We are a family that loves to play board games. For those who don’t know, aside from the board games that we usually know like Monopoly or Pictionary, there are a plethora of tabletop games that you can play with different themes and from different game makers and publishers.

My husband has been collecting board games since 2015, and at home, we have close to 100 games piled up on an already-wobbly shelf.

With this many board games, we have regular game nights at our home. I always wondered why preparing for house guests was a thing to the previous generation. I now know that being ready for house guests, my friend, is a skill!

When we first started accepting house guests, everything was in disarray. We sometimes didn’t have enough glasses for them. We didn’t have enough food, so we had to scramble to buy. Super daming FAIL! (A lot of things went wrong!).

But I think, after four years, I have developed a system! Yup, a system that works like a charm.

Let me share with you the top three things that you need to do when preparing for house guests (and these are three things that you can do right when you just have a one-hour window from the time you come home to when guests arrive).

Fix The Bathroom

You’ll notice that because of traffic in Metro Manila, the first thing that guests would ask is “may I use your bathroom?” Of course, with the limited time given, you can’t afford to scrub the entire bathroom clean. So these are the hacks that I personally do.

Wipe Surfaces — make sure that you wipe off any visible surfaces, from mirrors to the countertop to the walls of the bathroom. If you can’t go through the entire bathroom, just look for spots where water has left a mark and dried out. You can use a glass cleaner and a surface cleaner.

Sweep floors and take out the trash — make sure that the floor has been swept. I personally love having a bathroom mat. When we are expecting guests, we change the mat into a clean one. Also, be sure to take out the trash. You want to rid the room of anything that smells funky. 

Replenish toiletries — make sure that you have enough toilet paper in the bathroom. I always leave two rolls. 

Prepare the toilet — first, clean your toilet properly with your trusty cleaner. And then, keep your clean and fresh for longer by using Mr. Muscle Fresh Discs. The gel disc helps fight stains that harbor germs with every flush. It also leaves a protective shield that helps keep limescale away! I also love how fragrant it is. Mr. Muscle Fresh Discs make my bathroom smell (and feel) as if I clean and scrub more regularly than I actually do. Hehe!

It’s super easy to use, and you won’t even need to touch the toilet with your hands (unlike when you put the usual deodorizing rim blocks). All you need to do is load, stamp, and flush!

Here is a video on how to use Mr. Muscle Fresh Discs!

How to use Mr. Muscle Fresh Discs

Prepare a Food & Drinks Station

Usually, the main dining area and sala are the parts of the house where guests stay and talk to each other. In our case, the dinner table is even reserved for playing.

What I’ve noticed is that a lot of our friends stay up until the wee hours of the morning. Hours after dinner, most of them get hungry or thirsty. I set up a designated food & drinks station, which I refill every time we expect to have house guests. We have chips, biscuits, cookies, and nuts.

For the drinks station, you will always want to have tea and coffee. These are two things that friends usually ask for. 

Also, one of the problems that we had before (especially when you have five or more people in the house) was that glasses tend to get mixed up. You end up drinking from your friend’s glass or vice versa. Sometimes, either one will just suggest that you both get new glasses.

Prepare Music

People underestimate the value of playing music. Good music keeps everyone in a good mood. When we have guests, we make it a point that we have music that matches what we’re doing. We have Spotify and a speaker ready all the time.

When we play, we even have matching sounds for whatever theme we’re playing — a sci-fi playlist for when games have space themes, scary music when we’re playing a horror-themed game, etc.

These are the three things to consider prepping for when you are expecting house guests. If you have other tips, feel free to comment and share your thoughts with me!

Enjoy!

Once upon a time, there was this lady with premium and “sosyal” sorbetes that was made from DG goat’s milk.

Seriously though, there is nothing wrong with wanting the BEST for yourself. When we have better stuff, sometimes, most of us feel embarrassed for having these things in our possession. But don’t be! We all deserve to have the best things in life.

One of the things that I wasn’t able to give Zeeka when she was younger is goat’s milk. I have heard about it from friends and relatives. I didn’t really research about it (although people kept telling me it was good for kids), but the price and how much it costs was a deterrent. Plus, to add to that, it wasn’t readily available in the market.

So when I heard DG Goat Milk Beverage for Kids (for 3 years old and above) is launching in the Philippines, I had to check it out myself.

DG is the Philippines’ first and only Premium Powdered Milk sourced from Goat’s Milk!

DG Goat’s Milk is produced and imported from one of the places that I’d love to visit — New Zealand (from the Dairy Goat Co-operative in Hamilton). Also, they choose only the healthiest Saanen goats (Swiss breed of domestic goats) from New Zealand to ensure having milk of the highest quality 

Yesterday, I listened to the differences between goat’s milk and cow’s milk. These were the things that were discussed.

Goat’s Milk is Naturally More Complete 

Goats produce their milk through Apocrine Secretion, where milk fat and bioactive components in mammary secretory cells are enveloped by cell membranes as they are secreted. As a result, milk produced by goats have naturally occurring bioactive components such as: 

  • Polyamines for intestinal cell growth and digestive capacity development
  • Nucleotides for gastrointestinal health, maturation, and recovery
  • Free Amino Acids and Glutamic Acid for immunity and gut energy
  • Taurine for bile salt formation (necessary for fat digestion), brain and retina development 
  • Growth Factors such as IGF1 and TGF Beta for immunity and growth development 

What I got from this is that your kids will have healthier tummies and stronger immune systems. You’ll notice that since all of these are in DG Goat’s Milk, there is no need to “fortify” the product with nutrients that our kids or we can get.

Goat’s Milk is Easier to Digest 

Casein, the solid part of the milk protein produces curds in our stomach. Compared to milk sourced from other animals, DG produces a very loose curd structure with a high proportion of water that is easily broken apart, thus facilitating easier digestion of milk proteins. 

Goat’s Milk is Less Allergenic 

β-Lactoglobulin is the whey protein that stimulates milk protein allergies. Compared with milk from other animals, DG has lowest levels of β-Lactoglobulin; thus making it less allergenic. It was mentioned though that for this benefit, more studies have yet to be conducted.

Goat’s Milk has more CPP! 

Casein Posphopeptides (CPP) binds more binds minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Thereby, increasing the solubility and absorption of these minerals. 

This component is higher in DG, which can help your children grow healthy and strong! 

I laid down all of the fact for you here (which I got from the discussion yesterday) for you to make an informed decision. I also got to learn about why Goat’s milk is more expensive than cow’s milk. It’s because goat’s milk production is lesser (4x less) than what cows produce.

Aside from the things that I mentioned, the ice cream that I tasted that was made from Goat’s milk was really yummy! I actually can’t wait to try DG (for myself… haha!).

So for those interested to purchase DG Goat Milk Beverage, it’s available in Lazada (click here) and Shopee (click here).

Thank you so much, Anya, for letting me know about this event. A big shoutout, too, to the other mommies in the launch yesterday! It was fun seeing you all!


Recently, I introduced you to a site called BellaPellePh.com. I mentioned that it’s a website where you can buy premium and hard-to-find dermatological beauty products in the Philippines.

I learned about the site, because I actually know the owner. The founder was my previous yoga instructor. This super momma is someone that I look up to, and admire. I wanted to share her story with you, so I’m reviving the “mompreneur” interview series in my blog. I think we all need our weekly dose of inspiration!

About Michelle Reyes-Navarro, Founder of BellaPelle.Ph

Michelle, Co-Founder of Yoga Manila and Founder of BellaPelle.ph

Michelle is a housewife and a mother of two. She mentions that two of her passions are travelling and Ashtanga yoga. Michelle is the co-founder of Yoga Manila, the longest existing Ashtanga studio in the country.  “Of course, the reason why I also do these two things is I want to age gracefully. I want to enjoy living a quality life of being able to spend time with loved ones and seeing the world,” Michelle excitedly tells us.

Interview with Michelle 🙂

Ginger: How did you come up with the concept of BellaPellePh.com?  

Michelle: My husband is a dermatologist and I love being the guinea pig for beauty products and machines.  My friends and acquaintances always compliment me for my skin and ask for recommendations. I realized that I could effectively recommend products as much as or even more than my husband and people trust me. 

So I thought, ” why not do a small business out of it?”  

I started with posting in IG (@bellapelleph) and it became quite a successful small business — the type that  suited my personality. I can still work while I travel and do my other duties. It’s not a 9-5 job, which I can never do.  I retired from corporate work at the age of 24, simply because I do not want anyone holding my time, and I want to travel whenever I want.  And I love helping people out. So even when I expanded to having a website, I still make sure that almost all my transactions are very personal. Customers can message us for recommendations or about their concerns and questions.  

Ginger: Who is your market for this site? 

Michelle: Mostly women, 35 and above, who want to age gracefully and beautifully (although I also have a few products specifically for men). Since the products are branded and premium, recommended by dermatologists and clinically researched, most of them tend to be mid to high end in price.  So the site attracts women who do not settle for less and are discriminating when it comes to personal care and skincare, women who value good quality and know what they want.   

But I am also in the process of testing products that cost less so that some will be more affordable for many.  I just need to personally test them and seek for feedback and research. I do not like selling for the sake of selling. I always want to be sure I am recommending effective products. Of course, like anything, beauty products require trial and error.  What works well for most might not work for some. But I want to be able to suggest what is mostly effective for most people.  

Ginger: I love it, Michelle. We, entrepreneurs, go through a lot of challenges. What were the challenges that you encountered in building this business, and how long has this business been in existence? 

Michelle: It has been a challenge growing followers since I am not tech-y and social media savvy.  I also wanted to grow it organically, really attracting “my tribe” — people who truly understand my brand essence and who are really interested in what I have to offer. So it’s not about the quantity (but of course that helps) but the quality of followers. The Instagram page started June 2018.  The website went live August 2019.

Ginger: Given how competitive the beauty landscape is in the Philippines, why should people buy products from Bella Pelle and not from other online stores?

Michelle: The comprehensive line of products we offer are not usually sold over-the-counter in the Philippines.  You would have to go to a clinic to get these products.  As a person who used to buy tons of commercial brands before I met my husband, I really got to compare them with those that are accessible only through dermatologists here. My skin really transformed for the better! I don’t have to worry about breakouts, not even during PMS.  

We earn people’s trust because we are not about how much you shop.  We sincerely care about recommending only what you need to address your concerns. A fellow of the Philippine Dermatological Society and board certified dermatologist is consulted when recommendations are asked for.  

Ginger: I love it! What I like about is that you really get to know your customers and genuinely care for them! I’m curious to know but this is for those checking out your site, what are three products that you really really love and recommend?  

Michelle: This is tough to answer because there are so many products I love recommending depending on the customer’s concern.  There’s always a great product for every skin condition. 

But if I have to choose, in general, I would have to say…

  • Viviscal Hair Growth Supplement as it is the most effective supplement I know for healthy hair growth.
  • All Heliocare products!  But if I only need to mention one – Heliocare Purewhite Radiance Max 240 Oral Capsules
  • Lumiderm Underarm Whitening Serum 

*Check the images above!

Ginger: Thank you so much, Michelle, for sharing your journey and story with us. I wish you more luck with you business!

For those who are interested to check out Bella Pelle, these are their details:

Website: https://bellapelleph.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bellapelleph/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bella-Pelle-Skin-Solutions-445768045846884/?ref=br_rs

When something happens to our little one, usually we go straight to the emergency room. The thing with babies is that they can’t communicate with us what’s wrong. Toddlers and little kids, on the other hand, are prone to get little accidents like cuts and wounds since they’re still developing their motor skills. They love exploring and testing out what they can do as little humans.

For us, parents, we of course worry a lot! But we can’t stop them from discovering the world around. Last 2017, I didn’t expect that we would be at the emergency room for Zeeka, my daughter, a couple of times. Each time that we went to the ER, she had to stay in the emergency room overnight. Our bill at St. Luke’s Makati was always close to Php 10k or a little above ten thousand pesos. I would have loved to have the Maxicare EReady card two years ago!

I’m sure you’ve seen the ads about this product, but I’d like to tell you more about the Maxicare EReady card. The reason being is that a lot of moms (since I posted that I’m a Maxicare Agent and you can get these cards from me!) were asking me more about the product. 

Maxicare has released Maxicare Prepaid Cards — these are the cards that you can buy at affordable rates. It’s more affordable than regular plans since each card covers a specific need. 

What is the Maxicare EReady Card?

The Maxicare EReady card can be used when you rush to the Emergency room. It has a one-time coverage of Php 15,0000 from illnesses or injuries that arises from medical-related emergency conditions. And do you know how much each card costs?

The Maxicare EReady Titanium (No access to the 6 Major Hospitals: Asian Hospital, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Taguig, The Medical City) is only at Php 699 per card. Card Validity is up to one (1) year upon activation.

The Maxicare EReady Platinum (Has access to the 6 Major Hospitals: Asian Hospital, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Taguig, The Medical City) is only at Php 899 per card. Card Validity is up to one (1) year upon activation.

Who is Maxicare EReady card for?

Maxicare EReady card can be used by individuals from 15 days old (babies) to 65 years old. When you purchase each card, it has to be registered to a person in order for it to be activated. It cannot be transferable once activated. The card is one time availment but you can only register and use up to two EReady cards in a year. 

In our family, all of us have one Maxicare EReady Platinum each! We also gave one EReady Platinum to our helper. These EReady cards are the perfect gift for loved ones, inaanaks (godchildren), to your workmates and staff, etc. 

Some companies like Dezynspace have already ordered cards from me to give as company prizes!

Where can you use the Maxicare EReady?

You can have Nationwide ER or emergency room access to all Maxicare affiliated hospitals. Member can avail in one accredited hospital only.

What is the coverage of Maxicare EReady?

It can be used for the following:

  • Doctor’s Services for Emergency Treatment
  • Emergency Room Fees
  • Medicines used for immediate relief and during treatment
  • Oxygen, IV fluids, whole blood and human blood products
  • Dressings, casts, sutures
  • X-ray, laboratory and diagnostic exams

But wait, there’s more! You should keep your card, because you can avail of these:

  • 20% discount on selected Metro Dental services. (www.metrodental.com.ph)
  • 15% discount on selected MyHealth services. (www.myhealth.ph)
  • With Group Life with Accidental Death, Dismemberment and Disablement (ADD&D) coverage up to Php 50,000.00
  • Free consultation with Maxicare affiliated doctors on the Teleconsult hotline at (02) 8582-1980

I’m convinced! How do I get a card?

Here are the steps to shop online at http://shop.maxicare.com.ph

If you are from Metro Manila, you can also send me a message so that I can have the cards shipped to you or sent to your office. Please take care of shipping cost. 🙂

How do I activate my Maxicare EReady card?

Well, you’re in luck because I also created a video for this. Please watch this!

So if you want to be ready for any emergencies, check out the Maxicare EReady Card!


We just came from a family Staycation. That night at the hotel Zeeka took over my computer, and started writing an article in my blog. She was practicing to be an author, her dream. Of course, she had a lot of spelling mistakes (normal for a 6 year old), but I taught her to construct the article by starting with 3 different ideas about the topic she chose. 

The next day, I thought about how parents can teach kids English and how to construct well thought of articles and stories. I found Unique English Classroom when I was looking for English programs available for kids. 

Creative writing is often thought of as a “fancy” skill. But today’s trends in marketing shows just how important it is to explore imagination and creative writing.  

The benefits of creative writing for kids

We all have an innate love for stories, especially children.

For the longest time, we’ve used stories to tell tales of valor and courage, of magic and mysteries. It’s been an easy way for us to share valuable lessons, to explain the unknown, and to pass on the knowledge we’ve learned. 

Storytelling has many benefits for budding young writers. It helps them share their thoughts, increase their imagination, and improve their communication skills. 

Children understand the world better through the stories we tell. And writing about their experiences can help them process the lessons they learn. 

Research shows that writing tasks have physiological and behavioral benefits for children. 

Writing for 15-20 minutes a day can help kids and adolescents relieve stress caused by external factors. 

It also provides a safe space for them to explore their emotions and express their feelings. 

Creative writing also improves children’s organizational and persuasion skills. 

The process of writing involves creativity, planning, and choosing the right words to convey the right message. 

It also forces the writer to create different personas, and look at things in different lenses. Because of this, writers become more sensitive and intuitive about other people. 

Doing so broadens their horizons and makes them better people. 

Unique English Classroom: building creative writing skills and communication for young writers

Children nowadays are always distracted. And with all the gadgets available, it can be a challenge to get our kids interested in picking up a book to read. 

It’s no longer enough for kids to just learning how to read and write. The future belongs to those who can develop a keen understanding of the world around them. 

To do that, our kids need a head-start. And Unique English Classroom provides our kids with that opportunity. 

UEC Philippines is not your typical English program. 

It is composed of four progressive programs: Kids Can Read, Alpha Learners, Alpha Authors, and Aspiring Writers & Illustrators Scheme.

The goal is for kids to develop a think-outside-the-box mindset through highly interactive activities such as drama presentations and games.

Kids Can Read! 

This level nurtures the love for reading, making it perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. 

Parents get to share the experience with their kids. Teachers will guide you on ways to effectively entice kids to learn to love books. 

It also promotes imagination, creativity, language, and increases the kid’s vocabulary.

Alphabet Learners

The goal of this level is to increase your child’s comprehension and understanding of the English language. 

Kids on this level get the better vocabulary and sentence construction. They also learn more about sequencing, idea coherence, and logical reasoning. 

The activities your kids will do also helps them increase their social awareness through teamwork and drama lessons. 

Alpha Authors 

This level helps kids learn to visualize and create stories. They also learn to find new and better words that make their stories more effective. 

Young writers learn to translate their daily activities and events into 150-200 word narratives. It also serves as the introduction and foundation of AWIS, a program developed by media and education specialists in Singapore. 

The stories they create also gets a chance to be featured online.  

AWIS

AWIS is focused on getting your kid ready for advanced writing levels. 

Its core lesson introduces kids to a higher order of grammar, logical reasoning, and creativity. It also increases their vocabulary use and readies them to create and write their own stories and books.  

So what makes Unique English Classroom different from other English tutorial programs? It’s created by writers for young writers. 

UEC, the Unique English Classroom, on the other hand, focuses on the more important aspect of communication, which is reading comprehension and confidence in communication. 

They believe that every child can create their own unique stories. They just need the right encouragement and guidance to bring out their potential. 

Students of the program get to learn by doing. UEC Philippines gets the best teaching strategies from each learning approach and personalizes it for each child in the program. 

But the true core of the UEC program is its creator, Catherine Khoo.

Catherine is an accomplished author, lecturer, publisher, movie maker, and a trailblazer in her own right. 

She shattered the traditional Japanese male enclave when she became the only woman editor-in-chief of Asia 21 and Japan Close-Up Magazines. These Japan-based international magazines are published in Singapore and is owned by Japan Close-Up Magazines. 

Katsuhiko Eguchi, executive vice-president of PHP Institute describes her as someone with an untrapped mind. Her creative approach to thinking outside the box has helped them break the boundaries of what a magazine should be. 

Under her leadership, Asia 21 became essential reading for every Singaporean student. It is the only Asian publication chosen by Singapore’s Ministry of Education to be added to its Humanities syllabus. 

Asia 21 also received recognition as the first magazine to map out brand stories and their development. Their cartoon-styled Every Product Tells a Story talks about how products like Sony Walkman, Yomeishu, Mikimoto Pearls, and Yakult came to be. 

Catherine also published two best-selling books in Singapore. She is also the brain behind Savvy, the only magazine endorsed by the Ministry of Education. 

With all her accolades as a writer, editor, and published author, you know your child is in good hands. 

It’s great to know that kids in the program have grown to love reading and writing their stories in English. 

Kids as young as 4 years old get to explore English as a language and learn how to express themselves and their experiences through stories. 

Here’s what kids are saying about Unique English Classroom. 

Parents are also happy with the way their kids are learning through UEC. Check out this feedback from a Unique English Classroom parent. 

I’m excited to have Zeeka try the program itself. As a mom, I’ve always been so supportive of her dreams. And her becoming an author is one I’m really excited to see. 

Have you tried Unique English Classroom? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please share them below. 

For more information, visit their website here