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Monday, March 31, 2014

The Teaching Experience

When I take a step back and think about what I'm about to share with you all I HONESTLY can't believe my daughter is only 1 year old and I'm dealing with this... By now, you are sitting at your screen wondering what the heck is Sheena talking about?

Sooooooo here it is...

As I've already told you, Baby O is quite the talkative 1 year old. She loves to hear herself talk and definitely makes sure that any/everyone around can hear her while she's doing so. In other words, she loud y'all, lol.  Seriously, her voice stays on 20! Then, her little self gets her hands going (and everybody knows a good story needs some finger pointing) and starts pacing around the room. When you see it for the first time it actually takes you by surprise because it's so unexpected... yet hilarious lol.

Clearly, her teacher was surprised when she started voicing her opinion around the class one day. So much so that, in our daily chat about what type of day they had together, the teacher said "when Olivia starts talking [she] can see that little black attitude coming out of her".
Did you read it a few times?  I didn't mis-type.  If you are anything like me, you are probably staring at your screen shocked... just as I was when I heard her words.

Now, to be clear, I honestly don't think her words had any malicious intent behind them (thus, the name of this post).   She's been with Olivia since her first day at the school and totally adores her. All that said... her words, in that context, were very negative.  So, in my husbands words, "she needed to be checked".

I know what you're thinking and NO, I didn't go off and continue to perpetuate the angry black women stereotype deep-rooted in her conscious.  To the contrary, I handled myself as I always have around her - didn't even blink.  Doing so actually allowed me to take a step back from the situation and regain some perspective. I slept on it then decided to use this as a teaching opportunity - teach the teacher, if you will. Bring this to light with education because there's no excuse for that type of ignorance in 2014.  

Remembering that...

When I finally spoke with her I was polite yet stern and delivered a concise message; my goal was to make her reflect on the impact her words have on the babies placed in her care on a daily basis.  She immediately apologized and was actually very grateful that I enlightened her.

I share this story with you all NOT to get any of you angry at what was said but rather to let you all know we're never too good, too old or too smart for enrichment. There are so many opportunities to better ourselves and we just have to be willing to do so. I'm grateful in this instance I was willing to teach and she was open to learn.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fit Friday: Tomato Basil Chicken

Happy Fit Friday luvs.
As I promised I’ve totally been working towards becoming a healthier me.  I’ve set a few goals for myself (I’ll share soon) and have been working out at least 4 times per week...I’m already seeing resultsJ.
The other day I revisited a recipe from Menu Musings of a Modern American Mom the other day and added my own little twist too it. It turned out delicious and was super healthy so I had to share it with you all.

Ingredients: (4 servings)
  • 2 chicken breasts 
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes 
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 3 Zucchini
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Step-by-step:

Season chicken breasts as you wish. 
Add a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to your skillet.  This may seem like quite a bit, but it will form the base for the sauce.
While waiting for the oil to heat up, go ahead and Shred your ZucchiniWhen the oil is HOT, add the chicken breasts. 
After about 4-5 minutes, the chicken breasts should be ready to turn. 
After the second side has been cooking for about 4 minutes, go ahead and add in the fresh tomatoes that you have chopped up and fresh basil.
Next, add in the white wine andminced garlic.
Give it all a good stir.  
When your chicken is "done," turn the sauce down on the lowest setting to keep it all warm.
While your chicken sits on low, Sautee your zucchini shred in the coconut oil.
Once your zucchini is done turn your chicken off. 
Place some zucchini on a plate and top it off with chick mixture.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Birthday Shoes (Tutorial)

Hey luvs,


Below is the how to instructions I used to bling out Baby O’s converses for her Winter ONEderland Affair I told you about here.  Working on this labor of love was pretty straight forward and easy however, I found that having the right tools is imperative. Additionally, don’t try this one unless you have patience lol. In all seriousness the end results of this one makes completing the task worth it, so if you have a little free time I hope you give it a try...Enjoy!

Supplies
  • Converse Sneakers
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
  • 2 Bows
  • Swarovski Elements Hotfix Crystals (the amount depends and size of crystals will vary based on how much bling you want and the size of the shoe)
  • Swarovski Elements Hotfix Crystals Tool ($20 at Michael’s)
  • Ribbon
Step by Step Instructions
  1. Open your Hotfix Crystals Tool.
  2. Plug Hotfix Crystals Tool in the wall.
  3. Select the proper size tip (to match your crystal size) and place it on the Hotfix Crystals Tool.
  4. Open your Hotfix Crystals
  5. Lay your crystals flat on the table
  6. Take the Hotfix Crystals Tool and place it over one of the crystals
  7. Pick the Hotfix Crystals Tool up and the crystal should be on it
  8. Place the Hotfix Crystals Tool on the shoe
  9. Hold the Hotfix Crystals Tool on the shoe for a few second
  10. Remove the Hotfix Crystals Tool from the shoe and the crystal should be on the shoe
  11. Repeat the above steps until you shoe is bling out the way you want it
Once the shoe is has the right amount of bling...Add the bow
  1. Plug up your Glue gun
  2. Add a glue stick
  3. Grab one of your bows and add a little glue on it
  4. Place the bow on the back of your shoe
  5. Hold the bow on the shoe for a minute
  6. Repeat the above steps for the second shoe
  7. Let your shoes try for 48 hours

The Tool

My Process
My Final Product

                                          Happy crafting fellow heartbeats

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Winter ONEderland (Party)

The actual day of the party was far more stressful than I had anticipated even with me getting all my prep done days before hand.  Of course, most of my stress was self-induced because I was determined to ask my guest for minimal help. I honestly wanted to invoke the element of surprise, so I thought it would be best for them to show up as guest and see the space once it was fully transformed into a Winter ONEderland Affair.  I was so serious about this that days before my first guest was scheduled to be at the house my car were loaded with all the party supplies (doing this also helped ensure I didn’t forget anything). With the exception of welcomed help from Tabby and my cousin Meka (the two people that had all the details on how I wanted everything to go) everyone else was excused from set up duties.

It was the perfect plan and the weekend was going flawlessly until...

We got to the venue and they wouldn’t let us begin set up.  Remember they had a ton of rules? Well the amount of time allocated for set up was one of them and they were very strict about it. Like we all should up ready to go at the time I tripled checked the venue would be available and it was a no go for getting in. Are you serious? Three cars filled to the max. Tabby’s car had the kids' chairs, crafts she made, and all the baked goods. Meka’s truck was filled with balloons. And my car had EVERYTHING else.  Yet we couldn’t get in and for a planner like me this made my nerves bad because I had timed everything perfectly. Turns out all the people I had spoken to had it wrong and we only had an hour to set up (grinds teeth and rolls eyes). An hour was just not going to be enough time to get everything in the venue and set up before guest would arrive.  If ever I wanted guest to show up late to something this was one of those times lol. Once they allowed us in we put on my track shoes and immediately begin the race to turn their Preschool pod into Winter ONEderlanad. I went from bringing items through the doors, to moving tables for the proper layout, to my top priority...those darn classroom boards. Until I noticed the first guest not only arrived but was looking for me. Oh no I had to leave and trust the execution of my vision to Meka and Tabby (they were nervous as hell but I knew they had it).
Before
 After
Other Wall Decor
Tables

I was just thankful that the plan was for guest to start the party in the soft playroomJ and diverted the guest attention away from the unfinished reception area by taking them down there. As guest arrived to the playroom I greeted them at the door, and each little guest received a sparkle mini top hat. Thus beginning the fun, from what I could tell every child (and parent) had a BLAST! With a few of my friends having kids that were older then the venues age restriction I had to ensure there was something for the big kids to do. 
While the little ones tumbled in the soft playroom, the big kids swam in the rec center Olympic sized pool...

The Entry
After a ton of fun in the soft playroom, guests headed upstairs in the Winter ONEderland Affair where they were greeted by...delicious food, beautiful decor, and music. As guest turned the corner to enter the reception space they were greeted with one of the d├ęcor highlights...Tabby’s paper snowflakes.  With the entry wall covered in them, and the beautiful wire trees (purchased on sale at home Goods) anchors, it was the perfect guest photo op.

The Kiddie Corner
With the Year of 1st Boards as the center of this table balloon filled back drop this table set up was executed just as I expected. The snowflake and snowman centerpieces lined the center of the table, while each child place was set with a white appetizer plate and their named sippy cup. It was adorable.
The Food
OMG!!! Can you say delicious? With such a hectic weekend I knew I wouldn’t have time to entertain guest, cook, set up the venue etc..., so I had most of  food for the party catered (with the exception of my friend Tonya’s banging tomato soup, my mother in laws awesome meatballs (to die for), and a few other items). When contacting the catering company I described my event and let them know that I was looking for bite sized kid friendly portions. Together we developed the perfect age appropriate menu which they DELIVERED in every sense of the word. I wanted to the food presentation to look a certain way so I pulled out my white platters and to add a little something, something to the table.  Most items we served in individualized portions...Tomato soup shots with cheesy bread, parfait sized pasta salad, mac and cheese balls, etc.  Needless to say the food a huge hit amongst the tiny tots, big kids, and adults.

The Cake & Deserts
Where in the world do I begin with this table? Tabby created a fabulous impromptu banner and back drop for the table. However, one the table the cake from my favorite local baker Misty stole the show.  It was beyond FABULOUS. I sent her a sample photo of the look I wanted but she truly out did herself and made this one her own. With such a beautiful cake on display I was actually surprised that the tiny tots even noticed the other treats on display (Peppermint chocolate covered pretzels, banana snowmen, and mini and full sized cupcakes, and bite sized snowflake cookies), but they did and were delighted to indulge in them .
The Hot Chocolate Bar
I’m sorry but there just had to be something for the parents and since this was a family friendly venue no alcohol was allowed lol. No worries for this momma...I’d make sure my adult guest got to enjoy somethingJ. Trust me I did by adding an adult flare to a childhood treat.  To warm guest up and embrace the brisk air I decided to have a hot chocolate bar was in order. But, any old hot chocolate bar wasn’t going to cut it.  I wanted one parents would enjoy too so, I ordered gourmet marshmallows with Flavors like peach bourbon, s'mores, cookies 'n' cream, and ice cubes (peppermint) for guest to add in their hot cocoa. In addition to the gourmet marshmallows, I also had mini marshmallows. Handmade cozies (by my awesome friend Chelsi) for guest to protect their hands. And the cutest wooden snowflake spoons for stirring.
The Favors
The favor table was filled with goodies for the little guest and adults. Parents got to take home one of my hometown favorites Synfully Sweet candy apples. While the each kid received goodie bag filled with a winter coloring book, snowflake-shaped crayons, and a number one chocolate lollipop (in either pink or purple).  Not to mention each child was able to take their snowman sippy cup home as well.
The Parents
As exhausted as we were Dom and I still showed up looking fly in our custom t-shirts designed by me of course.


That's all folks...