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!






Welcome, Gingersnaps as my newest site partner! I’m sure some of you may have noticed the photos of my kids wearing Gingersnaps in Instagram. They’ve been wearing this brand since they were born. It has also been my go-to place for gift shopping for kids. I’ve been a regular at Gingersnaps for a long time, I even appeared in their old in-house magazines.


Photo shoot
Back in 2006 when Lily was still a baby. She was such a funny and easy baby.


Shoot for Gingersnaps
Also from 2006 when Soph was just 4. Sigh, how time flies. My first born. I still see her as this little peanut. Hard to believe she is in the upper tweens.


A lot of the dresses Soph had when she was a baby and toddler were from Gingersnaps. I kept them all so well that both Lily and Stella still got to wear them. I love that their prints are subtle and cute. And I really love their windows and merchandising. There’s so much detail and cuteness involved.

This year marks Gingersnaps’ 20th anniversary. I gasped and suddenly felt old. Then I realized, Gingersnaps has played a big role in dressing all our kids and it still manages to look so new and fresh. Along the way, they managed to set up shop in Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand and UAE.

Here are photos of this season’s new collection.


1 copy


4 copy


15 copy




18 copy






If you are hoping to have your child be part of the Gingersnaps 20th anniversary campaign, you may enter the Gingersnaps Model Search from September 20 – November 10. All it takes is to send in cute photos of your kid.

Be one of the six lucky kids to win fabulous prizes including presence on billboards. 20 kids will get a chance to join the big anniversary fashion show. Register. Upload. Share. Go to to register and upload your pictures.



For information on Gingersnaps newest collection, click here.



Little readers



I got an email from a reader asking me how I am raising creative kids. It didn’t really dawn on me that we were doing that, at least not deliberately. So I’m working on a post about that.

Meanwhile, I felt inspired to write about how my little ones are enjoying books. Again, we didn’t do any of this on purpose. Patrick and I like reading. He does non-fiction and biographies. I enjoy the occasional biography but I appreciate a good fiction novel (And now, young adult fiction. Yes! But no vampire series.)

We like to hang out in book stores. So the kids got exposed to all that. They think National Book Store is the best place to shop at because that’s where they get their treats. When they do something awesome, we treat them to books or magazines. The girls are major Total Girl fans.

Here’s what it’s like in our home…


Bedtime. I found Kid1 reading to Kid3. But Kid3 had her own visuals, diff version. #books #reading #Seuss
Scene at bedtime. Sophia was reading out loud and Stella was following the pages using a different version of Dr. Seuss.


Sophia read the bible in Manga form when she was 6.


"Mama, please read Wild Things Are" - Stella, 2 is addicted to this book #Sendak
Stella’s most frequently used line while she was a toddler was, “Read to me.” This is a family favourite – Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.


When he reads to her... #love #dad #stella
Truth, I’m usually the one reading to the kids. We do it at bedtime and any time of day. I think I do a good reading voice – with feelings and voices. But no one takes my picture while doing so. Here is Patrick reading to Stella.


Soph reads to Lily
My kids aren’t geniuses nor are they in gifted class. They’re doing very well at school but we don’t go the extra mile to work on them being number one. I’m not really into pressure. This reading thing was purely for pleasure. And yes, we started them young. All babies were read to… all toddlers got reading time with mama… and now as little girls, they read on their own or sometimes together. This photo of Soph reading to Lily.


She was looking for Ivy&Bean Book 4 but it wasn't available at @nbsalert so she got Books 5 and 7 first. We ordered the 4&6. My little bookworm loves this series so much she tells me all about each chapter. I love how my girls love books! #reading #books
This year, Lily discovered her love for chapter books. The first chapter book she read all on her own was Ivy and Bean.


This boxed set of Books 1 to 3 was a gift from my sister Pauline.


This is a series about two girls who are so different from each other but are the best of friends.


It is a good first-book for young girls. It has a few illustrations. By the way, Lily wants to be a book illustrator when she grows up. She likes to make up her own stories and draw pictures to go with her “book”.


We are still looking for Ivy & Bean Book 9. In the meantime Lily started reading this series with her name as the star!


She hasn't taken off this windbreaker since I got it for her last Friday. Lily is into reading Ivy & Bean now. #lily #books #ivybean #greengate #uniqlo
Lily is devouring one book per day now. I don’t know how she does it. Apparently she reads a lot during lunch and at dismissal time. She is so amused with the books she’s reading that when I pick her up, she spends the entire ride home telling me all about the characters.


I found a spot in their tiny room where I had built-in shelves made. It’s their little library. As much as I want to maintain some order, it usually takes on a life of its own after a few days.


So on an average day, Stella’s shelf looks like this.


The higher shelf has their travel books.


The most frequently used shelf is just pure mayhem. Hodge podge.


Soph’s bedside table is a bit neater. She has her Magic Tree House series in a pull out basket. She’s been done with these two years ago and they’re just waiting to be read by Lily.


A few more series that Sophia loved – Geronimo Stilton and Charmseekers. Lily is now reading Charmseekers, one book per day! Soph is into 39 Clues.


Again, none of this was done deliberately. But I’m glad we’ve got one less thing to worry about at school. Reading, writing, language — those are their “things”. Wish we could say the same for math.

Any tips on raising math whiz kids? Haha.

Seriously, read with your kids. It’s good. It’s relaxing. It’s fun.



BABY Magazine September 2013



Stella and I are on the cover of BABY magazine August-September 2013. Many thanks to Juana Manahan-Yupangco, Jacqui Salonga, Ana Gloria and the rest of the BABY team for this amazing cover story.

The cover was shot in our home. Stella has gotten used to “photoshoots” that the last time we needed to get her some ID photos she asked, “How do I smile, mom? Photoshoot smile?” So then I had to teach her how to do the passport smile (no teeth and no expression). I think she got confused and gave us a “passport smile” here. Haha. Seriously, the lipgloss made her freeze.

The spreads inside are so lovely. It made me wonder if that was really me in the photos and article. It’s surreal to be reading about one’s self and work. Thank you, Ana for helping me spread the messages of UNICEF and for allowing me to share stories of my journey with UNICEF.


Baby 2 scan


Photos were by Paolo Feliciano. My makeup was by Ria Aquino and hair by Avril, both my stylists the TV show.

BABY magazine is available at all leading bookstores and magazine shops.