Our Week of Celebration

Last week we celebrated 3 days that are very dear to our family: our 8th wedding anniversary, Sonshine’s 3rd birthday and Father’s Day.

On our anniversary, Mister came home early with a beautiful sunflower bouquet, card and love note.  Oooooo!  I can’t believe we’ve been married for 8 years. We first began dating 18 years ago as bright eyed & bushy tailed teenagers.  Our relationship has ebbed & flowed throughout that time, but we always manage to bring it back to the basis of everything: our desire to be together.  I can honestly say that I love and appreciate him more each year.

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June 2008

We ordered food and watched Star Trek all day.  Now, most people wouldn’t consider that special, but it has taken Mister our entire marriage to get me to watch just one episode of Star Trek, so to finally get me hooked is special to him.  And not having to cook is always special to me.



As a bonus, Sonshine also loves the show!  He does interpretive dance that basically looks like he’s flexing in a bodybuilding competition and makes Chewbacca noises to the intro music. He says, “that’s good music!”  Hah!  I think that Captain Sisko is Sonshine’s pseudo-grandfather. When he comes on the screen, Sonshine yells, “It’s Captain, it’s Captain!”  Hey, he is a good role model.


Captain Benjamin Sisko, Star Trek – Deep Space 9

For Sonshine’s 3rd birthday, we took him swimming.  We’ve decided to only do parties for milestone birthdays and the rest are just for our little family.  I’m not the best party planner and since we waited later than our friends to have a child, we don’t know a ton of little kids anyway.


He was more interested in the lazy river and jumping in than the playground, but that’s typical of my “off the beaten path” child.


Needless to say, we had a ball!  He is a natural in the water.  He was a bit over-confident in his swimming abilities and wanted to be a bit too independent in the water, but I’m thrilled that he isn’t afraid.  That makes my job a lot easier.

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On Father’s Day, we BBQ’d with Mister’s family.  I’m not much of a meat eater, so I brought zucchini, eggplant, corn, and pineapple to grill.  Which, much to my surprise, was enjoyed by everyone else as well.  We sat around in the sun, eating, playing with the kids and celebrating the wonderful men in our lives.  It was just a small group of us, but we sure did have a great time.

This week was dedicated to love and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Frugal on Fleek: Ways to Watch TV Without Cable

Last year, I signed a two-year contract with my cable provider and was assured I’d pay the agreed upon amount for the entire 2 years. Well, of course, they lied and when the second year hit, my bill shot up to almost $200 for ONE month.  Are they crazy?  In my head, I went straight into my Training Day character Alonzo Harris’ voice “Who the F@*k do you think you are F@*kin with?!”


I immediately cancelled their service and looked into other options.  Here’s what I came up with.

TV antenna (internet-free).  Talk about completely cutting the cord!  I know, I know.  It sounds retro, and you’re probably kicking yourself for not keeping your antenna from the 80s, but antennas are now digital so you’d need a new one anyway. In some areas you can get as many as 40-60 local channels, which provide a lot of popular shows, you’d just have to watch the shows while they are on (no pause or recording, GASP!) like we used to back in the day.  If you have internet service, TV Guide will keep you current on what shows are playing at what times or you could really go old school and read your Sunday paper.  Antenna TV quality is as good as HDTV, plays live events like the Superbowl and Oscars, and is more reliable in bad weather than cable or satellite, without the monthly bill.

Mobile HotSpot.  If you don’t watch a lot of TV and have unlimited data with your cell phone plan, you can use your phone’s mobile hotspot as an internet source to stream shows.  It may be worth it to consider purchasing more or unlimited data with your phone provider considering most internet-only cable plans are at least $50/mo (+ taxes & fees).  This is also a great option if you spend a lot of time away from home because your shows are always with you.

Streaming.  Streaming has a few levels to it, but once you have your system down, you’ll be at the corner of Frugal & Easy Street.

  1. You can get basic (I’d recommend about 18-24 Mbps) internet service for around $50/mo depending on your area.
  2. The second step with streaming is to buy a device to stream through.  These are one-time purchases, not monthly bills.  Gaming consoles like Playstation or Xbox, computers, tablets, and smart TVs and even your cell phone are all good options.  If you’d like something cheaper you can go with a Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV or Amazon Fire stick media player.  These 3 media players have channels pre-loaded onto them so all you have to do is plug it into your tv and boom!  You’ve got channels.
  3. Instead of using a stick, you can sign up with subscription services.

Subscription websites.  These websites require a monthly payment, but when bundled, can still be lower than a cable bill. Netflix, HuluAmazon PrimeSlingTV (includes ESPN), HBO Now or Showtime have almost any show you’d like to watch.  Note that many shows may overlap with some of these services.

Free Websites.  There are a few websites that provide full episodes of many shows & movies and are completely free!  YouTube, Tubi TV, Crackle, and SideReel are some of the best (and legal) sites to binge watch a plethora of shows.  Also, don’t forget about network channel websites.  NBC, ABC, and others play full episodes of shows a week after they air.

Cut back on your internet bill.  Yes, there are ways to lower your internet bill.  Buying your own modem instead of renting one will save you $5-10/mo (although you have to pay for the modem upfront).  Make sure you aren’t overpaying for internet speeds that you don’t use by taking this internet speed test.  And if you are one of the rare people that loving having a home phone, you can unbundle your service by buying a home phone box that utilizes VOIP (voice over internet protocol) calling AKA free phone service (you still have to pay monthly taxes totaling about $3-4/mo.).

So there you have it.  Everything I’ve learned in my search to cut the cord.  I don’t think I’ll ever go back.  F@*k you cable!  Ya done son!



5 Ways Toddlers Drive You Crazy


Today has been one of the most frustrating days I’ve had as a parent thus far.  I planned out a great day: healthy breakfast, clean the kitchen, go for a walk and wash the dog.  All of those things happened, but not as pleasantly as they sound.  Sonshine was in T.T.M. (Tazmanian Toddler Mode), therefore making every task more complicated.  I strapped my patience on and grit my teeth through each activity.  I have been trying to practice mindfulness, but then I realized…  toddlers make you crazy!  Here is why:

  1. They hate the same exact food that they loved yesterday.  This is especially frustrating when you pack a lunch and there aren’t any acceptable food options around.
  2. They touch you so much that you’d be happy to never be touched again.  EVER. IN. LIFE.  Being “touched-out” is a real thing.
  3. They live attached to your leg.  Ever try cooking dinner, cleaning or doing anything with a toddler standing in every direction you move?  It’s like they shadow clone themselves to always be in the way.
  4. They want to be independent, yet are slower than Mr. Roger’s (Neighborhood), and have a complete meltdown if you try to help them (aka speed up the process so you can get out the door because although everyone is ready, 30 extra minutes disappeared).
  5. They never see the thing you are pointing to, naming, describing and asking them to pick up.

Parent: “Please pick up that block.”

Toddler: (Looking perplexed as if you are speaking in another language).

Parent: “The red block.  That red, triangle block.  Right there!  Go over there!  Okay, stop!  Now look down.”

Toddler: (Spins around whilst looking down and still can’t find it).

Parent: “By your feet!  LOOK, IT’S RIGHT THERE!”

And just when you are in a complete tizzy and decide to walk over to get it, your toddler bends down and picks it up.

Every single one of those things happened to me today – all before 2pm.  Plus the dog’s shenanigans – only wanting to walk on one side of the street, running while getting a bath, taking a piss on said hose that I was about to wash him with and crying all day.  The combination of the toddler + dog = a Super PAC of Frustration that cannot be rivaled.  That was it – my patience was defeated.  I completely lost my ish in my driveway.  Yes, I turned into a complete crazy person while both of them stared at me as if I were tripping for no reason.  Arrrrgh!  Good thing most of my neighbors were at work.  I may have scared off the other neighbors from ever speaking to me again.  Is it frowned upon to have wine for lunch?


A Warning About Toddlers and Routines


I had been doing some reading about how toddlers love routine.  That they feel secure when they know what to expect throughout their day.  And toddlers love to be independent and do things they know they can accomplish.  So like any learning, diligent, first-time mom, I did my best to keep my son’s days rather structured so he would be comfortable.  Over the past year, I have noticed that this approach has backfired on me in certain areas.  I’m not saying that structure is bad, I am saying that I should have been careful how it was implemented.  Yes, the set meal and nap times were good, but overly praising & asking him to help with certain tasks has made him feel that they are his duty.

He is the King (self-appointed) of closing the refrigerator door + all doors, vacuuming and flushing the toilet. He doesn’t care who is using it, his job is to flush and he takes his work very seriously.

He MUST carry his own plate, bowl or cup – which can be problematic if it’s something that spills & stains like spaghetti.

He MUST jump off the bottom step and if you are there you MUST hold his hand or he has a complete meltdown until you take him back to the stairs to redo his jump.

He is the only person in this house that is allowed to use the juicer.  I let him juice ONE time and it was all over from there.  If you want juice made, he’s your guy.

I know, I know, it’s a lot.  He is now much more structured than me and strong-arms my fairly free spirit by strictly sticking to these routines.  I’ve tried breaking him of doing these rituals by going cold turkey or using other methods to no avail. Lately, I’ve been reasoning with him that “sometimes mommy closes the fridge,” or “mommy flushes her own potty.” The concept of mommy’s turn vs. baby’s turn has been working more and more.

I’ve also implemented an empowering mantra that we recite daily.  He behaves more confidently and less anxious when we shout it during difficult times.  It seems he may be growing out of these rituals.  He’ll be 3 years old next month.  Fingers crossed that the older he gets the less he wants to flush my toilet.


New Gabby Douglas Docu-Series


Confession: I used to be a reality tv show junkie.  It all started when I was a wee lassie and my mom said the most awesome sentence that could be uttered to a kid in the 90s, “I’m going to buy cable.”  Whaaaaat?  I was going to be the popular kid in the neighborhood with cable tv!  Yes, that was a thing Generation Z; very few people had cable tv in the early 90s, so if you had cable your house was thee spot.  Basic tv did not have Cartoon Network or MTV and there certainly was no recording or pausing the tv.  You had to watch your show while it was on or it poofed into oblivion unless you used a VCR (basically a version 1.0, non-digital DVR that used massive book sized tapes that you insert into it and had to press play and stop to record your show).  I was hooked on The Real World.  It was a show about a bunch of opinionated, 21-year-olds from different backgrounds that were thrown into a house together with a stocked bar.  Not exactly quality tv, but it was a new concept.  Watching tv sure has come a long way, especially now that streaming services are offered.

Since becoming a mom, I have cut back on my tv watching, but I am still a sucker for family reality tv shows.  Babies and new mommies, veteran mom’s tackling issues, gifted children and families of color all make my heart fuzzy.  So I was really excited to hear that Olympic champion Gabrielle Douglas is coming out with a docu-series, Douglas Family Gold, chronicling her journey to the 2016 Olympics.  Gabby Douglas won the team and individual all-around events in the 2012 summer Olympics.  That competition also established Gabby as the first African American woman gymnast to win gold in the individual all-around event.  Gabby is such an inspiration to all children through her determination, discipline, and drive to follow her passion.  Her accomplishments are especially important to the black community as she is such a great role model to black children; who encounter a lack of quality role models in certain sports and the overall entertainment industry.

The series premiers May 25th at 10 p.m. on Oxygen.  Will you be tuning in?


Children’s Book Week 2016


My son loves reading time.  He goes to our spot, grabs a book out of our book bin, covers himself with a blanket and calls me over.  He excitedly points to the things in the book that he knows and describes them in full detail.  He inquisitively asks me about the things he doesn’t know so he can learn about them too.  We usually spend about 10 minutes longer on a book just talking about the pictures.  It’s a great way to not only teach him about new things (and how they work) but also to broaden his vocabulary.

This week is Children’s Book Week and we have some pretty cool books from the library.  My son is really into trucks, so of course I got him a few truck books.  One that I thought was awesome was Alphabet Trucks.  For each letter, we stated the letter name, made the sound of the letter and said a word that corresponds with that letter (ex. F, fff, fff fox).  That book took a long time to read, lol.  I was a huge Richard Scarry fan growing up, so I was really excited to share one of my favorite childhood authors with him.

Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day are right around the corner so it would be fun to add a few festive books.  Guess I’ll be swinging back by the library.  Did you know that some libraries will let you check out as many as 75 books at a time?  I used to wonder who would need that many books until our last book haul was about 25 books, so I could see needing that many if you have multiple children.  Hit the library and challenge your LittleReader to a book reading contest!  What books are your kids reading this week?


3 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission for my family.

I’m not a fan of celebrating holidays.  The whole thing just seems like too much work.  Spending a bunch of money buying decorations, searching tirelessly for ingredients and competing with other consumers for the last ham at the grocery store, cooking a ton of food, and having a messy house all for just a few short hours.  Still, it wasn’t until this past Christmas that I realized just how important celebrating something is.  Having a child leads me to revalue the joy and togetherness that holidays bring into our lives.  Simply because we are alive, well and happy to have each other.  It doesn’t have to be one of the traditional holidays, but it should be something that is important to our family.  I’d like for my son to have fond memories of a special day that we got together and did something fun for a good cause.  So we’re starting our own traditions!

Mommy Can LearnEarth Day is this Friday and while it isn’t a homemade holiday, what better reason to celebrate than the solitary planet that homes us and provides us with food, water, and air!  Here are 3 ways that we can do a little good for our planet that does so much for us.

Teaching your kids about sustainable living

Reading books to kids is the best way to teach them about, well anything!  Learning about the importance of sustainable living is a great way to get kids involved and thinking about preserving our planet at an early age.  And once kids take an interest in something new, they’ll be sure to remind us to do our part as well.  Here are 4 great books to get started:

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth

Disney Go Green: A Family Guide to a Sustainable Lifestyle

The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle: A Story About Recycling

The Earth Book

Earth Day activities

Earth 911 – Cool DIY projects with reusable materials.

Education World – Earth Day lesson plans and projects – great for homeschoolers!

TinkerLab – 50 Earth Day activities for toddlers and little kids.

Utilizing sustainability sites

Freecycle – A great resource for donating and receiving free reusable goods to avoid using landfills.

Healthy Home Economist – A list of organic, non-GMO, Monsanto-free seed companies.

I Want To Be Recycled – Everything recycling!

Local Harvest – Find local farms, farmers markets, co-ops, CSAs and even pick-your-own fruit gardens.

What do you have planned for Earth Day?