We’re Hooked!

I asked each child of mine what are their goals for 2020. Anissa stood proudly before us and stated she wanted to become a better reader. Now she can read, not with great fluency, she’s good for someone in the first grade. “Mommy I want to read just like you, you know with the voices, and fast.” Well little Miss Anissa your wish is Mommy’s command. Of course I’m going to help her achieve this goal. 

In the past with my two older children I used Hooked On Phonics (HOP) to teach them to read. Both of my older children were reading by the time they were 3 years old. Anissa, the final piece to my trilogy has a very extensive vocabulary. I attribute this to her having older siblings and the fact that we never baby talked to her, we always used complete sentences. Anissa’s school is equipped with resources similar to HOP so I never thought to use the system at home with her. Apparently I need to break it out and help this little lady with her reading. 

The HOP system uses phonics to help children learn the sounds of letters, after learning the individual sounds of each letter, the children then learn to blend sounds to help them form words. As they begin to blend the sounds they start to pronounce words. The system has levels for each learning experience, as their reading experience enhances they receive an award and can then tackle the next level. Back when I used the system with my older two, you could rent the levels from your local library for free. HOP can appear to be expensive and having access to it at the library was cost saving. The only issue with renting the system from the library was the availability to check out the system. Recently I decided to invest and purchase the level of the system Anissa needed to achieve her goal. The cost for the system ranges from $13/month for online access or $60-$300 for the complete system or portions of the system. My suggestion, if you are considering using HOP to help your little one read go to the library and see if you can rent it there first, find out if it’s a fit for your child’s education goals. I’m making the investment because I know the system works and I have a niece and nephew who will be able to utilize this as well. 

Reading is truly fundamental! Reading has allowed us as a family to explore worlds beyond our own, to use our imaginations, and to gain knowledge of the things we want to know. Give your child the gift of exploration by investing in their reading potential today.

What do you use to help your child reach their goals? How do you set educational goals for your children?

parenting, self care

Perfectly Planned Out!

We have officially started 2020. I’ve heard so many claims that this year is it, we are all winning! I am so here for it all. One thing I’ve discovered though is that in all the affirmations, encouraging words, inspiring speeches is that if you don’t have a plan of action in place to win, you are destined to lose. Whether your goal is to become a better more engaged parent, start a business, level up in your career, or lose weight you must take the time to plot out how you will achieve that goal. Enter into one of my favorite places, the halls of planners. For me my planner is personal, it holds the key to how I plan on achieving my goals, what I’ve accomplished, and what I am looking to accomplish in the near or far off future. Below I will review a few of the planners I use in hopes of helping you find one that will work for you and get you started on living out your dreams and purpose.

  1. Last year I invested in the Sol Planner. An amazing planner that asks you questions and challenges your thinking daily to help you achieve your goals. The Pros: very detailed to help you complete your mission, a lot of space for writing your thoughts and appointments with details, thought provoking questions that will keep you accountable to yourself for making things happen. The Cons: you have to put the planner together, there is a binding ring and monthly and weekly inserts that you will need to put together before you can use the planner, the planner is bulky, you won’t be able to slide this into your favorite handbag, which if you are on the go and you like to have your information at your fingertips to write down notes makes this very difficult. The estimated cost of this planner is $50, which may seem a bit pricey but worth it if you can deal with the cons.
  2. I was gifted the 2020 Christian Planner. Before I was able to delve into the planner I knew I loved the size and cover of it. It’s appearance is like a book and it has a strap that allows you to keep all the pages together.  If you are a speaker or minister this may be the perfect planner for you. The Pros: space within the planner for you to create a mini vision board (that means you can take your vision board with you), there are reflection questions that will get you thinking more along the lines of self-care and having a deeper connection to God, ample space for sermon/bible study notes I personally use it for notes I take before I host a LIVE. The Cons: If you are a creative there is not enough space to create, the lines for writing in appointments or reminders are very small and restrictive. The estimated cost of this planner is $35.
  3. Let’s get crazy! That is the theme of our next planner the Goal Crazy Planner. After I concluded that I would only be able to utilize the Christian Planner for certain things I was in a frenzy trying to quickly find something that would help me begin to schedule my year. Enter the Goal Crazy Planner. This planner will get you thinking intensely about what your life looks like, how you want to improve the look of your life, and what steps are you willing to take to achieve your dream life. I like this calendar because it hits a lot of areas for me. I was able to review areas of my life where I am winning and areas that need improvements. The Pros: LOVE the detailed questioning of envisioning your current life and the life you want, the setting goals questions really get you to focus in on what you want to achieve, I also like that there is a corresponding website with videos to help you use the planner to the best of your abilities. The Cons: it’s a 90 day planner, which means in 90 days I will have to order another, if you are looking for something with dates and times already written in then this will not be one of your favorites. The estimate cost for one planner is $25 with the option to buy 4 at $90.

Whatever planner you choose make sure it’s one that works for you. While I love decorating my planner with stickers, fancy pens, highlighters, if at the end of the day it’s not serving its purpose, which is to keep me on task, then what’s it’s point?!

This is our year to achieve our goals and dreams. With proper planning and the tools you need, I am sure you are going to be very successful. Are you currently using a planner? What are it’s pros and cons?


Perfectly Imperfect!

It’s the time of year where we spend massive amounts of time with family and friends. I am super excited to be able to use the entire family’s creative skills and make these the most memorable times ever. There’s decorating, cookie baking, gift giving and so much more, I love it all. My family has opted for a non-traditional white tree (it’s been with us a few years) and we never go with the traditional holiday colors which I love. Blues, purples, deep pinks, emerald green, fire red have donned our tree and home since we moved in 7 years ago. Why change the formula, right?! This year the kids request to take over the decorating. It can’t be that hard I mean I’ve mapped it out for them every year they just have to duplicate and VOILA, decorations complete. I’m excited to decorate until our drive in the car to get a few new things to add this year turns into, I don’t like our decorations! What?! I’m confused they represent our personalities. I would learn there that day in the car my children prefer traditional colors (bah-hum-bug!) Then I had to remember it’s not just about me, it’s about the family so off to the store we go…

I have to say I was impressed by some of the pieces they picked out and it was fun to see the excitement in their faces as they go about the store comparing prices, colors, and the look they can agree on. We collect our haul and head home. In my typical takeover fashion I begin putting pieces together and I can see their vision, it may work out. I get a little tap on my arm and I’m escorted to my seat, apparently this year I am to observe and participate as needed. (WOW!) This is torture! I know I’m not the only mom who likes for the look of their home to duplicate a magazine spread. Ornaments are not bunched together, the wreath is hung perfectly this is what brings Christmas cheer right? As I sit grinding my teeth, I’m amused at how take charge the kids are this year. Not everything is where I would put it, but it’s perfect. As they finish decorating my heart is filled with joy, 1. They did not argue while completing this mission, 2. The look of satisfaction on both of their faces made my heart grow three times that day.

To my surprise they had more in store for me. Not only were we decorating but we were building a gingerbread village. This should be interesting! We open the box spread out the parts, look at the box, look at each other, look at the box and get to work. Each one of us is given a house to complete for the village. Have you ever put together a gingerbread house? It’s messy, well at least for us. There’s mounds of icing and candy pieces that don’t look that appetizing everywhere. We each take a stab at creating our masterpieces, some did better than others, while others just gave up and licked icing and ate gingerbread. Our houses look nothing like what’s on the box. As I try to piece together the village I look at both my children and they are happy, laughing, and there are no electronics in sight. We are actually spending time, just us. It’s a mother’s dream.

Although my home doesn’t look like a magazine spread and our village is half eaten and loop-sided, I’m fine with everything being perfectly imperfect. If I would have spent time trying to get everything just right I would have missed out on just being present. I’m thankful my children dared to be traditional, the gift of their time and attention and thoughtfulness will go a long way this season.

What are your holiday traditions? Have you ever tried switching things up?


Just One Hot Crafty Mama!

Pinterest has become a way of life. Anytime I need to figure out outift ideas, decor, how to fix something, ect. I go straight to Pinterest and I begin to search. It’s the Google for craftiness. As the holidays approach I was looking for a inexpensive way to celebrate my kids teachers. There are so many and let’s face it my budget won’t allow me to purchase individual gifts. Enters my good friend Pinterest. I was excited to see what would come up in my search and I am extremely excited to get to crafting.

My daughter’s homeroom teacher and I have become close. She reminds me of myself if I had the patience to become a teacher. I want to give her something just for her. Not to negate her supporting cast, members of the office team, I have to come up with something. Last year I gave her teacher a mug, so why not fill that mug up with somthing! I’ve opted to make her a relaxation tea tree. If she drinks tea or not I think, she can use it for herself or to entertain guest. For the rest of the staff I’ve selected a sweet treat and one I don’t have to bake. Reindeer brownies for the win. I like the thought of this gift because it will allow Anissa and I to work together. I love including her in on projects.

Now as for the teen man of the house, he could careless about giving anything to any teacher. Finals weeks has been brutal and he is over school for this semester. Even with that said I still believe the teachers and staff of the school community deserve a little treat. Jamiel’s school is significantly bigger than Anissa’s school so the reindeer brownies will not work, I’ve opted for Candy Cane Reindeer. I can buy a bunch of candy canes and drop a basket off to the main office as a gift from the family. It’s the gesture that counts right?! Either way I’m excited about crafting and spending time with the kids doing so,

What are some holiday crafts you do as a family? Please share them in the comments.