Friday, October 30, 2020

Healthy Halloween ideas while quarantined

We may all still be quarantined because of the COVID-19 pandemic but that doesn't mean Halloween has to be sad. We can still make Halloween fun for the kids by celebrating at home! But because there's the novel coronavirus going around, let's make an extra effort to make this candy holiday a wee bit healthier.

My creepy and cute kids with their DIY Jack o' Lanterns and favorite healthy candy.

Don't get me wrong - Halloween needs candy! My constant sweet treat in our house is Welch's Fruit Snacks. Every gummy treat is made with real fruit and is an excellent source of Vitamins A, C and E. Each 80-calorie pouch is free of gluten, fat, and preservatives. 

Kids love sweets so why deny them that happiness, especially on the candy holiday of the year? I won't advocate for a candy-less Halloween ever. So even if this post is going to be about having a healthy Halloween, it will still be a sweet one. Just healthier! Here's how:

1. Create your own Halloween decorations. 

You don't have to go all out. Just have your kid do one creepy artwork to get into the mood. For busy parents, it's perfectly alright to order the spooky decor online. It's just as fun to receive the packages and decorate your home with your kids! The point is getting the kids to get creative, move around the house, stretching up to hang decor, have fun. 

Their Papa and the kids made our DIY Halloween decor!

2. Make small candy bags. 

Kids loooove candy but since they won't be going around the village or the condo complex this year collecting treats, you don't need a big bag for candy. You can just get make a cute creepy bag for the candy haul.

3. Keep ’em on their feet. 

You may be at home but you can still include plenty of physical activities. Look for Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video and have a zombie dance contest (winner gets candy!). Or how about dress up like a monster and chase your kids around haha

4. Serve healthy snacks. 

To offset all that candy, create munchies that are healthy, like banana ghosts, veggie-meatball monsters, pizza with ghost-shaped cheese, apple monster mouths, and deviled eggs topped with black olives shaped like spiders. Make sure to wash it all down with Welch's 100% Grape Juice!



5. Choose your sweets well.

Like I said, it's okay to buy candy! Just mix the candy with healthier options like caramel popcorn, dried fruit, trail mix, candied nuts, and gummies made with 100% fruit juice and no extra sugar, like Welch's Fruit Snacks. Sugarless gum (just look for the ingredient xylitol) is a favorite. Chocolates, especially dark ones, are great, too. Our dentist says she prefers sweets that melt away or can be washed down with a drink of water. 

Treats to avoid: cake, muffins, and cupcakes. The carbs and starches get stuck in between teeth. Lollipops aren't a good idea either because your teeth get exposed to the sugar for around 10 minutes whereas other sweets you eat and swallow within seconds.


We are so excited for Halloween! We're going to have a treasure hunt for the treats, maybe do that Thriller zombie dance-a-thon, then watch a mildly scary movie while munching on Welch's Fruit Snacks. Make sure you grab boxes of Welch's Fruit Snacks, too! Yummy and healthy treat for Halloween and all year long.

*This post is brought to you by Welch's Fruit Snacks. Welch's 100% Grape Juice, Juice Cocktails, Sparkling Juices, and Fruit Snacks are available in all leading supermarkets, drugstores, and convenience stores. You can have your favorite health drink delivered right to your doorstep! Visit the Ace Food Service website, or place your order in the following online groceries: Metro Mart, Lazmart, and Waltermart.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Advice for celebrity mistresses on how to navigate your way from hated to adored

I was watching the season 4 trailer for Netflix's "The Crown" and I still can't believe that Charles could cheat on Diana with Camilla. But then I thought that Camilla was his first love and he was with her the entire time (even when she was married yikes). He only turned to Diana because he was 30 and single. A king's most important duty is to produce an heir so Charles better get going. So I guess in this case, Camilla was the "wife" and Diana was the poor "mistress." She truly didn't stand a chance. 

I miss making OK! magazine!

Except of course in reality Diana was the legal wife and Camilla the mistress. But Camilla prevailed and now she's not only the future queen/princess consort of the UK, the British people actually love her. Why? Because no one can resist an enduring love story.

Not that we're romanticizing any illegal affairs here, okay (yep, in the Philippines adultery and concubinage are crimes). But mistresses, especially celebrity ones, will always get hate hate hate. Unless you're the most successful kabit of all time - Angelina Jolie. Well, technically that would still be Camilla since Angelina and Brad got divorced, but Camilla had to endure hatred for decades. Angelina was beloved from the start. It was horrifying really seeing everyone root for the mistress, not for the devastated wife, Jennifer Aniston.

So how did Angelina do it? As a former celebrity magazine editor who had to put the Brangelina love story on my cover every single time for maybe 5 years haha, I have learned her ways. Here's how she did it: 

1. Don't go for a man with children.

Well, don't ever fall for a married man. Period. But if you go for a married man with kids, oh boy, you're never going to get any sympathy at all. I think that's why Angelina got away with a lot - Brad didn't have any kids and he wanted tons of kids. Our strange society thinks very badly of women who don't have kids so between child-free Jen and Mother Angelina, the latter got sympathy very quickly. She played on that, too, talking about her love for kids and how Brad wanted to be a father and how willing she was to be the mother of his children. People LOVE that shit.

But if the guy has kids, steer clear. It's bad enough he's lying to his wife, but betraying innocent children, too? That's plain evil. People will never forgive anyone who takes a father from his kids. That's pure evil. Don't be evil and don't fall for evil men. 

As for Camilla, honestly, I don't think she had a choice. Charles was a Prince of the Kingdom and eventually he would be the King. I think she had to say yes or else she'd get beheaded (joke - British sovereigns don't do that anymore).

2. Don't ever deny the affair.

Don't ever post Instagram Stories (ghostwritten or not haha) denying the affair because people will just enjoy your dirty laundry and come out with proof of your sullied reputation. You don't want that. The truth will come out for sure. There will be witnesses like frenemies, CCTV, irritated personal assistants, gleeful production assistants, etc. 

This was Angelina's one mistake. She kept denying it. She even said, "To be intimate with a married man, when my own father cheated on my mother, is not something I could forgive. I could not, could not look at myself in the morning if I did that." And then she and Brad got photographed in March (or April) 2005 frolicking on a beach, and she was already pregnant with first biological child Shiloh when Brad and Jen's divorce was finalized in October. People can count months, ya know. Later on, she said in an interview with The New York Times that her kids love watching Mr. & Mrs. Smith because "Not a lot of people get to see a movie where their parents fell in love." That movie was filmed in 2004, waaaaaay before Jen and Brad separated (January 2005) and divorced. So crap!  

As for Camilla, she kept quiet the entire time. Oh boy, did she get vilified for years. I honestly don't know how she survived that. But she did and mostly because pinanindigan niya. 

3. Take over the narrative.

Okay, so you fell for a married man. You're the most hated vixen in the world. What do you do now? The media (traditional and social) will destroy you anyway so try to make them go to your side. In the case of Camilla and Charles, they had their friends slip little morsels to the press. Charles was unhappy because Diana was crazy. Camilla was the only one who supported Charles and his heavy burden as would-be King while Diana was off partying and shopping. That sort of narrative.

As for Brangelina, the entertainment editors always called Jennifer to get her side but she was so hurt, she hid away. That's expected and that was gracious of her. But Angelina took advantage of this silence from Jen. If the media was going to feast on her life, she might as well give them what she wants - her side of the story. 

Why do I know this? Because I was an entertainment magazine editor during that time and at international conferences, we editors and publishers discussed how to help Jennifer but Angelina was charming the panties out of editors everywhere. She was relentless and irresistible. 

So if people are going to talk about you, you might as well give them something to talk about. Grant interviews. Send presents to the editors. Be everywhere - red carpets, talk shows - and be dazzling! Your name is now followed by "homewrecker" so do something about it and add more: queen of the red carpet, funny, charming, charitable, compassionate. More in the next tip... 

4. Put your very best foot forward.

So now you want to do a media blitzkrieg. What's the story you want out there? You want people to see beyond the homewrecker status. Let's see how Santa Angelina (that was her nickname, remember?) did it. She used all that attention to highlight her humanitarian efforts with the United Nations. She talked about the plight of refugees and orphans. She traveled to war zones, ramped up her conservation efforts, wrote books, was a guest speaker at important conferences. And you guys don't know this but we would get invitations to interview Angelina and be allowed to ask a personal question IF the focus of the article is her humanitarian efforts. So if you're wondering why many of the features on Angelina were glowing, this was why.

Camilla was amazing at this, too. Well, the couple actually hired a PR executive to help rehabilitate their image. First thing they had to do was get Camilla a charity. She supports osteoporosis, literacy, and many other charities but she also famously took on rape and sexual abuse - a cause most royals avoid. She was very active in helping victims of sexual abuse and advocating for their rescue and therapy. This was such a bold cause that British women (the ones who hated her most) fell in love with her.

So if you're a celebrity mistress, use all the unwanted attention for a good cause. Donate your time and money to charity. Because people hate perfection and if you present yourself as perfect and good but made the tragic mistake of falling for a married man, the world will like you better. A fallen angel, if you will.

5. Always present a united front.

And this was the best strategy of Brangelina and Charles and Camilla. They were always a pair from the start. They were so in love, you just couldn't ignore the force of their love - even if Jennifer and Diana were their roadkill. Terrible, I know. Marriage is sacred but all the world loves a lover, as they say. WTF, right?

So share family photos, especially if your children are cute because people love cute babies. Brangelina had 6! Camilla, meanwhile, was forgiven as soon as people saw her with Charles's boys, William and Harry. So always be seen together. Look happy. Look in love. Announce important events together. The birth of your child/ren, putting up a business, starring in a movie, getting engaged (never ever post a solo engagement photo). Don't ever do anything alone, dear kabit, because that reinforces the fact that you are not part of a family and that you broke apart one.

I know it looks like you're flaunting your sin and being a complete shameless hussy. But you already are anyway. So just own it but be humble and gracious about it. How to do that??? Well, look at Camilla and Angelina!

Every illicit affair gets lots of mileage.

Now, if you're a woman reading this and you're not a celebrity mistress, please don't ever think of becoming one. First, you don't have the resources to hire a PR agency to rehab your image. And second, no one cares about non-celebs. Yes, Angelina and Camilla seemed to have won but, no, they didn't really. Their names will always be besmirched. Forever! Yes, the husband should always take the blame but our society forgives erring husbands. They never forgive the mistress. 

So don't do it. It's evil. It's not worth it. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Top 5 Tips for Dealing With Child Custody This Holiday Season

It's the -ber months and y'all know what that means. It's Christmas! Well, technically, we still have a slew of holidays like Halloween, All Soul's Day, my birthday (hehe), Thanksgiving (if you do that), Black Friday sale (haha) before Christmas. But we Filipinos have started putting up the Christmas tree so it's officially the holidays! Today's guest post is all about a tough issue many Pinoy families go through - when parents are separated, where do the children spend their holidays?

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GUEST POST - The holidays can be a stressful time for any family. If you’re in a situation with separated or divorced parents, that stress can become unbearable. While you may not be overly happy about having to share child visitation rights with your former partner, there are some tips that can make dealing with child custody this holiday season easier for you and for your children

1. Plan two holidays.

If you and your former partner are near enough to each other and logistics allow for it, you might consider planning two holidays so your children don’t have to choose between you. Inviting your extended family, your kids' friends, and making the event feel as normal and loving as possible will make it so that your children won’t feel as though they have been left out of one parent’s life. The exact date of the holiday matters less than the idea of celebrating with their family, no matter what the date.

2. Include those not physically present.

If you and your former partner live too far away for two holidays to work, then you should be proactive in ensuring that your child doesn’t feel abandoned or as though they have chosen one of you over the other. This can be done by sending packages in advance to give to your children on the day of, keeping traditions from when you and your partner were together so that your children can still feel connected to holidays past, and planning phone calls or video chats with the other parent. The important thing is to prioritize your children's emotional well-being, even if you and your former partner would prefer to never speak to each other again.

3. Split holidays fairly.

If you were able to have the kids for Christmas, then you should be willing to allow your former partner to have them over on New Year's Eve. This allows your children to have that special time with their other parent and ensures that any acrimony between you and your former partner isn’t increased by the impression that one or the other of you is trying to monopolize your children's’ time. This may be difficult, especially if you have a combative or nasty relationship with your former partner, but your family can help to keep things on an even keel and ensure that your children have the best holidays possible.

4. Keep each other in the loop.

Many separated couples have greater difficulty around the holidays because they aren’t honest with each other about their hopes and needs around the holiday season. Not every former couple will be able to deal with each other openly and honestly, of course, but even if you have a terrible relationship with your ex it is best to keep them in the loop about your holiday plans with your children. This will ensure that you don’t unintentionally step on each other’s toes and are able to plan around your ex’s holiday plans - and they around yours.

5. Get together.

If the acrimony over the separation has passed and you feel you are able to deal with each other civilly, there is no reason why you can’t plan a get together that includes all parts of your children's’ family. This isn’t an option for everyone, of course, but showing your children that they don’t have to feel torn between the different parts of their family goes a long way to helping them in their emotional journey.

There are no easy solutions when it comes to child custody over the holiday season, and none of these possible arrangements are right for every family. Still, with grace and maturity, you will be able to find ways to make it so your children have the best holidays possible.


* This is a guest post, with my edits. To place a guest post, email frances@topazhorizon.com. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

How to promote yourself as a transcriptionist for remote transcription jobs

As a journalist, I've interviewed many celebrities, business leaders, and society mavens. I love talking with them and getting them to spill their secrets. My not-so-favorite part, however, is transcribing the interviews. Totally hate my voice! So I was amazed to find out a few years ago that transcribing is a real job. As a freelancer now, I'm a member of a few Facebook groups for freelance agents. I thought I'd find writers and editors like me. I found that there were more virtual assistants, social media managers, and transcriptionists in these groups. Today's guest post is all about transcriptionists, in case you're a working woman who'd like to try out this career. Good luck!

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GUEST POST - In remote transcription jobs, the client will send the files to the freelancer (that's you). You can start transcribing at your own convenience, working to make sure you meet the deadline you and your client decided on. Sounds easy but if you want to become an established freelance transcriptionist, it is important that you start marketing yourself and the services that you offer. Without advertising your skillset properly, it becomes extremely difficult for you to start gaining assignments. A freelance transcriptionist might also face difficulties in finding the clients and building their network too without proper marketing skills. 

You can learn more on the techniques that could help you to market yourself as a transcriptionist, especially for remote freelance transcription jobs at dormzi, by following these tips:

1. Come up with a brilliant resume.

Every freelance transcriptionist planning to market herself and her services to attract more projects is must start with a compelling resume.

You don't have to include every detail of your professional history. Just put the details that are related to the skill sets required for the transcription job, and highlight them. It's also a good idea to create your own website. Make sure you use the most significant keywords that are used to search by the clients when they are looking for freelancers in the transcription industry. 

When your profile is aligned with the keywords that are being searched, it becomes easy for the clients to discover your profile. With this, the chances of getting remote job assignments would increase drastically. 

Don't forget your contact details because this is how the client will get in touch with you in case you get the job. 

2. Build your resume on a professional media network.

There are many professional media networks that are made exclusively for people looking for assignments in the freelance industry. You can either choose to upload the same resume on your website or you can create another resume for these professional media network channels. Start building your own network.

Remember to use the most significant keywords used by clients when they are looking for freelancers in the transcription industry. When your profile starts getting more views on these forums and platforms, you get more chances of potential clients striking a conversation with you regarding the assignment related to transcription. 

3. Start advertisement campaigns.

A lot of transcriptionists highlight their profile on social media websites using the advertisement campaigning feature. This is one of the greatest benefits that can be leveraged through social media in order to positively publicize your services related to transcription.

The campaigning money can be easily recovered once you start getting a lot of deals through legitimate customers. Therefore, this is one of the most important ways that could help you to quickly find remote freelance transcription assignments.

4. Make videos and write blog posts.

Finding remote transcription assignments can become easy if you start making videos and writing blog posts. Post these either on your website or any other websites that accept guest posts. By doing these things, you would be able to showcase your presence in the transcription world. You improve your chances of coming across a potential client that can offer you remote jobs assignments. Start promoting these things in a positive manner and get noticed by the clients quickly.

5. Do not underestimate yourself.

Some freelance transcriptionists might end up losing hope when they do not get assignments the way they have planned. That's why it's important to carefully craft your resume, professional website, and profile on job-seeking platforms. 

Once you start reworking on your resume in order to meet the requirements of the freelance industry, you should be able to get more projects than you expect.

When you start underestimating yourself, you will start thinking negatively, and that can seriously impact the way you work on your assignments. Hence, having a positive attitude at all times is also important when you are planning to get remote job assignments.

These are some of the most important tips and techniques that could help you to quickly get more remote freelance assignments in the transcription industry.

* This is a guest post, with my edits. To place a guest post, email frances@topazhorizon.com for my rates. Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Happy 10th birthday to the mama in me

A few weeks ago, my eldest boy turned 10 years old. As with the quarantine birthdays of our kids this year, it was a simple affair. But this 10th birthday was a quieter party than the parties of his younger brothers. He just wanted to eat his simple chocolate cake, open his gifts, and then play video games all day. And that was his birthday. 

I thought, it being a double-digit birthday and therefore a milestone, that he'd ask for more. But he wouldn't even allow me to buy him a special cake. "Just the usual, Mama," he insisted. He's been like this since he was 7, asking for experiences rather than things. And when he does ask for things, they're not much. His Papa is the one who would buy more than what our eldest boy asks for. His Papa is always extra excited to shower gifts on his sons. And it's extra fun to give gifts to our first boy because he gets surprised at all the extra boxes he gets. 


But I gotta say I was a wee bit disappointed that we had a quiet celebration. Later on, I realized maybe I also wanted to celebrate me. It's not just my not-so-little boy who turned 10 years old. I'm celebrating a decade of being a mom, too. And you know how people throw over-the-top parties when their kids turn a year old and some people are like, "Gee, it's not like the baby will remember this party..."? Well, I know from all my over-the-top mommy friends that the party isn't for the baby really. It's for the mommy and daddy.


Because it's not easy to make a little human being, take care of it, make sure it's not just alive but happy and healthy, too. And then you have to do other things like stimulate your child's brain, discover and nurture talents, teach skills for independence, send him to the best school you can afford, and on top of all that, you have to make sure your child is polite, good, kind, and just the type of person who will be an asset to humanity. Like, who said parents are qualified for all that???  


So here I am, 10 years later. That little baby boy in my arms is now a wonderful young man. He's super smart, funny, and affectionate. He does all his chores, is super independent, and yet he's also still a baby - not childish, but wonderfully unworldly. He's sooo nerdy and quite creative. He plays the piano every day. He's written books this whole quarantine! How did I ever make this dream of a child come true? Was it me? Was it his Papa? Or was it just him? 


Ten years. Where did it all go? All I can remember is laughter and tears and so much love. Oh, and ten years of sleepless nights and long days. So exhausting. But I survived. I thrived. Most importantly, my kids are happy, healthy, and so wonderful. The 33-year-old mommy in these photos didn't think she'd be capable of all that. She's grown a lot, was humbled a lot, and learned to love a lot. I am so proud of myself for a full decade of being a good mom. And maybe sometimes, I'm amazing, too.

Thank you for being the boy who changed my life, Vito. Happy birthday, my dearest darling boy.    

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Mama's prayer for the lifelong work of her children

In a purple folder in my closet are all the letters Mama ever wrote me. A daughter only appreciates the words of her mother when she becomes a mother herself. I loved Mama's letters before but when I became a mommy, I always have to wipe away my tears because I read her words and my mama heart knows why she wrote them.  


Today, I want to share with you her prayer for me and my siblings when it comes to our life's work. This was very important to her. Mama was a working woman. She never wanted to get married or have kids. She just always wanted to work because work made her happy. 

I'm like her. But I don't want to end up like her - worked to the bone yet buried in debt, gave her all to her family yet we never fully appreciated her. 

I'm always assessing my life as a result. I don't mind not having the job of my dreams because I already had it, twice: a magazine editor in chief and a columnist (I think of my blog as one, although I did have a newspaper column before and I now have my Project Vanity column, too). 

I've shifted my mindset, just late last year actually. My new thinking is this: My real job right now is to be mommy. And everything I do that makes me money makes that important job possible. It's helped a lot in changing my attitude towards my children and all the projects I accept. I don't expect happiness to come with the job, because happiness is not the purpose of motherhood. My purpose is to raise my children to be good people, who will be independent and will find their own purpose in life and make a difference in the world - be that world big or small. But I do find joy (that's different from happiness!) in my work because I am working towards a purpose. 

I've also changed my mind towards my work. Before I'd be snobbish. Now, as long as it's legit and honest, it pays the bills, and won't compromise my real job (mommy!), I'll do it. Because I won't be a good mommy if my kids are hungry and if I'm not using the talents and skills God gave me. I still need to work because I am also more than mommy and I shouldn't neglect that huge part of me.

So! Let's go back to Mama's prayer. I'll transcribe it here:

Lord, 

Let their talents never be wasted, watered down by mediocrity, or used to glorify anything or anyone other than You, Lord. I pray that You would reveal to them what their life work is to be and help them excel in it. Bless the work of their hands and may they be able to earn a good living doing the work they love and do best. Your Word says that "A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before great men." (Proverbs 18:16). May whatever they do find favor with others and be well received and respected. But most of all, I pray that the gifts and talents You placed in them be released to find fullest expression in glorifying You. 

Amen. 

Wasn't that beautiful? I pray it over my children because that is now the cry of my heart. Bless my boys, O Lord. Bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

What's in an emergency bag? Just get these SAVED by VERSES bags to find out!

There was an earthquake a few days ago. Totally freaked me out. I've lived in our high-rise for a loooong time so I've gone through many earthquakes but this last one scared me because I realized we can't just run out of our building; I have to make sure every child has a mask and face shield on first. Then an evacuation - and the crowds of shaken people - presents its own dangers, too, in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

But Psalm 46*, the chapter on this special bag, says, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." So we trust in the Lord as we also prepare for emergencies. 

Like this emergency bag called Saved. It's from the brand Verses, a company started by one of my old friends in the blogging advertising world, Jel Directo (congrats, Jel!). Being prepared for an emergency does help us have a tangible reminder of that peace that passes understanding. Read on to learn how to get your own Saved bag.

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Starter 

PRESS RELEASE - Introducing to you a new essential addition to the product line of the Verses brand - not an emergency bag, not a go-bag but a 'saved bag'. As we live in a time of increasing uncertainty, having your own ready bag has become essential now, more than ever. 

Save time and effort in completing your emergency go-bag with our Saved bag. This easy-to-carry and handheld water-resistant backpack provides you with a comprehensive list of items to keep you equipped and ready for any local emergency and calamity.

Standard 

Conforming with the international standard of disaster preparedness kits, our saved bag follows a combination of Red Cross global, Ready Campaign by the US Department of Homeland Security, Get Prepared program by the Government of Canada, including a collection of personal interviews and local research.

Visit www.savedbyverses.com for more details.

Stellar 

*The whole chapter of Psalm 46: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 

"There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. 

"The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire. 

"'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.' The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."

*To be featured on Press Release Tuesdays, send it to frances@topazhorizon.com.

Monday, October 05, 2020

Homeschool Month 1: We get down to work

Guess what? It's MY day today! And every parent who's teaching their kid this crazy year! And of course the day of real teachers everywhere. Dearest teachers, I think I'm doing a great job as Teacher Mama but I certainly know now I'd rather not do this haha You guys are the best!

We need to raise teachers' salaries everywhere. (Wait. I'm not even getting a salary.) Good heavens, what an insane occupation this is. But I'm going to claim this day as MY day. And I'm going to celebrate with a Cledor coffee ice cream bar. 


That's the photo on my Teacher Mama ID, by the way. That's why I chose it for my little "Yey me!' card I made for me haha. It's been a month and 1 week of homeschooling. There have been yelling (me), ripping of a Math book page (wasn't me), and tears (all of us). So 8 more months of this! 

Well, there's also been tons of fun with us dancing, singing, reading books and poems, discussing governments (especially this government - y'all know I got a lot to say about that!). We all learned new things - yes, even me! We've been poring over books, the Bible (for their Christian Education), and Googling and Google Translating everything to death. 

We've done mental health checks (I got the materials from Big Life Journal). We've painted and glued and drawn cute animals. We've played catch and throw, prepared for the zombie apocalypse (that's what we call cardio), and are now studying street dance. We're discovering a lot of things together and it's been, well, fun most of the time. It's definitely been an experience!

It sounds like a lot of play but it's not. I know many homeschooling moms blog about how they make learning fun and they play all day. We don't. I'm a very serious teacher. I think that's what makes me unsuitable for this homeschooling thing haha! 

I like academic excellence. I like competition. I like good grades. I like sitting up straight and doing well. I like structure. My kids - because their experience of learning is through a traditional school - have no problem really with my way because it's very much like the school they know, except at their pace, more focused, and a bit more flexible. I think they also like it that way. And yet there's a part of me that second-guesses myself, especially when I'm being hard on the boys.

We're doing okay. I think we're going too slow, to be honest. I'm a bit surprised that there's a Tiger Mom inside me after all. I'd never had known if it weren't for this pandemic! I don't want her to come out because homeschooling moms are gentle lambs who respect their children's pace and interests. They're not supposed to be Tiger Moms. Well, we'll see!

I know I sound like I'm unhappy. I'm not. It's more on I'm still finding my way through this whole new experience, trying to understand myself and my kids, trying to be the best I can be as a teacher, as a mom, and as a woman who doesn't like mediocre work. It's difficult: Who responds to this learning situation - the gentle teacher, the loving mom, or the mentor who demands excellence? There are no lines.

When people were greeting teachers today on Facebook Happy Teacher's Day, I didn't think I was a teacher. Mostly because this morning, I was in mom mode. Only after dinner, while I was scheduling lesson plans, did it hit me that I was a teacher now, too, and that this is my day. I didn't feel like I should celebrate. I've been on the job for just 5 weeks, no mentors and no helpers, and not much to show for it yet. 

But as the day ended, I decided I'm claiming this day - for me and for my boys. My kids and I are learning together. We may not be doing this whole thing professionally, we don't even know if we're doing it correctly, but we're teaching each other something new every single day. And sometimes, okay, most times, we're thrilled at what we find out. I guess that's all that matters. 

Happy Teacher's Day to all of you parents-suddenly-teachers. Happy Teacher's Day, too, to our kids who teach us so much about life and ourselves. God bless us all.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Blender, juicer or food processor? A comprehensive guide on food processors

Whenever I watch cooking shows, I always thought food processors were for serious chefs and blenders were for home cooks like me. That's why I have a blender at home, not a food processor. But my guest post today talks all about why we should add this heavy-duty kitchen appliance for all the useful things it can do for our cooking.

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Crispy Omelette Bites with Spinach Sauce. For the recipe, go to @ounceofoz.

GUEST POST - One of the necessities of man is food. We need food substances to survive and carry out our daily activities with ease. You can consume the likes of fruits in their raw state; however, you have to prepare other meals before consumption. For some, cooking these meals is something they look forward to, while others find cooking takes way too much time and energy. For them, finding an alternative to manual meal preparation will be a welcome idea.

They need to get themselves a food processor pronto. Anyone can enjoy a fantastic cooking experience with the use of food processors. It takes a bit of practice to get to know how to use such appliances, but once you do, meal preparation becomes easy and enjoyable.

Are juicers food processors?

You may be quick to classify a juicer under food processors; after all, it processes fruits. But here is the thing – with juicers, you extract both the liquid and solid substances from a fruit or vegetable. The juicer stores the juice in a separate compartment, and the non-useful parts go to another section to be discarded later. 

On the other hand, a food processor works differently; it merges and refines different food substances at once to get a desired and more edible outcome. There is no addition or removal of the final prepared meal.

Fancy Homemade Pesto Sauce. For the recipe, go to @lettuceromainecalm

Are food processors blenders, just bigger?

Definitely not! Even though food processors and blenders handle an entire range of ingredients you need for a meal, the latter processes these food substances into semisolids, which you can further use to prepare the final food. Just as its name implies – you use the appliance to blend raw food materials. On the other hand, a food processor creates various edible meals based on what you put into it.

What should I look for in a food processor?

The market houses a wide range of appliances, most of which perform a single task per time. Purchasing these items may not be ideal for individuals on a tight budget. Hence, getting a versatile kitchen appliance would be a better option – this is where a food processor comes into play. These processors come in various brands and models, ranging from small, entry-level gadgets to industrial-size appliances. However, they basically perform the same functions: chop, mix, grind, among others.

With food processors, you get value for your money. Each model has additional features that make meal preparation straightforward and convenient. They come with varying price tags that meet all budget sizes. Depending on how often you use this appliance and what you use it for, you can either purchase a cheaper model or a more hi-tech gadget that can handle whatever you put into it.

Homemade almond butter. For the recipe, go to @dannifeinestein.

Welcome to the new age of fast food

How fast and easy it is to prepare your meals when you use a food processor. Imagine the time and energy you will spend dicing an onion by hand and risk cutting your fingers, not to mention the fact that onions irritate the eyes. You won't have to go through literal blood and tears when you use a food processor! So if you're looking to make your time in the kitchen faster, more efficient, and more fun, consider getting a food processor now!

* This is a guest post, with my edits. To place a guest post, email frances@topazhorizon.com for my rates.