Zyc and his License

No, not a driver’s license  of course. He got his license to use the fountain pain. Yes you read it right, a fountain pen. :P

fountain pen, füller, LAMY

During the latter part of the kids’ first grade, they started learning the cursive writing. I could still remember everytime they get home they would tell which letter they learned to write that day. Cursive writing here is not the same as what I have learned in the Philippines. Ours was the American while here, the Latin cursive writing is used. I find the Latin more stylish and requires definitive handling of pen which I think was the reason why the kids here are required to learn first how to hold their pens properly.

After the kids finished learning the proper way of writing each letter, the kids have a choice which they would prefer using. I already noticed that Zyc used it more than Ryz. I see him more comfortable writing in cursive. I wasn’t expecting it actually. Nevertheless, I let him be. I find his handwriting so nice. I recalled what her teacher said, Zyc’s handwriting is so nice and his works are always neat unlike the other kids his age who doesn’t care how their works look like. The downside of this though, since he always makes it a point to write legibly this slows him down. His teacher sees him wanting his work (writing) to be perfect. Still I find it amusing. :)

schreibschrift, cursive writing, LAMY fountain pen

How to hold the pen the right way.

A month ago the use of cursive writing was already imposed. No more kids can use print writing. While they are getting the hang of using the technique, we were informed that the kids will start using a füller or a fountain pen after the Spring break. Several brands were mentioned during the meeting and I took note  of course which were the “trusted ones” by the parents.

Since I saw many kinds and with different prices of fountain pens in the store, I had to asked one of the store assistants which of those is the one the kids need. I really had to ask ‘coz I wasn’t expecting the price of the pens mentioned in the meeting. The assistant was kind to explain to me after I told her that the kids are just beginning and learning to write in cursive.

LAMY fountain pen, LAMY füller, LAMY fountain for beginners

We chose the LAMY brand among the others since I saw it’s made of wood. Really, the price was no joke and just imagine we needed to buy two of them. Haha!

The kids mentioned they have rules to follow on having the fountain pen. Here goes:

Do not drop it. We all know how sensitive fountain pens are and slight pressure could damage it. I’m relieved too ‘coz that would mean Zyc writing lightly now unlike before.

Always have an extra ink refill. Although there are also ink refills available in their classrooms, pens and of course inks vary in sizes so better they bring their own, right?

Your pen belongs to you. No, the teacher’s not teaching them to be selfish. I bet she’s just reminding them that they have their own pens and be responsible for it. They should always have it with them not be borrowing from others.

Always cover it. Of course they have to do this unless they want their pens to dry up.

When we were young, we only had those fat pencils, regular-sized pencils as “training pens” and went straight to roller pens for writing. I also don’t remember practicing the “proper way to hold a pen” which I think explains our different strokes and handwritings.

With the special pen and the rules, I just realized how serious the school system is here when it comes to kids’ cursive writing.

Ryz on Ad Shot and at Work in the Kitchen

I’ve been baking a lot lately. I’ve been trying different kinds of recipes; from breads, cakes and pastries. I once craved for this bread I used to like back home, the Spanish bread. From its name, I guess it came about during the Spanish time when the Philippines was colonized by the Spaniards. It’s a sweet bread so no wonder the kids liked it. I think I’ve baked it thrice already. Once, Ryz requested me to bake it again so that she could bring it to school as her snack.

She was just too happy with the bread and the thought that I made it again for her. Funny when we were taking pictures I told her to pose like she was sooo happy and “surprised”.

Her TV ad shot

Glad that hubby caught this perfectly. I was really laughing at this shot. It’s seldom that I see my kids, especially Ryz, do such poses in front of the camera. A friend even suggested I should have done a “video ad” and I told her that with Ryz’s personality, we’re asking too much. :P

Everyone knows how baking can be a lot of work. Not just the process itself but what awaits after. What with all the utensils used which needed to be washed. Today I was glad I got some help from Ryz. Actually she’s been asking if she could help me wash some dishes in the kitchen but I haven’t let her. This time she asked again and I just let her wipe the ones I’ve washed. I was laughing when after a few minutes she was looking at the wok I’m washing and said, “Actually I really want to wash”. I was laughing at how she looked at the wok! Then I finally let her and taught her how to wash properly.

kid washing dishes, kid helping in kitchen

She was even humming while doing the work, hehe… When i first heard her asking if she could help in the kitchen, I thought maybe she’s already bored and she wants something new and challenging to work on. I actually see her as someone who wants to always challenge herself. I hope she stays that way and constantly seek new tasks to know herself better.

A Roll of Family Fun with Board Games

Smart phones, laptops, or game consoles are staples in the lifestyle of most kids today. Prying them away from these techie tools seem to get more challenging each day. Introducing kids to classic bonding activities like board games can help you strike a balance between virtual entertainment and real life social interaction with fun and learning too. Here are some board games that can make spending time with friends and family better than a whole day in the virtual world.

board games, playing with kids

Hubby and son playing Blokus, a game which improves kids’ strategic ability

Board games may sound dull and boring compared to the animation and 3-D effects of video games. But do not underestimate the fun and learning that these games can bring. For instance the classic game of Snakes and Ladders combines the lessons in virtues and vices together with the excitement of chance and competitiveness to win the game. Ladders that help you get ahead of the game are represented by virtues while snakes that drag you down are represented by vices.

Another timeless classic is the Monopoly which has evolved into different versions since the 1930s. This game demonstrates the economic effects of market domination by a single entity. The objective of the game is to drive all your opponents to bankruptcy leaving the winner in control of the whole economy. Aside from Monopoly, games like Cash Flow and The Game of Life also has some practical life lessons that can be learned while playing the game.

Parents who would like to help their kids hone their math and verbal skills while having fun can turn to word games like scrabble, boggle, and Upwords. Players in these games earn points by forming words in the game. The one with the highest score at the end of the game wins. The Quirkle board game may be a better fit for families with young children. Instead of words, this game makes use of colors and shapes to form combinations and score points. Tiles of the same color and/or shape are matched to form a row or column, pretty much like a combination of domino and scrabble.

There are loads of board games that cater to a wide variety of interests. You can bring out the geek in the family by playing with board games like Smithsonian Be the Expert, Big Brain Academy, Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader?, and Trivial Pursuit. There are also games that incorporate some physical activity like Reverse Charades where players are required to pantomime, and Twister where players challenged to different poses as instructed by the game cards. With all these options, there is little chance of the whole family getting bored with board games. Choose age appropriate ones or look for the latest versions to get the most fun out of them.

Importance of Reading to your Kids during Bedtime

reading to kids

 Despite being so tired during the day, many parents still opt to spend time with their children by reading to the little ones before going to sleep. Each family may have different mechanics in fulfilling this, but the routine is like the most anticipated part of the day for the kids.

There are so many benefits to reading to children before going to sleep. One, it helps them to relax and unwind after an active day (well, at least most kids are active during the day). The parent’s voice is soothing and the familiarity is relaxing. And since they only get to sit or lie down and listen, it will help usher them to a peaceful sleep.

Second, it stimulates their minds to learn language, new words, usage, and many other things. It teaches them to talk, to read, and use language more efficiently.

And lastly, but most importantly, it builds a strong bond between parent and children. They know that they are loved because you have set aside a special time to be with them. They have your undivided attention. It is also a time for parents to answer the little ones’ queries, to correct misconceptions, or the clarify things that from the book that can come in useful later on in life.

The rather short discussion after the reading time when the kids ask questions about the story is a very important time that parents should give a lot of attention to. This is the time when kids are willing to bare their souls to their parents. Despite how trivial their topics are, parents ought to keep going because this openness becomes a habit that will be carried on when the kids become teenagers. That way, it won’t become difficult for parents to deal with the transitioning to puberty because they have an open line of communication with their children.

Image credit: telegraph.co.uk

Top Spring Interior Styles

spring decor, kids room

It won’t be long before spring has sprung and we can emerge from our winter ‘hibernation’ and seize this beautiful time of year. In Eastern philosophies this season represents ‘renewal’, and getting one’s home in order is a symbolic gesture of getting one’s life in order. Perhaps this explains the mad cleaning frenzy or ‘spring clean’ that many of us go on at this time of year! So let’s take a look at how to inject some fresh, spring magic into your home and life by looking at top interior styles for Spring 2014.

Citrus chorus

The word ‘fresh’ is often associated with spring. It’s also associated with citrus fruits. What better way to introduce the essence of this season than by incorporating bright limes, yellows and oranges? You don’t have to go crazy, just use these bold colours as accents throughout rooms.

The reason why neutral colour palettes have become so phenomenally popular for home interiors (e.g. paint, window coverings and flooring) is because they provide a blank and very versatile canvas to work with. For more ideas, take a look at some stunning home interiors by www.coralhomes.com.au. If you paint with bright colours and use bold soft furnishings, chances are, you’ll get sick of them after a relatively short period of time.

Decor is by far the easiest, most affordable and flexible way to introduce colour to a home. Plus, you can change pieces throughout the year to match the season or when you feel like something different. You can alternate cushions, rugs, throws, vases and so on.

Back to Nature

spring decor, spring, spring interiors

This latest style trend is all about getting back to basics, about removing the clutter and creating a tranquil interior that you want to escape to. You can easily incorporate nature into your home. Here are some quick and easy ways to introduce nature-inspired design into your decor:

Indoor plants – there are now an amazing array of varieties to choose from, ranging from bold architectural foliage, to delicate fronds. Colours are also diverse, offering dark greens right through to bright limes. Aim for some flowering species, like bromeliads, which offer a stunning show of yellow, orange, red, pink or even purple flowers.

Floral arrangements – are a wonderful way to add beautiful bursts of colour to your home. To keep costs down, have a look into incredibly life-like artificial flowers made from silk. If flowers aren’t your thing, you can also use leaves from your garden. They look fantastic in over-sized clear glass vases and add a simple, fresh and natural element to any room.

Printed fabrics – are a very easy, but stylish way to introduce nature-inspired design to your home’s decor. There are so many options to choose from here, ranging from delicate and traditional floral designs to simple, clean, modern prints. Buying fabric by the meter and then making your own cushions and other decor items will save you a bundle and let you create unique pieces you’re unlikely to see in anyone else’s home.

So there you have it, a snapshot of how to bring quickly and affordably, spring-inspired design into your home.

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