New Blog

21 Apr

A new season has come! I’m blogging again. Hope to see you soon at Joy in the Ordinary.  


well-behaved kids

21 Jul

I’m sitting at a comfortable arm chair at our favorite neighborhood coffee shop with my laptop and cold-press in a glass mug. The kids are at a nearby table playing nicely, no running around, just plain well-behaved. Overall a good day I should say. An hour passed. Or two?

Unknown to me, the barista and another mom are paying attention. They are amazed how well the kids are behaving and for all that time. And you know, people approach us in all different places complimenting the kids, how well-behaved they are, etc. Now that is a great thing and it always leaves us encouraged, refreshed and overall thankful; but sometimes I can’t help but wonder…

As the mom approached me on her way out, she related how taking her little kids to that coffee shop or other places for that matter, is usually a stressful situation. We chatted for a while so we were able to share bits and pieces of our days and our parenting styles. I hope she was encouraged… I ended up giving her my contact info.

Days like today make my heart swell and leave me grateful that I am able to invest in training the little ones up and providing an environment where they could thrive and be a blessing to those around them, on a daily basis… even in the most mundane situations.

Only by Grace.

back here again

21 Jul

I quietly and sporadically blogged at By the River, then another blog, then a long break… now I’m back at this old familiar place… hopefully for good.


precious legacy

24 Feb

img_7811yo1Baby boy and I were playing in the bed early this morning when the 5-year-old walked in. The sweetheart that this young lady is, she offered to play with the baby so I could sleep a little longer. Few minutes, perhaps? Not long after, Big Sister got up and took over, so back to the pillow my head went.

Well, the few minutes turned into an hour, (yikes!) and not a single tiny voice woke me up! By the time I got up, everyone had breakfast (oatmeal made by Big Sister) already. No sign of it except the dirty dishes piled up nicely in the sink. Z5 and L4 were playing peacefully with their Playmobil in the dining table, while Big Sister was working on her school tasks- with the baby.

I sat in the living room stuffing clean diapers and folding clothes. Big Sister noticed that the little one was getting sleepy already. Without a word from me, she picked him up, walked away and played the piano to put him to sleep.

The house is quiet again, and I’m still trying to sink everything in, but I thought I would stop by here and tell you about my morning. Actually, I just wanted to chronicle it- for me. A reminder when days are a little tougher… when there’s bickering, whining and such…

3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;     (Psalm 127)

lanternluv1sister love over oil lamps

Hope your day is blessed and full of His goodness .

naturally clean kitchen

20 Feb

There is nothing like cleaning the home using just a few household ingredients like vinegar and baking soda, with the addition of essential oils. It makes the task enjoyable, and you can feel good that you’re doing it toxic-free. I just cleaned the sink and the stove, and now the kitchen smells heavenly. Love, love that fresh lemony scent!

Here’s a basic formula for cleaning the kitchen sink, and another one for the floor, from this favorite book. The title says it all: THE NATURALLY CLEAN HOME: 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas for Green Cleaning. It’s a very handy resource small enough to fit the homemaker’s apron’s pocket.


This formula is safe for porcelain or stainless steel sinks. Not only will it clean the sink basin and faucets, but it will also keep drains and garbage disposals fresh-smelling and free of clogs.

  • 1/4 c baking soda
  • 1/2 c vinegar
  • 3 drops lavender, rosemary, lemon, lime or orange essential oil

Combine. Rinse sink well with hot water. Pour the cleanser in the sink and wipe with a sponge or cloth. Rinse again with hot water. (A vinegar rinse can be used before this final rinse to prevent baking soda residue.)



  • 1 gallon hot water
  • 2T liquid castile soap
  • 15 drops sweet orange essential oil
  • 8 drops lemon essential oil, or 1/4 c lemon juice

No rinsing necessary. Happy cleaning!

kids unplugged

10 Feb

The girls got an inexpensive  ball of rubber bands a while ago, and they are still creating and discovering with it. This morning, they learned to link the rubber bands together, which inspired me to introduce a well-loved children’s game I grew up in the Philippines playing: Chinese Garter.

a game requiring flexibility, balance and coordination, is a popular game for Filipino children, most specifically among girls during their elementary years. The game revolves around an ordinary garter, around two to three yards long…

You must know that as much as the girls treasure stories from their parents’ childhood, they are also fascinated with games popular to kids in the Philippines. Today, they are having a ball. With a couple dozen rubber bands linked together, pure enthusiasm and some living room space… a different (nostalgic for mom) way to spend a gloomy and blustery morning.


photo by james

By the way, this is not recess, it’s Physical Ed… and oh, Social Studies.

scripture memory system for the family

5 Feb

I had this really great idea a few years back: memorizing Scriptures as a family.

Right.  A few revisions later, my oldest and I are memorizing chosen verses together, with dear husband participating occasionally. The younger ones are doing shorter verses. (Though right now they are working on Psalm 23 with daddy.) What has worked, with all the changes? This scripture memory file. Proven system. Here’s what ours look like:img_7356

I picked this index card box with magnetic back so that we could place it where it is accessible to everyone- the refrigerator door. Works perfectly!

Initially, I printed out the verses we are to memorize for the year, cut them out, and glued them individually on 3X5 index cards. They stay in the very back of the file box until we are ready for them.


With this system, you are doing a maximum of four verses (or chunk of scriptures) a day: the new verse that you’re still working on, and three others from past memorization. This keeps everything fresh, yet not overwhelming.

When a whole chapter is to be memorized, it is done straight from the Bible. Instead of filing the whole text, I just write the verses’ name (even listing key words) on the index card. That keeps the file manageable, and easier to flip through. (There’s a variety of shorter verses, longer chunks and whole chapters in the mix.)

The younger (4 and 5-yr-old) ones’ stack is also growing, so I will be starting a separate file for them. Until then, their recently memorized verses are kept here.


In the meantime, as I’ve been led, I am revisiting memorizing whole books at a time- starting with the letter to the Philippians, with confirmations from different places inspiration from kindred spirits:

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.  (Psalm 119:11)

songs i heard

21 Jan


Taking a break from Beethoven, and listening to this. Songs that the girls are familiar with, some are even well-loved.

Singing along to Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious…

Can you see them dancing around?

Wanna join?

Practicing Grace

20 Jan

It was one of those mornings when I would have preferred to linger in bed to catch up on dear sleep, order pizza and stay in my pajamas while watching the inauguration- but then I remembered something. My ministry. Yes, an important one. I am a minister of God’s word, a minister of His love- to little ones. No, not only those kindergartners every other Sunday at church, but my very own. Every single day.

So here I am, Lord. Up and about. I’ve done a few loads of laundry already, read to the kids, given the younger ones their bath, prepared wholesome lunch while watching history unfold in this country today, cleaned the kitchen, and now, making chocolate chip cookies so the kids could have surprise snack for afternoon tea when they wake up from nap. It’s all good. I’ll do it over and over again. Any day. For this is what I am called to do, for this season at least. What a privilege to serve little souls and demonstrate God’s goodness through humble service… Forgetting of self. To tell of God’s grace and His care for us- His unfailing and unconditional love. To impact eternity.

May I be reminded of these every single day so I could face each task with willingness of heart and with vigor that could only come from my eternal source, the God of love. For I know it would have been a totally different day for this sleep deprived momma had the Holy Spirit not intervened- early in the morning.

Only by His grace. That I might submit to it.

fun ideas for super cold days

15 Jan

A big snow day, followed by subzero temperatures three days in a row-

You’d think a homeschooling family would just stay cozy at home instead of battling the bitter cold, but the girls would not miss dance class for a little inconvenience. They even had friends over for a playdate, keeping the whole house warm while moms wrapped in blankets enjoyed tea. Today, we thought to take advantage of the super frigid temperatures to do some things fun and call it science.

First, we made snow from boiling water: Here’s the idea. We used a bigger container and did it a few times. Super fun!

Here’s another one: I’m Forever Freezing Bubbles.

Inspired by this post, we did this


to make these:


which greeted the UPS guy today.

To wrap it all up, a mug of Trader Joe’s sipping chocolate and milk. Inside, that is.