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Friday Five Recently | Week 8

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Happy Friday!  We are another week closer to Christmas.  Naturally, the kids can hardly contain their excitement.  I'm not ashamed to say that they get their love of Christmas from me.  I'm a holiday baby.  So the love of Christmas is in my blood.

Anyways, they've been asking Alexa almost everyday how many days we have until Christmas. It's so cute to watch.  Their joy and excitement is so infectious and just what I need right now.

Our Traditional Style Family Christmas Tree

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Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, we've been all year to decorate you!  So those clearly aren't the lyrics to "O Christmas Tree" but still the kids and I have been counting down the days until we could put up the Christmas ornaments again.  And yes, we continued with our tradition of putting our tree up on November 1st!  Keep scrolling for more Christmas tree goodness.

Friday Five Recently | Week 7

How is it back-to-school time already?  We've been rocking and rolling with homeschool for about three weeks now and I'm still trying to figure out how Summer Break went by so quickly.  Listen, I'm not the biggest fan of overly structured days, getting up in the morning, and having to cut back on my night owl hours.  In the words of Drake, "I come alive in the nighttime." So needless to say it's been an adjustment around these parts.  Anyways, I hope that the 2019-2020 school year has gotten off to a great start for your families.  Here's a look at what we've been up to during my Summer hiatus from the blog.

Recently . . .

Gardened | Our gardening adventures have continued.  I'm so happy the kids and I decided to start growing our own food again. We had a small veggie garden on our balcony when we lived in our old apartment.  So it only made sense to give it another go now that we have a yard with even more space and we can actually plant into the ground.

I will say that it hasn't been all smooth sailing but it's been a great learning and bonding experience for us.  We've enjoyed eating food we grew from seed and via our own hard work.  We recently came back from a trip to my hometown and discovered that our watermelons have finally decided to grow!  We were shocked and excited.  Bambi and his mama had been eating up our watermelon vine and buds every time they bloomed.  I had made up my mind that I was going to take up the vines and plant something else but I'm glad that I didn't.

Realized | While we're on the subject of gardening, I've had the realization/revelation that I've become really passionate about growing my own food.  So much so that I want to give it a go doing it on a larger scale and throw some animals into the mix.  Basically, I want to start a farm.  I'm not shocked by this as I come from a line of sharecroppers and have family members who have/had farms.

I've written about how my mom has an excellent green thumbs and our house was always full of plants growing up.  I've also talked about how I spend time helping my great uncle in his garden and the fun I had shelling peas and shucking corn on his screened-in porch with my siblings.  I just wish I would have realized how passionate I would feel about farming and how right it would feel deep down in my bones before I went to college and studied fashion merchandising.  

Now I'm looking into taking some agriculture classes.  Better late than never for sure.

Started | Somewhere between late June and early July, I hopped back on the couponing bandwagon.  Honestly, I'm wondering why I ever stopped to start with.  I'm not out here clearing shelves, but my favorite total at checkout has become $FREE.  I will say that couponing feels so much easier though this time around.

I'm sure that YouTube couponers and my couponing groups has a lot to do with that.  It's easier to find sales and the guesswork is pretty much taken out of doing matchups.  Not only has couponing been a great way to save money, but it's helped me to earn money as well using cashback apps like ibotta, Fetch Rewards, and ShopKick.  I'll go in-depth on this in a later post.

Mourned | This summer has not been kind to my family as a whole.  A little over a month ago my Aunt G passed away.  While wasn't out of the blue because she had been sick and was in and out of the hospital which ended in her having to have her leg amputated, it's still an adjustment.  The first two weeks after her funeral were the hardest for me.  Memories of her kept popping into my head at will and I'd have rush off to the bathroom to cry in peace.

Aunt G is on the right in the hat. 

One of my cousins passed away the same day after he heard about her passing.  He was on his way back home to attend the funeral.  I'm not going to go into all of the other people from our family who've passed away this Summer but it's just been a reminder that my aunts, uncles, great cousins, etc. are all older now.  So I know death is to be expected in some cases, but it damn sure ain't welcomed!

Resonated | I stumbled across this post that talks about how we should Stop Accepting Apologies That Aren't Accompanied By Changed Behavior and it really resonated with me.  I think a lot of us struggle with putting our foots down, cutting people off, and leaving harmful situations be it romantic, platonic, and/or professional relationships.  We allow people to continue to mistreat us, disrespect us, and waste our time.  We stay mad for a little while, they give us an apology and empty promises, and we bury our emotions and open our arms and hearts right back up to them time and time again.

I don't want to get too deep or sound too preachy, but accepting apologies without changed behavior is something that's heavily promoted in Black families.  Maybe not as much in this generation but enough that we still need to work on it.  I'm sure many of us have been told to accept so and so's apology for the millionth time because "we're family."  I know I've heard this, both directed and not directed at me, more times than I care to recount.

It took me a long time to realize that a lot of people let others continue to hurt them out of fear.  Fear of being alone, fear of not what's next, fear of losing something/someone familiar and not wanting to have to start over or move on.  Reading this helped to me to come to terms with the fact that I want to break this cycle with my kids.  Also, I want to be conscious of what I'm teaching them about forgiveness.  I want them to know that it's okay to not forgive immediately.  

Some wounds won't heal overnight or ever.  Take your time. Also, I want them to know that forgiving someone doesn't mean you have to keep them around and give them the opportunity to screw you over again.  I want my kids to know their worth and what they are worthy of.  I want them to be ruthless about cultivating an environment that is safe and healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Let's chat in the comments!  Have your kids started school yet?  If so, how's it been going?

3 Reasons Why Family Meals Are So Important

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Summer is still in full swing.  And if you're from the Carolinas, you know the heat down South is nothing to play with.  One of the measures I've been taking to keep the house cool is taking a break a from turning on my stove. I may not be cooking as often these days, thanks to Wildscape, family dinners have been going strong still.  Eating dinner as a family is the one thing, I refuse to give up. While there are tons of scientific and medical studies about how beneficial family dinners can be for children, I'm sharing 3 of my own personal reasons why family meals are so important for my family.

Friday Five Recently | Week 6

It's a rainy Friday in the Carolinas but I'm not complaining.  This rain is greatly appreciated because we need it.  Our yard has been looking like a dry cracked desert for weeks.  We're supposed to get more rain throughout the weekend.  So we'll be hanging out indoors for the most part.  In the meanwhile though, let's catch up friends!

5 Reasons We're Excited To See The Secret Life Of Pets 2

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"Welcome to New York.  It's been waiting for you."  It's been three years since we've hit the streets of the Big Apple with our favorite pet pals.  Now The Secret Life Of Pets 2 is adventuring into theaters on June 7th just in time to kickoff Summer Break!  Here's a look at why the kids and I are beyond excited to catch up with Max and the gang.

Rosie's Easter Bash 2019

Happy Belated Easter!!  After almost two weeks of being on house arrest thanks to the insane amount of the pollen that has been suffocating the Carolinas, we finally made a break for it and journeyed outside.  This past weekend, I loaded up the kids and we went into downtown Lancaster for the annual Rosie's Easter Bash community event.