All posts by Fran Beldia

An editor/digital content strategist, but more importantly, a mother of two old souls, and a wife to a demi-god in denial who bakes me to-die-for keto cupcakes in the middle of the night, just because. On most days, I simply am a storyteller.

Benefits of Plants Inside the House

When we moved into our new home in September 2011, I got unbelievably busy with so many things. Attika just turned three-months-old; Cole was still attending regular school then; hubby had an important job to take care of, and I had an entire house to unpack. I wasn’t doing everything on my own but the term obsessive-compulsive exists for a reason.  I was carefully arranging and rearranging things (and sometimes repeating the entire routine when “something looked like it was in the wrong place”) to the amazement of my (superwoman) friend Christie who was visiting at that time.

I couldn’t get any luckier. I had a fairy godmother staying with us and showering my kids a lot of love. But it was me, really, who needed her more than anyone else. I needed her to be there to laugh with from the time we’d wake up in the morning until we’d fall asleep late at night. With her around, everything seemed funny. Now thinking about it, Christie’s the reason why I never had to suffer from postpartum blues.

Talk to the Plant!

So while all that love was being passed around in our household, our plants were out in the verandas suffering from brutal neglect by yours truly. Not that I intentionally did that but for weeks I completely forgot that besides my little one, there were others waiting for me to feed them, too. They all looked withered and their leaves were starting to fall out. Some of them were on the verge of dying, some looked weather-beaten, all of them looked thirsty and hungry, some of them looked…sad. I was panic-stricken when I saw what I’ve done (or haven’t done) for them. I promised them my White Dwarfs, Snow White, and all the living things we owned that I’d start feeding them regularly and that I’d talk to them more often than I should.

Another friend of mine, Anna, left me with two boxes of books before she left for Canada.

One of the treasures in that collection is Lynn and Joel Rapp’s “Mother Earth’s Hassle-Free Indoor Plant Book” published in 1973. I love the old book dearly because it was written for dummies like me who love plants but don’t know how to grow them. It’s so comprehensive and a fun read, too.

Here’s why you should become emotionally involved with your plants.

A plant will make you happy.

A plant will beautify your home.

A plant will freshen the air.

A plant will make a friend feel good.

A plant will never talk back to you.

A plant will never mess on your rugs.

A plant will love you if you water it.

A plant will give you something to talk about.

And best of all – you don’t have to walk a Begonia!

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Do More With Used Coffee Grounds

Have you been throwing out used coffee grounds? That means you have a less stinky trash bin, which is good. But there are other coffee ground uses that will help you save on hand washes and body scrubs.

As I’m writing this, my head is throbbing. Must be from soaking under too much sun over the weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lovely time taking in as much wind and view of the Sierra Madre mountain range as I could, but too much sun is taking its toll on me. My advice to anyone suffering from a migraine is to drink black coffee, no sugar. You know sugar kills. That has worked for me for years. But today’s a little different. I’m staying away from caffeine, but only for a day.

If I can’t drink coffee I might as well talk about it.

Coffee never goes to waste. After enjoying a heavenly brew you can save those grounds for a lot of other uses.

If you decide to throw the ground into your trash it’s still going to serve its purpose as a deodorizer. It will get rid of the nasty smell and you’ll get a whiff of coffee whenever you open the trash bin instead of the rotten stuff you threw in there.

Used coffee grounds — here’s what I like to do with them:

Hand wash – It removes stubborn smells that soaps and hand washes can’t get rid of.

Skin softener – Rub it gently on your hands. Massage the back of your hands with the coffee ground then rinse. The instant softness is addicting, I tell you. You’ll find yourself washing your hands with coffee grounds many, many times every day. I love using this on the back of my hands especially because it takes away years from them. It’s a great anti-aging formula!

Body scrub – Spas offer coffee body scrubs for a hefty price, but then, you have all that you need in your coffeemaker.

My favorite DIY would be this and I’m sure you’ll like it, too. Bring a jar with you to the shower and give yourself some good loving using coffee as a body scrub.

Facial scrub – Among the facial scrubs I’ve tried, this one works wonders. It’s non-drying and does a great job exfoliating even the sensitive areas of your face.

You can also use coffee grounds as food plants and general deodorizer in any area in your home.

Care to share what you do with your used coffee grounds?

Becoming a Working, Homeschooling Mom

I published this article in 2012, the year when we decided to go back to homeschooling. It’s been six years and people continue to ask what made us decide to homeschool. I’m very glad that over the years, more and more parents have also started homeschooling or are now considering to start homeschooling their children. One of the best gifts we can give our children is time — time with them and time to focus on things that they are interested in. They are important and we have to make them feel that. We want our children to grow up as intelligent, strong, healthy, conscientious, kind, loving and most of all, happy individuals. Homeschooling allows us to work on all of that every day and best of all, together.

I admit that the idea of homeschooling and becoming a stay-at-home mom scared me so much. I knew that there were a lot of benefits in bringing education home, but there was this nagging fear inside me because I knew that it would change everything in our lives. Everything! True enough, it did. And everything changed for the better. The fact that my son was so much happier and actually had time for things he was genuinely interested in when he was younger (like Greek mythology) was enough to prove that we made the best decision for us as a family. Our son also became healthier, more energetic, more thirsty for knowledge.

I’m sharing this again because a lot of moms e-mail me to express how much they want to homeschool, but are very scared to do so. If you’re one of them, please know that I truly understand all those questions that keep you awake at night: What if I can’t do it right? What if I lose my patience? What if my child/children refuse to listen to me? What if I don’t have enough energy for this?

I have been there, so I understand. What I did initially was to do in-depth research about homeschooling and discuss everything with my husband over and over again. He was very patient with me and never got tired of listening to me when I’d repeatedly tell him about all the doubts I had in the world. It would help a lot if you discussed all your concerns and goals with your partner so you could build a good foundation for your home school.

Cure for Mondays is an extension of my thoughts, an attempt to a creative form of expression, a platform for my experiences as a homeschooling mother, our experiences as a homeschooling family, learning experiences, sometimes random thoughts (or nothingness), food, recipes and healthy, natural options for our family.

Like my husband, I also do not get tired of answering questions and I encourage you to ask. You may e-mail me at

The decision to go from working mom to SAHM was a bit scary to make, but there’s not a day when I’m not thankful I made the move. Just an update…now that the kids are a bit older, I once again dove into the publishing world and have been enjoying my editorial work tremendously. I’m doing it full time from home, so yes, I have the best of both worlds.

One of the things I consider a great blessing is getting featured in 9 Homeschooling Moms We Love by The Asian Parent. Light and Love to those who acknowledged our efforts!

Now here is the original post from 2012:

Today is Cole’s last day of classes. Today is also his last day in school. We were on our toes for weeks waiting for this day. The end of his days in school is the beginning of our journey into homeschooling. After four long years, my husband and I realized that we turned our backs on something that made it all wonderful for Cole, and for us as a family. We started homeschooling Cole when he was five years old, a time when others bring their kids to play schools. He learned how to read at the age of six, and he could do three of the basic operations in Math: addition, subtraction, and multiplication. If I remember it correctly we saved division for later when he turned seven.

Unlearning in School

When he was seven years old, we had to make what seemed to us then was a wise decision. We put him through school. Sometime in the middle of the school year in first grade, we began to feel that we might have made the wrong decision. For some reason, Cole began “unlearning” some of the things that he had known the months before he started school. All the fun in Math was suddenly gone and he was constantly confused. That was just the beginning of it all. It was also a time in my life when I went back to a career in publishing, then the corporate world, so putting him in school seemed like the right option for us. Every morning the parents go to work, and the son goes to school. It sounded right and attuned to the norm. Then it dragged on for four long years. In those four years, something was nagging my husband and me. Cole became disinterested in stuff that he used to really like and seemed to be always tired.

Communication is Key

One time when he was in third grade, I asked him what the problem was. My son discussed to us in detail what made school so uninteresting.

Some of the problems he mentioned included:

1. Too many people in the classroom (most schools in the Philippines, both public and private, have at least 40 students). The teacher hardly has time to check on individual student work and there was minimal student-teacher interaction.

2. Kids spoke bad words and answered their parents back in public.

3. Some teachers would get irritated when he’d ask questions.

4. A teacher in one of the schools he attended brought a curling iron and started fixing her hair in front of the class.

When he was in third grade, he asked if he could be homeschooled again. We said yes. However, we kind of pushed it a little bit more thinking that a reputable private school would solve the problem for us.

Cole was quite happy in that school during the first few months and Cole’s adviser even told us that he adjusted well and fast enough for a new student. But that feeling of happiness was short-lived, and we started feeling once again that something was not right. He would come home tired with loads of homework to do, and there would be lessons he’d be clueless about, but was forced to understand — all because the teacher had to breeze through some of them to make sure they’d be on time with the lesson plans. We respect teachers’ lesson plans; we just don’t think lessons plans do their job all the time.

Working Mom to SAHM

Whether to go back to homeschooling or not was initially my call. One of my fears was becoming a stay-at-home mom because I started working at the age of 18 and had tremendously enjoyed life being a working mother (even if I had slips in my choices of jobs along the way). My husband was patient and did not push me to make a decision right away. But the Universe has a way of answering questions and straightening out confusion. Our answer came in a small box called a pregnancy test. It was a miracle of miracles because I thought I’d never get pregnant again. Yet there it was, delivered straight from the heavens to our doorstep. The tiny seed growing in my tummy would later become Attika Xafiyya Ssian Sade. As soon as we confirmed through my OB-Gyne that indeed there was an earthling growing inside me, my husband put his feet down and said, “Welcome back, homeschooling!” And pure bliss hugged me.

So here we are, finally back home! I’m also delighted at the discovery that there are so many homeschooling parents in the Philippines now. The numbers significantly grew over the years and this means more and more kids are spending quality time at home and are getting a lot of love and learning from teacher parents who genuinely care for them.

Why You Feel Like You Never Have Enough and What You Can Do About It

“Are we rich? My classmate wants to know.” I remember my son asking me this many years ago.

“We are comfortable. ‘Rich’ is a complex word,” I said.

“Are you rich? We are comfortable.” He was talking to himself when he frowned and said, “The answer doesn’t make sense. ”

Your life doesn’t have to make sense to anyone, but if it’s a six-year-old boy asking, you have to somehow put things into perspective.

It dawned on me that contentment is still one of the most difficult things to work on in life. When does anyone ever feel contented anyway? Is contentment just a feeling or is it a state of mind? Do people ever stop to say they are satisfied with what they have in life?

What is it that’s making you feel that you don’t have enough? I talked to some people and there’s one (unsurprisingly) common answer to my question about security.

Is Money the Root of Agony?

I have never had a relationship with money until we had kids. By “relationship with money”, I mean that I had no feeling towards it. If I had money, I was fine. If my wallet was empty, I would be just as fine. Things, however, changed when we had diapers, tiny clothes, formula and baby things to start worrying about. There were also looming thoughts about the kids needing more things, so a thought of a fat bank account started to cover my head like a dark cloud.

Many people feel that their life is nothing more than a tiresome rat race. Hard work does not often translate to satisfactory compensation. I know of someone who had a job but could not afford the fare to work on some days. I know this so well because that person was me many years ago.

So what changed?

Did I get a higher-paying job? Did I move closer to my workplace? Did I leave the workforce? Yes to all of that at one point or another, but that wasn’t what changed it all. What wore me down on a daily basis was worrying about what was going to happen to me.

The Noisiest Thoughts Inside My Head

What if the kids or Alex or I got sick? Where would I get the money for hospitalization?

What if I lose my job? How am I going to support the kids?

How will I survive with the very little money I have?

In the next few months… and years…

None of us got sick; I did not lose a job, in fact I quit a few of them and found better opportunities; my kids would always tell me how I was the greatest person in the world and that none of them cared about money; I had friends and things I needed, so misery was never in my way. But did I tire myself out? Yes, big time, by worrying. Every day.

That was what I really gave up — worrying. Don’t shoot me down yet because I’m not suggesting you throw all your cares away and be foolhardy. All I’m asking is that you ask yourself this: has worrying ever helped you in any way? Probably not.

Here’s what helped me over the years. How to be contented in life is no top secret. It is something that your heart knows if you listen close enough.

What You Can Do When You Feel Like Everything is Never Enough

  1. I stopped letting money define me. With or without money, I am the same person.
  2. Gratitude. I started counting my blessings every day and thanked the Universe for them. I started feeling richer than I should ever be.
  3. I stopped comparing myself to others. The more I ignored thoughts about other people, the more I saw how beautiful my life really was.
  4. I went back to basics and let go of things I wanted and not needed. I gave away 70 pairs of shoes, sold a few more pairs, gave away and sold clothes and things that were just collecting dust in my closet. I gave and gave and gave and felt richer every time.
  5. All that I could not have, I knew that they were not meant for me.

The self could be difficult to deal with because we’re pre-conditioned to think in certain ways — we learn this from school and our families. We’re also often subjected to the (sometimes very preposterous) standards of the society.

Be patient with yourself. I also have days when I make slips and pity myself for not having everything I want in the world. But then, that’s what makes us human. We have the amazing ability to pick ourselves up as soon as we realize the mistakes we make, and strive to become better persons than we were yesterday.

When you feel like you never have enough, look around you. Sometimes we just fail to see that we’re actually richer than we think.