Archives for February 2012

Birthday Balloons from God

Elijah, my eldest, turned 9 yesterday. As I watched him eat his breakfast, I thought to myself, my son is moving further and further away from childhood. He is becoming a young man. He is, isn’t he? Wait! That’s fast!

Why did my heart ache as I thought of this? Mingled into the happy occasion of celebrating his life, I was plagued by the reality of how quickly time passes. A deep sense of longing came over me as I remembered days that I can never have again. And my oh my, he is only 9! What shall become of me when he turns 13, 18, 21? Maybe this feels like a big deal because he is my eldest.

Elijah matured in so many ways this past year. During recent conversations with him, it felt like I was no longer talking to a boy but someone transitioning to manhood. In fact, when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, his sincere reply was, “I would like to give presents to Edan, Titus and Tiana, and my cousins.” Do 9 year olds think this way? I am not sure because this is unchartered territory for me. All my other children are like 6 and below.

I had several reflections after Elijah’s birthday…

First, while it delights me to know that Elijah is growing up well, I need to keep parenting on my knees. There is just no way to raise children without being dependent on God for wisdom, guidance, principles, and success. As Elijah develops his own opinions, judgments, and perspectives on life, I need to pray hard that he will be a man after God’s heart. He is a dear, kind, godly, appreciative, intelligent, and wise son. But one day, he will fly out of this nest. That will be the real test. Will he be ready?

Second, I am also coming to the very obvious conclusion that we can’t repeat the yesterdays we have with our children. Am I full present, available and grateful for each stage, even the difficult ones?

One stage I didn’t enjoy when Elijah was a baby was breastfeeding in the middle of the night. When Elijah was one, he was still feeding during the day and several times at night. It was maddening for me — a person who absolutely needed eight hours of uninterrupted sleep to function normally. Waking up in the middle of the night in response to his cries turned me into a breastfeeding zombie. No one told me that sleep training should be done at 3 months.

When Edric and I finally had this brilliant idea to sleep train Elijah it was impossible. At the time, he was a walking one year old and sleeping on the floor beside our bed. (Yes, on the floor on some kind of make-shift mattress because we had no space for a crib and we couldn’t really afford one back then). Edric and I had agreed to try to let him cry out his night time feeding. So we let him cry, and cry, and cry. It must have been about forty five minutes and we felt like horrible parents. But we wanted to persevere in the hopes that maybe he would get it. Elijah tried to climb on to our bed but he was too little to do so. Instead, he went from one side to the other hoping for a response. But we refused to pick him up. In fact, we just lay there very still to make it seem like we were asleep. He finally gave up from sheer exhaustion and fell asleep standing up at the end of the bed…hugging my foot! His arms were stretched out to hold on to my foot just to be near me. After that, Edric and I decided that it really was too late to sleep train him. We would just have to do better with our subsequent children.

I let Elijah wake up intermittently every night until he was about two years old. I must have aged ten years from all the sleepless nights. And yet, looking back, I miss that stage. I will never have it again. Elijah can no longer be that one year old baby, or two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Whatever year God gives me to be present in the lives of my children, I pray I can give motherhood my 100%. Like my parents often say, we only get one shot at parenting.

Lastly, God reminded me to rest in his provision for my kids. We didn’t have a party for Elijah this year. (If I planned big parties for each of my kids every single year that would be my full-time job and Edric would go broke!) But I did put together some games and activities for our kids and their cousins.

During the early evening, my mom, sister in law, Jenny, and sister, Carolyn, took the kids to the park. A party had just ended and the organizers were throwing away the balloon sculptures. My mom decided to ask if the kids could have the balloons. They said, yes. So my kids and my nephews and nieces walked back home looking like they were part of a float in a parade.

What did I love about this experience? God provided our decor! Balloons may sound like a trivial thing, but they represented how personally involved God is in our lives and our children’s. I had physically blown a pitiful set of balloons earlier in the afternoon. Elijah was so positive and grateful. He even helped me blow some of them. But God provided the coolest decor.

It was the best way to end Elijah’s birthday. Just a few days prior Elijah had wondered how he could feel God’s love in the same way that he feels our love as his parents. Last night, I told him, “God loves you so much, Elijah. He wanted you to know that he was thinking of you.” Elijah smiled from ear to ear.

Dear God, you didn’t have to but thank you for the birthday balloons!



Answers for Children

Answers in Genesis has a new Kids Answers website. It is a “fun, safe, Creator-honoring place to find educational entertainment for your children.”

Through this site, children will understand how science supports the case for a Divine Creator. It shows kid-friendly movies, features a new animal every week, and has coloring sheets and activity pages. Parents can use this site as a supplement to their science curriculum. This is a free resource. I really like the materials and books of Answers in Genesis so I was happy to know that they created a website for kids.

Personally, I believe that science is one very effective way to strengthen the faith of my children. When my two older boys and I go over their science materials (which are all creation-based) they begin to have an understanding of how awesome and powerful God is.

Last  year, I found this resource from Answers in Genesis: Answers Book for Kids — Volumes 1 to 4. I decided to buy the whole set when I was visiting my sister in the US.  The books are small enough to fit in a medium-sized purse. When were at the hospital the other day, I brought two of the books and they kept my sons busy reading.

What I like about these books is that they give children (ages 5 to 11) a foundation in basic theology.  They provide a defense for the Bible and its truth, but in a kid-friendly manner. The answers are written out from the perspectives of children and the answers are clear and concise. I’ve included an explanation of what’s inside each volume (taken from Answers in Genesis’ website.)

Volume 1: 22 Questions on Creation and the Fall

The story of Creation and the Garden of Eden are familiar ones. But they also present a wonderful opportunity to share important biblical truths with eagerly questioning minds through answers that even the youngest believer can understand. In this volume, children will get answers to questions like “How did God create everything from nothing?” and “The serpent talked to Eve, so why can’t snakes talk today?” 48 pages. Find out more.

Volume 2: 22 Questions from Kids on Dinosaurs and the Flood of Noah

Dinosaurs are fascinating creatures that kids simply adore, and even the youngest believer can recite the biblical account of Noah and his Ark. Now discover how to answer some of kids’ most interesting questions about dinosaurs and Noah’s Ark like “Where did all the water go after the Flood?” and “How did Noah keep the animals on the Ark from eating each other and his family?” 48 pages. Find out more.

Volume 3: 22 Questions on God and the Bible

Even adults struggle to understand our Creator—the infinite Being who seeks a personal relationship with each of us. Now kids can begin to understand both God’s Holy Word and the importance of Him in their lives—what He expects from them, why it is vital to follow His plan for their lives, and the love He has for them.  This book will give you the opportunity to leave a legacy to the children in your life. A legacy of trust in God and His Word. 48 pages. Find out more.

Volume 4: 22 Questions on Sin, Salvation, and the Christian Life

Since Adam and Eve chose to disobey in the Garden of Eden, questions about sin, salvation, and the Christian life have often puzzled us. This book gives answers intended to form a strong and lasting faith foundation in the next generation. More importantly, it will set the example of seeking answers—even for the toughest questions—in God’s Word, our final authority. 48 pages.

Hopefully, in a few months, TMA Homeschool will make these books available in Manila!


Let’s Play Dress Up

My sister in law, Jenny, put together a dress-up box for her daughter. I thought it would be nice to do the same for Tiana. She is just 20 months but she gets into my jewelry, clothes, toiletries and enjoys playing with my things. So I put together a bunch of stuff that she can rummage through for pretend play.

Right after her bath, she went straight to it and started putting on the hats, necklaces, watches, etc. It was so entertaining to watch her. None of my boys were ever interested in that kind of thing when they were her age. Boys have been super fun, but I am really enjoying raising a daughter.




My delightful little Tiana!


Family Calling Card

Thought this was the cutest calling card I ever received! My friend, Lana, sent it to me through the mail. She lives in the US but we have stayed in touch through the years. She has a special place in my heart.

Check out her family calling card. What a great idea! I love it!



Character is a Family Thing


“I will be grateful,” Edan said as he ate a spoonful of vegetables. He didn’t want to eat the salad I served him but we had just learned about the character trait of gratefulness so he changed his attitude. I didn’t have to say anything. He paused for a bit, looked at the spoon, and made that statement.

A couple of days prior to this, the boys memorized the verse, “In everything give thanks…”(1 Thessalonians 5:18) Edric taught them the character trait of gratefulness. We all discussed what we are thankful for and how we could apply thankfulness during the week.

I didn’t realize the boys had really internalized the lesson until Edan said he wanted to be thankful about his food. In fact, I knew they really got it when they corrected me about ungratefulness! When I was talking about how I didn’t like the quality of the food or the rooms of a retreat we just attended.  “Mom, be grateful!”  Ouch. But in a good way. I’m glad my children feel the liberality to point out how I can improve. And most of the time, they do so in a very polite way with just enough of a sting in their comments to jolt me out of my wrong thinking or behaviour.

There was another instance when I was not being spirit-filled by getting impatient, and my kids showed me the action for “be filled with the spirit.” (Edric has them memorize actions to go along with the verses he teaches them.) Well, of course I was convicted! So I changed my tone of voice and words.

It’s not always easy to be corrected by my kids because it is so incredibly humbling, but it’s good for my heart. I am thankful for the way God uses them to help me grow in Christ-likeness. But I am even more thankful for Edric. His spiritual leadership in our home has made our children responsive to character training. For some reason, and I’ve probably said this many times, Edric is so much more effective at teaching God’s word and character to our sons. They really listen when he instructs them.  It is truly as God said, “the man is the head of the home.” He designed for a father to lead the way, spiritually speaking. And when fathers take this role seriously, everyone gets with the program!


Pico de Loro

It’s 3:30 in the afternoon and the kids are having a photoshoot for Smart Parenting Magazine by the poolside of Pico de Loro’s Beach Club.

It has been a beautiful day! We were warmly welcomed by Ro Manalo of Pico Sands Hotel who has been taking such great care of us. She handles the marketing and promotions of the different SM Hotels, especially the photoshoots of magazine companies. What a blessing she has been.

I am sitting in a hammock listening to the wind and sea and Edric is reading a book in one of the cabanas. This is my first time to Pico de Loro, one of the cove developments of Hamilo Coast which is a project of SM Land. It’s a huge development and there are an endless number of activities to do. But for me, having an afternoon to be still and quiet is perfect. Far removed from anything that resembles the city, this feels like paradise. The best part is being able to enjoy this place with Edric and the kids.

The kids are experiencing God’s creation and learning to “work.” It has also been an opportunity for them to practice their manners and social skills as they make new friends. If they were not homeschooled, they wouldn’t be able to do things like this.

I really thank the Lord for a lifestyle that makes their education mobile and flexible! And thank you to Ro Manalo and the Smart Parenting Team for a memorable family vacation. It was such a treat!



















Amenities and Activities for members and their guests:
Beach club & Country Club
Beach football
Beach Volleyball
Board games
Club Pico (Indoor playground for kids)
Eco Trail
Swimming Kiddie Pool (2ft deep)
Video Game Room with Wii and Play station 3
Free Wifi almost everywhere!

Brisa Bar
Sun coral cafe

Pico de Loro
Hamilo Coast

The Baton

“In a relay, the most critical point is the passing of the baton.”

In Judges 2 we find out that after Joshua and the generation after him died, “there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals, and they forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the LORD to anger.”

Joshua and his contemporaries were mighty men of faith. They had seen God’s awesome works at the Jordan River, Jericho and the conquests of the Land of Promise. Yet, they had one great failure. They failed to pass on the “baton of faith.”

How can we avoid this as parents? I believe that one practical way is to have faith conversations with your children. Just a few days ago, my eldest son, Elijah, said, “Mom, I don’t feel like I have faith. How do I know that I really believe in God?” I was about to have a theological discussion with my 8 year old!

It was somewhat surprising at first. Ever since Elijah started reading his bible daily and journaling favorite verses, I assumed that the insights were just pouring out of God’s word and he was getting all of it. But this had not been enough.

Yes, God speaks to our children, but Edric and I have to teach our children why we believe what we believe. We have to dialogue with them to uncover what’s going on in their hearts because the devil is on the prowl. We often fail to recognize that there is a spiritual war ongoing and the evil one is after our children. He feeds them doubts and fears, and preys on their young faith. His aim is to destroy and distort a right view of God, themselves, others and the world. And if we are not vigilant about building connectedness with our children and open communication, we will not know the extent to which wrong thinking has blossomed. Furthermore, if we do not study God’s word ourselves or have a well-spring of scripture to draw from, we cannot effectively lead our children to the right answers.

During my conversation with Elijah, I reviewed the gospel message with him. I asked him if he believed that Jesus is the son of God, and if he believed that God loves us so much he sent Jesus to die for our sins. I asked him if he believes that Jesus is the only way to God and if he has trusted in Jesus alone to save him. He replied with a yes to all of these questions. So, I shared with him several passages of scripture to encourage him.

I said, “Elijah, if you know and believe these things, and if you have made Jesus Savior and Lord of your life, then that is faith. It’s not the bigness of our faith, but what we are putting our faith in. And God tells us, he who has the Son, has the life. God promises that you have eternal life if you have Jesus.”

And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:11-13 NASB)

I also added, “You can know if you truly believe in God by the way you live. I can see that you love God because you obey us, and you want to please God. These are all evidences of your faith. People who do not believe in God do not have this desire or the power to live for God.”

He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” (John 14:21 NASB)

So then, you will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:20 NASB)

He was listening intently to everything I was saying, and commented, “I like this conversation, mom. I like talking to you about these things.”

Outwardly, I was trying to keep my emotions under control, but my heart was breaking a little. As a mom, it concerned me that Elijah was struggling with doubt. I wanted all his questions to be answered and settled right then and there. But God reminded me that Elijah is his child and he is the one that will cause his faith to grow. He prodded me to tell him this verse, “You will seek me and find me if you seek me with all your heart.”

“Elijah, there is a verse in the bible which says, ‘you will seek me and find me if you seek me with all your heart…It’s in Jeremiah.”

“I know that verse, mom. I read it today in my Bible.”

I was so encouraged when Elijah said this. God had brought to my mind the same verse that Elijah had read. It was as an affirmation that God was mindful of Elijah.

I felt like God was also speaking to me. “Joy, you cannot force your children to believe in me. You can lead them to the truth but you cannot impose it on them. But don’t worry, I know Elijah. I love him and I will reveal myself to him. I will be the one to strengthen his faith. Encourage him to keep seeking after me and do your part to teach him about me.”

Two days later, Edric also spent some alone time with Elijah. The funny thing is, Elijah said to him, “Dad can you tell me a shortened version of what mom shared with me? She said a lot of stuff and I can’t remember all of it!”

Edric said he made it simple for Elijah. “Believe what you know about God now and let it grow.” He explained to Elijah that his faith would grow. His questions would be answered if he continued to seek God. Elijah liked that suggestion very much.

What did I learn from this experience?

Passing on the baton of faith begins with being available. Study God’s word and meditate on the truths and principles in it. Model faith consistently at home. Invest time in developing an intimate relationship with our children. Then take advantage of what my dad likes to call, “magic moments.” These are moments when our children are ready to talk and listen to us, when they will ask those questions that come from the depths of their hearts. I also need to add that fathers play a very important role. They are more effective because of their God-given spiritual authority as head of the home. Most of all, pray! We’ve got a long way to go to pass on the baton completely to our children. It will take a lifetime. So we need to pray for wisdom and discernment to understand and answer our children’s questions correctly. Finally, rest. Rest in the knowledge that “he who began a good work in the lives of our children will complete it, as promised.”

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6 NASB)





The Pan Band

When all else fails and you need to keep your little ones busy, bring out pans and wooden spoons! They will love it! It will keep them preoccupied for about twenty minutes.:)




All Kinds of Bibles for All Kinds of Kids

A couple of people asked me what bibles my kids have read. Here are some of the ones we have in our home…












More Important Than Happiness








I was renewing my passport a couple months back and I used the time spent waiting to finish a book. It was an older read, late 90’s, but the content was still relevant. The book is called 40 Ways To Teach Your Child Values by Paul Lewis.

It is supposed to be read in bite sizes but I had all this time to wait so I decided that I might as well finish it. Afterwards it was like, “Whoa! A lot of information! I don’t know how I can possibly teach all these things to my kids!”

But it was just the book I needed at that juncture of my parenting. To be honest, having four children was beginning to feel overwhelming. It wasn’t because there were four of them but because I was getting tired of their squabbling. Every single day I felt like the judge, jury and sometimes, the witness. “Mom, so and so broke my tower!” Or, “Mom, so and so is not sharing or so and so grabbed from me.”

It was incredibly exhausting to referee all of these issues. One day I said to the kids, “I am not going to referee your discussions. You need to learn to work it out and remember the verse you memorized, ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'” That probably would have been a correct statement if I was not saying it to children ages 3 to 8. Sure they had memorized the verse, but they didn’t really know what it meant. If they did, they would have been applying it.

Lewis’ book reminded me that I had been remiss about character training. My energies were spent trying to put out all their fires. I just wanted to throw my hands up in the air in resignation each time they bickered and say, “you guys figure it out for yourselves!” That approach would have surely turned them into “Lord of the Flies” children.

John and Susan Yates, authors of Raising Kids with Character That Lasts, encourage parents to move children towards principled character, which is different from expedient, malleable, and legalistic character.

Expedient character is when a person adheres to a moral code only if it allows him to acquire what he wants. It is self-centered in nature.

For example, one of my sons wanted to play with my IPad but was in competition with his younger brother for it. He came up to me and said, “Can I borrow your IPhone so I can share it with ___________.” I was impressed with how thoughtful he was until I realized that he wanted to give his younger brother the IPhone so that he could play with my IPad. If his younger brother was preoccupied with my IPhone, he wouldn’t have to share my IPad. How craftily self-serving!

Next is malleable character. A person with malleable character is a people pleaser. He has no sense of right or wrong but is dependent on those around him for his right or wrong choices. This type of child may follow his parents when he is living at home but when he leaves home, he is persuaded by friends or others to conform to their values.

The third kind is legalistic character. This type of person follows an external set of rules or laws without understanding the principles behind them — the why. For example, when children are young, they may know that they have to obey but may not yet understand the blessings and protection of obedience. My daughter obeys because she doesn’t want to be disciplined for disobedience, but she has yet to recognize why obedience is important for her greater good.

Our job as parents is to help our children develop principled character. A person who has principled character has the maturity to make choices based on conviction of truth and no matter what the cost. He knows that right choices welcome God’s favor and blessing.

John and Susan Yates said that character is “what we are really like when all the veneers are stripped away, what we are like when no one is around and no one is looking and no one will find out.”

When our children are grown up and leave home, will they live to please God when no one is watching and not just outwardly to please us or other people? As parents we need to be on the lookout for tell-tale signs of immature character. Until our children develop principled character, our training days are not yet over.

What’s a good resource for character training? Edric and I had the blessed opportunity to meet with Bob Tebow, father of superstar football player, Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos (thanks to a family friend!) Bob generously shared with us insights on raising children to love and fear God. One thing I remember in particular is the way he emphasized using the book of Proverbs to teach our children. He said his kids went through Proverbs daily. They are all committed followers of the Lord today.

Bob suggested that families should read a chapter of Proverbs everyday and discuss the principles together. As a homeschooling father, he and his wife, Nancy, made the Bible their primary curriculum and character the primary focus for their kids. If you read up on his son, Tim Tebow, you will be very encouraged by his spiritual and moral convictions. He may be world-renowned for his football skills, but he is a man of principled character, which is of greater worth.

“A parent’s responsibility is not to his child’s happiness; it’s to his character.” Dr. Haim Ginott. How are we doing?

I Want A Real Bible

Edan, my five year old, happily announced to me that he finished his children’s bible yesterday. I had told him prior to this that he would get to choose a new Bible if he completed reading his current one. It was a children’s bible so it was a whole lot easier to go through than the one Elijah, his older brother, is reading. But he was so motivated to get one “just like Elijah.”

As promised I took him to the bookstore to pick out a Bible and I was hoping he would be interested in the easier, story-book type of Bible. Yet he insisted on getting Zondervan’s Adventure Bible.

I presented him with my picks but he was not satisfied. In my mind, however, I was concerned that all the text and lack of pictures in the one he really wanted might discourage him. So I said, “If you can read all the way down the page aloud and by yourself then I know you are ready.”


I opened up a grown-up’s Bible to Genesis 1. Edan was determined! He read all the text I asked him to. When he got to the last word, he asked, “So can I get it?” My end of the deal was to say, “Of course!” I also added, “But you have to commit to read it even if there are no pictures.”

He was thrilled and said, “I am going to read it right away!” And he did! He read his new Adventure Bible until Genesis 2.

Will he really be able to go the distance with this Bible? We shall see. I am not going to give him a hard time if he struggles through some of the bigger words. What blesses me is his desire to have a grown up’s version of the Bible, which will really get him into God’s word. God can take over from there!

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 NASB)

Milkshake Lesson


Edric and I were in a hurry to leave my parent’s place to get back home, when my dad said, “You can’t leave yet because I promised Elijah a milkshake.”

I thought it wouldn’t make much of a difference if Elijah got to drink the milkshake another day. After all, we were going to see my parents the very next day. I didn’t want to have to wait twenty more minutes for the milkshake to be made. But when I replied, “Dad, it’s okay, he can have the milkshake another time,” my dad was quick to say, “I promised him so let me keep my promise.” And then he put his hand on my shoulder to make sure I was paying attention and said in a pretty serious tone, “When you make a promise to your kids make sure you do what you say. This will show them that they can also trust in God.”

I had not really made that connection before. But he was right.

Its easier for our children to understand that God is dependable when we model dependability for them. If we keep our promises, we can tell them that God keeps his promises and they will understand what that means.

I felt quite convicted because earlier in the day I did just the opposite of what my dad said. A while back I had told the kids that we would go to the toy store for my birthday and that they could pick out a toy for themselves. But they got so many presents over Christmas I no longer wanted to bring them. The boys kept reminding me about my promise.

Finally, when Elijah asked me again I replied, “we are not going to do that anymore because you have too many toys.” In fact, I said, “that deal has expired.” I didn’t say it in a mean way but I am sure Elijah was disappointed. In his mind, I broke a promise. (This was all before the milkshake incident.)

As I thought more about what my dad said, I decided to ask Elijah if he thought I kept my promises, he only gave me a rating of 80%. He said, “you are like an 8 out of 10.”

It sounds like a passing grade but how can 80% be a good grade when it comes to reliability? That would be a BAD seller’s rating if I was an online vendor! People would not buy from me.

So I definitely need to improve my “credit rating” with the kids when it comes to promise keeping. And I have to guard my tongue so I can avoid flippantly saying, “I will do this and do that,” which creates the expectation to begin with. Instead I should say, “If it is God’s will…” The book of James talks about this.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.'” (James 4:13-15 NASB)

If I want my kids to believe with greater ease that God is 100% reliable and if I want my kids to have the trait of reliability then I have to model it consistently. Either I do what I say right away or I keep silent about my plans and pleasantly surprise them. I like how my husband , Edric, puts it. “Underpromise, over deliver vs. over promise, under deliver.” He usually says this in relation to work, but I think it is also a good guideline when making commitments to my kids.

Well, the milkshake experience turned out to be worth the twenty minute wait. Elijah thought it was delicious. But for me, it represented a valuable parenting lesson on what it means to keep my word. Thank you, dad! (And, mom, for making the milkshake!)

“But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.”(Matthew 5:37 NASB)



Easy Milkshake Recipe:

4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup brown sugar (or add as needed)
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
8 ice cubes
Add vanilla ice cream if you don’t mind the extra calories (but my mom didn’t add this)

Blend together and serve chilled. Enjoy!