with the best books and toys in her house!

Though not arranged in level of importance, here are my top favorite printed material: reference books, storybooks, and chapter books!

  1. For the Study of God’s Word and Character Education:


storybook-Copy What-We-Believe-Series

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2.  Stories we just kept reading night after night for maybe close to a decade and our favorite Read-A-Louds!

This was our children’s favorite for years and years of bedtime stories. They seem to have all the parent-child concerns laid out in a story book. As parents, we were able to deal with a lot of character issues in a non-threatening, light and fun manner through the Berenstain Bears series!
Other series we collected: DW series, Amelia Bedelia, Franklin, Froggy, Frog and Toad, Geronimo Stilton, Thea Stilton, American Girl, How to Train a Dragon, Percy Jackson, Nate the Grate, Big Nate, Diary of the Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants,  Books by Beverly Cleary and Andrew Clements, Eloise & Amelia Series , Series of Unfortunate Events………….We love reading!
Our Favorites: Go, Dog, Go! ; The Cat in the Hat; Green Eggs and Ham,;One Fish, Two Fish; Wacky Wednesday
One of the best collections of children’s stories for 3-8 year olds!
We spent 2 years of our children’s growing years in Wondon ( that’s how our baby would say, London) and we loved the tales of Peter Rabbit!

All Time Favorite Read A louds:

  • My Father’s Dragon
  • Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series
  • Five Dog Stories
  • Number the Stars
  • The Tale of Despereaux
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins
  • Dr. Dolittle
  • Christian Heroes Then and Now Series
  • Mystery of History and Apologia What We Believe Stories
  • and many others!

3. Nothing beats Apologia Science Resource Textbooks – These are written as Read-A-Loud material with easy to apply Science experiments doable at home!



4.  To keep the Filipino culture, history and language alive in a practical and relevant way.

Brilliant way to introduce our nation’s history, told by a child living in a specific era, in the Filipino language (some with Ilonggo words, even) ! Click on the image to know more about the books by Adarna House.

I supplement these Adarna History Story books above with my own Read A Loud Style ( or assign chapters for reading for the independent student)  using the following and my student’s own Social Studies textbook. So I do read ahead sometimes so I can read the historical texts like a story!

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Here are our well loved story books from Adarna/Hiyas Publishishers

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Chapter book series for the older student (maybe 7-12 years old?)
Chapter book series for the older student (maybe 7-12 years old?),  we enjoyed this series by Xi Zuq!




Health, Science and Filipino Language (and culture) for the win, from Hiyas!  Available in OMF Bookshops.

Click on the image to know more about Hiyas Products


6. World History

a. The Mystery of History series

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b. The Story of the World Series

We began with this series when the kids were preschool age b
We began with this series when the kids were preschool age but eventually shifted to Mystery of History. We are now in Volume 3!

7. How I became the kid’s first Art  and Music Teacher


If you’d like to start an art series with your preschoolers, try this series on this blog.  Just use the search bar and type Art, colors, lines and shapes and you’ll see a whole lot of Art Lessons you can do at home!

We only had a few of these. We also borrowed from other homeschoolers! Now, we're trying to also learn Filipino Musicians and Artists
We only had a few of these. We also borrowed from other homeschoolers! Now, we’re trying to also learn Filipino Musicians and Artists
From National Bookstore
From National Bookstore
An All Time Favorite to introduce the famous composers, the orchestra and its member instruments

8. Various Reference Books! 


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Boys and yes even girls love maps! Teach them about the various countries while they color land and water!
Being a doctor-teacher, we just had to have this! Well guess what, I think our eldest son wants to become a doctor!
Being a doctor-teacher, we just had to have this! Well guess what, I think our eldest son wants to become a doctor!
To learn about other faiths and religions and teach respect and awareness.
One Country a Day !
One Country a Day, use with map templates! Or adjust based on global issues!

Though online materials are truly award-winning, engaging and cost-efficient, we prefer to have a library of quality materials.  With four children, nephews and nieces, even using them as guides in teaching others how to homeschool, and probably grandkids in the future, I truly believe that costs both in time and money (endless searching for good deals, discounts, sharing balikbayan boxes with others, purchasing some in installment), were all super worth it.I am sure some books  in our library which were not mentioned for this first blog post of favorite materials feel bad! (“We were not featured yet we taught them so much!!!” said the unmentioned books.)  I will add and edit along the way but these are the ones that came to mind instantly! For Math, we’ve been Mathusee users for more than a decade and supplement a bit here and there with other approaches like Singapore Math or Simpao Math (Hahaha! The practical way of applying Math I guess!).

I shared these materials to give you a picture of what to look for  in reading materials to purchase! You may come up with a totally different set of titles and that’s surely OK!  I guess the best gauge for good quality materials would be how often they are used, the memorable experiences they bring and the in depth learning they provide.


“Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future.” -Ray Bradbury

Proverbs 10:14 “The Wise treasure knowledge.”

P.S. Am currently reviewing additional material such as  Worldbook’s New ChildCraft Series, Filway’s  Learning Math with Albert and will post soon!

Fab Finds Batch 6 : Keep Finding Moments/Things/People that Inspire You!

Oh, I missed creating these lists.

The Fab Finds posts are generally anything and everything I find in life that brings renewed inspiration and joy! They can come in various forms from experiences to people, from scenes to things!

Let me share with you what has made it to the Fab Find list lately.

1. 52 Weeks with Jesus


I got this book from the Philippine Christian Book Store in CCF Center in Fontera Verde.  It has really deepened my knowledge and experience of Jesus andtruly ignited my quiet time !

2. A  New Hobby

Using TomBow pens available in Fully Booked


I began dabbling with calligraphy last year but didnt really have the time to seriously practice. However, in my course of  being exposed to the beauty of the written word, I have seen more forms of the written word: brush pen writing !

You may use your kid’s markers to do pretty writing

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From brush lettering with watercolor to watercolor flower painting:) with the help of Raya
From brush lettering with watercolor to watercolor flower painting:) with the help of Raya

3. A New Family Sport –

Thanks to self defense/boxing teacher, Patrick Alvarez (@pat_alvarez0771), we are now bonding with our teens in a new way.  Of course, I had to have pink hand wraps!


4. Home Stuff in Starmall Alabang Home Section:

I had a chance to visit the home section of Starmall Alabang’s top floor( Our sons have been having Sunday basketball games there for the past 3 months) and I was really thrilled to see a lot of pretty and reasonably priced stuff. Reasonable and inexpensive, for the win. Christmas Shopping na! ( That’s one of things I do to destress December. All year round, I try to pick stuff here and there as Christmas gifts so come December, though I fail at times, I always dream of just  slowly and creatively wrapping with hot chocolate and cookies! (Haha, it is ok to dream right? ) Kulang nalang cold weather, snow and layers of thick clothing… and ok, a  lit fireplace.

These red vases are so expensive in Crate and Barrel! So cheap in Starmall!
The biggest pretty coffee cup I have ever seen!
Wouldn’t you want to water your plants with this???
Cheap pastel mugs!
So pretty for your next tea party!


5. Water/Sand Table in Wilcon Home Depot near Skyway entrance in Alabang

Step 2 Sand & Water Table Php3600.00 at Wilcon Home Depot Alabang
Step 2 Sand & Water Table
Php3600.00 at Wilcon Home Depot Alabang

This brought back a lot of memories as I remembered all the water and sand fun I’ve had with our 4 children.  It made me check out these photos from his scrapbook.


We got this as a gift for our 2 year old Vince and boy, did we have so much fun with it?  Lots of memories all the way up to our youngest Gino. Imagination turned this table into a farm,  a sea, a raging sea, a beach,  and even a Dinosaur land!

6. Children and Outdoor Play

No words needed. Just stare.

I wish i had a giant tree in our backyard to be able to do this:)

7. An Easier Way to Head to Makati from Alabang and back via the P2P (Point to Point)  Makati-Alabang Bus Route!

BFF Candy and I  and our homeschooled ( Sophia is now in a regular school) daughters took this ever so convenient and  efficient bus to Makati from Alabang and back for a much awaited (and needed) mommy and daughter bonding! We boarded in Alabang Town Center near the Parking Lot (Red Ribbon side) and were dropped in Mercury Drug in Greenbelt 1 ( near Zara Driveway).  The trip took 25 minutes!


8.  A Worth it Book- All About the Philippines , available at National Book Store, Aura!

























9.  Marquesa de Chocolate in Terry’s Bistro, Pasong Tamo!  Yummiest Mousse/Cake/Icecream!

Our son Marco with the yummiest mousse ever and all other family members agree!
















10. A New Option for Healthy, Filipino Food:  Real Food, Molito, Alabang

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Our niece Kara of Details Ink did the beautiful artwork on the wall!
Our niece Kara  (@detailsink on IG) of Details Ink did the beautiful artwork on the wall!

I haven’t not been able to try a whole lot of stuff but the Kale Chips and Bottled Fish are really good! For more detailed experience of this store, check this out. 

11. Adding greens and succulents to our coffee table!

I still struggle though it keeping these succulents alive for a longer period of time.  Any suggestions?

12.  Raya’s Latest Art Works!

Her version of the night sky! Acrylic on canvas
Processed with MOLDIV
Using Copic Sketch Markers

13. New Friends from the Homeschooling Community. Thank you Educating For Life (Mariel Uyquiengco,  Michelle Padrelanan and Rosanne Unson) for bringing homeschoolers together in always a fun, organized and relaxing way!

Watch out for Educating for Life ! Met so many homeschoolers during their launch!
Homeschool Moms’ Coffee Break sponsored by Career Academy Asia and Educating for Life!

So there!  Wouldn’t you agree that it helps to see the beauty and the fabulous in every day experiences? 

** Apologies, I can’t seem to figure out why some photos when seen on the smartphone are not right side up.

Jeremiah 29: 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

Back in Business: Joining the KiddoPreneur Christmas Bazaar

I write this on the 48th day of my Dad being admitted for multiple reasons involving his aging body and ailing health. It has been the most stretching season in our lives yet the most rich in learning, in bonding with family and in love! We rally in prayer to receive God’s blessing….. Heaven or Healing?   They are both miracles in my book!

So after a long hiatus from blog writing, we are back in business and literally, in business.   One of the challenges for homeschooling families lies in how to attempt to balance the requirements of home and school. However, we somehow consider God as our main principal and life itself as the vice principal. Situations happen, beyond our every aim to control them as “teachers”. So we embrace LIFE and HOMESCOOL. We embrace the seasons and learn and grow. In 12 years of homeschooling in this manner, I have seen and tasted the most wonderful fruits. Only by God’s Amazing and Boundless Grace.

Being the main sibling/daughter in charge of our parents’ care , I couldn’t really focus on the “Academics” as Dad battled , and continues to do so, for life in the ICU. I had to take duty shifts in ICU, sleep there, meet with doctors, be ready for all calls from the doctors and the ICU nurse, and be the one who constantly updated my other siblings.   How on earth can one focus on teaching the regions of the Philippines and converting fractions to percent?   How can I get passionately  get the kids into Shakespeare (which is our unit for Language/History)?   So for the last few weeks, we’ve been mostly into Bible Application/ Christian Living, Art, Science (the ones I love teaching and need the least preparation and energy). We’ve also done a lot of Christmas Season related lessons too so the kids can also help me with preparations for the decoration and gift giving.

So when I saw this post by Learning Basket’s Rosanne Uson on the coming Kiddopreneur Christmas Bazaar in the Homeschoolers of the Philippines FB page. I knew in my heart, we had to do this. A dear friend asked me how we decide on seemingly “a whim” to ditch planned lessons and get out of “schedule”. How did we just go for it?   Well, simply because it has been part of our bucket list for our homeschool for many years now. Don’t all homeschooling families have that? So when there is that       “ passion to learn”  tug in your heart, listen to your heart. Last quarter, for Math/Hele, we began a series on Money and touched on the lessons on Savings and Investments (Bonds, Shares, Mutual Funds) so it was just so apt, even during the Christmas season, to go  for for Entrepreneurship.


So, let me share with you our experience in a simple step by step manner:

1. Sharing the plan/ idea 

In hindsight, if given more time, I should have presented the plan, and let the students think about it and decide. Do they want to join? In reality, when I asked them, I was set to join (hehe) .

Given the huge and daily increasing bill of my Dad in the ICU, I also wanted the children to be able to give to our family’s efforts at fundraising.  At the same time, in honor of their Lolo who was the True Entrepreneur in the Pangilinan clan, we are passing on lessons he has taught us to our children ( Gino and Raya “hired” their cousins Kaila and Ryan to help!  All for Lolo Dony is their battle cry.

2.  Let the students do the “bulk” of the work. These are the activities the children got involved in:

  • Filling application form
  • Setting the business name
  • Decision Making
  • Enveloping a project in prayer
  • Learning about basic entrepreneurship
  • Studying a business plan and making one
  • Emailing and communicating organizer
  • Writing business letters
  • Doing research
  • Purchasing (visits to grocery, baking supplies store)
  • Costing (this was a massive undertaking !!!)
  • Product presentation
  • Marketing and promotion skills
  • Manufacturing (from baking to packing!)
  • Division of Labor
  • Subcontracting some of the work (Inviting cousins for a fee to help, setting budget for staff like driver and helpers who assisted in making more batches of cookie dough and  took over the oven due to safety concerns)
  • Trouble shooting for the unforeseen!
  • Using Social Media
  • Booth Set Up/Display
  • Organization Skills
  • Photography
  • Using Google, creating Powerpoint posters and Excel sheets for inventory
  • Lots of Math and Endless Creativity
  • Actual Selling, Creating Receipts, Service
  • Amazing FUN and BONDING while learning
Creativity rules in business!




Costing, fractions, division, addition,multiplication:)
Costing, fractions, division, addition,multiplication:)


Sorting the preloved items to sell
Sorting the preloved items to sell
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Gino made this flyer


Sourcing our packaging:)


Kitchen Elf in Daang Hari, Evia.
Preparing the Ribbons
Preparing the Ribbons
Preparing the products!


Recycling for Paper Bags
Including some of Raya’s paintings in the sale
Surveying costs of bags since we plan to sell some too


Preparing loose bills and change and the cash box
Learning how fillip a receipt
Learning how fillip a receipt


Lists, lists, lists…


Setting up a mock booth
Setting up a mock booth


3. As teachers, we are always tempted to take over. Exercise lots of self control. 

After teaching principles and doing a dry run for the sale, let them run the show and enjoy!

D Day!
D Day!
They're all set!
They’re all set!


I hope to write a more thorough post after the kids do their sale today!  God bless our sale. Gotta go!

Deuteronomy  8:18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.

Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.


Homeschool Room Dreaming Part 2

In the previous post, I mentioned that I was going to bring you to a “place” where you could choose from a selection of  awesome homeschool or office furniture and accessories.  So this it. Let me take you to the land of desks that would make you want to study and work longer, chairs that will give your back a “spa”like feeling all day,  drawers and organizers that will make your accessing to stuff (you don’t want to see because they  to create a cluttered look ) really a breeze, and shelves that are so cool , they even have sliding panels that can be your  “glass paneled board” and coziest bean bags ever.

Yes, there are such stuff for our Dream Homeschool Room in BOOGI in LRI Plaza in Makati. BOOGI is actually the nick name of my German brother in law, Burkhardt Zipperich married to my sister Nenette.  Both have decades of experience in the  European furniture and accessories market.

They recently opened their lifestyle store in  Makati and here are my favorite finds out there.  You may have to save for some pieces but these are durable, high quality and timeless pieces worth your investment.

Here are some of the featured  spaces that showcase their products :


Landscape 1 Portrait 3 LAndscape 4 Authentics

There are many homeschooling parents who have home based businesses as well.  Wouldn’t it be so neat to have such a “home office?”

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Am actually trying to save to be able to get one of these.  Drum roll again, please.

The PRO chair

Winner of the  Interior Innovation Award 2012, Reddot Design Award 2012, IF Product Design Award 2013, and German Design Award GOLD 2014. Designed by renowned German Industrial Designer Konstantin Grcic for FLÖTOTTO, a leading furniture brand in Germany.

Google more about it.  But you need to have the real experience of sitting in one to know why it has won so many awards. Come to the shop now and try it.


And guess what?  Trust the Germans to make sure they’ve got everything covered… these seats come in homeschooled kids sizes! And they’re are color coded standards  to ensure that a child with a specific height has the appropriate chair!


Boogi11 Boogi09


But our kids need a space to work on! So let’s look into their selection of desks!


If chairs have size standards to take the child’s height in consideration, the desks have too!

Boogi10 Boogi14

With the variety of organizers and drawer and lockers,  and table top options,  you can really pick one that suits your specifications and needs:


The glass table tops can also come in different dimensions and colors:) IMG_7799

The Bisley drawer system comes in various colors and sizes!  The organizers that can be fit into every drawer can also be decided based on what items you intend to put in these drawers. I am dreaming of upgrading my daughters sewing desk/drawers to organize all her sewing materials! I am also  a very Arts and Crafts person! So imagine how this system can help the scrapbooker, calligraphist, baker, hobbyist in me and I guess, bring some sanity into our home!  Boogi16

These trays come in various heights/configuration to fit many drawer sizes and to accommodate all sorts of stuff for school, office and crafts/hobbies



If  you however love to lounge with your children, stay together in a room and  have movie time or share a super comfy bean bag as you read stories together…. drum roll again, why not try the best bean bag in the Philippines called the Sitting Bull.

IMG_9951 Boogi28


Look at the variety  of ways this bean bag has been enjoyed!!! It is simply the best!  I know of a doctor friend who loved it so much, she bought 3 pieces!


Haha! Now that’s comfy!

They also have loads of shelves to choose from.


This is another favorite!  A floor to ceiling shelf with a glass sliding panel that can 1) hide some clutter 2) serve as a “blackboard” for your homeschooling classes’ needs!


Boogi02  Boogi22


Homeschooling takes us out most of the time and here is another one in my wish list.  The CACOON! Well,  do I  have to have a giant tree first  to hang this?   No, a  separate support system may be purchased with this amazing  hanging “chill out” space!


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Oh my! You really have to go to see more of their amazing stuff in Boogi!

For now, you can see more via their website, FB page  and Boogi IG account.

Have fun and enjoy ! This is a photo with my sister,  Ate Nenette, trying all sorts of ways to enjoy this printed “Sitting Bull”.


And here is a photo of the lovebirds who have worked  together for 18 years and have this magnificent collection in their shop. Please visit them at the 3rd Floor, LRI Plaza, 210 Nicanor Garcia, (formerly Reposo) in Bel-Air II, Makati. Opening hours are Monday to Saturday, 10:00 am – 6:30 pm.


(Good News, by the way! They’ve also set up an installment scheme for BPI with a very affordable interest for those who would like to purchase and spread out payments! )

Homeschool Room Dreaming Part 1

Featured Image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens (

In all our 12 years of homeschool, we’ve done our classes in a spacious but quite dark basement,  in a 6 sq meter hallway along the railing of stairs in a rented townhouse, in a 3×4 meter  ground floor room with lots of windows and now in a 3×3 meter bedroom subbing as a homeschool room as the kids have opted to share rooms to sleep and play.  I’ve always dreamed of having a gazebo with floor to ceiling windows in a huge garden as our homeschool room .  I always imagined that the children still “dressed up” for school and walked to their “school”.  But, we don’t have a huge garden, and even if we did, I don’t think we could afford to create a separate homeschool room with my “dream” specifications.





Oh to be able to homeschool in such an environment with lots of space, greenery and yes, cool climate!  I am so glad that studies show that the success of education still lies in in the  quality of one on one engagement of the student and the teacher. They have shown that the  strong bond of student and teacher  and the dynamic learning that takes place in lively discussions outweigh the other factors of the learning environment: facilities, materials, technology, etc.

There is however nothing wrong to dream and maybe even work towards creating an organized and positive space that is conducive for learning as your homeschool area or room. Now, who wouldn’t want to work, even overtime on these areas I have chosen as I searched online for  my best homeschool rooms ever:



Though I am swooning and drooling as I view  all of these,  I  have resigned to the fact that I will just have to keep our area organized and more clutter free.  We have graduated 2 older students who are now in high schools in regular schools and there are no more preschoolers who benefit from lots of space, educational toys and hands on activities.  So our homeschool room now is more practical. It   also becomes a work area for the older kids after school when they need a bigger area to work on.

Our "current" homeschool room
Our “current” homeschool room
We do most messy activities and experiments in the kitchen.
We do most messy activities and experiments in the kitchen.

I still have to find our older photos but this is what I gathered from the past years. More or less, this is what our homeschool room looked look from 2007 – 2011

Look at my preschooler bursting in the seams, it seems! Chubbiness at its cutest!


We go to our small garden when we need to get wet!
We go to our small garden when we need to get wet!
This was the most students I have had in one room ( except for the times when cousins would come and join our homeschool sessions) . This was a crazy season but truly fun and memorable.

As I looked for ideas, this article was very helpful in summarizing what makes a cool homeschool room .  Though we may be limited by space and our budget, there are many DIY and inexpensive ways for sprucing up your homeschool area/ room.

However, as mentioned, there is nothing wrong with dreaming right?  Stay tuned for part 2 of this Homeschool Room Dreaming series  as I share with you a newly opened store  with lots of amazing homeschool and home office furniture and accessories in our next post! Happy Homeschooling!

Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

Fab Finds Batch 5

1. Found TIME to teach the kids how to play mahjong- Chow!

I grew up in 2 families playing mahjong.  Both my grandparents’ houses of both sides were “Mahjong venues”.  Several square Mahjong tables filled their living room and we would often criss cross as kids checking out the tables or the feast in the buffet table. I can still hear how the mahjong tile or pieces hit each other when you do the mixing before you build those walls.  So we had our own set and table in our own home in the 1970s/80s. Our summers were always filled with Mahjong games with siblings and cousins.  I had taught my eldest son to play Mahjong during a few visits to the beach where we brought a set.  Finally, I found the time to teach our 2 younger children how to play.  It was actually funny!  Imagine my kids’ horror when the mahjong set we used had no numbers in the Chinese Character tiles.  Now,  I hope to play the card game called  “99” next. We should play more. Maybe time to bring down the mahjong table from the attic (yes we have one!) .

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2. Giant Washi Tapes

Raya loves watermelons.  So guess what I found?  Toys R Us!


3. Oh my.  Salted Caramel Brownies in Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Coffee Shop!

This is so yummy.  So rich, it must be shared with a friend over a hot cup of coffee.  It’s a chocolate, moist brownie with a little coffee taste!


4. Reward Stickers and cool tags  in National Book Store for less than 100.00 !!!

IMG_9228 IMG_9226 IMG_9227       FabFInds513

5.   Reasonably priced Art Materials in Toys R us as gifts to your budding artists!


IMG_9417 IMG_9416

6.  She finally gets her cacti ( apparently “cactuses” as plural for cactus is also accepted)

Remember Raya’s painting?  She loves cacti and was asking me where we could get some.  I guess, she couldn’t wait so she decided to paint some to display in her room.   And then her birthday came along and her sweet Tita Nenette and Tito Boogi got her own “real” cacti:) IMG_8538


7.  Nice crocheted throw pillow cases from Kultura for Php 250.00 each


8. Found time to do a quick art work for the blog.  Just watercolor and a pen:)

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9. Found a homeschooler who created  two designs for Homeschoolers of the Philippines (FB) community group logo!

IMG_9787 IMG_9785

So thankful to Homeschooling Mommy Milona Barraca and her sweet once homeschooled daughter, Meg.  We love her work of Art and Heart! We are now working on cleaning and simplifying using a digital app so the logo can be more effective for use in shirts. pins or streamers!

10. Hole in a Wall in Century Mall in Makati

Entering this “food court” will remind you of the modern  yet cozy food courts in  high end malls in Singapore, Hongkong or even the modern airports of Europe.  We only tried Bad Bird for their Umami Fried Chicken and  Scout’s Honor Make Your Own Cookie stall . We hope to go back and try other “holes” in this great wall. The place has an indie feel as there are no fast food chains or famous restaurants .

My arm wasn’t long enough. Not yet good in taking the whole gang… Famselfie?
Photo Credit:
Photo credit:


Fab Finds Batch 4: Bohol Edition!

My most fabulous finds during a recent  trip to Bohol are:

1. Time

Yes, I found time. Or should I say, we found time.  A few of my BFF tennis team mates and I  took time out to head to Bohol for some bonding and R & R.  Being full time mothers, it was not easy to take trips like this but I am glad to say that this is already our second trip:)  A “Best in Uniform” prize in one tennis tournament 2 years ago gave us the chance to travel to Boracay for the first time together. When you have a blast, you would want to do it again and again, right?

For some reason, I did not travel with friends when I was younger or when I was still single. I then noticed how my  married sisters in law in my husband’s side of the family would  from time to time travel with their friends. And so thanks to Gilbert who generously gave the go signal and funded the trips, I eventually tried! And tried again, and again!

It’s important to find the TIME to rest and slow down. It can be trip with your spouse (without the kids) or yes, a short trip with siblings or friends!  It can be just a short break of a good book in a coffee shop. I always try to think of it this way.  If teachers are given two weeks vacation leave and seminars for enrichment and continuous learning, HomesCooling teachers should get some form of break too, right?

At the Chocolate Hills in Carmen, Bohol. And yes, we found the time to coordinate our outfits!
Seated: Candy, who homeschooled for a year and to my left, standing: Joyce, Monet
An ATV Adventure around the Chocolate Hills;  We had to drive around in the rain!  The rain actually upped the ante!
An ATV Adventure around the Chocolate Hills; We had to drive around in the rain! The rain actually upped the ante!
An all girl getaway ain’t complete without the jumpshot! And look at me, don’t you think I look like a butterfly!

The key to make such a getaway happen was to make TIME. And that includes making the time to plan it, book the tickets and accommodations. We also had to make the decisions earlier on as we wanted to cut the cost and avail of the promo rates of airline tickets.

Thank you,  Candy, Joyce and Monet for helping make this happen. Thank you to hubbies Jello, Jun, Bing and Gilbert as well!

2.   The Tarsier Paprika (a Herbs and Spices Restaurant) at the Tarsier  Botanical Garden and Animal Wildlife. You may also check their FB page  Tarsier Botanika for other leisure activities offered by this group.



Under the Sea???
Under the Sea???


First time for me to see “calachuchi” with pointed petals!!!
Lovely salad with Asian dressing! So refreshing !  The chocolate cake which I failed to take a photo of  was just too yummy!


3. Kids @ Play

Wouldn’t you say that the moment captured by the following shots is truly fabulous?  Simple joys of children at play, indeed!  Playing with the wind, with a wheel in this setting is pure bliss!

FabFinds408 FabFinds409 FabFinds406 FabFinds407

4.  The Salad with flowers at the Bohol Bee Farm! (for more info on the places mentioned in the next numbers, please click on the highlighted venues/accommodations)

It’s an amazing experiencing eating everything harvested in the garden of a restaurant!

FabFinds421 FabFinds420

5. Yummiest Pizza in Visayas?? Possibly, in Guiseppe Pizzeria!


6. Under the Sea Finds

According to diver BFF Candy, we saw the following:  Nemo and Dory…. Oops I meant , we saw the following: Clown fish, Blue Tang fish, Moorish Idol, Remora, Parrot Fish, Buttefly fish, Blue Damsel fish, Striped Damsel fish! We also saw the head of the sea turtle!

We saw so many different fish. A few were in massive schools of fish!!!  Psalm 107:24 “These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.”


It was a good time to explore as we swam. You see when mothers travel with kids, we are not “free” to explore fully since we have to keep an eye on the safety of the children and when you have four children like me, then your “eyes” are full! So this was a treat for all of us as we “snorkeled” with more freedom.

I saw all of these and many more! All photos courtesy of

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7. A special advanced birthday gift

My BFF tennis mates saw it fit to "surprise" me with an advanced birthday cake and jointly gave me this pretty souvenir of our Bohol beach trip:)
My BFF tennis mates saw it fit to “surprise” me with an advanced birthday cake slice and jointly gave me this pretty souvenir of our Bohol beach trip:)
A fabulous find from  my favorite friends from Tarsier Botanika Gift Shop

8. Bohol Habitat


The garden offered a lot of photo gimmicks with the butterfly theme.

We were only able to explore the butterfly garden in Habitat Bohol. The short experience in the garden was very entertaining and informative! We were quite amused with the photo-savy tour guides who had hilarious punchlines as we did the tour.

9. Bellevue Hotel

We all enjoyed our stay in Bellevue.  The Deluxe rooms were very comfortable and spacious.  Food was yummy!  The guest services including housekeeping were very helpful and accommodating. The hotel staff from the concierge, to the lifeguards and security guards were very eager to help and attend to their guests needs:)

IMG_8225 IMG_8223   FullSizeRender



10.  Bohol Beach Club

We were able to stay in BBC as guests for the day through the kindness and hospitality of a dear family friend. BBC has a very long and awesome beach front! Their staff  was also warm and friendly!

Finally, some chilled white wine:)
Hurrah for stay-at=home-moms seriously chilling and relaxing!
Hurrah for stay-at=home-moms seriously chilling and relaxing!


Finally. a hammock by the beach and yes BBC had so many!!!
Finally, a hammock by the beach! And yes, BBC had so many!!! Hopefully, I will lose some weight so I don’t end up touching the sand!

I decided to do this post to suggest Bohol as a possible getaway for a a few moms in a HomesCooling co-op or support group. It may also be R & R  for the HomesCooling parents who may need a break or just a destination for the entire family (with so many educational field trip options) during your HomesCool break.

Exodus 33:14 “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”


Fab Finds Batch 3

Initially, I thought as I planned the categories of this blog that fabulous finds would refer to tangible store bought stuff. However, as I was beginning to compile the ” good finds”. I realized that I don’t have to limit this list to material stuff, but they can extend to people, groups, experiences and realizations.  So again, here are the winner finds this week.

1. Raya’s drawings of the four Disney princess when she was two years old

Can you identify them from left to right?

2.  A local  online supplier of art materials

It’s like the SM of Art Materials. “They’ve got it all!”   You can order and pay via bank deposit, paypal, credit card and for Metro Manila residents, they can deliver with COD (Cash on Delivery) payment scheme!!Check it out! . Thank you  Alex, one of Raya’s painting teachers, for sharing this site to us.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 9.58.16 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 9.28.16 PM

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 9.28.00 PM

For homescoolers, check you the kids section!  Whether you are a beginner or serious crafter, this is a must visit site!

3.   Reconnecting with another BFF from high school!

For a wake of a friend’s father, I had to make the long journey to Quezon City this week (2 hours from Alabang). And I am so thankful that BFF Dr. Nanette Lizardo-Lajo took time to meet me for lunch. Dr. Nanette Lajo is  a wonderful friend from both high school and Medical school! We were flat mates across PGH in Taft.  It was a short (2 hours is short for us) yet sweet reunion.  Should you need a loving and caring pediatrician in St. Luke’s QC or Delgado Hospital QC, look for her!  Her hubby, Dr. Marlon Lajo, is an amazing plastic surgeon.  Both of them were my batchmates in UP College of Medicine!

Nanette is my eldest son’s godmother. I am godmother to her two children.

Only a true BFF would do this:

After discovering our homescoolph IG account, she likes all the photos posted! Thank you, Nanette!

Life is short.  FIND time to meet up with your fabulous friends.

4.  An illustration of being yoked together as husband and wife I received via email this week

One of my mentors in the Christian walk, Debbie Alnutt, shared this image with me to illustrate being equally yoked with your spouse.  She shared with me fresh insights as Gilbert and I take on our 21st year together.
One of my mentors in my Christian walk, Debbie Alnutt, shared this image with me to illustrate “being equally yoked” with your spouse. She shared with me fresh insights as Gilbert and I take on our 21st year together.

5. Electric socket in a girl’s room

Another use for wash tape in Raya's Room
Another use for washi tape in Raya’s Room


6. Another painting from Raya’s Room

She has been asking for some cactuses for her room.  I guess, it is taking too long. She decided to paint this instead.


7.  Origami Roses Ready for Framing

Remember the list in the previous Fabulous Finds post?   With Raya’s help, using glue gun, the roses were finally mounted  for framing.  Good friend and artist, Van Tuico will do the framing. I’ll post the finished product soon.


8.  A transformed jar for supplies (from a plastic cookie container)

Raya based this project from an online craft tutorial (youtube user floritere!)

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9.  An amazing truth to hang on to in Numbers 11:23

The LORD answered Moses, “Is the LORD’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”

As I prayed this week, this verse encouraged me as I begged the Lord for healing for several friends battling with cancer.  God’s arm is never to short.  In faith, we believe and we rest.



As I was about to go down after parking the car, this was the site that greeted me. Yes, I was about to walk towards a hospital to accompany my parents with a mismatched pair of shoes!  How on earth did I find myself in such a predicament?  My last recollection was checking which shoe fit my top. I believe I made the decision in my mind but didn’t follow through with the actual physical action of wearing the other pair of the chosen shoe. Oh my, can you imagine the suggestions of those I messaged ?  1) Take off the other shoe and roll up my pants,  pretend I was hurt and head to the ER.  2) Get those Operating Room shoe covers and use those as you go around the hospital.  3) Go to the nearest mall (5 mins away) and buy slippers.

But God knew about this and already planned a way on how I could get the other pair! God wanted me to be with my parents and accomplish His agenda for me that day! So yes, the other shoe arrived after half an hour! God was my Prince Charming and I felt like Cinderella as He saved the day for me.

Now on to the next batch of great finds…..

Numbers 11:23  The LORD answered Moses, “Is the LORD’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”

Fabulous Finds Batch 2!

So here are  my new finds again!

1. Meow, Meow from Raya’s Room!

A snoozing cat in oil on canvass by Raya Simpao
A snoozing cat in oil on canvass by Raya Simpao

Papa Gilbert thinks this is the best ever so far. We love how the cat really looks so rested, cuddly and happy.  Raya has truly learned a whole lot experimenting and applying what she learned from  her Art Lessons under Teacher Elaine O. Herbosa of L’Arc en Ciel.

2. A collage of photos laid and mounted by P.S. Crafts with Soul.  Found them at the block party in Makiling Park two week ago. Check the link and see other gift ideas!

A Father’s Day Gift to Gilbert

A collage of photos mounted beautifully by @craftswithsoul.
A collage of photos mounted beautifully using decoupage and wooden boards


3.  A Colorful Bright Ideas Notebook (Colored blank pages) from Fully Booked.

Thank you, Tita Chel! She is the “Tita” with most beautiful yet effortless handwriting.

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Gift for Raya from Tita Maricel Arenas
Gift for Raya from Tita Maricel Arenas It’s like flapping the rainbow!

4. It was great catching up with my dear friend, Reena Ermintano of the Reading Specialist. I grew up with Reena in Maryknoll Grade School and High School and we’ve managed to keep in touch. We must fabulously find time to nurture such friendships! Reena together with teacher Cecilia “CJ” Jocson worked closely with Marco for several months during 6th Grade. As I homeschooled Marco from level 1-6, I noticed some “Reading” concerns that may have limited his leisure reading.  True enough, some Reading diagnostic tests have shown some areas that need to be professionally addressed. Teacher CJ helped him so many strategies to unlock  and understand the written word in various forms. I knew deep within that with 3 other children, I could no longer address this concern and called the experts! With Reena’s MA in Elementary Education and Reading Specialist and Cj’s  MA in Reading Education and 11 years of clinical experience, I had the best dynamic Reading duo, one could ever wish for.  As I write, for summer, Marco is reading Lord of the Rings (Book 2, after finishing Book 1 in a week!) ! Thank you Reena, CJ and the Reading Specialist team.   Marco first entered the Reading Specialist office in Civic Drive, Alabang,  a few inches shorter than Reena. Now even with heels, Marco has grown to be much taller!  He has also become a confident reader with their help!

Grade school classmate and high school barkada, Reena Ermitano with Marco
Grade school classmate and high school barkada, Reena Ermitano with Marco

5. A BFF Cousin’s Happy Birthday five page letter to my daughter, Raya!

Handwritten letters are a rarity these day!
Handwritten letters are a rarity these days! Thank you, Kaila!


6. Manuka Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar

The Manuka Honey helps me with my immunity issues.  On wounds, it somehow promotes faster healing and addresses inflammation.  I’ve tested it with sore throats, and oral ulcers/sores (singaw)  and they really speed up healing and prevent worsening of the condition.

My batch mate from PGH recently messaged me about a study done by her  Dermatology colleague testing the positive healing effect of  Bragg’s apple cider vinegar on a wart  (apply vinegar on non-facial warts) . We are testing it and will let you know!  So far, it really looks promising! My brother also told my mom to try  1 tablespoon Bragg’s apple cider vinegar with  1 tablespoon honey for arthritic pain (must be diluted with water and maple syrup). We have to test this first. I tried ingesting it and it’s really sour and strong despite mixing with honey so I will have to really dilute it!

Healthy Options
Healthy Options

7. The Staff – the kids!

The older teen boys are now my assistants as they try to take photos of their past portfolios and  arranging these in digital folders of easy access.   We will share them soon in more blog posts! Youngest Gino took photos for books for our coming online sale in Facebook page of


8. A Precious Find:  Siblings Playing:) The  four original HomesCooled kids are together!

It's always a blessing to see all four kids play!
It’s always a blessing to see all four kids play!

9. The hundreds of red roses created last year for my Mom’s 80th birthday

A few families (3 siblings) contributed to create as many red paper origami roses ( similar to the Senbazuru – I encouraged those making them to pray for Lolo Dony and Lola Emma as they were folding) for Mommy Emma’s 80th birthday. Siblings, grandchildren, and even helpers helped to create these as decor for the party. We unearthed them so we can mount, frame and display. Raya helped in laying the roses down, using glue gun and giant cardboard. I will show you once these are all framed!

Roses2 Roses3 Roses1

We would like to thank Tadashi Mori for the very thorough youtube demo! Try it!

10. The Farm Organics in Commercecenter, Alabang

I was there with my tennis team last Friday and after tasting the burger, I had to bring the family over. “Best burgers!” according to Vince and Marco. However, the size can find you wanting for more! Try the Kesong Puti Caprese Salad.   The serving staff though still needs to train some more in attending to customers and the restaurant needs to have better inventory since several options in the menu were “sold out” for a Saturday dinner.  It’s worth the visit though. Yumyum!

Team Tenez after Hillsborough Tournament felt, after some long games, that the yummy burgers were a bit “bitin” in size!
Pre-Father’s Day dinner with the family/Yummy burgers and creamy truffle pasta

Let me know what you think about these finds!!

Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Fabulous Finds This Week

Through this corner of the blog, I would like to simply share the many things and discoveries I’ve found that put a huge smile on my face. We need that from time to time. I’ve cautioned HomesCoolers on hoarding material for children’s curriculum. But there are just “great finds”, that need to be found and brought home, right?

1. Great Maps for your HomesCool Room:

I saw these in Fully Booked, BGC and posted it right away in the FB page of the Homeschoolers of the Philippines.  After a few days, one member commented that Fully Booked ran out after a foreigner purchased all in one go! So I checked in Fully Booked, Alabang Town Center and I was relieved that they still had many in stock. Php 250.00  The one right below is for younger preschoolers:)

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Check out for Maps #s 47 & 48
Check out for Maps #s 47 & 48

2. This  “Too Pretty” Cupcake Kit:

For Php 135.00, how can you not buy this? The box  comes with  200 cupcake liners and 34 flag toppers in many nice colors and designs, with a bonus cupcake recipe and idea book!

I am not sure if this is the last item on stock though.

Found at the Books Sale, Ground Floor, SM Southmall
Found at the Book Sale, Ground Floor, SM Southmall


3.  Plastic Glasses that Look Like Real Glasses:

SM  says, “We’ve got it all for you”. I’ve been looking for these “breakable looking” glasses for some time.  If ever I would find them,  they would be any of the following:  too expensive, too small  or in very bright colors.  These plastic glasses were around Php 40.00 each.  They’re perfect for  a family with many children where spills and breaking come quite often.

The glass the the left  of the photo is the plastic one.


4.  Framed Paper Cutting:

I gave this framed paper cutting from Hands Love Paper as a gift to my niece. I regretted not getting one.  I found the stall again in the recent Block Party at Makiling Park, AAVA. Php 500.00. Thanks, Ebony:)


5. Stuff from Hey Keys.   

Finally, I got an oblique pen holder for calligraphy. I met Mancy, the sweet owner of Hey Kessy.


6. Boxes from Cut the Scrap!




7.  Lovely Products from Habil Crafts

Wood and lots of green = Refreshing!



8.  Our Serendipity Find

Serendipity is defined as, “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” Well, that’s exactl y how this next “find” was found. Many say we make the best Choco-Chip Cookies.  However, due to the heat in our pantry, the Nestle Sweet Sweet morsels were moist and beginning to melt. So as the chips were added to the cookie dough and mixed using an electric mixer, the entire dough became dark chocolate brown and for some reason, after baking, chewy! Oh my, my friends couldn’t stop begging for more!


9.  A Find in Raya’s Room

It all began with some used brushes with a shade of green and red lying on the sink counter.  I knew then that Raya was up to something. I entered her room and searched. This greeted me near her window:

Though she doesn't eat them, Raya loves the look of watermelons.
Though she doesn’t eat them, Raya loves the look of watermelons.

10.  My  “Fabulous” Wish List Find

Sometimes as mommy-teachers, we need to reward ourselves, Or maybe, I should ask for you to pause now, and call your husband (the ones we regard as the principal of our HomesCool).  Let him read this. “Hubbies, from time to time, reward your wives/ teachers of your children, with something they ‘want’. ” And these my dear fellow HomesCoolers, are my “wants” ! (Please find a way and show this to my husband.)

Heels from Kenneth Cole! Lovely!
Heels from Kenneth Cole! Lovely! Which is more your type?


So there, my first post in this “Fabulous Finds” category!  Hope you liked the stuff that I had shared here. Comment and let me know:)

Jeremiah 29: 12-14 Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 1You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD...



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