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parenting

What A Man?!

It’s been about 2 weeks since my son officially ended his junior high career and is now ready to embark on a new journey to high school. This was a tough time for me. He is my ONLY son and being the main parent in his life brings me joy and a bit of sadness.

jamiel post 1I love watching my kids grow up and advising them as needed. They are all strong-willed individuals (got it honestly) and I know it’s my job to help them grow into productive, creative members of society. All the girly conversations I have with my daughters my mom had with me, the territory that I am unfamiliar with, the one that causes me anxiety are the conversations I feel a dad is supposed to have with his son. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of men in my son’s life who can have these talks with him, but I feel as though he is cheated because he can’t have these conversations with the one person who should be thrilled to do so, HIS dad. (Some background, my oldest two children have the same father, due to circumstances out of my control, he is unavailable to co-parent at this time, I’ll just leave it at that.) As I picked out his suit, helped him get dressed for the events that marked the end of this chapter of his life I often wondered how he felt about his dad not being present. Well why wonder when I could just ask, so I did! My son with his tall, lanky, poised face said, I’m good mom you’ve got this! He kissed my forehead (he now towers above me) and gave me the biggest hug.

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jamiel postAs I watched him look at himself in the mirror I was beyond proud, WHAT A MAN! My son despite his situation is growing into the most amazing, compassionate, strong, bold man I know. I would take credit for all the great things about my son, but I know without the help of the men who constantly and consistently stand in the gap for him, he might have turned out differently. I am humbled by how without breaking a sweat they show up for him on a regular basis.

So single moms if you are doubting whether you can raise a man…let me leave you with this- You may not be equipped for every talk, or every walk, but you are equipped with the love you have in your heart to raise an individual who will go out into the world and be who God destined them to be. What more could you ask for?!
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parenting

The Tantramatic Kindergartner- Tantrums After the Toddler Years

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If you recall awhile back I wrote a piece The Tantramatic Toddler I talked about how to deal with temper tantrums with your toddler. We all think that once our children pass the toddler phase their temper tantrums will end. THAT IS A LIE! I know from experience the tantrums never end, life happens and sometimes we as adults throw temper tantrums. We, hopefully have learned to deal with them better than our younger days. But what do you as a parent do when your out and about and your older child has a temper tantrum, I’m talking 5-8 years old. It’s embarrassing, it makes you anxious, it questions your authority as a parent because we all know you are getting those looks, the look of disgust from someone who will not sympathize with what you are going through. Yes, parents, children over 4 throw temper tantrums and hopefully in the next few paragraphs I will help you learn how to deal with them.

Let me set the scene for you…We are in Target I know exactly what I need to get and then I need to get out. Of course Anissa wants me to make a quick stop by the toy section, which really isn’t an issue, I explain that we are just looking (my mistake) we are not purchasing. I set the timer on my phone for seven minutes so that we can look and not purchase. The timer goes off and I prepare to get in line, I move but the little hand I am holding has stiffen and is not moving with me, I look down and I see the sad face. I bend over so that she and I are eye to eye and I say it’s time to go, I get back up and move, yet again no movement from my little friend. I look down and she is holding her ground. In my stern mom voice I say let’s go. That’s when it happens, the tears, the negotiating, the loudness. It starts off slow and as I try to remain calm, but as I refuse to agree with her demands it gets louder and louder and now I cam see people beginning to stare. What should I do, how should I handle this?! Should I cave and just buy the toy, should I threaten her, should I get loud??? The should list can go on and on. So let’s start the conversation how should I handle the Tantrumatic Kindergartener?

  1. Recognize that trying to calm her down when she is upset may not work. Think about when you are upset, someone telling you to calm down is the last thing you want to hear. So what should I do? I get back down to her level so she can see my eyes and I can see hers, I then ask her to explain her feelings to me. If she’s in huffing mode and can’t calm down, I gently rub her back and attempt to soothe her until she can talk. If she can talk right away I listen to what her issues is. We discuss, she will either remain calm or remain upset, but the thing is I HEARD HER! Will she be upset maybe but I’ve done my part, in helping her to hopefully deal with her emotions and feel like her voice matters.
  2. RESET! I’m almost positive your child’s school has a method they use to correct behavior. Anissa’s school uses the reset method. The behavior is given minimal attention, the student is asked if they need a reset. A Reset is the opportunity for them to change their behavior themselves. They are in control of their emotions and they can choose to reset them to help have a better outcome. Find out what your child’s school/teacher does and try that out. If it works for them at school why not practice it at home. A Reset can last from 30-60 seconds and can be implemented as many times as needed.
  3. BREATHE! This is more for you than the child. Nobody wants to be considered a bad parent, but the first thing you think of when a child throws a temper tantrum is that you’re going to be questioned and deemed a bad parent. We’re all “bad” parents. As I’ve told you before, none of us left the hospital with a manual on how to raise children. Just like we are learning so are they. It’s important that despite wanting to scream yourself you remain calm. You getting upset and displaying those emotions will only heighten a situation you are trying to de-escalate. Children cry! They cry when they are upset and frustrated, and don’t feel like they are being heard. So let them cry! Now I’m not saying continue shopping while they ball their eyes out. If you can make your purchase then by all means make the purchase, but if not save your sanity and make your exit. It’s okay do not feel any shamed.

While we would love to control our environments and all the behaviors in our environment we can’t. Somethings are out of our control, feelings tend to be one of those things, how you deal with those things and how you teach your children to deal with those things are up to you. Your children are a product of what you pour into them. You are the example so be the best example you can be. Don’t be afraid to show your child your emotions and how to deal with them in a healthy way. We truly do our children a dis-service when we pretend we don’t get upset, or mad, or hurt. The way they learn to deal with their emotions is by watching us.

How do you deal with temper tantrums? Do you have any suggestions that may help another parent, drop them in the comments.

cry anissa
This is the saddest little face ever!

parenting

The Pregnant Pause!

pregnant pauseHey “Insecure” lovers, this is for you. This season “Insecure” was fire! We see Issa and her friends evolving. A few episode back prior to the finale we see the dynamic of the friendships change as Tiffany is clearly pregnant and the girls are clearly trying to live their best lives. What happens when one of your friends makes a life altering decision that not only will change their lives but effect how y’all operate?! Let’s get into this Pregnant Pause!

In the episode Tiffany looks to be about 7-8 months pregnant but she is still holding on trying to hang with her girls. During Beychella, it’s proven that this is a bit too much for her to handle. The other girls are still up to their shenanigans, thanks to a “special boost” and Tiffany is left as the so-called responsible one. By the end of the episode we learn that the dynamics of each friendship is draining Tiffany. She wants to be a part but let’s face it, trying to maneuver a pregnant belly and party with your girls is not easy, trust me I know from experience.

Let me set the scene…September 2012 I was about 6 months pregnant. I was having an amazing pregnancy, glowing, growing, and still able to party with my girls. We’d all made a pact that I would not be a couch potato and that we were going to be twerking all the way to the delivery room. I remember the night clearly, I was in the bathroom getting dressed about to head out for the night when One Handsome Dad enters and gives his opinion. It was time for me to sit it down, I was way too pregnant to be going out with my girls and the subject was not up for debate. First, I know y’all can imagine the look on my face, I’m a grown woman, I do what I want, I was always safe and monitoring my environment, I needed to breath and get out before my last little one arrived. Apparently that did not matter to him as he walked out the door for HIS night out! No biggie I’d just call my girls to pick me up. That’s when the betrayal really settled in. Apparently they’d all had a discussion without me that it was time for me to enjoy my pregnancy on the couch. My friends, bless their hearts, were just looking out for me, but in a moment where my hormones didn’t belong to me I was hurt. I just wanted to hang out and be a part of the grown up crew before my life changed and everything became about this sweet little person we were waiting on. I needed a reality check.

Reality- I was too pregnant to be out partying. I knew it, I just didn’t want to accept it. I’d made a life decision and I wanted everyone around me to accommodate that decision. Yeah, I can be a little selfish. As a pregnant mama I had to realize that just because I couldn’t be out with my girls didn’t mean we were not friends, friendships change and that’s okay. So, I settled into my comfy clothes and shoes, grabbed a good book/tv remote/cell and partied right there in the house. What did my friends do? They still went out that night! But they made sure to plan activities that would include me and my belly. See that’s what really matters in friendships, that you make sure you all are growing together, loving on each other, and taking care of each other. I’m grateful I didn’t have to feel like I was being left behind.

pregnant pause 1Don’t forget your friends! Maybe she’s not pregnant, but has something else going on that could change your friendship, don’t count her out. We need each other, to support each other, to share secrets with someone who knows you and your heart. How has a decision you have made or your friends have made change the dynamics of your relationship? Are you all able to still maintain your friendship?

parenting

CURLS Poppin!

IMG-0895I don’t know if this was marketing genius or the marketing gods shining down but this weekend was a beast when it came to natural hair affairs! First was the release of Nappily Ever After on Netflix and then Curl Power Delux hosted by our favorite naturalista HeyCurlie! Both of these changed my perspective on what the next step in my own hair journey will be. So sit back, relax and enjoy this natural flava!

The long-awaited release of Nappily Ever After starring Sanaa Lathan did not disappoint. Honest moment, I never read the book, which is usually a big no-no for me, I went against my norm and watched the movie anyway. The story takes us along the journey of Violet who is perfect, long straight hair, perfect clothes, beat face, the woman that captures every man’s and woman’s attention when she walks by. Should I say SPOILER ALERT now?! Not to give anything away, but imperfection rears its ugly head and turns her world is turned upside down. In a dramatic scene we see Violet (Lathan) shave her head bald. Have you ever had one of those moments where you just need a change and you do something you might regret?! I’ve never shaved my head but I’ve had a few of those moments myself. Violet discovers she is more than just her hair, she is perfectly imperfect and embraces her natural curls. This revelation allows her to become the person she wants to be all along and we see her evolve from her mom’s puppet into a beautiful, confident woman. Natural hair journeys are a very personal experience, watching Violet transition, although only for an hour and a half, will hopefully open hearts and minds of others to realize that this journey is about more than just hair, this journey is about self-love, self-acceptance, self-care.

I am not a natural hair girl, but Anissa (the youngest Hot Kid) is. So why not take her to a place where her fellow naturals are gathering…we enter the Queendom of the Curl Power Deluxe and it was an amazing experience. Let me first tell you that Anissa watches all of HeyCurlie’s videos she is always asking me to give her a bun or side ponytail like HeyCurlie. For her to go to an event hosted by her she was more than excited. Personally I sometimes feel rejected by the natural girl community. I relax my hair, which means I use chemicals to straighten it which makes it unnatural. As we enter into the room though I don’t feel rejected. All the volunteers and vendors are extremely helpful and knowledgeable about natural hair and their products. This was the first time I’ve felt like I could ask questions about transitioning my hair without someone getting annoyed by the number of questions I have or how uninformed I am about my natural hair. I never got that, how am I suppose to learn about my natural hair if no one answers my questions. But in this place, with all these curls my questions are answered.

I learned curl patterns, transitional products, what it means to co-wash, I learned how to wear my head wraps, and most importantly I found a community of naturals that did not judge my straight hair but instead embraced me because this event was about more than hair. This was a self-love experience. Each and every conversation I had was amazing, women telling other women how beautiful they were, embracing each other, laughing, dancing, eating, drinking and being merry. Then as luck would have it I’m in the lounge of the restroom taking selfies with Anissa and two women walk in. One I recognize from a conversation earlier the other has a hat covering her face with the HOTTEST dress I have seen in a long time. This dress is made for this curvacious curlie, I’m a curvacious cur–, well you know. I compliment her dress and begin to ask questions, yes I ask a lot of questions. I ask her for her IG name so I can follow her and get this dress. She laughs and as she does her head tilts back and I recognize her, Lois Reid-Hines, the CEO of Tropic Isle Living and our speaker for this event. I have a fangirl moment, since HeyCurlie introduced her I have been IG stalking. This is super cool as I was going to have to exit the event (mommy duties) before she takes the stage. In the lounge of that restroom I listen to her, her spirit appears sweet and gentle and welcoming. She answers my questions with grace, we embrace and she is off to make every other curlie feel as special as she made me feel. This event has been awesomely informative and I grateful to HeyCurlie for bringing it to our city.

With all the information I gathered and the warmth received at Curl Power Delux, I’ve made a decision…This straight haired lady is going natural! Please stay tune and follow me on my natural hair journey as I let my own curls POP!

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parenting

Who Is Tarsha McMillian?

IMG-0696If you have been following my social media then you know that last week was epic for me! If you don’t know anything about me I am sure you know this one thing…I LOVE ANTHONY HAMILTON! My family has put up with my borderline obnoxious behavior regarding this man for a long time, so it was no surprise when my cousin found out he would be in town and said I should go. So, I went. I enter a room full of people who all seem to know each other and they are talking about the real reason they are there. They are there because Tarsha McMillian is releasing her single. I am there to meet Anthony Hamilton. The room darkens and we take our seats, by this time I’ve spotted Mr. Hamilton and I’m not taking my eyes off him. There’s a video playing on the wall entitled “Who is Tarsha McMillian?!” Ms. McMillian is passionate, driven, the bestest friend anyone could ever ask for, she is an amazing mother, she is giving, she is full of purpose, and oh SHE CAN SANG! These are all words people in the video used to describe Ms. McMillian. The spot light hits the stage and she enters the room, a gorgeous chocolate woman, with a fierce hair cut, she is small in stature and her voice is as sweet as apple pie. She thanks everyone for attending and then the band starts to play…

The little sweet as apple pie voice turns into this monstrous, larger than life, melodic, seasoned, gospel, rock, soul, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, dope a$$ SANGER! There is a difference between a singer and a sanger, this woman can sang. What happened next will surprise anyone who knows me, I lost track of Anthony Hamilton! I know right what is the world coming too. I couldn’t help it, I couldn’t take my eyes off of what I was witnessing. Tarsha, because now we friends, has a way of drawing you in, making you want to know more about the stories she is telling through song. She is humble and gracious, with some funk on the side. You get so lost in her captivating voice that at one point it feels like every song is about you or something you went through. I live for moments like that when I connect with an artist and feel like they are speaking into my life.  But where is Anthony Hamilton? Right where my eye left him last enjoying this magical moment with the rest of Tarsha’s fans, now including me!

Who is Tarsha McMillian? She is transparent, thankful, an overcomer, a believer, a fighter. She is a daughter, a sister, a divorcee. Tarsha shared a powerful testimony during this intimate experience, one that touched my soul and caused me to reflect on the things in my life, the waiting periods in my life when I wasn’t sure how things were going to work out or even if they would. Tarsha was broken but healed, she is a personal praise break (I loved this description). The list can go on and on about who Tarsha McMillan is, but the one thing I’m sure everyone who was there that evening can agree on is that she is definitely READY!

If you want to know more about who Tarsha McMillian is check our her single “I’m Ready” on Itunes.

Now you may be asking yourself, this woman who loves Anthony Hamilton didn’t get to meet him. Well you’d be wrong…IMG-0697

Side note: My favorite Tarsha McMillian song is Silence Kills, look into it!

 

parenting

It’s A Shame! Part 2

IMG-0190So let’s just say in the last few weeks shaming has been at an all time high. I’m not sure why others take such liberties to tell you about how you should feel bad, but they do. I often wonder what do these people tell themselves when they look in the mirror or when someone corrects them about being who they are. How do they feel? Apparently not bad enough to stop doing it to others. In this week’s shaming story, it’s just me and this body that I am in, that I love but apparently someone felt I should not be so crazy about.

I was in my office minding my business, on this day my hair was wrapped up like a Nubian goddess, I had on a perfect floor length sundress, face was au natural, and my scent was a hint of coconut. I was feeling good, not just about my look but I was having a good day. Then I felt the room get dark and an evil presence enter who wanted to take my happiness away. I’m joking no evil presence just someone else who does not work in my office decided to tell us about the detox she was on. As I try to shy away and head to my office she notices. Excuse me, I wanted to tell you about the detox what’s going on with you?! Who me?! She then proceeds to question my head wrap and explain how a real lady does not wear that type of adornment outside of her home. She assumes that underneath my scarf my hair must be a mess and I should really take the time, just a few seconds and do something besides the scarf. She’s an older woman and I respect my elders so I respectfully nod at her suggestions. You would think it would have stopped there, but I guess because I didn’t completely lose it on her about the hair comment she thought she should continue. Next, apparently I need to detox because my face was super red and it was probably red because of the toxins in my body and not enough water. Again I just nod and try to respectfully move toward my office. 15 minutes later a discussion about how my spirituality was reflected in my look and I need to get right with God, I finally tell her to be blessed and to have a good day. Now I failed to mention earlier she wasn’t just having this conversation with me, but my other co-worker was present as well. Yeah, she was trying to shame me in front of someone else.

After she left, my co-worker asked why I hadn’t responded with a swift, you need to be checked demeanor. My response, I’m confident enough in myself to know that what her thoughts are, are not my own. Why would I take the time to explain that I’d been wearing my hair in a nice flat wrap waiting for it to dry before I removed my wrap, but that I was proud of myself for finally learning how to correctly tie the wrap up on my head ( I watched a billion YouTube videos), that I was in the midst of a rosacea flare up, that instead of covering it up with make-up I decided to let my skin breathe and for the first time in days my skin felt cool. Or why would I explain that me and Jesus are super cool, that we talk on a regular basis and all is well with my soul. I knew that she had already made up in her mind to judge what she didn’t know and she didn’t want to get to know. Why waste time and effort trying to get her to see beyond her own thoughts. And checking her would just feed into her already negative thoughts, so instead I just nod.

But what if I wasn’t confident in myself, what if I was at my breaking point and one more comment would have sent me over the edge? People don’t often think before they speak and sometimes they don’t realize that their helpful advice isn’t so helpful. For me I’ve been in love with who I am for a long time, but a lot of women I work with or speak with are just learning this, what damage is being done my others to take them off the path to self-love?!

I challenge each of us to not assume we know what a person has going on based on one glance and our opinion, but if you really care to get to know that person and if you don’t ZIP IT! Have you been shamed? How did you handle it?

parenting

It’s A Shame!

IMG-0358 (1)I honestly hate that this is a conversation we have to keep having but it’s a very necessary one. I’m talking about the conversation around Mom Shaming! It’s a tough enough job nurturing and guiding these people we’ve been given, but to have someone take a hammer and shatter your confidence in this area it’s a bit much. We all know we don’t have it all together, yet each day we at least attempt to put on this brave face and join society. The last thing you need when trying to hold it together is someone giving you the look. We all know the look, when someone tilts their head up in the air slightly to look down upon you, mom’s also have that stare, but it’s an ancient secret I can’t reveal here. Why do we, people think it’s okay to make someone feel bad about their parenting, just because they may not do it the way we do it doesn’t make it wrong. Can’t we all learn from each other.

So here’s the story Anissa loves to where these kitten heel boots she found. She puts them on with her favorite dress and I watch as she transforms into this character that is a singer, actress, mom, superhero, teacher and doctor. I can see her become empowered and it makes me feel good. The other day she wears this magnificent outfit with me as I grocery shop. Everyone is admiring her little boots with the heels. She in turn clacks them together and gallops away so they can see and hear them. She loves to put on a show. As I giggle, I hear a whisper, “She think she’s grown,” I look around to see who thinks they’re grown, because I’m obviously grown and so is the other lady in the aisle and then there’s just Anissa so who is she talking to?! I ignore and keep reading the package and Anissa keeps clacking. I then hear, “Who would let their little girl wear heels?” So now I know she’s talking to me because unless a ghost was going to reveal himself to us both we were the only ones in the aisle. I politely inquire about her comment with an excuse me. ” I was just wondering where you got those little heels? They are cute, how is she walking in them?” My reply, better than some grown women I know!

As Anissa and I walk out of the aisle I could feel her staring and shaking her head. If I wasn’t confident in who I am as a mom I would have questioned myself and probably took away Anissa’s shoes because of course if this one lady is thinking it someone else must have thought it too.  I know that shoes don’t cause Anissa to grow up any quicker, I also know that she likes the shoes because of the sound they make when she walks. So why was this lady so concerned?! She wasn’t, she didn’t care about Anissa’s welfare she just wanted to judge me based on what she thought she knew. What did she know? Absolutely nothing!

This was just a small incident for me there have been countless others where people assume their opinions matter just because parenting styles don’t match. The beauty of our world is that we are all different, which means the people we raise will be a little bit of us and a whole lot of different. What gives any of us the right to stop that progression? So my advice to the shamers…STOP IT!

Have you ever felt like someone was trying to shame you? How did you handle it?

parenting

Being Nanekia…Do Not Apply Pressure!

jesus-hilario-h-311382-unsplashHey Hotties! The school year has officially started for most (YAY!) This summer was amazing the kids and I had a great time on some great adventures. As most of you know Anissa has started kindergarten and Jamiel is a freshmen in high school. Yeah, yeah, I know the spacing, but you know I like it spicy and the way to keep it that way is to spread them far apart, just joking that’s life. Anyway that’s not what this post is about. My son is attending a great private school, that has a high moral and educational code, they are expecting students to excel in all areas of their lives and become productive members of society. What parent doesn’t what that for their child?! I knew this was the place for my son and we have been excited all year for his start, that was until the first week of school.

Jamiel is my calm child, he doesn’t stress too much, he goes with the flow. So imagine my surprise when I caught him up late one night in a panic. His eyes were red, he had a strained look on his face and he was grabbing his stomach. My immediate response, food poisoning! As I begin to feel his forehead and ask about his other symptoms I realized it wasn’t food poisoning, Jamiel was stressed. In my mind I was thinking we are just the first week in, how can you be stressed already. I didn’t want to make light of how he was feeling, so I got him some water and asked if we could talk. (I always ask my kids if they want to talk I don’t assume they are ready just because I am.)

I took a look at what was on the screen of his laptop and there was this overwhelming schedule, something completely new to him, new teachers, new concepts to learn, new school, new people. While this could be the possibility for each school year, something was very different for him this time around. In his words, “I’m a young adult now people expect me to be responsible all the time, to know things I don’t really know, to perform. I’m always hearing how as a young black man I have to do more, HOW DO I DO MORE?!” I felt bad cause honestly I didn’t have an answer for him, I’m still trying to figure out how I can do more and I’ve had almost 40 years to do so. In the first week of school he had 3 quizzes, 2 papers, football practice, a football game, his chores for home,  and time for a social life, for someone who hasn’t had to jungle this before this was a huge shock to his system. He went through several conversations before we narrowed down his real concern, would he be a disappointment.

Jamiel’s disappointment statement hurt my heart, why would he ever think he was a disappointment. then I remembered a conversation we had earlier this summer. School was never hard for me, I didn’t have to study, I could read something one time and just know it. Jamiel had the same ability in middle school but high school is a whole new ballgame. His confidence was low, how do I help him regain it?

  1. We made a schedule for him to stick to and added the events to the calendar on his phone with reminders. There is time for studying, homework, and time each night to ask me questions about what he may need help with.
  2.  He signed up for tutoring, it’s available free through the school so why not utilize the resource.
  3. We are reading for fun a book together, to expand his horizons. We’ll be able to discuss with each other, hopefully helping him to engage in this conversation will give him with the confidence to engage in class.
  4. I’ve put the tribe on notice and asked that they pray for him and send him encouraging words. I am a firm believer that the people in your child’s life should speak excellence over their life.
  5. Going to bed on time. As much as he wants to be up playing Fortnite, he realizes that he needs rest.
  6. I’ve realized that I want him to do well, to succeed, but not at the cost of his mental health. Open communication about the pressures he feels will always be a constant in our home.

It’s important that we listen to and not just talk at our children. Their feelings matter and we need to watch the pressures we apply. What do you do when you notice your child may be a little stressed? How are you helping to alleviate that stress?

 

parenting

Back to School Blues!!

back to school 2018Summer is wrapping up and school is right around the corner (YAY!). Parents your grocery bill is about to go back to normal, just wait on it. I think that’s the thing that excites me the most my bills will normalize and well the fact that I will have a high schooler and a kindergartener. But let’s face it along with those joyous moments as we prepare to send our kids back out into the education jungle, there are some struggles to be had.

For our entire summer break, we’ve stayed up late, slept in, basically our schedule was a free for all, but with school just a few weeks away it’s time to make some adjustments. I once read somewhere (if I could recall I would give credit) that it takes 12 consecutive days for something to become a routine. So since school is just about that amount of time away we have started the following;

  1. Preparing our clothes/lunches for the next day the night before so we can do our morning routine and have our outfit/food for the day ready.
  2. Going to bed at a decent time. This is mainly for my 5-year-old, if she doesn’t get enough sleep we all pay the price in the morning. I don’t want her to start off on a bad note at a new school so 8pm bedtime it is. Now for some this is late, but for our family schedule this is perfect. Helping her develop her nightly routine distracts her from the fact her brother isn’t going to bed.
  3. Test runs to both schools and to work. We’ve gotten up and driven to both schools during rush hour to see how much time it takes. OUR FAMILY IS ALWAYS LATE! I want to start fresh with the new schools so being on time is a priority.
  4. Update your calendar! Hopefully your child’s school has sent out the yearly calendar, you should update your family calendar now. That way you are well aware of school events that will take place and ca prepare accordingly.
  5. FOr older children like my high schooler we have started the conversation about the appropriate amount of study time. With social media we need to be intentional about the time we give toward studying and sticking to it. If you start the conversation now then those “But Mom” moments will hopefully lessen because you;ve already discussed your expectation for studying.

You can still enjoy those last few weeks before school starts, but don’t get left behind and wondering why you are struggling, implement routines now to help alleviate this problem. What are some things you do to help your child(ren) prepare for the return to school? Comment below.

These may help you as well!
LuminoLite Rechargeable 3000K Warm 6 LED Book Light

For those late night’s when your high schooler needs to study late!

Alarm Clock & Night-Light

Rise & Shine little one with this nifty night light and clock!
Learning Responsibility Star Chart

Teaching responsibility doesn’t have to stress you out. Using a chore chart and holding your child accountable will help the future leaders of tomorrow!

The Night Before Kindergarten

The night before the first BIG day of school can be hard, help your child ease into the situation with this cute story about how children are preparing for school.

parenting

I Need A Date!

date night footageNow that I’ve got your attention…I have someone to date but I was in need of some date night ideas. I mean we do the norm, dinner, drinks, movies, bowling, ect. I was looking for something to do outside of these things that would say be a little more cost-effective, if you know what I mean. So here are my top 5 date night to do at a great cost to you and your love. Enjoy and let me know how they work out!

  1. One of my favorites is a nice long drive. Now you may be thinking gas cost (and it does) but this is where a little homework and research does you some good. We never go for a long drive without having a purpose (even on date night). Once the kiddies are in bed, baby sitter obtained (we have live in) we head out for our adventure. Where do we go. Well usually we go and look at houses that one day will be our dream home, this may seem boring to some, but why not dream with the one you love of what your brighter and better future could be. If we get bored with that then we take in the night-time scenery. Things look a lot different at night than during the day. Open up your mind and imagination and take in something you may have overlooked during your normal daily drive. There’s magic in the night-time air and you two can enjoy it!
  2. Let’s take a long walk…I love when Jill Scott sings that part and I love a long walk with my guy. We have gone for long walks through the downtown part of our city, around the pond (I think this may be our favorite spot) and at the park. It’s something about that night breeze just before the park closes and you get pulled in close to give you just enough warmth that is magical! And guess what? It’s free to walk! Again, there’s something different about the city lights at night that we can’t capture during the day. You never really realize how spectacular your city is until you’ve had the opportunity to pick a secluded spot and stare out into it at night!
  3. Lights, camera, action! Get your mind out of the gutter! There are a few areas in our city that have magic during the day as well. Whether it be your favorite statue, the park, or just a busy city street, there is nothing like having the person who you love and loves you back take your picture. Now we are not talking about the multitude of selfies you take before you pick the right one. But think about it they see you sometimes when you can’t even see yourself. I love our impromptu photo shoots. Even better looking at the pics after where I normally critique myself but then he reminds me of how beautiful I am. Ladies…who doesn’t want to hear that they are beautiful?!
  4. Late night jam sessions! This is one for the couple who has to stay in the house. We LOVE music in our home. But all too often we don’t get to enjoy it because we are busy or the children are controlling the airwaves. But then there are moments where it’s just he and I and we battle back and forth about who has the most music knowledge or we challenge each other to find our favorite song in a particular genre. Maybe this one is my fave. I love to dance and this type a night always leads to dancing. Thanks to my friend Sabrina Lewis, Music Aficionado for this ‘For Lovers Only” playlist: Juicyfruit (Mtume), Me & Mrs. Jones (Billy Paul), For the Lover In You (Shalamar), Angel (Angela Winbush), Adore (Prince), Make It Last Forever (Keith Sweat), Forever My Lady (Jodeci) and you know I can’t leave out Anthony Hamilton (ANYTHING by him is gold)
  5. Finally, another one for those that have to stay in and chill. Y’all already know Netflix & Chill. Now I don’t know about y’all Netflix and Chill game but mine is pretty strong. We put the kids to bed or send everyone to their rooms. We get all our favorite snack, you know the food we don’t sneak into the movies when we go (wink, wink). We set-up our space, rock/paper/scissors for who will control the movie picking first. And then…we enjoy a good laugh, or drama, or mystery. I have to say the Mister is the better movie picker.

All of these ideas are about enjoying time with the one you love, no matter the cost, but if we can be cost efficient then SCORE. Take time out to invest time into your relationship, I promise you won’t regret it. What are you guys doing on your date nights? Do you have date nights? Comment below.

Also below find a few things to help your date night adventure! Click the pic to learn more!
Folding Picnic Basket Large Insulated Bag
On a long care ride or just going to the park this little picnic basket is guaranteed to keep your food nice and fresh!

Pyle Surround Portable Boombox Best
You can take your Jam Session with you if you have this portable bluetooth speaker

Battery Operated LED Flameless Candle Lanterns
Set the mood and light up the night with these battery operated lanterns.

Food Storage Containers with Lids
You got the picnic baskets, grab these containers as well. Fresh, fun, food!

Repel Sportsmen Max Insect Pump Spray
you’re enjoying your romantic stroll and here comes Mr. Mosquito! Not if you invest in some repellent!

parenting

What the Workout?! What Am I Using to Maximize My Workouts?!

nik workoutSo a few of you have asked what I’ve been using along this weight loss journey, there are so many products out there to aid you and all you want to know is the TRUTH! Well I’m here to share my truth with you.

Waist Trainer & Vests

I have two waist training vest that I rotate between for each work. Both help with supporting my core and getting the best sweat for my workout bucks. For ladies with a heavier bust I recommend the FeelinGirl Women’s Vest Sport Girdle Waist Trainer Trimmer XXL. This training vest wraps around your waist area and has a zipper sports bra area that helps keep your girls intact! We all can use that support. The other vest I use is Junlan Womens Shapewear Weight Loss Neoprene Sauna Sweat Waist Trainer Corset Tank Top Vest Sport Workout Slimming Body Shaper (M, Black Sauna Waist Trainer) I LOVE the corset part of this vest. The snug and secure feeling it gives during the workouts assures that not only is my core supported it forces me maintain proper posture during a vigorous workout session

Hair Care

The biggest issue I’ve had with this journey is maintaining my hair. I am not a natural girl so the flat irons and I are really good friends. Two things how can I maintain great undamaged hair and style. To help maintain undamaged hair (with color) I use the following shampoo and conditioner Vibrant Sexy Hair Shampoo & Conditioner Duo Set Liters. The constant washing of my hair was bleeding my color with the products I mentions I was able to maintain my hair color for 10 weeks, that’s right 10 WEEKS!

Now what do i do with all the sweat I work up. It has to go somewhere. All that moisture builds up I call the puff, which means I can’t tame this wild mane. So to cut down on the puff I use French Fitness Revolution Yoga Headbands for Women/Sweatband for Sports, Workout or Running, Insulates and Absorbs Sweat, Head Bands for Girls from this draws the moisture from my scalp into the headband, and then POOF no PUFF!

Undergarments

The vest and workout gear are just one part of getting fit. One of the most important components of your workout outfit is what you wear underneath your workout clothes. I can honestly say not having the proper underwear deterred me from working out at one point. If you are top-heavy person like me,  you need something that will properly support you, that’s why I wear SYROKAN Women’s High Impact Support Wirefree Workout Racerback Sports Bra Top Black L. This sports bra is amazing and helps keep everything in its place while I bounce around. For my lower half I keep it cute and simple with a boy short. My thighs still do a slow clap so to place a pause on the applause this shorts do the trick, G3 Womens Sports Underwear 6 Pack. Womens Boyshorts Panties Boxers. Pure Stretch. I’m all about fitness and being comfortable while I’m getting fit.

So there you have it! A few products to help you get started on your own fitness journey. You can also check out these items in my store. What are you currently using and willing to share? Drop that info in the comments.

(Amazon Associate post)