Sunday, 28 July 2013

After Work: Play With Lights

This after-work play series should really be titled "playing in the dark" because of my night-lighting fetish for making a bedtime routine.

I realize "play" and "bedtime" are not ideas that go together, but sometimes a working mom's gotta take what she can.  These are part of an "after-work" series: simple ways that carve out play time when you get home, but without winding kids up.  You may have already seen our previous posts about our DIY light table, so here are other ways we play with light before bed.

Battery-operated candles double as night toys.
Here she made a bouquet vase from an empty yogurt drink bottle and some fake plants.

She grabbed these materials from an old "flower shop" play area set up (which became our popular "sweet shop" area).  I've packed them away for now while our house is still a major mess.   Hoo boy.  Ang daming kalat!

Anyway, night-time lighting is also perfect for assembling this pretty ornament from Ikea, as well as sneaking in a little fine-motor practice:

It's battery-operated so it stays cool and safe for little hands.

And little tempers when shaking vigorously.

Here it is hanging up in Ladybug Girl's room, way before her room was repainted.

Ah, motherhood.  When home decor becomes play becomes bedtime routines.

What are the strange bedtime routines that work for you?

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

A Bed With A View

Today I am stuck in bed after an exhausting night.  

No, not like that.

I am stealing a few moments of relative peace until Ladybug Girl comes home from school shortly.
Until the guilt of not checking work email becomes urgent.
Until the bathroom calls yet again.

Sorry, TMI.

And so as I lie in bed amid the hammering in the last-minute kitchen renovation,
I am enjoying this new view:

Ignoring the random clutter on my side of the dresser, of course.  And the blurry phone pic.

That was my instant-DIY project last weekend you see.  
Not the brown one (that one is real art I bought), but the white one framed.
  It is, of all things, a seven-year old pillowcase.  

I bought it during a business trip to India.  But frankly, it's only pretty to look at but feels too rough.
I didn't want to give it away, so in a moment of clarity I found a way to reuse this broken-glass frame:

I didn't even cut the pillowcase.  I just stuck a piece of cardboard inside.

Instant art.

And if it gets dirty, what's another wash?

Art is what you love, and this is mine.  I kind of like framing pillowcases cos I'm weird like that.

I'm not really an artsy one, you see.  I did not understand the fuss over the Andy Warhol paintings.

What's your art style?  Of dots and things buys real art with meaning for herself.  I considered it, but I'm scared to plunk down a lot of money for paintings I could get tired of.  Unless it's this:


Sunday, 21 July 2013

More Super-Simple Play to Leave Behind

More super simple leave-behind play while momma works all day at the office.

Treasure-Hunt Tray: bury some metallic objects in the sand and leave a magnet

I've been hunting for a simple book about magnets available in Manila.  If you find one, I would love to know!

In an early post, I've written how these leave-behind activities help me cope with having to balance a demanding corporate career.  I get a concrete feeling of daily fulfillment knowing I've left her a thoughtful environment filled with options to play and learn.  I also feel more hands-on and in-control of parenting despite the distance and yaya.  

Even with yaya around, Leave-Behind activities should be intuitive for preschoolers to figure out what to do themselves.   Whether they are readers yet or not.  It encourages independence!

This is how we store our alphabet stamps so that it's easy for little hands to pick up -  but it also makes an easy letter match activity.

These were highlighter markers her daddy bought for Ladybug Girl, but can also be used for puzzle play.  In the right photo, I left a picture to copy, drawn with her markers.  

I like leaving artwork the best because it's the easiest to think of quickly.  At our house, they are also done the fastest.

An old mouse pad which can be an art canvas before throwing it away: left is chalk pastels (I think oil pastels would work better though), and right is the same mousepad flipped over with a black permanent marker.

Don't give away those glow-in-the-dark freebies!  Leave them behind like this for an art activity.  We used old playdoh cups to hold the stars and a glue bottle upside-down.  We hung this up on the art gallery and enjoyed the effect after lights out at night.  

Of course when they start to read, the possibilities expand!  And the set-up ease, of course.  Of course.

Nothing could be simpler than ripping out sheets from the Taro Gomi doodle placemats book and leaving them on her easel or whiteboard.

We have these wipe-off activity cards set which I got so I can just choose a few cards to leave out and change when done. 

Cutting practice (draw lines to follow).  This would be intuitive even without the note, but I like to use these opportunities to practice Ladybug Girl's cursive reading.

I may not be home with Ladybug Girl for the day, but these leave-behind trays teach me a lot about her interests and capabilities and leave me signals when to step in with some floor time.  

Like this example here:

Match the lid to the container right? 


When I see these clues, we do them together during our floor time at night or during the weekend.

So I could watch how she plays with them first and try to join in with unstructured play.  I've had moments where I would completely lead her into doing what I want, and we both end up frustrated!

It took some time and with some step-by-step pointing, but she did it!

Afterwards, it's disassembled and returned to the shelf for another day.  But only one other day, I'm afraid: she gets bored with things very easily.  That's why I've vastly simplified our trays vs. my early days of pinterest-hunting and putting together complicated activities like this:

Fun while it lasted, but too much trouble!

Notice they are not heavily-DIY like many eye-catching ideas out there?  Now when I see pinterest ideas of moms doing their own materials, I pretty much cross that off, or at least figure out an easier way in terms of time.  Being in a corporate job taught me that the right shortcuts tools can get the job done easier.  

In this case, the right "toys".

See the first round up of this super simple leave-behind play here.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Purple Playroom Experiment

Well, the painting is done on my split-second decision to make Ladybug Girl's bedroom purple.

And it's not purple.

Unless you squint really hard and concentrate.

Our painters even put the decals back.


I miss my bright cheery aqua!  I didn't realize that having a different wall color means the rest of the room accents feel "unmatched".  Or does it look okay? 

What should I adjust?

Some parts I think are okay, but I'm not a fan of pastels either.

I think I can live with pink if it's completely modern and graphic.

And there's still a ton of hanging up to be done.  This room alone uses around twenty-five various 3M fasteners, hooks and organizers.  I should have shares in that company by now.

I casually floated the idea of repainting to Awesome Guy.  His reply was short: "panindigan mo na."  (the closest translation I can think of is that I should pretend to stick to my decision).

And Ladybug Girl's reaction was as un-encouraging as the last time we spoke on it:

Me:  Do you like the new purple color in your room?
Her: (nodding excitedly) I like it more darker purple
Me:  Ok, maybe I'll add more purple stuff around
Her:  And yellow!

I see the new yellow-fixation still hasn't disappeared on its own.

At this point maybe that's not such a bad idea.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

My 'Signature of Love'

I am hesitant but proudly disclose that the corporate side of 'DIY Corporate Mom' is: managing the Johnson's Baby brand for the Philippines.

Why am I hesitant?  Because I don't want to handle sponsorship requests, cast-my-baby requests, and the occasional complaint on this blog, thankyouverymuchplease.  But I wouldn't have an authentic voice if I covered that up when the point of this was to put myself out there contrary to my usual self.

Did I really just say "authentic voice"?  See, my marketing lingo is already obvious.

Of all the brands I've put my precious time on, there are only three that I truly admire: Dove, Modess, and Johnson's Baby.  Because these products were backed by outstanding science, and these brands uplifted women rather than made them feel insecure.

But of the three, my heart has fallen in love with Johnson's Baby.  It's an emotional reaction being a mom and recognizing the deep, cultural heritage it has in the Philippines.  It was a natural choice for my Ladybug (Baby)Girl even when I wasn't handling the brand.  I even used a lot of their products on myself.

I have the Lord and Universe to thank for getting to work on advocacies which mirror my own on this blog : to be hands-on and to use play to bond and teach my child.

I got to promote a great advocacy of an hour of play a day with Dep Ed and the truly remarkable Play Pilipinas

I got to do what I loved in college: hands-on volunteer work.  This was a playground donated to a community.

I even left mine and Ladybug Girl's  'signature thumbprint hearts' all over the tyre caterpillar.

And I get to do what I love about marketing best : tell stories that reflect real insights that matter.

Watch the new stories here and here and here.

To say that I relate a lot to my brand is a huge understatement.  Moms with so little time?  Heck yeah.  Creating natural 'signature' ways to make every moment count?  That's me, too.

Smelling her feet, and then going 'pbbbbbbt!' on her tummy at night and before I say goodbye in the mornings.
(Yes, she took this picture!)

Wrestling and slobbering kisses is Awesome Guy's signature of love.  I love to watch every time!

I wish I could share my own and be featured in the next story, but that just wouldn't be right, would it?  

Join through the Facebook app here

Instead I'm just sharing the love!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Pre-School Playroom

So just like that I bought new paint for Ladybug Girl's room.  On a whim: her favorite color purple.

I'm not a big fan of purple, but anything is better than pink in my house.  It's backlash from having pink shoved down my throat from the time I found out that my baby will be a girl.

So before the painters change everything next week, I thought I'd show a few photos of the room in case I make a huge mistake to fondly remember our progress from where we started.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Downgrading the Art Bag

It's 3 am and I'm wide awake after Ladybug Girl's bathroom trip. As usual. This was how this blog started after all!  Thanks for joining me in my insomnia (and on bloglovin' if you're on it).

We're in Thailand for a well-deserved holiday!  Or at least I am, while Awesome Guy worked for the most part of the week.

If you call that work.

Bangkok is not at all solo-parent-with-stroller friendly, since we take the trains everyday.  Some necessary simplifying had to be done: leave the iPad and downgrade the art bag.  

Muji mini markers + hotel phone pad = our instant solution to an art bag:

We use it during downtime to draw highlights from our trip. Hopefully we are engraving happy childhood memories!

The fantastic octopus at Siam Ocean World.
We loved this, especially since the one in Aquaria in Malaysia died before we saw it.

Her version.  I love that her drawings are slowly becoming more recognizable!

I asked her what this was and she said it was the ocean, "just like Van GOOG".  That's Ladybug Girl-speak for Van Gogh's swirly art.

We also use the "art bag" for storytelling, which she asks me to repeat over and over again.

Like how she became a firefighter at Kidzania, and how she was so brave even if she was scared at first
(ah, my little Dove!)

Kidzania is coming to Manila next year!

Or how she became a paramedic and revived the man who fainted  (in the bottom part of the paper)

She also draws maps - this one of our hotel room:

I think it's special to her because we laugh the most there!

The best part is hearing her little voice tell stories while she draws.

I like these Muji markers because they're hexagon shaped, so they don't roll.

Despite all that downgrading, my arms are killing me. Ladybug Girl is no walker.

Me: Can you walk a bit? I'm tired.
Her: But mommy, I've been walking for AGES! (pause) Mommy, what's "ages"?

Our art bag may not always travel with us, but I've got a funny travel buddy to keep us entertained.