Thursday, March 31, 2016

Natural Remedies: What Worked and What Didn't

      When the weather shifts from hot to cold and cool to warm, we all know what happens. Cough, colds, flu and other viruses and respiratory diseases become increasingly common and passed on easily especially in school (and in close contact at home!). 
      For my children's health (and mine too), I always prefer natural remedies as much as possible. If I could only get these items straight from their source, I would. But as we know, it is usually quite difficult - that's why these remedies also come with a high price.
        Below are a couple of remedies that I tried on both my kids, and myself, when we had a bout of cough last January (and some of them I'm using this month again to battle colds). Just wanted to let you in on what works and what doesn't - at least for us - if ever you wanted to go and try them for your own family.

1. Manuka Honey

     I have heard a lot of good reviews about the wonders of Manuka Honey. Some use it as maintenance or for prevention and some for curative purposes. The lower levels of methylglyoxal such as MGO 100 and MGO 250 are what they recommend for maintenance, while MGO 400 and MGO 550 are the more potent ones and are therefore used when a bad cough, cold or flu has already developed.  

       I have tried the MGO 550 on my 5-yr old when she had a cough last year and much as I'd like to think that it helped, I just didn't see a significant change at the time. I followed the recommended dose religiously, but to no avail. By early January this year, both my daughters caught a bad cough that lasted for more than 10 days and only seemingly got worse. I decided to give Manuka Honey another chance because I was desperate! So I got the MGO 400 (cheaper but still potent) to help them get better. They already finished a 250g bottle and I had to get another one - but the cough was still lingering. Even I caught the cough already at this point and it turned into asthma. I really would like to say that it helped me a lot, but to be honest, I think it only helped me a little. So I decided to do more research to find other remedies that would actually show a substantial change in our health situation. More on these later.

       I did notice though that it helped tame my acidic stomach. When I drink coffee, I more often than not end up with an acidic tummy and will have to stop having caffeine for a while. While drinking Manuka honey, I just didn't get any acid attacks while enjoying my cup of coffee, so maybe it does work - just not for the purpose that I was hoping it would work on, which was to help alleviate cough. Another noteworthy use for Manuka honey (as I read in reviews) is for wounds. Apparently, it helps in the healing process, and speeds it up too. Honey is known for its healing properties after all, and also as an anti-bacterial. 

        By the way, I also ran into a friend who tried Manuka honey on herself and her kids during the same cough plagued season and she had the same observation - it didn't work. So it wasn't just me after all.

       There is this brand of local honey from Palawan that did work on my daughter last year when she had a cough (I started buying Manuka honey when it ran out). It's a dark raw honey under the Taloto brand and it tasted good too. This honey was just a gift and I couldn't find it online or anywhere (so far). If you are reading this and have any leads, please do share it with me in the comments section below. I would really appreciate it! :)

       If you are still interested in Manuka honey and would like to try it, it is sold locally by Bee Healthy Trading via  I got the MGO 400 bottle for Php 2,100 plus a shipping fee of Php 100. And if you are in a rush to have it delivered, they accept Cash on Delivery. If in the US, you can order from Amazon by clicking on the link below.

    Even if the Manuka honey didn't exactly work for me, these Manuka honey suckles were quite helpful. It alleviated my sore throat and they tasted pretty good! My kids didn't like it though because it kinda makes the throat numb, as most lozenges do, but if there's any Manuka honey product I like and would buy again and again, this would be it. It also contains propolis which has high levels of bioflavonoids, a source of antioxidants (yes, good to know! haha). It only costs Php 300 per box of about 20 lozenges.

2. Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Butter Oil Blend

      I first learned about Fermented Cod Liver Oil while googling (is that even a word?) remedies for weak teeth. My second daughter has weaker teeth than my first and it really stressed me out because I believe I'm partly to blame :( I was told by their dentist that this is usually the case when siblings have a closer gap and mommy has not had enough time to recover enough calcium lost during the first pregnancy and breastfeeding. I was not conscious about my calcium intake during the early stages of my pregnancy with her, and as bones are developing, the first calcium stores to go are from one's teeth. You have no idea how frustrated I was upon learning this, although it is quite common. I wish I had known this sooner! (Why didn't anyone warn me about this anyway?! If you are an expecting mom, I hope this bit of information helps you). 

        Anyway, I have read that besides its benefits for our pearly whites, FCLO also strengthens the immune system. So this basically is a good investment for me because I believe it does help my children's teeth by strengthening them and preventing cavities - but in tandem with avoiding a lot of refined sugars and snacks (if you still feed them sweet stuff, don't expect this one to work as well as it should). This is one item I would gladly keep in my natural remedies and vitamins shelf.

      I give my girls the Chocolate Cream version, as with the one below and so far they have been taking their "chocolate vitamin" with gusto. At least there's no struggle with this one. I tried taking it myself and though I can't say it tastes great, it actually doesn't taste all that bad. 

3. Elderberry Syrup

       Now this is something that actually works! I read about this online and decided to check out Healthy Options if they had one available. During the cough season in January, this was the only remedy that actually showed a significant change in my children's health! Seriously! I thought I was imagining it when a few days after taking this, my girls' cough was getting better until it finally disappeared. 

       It is important to note that this syrup though is not made of pure elderberry alone. It also contains a proprietary blend of echinacea, and I read that you shouldn't give this for a prolonged period of time. You probably won't anyway because by the time the bottle is finished, your child's cough is better or gone already (a 4-oz bottle gets finished in a few days with my 2 girls, especially when I have to give the intensive dose to both or one of them - 2 tsps twice a day). Just give it on the onset of a cold and instead of dealing with the virus for 7-10 days, expect it to shorten to 3. At least that's what happened with my kids the last 2 times they caught a cold and we tried fighting it off by taking this.

     Oh, and I also drank this elderberry syrup (I didn't want to buy the one for adults because I figured it was more or less the same and didn't want to spend extra), and yes - it worked for me too! :) 

      This 8 oz. bottle from Amazon costs about Php 400 less than the 4 oz. bottle from Healthy Options :o Try to buy from the US if you know anyone going there or if you have family or friends who can send it over. That's what I'll be doing ;)

4. Multi Vitamins 

      This particular multi vitamin is my girls' favorite so far. I tried giving them multi vitamin chewables by Animal Parade and they didn't really like it. But with these gummies, making them drink vitamins is easy. And of course I taste tested it - and loved it! I just try to stop myself from eating these vitamin-packed gummy bears for my own wallet's sake because they're not exactly cheap! :o 

         Got these from Healthy Options and so far so good. They don't do any miracles but at least I know my kids get supplemented with essential vitamins and minerals especially on days when we don't get to eat as nutritiously.

5. Probiotics

     I started giving my children probiotics when Audrey had a bum tummy about more than a year ago. I figured, if adults like me take probiotics for gut health, my children should as well. Our pediatrician also recommends it. I have proven the ability of probiotics to restore the good bacteria in my own tummy, and how it also helps control the acidity. My ob gyne also had me take probiotics during my second pregnancy so I could avoid infections of the urinary tract or any tummy upsets. It worked pretty well then and still works well now especially if my husband and I ended up eating something that wasn't so good (not in taste but in condition, or maybe both hehe!). It basically prevents a bad tummy - making it better before it got worse. I would say that you can just drink some Yakult as an option, and it works too, but I just didn't want to give my kids probiotics with added sugar every single day, haha.

      I get my stash from Healthy Options also, although again it is more expensive than buying from Amazon.

Disclaimer:  The items I listed above have all been tried by yours truly, and my kids. The results of using these may differ from ours. Please also check for any allergies before taking them in case you decide to try any of the above. Also, none of the suppliers or stores mentioned have asked me to write about each product. I also was not given any free samples (I wish! haha!). The product images and links underneath leads to and will show more information on the products but no change in price (don't worry haha, so you can just click from here and save yourself some time). So in essence, this is a true blue review! Honest to goodness, nothing but the real stuff based on our actual experience :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Ministry of Motherhood

      I'm a believer that we can never run out of things to learn. That's why I love reading books. And at this point in my life where I know I am in a position to greatly influence my children, reading about parenting and what it really means to be a mother is a topic I always want to learn about.

    I have discovered that motherhood means more than taking care of our children and making personal sacrifices. Motherhood is about reaching our children's hearts for a purpose greater than what we can ever think of or dream of for them. Motherhood is a ministry and a calling like no other. Let's always find opportunities to tap into our children's hearts and teach them what really matters. 

      This book is one that I would recommend you read if you would like to do just that :)

Friday, March 25, 2016

All For Love

A beautiful message for today, Good Friday.

All For Love by Hillsong United

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Prayer Jar

     We as a family originally started this Prayer Jar tradition as part of Advent two years ago, and continued it last Christmas. But because prayers are relevant all year round, each day, everyday - we have carried on this tradition to the new year, and past it. This jar contains all of our prayers - not just for us, but for family and friends. Each of us would write prayers in a colored piece of paper and place it inside this glass jar. We read them aloud together, return them in the jar, and pray them again until our prayers are answered.

Our Prayer Jar

Two years ago, we started filling up this jar with our prayers.

This year, we continue to place our prayers in it.

This is Audrey a few days ago writing her prayers - mostly prayers of thanksgiving - reading her prayer and getting another one from the jar.

     I find that this is a good way to involve children in prayer and teach them how to be specific in their prayers, and have expectant hearts that prayers written or lifted up will eventually be answered. It has also made me more diligent in not just praying, but writing my own prayers and setting aside time for this activity because the girls do request for it. I encourage you to try this as well and even make your own traditions as a family, and not just for Christmastime :) 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Advent: Preparing for Christmas

      Are you familiar with the Advent Season? It usually starts shortly after Thanksgiving and beginning last year, we have started an Advent tradition. I was looking for something meaningful for us to do as a family, and with the busyness of the Christmas season, we can easily forget to do the more important stuff - spend some time as a family with the goal of preparing our hearts for the coming of baby Jesus.
      I honestly wasn't too familiar with Advent so I read up on it first. It begins four Sundays before Christmas and although we started a couple of days late last year, I am still glad that we did so anyway. We didn't have a rigorous or strict schedule, but we tried to carve out some time almost every night to read our Advent devotionals and some Christmas stories. You can make your own traditions if you like, like what we did - we had what we called a Prayer Jar, and will share about that in another post.
     Here are books that I purchased online to read through during Advent. We are reading them again this year (especially since we didn't finish them last year :P). If you are interested in creating your own traditions and are looking for books to read with your family, you might also like these ;)


         The Christmas ADVENTure: Advent Devotions and Activities for Celebrating a Christ-centered Season

      What I love about this book is that it has different parts in each reading which it divides into Head, Heart and Hands. It starts with a scripture and then thoughts to ponder (Head), a prayer (Heart), and then a practical application (Hands). It suggests different activities for you to do - with no pressure of course, for you to do them. Just choose what you would like to do (I personally couldn't do all but the suggestions were pretty good and creative, and would also give the kids something to get busy with). We got the idea of having a Prayer Jar from this book - from the idea of the "Joy Jar" - where you write the things you are thankful for every day in a piece of paper and place it in the jar to be read on Christmas Day :)

           Welcome Baby Jesus: Advent and Christmas Reflections for Families (English and English Edition)        

       Another favorite book of ours for Advent is this. It has shorter readings and are divided into Think, Pray and Act. This one is good if you have small kids like ours. The readings are simple and the activities suggested are also easy and targets the heart. An example would be that as we get ready for the coming of Jesus, kids can help mom around the house and clean or pick up toys in the room. It also suggests practicing patience, using a soft voice, or obeying when asked to do something. At least when you are out of ideas, you can just take a cue from this book! :)

      Of course there is also the Advent wreath, an activity you can also do as a family. We made our own Advent wreath with candles - but it's not your usual kind. Ours was made of recycled arts and crafts materials, and they're kid friendly! I didn't want to light up any candles because I had two little kids who can easily topple them and cause a fire. Here is what our Advent wreath looked like.

We reused Natalie's birthday party decor last year (the safari leaves), and put them together to create a wreath. 
Our candles were made of colored paper with make believe paper flames (child friendly!). These four candles are supposed to represent Peace, Hope, Love and Joy - and instead of lighting the candles, we would place them into the paper cups. The jar in the middle is our Prayer Jar and we slipped in cutout letters that spell out Jesus to represent him as the center of it all.

Underneath these labeled cups we wrote our names - since there's 4 of us in the family, we assigned one each. We asked Audrey and Natalie to choose for us and it was quite a funny discussion too. They said I needed Joy the most (because I am usually stressed haha!) and daddy needs to give more Love to mommy (because again, I am stressed hahaha!). Hope goes to Audrey because she hopes we will all have a great Christmas and Peace to Natalie so she won't fight with Audrey :D With just trying to assign these cups to each family member alone, we were able to discover what we all needed the most. We also tried to reassign these 4 virtues amongst ourselves on other nights 
so we can all get a dose of each one. And you can imagine how interesting our next rounds of discussions were :)

      Today is the beginning of Advent. We actually already started reading through our books again during Thanksgiving (this time we're early!), and will do so till after Christmas (the Advent calendar extends till then). It is something that I am looking forward to each night, together with reading Christmas stories to the girls. And even if we will most likely miss some nights due to the busy season, this tradition is a good reminder of the most important reason for Christmas - the coming of Jesus.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

It's Been a While

      Wow, it's been quite some time since I wrote an entry here :o I have been caught up with work, housework, schoolwork, and family life that time just passed by oh so quickly! So many things have happened from then till now, and would really like to share most of our experiences. I will try to do that little by little!

     One thing is for certain - the bigger my kids are getting, the more demand there is for my time - which I thought wasn't the case, but I guess I was wrong. Babies actually give you more breathing time. As soon as they doze off, you have some time on your hands. Not so with preschoolers! They now know how to ask and they won't stop until you give it! When they need your help or attention, the best thing to do is provide it. I have learned that if I wanted "me time" or if I have meetings to attend, I need to schedule it way ahead of time (and enlist the help of family members to watch the girls)... when I have to work at home, I need to do it during unholy hours (very early in the morning or late at night)... when I need to do house chores, I get the kids involved (like putting away dishes, sorting out laundry, packing away toys)... and most importantly, I need to lessen the amount of things that I'm doing! There's just enough hours in my day and by the time 6pm sets in, I admit that I'm already tired! I can't imagine how moms who have to take care of 5 kids, do house chores, and work from home do it! :D I guess enough energy is provided to those who need it! 

      My 3 year old is now climbing my chair as I type... this is my cue. Gotta go for now but will be back!!! ;)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Girl Everyone Loves

    She's unassuming. Beautiful but unaware. She doesn't try too hard to be noticed - but attention seemingly goes to her, without her knowing it.
    She's nice to everyone, and they all like her. They want to be around her. Because she has a good heart. She doesn't crave for attention, in fact she doesn't even want any.
    She's genuine and kind, generous and sweet. Thoughtfulness resides in her being. People are drawn to her because of who she is.
    She's like a sister to her friends, much like how she is to her own sibling. Knowing when to give and share.

    This testimony given by teachers should not come as a surprise to me, her mother. The one who knows her so well. Who sees her at her best and at her worst. And this brings a smile to my heart because wherever she is placed, she exudes character that is truly beautiful. 
    My hope is that the hearts of our children, especially our daughters, will know that true beauty lies within. That character is more valuable than appearances. That girls need not get attention by flaunting their looks and drawing focus on themselves. With beautiful character, this just happens naturally. And it's the kind of attention that is innocent and genuine. Like with these children. 
   I think we can all learn this valuable lesson from them for these young ones seem to know what is truly attractive and truly important.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate 
hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should 
be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, 
which is of great worth in God's sight."

                                                                                                                             - 1 Peter 3:3-4

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Local Organic Food Sources

      Healthy eating is not just a trend for me, it's a lifestyle that I want to maintain as much as possible (yes, I still go to buffets and eat sugary sweets but these are treats that I don't intend to take in every single day! once in a while is good enough). I know it's a bit more difficult to source out organic goods and more often than not, you'll have to pay the price. However, I have made my choice and I want my family and I to eat as healthy as possible - with less or no chemicals, msg, high fructose corn syrup and a bunch of other very unhealthy and unsuitable ingredients for our body. 
       I have listed down my go to sources for organic goods below along with their pros and cons.

1. The Green Grocer Manila

    I order from the green grocer online regularly and I can say that I am one satisfied customer. They have a broad range of products and I order naturally raised and grass fed meats, organic salad greens and vegetables, fruits, baking supplies, bottled gourmet products, organic eggs and butter, organic sausages and desserts like suman and ice cream. You will have to check their website on your own to see all of the products that they are carrying. 


  • Convenient online shopping with a new website complete with photos. So easy to use and choose.
  • One stop shopping is possible because they carry a lot of products and is basically complete as compared to other online stores.
  • They always send confirmation emails after every order, another to confirm your total order amount, and text messages to inform you of the estimated time of arrival or any changes in your order (in other words, they are very organized).
  • Their delivery charge is reasonable especially if you meet the minimum, unlike other stores.
  • They have good quality items. If you're not happy with the vegetables, they will gladly take it back and not charge you - but this rarely happens because they choose their items well prior to delivery.


  • Deliveries are scheduled every Wed, Thur and Sat and you have to meet the 12nn cutoff every Monday and Thursday in order to make it (or pay a fee - fair enough but just try to make sure you make the cutoff anyway). I just wish they delivered more than 3x a week ;)
  • Some items are more expensive compared to other online shops such as meat, but this is also because they are not the direct source - they also source out their goods from farmers and suppliers so naturally, additional fees apply.
  • You can't pay with a credit card directly, but only through PayPal so I just pay Cash Upon Delivery to avoid PayPal fees.
2. Holy Carabao

    I ordered online from Holy Carabao because I wanted to try their products and saw that they carried meats as well. I was disappointed to find out that the organic and naturally raised meats were from Down To Earth (and not directly from them) and were priced so much more! I could've just ordered directly from their source, had I known then. Their organic veggies though are pretty good and I'm glad that as an option, they are now selling their products in S&R.


  • Organic vegetable products are now available for purchase at S&R.
  • I like the quality of their veggies and glad that they also carry Malagos unsweetened chocolate and cheese!
  • You can pay for your order with a check if you don't have cash on hand.


  • Online ordering through Holy Carabao is quite backward - they still have not updated their website (and the old one wasn't so great) - they will make you email your orders through a word document that you have to fill out, and you compute your own total amount (which is not even final because as we know, these items need to be measured first for final amount to be determined), and then you have to text them. Too much work if you ask me, haha (I order online to lessen the hassle of shopping but it's not the case with HC).
  • Delivery charge is quite expensive for the South area and because of this, I have stopped ordering online. Their staff also isn't so organized and the delivery people aren't so knowledgeable either (unlike the delivery staff of The Green Grocer who seem to be updated on what's going on and actually know about their items).

3. Down To Earth

       Down to earth was the answer to my search for organic and preservative free bacon and a number of grass fed meats from local farmers. You can tell the difference once you cook the meat - they are tender and tasty. Best of all, I know they are free from chemicals and feeding them to my family reassures me that we are lessening intake of unnatural ingredients and increasing nutrients in our bodies. Locally sourced also means that we are helping the Filipino farmers that are part of the direct suppliers to Down to Earth - they actually provide the names and locations of these farmers if you'd like to check where the meat is coming from.
        I've also tried their raw cow's milk and it really beats boxed/uht milk when it comes to freshness and taste! Besides the vitamins that one can get from drinking raw milk, lactose intolerance is also avoided because enzymes aren't destroyed by pasteurization. I have given this kind of milk to both my girls, from when Natalie was one and a half and Audrey was 3. Although we don't regularly consume raw milk, we do from time to time and this was my only source so far (Holy Carabao gets theirs from here as well). 
        Although they carry mostly meats, they also offer dairy, grass fed butter, organic and biodynamically grown herbs and greens, heirloom tomatoes and chicken and beef broth. I am quite happy with their products and will be a faithful customer as long as their quality stays the same.

  • You can buy their products at the Salcedo Market.
  • Meats are of good quality and reasonably priced since they source them directly from the local farmers.
  • You can easily place orders online and they will send you an email confirmation and text you if in case some items are not available.
  • You can pay for your orders online with a credit card.

  • Delivery is done through a courier so there is a corresponding shipping charge which isn't exactly cheap. What I do is I order by bulk to maximize this fee.
  • As with most suppliers of fresh meats and veggies, some items on the website are not always available.