Spring Break Staycation Ideas for the Family & Kiddo’s

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Spring has sprung and it seems like the weather is sort of cooperating – sort of. And while the weather is figuring out what it really wants to do, there is one thing that is happening right now, regardless of whether mother nature decides to cooperate or not and that’s SPRING BREAK!!!!! That means yes, if you have children small or tall, young or older – it’s Easter week in which means, kids will be getting out of school and hanging around the house for a week….OH BOY!!

That means my fridge will be confiscated the entire week and while it has food in it right now by the end of spring break it’s going to look like someone held it up in a robbery (no pun intended), the fridge is not the only thing that will be robbed, your sanity will too by the end of the week…hehehe…it’s so true!

It’s hard to try and find something for the kids to do for a full week, especially if you’re working while they’re at home (that’s if you have teenagers that is) and even at that, it can get pretty costly leaving kids at a camp or etc for a week, most camps are costing nearly $160.00 (Yes, for a week only!!) I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that type of money to give….instead, you can take that money and plan some trips outdoors or inside.


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So, let me give you a couple of tips that will help get the kids out of the house. At least for a little while, for the fridge’s sake!

When was the Last Time You Went for a SWING!

A couple of weeks ago, my daughter (an aspiring photo journalist) wanted to get out of the house and go take pictures. While I didn’t want to do it, because I was comfortable in my bed. I got up and went to take her and my son out and boy was I glad I did. We went to a trail and walked around, ran a little and talked. After that we went to a local park where they had a playground and I have to say, I had SOOO much fun. We swung, went down the slide, they even had a merry-go-round and a hang glider! in which I fell off of…lol. Pictures I wish my daughter hadn’t taken, but we had fun and guess what – it didn’t cost a thing!! The only out of pocket money I spent was getting them something off the dollar menu at the Burger King. So, this spring break? Get out and go for a swing, my kids are teens and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves, I’m actually thinking about doing it again.

Picnic in the Park

Now for the working parents, such as myself. I know this may be a bit hard to do because all bosses are not created equal. However, if you have a boss that let’s you off work early, use that time to have a picnic at the park with the kids. They’ll be excited and surprised that you took off to spend a day with them, if the weather is not so great. Then you can always go to a nice restaurant and maybe catch a matinee’ – see how that week camp money can be used??


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Puppet Shows are NOT just for small kids

When I was about 8 yrs old, my mom made me a puppet out of a paper sack. She brought him alive by her imagination and quirky voice sounds and I loved it. I forgot what I named it, but I remember it. That’s what Spring Break is all about, memories! My mom didn’t have a lot of money and she had 3 small girls that she took care of, I remember when we couldn’t go outside, she would always come up with things for us to do inside the house. We played water guns, hide and seek and she even made an obstacle course one time for us to do. I just remember it being so fun until I didn’t realize the weather outside was bad, I just remember how the weather on the inside felt – SUNNY!

So get those creative juices going!! You can do it!

What’s Downtown?

Every city and county has a downtown. To me, downtown is where the REAL history is. I love visiting art galleries and old unique shops. There’s usually plenty of things downtown that either yourself or the kids can do! My favorite place in downtown New Bern, NC is the Cow Cafe and the Bear City Fudge Company. You can get some good ice cream and some good chocolate as well as old fashioned candy. I also love the Bakers Kitchen, it’s an Amish restaurant that serves up the best food I’ve ever tasted, hands down!! There’s a waterfront and museums. You see?, there’s a lot going on downtown that I’m sure you, the kids or the family can enjoy! Have you checked out your downtown lately?

Board Games, Scavenger Hunts & Food

Yes, I’m a foodie so I had to put food in the title – those close to me already know..lol. Who doesn’t love a good board game such as Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, Jenga, Uno! If you’re a parent who doesn’t or can’t get off work, the day is still young and these are things you can do while the kids are out as a family. You can also scavenger hunt, pick out about 10 unique things, write them down and hang them up for everyone to see and let the games begin. You can offer a prize for the one that got the most things – you can also use this time to cook up something good together or just order a pizza. Whatever you do, it’ll be memorable and fun.

Well, that’s it! I hope you have a wonderful spring break and a very happy Easter! Have fun, make memories and let’s remember the real reason for celebrating this week and that’s Jesus Christ!

Next week, I’ll have tips for the parents on how to stay sane during Spring Break. Hey, we need some alone time and a break too! =)


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My Nana, My Friend

Featured Photo above courtesy of Pexels

March 10th would’ve been my maternal grandmother’s 97th birthday. I had 4 wonderful grandparents but there was something special about Nana.

I was her only grandchild so you can just imagine all of the love and attention I received.

When I was younger it used to drive me nuts the lengths Nana would go to show her affection. The loving stares, the frequent love pats. After a while I was like, “Ok, Nana. I got it. You love me. Geez. Enough already!” Mom would say, “Amy, she is only showing you how much she loves you.” And I would say, “Well, does she got to do it so much!?”

Image Credit: Gif/Bing

Due to my low self esteem and issues with bullying, discrimination, rejection and harassment I received while in school due to having a learning disability. Looking back, I think I didn’t feel worthy of having someone love me the way Nana did so I would act inappropriately, hoping she would come to understand that I am not worth loving and just move on.

God bless Nana, as she never quit showing me love and attention. No matter how many times I’d take my dissatisfaction with myself and life out on her, Nana was always right there with her big, bright smile, continuing her display of affection.

As I got older, I began to finally understand just how lucky I was to have someone love me as much as Nana did. And how very much we needed each other.

I needed someone to show me that I was worthy of having someone love me and after my grandfather passed away unexpectedly, Nana needed to know that it was all right for her to get as affectionate as she wanted.

I came to understand that by rejecting her attention, I was rejecting Nana as well.

And Lord knows I didn’t mean to imply that. I was so caught up into my own world that I failed to see just how fragile Nana truly was.

She was perky and fun-loving but underneath all of that was someone who felt lost… very much like me. I needed love to be shown I am worthy and Nana needed to give love so that she herself would feel worthy.

In 2011, I got a call that Nana was diagnosed with esophageal cancer… and it was terminal.

Image Credit: Pexels

Upon learning this, I immediately went to visit Nana at the nursing home. This was Nana’s home now in which she was placed after having a series of other health issues.

As I walked up to the front door, to my surprise – There was Nana sitting right by the door in her wheelchair flashing her big famous, bright smile.

Outside of being at the door that day, Nana mostly stayed in bed. When I would come, I’d take her for rides in her wheelchair. There was this little hill by the Physical Therapy wing that she loved for me to take her, whether going up or down – I’d always go reallyyyy fast!!

Nana would put her hands in the air and shout, “WHEE!”

It was during this time that I wholeheartedly apologized for my unkindness so long ago. Nana, without hesitation. Forgave me instantly…

She said, “It’s ok, You were young.”

Man, that did me in! after hearing those words, I just lost it..

Image Credit: Pexels

After Nana died, I began what was going to become a 7 year long journey of finding my true self. I knew I had to do some serious soul-searching. I was 34 years old and I was still feeling the effects of all that I went through.

I am happy to say that I am finally there and I would not have gotten here if it weren’t for Nana. She showed me just how worthy I really was and am. It was during the difficult times when I felt like giving up that I reminded myself that someone believed in me, even when I didn’t.

Nana’s been gone for 7 years now and there are still pieces of her all over our place. She’d  spent the winters with my family and I. She and I shared a bathroom.

In the top dresser drawer, is where Nana kept all her combs and brushes. I hadn’t even touched them. They’re still there.

I remember her every time I watch NCIS, she truly enjoyed that show as she was a huge fan of Mark Harmon and whenever I hear the song “Everything I Do, I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams, I would think about the time we all, including Nana went to the movies to see the film “Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves”

I remember Nana saying to me one day, as we looked up at the clouds together, how fun it would be to ride on one those. Now, every time I look up and imagine which cloud she might be on, going “WHEE!” with both hands flailing high in the air.

Image Credit: Pexels

I was without a doubt so blessed to have had her as my grandmother and I know without a shadow of a doubt, she would say she was blessed to have me as her granddaughter.

After all, She was my Nana. She was my friend.

May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source.

Amy is a resident of Florida.  Since 2006, she has been self-employed in the dog care field.  In May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source.
Amy Temple

Back To School Affirmations

photo source above: bing/backtoschoolaffirmations

Now that the 2017-2018 school year is over, kids of all grades are going to be entering the 2018-2019 year in about a month and a half from now. While most will be hesitant to step back into the school world; others will be excited to go back and get the year started – YAY!!…..But what type of mindset will this year be for our kids – while us parents will have some responsibility for that; it’s up to our kids overall to decide if they will push themselves to success or as the song says “lean back” and let the chips fall where they may.

Because after all, we all have CHOICES!!! & So does our kids!!

Last week for our weekly bible class talk, I began to talk to my children about “Affirmations” and speaking things that they feel they are not into existence/a belief that they could be. (Romans 4:17), now whether you’re religious or a believer or not; I feel as though our kids have the ability to speak “good things” over their lives or situation no matter how small or tall they are.

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I began to tell my children about Octavia E. Butler – in which I talked about in this video. She had a mantra “So Be It, See To It” Google, did a doodle of Butler on June 22nd to celebrate what would have been her 71st birthday.

Octavia E. Butler Google Doodle
Octavia E. Butler (June 22, 1947 – February 24, 2006)

Curious as to whom this African American woman was (please don’t judge me if you’re a Butler fan) – after a little research I came across a journal entry that Butler penned in which she “manifested” “I Shall be a Bestselling Author”, “My books will be on the bestseller lists of the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and etc.” she went on to declare and state that “This is my life, I write Bestselling Novels” “My books will be read by Millions of people” notice that she didn’t think or say “I want to or I believe” she made it known that those words weren’t in her vocabulary as they were replaced by [ctt template=”8″ link=”H5564″ via=”yes” ]”I Shall & I Will. So Be It, See To It!![/ctt]

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And this was before she became famous! She knew what she wanted and stuck to her guns – this Affirmation of course didn’t come easy, she worked diligently on her craft daily before the crack of dawn until she went off to work, in which she labored as a dishwasher and then a potato chip inspector; all while working on the career she so desired in the background. Needless to say, Octavia E. Butler; whom suffered from dyslexia – went on to become the first African American science fiction author whom was very well respected in her field. Butler produced over a dozen novels, received numerous awards all ranging from 1980-2012. Her books were indeed read by millions of people, just as she penned in her journal.

Now you may be saying – “What does all of this have to do with back to school?” well, to get back on track – I began to tell my kids to manifest what they wanted their school year to be like. If they felt as though they didn’t have the best year last year; then to “declare and speak” what type of school year they wanted to have this year. As I told them, there really is power in the tongue – whatever they speak or think about themselves, their school year or their life will either move them into success or push them backwards.

Related Post: How We Can Instill An Attitude of Gratitude In Our Children

Just as Octavia Butler penned, we too can pen our destiny – declaring what we want our destiny to be is one thing – working on it is something different. In order for Butler to manifest what she wanted; she had to “See To It” being done.

So, I gave my kids a homework assignment for our next talk and that was to write down a couple of Affirmations they wanted to see for themselves going into this school year. An assignment that once completed, they’ll read aloud to me. What they don’t know is that, this will be their morning anthem for the rest of the school year.

Would you like to do this activity with your children?

This can be a fun project for all to get involved and do, including the parents as you may have a couple of affirmations you want to write on your own (it’s never too late!)

If you have small kids, ages 5-8

Then you can get them some construction paper and let them write out what they want their school year to be like, they can color it and/or make it their own piece of artwork. You can get it laminated and hang it on their wall or a place in which they’ll have to see or pass by every day.

If your children are older, ages 10-17

Then they can write out their mantra on notebook paper or however they want. The thing is allowing them to be creative with their own project as they’ll be more apt to look and/or follow through with it because it’s what they created. Same thing as above, they’ll place it where they can see it every day.

The goal of affirmations is to speak them over your life every single day, but we know kids and that may not be a practice that they’ll get used to doing overnight. However, keeping them hung in a place where they can see them will help them stay focused on their goal and the positive choices they want to see during the new school year.

Listed below are some affirmations to give them a head start, but feel free to allow them to come up with their own…(that’s what makes it really special)

  • I am a leader
  • I am a great kid
  • I can make healthy choices
  • I will be a great student
  • I am one of a kind
  • I will succeed in school as well as life
  • I will make good grades
  • I have the knowledge to pass every test
  • I am smart
  • I am handsome/beautiful
  • I love ME!
  • I MATTER!
  • I am good enough
  • I am unique
  • I can and will make friends
  • I will make a difference
  • It’s okay to not know everything – I’m still smart!
  • I am Brave
  • I am Strong
  • This will be the best school year yet!
  • I will not let fear keep me from being great!

 

Roshonda N. Blackmon

Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

 

 

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Holiday Family Survival 101

photo above courtesy of bing

Okay, so Christmas is a little over a week away and I’m sure if you’re like me and millions of other people, you’re going to be getting your bags packed to travel to the parents and/or in-laws house and depending on your relationship with either – it could be a dreaded day of pretending to like the current situation but in your mind, you’re on some deserted island with a margarita, a TV and your feet up (or maybe that’s my wish..lol), but anyways wherever your mind is taking you, I know it’s far far far away from where you want to be.

And, I get it because all families aren’t created equal, however it’s the holidays and you have to deal with the shenanigans and get through it especially when you have nosy or “busy” I guess I should say, family members whom ask you the same ole questions every year such as “So when are you going to get married?” or “When are you going to settle down?” or how about this one “So what happened to your last relationship?” andddddd…..”When are you going to get a real job, why did you quit the last one?” “You know you’re getting older right, so when are you going to give me a grand-baby” and the list of questions go on and on and on and on and on and, well you get my drift.

So, while I can’t provide you a magic wand ….magic-wandto make you disappear when that annoying uncle comes to you with another sob story of why he wants to borrow money, knowing good and well he’s not EVER going to pay you back…I provided a couple of tips that hopefully will help you sail through the day until you get back to your “normal” life.

1. Get Those Positive Vibes Cooking Before You Head Out!

You know the environments we encounter can really be changed, if we change our outlook on the environment. When you have what I call “stinking thinking” it causes everything around you to stink! Suddenly, instead of looking at the situation with a positive view, the only thing we allow ourselves to see is the negativity of everything and soon everything everyone does begins to get on your nerves and while the situation may not be the best one, we can only control our actions within it; for our actions are the only ones we have control over. If you change your outlook, you just may see things differently than what you’ve seen before.

2. Don’t Be Rude

Yes, I know you’re saying “That’s easier said than done” and while I truly understand; you have to understand that people will be people (family or not) and you have to take them with a grain of salt, It’s nothing wrong with speaking and holding a light conversation, if you have busy bodies for family members (as we all do) and if a conversation turns south or makes you feel uncomfortable, just let them know “Hey, you know what?, I’d rather not talk about that right now but what I do want to talk about is Aunt Rubies sweet potato pie, she put her foot in that pie” this way you’ve dodged them getting into your business and turned the conversation onto something else. Hey, they may be family but your life is your life and no one needs access to that unless you give them a ticket to sit in the front row of it.

3. Be A Team Player

Ever heard the saying “There’s no “I” in T.E.A.M” well that statement is very true, if your family is anything like mine, usually (it hasn’t always been) but it’s the time of year where people put old feelings to the back-burner for the day and everyone “pretends” to get along so well. Whether it’s just a show or not, take glory in the fact that for one day your family is actually deciding to get along. Join in on the conversations, games, laughs or whatever is going on – don’t just sit on the couch with your mouth poked out looking at people as if to say “If you say one word to me, I’m going to go off” Remember, someone out there wishes they had a family and our minor situations could always be worse off than what it really is. Enjoy your family for this special time, because we never know whom will or won’t be with us the following year. Life is short, enjoy the small moments even if they are only for a second….

4. Shift your Focus

It’s so easy to recognize the faults in people, we can pick those characteristics out like popcorn but when it comes to seeing a positive attribute, we struggle because in our minds we only want to see the worse. Each of our family members, including us are not perfect – someone may have said something to you that really scarred you, so much so until you don’t think you can forgive them. We’ve all suffered “family scars and hurt” unfortunately it’s more common than need be. My family is dysfunctional, they all have issues and I’ve had times in which I’ve said “They’re Crazy, I ain’t got time for that” and have distanced myself from them and while that little grudge lasted a little while, if they were to call me now, I would talk to them as if nothing happened. Every one of us have a little crazy in us, but someone still puts up with us regardless; someone took a chance on us, knowing we weren’t lovable or easy to get along with. Your family members may not be perfect but each of them have a special quality about them, choose to find and see that quality in them, instead of the worse side of them.

This will personally be my last blog post until January 2018. I pray your holiday season is filled with love, joy, happiness and PEACE!  Spend time with your family, you never know how special they are until you lose them.

Wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas & a Very Happy, Prosperous New Year!

classic-christmas-wreath

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Until Next Year!

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud, Inspire More & Love Harder!

How We Can Instill An Attitude of Gratitude In Our Children

Stop Sign Hold On a Minute

Okay, so before you give me a “You don’t tell me what to do with my kids look” – I just want to say, HOLD UP! this post is not about how you should raise your kids. That’s totally your business and your prerogative however; this post is about my experience or should I say “on-going” experience with making sure I instill this in my own children, which has it’s many ups, downs, curve-balls and catch 22 throws – given the day.

So, if you’re struggling with getting your kids to appreciate what they have already as opposed to having their hands out waiting on every new gadget that comes out on the market, then maybe some of the tips I have will help – then again, you may have some pointers that can help me out, so please feel free to leave any helpful tips in the comment section, they will be greatly appreciated –

When I had my kids or I guess I should say “before” I had my two kids, my goal was to give them everything in the world, including the things that I felt like my own mom couldn’t afford to give me – I was determined, when I grew up,  I was going to make sure I made up for my loss through my kids. Let me just say, that was a fantasy world filled with rainbows and unicorns that never came to fruition because “after” I had my kids, reality hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t count on going through a divorce, foreclosure, repossessions, dead-end jobs that didn’t pay enough money, let alone having to raise them all alone. So the glitz and glamour life I dreamed of for them soon became a fire that seemed to never go out.

Fire flames isolated on white background

My mom used to always tell us growing up, “If you appreciate what you have now, God will bless you to what you want later.” that talk usually came during the time when we had to eat brown beans and cornbread for 3 or 4 days in a row. As a child, I didn’t understand why we didn’t have what other kids had or why we always had to get our clothes from the thrift store and when mama worked in the cafeteria at a local high school, why did the leftovers that nobody touched or wanted had to be our dinner for the night. While I didn’t understand those times and hardships or why mama worked so hard to seemingly bring home nothing in terms of money, she was so right “God definitely did bless us to get what we wanted to eat, when those food stamps came the following week…lol

We learned to be grateful for little and when we received a lot – we knew how to handle it. Now that I’m older with children of my own – although the jobs offer more and we have a little more than back then – the principal of “being grateful” still exists. But when you live in a world where everyone wants “MORE” it can be a strain sometimes on a parent to fulfill that thirst with our own kids; especially when they’re coming out with a new phone every two months or new sneakers every single day and when your kids see that?, the only thing they know is “They want It” and as a parent, we try our best to make sure they get it – but is that really good behavior? I mean, what are we telling them, that life works that way? You see it, You want it, and it will be given to you?

UNFORTUNATELY – NOT IN THIS LIFE!!!

Listed below are a couple of things that I do to get my kids to be more grateful or appreciative of what they have.

grateful-child-stress-relief
photo courtesy of bing

Let them Know Life Requires Work

As a Mom I have to remind my kids that if they want anything in life, they have to work for it and that doesn’t mean when they get in their 20’s, No – the act of working for what you want starts now! If I let them get away with not doing the dishes but still reward them anyway, then that’s setting them up for failure because they’ll get older and think that life is supposed to work that way and unfortunately it doesn’t.

Saying No, Will Not Hurt Their Feelings in the Future!

Okay, I admit – I hate saying No to my kids but at the same time, I can’t always say yes either because they’re not going to always receive a YES in life, I wish that were true but again, unfortunately it’s not. Saying No to your child now teaches them early about disappointment. As parents we have to teach them how to deal with disappointment when they get a NO because their attitude will determine what the outcome will be.

Give Them Real Talk About Your Situation

I know most parents hate telling their children when they have hit hard times or maybe dad or mom just got laid off of work in which will bring major changes to the household. But I say, talk to your kids about what’s going on – (Use your discretion) but I feel like when things are hidden its a setup for disappointment, anger and resentment – now while you still may get that type of behavior once you reveal your truth, at least they know what’s going on – and then again, you just may be surprised at how they respond or take it. I talk to my children about our hardships and I have been very surprised at how they handled it and what suggestions they have come up with to help out.

Teach Them To Be More Givers instead of Receivers

We live in a world where children no longer want or feel as though they have to work for anything, as parents, they feel as though we’re made of money. An ATM in which they can come, push a button and get what they want – but not so! The act of giving more than receiving has to be taught to them, as it’s not something that they will grab a hold of themselves – it has to be shown through you. My mother was a huge giver of her money, time and resources and because of seeing her be that type of person my whole life, it stuck with me and it’s something that I try to teach my kids to do and that’s to be selfless.

Unfortunate Situations – Show Them, Don’t Tell Them

Another great lesson in which I ‘m trying to instill in my kids is that everyone is not as fortunate as them. My daughter complained one night because she had to eat green beans with her dinner and because she didn’t want to do it, she decided that she wasn’t going to eat at all due to the fact of it not being what she wanted. I had to tell and show her that every child is not so fortunate to have a meal or a mom to come home and cook for them. There are children whom would eat those green beans and anything else you put on their plate, because they know at one point they didn’t have anything to eat and are just grateful to get anything. In most countries children are not even given choices as to what they want to eat – so showing our kids unfortunate situations could help them be a little more grateful for what they have, even though it’s not what they want.

Raising kids is hard-work as we have a limited time to teach them everything we feel they may need to know in the world. Teaching them to have an attitude of gratitude may not be one of the lessons that seem to be with them now but if we keep teaching – hopefully the seeds being planted will yield a good harvest, and maybe just maybe – They’ll thank us for it later.

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photo courtesy of bing

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud, Inspire Often & Love Hard!