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October Reads and November TBR

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October Reads and November TBR

Hey,bookworms! We are in one of my favorite months. Why is it my favorite month,you ask? Well, Amani will be 12 years old on the 23rd nd my closest friend’s son will be turning 4 years old. He and my daughter are birthday twins. Plus, on Thanksgiving Day, that same friend’s other son will be 8 years old. That means lots of celebrating and plenty of food and desserts. Now, let’s talk books.

My Fall reading TBR is pretty ambitious. Especially since, I threw in a+700 page behemoth that I started like a year ago. I still haven’t gotten a quarter of a way through it. I LOVE a big book and it irks me that I haven’t finished this one yet. Here’s what I did finish in October:

THE WATER DANCER BY TANEHISI COATES

This book was sooo good!!! It follows a slave named Hi(ram) whose mother is taken away from him as a child. Hi has a special ability to remember every thing down to the smallest detail. This journey takes him to the Underground where he works with Harriet Tubman herself. She also possesses the unique gift Hi has. She helps aid in his getaway but the journey takes him back to his owner who is also his father. Through his trials Hi learns to hone his gift and use it to reconnect people while trying to remember his own mother.

There are sooo many gems in this book. Coates brings a unique perspective on slavery by adding a magical realism twist. Not only does Hi witness classism among white people but he gets a glimpse at women’s suffrage and the plight of Native American people as well. Though the story of slavery has been told MANY times, Coates holds his own fresh take on a dark time that we are still dealing with today.

THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY BY ALIX E. HARROW

This book was unique in how it used time travel to tell the story of January. She finds a Door one day that leads to a different time and a different wirld and decides to pursue finding more as a way to deal with her father’s constant absence and the death of her mother. January grows up with a rich benefactor who is her father’s employer and even though on the surface he seems like a great guy, January doesn’t tell him about the Door or the book she found about Doors. There are characters that are clearly the bad guys but I enjoy how Mr. Locke., January’s guardian, is walking a thin line between a greedy bad guy and a parent who was too overprotective and misguided. January’s own father was not honest with her either and it drives a wedge between her dad and her. Overall, this book was beautifully written and the characters well developed. The on thing that kept me from giving it 5 stars is the ending felt a little confusing and I’ll definitely have to read the book again to properly understand how Locke became Locke and his motives for closing Doors but other than that, I loved it. I could see there being a 2nd part,perhaps a prequel to delve into Locke and if so I’d read it.

What I noticed about both reads is that they both discuss subjects that hav been written about a million times. However, they both provide a unique story with characters that show real growth and are relatable. These were both e ARCs but because I really enjoyed them so much,I will be purchasing physical copies.

NOVEMBER TBR:

Olive,Again by Elizabeth Strout

If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

A Man In Full by Tom Tom Wolfe (that +700 page behemoth I mentioned earlier)

Tell me, what are your November TBRs? Have you read any of these? Happy reading!!!

NetGalley Reviewathon

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NetGalley Reviewathon

Summmer is winding down and though I didn’t get to do all the things I planned for me and the kids, I did get alot of reading done. I participated in a readathon jn July and that jumpstarted my bump in finished books. I already spoke on the the details of the NetGalley Reviewathon here so Im just going to jump right into the books I completed. I have actually struggled for a few months trying to finish these books so a few are a rollover from the other Readathon. I’m happy to report I finally finished and reviewedthem.

1) Mother of Pearl by Angela Savage

I really enjoyed this book! It discusses an Australian woman,Meg’s deciding to use a surrogate from Thailand when IVF fails multiple times. What I found interesting was that surrogacy is somewhat looked down upon in some parts of the world. The surrogate, Mod,already has a son, but needs the surrogacy money to support herself,her mom,and her son. Mod struggles with carrying a baby that she will be giving away. Meg’s sister,Anna, plays an important part because she becomes the go between her sister who is unable to travel to where Mod is and forms a bond with Mod which stirs jealousy in Meg. Anna is a kittle over bearing but it’s only because she feels like she failed Meg in some ways as a sister. Anna goes so far as to terminate a pregnancy because she knows it would hurt Meg that she can’t conceive but Anna unintentionally became pregnant. It was an honest look into how surrogacy affects families and makes women question their womanhood when they can’t conceive (Meg) or choose not to (Anna) 3/5 stars

2) The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman-

Wow! Hoffman has managed to take my breath away once again. As is common with Hoffman’s work, there is a supernatural spin on this tale of survival. Hanni is a woman hiding from Nazis in 1944 Berlin. She kills a German soldier to save her 12 year old daughter,Lea, from rape and murder. Hanni then decides to send her daughter away without her. There is a Jewish legend that a creature called a golem can be made from clay and water to do its creator’s bidding. Hanni first appeals to a fellow Jews known to have successfully create the golem. They refuse her so she desperately makes Ava herself. She sends Ava and Lea away to safety but not before telling Ava her only goal is to protect and love Lea the way Hanni no longer can. The journey that follows for Ava, Hanni,and Lea is a discovery of humanity even in an entity that is not supposed to be human. I think the fact that rights as actual humans have been taken a way,the cast of characters are forced to find humanity among each other in unusual ways. I loved how Ava goes from an unfeeling, strictly by the book guardian to a parent. Lea rejects Ava at first because she is scared,I think, and doesn’t want to accept what’s happening. She definitely rebels as teenagers do but as she becomes a witness to death and love and war,she matures and makes a sacrifice for Ava that reflects that. I love animals and Ava forms a bond with a heron who plays an important role as a messenger for both Ava and Lea. The story of the Holocaust and Auschwitz,although told by many authors over the years, has a fresh heartwrenching spin that is relatable to us all in some way. 4/5 stars

3)Maternal Instinct by Rebecca Bowyer-

This book was not bad. It definitely pit me in the mind of The Handmaid’s Tale. The government is policing women’s bodies and controlling how many babies they can have. Alice works for the Genetics and Reproduction Department of government. This Department requires women to have 2 children, give them to assigned Maters and Paters, who are trained parents, and move on their lives. Alice’s son died but she has a living daughter, Monica. Monica annoys me because she is petulant at times. She has a son and at first she’s eager to go back to her life and give Oscar up but then changes her mind and decides to keep him. I felt for her because I could not imagine giving up my children because the government says I wont be able to parent them as efficiently as Maters and Paters. Monica makes the decision to jeep Oscar and run away with him. Alice doesnt care for the idea until she forms an attachment to her own soon to arrive baby. The pregnancy comes a s a shock to her husband, a Pater, and her job. Her job wants her to terminate the pregnancy and when she doesn’t they seem to get a little nasty with her. Alice starts to rethink the purpose of the GRD. Is it really helpful to society? She starts to dig into her own background and digs into the death of her son as well as her mother’s mental health issues.There’s a couple of conspiracy theories but I find that they weren’t thoroughly flushed out and things wrapped up too quickly. I did like the relationship between Monica and her husband, Ollie. He was supportive of Alice keeping her pregnancy. I loved Alice’s brother,Pete. He was like a 007 type who also had his sister’s back while keeping her grounded in her thinking about dismantling this government program that may be doing more harm than good. Overall, not a bad read,but not as fleshed out as I would have liked. I think maybe there should be a part two to see how the GRD is destroyed, as it should be.3/5 stars

4) A Death in Harlem by Karla Holloway-

I really enjoyed this book! I’m not too much of a who done it girl but this drew me in because it take place in Harlem. I grew up near Spanish Harlem in the 90s and Harlem was a mecca for Black people in NYC. This story is during the Harlem Renaissance era. Harlem’s first Blsck police officer is roped into Black high society when a seemingly white woman falls to her death during a party. The police officer uses Sherlock Holmes methods to try to figure iut what happened to this woman. At first it seems like she was killed over an alleged affair but when the officer digs deepers,he uncovers a couple skeletons in the the closet of the victim and her social circle. I enjoyed seeing how Officer Weldon Thomas asked carefully thought out questions of potential suspects. I enjoyed the explanation of how the Black elite became the Black elite. I would never have guessed who the killer was and to me that was the best part! Would definitely read this author again. 4/5 stars

5)The Watanabe Name by Sakura Nobeyama-

This was a real treat. I thought it was a typical “rich- patriarch-is- murdered- by-bitter-child”plot but there are many layers to the Watanabe family and their story is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. It definitely satisfied my love of family drama. The Watanabe Family is steeped in military and high society which means there are certain expectations of them. They wear the facade of perfect for everyone but there are secrets in their closet that both tear them apart as a family and hold them together. World War 2 is the historical background for this story but was very essential to the character development of everyone. I think you’ll walk away feeling pity for everyone. I loved it! 4/5 stars

6) Bethlehem by Karen Kelly-

Karen Kelly really sucked me into this read. It’s a family saga filled with secrets. The real message for me was all about forgiveness and healing. It was about understanding how keeping a secret helped a relationship heal. Fave line: “Just because skin doesn’t show scars does not mean there haven’t been wounds”. It did drag a little in the beginning but the story is definitely worth reading the little details. 3/5 stars

I would love to know if you participated in this Reviewathon. Do drop your links to your posts in the comments. School is starting up in a week here which means Fall is back! Stay tuned for my Autumn TBR post. Happy reading!

What Is A Single Mom?

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What Is A Single Mom?

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Spawned, and the topic was Who Can Be Called A Single Mom? The hosts described how they define a single mom. I believe one of the hosts’ husband has passed away so she considers herself single. After hearing their perspective, I started thinking what “single mom” means to me. So let me back up a bit.

My grandmother became a widow in 1970 after 10 years of marriage and 5 children with my grandfather. She did not date much, deciding instesd to work and raise the children. It wasnt so hard for her to do this because she had plenty of family to look after the kids while she worked. She didnt start dating until all the children were grown. According to my mom she dated a couple losers before finding a good guy and giving birth to a 6th child. She didn’t marry my uncle’s dad but they were a couple until his sudden death. He did provide financially for my uncle through his retirement benefits and there were also death benefits my uncle received as well.

To me,the fact that my grandma had a romantic partner that loved with her means she was not single. Here’s another example. My biological mother was married when she was 17 to a much older man she hsd known since childhood. They had a son a few years into marriage and then my mom left her husband. She started an affair with another married man which resulted in a baby. The married man stayed with his wife but his wife got even with him by giving my mother his social security number to claim child support for the baby. My mom went on to have 2 more children while still legally married. My youngest brother’s father was her domestic partner for around 20 years,outlasting her actual marriage. However, I considered her single because she was married through her last 3 pregnancies and her husband and her were estranged.

I consider myself single for the same reason,kind of. I’ve never been married and I’m not in a commited relationship with someone who helps take care of my kids.

Here’s a last example for you before you decide what you think single is. My adopted mom was married to a man 20 years ago. She split up with him a month or two into their marriage and they have not seen or spoken to each other since 2000. In 2006,Mom got baptized into out faith, Pentecostal Christian. In our beliefs,divorce although recognized legally is not recognized by the church. You can not date anyone until your spouse has passed. If you do legally divorce, you still can not date or remarry until your spouse has died. So according to the church, my mom was not single until her husband died a few months ago.

So,whenever a mom tells you she’s single,think about what that means for you (if you’re pursuing a mom) and ask her what that means to and for her. Tell me,moms, how do you define being a single mom?

Let’s Talk About Sex(Briefly)

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Let’s Talk About Sex(Briefly)

It has come to my attention that although we mom bloggers are expected to be honest about our lives, we are still viewed as non sexual in some respects. I was talking to a friend and she alerted me that she could see a tweet of mine discussing a sex act in detail. To myself I’m like “So what? I’m grown and so aremy followers. She then explained to me how readers view mom bloggers and moms in general.I’m like ” I have two kids, it should be obvious that I have sex”. But, in case it isn’t…I HAVE SEX. Here’s an even bigger news break: I ENJOY SEX.

Now, I know that statement is contradictory to my Christian beliefs but I’m not a hypocrite. I believe that we were created to be sexual for procreation but not solely for procreation. If that were the case, why do we get satisfaction from having sex? Why not just have sex be a thing we do to make babies with no emotional stuff attached? Sure, Im having sex without the benefit of marriage and sure it’s a sin. But I feel like Christians take it to the extreme when criticizing what is in our nature to do. If children are a blessing, then why try to shame the way in which the blessing was delivered.

This is not a discussion about religion, by the way. This is just me talking about myself as a sexual being. For you out there who just see a book nerd single pious mom, I’m far from that. Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

Time Flies..

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Time Flies..

This is a writing prompt, compliments of Mama Kat’s Losin’ It. Make sure you check out her other writing prompts and link up your posts Thursday.
1. Throwback Thursday: Choose a photo from a previous June and write a poem or a blog post.

Time Flies…

In those brown eyes

Time Flies…

Running into my arms when she cries

Time Flies..

Throwing away the baby dolls her grandmother buys

Time Flies…

I remember her non stop questions, all the who’s? What’s? Why’s?

Time Flies…

Your becoming a teen soon, with your tiny white lies

Time Flies….

You’ve gotten quite bright, like the orange wings of monarch butterflies

Time Flies…

Sex and the Single Me

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Sex and the Single Me

I needs me a man! Things with Avery’s father fell apart fairly quickly after I became pregnant. We weren’t in a traditional relationship to begin with so I was not surprised when after I told him Avery was coming, he quickly exited the picture.

I was kind of bitter about the way thongs ended and even went into a mini man hating phase. Then my libido kicked back in. I had my first sexual experience 3 months after Avery was born. It was a casual thing with someone I know. There were no real feelings attached,it was just sex and we went back to our regular friendship.

I’m not good at picking men. I never have been and I’m not sure when or if I’ll be ready for a serious committed relationship. I think I want to be a wife but I’m not sure because I’ve never imagined myself as one. I knew I was going to be a mom and its what I wanted but wife just seems a little murky to me.

I don’t have any examples of healthy relationships in my family except for my brother. My biological mother was married at 17 to the love of her life but when drugs came into the picture, her marriage was ruined. She pined for that man until she passed away. It was sad to watch her go through that. My adopted was with a great guy and they also got married. But a week or two later, she kicked him out after realizing she sidnt want to be a wife. I loved her husband and was looking forward to him being my dad. So that hurt me that things didn’t work out. This is cliche, but I’m scared of commitment and getting my heart broken.

With the things going on in my life right now, I don’t have the attention to dedicate to a serious relationship. However, I enjoy being with someone but also like being left alone. I think I will date casually for awhile. My definition of casual is we go to the movies or dinner, we are intimate, we talk or text occasionally, and we have our lives. None of these casual acquaintances will be introduced to my kids because it’s inappropriate in my opinion.

I don’t feel any pressure to get down the aisle because I’m 30 or whatever nor do I feel pressure to marry because my kids should have a father. These are reasons other people have given me for why I should be ready to marry. I DO feel pressure to find happiness for myself in whatever way I can and I’m not apologizing for that.

#MICSummer2019

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#MICSummer2019

Hey,everyone! I’m not one to celebrate our national holidays too much but I do like to find new and fun things for me and the kids to do in the Summer. There is no shortage of places to go,thongs to do,and people to see when you live in the BEST city: New York. Thanks to Mommy Poppins I know where,when,and how much events will be. My only job is to pack up the diaper bag. I am finding that my kids are at different stages of development so they like different things. Here are some events I will be attending for both of them. If you follow me on IG, I will be updating my feed with pictures of me and the kids enjoying our Summer.

1. Baby Story Time: This is a free event that runs every Tuesday at 10:30am. It’s for babies from birth to 18 months old. There’s music,rhymes,and music. It’s hosted at Aguilar Library. Limit 15 children w/caregiver. Check New York Public Library for more free events throughout all the libraries.

2. Throughout NYC parks there will be Movies Under The Stars. This past week Spiderman: Into The Spiderverse was shown. June 6th there will be a showing of Hotel Transylvania 3 and My Little Pony. The event starts at 7pm and is free. Check New York City Parks Department for movies and locations.

3.For the comic book lover in your family, on Wednesday July 10th at 12pm, Midtown Comics is hosting best-selling author Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures) and fan-favorite artist Gabriel Picolol. They come together with Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries) and fellow DC author Danielle Paige to discuss reimagining superheroes and writing graphic novels, as well as sign copies of current and previous books for fans. This is going to be great for Amani because she has decided if professional wrestling doesn’t work out, she would like to be a graphic novel artist.

4. Bastille Day on East 60th Street-

Celebrate France’s national holiday at this annual street fair. Featuring French cuisine, music, dance, and myriad attractions for the whole family, this three-block fête populaire invites New Yorkers to revel in the flavors, sounds, and joie de vivre of France.

2019’s line-up includes talented performers making their Bastille Day debut on the main stage. Chow down on French delicacies like crêpes, éclairs, macarons, and more at booths along 60th street. Savor a great selection of wines, cheeses, beers, and cocktails at tastings at FIAF. And check out the kid-friendly activities, including arts and crafts, face painting, and mime.

This makes a great day trip because street fairs usually having something to please children of all ages so I’m covered there. Avery’s pediatrician wants me to allow him to try different kinds of food so it will be fun to see how he adjust to international cuisine. I think you will have to set a budget for this trip because I believe the food and activities have fees. Contact French Institute Alliance for further details.

NYC Mamas, I would love to know what you are doing with your babies this Summer. On Instagram, use the hashtag #MICSummer2019 and in September I will feature the best picture and send you a prize. Remember, no matter what you do, have fun with your children and make memories. Happy Summer!

MommyinColorCooks: Double Whammy- Crockpot Chicken Salad& Lava Cake

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MommyinColorCooks: Double Whammy- Crockpot Chicken Salad& Lava Cake

Happy unofficial Summer,everyone! I have a quick lunch option. All you need is:

3 chicken breast

1 cup and a half of water

chopped celery

chopped onion

1 cup of mayonnaise

All you do is cover the chicken breasts with the cup and a half of water.

Next, place on LOW for 4-6 hours. Then, shred chicken and after that add the celery,onion,salt,pepper,and mayonnaise.

Lastly, serve as you want.

*NOTES* I like ALOT of mayo in my chicken salad so a cup was definitely not enough. I added salt and pepper to the chicken breast before cooking but after it was done, I didn’t taste any of it. I added more after it was done and got a better taste. Recipe compliments of Repeat Crafter Me

Let’s move on to dessert. This is only the 2nd dessert I’m doing in Lucille and it was a hit. Recipe compliments of The Magical Slow Cooker

I had a craving for lava cake but didnt feel like going to Applebees to get it so Pinterest it was.

All you need is a package of semi sweet chocolate drops, a box of fudge cake mix, 2 boxes of instant chocolate pudding mix,and 1 cup and quarter of coffee 2 cups of milk.

1)Mix the cups of milk with the pudding mix and sit to the side for a minute

2)Add three eggs and half a cup of oil to the cake mix. Once it’s mixed all together add the coffee little by little.

3)After spraying the crockpot with nonstick spray pour the cake mix into bottom. Add pudding mix in dollop form on top of that then spread chocolate pieces over that.

Dollops of pudding on top of cake batter

Cake batter/coffee mix

4)Set to HIGH for 3 hours. Enjoy!

I added peanut butter pieces to the chocolate ones because I really wanted that combo

Finished Product

*NOTES*

I served with a side of ice cream. I may have overdone it because the texture of the “lava” turned really gummy.

It was still really good. Recipe compliments of The Magical Slow Cooker.Let me know if you try these or have tried them. Check out the other recipes I have pinned on my Pinterest board, Crock Pot Recipes. Enjoy your weekend!

Spring

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Spring

It seems the Winter has finally lifted its foot off my little neck of the woods. Though the temperature is still a but touchy, it feels good to look forward to the sun blinding me with a cool,not cold, breeze on my back. I’m also looking forward to bringing Avery outside more. I have been itching to show the entire neighborhood the cause for my tired eyes and reflective smile.

But its not all sunshine and rainbows despite the rising temperatures. I dont know what to do with myself. Ive been going back in forth in my mind about whether I want to go back to work outside the house or make a real go of working from home. Both options scare me but for different reasons. Going back to work outside is fine but my mom would watch the children and her health is not the best. Daycare is not an option because I just don’t trust people. I have a friend who could maybe help me out but she has 7 children of her own.

On the flip side, I could make a go of being a work at home mom. I have affiliate links on here and I could stary reaching out to brands to work with. I have people in my online community who could help me figure out how to approach brands,come up wit a media kit,etc. The down side to that is I probably won’t be making much to start off with. However, my ideal situation is to work from home so I can take care of the kids and look after my mom.

I am really confused as to what my next steps are going to be. I know I need an income as soon as possible and I need to be proactive in making things happen. But while I’m praying and waiting on the Lord to order my steps, I’m going to enjoy this time of renewal,fresh starts, and beautiful tulips. Maybe the answer will reveal itself in the nature around me,who knows?

Life Redux

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It’s been a heck of a month y’all!!! Life sure has been different since 2019 hit. Even though Avery arrived a few weeks before the new year, the change until a fresh start really helped my family settle into welcoming a new member. Okay this is the part where I gush all over him. If that’s not for you, leave now. I’m kidding, I.NEED.ADULT.COMPANY.

Avery, weeks 1-5

I took on quite a few brand goals for myself. If I want to be tween serious and do this for real,I have to start thinking of myself as a brand. I’m a PeriGirl and we have a broadcasting/live streaming challenge called #JanuWantIt where we go live everyday through the month of January. I’ve fused that with doing social media prompts(#MDGBIZBOOST)created by my Peri sister, Michelle D. Garrett. I use her prompts as topics for my broadcasts. Two birds, one stone.

I have a Periscope goal if getting to one million hearts,I’ve restarted my book review series, The First 100. Its a mini review of whatever book I’m currently reading. It will air Mondays at 10a.m. EST. There is also a new series, also on Periscope, called Oh, Baby! Every 5th of the month for the next year I will be doing updates on Avery’s development. I will have him as a cohost so if you’re into cute babies, join us on February 5th at 10 a.m. EST

Lastly this space is back with new content every Saturday. I’m pursuing some coin with blogging so I’m doing Amazon Affiliates. I finally figured out how to add the links just this past week so I’ve been updating older posts that I’m going to be sharing with you via Twitter.

With all these goals, I have to admit it’s not so easy with the addition of Pops. As soon as I sit down to take a half a breath, he is screeching at the top of his lungs for attention. It’s like he knows I need to do other things. I drag myself to the bathroom,Pops in tow because leaving him alone for a half a second causes meltdowns. At 3 a.m. you can literally find me peeing with a screechy newborn in my arms. Don’t get me wrong, I have the luxury of having my mom right across the hallway to pitch in and help whenever I need. However, I miss being able to roam around my neighborhood while Amani is in school during the week. Or not roam around and sleep until noon. Those days are gone and sometimes I feel pulled in many different directions trying to be a mom to a preteen,a mom to a newborn,and a novice entrepreneur. What the heck am I thinking?!

But I do kind of thrive on the constant busyness. It feels good to know that I’m tired at night because I’m working towards a better future for me and the kids.