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Friday, June 16, 2017

The Utang Culture: Top 5 Ways for Filipinos to Borrow Money

Who has never heard of the word “utang” in the Philippines? Of course, almost everyone who has lived in the country for at least a year is familiar with it.

Debt is deeply ingrained in the Filipino culture, so much so that nearly half of Pinoy adults (47.1%) have an outstanding loan and 33.8% had owed money in the past, according to the 2015 financial inclusion survey of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Only 19.1% or two in 10 adults have never borrowed money.

Why is lending or pautang so popular in the Philippines? Because Filipino families need quick cash. The BSP survey shows that people borrow money for food and other basic necessities, school-related expenses, and emergencies. Pinoys also have a lot of lending services to choose from to meet their short-term financial needs.

Here is an overview of the five common borrowing options in the Philippines, their benefits and drawbacks, and some tips to avoid getting buried in debt.

Pawning or Sangla

Pawning involves handing a valuable item such as jewelry to a pawnshop as collateral for a loan. When you pay off the loan and interest, you’ll get your collateral back. If you don’t, the pawnshop will keep it.

● Quick, easy access to cash – Unlike banks, pawnshops don’t conduct credit investigations and require documents from borrowers. Within a few minutes, you can easily pawn your valuable item for cash.
● Legitimate – Pawnshops in the Philippines are regulated by the BSP, which issues strict guidelines to protect Filipino consumers.

Typically, you have only 30 days to pay off your loan. However, you can choose to renew your loan term.

● Do your research on pawning services and make sure the one you’ll deal with has a business permit and is supervised by or registered with the BSP.
● Evaluate your ability to pay the loan on time before you pawn an item, especially if it has sentimental value such as a family heirloom or wedding ring.

Borrowing Money from Family and Friends

More than half or 61.9% of Pinoys who are in debt borrow money from their family, relatives and friends, according to the BSP survey. It isn’t surprising at all. Having close family ties is part of Filipino culture, so it’s hard to refuse a relative’s request to borrow money. What makes it even harder is when you owe that person an utang na loob—meaning you have a moral obligation to repay that favor. This practice is also common among friends and colleagues, especially during petsa de peligro.

This is the easiest, fastest way to borrow money without interest and collateral.

● Promoting too much dependence – This practice encourages people to depend on their more affluent relatives or friends for financial help instead of helping themselves get out of debt.
● Social and emotional cost – Unpaid debts often lead to conflicts, stress and strained relationships.

● If you often borrow money from your loved ones, take a long, hard look at your spending and saving habits and work on improving them.
● If family and friends often turn to you for financial help, learn to say “no.” You’re not actually helping them to become financially independent if you keep on lending money.

Credit Cards

Three million Filipinos own almost seven million credit cards, according to the Credit Card Association of the Philippines. It’s no wonder because these plastic cards are convenient for online shopping and in-person purchases.

● Useful in emergencies – Credit cards can cover unexpected expenses such as medical bills.
● Promos and deals – Many credit cards offer rewards programs, cash rebates, consumer protection features, and other perks.
● Good financial management tool – Credit card bills contain details of your every transaction, making it easy to monitor your expenses.

● Easy to rack up debts – It can be tempting to spend money that you don’t have. Impulsive spending and late payments can get you into credit card debt.
● Risk of fraud – If you’re not careful enough, hackers may steal your credit card information and use it for large purchases without your knowledge.

● Use your credit card only for things you can afford to pay for.
● Always pay the total outstanding balance or at least the minimum amount not later than the due date.
● Don’t go over your credit limit to avoid extra fees.

Bank Loans

Banks typically provide three loan products: personal loans, auto loans and housing loans. Depending on the type of loan, the bank may require a collateral or not, and interest rates are either fixed or variable.

● Ability to make large purchases – With a bank loan, you can finance your child’s education or your dream house or car. Banks offer minimum amounts of Php 10,000 million for personal loans, Php 100,000 for auto loans, and Php 400,000 for home loans.
● Flexible and longer repayment terms – You can choose from 12 to 36 months to pay off your loan.

Banks impose strict eligibility and numerous documentary requirements. Processing also takes several days because banks conduct credit checks to assess a borrower’s capability to pay off a loan.

● To ensure loan approval, make sure you have good credit standing and pay off your outstanding debt before you apply.
● Never miss a repayment to avoid penalties and hurting your credit score.

5-6 Loans or ATM Loans

Having been around for several decades now, “5-6” is infamous for charging a high interest rate of 20% and being peddled by Indian money lenders on motorbikes. Filipinos in dire financial needs, especially in the rural and urban poor areas, easily fall prey to this lending practice.

5-6 loans provide quick cash for the family’s urgent needs. Usually, no collateral is needed, except for ones that ask for an ATM card.

● Risk of getting ripped off – 5-6 lenders have no permit to operate and are not regulated by the government.
● Extremely high interest rate – Because 5-6 lenders collect the loan payments daily, it seems that you’re paying small amounts. But you’re actually paying much more because of the 20% interest.

● Avoid them as much as possible. 5-6 loans and other loan sharks that ask for ATM cards as collaterals are considered predatory lending practices. In fact, the government has been warning the public against them.
● Consider other lending services in the Philippines such as those from banks and other reputable financial institutions.

Have you ever owed money? Getting a loan is not inherently bad. It can even be a great way to grow your funds, such as for starting or expanding a business. However, many Filipinos experience money problems when they borrow beyond their limits. The key to avoiding huge debts is to choose a loan and lender wisely and being a responsible borrower.

Image Credit:
Photo courtesy of Lauren C via Flickr
Photo courtesy of iiijaoyingiii via Pixabay
Photo courtesy of JESHOOTS via Pixabay
Photo courtesy of Nick Youngson via
Photo courtesy of William Grootonk via Flickr

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Be Ready With A Disaster Kit For Emergency Situations

It has been three years since Super Typhoon Haiyan which is locally known as Super Typhoon Yolanda hit our area killing thousands. The memory of the disaster remains fresh in my mind. It is still heartbreaking to know that many lost their loved ones, many lost their homes and many couldn't even move on until now.

Even if Tacloban managed to remain firm and the Warayanons were able to get up on their feet despite all the pain and hardships that we face, it can never turn back the time and bring back the lives that were lost.

No one wants that to happen again. But no one can also stop that from happening again. Since I came to Leyte, I have experienced different storms but none of them were as strong as Haiyan. And we know that another super typhoon might hit our area once again in the future because of its location.

Disaster Kit

One thing that we need to do during times like this is to prepare. We have to get ready for every important thing that we need in order to get through the tough times. Supertyphoon or not, we still need to be ready especially that typhoons come in the Philippines year round.

That is why we have to prepare a disaster kit not just for typhoons but even for other emergency situations. Below is an infographic of what you need to prepare.

Disaster Kit

Apparently, aside from food and extra clothing, we would also need batteries. These will be a big help to provide power to our flashlights, radios, and even mini-fans. We have to get batteries that will last long like the one we can get from Groupon Goods.

Aside from being able to buy what we need, can also save a lot of money if we use Groupon Goods because of the items cost lower than what we can usually buy from the market. We can also see helpful ratings and reviews which will help us determine which one to buy.

Groupon Goods

I recommend buying in bulk because this way, we can save a lot and it is important that we have available batteries all the time of the year. So, if you did not get ready yet, you have to make sure that you prepare your disaster kit as early as today because we will never know when disasters and other emergencies will happen.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Monitor Kid’s Internet Activity: Should Parents Spy On?

More and more minors are increasingly using smartphones, tablets, and computers. The upside is that there is increased connectivity because of social networking sites for kids. The downside is that it exposes them to various problems associated with social networking and Internet use.

Dangers of Internet Activity

Many people, including adults and children do not understand that their information on social networking sites is not anonymous and may expose them to various problems. Here are some reasons why you should snoop on your kids.

Sexual Predators

The use of social networking sites increases the potential for children to be victimized or behave inappropriately. Most smartphones can be used to send normal texts as well as chat on social media. This means that a teenager can multitask by texting as well as chatting on social media. Many young people do not understand the dangers of posting their personal information or pictures on social networking sites. Sexual predators often use personal information of minors on the Internet to manipulate them.

kids internet activity

Illegal Activities

The fact that many people, including teenagers, think that the information they put on social media is anonymous, may encourage them to do things or behave in ways that they might not in person. This may include posting offensive comments, racial slurs, or even engage in cyber bullying. Although kids may not know it at the time, such actions may not only be destructive and cruel but also criminal. Although some social networking sites may block users who are behaving in ways that are criminal or offensive, parental monitoring is still necessary to ensure that your child does not use poor judgment.

Inappropriate Language and Content

Some social networking sites do not censor users’ posts or language. Kids using social networking sites without parental monitoring risk being exposed to inappropriate content and language including pornography, alcohol, and overt sexual content and images. Some children lack the maturity to sort out potentially inappropriate or manipulative content. Some may even share overtly sexual images and messages that in some cases may be illegal.

Sleep Deprivation

Excessive use of social media may promote sleep deprivation, anxiety and other emotional problems. Many teenagers sleep with their phones under their pillows or on their beds so that they can easily access their phones anytime of the night to chat and surf through social networking sites. 

Some teens chat with their friends and even strangers into the late hours of the night. Social networking has a high potential for addiction because it provides immediate gratification of chat responses. It is important for parents to monitor social media use and insist that their kids turn off their smartphones, tablets, or computers after certain hours.

Other Behavior Issues

If you have concerns about your child’s behavior, even those that are not related to social media use, it may be paramount to monitor their use of social networking sites. 

Children who hide their social media profiles, refuse to let their parents see their profiles, or are dishonest about their smartphone use may be engaging in potentially risky behavior. When your child starts making poor choices in life such as drinking, smoking or skipping school, then he/she is probably making poor choices in social media as well.

kids internet use

Photo Credit: Petras Gagilas

How to Track Your Child's Internet Activity

As a parent, it is necessary to keep your children out of harassing via information technology. Let’s take a look how to track what your child does online.

Random Walk-Ins

Walk into your child’s room once a while when he does not expect it. This will give your child little or no time to hide what he is doing. This will help keep your child off the websites that he is not allowed to visit. However, this method should be used in combination with other monitoring techniques.

Check Browser History

Check your child’s browser history after he has used his computer. You can do this by clicking history at the browser menu and then clicking “show all history”. Your will get results of all the websites including social networking sites that your child visited. Although this may not show you what your child looked at while on social networking sites, it is still valuable information because you will be able to see the social media pages that your child visited.

Familiarise With the Social Platforms

Send your child a friend request or follow him on social media. Once your become a friend with your child or follow him, you will have full access to his profile and even social media activities. This will give you invaluable information on who his friends are and how she talks on social networking sites. Look over past social media posts of your child. Once your child becomes your friend on social media, you can read all his past posts to make sure he is not using inappropriate language on social media. It will also help you understand if your child is being cyber-bullied.

Internet Activity Monitor

Consider purchasing and installing an internet activity monitor or child protection software on your child’s computer. This will give you authority to determine the websites that your child can access on the Internet.

Engage Your Child in an Open Dialogue

Have an open discussion with your child about social networking and whom he talks to on the Internet. In addition, keep your child’s computer in an open place and actively supervise his activities on social media. Know the social media pages that your child has joined as well as the games and applications that he uses. Find out if the pages, games, and applications are appropriate for your child.

Talk to your child and explain the importance of safety on social media. Guide her choices, listen to her needs, and adapt to them without compromising her online safety. Participate in your child’s social media activities and know whom she is communicating with online.

No Underage Social Media Use

Children below the age of 13 are not permitted to sign-up on social networking sites. However, it is very difficult for social networking sites to enforce this rule because some children lie about their year of birth. As a parent, you need to make sure that your child does not join social media until he is 13 and you are comfortable with him having a social media account.

Check Privacy Settings

Check the privacy settings for your child’s social media site and make sure they are set appropriately. This will not only protect your child’s social media activities, but it will also protect your computer from viruses and malware.

Many children engage with social networking sites at an early age and it is important for parents to guide and monitor the activities. As a parent, you can snoop on your child’s social media activities to ensure that his communications are safe and appropriate.

About The Author: Riya is a stay-at-home mom with 1 little girl. She is also a freelance writer and now writing for yourtown, the company where delivers services that tackle issues affecting the lives of children and young people. In her pastime, she always enjoys reading, cooking, pocketbooks and playing with her cat. Check out her Twitter.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Business Ideas You Can Start with Kids

Do you want to start a business that will allow you to work with kids every day while also helping them run the show and acquire a strong work ethic? Then rest assured that there are many ways to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true.

Business Ideas You Can Start with Kids

Check out some of the business ideas you can start with kids below, and remember that if you aren’t too confident in your abilities to run your own business, you can always attend an online school like Arizona State University to enroll in one of their many online business programs, such as their online bachelors in business.

Pet Sitting and Baby Sitting

Pet Sitting

The traditional job of baby sitting is still very popular amongst responsible teens today. You can start your own business with teens that like being around children, as well as pets, by organizing your own sitting business. As the kids acquire steady clients, they’ll gain more experience and be able to use that experience to grow their client base.

Social Media Consultation

Social Media Consultation

Fellow businesses want to know how to use the power of social media networks today, as it can be challenging to create pages that truly work at generating traffic and increasing conversions. You and your teen can work together to develop a business in which you can work with other small businesses and help them understand how to use social networks, blogs, etc. 

You may be surprised by how well companies pay when they want to access experts in this field. And if your teen is really good at it, they can even offer to not only consult, but also work as a social media manager, to generate an even higher income.

Open an Online Store

Open an Online Store

Do you know kids that have a special artistic talent? Perhaps they’re amazing painters or they can make beautiful jewelry that people want to purchase. Use those skills as an opportunity to open up an e-commerce shop that can be promoted online to generate sales. 

As long as you have the time to create the products, take high quality product photos, and write great product descriptions, you can put everything on your shop and then wait for the sales to come in. Of course, you’ll need to have a marketing plan in place, as well as a method for shipping, taking returns, and conducting customer service too.



If you know kids who love to share their knowledge with others and who are talented in a particular field, whether that’s English, math, science, or even playing a musical instrument, you can start a tutoring business. 

Many students want to learn outside of the classroom, and many students struggle to keep their grades up, so tutors are always in demand. The hourly rate could be quite high for this type of job, and as long as you do well, word of mouth will generate more clients.

These fun business ideas can be executed with the help of smart kids who want to enter the world of business and start working from a young age. Enjoy the process, as you never know just how successful you can be until you try.

Read Also: Don't Be a Dumb Online Shopper

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Developing Healthy Eating Habits in Children

Once again, Sally is here to share to us some tips to help us become a Super Mom! This time, she will show us how to develop healthy eating habits in our children which is of course very much important.

Developing Healthy Eating Habits in Children

If you're a mother, you have a lot of things on your plate. You're responsible for keeping your children happy and healthy. A whole lot goes into that. If you want to raise a child who is well-rounded and full of joy, you should pay careful attention to the things he puts in his mouth.

Developing healthy eating habits is key for young children. Good eating habits for kids are important. They can pave the way for futures that are healthy, productive and full of energy. If you want your children to be healthy for life, it's never too early to begin teaching them the immense value of nutrition.

Shape a Good Snacking Habit

Good snacks for kids aren't always easy to find. If you're searching for healthy treats for kids, keep your youngsters far, far away from cookies and potato chips. These foods are junk foods that are packed with calories and devoid of beneficial nutrients. Make a point to provide your youngsters with an abundance of healthier alternatives. Examples include homemade oatmeal cookies, homemade baked veggie chips, yogurt, unsalted nuts, fresh fruit and popcorn that's air-popped. If your kids are ever in need of easy healthy snacks on the go, you can't beat these high-quality options. It's crucial for parents never to fall into the trap of feeding their children unhealthy snacks that are easy and cheap.

Let’s take Bhuja crunchy seasoned peas as an example of excellent and healthy snack options for hungry youngsters who feel like noshing on something. Kids absolutely adore the taste of these seasoned peas. They adore their fun and crunchy textures, too. These snacks are free of trans fats and are great sources of both protein and fiber. If you're searching for healthy treats for the wonderful children in your life, you can't really beat these.

children eating habits

Create a Sense of Involvement

There are many ways to promote healthy eating patterns in youngsters. If you want your children to gain a strong interest in nutritious and balanced eating, try to take them with you on grocery shopping trips whenever possible. If your child visits the supermarket with you, you'll get the opportunity to discuss nutrition in great detail with him. The more proactive your child feels about eating well the better. You can even ask your child for suggestions for healthy foods you can buy. Providing your child with a sense of involvement can be invaluable. It can give him the confidence necessary to focus on making healthy nutrition choices for life.

Make it a Positive Family Activity

You can also help your child develop strong eating habits by regularly consuming meals as a family. Make dining a bonding activity for your family. Focus on establishing a mealtime routine (.pdf) that's enjoyable, relaxing and fun for all. Ask your children how their school days were. Talk to them about their favorite pastimes and toys. Work hard to make them link mealtime with happiness and serenity. If they link mealtime with negative feelings such as frustration and tension, it may cause them to react by turning to unhealthy foods that are in no way nutritious or beneficial to them.

children drinking habits

Encourage Them to Drink More Water

Promote water intake. Sodas and juices are packed with sugar. They can make children feel lethargic and zapped of energy. They can also introduce excess calories that can bring on weight gain and other related health issues. If you want your children to follow well-rounded and healthy diets, make sure they drink plenty of water all the time. Give them water to drink alongside their meals, or opt for homemade juice instead of regular ones in the market. Restrict soda and juice intake as well. Let them drink juice and soda as "once in awhile" rare treats.

Final Thought

Focus on ingredients and portions. Help your children establish healthy eating patterns by always concentrating on ingredients and portions. Always cautiously follow portion instructions that are indicated on food packages. Try to keep your children far away from foods that contain trans fat as well. If you want your children to be healthy eaters for life, a little effort can often go an extremely long way.

About the Writer

This post is written by Sally is a working woman and a mother of 2 kids (currently 10 and 8), living in a suburb of Brisbane. As mom, she learn so much about providing healthier and happier lifestyle for her kids. You can find more of her articles being featured on

Images provided by Sally.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

5 Reasons for Being Disorganized and How to Change That

Organizing can be a really bothersome task, unless of course you happen to be one of those people who really like a place for everything and everything in its place. Anyone who happens to struggle with the issue is probably aware that staying organized over long periods of time can be a real challenge. 

Clutter is not only pretty unpleasant to behold, but it is also something that closely reflects our mental state and what we do with our lives at any given moment. Staying organized will take discipline and persistence or else you will be facing a truly chaotic situation. 

reasons for being disorganized

There is no storage solution that will be universal, so you will need to consider different solutions to the problem if you want to avoid the worst of it. You will need to get down to brass tacks and figure out the underlying cause for all of this by addressing and solving it:

 Disorganization as a habit

If this is the case, then your disorganized state will be a bad habit you may have developed as time goes by. When it comes to habitual disorganization manifesting then that is a behavior that could be categorized in different ways: stacking, piling, stashing, hiding and so much more. 

If you happen to suffer from this then you will need to understand how it becomes a part of your daily habits. The real issue in most cases is that it becomes a part of our personality and we stay disorganized for the rest of our lives if we don’t do something about it. You’re the only one who can make a difference, so do that now and not later. End procrastination and get to work on house clearance and decluttering today.

• Setting up a system

There is no denying that it requires discipline to stay organized, but you cannot do that without forming a habit. Doing that will require you to prepare for it well ahead of time with a good system of organizing, such as getting used to working on a room by room basis for organizing purposes. 

disorganized tips

Start small and work your way from there, setting up different groups of items meant for different purposes. A good example of that would be one pile where you place items meant for donations during decluttering, one for selling purposes and one for items you will actually keep. This phase is extremely important, as it will let you make the job easier further down the line as time goes by.

 Working with professional clearance companies

This should let you handle everything in a really unique way, as they will give you the edge you need to make your organizing easier, especially if you plan on this as something you want to do every year. Get around to it, scout the market for potential clearance companies and see which one has the best track record out there to make your organizing efforts easier than ever.

Now that you know the reasons for being disorganized and you were also given certain solutions, I hope that you will be able to find the answer of how to do away with clutter and I also hope that your chores and other activities will be more successful because of being organized.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Independent Travelling Tips With Kids

Tired of all the year-round stress and work? Want to take a break and see the world in a different perspective? The best way to do that is through independent travelling. This will surely give you an experience that you will never forget.

Independent Travelling Tips

When we say independent travelling, it means that you plan everything by yourself from the dates to the hotels and as well as to the activities you will do in the areas. You don't pay for a travel agency. You look for places to visit and you follow your own schedule. 

I haven't tried travelling with a travel agency because I prefer independent travelling. I don't want to be dragged on schedules and I am choosy on places to visit. Also, it is more satisfying on my part to plan my own trip.

But if it is your first time to do this, make sure that you will look into this three important tips that we will share below so that your first independent travel will be successful and full of fun.

1. Choose a destination. Of course, the first thing that you need to do is to choose a place to visit. If there is a certain destination that you want to see, check this out and try to list down which tourist spots you want to go when you arrive there. But don't just stick to one destination. Try to consider other places too so you can choose the best place to visit. 

2. Plan your trip based on your budget. You don't have to spend all your savings for a trip. So, allocate a certain budget for that. Then look for best rates for flights, and other transportation that you need. Book a flight earlier so that you can get a cheaper rate. Look for hotels that are not so expensive. Check their amenities if suits to your needs and reserve ahead of time. Also, allocate a budget for food. Try to look for restaurants that you want to try and check their menu prices.  

3. Know what to pack. Since you have planned everything already, make sure that you will plan beforehand on the things that you need to pack especially if you will be travelling with the kids. Don't forget to travel light. Why? Because this will save you for the check-in luggage and it would be easier to go transfer from the airport to the hotel with a light luggage. Also, you will surely hate it to wait on the baggage area for a long time!

It isn't that hard, right? Well, to make things a lot easier, you can just do it step by step and do it months earlier so that you won't be in a rush. Nothing beats a well-planned trip. But what about if you are travelling with the kids? Well, here is an infographic which gives parents some travelling advice from the kids. 

For sure, the kids know what they want. So, if you will try to follow their advice, you will realize that it can actually make a trip fun!

Travel Advice from Your Kids infographic

Have a safe and fun travel!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

How Your Toddler Can Play and Learn at the Same Time

Our kids can play all day and they don't seem to get tired. But did you know that playing can help them a lot? Here is a guest post from Sally who have shared to us some helpful articles last month.

How Your Toddler Can Play and Learn at the Same Time

Parents who are looking for a way to have fun with their child while promoting physical, emotional and cognitive health should look into a variety of puzzles for their child. Child’s provide so many benefits to the child’s development, and it’s something that you can do with your child as a family activity. Puzzles and problem solving activities for toddlers are also ways that your child can spend time on their own.

There is a wide selection of puzzles available for infants up through the toddler age and into grade school that target the improvement of mental and physical skills. You can start your child out at a young age to start problem solving with puzzles, and increase the difficulty of the puzzles as they grow. There are many levels and suggested ages to look at as they begin their journey solving puzzles. Here are a few reasons to include puzzles in your child’s daily routine.


Photo Courtesy to Jussi Linkola/

Cognitive Benefits

Options like a snake cube or jigsaw puzzles are going to help your child’s cognitive development in a variety of ways. They are going to learn how to recognize shapes and patterns, and figure out how to make shapes connect with each other. The child’s memory has to work to remember how to turn and move the pieces around, and to remember which pieces didn’t fit when tried. At first the child may have a hard time recognizing which points connect together to create a total picture, but over time they will know how to align the pieces so they slide into place, or so they can easily be pushed or snapped into place.

Sorting the pieces by classification, like color, character and edges helps improve eye recognition tactics. The child will be able to see that just like the puzzle, and many things around them are built like a puzzle. They will have to solve problems with their hands using puzzles, and learning how to solve a snake cube puzzle is something they can progress to.

Physical Development Enhancement

Moving and turning the puzzle pieces helps develop fine motor skills, which will help the child with tying shoes, buttoning their pants, writing and coloring and more. Hand to eye coordination is also going to improve. The mind has to deliver the right message to the hands, and over time the puzzle configuring and mind to body messages will improve and get faster. This allows the child’s hands and mind to learn to react to things more quickly.

Physical Development Enhancement

Puzzle activities that stack will help your child recognize and learn about weight distribution and balance. Working with the puzzles by stacking, sorting and balancing, will help your child make things fit, when cleaning their room or doing other physical activities.

Emotional Encouragement and Improvement

Puzzles are great for encouraging emotional development and improving confidence. The child will have to see that if they don’t give up and keep trying, they can use their mind to get through their struggles and situations. Finishing the puzzle is a goal, and the child learns that their goals can be accomplished even if they have to work on them a little at a time.

Emotional Encouragement and Improvement

The puzzles can also show your child how to work and solve problems independently, without you guiding them step by step. They should learn to resolve problems and try all possible positions or solutions until asking for help. The puzzles are going to improve the mind by strengthening their confidence, decision making and critical thinking.

There are puzzle games that you sort by color, size and shape. As your child gets older puzzles can help to teach numbers, letters, animals and other things, and the child will think that they are playing a game and having fun. You can use puzzles to help the child learn without it feeling like you are trying to get them to memorize information.

If your child is having any struggles or is missing any milestones in their physical or intellectual development, ask their pediatrician if there are any specific types of puzzles that could help them overcome this or improve the concerns. Having time where you work with the child to see if they are doing the puzzles correctly, and having time to let the child explore and work on their own is going to be the most ideal for their progression while they develop and grow.

About the Writer

This post is written by Sally is a working woman and a mother of 2 kids (currently 10 and 8), living in a suburb of Brisbane. As mom, she learn so much about providing healthier and happier lifestyle for her kids. You can find more of her articles being featured on

Images provided by Sally.

Monday, March 28, 2016

DIY Hammock Toy Storage

A quick DIY solution to your kid's scattered toys!

Every mom faces the battle of keeping our kid's mess everyday. Toys and books are scattered everywhere and we don't have a choice because these are kids and they need to play to develop themselves. That is why, we endure that every day struggle of keeping the toys scattered on the floors, bed, sofa and just anywhere!

toy storage

But I discovered a simple solution for you. If you do not have cardboard boxes for toy storage, then grab tulle, an old tshirt, an old blanket and just whatever fabric, even a big towel or a curtain will work well for this hack.

You can make a Hammock toy storage which will only take a few minutes to finish. Well, if you choose the simpler way of making it, you will be able to finish it in less than 15 minutes. But in my DIY Hammock Toy Storage, I add some girly features on it so it can double as a wall decor.

DIY Hammock Toy Storage

DIY Toy Storage

See? It looks nice on the wall. So, if you have a blank wall, you can use up that space with a wall storage like this. Like what I said, it is very easy to make.

What You Need:

Tulle or any type of cloth/fabric
Ribbon or string
Wall hooks (to skip the nailing or screwing part, buy those with double adhesive at the back)

How to Make:

1. Simple. Get the tulle or fabric and fold it into two. Tie both ends with a ribbon or string.

How to make toy storage

2. Get your wall hooks. You can skip this step if you want to. I added faux flowers on my wall hooks to add beauty to it. Use hot glue to attach the flowers. After doing that, attach the hook on the wall. See to it that your spacing is right and both are leveled because you will hang your hammock here.

 photo diy-flower-hooks_zpsbck29u5z.jpg

3. Install on the wall. In the image below, you can see how everything was put together. Hang the tulle on the ribbon part. You can also tie it on the hook to make sure it will not fall.

 photo diy-hammock-toy-storage2_zps0qevb3qt.jpg

4. Put the toys on your hammock and you are all done!

 photo diy-hammock-toy-storage_zpsptryhswn.jpg

I told you this is going to be very easy! I made this like 6 months ago and I still have this on my wall. Works really well. And my daughter learned how to keep her own toys too on this hammock.

You can make one for your child and once you did, I'd love to see how you made yours! If you don't want this kind of toy storage, you can make the Cardboard Toy Box using unused cardboard boxes in the house.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Play it Safe: Protect Your Children from Playground Injuries

We all want to make sure that our kids are safe especially when they are outdoors or in the playground. Today, we have a guest post from our friend who have already shared a valuable tip to us before about having a good relationship with our nanny. This time, we will get another helpful post from her about safety in the playground.

play it safe

For kids, playing at the playground can be one of the highlights of the day. To make sure they are safe and enjoy the visit, here are a few simple guidelines to follow. Parents or caregivers should check park and school playground equipment for safety and scan the play area for hazards. Children should play in age-appropriate areas of the playground and always be supervised. The right clothing should also be worn, along with closed-toe shoes.

The first thing a careful caregiver can do is look around and make sure the area is safe. Check that the playground equipment is well-maintained. Children's playground equipment should have no missing pieces, sharp corners or splinters on wooden surfaces. It's also a good idea to look at the surrounding area, just to make sure there are no hazards like broken glass or anything a child should not be playing with. Rocks and tree stumps may also pose tripping hazards.
playground kids

The surface under play equipment for children should be pea gravel, sand, mulch, wood chips or shredded rubber. Sometimes, the ground under swings and slides is covered with a rubberized mat. The surfacing should extend at least six feet past all play equipment. According to the National Program for Playground Safety, the four things that contribute the most to a safe playground space are:

- Supervision of children
- Age-appropriate play spaces
- Cushioned surfaces
- Well-maintained equipment

See-saws should not hit the ground and should be inspected for parts that can pinch little hands. Make sure that swings have enough room in front and back and aren't too close together, and especially check to ensure that they are properly anchored. Good swing seats are made of strong but lightweight materials such as canvas, rubber or plastic. Walls or fences should always be at least six feet from the swings.

kids safety

A playground slide should have features that encourage kids to sit down and slide, like a covered area at the top or guardrails over the platform. Metal slides can get very hot in the sun, and slides should ideally be located in the shade. Either way, be sure to check the surface temperature before letting your child slide.

Children need to be supervised, especially on a playground with other kids. Making sure that everyone takes a turn can prevent a pile-up on the ladder to the slide or at the merry-go-round. Also, check to make sure that any jackets with drawstrings are removed, as this is a choking hazard. For safety, play jewelry and scarves are not needed on the playground either. Clothing should be loose enough to not restrict movement, and closed-toe shoes like sneakers are best.

According to the National Safety Council, 80 percent of all playground injuries are related to falls. Surfaces that are 30 inches or higher should have guardrails, and openings between bars should be either less than 3.5 inches or more than 9 inches apart, to prevent children from getting their heads stuck. Supervision is especially important at the monkey bars, or overhead ladder.

playground kids safety

A good playground should have a specific area for children under five to play. For safety, older children shouldn't play in their space. Bucket seats are for toddlers and infants old enough to hold their heads up. All toddler play surfaces should be firm and level for beginning walkers.

Alert adult supervision is the best safety feature a playground can have. If there are any safety concerns, be sure and report them to the park district or facility that is responsible for the playground. Designing and building a playground are only the first steps. After that, maintenance and upkeep will allow the play area to continue to be a safe, enjoyable place to bring your kids.

About the Writer

This post is written by Sally is a working woman and a mother of 2 kids (currently 10 and 8), living in a suburb of Brisbane. As mom, she learn so much about providing healthier and happier lifestyle for her kids. You can find more of her articles being featured on

Images provided by Sally.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Guest Post: Seven Tips to Help You Develop a Great Relationship with Your Nanny

Today, we have a guest post from sweet Sally who will be giving us some tips about how moms or parents can have a good relationship with their nanny. Of course, that is important because we consider them as part of the family and we have to make them feel special so that they will also give their utmost love to our kids. Here is the advice Sally can give us:

Once you find a babysitter or nanny that fits your needs perfectly, you must then develop a great relationship to help the babysitter take care of your children in a stress-free manner. If the relationship is not a comfortable one, the nanny will always be on edge, and the kids will feel this tension. Developing a close bond with your nanny will not be difficult if you keep our seven tips in mind that we offer you in the following info.

Tips to Help You Develop a Great Relationship with Your Nanny

1. Explain your expectations in detail when you hire a nanny. Nannying is a challenging job when the parents do not clearly define the duties of the nanny. Help make the job less confusing for the babysitter by letting him or her know exactly what his or her job duties will be each day. You should even mark the calendar with all the children's activities to help the nanny deliver them to their necessary destinations on time.

2. Pay a fair wage that is in accordance with your expectations. If your job duties for the nanny include extra tasks above those typically performed by nannies, you may need to up the wage a bit to cover the additional expectations. Consult with the nanny agency to learn more about the average nanny wages in your location.

3. Treat your nanny with respect in front of your children. Only disagree with the babysitter in private, or your children may disrespect him or her. This will make the nanny's job almost impossible to perform daily.

4. Care about your nanny's health and well being. Ensure that your babysitter has sufficient days off throughout the year to tend to such important personal details as medical and dental appointments along with rest and relaxation.

5. Discuss discipline methods with your babysitter. This is to ensure that you both are on the same page. Both of you need to support the other's efforts for the sake of the children.

6. When issues occur, sit down and calmly talk them over with the babysitter. Stay professional and do not just blow up over the problems. You will not solve issues effectively in this manner and the nanny may just quit, which will result in you needing to find a trustworthy nanny once again.

7. Express your gratitude for your nanny's excellent service verbally and with bonuses. The bonuses can be monetary or gifts such as a trip to the day spa for some personal pampering. In addition, include your nanny in special trips with the family. If you are going to Disney World, taking a cruise or enjoying another pleasurable activity, ask her or him to come along with you and your family, but make sure that he or she has free time to enjoy the trip on his or her own without the responsibility of the children. Of course, your nanny should receive regular wages during this time.

Follow these seven tips to form a strong bond with your nanny. Remember, this is important not only for your babysitter but also for your children. When you form a great relationship with the person who will help care for your children, you will retain that nanny for many years. This provides stability for your kids. If you do not yet have a qualified person to care for your children, nanny agencies will provide nannies on demand upon your request.

About the Writer

This post is written by Sally is a working woman and a mother of 2 kids (currently 10 and 8), living in a suburb of Brisbane. As mom, she learn so much about providing healthier and happier lifestyle for her kids. You can find more of her articles being featured on

Images provided by Sally.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

5 Reasons Why Homeschooling is Good for Your Child

Even before my daughter Bella started going to school, I had always considered home schooling as an option because there were things I was afraid of. First, I didn't want to leave her alone in school because I am afraid that something not good might happen while I am away. Second, I am alarmed by the many different violence that occur even in schools. Thirds, I wanted to see her learn so I can determine which aspects she needs improvement. But we did send her to school now because I honestly didn't know how homeschooling works in our country.

As I research more about homeschooling, it really does sound good to me especially because of my worries. Although I can see that my daughter is enjoying school, I can also feel that she will be more relaxed when learning in the house like what most kids who study in their homes experience.

advantages of homeschooling

There are many benefits as well as advantages of homeschooling which could be the reason why many parents prefer it than sending their kids to school. Here are some reasons why homeschooling can be good for your child:

1. Freedom.

This is the number one reason why some parents prefer to home school. There is a lot of freedom. The child can choose when and what to study. It can also be based on her interest, ability and maturity level. Even the parents can enjoy this freedom too without the need to wake up so early to get a child to school or to manage their time depending on the school calendar. The family can even take vacations anytime they want.

2. Closer family ties.

Of course, your kids will always be close to you because they are always home and you are always there to watch over them. You will not feel that your kids are starting to be cold because they always want to spend time outside with friends. You can also spend more time together as well.

3. Provides a safe environment.

You will also feel at ease that your kids will not be exposed to bullies, teasing, peer pressure, bad influence and even violence. You are there to guide them all the way.

4. Education is tailored based on kid's needs.

In school, they follow a certain curriculum and teach according to that no matter what is the level of the children because they are taught as a group. But in homeschooling, the kid's strength, weaknesses, learning styles and interests are being assessed and customized to maximize such. With this, the kids are motivated to learn. Homeschooling is more about getting knowledge and not merely about acquiring good grades. Also, what is covered in a classroom for a week can be covered for a few hours in homeschooling since it isn't "task learning."

5. Kids are well-rested.

There is no pressure. Your kids can rest and sleep when they want. Sometimes, the effect of waking up early to go to school is devastating to kids especially if they are not morning persons. After school, they would need to study and do some homework during the night. This will make them feel tired and exhausted. There will be no busy schedules too.

Kids who are homeschooled actually excel and can even perform better than those who go to school because they get one-on-one tutoring and they are taught with love. According to a research by the National Home Education Research Institute, kids who receive home education "typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests" and "score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education or their family’s household income."

It also added that the "home-educated students typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests that colleges consider for admissions and they are "increasingly being actively recruited by colleges."

This means that kids will never be "behind" by homeschooling. As a matter of fact, they are even "ahead" than those in schools since it isn't just their knowledge that is being developed but even their character as well.


I found out that there are many companies and even websites where we can get resources and guides to home school our kids just like This way, kids can just learn at home depending on when they want it. It would indeed be nice to do that to my daughter! This way, I can watch her learn and grow without worrying about any harm or bad influence.

So, if you are like me who is thinking of homeschooling your child, you can look into the benefits you and your child can get from doing it. Of course, consider the cons too before you finally decide to get into it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Involving Our Little Loves in the Kitchen

Our little loves are undeniably the greatest treasures we’ll ever have. But just the same, they can be a handful. You’ll probably see them in one room still watching television and the next thing you know, they’ve already conquered your room with all your clothes and make up shattered. But they are our little darlings and we’ve been little tornados too!

There are things that we want we want our kids to learn. One of them is how they can be a part of the kitchen. At first, it will seem way too impossible. Just the thought of allowing them into the kitchen will seem like a nightmare. But calm down mommy… Let’s make it possible. Because who else can be the rightful teacher to lead their way to the kitchen if not you? If it won’t be now, when do you think will be the right time?

kids in the kitchen

It’s fun if you take your little one shopping. It’s a way to get them used to where you go to purchase healthy food. You can talk about the names of the veggies and fruits, the colors… You’ll see how much their eyes will shine knowing that they’re learning new stuff. You may ask them to put some items in the cart or even carry a little shopping bag with them. They love attention. That’s what you’re going to give. Just in a little responsible way.

Bella has mastered her grocery shopping skills. As a matter of fact, she would get whatever she wants even if it is no longer important! Lol. But she knows what she needs, especially the food she wants to eat from biscuits to fruits. Once they get familiar with food and the ingredients you use for cooking, they would surely be excited to help in food preparation and cooking.

You may also start off by letting them in with their kitchen toys. Show them how it’s done with the food preparation. It’s the fun way of “learning by doing”. The next time they already can, you may already let your little love join in with measuring ingredients and show him how to keep it orderly in the kitchen. Don’t be frustrated if they can’t make it right away. We’ve gone through childhood. For sure we weren’t that easy on tasks. (*wink!) Just make sure that when you do this with your little angel, your time isn’t limited. That’s to keep the stress away.

kids help kitchen

Many times, Bella would watch me or my mom cook. I know she is interested in what we are doing because every time we prepare something, she would drag a chair and watch. She would even try to get involved. Well, you can give them tasks in the kitchen too. While making some munchkins, I let Bella roll them on candy sprinkles so that she will feel her involvement in making her fave treats.

Sometimes, I would even let her mix the pancake mixture. But with supervision of course. With this, they will be happy knowing that they were able to help and that they also exerted effort in preparing their favorite food.

So, don't be hesitant to let your kids join you in the kitchen. It would be so much fun. I swear. But of course, let them do the easy tasks. Start by merely letting them hand you the spoon or get some water or something like that. Then as they grow older, give them harder tasks. Nothing is impossible for out little loves.

kitchen kids

You’re a super mom. Believe that you are. It’s always a test in the beginning but the rewards when you see your little love learn his or her way to helping you out, it would definitely be priceless!