Homemade and Selling

I don’t think there is no one in the world who doesn’t love food. In fact, food has been given so much attention with the advent of social media and phone apps. One can simply capture a photo of a delectable pasta, a sweet dessert or a refreshing drink and post it for the world to see. Now, your friends know what you had for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  I do share a few photos of food myself but I limit them to stuff I make from scratch or what my husband prepares.  And posting homemade stuff is good advertising don’t you think. I mean, who doesn’t need a LITTLE extra cash?

Last year, I started recreating the homemade spreads or dips I did two years before. I shared some samples to my friends and they enjoyed it. Not only that, I also received orders especially around the holidays. I started with a Roasted Bell Pepper Spread and Garlic Cheese Spread. I wanted to add one more flavor so I tried using a local food item in our country called “Tinapa” or Smoked Milkfish. The product testing done at home was good and the Tinapa Spread was born. I received more orders for this spread than the two but and it became the bestseller spread.

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Christmas packaging for the three in one. I also have bigger sizes and in jars.

Christmas packaging for the three in one. I also have bigger sizes and in jars.

My family loves bread. When he was still single, my husband took a bread-making course and learned how to make simple breads at home. He is such a bread lover that he decided to make his own “Pandesal” a Spanish name for salt bread. Pandesal is a staple food item in the Filipino diet. We have it for breakfast or snack and it goes well with our favorite butter and sugar and hot coffee, yummy! Armed with his ingredients of flour, eggs, yeast, sugar and salt, he mixed, kneaded and baked his own bread. He asked the kids to join him and they enjoyed the whole process.

kneading the dough

kneading the dough

proofing time

proofing time

hot pandesal with roasted bell pepper spread yum!

hot pandesal with roasted bell pepper spread yum!

So what goes well with bread but with a good spread. Aside from the homemade spreads I make for the home and for friends, I thought of doing something else. How about making my own fruit jams? I was inspired when I saw a show on TV that featured a woman who makes jams at home. She sells them too for a profit and has been doing quite well.

Green mangoes are well-grown in our country and is available year round. So looking for green mangoes was not a problem at all. I took some green mangoes I bought from the market and created my own version of a green mango jam. The sourness of the green mango worked well with the sweetness of sugar. Of course, my kids loved it (love your own)!

I also shared some to my father who enjoys jams and preserves as well, and he gave me a positive feedback. He said I need to reduce some of the sugar but overall it’s good. He said to make him more and he will pay me, hooray!

oozing with mango syrup

oozing with mango syrup

one jar almost consumed by the bread monsters :-)

one jar almost consumed by the bread monsters 🙂

I’m still on the lookout of other local fruits to make as jams. Here is a list of fruits I could source locally: guava, melon, pineapple, santol (This fruit is grown in Southeast Asia. In French, it’s what they call faux mangoustainer and in English is known as Sandor or wild mangosteen. -source  www.tagaloglang.com

Have you tried making your own jam or preserves? Let’s have a “jamming” session by sharing your experiences 🙂

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The Birds and the Bees

“Puberty is the stage wherein growth and changes in body parts occur. This stage usually happens between the ages 10 to 16. During this period, boys and girls experience body changes. It is also during puberty that their sex organs mature. Boys and girls slowly develop into young adolescents. They are not adults and not even children.” Science and Health Grade 5

Our Science class started with this lesson on puberty. Coby showed enthusiasm about the topic because he knows he is already going thorough that stage in his growth. He shared with me that though he doesn’t notice any physical changes yet as he is only 10, he says he is experiencing some emotional changes. He told me that sometimes he doesn’t like to play with his old toys and would rather do something else. He also added that every time I call his attention or ask him to do something, he does not complain anymore and just obeys. He claims that it is because he is “maturing”. In fairness, he does obey right away and does things independently now. He even helps out a lot without being asked.

He has also read his Human Body mini encyclopedia last Christmas and is quite familiar with the terms already and the anatomy. I had no problem talking about this topic with him.

The next lesson was about the male reproductive system. I am not that comfortable talking to him about this so i asked my husband to do the lesson with him. And besides I was out if the house that day, so my husband really had to teach it.

This morning we had to continue the same lesson but when I was pre reading the lesson, I had to explain the functions of the male rep system! My husband was busy that I had no choice but teach it to him and I had to do scientifically and with a straight face. I was reminded to connect the lesson with how God designed the human body. He made male and female so unique and so specific that His purposes for them are to be completed when a man and a woman or husband and wife come together.

I told him that there will be no reproduction of humans unless the male and female system unite. To my surprise, he knew that too. He said that he saw it in his book and described the female reproductive system as well. He added that the male part would fit the female part. It was purely Science to this boy, no biggie! And to think that I was the one who was too chicken to talk about it 😦

Well, the reproductive system lesson continues and I know that questions would continue to play in his mind. I pray that I would be just be like him, scientific in approach and understanding, no biggie 😄

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Required to Learn

Every quarter of our school year, Coby is required to create an output or a project that would be included in his quarterly portfolio. I’m not such a fan of this requirement of TMA but I’ve learned to love the process throughout these years. The output has allowed Coby to think out of the box and be creative in producing a project that would highlight his learnings for the quarter.

In his younger years, I would help him decide what projects he can present. He has made all sorts of output from craft projects, building projects, video interviews, experiments and other out of this world projects. But now that he’s older, I let him do what the thinks is best.

For the final quarter, I have suggested that he use the project I saw at the Barnabas Craft Book we bought last year. The project was a simple Pentecost Prayer book.

Coby learned about Pentecost this quarter for Bible. It was when the Holy Spirit came down to the apostles of Jesus and they began speaking in different tongues. After being filled with the Holy Spirit, the disciples were transformed spiritually. Best example was Peter who was Jesus’ friend yet denied him three times because he was afraid. But after Peter was filled with the Spirit of Jesus, he was no longer fearful but bold to share the gospel to others and do the task Jesus called them to do.

Matthew 28:19-20

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

I hope that Coby would use the Prayer book for his own quiet time. Because of the simplicity of the project, it was done in about 30 minutes. I thought it was merely a project for him. But then I was wrong. That afternoon I saw him alone in the living room writing something in his prayer book. I commended him for using the notebook for writing instead of tapping his fingers on the iPad or the computer. He asked if he can write anything and I told him that that’s his personal property and he can do with it whatever he wants. (Hoping he would be writing his thoughts about God, really???)

Of course, I couldn’t help myself, I asked him what he was writing. He said he put in some verses there. (Clap, clap for me haha) But then more than the verses, he was doing some creative writing. That night he even shared with me his writings about sharks and how one shark learns to become a predator. I thought it was cute and then he said that it was not yet complete and he had to write some more 🙂

What I thought would be an ordinary homeschool requirement enabled Coby to be serious with his quiet time and improve on his creative writing skills.  Talk about teachable moments 🙂

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Deuteronomy 11:18-20

18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

Big Brother

My husband and I are blessed to have a boy and a girl. it’s fun to see them grow up. Coby, who just turned 10 last April 5, is becoming more mature in his ways. He is more confident and at times makes decisions for himself. He used to go with us to the supermarket during weekends but now he would rather stay in his grandfather’s house and play with his friends. He speaks up though not to the point of answering back, thank God!

Jianne, on the other hand, is 6 1/2 and maturing too quite fast. She is the girly, princess-type. She likes dresses and putting on make up and times she gives me a “makeover”. Whenever I get the chance to go the salon, she would be right there with me choosing my nail color. She also asserts herself. She can be stubborn too but she knows how to get out of a “sticky situation”.

In the afternoons, they would always go outside to play with the neighborhood kids. Coby would be riding his bike with his friend while Jianne would either be riding her bike too or scooter.

One afternoon, Jianne went home crying. She said that Coby doesn’t want her to join them play outside. She felt really  bad because she said there are no other kids to play with just Coby and Mark (Coby’s friend). I convinced her to just stay inside with me but she insisted on going outside. Soon, she came back sobbing again.

The big brother came home 30 minutes after. I asked him why he wouldn’t let Jianne play with them. He explained that he and Mark were biking towards the street corner and he didn’t want Jianne to go with them. He said, it’s not safe for her to be riding her bike there. “Why was it not safe there?” I asked him again. “Because there are other kids who are not from the neighborhood hanging around at the street corner. I don’t want Jianne to be there. Those kids are strangers,” he answered me. “And that’s too far from the house, I don’t want her to ride back home alone,” he added.

Awww! The big brother was at work that time. He was just protecting her younger sister. He wanted her to be safe.

I commended Coby for being the big brother at that time. I told him that I am proud of what he did and thanked him for looking out for his sister. After that, I explained to Jianne that Coby was only protecting her and wanted her safe.

Towards the evening, I saw Jianne hugging Coby and heard her say,”Thank you Kuya (older brother) for protecting me”. Coby hugged her back and said,”That’s why you listen to me, okay!”

Their relationship now is like cat and dog. Fighting, bickering, arguing over the tiniest thing. But I know when they grow up they would value each other and truly love and respect one another.

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Playing Favorites

We are studying the book of beginnings, Genesis, in BSF this year. From Adam to Noah and Abraham and his grandsons, Jacob and Esau. Isaac, the promised descendant of Abraham waited 20 years to have a child. Rebekah had a difficult pregnancy and had inquired of the Lord,

23 And the Lord told her, “The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son.”

24 And when the time came to give birth, Rebekah discovered that she did indeed have twins! 25 The first one was very red at birth and covered with thick hair like a fur coat. So they named him Esau.[b]26 Then the other twin was born with his hand grasping Esau’s heel. So they named him Jacob.[c] Isaac was sixty years old when the twins were born. Genesis 25:23-25

While still inside their mother’s womb, one can sense that trouble is brewing for the twin boys. Though twins, they grew up with very distinct personalities. Esau, the firstborn, is a wild child as exemplified by his red hair. He loves the outdoors and has taste for wild game. His twin, Jacob, who was described as having smooth, skin is the quiet one. He is probably more domesticated than Esau because he prefers staying indoors.

Now Isaac became fond of his Esau as the firstborn would hunt wild game and cook his favorite stew. He became his father’s favorite. Rebekah on the other hand, trained Jacob well and shared a unique bond with his son.

We know what happened to the twins. Esau despised his birthright and gave it up for a bowl of stew while Jacob deceived his father by pretending to be Esau and receiving the blessings of the firstborn.

It is so easy to connect with Isaac and Rebekah. I know parents don’t have the slightest intention of favoring one child over the other but somehow it happens in a subtle way.

Isn’t it easy to love the child who easily obeys or the one who hugs you a lot and says I love you all the time? How about the child who makes you coffee or snack without even asking? Or the one who props up a pillow on your back when you are working on the computer? Isn’t this the child who want to smother with hugs and kisses too? It’s easy to love a child like that. You tend to do the same for that child. You shower her or him with affection, encouraging words or even gifts sometimes.

But what if you child delays obedience or pretends he doesn’t hear what you are asking him or her to do? How about the child whom you have a hard time teaching? He or she seems to be having trouble with all the subjects and you are at your wits end at times? How about the child who makes you loose your temper? Or the child who always gets the smack on the butt? Isn’t this child difficult to love?

I am blessed to have a boy and a girl who are two unique individuals too. Both have their own ways of showing how they love me. At the same time, they also know well what makes Mama upset or disappointed.

There is no question, I love both my kids equally. But I need to remind myself that I need to reciprocate this love to them the way they want to be loved. I don’t want them to feel that I favor the other because I know it will bring insecurity, hatred, indifference, sibling rivalry and even bitterness in the future. This negative emotion if left untreated would be carried on even to their own sons and daughters.

If time permits, I take one of them to the mall when I do errands. There was a time I took Coby out for a snack, just the two of us. He said he enjoyed it so much and it’s one of his best days. We were even HHWW (Holding Hands While Walking) 🙂 On other days, I take Jianne with me when I teach bible study to a group of women friends. She enjoys being with the “girls” too.

When I go out, Jianne would always call me to ask me to buy her something. Even if Coby does not ask for anything, I would still get one for him too. I don’t want him to feel left out. Their faces would be beaming if they see the box of Nerds being handed to them.

I try my best to speak their love language. Coby needs words of affirtmation. So I would try to say encouraging words to him especially when he feels frustrated on a certain subject. It lifts his sould knowing that I still love him inspite of.

Jianne wants to be touched, hugged and kissed all the time. So I connect with her when I hug her and kiss her or comb her hair. She craves physical touch so I give her the kind of love she wants to receive although, I am personally not a physical touch person (it’s the least of my love languages).

I am an imperfect mother but with the help of the Lord, I try to be the best mother to my children. I believe that the greatest influence a child can have is his or her parent. That is why I’m taking parenting seriously. As I said previously, I only have one shot at this and I have to make it good.

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Proverbs 22:6

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Reach for the Goal

Today was quite a stressful day for Coby and I. He was asked to review Section One of his Language Arts Lifepac booklet after which he would take a Self Test. After giving him time to go back on the previous lessons, he quickly answered the first test. Unfortunately, upon checking, he did not make  the cut. I was disappointed because I thought he learned the lesson well enough to pass his first test.

So I told him to review again because he might be missing out on the important words or terms. The second review took longer than the first and I was getting impatient. So I pulled out the Alternate Test and asked him to answer it again. When he handed me his paper, I saw that he was tense while sat quietly on the floor behind me. I asked him what he was doing and he said, “I’m praying, Mama that I pass the test.”

After hearing this, the overacting mom reacted. I scolded him because I knew he was unsure of his answers. He was unsure because he did not focus on his work at that time and that he did not “Read and Understand” the topics covered. Before I could continue to nag him, the Lord convicted me. I was focusing too much on his mistake instead of helping him making it right and improve his study habits.

God made me see that I failed to teach him goal-setting. Before the school year started, my husband and I created a list of goals for Coby for his fourth grade. It was a general objective of what we want him to accomplish for the year. For example, in Math, we wanted him to master the multiplication table and practice addition and subtraction facts using the iPad. For Filipino, our goal was for him to be able to comprehend the stories in Filipino, increase his Filipino vocabulary and be able to converse well with others in Filipino. For all his subjects, there were specific goals to be met.

Forgetting that Coby likes structured learning and craves for a schedule and a to-do list, I couldn’t blame him for losing focus. There were days when I fail to put up on our board what pages he would do or what chapter he would read and Coby would be in a daze that day. He is confused and has no direction at all. But when I do make his to-do list, he would be successful at completing the tasks.

But aside from giving him tasks to do, he should be able to set goals for himself. So this morning, I guided him on how to set them for himself.

For example, in Science, he has to read the lesson on Earthquakes. His goal could be, find new words and look up their meaning in the dictionary. Another goal could be search for examples of earthquakes in the Philippines and how it affected the people, the community and the country. All of these, he has to note down in his notebook.

After explaining how it goal setting works, he felt great because he has some sense of control. I added that if he completed his goals for the day, he can put a check mark on it, highlight it or even erase it from his notebook. That would give him a sense of accomplishment because he was able to finish the task on his own.

At first he was setting too high a goal like completing 20 pages in Language. I cautioned him about setting the goals too high because if he failed to do all 20 pages, this will only frustrate him and feel bad about himself. Instead of setting unrealistic goals, I urged him to make realistic goals. Goals that he knows and I know he can complete. If after setting, let’s say 5 pages a day and he still has time for more, he can just add more pages to his goal. And if he did this, I told him, he was able to push himself and do more. Provided he has understood the lesson 🙂 It doesn’t matter how many pages he completed as long as he was able to imbibe and learn to heart the topics assigned.

Tomorrow is his first day at goal setting. I pray that I would be able to guide him well and this would be part of his daily routine.

Someone to Watch Over Me

Have you ever had that feeling as if someone is watching you? Well, I do and it’s not that eerie kind of feeling 🙂 I know for a fact that Coby, our eldest child, is watching over me, literally.

You see, we don’t have a helper in our home so I do most of the chores especially when my husband is at work and I start the day at 4:30 A.M. and turn in at around 8 P.M. Before the kids wake up in the morning, I make sure that at least 90 percent of my morning chores are done, which includes doing the laundry, dishes, cleaning the living and dining areas, and hopefully I have taken my morning shower. As soon as the kids run down to have breakfast, I have to attend to them. After a few minutes of chatting with them, I run upstairs and tidy up the rooms there. A few minutes later, they will then have their baths and we will start school.
There may be times when I will be asking Coby to work on his own while I prepare lunch. My mornings are really, really busy! But the load gets lighter after lunch and Coby completes one or two more subjects then he is free. We are both free 🙂 That’s the time I check my email, get updates on FB, read blogs, post blogs or just simply surf the internet.

Then, my afternoon routine would soon commence. I would prepare the lessons for the next day. Fold the clean clothes then prepare dinner, if dinner has to be prepared unless I still have leftover food from lunch. Doing all these things is no chore to me really, I actually enjoy doing them. Unfortunately, I am not Supergirl . I do get tired and at times lazy too to clean up. To say that I regret being a homemaker is a false statement. I love “making a home” for my family even if it’s exhausting and stressful.
One afternoon, while I was busy doing something Coby approached me and said,”Mama, something tells me that you don’t like what you’re doing.” I was surprised by his comment so I asked what made him say that. “Because you’re not smiling when you’re doing the chores. It looks like you’re angry,” he blurted out. Bothered by what he noticed I reassured him, “I’m not angry while I’m doing chores, anak. I’m just too focused what I am doing. Don’t think I don’t like what I’m doing. I love it but my face is just really serious when I’m working.”
Still not satisfied with my answer he asked,”Are you sure? Because you really look angry?” I put down whatever I was holding and looked him in the eye, “I’m okay Coby. I’m happy, just seriously working. Remember when we are working, we have to focus on what we are doing so we can do a great job, right? That’s what I’m doing!”
I hope he was satisfied with my reply. Then he asked me again, “Do you need some help with that? I can help you.” I was so touched that I tried to make him help. He probably felt I was tired, which is the truth but I’m still fine.
Other times, I would do the laundry right after dinner. While they are all resting and watching TV upstairs, Coby would go down and check on me. He would ask me why I’m doing laundry when it’s time to rest. I would give him my reason and he would say, “It’s late, Mama. It’s time to rest.”
Ever since that time, I would hear him going down the stairs and stop at the landing. He would hold on to the railings and watch what I’m doing. Sometimes he would ask if I needed help but most of the time he would just be sitting there and watching me. He would do this everyday.
Two days ago while I was preparing dinner, I heard the same footsteps again. I knew he was watching me, so without looking at him I reassured him, “I’m okay Coby. I’m just preparing dinner. You can go play now. It’s okay.”
After hearing that, he ran upstairs and I heard him turn on the TV.
In the beginning, this routine of his would annoy me, because I don’t like the feeling of somebody watching over me. But then I realized, Coby is just loving me. He speaks his love language through acts of service. He wants to help Mama any little way he can.