Thursday, December 4, 2014

7 Accessories to Spice Up Your Mommy Wardrobe

I am honored to be a guest today for the talented and chic Nancy from Afro Chic Mompreneur she embodies all things mommy, tips on how to successfully work from home, beauty, and being chic of course (please pay her visit, you won't regret it)!

As a mom of four boys, I’m usually climbing bleachers, getting dirty at the park, or chasing down runaway toddlers, and as a result, my wardrobe has to be light, simple, and flexible enough that I can break out in a sprint when need be. I am a hybrid when it comes to my mommy wardrobe, I like to still look somewhat put together while still keeping it simple. You can be fashionable, while still being comfortable. Here are my 7 favorite accessories for adding a little spice to your everyday mommy wear.(Continue Reading)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Whole Weekend of Lincoln Heights...Here's What I Learned

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We recently renewed our Netflix subscription after a long hiatus, and somehow over the Thanksgiving break, my husband and teenage sister-in-law drug me into their obsession with Lincoln Heights. Now, in case you missed this series when it was out here's a quick synopsis. 

It's about a police officer named Eddie who brings his family back to his childhood neighborhood to live, while he cleans up the streets he used to live in. Eddie and his wife Jenn have three teenage kids; Cassie, Lizzie, and Tay. The series followed Eddie and his struggle to keep his family safe and out of harms way, while still maintaining strong family values. So, I watched all four seasons in the span of about two and a half days; once I got sucked in I was as snug as a bug in a rug stuck under a jug. However, my zombie-like watching of this series was not not in vain, here's a few things I took away from it...

1.  I couldn't be a police officer, I'm a punk, I'm not running in any dark alleys, or kicking in any doors, I just don't have the heart to do it. Plus, I don't think I'm as far above bribery as I should be, for a good bacon cheeseburger, and a soda, I just might look the other way.

2.  Teenagers lie, a lot. Not only do they lie a lot, they are horrible at it. I began thinking was I that bad of a liar when I was teen? I would like to think that I was clever, cunning, and innovative in the lies I told (hey, I didn't tell that many lies, oh stop judging). Then, don't let teenagers get in a group and start thinking together, that's like a cat chasing a donkey's tail...something's bound to go wrong.

3.  If I was a nurse it would mean that I could possibly get stuck with a bloody needle while somebody is reaching for a cell phone. I don't know if this has ever actually happened to any real-life nurses but it happened on t.v. which makes it really real.

4.  Don't befriend a little boy at the volunteer center if he carries around a stuffed bear with a ripped ear. Why? Cause it could be filled with drugs that were stolen from a drug king pin, putting your life in danger. However, you may be safe if a masked vigilante that was stealing groceries from stores and giving them to the poor happens to come along at the right time, and judo flips the bad guys, and thus saves your life in the process (it could happen...stop looking like that).

5.  There's a possibility that if you live in a super old house, that there's a big sack of old money behind a wall that you didn't know was there. However, you won't find it until there's an earthquake which causes a fire, and you have to run up to the attic and grab your girlfriend's sketch pad before the house burns down. While doing this you turn and accidentally bump into the wall at just the right angle.

6. Strong family values make a difference. Amidst all of the chaos, shootouts, drug trafficking, kid napping, etc. Eddie and his family made sure they didn't lose sight of who they were. Eddie and Jenn worked hard to protect their children, but even harder teaching their children how to protect themselves. As parents we don't know how long we will have with our children, and we can't always be there to protect them. The world is cold, and it takes no prisoners, so arm your children with strong values, so no matter what goes on around them they are firmly rooted.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Top 5 Thanksgiving Fails

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Everyone knows that the holidays can be stressful, but we can always find comfort in seeing the Thanksgiving fails of others. So, if for nothing else, be thankful that you haven't done these Thanksgiving fails...or have you?

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5. Burnt Beyond Recognition. Has your turkey ever caught on fire, or been burnt to the point that it no longer resembles a turkey at all? How do you recover from a crispy, extinguished, turkey. This is one that you can never live down. (No one was seriously injured its okay to laugh). At least you won't have to worry about any salmonella poisoning this year.

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4. Where's the Giblets? Still inside the turkey... This happened to me a few years ago, actually it was my first time cooking Thanksgiving dinner on my own, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. The result....giblet gravy...inside the turkey. My husband won't let me live this one down til' this day. I'm glad my name isn't something like Grace, because "Giblet Gracie" is just too easy.

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3. Hooters for Thanksgiving anyone? So, I guess I will reveal several of my own fails here. We had pre-ordered a turkey one year because I didn't feel like the responsibility of the turkey, really I was just scared I would mess up the centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner. To make a long story short, the place lost our order, so on Thanksgiving we were left without a turkey. How do you explain the absence of the turkey on Thanksgiving, that's like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with no jelly! So, luckily Hooters is always open and at the time was right up the street. No, it wasn't a turkey, but good wings isn't a bad substitute. A pair of Hooters saved my Thanksgiving that year.

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2. Family Brawl. At any holiday get together there's going to be relatives that get on each other's last nerves. We all have that one family member that you already know if they show up for Thanksgiving it's going down. Have any of you had a good Thanksgiving family brawl? I'm all for a good brawl, just don't mess up the food, have some manners and take the fight out to the front lawn.

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1. Who's the Drunk? Anyone ever had that guest that doesn't know when to put the bottle down at all of the holiday functions? Drunk people at the dinner table can go one or two ways: either they provide hours of endless entertainment, or they annoy the stuffing out of everyone, resulting in fail #2...a family brawl.

The holidays are for family, love, and laughter. Take this time to cherish the ones closest to you, and remember that if your turkey turns out a little dry this year, at least it didn't catch on fire. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Traveling with Kids for the Holidays? Here's a Few Tips

If you have traveled with children before, you know that "what can go wrong, will go wrong", so it is best to be prepared just in case your trip takes an unexpected turn.

1. Pack lots of snacks. Snacks are essential for any road trip, it will reduce the number of food stops, and keep them occupied. Make sure they are snacks that the little ones can consume safely and easily on their own. Try snacks that are less greasy, and not too sugary, the last thing you want is a little one with an upset tummy in the backseat. Cheerios, or a similar dry cereal are always a good choice. Make sure its something you don't need to refrigerate if you're traveling a couple of hours. 10 Best Travel Snacks for Kids.

2. Don't over do it with liquids. With little ones it's hard to keep them on a bathroom schedule, but it doesn't hurt to try. Be mindful not to give your kids too much to drink while traveling, unless you want to stop for a bathroom run every twenty minutes. I would suggest giving them liquids about 30 mins before you plan on making a bathroom stop. 

If you are potty training, traveling can be scary, but take some of the pressure off. Invest in a few pairs of training underpants, so if they do have an accident, its not too epic. Also, if you're like me and are deathly afraid of public restrooms, invest in some disposable seat covers. You can find these in Walmart or Target, for about five bucks. They are especially for toddlers, and come in fun and colorful designs. 

3. Be prepared to entertain. If you have a DVD player in your car, make sure its ready to go, and you have their favorite movies on deck. Tablets, smart phones, e-readers, etc. should be fully charged and ready for battle the night before. Story books and coloring books also make for an easy activity on the road. Singing songs is another good way to keep the kids entertained while also feeding their urge to scream and shout; at least its channeled into a somewhat cohesive tune, instead of random yelling, and screaming. Old fashioned road games still work too, such as i-spy, and spot the car. 10 Best Car Games for Kids.

4. Make a checklist. A checklist will help alleviate some of the last minute second guessing as to whether you packed everything. These are a few staple items that should be on every parent's checklist when traveling with kids.

  • Extra clothes-bring twice as many change of clothes as you think you'll need
  • Batteries- something you need electronic is bound to die on your prepared
  • Chargers- again, something you need electronic is bound to die, and it doesn't take prepared.
  • Fully stocked diaper bag- if you still have little wee ones, having a fully stocked diaper bag that is at arms reach in the car will be helpful.
  • Pillows and blankets- if your child has a favorite pillow or blanket, make sure it makes the packing list, or you will be hearing about it throughout your entire trip.
  • Toys, story books, and coloring books- you don't want to over clutter your car when traveling, but smaller toys and books that can be put in a baggy or small book bag will definitely come in handy.
  • Snacks- don't forget the snacks!

5. Make a detour if you have time. If you're not pushed for time and you're making a trip that requires a couple hours of riding time, stop somewhere scenic or fun and let the kids stretch their legs. On our last trip the rest stop had a good deal of space for the kids to runaround, so we took about 30-45 mins to let them runaround. The visitors center also had some interesting maps that my older two enjoyed investigating. Remember that kids can hardly stay put at the kitchen table, and to have them strapped in for hours can be a bit much for them. 

6. Accept that things will stray from the plan. When traveling with kids, nothing is predictable. On our last trip, our son got sick and started throwing up in the back seat. He did this on and off the greater part of our seven hour drive, it was horrible. We stopped twice as many times, and he went through most of his change of clothes during the car ride. Doing laundry was not in our plans since we were only staying two days, so needless to say we hadn't packed any laundry detergent. His car seat, blankets, and pillow all had to be washed when we reached the hotel. What I'm trying to say here is that things just don't go as planned, so make extra time, and allot extra funds for things that might go astray.

Try to stay calm, and patient if things go a little left (look, I said try, I know this is easier said than done).

Have safe and happy travels with the kids this holiday season, and if it all seems too overwhelming just tell the family dinner is at your house this year!

Monday, November 24, 2014

"Excuse Me, You're Blocking My Son's Spotlight"

Okay, so I hate to admit it but I'm that mom, that pushes into the front to get a good shot of my baby at the PTA program. Or that mom that yells out her child's name as he enters the stage, or gives that annoying "whoowhoo!" at the end of his performance. Yep, that's me. What can I say I love my kids, and I'm a proud mama.

Today, my son had a performance at the Savannah's Children Theater (great little place to stop if you're in the Savannah, GA area), and I was there as usual front and center (well usually I have to make my way from the back cause I'm always late but you get the point). So, the first group went up, and they were cute and adorable, but I was thinking, "okay hurry up, I'm ready to see my baby". Then I see my son get up and make his way to the stage with his classmates. This is the sign to go ahead and cue up the phone, to get that perfect shot. Just when I had my cell camera set on his cute little face just perfect, somebody stands in the way...what I wanted to do was yell out, "hey, get the heck out of my son's spotlight!" but I didn't, I do have some manners thank you very much.

  • Have you ever bum-rushed the stage just to get the perfect shot of your kid at his PTA performance? 
  • Have you ever cropped any of your child's classmates out of his/her pictures? 
  • Does everybody at the performance know who your child is by the end?
  • Do people stare at you because you're cheering absolutely too loud, for only your kid? 
  • Have you ever made the whole family wear a team "insert your child's name here" shirt to your child's event?

I finally got my clear shot again, and snapped away, followed by the video of him singing off key and moving in a not so rhythmic manner like the rest of his compadres. Time to go right? Nope, three more groups to go, and while they were equally as entertaining and adorable, I had got what I came for. However, since it's just plain rude to get up and walk out on little kids, I sat through the rest of the performance. I fought the urge to run out like the place was on fire, or have my son fake an asthma attack (and he doesn't even have asthma) so we could make a break for it.

Yes, all kids are special and wonderful, but nobody is as special as your own pride and joy, especially under that spotlight! By the way if you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, you just might be a "You're Blocking My Child's Spotlight" kind of mom, don't worry, you're in good company.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

6 Ways To Get A Momcation Without Straying Far From Home

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Mommyhood is a continuous job, and as super as we are (yep, I will pat my own self on the back..and here's one for you too), we all need a break sometimes. Taking a real vacation to somewhere tropical, with little coconut drinks would be great, however, those are hard to come by and take months of planning and saving. Don't worry though, you can still get a piece of the dream, here's six ways to unwind, and still be close enough to kiss the kiddies goodnight.

6. Shop til' You Drop. This one is a no brainer, shopping is always a great pick me up. As moms we sometimes forget to treat ourselves every once in a while. I know me personally, I have some clothes in my closet that Goodwill won't even take. Refresh your closet and get some new threads. Not only will your kids appreciate it when you come up to the school in something other than that sweatshirt from high school, it will give you a confidence boost, and make you feel like someone other than just (insert your child's name here)'s mom.

5. Treat Your Pallet. If you know me, you know I love food. Good food is like a mood changer for me, give me a good burger, and a soda and I'm on cloud 9 (I know this is not the healthiest alternative but its a treat, I don't eat it every day, I promise). It's been proven that food can affect your mood (or at least its been proven by me, and I am a subject matter expert). Treat yourself to your favorite restaurant for brunch, or grab your favorite mocha late whatever at Starbucks. On those rough days, when you need a break, indulge a little, you deserve it.

4. Pedicure, Please! My feet have been screaming for a pedicure for weeks, I probably need to take my own advice here, because I really did rip a pair of socks with my toenail the other day (don't judge me). A pedicure is like a little piece of heaven on earth. It's so relaxing, and for two weeks after, you will look like you really care about your feet. When you sit back in that massaging chair, while getting your feet rubbed and scrubbed and scraped (I really hate the scraper thing because it's so not discrete, I don't think its anyone else's business how much dead skin just came off of my feet), it makes you feel like a celebrity, its all about you for a whole 45 mins.

3. Bring on the Tunes. Put on some good music the next time you start making dinner, it will change your life. Whatever it is that relaxes you, some jazz, country, r&b, or in my case some good ol' 2000's hip hop (yes, its the edited version for the young ears in the house), turn it up and relax. I mean we spend all day listening to all the theme songs on the Disney channel, I think we deserve an hour of adult listening. Plus its harder to hear my boys yelling to the top of their lungs for no good reason, when I have the music up to max volume.

2. Some Good T.V. Do you have a favorite show that's like a guilty pleasure? Mines is senseless, and shameful good ol' reality t.v. Yes, I know its not really reality as my husband likes to remind me, and gives me this look of disdain when I'm all into it but its entertaining. Sometimes I need a good laugh, even if its at the expense of the outright foolish behavior of someone else, hey they're getting paid for it, what's the big deal? So when the kids go to bed try to fight the urge to do more house work...I'm really bad at this, and fire up the D.V.R and catch up on your favorite shows. If you are more sophisticated and like to read, grab your favorite novel and tune out the world. Trust me, those three loads of laundry will still be there in the morning.

1. Find Your Peace. What brings you mental peace and tranquility may be different from my list, but make sure you find the time for whatever it is that makes you happy. No, we can't always getaway on a nice vacation, but there are plenty ways to give yourself a mental woosah (this really is a word in the urban dictionary, thank you very much). As moms we spend so much of our day thinking about everyone else and what they need, that its hard for us to wind down and lighten our mental load. Finding some type of mental relief for yourself, is essential to being the best mom, (and the million other titles you have) that you can be.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Reasons Why I Ignore My Kids' Christmas Lists

Yep, its getting about that time, when Christmas bells are ringing, and jingling. This is also around the time that our pockets get quite a bit lighter. About 2 weeks ago, the first toy catalog came in the mail, complete with a section for the kiddies to write their list...pretty clever advertising I must say so myself. So, they went at it, eyes glowing in awe of the hundreds of toys and not nearly enough slots on the list for everything they wanted. However, I guess they finally narrowed it down, and when I read them, it reminded me of why I ignore their Christmas lists every year.

Is that an iPhone? Yes, my 5 year old put an iPhone, an iPad, and an iPod, now that's too many dang "i's" for me. Now, I am a member of the "technology to keep my kids busy while I cook society", but there is no way that they are getting they're very own personal "i" anything. Nope, no way, no how.

Drum sets, keyboards, and doggie doo..oh my! Why do kids pick the loudest, most obnoxious toys they can find? If it's really loud, or poops and pees its right up their alley. No, no, no, we have a real dog that poops and pees entirely way too much, I don't need a toy that does the same. With four boys my house is already I really need the addition of artificial noise too??

We still have bills after Christmas. If I could, I would give my kids the world, but the reality is that we still have a mortgage to pay after the wrapping paper flies off. My kids would ask for the whole toy store if they could, but unless we'll be using that toy box to sleep in afterwards, we have to reign things in a little.

It's not all about the gifts. It's important to teach our kids that gifts and material things isn't what keeps us together. The love and laughter is what makes Christmas special, and brings us closer. As an adult I too forget this, and can sometimes get caught up on material things and price tags. I hope that while I'm teaching my kids a lesson, I hope that I teach myself a lesson too.