Follow parentsjourney on TwitterIt is imperative for people, young and old alike, to have adequate daily fluid intake for proper hydration. This is necessary for normal body functioning and immunity to diseases as discussed in item # 3 of Parenting Journey blog entitled ‘Top 6 Natural Immunity Builders for Kids’.

There are many healthy fluid sources available everywhere, but still you may find that people, especially school children, often do not reach the minimum requirement. Getting so busy and preoccupied with school work, socialization with peers and other extracurricular activities leave them oblivious of this health concern. Here is where parents come in.

Though the consequences of inadequate fluid intake may not be fatal in most circumstances, there are definite short term and long term negative impacts on our children’s health. Some known effects of inadequate hydration in children are frequent headache, constipation and impaired cognitive function. Vulnerability to common diseases like flu, cough and colds are very likely because of weakened immunity.

As promised in the above-mentioned blog, I will be sharing the results of an ‘experiment’ we did on finding ways to improve the daily water intake of our school kids. So much time and effort was spent on this endeavor but so many lessons were learned in the process and lots of gratification in the outcome.

Some Background

Let me begin by specifying the fluid sources of my school children. A glass or mug is at least 180 ml. Our school kids, ages 9 and 7 years old, drink 1 glass of milk in the morning and another one in the evening. Half a mug of lemongrass tea and one glass of water (together with their vitamin C supplement in tablet form) are taken in the morning. In school, 1 glass of choco milk is consumed for snacks but the half liter drinking water goes back home often barely touched. One glass of juice or iced tea and 1 cup of soup are the usual consumption at dinnertime. It looks like a lot but still inadequate because of low water intake while in school.

I feel so upset looking at their water bottles every afternoon when they get home for I know that the minimum daily fluid requirement was not met. Based on their weight they should consume about 1.6L of fluid per day. To know the fluid requirement of your child based on weight, here is the link for your reference.

With the objective of ensuring that our school kids are properly hydrated for better health and immunity, this journey began.

The experiment

I initiated making a water intake chart using post-its so it can be easily attached on our refrigerator door. It is a simple table where we could record the amount of water we drink, a sort of score sheet. Only the intake of pure water is ‘scored’ because that’s where the inadequacy was identified. Our son provided the pencil and was asked to make sure it is always available near the refrigerator (he tends to take it with him and usually gets misplaced). Everything else evolved beautifully from this beginning.


My husband asked my daughter to summarize the data every end of our ‘water week’, which falls on a Wednesday. She was taught the concept of averaging and how it is applied in real situations. She was advised to use long-hand in her computations…no calculator. My husband even made it more difficult for her by recording different fractions of glasses so she can practice mathematical operations with unlike fractions. My daughter survived the challenge and even volunteered to do the next score sheets.

At the end of our first week, we were surprised that even we adults did not meet the minimum daily requirement of 8 glasses. Our children’s quota is 6 glasses a day. The next week saw us falling short again of our target. It was even lower on the third week because everybody got busy that time. I knew it was not easy but I didn’t think it would be this challenging!

Because enough data were already available, my daughter was now asked to make a graph to plot the data for us to clearly see the trend. Very few directives were given to her and hurray her first graph was made! Here is the graph she made:

Looking at the trends, we decided that it’s time to make a change. A meeting was held after one dinner. The importance of water in humans was reiterated, the data were discussed and resolutions were made.

The first strategy was to give a reward (but not specified) for the person(s) who can reach the target. As it became a contest, our quite competitive daughter surely reached her target but didn’t quite care about the performance of the rest, not even to check on our faithfulness to record when we drink. Failure to record was a significant reason in some drops in the averages.

It was obvious that we had to modify the criteria for winning a reward to make sure that everyone would benefit. So I suggested putting emphasis on team effort and changing the reward system to enhance teamwork. That is, all four of us need to meet the target average for the week so that we’ll get rewarded as a team. The first reward is to watch ‘A Christmas Carol’ in the movie house. Because we seldom do this, everybody was thrilled with the thought.

Other resolutions made were as follows:
1) We started to modify our drinking habits. Fruit juice and iced tea were eliminated during meal time in favor of pure water. This is a triple benefit because we also reduced our sugar intake and lessen our expenses with this move.
2) Because we fail to record our consumption at times, we resolved that each one of us will remind one another about it.
3) The children gave their commitment to be conscious about water intake even while in school.

With all the above resolutions, the following week saw a significant rise but still the criterion for the reward to be granted was not met. When the showing date of the movie we want to watch drew closer, the pressure mounted. And just this Wednesday, on the seventh week after we began the experiment, we finally did it-- all points were above the horizontal lines representing the target!

So happily, we declared that on Saturday, all of us will be in the movie house to reap the reward for our success as a team in an endeavor that was started to make us healthier but ended up making us wiser and happier as well. CHEERS!

glass of water photo courtesy of stockvault.net

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Now that the shopping galore for baby things is over and you have prepared your hospital bags, you might ask, what else do you need to do before your baby arrives? Actually, a lot needs to be done to make the baby’s arrival as smooth as possible. Here are some suggestions.

  1. Decide your birthing option. By this time you should have an idea on how you want to deliver your baby. If not, educate yourself on the pros and cons of the various birthing options by reading books and magazines, searching from the internet and talking to experienced mothers. You might also want to consider watching videos of child deliveries employing the various options.

    There are lots of birthing options to choose from. You can have it the natural way without any drugs (Lamaze, Bradley, Birthworks, etc.), natural with anesthetic pain management, or C-section. If you have made the decision, then preparations toward that option should be made, like enrollment and attendance to birthing classes when applicable. Discuss this fully with your obstetrician-gynecologist (OB).
  1. Tour the birthing site. Go to where you want to deliver your baby and have a nice tour to familiarize yourself with the place and with the procedure. Inquire on the process/requirements for hospital admission. In some hospitals, you will not be allowed to see the inside of the delivery room but at least you would know where the rooms and other facilities are. Find out if the hospital is Mother-Baby friendly that would allow rooming-in and would support breastfeeding if those are your preferences.
  1. Prepare yourself physically and emotionally. At this point, your OB might advise you to increase intake of foods rich in iron and prescribe iron supplement if she has not done before. Towards the end of pregnancy, it is advisable for you to have lots of restful sleep but remain active during most parts of the day. Regular prenatal exercise is preferable as discussed in blissful pregnancy tip #5. Active mom’s usually have relatively easier and uncomplicated natural deliveries.
Enhance emotional connection between you and your baby. Caress your tummy and talk to your baby. In all my pregnancies, I usually talk to my baby about childbirth few weeks from my due date, asking for his/her cooperation and giving my assurance that anytime he/she is ready, I am, for childbirth should be a team effort and the two of us are part of the team. I also tell how excited I am to see him/her and that I will continue to provide for his/her needs even outside my womb.

While you are still waiting for the big day, try envisioning the thrill of having your child on you hands, looking at his/her tiny lips that greet you with a smile. The joy will be far greater than the fears and anxiety of childbirth and will make you endure all discomforts. While I was on the delivery table, my focal point was the wall clock, I was keeping track of my contractions, and around it was a bare wall which I filled with nice pictures of me, my husband and my baby, together as a happy family. These were the visions that I've been keeping in my mind and heart since early in my pregnancy.

  1. Arrange Domestic Matters. If you have other children, start thinking about sibling care. Arrange for who’s going to be there for them, who will be in-charge of food preparation and other domestic concerns while you are in the hospital. You might want to stock up on easy-to-prepare food in your freezer. If you are a working mom and needs to go back to work after your maternity leave, then now is the time to arrange for child care. Make sure the area where you are going to receive the baby in the house is clean and tidy.
  1. Start a hobby. Despite the many things you need to do to prepare for childbirth, you might still find yourself spending time on futile musings about labor pain and blood, and even death from complications. These are normal and to a certain extent reasonable thoughts, but instead of feeding your worries, why not start a hobby that will keep your mind away from all those fears. Try embroidery on your baby clothes, or crochet a pair of booties or cross stitch a symbol of happiness. Regardless of your choice, or you might choose not to do it at all, remember that your baby is worth much much more than the entire wait.
  1. Select your Baby's Name. This is a fun part that could also alleviate the discomforts and impatience while waiting for the big day. My husband and I had many enjoyable discussions while trying to come up with our baby's name. These are the moments when we share and (re)define our hopes and dreams for our baby and the family. Each of the names of our children were picked for a reason and has special meaning to us. Baby naming sites like this one was useful to us when we were deciding.
  2. Plan the Announcement. After the long wait is the big day of your baby’s arrival. It is yours and your husband’s duty to announce the arrival of your bundle of joy so that he/she can be properly welcomed by your family and friends who are one with you in anticipating the newest addition to your family. Decide on the list of people whom you want to send the announcement to. Examples of announcement ideas include a simple text message with the child’s photo, a card bearing your child’s foot prints, a mass offering, an envelope with tobacco stick for a baby boy and a chocolate bar for a baby girl, a photo or video of you child posted on the home page of your social network account and many more. You can also be creative like this overzealous father.

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This stage of your parenting journey would require you to prepare two bags: one for you and the other one for your baby. These bags should be prepared on the seventh month of your pregnancy. In case of unexpected delivery, at least the bags are ready. Whenever you feel that it’s time to go to the hospital, then you can just lift your bags without any hassle. Like the checklist of baby things I posted in the previous blog, I am sharing here the checklist of items you should consider bringing to the hospital with you. These are the items that my hospital bags contained.


Mom’s Bag


  • Adult Diapers (2)
  • Maternity Sanitary Pads (4)
  • Regular Sanitary Pads (8)
  • Pajamas/Night Gown with front opening for easy breastfeeding (2)
  • Panties (4)
  • Nursing Bra (1)
  • Set of Clothes for going home (1)
  • Something to tie your hair with, if you have a long hair
  • Bath towel and face towel
  • Toiletries
  • Candies, crackers and bottled drinking water
  • Extra pillow

Putting on adult diaper immediately after birth is preferable because bleeding is more profuse. The first one is usually provided by the hospital. Bleeding should lessen the following day so you can switch to using maternity sanitary pads instead. Maternity pad absorbs more fluids, but it is very thick and wide. When bleeding is less heavy and you are up and about to do frequent pad change, then switch to your regular sanitary pad. The crackers, candies and bottled drinking water are particularly useful when you arrive at the hospital while still on early labor but advised not to go back home. Candies and water will work well for dry mouth. But once you’re done with enema procedure, you cannot take anything anymore. Labor is expected to progress after this procedure because of stimulated uterine contractions.


Baby’s Bag


  • Baby Vests (4)
  • Mittens (2)
  • Booties (2)
  • Bonnets (2)
  • Wash cloth/bibs (4)
  • Receiving blankets (2)
  • Waterproof sheet (1)
  • Cloth diapers (12)
  • Diaper clips (2)
  • Disposable diapers (6)
  • Petroleum jelly (1)
  • Cotton balls (1)
  • Bath towel (1)
  • Baby liquid soap (1)
  • Ethyl Alcohol, 70% (1)

If you intend to breastfeed your baby, don’t bring feeding bottles and formula milk for fear of your baby getting hungry if breast milk doesn’t come at once. Mother-baby friendly hospitals do not allow these items as well. Having feeding bottles and formula milk available won’t do you any good in terms of inducing milk let down. More info on breastfeeding will be provided in a later blog.



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Follow parentsjourney on TwitterDuring your blissful last two trimesters of pregnancy, you would be thinking of what your baby needs in its first months after birth. Completing these needs is an exciting part of childbirth preparations. It is a logical goal to accomplish this task before you reach your 7th month of pregnancy. Though shopping for baby things is definitely fun…fun…fun, this activity is also tiring and so you should not wait until the end of pregnancy as you would need a lot of rest by then.

Knowing the gender of your baby ahead is a real advantage that would help you on deciding for colors and motif when you shop (normally shades of blue for boys, and pink for girls). But if you prefer to leave it as a surprise until the baby is born or when the baby’s position does not allow for clear determination of the baby’s gender, go for neutral colors (i.e. generally white or green).

Baby showers should preferably be done earlier for you to consider the gifts received when you make your shopping list. Also consider hand-me-downs from older siblings and cousins. It is also advisable not to have too many clothes of the same size for the baby will surely grow fast and it will be a waste if clothes will only be worn once or never at all.

The following is a sample checklist of basic items that your baby would need after birth with suggested quantities in parentheses. This is basically the list I used to prepare for my four children. I took into consideration that cloth diapers were to be used during the day whenever the baby is at home for its first two months. You can revise this list depending on your preference but having a checklist to refer to is indeed valuable.

Beddings

  • Baby Cot (1)
  • Cot Mattress (1)
  • Cot Sheets (2)
  • Waterproof sheet (1)

Baby’s Layette
  • Vest, Size M (3) & Size L (3)
  • Wash Cloth (6)
  • Mittens (6)
  • Booties/Socks (6)
  • Bonnet (3)
  • Long Pants (3)
  • Panty (3)
  • Cloth Diaper (24)
  • Disposable Diaper (24)
  • Receiving Blanket (2)
Baby Toiletries and Others
  • Bath Tub or Large Basin (1)
  • Bath Towel (2)
  • Petroleum Jelly (1)
  • Diaper Clip/Safety Pins (2)
  • Ethyl Alcohol, 70% (1)
  • Baby Lotion (1)
  • Baby Bath or Liquid Soap (Lactacyd Blue/J&J Top to Toe Wash) (1)
  • Cotton Balls (1)
  • Baby Oil and Baby Powder (not advisable for babies with allergies or asthmatic family line)
If you intend to fully breastfeed your baby, the following are not immediate requirements unless you need to pump and store your breast milk:
  • Feeding Bottles
  • Bottle Brush
  • Breast Pump
  • Bottle Sterilizer
You definitely would need a baby bag so please add that to your list. I choose a medium size bag with enough compartments so it is easy to carry and organize things that the baby would need when going out of the house. It should also be durable to last at least a couple of years or until both you and the baby outgrow the need.

All cloth should be made of pure cotton or cotton-mix especially in humid areas. Wash baby clothes with mild detergent without chlorine. Do not let your baby wear clothes directly from the department store. Enjoy your shopping but control the urge to buy things you and your baby don’t really need. As your baby grows, you can continuously add to his/her wardrobe plus accessories of course. You don’t have to purchase everything all at once. Prepare ahead and take it slow. Shop but don’t drop.

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Now we progress from Parenting Tips for a Blissful Pregnancy in the First Trimester to the last two trimesters of pregnancy.

At this point, you definitely look pregnant. Making yourself comfortable will ease your thoughts away from the burdens of your heavy load and will help you focus on the wonders of pregnancy. Here are some tips.

1. Have more pillows. If you can’t buy a body pillow, having several soft pillows within your reach will be very helpful. There will come a point when pillows will be your best friend in bed, in the couch or even in the car while traveling. Use them to support your back while sitting or to rest your tummy while lying on your side.

2. Change your wardrobe. Insisting on wearing your old clothes will make you uncomfortable and look terrible. Boost your confidence by getting a few sets of maternity clothes. Choose wisely, base your choice on fit, style, design and fabric. Maternity clothes should be fashionable yet comfortable. Cotton clothing will answer concerns about perspiration.

Also, having some nice clothes to wear will inspire you to move about and regain your loosing self-esteem. Even your underwears need to be changed, at least one cup size bigger for your bra is expected. For your panties, wear something like a bikini style, which you can wear below your tummy or a large stretchable maternity type which you can pull over it.

3. Spend More to Worry Less. If you feel too tired to cook, have your food delivered. Don’t do the laundry if you can afford not to. Have it done by others. If you are blessed with reliable help to do these chores, good for you. The message is to spend more if you have to, such that you worry less on things that should be least in your concerns these days.

4. Adopt Good Posture and Wear Comfy Shoes. Adopting a good posture is important especially during pregnancy. This will reduce the risk of back injuries, minimize backaches, and provide more room for you growing baby as well.

a. When standing up, keep your shoulders back and drop them slightly, keep your back straight and lift your chest and ribs up. Tighten your stomach muscles and tuck your bottom in.

b. For a comfortable sit, find a chair that will support your back. You can also use a pillow for additional support.

c. When picking up objects, squat down, use your leg muscles and keep your back straight.

d. Roll onto your side before getting up from bed. Use your arms to help pull yourself up.

e. Avoid prolonged standing and sitting, and lifting heavy objects.

f. Wear comfy shoes or low-heeled sandals. Wearing high-heeled shoes when pregnant will put more strain on your leg muscles and back.

5. Exercise Regularly. For uncomplicated pregnancies, regular prenatal exercise offers a number of advantages. It promotes good posture; tones and strengthens muscles, particularly in the back, abdomen and pelvis; and improves blood circulation and psychological well-being of pregnant women. Exercise also induces the release of serotonin, a hormone responsible for eliciting the happy feeling.

There are varieties of antenatal exercises, but even a slow 15-minute walk in the park or your neighborhood will do. An early morning or before sunset walk to avoid the scorching heat of the sun is preferable. Avoid walking on congested and polluted streets.

6. Get the Right Nutrition. Eat a well balanced diet and take vitamins and mineral supplements. But remember to eat small frequent meals to prevent heartburn and indigestion. When you are well-nourished, pregnant or not, you feel and look vibrant. As a pregnant mom, know what you need and get it.

Folate and iron are very important supplements for pregnant women for the development of healthy red blood cells and for optimum brain development of babies. Food rich in folate are red meat, green leafy vegetables and broccoli. If you do not get enough folate and iron, you may look pale and will easily feel fatigued and breathless.

Calcium requirements can be answered by drinking lots of milk and consuming milk products. But for those who cannot tolerate high milk intake, calcium supplement may be necessary. Deficiency in calcium may cause cramps in thigh and calf muscles.

7. Indulge on a Prenatal Massage. If you wish to have a prenatal massage, have it done by a professional or somebody knowledgeable on the restrictions of this practice. Enjoy this feel good indulgence…you deserve it. For all my pregnancies, in my 3rd trimester, it has become a nightly ritual for my husband to rub my legs with liniment for a sure good night sleep.

8. Alleviate Constipation and Prevent Hemorrhoids. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to get hemorrhoids mainly because the growing uterus puts additional pressure on the veins around the rectum, making them swell. I know you don’t even want to think about it. Unfortunately it can happen, so I have to discuss ways of preventing it. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.

a. Eat plenty of high fiber foods like oats, fruits and vegetables.

b. Drink plenty of water. This will also help replenish lost fluids during excessive perspiration as a consequence of hormonal changes and increased blood flow to the skin.

c. Don’t sit or stand for long periods of time.

d. If you are not ready to move your bowel, then don’t force it. Having high fiber intake and lots of water will do the trick and prevent you from becoming miserable…take your time and relax.

Basically, you only need to know the expected discomforts of pregnancy and find ways of alleviating them if you cannot totally prevent them from occurring. Bear in mind that in pregnancy, whatever you are going through is not your child’s or your husband’s fault, but yours to take willingly and cheerfully for you are sooo blessed. Again, my Congratulations! Have a Blissful Pregnancy!


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Follow parentsjourney on TwitterCongratulations! You just found out you are pregnant. To new parents, welcome aboard…your journey starts now!!! You are having a baby and you are bound to encounter enormous challenges in your physical, physiological and psychological states. Despite these challenges, your pregnancy should be blissful. So here are simple tips to make the challenges a little less difficult. These are based on research findings and my own experiences.

1. Be Prepared. Being pregnant, especially for first-time moms, can be so frightening. What you can do is to prepare yourself by getting as much information as you can. Knowing what to expect makes the angst more manageable. Read, talk to other moms, consult professionals, etc.


2. Deal with Morning Sickness Like a Pro. Not all mothers experience morning sickness and not all pregnancies are the same. But if you are ‘lucky’ to have this concern, the following may be useful. If none of these works, or when vomiting becomes excessive (like more than 6 times a day), consult your doctor. You could be suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum.


a. Find out what triggers your morning sickness and avoid it.

b. Try chewing a gum, eating lollipop or candy or putting a small piece of ice on your tongue to see which strategy works best for you in controlling nausea.

c. Eat small frequent meals and avoid getting hungry.

d. Have some crackers or toast before getting up from bed if sickness usually happens in the morning.

e. Drink lots of fluid to rehydrate yourself.


3. Understand Cravings and Aversions. Don’t be surprised if you have strong likes and dislikes for certain food. It could be hormonal in nature. As long as you stay rational, avoid the food that spoil your mood and eat the food you like but do everything in moderation. These are the days when you should be in your best of health and not get sick to avoid medical interventions that may affect your developing baby. Remember to continue eating a variety of nutritious food.


4. Continue to be Active. For uncomplicated pregnancies, you can continue your active lifestyle. Remember that you are pregnant and not sick, but please do not overexert. Do the things that make you happy but avoid strenuous activities that will endanger the life of your baby, like rock climbing and bungee jumping.


5. Be Positive. A pregnant woman is also called expectant. A positive pregnant woman expects good things to happen. In fact something wonderful is already happening to you and your family even while you are still pregnant. So in the face of hardships, tell this to yourself - “This too shall pass.” And it will.


For the next stage, proceed to Parenting Tips for a Blissful Pregnancy: 2nd and 3rd trimesters.

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Proud Mom Messed Up Video Coverage

Posted by Mama Sez | Sunday, November 08, 2009

It was the school’s foundation day celebration before the semestral break. It was a chance for all students to present what they have been practicing for weeks. My son was part of the group that did the invocation through mime. Few days back, he repeatedly reminded me to be quiet and not to take pictures, for the flash will ruin the effects of their presentation. All lights were off except for the UV lights directed on them as their hands in white gloves form images and words, dramatizing the song “Find Us Faithful”. They were all in black with black mask so it was impossible to identify, locate or single out any one of them. I kept quiet as requested by my son…”it’s a prayer mom” and…. it was indeed very solemn.

When the scene was white birds flying, I felt so proud and whispered to my sister-in-law, “One of those is Leon”. When the word FAITH was formed, again I whispered, “He’s part of the letter I”. I took no pictures and kept quiet, except for the few whispers to my sister-in-law. But I guess the pounding of my heart was louder than the words I uttered. I was so proud of my son for I know he played his part very well and did his very best.

My daughter’s turn was towards the end of the program for their group did the dance evolution…the summary of all the presentations for the night. This time, I am allowed to take video and that was what I intended to do…but messed up. How?

I was making lots of remarks to my husband about how stunning and confident our daughter look on stage and about her cool yet elegant moves. I even responded to a friend behind me... teasingly asking from whom our daughter got her talent...and then, claiming that she got it all from me, of course! All those talks while I was recording the video…oops! It was already a good two minutes of video recording when I realized that aside from my eyes and hand, my mouth was at work as well.

My daughter loves to dance and she is good at it. She’s been to ballet, to jazz and modern dances but the recent performance was her first time to do hip-hop… more boyish moves for a change. Her every performance, no matter how big or small, gets me thrilled and I can’t help but admire her. She is indeed an improved version of me…an upgrade!

video

When we finally got home, I immediately uploaded the video and as expected, my remarks were clearly recorded. I cannot even directly post it to my Facebook account for I know my friends would tease me no end. Anyway, some minor editing will do, video segments will be lost but lessons were learned. I felt so sorry to mess up, please forgive me...I am just a proud Mama.

In the posted video, I was not able to delete all of the segments with my voice because I don’t want you to miss the nice moves in those portions. Consequently, you can still hear some of my remarks and cannot-be-contained happiness. My apologies.

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Follow parentsjourney on TwitterKids always look forward to refreshing treats especially during hot days. We know that nothing beats water in quenching thirst. But adding natural flavors to it make it healthier and more fun to drink, and might even encourage intake of more fluids. I will be sharing one natural and healthy refreshment I learned from a friend.

One afternoon, upon getting home from a sleepover in a friend’s house, my daughter excitedly told me about a new drink that her friend’s mom prepared for them. She said that it's called Pink Iced Tea and it was made from Sweet Potato or Camote tops and Calamansi, a kind of citrus fruit. My Fish Sinigang that is colored pink whenever I add Camote tops instead of Kangkong leaves came to mind. Sinigang is an Asian sour soup. The sourness of the soup reacts with the extracts from the Camote tops, thus turning the soup pink.

Pink Iced Tea (makes 4 glasses)

Ingredients:

12-16 shoots Camote tops (preferably with 3-4 purple young leaves with stems)
4 glasses Water
4 tbsp Pure honey
4 tbsp Calamansi extract (from about 10 regular-sized Calamansi fruit)
Crushed ice or ice cubes


How to prepare:

Boil water in a pot, then put the Camote tops and boil for another minute (Do not overcook the leaves). The water becomes deep green to bluish green in color. Remove the leaves and set aside in a platter. Let the stock cool. Pour in a clear pitcher, then add honey and calamansi extract. Stir then add ice cubes. Voila!.. the green stock becomes your pink iced tea!

If you don’t have a clear pitcher, pour the green stock in individual clear glasses, only ¾ full, then add 1 tbsp of honey and 1 tbsp of Calamansi in each. Stir then add ice. The idea is for your children to observe the change in color like magic, so the preparation can be a fun family activity, too. You can adjust the
honey and calamansi to suit your child’s taste.


Serve the boiled leaves as Sweet Potato salad with sliced tomatoes, soy sauce and Calamansi. Sweet Potato shoots (leaves and stem) are a good source of vitamins A, B, C, iron, calcium, zinc, and an excellent source of lutein. It is as nutritious as spinach. It can regulate blood sugar making it a healthy treat for diabetics. To know more about health benefits including anti-cancer and anti-hypertension properties, read this publication.

The use of honey instead of sugar is also good for diabetics. Honey, having a low glycemic index than table sugar, is a healthier alternative. The following link thoroughly discusses the benefits of honey over sugar.

Hope your kids will also be fond of this treat and enjoy its health benefits as well.


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Let the Child Play

Posted by Mama Sez | Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween is over and I am really thankful to a friend for inviting us to join the celebration in their village. It was our first time to let our children go trick or treating for in previous Halloweens we were content to just give out candies to neighborhood kids who’d drop by our place. We were so amazed with the lavish decorations of the houses, from freaky mannequins and streamers covering their entire fence to scary masks, pumpkins, critters and creeping hands to showoff.

Even the residents distributing candies were in costumes. The kids, from toddlers to teens were roaming around as Dracula, Snow White, Pirate, Fairy, Witch, Excalibur, Superman, Ladybug …you name it. The mood was indeed very festive. A house also offered a chocolate fountain treat that kids really relished.

Everyone later converged at the playground in the village park and enjoyed the usual seesaws, slides, swings, monkey bars and manual horse carousel plus a temporarily installed bouncy castle. Cotton candies and ice cream were free for all to enjoy. A photo booth was also available for those who wanted to capture the moment with a professional touch.

While my kids were having a blast, with my husband closely keeping an eye just to ensure everybody is safe, I sat down to rest and keep watch of my daughter’s wand and wings (she’s a fairy) and the candies they collected. Soon, a family shared the bench with me and occupied the next one as well.

Their child, probably four years old, was sitting on her nanny’s lap, eating popcorn. When she managed to step on the grass and walked away slowly, her movement got faster as if the nearest slide was pulling her away. She wanted to try it, but her nanny ran after her, while the other nanny holding her baby sister shouted, “Don’t let her play!” as if something terrible is going to happen??! The nanny carried the girl back to the bench, and again they sat and ate popcorn. What surprised me was that the father was also there, eating popcorn and fiddling with his nice, professional-looking camera unmindful of the nanny’s decision. Her granny in the next bench was also not bothered at all, did not say anything, and just continued eating away her popcorn.

It was very tempting to intervene and say “Please allow the child to play and enjoy, she wants to and she needs to. You can ensure her safety without depriving her of opportunities to meet friends, learn and have fun.” But I don’t know them and maybe it’s not an appropriate thing to do, so I controlled that urge and got contented with people-watching until an acquaintance happened to see me and had a long nice chat until it was time to go home.

I was reminded of the 6th natural immunity builder I shared in my last blog…Get Them Dirty. The girl looked overly protected, too sheltered, too clean but not happy. I can only hope she is not sickly. And wish she’d be freer to explore, which is what a pre-schooler ought to be doing. I also felt it’s kinda cruel to take a child to the playground and merely have her sit and watch lots of kids merrily moving about. Don’t you think so, too?

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About Us (circa 2009)

Our journey led us to this place. A little more than 10 years ago we began our journey as husband and wife. Three years later, we found ourselves with two bundles of joy- a daughter and then a son. They're the children we've dreamed of having.

About five years since the birth of our son, an unexpected gift came- a younger brother to our school-age kids. And soon enough, a baby girl arrived to round the family membership.

Brave was a term used by a friend to describe us. Challenging... and loving it -- yeah, this journey is not for the faint of heart.