Sunday, May 7, 2017

My Scholastic Book Buffet Hauls 1 and 2


This is our first time in the Scholastic Book Buffet event. I learned about it from my son's teacher. Then one day, my sister sent me a photo of their poster. Mom and I went on the first day. Here are a few pics. 


For those of you who are not familiar with the event, the Book Buffet is an all-you-can-stuff-inside-the-box for only P799. It is a warehouse sale. Some books are not the best quality anymore but just be patient and you may find a nicer copy. 


I wasn't able to take photos/videos of our first haul. We got 2 boxes at P799 each. Our total bill was Php24,000+ but only paid P799 each. We also got a tote full of discounted books. 




This is the box that you will stuff. The box needs to be able to close properly. No folding, rolling of books. 




This is our second haul just from this weekend:








Here's a video of most of my haul. The video got corrupted in the middle. I don't know what happened.


Tips:

Wear comfy clothing. It's hot and dusty. If you have allergies, don't forget to bring a mask. 

These are mostly children's and teens books. Also some reference books and books for book reports. I saw a Game of Thrones novel yesterday but apart from that, there are no other adult books. Harry Potter books and Geronimo Stilton books are on sale. 

If you homeschool your child, please go! You will get plenty of resources here. One box is enough to fill a whole year of curricula, for only P799.

Only one section is allotted for the book buffet. The other side is for discounted books. 

Check or ask for the price before checking out. There was a price sticker on the book saying P198 then it had a 50% off on top. I thought the P198 was less 50% when I get to the counter. Turns out, the P198 is already the discounted price. I had to cancel a couple of books because of this. 

There is another area at the back (go around the warehouse) where they sell newer books at discounted prices. We were not able to go as we didn't know. There were plenty of parked cars blocking the tarpaulin. We will go back and check that out and I'll report back to you guys.

Parking is available inside the warehouse. Very few taxis travel that area so book a Grab or Uber ride. The books will be heavy. 

You can bring kids with you but bring them on a Sunday where there are hardly any customers. 

They are open every day from 9 am to 6 pm. They are also open on holidays. 

Have you been to this year's book buffet? I want to see your haul!



Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Easy Low Prep Tray Activities for 1-3 Year Olds

I am often asked by other parents for advise on what activities to give to their kids when they find out that I homeschool. I have tons of ideas and best of all, most of them require what you already have in your house. Here are a few Montessori-inspired activities for your toddlers. 


Sorting Letters

This is a simple activity that teaches letter identification, letter order, colors and counting. These are wooden letters. There are about 5 pieces of each letter. Put the letters in a bowl or jar and ask your child to put them in the correct box, arranging them in order from A to Z. Even my 3-year old who already knows how to read still had a blast doing this activity. Actually, he was the one who came up with the idea. He dumped all the letters on the bed and proceeded arranging them in the boxes. 


Car Sorting

This is an activity that is a super hit with my child. Of course, since he loves cars. I used to have a couple dozen of these small cars and they come in different colors - red, blue, green, yellow and purple. We don't have the others anymore but I was demonstrating this activity for my SIL for them to give to their son. They have these cars as well. 

So, what you do is get several bowls, same number as the color of your cars and then put a sticker or a paper in the same color like in the photo. I put red and blue. I didn't bother putting out a green bowl as this was just an example. Then put the cars in a small basket (this one is a hotdog basket) and tell your child to sort them. 





Letter Sorting using Foam Letter Tiles

This is another letter activity that is fun and teaches your child to identify letters, put them in order and gives them some fine motor practice as a bonus. You can take out the letters or ask your child to take out the letters and put them in a bowl. Arrange the tiles in order. For older kids, ask them to connect the tiles in order. Then proceed with putting back the letters. You can also do this with number tiles. While I was preparing this activity, my son started to put the letters back into the tiles. He had a good 20-30 minutes with this activity even though he already played this activity many times when he was younger.



That's it for my easy, low prep activities. Let me know if you do any of these activities with your child in the comments below. Stay tuned for more activities for your homeschool!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Art Therapy and Writing Issues with 2E Kids

My son's first painting on canvas which he did in school

As you may know, my son is a 3-year old twice exceptional. He is both hyperactive and gifted. To develop his focus, my sister, who is a SPED specialist recommended Art Therapy. My son loves art so this was an easy choice for us. It's also a huge blessing that we have an Art Teacher/Therapist at school who also happens to be a SPED specialist. He understands how my son's mind works that is why my son adores him. He always looks forward to Art Class. They have one-on-one sessions every week.

My son has been into art ever since he was 5 months old. I would give him some finger paint, put him on the floor with a cartolina in front of him and let him do his own thing. As he got older, he developed more sensory issues so finger painting was out. We had to discover new art materials and media. Of course, the most obvious choice was crayons but for some reason, he didn't enjoy using them to color or draw (or doodle) when he was 7 months old to about 1.5 years old. He liked holding them, playing with them and doing some "architectural" pieces with them but never for art.

I started buying him different kinds of art materials such as coloring pens, different shapes and sizes of crayons, twistable crayons, erasable crayons, scented markers, etc. We're also lucky that my aunt in the US sent us a box of Do-A-Dot markers. These helped us out a lot.

There aren't a lot of choices for art materials in the Philippines so I am very happy that Maped is here to the rescue. I know Maped from way back in college as I used to buy their staplers and other supplies because I really liked the ergonomic designs. They stood out in the sea of plain-looking supplies in the bookstore. Now that I have a child of my own, I have rediscovered the brand and I am so thrilled to find more choices. Not only do they have the usual school supplies but they also have different art materials now. Here's what we have:

Gel and Smoothy Peps


Jungle Peps


We will try their crayons soon. I put this box in our Prize Organizer

I also lwant to try the Plasticlean crayons soon. My son has the 120 Crayola crayons and the 64 Crayola crayons but one can never have enough crayons, in my opinion!

We are also loving these Black Peps. My son loves the triangular shape of the pencil. I love how dark it writes on paper. The triangular shape also helps with his tripod grip.


Straying from the art and writing materials, we also like this wheel eraser and we have several of their sharpeners. The Croc Croc bunny sharpener is a good practice for fine motor strength. The bunny's teeth will "chomp" on the pencil if you rotate it in the right direction. 


We are also loving these neon color pencils or Fluo Peps. We found them in a Maped School Supplies Kit. These are just some of our Maped stuff. We have several more ((Twist N Flex Ruler, more erasers and sharpeners, scissors and my stapler from college) and others that we have yet to open. I use them as prizes for when my son does a good job in his studies. 




These are some of my son's art work using the Gel Peps and Smooth Peps.




He loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and he drew these from memory from the game app.



He loves using the Gel and Smoothy peps as they glide smoothly on the drawing book.

Now, a some parents might think that our art materials are too much. Well, not a lot of parents have 2E kids and if you have one, you'd understand where I'm coming from. 2E kids get bored easily and they need to work on their focus. My son needs to keep changing media from time to time. I'll give you an example. For answering Math problems, he prefers using his cute pens or nowadays, his Fluo Peps. For CA work, he prefers a pencil. For writing practice, he prefers crayons. Had I not discovered this, he would be in tears every time we have homeschool. When we only had pencils, he refused to write. I was thinking that maybe his fingers were not ready yet. So I experimented with the crayons and it was a hit! I then moved on to the different materials that I mentioned and now, I'm happy to say that he is comfortable using pencils, especially his favorite Black Peps from Maped. Nevertheless, he still loves changing pens for each lesson.

If you have a gifted, special or 2E child, try some art lessons at home. Give them different kinds of materials to work with. I have seen great results. Sure, it's a huge pain to shop for all those supplies and it can cause a huge dent to your budget but it's totally worth it, especially when I get to have some Me Time or a few minutes of sleep while he is busy drawing, painting or coloring.


*This is not a sponsored post by Maped. We just happen to really like the brand.

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!