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Birthdays!

Aviry has just turned 9 a little over a week ago I can’ t believe it,  I like to post twice a week, but with a new job and a birthday to plan I have been a tad busy. 

It seems like just the other day I was scrambling around like a chicken with my head cut off to pull off the “perfect” party for a 1 year old. ( Word of advice to all the mommies out there, DON’T GO CRAZY FOR A PARTY YOUR CHILD WON’T REMEMBER!)  Also if you are anything like me I know you won’t take that advice, but I do wish I would have dialed his party back some. It was a lot of pressure for a person who had never thrown a birthday party for a one year old. 

So in the spirit of having a 9 year old! I will share a few great places to take your littles ones, and some tips to get you through the chaos that are children’s parties!

I am a huge fan of having parties at a venue, the cleanup is minimum and its nice to try a new place. Living in Cincinnati we have had some amazing parties at a variety of locations some of our favorites are listed below.

  1. Scene 75 – Scene75 is your place to go for FUN! With more than 10 attractions, 120 arcade games, full bar & food options, Scene75 has something to do for all ages! Not only is each Scene75 one of the LARGEST indoor entertainment centers in the country, but it also was recently awarded #1 Entertainment Center in NORTH AMERICA by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. We’re not kidding around about being the best spot for a celebration or day of fun. Now that Aviry is older Scene 75 allows Aviry and his friends to pick their own activities which he loves! (Scene 75 is also great for a date night!)
  2. Sky Zone- I love Skyzone. I had a fear of trampolines growing up and SkyZone definitely allows me to be a kid again I feel so free jumping!! Oh wait… This is about Aviry.  Aviry thinks Skyzone is one of the most “awesomeness” places ever! Sky Zone is the world’s first indoor trampoline park. They are the inventors of “fun fitness” and the makers of trampolines as far as the eye can see. They have been voted the number one out-of-the box workout, the best birthday party ever and best indoor family fun day. Experience WOW – the weightlessness of bouncing, flipping and landing in a pit filled with 10,000 foam cubes.
  3. The Cincinnati Zoo- Having a winter baby can make party options limited. When a dear friend of mine discovered the Cincinnati Zoo has birthday parties, I was very excited to celebrate Aviry’s Birthday there!  We celebrated his party a few years ago and I am pleased to say the packages are even better now than they were before. Packages include activities for the little ones, Animal viewings and admission to the zoo for your guest. 

Home Parties

Home parties always remind me of my childhood. For a few hours I don’t mind children everywhere and cupcake frosting on the walls!

Listed below are a few  suggestions on having an at home party with ease. 

  1. Have everything done beforehand. No Last minute runs to get candles, or plates. The more organized you are prior to the party the better! Lists are your friend! Also you can find great decoration kits online!
  2. Have a schedule for your party, and stick to it. I learned this valuable piece of information from my friend Brandi at Yours Truly Event Planning. She helped me plan an event recently and was a stickler about scheduling and it really helped the flow of the event. I am adding her tip to my rule book!
  3. Enlist help! I am super fortunate to have close friends with children who are around the same age and they are the best helpers! From decorating to cleaning up. I know my girls have my back.
  4. Try to avoid candy with wrappers and gum. ( You will thank me later.)

What are some of your suggestions for a stress free Birthday Party at home?

 

 

 

American Dream What it means for this Millennial Mom.

I stumbled across another depressing article filled with statistics on what its like to be a young adult today. Millennials have it pretty rough.  According to this article on CNBC 46% of millennial have NO SAVINGS! This isn’t a blog post of me offering advice on how to save money. This is an I am frustrated post.

I think it’s terrible that being a millennial is synonymous with little to no savings. Pretty confusing healthcare. Very little home ownership and staggering amounts of student debt.  As a millennial mommy I cope with these depressing facts through funny memes,  gifs, a pinch of denial and to hoping just  that one day a wizard will come down erase my student debt and provide a job that pays a livable salary and dare I say it offer… A work life balance… 

But let me stop because now I am being a whiny millennial who has the nerve to feel  entitled to be able to pay all her bills, have affordable healthcare, a quality education for her son,  dare I say it save money!

I really don’t want to come across as whiny, but it’s so frustrating when you don’t know what the hell is going on anymore in the world  and all you want to do is get your life together!!

I know that I am doing whatever I can for myself and my family to ensure we will have a comfortable future.  It means taking conflicting advice, just winging it and hoping that the future will be better for us and our children. I don’t want to sound too bleak, I do know that we are going to be alright, this has to be and will be resolved. Millennial’s will never live in squalor, we wouldn’t let that happen to each other.  Although I will admit at times the journey has been frightening.

I say this because I really hope that I have my shot at the “American Dream”.  I should. I have earned it. Sometimes it’s just hard and it can be tiring. I hope my work is not in vain. That’s the scary part.  I just want what everyone else before me was able to get especially since most of it was built on my ancestors backs.

 

Lets talk about Love.

I am blessed to be in love and to be with someone I know who loves me unconditionally. I hate to sound cliche but the first time I laid eyes on Carlos I knew we were meant to be connected.  He is one of the most wonderful men I know, and I am so blessed to have him in my life as well as my son’s life. I love seeing people in love and I love seeing couples who have grown old together. I hope one day to grow old with Carlos.

Because it is Valentine’s day. I want to talk about some of what Carlos and I believe has helped us overcome some of our darkest times in our relationship and what we do to stay connected. I also want to know what you think it takes to have a solid relationship.

Carlos and I got off to a pretty rocky start, we argued, we didn’t trust one another and we had our guard up for quite a while.  Working through the issues we had was not an easy task. Yet we were in love and we wanted to be the best version of ourselves for one another.  We had to fix problems within ourselves and identify what past issues we were bringing into our relationship that were effecting it negatively.

No one’s perfect and everyone enters into a relationship with something that can be worked on. I entered into my relationship with trust and anger issues from past relationships. ( That’s a story for another day) It took work for me to overcome those issues.

Carlos and I have always chosen to let love be what leads us in our relationship. We are partners and we always choose not to give up on one another.

When we have a problem we talk about it. We both know we can’t read minds. We talk about it our problems we may debate about it but we get to the root of a problem and don’t sweep it under the rug.

We are also teammates. Carlos is my right hand man and I am his right hand lady. We understand that we are more powerful when we work together. That means that we support one another and adapt to each others life changes in various ways. We both want the best for ourselves and our relationship and will work to no end for success in our lives and relationship.

We respect each others space and we trust one another.

We are in no ways perfect and each day we grow more open, and more vulnerable. We experience something new to navigate everyday. What do you believe is needed to build a strong and stable relationship?

I would love to know.

Also Happy Valentines Day.  ( Even if you think it’s cheesy!)

I Quit

I did it. I quit.

I  removed myself from a place where I felt the most stifled I had ever felt in my life. The feeling in my chest was indescribable, The tightness would creep in the longer I sat in slow-moving traffic, counting the minutes until I would run into the office to avoid being late, hungry and needing coffee. I didn’t like my job. I felt as if I were signing away my freedom.

Many times I had the urge to drive past my job and never come back in. In this particular daydream I would take the day off,  get a nice breakfast at some cute place downtown, read a good book, the kind of book that makes you laugh and cry all in a day. I would then go to the gym, pick my son up from school early and dinner would be ready by 7.  Oh yeah, and the house is always spotless in this daydream.

A girl can dream right?

I wasn’t feeling stifled because I had to work. I was stifled from the work that I was doing. Listen I’m not insane. Of course I can’t take off from my responsibilities, wear yoga pants and eat ice cream all day.  Of course I can’t go to brunch every morning and go workout all before 12 noon during the week.  I know this.

So I did the next best thing.

I quit my job to work in my passion, This would also mean a pay cut, but I do not regret it at all. Working in my passion has freed me from the feeling of being stifled, smothered, and bored. Work feels like opportunity, creativity and innovation.  Does this mean I expect all sunshine and rainbows moving forward? Not at all. I am now required to have more grit than ever. I am working for ME now, and that will require more blood, sweat and tears than ever before. But through all of the blood sweat and tears every success, no matter how big or small feels victorious, and I love that feeling.

” Then the day came when  the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk to blossom”

-Anais Nin

Written in response to the word prompt Stifle.

Show Me the Money!!

I have been obsessed with money lately.

I am definitely a tad behind when it comes to being financially literate. I grew up middle class and then went on to experience times of poverty as a teenager and young adult. Experiencing poverty and lack of knowledge about money can have lasting effects that may take years to correct.

Poverty comes with a lot of bad habits.  For years I was under the impression paydays were for nice dinners and buying cute clothes. I didn’t really think about saving for the future. Let alone investing my money.

As I grow older I am learning so much about poverty, I am learning that as a first generation college student, a mother and as a black woman many of the ways I have been told to build wealth are not designed for me. Although well meaning the person who has never experienced  poverty  can not fully and successfully teach someone how to escape poverty. Recently I have been listening to some great podcasts, reading blogs and attending workshops about finances and financial literacy. I am gaining valuable information but often I feel as if the well meaning advice and information skips right over me. It feels as if I walked into class and realized I missed the first 3 weeks.

So much of what has opened my mind to increasing  generational wealth is because I am surrounded by great people and am embracing the power of community. I am also  part of an amazing group called Warrior Moms. Warrior Moms was founded by author, hairstylist and visionary Nicole Lee. You can learn more about the warrior mom’s here. Warrior mom’s mission is simple; that all single mom’s embrace a mindset for success and let me tell ya it is working, I finally feel like I am starting to put together a plan to help build wealth for my family and I know that it’s because I have found a community that can relate to and is  dedicated to the improvement of the lives of its members. Warrior mom’s has connected me to so many organizations that seem to just get it!

Recently we have been working with FII.  Heres a little bit about FII and what their goals are.

“Over the next four years, we will work with community based organizations and other partners to reach 1,000 families in multiple neighborhoods across Greater Cincinnati.  By trusting and investing in families own solutions we expect our families to see economic and social mobility. On average nationally, during two years of engagement with FII, families report: a 23 percent increase in monthly income, 60 percent decrease in subsidies such as TANF and SNAP, a doubling of their annual income and assets, and increased education outcomes from their children.”

FII helps you achieve your goals! As long as you are working towards your goals FII will help you take that next step, whether it be owning a home or starting a business, whatever will help your family grow, FII is there to help you and your family acheive goals no matter how big or small.

Being involved with these amazing groups  got me too thinking about some of the ways I believe I could help myself and others get started on a path of building community and generational wealth. Before we begin to heal generational poverty there are some things we need to do and remember.

  1. Learn to embrace our talents and use them to make money..
  2. Support your community.
  3. Bridge the gap. We have to acknowledge that there are REAL systems in place that have been in place for years to keep people (COUGH!! UM MINORITIES!)  poor. Without acknowledging that their will be no progress.
  4. If you know it all share it. Don’t keep it a secret share the knowledge.
  5. Stop acting like you know it all. Its great if you do, but let’s stop spreading false information.
  6. More help. Less Ego.
  7. Don’t let your success be the reason to be snooty.
  8. Support Black owned businesses! But REALLY. SUPPORT LOCAL AND BLACK OWNED BUSINESSES! ( We love to give a reason why we won’t support or will no longer support a black owned business, whether it is due to a lack of professionalism, timeliness or whatever, we shut them down before they even have had a chance. I get it no one likes rudeness or unprofessionalism  but if we will go back to other places of business after a poor experience lets give our people second chances and some constructive feedback. Then lets see what happens.
  9. No one likes to be broke (Well I have never met anyone who likes being broke) so rather than thinking about how little they have lets learn ways to encourage individuals out of the mindset of remaining in poverty.
  10. There is power in community and friendships.
  11. We have to start making our own way.
  12. Create multiple streams of income.

Lets help lift one another up, if you know anyone or an organization that is dedicated to helping break the poverty chain. Please comment the individual or organization so that we can start sharing the knowledge. What are some of your ways to build wealth?  What would you add to this list?

Also!

Check out the book born on Third Base by Chuck Collins, Chuck recently spoke at a Warrior Mom workshop and shared his experience of being born into wealth and the decision to give it away, Chuck is dedicated to tackling income inequality in the U.S.

And my featured image is also a shirt you can find on Amazon!

 

Jurassic Quest!!

Dinosaurs are coming to Cincinnati!!

Jurassic Quest is Here!

Yay!!

I believe I may be more excited than Aviry, I have always loved learning about dinosaurs, who doesn’t? The large creatures that existed long ago have always intrigued me. So when I found out Jurassic Quest was coming to Cincinnati I knew me and the fam had to go!

“Jurassic Quest brings you a Dinosaur Adventure for the whole family. The main dinosaur exhibit features ultra-realistic, life-size animatronic dinosaurs; Over 80 life-size dinosaurs in all. Visitors can interact with these huge creatures, learn about them and even ride a few. It features realistic scenes, enormous dinosaurs, cute baby dinosaurs and lots of fun activities for kids of all ages. There are huge T-Rex and Triceratops fossil digs where young paleontologists can uncover long hidden dinosaurs bones, the “Dino Bounce” area with several, towering, dinosaur theme inflatable mazes, face painting, Dino crafts and much more!” 

Jurassicquest.com

Jurassic Quest will be at The Duke Energy Center In Cincinnati, Ohio this Saturday, January 27th and Sunday, January 28th.  From 9am Until 8pm.  Find out when Jurassic quest will be near you here.

This event is for all ages! They will have fossil digs, bouncy houses, and ULTRA REALISTIC- LIFE SIZE ANIMATRONIC DINOSAURS!!!!!!!

Jurassic Quest here we come!

I recommend getting tickets right away! Tickets are between 18 and 34 dollars, the event is all day and includes free activities so you will definitely get the bang for your buck!

I have a feeling this event will something to “ROAR” About!!! (hehehe)

Thanks for reading my fellow Babymamas and friends!

Will you be at Jurassic Quest?

Spread the word!

Snow Dayz!!!

 

Snow. Ice. Cold. Yeah it’s winter. Yippee! Born in the Windy City, I have a love / hate relationship with the snow. Maybe Its me, but I feel all Chicagoans have a pretty big ego when it comes to their ability to endure the snow. I constantly brag about memories of myself as a young girl and  the journey to school wearing 3 pairs of pants, 2 sweatshirts and a snow suit that left me with little visibility and no peripheral vision. I loved snowball fights, building snowmen and staring up at the sky as I created snow angels, then after I was just too cold I remember coming into a warm house and the smell of my moms cooking.

As an adult the snow loses it’s appeal pretty quickly.  The second you are forced to wake up when its dark, go into the freezing cold, scrape ice off of your car, only to drive on slippery streets filled with high risk drivers, and the salt that keeps us safe all while destroying the finish on our cars casts a grey shadow over the once pristine white snow. That my fellow Mothers and Baby mamas is why I hate the snow.

I told you it was love hate. The memories of my childhood are the reasons I LOVE a good snow day.  So I have chosen to share some Snow Day Ideas.

My favorite snow day activities for Aviry and I.

Pancake Art! Aviry is a Youtube kid. He doesn’t have a favorite Movie star. He has favorite Youtube stars. We discovered a video of Pancake Art. So of course we decided to try it! Its So simple. You just need pancake mix. (From the box, or scratch if you’e feelin fancy) and food coloring.

You simply divide the mix into bottles or bowls evenly and add food coloring. This part is really fun for the kids because they get to make their own custom colors!

To cook the pancakes we use a griddle. A flat service makes a great canvas.

Allow the Griddle to reach the correct temperature and begin to make artwork! Its quick and fun as well as a great way to get older kids comfortable in the kitchen.

Music and Dancing, If it can’t be warm outside, we can at least listen and dance to music that reminds us of the summer. My go to song right now is Havana by the super talented Camila Cabelo

Another fun activity is of course sledding! Find your nearest hill grab a sled and have a blast!

If you’re little one is anything like Aviry he wouldn’t be able to handle a snow day without some uninterrupted technology time. I know that technology is the way of the future but I often would worry about his obsession with the need for screens. Because of that I am happy to say I have found a solution with Amazon!  Check out Amazon FreeTime Unlimited TrialIts perfect for kids, allows parents to sneak in educational activities and the kids have no idea you were able to squeeze some schoolwork into their snow day!

Now another activity is winding down with a warm drink. It could be hot chocolate, tea, A hot toddy with really nice whiskey… (Ahh). Anywho one of the best ways to commemorate a snow day is through hot chocolate. . After you have snuggled up with your cup of hot cocoa and a good book. Take a moment to take advantage of the chance to take a pause in your busy week and enjoy some time with your loved ones!

What are some of your favorite snow day activities?

I would LOVE Ideas, because the way it’s looking in the midwest. I am going to need more ideas! ; )