Musings on the Age Gap Between My Children

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Last week, my friend and I took the kids to the park. They hadn’t seen each other since school ended 3 weeks ago and I wanted to talk to an adult other than my mom. It was a nice little time despite a couple of get aways and meltdowns by her youngest son, who I adore!

As we were heading out of the park,my friend starts telling me what a difficult time I’m going to have with Amani once Avery comes. I say to her that Amani understands that Avery will require more of my time because he can’t do anything on his own. My friend says” You spoil her with your affection and after the baby,you will be so exhausted from caring for Avery you wont be kissing on her so much. Plus,she is hitting those puberty years and there will be way more attitude from her. Girl, I know what I’m talking about,I have 7 children”

My friend does have seven kids ranging from 2 years old to 20 years old. Which means there are a few age gaps between her oldest ones(17 and 20) and her youngest ones (4 and 2). I thought about how much extra affection I have been showing Amani since telling her about Avery’s arrival. I waa doing that because I want to constantly remind her that she is my firstborn,she holds a special place in my heart,and that I will love her the same no matter how many more children I have. It really broke my heart to consider that she would ever think I don’t live her as much because I have other babies. Im sure my friend was simply trying to prepare me for the reality of the dynamic between Amani and Avery but she just made me scared and sad.

Amani and I have discussed what a healthy sibling relationship is and she has witnessed it between myself and my youngest brother,who is 20 years old. My friend’s comment made me recall qhen I initially told Amani I was pregnant, she waa very upset and cried. It took me some time to convince her that this was a blessing. She is excited now and enjoys hearinf how Avery is developing month by month. She is also looking forward to the gender reveal at the end of the month.

I’m appealing to you,dear readers with more than one child and significant age gaps between children, how do you handle the gap and keep your relationships with the older children healthy? How do you remind your firstborn that they are still important to you?

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When I Create With Passionate Loving Action,I Notice…

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My words come with a quickening. O don’t have to think about what I want to say, I just say it. I hate days when I want to write but don’t know what to say. On those days, I sxribble hoping for clarity but nothing happens.

But then,when I doing something else in my day,the words come. That’s frustrating too because my pen is always in another room. Don’t you hate that? But at least I knowy creativity os not gone. Grateful for those ‘AHA’ moments

Forget Me Not

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Forget Me Not

Every now and then, I wake up with a song in my head. This morning it was an old disco song called Forget Me Not. I can’t think of the artist right now but I do love the song. I have no clue why that song is on my mind. It doesnt hold any significant value for me. I not a fan of the flower (it’s blue,right?) I only remember that my father once sent me a birthday card and when I looked at the back of it, the card company was called Forgete Not.

I guess if I’m being honest, I have beem thinking of my dad a lot, especially around Father’s Day. I felt sadness and guilt that I didnt make more of an effort to be in his life. I wrote hom letters but never heard back. When I called, my grandmother would assure me that he received the letters. But why wasn’t he writing me back? I was starting to feel rejected. The purpose of the letters qere to accommodate the fact that he was 90% deaf. So, I stopped sending them.

I had felt rejected a lot by my biological mother and I wasnt going to deal with that with Daddy too. I also stopped calling him after my mom died because I didnt want ro go through the pain of losing another someone I was close too. If I kept my distance, I wouldn’t be hurt twice over by the same person. My mom and I were rebuilding our relationship and then she died. It was awful and I didnt know if I would come back from it. So I guess when it’s all said and done, I’m just an abandoned, rejected, hurt little girl. I think I just figured out why that song popped in my mind thos morning. Maybe to force me to deal with my true feelings about Daddy and maybe to remind me that I do have a holy father thay that won’t ever make me feel rejected or abandoned. I am rejecting and abandoning those negative feelings and giving them to my heavenly Father. What a revelation!

Up In Smoke Pt. 2

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No man can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true- Hawthorne

I saw this quote while watching The Sopranos believe it or not. So much of my written stuff is inspired by somethonf I saw on television.

At first I interpreted it as “you can’t keep being phony all your life without eventually forgetting who the real you is”. That statement all by itseld is enough to make you think about your authenticity. However, after mulling it over and even praying for deeper insight, I had an “aha” moment.

I am celebrating a year of quitting cigarettes. I quit on my mother’s birthday, June 21st. My mom had been beghing me to quit since she found out I started (which coincidentally was around her birthday in 2012)She had quit smoking cigarettes and marijuana in 1993. But whenever she asked me to quit, I brought up her past history. NOTE: NEVER THROW YOUR MOM’S PAST UP TO HER. IT’S A S****Y THING TO DO.

So anyway, I started feeling physically drained and I was tired and irritable and just off. I went to my doctor and after telling me I’m anemic, I told him I wanted to quit smoking. He put me on meds and about three weeks later, I felt better. The first two weeks were tortuous and I wanted to go on a rampage but I made it through.

I noticed that the person I was when I was smoking was far different from when I quit. I wasn’t so focused on when I could puff again or how I would pay for it. I could be the real me before I picked up the habit. I only picked up smoking because I had a stressful work and home life. My biological mom,stepfather, and youngest brother had moved in unannounced and my job demanded so much of my time, I was missing time with my rapidly growing three-year-old. I wanted to be care free and unbothered so I put on a mask. I smoked EVERY chance I got. Double time when I was out with friends. Now that I’m thinking about it, I was still missing time with my kid whenever I interrupted our play rime to smoke.

In the first two weeks of quitting, I was in a daze or fog a lot. I forgot who I was and what made me actually happy. I was bewildered as Hawthorne says. A year later and I’m physically healthier and God helped me quit in preparation to carry this life inside me. Everything works for His glory. Amen.

Oh, Baby!!!

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“As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store- bought map and begin to draw your own”- Michael Dell

I found this quote on fellow blog, Persia, Diary of a Mad Black Woman. I think it totally suits my life right now. As some,if not all of you know, I three months pregnant with baby #2. I wasn’t expecting to be pregnant again. Granted, I wasnt exactly preventing it but it wasn’t in my immediate plans. I’ve beenpretty vocal about wanting another child so I’m definitely excited. However, I wanted to be more financially stable than I am now. I thonl a posotive thing to come out of this pregnancy is a deeper faith and connection with God. I’m really going to have to lean on Him to help me pursue my original goals with a new baby on my hip.

My “store- bought map” as the quote says was leading me in the direction of becoming an entrepreneur and full time blogger. I intended to open an Etsy shop showcasing and selling my crochet projects. I had a name picked out and was even working on a few items to start with. I was researchong pricing and takong webinars on advertising on social media. Then…BOOM,morning sickness forces me to throw away that map and construct my own. I’m the only judt feeling more like myself and setrlong comfortably into the craving stage of pregnancy. My foods of xhoice are B.L.T.s and fruit.

This past week, I had to pray amd listen for what to do about money for Avery (that’s the name I chose whether it’s a boy or girl). Thank God I live in a state where there are resources for women like me. I applied for the Women Infant and Children (W.I.C.) program. Also, next week I will be headed to HRA (welfare) to receive a pregnancy allowance. That will help me buy baby necessities. I still want to blog full time but I’m pretty inconsistent. I set myself up for failure bu promisong to blog every day. Well, Im not doing that this time. For now, I’m aiming for once a week. That will keep me from over extending myself. As for the Etsy shop,I’m not really sure. I guess I could work on items for the duration of my pregnancy and then once the baby comes and I’ve settled into new mom mode, I can start selling. Yes, maybe that’s what I will do.

I would like to take a moment to thank all of you who have supported this psce through the years. I just found out I now have 100 followers and that chokes me up. I never thought 100 people would care what I have to say. I would do a giveaway if my broke self had anything to hibe away. I appreciate the support and love and I hope all 100 of you are also following the Facebook Page: Mommy In Color. Be blessed and be a blessing!

Quarter 1 Wrap Up and Quarter 2 Goals

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I would not have realized it was the end of the quarter of the year if not for my periscope community.Most of my tribe were sharing their accomplishments thus far in 2018 and there goals for the 2nd quarter. Which led me to think about what I have gotten done and want to get done.

Q1 Accomplishments:

  1. revamped look for FB Page, Mommy In Color
  2. decided to open Etsy shop(not officially opened yet) and have named it Harmani Hook’d.
  3. made Periscope heart goal of 500,000 hearts
  4. started looking for new job
  5. started a Periscope series, The First 100

Q2 Goals:

  1. 1.create at least 20 -30 different projects to sell on Harmani Hook’d.
  2. guest post on fellow single mom blog or get a guest blogger to post here
  3. sell at least $500 in product for Harmani Hook’d
  4. start a new job
  5. figure out what to do for my birthday in May
  6. make myself a blogging schedule as well as a crocheting schedule( is that an editorial calendar, I feel like I need one of those?)

I must admit that I am a little anxious about completing some of these goals but I’m going to continue in my faith walk because so far I have been pretty blessed. I would love to hear some of your business goals for Q2! Drop me a line!

MommyinColorCooks: Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

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After the successes that were my split pea soup and honey mustard pork chops, I decided to kill two birds with one stone:an affordable meal in the crock pot I am obsessed with.

This one was super easy because you probably already have a technique you use to make meatballs. I have never made meat balls prior to this. My mom usually makes them for our subs or spaghetti dishes but I wanted to not only try it myself, but put my own spin on it. Pinterest once again was my hero and this recipe is from Le Creme De La Crumb.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef

1 cup of breadcrumbs

1 egg and 1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon minced garlic(or two teaspoons garlic powder)

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3-4 mozzarella cheese sticks

marinara or alfredo sauce

Directions:

1.I cut the string cheese sticks into 8 pieces each. I used 5 sticks. I had 17 meatballs in total.

2.The ground beef was hand mixed with the bread crumbs,eggs,garlic powder,onion powder,Italian seasoning,salt,and pepper. My beef was still a tad frozen so mixing it up with the heat from my hands helped thaw it some. Meanhwile the cut cheese stick were in the freezer.. I actually enticed Amani int helping me roll the beef into balls. We stuck the cubed cheese into the meat and made a ball around it to cover the hole and cheese.

3.I actually enticed Amani into helping me roll the beef into balls. We stuck the cubed cheese in the meat and made a ball around it to cover the hole.

4.Before I put the balls in Lucille, I sprayed her with nonstick spray. I gave the balls enough space in between them to breathe. I am still getting used to Lucille’s temp settings so I put her on high for 3 hours but the recipe says low for 3 hours,high for 1-2. I panicked a bit but am happy to say all was just starting too ooze out. It was so good!

As I said, I made 17 balls in total split between 4 people. The recipe does serve 4-6 people. I did make my meatball medium sized because it was the 4 of us. It;s an appetizer but one full of Italian flavor! I was perfectly content simply eating as a stand alone treat. I will definitely be making these again in my spaghetti and even perhaps sub sandwiches. Amani did top hers off with romano cheese while I added a little more Italian seasoning to mine.

I am going to give this recipe 10/10 for affordability,taste,and time. I strongly encourage you to give it a try. I would love to see how you hook yours up so do tag me at #mommincolorcooks. Happy eating yall!!!

A Few Secrets To Succeeding As A Creative Entrepreneur or Small Business Owner

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I recently attended a great webinar hosted by Hilary Rushford,a personal stylistbusiness coach,and founder of Dean Street Society. In this webinar, Hilary gives some tips on how to make your business dreams work for you. I have here the first three and will share the rest soon(TBA)

1) You need a map

Things to consider:

Whats my next map?

How did I learn how to run a business?

How an I learning to scale/take to the next level?

Have I slowed down to learn from an expert so I can speed up and implement?

2)Choose a Business Model as Opposed to A Brand Model

Things to consider:

-Be more inspired by a business model than a brand model

-Make sure understand how the business/person you want to be like makes money

-Know IF the business/person makes money

Q’s To Consider:

What do you need to quit?

-a revenue stream that isnt profitable?

– a revenue that you don’t really love?

– setting your goals and dreams around what someone’s IG life looks like?

-Following a certain person you’re too effected by?

3) The Secret of Your DNA

Know thyself. Understand that who you are needs to be considered in your businessmodel,your schedule,and your team.

Things To Consider

What work rhythms make me happiest?

Prioritize your planning!

For those of you who are entrepreneurs of any kind, what are some of your secrets to success?

How To Build Authority, Influence, and Trust When Nobody Knows You

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I have been working on improving things here at Mommy In Color. To that end, I have been reading a lot of blogs full of tips on how to improve the look, content, and promotion of my blog. I didn’t stop to think about how I can get folks to listen to anything I say. How do I prove I know what I’m talking about? Enter The Pro Blogger Podcast to the rescue.

I enjoy much of the content on the Pro Blogger website,but today was the first time I listened to the podcast. The host, Darren Rowse shares a few tips on becoming a reliable authority when you’re not exactly well know. Here’s what I learned:

1) Being an authority is not just about what you know,but you should also share what you know. Even the Bible speaks about sharing.Beginners, you know a little something something as well. Share it!

2) Don’t just share what you know,talk a little about what you don’t know. Transparency is relatable.

3) Learn in public. Interviews are a good way to show others that you are learning all you can about the field/subject in which you want to be the authority Showing the journey,once again, is relatable.

4) Use case studies. Showing the numbers and proven facts helps you gain credibilty.

5) Show vulnerability. You don’t want to lose your humanity or intimidate the audience into thinking you know it all and never slip or struggle.

6) Share transformations and conversion. People like to hear about the beginning of your journey because it makes them comfortable to know that you were a newbie as well.

7) Have a positive and constructive outlook. It’s okay to talk about when you make mistakes but dont dwell on it. Instead,share how you intend to improve.

8) Build a platform of giving and generosity before asking or promoting. Of course your goal is to profit or gain additional followers but people respond better when there is an offer on the table for them in exchange for what you want from them.

9) Be reliable and consistent. If you put it out there, back it up when you say you will. If you’re telling folks you’re posting 3x a week,or you’re hosting a raffle or giveaway, DO IT!

10) Keep messaging clear and simple. You don’t have to use large words or complicated formulas. Being an authority means making your customer/follower/reader feel smarter,not just you being a smarty pants.K.I.S.S.= Keep It Simple, Sweetie!

11)Use your influence for the benefit of others,not just yourself. What can you do with your power to make things better for those who are loyal to your product or brand?

12) Don’t just seek to be known,liked,or trusted. Let your audience know that you know,like,and trust them as well. Research who they are,what their niche or business is. Tall to them directly. Comment,repost/retweet,respind to questions,and ask questions. Show that you trust them by sharing things about yourself as well.

13) Take your time. Becoming the authority in your field takes time. How much time? That’s up to you and whether or not you’re willing to do the work and have the patience to stick it out.

I hope these tips have helped you because they definitely helped me. Make sure you check out the podcast, Pro Blogger for more tips on blogging and social media. Be blessed and be a blessing, y’all!!!

MommyinColorCooks:Honey Mustard Porkchops

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I havent pulled out Lucille in a while and I havent cooked a good piece of meat in awhile so after purchasing a meat plan, I decided on pork chops. Normally, I fry them but because I was bored with that and I was feeling mom guilt about notbhaving cooked in awhile, I took to Pinterest for a SIMPLE recipe. My favorite recipes are the ones that don’t have a zillion ingredients that are hard to pronounce. And I found one by Slow Cooker Gourmet that was not only simple but a little outside the box.Just the way I like it!

Since it was a trial, I used 2 center cut porkchops though the recipe call for 2 lbs of pork chops. It doesnt say to season the porkchops beforehand,but I ALWAYS season my meat before I do anything to it so, I used a little Goya Adobo seasoning and Sa┼║on seasoning. If you do season, go lightly the first time because you dont want your seasoning to overpower the honey mustard.

I put the meat directly into Lucille, and moved on to the honey mustard mixture. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of mayo, 2 tablespoons each of yellow mustard,Dijon mustard,and bbq sauce. You also need 1 tablespoon each of honey and lime juice( I didn’t have Dijon so I used honey mustard which defeats the purpose of the recipe but I was determined. I also subbed lemon juice for lime,didnt notice a taste of it at all really).

Once they were all mixed up, I dumped it right on top of my two porkchops(although I didn’t use the amount of meat called for, I did not use less sauce because I wanted to see how much it would produce for the correct amount of meat).

I set Lucille on high for four hours and I think in the future I may do three because the meat was drier than I like my pork chop to be. If that’s your preference,however,stick to 4 hours. Also, you can brown the pork chops before slow cooking. The result was pretty good although next time I will use lime juice and honey as per the recipe.

What are you making for your sweetie tonight? I would love to know if you tried this recipe how you enjoyed it. Leave me pics and comments below! Happy Valentine’s Day!!!