Sunday, September 19, 2021

Frances Finds: My favorite house in Sun Valley Antipolo!

Hello! House tour again this weekend! Okay, just so you know, I really really like Sun Valley in Antipolo. Tapos yung barangay nila, the name is Barangay Inarawan. I like it. Seems like a sunny place to live in! Maganda yung energy niya!


I have friends who bought a lot there. So excited for them! Ako, kahit gusto ko dun, medyo na-intimidate ako sa layo ng village itself from the main gate. Like parang mga 20 minutes na drive pa. Layo! Paano na my Foodpanda deliveries???

Anyway, I found a new house I like! It's in Sun Valley and it is soooo nice! Look at it surrounded by trees. Haaaay. Yun lang naman and reason why I dream of somewhere else - I want my kids to run around and get sun exposure and mag-amoy-araw. It's kinda weird to have little boys and, because they've been quarantined since March 2020, they smell sooo good. Walang pawis at all. So they don't smell like what little boys should smell like.


Ganda ng video na ginawa ng Property Hunter. May top view! So I fell more in love with this house because of all that green! Sigh. And ang laki ng garage, mga 4 cars yan. Isa lang naman kotse namin so what's the point? Wala lang. Space! My kids can play there. With our dogs! Haha yes. I want a dog! But bawal sa condo namin so eto dreaming as usual.


I like the facade. Love the broken roof line. Love the elevation. Love the huge door and the big windows. Love the warmth of the wood. Is that wood? Anyway, maganda siya.  


Here's the ground floor! Eto yung living room and dining area. You know me and my love affair with huge glass windows! Maliwanag. Maaliwalas. Presko. All that light and all that green!!! But my husband and I don't like white floor tiles. Parang opisina ang dating.


Eto yung garden/lanai. This is what's missing in many houses for sale. Walang garden usually. This one meron. I really like that! Plus, see that room to the left? That can be our home office. Since the pandemic has made working from home the norm now, it's good to have a room dedicated to just work. And I like how this room looks out into the garden. Nakakatanggal ng stress.

Okay, that's all the photos I have! I couldn't grab more because yung channel host na si Sandro was practically in every frame. Pinili ko talaga yung wala siya at ito lang yun. Ganda pa naman ng kitchen and bedrooms! Watch niyo na lang yung video to appreciate:


Again, hindi ako nagbebenta ng bahay. Don't leave "hm" sa comments please! Wala rin akong commission sa mga home tour videos ko. I just really want to share my virtual visits to homes far far away and dream! Have a good weekend dreaming with meeeee!

Thursday, September 09, 2021

When I made my son's dream come true

This week was extra busy for me and my second boy, Iñigo. For a few years now, my kids have been saying that when they grow up, they want to be YouTubers. It's a dream I frown upon. But because my parents discouraged me from becoming a writer, I wasn't going to do the same thing to my kids. Nope. 

My husband said we won't discourage them but they have to prove that this is what they really really REALLY want. And then we'll support. We told them the best YouTubers loved doing something first and they shared that something with the world. So cooking, video games, toys - what's important was they had a hobby, job, interest that they made videos of. They were Someone first before they were a YouTuber. So we encouraged them to have a Something and be a Someone, and then vlogging will come easy.  

We also never said they can't be YouTubers. We told them they have to figure out how to be one because neither their parents were vloggers so we really didn't know how to help anyway! And for years, their dream was all talk, no action. So we didn't think they were serious about it.


This summer, however, my boys learned to program. And my second boy, Iñigo, took to it like fish to water. He was churning out video games in a few short weeks on Scratch, and other kids were telling him his games were cool. I'm so proud of him. Even more important, he's so proud of himself.

Last month, he announced he wanted to start his YouTube channel. He said he wanted to share his love for Scratch and Minecraft. He has found his Something and his Someone was he was going to be a teacher. 

I resisted because I didn't know how to make videos myself! But finally last week, I promised we'd figure it out together. But when the weekend came, I backed out. I was tired. I wasn't interested. And I really didn't want him to be a YouTuber.

Iñigo got sad. He looked betrayed. But he said he understood. And that made me feel worse.

So what the heck, let's do this! So I sat him down and had a heart-to-heart. I told him why I didn't want him to be a YouTuber. I said, "The internet is an ugly place filled with mean and hateful people. I don't want you to go out there and they'll say mean and hateful things about your work and about you. Or what if no one 'likes' your video or no one comments? That hurts, too. You're a kid. You can't handle these things yet. Even me, I'm a blogger for 15 years now and my grown-up heart gets very hurt at mean comments."

I also told him that the opposite can be a bad thing, too. "There's also a danger in getting lots of likes and fans. You'll start building your self-worth on likes. But what if you made something they didn't like? Then you'll always want to make something that will make others happy when you should be creating work that makes you happy," I said. 

We talked late into the night and he agreed that I'll screen all comments first. He'll tell me if anyone was being mean or threatening or making him uncomfortable. I also told him it's important to not take things personally. But, my goodness, he's a kid! How can I protect him from the world? 

We talked about internet safety and many other things. He told me about his dreams, his plans for his videos, and that he'll be responsible and always tell me and his Papa everything. Finally, I was convinced. I conceded that he really wants this YouTube channel and so what's a Mama to do? We make it happen!


We Googled everything! We set it up, we troubleshot, we plotted and planned. And I was annoyed sometimes. I really didn't want to do this and I was sleepy and frustrated at all the things we had to learn! But he was so happy and excited. He was going to do Scratch tutorials and let me tell you, I'm not his market at all. I told him to make this or that instead, but he said, "I'm not doing this for likes, Mama. I want to help kids like me!" 

So I went through with it, researching with him, guiding, explaining, and finally... Iñigo launched his YouTube channel.


At 3 AM on September 7, 2021, Iñigo sat back, exhausted but bright-eyed. He said, "So this is how it feels like when your dream comes true."

My heart exploded! It was worth it. He fought for his dream. He worked hard at it. And that made his accomplishment even more amazing. I'm so proud of him. Even more important, he's so proud of himself.

In two days, he made FIVE videos. That's how excited he is. And I may not understand his dream but I realized that's not what's important. All he needs is for me to support him all the way. 

I learned a lot this week. How to set up a channel, make and edit videos, fiddle with all the settings. I also learned how to be a supportive parent. And that's the best lesson of all. 

Monday, September 06, 2021

Frances Finds: Modern duplex house in Antipolo

Let's go back to house tours! I showed you one last month, right before I disappeared because of work and school. But I said that the north was too far and so I started looking towards the east, and I found this duplex in Antipolo. I like it a lot! 


This duplex is newly built and located in lower Antipolo, near Xentro Mall and Masinag. So magandang-maganda location niya. Di malayo sa sibilisasyon pero very suburbia pa rin. If you watch the video, you get the feel na probinsya siya. Pero ang lapit nito super sa modern conveniences. 


Okay, bago ko pa ituloy ang post na ito, hindi po ako nagbebenta ng bahay haha I'm just really stuck at home and super bored. One of the things I loved to do before the pandemic was go on house tours. Literally. As in I would knock on a stranger's door or gate and ask to see their house. Most of the time, sa sobrang gulat ng mga tao, they let me in! They show me around. Kwento-kwento. Then alis na ako. Yun lang. Masaya na ako. Is it safe what I do? No. Don't do it! But so far, lahat naman ng bahay na pinuntahan ko, mababait ang mga tao so God is good. And people are good!


Anyway, back to the duplex. Gusto ko siya kasi maliwanag at maluwag. You know I love big windows. Di ko lang type yung divider sa dining room. It's ugly and unnecessary. 


Here's the dining area. It's right by the kitchen and there are huge doors that lead out to the lanai. I imagine opening up those doors and planting lots of flowers outside and then I can have coffee or my black tea while basking in the sun.


Here's the spacious kitchen! Again, maliwanag. I like the white countertops. My kitchen now is black granite countertops and backsplash. The black granite was nice 14 years ago but now I'm looking for a really white kitchen. It's my age. My eyesight is going bad and I now have a hard time seeing things in a black kitchen. So I'm attracted to white kitchens.


Here's what the ground floor looks like from the far corner of the kitchen. Big enough but not too big. I really like the maaliwalas feeling. Okay, now let's go look at the master bedroom upstairs!


This is the master bedroom. It looks bigger in the video. I like the balcony, but I'm thinking it would be nicer enclosed in glass and transformed into a sunroom or a study. There's an en suite bathroom, too.

There are also 3 bedrooms on the second floor aside from the master bedroom. And I have 3 sons! So I like to imagine that each boy will have a room when they're teenagers. 

Right now, they all like to sleep in the same room. They laugh and chat and sing till late in the night. It's very sweet. Very loud, though, and parental duty obligates me or their father to come knock and remind them to go to sleep. The house goes quiet but soon the whispers start again and they chat and giggle and sing, and I let them be.

It's nice my kids have each other. In a pandemic, they've done surprisingly well. I hope they like each other forever! But for that to happen in their teenage years, I think they'll need separate rooms. And this house has three perfectly sized rooms with big windows! Super love this duplex talaga.


There are two things I don't like about this property, however. First, it's bad feng shui. Haha para namang Chinese ako! But I just wrote about 7 feng shui tips to know when selling real estate for Upside PH, and I found that a property that's in a T-junction is very bad luck daw. And I quote from my own article: "From a practical standpoint, a house at a T-junction is a bad idea because the home will always be lit up by headlights and suffer the noise of car horns approaching the T-junction. In a worst-case scenario, if a car loses its brakes, it will crash into the house." Check out the article for other scary, mysterious, and ghostly reasons not to live in T-junction house.

Second, it's near an events venue (see that white wall). Pandemic naman ngayon so walang events but when this pandemic ends, that events place will mean lots of cars parked on the street, music and noise till late in the night, and dealing with strangers who might block your gate with their car tapos sila pa galit. Basta alam niyo na yun.

But everything else, type ko talaga. But... not the house of my dreams and not the neighborhood of my dreams. It's stilla really good property, though. 

Prayer ko talaga kay God ngayon is bigyan niya kami ng house of my dreams in the neighborhood of my dreams haha I'm really happy where we are now, okay. Our condo is really good! My friends ask me now and then if I want to sell our place. My realtor friends tell me our condo can fetch a really amazing price if we ever sell. I really live in a good place! 

Kung di lang dahil sa never-ending quarantine, di ako mangangarap ng ibang bahay. But kids need to run around, get some sun, discover insects and flowers, and just basically use up all their energy shouting and chasing and being little boys. 

Maybe one day soon. Pray for us! 

Sunday, September 05, 2021

5 things we learned from our first year of homeschooling

Been gone forever! August was a most exciting month. School started. And that's a whole big adventure there on its own, rights? So when this amazing job offer suddenly came up, logic said, "No, don't do it. You won't have the time!" But life is uncertain in a pandemic. Sieze the day! So now I have a new job. And still homeschooling. While cooking and cleaning. And trying to sell my book when I catch a breath!

Life is full!

Anyhoot, I missed you. I miss blogging. I have a lot to say, Loyal Readers know that about me. But life has to be lived and so I haven't been blogging. For now, I want to do a update - just so you know I'm still alive (I'm on Instagram btw!). Not just alive but thriving!


So anyway. I was a speaker at the Connect Homeschool and Intentional Parenting Summit #CHIPSThriveAtHome Homeschooling and Distance Learning Conference a few weeks ago. I was surprised they asked me to speak since I was pretty vocal about the daily hell homeschooling was haha But Tina S. Rodriguez (blogger of Truly Rich and Blessed) told me it's good to have someone at the conference talk about how hard homeschooling can be. They trusted me to be honest but not whiny haha I'm sharing with you the video I made on the 5 things we learned from our first year of homeschooling (scroll down belooooow). 

But let me tell you what happened here on my blog. Because at the conference, watched by strangers, I had to still be upbeat and inspiring. Here, I'm with friends (I hope!) and so I feel I can be a wee bit more honest with you all.


Last year, it was our first time to homeschool and it was HARD. I regretted it a few months in. But there we were and I'm the sort who will stand by a decision until it's impossible to stand it. 

Our unfortunate experience was mostly the fault of the homeschool provider we enrolled in. Yes. I say this not flippantly. I very rarely blame others for my difficulties but I, together with hundreds of parents, chose this particular provider because it was under the umbrella of the most prestigious homeschool provider in the country. It promised us a lot of good things that we desperately clung to because it was a pandemic.

But I should've listened to my gut when it felt queasy at the virtual Parents' Orientation and the speaker said very loudly, "Parents! Stop. Asking. The same. Questions. Again and again. Listen! Read! Pay attention!" I thought it was rude but hey, we were all stressed out last year, right?

Well, we got even more stressed out, I tell ya. Our former homeschool provider was disorganized, unhelpful, unprepared. Sad. We parents had to help each other out because our emails to the school were hardly ever answered, and when they were, the replies were curt and not helpful at all. Dismissive. Literally didn't answer the question. So upsetting. 

Well, we - as well as many parents - left that provider and things are soooo much better now with our new one. 

But our problems aren't over yet with the former provider. It's already September and I requested for my kids' report cards and certificates of enrollment many months ago. I need them so that my enrollment with our new provider will be complete. But still nothing from the old one. I emailed to follow up and an automatic reply said, "This email address is no longer active. For concerns, log your issue on this platform [link provided]." Not a surprise. But I dutifully logged the follow-up request as instructed and I got a reply that said (and I paraphrase), "Requests for report cards are filed by date. By sending another request, your request is now at the end of the list. Further requests will put your request at the bottom of the list. Refrain from following up."
   
WOW. 


Anyway. That's the least of my problems. There's a pandemic. There are anti-vaxxers. There's this government. The delay of my kids' records is my only problem in my life, and I'll take it. If that can be my only problem in my entire life, please let it be so. I'm not going to take all the good things in my life for granted. I'm happy, I'm healthy. I'm vaxxed. My husband is also super happy, also healthy, also vaxxed. Our kids are healthy and happy, too. And having so much fun with homeschooling! Hooray!

What a huge relief! Life is good. Life is great! So I'll leave you now with my little video on the 5 things we learned from our first year of homeschooling. I hope you like it and learn a few things from our experience.