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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Recommended Activity: Penguins on Ice

In my work with kids I often see kids who are adversely affected by constant exposure to technology. I encounter kids who can't sit still, kids who can't identify fact from fiction, kids who are unable to tap into their creativity/imagination, and kids with so many other issues.  Most moms are willing to stop their kids from using tablets and/or watching tv but they are now left with kids who have nothing to do! While I certainly believe that kids would thrive with just pens and papers I do understand that having some educational and fun activities around the house will help lessen the pain of being torn away from their beloved gadgets so I want to feature some activities that I highly recommend AND that my daughter enjoys.

I will begin with a toy/board game called Penguins on Ice. 

One thing I love about this toy is that it's a single player game. This is awesome for parents with only one child.  Your child can spend hours playing different challenges of increasing difficulty. Each pack comes with 60 challenges and that may seem limiting but trust me when I tell you that 60 challenges for this game is plenty.

I also appreciate how the pieces are quite big making it difficult to lose pieces. We parents all know how frustrating it can be to have an expensive toy become useless because of one tiny part gone missing. The game comes with a square plastic container holding 5 pieces or icebergs together making storing it easier.  

As you can see below, the light blue puzzle pieces will be removed from the dark blue square at the start of the game. The child (or adult) will then try to recreate the exact positioning and layout found in the challenge book. 

This may seem too simple I know but wait till you realize that the pieces can be transformed and re-shaped into various shapes making the game a bit more complicated (and more fun!). 

The game has great benefits for our kids! 

- It encourages solo play
- The increasing difficulty promotes the idea that we should always keep challenging ourselves.
- It sharpens spatial ability
- It encourages strategic thinking.
- It improves problem-solving skills.
- It can help you teach your child to compete with himself. (By challenging him to complete more challenging puzzles or do the puzzles faster)

I am just such a fan of this game! I highly recommend it to parents with kids ages 6 and above. (It might be too complex for younger kids) Check out the amazon link below for more information about the game.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

One Decision that Immensely Helped Our Relationship

My husband and I met in the year 2000. I had just turned 18 and he was in his early 20s. We didn't get together until the year 2001 and at that time we didn't know much about how relationships worked and we had an extremely dysfunctional relationship. We never physically hurt each other but there are other ways we could hurt each other without using force. Our friends who knew us then are still awed that we are somehow still together...and even more surprising is that we're actually quite happy!

I reflected on our relationship and I realized that some decisions we made early on helped preserve our relationship throughout the years. I thought I would share one particular decision that I feel has helped us so much. Ready? Here it goes:

We decided that breaking up is not an option.

Isn't that so ridiculously simple? It was a simple statement we both agreed on during the first few months of our relationship but it proved to be incredibly powerful and liberating. Because of this statement we were forced to move away from empty threats (if you don't like it then just leave!) and forced to face issues head on. If we were to stay together we better fix the relationship ASAP.

It was also liberating. I know that at my grumpiest...I am accepted. I know that I won't be rejected. My husbands knew that to.

This decision we made 15 years ago still stays with us to this day. It has become second nature to us that in all our issues and disagreements leaving or breaking up has never ever been mentioned.  This kind of security in our relationship is so powerful in bonding us. Have you made the same promise to your partner? 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Don't Listen to What I'm Saying, Listen to What I Really Mean

I read this in a book before and I was struck by it. Ain't it true? I go through this a lot with Ruy. I tend to be critical of his actions (completely ignoring his intention) and to make matters worse I refuse to take accountability for my actions because I insist on justifying my actions with my intentions. Ack. Take what happened last Sunday for example:

Ruy: Where are your (prescription) glasses?
Liv: I forgot them.
Ruy: Again? (I misplaced them 3 months ago) You're a bad example to Andrea.

Ouch.  My ears started ringing. I was upset. So many thoughts ran through my head. ""You are calling ME a bad example? You mean I'm a bad mom. Do you even know me?" I was snippy. I was hurt and I was ready to hurt him right back. Hurt people hurt people. In a chilly way I told him off. He was shocked because he didn't realize he said anything wrong. It took us 20 minutes to untangle the issue.  Ruy was so surprised at how hurt I was he said "Why would I say that (you're a bad mom)? Am I the kind of person who will tear people down? I'm not like that! And how can I say that about you? You're such a great example cause you're a great mom. what I meant was that behavior of not being responsible with your things is the behavior we're currently teaching Andrea"

I kept quiet. I knew I overreacted. He did make a mistake in his phrasing (he could have said "Again? That's not a good example for Andrea") but then again I should have looked at the heart of this man and looked at his intention. This is an extremely nice guy who would sacrifice everything for me and my daughter...this is not the kind of guy who would attack me and my character.

I wonder how many issues I would have avoided in my life if I tried to focus on people's intentions?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Trying to Improve our Child's Vision

Andrea's eyesight deteriorated so quickly in a span of 7 months. She had her lenses adjusted last January 26 and the doctor pegged the grade at around 200 but when we had her checked in August her grade went up to 350. We were bothered and so I decided to ask the doctor if there's something we could do to help her or to stop the deterioration.

This really great doctor explained to me that this is becoming more and more common these days. In fact, he talked about having another 9-year-old patient with the same case just a few days prior to our check up. He said that he has been researching about this and they found out that the biggest cause is that kids don't play outside as they used to. He said that our eyes also need the rays of the sun just as our bodies do. In line with his research (he was a researcher on this topic) he came up with the following recommendations for Andrea:

1. She's required to go outside and read or play under the sun from 30-60 minutes every day. It would be preferrable if she didn't wear her eye glasses during this time.
2. She's supposed to take 1/4 teaspoon of rock salt a day (not iodized)
3. She is supposed to eat one plantain (saging na saba) a day.
4. Eliminate nitrates and preservatives from her diet as much as possible
5. Drink 1.7 liters of water

We have been doing this for around 10 days so we can't tell for sure if there are any effects. The way I see it is, these steps are easy and not harmful so I don't see the harm in trying them out in the off chance that it might help improve her vision.

*DISCLAIMER: I consulted with my doctor for this advise. Make sure to ask your doctor before taking anything for your health.