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Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Bully Cut My Daughter's Hair:
What We Learned From This Experience

We hear the word bully used everywhere these days.  It's almost as if bullies just emerged out of nowhere but let's not forget, bullies have always been around.  What's the difference now?  How they are bullying is getting to be more + more serious each year.  As a family, we never really had a problem with bullies.  We told our children to "ignore" mean kids and they will go away.  I'm sure that's a common statement many parents tell their kids and sometimes it works.  But in a case where another child comes at your child with scissors, then what?!  Certainly we're not going to ignore it!!

Most of us Moms have received that phone call from the school that starts off with "Hi Mrs. Horn, your child is fine, I just called to let you know...".  It's intended to calm a parent because the school doesn't call you regularly so when they do, we immediately think the worse.  Especially in this world we live in.  Unfortunately as the conversation went on, it was clear that this teacher was way more calm than I needed her to be... "one of the students in class cut off an insignificant amount of hair on Taylor's head.  Everyone is fine.  I wanted to call and inform you in case Taylor came home upset".  Insignificant?  INSIGNIFICANT?!  First of all, scissors are considered a weapon.  So, what you're telling me is that another student came at my child with a weapon and you're JUST calling me in case Taylor comes home upset?

When I say, I couldn't get dressed fast enough to drive up to that school...  To this day, I can't remember why my husband was home from work but I'm convinced God knew that I would need to be calmed down.  I hung up with the teacher and called the principal immediately in which I was told that they were proctoring state exams.  Obviously I was in that 'spiraling out of control' Mom mode and hearing that the Principal was too busy to tend to this situation just angered me even more.   Next up, time to go to the school.  My husband questioned a million times why we were heading to the school if the Principal was busy.  My answer "we'll wait..."!  Long story short, we spoke with the Principal and the "bully" was suspended for several days.  Although I did get the impression that nothing would've happened had we not cared enough to address it.

DISCLAIMER:  Taylor Big Chopping was already planned prior to this incident.
What happened with Taylor?  Glad you asked. She came home un-phased.  It actually was a very small piece of hair (think a piece of frizz) that was cut... doesn't matter though.  Furthermore, she seemed upset that we had gone to the school and spoken with the Principal.  She was concerned that the girl and her friends would become retaliatory and tease her for "telling".  You see, Taylor had been ignoring these girls bullying her since she started at the school.  They made fun of the way she dressed, how she acted and even how she talked.  She took our advice that we had always given and ignored the girls.  Where we failed as parents is not sharing with her WHEN she should get help.  WHEN to say something because it's going too far.  Taylor shared that these girls giggled and talked about her (they sat right behind her) almost everyday and she just ignored them.  When asked if the teacher knew or heard them, Taylor said the whole class heard them so it would only makes sense that the teacher knew and did nothing.  Hence the teacher's laid back demeanor when calling me about the INSIGNIFICANT incident.  It was clear to me that it was time to update our ancient parenting tips we had given them as toddlers and so we did.

We do our best as parents to teach our children to be kind to others.  Respect your friends, Keep your hands to yourself, Stick + Stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you.  But words do hurt and sometimes those words turn to actions.  It's important that our children KNOW (not think) we are in their corner for situations like this.  Remember way back in the day, the phrase "Ooooh, Imma tell my Momma...", would be a serious threat?!  Let's bring that back.  This entire situation taught us that the lessons we may have taught our children years ago need to be dusted off and refreshed from time to time.  All of our children now know that they don't have to fight battles by themselves.  Mom will always be here to run up into someone's school and Dad will always be here to be a voice of reason so Mom doesn't get arrested.

If you want to know more about how this incident played out once the student returned from suspension + the school year continued, let me know below.  Maybe we'll do a video or go Live on Instagram.

Until next time.  XOXOMCS.
Friday, October 27, 2017

Lunchbox Chronicles:
Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt


A big thank you to Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt for sponsoring this blog post! This year started off with me promising Kennedy that I would make lunch for her everyday. A few weeks into the school year, that was adjusted to every other week and she would buy lunch on the off weeks. We are currently taking lunch on a "if Mommy remembers" basis. Certainly, it's a far jump from the greatest intentions I had at the beginning of the school year. But that's okay, there's plenty of time for
me to get back on track!

What I've come to realize is that this Super Mom needs assistance from pre-packaged items that I can just throw in her lunchbox. Pre-cut veggies or fruits, bagged cookies/crackers and yogurt has been our favorite snacks so far. On the regular we buy Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurt for the kids to eat as a snack after school or after dinner so it's a plus that the packaging makes it easy for Kennedy to take to school as well. Buying the pouches, cups, smoothies, or Squeezers makes it super easy for her to consume without a mess since a spoon is not needed. Bonus is knowing that I won't be getting a side eye for sending her to school with anything less than the best, especially since Stonyfield recently announced a sugar reduction in their yogurt products that started with YoKids and features between 25% - 40% less sugar than the leading kids’ yogurt.

The road to being consistent in this "Lunchbox Life" hasn't been easy but I'm finding ways to make it less stressful day to day. Stonyfield® Organic YoKids® yogurts are a great addition to the lunchbox + your girl, Kennedy, is loving them! Tip: definitely only add to an insulated lunchbox with an icepack so the yogurt stays fresh until lunch. Anyways, I've shared my little helpers + tips... share yours below! Do your children take lunch to school or buy? Help a Mom out...

Until next time... XOXOMCS

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Stonyfield® Organic YoKids®.
Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Easiest Dairy Free Nacho Cheese Recipe

I've been making this Nacho Cheese pretty often ever since I realized how easy it was.  Soaking nuts overnight is optional and depending on who is eating it (just me or the entire family), I can alter the heat in it by adding more Chipotle Peppers.  We love dipping Sweet Potato Wedges in it but it's perfectly fine with some chips or even veggies.  Scroll down + see how easy this one is... you will probably end up making this tonight!  LOL.

If you are making this in advance, feel free to soak your raw cashews overnight.  This will soften them up to make the cheese sauce as smooth as possible.  If this is a last minute thing, no worries, I got you!  Throw those raw cashews into a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.  Once the water begins to boil, turn off the fire and let the cashews sit for about 15 minutes.

Vitamix E310

For this recipe, I'll be using my new Vitamix E310 that was gifted to me (thank you Vitamix!) as it has ALL the power you need to get this done in less than 2 minutes.  In the blender, combine all of your ingredients... Softened Cashews, Seasoning Mix (salt, chili powder, black pepper, nutritional yeast), Water and (1) Chipotle Pepper.

Slowly increase the speed on the blender until the texture is nice + smooth like nacho cheese.  Since using the new E310, I have not had to bang or shake the container when making things but feel free to do a little jiggling + jabbing if your blender has any trouble.  Once the consistency is to your liking, you're done!  Feel free to tweak this to your own taste but don't forget to come back + share so we can try it too.  Pour + Enjoy.

EXTRA:  Take (2) large Sweet Potatoes and cut them into a wedges.  On a baking sheet, spread them out so that they aren't touching each other.  Drizzle about (1) tbsp of Olive Oil over the wedges, Sprinkle about (1) tsp of Salt + (1) tsp of pepper.  Want some fun?  Opt to sprinkle (1) tbsp of Old Bay over the Sweet Potatoes instead of Salt + Pepper.  Man, this is some kind of delicious.  Bake on 425 for about 20-30 minutes depending on how thick the wedges are.  Dip + Enjoy.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

I Want To Be An Influencer

I know my crew has been asking for this post for a while now but honestly, I didn't feel like I had been through enough to speak on this topic.  Now that it has been a full three years of getting paid to "Influence" as a Blogger, sharing my insights and tips seems like the right thing to do.  Everyone is at different phases of "starting" so I will try to address a few of them while providing tips to progress each phase.  I don't want this post to be pages long so I've decided to expand this conversation into multiple posts.  You won't get a full blueprint by reading all of the posts, but you will get an outline + hopefully some direction.

Jumping into Phase 1: I want to be an Influencer but I don't have a Blog or YouTube channel yet and all of my Social Media is loaded with pictures of my family.  The first question I have for you is, why do you want to be an Influencer?  I ask this because when a person truly 'wants' something, they can't help but integrate that passion into their daily life.  The fact that you haven't started a Blog or YouTube channel even just to share with your friends + family on Facebook makes me question if you want to be an Influencer for the right reasons. Would you want to be an Influencer if there was no money or products involved?  I know, you're probably laughing right now but I'm so serious.  The majority of Bloggers + Influencers you see today started when no one was checking for them.  Products were being purchased with their own coin + shared with people they went to school with + followed them to be nice.  Though these were rough years for them, it's how they were able to build their authentic following.  And guess what?  Brands only want to work with you based on your authenticity + your following.   You can't be hella authentic with 10 followers and you can't have 100K followers and be fake AF.  Balance.  So I recommend you evaluate why you haven't 'started' doing anything to follow this path you love so much.  Start doing 'something' even if it means curating images of the products your family uses.  If you've only posted pictures of little Ray Ray then start sharing what products you use on little Ray Ray.  That could be your specialty... Family Blogging.  Once you start then you'll be ready to move on to one of the phases below.

Phase 2:  I have a great following on all of my Social Media platforms but brands never approach me about collaborating.  This is actually all too common, especially for those who recently graduated college.  Whenever you post a picture you tag every brand that can be seen including your panties.  Believe me, the brands are seeing this and scrolling right past.  You are not sharing an experience.  It's like you waving someone down and then when they finally come over, you have nothing to say.  Clean up your feeds and become more intentional about your content.  There's nothing wrong with posting a picture and tagging brands but instead of sharing an image of your newly redecorated bedroom with every brand tagged, caption reading: "I wanna put you to bed..." (J. Cole referenced)  Try referencing the products/brands you love the most about this new space + why you love them!  Before I move on to the next phase, I want to ask you how many brands have you reached out to via email?  Theres fifty eleven people trying to become Influencers every day.  Brands can't keep up and they surely can't find each and every person that may be a right fit for them.  Sometimes YOU have to be the go-getter.  Find their PR email and introduce yourself because if you're waiting for them to find you then you might be waiting longer than you need to.

Phase 3:  I just want free products, I'm not trying to work this into a business or anything.  My advice to you is start entering giveaways.  I'm dead serious!  Believe it or not, there will always be a certain amount of work required even to receive free products.  Look at these people receiving free products left + right, their feeds are impeccably curated + they're hella creative.  Brands want to know that there's a chance their products will end up on one of these gorgeous feeds.  They don't want their product stuck between a picture of some janky meme + the food at your niece's graduation cook out.  It takes time to photograph those products WELL + share a story that your audience will relate to.  So if you really just want products, I'm sorry to tell you that it will take creating a space that brands will want to be highlighted in.  It will take intention, creativity and lots of work!  I will be the first to tell you that when I get lazy and don't feel like posting to my Blog or Social Media, nobody sends me anything.  Real talk.  It does take a certain amount of 'work'.

Hope you enjoyed the first of several Blog posts dedicated to the many who are interested in this lifestyle.  I understand that while some may be ready to risk it all + quit their job at this moment that there are others who just want a side hustle which is why I provided the different phases.  Stay tuned as we continue to move through the various steps you can take towards this path.  In the meantime, figure out which phase you're in and define your goal.

Until next time XOXOMCS.
Monday, October 2, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Energy Balls

Pumpkin Energy Balls

I've made so many different variations of this Energy Ball but this is by far my fave.  For those that have been waiting, please know that I have been tweaking my little life away.  Not to be confused with twerking my little life away.  Huge difference!  Many Energy Balls have been consumed in your honor.  For the longest, they were coming out way too sweet but I finally have a snack that's sweet enough for the kids but not overly sweet for adults.  They take a good 15 minutes to make and if you can hold off on eating them all, they do best when put in the refrigerator or freezer until firm.  Try them + let me know what you think!  Oh, and don't hesitate to alternate ingredients to suit your diet or just switch things up (like adding nuts or grains).

Mix everything in a bowl thoroughly.  Use a tablespoon and grab a nice amount to begin rolling into balls.  The mixture should be solid enough for you to do so but if it's not, just place it in the fridge for about 15 minutes or so.  It will be sticky when you're rolling but if you find that it's too sticky then sprinkle more oats until you can reasonably roll the mixture into balls.  This should make approximately 10-15 Energy Balls (depending on size).  If you're interested in "making them look pretty" then roll the Balls in Coconut Flakes before refrigerating.  They don't last long in my house (maybe 2-3 days max) but they should last in the fridge for about a week or less and in the freezer for quite some time (I haven't tested this option yet because they don't last that long).

This recipe is super duper easy, I told you!  Keep an eye out for even more recipes that are just as easy as this one.


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