7 Ways to Be Grateful Every Day!

 

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My Family is Finally Blended

I’m writing this post a day after Father’s Day for a reason, but mostly because God brought it to my attention early this morning that he took care of that little problem with my family that always made me feel sick, worried, and upset. I have a blended family that consists of my biological parents, step-parents, and of course siblings. However, I never equate spending the holidays with my siblings because I know how complicated it is with them having several sets of parents and in-laws. They don’t need the extra stress either.

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I love the holidays, oh my goodness, I love them so much, but leading up to the actual day use to make me nauseated because I was afraid to make my family upset. I’m close to all of my parents and I felt like they all equally demanded the same amount of attention from me during the holidays or other important occasions such as Father’s Day. My goal was to make everyone feel loved by first visiting my dad’s house where he and my step-mom are for a certain amount of hours and then jet over to my mom’s house with her and my step-dad for a certain amount of hours and this was all without even calculating my inlaws into the commute. My sweet and patient husband, bless him! At the end of the night, I felt like I had accomplished the goal but at the expense of my husband’s and my peace. It was starting to become unfair to my kids as well.

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My mom was always the voice of reason by telling me, “you can’t make everybody happy or this person and that person will be okay at the end of the day.” That comforted me. God guided me by making me comfortable with inviting all my parents to the kids’ birthday gatherings and special life events. We started choosing what days everyone would have during the holidays so that we could still enjoy our day as a family. Turns out that the older my parents get they actually have a life outside of us as their kids and grandkids and don’t want us holding all of their time anyway. Ha! Having everyone gathered in small rooms together made them work it out or put aside their differences for the moment. God was working on us all and I didn’t even know it. What made it all real for me was at my daughter’s 3rd birthday party here at home. My dad and step-dad were talking leisurely about randoms like they have done in the past. They were able to throw in petty remarks with each other and it all ended in laughter from us and them both. At another time during the party, my mom, step-mom, my aunts, my mother-in-law, and I were all laughing in the kitchen in peace. God was just working it all out and my prayers were being answered. This Father’s Day I was able to post a pic of both my dad’s and my husband as my Facebook profile picScreenshot_2019-06-17-12-10-30~2.png without the fear of offending one dad or the other. Not that they would actually say something to me, but you all know people have other ways of expressing their dissatisfaction. What really put the icing on the cake for me was my hearing my dad tell me that it was so nice of me to put them all on a pic together and then having my step-dad to tell me that he really enjoys talking with my dad when we are all together. Mannnnnn, I was so elated and thankful! God did it all and I finally know what it means to have a blended family.

Do you have a blended family? How has your experience been?

Carmen

How We Can Avoid Raising “Mean Girls”

When we give birth to our precious daughters we have big dreams for them instantly. We may or may not speak them aloud, but they are deep within our desires for them. Now, I firmly believe that our girls should be strong and opinionated so that they are never taken advantage of and for them to possess the abilities to be a fearless voice for other women who are afraid.

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If you all have ever watched the movies “Mean Girls”, “Jawbreaker”, “Cruel Intentions”, or “Carrie” you know what mean girls do in Hollywood films, but what about what they do in real life. cruel-intentions-movie-reese-witherspoonMean girls grow up to become mean women that make all of our lives difficult. It happens in families, schools, and eventually the workplace. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are things that we can do as women to prevent the “mean girl” behavior in our little girls even when they don’t realize they are behaving like a “mean girl”.

Why put that responsibility on women? Because unlike men women are always around…period! If mom isn’t present in our lives there is always a mom, an aunt, or a lady Teacher available to instill love into that little girl. We have to start telling our girls that they are special to us when they are born. I believe that little girls began to change and grow up into being a “mean girl” as a result of a few things.

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  1. Their parents have made them feel entitled to ignore the feelings and needs of others.

  2. They have low self-esteem or feel inadequate due to someone else’s standards.

  3. They lack the basic needs of life. Ex. clean clothes, food, personal care, love.

  4. They are being abused mentally, physically, emotionally, or verbally.

  5. They are constantly being rejected by peers or adults.

  6. They are judged or ridiculed for things that they may or not be able to control such as physical features or disabilities.

How We Can Avoid

I believe that we as women have the power to uplift and embrace the girls that we have constant contact or communication with by doing a few simple things:

  • We have to tell them that we love their little eyes and everything about them the same way that we want to hear someone saying it to us as adults.

  • We have to love them hard just like we do with our precious sons. If you’re a boy mom, you know exactly what I mean.

  • We have to hold them in our arms longer and hug them more often. They have the rest of their lives to become independent.

  • We have to let them talk loud without the fear of it being unladylike and let them dance like no one is watching even when they are.

  • We have to stop telling them that their hair is nappy or difficult to comb even when it’s thick enough to break every comb in the house.

  • We have to remind them that their dark skin is beautiful.

  • We have to remind them that freckles are unique and God knew exactly what he was doing when he gave them to her.

  • We have to remind them that God didn’t make everyone slim and having a little extra body weight doesn’t mean they are unhealthy or unattractive.

  • We have to remind them that their accent is just fine and they don’t have to change their dialect to fit in with the other kids.

  • We have to remind them that their virginity is priceless.

  • We have to remind them that if their virginity was stolen or given out of ignorance that they are still priceless.

  • We have to remind them that expensive shoes, clothes, and purses don’t make you special or beautiful.

  • We have to remind them that they are smart even when they struggle in class.

  • We have to remind them that friends don’t hurt friends and love is not abusive.

  • We have to remind them that No means No and they can say it to anyone.

  • We have to encourage them that they can be anything that they want in life with hard work and faith.

  • We have to pray for them, with them, and teach them how to pray for themselves.

  • We have to build a relationship of trust with them through communication and time spent together.

  • We have to remind them that they are not in competition with their friends or other girls. We all have so much to offer the world.

  • We have to protect them from danger the best way that we can. This means family bullies, sexual predators, etc.

  • We have to teach them to apologize when they are wrong and how to have compassion for others.

  • We have to teach them to not look down upon others with less than what they have and to appreciate all that they have.

  • We have to show them grace and mercy when they fall short and show them how to begin again.

  • We have to teach our girls how to be kind to others no matter how different they are from themselves and their friends.

  • We also have to remind them that their social media followers do not determine how valuable they are. They don’t have to show their bodies, private lives or be someone they are not for the world to accept them.

  • We have to remind them that having one friend is better than having one thousand and that someone in this world can’t wait to be a friend to them.

  • We have to teach them how to give back to others in the world.

  • We have to tell them that we love them and often.

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Share this with another woman or a mom to keep the positivity going!

Carmen

Ice Cream Letter Match: A Free Alphabet Printable for Preschoolers

We are just a few days away from it officially being Summer and of course, that means tons of fun for kids who are on Summer break. Summer break is also the perfect time to continue to work on learning or academic areas that kids may struggle with during the school year. We will continue to work on writing, comprehension, and division with our son, but for my daughter, we are continuing to learn alphabets. Our focus right now is recognition only. Once we have a few of them down we will begin with learning sounds. This will also help her with learning to spell her own name.

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Today I’m sharing a free alphabet printable that is perfect for preschoolers. My daughter enjoyed gluing the alphabets to their match and that was all that she wanted to do on the first day. On day two we took a little more time with recognition. This printable is perfect for children ages 3 and up and ice cream as a treat is the perfect reward for them after completing this activity. You can access this free printable Ice Cream Letter Match and here for the paste sheet.

 

 

I hope that you and your little learner will enjoy this activity. If so, please Pin it on Pinterest and share it with friends!

 

Oh Toodles! My Toddler Turned 3!

Time is moving so fast with my daughter. I don’t remember her sitting on our laps for a long time. We didn’t rush her to grow up, but she was just too determined to be held back for our cuddles and babying behaviors.

I know that it’s because she has an older brother and desperately wants to do what he does, but someone should have told her that I needed her to stay smaller for just a little bit longer. She’s my grace baby and yes, I cry a little inside when I say that and think of her like that.

The grace baby that we also like to refer to as ladybug, mook-mook, and sour patch kid turned 3 on May 29. She literally told us that her birthday was coming every day up until her actual birthday. She was just super excited! She told us that she wanted a Spiderman party and then a Peppa Pig party, and she finally settled with a Minnie Mouse theme party. On her actual birthday, we kept things simple with pizza for dinner and cupcakes. She knew that she was having a birthday party with her family and kept telling me that she wanted to jump outside in the tent like the last time. That meant that she wanted a bounce house. That also meant a hot outdoor party which I wasn’t looking forward to having. Because of the 98 degree temps that we are having every day, I decided to schedule her party for 10-12 a.m. That gave us 80-degree temps with a little breeze. Considering that it was rather early for a birthday party I didn’t want to serve pizza or barbeque like last year, so I turned to my favorite Pinterest boards to find some brunch ideas. I could not find any good ideas that would allow me to not have to be concerned about safe food temps, so I gave up in a little frustration and decided to leave it in Gods hands. My husband was settled that he would pick up kids meals from anywhere we wanted the next morning if we didn’t come up with something. I figured that whatever God decided to tell us to buy or prepare that morning was what it would be even if it was pizza. I kid you not, but at about 2 a.m. that morning the holy spirit told me to prepare a variety of sliders. I was like okay Jesus, help me make this taste good now! I got a few ideas of what meat to use from Pinterest and a few techniques to make them taste extra delicious. It worked perfectly for the time of day. I decided on Ham and Cheddar, Beef and Mozzarella, Turkey and Cheddar, and Turkey Sausage and Cheddar Cheese Eggs all on Hawaiian Sweet Bread.

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We also served strawberries, grapes, and bananas and cake. Our beverages were orange juice, water, 100% fruit juice boxes for the kids, and of course soda. My momma, you all, oh goodness! She is the real MVP! She got in the kitchen without a blink and made those sliders like it was nothing. To top it all off she helped me finish the edible desserts which were Oreo cookie Minnie Mouse ears on a stick. My husband’s sweet cousin bagged them up into treat bags with the little twist ties.

I think everyone was happy with the food and that was my goal! Minnie Mouse decorations are one of the easiest party decorations that you can buy or make. I pulled party decor that I used from previous parties that included mason jars, tulle, and felt fabric.

I’ve realized that it’s much prettier and cheaper to buy a few yards of fabric as table covers versus the plastic table covers. You have fewer wrinkles and if you purchase a neutral color you can use them for years to come. Walmart had precut 1-yard fabric in just the colors that I needed. I used them to cover our tables and once I was done with them I just placed them into the washing machine to store away for future use. I knew that I wanted Minnie Mouse ears on everything, so I turned to one of my favorite websites, Canva. I love that you can create any type of design that you normally would have to pay for on Etsy.

Now, don’t get me wrong Etsy is still a great site because there are a few party products that you can find that save you time from creating and that Canva may not be able to reproduce, mostly the vinyl products. However, for the most part, you can DIY your own decor if you have time and only plan to use cardstock. I decided to make a happy birthday board that just says “happy birthday Mariyah” for the gift area. I always use our fireplace as the gift area to save space from a traditional gift table. To make the birthday board and other printables for the party, I switched between the Gochi Hand and Brusher font on Canva. To finish the birthday board I cut streamer paper into circles and my sweet son helped me glue them to the board. I also added some Minnie Mouse ears with a bow.

I love the party frame that allows guest to take fun pics, so I had to make one of those as well. I used pink paint, glitter, and my husband hand drew Minnie Mouse ears with bows. The glitter hearts where leftover from previous party decor and the Minnie Mouse hands were from a free printable clip art site. The old mason jars worked perfectly for a table centerpiece and the different shades of old tulle worked as a table runner. I didn’t place any of the pink plates on the table as decor because of sanitary reasons and kids. I also decided to use plain pink plates because I think Minnie Mouse plates would have been too overwhelming on a table along with all of the Minnie Mouse decors in the room. I had Minnie Mouse ears on the wall, on the doors of our dining room, and on napkins. My daughter also wore cute Minnie Mouse ears that she refused to keep on the entire time of the party. Oh well! The tags that I created to place into the mason jars were made from Canva and it was a card with my daughter’s birthdate and initial, a Minnie Mouse quote, and Minnie Ears.

You can find the craft sticks at hobby lobby or you can use kabob sticks for a sharp point to press through the tulle. My mother-n-law added the balloons to the jar as a special touch.

Let’s talk about balloons. I purchased two jumbo balloons from Winn-Dixie and for whatever reason that were deflated within an hour after the party started. I purchased them specifically for the cake table which meant that there was now no decor available for the cake table. Thank goodness my mother-n-law had already bought a ton of Minnie Mouse balloons, so we were able to use a few of those. I already struggle with decorating cake tables, so I definitely did not like that my $20 for two balloons was gone. Yes, I got my money back on Sunday. Now, you all should know me by now! Frugal….frugal!

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The bounce house was fun for the kids and everyone was happy. The cake was delicious as expected because the baker is so gifted with her hands. Mariyah has told me several times that she had fun at her party and that she loved her party and that was my ultimate goal, but next year I will let a party place do the work. I’m over this, but I do believe birthdays are important enough to be celebrated every single year. She’s three and I’m thankful that she’s thriving and healthy.

Did any of you celebrate your birthday in May like my daughter and me? Let me know in the comments below!