Tried and Tested Tips on Traveling with Kids

As you know from my previous post, i recently traveled with my two kids to Thailand. Here are some tips and tools that helped me go through it with ease.

1. Fill out all embarkation cards at home.  It's very difficult to be too busy filling out the cards in a crowded airport when you need to fix your eyes on your kids every 5 seconds. Likewise, i also suggest filling out disembarkation and custom & immigration cards inside the airplane for the same reason.

2.  Bring a stroller.  This will be your best decision ever. Of course, you need to train your children to ride in strollers beforehand. Otherwise you will find yourself chasing the kids while carrying the stroller. Not glamorous at all.

My personal favorite is the Aprica Karoon Plus. I love how lightweight it is and that i can open and close the stroller with one hand.

3. Another option is to use a Backpark with Harness. I bought ours a long long time ago but never had the heart to use it. I was torn between safety and having people think we're treating our kids like dogs on a leash.  But this recent trip made me rethink my priorities. There were times when Troy was tired and Dawn would offer the stroller to her brother.  This means she will need to walk with me instead. I would still hold her hand (and the leash) while walking. But at least in case i had to use my hands to fill out forms or get some things from my bag, there is no risk of her running away on her own.  So i decided that people may judge all they want but my kids' safety is more important than that.
 4.  Bring out new activity books or download new games or movies on your iPhones and iPads. These will keep them entertained during the waiting period (in flight and pre-boarding). Please note that it has to be NEW. Old games and books may not excite them enough to keep still for a long time.

5.  Bring water bottles that are half-filled with water. I personally use the Thermos Funtainers for my kids because it's spill-proof.  The reason it's important to bring them is so that you don't need to ask for cups with water while eating inside the airplane. Imagine the chaos when they accidentally flip the table and spill the water. Not cool (or ironically, that's all your legs are going to feel when the water spills). I always just ask the flight attendant to fill the water bottles with water in case we run out. I prefer them half-filled since i don't want to carry heavy containers inside my bag.

6.  Put your safety on!  I found two very useful identification tags for my kids.

The first is the MyTag ( Klein slender silicone bracelets.  It's really chic and useful. I had my kids' names engraved together with our contact details (mobile number and email address) on the steel tag. I taught my kids to show these to the security guards in case they cannot find us. They only cost P400 each which already comes with the engraving.

The next one is the Safetytat Tattoo (  It's a temporary tattoo that will last for about 3 days of sweat and shower. I used this on my 3-year old since she may be too young to fully explain the concept of the ID bracelet.  I like her contact details to be immediately seen in case someone needs to reach us. I placed the tattoo on her arm and wrote down our contact number using the special pen that came with it.

7.  Finally, talk with your children before the trip.  As i've mentioned in my previous post, they are more matured that we usually give them credit for. Explain the dangers of being too rowdy in a crowded place and what they can do to help make the trip enjoyable for the entire family.

That's it! Hope you found these tips helpful. Have fun on your next vacation.


Forced Independence

About two weeks ago, I flew to Thailand for a vacation with the two kids sans Dens. It was a planned family vacation but more urgent things came up and Dens had to stay behind.

Now if you've been following our family's journey through this blog, you would know that Troy is now 6 years old and Dawn is 3. Both of my kids can be quite spirited when excited and especially when they're with each other. I was quite anxious about the trip, unsure whether i can truly handle them on my own.  So i spoke with Troy two days prior to our departure.  I explained how Dens cannot join us to the trip anymore.  Given that Troy is very close to Dens, i was prepared to hear some "I don't want to go if papa is not going" speech. But what he said caught me by surprise. He answered "Oh, that's okay, mom. I'll just be the Papa in Thailand and help you take care of Dawn"  Oh wow, i was taken aback. I didn't know how to answer that so i just hugged him and thanked him for being such a good boy. Truth is, sure i was touched, but i was honestly not confident that he would live up to his promise. Two days later, Troy proved me wrong.

We woke up at 5:30 in the morning in time for our 9am flight. Troy was instantly cooperative, getting dressed by himself (he never did this before). When we got to the airport, he offered to push Dawn's stroller so that i can take care of the luggage. He helped entertain Dawn and helped her put both their backpacks on the X-ray machine for checking. Troy amazed me. He asked me to call him 'Little Papa' during the trip. He did not forget.  When we got to Thailand, he decided he was big enough to take a bath by himself.  He even helped me convince Dawn to eat when she's not in the mood. Sure he was still playful a lot of times and needed me to remind him that he's the little papa. He's not perfect. I'm not either.  But what a transformation. When we came back from the trip, Dens also noticed his new confidence and sense of independence.

Our kids are more prepared to be independent that we give them credit for. More often that not, if the situation calls for it (i.e. no choice), then that's when you will see them rise to the challenge. A lot of  my friends told me that their kids learned to be independent when they lost the yaya...some when they migrated abroad. I guess the bottom line is that we, as parents, must stop treating them as babies. Treat them like grown-ups and that's what they will be.

Here's to my little 6-year old hero. One day you will read this post and i'd like you to know how proud i am of you! I love you more than you will ever know.


Of Dragons, Love and Forgiveness

So we were finally able to watch How to Train Your Dragon 2 last Saturday. I never thought i can cry so much watching an animated adventure movie.

After 20 long years, Stoick (the dad of Hiccup, the main character) saw his wife once again.  He thought all the while that she was already dead. It turned out that it was her decision not to return to her family anymore.  Instead, she decided to focus on her passion which was taking care of the dragons.

The first time Stoick saw his wife, she mumbled apologies and explanations - trying to control the wrath that may be awaiting her. But the only thing that her husband said was "You're as beautiful as the day I lost you"  

I was so moved by his words. Until the end, he never questioned why she left him. Only loved her unconditionally and did his best to win her back.  There was no discussion on why she did what she did.  It was instant forgiveness.  Love abounded in him and overflowed to her.  Amazing true love...and such a wonderful example to his son.

Beautiful beautiful movie. Watch the video clips below.  Better yet, watch the film. It's worth the 115 minutes of your time.

1 Peter 4:8
"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins."



A couple of months ago, a bag of frozen seafood arrived at our doorsteps. I checked out the products and reviewed the description for each.  No-trans fat, Gluten-free, All Natural...the health-junkee-wannabee within me became really excited!
First we tried the FFI Bangus Lemon Butter which i found really easy to prepare. After thawing it from the freezer, you just need to pop it inside the microwave for about 3-6 minutes and you're all set! Heat the lemon butter sauce in hot water while still inside the plastic and just pour it over the fish if you like. I prefer to serve it separately it in a bowl so that the fish won't get soggy. I was not able to take a picture but it looked exactly like the picture on the cover photo (lower-left hand side of the picture).

Next in line was the FFI Gourmet Selection Roasted Garlic Milkfish Loins. Preparing it was again easy-breezy. Just lay the fillets out on a baking dish and pop it in the oven for 4 minutes. Afterwards you turn the fillet upside down and put it back for another 4 minutes. And that's it! So perfect for dinner parties at home where you want to impress your guests and tell them you baked fish!
A few Sundays ago, our family decided at the last minute to have dinner at home so the cook was not able to prepare anything. I remembered my Fisherfarms loot and had the cook thaw the FFI Smoked Deboned Milkfish.  We just baked it in the oven for less than 10 minutes (4-6 minutes, if i'm not mistaken) and it was done. And i just want to say - it was soooo good! I love how smoked it really was. I later on found out that Fisherfarms' Milkfish were smoked using virgin beechwood chips imported from Germany. Using such chips (as opposed to regular sawdust) ensures food safety and higher quality and consistency of the smoke. Don't just take my word for it - you have to try it!

They also have Fish Nuggets which is a great alternative to Chicken Nuggets if you want to avoid all the hormones of Chickens that are not free-range. I've yet to try to Fish Franks and Sausages but i'm sure it's just as tasty!

Try it for yourself! It's such a delicious and healthy alternative for the family. Perfect for non-cooking moms like me!

To order, please call the Fisherfarms hotline at (+632) 5843318 or visit the following outlets:

Alabang Supermarket Corporation, Landmark, Metro Gaisano, Pioneer Centre, Puregold Duty Free Subic, Robinson’s, Rustan’s, Savemore, Shopwise, SM Hypermarket and Supermarket, South Supermarket, Unimart and Cash and Carry


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