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:

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.

Enjoying the wind, waves and wildlife at Cannon Beach, OR

The weekend before the fam’s epic road trip to San Francisco, my bro took us to see the beauty of the Oregon Coast, particularly the Cannon Beach area.

It is nearly four miles of publicly accessible fine-sand beaches with a huge rock formation called Haystack Rock rising out 235 feet from the shore’s edge. It was formed 17 millions years ago by the same lava flows that created many of the headlands and rock formations that make up the Oregon Coast. We were fortunate that it was easily accessible during our visit due to low tide.

Cannon Beach, OR

Haystack Rock is actually a National Wildlife Refuge where visitors can observe tidepools teeming with marine life. Tidepool creatures such as soft-bodied anemones, tidepool fishes and sea slugs are interesting to look at but are extremely fragile and may be senstive to exposure to air and sun. Visitors are advised to refrain from touching or moving the creatures they encounter in the tidepools.

How do you catch sight of these creatures? Here are some tips from the locals:

  • Be patient. You may need to take some time to see them.
  • Be still. Crabs, small fish, snails and see slugs nestled under rocks and seaweed may not be immediately visible.
  • Be careful. Walk on the sand or bare rock to avoid stepping on and harming living creatures like barnacles and mussels.

Haystack Rock is also an active nesting spot for many seabirds. Tufted puffins, in particular, are easily observable from spring to summer.

During quieter seasons, herds of Roosevelt Elk are sometimes known to emerge from the thick forests to graze along the coastal meadows, while Gray Whales make their annual migration.

Cannon Beach, OR

The wide expanse of sand also makes a great venue for jogging, walking with dogs, or just hanging out with family or friends.

Cannon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach, OR

Well, our group certainly took advantage of the photo opps that the place afforded!

Cannon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach, OR

Cannon Beach, OR

Interested in visiting? Here are other attractions nearby that you may want to include in your itinerary:

  • Ecola State Park. It boasts of easy walking paths, hiking trails and picnic areas, brrathtaking views of the historic Tillamook Rock Lighthouse and vantage areas for bird- and whale-watching.
  • Arcadia Beach. Located two miles south of Cannon Beach, it offers beach access to Lion Rock and beach walks to Hug Point to the south and Silver Point to the north.
  • Oswald West State Park. Stretching four miles along a temperate rainforest, this affords visitors with a picturesque secluded sandy beach and hiking trails that lead to awesome views of the Pacific Ocean.

For more details or help in planning your visit to Cannon Beach, visit CannonBeach.org.

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

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:

Francine Rivers’ Lineage of Grace: five novellas of women-centered Biblical stories

The Bible is littered with the stories of men: pioneering patriarchs, brave warriors, noble kings, visionary prophets and more. These characters, with their virtues and flaws, have shaped Biblical history and provided anchors for the Christian faith.

But what about the women?

Most women in the Bible play supporting roles in the Bible narratives – as the wife, mother or sister of great men, the source of support or the catalyst for great acts.

In Lineage of Grace: Five Stories of Unlikely Women Who Changed Eternity by Francine Rivers, however, Biblical women took active roles in shaping their destinies. In doing so, they also helped mold the story of God and His people.

The book consists of five novellas which narrates the life and struggles of five women in the Bible.

These are:

Tamar, a woman of hope, who married into Judah’s family and was left a childless widow by two of his sons. She secures her future and place in his family through underhanded but ultimately justifiable means.

Rahab, a woman of faith, who was forced into harlotry and espionage but saw her opportunity to turn her life around when Israelite spies sought refuge in her inn in Jericho.

Ruth, a woman of love, who, though a Moabite woman, bravely accompanied her widowed mother-in-law Naomi back to Israel to forge a new life for themselves.

Bathsheba, a woman who received unlimited grace, who had to contend with the consequences of spending a night in King David’s bed, managed to secure not just her legacy but the future of the kingdom.

Mary, a woman of obedience, who, despite her youth and uncertainty, accepted the enormous task set upon her by God and thus, secured the salvation of mankind.

The stories of these women are familiar, but are told in new perspectives and with fresh insights. Despite acting with or espousing Old World values, their characters and situations are still relatable.

My favorite among the stories is that of Tamar. The biblical story is not that well-known and the two lead characters – Tamar and Judah – are not held in a good light based on the biblical narrative. However, by providing context to their thoughts and action – Tamar’s need to belong and Judah’s guilt over his betrayal of his brother Joseph – the characters are made sympathetic, redeemable and worth rooting for.

Francine Rivers, the author of Lineage of Grace, is a renowned author of Christian Fiction. Her other works include:

Redeeming Love. A retelling of the love story between the prostitute Gomer and the prophet Hosea set amidst the California Gold Rush.

Sons of Encouragement. The stories of the lesser-known men behind the celebrated heroes of the Bible who served as guides and support, and quietly helped to shape the faith.

The Mark of the Lion. A trilogy set in ancient Rome that explores the travails of Hadassah, a young Christian slave girl, and Marcus, the Roman aristocrat who falls in love with her.

For more details or to buy any of these books on Amazon.com, simply click on the titles or the cover images.

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Photo credit: Sidny Ritters on Unsplash

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.

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Check out my posts related to conservation and the environment:

Header image by Pablo Merchan Montes on Unsplash