Covid-19 might have postponed a lot of things, but I refused to let it stop the Halloween celebrations! Despite me encouraging my children to be whatever they want to be every day of the year, Halloween feels like the one day of year that even adults can join in on the optimism!
I grew up extremely sheltered and Christian so Halloween was celebrated sparingly. With my children, my husband and I vowed to still withhold our faith’s beliefs but still allow the kids to have fun!
This year I decided to crank up the celebration by making some scary treats! Cook with me!
Disclaimer: I am not a professional chef or baker.
This treat is super easy to make! I figured, we couldn’t have a scary food night without a main course shocker!
•blood, I mean ketchup!
-cut nail shape out at the top of the hotdog
-boil hotdogs for 4-5 minutes
-serve in bun with lots of ketchup!
This treat was the scariest one of all! My four year old was slightly freaked out when he saw the finished product, but he got over his fear after he tasted his first bite!
•cinnamon roll dough
I’d recommend using some red food coloring to enhance the red color! Mine came out pink!
-unroll cinnamon rolls to look like intestines
-bake cinnamon rolls as instructed on packaging
-mix frosted glaze with strawberry jelly
-frost your fresh intestines and serve!
This recipe is so cute! My kids loved how they turned out and this recipe only took 10 minutes!
•crescent roll dough
•shredded cheddar cheese
-on a baking pan, spread dough out until flat
-sprinkle shredded cheese on the dough
-roll hotdog in dough
-bake at 350 for 10 minutes
-with water, base and add candy eyes
Tada! You’re all done! You’re officially the coolest mom ever! You’re welcome! Happy Halloween
Buying my first home was much deeper than just owning property. For me, it was breaking a generational curse. My parents never owned homes, neither did my husband’s parents. It felt like a childhood dream that felt tangible yet unreachable. So, when I married my husband and we started to expand our family, we prioritized not only finding the perfect home for our family, but also ending the cycle of renting within our family.
Unlike what’s seen on television, purchasing a home is a stressful and tedious process! However, on the day you sign what feels like a trillion papers, and you’re officially handed the keys to your new home, the stress you were once anxious to neglect, becomes a faded minuscule moment.
Because this was our first time buying a house, we experienced a few stressful moments that we could’ve avoided if we were more knowledgeable about the home-buying process. Now that all our boxes are unpacked, and we’re comfortably settled in, let’s go over some essential nuggets I wish I new before buying our home!
1. Find the perfect lender!
What’s a lender? Your lender is the financial institution that finances your home with the expectation that you’ll pay them back. After a credit check and an extensive loan application, your lender tells you what you’re qualified to borrow. Researching what lender is best for you is pertinent. Different lenders have different interest rates and some lenders even offer incentives. Don’t get caught up in JUST being qualified for a loan, search around and make sure you’re using a lender with the best benefits for you!
My family chose to use veterans united for our lender. Using them guaranteed us not only one of the lowest interest rates, but they also supplied us with a realtor. A perk of using their realtor was an additional credit for an even lower interest rate.
2. Find the best realtor for YOU!
Find a realtor that is willing to fight for what you want! Don’t feel pressured to use any realtor. Use someone who understands your wants and is willing to go above and beyond to find them for you! The realtor we originally started the process with turned out not to be the realtor we stuck with. While searching around for the best realtor, remember to be honest about what you want and your wariness about not wanting to commit to one person upfront. For example, before fully committing to the realtor we closed with, we worked with someone else. Thankfully, we didn’t sign any paperwork binding us to our first realtor, because of that, when we decided they weren’t the best fit for us, we were able to use another person.
3. Understand the housing market!
Is it a buyers market or sellers market? This determines how much power you hold as a buyer. When we purchased our house, it was a seller’s market. This meant that the seller had the upper hand. Houses were selling fast and because of this, we had to not only act fast in putting in an offer, but be willing to compromise on certain upgrades.
4.Just say NO!
Be willing to walk away from bad deals. Remember, buying a house is a serious commitment. Stay within your budget, and be willing to walk away if the price and home aren’t up to par. Separate your emotions from your reality. Take a step back and consider life after your emotions have settled. Is the house worth the cost? Can you see yourself in this home forever?
5.What’s Earnest money and why do you have to pay it?
Earnest money is the money you put down when you make an offer. The amount can be as little as $500. The amount you put down shows the seller how serious you are about purchasing. In the end, your earnest money is used towards your closing cost!
6. Find the perfectinspector!
When making a serious purchase like purchasing a home, getting an inspection is important. You want to ensure that the home you’re purchasing is quality! The worst thing that could happen is finding out your dream home is more than you bargained for after already closing. Finding a good inspector is easy! My realtor provided me with a list of prospect inspectors. I selected the inspector that provided the best price. I urge you to find an inspector that bundles the first inspection and re-inspection in one price. This tidbit can save you a few $100. At this point, you’ve probably already shelled out a lot of money not to mention the money you’ll have to pay at closing. Cut all frivolous cost!
5. Check every corner of your house at the final walk through!
So far, you’ve had an inspection performed by a professional inspector and an appraisal (another inspection to dictate the home’s worth.) You’re probably tired of hearing about inspections but take heed of the final walk through! This is your FINAL opportunity to have anything rectified before you officially own the home!
Everyone doesn’t have the liesure to take a homebuyers class, I get it. Or maybe you didn’t expect to be buying a house so soon; so, you didn’t have the proper time to educate yourself on the process. Look, buying your house doesn’t have to be stressful, utilize these tips to your advantage! I hope you find your dream house!
Hallelujah! My husband and I just bought our first house! We dreamt and prayed for this moment for years! We’re so grateful for God’s grace and timing! Who knew we’d be moving during a pandemic? Not us!
My husband and I have experience moving as singles but moving with two little ones presented an interestingly intimidating challenge. How do you pack when your kids keep unpacking things and more importantly, how do you keep them out the way and occupied so you can achieve productivity?
We’re no packing and moving professionals and I won’t dare say we have all the answers but I believe we adapted and conquered the challenge of packing with babies well! Let me help you!
1. Don’t wait until the last minute!
Procrastination might be the worst thing you could do before moving. Once you have your new move in date, begin packing. Even if you pack one box a day, don’t wait until the day before the big move to start packing. Waiting until the last minute to pack adds additional stress to the already stressful and tedious task of moving.
2. Organization is KEY!
Pack with purpose. Don’t leave one stressful mess for another. Invest in labels and plastic storage boxes in addition to traditional cardboard boxes.
I packed each room one at a time. I labeled everything from kid’s wall decor, to specific sheets, and toys. I did this to relieve us from a stressful unpacking. Labeling boxes specifically also helps movers to group similar boxes in the same place. The plastic storage containers come in handy because let’s face it, most of us hoard a little more than we’d like to admit. Packing things in plastic storage containers helps you to hoard things more neatly in the new home!
3. Share packing responsibilitywith kids!
Your little ones might be a bigger help to you than you think! Make packing fun and remember, no matter how exciting moving to a new place is, moving still brings forth some sadness. Use packing time to talk about your feelings on the new move.
Maybe you can put your kid on toy duty—get them to pack all their toys. Or maybe you can put them on clothes duty;depending on how adamant you are about packing your clothes folded, you could allow them to toss clothes in boxes like a basketball game!
4. Wash every dish and wash all your clothes!
Don’t add more tasks to your list. Wash all your dishes and wash all your clothes! Invest in paper plates and plastic cutlery. Eat quick and mess free meals like sandwiches or bake a casserole that you and your family can eat until you’re in your new kitchen! Pack an overnight bag with a few outfits and travel size toiletries. Wear those clothes the days leading up to moving day and pack your other clothes in boxes! This means, you’ll have a fewer clothes to wash once you’re settled into your new home instead of loads of laundry.
5. Keep your clothes on hangers
There’s no need to accumulate more boxes. Keep your clothes on hangers and slide them through a clean trash bag! This saves space and time!
6. Get free movers!
Remember on the first day of college classes when your professors would make you introduce yourself to the class? You thought it was to make friends in class when in actuality it was to make long lasting moving buddies! Don’t pay for movers, put your friends and loved ones to work! Ask them to help you move and pay them in pizza of course! Don’t forget the wings!
Happy moving! I hope these tips make your next move as smooth as Pinot!
Returning back to school for our kiddos isn’t its usual thrill. Many parents were forced to decide whether to continue with distant learning or send their children to physical school. These decisions weren’t as easy to make as some might assume. Choosing whether to keep your child home or send them to school turned out to be a question of privilege; because the truth is, most parents don’t have the leisure of keeping their kids home. I mean, who would work if everyone stayed home, better yet, how would parents work while exclusively homeschooling their children?
Nevertheless no matter what decision parents chose, every parent shared these feelings; homeschooling is HARD! For me, when quarantine was first set in place, I looked at staying home with my kids as a blessing. Quarantine allowed me to put a pause on my busy and fast paced life. Being home more often—permanently felt like a prayer finally answered. Though I’d never trade bonding with my family for anything, what I didn’t anticipate was how quarantine would lessen the time I’d have for me—mommy time. A few months into quarantine sent me into a deep depression and suddenly I found myself missing adult human interaction and car rides alone. On top of that, I now had the responsibility of teaching my children a strict curriculum. Yes, I teach them daily, but we can’t deny that we heavily rely on schools and daycares to fill in the gaps.
In fact, many people were forced to acknowledge just how influential schools are to our communities when they closed. We all learned that schools are far more than buildings with teachers. They’re shelters and food kitchens, amongst many other things. So while being forced to transform your home into a school is intimidating, I assure you that, YOU HAVE THIS!
While on my own journey of mastering homeschooling, I found some YouTube channels that made the task less difficult. And since our kids are all generation z(ers) YouTube is something they’re all born and programmed loving. School commences soon and I don’t want any parent left behind. Below, I’ll share some of my favorite educational YouTube channels!
Cosmic Kid’s Yoga
There’s no doubt that little ones have short attention spans. To keep them entertained or to tire them out before nap, try Cosmic Yoga. This YouTube page has fun yoga exercises your babies can follow! Mom and dad can do them too!
What kid doesn’t love a sing along? This YouTube channel features a chipper teacher, Ms. Rachel! She’s usually dressed in overalls and prepared to sing about just about anything! My children are mesmerized by her voice and smile! Sometimes I find myself singing her days of the week song in the shower!
For months, my husband and I were searching for bilingual instructors to teach our children another language. Our search stopped when we stumbled across this YouTube page. Rock’ N Learn teaches children languages like spanish, mandarin and many more!
School and daycare are so pertinent to a child’s growth and development because children tend to learn better with and from their peers. Akili is a 4 year old girl who goes on adventures. On this YouTube page your child gets to follow along with her school and life lessons. Your child gets to learn alongside of Akili and ultimately become virtual friends!
This channel is hands down my kid’s favorite channel! On this YouTube channel, Jack teaches about the alphabet, days of the week, months of the year, and he even teaches sign language! His videos are so fun and easy to follow along with!
There aren’t enough words to describe how important dads are. I mean for starters, they play an important role in creating you, then they spend the rest of their lives loving you outside the womb. Despite society knowing how vital dads are, for some reason, dads always seem to get the short end of the stick when it comes to Father’s Day. In comparison to Mother’s Day, it seems that dads don’t get as much appreciation. I mean, most restaurants don’t even offer dads FREE meals on Father’s Day. It sucks, because dads deserve love too!
Someone who once shared my same notion was, Sonora Smart Dodd. Dodd founded Father’s Day in 1910 at the YMCA to celebrate fathers like hers. Her dad was a single father rearing 6 children. She wanted to dedicate a day of appreciation to him and others that shared his same plight.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 has us all forgetting what day of the week is. This means special holidays like Father’s Day feel as if their date is approaching out of nowhere! Don’t let this pandemic make you forget about Father’s Day!
So why not buy the gifts for all the special fathers in your life now? Let’s knock this thing out the park! Let me help you!
Dads might not be as straightforward about the gifts they want compared to moms, but it’s safe to assume that most dad’s don’t want another tie! Being in the midst of a pandemic has affected many American’s pockets, but what if I told you that you don’t have to break the bank to find dad the perfect gift? Frankly, I’m confident in my abilities in assisting you find the special man in your life the best and most affordable gift. Why, because I’ve already purchased all my Father’s Day gifts!
First things first consider what the dad your buying for likes. There’s no such thing as a one gift fits all.
Due to Covid-19, many stores are still closed. This makes ordering all your Father’s Day gifts online a no brainer! Thanks to quarantine my online shopping skills have enhanced immensely meaning; I’ve learned how to really navigate and shop purposefully online. I told you, I’m the perfect person to help you with Father’s Day shopping!
Below I’ll list some of my favorite gift ideas! I also enlisted some things we bought for my husband!
1. Running Shoes
You can never go wrong with running shoes and because we’ve all recently been enjoying outdoor exercise, it’s no better time than now to indulge in new running shoes. I visited the site bestproducts.com to find the perfect running shoes for my husband. The site details what sneakers are best suited for certain fitness activities. You’ll be sure to find the perfect shoes for dad!
You might not be able afford the most expensive dad bling, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still purchase jewelry dad likes. Search for personalized jewelry. In the past, I got my husband a wooden watch with an engraved message on the back from the kids. He wears it everyday!
I know when you think of purchasing clothes as gifts, you probably think you have to purchase expensive namebrand clothes. You don’t. In fact, my husband tends to cherish personalized tees the best. You can get a special message plastered on a shirt and gift it to dad. I promise he’ll cherish it forever!
Buy your dad a book about fatherhood, honoring fatherhood, or a book that has a personalized story about him! There are books that give you the option to add names and personalize your stories! Gift a gift dad can keep forever.
If you have children, chances are, the kids have already made dad some type of art, and although dad will appreciate that art forever, consider making dad something more long lasting than a drawing. Visit an art center and make dad a plate or mug! You can customize your gift and guarantee that it’ll be safe for dad to use!
No matter what you decide, the best gifts should be heartfelt. I try to gift my loved ones gifts that are meaningful to them. This means that my gifts aren’t always the most expensive. Sometimes they’re not even store bought. Remember to buy gifts based off what you know the recipient would appreciate. Happy early Father’s Day and Happy shopping!
The most talked about thing in college is graduation. It’s like people bypass the college experience and immediately jump to post grad life. The problem with that is, many college students don’t take full advantage of what their institution offers. So yeah, you graduated on time or early just to be struggling to find a job after graduation. How crazy is that?
Every major has an academic track. A vast majority of students go for the easier track meaning they take the bare minimum, and some others end up taking classes irrelevant to their post graduation goals. Why? Sometimes our parents heavily influence what academic route we take. Sometimes we feel pressured to follow in mom and dad’s footsteps and we get all the way to finish line and realize that this isn’t what we want to do. I know it’s uncomfortable, but you have to remember, the only person that can live your life is you.
Class selection and experience is key. Take classes that are beneficial to you. Also, gain as much experience undergrad as you can. For example, I’m an aspiring journalist so to gain journalistic experience, I’m working for my university’s magazine. Prior to landing that job, I wrote for my university’s newspaper.
Because I have a blog and brand that I hope to expand, I’m taking marketing classes as well. Marketing classes aren’t mandatory for my major, but I’m choosing to take advantage of classes that will help me in the future.
I know it’s easy to become obsessed with the idea of graduation. After a challenging semester, it’s almost all you want to think about. These obsessive thoughts cause you to be unrealistic about what you’ll do after graduation, because now you’re driven by frustration instead of progression. The workforce is competitive and one must be able to stand against the toughest competitors!
Another thing we sometimes forget to do as college academics is networking! I’m huge on networking. I always speak when I enter a room. You never know who’s in the room! I also make sure to surround myself with likeminded people. Having a circle like that pushes me to strive to be better. For example, I ended up making friends with my now boss on the magazine, all because I talked to her on the first day of class the semester prior. I didn’t know who she was. I just sparked up conversation.
Since I’m not a traditional student (remember, I’m a wife and mom) I don’t over exert myself on frivolous play. I understand that I don’t have the leisure to do so, but that doesn’t stop me from showing my face and making my presence known when I need it to be. I know that sometimes it’s hard to muster up extra motivation to get involved with things on campus, but remember, networking is key. Many universities have guest speakers. Check out those events! Network! Network! Network!
Internships are another way to gain experience and land jobs post grad! Most universities have specific places their majors intern, but I’d recommend venturing out to other places. Interning places outside your school’s connects makes pitching yourself a little easier. I know a few people that ventured out and are now working their dream jobs! Think about what you really want to do. Put yourself out there and see if the company you’re interesting in has interning opportunities. Also, use your professors as tools! A lot of your professors know people that can connect you to where you want to go, your professor might even be one of those connects. Reach out to your professors!
Sometimes I get caught up on my graduation date, but I have to remind myself that by doing everything I listed above, I’ll be more than prepared for the workforce!
Not taking full advantage of college life happens to a lot of people. Some people don’t take full advantage of the college experience and then they end up having to return back to college for another degree. Those people blame the degree when in actuality, it was the lack of work they put in to be successful before they graduated. It’s sounds harsh, but it’s the truth.
I think we as people have this idea that if we graduate with a degree, jobs should fall at our feet. This is partially society’s fault. We’ve all heard, “you can’t do anything without a degree.” Someone somewhere always rebuttals, “they’re successful people that don’t have degrees all over.” That someone is true! Those successful people are successful, because they took advantage of the space they were in. We college students have to do the same! Take advantage of college just like SallyMae takes advantage of interest applied to our loans! Woosah and laugh.
At the end of the day, you’re paying for college. Some of us are even in debt for it, my philosophy is to take everything college is willing to give you! Then take some more! Make college work for you!
I love photography, specifically smart phone photography! I have the iPhone XR Max, and I specifically purchased this phone for the camera! I’ve captured some really beautiful moments with my iPhone, and some would say, the photos look super professional!
I love saving a buck or two, and one way that I do that a lot is by taking my own photos! I usually already have a vision in mind. I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest. I usually scout locations, color coordinate outfits, pose my family, and get to snapping! I’ve taken maternity photos, wedding photos, and Christmas photos all on my smartphone!
Sure, a professional photographer is a professional not just because they have an expensive camera, but because they’ve received some education in photography making them proficient in photography, editing, photoshop, and they usually have their own studio. ￼
You don’t have that experience and most likely you don’t have the camera or equipment, but that doesn’t have to stop you from capturing professional like photos!
Clean your lens! A dirty lens can be the one thing standing between you and a bomb photo!
Find your vision! If you don’t have a vision for your shoot, search online. You can recreate photos or find inspiration!
Scout your location! You may envision your photos one way, and may have to quickly change your vision, because of the location. Maybe the location is too dark or too crowded. Whatever it is, scout the location before you bring your models.
Check the weather! If you’re doing an outdoor shoot, the worst thing that could happen is getting caught in the rain! If you’re shooting someone outside of your family, they may not be as forgiving after getting caught in the rain.
Have fun and go with the flow! Not being a professional photographer should take the pressure off! Have fun with your shoots and models! Since my kids serve as my models majority of the time, they don’t always cooperate with mommy and that’s ok!
Portrait Mode is your friend! Taking photos in portrait mode makes your photos looks super professional! Portrait mode focuses on the subject, and blurs the surroundings out!
Download editing apps! Your phone has filters built in, I use them often depending on the look I want. The App Store has a plethora of editing apps! Download some and play around!
Use props! Props can really tie your vision together, and make your photos pop even more! You can use things around the house!
Invest in a ring light and tripod! Ring lights provide additional lighting and tripods allow you to shoot from different angles! Using a tripod also means you can jump in the photo with your family! Amazon has affordable tripods!
Congratulations, you’ve just become a professional amateur photographer!
Here are my family’s latest Christmas card photos! Happy holidays!(I forgot to turn the Christmas tree lights on, but the pictures still came out super cute!)
The first step to becoming a professional photographer is picking up a camera!