THE MONDAY AFTER

I’m over it: the trees and decorations have to go! I’m tired of looking at them and starting to feel like they are just clutter! I don’t like clutter. I hate knickknacks everywhere, it’s time for it to all go. 

It was cute, but I’m over it. This is the part I really don’t get assistance with, but it’s my fault I am extremely anal and organized with the way I take ornaments off the tree. Thanks to my ex’s mother, Bobbi! Bobbi Lockhart taught me a treasure I will not ever forget! Keep your decorations organized and it makes it easier and faster to put them up! See here’s the thing, I put every single ornament back in the original box it came in. For those ornaments who came without a box or the box was damaged, NO sweat I have ornament containers! Thank you, Bobbi! BTW, that lady is the Queen of decorations for every holiday and she’s so sweet because she truly enjoys every single minute of it. 

While my family enjoys the festive look of the holiday season, I want my house back! I want these presents put away and these decorations gone, so by the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, I’m chilling to make manifest my desires for 2021! It’s been a hell of a year, I’m ready for it to be all the way over!

Waving bye to these decorations make me realize 2020 is OVER and it’s going away! I can’t help but to cheer!

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO YOU AND YOURS

2020 has been a crazy year! I’m so thankful you are here to read this blog. WE MADE IT! Unfortunately, many love ones are no longer with us, but it doesn’t mean we are not holding them in a special place in our heart and they are not here with us today.

If 2020 taught me nothing else, it taught me the importance of family and keeping my family together. Thanks to quarantine, this year really defined quality time for us. I want to say thank you to each and every one of my loved ones for figuring out ways to stay in touch and connected through these times.

Technology has truly been God sent. We had Zoom Birthday Parties and FaceTime play dates with our children. My daughter discovered Roblox as a way to play with her cousins while on FaceTime. It has kept them connected so they didn’t have to miss a beat, no matter where they live.

2021 is going to bring new challenges, a new way of life. More opportunity for whatever our journey brings.

Christmas to me is about the spirit of Christ and love, love for my family, my neighbors and the brothers and sisters who have yet to cross my path. It’s beautiful to see people with smiles on their faces. It’s been a long, hard year. As our year is winding down, I want us to take the lessons that we learned this year, while leaving the old experiences behind. Ima keep it short and sweet, so you can get back to your families.

Lots of love always. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to each and every one of you!

4 DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS

Christmas season is a happy, joyous time for those who are happy. Please check on your friends who have suffered major loss this year. The death of a love one is not easy to heal from, if you ever heal at all. Something about the holidays sparks up those feelings and reopens wounds like you just lost them yesterday. Depression sets in, as the world we once knew is majorly different. Loneliness sets in and the realization that they are not coming back hits hard. Stress brings on anxiety and it becomes a hard cycle to battle.

Since Christmas is about joy and love, this is a great time to reach out and just let them know they are not alone. Invite them to Christmas dinner or just lend them an ear and a warm hug. A simple smile and a warm hug go a long way with someone battling depression.

64% of people who suffer from mental illness report that the holidays make their condition worse.

Help your friends create new memories to hold onto, so they aren’t stuck just thinking of the old ones.

Also, self-care gifts can do amazing things for the ones busy taking care of everyone else but themselves.

*For those who are suffering, you are not alone. Help is available. Speak with a counselor today: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 24 hours a day. 1-800-273-8255

ALL THE COLD WEATHER AND CHRISTMAS POSTS SO FAR

Now’s the time to get caught up on all the posts about Christmas and cold weather so far. Let me know which one is your favorite!

  1. It’s Official – I share one of my Christmas traditions with my daughter.
  2. Gingerbread House – Our very special Christmas tradition honoring my grandfather
  3. Make S’mores Outside – Outside equals better than stove
  4. It’s Tembleque Time – Time to shake your way to a delicious dessert
  5. Christmas Tree Time – Christmas decorating details
  6. 30 Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Under $10 – Need some ideas for how to fill up your child’s stocking?
  7. There’s Nothing Better to Eat When It’s Cold Outside Than A Big Bowl of Sancocho – A soup recipe to warm things up
  8. Gift Giving Anxiety – My solution for dealing with people who are difficult to buy for
  9. It’s Coquito Time! – It’s not eggnog, it’s coquito!
  10. Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows – A delicious crockpot recipe

IT’S OFFICIAL!

The Christmas countdown has begun. One of my favorite ways to count down the days until Christmas is to pull out her holiday book collection and read a different one every night. It’s my version of an advent calendar.

People often ask me what program I used to aid my daughter in becoming a strong reader. She was 5 years old reading at a 4th grade level. Now she is 6 years old reading at a 5th grade level. There was no curriculum used and no quick fix. To be honest, it was simply the fact that I have read to her every day of her life. Even when she was in my tummy, I read everything out loud. When she got bigger, I would read to her and point at the words as I was reading. By the time she was 2 years old she was recognizing words and reading them back to me.

Because she is a big reader, I make sure to put seasonal books away so she can’t get to them year-round. This keeps the excitement going for her and the anticipation of rereading some of her favorites. This year I will be pulling out:

Snowy Day

The Nutcracker in Harlem

Too Many Tamales

All Of A Kind Family Hanukkah

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

A Piñata in a Pine Tree

Llama Llama Holiday Drama

Grace of Christmas

Hanukkah Bear

The Night Before Christmas

The Seven Days of Kwanzaa

The history of Kwanzaa

Li’l Rabbits Kwanzaa

All titles can be found on amazon.com

What are some of your favorite holiday children books or early chapter books?

MAKE S’MORES OUTSIDE

Making s’mores outside is always more exciting than doing it over the stove in the kitchen. For some reason, my daughter’s excitement builds when we take it outdoors. I’m not much of the camping type, (I will just be honest, I prefer hotels.) so the closest we get is the backyard at night.

Christmas traditions are what my daughter gets most excited about around the holidays. Even more than presents, she wants her family around to do the things she remembers us doing the year before. Her favorite candy bar is a Hershey’s. (I rub it in to her father that it is her Pennsylvanian roots coming out.)

I pull out a few of our favorite Christmas storybooks and read them while everyone makes S’mores. We spend a few hours outside laughing and talking and just enjoying each other’s company.

S’mores pair perfectly with the Cherie’s Crockpot Hot Chocolate recipe, which was posted in October.

1 little fun fact is marshmallows date back to ancient Egypt, they were originally made out of the marsh mellow plant!

This tray I purchased from Etsy store ReclaimandRefurbish for $165.

CHRISTMAS TREE TIME!

I tend to put my Christmas decorations out right before or right after Thanksgiving. That way my family has a little bit of time to enjoy all the hard work before I take everything down. I’m a firm believer of let’s celebrate one holiday at a time. It’s hard for me to understand why stores start Christmas decorations before Halloween is even over. I do understand the advertising aspect of people need to see something 25 times before they purchase. It’s a subconscious trick, but it’s a bit much, way too early.

I am a fake tree lover! For a small investment, you have less mess and a tree you can use over and over. I always felt it was sad to cut a tree down just to know it’s dying shortly, after a few weeks. It’s not like you can replant them and reuse them. 

We have four trees in our house. My daughter’s personal Snoopy tree gifted to her by her Uncle Chris before he moved to Thailand.  She loves that tree with its one bright red ornament. She likes to sit it on her piano. Then there are 2 small trees that are about 4 feet tall that go on either side of the TV in the family room and the super large tree that goes in our living room. 

The large tree is a family effort. Everyone chimes in and helps get it decorated, but the smaller trees my daughter takes pride in decorating herself. I actually love it because even though she is 6, she’s had 3 years of practice and is ready to tackle them. It’s also a great activity that will keep her short attention span busy at least for a good hour. 

Keep them busy and teach them to help early on.

NATIVITY ACTIVITIES

So, with 6 days till Christmas my daughter shows up to her desk and decides her name is Mary. As in the Virgin Mary, with a scarf over her head and all. Sometimes I really feel I’m not mature enough to be her mother. Instead of correcting her, I was impressed she knew how to spell Mary.

That’s the great thing about homeschooling. I have 1 student, so I know whose paper it is. She read the paper perfectly the first try and answered the questions. So, what if her name is Mary today? Hahahaha….

Well, maybe the fact she is walking around with a baby doll calling him Baby Jesus is something we will have a talk about tomorrow, if this carries over after today.

It all started with a field trip that my community creates for the children. It’s amazing, they literally recreated Bethlehem! They made old school crafts with the children, taught them to make flour from grains, put on a play, they made perfume from herbs and prayers for the kids were optional. It was a beautiful experience for her, whether you are religious or not. She learned a lot of history and the way the olden days really were. Best part of all, it was free!

Nativity2

I understand what works in my house isn’t for everyone. We celebrate everything, Chanukah, Christmas & Kwanzaa and are looking forward to Chinese New Year. I use all holidays as teaching tools. Introducing her to the world early, will help her understand different cultures and respect them. I think the greatest lesson of all is watching her be so empathetic to everyone’s beliefs. Religion is really about kindness and for us kindness is key!

Let me go back and finish teaching MARY!! Please share your funny homeschooling experiences.  I can’t be the only mother whose child changed their name, right?

SNEAK PEEK INSIDE MY DAUGHTER’S CHRISTMAS STOCKING

Christmas is right around the corner! Yes, it’s that time of the year again. I had to figure out how to fill this oversized stocking I bought my daughter. I refuse to fill it up with candy! We had enough of that on Halloween. I also refuse to fill it with expensive things after fulfilling “Santa’s” wish list. She is four years old, so I kept it age appropriate while also keeping it stress free! The grocery store, Five Below and the dollar store were my go to places to fill it up. Take a sneak peek inside her stocking in case you need ideas…

 

  • LOL Surprise Dolls (the most expensive thing – 10 bucks)
  • 12 toothbrushes (One for every month next year)
  • Tooth Paste
  • Mouth Wash
  • Animal crackers
  • Jojo Siwa Bows
  • Glow in the dark sticks
  • Lip gloss and chap stick
  • Band-Aids
  • Cute pencil erasers
  • Paint brushes
  • Dice
  • Marbles
  • Sports cones
  • Bubbles
  • Pencils and pens
  • Books
  • Stickers
  • Wind-up toys
  • Flashcards
  • Card games
  • Play-Doh
  • Nail polish
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Gatorade

YES, I AM THE BAD PARENT WHO TOLD MY CHILD SANTA ISN’T REAL

Don’t worry she won’t spoil it for your children… she will play along for their sake. She plays along for my mother who comes from the school of if you don’t believe, you don’t receive.

Bottom line, I couldn’t let my sweet child believe a fat, white man was going to bring her gifts every year for free. It in my opinion, that was setting her up for failure! Yes, black people, pipe it down.  I know I coulda told her Santa was black and took her to the hood to see a black Santa. Realistically turn on TV, look at pajamas and the decorations when you walk your child in the store. I have black Santas all over my house, thanks to my mom painting them, but the images of Santa thrown in our children’s faces everywhere is a white man.

She was smart enough to ask me if he was like Mickey Mouse…I giggled and told her, “Exactly honey, he is a character!”

She said, “Mommy, Uncle Chris lives in Thailand and Uncle Avreeayl lives in Singapore, we live in the USA, it’s impossible for him to get to everyone’s house in 1 night.”  (She knows how long those plane rides are.)

I giggled again and said, “You are too smart for your own good”. Then I whispered “The spirit of Santa is real. It’s all about giving and doing nice things for other people because everyone deserves nice things”. She smiled and said, “Mom, I want to be Santa.  Can we buy gifts for the kids in the orphanages?  They don’t have anyone to be Santa for them”. “Of course, we can,” I told her.

Regardless of your opinion about me telling my kid the truth, I did something right because her heart is pure and golden. She bought gifts to give to children in need (tried to use her own money but I wouldn’t let her). This is the second year for giving presents to children in need. This was her idea with no prompts from me, but from her own heart! She will grow up to be a self-thinker and know it’s okay not to be a sheep. At 4 years old, she is empathetic

to others in need. So, I will be that bad parent any day!