Raising A Bookworm Part 2

My goal of Raising A Bookworm is moving along as Baby Bear can now graduate from watching the Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD already. She knows the sounds of all the letters except for ‘G’ and ‘J’. She interchanges them, so we are focusing on these 2. She also memorizes the movie already and it’s quite evident whenever she does the actions just milliseconds before it occurs in the movie. I am still amazed at how sharp her memory is. Hopefully she doesn’t inherit my poor memory. Anyhoo, all this signals to me is that it’s time to graduate Baby Bear and move on to the next lesson.

The next step is to encourage them to read words by blending the sounds. Again, Leap Frog to the rescue! The next movie in the series introduces words in a story form and more importantly, via song! The best way to get our kids’ attention! 🙂 The Leap Frog Talking Words Factory focuses on how words are built. The Professor uses the help of the Word Builder Machine in forming words. Baby Bear learned about the concept of rhyming words here. (CAT, HAT, BAT) 🙂

It also introduces the concept of Vowels and how they are the glue that forms words. Below is the clip on Vowels: The Sticky Letters

Again, I supplement the movie with toys or books in order to help her see how it also applies to other aspects. I try to prepare her toys that are featured. (i.e. toy CAT, her white HAT, and BAT decor I used during Halloween) 🙂

I also support the lesson with books. As I stated in my Raising A Bookworm post, always try to find the best book that will be able to teach the most efficiently. Clean drawings and singular thoughts per page as much as possible like the ones below.

cat - hat
cat – hat
Hat on Cat
Hat on Cat

Of course, the best way to learn is still via real life application. Sometimes after our teaching sessions, we get her hat and go down to the lobby and count the stray cats hahaha. 😀

Seriously though, I can’t wait for the day that Baby Bear can actually read. I bet it would be so exciting. When that day comes, I might just cry tears of joy! 🙂

Do join me in this journey of mine with Baby Bear. Bookworms Unite! 🙂

Raising A Bookworm

One of my goals as a mom is to instill a love of reading for my 18 month old Baby Bear. For me, this is important because I believe that once she can read well, she can be good in other subject matters or extracurriculars. This is also particularly good for my little introvert. Introverts want to be always well-prepared so that they can be confident in doing their activities.

The first step is to focus on learning the letters – their sounds and phonics. This is just the easy part. After perfecting the letters of the alphabet, you have to work on actually teaching babies to read. There are actually 2 schools of thought on this matter. It’s Reading vs. Phonics. In reading, it’s basically memorization. You are teaching the kids to “memorize” how a certain letter or words are read. IMHO, Phonics is the way to go. Teach them to sound out the letters to form words, so that they can be empowered to know that they can read even if they encounter a new word, or whenever you are not beside them to teach them how that word is pronounced. Of course, there are some words, that you cannot teach them to read. These word exceptions are called SIGHT WORDS. Examples of sight words are one, two, you, etc. Yes, yes, nerd alert. I actually researched all this. I still get confused sometimes but i think i am getting the hang of it.

In order to do this, I have set up a routine that she has to do every week. All you need is at least 15 minutes a day of exposing your baby and after a year, this should do wonders for your baby.

Here are some examples of my reading program for Baby Bear:

1.) Reading to Baby Bear every day – Find the books that your baby loves in order to encourage. My baby loves touchy-feely books. They are a tad bit more expensive but I buy them because it makes me feel good when my baby is the one who insists on reading. You can see samples of the books I got her here. Also, buy books with pages that have just the word and the picture per page to set up clearly the direct relationship between the two.  Should you move on to books with couplets or phrases, make sure that the words are simple and the pictures are clear. Other good books would be those that are “fun” to read. Examples of these are puppet books, peek-a-boo books, pop-up books, etc.

2.) Supplement the books with toys or other educational materials. — I have discovered with my baby that she loves the “show-and-tell” type of learning activities. Examples:

– We read Eric Carle‘s book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and we supplement with animal toys. I ask her to get the corresponding animal that’s shown on the book.

– When we are learning about the alphabet, I bring out her Melissa and Doug Letter Puzzle and she has to get the letter that we are talking about. It is better to expose her more to the lowercase letters since she encounters this more when reading vs. the uppercase letters which you only see at the start of the sentence or for Proper Nouns.

pic from Amazon.com Melissa and Doug

3.) They say you shouldn’t expose your kids to TV before the age of 2. — I don’t follow this rule. I’ve exposed my baby to TV as early as 6 months but to select shows only. Educational and those that focus on language development such as the ever-famous Your Baby Can Read, and Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD. (Sample clip below) 

Again, I also supplement these videos with books or toys related to the shows. My baby actually scampers to get the toys the very instant I put these shows on.

Your Baby Can Read (YBCR) already has flash cards and books related to the DVD that you are watching.

– The Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD also has a toy, the Leap Frog Letter Factory Phonics which btw, my baby super loves.


Other sample videos and toys for learning all about Letters and Phonics:

– Video: Barney’s ABC; Toy: I actually have the same wooden blocks that were used on the video, which is just the Melissa and Doug Classic ABC Block Cart


No toy? No problem! 🙂 You can always simply use your imagination — you can do actions! Check out this video that teaches phonics. Baby Bear has been watching this video even before she learned this in school.

– Video: Apple, Apple, Aaa Aaa Aaa


Of course, these are all just my personal learnings and what worked for my Baby Bear. You can try them, mix and match, and see what works well for you and your babies. I would also love to hear from you guys, too. I bet you all have your own methods. Do share, so we can all learn together. Mommies unite! 🙂

Love Letter to Baby Bear

love letter
love letter


Dearest Baby Bear,

As I’m writing you this love letter, you are now in school. You love your school very much (I think?) 🙂 United Nations Day is coming up. It’s your very first big school activity so I went all-out with support. (Read: Stage Mommy) 😛 I have donated room decor already, prepared food and drinks you were allocated to bring… I’ve been running around the different malls looking for your costume. (South American costumes are so hard to find) 😦 I haven’t found the perfect costume yet, but I will… even if I need to go to how many more malls. This is our first of many school events and I promise to give as much support every time. We will always do whatever we can for you… never forget that baby girl. We love you very much… to the stars and back!


Dada and Mama

Play and Learn Activity 1: Bath and Body

I am a SAHWM – Stay At Home Working Mom. Lately though, I have been morphing into a SAHM. I’ve been so addicted to taking care of the baby and teaching her stuff. She is in this uber cute phase wherein she parrots you – what you say and what you do. Her mind is such an absorbent sponge right now. She is busy taking in everything so I was quite hooked on planning developmental activities. I am enriching her mind with books and developmental toys (Sources are: The Book Depository and Amazon). Thank God for the internet!!! Seriously though, I think I need to get back to work since Christmas is our busiest season and working means more money to buy more stuff for Baby Bear, right? 😉

What I have been busy researching about the past few days were brain-boosting activities that I could do with Baby Bear or that I can teach the nanny to do with Baby Bear. As one of her godmothers told me, it’s not the nanny’s duty to teach her stuff… it is the duty of the parents to do so. It’s just a bonus if the nanny CAN teach her. Heck, it’s already a bonus if you even have a GOOD nanny who can do the basic nanny duties, right? Teaching your kid is above and beyond her call of duty already.

Anyhoo, I digress. I was able compile a list of activities from varied sources like parenting books, journals, websites, twitter, Facebook and other digests. Nerd Alert! 😛 Will share the activities that we were able to do successfully or the ones that were able to illicit a positive response. Note that activities posted focus on language, music and games that are age-appropriate for Baby Bear (around 18-24 months). It is our goal to have a new enrichment activity at least once or twice a month, maybe even more. With babies, the focus is always repetition since they are at the stage wherein repetition fosters memory retention. And hey, as long as you see them having fun, why retire that old trick if it still works, right? 😉 Whatever makes them happy, after all learning should always be fun since they’re just babies! 🙂

Play Activity 1: Bath and Body (Yes, I’m so corny. I couldn’t think of an activity title so this is what I used. No points for creativity here :P)

Objective: Focuses on learning about the parts of the body and other action words.

rubber ducky, you're the one... you make bath time lots of fun!
rubber ducky, you’re the one… you make bath time lots of fun!

There is still an opportunity to learn even if you are just giving your baby a bath. Get babies’ bath toys to do actions, tell her what each one is doing and urge her to tell you, too. Example, pick up her rubber ducky and say: the duck is splashing, splashing splashing on your back. Or grab the soap and say: look, the soap is washing, washing, washing your tummy and so on and so forth. Other action words that we use are: shampooing, massaging, tickling, etc.

Rationale: Studies say that repetition of words and phrases accelerates langauge development. It establishes early on that every sound has a meaning and solidifies that every thing that is named or every action has a corresponding word. That’s why in Baby Bear’s school, they post or name all of the objects that you will see inside their classroom. Everything is labeled accordingly. For instance, DOOR, CHAIR, TABLE, WINDOW, etc. You can actually do the same at home. Subliminal message at its best! 🙂

Remember that babies at this stage learn via playing. It is with playing that they are able to grasp the concept of things and events happening around them. Ain’t it fun to be a kid! 😉

Other fun activities:

30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge

Visit A Zoo

How about you? What are some of the activities that you do with your kids? Feel free to share them here! 🙂

Snoopy is Love

My last post was all about Baby Bear’s 1st Birthday Ni Hao Kai Lan Party.  Aside from Kai Lan being my Baby Bear’s fave character… she also loves… SNOOPY! Yes, yes, Mama Bear had something to do with this… a bit :P. But, promise though, I made her choose between Hello Kitty and Snoopy when she was just 3 months old and she really did choose Snoopy! Definitely a dog-lover like her mama 🙂

To those who are a bit confused with the Snoopy characters, here’s a “simple” diagram that illustrates the love-hate relationships among the characters:

Peanuts Gang
Peanuts Gang

How I wish I could post pics of Baby Bear with her Snoopy toys. In the spirit of anonymity though, this is the only pic that I can post:

i love snoopy... and dogs!
baby bear loves this snoopy shepherd figurine. she used to fall asleep with snoopy in her hands… aww… 🙂

How about you? Who does your family love?

No Hello Kitty answers allowed please… just kidding! 😉


Beagle Hugs to all of you from the Bear family 🙂

Staycation Love Letter

The Bear Family is having a staycation right now, just here in Manila. Baby Bear has been fast asleep and we are bored out of our wits already — like 2 hours ago! We want to leave the room… but we can’t. So, the only quiet thing we can do is to entertain ourselves with technology. Thank you Steve Jobs for the iPad. At least that gives us something to do… for now! 🙂 Papa Bear is using the iPad so I decided to write (hand-write!) a love letter for my baby. Sharing with you my first vacation letter to my little one 🙂


My dearest Baby Bear,

I promised you a staycation and here we are now… at the Oakwood Premiere Joy-Nostalg Center (See letterhead above) 🙂 Right now, you are sleeping like a baby (Finally!) 😛 You were so excited today that you skipped your afternoon nap and slept late tonight. You had so much fun today. You swam awhile ago (hello indoor heated pool — hurray!). You should see our iPhone pics of you, being so happy in the water… makes spending time with you so heartwarming. What we would give to always see that sweet smile plastered everyday.

We love you very much, Baby Bear. Don’t grow up too fast. You are now 16 months old and we love how sweet you have become. You randomly surprise us with your hugs, kisses and squeals of delight whenever you see me and daddy. You love it when we both hold your hands while walking and you always look up to us lovingly and with such sweet adoration. We love that and we are enjoying and cherishing every moment with you. I hope you will always look at us that way. I hope we will be the best parents that we can be for you. May we always be good role models — people you can always look up to and turn to whenever you need anything — big or small.

We love you very much, Baby Bear. We always will — to the stars and back! Good night my baby. May you have the sweetest dreams. We will always pray for you. May your guardian angel always guide and look after you. See you in the morning, my sweet angel.

Lots of Love,

Mama Bear (a.k.a. MOMMY) 

Listful vs. Listless

My husband recently asked and followed me up on new entries on my blog.  Shows you just how very remiss I am with my blogging! 😉 Frankly, I was quite surprised that Papa Bear was diligently checking my blog… aww how sweet, right? 😉 One of the few random things about him that still surpise me. 😀 So, what’s keeping me busy… here are some samples of my gazillion to-do lists. Seriously, do these lists ever end?

StartUp Mom

1.) Buy Gerber Graduates for snack time during school – Baby Bears’ current fave munchies.

2.) Books to read for July (Dr. Seuss theme) – Green Eggs & Ham and Oh, The Places You’ll Go

3.) Print out and laminate words of daily objects and stick it around her room – This is to let her associate that there is a corresponding word for every object. (I’m copying this teaching concept from her school) 😉

4.) Select pictures for the birthday album – The photographer already following me up on this — yikes! 😦

5.) Buy VTech Bath Friends Turtle Toy – Right now, she is into standing up everytime during bath time which is a bit dangerous. We are experimenting with toys that will get her attention and make her want to sit down.

6.)Purchase Milk Bags for My Yummy Mummy – She has been so generous in sharing her breast milk with Baby Bear. I truly appreciate this very generous and noble gesture. The least I can do is to replace her milk bags right? 😉

7.) Set up play dates for Baby Bear – This super shy baby needs to interact more and get out her super shy shell.

8.) Enroll her again in Gymboree or Kindermusik – I’m leaning more towards Gymboree because I want to recoup my annual membership fee LOL. Maybe i’ll shift her to Kindermusik when her membership expires. Only problem is the Kindermusik classes are starting this August already… decisions, decisions! 😛

9.) Continue playing the 30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge – I got stuck with the water play activity. Still thinking of how to execute the challenge without making too much of a mess. The OC in me is prohibiting me from moving forward LOL.

StartUp Wife

1.) Book Tears for Fears Live in Manila – We missed the last show and we are not missing this one again!

2.) Cook or bake for Papa Bear – As they say, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. This doesn’t change even if you’ve been married for how many years already.

3.) Family Health Insurance Plan – This post by Topaz Mommy got me seriously thinking about what the best health plan is for The Bear Family. Health is very important and one of the most expensive costs and I agree with Topaz Mommy that we should start looking for a plan that would help us with our growing family. So far, I’ve kind of narrowed it down to the following: Caritas Health Shield, MEDICard, PhilCare, MaxiCare, and IntelliCare. Incidentally I received The Medical City Family Privilege Card in the mail but I have absolutely know idea what the card is for. Don’t you hate it that not even a letter came with the card? They could’ve explained to me what the card was for, right? Anyway, do let me know if you can recommend a good family health plan or if you have any feedbacks regarding the institutions I have mentioned above.

4.) Complaint letter to Gymboree Shang – This totally deserves another post but basically my Baby Bear got sick for 3 weeks so she missed her classes. We asked for make-up classes and even presented a doctor’s certificate stating that she was really indeed sick. Plus, they are supposedly the only teaching establishment that allows make-up classes… and they do! I used to go to Gymboree Rockwell before they closed and they were very lenient when it came to make-up classes. As long as I just called in advance to let them know, they would allow the make-up class. Besides, shouldn’t they be happy that I am being responsible in not bringing my kid to school so that I don’t spread any viruses to the other kids? It’s my pet peeve when I see parents bringing their kids to school just because they don’t want the kid to be cooped up in the house or just because it’s a waste of tuition. I think this should be an unspoken rule amongst parents. You know how hard it is to nurse a sick child so you should prevent others from sharing the same fate. ‘Nuf Said!

5.) Buy 2 cooling racks for the kitchen oven – Long overdue wish list. Lack of cooling racks is my excuse for the many foibled brownie or upside down cake attempts LOL 😀

StartUp Biz:

1.) Post finished projects pics for aKids’Life Furniture – Excited to have completed projects, praying for good ‘word-of-mouth’ and hoping for new projects and referrals.

2.) Trying to produce current P.O.s and preparing for the Christmas season – Sourcing packaging, packages, and labels and finalizing products — still a tall order!

3.) Company and Brand Web site – At this day and age who still doesn’t have a web site right? 😉

4.) Social Media Campaign – Cooking up someting… in the works… ongoing… wait for it… 😉

5.) Marketing Consultancy – Recently met with a very inspiring social entrepreneur. Haven’t worked out the kinks yet so I don’t want to jinx it. So far we haven’t had the best of luck with getting around to meeting and hashing out the details… hopefully soon! 🙂

StartUp Self

1.) Catch up on my book reading list – Can’t wait to get my hands on some new books via The Book Depository.

2.) Update this blog more often – Sorry I’ve been so remiss with the blog lately. Thank you Papa Bear for encouraging me to write again.

3.) Exercise??? – Hardest thing for me to do as I’ve become a couch potato. Thanks to the advent of fast tv and movie downloads.

4.) Sleep early – Again, another hard feat to do — this time, blame it on Twitter!

5.) Spa dates, Facials and High Tea at the Manila Peninsula Hotel with friends – Sanity breaks! Need I say more? 😉

6.) Take good pictures and finally print them – Nothing tugs at the heart strings more than looking back at those memories that we made and making sure that we always remember and treasure them.

7.) Plan a trip abroad… with mom – It’s been quite awhile since I last went out of the country or out of town with Momma. Must plan some serious R&R with mother. Killing 2 birds with 1 stone!

8.) Beautify… inside and out! – We have started regularly going to mass again and we want to start praying with Baby Bear before going to bed at night. After all, the family that prays together, stays together! For the external beauty project, Papa Bear is bringing me some cool beauty products home from Korea tomorrow. Excited to start my new beauty regimen. Here’s to hoping for a way to reverse skin aging hahaha.

There are so many other different lists that I still have in my notebook. Grocery lists, potential businesses, mp3s to download, videos to watch, sights to see, bucket lists, things to do… I don’t think our lists will ever end. There are some days that you just want to wing it without the list… but now that we have Baby Bear this is a bit hard to do — but I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s either this chaotic LISTFUL world vs. a LISTLESS world without Baby Bear. No pun intended! 🙂

Busy As A Bee

I haven’t been playing the 30 Days to Hands on Play Challenge for the past 3 days as I’ve had a busy week. Here’s what’s been keeping me busy as a bee:

  • I attended my first Parent’s Orientation for Baby Bears’ school. Her first day starts on Monday. I am one excited Momma Bear. She gets her own lunch bag that is so cool… it is insulated to keep the food warm plus her name is embroidered in front — talk about customized! 😉
  • My mom recently had her executive check-up and she needed to have a Gastroscopy and Endoscopy. I went with her this morning and I’m so glad she passed with flying colors!
  • I had a new client this week for my furniture shop. I blogged about this baby business of mine here. She had me customize an armoire for her 3-year-old daughter. She wanted a wardrobe cabinet that would “grow” with her daughter through the years. It’s really so dainty. Will post pics when the project is finished!
  • For my other business, we are close to sealing a deal with a supplier. I am excited to work with them for our Christmas Gift Items. Yes, you read that right, Christmas! We start this early just to prepare for that oh so, busy season.
  • Baby Bear is finishing up her Gymboree classes. She’s enrolled in Music and Play and Learn 3 🙂
  • Looking around for that illusive perfect Fathers’ Day Gift for Papa Bear… I have an idea what to get him but I haven’t squeezed in time to go to the mall to buy his gift. I don’t usually cram when it comes to getting him a present but I’ve really had quite a full week.

No, I am not abandoning the Hands on Play Challenge. I haven’t had time to read on and set up the new challenges. For now, Baby Bear has been repeating the past challenges —  so it’s okay, practice makes perfect, right? 😉 I will definitely pick up on where I left off on the challenges soon. For those who are taking on the challenge, you can subscribe to http://handsonaswegrow.com/ so that you can still get updated with the daily challenge.

Advance Happy Fathers’ Day to you, your fathers, grandfathers and or/your husbands. May you have a special celebration with your families.

Signing off for the weekend now… Ta-ta! 🙂

Day 6 Hands on Play Challenge: Family Time

What a timely play challenge since it’s also a national holiday today (Happy Independence Day) now here in Manila. The challenge is to simply spend some family together time doing whatever you want to do… TOGETHER! Together is the main objective of the challenge. Sometimes we spend time as a family in one room but you see each person doing a different thing. One is watching TV, one is surfing with the iPad and the other one is blogging or twittering. This really doesn’t count as bonding if you think about it.

The activity that we chose to do was to read books. I got a bunch of books for Baby Bear during the last sale at The Book Depository which I blogged about here.

Image representing The Book Depository as depi...

It was delivered last week and we wanted to open them already. We opened them one by one and let her choose a book. She still really likes the Baby Touch series and I’m happy that even though it’s a new book, she is already able to point out words that she learned before like flower, bird, star, and owl, among others. Here is a list of the other books that she currently reads.

Reading books is always a nice bonding activity. It is a learning experience and an avenue to help your baby foster confidence in herself. It teaches a lot and opens up a whole new world for them. Reading is something that can never be replaced with technology. There is a nice experience and memory evoked with every turn of the page, the smell of an old book and the love that you feel when your parents read to you. No technology can ever do that! Agree? 🙂

Day 4 Hands on Play Challenge: Pretend Islands

Sad to say, I failed the challenge today 😦 The irony of this failure is in the fact that the activity involves Baby Bear‘s interest which is walking, walking, walking.

Day 4 Challenge: Pretend Islands

We got a lot pillows in the bedroom and just threw them on the floor. We were supposed to walk on the pillows only as these are the pretend islands and the floor is water. Baby Bear loves to walk… loves to hop — but no, this was the time she chose to just sit and watch. I did a demonstration of the activity but she didn’t follow suit. She just sat there amazed, watching and giggling. I even got her favorite pet, Bozo the Bulldog to perform the activity (To see a pic of Bozo, click here). Again, she just sat there watching and smiling. I prodded her to join in on the fun and even offered a hand so that I can guide her — to no avail!

This is how fun the activity should have turned out had Baby Bear been a more willing participant — Day 4 Challenge: Pretend Islands. It’s okay though, I think Baby Bear didn’t want to join in probably because this is a new activity. I think she is just silently observing and trying to get how the game works. As I blogged about before here, we probably need to repeat the activity a couple more times… but it’s okay because this is how Baby Bear rolls. We understand that most of the time, she will observe a new situation first before doing anything. She needs to get a hang of it before trying things. Some might call it being overly cautious but at least she is careful, right? 😉 It’s okay to fail a challenge… at least we get to do it again… more bonding time for The Bear Family 🙂