Summer break is here, which means my little beauty has made it through Pre-K. While I’m so excited that she gets to enjoy some downtime, the other part of me is freaking out because I know Kindergarten is quickly approaching. Like most children, Kalyn’s school year was cut short due to school closings. We’ve spent countless hours homeschooling, but the mama bear in me constantly questions if we’ve done ENOUGH to ensure that she is ahead of the game for the next school year. Today, I’m sharing my version of a Kindergarten Readiness Checklist along with a few of my favorite home-school tips to continue learning even over summer break. Tip 1: Read Daily Did you know that children who read daily have bigger vocabularies, score higher on tests, and have better focus?These are a few of the many reasons we incorporate reading into our daily learning. We opt for reading before bedtime, and now that Kalyn is starting to read with my support, I use this as a time to reinforce practice of sight words or word families that she has learned. Tip 2: “Write Daily” Kalyn can’t quite sit down and write story yet, but she can draw a picture and tell a story of what’s happening in the picture. This is the start of a strong writer! Incorporating daily drawing gives children a change to put their imaginations to work, as well as to practice story telling, sequencing, and identifying main characters. Tip 3: Numbers Are Everywhere We generally play a math related game each day. Hopscotch has become Kalyn’s new favorite. It’s a wonderful to master counting and recognizing numbers 1-10, and and added bonus is that it gets your children moving and practicing some serious balance! Tip 4: Social Skills Go A Long Way The transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten is a HUGE one. Many times, children can feel overwhelmed with all of the new rules of a “big kid” school. It’s critical to begin teaching your children routines and rituals such as waiting their turn, using manners, knowing when/how to ask for help, and showing kindness/empathy to others. These simple skills will help your child transition smoothly into a new role as a student. Tip 5: Have Fun Learning should be something that every child LOVES! Don’t be afraid to incorporate games, music, and creativity to master skills and to have an enjoyable experience. Pull out that shaving cream for sight words, mix up some frosting with food coloring to learn colors, go on a walk to recognize shapes! Make learning memorable through play and loads of fun. Your children (and their teachers) will thank you later! Do you have young children? What are some ways you are helping them learn at home?
Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by your snack closet during this quarantine. I certainly have. I initially stocked up on ALL the goodies, not knowing how long this would last. For most of us, food is a type of comfort, and indulging in our favorite treats brings us a bit of normalcy and happiness for whatever reason. It also brings on the extra pounds pretty quickly! So today, I’m sharing with you some ways that I’m avoiding unwanted weight gain while staying at home. I will preface this post by saying that I am not a licensed nutritionist or health practitioner. Nor am I implying that weight gain is a negative thing for every person. For me, avoiding weight gain is about my overall health and ability to stay in shape for my body type. Take what you need and apply it to your own profile. Tip 1: Intermittment Fasting Intermittment fasting is no new trend, but it’s something I’ve recently adopted to monitor my eating and avoid snacking from sun up to sun down. Though there are many variations, I stick to the 16:8 schedule. This means that I have an 8 hour eating window, and then fast for the other 16 hours of the day. This method has been pretty easy for me as I’ve never been a big breakfast eater. It also helps me keep my calorie count lower as my eating window is smaller. Keep in mind, it is essential not to “binge” during your window of eating for optimal results. Tip 2: Calorie Deficit Speaking of lower calorie counts, let’s talk calorie deficit. A calorie deficit is needed to lose or maintain weight without gaining more.A caloric deficit is any shortage in the amount of calories consumed relative to the amount of calories required for maintenance of current body weight. I monitor my calories to ensure that I am consistently at a deficit each day to avoid weight gain (and in my case, lose a few pounds). I currently consume about 1,300 calories each day during my eating window. Tip 3: Balance So counting calories, fasting, it all starts to sound a bit restrictive. One huge key for me in staying healthy is BALANCE. Listen, I’m not the girl who is never going to pick up Popeye’s Chicken. If you know me in real life, you know how I feel about Popeye’s. I’m not willing to absolutely give up my faves in order to be the perfect size according to society. Balance for me means enjoying my favorites but having the discipline enough to know that I can consume them all day everyday and expect to be healthy. I’ve found alternatives to curve my sweet tooth (fruit, sugar free jello/pudding), and am trying really hard to cut my eating out down to once or twice each week. Small changes provide big results, believe it or not. Tip 4: Drink Your Water Sis Drink your water, mind your business, and pray. My new life mantra has been my whole mood. I’ve never been thirsty in my life (see what I did there), so consuming a ton of water each day was admittedly not one of my common practices. A little while ago, I read up on all of the amazing benefits of consuming water and something just clicked for me. Though I knew water was great for you, it was the idea of maintaining healthy weight and skin that got me on board. Right now, I’m challenging myself to drink a gallon each day. I’m currently on day four and am surprised at how easy it has been for me. Moving forward, my goal is to drink at least 64 oz daily to flush out my system, stay hydrated, and stay energized! Tip 5: Get Moving Unless you know me personally, you wouldn’t believe that I’m surrounded by men who are in love with fitness. I used to DREAD working out. Going to the gym seemed so daunting for me. Being stuck at home, I decided that I would join a few live bootcamps being offered by various trainers. I instantly fell in love with the idea of working out from the comfort of my own home, in my own style. I generally spend thirty minutes each day dancing, lifting, or doing a HIIT circuit. Not only do I feel like I’m healthier, I feel better mentally after each and every workout. Check out my favorite trainer here and my favorite dance routines here. Being stuck at home doesn’t mean purging your kitchen all day. Avoid the “Quarantine 15” with these easy solutions that yield major results. How are you staying fit during this quarantine? Share some tips with me below!
How I've Improved My Complexion With Products In My Kitchen! Turmeric can be found in most kitchens as an addition to many of the meals we enjoy on a daily basis. Though it is most commonly used for cooking, Turmeric is growing in popularity for its ability to heal and treat skin issues without the use of harsh chemicals. Go browse your local beauty store and you’ll notice that Turmeric is an active ingredient in many of the hottest products, and there’s a reason for that. Turmeric has been proven to to reduce acne, hyperpigmentation, inflammation, and irritation. For me, I choose turmeric because it makes my skin GLOW! While I don’t experience acne, my skin tends to lean on the dull side unless I treat it regularly. I have seen such great results from consistently (2x a week) using Turmeric masks, that I just had to share with you all. Here are my favorites. Get ready to purge your kitchen for a glow brighter than these smiles! Honey & Turmeric MaskIngredients:Turmeric powder – 1/2 TspMilk – 1 TbspHoney – 1/2 Tsp Yogurt & Turmeric MaskIngredients: Turmeric powder – 1/2 TspYogurt – 1 TbspLemon juice – 1/2 Tsp Aloe Vera & Turmeric MastIngredients:Aloe Vera gel – 2 TbspTurmeric – 1/4 Tsp Olive Oil & Turmeric Mask Ingredients: Turmeric – 3 TspOlive oil – 5 Tbsp Banana & Turmeric Mask Ingredients:Mashed Banana paste – 2 TbspTurmeric – 1 TspHoney – 1/2 Tsp Directions:– Mix Ingredients together to form a paste.-Cleanse face thoroughly, and dry completely before applying mask. -Apply to entire face, avoiding eyes or mouth. -Allow to dry and leave on for 20-30 minutes. -Rinse with warm water and apply preferred serums, moisturizers, or facial oils.-Repeat treatment no more than 2 times weekly for optimal results. Have you ever tried a turmeric mask? Share your favorite “recipe” for glowing skin with me!
Mom or not, I’ll always be a glam girl. I love playing in makeup, getting dressed up, and hitting the town. But my budget doesn’t always agree with long walks through Ulta, so today I’m sharing 10 must-have products to create the perfect look without breaking the bank!FoundationFoundation is the canvas for a perfect look. When choosing foundation, the possibilities are endless. Look for a product that matches your complexion, meets your preference of matte or dewy, and has buildable coverage. One drugstore option is Maybelline Fit Me Foundation. At under $10, this product is budget friendly and high quality!ConcealerI’ve had dark circles since Kalyn was a newborn (oh hey, sleep deprivation), so concealer is my best friend at this point. What I look for in concealer is one that is creaseless and doesn’t give that halo like glow in pictures. One of my faves is L.A. Girl Pro Concealer. Y’all, it’s $4. Need I say more?Brow PencilI refuse to leave my house with ungroomed brows. I truly believe they frame the face and can make or break a look. There are a ton of options available for brow pencils, but if you’re looking to save rather than splurge, check out Wet N Wild Ultimate Brow Pencil. It’s retractable and comes with a brow brush as well. It’s also under $5! While we’re talking brows, be sure to check out a brow tutorial from one of my favorite Youtuber’s to get those brows just right!Contour & HighlightContouring slims the face and provides shape. Highlighting gives a glow to the highest points of your face. I opt for a contour and highlight set. The cool thing about this set is that is can double as a natural eyeshadow palette, and it gives you a bronze look. Perfect for date night, or just everyday wear. An added bonus is that it’s under $10!Setting PowderTo bring the face all together, I use setting powder. It prevents creasing, gives a more matte look (key for oily skin), and helps to blend all the products. Setting powder can be the same as your complexion, but I personally prefer a translucent powder so that it can be used over areas you have concealed or contoured. The powder here is $6 is used by women everywhere!MascaraMuch like brows, lashes definitely give your look and added POP! Whether your preference is voluminous or lengthy, there is a product for you. My favorite right now is Maybelline Lash Sensational Washable Mascara. It gives the best of both worlds with volume AND length. I just love it! It’s priced at $7 here.Lip GlossI couldn’t create a makeup list without including lip gloss! I’m a nude kinda girl, but lip gloss is a great way to be creative and spice up your look. I generally stick with neutrals for the daytime, and then go crazy with color at night. NYX Butter Gloss is a good option if you like a glossy look without the sticky feel. You can find it here for $5.00Beauty BlenderA makeup sponge is so essential to creating any look. It applies foundation, cream blushes, and even highlighter seamlessly. Most pros go for the classic Beauty Blender. Luckily, budget watchers like myself have found the PERFECT dupe at just $2!! Run and go grab a few!Brush SetThe last item needed is a brush set to help you apply all of the products to create your makeup look! I love brushes that are soft, yet sturdy and dense. BH Cosmetic’s Petite Chic offers six essential face and eye brushes for only $15.00!Setting SprayThis is optional, but I usually don’t go without it. If you’re looking to have your makeup last all night, setting spray is a great way to do so. It literally locks everything in place and prevents transfer, creasing, or smudging. ELF cosmetics Mist Spray not only locks everything in place, but it can also bring a look back to life with a few sprays. Another drugstore win for $5! Is your cart full yet? It’s completely possible to have a glam look for under $100 using the guidelines above. What are some of your favorite makeup products? What questions do you have about makeup application? Meet me in the comments to discuss!
Most people that know me in real life will tell you I’m extremely kind, nurturing, and soft-spoken. These are all qualities that I absolutely love about myself. They are also qualities that when not given boundaries, have been detrimental to my growth, happiness and peace. It was not until I learned to create healthy boundaries that I was able to thrive and bounce back from my self inflicted downfalls. Learn To Say NO, and Then Learn to Say YES! Half of my battle was that I’ve always been a yes wo-man. I don’t like conflict by nature, and my “go with the flow” personality often had me saying yes to situations that I don’t want to be in. First, I had to learn to say “no.” For me, this meant turning down events I couldn’t afford, severing ties with people who didn’t have my best interest at heart, and standing up for myself to know what I deserve in my life, in my love, and in my goals. Though this all a continued work in progress, I’ve become okay with disturbing the peace, as long as it brings me peace. My Tips for Saying No! Don’t apologize. If you want to say no, be firm and direct. I often found myself apologizing for missing out on certain things, for speaking my mind, or for simply being me. Use tact always, but say what you mean, and mean exactly what you say. I said what I said never resonated more. Buy yourself some time. If you’re not sure, don’t respond with a yes. Tell the person you need time to think. They will respect it, or they won’t. Make decision with a clear mind and heart. Compromise. ONLY do this to serve yourself. If the activity, friendship, relationship, or whatever it may be doesn’t benefit you, it’s a firm no. Compromise to find solutions that benefit all parties. Refusal Versus Rejection. This was, and is REALLY tough for me. When you say “no,” remember that you are refusing a request, not rejecting a person. For example, if I person mistreats you and you decide to walk away from the friendship/relationship, you are refusing to be mistreated, not rejecting the broken person who is projecting hurt. A whole word, right? Be true to yourself. Know what you want and stick to it! Peace is the ultimate goal! My Tips for Saying Yes! Be true to yourself. Know what you want and stick to it! Peace is the ultimate goal! I’m saying this again because when you know what you want, you do what’s best for you! Don’t Feel Guilty For Growing As I began to change, I started to feel like I was leaving some folks behind mentally. As you say YES to growth, your energy changes, and so does your circle. No New Friends? Actually, YES to new friends. Ones who are like minded, God-centered, goal-focused, and support you like you support them. Take Time For You Oh hey, moms! When’s the last time you did something just for YOU? Learn to say yes to self-care wholeheartedly. If this means scheduling one day out of the week/month where you shut off mommy duties, go for it! If it means a quick visit to the nail salon on the weekend, do it. When you take care of you, everything just feels better! Believe In Yourself. The biggest task in creating boundaries is the confidence to know that you deserve the world, and are able to obtain it. You daily decisions and thoughts impact your life in mighty ways. Say yes to believing in you, affirming yourself, and chasing after the life God has created for you!