10 Things I Love About Sylvanian Families

It’s every girl’s dream to own an awesome doll house. When I was kid, I didn’t had any, but oh how much I wanted to have one. So last Christmas, my husband and I decided to purchase a doll house by Sylvanian Families as a Christmas gift for our daughter.

As expected, our daughter loved it so much, we ended up playing until 2:00 in the morning after we gave it to her on Christmas Eve.

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Here are the reasons why we love Sylvanian Dollhouse and why I think we will be starting our new collection.

Attention to Details

I love how intricate the details of the furniture are. Everything has been well thought of. One of the things that caught my attention is that even the sink has its drainage when I opened the cabinets.

Variety of Selection to Choose From

They have so many collectibles to choose from – from Supermarket, Ice Cream Shop, Bakery to Ballet Theatre. You can build an entire village if you have the space for it. They also have different Room Sets and House Furniture that you can purchase. They have Dining Area, Garden Set, Bathroom Set, Baby Room, Girl’s Room, Master’s Bedroom and even Vehicles.

Gadget Free Days

My daughter has been obsessed with her dollhouse for weeks she didn’t even have time to watch cartoons. All she wanted was to play and re arrange her little home. That had kept her busy for a while.

Real House Lights

I purchased the City House for my daughter – since it’s the classic one, and I guess you have to start with it prior to purchasing other houses.  The house has two lights which are battery operated. It gives a good feel when you use it as a night light.

Sylvanian Families

Since my daughter love small toys, she’s crazy about the Sylvanian Families. There are some room sets which offers one free figure if you purchase them. The house I purchased has two Walnut Squirrels. There are also a lot of Family Sets to choose from such as Poodle Family, Bear Family, Hedgehog Family, Kangaroo Family and many more.

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Pretend Play

Pretend Play is highly encourage since it let children use their imagination. Toys such as these will let your children and their playmates get into Imaginative Play and Role Playing. I sometimes watch my daughter put her little bunny friends to bed during night time so they can sleep.

Creativity

My daughter loves to arrange the house furniture every now and then. What I love about this is it also enhances my daughter’s decision making skills and teaches her the right things to combine and to mix and match.

Durability

You can tell that Sylvanian sets are made to last and are very durable. Your next kid might be able to play with it if you took good care of it.

Getting to Know the Outside World

What I love most about Sylvanian Sets is it introduces new things to my daughter such as the different parts of the house, things we use every day, family members and even different kinds of businesses. It is like showing your kid a glimpse of the big world out there.

Getting to Know Your Child 

While I watch my daughter play, I can somehow see how she would probably interact with the people around her. Normally she engage in conversation with her Bunnies or let them talk to each other. It also shows how we as parents talk to her, because I can sometimes hear her mimic how I converse with her.

Just in case you want start you’re Sylvanian Collection, these toys are available both in Toy Kingdom and Toys R Us. Your children and the child in you will definitely enjoy collecting.

Love Chezkie

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10 Things to Consider in Looking for a Pre-School

Finding a preschool can be both exciting and overwhelming especially for first time parents. My husband and I had been scouting schools near our neighborhood to find the perfect school for our daughter.  Luckily, we found one. And if you are a first time parent just like me, here are the things I had considered in choosing the right school for our little adventurer.

Preschool-Class

Location

Location is a big factor for me since the traffic here in the Metro has come from bad to worse. I wouldn’t want my kid to come home very tired just because she’s stuck in traffic for hours. It’s also a plus if the location can be safer – like for example, inside a guarded village or not too close from the main roads.

Teacher’s Qualification

Since school fees are no joke, it is important for us to know where our money is going. Qualifications of the school teachers are important. You can ask what their specializations are, their  teaching experiences and how long they have been working at the school.

Teacher-Pupil Ratio

This is very important to me. I came from a small school when I was a kid, and I am a firm believer that the Teacher-Pupil ratio has a big effect on the quality of education. I turned one school down because of this. I asked the school what is the maximum number of students they can accept per class, the teacher answered 15. So I asked again, what will happen, if they have 16 enrollees for that year? I was expecting that they will open a new set of class for this – however, the teacher responded that they have bigger rooms which can accommodate more students when the need arises.

Stand on Bullying

I was bullied for the longest time when I was a kid. No one did anything to help me with my situation. Well, the thing is, no one knew, because no one asked. Although parents should always have an open communication with their children, I believe that the school also plays a vital role to prevent bullying too. Bullying can be prevented if both Parents and the School Organization will help each other hand in hand.

School Fees

Ask how much the yearly fees are and also prepare for other extra-curricular activities scheduled within the year – such as Field Trips, School Fairs, Christmas Parties, and so on. Be realistic and know your budget.

School Program

Check what their mode of teaching is and assess if this will work for your child. Find out what the typical day is like in the school. Schedule a sit in class to have a feel on what the school environment is.

Discipline

It is also important to know the school’s approach to discipline is as this can make or break your child. Kids will be kids. Ask how they handle kids when they are misbehaving. The way they discipline their students should also be in line with your personal values as a parent.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Extra-Curricular Activities are a plus for me because not everything can be learned through books, home works and examinations. Ask what their activities outside the schools are and assess if this will help your child’s growth, creativity, and exposure to the outside world.

Parent Involvement

Ask how your child’s progress will be shared with you. It is important for parents to receive feedback and updates on a regular basis regarding the development of their children. Through this, we can check where our kids excel and which area are they having a hard time on and help them improve on this. Again, the school and parents should work as a team for the development and progress of our children.

Child Safety

We’ve been hearing news here and there regarding children being harassed inside the school campus. That can be very scary. Ask how the school hire their employees and check on their screening procedure. When your child is already in the campus, you have no way to protect them, so asking these questions can be very important.

Hoping this post had helped you figure out on what to look for and what to ask when looking for a pre-school. Good Luck with the school hunt! 🙂

Love Chezkie

 

 

10 Things I Love About Kindermusik

kindermusik philippines

A few days ago, my daughter Liz was able to finish her first semester in her Kindermusik class. We decided to have Liz enrolled in Kindermusik to expose her to other children since she has no playmates at home.

We were so thrilled seeing her enjoy each session. She became an instant Teacher Jeannie fan. Here are few of the things that I love about Kindermusik.

Family Bonding

Each Kindermusik session is automatically a family bonding for us.  Each session means we are going to have two hours full of singing, dancing and playing along with our kid. As a working mom, I see this as an opportunity to make up for those days when I needed to stay in the office and leave our daughter at home.

Location

Kindermusik is all over the metro. You can chose which class you prefer to attend to depending on your location. They have branches in Quezon City, Ortigas, Taguig, Las Pinas, Alabang, Manila and Greenhills. For full list of their location, click here.

Schedule

As a working mom, I appreciate how much they took our schedule into consideration. Depending on your location, Kindermusik offers classes from Monday to Sunday, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. They are also okay if you need to have a session rescheduled if there are other urgent matters you need to attend to. You just have to inform them ahead of time, and they can check if there are still slots available in other sessions that you can fill in.

Teachers

I love Teacher Jeannie. I admire her positive disposition and her presence in the class. She’s always smiling, always happy, and always giddy.  Teacher Maya and Teacher Impy are great too. They are very warm and very accommodating. I also love the attention that they are giving to each student to ensure that they participate in the class.

Songs

It wouldn’t be Kindermusik without great children’s songs, would it? I believe they carefully choose songs that kids would love and would easily remember. When you enroll in their class, they give you access to download the songs used in the class you are enrolled to. My daughter sings and dances to it every single day. Having it played in the car during a two hour road trip to Batangas had made our drive less stressful.

Costumes

This is one of my favorite Kindermusik activity. Having my kid dress up in different costumes. She can be a train, a car, a carrot, a cowboy, NAME IT! This actually had consumed my phone memory since I take gazillions photo of her. 🙂

Value for Safety

Kindermusik studios are child proof and safe. Even the electric fan that they use are blade-free.  It’s a big room where kids can play, run around, lie down, and jump until they want to.

The Habit of Reading

Each semester, they introduce around 4 or more reading materials. I encourage Liz to start her love for books this early, so this is a big plus for me. Liz loves the stories being read to the class, because there are parts wherein they interact and sing along.

Instruments

Through Kindermusik, your child will also be familiar with different kinds of musical instruments. This will not only develop their love for music, but will also be a way to develop their motor skills and use their imagination. For this semester, Liz was able to play the triangle, drums, maracas and cymbals.

Takeaways

I see how much the class had an impact on Liz. It had helped her be more sociable, developed her love for music and use her imagination. I caught her once using a hanger and a pen as a triangle and her play plates as cymbals. As a parent, I could not be prouder seeing her participate in class activities, watching her help her teachers clean up the materials  they used, and learning how to wait for her turn.

As parents, we learn from Kindermusik too. Often, Teacher Jeannie talks about child behavior and would give advice on how we can help our kids develop especially at this early stage of their lives.

Still undecided? Kindermusik also offers trial classes so you can see for yourself it the class would be a perfect fit for your child’s needs. Feel free to let me know if you have questions or share your Kindermusik experience by commenting below. 🙂

For more details about Kindermusik, visit their website.

http://www.kindermusik.com.ph

Note: I decided not to post photos of Kindermusik classes for this blog post for the privacy of children enrolled in the class 🙂

Love Chezkie

 

Courageous Caitie

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My dearest Courageous Caitie.

Hello there beautiful sweetheart. No you don’t know me – and yes I am a complete stranger. But I want to let you know that when you passed away, I cried every single day. I prayed for you. I prayed for your soul – and I prayed for your family’s healing.

Never thought I would cry and care for someone I had not even met. I had faith that you will be healed and that soon, the Lord will give us the miracle all of us had been praying for. But the Lord have a different plan for you. As said by your mom in her blog post, maybe, they raised you so well that your work here is all done and you even finished it before we even did.

I had a hard time accepting that you’re gone, and why these things had to happen. You are so beautiful. Your smile is just contagious. Your courage is unbelievable. Your love for God is admirable.

There are days when I wished that I did not follow your story so I would not be affected this much, but then I realized, if all of us would wished for the same thing, then your death would actually lose its meaning. I have learned a lot from your short yet sweet journey.

Because of you, I realized I should complain less – and thank more. My needs today are just material things – how lame right? But you, you are fighting to live and still manage to give us a smile.

Because of you, I realized that I needed to get to know Jesus more. That going to church and praying everyday are not the only responsibilities that I have with our creator. Your life and your death had shared Jesus in many, many ways.

Because of you, I realized that we should cherish quality time with our families. That I should not focus on the house hold chores and on getting all things done at once. I realized that it’s okay for my home to be a mess as long as we’re happy and we create happy memories to look back one day.

Because of you I realized that life is indeed short and we should make each moment count.

I don’t know how or why, but I feel that I love you Caitie. Somehow hard to believe, but that’s the “Caitie Mircale” I guess. I am still so, so sad about your death. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I will never forget that smile of yours, you little ball of courage.

Go ahead and play, dance and paint in heaven. We will forever remember you, Caitie!

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Love, Chezkie

How to Keep Your Sanity When You are a Working Mom

Your day starts at 5:30 in the morning and ends at 12:00 midnight. No afternoon naps, alarm clock set even on weekends, no long baths, even missing your favorite TV show. Oh the life of a mother. Being a working mother is indeed a challenge. I remember there was a time when I could not hold it in anymore, and I just sat down in our laundry room and cried for about five minutes just to release how exhausted I was.  The drama queen in me just had her moment.

Now that my daughter is one year old, here are a few things I had learned on how to keep your work life balance as a working mom.

WORKING MOTHER

KEEP A PLANNER

Planners had always been my best friend – it had always kept my focus. Schedule family activities to know if you still have free weekends before saying yes to other commitments. Plot down due dates for your monthly bills, insurance, loans to never miss payment dates. As a working mom, your hands are always full and planners or calendars can serve as a guide on your endless to do list.

MAKE YOUR TIME EFFICIENT

You know what women can do better than men? Multi-Tasking! Yes. We can do 3 chores at a time. However, if this does not work for you, if multi-tasking adds to your level of stress then do not do it. You can still manage to make your time efficient by eliminating so called distractions – checking Instagram too often, playing online games, opening every link your friend shares on facebook. Try to eliminate this time wasters to make the most out of your time.

ASK HELP

Quit thinking you’re a wonder woman. Truth is you are, however, you do not have super powers. Be realistic and ask for help. You may ask your sister or in-laws to baby sit for a while so you can do your errands without any distraction.

MAKE MORNINGS A LITTLE STRESS FREE

If you have plans on weekends, pack your bags at least a day before so everything is ready before your trip. Its stressful knowing that you need to finish everything at a given time and even more stressful seeing that your husband is pissed waiting for you to get everything together. On ordinary days, make a list on what you will prepare for breakfast so your time won’t be wasted deciding if you’ll cook pancakes or hotdogs for the family. Plan what you will wear in the office and the stuff you will need to bring before going to bed. Little things like these can make your mornings a little stress free, believe me.

KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES

As a working mother, I make it a point to always be firm that my family is my number one priority. Yes, I need to work so I can help in providing for what my family needs, but at the end of the day, work is just work. Talk to your employer/manager and make sure he is aware of this. If he is a good boss, he will understand.

SET A SCHEDULE FOR HOUSEHOLD CHORES

You can set a schedule on days where you will be doing your laundry, iron your clothes, or change your sheets. Set the week on when you will do your groceries, buy milk, diapers and other baby needs. Like in my case, since my clothing rack is limited, I need to do the laundry at least thrice a week. Of course, I can only do it once the baby is asleep. Household chores is quite challenging. But having a schedule and sticking into it will help you finish your tasks. Do not forget to schedule a task free day also! 🙂

ASK YOUR HUSBAND TO HELP

I always remind my husband that I am working too – and we should be in this together. It is unfair that while I do the laundry, wash the dishes and prepare for our meal – he will be sitting there cheering for his football team, right? Let him be a part of this. Of course, don’t give him the big stuff if he is not ready for it. He can help by playing with your kids while you do some chores.

STAY ORGANIZED

Clutter can be very stressful. You don’t need to be great with all the arts and crafts stuff to be organized. Label important documents and put them all together, ensure your child’s clothes are kept neatly so it’s easier for you to look if there’s something she needs to wear, separate money allotted for your groceries, food, bill payments so you can budget them easily. Staying organized will only not limit your stress but it will also help you finish tasks easier.

QUALITY TIME

As they say, it’s all about the quality not the quantity. Being a mother does not only mean doing chores or providing for your family. Quality time with your spouse and children is a must. When I am home, I never check my mobile phone unless someone calls for an emergency. I want to be there one hundred percent for my daughter, so when I am home, I am really home. When I am spending time with my daughter, multi-tasking is off the table. Just me and her having a fun time.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. How can you keep it all together when you are a mess? Back then, when my daughter was younger, I used to deprive myself because I felt guilty. I am not sure why, but that’s how I felt. I felt like everything should be for my daughter which was completely wrong. I was sad and stressed for a while. Then I realized that spending time with myself is important too. Have a break. Drink coffee. Watch your favorite series while munching on potato chips. Buy that dress. You deserve it. As long as you know your limits and you know what is too much. As they say, you can’t give happiness to others if you don’t have it in yourself.

Love Chezkie

February Covers

Oh my. How time flies. Could not believe the first month of 2016 is over. So hello there love month! Before all the valentines day planning, lets check out the celebrities who graced the cover of some of the well know magazines here in the Philippines.

Good Housekeeping

Heart Evangelista-Escudero is on the front page of good house keeping on their January to February issue. Check out the heart to heart article on how marriage changed this teeny bopper. From Missy (the character she played in the teen show G-Mik) to Mrs E – we just love Heart, don’t we?

GoodHousekeeping

Cosmopolitan

Yes, the AlDub sensation is here to stay! Check out the most popular love team’s cover in this month’s Cosmopolitan Issue. Just love that orange dress on Maine!

Cosmopolitan

Preview

Preview does not only have one but seven celebrities on their February issue. Young stars Inigo Pascual, Jeron Teng, Derrick Monasterio, Ruru Madrid, LA Aguinaldo Andre Paras and Kelsey Merritt are all well dressed for this month’s issue.

Preview

Metro

She’s confident. She’s beautiful. And she has the Heart! Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach is this month’s Metro girl.

Metro Magazine

FHM

Pinoy Big Brother 4th Placer, Dawn Chang is the new FHM cover girl. I actually was a fan of Dawn during her stay in the PBB house. She’s determined, driven, intelligent, and just so beautiful. Popularly known from her Love Me Like You Do dance, Dawn shows her long legs, curves, and flawless skin for FHMs February issue.

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Who’s your favorite February cover? Happy Reading! 🙂

Love Chezkie

Lessons I had learned from our first Nanny

Since I am a working mom, it is inevitable for us to hire a house hold help to look after our child while we are away for work. I thought finding a good nanny was easy peasy, so we didn’t look for one while I was still pregnant, which was a rookie mistake. With the help of my mother in law, we found one, a few months after I gave birth.

Everything was okay in the beginning. However, due to some misunderstandings, I needed to ask her to leave our home. Here are some of the things I had learned from this experience.

SET THE RULES ON DAY ONE.

Have a mini new hire orientation if you may. Tell her what is expected of her, what tasks are needed to be done, your schedule, and the things you value. Discuss what she or she may not use inside your home. For instance, would it be okay for her to use some of your toiletries for personal use? Make sure that you set even small things like this clear.

LET HER KNOW HER PLACE.

Make sure to maintain the employer-employee relationship. I made a huge mistake welcoming our helper in our home a little too much. Ensure that she is reminded that she lives under your roof and she should be able to comply with your house rules.

NEVER BE TOO KIND.

I often give in to what our helper demands back then – extended vacation, borrowing money, etc. without realizing that it then became a habit. Show too much kindness and this often gets abused.

EMPATHIZE.

Know where they are coming from. I had observed that our helper was always in a bad mood and is always a little grumpy which was a little irritating. I tried to let go of these little things as I do not want to be involved in any heated arguments. I talked to her one afternoon, and found out about her family problems. Keep in mind that they do not have their family with them and try to understand some of their short comings. Try to be in their shoes to somehow maintain a smooth sailing relationship.

MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS.

You hired a human, not wonder woman. Taking care of a kid is tiring itself. You had the first hand experience on this. Try to understand that she needs your help too or if there are tasks that she may not be able to do on time.

TEACH THEM NEW THINGS.

They will surely appreciate it. If there are tips you could share on how to do some tasks easier, tell her. This will benefit the both of you.

GIVE THEM FAIR COMPENSATION.

Give them decent compensation and benefits. Give paid leaves. Encourage them to apply for their Philhealth and SSS. As an employer, you would also want your helpers to achieve something in life, buy something for themselves, or for their families.

NEVER PRACTICE THE ACT OF BORROWING MONEY. 

Our helper borrowed money from us during her first week. She told me that she needed the money to have her house fixed. She borrowed money again because her husband was sick, then her mother sick, the list goes on. In the beginning, she was borrowing money for emergencies which is why I allowed it. Later on, she was borrowing money to purchase a mobile phone or to spend on a vacation she longed planned for.

Try to discourage her borrowing money from you. Through this, you are also teaching her to save a little something from her salary and not to depend on you too much.

HAVE A CCTV INSTALLED.

My colleague once told me, if you are having CCTV installed to protect your car or your other belongings, you need it more to ensure the safety of your child. Makes perfect sense.

ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN B.

You hear stories every now and then that the fact that we need our nannies so badly, it sometimes gets into their head. This is so true. Make sure that you have a back up plan, someone you could trust to look after your child, so that when that attitude shows up, you could politely ask them to leave your home to find a new employer who would tolerate their misbehavior. Always have a Plan B. Always.

Having to fire our nanny then was not an easy decision. I prayed and asked for God’s guidance because I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing. At the end of the day, I realized that I should not save a space for ungrateful people in my life.

I know finding a good nanny is a bit of a challenge, but hang in there Mommies!

Love Chezkie