Bloggers Night Out at CHEA Con

I am so excited to be on the panel this year for Bloggers Night Out at CHEA Con. We will be talking about how to start, grow and expand your platform! The event will be hosted by the incredible Kristi Clover!

She is a blogger, vlogger, podcaster and homeschool mom. You can check out her blog here. If you are coming to CHEA be sure to stop by and say, “Hi!” Can’t wait to see you there! You can find more details about the event here.

Top 5 Pick of Summer Activities

The summer is upon us! As you began to plan for your kids being home for the summer here are 5 activities that will keep them away from the screen.

Puzzles – If it’s too hot outside or the kids just want something challenging to do. Sturdy puzzles are the way to go. I like wooden puzzle pieces that can withstand my children’s rough play. These Tetris like pieces come with an added bonus in that there is more than one way to “complete” the puzzle. They can use the pieces to create animals, buildings, and people to imagine and role play with. The possibilities are endless.

LEGOS– Legos and lego-like building blocks can keep kids busy for hours. They can create people, creatures, building, structures, and whole cities. The blocks come in various sizes allowing you to foster the love of legos at a young age.


Building Blocks– Kids love to build. I love to see them learn from building things. The hand-eye coordination, imagination play, architecture, physics, concentration, and math skills that are developed and fostered during the process makes building a valuable learning activity. What looks like play to us is actually a lot of problem-solving and theory testing.

Painting kits– The summertime is perfect for painting. Having kids paint outside makes for easy cleanup and quick dry paintings. I like to allow the kids to use various tools for painting and stamping such as leaves sticks and rocks. You can set up a string between trees or along a fence and set use clothespins to set up an outdoor art gallery.

Sculpting– Kids love to touch, shape and transform clay. I recommend you using various colors then leaving the clay pieces out to dry in the sun. My kids love to use both colored and white clay. Colored clay can create some fun blended color creations while all white sculptures allow kids to color or paint their finished pieces if they so choose.

What activities are you planning on doing this summer? How will you keep your kids engaged and learning?

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Battling Perfectionism

I used to replay my day before falling to sleep. Every comment said, by myself and others. Every mistake made, actual and assumed and I would choose this self-punishment over rest. I would get up the next day, tired, defeated, frustrated and determined to get it right.

I had some good days. Days where everything went right. Silent pats on my back for a job well done, crises averted by my careful words and expert planning. This perfectionist attitude was taking over my mind.

The small fox destroys the vine. Let me tell you, those small foxes are tricky. They seem small, insignificant, and harmless but they are extremely damaging and life-threatening.

Small foxes can destroy dreams, destroyed dreams cannot manifest into destiny. So here are things I do to battle the perfectionist mindset.

1. Tell on myself- My husband is confident, funny, and honest. I trust him. So wither I say something that comes off too flirty or too cold I can tell him. He usually responds by teasing me and making me laugh. Sometimes I have to go back and apologize to a person I may have offended, but it helps to have someone I can be honest about myself with. I have learned that my greatest gift can also get me into trouble and that is my way with words. I have to totally rely on God to keep me in check.

2. Journal- If I don’t want to talk about how I am feeling I can write it down. I don’t write my mistakes and shortcomings. Instead, I change to focus and journal about a scripture or the things I am thankful for. (Philippians 4:8)

3. Say no- Jesus needed rest. Its okay to say no simply to take a breath. Sometimes we need to stop to clearly hear from God. (Mark 6:31)

4. Take the risk – If my only concern in failure I must take the risk. In the parable of the talents, a master was leaving his home to travel. He gave talents to each of three servants according to their abilities. One man invested and doubled his money, another also was able to double what he was given. The third man hid his talent. He made no profit so it was taken away. (Matthew 25:14-30). It was the man who was too afraid to act who was punished. Inaction is worse than failure.

5. Recognize and Appreciate the Seasons – Everything has seasons. There are some seasons in which I am able to accomplish so many things at once. It is as if times stands still for me. Then there are times where there are not enough hours in the day to complete even the smallest tasks. I have learned to roll with it. When things are running smoothly I seize the opportunity and when it is time to rest I try to do that too. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

I hope these tips help you on the journey of self-care. Life can get hard so we must be our advocates for health and mental wellness.

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Eggs and Hearts

My four-year-old boy KJ is fun! He is rough and smart and… destructive. He often leaves a trail of broken toys, trinkets, and household items in his wake. He breaks things for different reasons. To see how they are made. Out of frustration or retaliation. Even just to see what the consequence will be.

I am trying to raise kind, compassionate, mindful children which meant I needed to address this issue. I needed to teach my son that not only was this action unappreciative it was also unkind and hurtful. These actions could have unforeseen consequences for both himself and others. While praying for wisdom concerning this manner God answered my prayer in the form of an idea.

So I went to work soft boiling a half dozen eggs. I wanted the eggs to be messy when broken but cooked enough so the kids wouldn’t get sick if ingested. I handed KJ one cooked egg and said,

“This egg is mine, it is very important to me. Please take care of it. If you break it there will be consequences. I don’t want it to get hurt so please be careful.”

The first egg broke within fifteen minutes. I explained that this was my egg and I was sad that it was broken. He cleaned up his mess, then he was put in time out for 3 minutes. I gave him a new egg and repeated the speech.

“This egg is mine, it is very important to me. Please take care of it. If you break it there will be consequences. I don’t want it to get hurt so please be careful.”

The next time around he lasted 30 minutes and this time when the egg broke it made a huge mess and left a trail of egg in his wake. He came to me crying (by now he understood the consequence that came with the broken egg. He tried to explain but I stopped him, reminding him that the egg was in his care and it was really important that he protect it. I told him,

“When we break other peoples things sometimes it affects other people too. Your sisters can not walk over here until we get this cleaned up, no one can sit in the chair we just cleaned until it dries. Our decisions sometimes have unforeseen circumstances.”

The time after that he held on to the egg for an hour. Each time he took more and more care of my egg. By bedtime, he held the egg close carefully aware of AR (19 mos.) and SJ (6). He was learning his lesson. So was I. See peoples hearts are like these soft-boiled eggs.

Wither in friendship or romance when one opens their heart they are saying,

“This heart is mine, it is very important to me. Please take care of it. If you break it there will be consequences. I don’t want it to get hurt so please be careful.”

I am so proud of my little guy and I pray that I am as careful with hearts as he has learned to be with soft-boiled eggs.

The Great Homeschool Convention Review

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This year I had the pleasure of going to the Great Homeschooling Convention in Texas. It was amazing! There are so many things I want to share, so I’m going to break it up by days.

Day 1

On Thursday the 15th my mom and I get to the convention center and start to set up. I have to be honest I was overwhelmed. I did not realize how many vendors would be there. I also did not realize how elaborate some of these booths would be. They were amazing! Some booths had a setup that allowed you to walk into the convention center and look up and see their advertisements or displays right away.

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I was feeling a little anxious and inadequate. So we dropped all of our boxes off with our product and run to the Dollar Tree to find stuff to pretty up my vendor table. The doors open and they one of this convention there are so many people. The very first hour is young white kid about 16 years old comes over to our table grabs one of our shirts explain to us what the one drop rule is historically and then dives into Acts 17:26.

I was so impressed by this kid and his parents who have homeschooled him because they are awesome! Of course, he ends up buying a shirt later on in the convention but this was just an example of the bright future of homeschooling.

 

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Running a booth was a little intimidating because I’m not really a salesperson, so it was hard to deal with some people avoiding the booth altogether because they don’t want to be sold anything and then other people being weary, wondering what we’re about and gauging whether or not my brand represented what they believed or who they are. I wanted to yell, “Hey guys! I’m nice I promise.” Thankfully most of the interactions at my booth were positive. However, going forward I will be a much nicer, engaging, consumer to booth owners when I am just an attendee at these kinds of things.

Day 2

I came into the convention center on Friday the 16th feeling really confident. I knew what to expect from the types of people that were at the homeschooling convention and I was really excited to engage with people again. This is also the day where I caught my first class called Integrating Cultural Diversity using Homeschool Curriculum you Already Have.

This class was so much fun! We didn’t have a huge turnout but I really felt like there were the exact people there that God wanted in that class. The presentation part of the class was about 45 minutes. During the last 15 minutes of the class, we made some activities that I will add to the site this week. During the craft time we discussed race, multiracial families, resources for different cultures, and exploring different cultures; it was a whole lot of fun.

I will be creating cultural book list and posting them to this blog in the upcoming weeks just to share some of the books that we have read and some of the books I plan to integrate into our library this year.

Day 2 I sold out of all of my books! I was really nervous but thank God I was next to a booth with an established author Aaron and Joyce Kook. They’d run into this issue before in their many years of writing and selling books and simply encouraged me to set up a form and allow people to direct order the books.

I follow their advice and continued to sell books throughout the day. I learned that support can be found anywhere. Those women in my class on Cultural Diversity really connected with me. I felt like they were rooting for me and that gave me a lot of confidence and a great feeling of support. They inspired the creation of this shirt.

Day 3

My mom and I got into the convention center and right away we had people at our table asking questions about our book. Since I’d sold out of the book I converted half my table into an activity station so children could recreate the activities we made in the cultural awareness class.

We got a lot of great feedback and interaction at our booth and at 11:30 that morning I went and taught my class titled Emotional Intelligence for Teens. This class had a great turnout. You can check the class out here.

The feedback I received from the class really warmed my heart. People felt like they’d received tools, to help them strengthen their emotional resolve, improve their communication skills, and live a more fulfilled life. I had people find me after the class to talk to me about the things they’d learned and I had people in tears, come and talk to me about how just what they’d read in the first part of my book, touched them. You can pick up your copy of the book here.

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All in all, it was an amazing experience I cannot wait to go to the Great Homeschooling Convention in Ontario this June. If you are in the area I highly recommend you get tickets the classes the curriculum vendors, the wealth of information will be well worth it.

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Thank You So Much

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This has been an exciting time for Melanin Taught! The love and support we’ve gotten, has almost been overwhelming. I’ve gotten tons of messages and emails asking how to support Melanin Taught and I’ve come up with five ways you can be a blessing to us.

1. You can buy your homeschool supplies from our online store. We have pencils, puzzles, and all sorts of materials needed for the activities listed on our blog. We are adding items to our store daily. You can click here to visit or you can type hmschoolsupply.com in your web browser.

2. You can buy a Melanin Taught t-shirt. These shirts are comfortable with catchy sayings. By clicking here you will be able to purchase shirts for men, women, and children. We even have hoodies!

If you want to support us but don’t have any extra money at the moment, don’t worry here are three more ways you can support, us without spending a dime.

3. By clicking on our Dosh referral link and connecting a card, we will get a referral bonus and you will get cash back for purchases made at approved retailers.

4. If you live in California, you may qualify for a program that allows you to get cash back for cutting back on electricity. Click here to use our referral link.

5. We are grateful for all of your support. We would also like to ask you for your prayers. We appreciate you praying that God gives us direction, insight, and wisdom when it comes to raising and homeschooling our kids.

Thank you! Click here to like and follow our Facebook page!

The Great Homeschool Convention

I love teaching, I love homeschooling and I love Jesus! So of course when I heard about the opportunity to be a seminar speaker for The Great Homeschooling Conventions I had to apply. Well, my application for an Emotional Intelligence for Teens workshop was accepted and I will be teaching on March 17, 2018, at The Great Homeschooling Convention in Texas!

I am so excited, and this has really kicked some of my goals into high gear. One of them being completing my latest book on Emotional Intelligence. Just a few weeks ago I was at My Own Kind Of Beautiful‘s vision board party and now I am watching my dreams unfold. I have launched a t-shirt campaign to cover travel expenses and the feedback has been great.

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You can get your Melanin Taught shirt or hoodies here. We even have kids sizes available. If you have ideas for sayings for shirts we should put in our store please leave it in the comments below.

Thank you all so much for your support. It truly means the world to me.

 

H & M and Our response

 

Every so often, too often, headlines break as the world is in shock and horror because someone allowed a racially insensitive ad to go into publication. It got through at the very least hundreds of people without being successfully flagged or called out for racial insensitivity.

We’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a thousand times. The company is really sorry and they mean no harm. The solution to there not being enough representation in the first place to stop these shenanigans is for black people to create and sell their own products. We need to be our own voice and stop being surprised when different voices misrepresent us.

With that being said, we turned this upset into an opportunity. We want to teach our kids to see the world differently and one way we do that is by giving them some control over the narrative of their lives. So we created a shirt for our brand. This sentiment is true for my babies and it is something we are all proud of.

We used teespring.com to design our shirts. I like teespring.com because it is really easy to use. I even told the kids I would post their ideas or artwork for sale so they can share it with our huge family. The campaigns are short but this is a great way to introduce your children to e-commerce and to encourage them to create media rather than follow it.

Check out our shirts they will be available until Monday 1/15/18. If we get enough feedback we will continue to make them available for purchase. I hope you like them and if you make one of your own drop the link below so we can support. Let’s not count on others to represent us, let’s represent ourselves.

Much love!

5 Financial Tips For 2018

 

Happy New Year!!!!!! This year I am committed to being intentional about maximizing and increasing our monthly income. I started looking for deals in December 2017 and I came across some really cool ones.

  1. Ebates – You have probably seen the commercials I am here to tell you it is legit. Ebates is an easy way to get cash back. Sign up, open a “shopping trip” on their site and purchase what you want. It usually takes a business day for you to see your cash back. The cool thing is they pay out monthly automatically and it goes to your PayPal account. When getting cash back you only get a few dollars or cents at a time but it adds up. For larger purchases, it is a must. Did I mention you can use it on Amazon?! If you aren’t on Ebates up here.
  2. DOSH – This is a cash back app that allows you to connect your credit card then get a percentage of your purchase back when buying from their listed retailers. I like this because you don’t have to do anything but use your registered card. Dosh ran an amazing promo at the end of 2017. I joined the promo late but was able to make over $100 over the course of a few days. They pay out via PayPal which I always like but it does take 3-5 business days to process. It’s just like Ebates but you’re rewarded for both in person and online orders.  Click here to sign up.
  3. Ohm – We all need and use electricity right? Wouldn’t it be awesome if to save money on your electric bill and get cash for using less energy? Ohm lets you do just that. This program is in California only and you MUST have an online account with your electric company. Ohm connects to your Smart Meter and sends you text alerts so you can power down during peak hours. By powering down you get points which convert into dollars. Its good for your pocket and the environment. See if it is available in your county by clicking here.
  4. Budget Book- This may seem simple but its something that can change your finances. Write it down. Micheals has a cute budget book that helps you keep track of every dime you spend. I love planners! This one is great for my home planner. It’s also really inexpensive so get a few to use throughout the year. budgetbook
  5. Challenge Yourself – Have you heard of the nickel challenge? Maybe the nickel or quarter challenge? Basically, you take a box, large bottle, piggy bank ect and put every nickle, dime, or quarter in that box. Don’t open it until the end of the year.

I hope these 5 tips help. What are your financial goals in 2018?

Amy’s Farm Review

This month we took a field trip to Amy’s farm in Ontario, CA. At first sight, I was unsure whether to drive in or park outside. I took a chance unsure and drove in. With cows on either side of me, I pulled right into a small parking lot.

As we looked around for a few minutes we were met by Farmer Stephanie our tour guide for the day. She gave us the ground rules, then we headed for the garden. This garden is the stuff dreams are made of! I aspire to have a garden this fruitful one day and seeing this really encouraged me to keep trying to grow my family food.

Look at this beautiful kale!

The kids got to pick a leafy snack for the piglets.

Until now I didn’t know okra flowers were so beautiful. 

Once we left the garden we went to feed the piglets and see the goats. We learned that these goats only had bottom teeth so their nibbles wouldn’t cause any damage.

The chickens shook their tail feathers and the goats competed for the dino kale.

Then it was off to meet a Jersey Cow named Donut. She made 5 gallons of rich creamy milk a day.

The kids brushed Rocky.

Then we were off the milk Martha.

I don’t eat pork at all (or generally allow my family to due to environmental racism) but K loves bacon and since this farm offers organic, responsibly sourced meats, he splurged and got a few packs.

This was a great outing for the kids! Amy’s farm is open to the public most days of the week and it’s free unless you are paying for a tour. If you are in SoCal and looking for something educational to do with the kids stop here and check it out. I would even splurge on the tour.