So...I was looking on line and was in search for a project to do for my son. Some kind of activity that sparked his interest which fluctuates often but includes bugs and insects. I stumbled across an insect sensory bin that seemed rather simple and easy to do. It turned out to be a huge hit and is one of his favorites.
The first step is sorting out the bugs. There are 3 different types of bugs. I wanted each bug type to be a different color so that is why I separated them. You can dye them all one color or section them into three or more piles and have a mix of each insect with different color choices.
Next I dyed the bugs using thee Food Coloring and Alcohol and Zip lock bag. I put approximately 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol into the zip lock bag with a few drops of the food color of my choice. I then dumped in my insect pasta and shook them up. ***This is a step that you can share with your toddler provided they do not know how to open a ziplock bag. Jeremy enjoyed shaking the bag and dancing around.*** I then let the baggie sit for approximately 30 minutes turning it every 5 minutes or so to make sure that insects were coated as evenly as possible.
After the insects were colored I laid them out in a thin layer on the foil lined pan to dry. For me I forgot about the insects so they dried overnight and then I scooped them up.
In my storage bin I poured the black beans and then put in my insects and put the lid on and shook them up. Insect sensory bin complete!
Tiny Town Picnic Fun
The second book is about picnic day with the animal friends. At night this becomes a great time for us to discuss friends and games to play with friends. We talk about foods and we also talk about some of the things that he would like to do with his school friends when the pandemic is over. I always love the part when the friends get back on the bus to go home; it’s always interesting based on the stories he creates to see who gets on the bus and in what order.
Sharks Sticker Activity Book
The third book is for shark lovers! It is not a felt book but a sticker book. From National Geographic for Kids. This book has become a favorite bedtime read; over and over and over and over...🥴. Jeremy has shown love for the ocean animal from an early age and this book while a bit advanced for his age was a great way to not only educate him but also myself about things shark. He has been enamored with the shark sticks and loves to put them all over the house. If your little one loves sharks this is a must! 🦈
This is a very vulnerable post for me. I truly have debated whether or not to post it because I was worried about triggering some sensitive areas for others. So if discussing weight and weight loss is a trigger please do not read further.
Four years into motherhood I am finally figuring out not only the importance of my mantra “Creating Space Girl and Thrive” but how to make it work for me. I have realized that in order to be the best mom for my son I must take care of myself and my health first. As I have begun to thrive and get back into being more physically active my body has hit a brick wall. Just as I have started to find my footing my body has begun to fail me just when I needed it most.
I remember taking a walk with my son to the mail box and back to the house which is just 1/4 of a mile round trip and I almost did not make it back to the house due to a severe pain in my lower back. As my son raced ahead of me I panicked as I realized that if a car or something happened and I needed to get to him quickly I couldn’t. Work up of my back pain revealed the beginning of back issues that directly tied into my weight. In that moment I realized that I needed to make some tough decisions about my health quickly. While I was working on being more active pain in my back and my knee began to limit my ability to be more active and therefore limit a key component of my journey to thriving.
I learned to focus not on my weight and to focus instead on healthy practices and a healthy lifestyle. Which I carried with me. I began to accept my body and appreciate it for the wonderful things it could do and the shape I was in. The birth of my son, while a joy, changed my focus from myself to him and I put myself and my health on a cold back burner.
As I began my process of evaluating my own feelings about the new state of my body and health I realized that I had to consider bariatric options. Not for the goal of a number but to put my body in a different position to be more active and address some of the health implications that genetics has in store for me as I get older. I realized that my goal was a return of function and ability to move with less pain.
As I started this journey it became clear that I needed to address issues that I may not be aware of in my relationship with food. I started by taking a close look at what foods I eat and why. I started having hard conversations with myself and decided to also work with my therapist to determine if there is any components of comfort or stress eating that needed to be addressed. Determining what behavior, triggers, and patterns impact my eating negatively and developing ways to rethink and address those triggers and patterns.
January is a time for starting new things. It’s also a semblance of a fresh start a new beginning. The key to a fresh start is a good foundation. There are 3 things that I find help lay a good foundation for the year and I invite you to do with me to get your New Year off on the right foot!
Get a New Toothbrush!!!
Do a Quick Purge!!!
Create a Mantra!!!
Everyday is a fresh start but there is something hopeful in society at large about the start of a New Year. It’s like shedding a layer of skin and having a newness in the world. Laying a good foundation is important and I hope that these 3 things will help you as we start 2021!
Have you ever looked in the magazines at a celebrity and wanted to copy their style? With the onset of COVID I have been focusing heavily on lounge wear, comfort, and affordability. Flipping through my O Magazine from November, I became inspired to up my game significantly for the Christmas Holiday Season. So I let my fingers go to my favorite store for a high-end look on a modest budget—TARGET! As a plus size women I have been so happy with Target upping their game to bing affordable and quality clothing and it’s become a favorite.
I even looked for earrings as well and found these at Target that helped complete the look. Very affordable and pretty. To help me complete my inspiration look.
I really enjoyed pulling this look together especially since it’s been a while since I’ve dressed myself up. I'll b so glad when COVID-19 is behind us.
STAY SAFE! WEAR YOUR MASKS! WASH YOUR HANDS!
With the holidays in full swing I have begun the search and collection of toys that I think will be a hit for him for my little one. There is one toy that I got two years ago that he is still enjoying after 2 years. The Little Tikes Trampoline.
I will say proudly that I think this is one of my best purchases as a mom! He has used it repeatedly and enjoys it till this day. I was a little hesitant when I purchased it because I of course was worried about safety but intuitively he started jumping and holding on to the bar. As he has gotten older and gained more confidence in his balance and skills her has stopped relying on the bar. Bouncing and jumping is one of his favorite things to do. This has saved me and my parents couches from breaking with his exuberant and boundless energy. Whenever he starts jumping on the couch I remind him that it’s okay to jump off of the furniture but not to jump on and direct him to his indoor trampoline.
If you have a little one who loves to jump whose weight is <55lbs and you are looking for an indoor trampoline this is thee best!
When I began taking my dating life seriously I read a book “The 5 Love Languages”. It was very eye opening to me this concept that there were ways that I can be manifesting my love to others but because I am not speaking their “language” the manifestations have no meaning.
As I have been watching my son grow I am learning that he himself has a love language. Truly he expresses and needs all 5:
Words of Affirmation:
I’ve been learning that Words of Affirmation are more than “I love you” it’s applauding him when he does something correct. It is learning to acknowledge his correct behavior and positive attitude more than correcting and reminding him about things such as “don’t forget to flush the potty”
So often in the day to day functioning of raising him its so easy to point out mistakes and errors. However, instead I'm choosing to focus more on the things that he accomplishes on his own. Behavior and actions that show he is growing up and taking responsibility. There are times that I slip into old patterns and I find myself feeling like I'm doing more correction and reminding but as I always state I'm a work in progress and so is he.
Over time as I’ve struggled I’ve realized that quality time has different meanings for him. It’s a closeness—it’s being involved in my activities. During this quarantine time he had enjoyed popping into my office during my patient visits to say “Hi”. Putting him in my desk to watch his movies while I work at the computer, cooking together, sometimes just sitting in a chair answering emails while he sits on the floor playing with his trains are the times he needs. There are times when he does want my undivided attention and he communicates that very well. I have learned to also communicate when I'm unable to give him my undivided attention and why. I have also learned to set limits and honoring those limits. For example--when I'm working on my last 1-2 patients at the end of the work day and he comes into my office I explain that I have to finish and that when I'm done I'll be all his until he gets bored with me and I honor that time. I leave my phone in with my computer after my last visit and I'm all his. We talk about his day. We play trains. We play baby shark (don't ask 😉). We enjoy each other until he has his fill and is ready to move on to something else. Sometimes it's 5 min and other times it's 60 min. Whatever his love tank needs to be topped off and full ⛽️ .
Spoiling my son is something that is so hard not to do. Every time I see a toy that I think he would enjoy playing with I want to get it for him. However, my money being funny and my change being strange coupled with memories of him enjoying playing with a toilet paper roll keep my wallet happy. But I’ve learned to make a big fuss about the most mundane and necessary things. Underwear, toothbrushes, toothpaste. Things should be appreciated and respected. Everything and every moment is a gift. I find that by elevating the “mundane” my son appreciates all things in life. I hope this trend stays. I love that he is appreciative of items but I also know that as he begins to desire and express himself it will be more vital to ensure that even the smallest gestures are appreciated as the big gifts.
Act of Service:
Kids learn by example. They parrot what they hear quickly becoming little mynah birds; intelligently selecting the naughty words we may utter in an unguarded moment. I have grown up watching my mother do for others; not only in her role as a nurse practitioner but also as a sister and daughter in her family. I treat my parents based on how they treated their parents. I treat others how my parents treated others. I expect and hope that my son will learn by my example.
Finding acts of service for my son has caused us to grow closer together. I am always finding the balance between encouraging him and pushing him to do for himself and learning to overcome frustrations when things to quite go as smoothly and easily as he feels they should. On the other hand I enjoy doing things for him such as getting him juice before he asks for it sometimes. Taking his plate into the kitchen for him. Little things that I know he sees. Displaying this behavior to my own parents so that it is a normal occurrence that is an expectation rather than an exception.
Moments of "cuddle time" is one of my favorite times of the day. Even when I'm running behind in the morning in getting dressed when he asks for "cuddle time" I'm happy to oblige. Of course I set a timer for a few minutes and let him know that we can only cuddle for a few minutes because otherwise we both would loose track of time. I find that it gives up both a moment to connect with each other when we feel disconnected and fills up my love tank 🥰.
On this journey of discovery that he and I are on. I am learning that there are certain times and instances when I have to tap into which particular language he needs. For example, when he is trying to over-talk whomever I’m talking to of course it’s a sign that he needs attention but why and what language is not being met. Sometimes if it’s something he’s proud of and he is looking for words of affirmation; then there are times when he is looking for quality time. Time for me to stop and provide him with my undivided attention—watching him play for instance. Other times just my mere presence soothes and helps fill his love tank up.
As he changes his love language needs will change and I must adapt. It’s challenging and fun to learn the ways to speak to and fill up his love tank.
Earlier this year I had to let go of a relationship that I had invested my heart and soul into. It was one of the hardest things I have had to do. My track record with men is not the best I have the tendency to give my all to someone and am left being in a committed relationship on my own. At the age of 42, most of my close friends are either in a relationship, married, or divorced. In my family I am the only cousin who is not married and the only one that has had a child out of wedlock (my mom has been noting that point is a bit of a trigger for me—Geechi see’s all). While 2020 has not been the year that I anticipated it has in an odd turn of events been the year that I have needed.
2020 has oddly been about introspection and addressing areas of my life that have been consistently ignored. During this time I have focused on my mantra of “CST—Create Space girl and Thrive”. During the last 8 months there are 3 things that I am proud of doing:
Until I could do that fully and routinely I was no good to anyone and my desire to help others would be nothing but hollow and empty. I have also been learning that self-care can look like many different things. My narrow view of selfceare involved a period of significant uninterrupted time to rest, relax, pamper myself. As a single working mom it’s hard to carve out a big chunk of time to devote to just myself. Even so when I would carve out that time I would feel guilty and often that I was imposing on others to handle my responsibility. This resulted in me feeling run down, overwhelmed and depressed. So often as a women of color I felt I was failing others. It was a hard realization that in actuality I was failing myself. So now selfceare looks different than what I envisioned. Self-care takes the form of journaling, blogging, working out, meditating, reading a book even if it’s only for 2-3 minutes at a time. I make it a priority to get some time in every day just for myself, my goals, and my dreams.
After the birth of my son the feeling that I had repressed began to resurface. I started my blog seeking to write about my experiences as a single working mother as a way to satisfy that passion. The more I wrote the more I have longed and now have decided to invest in my passion to bring authorship to fruition. The more I denied the the passion to seek authorship the quieter my voice became for my blog. I finally decided the listen. The further I have come in the process my voice has become louder. Stay turned for my newest project that I can’t wait to announce soon!
walking away from a situation where I had invested my time, my hopes, and had invested dreams in a situation where I was not valued fully. In addition to that feeling pressure not from others but from myself to have what I saw others have. Not in a “Keeping up with the Jonses” manner but more of falling wedded to the dream that I came close to settling for less than what I deserve. Often we focus on others not valuing our worth that sometimes we neglect that we must value our worth as well and walk away from situations that no longer serve or honor our worth despite the investment of time and feelings.
As the seasons are changing so is my wardrobe. While leggings are still in season for my virtual visits I am finding that comfort is high on my list as it appears that my virtual days will be continuing and I am even adding a third day!. Working as a single mom with my son periodically being at home I have found of late that my bottom attire is actually being seen if I have to get up quickly from the chair in the middle of a visit which started me looking for some comfy yet cute.
I found these cute sweatpants from Target that have me stylish and feeling like I’m still seeing patients in my PJ’s. If you are looking for some stylish sweatpants that are comfy as PJ’s shop below!
During this pandemic and self-quarantine I craved and searched for ideas to help me keep Jeremy entertained and active. I thought that I would share with you my top 4 favorite Mom Blogs.
I can’t say enough about this website. Really and truly if there is a favorite among my list this is one. I highly encourage you to sign up for her emails because not only does it get your access to a myriad of free printables; it also give you updates when she comes up with new content. Which helped me when Jeremy got bored by some of the activities that we had done.
The Magic Milk STEM Experiment that she featured on her bog is by far my favorite activity to do with Jeremy. I used expired milk so I had to make sure he didn’t try to drink it before we started the experiment. Jeremy loves colors and stirring so the Magic Milk STEM project was a perfect fit.
his website was so helpful for me in developing ideas for sensory activities for Jeremy. I loved doing her Spring Scavenger Hunt printable. It even gave me the idea to do a fall scavenger hunt recently where we hunted for different colored leaves.
Jeremy loves music (I think it comes form all the singing I did while he was in utero)! Her Brain Breaks for Kids post gave us some great songs for us to sing together.
This website has a great printables that I found helpful. My favorite one is this color Bingo! So creative and fun to play. She has a lot of great printables too that I have used.
These blogs have been a lifesaver during the pandemic and while trying to home school my child in between working. Hope you find them helpful.
Embracing my imperfection and striving for perfection through grace.