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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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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Header image by Pablo Merchan Montes on Unsplash

No place for food waste! WWF-Philippines kicks off Savour Planet 2019 with a new theme

Together with Earth Kitchen Katipunan, Rise Against Hunger Philippines, Solu, and Greenspace, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines launched the new theme for the media trip series’ second year in Quezon City last March 16, 2019.

2.4 million Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months. Only 1 out of 3 Filipino households are considered food secure. In 2016, 6.8% of Filipino households experienced not having any food at home.

These sobering statistics give us a glimpse of the reality that families are facing when it comes to the major hunger issue we are experiencing in the Philippines. And yet, it has been estimated that each Filipino still wastes an average of 3.29 kg of rice per year, which, when totaled, would be enough to feed 4.3 million Filipinos.

There is clearly a gap between the amount of food we are able to produce as a country and the amount of food made available for our citizens to consume. That gap is actually the amount of food that we knowingly or unknowingly waste.

“Food waste is the biggest threat to nature today. When 70% of terrestrial biodiversity loss and when 69% of global freshwater use is attributed to food consumption and production, knowing about food waste is not enough. We must do something. We must create sustainable food systems for the survival of both Filipinos today and tomorrow”.

Zero Food Waste, WWF-Philippines

With that call to action, Melody Melo-Rijk, WWF’s Project Manager for Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Philippines, welcomed participants from Quezon City to the launch of the Savour Planet workshop’s new theme – No Place for Waste.

Recognizing the importance of educating Filipino diners on various ways of how they can help lessen food waste, WWF-Philippines, through its pioneer project on sustainable consumption and production, The Sustainable Diner: A Key Ingredient for Sustainable Tourism, has launched the 2019 run of its flagship media trip series at Earth Kitchen Katipunan – a restaurant dedicated to supporting local farmers and indigenous communities through the promotion of the farm-to-table concept. As the project’s flagship series, Savour Planet aims to empower and educate Filipino diners, partners from the media, the academe, as well as fellow non-government organizations and food security projects on the importance of sustainable food systems and sustainable dining. While last year’s theme, Cooking with a Purpose, focused on establishing an intimate connection between diners and the food that they eat through cooking, the new theme aspires to take that connection further by empowering diners to explore different avenues by which they can help keep the food on their plates from being wasted.

“All over the world, 1/3 of the food produced never reaches our plates every single year. Food waste is never okay. We have to instill this in the minds of our consumers because it is morally and socially unacceptable for us to waste food”,’ says Melo-Rijk, who opened the workshop by giving a brief introduction of The Sustainable Diner project and the context as to why the project was conceptualized in the first place. “When we talk about restaurants, food waste would also mean wasting money. There are hidden costs to food waste, some of which include labor cost, energy cost, disposal cost, and other added costs related to biodegradable waste management.”

To illustrate the gravity of the manner by which we waste food, Melo-Rijk brought to attention a source of food waste which most people usually contribute to without fully knowing its implications: ugly produce. The term “ugly produce” refers to produce that are misshapen, undersized, discolored, bruised, or in possession of unusual spots. These kinds of produce are usually ignored by the market, who would opt to go for “perfect-looking” items believing that they would taste better and would contain more nutrients than their bruised and battered counterparts. Melo-Rijk was quick to dispel this common perception. “When it comes to fresh produce, the ugly is just as good as the pretty in terms of taste and nutrition. Food safety is not based on outside appearances – for as long as the inside is not compromised, these food items should be safe to eat”,’ says Melo-Rijk. “Certain studies even promote that ugly produce can sometimes be more nutritious because most of them are organically farmed, with no alterations in terms of the nutrients that they contain. When we buy ugly produce, we help prevent food waste.”

Jomar Fleras, the Executive Director of Rise Against Hunger Philippines, then talked about the hunger situation in the Philippines, with an emphasis on the role of food banks in both the alleviation of hunger and the rescuing of food that would otherwise be thrown away. He opened to the participants the option of food donation as a viable means of decreasing instances of food waste in their daily lives and contributing to the greater goal of sustainable development. “To those who are familiar with the Sustainable Development Goals, we know that at the very core of these goals is the capability to ensure food security at the household level. When it comes to SGD 2, which is Zero Hunger, there is absolutely no compromise. There are no reduction targets, plain as day, we need to end global hunger”,’ says Fleras. “With existing policy frameworks in the Philippines that encourage the donation of food for charitable purposes, food banking becomes a vital platform to the attainment of SGD 2 and the prevention of further food waste. With Rise Against Hunger Philippines and the Good Food Grocer, our mission is to provide nutritious and safe food to nutritionally at-risk individuals and families.”

Zero Food Waste, WWF-Philippines

Aside from donating food to avoid food waste, there is also much talk about the ways in which we manage our waste. Waste management is becoming a big problem, especially in developing countries like the Philippines where consumption in various forms, including food, has risen tremendously. Proper waste segregation can prove to be instrumental in salvaging food from our landfills, especially when 52.31% of our solid waste consists of biodegradables, which includes food waste and garden waste. This is where Solu comes in, and their Lead Strategist, Pang Delgra, made a great case on why our waste management systems need to innovate to keep up with the times. “The current waste management system is broken. People want to segregate, but they know the effort is futile when everything is just being brought to the same landfill anyway”,’ says Delgra.
“As a platform that connects all market participants and incentivizes citizens to sell their segregated waste materials, Solu enables Filipinos to make money from their waste and to help the environment through sustainable waste disposal”.

Zero Food Waste, WWF-Philippines

The micro-talks ended with a presentation on bokashi composting, led by Rina Papio, Founder of Greenspace by introducing the participants to the concept of bioremediation, or the use of biological organisms to break down environmental pollutants and solve environmental problems, Rina was able to paint a clear picture on how microorganisms can turn food waste into nutrient-rich compost that will help keep our soils healthy. “Bokashi composting is a great way for individuals to divert food waste away from our landfills. With the help of beneficial microorganisms, we can turn food waste into healthy soil and keep it from polluting the Earth”,’ says Papio. “With bokashi composting, anyone can create their own green space in just four easy steps. Just collect your food waste and layer it with bokashi bran, tightly seal your bokashi bucket to allow for anaerobic fermentation, mix your fermented food waste with soil, and then after four weeks, you will already be able to use the compost you made in your garden.” During the actual demonstration, the participants gamely participated in the afternoon bokashi workshop, where they learned first-hand how they can help regenerate the soil and even grow their own food using repurposed food waste in the form of bokashi compost. Afterwards, The Sustainable Diner team surprised the participants with a giveaway of 5 bokashi composting kits. The lucky winners will use these kits to start off and write about their composting journey.

Zero Food Waste, WWF-Philippines

By emphasizing to Filipino diners the need to reduce food waste and by introducing them to different food waste reduction and diversion techniques and platforms, WWF-Philippines hopes to foster a greater consciousness when it comes to addressing the effects of business-as-usual food consumption and production patterns. Sustainable dining is not just about the food that we are about to consume in the moment, but also about the food that we will leave behind. With innovation, ingenuity, and inspiration, it is possible to prove that here in the Philippines, there really is just no excuse nor place for food waste.

Zero Food Waste, WWF-Philippines

About WWF:

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

WWF-Philippines has been successfully implementing various conservation projects to help protect some of the most biologically-significant ecosystems in Asia since its establishment as the 26th national organization of the WWF network in 1997.

About SCP and The Sustainable Diner:

The Sustainable Diner project of WWF-Philippines aims to contribute to improving the
implementation of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and lessening food wastage in the country. WWF-Philippines wants to engage the government, food service businesses, and consumers so they will support sustainable dining practices and help make the Philippines’ food service industry more environmentally friendly.

The Sustainable Diner project, under Sustainable Consumption and Production, is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.

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

Details provided by WWF-Philippines in a recent press release.

Check out my posts related to conservation and the environment:

How moms can nurture a love for reading among kids

With all content available in a myriad of forms and platforms, sometimes we parents wonder how we can instill a love of reading among our kids.

Wishing to do so is not being out of touch with the times. Studies have shown that avid readers have certain advantages over their peers. Since reading is a more complex activity than watching video content on television or other gadgets, it helps to exercise their brains, improving concentration and imagination, as well as their vocabulary and language skills. A well-read child may have a better and more expansive understanding of the world around him and may be able to develop empathy for others.

MomSchool 3.0, Mommy Mundo

In a recent Mommy Mundo #MomSchool learning session “Raising Readers and Writers in the Digital Age,” mom and Keys School literacy coordinator Monica Lopez Javier shared some insights and tips on how parents can help foster a love of reading among their kids.

MomSchool, Mommy Mundo

For Teacher Monica, talking to your kids starting from early childhood is very important.

“Talk is the foundation of learning,” she shares. “Through language, meaning is built.”

She encourages parents to develop oral language at home, to facilitate kids in communicating and interacting with them. Kids should learn how to tell stories to learn how to put the things and situations around them in perspective or context.

Some tips she shared include:

  • Respect their think time. Younger children take time respond to your conversation prompts. Allow them the time to process the conversation and respond to you.
  • Establish rituals of conversation. Make time when you’re available to converse with your kids. Set up long talks with the kids when you can communicate with them at length.
  • Talk about complex topics. As kids grow older, allow them to process more complex ideas as they communicate with you. When letting them talk about their day, ask them what they learned or what they plan to do.
  • Don’t shy away from trouble stories. Don’t raise your kids in a bubble. For example, tell them about the bad day you’re having and how you cope with it. They will be able to express to you their similar emotions as well as model their response to challenging situations after yours.
  • Teach them to listen. Kids should be encouraged to respond thoughtfully. Help them understand that when they listen, even to opposing views, their ideas can grow.
  • Support their language development through reading. Kids’ vocabularies are better developed by reading. It also through reading that they encounter fresh concepts and ideas. Parents are encouraged to read aloud to younger kids so that children will develop a love for words and imagination that reading affords. For older children, parents are urged to discuss the books that the kids read; this will help them process what they learn from books and develop critical thinking.

Parents may be worried that buying more and more books may be a strain on the budget. Teacher Monica advises looking for libraries in your area where you or your kids can borrow books.

Growing up as a child of a reader, and becoming an avid reader myself, I can attest to the hours of enjoyment and the fun of discovery that I experienced since childhood. Being a reader has also informed my writing and my current work in marketing and in blogging.

Novotel Manila Araneta Center

MomSchool 3.0, Mommy Mundo

I’m proud that I have helped to instill the same love for reading in my daughter.

MomSchool, Mommy Mundo

MomSchool, Mommy Mundo

This #MomSchool learning session held at the Ayala The 30th Activity Center was organized by Mommy Mundo, a community of moms dedicated to making motherhood easier, happier and more fulfilling for every mom through various avenues and activities. Upcoming events by Mommy Mundo for the year are slated on these dates:

  • March 16-17: Mommy Mundo World (The 5th at Rockwell)
  • May 17-19: Expo Mom Manila (Glorietta)
  • June 29-30: Expo Mom South (Alabang Town Center)
  • July 19-21: Expo Mom North (Trinoma)
  • August 3-4: Mommy Mundo World (The 5th at Rockwell)
  • August 31 to September 1: Expo Mom Central (Bonifacio Global City)
  • October 18-20: Expo Mom North 2 (Trinoma)
  • November 23: Expo Mom South 2 (Alabang Town Center)
  • December 6-8: Expo Mom Holiday (Glorietta)

Want to be on your way to developing future avid readers? Below is a list of the books that Teacher Monica recommends for reading aloud to kids.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

My World by Margaret Wise Brown

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola

Tom by Tomie dePaola

Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

The Cloud Book by Tomie dePaola

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells

Freight Train by Donald Crews

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Stuart Little by E.B. White

Matilda by Roald Dahl

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Li’l Twinkies showcases fun parenting baby products at Momzilla Fair

New and expectant mommies were able to get sneak peeks into the latest and best of baby care products at the 12th Momzilla Fair held at the Fifth at Rockwell Event Center. Together with fellow mumshie Sherile of Shescapades, I scoured the event for some great finds.

Li’l Twinkies at Momzilla Bazaar

Li’l Twinkies, one of the participating brands, is a maker of high-grade and safe parenting tools that facilitates effective baby care and infant nursing. Believing that a fun parenting experience leads to stronger and happier bonds between parents and children, it advocates joyful and convenient parenting through safe and easy-to-use products for milk storage, feeding utensils, teethers and health accessories.

Li’l Twinkies at Momzilla Bazaar

Li’l Twinkies at Momzilla Bazaar

Li’l Twinkies at Momzilla Bazaar

For instance, many new moms may feel apprehensive at the prospect of breastfeeding. Working mommies, in particular, would need to find a way to conveniently store their nutritious breastmilk until they can bring it home from their workplace.

Fortunately, Li’l Twinkies Milk Storage Bags – made with safe and non-toxic materials – are freezer-safe self-standing bags that made extra durable with their dual layered seams and double zipper seal to lock in freshness. Each bag can hold up to 8oz/250ml of breastmilk for later consumption. Breastfeeding moms can rest easy, knowing that their precious milk expressed at work or elsewhere will reach their babies safely and with freshness intact.

Li’l Twinkies at Momzilla Bazaar

Breastfeeding moms are also sometimes faced with the hassle of leaking milk in between feedings. Recognizing that every drop of breastmilk counts, Li’l Twinkies Milk Collection Shells are designed to fit most maternity bras to effectively and hygienically catch these leaks, while protecting nipples made sensitive breastfeeding or milk pumping. Their pour spouts facilitates easy transfer of the collected breastmilk to a feeding bottle or milk storage bag.

Li’l Twinkies at Momzilla Bazaar

And speaking of feeding bottles, some moms would probably notice that their babies have some trouble adjusting from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding. With this in mind, Li’l Twinkies launched its NutriLatch Baby Feeding Bottle. Its super-wide teat approximates the texture and feeding motion learned from breast-feeding, facilitating hassle-free switching between the breast and bottle. It also features dual anti-colic air ventilating valves that reduces gas intake, thereby lessening babies’ burps and discomforts.

Li’l Twinkies at Momzilla Bazaar

Moms of babies four months and older are faced with quite a challenge: teething. At this point, babies’ first teeth begin to emerge, resulting in itchy and sore gums, as well as cranky babies. They would be happy to know that products are available to help them comfort their littles ones at this important – if uncomfortable – stage.

Li’l Twinkies at Momzilla Bazaar

Li’l Twinkies Sensory Teethers, for instance, are made for babies’ easy grip so they can bite into them for comfort while stimulating their senses and curiosity with the teethers’ attractive designs and multi-sensory features. Li’l Twinkies Teethers with Clip, on the other hand, have the added clip-on feature that facilitates babies’ easy access to their soothing teethers whenever they feel the need.

Li’l Twinkies at Momzilla Bazaar

Li’l Twinkies at Momzilla Bazaar

Li’l Twinkies at Momzilla Bazaar

Another options is to wrap babies’s hand with Wrap Li’l Twinkies Chewy Mittens. With these, babies can also entertain themselves – and learn to self-soothe – when they hear the cute rattling sound from the mittens whenever they move.

Li’l Twinkies at Momzilla Bazaar

Moms worried about keeping their babies’ items clean and hygienic have a new go-to device: Li’l Twinkies Magic UV Wand Sanitizer. Using this is a chemical-free way to sterilize babies’ bottles, toys, play pens and other items using UV germicidal technology. What’s more, it has an automatic temporary shut-off switch when face-up to safeguard the user’s eyes. Its portable size makes it a must-have for on-the-go moms.

Li’l Twinkies at Momzilla Bazaar

Li’l Twinkies has loads more of innovative items that make baby care easy and fun. (In fact, I’ll be writing more about its Silicone Baby Feeding Set in a later post). I’m absolutely thrilled that products like these are available to make parenting even more rewarding for new moms.

Check out its various products at the Booth C28 at the ongoing 12th Momzilla Fair at the Fifth at Rockwell, R5 Level, Power Plant Mall, Plaza Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati. During the fair, enjoy 20% discount on the featured products. The fair will run until March 3.

Catch the next legs of the Momzilla Fair on the following dates:

  • May 18-19
  • July 6-7
  • September 14-15
  • November 16-17

You can also shop for Li’l Twinkies products online at Shopee and Babymama.

Online community aims to help moms achieve financial independence through freelancing

Gone are the days when moms are expected to just stay home to manage the household. Recognizing their own potential for so much more outside of domestic concerns, women have established themselves in the workforce whether as employees in corporate offices, or more and more lately, as freelancers.

Freelancing has long been an option for many women, including those seeking to leave their corporate jobs to be able to spend more time with their families, or stay-at-home moms who want to contribute to the family’s income.

However, for many who are new to this kind of employment, freelancing may seem quite daunting.

Fortunately, resources are available to them in the form of Richie Rebamuntan and the online community she founded #WEdothetalk.

Richie Rebamuntan, #WEdothetalk

The entrepreneur behind I Connect Marketing & Business Services has for years been recruiting and training women to do work as virtual staff for clients, including those based abroad. Seeing the potential to help more women achieve success similar to her own, and with the support and encouragement of her former students who are now the group’s pioneers, she established the #WEdothetalk online community.

Recently, the #WEdothetalk website – wedothetalk.com – went live, giving potential clients comprised of SMEs in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada a direct line to her pool of competent virtual staff, all of whom are members of her online community.

Richie Rebamuntan, #WEdothetalk

Richie’s goal is for #WEdothetalk to help moms achieve financial independence through three milestones:

One: Through a home-based job

Richie believes that a mom does not have to work far from home and away from her family. With a computer, a stable internet access and the skills she can develop through the resources available at the #WEdothetalk online community, she can successfully land a job and earn a living, while still being there for her family.

To this end, Richie conducts free webinars for her community members on online freelancing every Wednesday and Friday via Facebook Live. Dubbed An Hour with Richie, it offers viewers valuable know-how in navigating the freelancing world, from crafting a resume, submitting proposals at Upwork, to scouting for home-based jobs.

Two: Through a home-based business

While working on a home-based job can be financially rewarding, having an established home-based business can be even more so, as it can help generate passive income. This can fund the little luxuries to treat the family or form part of the family’s savings for a rainy day.

Aside from her company, Richie also packages and distributes her own brand of pure wild honey – Rich’s Pure Raw Honey from the Wild – and all-natural bath soaps – Lady’s Youthful Secrets.

She also exposes her community members to various business opportunities such as direct selling and cottage industries that can be established and operated in the home.

Three: Through financial literacy

Earning and making a living through freelancing or having a home-based business can be exhilarating for many moms. However, to sustain this lifestyle, moms must also learn the value of money, and how to strategically invest in their business and in themselves.

Integral to these milestones is the value of community. It is with the support and guidance of fellow women freelancers and entrepreneurs that moms can ably navigate the freelancing arena and succeed in their ventures.

Richie Rebamuntan, #WEdothetalk

The launch of the #WEdothetalk website was held at the Rizal Art House, supported by representatives of Digital Mom Academy, Social Media WAHM, and Digital Career Advocates of the Philippines. The event was sponsored by AXA Philippines, Skin Magical, Unilever Network Philippines, doTerra, Rizal Art House and Delicacita. Aside from myself, the event was also covered by Marj Liwag of LittleMsPrinter.com.

More information and resources are available for budding freelancers at the #Wedothetalk online community. To join, visit facebook.com/wedothetalk.

Many thanks to Richie for inviting me to the launch and for welcoming me into the community.

Watch this space for more insights gained during the event and from the group.

New SKYcable kids channel ZooMoo hosts panel on animal conservation

Well, first there was IQ, and then there was EQ.  Today, we have another aspect of child development that we, as parents, would do well to address: our children’s animal quotient (AQ).

From the apex predators in the wild, the little critters in the fields, and our furry friends at home, all animals have their own important place in the world.

ZooMoo Launch Event

ZooMoo Launch Event

ZooMoo Launch Event

ZooMoo, the new English language-based learning channel on SKYcable, aims to help parents in honing their preschoolers’ AQ, as well as fostering a love for animals and nature.  The channel is a product of the collaboration among the world’s foremost wildlife filmmakers, early childhood educationalists and technology developers.  Its entertaining and engaging animal-centered programs are designed stimulate and develop kids’ innate emotional connection to the natural world.

Recently, ZooMoo hosted a panel discussion for parents and guardians at the aptly themed Zoo Coffee.  Here, the attendees were able to gain insights on the importance of teaching kids about animals and nature at an early age and how to further integrate technology into their kids’ early education.

ZooMoo Launch Event

The panel is composed of photojournalist and environmental advocate Gregg Yan, lifestyle television host and online influencer Kelly Misa-Fernandez and the marketing manager of ZooMoo’s parent network Blue Ant Media, Trippy Padilla.  Together, the panelists imparted tips and information on how to foster kids into becoming good caretakers of the planet, which include:

The benefits and challenges to parents of being in the digital age

With the ubiquitous influence of technology, parents do wonder whether access to these gadgets, apps and social media is beneficial or harmful to their kids.

The answer is: As with most things, technology is neutral. It can be both good or bad, depending on how you use it.

In his line of work, Gregg Yan has seen first-hand how technology helps in animal conservation. For example, conservationists can upload photos of the lieft fin of the whale sharks they encounter on the Wild Hook system which helps them identify individual sharks as patterns of spots are unique to each shark.

Furthermore, access to animal and nature-related content through digital media has grealty helped in disseminating conservation awareness, even among kids.

“With digital technology, you don’t have to carry a fifty-pound backpack and go up mountains,” he said. “All you have to do is watch ZooMoo and you’ll be able to see the animals in their natural habitat.”

ZooMoo’s programming is comprised of 1,500 self-contained shows that combine spectacular wildlife footage with a range of puppetry, animation and narrative techniques to create a unique viewing and learning experience for a very young audience. Centered around five themes – explore, create, play, puzzle and quiet – ZooMoo’s shows are geared towards helping kids develop appreciation and compassion towards other creatures.

Through the ZooMoo App, kids and parents will have a second screen to enjoy ZooMoo’s animal-centric content. Parents can allow their kids to immerse themselves in the world of ZooMoo through interactive games, music, puzzles and other fun activities. The app’s Parent Page also provides personalized support to parents to aid in their children’s learning.

How to develop good conservation habits among young children

To Kelly Misa-Fernandez, modelling good behavior is key to raising socially and environmentally responsible kids.

“At this age, kids will immitate what they see.” she shares. “I want my son to see the real situation and I want him to be empowered to know that he can do something about it. And it’s best to lead by example.”

Recently, for example, her family has started assembling eco-bricks, environmentally friendly bricks made of recycled plastics from home waste. They stuff plastics like wrappers and cellophane tightly into sturdy containers which can later be used in construction while keeping harmful plastics away from the ocean and sea life.

Through the talks with the panelists, it is easy to see that conservation awareness is becoming a more important issue for today’s kids. Fortunately, with ZooMoo, parents and kids can get their start in becoming environmentally aware and doing their share to protect nature and animals.

ZooMoo Launch Event

ZooMoo Launch Event

ZooMoo Launch Event

ZooMoo ‘s program line up is packaged in an easy to understand format that is fun for both parents and kids. Among ZooMoo’s well-loved shows are Dinosaur Train wherein young Tyrannosaurus Rex Buddy travel across the Land of Dinosaurs with his family and friends), and  ZooMoo Wild Friends which take kids on a journey to discover animals and the world around them.

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SKYcable subscribers can choose to add zooMoo (channel 120 in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Lipa) to their channel line-up for only Php20 per month via SKYcable Select. For more details or to subscribe, visit mysky.com.ph or call +63 2 418 0000.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.