Sunday, March 26, 2017

Staycation in the city on a Php3,500 budget

I'm still on a blogging rut. Well, actually, I can't blog when my son is awake as he doesn't like me sitting in front of the laptop. He wants my full attention that is why even our YouTube channels haven't been updated. But, I miss blogging and I miss uploading stuff to share with all of you so I'm going to make this quick post. 

We had an impromptu staycation over the weekend. Summer is here and summers in the Philippines are terribly hot. My husband decided to stay in a hotel. As always, I was concerned about the budget so I made sure to keep everything nice and sensible. We were able to pull off our staycation on just a Php3,500 budget. How you say? Read on.

Pack wisely

As we usually travel, our bags are always half packed. We have a toiletries bag that is always ready to go. I just need to check the amount of shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. each time we need it. This saves a ton of time. If you have samples or freebies, toss them in a travel toiletries bag. You save money too as you don't need to go out and buy travel sizes of your toiletries. 

I also usually pack plastic plates (the ones from IKEA are great), spoons and tumblers. I know we will be getting a lot of takeaway and these are really great to have on hand. However, I was too lazy this time so I didn't pack them. Big mistake as I had to buy plastic utensils and (almost) paper plates. This idea is good for a city staycation only but if you are going far, don't do this. It's excess weight in your baggage. 

Pack extra clothes especially if you have kids. Pack lots of toys, books and activities. The backpack below is my son's and I always ask him to fill up his bag with the things that he wants to bring to the hotel. This also ensures that the kids will not whine in the hotel if you forget to pack their favorite toy. I give my son the responsibility of packing his bag. It also helps that I have a gift organizer. I just get a few things and include them in our bag. If we find ourselves in a situation where my son blows up, I just give him a new toy or activity. Instead of buying a new toy, I get to save money and I get to keep the peace. 




Pack snacks

If you want to save big, pack a lot of snacks. If you plan to just chill out in the hotel like we did, you will save a lot of money especially if there are no supermarkets near your hotel. Remember, 7-11 and Mini Stop price higher than supermarkets. By the way, this budget is for a family of three and our son is 3 years old. You can just adjust your budget accordingly.


We even had some leftover snacks we took home. 

Supermarket Trip

We always go to the supermarket before or after checking in to buy some essentials like water, sponge and dish washing liquid. The latter two are for washing my son's bottles and dishes. I usually have some stocked in the house but I ran out this time so we bought some. Buy water in the supermarket as it is cheaper. I also bought some fruits (sliced watermelons and honeydew) and some packed salad greens. Depending on your supermarket, you can even buy some food like in Rustan's Gourmet to Go section. You can get different kinds of viands, salads, sandwiches, soups and even a whole roast chicken. I believe SM also offers ready made food in the supermarket. Take advantage of this as you can save a lot here versus eating out in a restaurant. Our total bill for groceries was Php512. 

Dinner

Since I wasn't able to go to a Rustan's supermarket (we went to SM), I wasn't able to buy dinner so we went out and walked around Makati Ave. and found Andoks. Andoks is a roasted chicken place that has been in operation since I was a kid. I ordered half a chicken, asked them to chop it and 3 orders of rice. I didn't buy paper plates in the supermarket as I was thinking that we will buy takeaway but I didn't think that I might order something like this. We went to the nearest 7-11 but their paper plates were too small and too expensive so I just told my family to go picnic style. Just open up the rice wrapper to serve as a plate. We already had utensils so no problems on that area. My utensil set also came with a knife and I used that to cut into the watermelon. It was a big chunk and needed to be cut. The honeydew was ready to eat. Our dinner costs Php150. 

Breakfast

I was looking for something savory for breakfast so off I went to Kenny Rogers but they didn't have a breakfast menu. There's a 24-hour KR near our hotel so I was hoping they had a special menu. So, off I went to Paris Delice where I got 2 cinnamon swirls, Grilled European Croissant and a pain au chocolat. I wanted to go to Shakey's to see if they had a breakfast menu but stopped by 7-11 to buy some coffee for my husband and I found the Yakisoba. I normally don't eat cup noodles but I got 2 cups anyway. I was just craving some savory, umami taste. Big mistake. This was spicy and made me feel sick. The CBTL coffee costs only 18 pesos. How much is one order over at the coffee shop? Savings! Our total breakfast was around Php300.




Other expenses

The hotel stay costs Php2470. I'd say transportation is Php150. Our total expense for this staycation was Php3,582. Check out is at 12 and we went at 11:30 am as we were due to do our weekly groceries. We had lunch in the mall and that cost us a little over Php500. I didn't include that in the budget anymore as we already left the hotel. 

We had a great time. The family was together and we got some R&R. Although I'd have to say that the bed was too hard and I didn't get much sleep. My boys slept through the night though. This is the second time we were able to pull off a quick mini vacation on a nice, solid budget. The first one was an out of town trip that only cost us less than Php5,000. I plan on having more staycations in the future and of course, I will share them with you. 

Happy summer, everyone!

Friday, December 9, 2016

READ THIS IF YOUR CHILD PLAYS AT KIDZOONA

I am sharing this to all parents, guardians and carers of kids who go to Kidzoona. This incident happened today at the newly opened Century City Mall branch.

We are regulars at the Waltermart branch and have also tried the branch at Shangri-La.

We were excited to try out the Century City Mall branch. My 3-year old son played with the usual food stations and when he got bored, he asked me to go with him to the slides.


I already knew that this was a steep slide. As usual, I went up with my son. He is still scared of going down slides on his own but there are times when he goes down alone and I wait to catch him at the bottom.

I put him on my lap and down we went. I was scared midway because we were going down too fast and knew we were losing control. I ended up lying flat on my back with my head hitting the balls. It was painful. I was thankful that I went down with my son or he could have gotten seriously hurt. I decided that this was too dangerous for my son. My nape was painful as well as the bottom of my head. Although the Shangri-La slide was steep, I did not end up flat on my back when we went down.

We went to the green spiral slide next as I thought that it would be safer. I was wrong! It was also very, very slippery! So slippery, that we lost control again and my body twisted to my side and again, fell flat on the balls. This was another painful fall and I'm glad that I was there to cushion my son's fall.

I also ended up getting burns on my elbow.



I went to the girl on the counter and asked for some medicine. She applied some burn ointment and told me to be careful next time. I told her the slides were too slippery and we weren't used to them being that slippery in other branches. 

I then talked to the Manager on duty about the slides. I asked if they put wax on it. He said that they put some silicone on it once a week only because if they applied more frequently, the slides would be very, very slippery. I told him they already were! I also told him that I hurt my head and showed him my elbow. 

I asked another mom present, who also went down the slide but on her own, if she found it too be too slippery. She said yes and that she was surprised that she zoomed down too fast. I watched her daughter go down and she too fell flat on her back. I told her about what happened to us and about the green spiral slide. She said that she found the placement of that particular slide to be very dangerous as it was too slippery and it was very near the walls. The momentum would cause a serious accident that's why she didn't let her kids play there. 

I also warned another mom with a little girl (about a year and a half old) to not let her child go down the banana slide. As you can see, all the slides were very shiny, probably from the product they use. 





The manager proceeded to get a rag and a spray bottle and started wiping the slides. He said that he will remove the silicone as he was worried that someone else might get an accident. I already wrote to the Aeon Fantasy Group, the company who owns Kidzoona and I am awaiting their reply. My neck hurts (it feels like I have stiff neck), my shoulder hurts and a part of my chest hurts. I can feel it especially when I lift things such as a pitcher to pour water. The manager told me to get a checkup and I asked if they will shoulder bill to which he replied, "he will consider it". 

Please be careful when you use the slides at Kidzoona, no matter what branch. Supervise your children, especially the small ones. 

I will be publishing my story in all my blogs so as to inform parents and carers about our experience so they can take extra caution when playing at Kidzoona. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Teaching Left and Right

I have been quiet for a good reason. I've been developing some printables and activities for all my subscribers! So, if you haven't subscribed yet, now's a good time as the goodies will exclusively be for subscribers. Go ahead, just enter your email on the right. While waiting for the printables to go live, let's discuss teaching left and right.

I didn't teach my son the concept of left and right. I think he just got it on his own because whenever we were out walking, I would tell him to turn left or turn right and steer him towards the right direction. When the time came to study about left and right, he just showed me his hands and said, "this is my left hand and this my right hand." I was really surprised.

Even with this development, I still sometimes discuss the concept with him. Here are some of the ways I use to teach him left and right.


Book

I got this book from the Manila International Book Fair and I thought it  would be a fun way to reinforce the lesson and to teach cooperation and sharing. It comes in two languages, English and Filipino so it's very useful when teaching him the concept in Filipino.



Tying board

This board is a multipurpose learning tool. For younger kids you can teach colors. You can also use it as a visual aid when teaching about color sight words.



I stuck some 'L' and 'R' stickers on the shoes to teach the concept. Now we use this to learn how to tie shoelaces.

The delicious smelling hand


My son loves this peppermint Pocketbac. You can put some on just one hand to remind them that this is the right hand or this is the left hand. Smell evokes memories and when your child can't seem to remember his left from right, remind him about which hand smells delicious. On his own, he will always remember that the left/right hand always smells delicious.

Trace and label hand


This is probably one of the simplest and most basic activities for teaching the concept of left and right. My son gets a kick out of tracing his hands so we decided to do this. Oh, and he also decided that his hands would look better with caterpillars stuck on them.

Bracelets

My son loves wearing bracelets. He's 3 and acts like a teenager. He always wears bracelets on his left wrist. It's his choice. You can put a bracelet on your child's wrist to help them remember which is which. 

Hokey pokey Sunday school edition

This is a fun way to learn left and right. Just sing along with the song and act it out!



I'm so excited to share a ton of freebies with you moms soon! Don't forget to subscribe!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Morning Work - Two Sparkly Pattern Making Activities

There's something about glittery and shiny things that get kids' attention. My son started liking glittery stuff when he saw a set of glitter paint in American Bazaar. He rarely asks me to buy him stuff but when he saw that set, he asked me to buy it for him.

Since then, I've been adding glitter to our activities. Check out these glitter activities that both boys and girls will surely love!

Sparkly Pompom Pattern Making Activity

Materials:


Sparkly pompoms
popsicle sticks
circle stickers
Sharpies, colors same as the pompoms
a plastic baggie or pouch

Let's do this!

Color each circle sticker, peel them off and stick to the popsicle sticks. Be sure to leave a space or two at the end. 

Tell the child to follow the pattern. Put pompoms on the correct color stickers and when he reaches the end, ask him what pompom comes next. I made harder patterns but you can always start with ABAB.







After playing, you can put them all inside a plastic baggie or pouch. This is a great busy bag activity too!



Jewel Sticks Pattern Making Activity 

Materials


jewel stickers
popsicle sticks
plastic baggie

Let's do this!

Peel the stickers and stick on the popsicle sticks. Make a pattern and ask your child to follow it and then ask what comes next. This is a harder activity as the sticks are of a different color than the stickers so it can be confusing but it can also be a good challenge for your kids. 








When you're done, place them in a pouch or plastic baggie. That's two busy bags for you!

If you want to save these ideas for your own homeschool, feel free to Pin the image below.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Morning Work - Bling Out My Car Activity

We love doing arts and crafts projects in our homeschool so I normally collect materials. I buy materials from bookstores, craft stores, Divisoria and department stores. When we go abroad, I also like hoarding supplies. The main material we used for this activity was from Singapore, Popular Bookstore to be exact.


Materials:

Foam Cars from Popular 
Confetti
Glue
bowl for the confetti


I just gave the materials to my 3-year old son and he immediately got it. He put some glue on the cars and "blinged" them out. This is a super simple, no prep activity that kept him occupied for several minutes. It's also a great fine motor skills practice.




I've been planning some morning work activities for my son so that he can be busy while I prepare our breakfast. He used to just play with his cars but lately I've been seeing that bored look on his face so I decided to have something for him to do when he wakes up. I'll share more of our morning work activities here in the following days so be sure to subscribe!