Our Adventure In CANDY LAND!!!

Hey Hotties! Last Saturday Anissa and I took a little Christmas journey to Candy Land at the Penitentiary Glen Reservation. Growing up Candy Land was one of my favorite games. The colors and different characters allow you to transform into a world of gumdrops, lollipops, and dreams. I don’t know who was more excited to go on this adventure myself or Anissa. After about a 30 minute drive where my partner in crime fell asleep we arrive to the magic…

blog 12.3We were greeted by forest rangers who gave us our magical game box. Inside the box were cards just like the game with each flip of a card we were told which space to go to next. We enter the gates of Candy Land and there we find Christmas replication of one of my favorite childhood board games. Anissa is ready to play, I on the other hand want to take in the life-size model of the game. Instead I play, we flip a card and find our square, we continue to flip and find our next move until we reach the end of the game. But guess what, that wasn’t the end for us because we played 6 more times. It was great seeing my little lady enjoy the game as much as I did as a kid. Once we tired of hopping squares we turned in our magic box for our next adventure.

blog 12.3-1At the ranger station we were given a clipboard and clues. Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt. We were gifted with two scavenger hunts one for outside and one for inside. As we explore the inside fo the building we begin to notice things we hadn’t before. Each clue gave us access to another room/exhibit that we were seeing with new eyes for the first time. With our explorer hats on we touched and read about the animals there and the history of the center. We had an amazing time and learned so much. We started to head outside and then found a craft center. We Hotties love crafts so we enter. We were given the choice to either make a S’mores Bunny or Turtle. What?! We get our craft bag and inside we have materials we need to use to create this ornament. What a great time we had.

To go outside or not to, that is the question. As we put our coats on for the outdoor scavenger hunt it begins to rain. A little rain won’t hurt us, but as Anissa pointed out no one was looking forward to wash day (our hair) so we opted to stay in and grab a snack. We ventured into the gift shop where we found great treats, educational materials and a few furry friends. We decided ice cream treats for the day and a new snake to take home and prank Jamiel.

If you are interested in going on the Candy Land goes Wild adventure click here and take your own journey. What are you all doing to celebrate the holiday season and create new traditions?    blog 12.3-2


I Don’t Wanna Go Broke!

blog photo 11.20.18Hey Hotties! How many of us remember that Toys R Us kid’s song. I knew when I heard it around the holidays Christmas was fast approaching. Well now Toys R Us is no longer around ( insert sad face), is that due to poor financial planning, biting off more than they could chew, like the Tootsie Roll commercial “the world may never know?!” What I do know is I don’t want to see any parent going broke trying to provide a “Christmas” experience for their family. So below you will find a few ways I am curbing my spending during this upcoming holiday season.

Forbes predicts that parents will spend $495 per child. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, parents are pouring out big bucks for electronic items, collector items, and lifetime experiences for their children. Our children are living their best lives and we are going broke for them to do it! So how do we stop the cycle of unnecessary debt and enjoy this season. I’m going to tell you what I’ve done and hopefully it helps you.

  1. I made a list of the individuals I was going to purchase gifts for. I would love to splurge on all my nieces, nephews, aunties, uncles, and cousins but that’s not feasible. I’ve kept the list very specific and assigned a dollar amount to each person.
  2. Name Amount Spent Remaining
    Symone 150 75 75
    Jamiel 150 63 87
    Anissa 150 92 58

    Once the amount allocated is gone that’s it, there is no more to spend.

  3. I started shopping 2 months ago. I allotted an amount from each paycheck to go towards the holidays. This way I wasn’t rushing to buy things just because I had to get a gift and I was able to budget between bills and extracurriculars. Also while I love a good Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale, there have been some amazing sales going on if you sign up to receive promotions from those stores or vendors. While the emails may get to be a bit much at times, I love being the “first” to know about the sale and getting that extra 15-35% off because I signed up with them.
  4. All gifts matter! Here’s is where your parental guilt may cause you to break the bank spending this season. DON’T DO IT! If you can’t afford it, then that’s it, making a choice between paying a bill and your child having the new Jordan’s is a no brainer. Now don’t get me wrong I love seeing the excited look on my children’s faces when they get the gift they really want, but I’ve also instilled in them that appreciation for the gifts they receive is the greatest gift they can give back to me as a parent. (cause let’s face it they not breaking their little banks to buy us gifts). You are doing the best you can, don’t allow social media, TV, YouTube, or other parents make you feel guilty about what you can and cannot afford. You run your household and you know what you need to keep the needs of the family first not just the wants.
  5. Now if you are one of those people who just have to get EVERYBODY a gift, but you know you can’t afford it, here’s my back-up plan. Get photos of you and your family and have them printed, then create a holiday memory book for family members to display in their homes. Get artsy with it, no grandparent can resist a photo album with the little painted baby hands on it. Or you can bake cookies and give them out, this allows for you all to do a family activity and share with others.

Debt is something we should start teaching our children early to steer clear of. As much as we want to fulfill a want, discipline in spending habits will go a long way to secure their futures. What is your budget looking like this holiday season? How can you save?


Bah humbug!

I love the holiday season the smells around the house, the beautiful scenery. There’s magic in the air during this season. What I don’t like is how everyone gets so political. We each have our own views about how we want to raise our families, if you celebrate holidays great, if not that’s cool too. The point is don’t rain on someone else’s parade because you want them to feel how you feel.

Say for instance the whole Santa thing, some kids believe and some parents are like OH HELL NO, some old man won’t get credit for my hard work. Guess what either way neither are right or wrong it’s a preference. My kids figured it out themselves and I just asked them not to ruin it for other children. They didn’t believe in Santa but could not wait to lose a tooth so that they could get a visit from the Tooth Fairy (major side-eye). WE each are building our own traditions and it’s okay if our traditions don’t match. Each of our families are different and we have to determine what is right for each of us.

This has been a year of reflection for me. In case you haven’t seen it in any of my post, writings or videos, it’s been a time of embracing my individuality and that’s all I hope for you. I can’t tell you how to live your life, but I can encourage you to live the best life for you and your family. Whatever traditions you have embrace those, make those your legacy, but don’t force them on others or try to shame them for having different beliefs. I’ve also learned that my children are going to develop their own traditions, that heaven forbid (kidding) will be different from what they were taught growing up in my household. You have to trust that the memories you are creating will help them embrace who they are as people and you have to watch them flourish and be who they really are.

So what am I saying…CELEBRATE YOU! Celebrate your family in whatever form or fashion works out for all of you. Determine that as we electric slide (I’m telling my age) into this next year that you will focus on what makes you and your family happy. I promise your best moments are yet to come.


Santa Gets No Credit!

no-santa-stickerIt’s that time of year where most parents credit Santa for bringing gifts to their little bundles of joy.  NOT THIS YEAR SANTA!!! It’s all in love, find out below why we moms are taking back the credit our kids give Santa.  Happy Holidays!
(featuring Ayesha Ansari)

  1. I didn’t see Santa standing his out of shape behind in line for this Hatchable that I had to arm wrestle somebody Granny for.
  2. When that credit card bill comes in January, will Santa allow me to list him as my payment method.
  3. Where the hell is Santa when I’m tripping down the stairs in the middle of the night to put presents under the Christmas tree, slip and fall and end up with a $500 copay.  Can I get on Santa’s insurance plan?
  4. Where is Santa when I have to drink this milk and eat these cookies, despite the fact I’m on a diet and lactose intolerant and will spend Christmas morning in the bathroom.  I could throw the stuff out, but will Santa reimburse me for my groceries?!
  5. Where is Santa when your kid gets mad because they got Elena of the DR instead of Elena of Avalor?  They’re the same right?!
  6. Where is Santa when you’re out Christmas Eve at 11:59pm trying to find your “beloved mother-in-law” the perfect gift? She ain’t gone like it no way.
  7. Where is Santa when you’re trying to prepare a Christmas meal to feed 25 people but your budget says you can feed 2, you and the dog?!
  8. Did Santa pay $586,785,830,809.71 to fly your son home from college, only to tell you he wish he stayed on campus?!
  9. Did Santa sit and plot out every sale, print coupons, calculate cash back, donate blood to give your kids Christmas magic?!
  10. And lastly was Santa up until 5am wrapping gifts, making sure every bow was perfect only to have a little terror wake up at 5:02am and rip what took you 10 hours 45 minutes, 6 seconds to wrap.

So sorry Santa this year I’m taking all the credit.  Moms unite, it’s time Santa gets put in his place.  By the way Santa if you’re reading this it’s a joke, lol, I’m on the NICE list right?!


Homes for the Holidays!

homes-for-the-holidaysWe made it to another holiday season. I love the holidays. The shows, the songs, the smells, I love Christmas lights they always bring out the amazed kid in me. I love it all except…The dreaded holiday visits. I know I’m not the only parent that has to plot out maps to figure out where we go first, who we are going to see, can we make it to everyone’s house in a blizzard. Two years ago the kids and I literally drove through a blizzard, it took us 2 hours to get to a place that normally takes 15 minutes. I’m so happy to spend time with family and friends, but do we have to fit all these visits into one day, Christmas break is two weeks, we have time, right?!

Between the arranging and re-arranging of house guest, brunch, dinner, opening gifts, playing with gifts the day is jammed packed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for it all, but I’d appreciate my peoples even more if we were not guilted into coming to 12 houses, staying for 10 minutes, not long enough to take our coats off, we miss the whole visit. There’s no joy standing there coats on, making excuses as to why we can’t stay. I want to create memories not maps!

Solution to this! Hide in your house, don’t open the doors, pretend you’re not at home. Just kidding! Talk with your family, the ones you will be in the car with. You all decide as a group at least two locations you should go to. If you are married or dating, there should be one place to represent each family. Spend the morning in one location and the evening in another. This should give you enough time to hug, sing, eat, and be merry with the family.

The holidays should be about creating moments for you and your family and friends to share. Don’t let guilt take that from you. Besides if all else fails you can pack Christmas in a car and Angela Bassett-Waiting to Exhale it and try again next year (just joking).

What are your holiday plans? Where will you end up?