A #CavityFreeFuture For Our Kids

Did you know that almost 90% of Filipinos have cavities?  Did you also know that non-communicable diseases are linked to oral health (Read more mayoclinic.org)?

These are what I learned in the Colgate #CavityFreeFuture event.  I used to be a brand manager of a toothbrush brand I remember that in the Philippines, sales of toothbrushes averaged 1 piece per household per year.  In a recent Rappler event #2030Now, they also cited that there are more mobile phones than toothbrushes in the Philippines.  Alarming facts right there!

So it’s nice to know that the DOH, the UP College of Dentistry and private corporations like Colgate Palmolive, are working together to address oral health.  One of the things they’re working on is to educate kids in public schools about overall health — handwashing and oral health — and their studies have shown dramatic results.  The amazing thing is – it only takes P25 per child per year to run this program.  This is something I am definitely interested in supporting with donations or spreading information.

In line with these efforts, Colgate runs the Bright Smiles Bright Futures Program which is part of the curriculum in 100% of public schools.  The global vision of the program is to reach 1 billion kids worldwide by 2020.  It is a laudable effort.

From the event, I also learned that the biggest cause of cavities are sugar acids that come from all kinds of food.  Here’s our menu from that night and it was pretty weird that they served us cheesecake and veggies as appetizers but they were apparently trying to prove a point — sugar acids are present in sweets, carbs, veggies, almost everything.

Sugar acids = Cavities = Overall Unhealth — yes, I’m scaring myself again but it is a little scary.  So I have tried to simplify the ways to achieve a #CavityFreeFuture for my kids.  Here they are:

1. Talk about the importance of oral health.  Buy books that have oral health topics.  This book of M is part of her home reading program and it reinforces how essential oral health is (and since it’s from school, it’s more believable!).

2. Supervise their toothbrushing at least twice a day.  Make it fun.  Sing songs (2x the happy birthday song).  Do the last brush over yourself to check.  Here’s N in her Little Red Riding Hood cape — she looks like a Super Colgate character.

3. Floss!!!

4. Bring them to a non-threatening pedia dentist religiously 2x a year.  We do it during sem break and summer.  Our pedia-dentist is Dr. Eric Hernandez in St. Lukes Global.  The girls love him and are not scared of going to him at all.  He gives them tokens and stickers after the visit too.

Here’s N at Dr. eric’s clinic and she is saying this is a drawing of him.

Dr. Eric Hernandez

(02) 577 1936

5. Use a fluoride toothpaste that doesn’t have triclosan.  The new Colgate has sugar acid neutralizers that helps deactivate the sugar acids in plaque.  The sugar acids are the ones that cause cavities.

For kids, a smear of toothpaste is enough on their toothbrush.  Dr. Eric’s advice – just spit the excess toothpaste and don’t rinse.

6. Take lots of selfies to admire your cavity-free teeth.  Yup, she did this herself.



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DIY Olaf-Stylized Costume

Yesterday, I posted about working together with M on her Olivia Lego Friends costume.  Today, I post about how we did N’s Olaf-stylized costume.  Although I wanted to get away from the Frozen madness, I stayed with it because (you can’t fight it!!) I didn’t have time to think of anything else.  I wanted her to be a Lego block but when I showed her the Pinterest peg, she refused.  So here’s our process on doing her Olaf outfit together:

1. I involved her in the concept. I showed her Olaf pegs.  M and I wanted her to choose the one on the left.  Guess which one she chose?  (NOTE: When doing this, DO NOT show the whole set of google images to your toddler.  Show only the ones you have pre-chosen.)  The peg on the right is still super cute.  It’s just that I wanted it to be more costume-y.

olaf pegs

2. We went to Carolina’s on the 2F of SM Mega Mall B and bought 1/2 yards each of felt cloth in orange, brown and black.

3. We looked for a plain white top and a tutu-like skirt (the thing that attracted to her to the peg in the first place).  I couldn’t find a white tutu all over Mega Mall then when I got home, ate reminded me she had one so I dug it out of her old clothes storage.

4. I measured the length of the blank space for her top.  I Googled an Olaf image, face along with the buttons and arms, resized it to fit the space and printed.

5. I used the print out as a guide to cut the head of Olaf and buttons from the black felt, the arms from the brown, the nose from the orange.  Ate helped me cut the print out, pin it to the cloth and cut some parts.

6. Then I sewed all of the pieces onto the garments.  N helped by saying “aw, it’s cute” all throughout the process.

7. Because Olaf’s head needed to be tilted to fit, Ate and I decided to tilt the buttons as well on the skirt.  We also placed his arms by her hips.

8. N chose her accessories - a 7yo  pumpkin bucket and her Anna doll from The Wagon Shop (@TheWagonShop).

For our Oreo Halloween Trip and Treats party in Tagaytay, she wore the costume and actually won a prize (I think the criteria was cuteness and had nothing to do with the costume haha).  Here she is munching on a piece of ghost chocolate, drinking milk from a mummy jar, and winning Oreos from the Oreo Marketing team – Mari and Princess.

Her costume amounted to a total of P250 in cloth, printer ink, needle and thread as well as about 6 hours between me and her ate working on it together.  That’s what I’ll probably look forward to every Halloween — working on their costumes together with them — thinking of the concept, negotiating, scavenger hunting, and creating — with my two precious girls.

Nothing could be better.

… And of course, there’s enjoying the treats together too.

Photo by Stanley Ong. See more photos from our Oreo Halloween Trip and Treats event on my post this week.

A happy Halloween to all you DIY costume moms!  We deserve our own treats after every Halloween.


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How M and I Made Her Lego Friends Costume Together

The SoMoms have been doing #BetterTogether projects in collaboration with Oreo and we’ve been having a lot of fun with our kids during these activities.  Part of the fun is keeping memories of the activities we do together with our kids in the Do It Together app of Oreo.


Probably the most app-worthy and one of the most awaited #BetterTogether activities for me and my kids every year is making their Halloween DIY costumes.  First up is M.  Here is how we worked to come up with her 2014 Halloween costume:

1. She came up with the concept.  (Well, with some partial steering.)

Like 10 million other girls in the world, she wanted to be Anna from Frozen (the other 50 million girls wanted to be Elsa).  However, I worked my inception ways on her and steered her away from something which I was incapable of conjuring.  So, she said, she would be Olivia from Lego Friends, her other obsession for the year.


I was actually pretty relieved because it was a very simple costume.  However, like anything DIY, there were still challenges (which is what I like about the DIY process).

2. We hunted.

  • We went to SM Mega Mall Department Store and hunted for a purple skirt and a pink shirt with hearts.  (If we couldn’t find a shirt with hearts, I would sew them on.  Luckily we did!).  She approved the purchases.
  • Total cost = P400, paid for with SM Rewards points (earned from purely gassing up at Shell)!

3. We agreed on the shoes.  

  • She chose Chooze mary janes which are really cute!

4. We decided to add Lego details to the overly simple outfit.

  • M chose some purple Duplo pieces to serve as pockets, a pink rectangular piece for a belt buckle and a blue flower as an accent.  I sewed them onto the skirt.  The round Duplo connectors served as the grooves where the thread gripped the pieces.
  • Then, I sewed on an Olivia piece as a brooch.

5. We made accessories.

  • I got her a pink headband in Mothercare then sewed on other Dora Duplo pieces onto it.
  • While I sewed, she worked on a Duplo bag, which can hold her Lego compact and a Lego iPhone made by her dad.

6. We enlisted the help of Dada.

What gadget would Olivia have?  Well, a Lego iPhone of course!  Dada made an iPhone from regular Lego pieces.  It even had a headphone jack and charger pins.  So cool!  He also had to make one for N, who would not let go of Ate’s iPhone all night.  This is an amazing toy, by the way because N kept pretend-playing with it.

Outfit and accessories + Duplo Embellishments + Needle and Thread + Duplo and Lego gadgets and bag + Mama + M = DIY Olivia

It was a really simple costume but the overall effect was pretty cool (if I may say so myself … and I just did).  M said some Kinder students knew she was a Lego Friend.  If you put her side by side with the Lego Olivia and the cartoon Olivia, she actually looks like them, minus the gigantic head.

Photo of M by Aldwin Ku

Though much simpler compared to previous years, what made this process really fun was collaborating with M on what she liked to be (ok, ok, with tweaking) and working with her on the costume itself.  I think she really enjoyed coming up with ideas on creating the accessories and embellishing the simple garments.  I know she was happy and proud of our work, more for this costume than any other Halloween costume in the past.

Tomorrow, I post about how N and I did her DIY Halloween costume together!  That was another fun project.

Find out what other moms and kids are doing together by checking out the Oreo Asia site or searching #oreo or #oreodit on Facebook, IG or Twitter.  You can also  create your own #BetterTogether activities with your kids and store them in the Oreo Do It Together app.  Download it here.


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How to Get Your Picky Eater to Eat More with Bento

Can you believe my daughter does not like spaghetti?  Can a kid get pickier than that?  In a recent pedia visit, the doctor said her weight was plateauing and recommended appetite stimulants.  She also said — and this was a pretty obvious no-brainer prescription — that we should make her eat more.

But food is kind of boring for her.  I myself was a picky eater too … I think until college!  I remember draining my nilagang baka from all the juice and eating it dry (at 5 yo NOT in college!).

I also hate cooking (the supermommy award goes to…) … but I do like attempting to be creative and after seeing all the bento posts of the BentoMommas in the past year, I thought

“Could the creativity of bento be the answer to my genetically passed-on picky-eaterness (whut?)?”

Our BetterMe bento session was given by the BentoMommas and sponsored by Oreo. It was attended by some SoMoms, mom blogger friends, our kids.

So here is my bento how-to in attempting to make my (and your) picky eater eat more:
1. Wash your hands.  Use soap and water for 2 minutes.  None of this lazy hand sanitizer stuff.

2. Stop thinking that bento is hard.  It’s just about using a little imagination (and basic shaping skills).

3. Hey, did you just scratch your nose there?  Wash your hands again.

4. (Serious na…) Imagine a cute animal — did you think of a bear?  Good thing, that’s what we did. (#seriousnotserious)

  • Put some brown rice into a sandwich bag and push it down to the corner.
  • Make a round shape with the rice.  Come up with a slightly flat round object as big as a regular-sized pandesal.
  • Using the same sandwich-bag rice-shaping technique, make 2 smaller circles.
  • Get some white rice and make an oblong shape for the snout.
  • Get some nori and shape them into eyes and eye brows (in my case, steal the nori shaped like eyes from the BentoMommas because they have a puncher for this sort of thing.)

  • Try out some options for the nose and mouth with the nori.

I was amazed at how easy this was!

This is essentially the main piece in the bento!  So after this, it’s just adding the meat, literally.

5. Add the fried chicken, broccoli, corn, some apple slices which I carved with a very small carving knife (this is also not as hard as it looks!).

  • Put some separators or section them using cupcake liners
  • Make the small box look full so it doesn’t fall apart.

The one on the left is from the BentoMommas. The one on the right is mine. Not bad!

6. Add in the Oreos for dessert and an incentive for eating his/ her lunch.  My daughter’s favorite is strawberry creme!

7. Add a small note on top of your bento box to tell your kid to “Have a beary nice day!”

You can do so many things with bento.  In the BetterMe bento event, there was an Oreo #BetterTogether challenge where the moms and kids showed their creativity by creating charabens using Oreo and other materials available.  Here’s what the moms came up with:

They used bread, pretzels, oranges, the cream inside the Oreos (check out the blue eyes of the owl from MommanManila), the Oreo outer cookies, chocolate chips, etc.  It was just amazing!  Good job moms!

This one was particularly creative and unique — it was a bee from Didi (the Candishhh Tales) and her daughter Kailee.  The one on the right is her plumpy bear bento.

All the moms and kids had lots of fun.  And my M said she will eat more if it’s a bento baon (do I smell success?  Or is that mayonnaise?).

Thank you to the BentoMommas (@thebentomommas on IG and twitter) for making us better bento designers.

And thank you to Oreo for supporting a really fun event (especially for the little boys who went from mom to mom asking for Oreos).


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