New kiddie show “Snail Trail” coming this July on BabyTV

Far from being just a boob-tube, TV presents a lot of learning opportunities for its viewers.

For instance, growing babies and toddlers can benefit from the BabyTV’s round-the-clock shows adapted to their needs and abilities, and developed with the help of content and childhood experts.

This July, BabyTV brings a brand new show for the little ones to enjoy:

SNAIL TRAIL

Snail Trail 2.png

A friendly snail explorer ventures outdoors to investigate the wild. On his journeys he meets different animals and makes important discoveries about their lifestyle and habits by asking some very funny questions.

The kiddies can also continue to enjoy their favorite show aired daily on BabyTV:

BILLY AND BAM BAM

Billy Bam Bam

Billy and BamBam never get bored – they manage to find creative and fun ways to play with everything – leaves, bowls, socks and even oranges! This cute pair are sure to put a smile on your child’s face with their contagious laughter and cheerfulness. Each episode ends with a fun song written especially for Billy and BamBam!

BabyTV is the world’s leading baby and toddler network for children ages four and under and their parents, airing 24 hours a day and completely commercial-free. It features top quality, original and exclusive shows, created by child development experts and designed for for children and parents to enjoy together. Each hour on BabyTV is an enriching journey full of stories, songs, rhymes and lovable characters.

If you’re a SKYcable subscriber, you can add BabyTV to your cable TV subscription plan for only Php20/month. To subscribe to BabyTV and other kids channels, click here.

Until June 7, watch BabyTV’s fun kiddie learning programs for free along with other channels with a deluge of shows as SKYcable opens up its HD and standard definition channels to its subscribers. For more details, visit mysky.com.ph/allaccess.

Show details and images provided by BabyTV.

Check out my other posts on mom life and raising kids:

Three things to know for your snowy adventure at Mount Rainier, WA

Having lived all my life in a tropical country, I have never experienced snow. Actually, I’m very sensitive to cold weather and prone to feeling the chills when the temperature drops so I have accepted that experiencing snow will never be a reality.

That changed when my bro decided to take Hubby, the kids and myself to Mount Rainier in Washington State during the fam’s US trip.

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Famed Scottish-American naturalist John Muir once said, “Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest.”

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier truly offers a lot of awesome sights to behold.  And if you’re planning a similar trip to this famous attraction, here are some things you might like to know:

1. It was formed by volcanic activity and is, in fact, an active volcano.

At 14,410 feet, Mount Rainier stands at the center of the country’s fifth national park and is the most glaciated peak in the continental United States.  It is a product of many prehistoric volcanic activities as evidenced by basalt columns and other remnants of early eruptions and lava flows.

Mount Rainier

Active steam vents, intermittent earth tremors and its previous eruptions indicate that Mount Rainier is sleeping, not dead.  Set your mind at ease, though: there are seismic monitoring stations throughout the place that should be able to provide warning of impending eruptions days in advance.  You should still watch out for other geologic activities that occur with little warning such as rock falls and debris flows.  If you happen to be near a river and notice a rapid rise in water level or prolonged ground tremors and rumbling noise, the park advises to head on to higher ground, 200 feet above river level should be safe.

2. Its landscape is ever-changing.

From a distance, Mount Rainier may seem solid and permanent but, up close, it constantly changes. This spring, melting snow reveal subalpine meadows with flowers that rapidly bloom for pollinating insects, and foraging animals ensure the continuity of life despite the summer that lasts for only two months.

As a wanderer, you also need to be prepared for the changing conditions on the mountain such as retracing hiking routes, snow avalanches, rushing streams and changing weather.  Gear up for potential difficulties you may encounter when you decide to go hiking, snow boarding or climbing.

Mount Rainier

Our group, for example, was initially planning to enjoy the views at Sunrise, the highest point in the park reachable by car but closed roads going to the area made us change our plans to go to visit Longmire, the Narada Falls and the Paradise Visitors Center instead.

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Factoring in some flexibility in your sightseeing will ensure that everyone still has a good time despite changes in plans. Be sure to note road closure signs and other safety notices on the way.  You can dial 9-1-1 from any phone located within the park for emergency assistance.

3. Its wilderness is home to diverse fauna.

Beyond the roads, parking lots and visitor centers is sprawling wild land: over 97 percent of the Mount Rainier National Park is protected by the 1964 Wilderness Act that keeps it free from development.  Here, animals such as black bears, beavers, mountain goats, spotted owls and the recently reintroduced Pacific fishers, can roam and live freely in the thick forests, lush meadows, rushing rivers and sparkling lakes.

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier

While exploring Mount Rainier, you can take the opportunity to enjoy all the relaxing green spaces to recharge and reinvigorate yourself away from the stresses of city living.  You can also take in the wonders of nature that are in abundance in the area, thanks to the conservation efforts of the National Parks Service.

Mount Rainier National Park is located in East Ashford, Washington, 90 miles (about 2 hours drive) from Seattle.  The park charges USD30 (Php1,565) for every passenger vehicle, or USD25 (Php1,304)  for every motorcycle.  Walk-ins and bicyclists are charged USD15 (Php783).

For more details about the Mount Rainier National Park, visit its website.

Check out the other attractions the fam and I visited during our US trip:

Tips for Oregon Outlet Shopping

I’m not much of a shopper, probably because I’m inherently frugal and I get depressed when I can’t immediately find stuff in my size.

That aversion to shopping didn’t apply when my family and I dropped by the Woodburn Premium Outlets in Woodburn, Oregon on our drive back to Washington State from California during our US vacation.

Oregon Outlet Shopping

Oregon currently enjoys a 0% sales tax statewide, a blessed trait it shares with only four other states: Alaska, Delaware, Montana and New Hampshire.

Little wonder, then, that Oregon is one of the US’ prime shopping destinations.

Woodburn Premium Outlets, in particular, is conveniently located off Interstate 5 between Portland and Salem. It is the largest tax-free outlet mall in the western part of the US, with over 100 stores which include premium brands such as Adidas, American Eagle Outfitters, Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan, Forever 21, Michael Kors, Nike, and more. Aside from the 0% sales tax, shoppers can enjoy additional discounts from clearance sales and in-store promos. Shopaholics and even us frugal shoppers will definitely find great deals and savings here.

Oregon Outlet Shopping

As with most destinations and especially if you’re a budget traveller like me, it’s best to have a plan when shopping at Woodburn Premium Outlets. Here are some tips that served our family well in maximizing our Oregon shopping opportunity.

One: Do your homework.

Check out Woodburn Premium Outlets website – www.premiumoutlets.com – to scope out available merchandise and ongoing promos. You can also consult the site for a map of the outlets as well as dining options within the mall.

Two: Arrive early.

The fam discovered that it’s actually best to arrive as soon as the mall opens. The items are freshly and neatly arranged in their racks or shelves and you can easily spot and check out on limited-stock items.

Also, you will have more time to check in with your family and friends from back home on their bilins. Take advantage of the free Wi-fi in most stores to send your nears-and-dears pictures of their requested item in the store before you buy it for them.

Three: Divide and conquer.

One hundred plus stores are a lot to cover. So split up: those with kids can go straight to Disney Outlet Store or Osh Kosh B’gosh; those shopping for clothes can head on to Calvin Klein, Forever 21 or American Eagle Outfitters; the ones on the lookout for bags and shoes can look no farther than Naturalizer or Coach; while those looking for housewares can hie off to Corelle. This way, your group can cover more ground in less time.

Four: Dress comfortably.

With over 380,000 square feet of retail space to cover, you might want to make sure to wear comfortable shoes.

Plus, expect to do a lot of fittings so wear something you cab fit clothes over or can easily be taken off in the fitting room.

Five: Be on the lookout for in-store deals.

The 0% sales tax already affords you with great savings but guess what, you can take advantage of in-store promos (such as buy one, get one at 50% off, etc.) for additional discounts of up to 65% off.

Don’t forget to scour the clearance racks! I scored a couple of hard-to-look-for boot-cut jeans at American Eagle Outfitters for USD19.99 (Php1,053) which would have cost me close to Php2,000 back home. And to think I was originally looking at a pair of jeans priced at USD59!

Also, upon checkout, the cashier may ask you for your email address or US phone number in exchange for additional discounts. I’m generally with this as I already have an email address dedicated to sales promotions.

Oregon Outlet Shopping

Woodburn Premium Outlets is located at 1001 Arney Road, Woodburn, OR 97071-8447, open Mondays to Saturdays from 10am to 9pm and Sundays from 10am to 7pm. Special mall hours may apply during holidays.

For more details, visit its website.

What to teach kids about traveling

Traveling is a rewarding activity for many of us. Going to unfamiliar places broadens our horizons by exposing us to novel experiences, diverse cultures and to new friends.

It can be more so for kids; taking them on out adventures into the wider world affords us opportunities to teach them lessons that will prove valuable to them in the future, not just when they venture out on their own trips, but as they go through their daily life.

Here are some of the lessons that you can impart to your kids as you go on the road.

One: How to travel light.

There is a limit to what you can take with you as you move from one place to another. Whether it depends on what your body can carry or the luggage capacity of your means of transportation, this limit forces you to prioritize which of your possessions will be of most use to you as you travel.

You will need to guide your little ones as they pick and choose items for the trip such as clothes that are easy to clean, those that don’t take up much space in your luggage and their essential toiletries.

Two: How to keep themselves entertained.

Not every moment you spend traveling will be exciting or interesting. You can expect downtimes when you can either rest or find a way to occupy your time.

The little ones may get antsy or bored during long wait periods or while in transit. So it would be wise to plan ahead with them on how they can keep themselves entertained while still packing light. They will need to leave behind their bulky game consoles in favor of easy-to-carry books, a pack of cards, and, with your permission of course, mobile electronics.

Traveling Kid

You can also take the opportunity to point out the sceneries you’re passing through or fill them in on the places where you’re going to drum up their excitement or spike their interest.

Three: How to discover on their own.

Some kids are adventurous by nature. They will want to strike out on their own. Nurture this inclination by helping them identify interesting places where they can safely venture out by themselves such as parks or play areas, with you keeping yourself easily accessible to them should they need you.

Of course, you will need to equip for their quest. Teach them to read maps and road signs, agree on places where they can meet up with you and point out places they can go to in case they need help.

Traveling Kid

Four: How to keep themselves safe.

Foremost among our concerns as parents is the safety of our kids. When traveling, little ones should be instructed to always stay near or within your sight, to be wary of strangers and to keep your contact details handy so that they can ask someone to get in touch with you should you get separated.

Five: How to stay on budget.

A big consideration in traveling is, of course, our budget. There may be times when the things you want to buy or the activities you want to experience may be beyond your means. Usually, you prioritize those that are more affordable or you limit yourself to those that are essential to your travel experience.

Similarly, you need to help your kids understand that they won’t be able to buy all their hearts’ desires during the trip. You can negotiate with them on which purchases you can afford that they can still enjoy.

Six: How to be good guests.

Remember, no matter which place you visit, you are basically visitors there. You and the kiddies should therefore behave as good guests. Aside from being polite to the people that you meet, you would also need to brush up on the basics of local customs so as not to offend anyone.

Traveling Kid

Furthermore, it is important to respect the local environment by following their conservation laws and cleanliness practices. As the famous quote among travellers goes:

Leave nothing but footprints.

Take nothing but pictures.

Kill nothing but time.

Seven: How to be thankful.

Not everyone has the means and opportunity to travel. It is therefore important for the kids to realize and appreciate the fact that they are able to.

For me, the best way to be thankful for opportunities such as these is to make the most of them in terms of learning and enjoyment.

Planning a trip with the kiddies any time soon? Do share your tips for traveling with kids.

New shows for little kids to enjoy on Baby TV this June

June is when the school year usually starts in the Philippines. Kids of all ages get themselves ready for another year of fun and learning.

Toddlers and preschool kids, however, can also learn new concepts and family values through these shows coming on BabyTV this June.

MOMENTO THE GREAT CHEF

Momento the Great Chef - horizontal

Momento the Great Chef has a restaurant, three pickled friends and a loyal diner named Perfecto who arrives at the restaurant each day with a surprise in his basket. Momento always manages to make something delicious with what Perfecto has brought, even if he sometimes seems a bit clueless.

CHARLIE AND THE SHAPES

Charlie and the Shapes - Horizontal-01

BabyTV’s successful format of learning new concepts is back with a third series –Charlie and the Shapes. Charlie continues to help his shapely friends with their problems and quests by creating new real life objects from his shape friends.

BIG BUGS BAND

Big Bugs Band - horizontal

A spectacularly animated program in which a group of bugs puts on a unique musical performance for an audienceof fellow animals in the woods. Each bug plays a different instrument -improvising, dancing and singing along while introducing viewers to a variety of musical styles including samba, jazz, hip-hop and more.

So mommies, take advantage of these shows to teach and entertain your little ones and get them ready for more learning adventures.

BabyTV is the world’s leading baby and toddler network for children ages four and under and their parents, airing 24 hours a day and completely commercial-free. It features top quality, original and exclusive shows, created by child development experts and designed for for children and parents to enjoy together. Each hour on BabyTV is an enriching journey full of stories, songs, rhymes and lovable characters.

If you’re a SKYcable subscriber, you can add BabyTV to your cable TV subscription plan for only Php20/month. To subscribe to BabyTV and other kids channels, click here.

Show details and images provided by BabyTV.

Header image by Vidmir Raic from Pixabay.

Check out my other posts on mom life and raising kids:

How to get your battle mode on at Lazer Maxx, Greenhills

You wouldn’t know it by looking at me but beneath this food-lovin’, book-readin’ and seemingly sedentary exterior lies the heart and gumption of a warrior princess.

(I’m ignoring the snickers in the background. Hah!)

Last weekend, my fellow foodies from #WeLoveToEatPH and I were treated to a rousing game of laser tag at Lazer Maxxx in Greenhills, the first stop of our Launch Pad Crawl.

Lazer Maxx, Greenhills

Laser tag is a tag game played with guns which fire infrared beams at infrared-sensitive targets worn by players. The game involves a lot of hiding, running and chasing which, to be honest, left me huffin’ and puffin’ after the game.

Well, if there is anything this experience has demonstrated is that this warrior princess does not (yet!) have the body for battle. However, I would like to think that I do have the brains for it.

So here are some strategies I employed to survive my first game of laser tag.

One: Gear up for battle.

Expect to do a bit of physical exertion so it would be best to dress light and comfortably. I had on my Nike LunarEpic running shoes, my trusty leggings and jacket from Uniqlo, and my dri-fit Nike running shirt (a souvenir from my #RunningForFitness days). This outfit is light and comfy, and something I can easily move around and sweat in. The black leggings and jacket also add a bit camouflage against the dark surroundings.

Lazer Maxx, Greenhills

Two: Get yourself on high ground.

Obi-Wan Kenobi was right: it’s better to be on high ground. Strategically, it is easier to defend, observe and attack from an elevated position. I noticed this when I kept getting hit but I don’t see my attacker. It turns out that some of my team’s opponents (like Mico – @thechinoyfoodie – and Alex – @boyeatsworldph) have taken positions in perches above the activity area and are just picking us out one by one. So I hied myself over up there to do battle and even things out a bit. (Well, hopefully…)

Three: Be a moving target.

There’s an old adage about being a sitting duck (it will soon be a dead duck come hunting season) and it did hold true. It was a lot better to let my team’s opponents work a bit harder for their hits by always being on the move, ducking, hiding and running around.

Chef Jocen – @boodlebearph – thought he had a great spot behind some props but little did he know, I snuck up behind him and was gunning him down every few seconds or so at my leisure. It took him a while to find me out, hahaha!

At the end of the game, we foodies were exhausted but exhilarated. I was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed this physically demanding activity and I would recommend it to friends who want to have a different kind of get-together.

And wouldn’t you know it: my team (Pink – together with Jen – @sandundermyfeet – and Bunny – @alwaysthefunnygirl) placed second among the players, with myself (Diggle)racking up one of the highest percentage of accuracy in hits (although, to be honest, that may be when I was just shooting at Chef Jocen behind his back, hahahaha!).

Not bad, eh? (Thanks to Glenn – @jogpen – for sharing this scoreboard pic!)

Lazer Maxx, Greenhills

With Lazer Maxx’ specially designed laser tag arena and newly renovated function room where we recovered from our “battle” and bantered with each other, the experience grew from a simple game into a fun bonding experience.

Imagine spending a similar Saturday with your own barkada.

Many thanks to Lazer Maxx and #WeLoveToEatPH for this extraordinary experience!

Lazer Maxx, Greenhills

Lazer Maxx, Greenhills

This Lazer Maxx branch is located at the Roofdeck, Greenlanes, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan, open Mondays to Thursdays from 12nn to 9pm (at Php190/player) and Fridays to Sundays and holidays from 10am to 10pm (at Php220/player). For inquiries, call +63 2 5845958.

Another branch in Metro Manila is located at Centris Walk, Eton Centris, EDSA corner Quezon Avenue, Quezon City. For inquiries, call +63 2 4411958.

Want to celebrate your birthday at Lazer Maxx? Avail of its party packages for a maximum of 24 players which come with the exclusive use of the arena.

  • Package A (Php4,500 on weekdays| Php5,500 on weekends): 1 game, free birthday banner, email/softcopy of Lazer Maxx invitations and 24 balloons
  • Package B (Php8,500 on weekdays | Php10,500 on weekends): 2 games, free birthday banner, 24 pieces of printed invitations, email/softcopy of Lazer Maxx invitations, 24 balloons, and 1 hour free use of function room
  • Package C (Php13,500 on weekdays | Php15,500 on weekends): 3 games, free birthday banner, email/softcopy of Lazer Maxx invitations, 24 balloons, 2 hours free use of function room, and 30 pc of Bumper Ride tickets

Raise your kids to be sustainable diners

When I was a kid, I was expected to be at my best behavior especially when my family eats at a restaurant. It was the perfect opportunity for me to display that I have imbibed the “elbows off the table”, “use the proper utensils,” and “finish all the food on your plate” rules, among others.

Thanks to the recent WWF-Philippines Savour Planet workshop, The Sustainable Diner: A Key Ingredient to Sustainable Tourism, I learned that, aside from the social niceties of eating out, the younger generation should be taught to eat responsibly and sustainably as well.

For instance, did you know that food waste is actually the biggest threat to the environment today? Seventy percent of terrestrial biodiversity loss and and 69% of global freshwater use is attributable to food production and consumption. A significant portion of this concerns dealing with food waste.

With this in mind, WWF-Philippines launched its The Sustainable Diner Project, an initiative that aims to lessen food wastage and contribute to the improvement of the implementation of sustainable consumption and production processes in the foodservice sector.

The Sustainable Diner’s Savour Planet series aims to empower and educate Filipino diners, media partners, the academe, as well as fellow non-government organizations and food security projects on the importance of sustainable food systems and sustainable dining.  It released a nine-step guide for the public to follow when eating at restaurants to contribute to efforts in lessening food waste.

Being both a foodie and a mom, I reflected on how to integrate these concepts to both aspects of my life. Here’s my take on how you can apply the guide when dining out with the family:

One: Dine in sustainable restaurants often.

A sustainable restaurant is one that incorporates sustainability in its operations: from sourcing of ingredients, food preparation and service to clean up and waste disposal. Earth Kitchen Katipunan which hosted the workshop, for example, espouses the farm-to-table concept in acquiring ingredients that not only lessens the carbon footprint involved food transport but also supports local farms and indigenous communities.

Talk to your kids about these concepts and how to spot these kinds of eateries. You can also apply similar tactics employed by restaurants when packing their baons.

Two: Choose dishes made of ingredients that are in season.

In-season local produce involves far less transport from where they are grown to your plate. Restaurants that use such produce also take advantage of their plentiful supply and freshness.

Personally, I associate certain fruit flavors with seasons and I look forward to the time when I can taste them again. For example, luscious ripe mangoes are for the summer while the sweet and earthy avocados are best enjoyed during the rainy season.

When dining out with your kids, do point out which fruits are in season. This will help them see that there is a proper time for everything, and they can learn to anticipate when they can enjoy their favorite fruits again.

Three: Be adventurous! Try plant-based dishes.

When dining out, expose your kids to dishes that feature plant-based ingredients. Vegetarian-friendly eateries such as Wabi-Sabi and Pantry by Rub Rack, for example, both feature tasty meat-free dishes that kids will love.

You can even incorporate more produce in your home cooking. In case, plant-based food does not figure much in your cooking repertoire, you can always refer to cookbooks on the subject.

  

Four: Order only what you can finish.

Many of us have received admonishments from our parents while we were growing up to finish whatever is on our plate at mealtimes. This is actually a reminder for us to be mindful of how we consume. Finishing off our plates means less wasted food; eating our three square meal a day is a luxury considering that many in the world actually experience involuntary hunger.

When kids are at their favorite restaurants, they sometimes want to order all their favorites and resort to pester power to get their wishes. As parents, we should guide them to only order what they can consume.

Alternatively, we can also bring reusable take-home containers so you can bring leftovers home.

Five: Ask about the dish and its ingredients.

By asking the restaurants about what goes into the food they serve you as well as the livelihoods they support, you are letting them – as well as your little ones – know that these concerns are important and factors into the decision of which business you want to support.

Six: Don’t be afraid to request for modifications.

There’s really no harm in asking for minor changes in the way the food is prepared or served, especially if it doesn’t significantly impact the restaurant’s operations. Requests such as “less oil please,” or “leave out ingredients that I’m allergic to or won’t eat” will, at the very least, be considered by the restaurant staff. Making your preferences heard and addressed also teaches your children about their rights as consumers.

Seven: Bring your own reusable utensils.

Restaurants usually provide disposable plastic spoons, forks or straws. Avoid using them to lessen those being just thrown away and adding to the landfills. When possible, bring your own set that you can clean at home afterwards.

   

Eight: Segregate your waste properly.

If your favorite eateries are still not into waste segregation, encourage them to practice it. Waste segregation makes it easier for everyone – the restaurant owner, the waste disposal team, the government and even you as the consumer – to maximize all the resources involved in handling your food.

For example, the leftover bits of food can be composted to fertilize soil for farmers, the dry materials can be recycled while the actual waste that go to landfills are minimized.

Teaching your kids to segregate is a good way to teach them to classify things and view them according to their maximum potential use.

Nine: Educate your friends about sustainable dining.

Encourage your kids to share their sustainable dining habits to their friends by gifting their friends with reusable utensils or inviting their friends over to your place where they can see how you practice it.

Seeing your kids influence their friends for the good of the environment is quite an achievement as a parent.

Bringing up kids who are environmentally aware and practice sustainable dining not only helps in environmental conservation but also imparts values and behaviors to them that will stand them in good stead as they take their place in society.

For more details about WWF-Philippines and its initiatives, visit wwf.org.ph.

This post contains affiliate links.

Check out my posts related to conservation and the environment:

Header image by Pablo Merchan Montes on Unsplash