GINGERBREAD HOUSE

I remember my grandfather telling me that in the 1800s people started making gingerbread houses in Germany and the tradition came to America with Pennsylvanian German immigrants. I am originally from Duquesne, Pennsylvania, though we are not German, it was a little history lesson I will never forget. Also, one I was happy to share with my daughter at such a young age.

Unfortunately, my grandfather passed in July of 1993, but his memory lives on forever. My daughter and I have made it a tradition every December 9th (his birthday) to make a gingerbread house together in honor of my grandfather Warren Albert Johnson.

My daughter looks forward to making gingerbread houses. Every year we turn on Christmas music, and lay everything out on the table. I am not going to lie every time I try to make fresh gingerbread; we end up eating it. LOL, it doesn’t last long enough to make anything out of it. So, I buy gingerbread kits from the store. You can buy easy gingerbread kits at Five Below, Walmart or even Target. They’re usually under $20.

When I pull it out, she ends up eating more candy than ever goes on the house, but it definitely makes her happy. It’s also a great memory making craft and a time where I share stories about her Great Grandpa.

GIFT GIVING ANXIETY

So, I really thought that I was the only person in the world who has anxiety about giving gifts! At 44 years old, it was time to get to the cause of anxiety. I am so OVER it! Like this is supposed to be a fun experience! Although I do not love shopping honestly, I just rather be doing other things. Holidays are not supposed to bring me stress and anxiety. I am going to enjoy myself this year! No matter what. Then I started trying to rack my brain about the root of the problem as I made my holiday shopping list. It all became perfectly clear. For the first time ever, it made perfect sense to me. I realized it’s only certain people that cause me anxiety…WOMEN! 

I love shopping for children and men. They are super easy, and I always get to buy them really fun, easy things that make them laugh and they treasure! Men tend to be much more appreciative!  Especially with the little things in life, it doesn’t take much to make them happy. Socks, food, a game to play and they are set. The power of new underwear is majorly unrecognized by the masses. Also, if you ask a man what do you want or need, they tend to answer you! Ask a woman the same thing: either you get an unrealistic answer or none at all! I am to the point now that I won’t even bother to ask anymore.

This upcoming holiday season I am saying goodbye to my gift giving anxiety! Ima keep it simple and remove the emotions about making the right choices for someone else! It doesn’t matter what I would love for them to have or what I think would look nice on them. I aint racking my brain to buy them anything. It’s just not worth the unnecessary stress. If Covid has taught me nothing else, it taught me to let go of shit I can’t control.

Yes, a gift card / cash some think are not personal enough, BUT I don’t have to worry about if they like it or NOT, because those difficult people are going to pick it out themselves! Easy peasy for my mental health! Ladies, here go shopping. It’s a win, win for all parties involved! 

IT’S COQUITO TIME!

As I walked through the grocery store, I got excited when I saw eggnog loaded on the shelves. Not to disrespect my beloved “coquito,” but America likes to compare it to eggnog. In my opinion, coquito is the much better tasting cousin! Coquito is a traditional food that all Puerto Ricans hold close to their hearts. Growing up it is associated with Holidays, Love and Family. Coquito translated means “little coconut”. It is best enjoyed super cold. Here is how we make it in my house. If you are serving children or people who don’t drink, simply leave out the rum.

1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups (1 15 oz can) cream of coconut

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla

**1 1/2 cup white rum (must be white I prefer Bacardi of course)

cinnamon sticks for garnish

I suggest 1 1/2 cups of white rum. If that sounds like too much, start with 1 cup and add more to taste. I like to add just enough rum that it’s prickly on the back of your throat and warms you on the inside. It will be one of the few drinks you’ll have that is cold that warms you up. Just be careful because the flavor of the rum gets stronger the longer the drink “marinates”. LOL. If you have a family like mine, it could be the gift that keeps giving. Abuela once told me that egg yolk came from the white American tradition of eggnog, so some Rican’s have welcomed it into their coquito. I stick to my original roots, so I am part of the NO egg yolk camp! Debate amongst yourself and enjoy.

PUMPKIN NICE CREAM

Yes, I am one of those people who looks forward to fall all year long because I like all the seasonal pumpkin treats! While I can see Shawn Harrison (My Wally pop) rolling his eyes at me now out of disgust. He hates pumpkin and I should be ashamed but that fact that he hates it makes me enjoy it just a little more. LOL.

My daughter loves Pumpkin Nice Cream, so I make a big batch and keep extra in the freezer. It only takes like 3 minutes to make, so it’s the perfect last thought dessert.

5-6 frozen bananas

1 15-oz can of organic pumpkin puree (I remove from the can and freeze overnight beforehand)

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp of vanilla extra

6 pitted medjool dates (if you want it sweeter, freeze beforehand)

If you do not freeze ingredients beforehand:

Blend the pumpkin, spices, vanilla extract and dates until smooth.

Transfer to a shallow pan and freeze overnight.

If they are already frozen:

Break apart pumpkin mixture and add to the blender/food processor with frozen bananas. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Eat immediately as soft serve, freeze for 2-3 hours for a scoopable ice cream. You can keep leftovers in the freezer for up to 3 days.

Visit An Apple Orchard

Visiting an apple orchard is the perfect fall field trip for homeschoolers. I love our local orchard because I always call ahead and they let me know which days have been the busiest and if they have special activities going on that day. Most importantly, they let me know whether the snack bar will be open or not. 🙂

If you are planning your first visit to an orchard, it’s important to bring baby wipes, hand sanitizer, and water. Also, pack a light snack (if there is no snack bar). Depending on how much walking you do. your kiddos may get tired. I make sure to also put rubber rainbows on me and my little one in case it’s a bit muddy out there, and I leave a trash bag in the back of my trunk just to put our boots in or on so my truck stays mud-free.

Even if you are not a homeschooler, this field trip is a great opportunity to make it a hands-on learning lesson. My daughter really enjoyed reading the book Apple Picking Day by Candice Ranson, before we went for the first time. We also picked Great Grandma’s apple pie recipe to make for dessert after our trip. 

We also had a conversation before we went about only picking as many apples as we could eat. It’s important to explain to kids not to be wasteful. It’s exciting to pick apples, but it’s not kind to pick fruit that will just go to waste later.

When picking apples, it’s important teach children to pick them correctly. You don’t just pull the apple down and off you roll it in a circle and try to leave the stem on it so it will last longer. Apples on the outside of the tree ripen first, so choose from the outside in.

Charge your cell phones and remember life is about moments, so make great memories. <3

#FBF: MY TOP 5 POSTS OF ALL TIME

Happy Friday and Thank You Sooo Much to all of our loyal and new AFMS readers. I truly appreciate you. For those of you who are new around here, I thought it would be fun to revisit our TOP 5 Blogs to date. Enjoy reading or (re-reading) these posts, and then come on over to Instagram and let me know what you think.

Let’s count them down!

# 5: 10 THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME

#4: AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR PUNKY FRIENDS <3

#3: GRATEFUL

#2: HAIR GROWTH TIPS (Note: Products are now available at https://therealcherie.com)

#1: I HAVE NEVER IN MY LIFE COUNTED A CALORIE!

Thank you, again, for your support. I’ll see you on Monday with an all-new post.

Love,

Cherie

IT’S MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH

Below is a repost from March 2019 regarding self-esteem in children.

THE 3 BIGGEST INFLUENCES ON YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM

Family

The family is widely seen as an important influence on self-esteem because it is where the initial sense of oneself is formed. Children with self-esteem difficulties have absorbed what parents and others have negatively said about them. As they begin to define themselves in light of their low sense of self, they may undertake the view that they are different from their peers and siblings. Although at times children may not be aware that they are different, they know they feel awkward and inept when compared to others, particularly higher achieving siblings. The effects of low self-esteem can be reflected outward toward siblings and parents through verbal or physical expression. Their inner tension and shame can lead them to act out in various ways, ranging from emotional and physical withdrawal to aggressive and combative outward behaviors.

School 

Children with low self-esteem appear hesitant and uncomfortable in the classroom. They tend to only answer direct questions and prefer to keep their opinions to themselves because they fear others’ reactions. Guarded behaviors and minimal interactions with other classmates lessen their social impact on others, which reinforces their belief of having nothing to offer others.

Community

Children or individuals with low self-esteem hesitate when interacting with groups of neighborhood kids or joining social activities, such as parties or games. They generally wait to be invited to play or join others, but then only participate minimally when they agree to play. Their guardedness and self-doubt hold them back from fully interacting with others, again reinforcing their negative self-image.

WHAT’S IN YOUR CHILD’S CHRISTMAS STOCKING?

I have a rule everything that goes in has to be $5 or less…

For some reason my daughter has this stocking that is huge! It was cute the first couple of years now, not so much! The thing comes up to my waistline. I love the way it looks when it stands up, so I like to fill it all the way to the top! I also believe in her stocking being filled with things she will actually use or play with. So, this year here is the list!

1. Gloves with her initials on it from Journeys

2. Lip gloss on sale at Walmart 

3. Makeup kit with lip gloss and eyes on sale at Walmart 

4. A Caboodle (Do u remember those? It’s like a fishing tackle kit for makeup.)

5. Ponytail holders from the dollar store

6. Singing JO JO Siwa toothbrushes from 5Below

7. 2 Mini Barbies from Walmart 

8. 2 of those $5 Barbies from Walmart

9. Piggy paint nail polish from Walmart 

10. Underwear that were on sale at Journeys 

11. Toms Toothpaste

12. Play-doh from the Dollar Tree

13. Propane pig Play-doh molding kit from 5Below

14. Mr. bubbles foam spray twin pack from Target

15. Bubble gum

16. Candy 

17. Bath paints (I’m sure I will hate myself later.)

18. Bath crayons

19.  Key chains 

20. Gift card for ice cream

21. Wallet

22. Glow sticks from Dollar Tree

Good luck finishing your Christmas shopping and don’t forget those stockings! 

AFMS – TOP TEN POSTS

AFMS is nearly a year old.  In celebration of this milestone, here’s a list of the top ten posts.  How many have you read?

  1. Hair Growth Tips
  2. The Move
  3. We Detox Our Bodies But Forget Our Minds!
  4. Fun Cherie Facts
  5. Yes, My Belly Was Big
  6. First Plane Ride Without Her
  7. How To Survive Your Toxic Family This Holiday Season
  8. Houston, I Am Tryna Come Back
  9. Why I Drink Hot Water
  10. Just Like That I Have A Lil Champions Green Belt

EMOTIONAL EATING

I would like to help you change the way you feel about food.
First, we have to identify and understand food is NOT the enemy.  It is a beautiful way to nurture your body and take care of your health, happiness, and life.

Next, let’s understand why you’re eating!

  • Is it because you are just hungry and it’s time to eat?
  • Is it because everyone else is eating and you don’t want to feel left out?
  • Is it because something looks or smells good?
  • Or, is it because you are stressed and trying to distract or entertain yourself?
  • Are you looking for pleasure in life somewhere?
  • #1 mom thing: Are you eating just because your child left it on their plate and you’re cleaning the dish before you wash it? (This is how many of us, and I say US because I am totally guilty, gain weight.)
Emotional eating is something that needs to be satisfied right away. If you are confused about the difference between physical and emotional hunger, emotional hunger brings feelings of guilt, powerlessness and shame! If you feel those emotions after eating, chances are you are emotionally eating.
Love yourself enough to know that emotions are a part of the human experience. If you truly want to stop emotional eating, the only way to tackle it is learning to control those uncomfortable emotions without food. No diet can fix that.
Emotions are just energy in motion. Let us teach you how to redirect that energy.  http://www.TeamCherieJ.com.
Emotions are just energy in motion. Let us teach you how to redirect that energy.