Make it Work: Unstable Income as a Freelancer or Solopreneur

Budgeting for Freelancers and Solopreneurs

“Pulubi na naman ako, teh, this month” (I don’t have enough money this month). Have you ever uttered these words? Have you ever been in this situation?

Yesterday, I was talking to two blogger friends, Frances and Yuki. Both these bloggers are established influencers and have been blogging for quite some time now. Both of them are go-getters, too, and will now leave anything up to chance when it comes to earning for themselves and for their family. We had a serious conversation, and the topic was earning enough from being a full time blogger and full time freelancer at that.

The misconception that others have about people who work from home, or those who are freelancing or even those who are their own boss is that you hardly spend on anything. Even if we work from home, we still have bills to pay (phone, internet, water, electricity, rent, mortgage… and the list continues). We still have to earn so that we can make it work! Our main concern really is that income as a freelancer or even a solopreneur is unpredictable. Sometimes, you earn really well and sometimes, the only thing that you can afford for lunch is a Php 50 Chao Fan with siomai that you share with your co-founders (yes, that was a real experience).

So what do we do? How can we make it work? How can you truly earn from your passion? Wouldn’t it be such a great year if you can sustain a lifestyle that is fuelled by something you love? 

Lucky for me, I am willing to share with you my secret on how I stay afloat. Actually, my secret is not a tip, it’s a person. For the first time in history, I am sharing with you my husband. Yup, my husband, EJ Arboleda.

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I’m not good at handling money. I don’t splurge or buy anything extravagant, but it seems I only have enough all the time. But man, this guy is amazing and he really makes it work for us. When I met him, at 28, he already had his own condo unit, he had investments here and there and he was able to gift me with my dream wedding and a honeymoon to Europe. What impressed me is that he had all of these, because he worked smart and hard.
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I am really excited that EJ will be conducting a workshop entitled Budgeting for Freelancers and Solopreneurs (brought to you by Manila Workshops and Payoneer) and believe me when I say this (and I am not saying it because I’m his wife) that he if you just follow his tips and tricks, you’ll be on your way to letting go of all those fears and worries about not having a stable income. I know because I have already let go of all of my worries! haha!

I’m not sure why I just thought of inviting EJ to be a speaker for Manila Workshops only this 2017. For those who want to check on his credentials, EJ is the CEO of Taxumo, a tech startup that helps freelancers, professionals, and entrepreneurs with their taxes. He is also the Chief Technology Officer of Wunderman Manila – a digital advertising agency under the WPP group. He is a certified Project Management Professional, ITIL v3 Service Manager, and a SAP R/3 FI Consultant. He has been freelancing since 2010 as a web developer, project manager, and consultant.

This year will be our breakthrough year! This year, we will all let go of all of our worries and start living the life that we want. We will start earning from our passion! Let’s make it work!

P.S. Sign up now: http://manilaworkshops.com/events/budgeting-for-freelancers

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9 Fitness Applications that We Have Tried

A one hour workout is 4% of your day. No excuses!

We went on a downloading spree of different fitness apps. I guess we felt that the more fitness apps you download, the greater the chances are of becoming the ultimate epitome of sexiness this year. We tried and used all of these fitness applications, and since we don’t want you to waste your phone’s memory by downloading each and every one of them, we will share our review (most of the feedback was from my husband… hehe!).

Adidas Train & Run
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The first one is Adidas train & run. You can create your very own customized running plans. It takes a bit of getting used to, it seems. It works on the concept of blue/green zones during your workout (which I don’t really get). Also, I aside from not the vague functionality, the prompts aren’t telling me to slow down or speed up. The nice thing though about it is that it creates calendar entries for you depending on your plan. It syncs with your calendar, but bit of a hassle when you uninstall it.

Will probably delete that. 😛 But hey, Adidas, just bought a new pair. Maybe you need to up your game in the app department.

Zombies, Run!

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In “Zombies, Run!”, you basically pretend you’re running through a post-zombie apocalypse wasteland. You’re a runner collecting stuff and as you listen, there are some story elements. A bit of a disappointment though. We were hoping that it would be more interactive (ie. if I slow down, I get eaten by a zombie) – but it’s not. It’s really just a radio play. Lots of dead air, too, in between. Good acting, execution could’ve been better.

Runtastic

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The third one is Runtastic. I haven’t really used it since my data is Endomondo. I got it on sale, so I will try it out. An annoying thing though is that I bought the app, but seems that I still need to buy the training plans. Meh. It’s how Endomondo’s doing it also though – with a subscription instead. Bought that one too (I think).

Sleep as Android

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The fourth app is called Sleep as Android. I was able to get the unlock at P15 last Christmas! This one’s nice! It’s basically an Alarm clock, but it’ll wake you up when it’s best for your body to wake up (i.e. you’re not in deep sleep). You place it beside you on your bed as you sleep so that it tracks your sleep cycle. It seems to be working but not sure if it’s just some weird placebo effect.

Couchto 10K Running Trainer

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The fifth one is Couch to 10K Running Trainer. It’s basically a set of audio prompts designed to tell you when you should run and when you should walk, based on the Couch to 5K program made by Josh Clark. The app is designed to help you gradually build up endurance to do a 5K/10K while minimizing injury. It’s one do the good ones, so far. Seeing the checks against each day/program is pretty satisfying.

Endomondo

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I’m sure most of the fitness enthusiasts reading this know Endomondo. It’s a darn good app, but what’s a little bit annoying (since I bought this app), I expected the feature set to be available. It seems though that some parts of the app, like the training plan – you still need to subscribe to. It’s around P1000+ per year lang (pretty affordable) but still, I already paid for the app. 😛 Come on!

Jawbone

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The 7th one is UP by Jawbone. It’s connected to my Move. The nice thing about it is that it connects to MyFitnessPal, Endomondo, Runtastic, etc – almost all of them. It gets my data from those other sources, also. It motivates me to do 10K steps/day since, otherwise, I have to eat less — it makes a negative calorie (basically I have to burn that much) entry in MyFitnessPal when I don’t reach around ~7000 steps.

Misfit

misfit

This 8th app is connected to my wearable which is a Misfit Shine. It can connect to MyFitnessPal, so it’s pretty convenient. The application/wearable tracks my sleep (when I had light sleep and restful sleep). It tracks my steps via points though which is indicated in that big wheel. The steps and calories are shown below. I love using this because it’s simple to use.

My Fitness Pal

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The last one is called MyFitnessPal. Almost all of the food I eat is on the app! It even has a barcode scanning function which makes entering the exact amount of calories super easy. It even has this yummy chicharon one my officemates brings — Chicharabao (chicharon from Carabao). I scanned the barcode and it was there. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?!

So that’s it! Here are all the apps that my husband has!

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Take note though, he plans to remove the following: Runtastic, Adidas, Zombies Run. Runtastic is redundant with Endomondo. Adidas is redundant with all the other ones I’ve already started with. Zombies Run is not compelling enough. 😛

Again most of the views in this post are that of my husband and I share most of his views! I tried out the apps in his phone, too, and I completely agree with him. Hope we encounter better apps soon! For now, I think I’ll stick with my Misfit, Endomondo and MyFitnessPal apps!

PS. For those who want to try becoming a fitness blogger this year, check this out (http://manilaworkshops.com/events/fitness-blogging-101)

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2017 Goals and Plans

Before ending the year, I received a Viber message from my friend Rey. He was asking tips on how to plan for 2017. Like Rey, my main concern is that I have so many things on my mind and so many things I want to do. Creating plans makes me more focused and helps me achieve things faster and more efficiently. I thought I shared in my blog before how I plan things, but apparently, I can’t seem to find it. I may have thought I shared it, but ended up no writing it! haha! So you see how planning helps me! I miss and forget a lot of things.

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So my post for today is to share with you how we, as a couple, plan. You can try it out; it may or may not work for you. For us, we have been doing this for the past four years. It has been pretty helpful.

Vision Statement

The first thing that we do is we set a Vision Statement for 5 to 8 years ahead. Our chosen year is 2025. The vision statement that you create should be very specific. The one that we created as a couple revolved around living comfortably without having to worry about money. This is our vision statement:

For both of us to retire by age 45 and have passive income per month of at least Php 250,000 without any kind of debt.

We have also computed the amount of money that we need to have by that time to achieve that kind of passive income. Just to give you an idea, a pool of Php 14.5 Million can get you a passive income of Php 50,000 a month. With this, we need at least Php 72 Million worth of investments 9 years from now. Each of us need to earn Php 30+ Million (around Php 4 Million a year). Sounds huge, but we have to dream big, right? (Libreng mangarap!). My idol in this aspect is Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income. If he can earn around $1000+ a month, I know I can, too!

Mission

Aside from the vision statement, we also created a family mission. Our mission is:

A family that will spread knowledge through various media to help people grow and achieve their goals in life.

The mission that you come up with should represent what kind of change you want to create in this world. Analyze what talents, tools, etc. that you can offer so that the world becomes a better place. This will be the legacy that you will leave behind.

Define Goals for every aspect of your Life

We split our goals into 7 categories. Here are the categories that we have for this year: Goals related to our Daughter, Spiritual, Financial, Fitness & Health, Career, Mental and Start-up Goals. Of course, for your own goals, you will have to change it, unless we have exactly the same life (Haha! But hey, who knows?!). For each of the category, we listed different goals. Some may contain only one goal, while other categories may contain several.

For each goal, place the corresponding cost/resource/how much would it entail for you to achieve that goal. This way, you will be able to get the total financial value to make your goals a reality for this year.

Once you have that figure, please read this post that I made just last December:

http://mommyginger.com/2016/12/5-tips-investing-money-childs-future.html

It will give you an idea on how I invest that money that I have or the money that I will need to set aside for the future.

I really hope that this helps you plan for 2017. If you want a copy of our template, just click on this link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ttFczuGhM2dqDx3WVWlmj89fPJiW2weMrttmqI5JPO8/edit?usp=sharing

Please feel free to spread this and to share it with friends and family! Have an amazing start to 2017! Cheers!

 

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My One Word for 2017: Invest

Happy new year, everyone! I hope you spent the first day of 2017 well. I spent it with people I love, so I would say that it was a day spent well. It’s the second day of January and my this will be my first blog post for the year. Like how I have done it in the past, I always start the year with a blog post sharing my one word for the year. I have been doing this one word exercise since 2015 (Feel – 2015, Simplify – 2016). This year, I have chosen INVEST.

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I was looking at the other words that people suggested in http://oneword365.com/ and “invest” was the word I was looking for!


Invest in Myself

This year, I plan to invest more in myself. I successfully simplified my life in 2016, and I plan to redirect more time to taking care of myself. It’s been a while since I had a haircut (I only had one last December because we had to present our startup during demo day). I think I just had a total of 2 visits to the salon last year. Also, I realize that I need to update my wardrobe. I only get to buy new clothes when I really have something important to go to. Plus, I don’t to get to wear them during normal days, since I got used to grabbing a pair of jeans and a shirt. This year, I plan to dress up better than I did last year.

Also, I will spend more time on beauty and fitness. I’m glad to share with you that I finally got to change the battery of my Misfit wearable. I haven’t been using it, because I didn’t take time out to replace the battery. I had my first long run outdoors yesterday, and I got to wear it again. Yesterday, I also signed up for a 10K marathon this coming March. It was really just so that I could push myself. Aside from keeping fit, I will try to fix myself a bit more every day. I have a lot of make-up in my house that I don’t use. It’s such a waste not to use them. I cleaned up my make-up box. I actually threw out a lot of expired stuff already.

Invest in my Daughter’s Future

Last year, we really focused on getting our start-up Taxumo off the ground. Admittedly, we had to let go of some time that we normally would spend with our daughter (after work meetings, etc.). Aside from that, some of the money that we could have saved and could have invested on her education, was spent elsewhere. This year, I plan to set aside more time for her and intentionally, set aside more funds for her future.

Invest more time for Travel

2016 reminded me of how much I love to travel. We used to travel a lot, before we were married and during the first few years of marriage! This year, my husband and I intend to go out and see new places. We both love seeing new places and we promised ourselves that we would go out more this year.

Invest in Marriage

2015 and 2016 were rough years for my marriage. I think my husband would agree, when he reads this. I guess it was, because of the changes in our interaction as a couple. It was the first time that we are getting into business together. It was also a time when each one of us wanted to get our own sh*t done. We’re both in our mid-30s, and I guess we both know that it’s now or never. There were a lot of challenges, and we had a lot of disagreements. I believe that we have made it pass the rough part.

I haven’t been the best wife, and it sucks to admit that due to my competitive nature. haha! But this year, I plan to be the best damn wife again in the entire planet. I have seen how, as a couple, we have been effective. We have created things together, and I know that if we stick together, we can make things happen (not just for us but for the people around us).

Invest in New and Old Friendships

Because of work, I haven’t been able to spend much time with friends (yes, I have friends! haha!). I promise to spend more time with you this year!

So, that’s pretty much it! I have to run in a few minutes. How about you? What is your one word for this year?

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Greed vs Dreaming Big

Last month, a friend of mine shared shocking news that one of the people we knew was sent to prison. He apparently stole Php 90 Million from his clients while he was working as a branch manager in a bank. I felt sad because I think (obviously) he knew that the day would come when he would be found out. My friend and I were talking on as to what would make him that greedy? We really had no clue. I knew this person and he was an extrovert. I knew that he had big goals and dreams. Did dreaming big get him to where he is right now?

Then, while watching the newest season of Gilmore Girls, a scenario spoke to me once again (I won’t mention the scene to avoid spoilers for those who haven’t seen it. It made me think of greed versus dreaming big. Where do you draw the line when you’ll say that a person is being greedy versus that he/she is just aiming high? When do you say that enough is enough?

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Don’t Step on Other People while on the Way to the Top

I personally think that there is nothing wrong about aiming high and setting big goals for yourself. But when you step on other people, then it becomes an issue. For example, if you dream about being a famous writer, there is nothing wrong with that. When you spread false stories or news about other people just to be famous, that’s where it becomes greedy. Another example is when you want to be the “boss” in the future. There is nothing wrong with that, but how you get there is what you need to think doubly hard about. If you know that you will hurt someone else in the process, try to rethink your strategy. There may be another way to get to the top.

What Good is Winning if you Lose Yourself

In life, there are a multitude of times that a hard decision is presented where you need to chose between two things. The tricky part is that oftentimes, this is not a black and white or a wrong and right choice. Oftentimes, these choices both seem right or both seem wrong. You can actually argue your way out and justify any of the choices. This is what makes life interesting. And the choices that we make define what we value most in our lives.

At the end of the day, it’s about staying true to your values and principles. These values and principles make up who you are. This was explicitly shown in the Disney – Pixar Movie MOANA. The choices that were presented to her were choices that would define who she was as a person. Both options were good, either to stay in the village and be the obedient daughter or to follow her passion which was to set sail into the ocean. The most important thing is to know and to be true to who you are.

You may hear a voice inside/ And if the voice starts to whisper/ To follow the farthest star/ Moana, that voice inside is/ Who you are”

 

*Moana image from http://www.idiva.com/news-entertainment/moana-the-new-disney-princess/1510085

*Moana image from http://www.idiva.com/news-entertainment/moana-the-new-disney-princess/1510085

What’s Next After you Have Achieved it All?

Have you ever thought of what your life would be like once you have achieved all of your dreams? Yes, you say that you want to be a huge rockstar like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, Tyra Banks, etc. Have you ever thought of what your life would be like once you get there? What would you have? Who would you love? Who will be by your side? Will you be amidst your loved ones or will you be a lone wolf in the dessert? Will you still have that respect from other people or will people abhor you (mostly because you stepped on them along the way)?

I know that most of us are creating plans to start the year right. I’m leaving these questions here for you (and me!) to think about as we all plan our way to success. I hope we don’t leave anyone behind.

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5 Tips on Investing Money for your Child’s Future

It’s that time of that year again when people love to reminisce and plan. December is a month when everyone scrambles for a planner and tries to fill out their Starbucks, CBTL, Seattle’s Best Cards to get a planner that they can start writing on. In my case, I have two planners. I have one planner for my mommy duties and one planner for my work and business duties. As to why I have two, I have no clue, but it works for me. How your plan (or not plan for the next year) is really up to what feels comfortable for you. I can’t really tell you how you should plan, but I can share things that worked for me. This is also true with investing money for your child’s future.

The topic of investing money for your child’s future has been talked about several times. Oftentimes, I wonder why we always talk about it. I would think that with the plethora of articles out there about investing money, we would all be experts already. The reality though is that only a few really take investing to heart. The reason may be, because before we grow our money, we need to have enough money set aside as savings.

Honestly, I admitted to a few friends recently, that I am not good with handling money, so I need to have a system in place. I don’t splurge on things for myself, but I love buying other people things. I think it’s a way I show others that I care for them. The problem though is that I forget to keep track of my expenses, and before I know it, everything’s gone and I don’t know where it goes. So, since I know this about myself, I have developed a system a few years back that works for me. I hope that these tips work for you, too!

Step 1: Challenge yourself!
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The picture on top is the vision board that I have for myself. At the lower left side is a chart of all my sources of income and my specific financial goal for each source. As I mentioned, I have a competitive nature and everything is a challenge to me. With this staring at my face every morning, I get challenged! I look for ways to achieve these goals and really make sure that I achieve these cash inflows! All of these initially goes to a savings account. Again, this kind of visualisation tools works for me, because I love hitting targets and even surpassing them!

Step 2: Determine your “investment goals or objectives”

I tie up every cash inflow / income source with one investment objective. For example, the funds that I earn from blogging is linked to my investment objective of building up funds for my daughter’s college education. The one for Manila Workshops is linked to my investment objective of having enough funds when we retire. So you get the idea, right?  I have always believed that once everything is clear in your mind, all of your efforts (even unknowingly sometimes) tend to go to that direction.

Step 3: Choose an investment tool or vehicle

The word investing can be so daunting. It sounds so complicated and boring, but believe me when I say that it is actually fun and satisfying. For those who are first timers in investing, you need to know what kind of investor you are. This means knowing your investment objective, what your threshold for risk is (meaning at what point will it be okay for you to lose money — the greater the risk, the greater the income that you will get), how long do you plan on investing, etc.

As a mom, I usually just go with investing in mutual funds. To understand what mutual funds are, check out this video:

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/mutualfund.asp

I really don’t have time to monitor each and every fluctuation in the stock market, or even monitor what’s happening to different factors that can affect my investments, so I leave it to money managers to do that for me. There are different kinds of mutual funds, depending on what type of investor you are. To know what kind of fund you should get, just go to:

http://bit.ly/mginvests

This goes to the Philam Asset Management Inc. (PAMI)website. (I made it easier for you to remember the link).

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The PAMI website will then show you the type of mutual fund that fits you. These are the available funds. What I like about investing in mutual funds is that you can open a fund with only a minimum investment of Php 5000! How cool is that? Also, you can put in a minimum of Php 1000 to buy units anytime you want. philam-asset-management-inc

Step 4: Investing Money is a Habit one should build.

I opened a mutual fund account for my daughter when she was born. That was 3 years ago. The lesson that I learned in investing money is not the amount (how big of an investment you make) that you invest but at the consistency of putting in funds into your account. This 2017, I plan to make my investments more regular. After making the investment, forget about it! In no time, you will see that your money has grown and you’ll have enough for your child’s future.

Step 5: Investing Money should be fun!

When it comes to earning, saving and growing your money, we always fear that we don’t have enough. For a time this year, I had this kind of mindset and every thing went wrong. Writing this article made me realize that I have got to get back to my previous mindset about handling and dealing with money. Piling up money for the future is fun; it shouldn’t be a burden. So to make it fun, everything should really be intentional in creating wealth.

Let’s make tons of money this 2017! More than that, let’s have fun earning, saving and investing it. Wishing everyone a prosperous new year! Happy planning.

Love lots,

Mommy Ginger

Mommy Ginger

 

 

 

 

*P.S. Thank you Philam Asset Management Inc. for the information that you have shared!

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Creating Paper Christmas Ornaments and Teaching Independence

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For this final post on Christmas decoration DIY for toddlers, my daughter and I teach you how to create paper Christmas ornaments what you can use for your very own Christmas tree. It’s very simple to do and very apt for toddlers. All you need is this Christmas tree template https://openclipart.org/detail/2182/christmas-tree-icon, scissors, board paper, ribbon or string and materials that you can use to decorate the tree. We used markers for decorating the trees.

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Here is our video! Hope you like it!

So in this video, my daughter basically says things that she wants to say about creating paper Christmas ornaments. She loves speaking in front of the camera. People think that it’s us who’s pushing her to create all these videos on Youtube, but it’s all her. In fact, I have a backlog of all of the videos I need to edit. I can’t keep up with this little girl.

Fellow moms ask me (in the doctor’s clinic, at the mall) how did my daughter become so outspoken and “biba”. I guess our secret (but not really a secret) is that we treat her like an independent adult. We encourage her to make choices. We, as parents, can only pave the way for her to learn things and to make her journey as safe as possible. We can choose things like her vitamins (I use Propan TLC because it has Lysine that maintains her appetite, Taurine for brain development and creativity, and Chlorella Growth Factor and Vitamin D to boost height and for stronger bones), how she learns (school, homeschool, etc.), but we can let them choose which dress to wear, what activity to do, etc.

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Since they are kids, we think that they are not capable. They are! Believe me when I say that I can think of more than a dozen times when my daughter has surprised me.

So if you want an independent child, train them to make choices for themselves! It really works!

 

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Christmas Decoration DIY for Toddlers: About Gifts and On Hearing “Observations”

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Christmas is just around the corner and so are family reunions and seeing relatives whom we haven’t seen for the longest time. With these celebrations, even if we try to avoid them, we will hear a lot of “observations” (under judging stares) from people around us. We will hear a lot of advice from other who think they know more that we do as parents.

I have been a victim of this and sometimes, these statements make me doubt myself.

In my family, kids being chubby meant that they were getting the proper nutrition. Now here is where the observations come in. Ever since she was a baby, my daughter never grew chubby or fat, so in the eyes of some people, they think she’s unhealthy. Proudly, I would say that my daughter has never gotten gravely ill. We give healthy food to eat, ask her to sleep early during the weekdays, and we give her vitamins like Propan TLC that contains ingredients that help her stay healthy (Propan TLC contains Lysine and B-Vitamins to help boost and maintain appetite, 100% RENI Vitamin C for stronger immunity and Vitamin D to boost height and for stronger bones).

I think I am doing pretty darn well as a mom, and I am sure you are, too! Be confident and take their advice and observations with a grain of salt.
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Today, we will share another Christmas decoration DIY for Toddlers activity that I did together with my little girl. We wanted to create our own DIY ribbons for a gift, but unfortunately, we didn’t get to make one. We still had fun though wrapping the gift for her cousin Noah together. She was excited to tie the ribbon of the gift.

Here is the link to our video! Hope you like it!

That’s it for today’s Christmas countdown and sharing another activity for Christmas decoration DIY for Toddlers. Aside from that, never doubt yourself as a mom. I’m sure all of us are trying to be the best mom that we could be. We all want what’s best for our child and that is all that matters!

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