Follow parentsjourney on TwitterIt’s a typical Friday afternoon except that I’m not feeling well and decided to forego the parenting seminar my husband and I wanted to attend. My eyes are swollen, itchy and red because of allergic conjunctivitis and I’m having this mild head and body ache…must be the hormones because the red flag is up. Red eyes and red flag, hmmn the message is clear, I had to stop and take a rest. I’m staying home, alright!
The kids arrived from school and they found me singing and watching the music video of “You Belong with Me” by Taylor Swift. I learned about this artist through my daughter as explained in this hub Taylor Swift: Music, Movies and Mansion I wrote a few days back. Here I am having fun singing with this beautiful artist and memorizing every line of the song, instead of resting. I even downloaded the lyrics. Well, I must admit, I found it more relaxing than just lying down.

My daughter gladly accepted my invitation to sing with me and there it goes...the mother and daughter tandem with Taylor Swift on the background, singing our hearts out, enjoying the song and living for the moment.

You Belong With Me (lyrics)

You're on the phone with your girlfriend, She's upset
She's going off about something that you said
She doesn't get your humour like I do

I'm in the room, its a typical Tuesday night
I'm listening to the kind of music she doesn't like
And she'll never know your story like I do

But she wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts
She's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers
Dreaming bout the day when you wake up and find
That what you're lookin for has been here the whole time

If you could see that I'm the one who understands you
Been here all along so why can't you see?
You belong with me
You belong with me

Walkin the streets with you in your worn out jeans
I cant help thinking this is how it ought to be
Laughing on the park bench thinkin to myself
Hey isnt this easy?

And you've got a smile that could light up this whole town
I haven't seen it in awhile, since she brought you down
You say you find I know you better than that
Hey, Whatcha doing with a girl like that?

She wears high heels, I wear sneakers
She's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers
Dreaming bout the day when you wake up and find
That what you're looking for has been here the whole time

If you could see that I'm the one who understands you
Been here all along so why can't you see?
You belong with me

Standin by, waiting at your back door
All this time how could you not know that?
You belong with me
You belong with me

Oh I remember you driving to my house in the middle of the night
I'm the one who makes you laugh when you know you're about to cry
I know your favorite songs and you tell me about your dreams
I think I know where you belong. I think I know it's with me.

Can't you see that I'm the one who understands you?
Been here all along so why can't you see?
You belong with me

Standing by or waiting at your back door
All this time how could you not know that
You belong with me
You belong with me

Have you ever thought just maybe
You belong with me
You belong with me

Who said I’m sick? Uh uh, I said I was just not feeling well. My eyes are still red, swollen and itchy...I’m having a bout of allergic conjunctivitis and the red flag is up but I’m not letting myself down. Taylor Swift, her song and the duet with my daughter just made me feel better.

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Follow parentsjourney on TwitterMy adrenaline level is I am challenged by my husband to come up with a natural body cleansing detox diet plan so we can keep our pledge of health, which is vital in ensuring that both of us will be together longer for our children and for each other. For sure I am not choosing the flight response because I am 100% ready to fight preventable lifestyle diseases head on. You may say that this ultimate objective is quite corny, but this is unarguably true to us and to other parents who have come to realize that once we become parents, we do not live just for ourselves anymore. Utmost care of our own selves become more imperative so we can be there for our offspring for the duration that we're needed. We have no major health concerns at the moment, but both of us deemed it necessary to fight our genetic predispositions to hypertension, diabetes and cancer. Prevention is always better than cure.

As I enriched my knowledge on cleansing and detoxification and as the principles became clearer, I was pleasantly surprised with what I found out. I learned that detoxification is not all about deprivation and starvation; instead it involves total indulgence of the body’s needs for proper nourishment, cleansing, relaxation and regeneration.

Basically, when under a body cleansing detox diet plan, (i) the amount of chemicals ingested is minimized (use of organic products as much as possible, no preservatives), (ii) foods that provide nourishment, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants necessary for detoxification are emphasized (raw vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts and seeds), and (iii) fiber and water intake are improved to increase the frequency of bowel movement and urination, which are the main passages of toxins away from the body.

Having all these in mind and looking at sample cleansing detox diet recipes, I am progressing on our own personalized diet plan. My research on detoxification, health and nutrition continues, but it is becoming clearer that our current diet doesn’t need a complete overhaul to qualify for a detoxification regimen. Though some favorite dishes will be missed, it looks like our upcoming detoxification journey is not to be dreaded; instead it is something to look forward to with all the health and wellness we expect to gain from it.

I intend to update you with the progress of this journey and provide more enlightenment on the subject. But for now let me share two of our favorite vegetable salads which are bound to be incorporated in our natural body cleansing detox diet plan.

Radish and Tomato Salad

4 pcs Radish

4 pcs Tomatoes

1 pc Green Bell Pepper

1 stalk Spring Onion

6 tbsp White Vinegar

½ tsp Salt

1 tsp Muscovado Sugar

¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper

Peel and slice the radish thinly crosswise. Slice tomatoes longitudinally. Mince green bell pepper and spring onion. Place vegetables in a large bowl. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small glass or bowl and stir to dissolve salt and sugar. Put the mixture together with the vegetables in the large bowl. You can let the mixture cool for 30 minutes in the refrigerator or serve immediately. This is good for 4-5 people.

Modifications made from the original recipes to suit a body cleansing detox program are the following (i) reduction in salt, (ii) use of Muscovado instead of brown sugar, and (iii) inclusion of more greens: green bell pepper and spring onion.

Ampalaya (Bitter gourd/Bitter melon) and Tomato Salad

2 pcs Ampalaya

4 pcs Tomatoes

1 pcs White Onion

6 tbsp White Vinegar

1 tbsp Fish Sauce

1 tsp Salt

¼ tsp Ground Black Pepper

2 tbsp Olive Oil

Cut ampalaya into half longitudinally. Remove the white pith and seeds in the middle using a spoon. Cut thinly crosswise. Put in a bowl, add the salt and squeeze the bitter juice out. Slice tomatoes and onion longitudinally and mix with the squeezed ampalaya. Add vinegar, fish sauce, olive oil and black pepper, then mix. Makes 4-5 hefty servings.

Modifications made from the original recipes to suit a body cleansing detox program are the following (i) reduction in salt, and (ii) addition of olive oil as source of monounsaturated fatty acid.

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Posted by Mama Sez | Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Follow parentsjourney on TwitterI was researching about discipline, positive parenting and corporal punishment, and was so engrossed with an article I was reading when I heard my 2 year-old son screaming this morning. Apparently, he got mad because the television was turned off after his morning dose of Dora the Explorer. He wanted to have the DVD played over and over, which is not allowed in our household (an hour in front of the television is the maximum in a day, usually just 30 minutes for him). For certain, another tantrum episode is to ensue because he got frustrated.

I see that his tantrums occur when he gets too frustrated not getting what he wants, when he is too sleepy or tired (and he doesn't want to sleep) and when he is sick…times when he needs more attention. I usually handle his tantrums by trying to keep cool for a moment (not to react), talk to him about the issue, find him something else to do, make him sleep or rest, or attend to his medical needs, but not to give in to what he wants. But it is not as simple as it may seem because I also feel frustrated if he doesn’t comply at once. Sometimes I feel my voice quivering as I talk to him because I’m on the verge of crying. His personality is overpowering that I get so scared at times, but I know I need to hide the fear. There were occasions when I spanked him on his butt with my bear hands to make him stop crying and screaming. The spanking brings the tantrum to a halt but I feel so regretful deep inside having hurt him, especially when he hugs me tight and say “Sorry, Mommy!”

This time, I stopped what I was doing, went downstairs to the living room, and carried him away from the TV with much resistance from him, of course. He continued screaming but I stayed calm. I asked him to just resume eating the banana he was holding and as expected the idea was rejected. Guessing that he wouldn’t insist on watching TV if I give him the attention he needs, I told him that I will make myself available for him if he will stop crying…that we can start by sharing a snack because I was hungry, then we will do what he wants except watch TV because he is done with it. He didn’t say yes but he immediately stopped crying, finished the banana he was holding and eagerly waited for me to finish preparing our sandwich. He even suggested that we take our snacks in the west patio of the house. However, it was drizzling so we opted to proceed to the bedroom.

After our snacks, we played "dropping dead", taking turns falling down on a pile of pillows on the bed, a game that he "invented". Then we lazily lied down and enjoyed the cool feel of the sheets on our skin while we sang “I Have Two Hands” around five times, I think. In such a short period he shifted his mood from grouchy to happy. He left me in the room with a smile (and without saying anything), went downstairs and played with his baby sister. What a relief and what a beautiful feeling to make a tantrum episode pass by without me having a tantrum myself. I was even cheerful throughout.

My research on discipline, corporal punishment and positive parenting had to wait as I responded to the upheaval made by my son. It was an opportunity to apply what was written by experienced parents, psychologists and researchers. What my son did and how we resolved it positively was the real deal...theory applied in real life. So I want to share this experience as a testament that there are better ways to handle a tantrum than to meet it head on, especially when dealing with a headstrong tot like my son.

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Follow parentsjourney on TwitterThe topic about children's birthday celebration came up over the weekend as my daughter and her cousin had an instant joint birthday celebration. It's actually an advanced celebration as her cousin had to leave for Australia tomorrow. Her family spent part of the holidays with us in time for a family reunion and a wedding early this month. All these family activities also explains the lull in this part of the blogosphere in the past few weeks

Children's birthday celebrations are big events for every family. Remembering the arrival of each bundle of joy always delights parents; and for kids, this is the time to enjoy being the center of attention and more often than not having their wishes granted. Every family may have varying ways of commemorating a member’s birthday, but for certain, the foremost objective is to bring happiness to the celebrant and to show gratefulness for the gift of life and good health.

Family circumstances like financial status, location, work and other commitments as well as cultural tradition may have played a role in how we celebrate our children’s big day. But in general, celebrating their birthdays has continuously evolved as they grow because we make it a point to consider their view of what a happy celebration should be. It is their day anyway, right?

It has been a practice in our community (probably in many others, too) that the first and seventh birthdays of a child should be celebrated. I asked why, but the explanations given to me when I was younger did not seem to suffice. It was only when I already have a child of my own did it sink that infancy is the most vulnerable stage in the life of a child. The family has to go through a lot of anxieties regarding the baby’s health and well-being such that having reached her first birthday indeed calls for a celebration. The seventh birthday is celebrated for the milestones in the child’s development. This is the time when a child already engages in serious education in the academics, social skills development and practical life. It is also the stage when a child is developing friendships with kids of similar ages in school and in the neighborhood, whom he/she can celebrate the day with.

Below are some basic guidelines we follow in celebrating our children’s birthday. It may or may not apply directly to others but certainly, some aspects are worth considering.
  • Try to be consistent in handling each child’s birthday celebration. It doesn’t have to be the same in everything but there are key points that should not be ignored. For our three kids who had celebrated their first birthday, all of them had banners printed on cloth or tarp, a cake with lighted candle to blow and a theme corresponding to their interests at that time. When they are older and would like to review what happened on their 365th day on earth outside Mama’s womb, they can tell from the photos how important each one is and how they are equally loved by their parents.
  • Consult the celebrant. A child’s concept of celebration is largely influenced by that of the parents'. But as they grow older and seek individuality, their concept of enjoyment and happiness would eventually differ from them. For the seventh birthday of our older kids, we felt the time was right to solicit their ideas on how they want the celebration to happen. Considering all limitations, we made do of what was feasible. If you are afraid that the child might ask something unaffordable, I have to say it is not always the case. You’ll be surprised to hear their simple wishes. Besides, if what they want is not feasible, compromises can be made.
    For their seventh birthday, a bubble show school party for my daughter whose birthday falls on a school day and a family gathering for my son whose birthday falls on a summer school break were memorable events for them that did not cost us much. My daughter wished for a school party with lots of games to play. I can’t be a party host so I seek professional help that led me to a bubble show package. Because I paid for a party host, I had to cut cost somewhere. I decided to cook the food myself instead of having it catered and I didn’t buy her a new dress for the occasion. She was too willing to give up a new dress because she got too excited with the bubble show concept. My son wished for a school party as well but it was not possible because his birthday falls on summer break. Fortunately, we came up with the idea of making him "King for a day" and for the rest of the family to grant the King’s wishes. With a cheap crown and an old cape, the King decided what movie to watch on DVD, what food to eat and what game to play. Who wouldn’t be so elated?
    • When the child is older, let her/him plan for the event. As we train our children to become independent, we encourage them to be vocal with what they want and let them take part in making it happen. The ninth birthday of my daughter became a milestone for her because she got the chance to plan every detail of the event. She informed me of her plans and asked for approval and assistance in the execution. She chose her closest friends to be with her on what she called a “girls night out”. Days before the event, she held meetings with her friends to chart out their night out. Together with her friends, she decided in which restaurant to eat, what food to order and then pay the bill herself using her savings. My husband and I were seated on a separate table and had to pay for our own meal…funny eh. They did a lot of other girl stuff together and enjoyed so much that their giggles linger in the air throughout the night. Their uncontainable excitement as I picked them up from school and the joyful singing inside the car as we drove each of them home assured me that the event was really a success. Our involvement was limited to asking permission from the parents, shuttling them from school to the mall and then to each girl’s house, and of course to chaperon and run some errands for them.

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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.