Beautiful children’s books



My kids received the loveliest presents from our new friends Patricia D. in New York — three fairy tale books reinterpreted by contemporary illustrators.


Coincidentally, the three books were recommended by the New York Times Book Review that same week she gave the books to us. Read the full article here.


“As John Updike said, they (fairy tales) were the television and pornography of an earlier age…” When Lily and I read Fairy Tale Comics together, we both found some scenes strange and scary funny at the same time. Lots of reference to “give me your daughter” or “give me your first born” story lines.


I love them for all the amazing illustrations inside!


Fairy Tale Comics is most interesting in that each story was illustrated by a different artist. I also found that some of the tales were pushing on the daring side. Still ok by me though.


A spread from Fairy Tale Comics.


Read-To-Me Book of Fairy Tales is not your ordinary princessy type book. The words are still gentle but some of the graphics are on the dark side. Stella still loved them. All three books have a version of Rumpelstiltskin.


I love this the most. The watercolour illustrations of Lisbeth Zwerger are so lovely – which is a good balance against the more bizarre tales of The Brothers Grimm. This one is for me.


Look at the pretty artwork.


Thank you Patricia and Stella. Your new friends Sophia, Lily and Stella treasure these books!



Stella’s Family




I’ve been playing with my camera and video editing programs at home. If I had all the time in the world, I would just make little vignettes like this. And sew. Yes I sew now. More on that later.

One of my readers asked me how I am raising creative children. I don’t really know of a formula. I totally just winged it. When Sophia was our only child, pre-smart phone era, we had to keep her preoccupied at restaurants. We always brought with us a pack of crayons and a little sketch pad. She would draw and doodle. When the two littles were born, we just continued what we were already doing. As a result, we have what seems to be a creative home.

The kids draw, paint, cut paper, glue cardboard. And they also write short stories and create little theatrical and musical plays. We are enjoying this naive creativity so much that we haven’t sent them to any art class at all. I just want to prolong their childhood as much as I can. There will be lots of time to learn the colour theory, depth, perspective and shadows. For now, I just want them to draw what they see and feel.

This video shows Stella drawing her family. Us.






Range Picture


Those of you who’ve been reading me for a while know that Lily had some mild eczema as a toddler. We were able to control some of the inflammation by using Mustela Stelatopia. Now she’s fine and hasn’t had any outbreaks the past year. I hope she’s over it. For maintenance and minor irritation we still keep Stelatria in our stash. I also use it for minor burns and irritation. If you think your child has atopic dermatitis please see a pediatrician first. There are times when our doctor prescribed corticosteroid creams and antibiotics. So please see a doctor first.

Back to Mustela… they recently launched its new formulation for the Mustela Bebe line with Avocado Perseose as the new active ingredient. “To make baby’s skin less vulnerable while protecting this unsuspected wealth of stem cells, the Mustela scientific team at Expanscience Laboratories found that this active ingredient is capable of both supporting the development of the barrier function and, even more importantly, protecting the reserve of cells against day-to-day stresses. Safely preserved, this cellular resource can continue to play its role of restoring and maintaining the overall balance in the skin throughout life.”

Mustela has four product ranges. The Mustela Bebe range are products formulated for everyday skincare needs from newborn onwards. The Mustela Dermo-Paediatrics range gives solutions to specific skin problems like eczema, nappy rash, cradle cap and intolerant skin. But please check the ingredients if your child has allergies. My nephew who is allergic to nuts and dairy couldn’t use this. Mustela 9 Months range is formulated for mothers who are expecting. And Mustela Sun Protection protects the delicate, fragile or intolerant skin (atopic, hypersensitive, reactive, etc) of babies and children.

Here are some products we are using from the Bebe line…

Foam Shampoo for Newborns
This Foam Shampoo is for newborns but I also like using these on my Stella and Lily. It’s quite mild and its got a lovely baby scent that smells like their natural scent.

Face Cream
This Face Cream is wonderful for all kids. Confession, I use it too sometimes.

Dermo Cleansing Gel
Mustela Dermo Cleansing Gel gently cleanses your baby’s skin and hair thoroughly yet delicately and respects delicate skin and scalp with its soap-free formula.
Mustela in the Philippines is exclusively distributed by PHARMASAFE, INC. and is available in the following branches: Stand Alone Kiosks: Ayala Trinoma, Robinson’s Ermita, Glorietta 4, Shangrila Mall, Megamall A, Greenhills, The Shops, Alabang Town Center, and Mall of Asia. Shop-In-Shop: Rustan’s and Landmark Department Stores, Mothercare, Pure Beauty, Numa Eco Baby Store, Medela House, & Chimes Department Store, Davao.

For regular updates and promos, check out  Mustela Philippines on Facebook.



Winners of Sandbox





Here are the five winners of one Sandbox each:

Theresa Cruz-Escaros
Au Reyes-Manalo
Joenn Tsen
Ysa Zuniga
Ian Galliquez

Please check your inboxes and reply. Sandbox will be sent to you.

Thank you everyone! Do you want more raffles?



Explore Sandbox



My kids love packaging of all sorts — cardboard boxes, styrofoam, fillers, paper invites, folders, etc. Ever since Sophia was big enough to handle paper (without putting it in her mouth) I let her play with scrap materials. She must have been a bit over one then. And as she grew older, she used scissors, glue, paint and anything she could find in the house to jazz up her cardboard boxes. Naturally, Lily and Stella took after their Ate. Every day I see them working on crafts and experiments.

Enter the new product Sandbox. It encourages imagination and creativity in children. Sandbox is a monthly subscription box filled with activities. Think, beauty/cosmetic boxes sent to your home but filled with arts, crafts and science projects for kids. The target age group is 3-7 years old. When Sandbox wrote to me about their new product, I knew right away that my kids would love them. Stella couldn’t wait to get her projects started.

Jump to the bottom of this post to join the Sandbox raffle.


An enthusiastic young boy surrounded by Sandbox. (Photo from Sandbox Facebook).


This is the November box. The theme is Under the Sea.


photo 2
All activities in the Sandbox help children learn more about the sea and the creatures that live in it. Perfect timing because we had just taken Soph, Lily and Stella to Manila Ocean Park.


photo 4
The first project Stella and I did was this toy aquarium. All materials were given inside the box except for water and glue. I like that the activities encourage the connection between parents & children.


photo 3
Stella couldn’t wait to get started.


photo 5
I let her handle everything except the pouring of oil. I didn’t want tit to mess up the kitchen, haha. Stella loved doing the projects so much, she wanted to take over her Ate Lily’s box.


To sign up for Sandbox monthly membership boxes, go here. You have the option of signing up for just one month, or go for the three or six month subscription.


Stella loved her Sandbox so much, I wanted to share this experience with your children. Please join this giveaway. Sandbox is raffling off five Sandboxes for November. Open to anyone with a Philippine address.

Simply follow the easy steps at Rafflecopter or enter through my Facebook page here.

Giveaway is open now until October 22, 2013. Good luck!