Educational toys you will LOVE!

The following post is a sponsored post for Lakeshore Learning, all opinions are my own.

With all of the toys our kids collect throughout the year I have been seriously contemplating more Montessori, Learning and STEM toys. Lately I’ve been focus on STEM toys and I’m so excited to partner with my friends at Lakeshore Learning to show you some of our favorite toys for learning and stem!

Since Maveric is attending kindergarten this year we have really been focused on math as well as his penmanship.

I really love this numbers and counting light up activity center this is a great way to encourage Maveric to use his thinking skills as well as number recognition. The light up box also doubles as extra fun when you pair it with the see inside magnetic blocks .

These blocks make up for hours of fun wit the boys! And since we don’t allow the kids to watch television during the week it’s a win win for us! I love watching the boys use their imagination and create amazing towers, dinosaurs, houses and more.

I love that Lakeshore has toys for all ages! Elle and Maveric put their brains together to complete a few STEM challenges with this Building Brick Challenge kit

Since Elle is already an avid reader she took over and lead the way and explained everything to Maveric, which made me so proud!

They had to create a maze that allowed their marble to travel across the board.

After trial and error they were able to successfully craft a maze that worked well with their marble.

I love that we chose to not allow screen time during the week, this really allowed the kids to stretch their minds! I hope you found some of the cool toys useful. Be sure to check out more from Lakeshore here. They truly have something for everyone. Until next time…

XO,

Meka

Momtourage Monday: Military Wife, Blogger and Photography Momma

1. How do you define Momtourage? Momtourage is your Go-to mom group. A unique group of ladies that support you no matter what, relate to you and lift each other up. Without judgment or shaming. A place where you can feel safe, be yourself and open up about this crazy roller coaster called motherhood. Oh and they also get together for those mommy play dates, let’s not forget about that. 

2 How do you balance Motherhood? With Grace, definitely with Grace. But honestly it’s not always there. I have to always be reminded to take care of myself first. Mentally, physically and emotionally. Those things are key for you to be a better mom, wife, friend… But trying to have it all together and keeping it up can be really overwhelming and you lose sight of the most important things. So yes, Grace is always my hero to Balance motherhood.

3. What is your mommy must have item? My Baby Carrier! My god, what would I do without it. Life changing for sure. Can’t imagine motherhood and no baby carrier. You can get so many things done while you baby-wear. It is simply amazing. I’ve traveled, breastfed, cleaned, cooked, shopped using it and I love it. Now my toddler wants to walk all the time but for breastfeeding and napping on the go it is my life saver. 

4 What is your Momtourage story? Well, let’s see… I’m a mommy of two kiddos. A 7 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. Since the beginning my husband has been hands on with house chores and with the kids. We always say it’s all about team work. That’s how we define our relationship and parenting. But when Kayden my eldest was 2 he decided to join the Military, something I was against since the beginning. But he went through with it anyways and I just followed along to keep my family together. (But let me tell you it was the best decision we have ever made because it has lead us to we’re we are now.) So he left for basic training and I remember being terrified about the thought of staying alone with my 2 year old son. All I could think of was that I didn’t know how to be a parent without my partner. How would I balance work, home, parenting and everything in between on my own. Soon after he left I learned that I could and I felt so proud about myself. I became so much stronger and independent and felt like the world couldn’t stop me. After he finished Basic Training we were stationed in NC and moved out of Puerto Rico. I left my job, my friends, my family and everything I knew to start a new life with the man I loved and give a better quality of life to our child. Only 2 weeks in and he got orders to Deploy to Afghanistan the next month. It all happened so quickly. Again I would have to handle everything on my own but this time in an unknown place where I didn’t know anybody. Everyone advised me to go back to Puerto Rico until he finished his tour but I decided to stay. I stayed because I didn’t want to run away from my fears and I wanted to grow as a woman and mother. And I definitely did. I even did things I never thought I could do. Right when he got back from his deployment I got pregnant with my second child, something everyone predicted hahah! I had been staying at home with Kayden only for a year so transitioning from 1 kid to 2 kids and staying at home all day with a toddler (4) and a breastfeeding on demand newborn was a struggle. When Mia was 6 months old I decided I needed a place to share my motherhood journey, my love for photos and everything I liked to help with my anxiety. My husband suggested Instagram, got me my first DSLR and rest is history. I’ve created my own little platform since then and I love connecting with other moms in the community. It has helped me to be much more open, social and take on new adventures. We are In the civil world now, loving every minute of it and better than ever. 

Be sure to check out more of Vil and her amazing family Here

Thank you so much Vil for sharing your story! As always we hope these stories encourage, or inspire other moms and moms to be!

Until next week….

XO,

Meka

Sips Tea…. literally

Many of you know I’m NOT a coffee drinker, but I sure do love a good tea blend! Recently I’ve been indulging in Adagio Tea and not only have I been loving it but so have the kids!

I love that they offer a caffeine free blend so I got the Three Little Pigs blend and honestly, I’ve been really loving that blend as much as the kids.

I also tried the Gemini .. bc HELLO June 17th over here. It has a nice blend of white tea, rose hips with a peach flavor to top it off. So delicious!

In addition to these awesome flavors I got a Harry Potter blend which is so good, it’s a chocolate blend.

One of my favorite purchases has been my tea thermostat because it literally keeps my tea hot ALL DAY! It has an infuser attached so you can enjoy loose tea as well.

You can snag one here and it’s only $29! A totally win when you want to have a good cup of tea throughout the work day or while you’re on the go!

Be sure to check out Adaigo Teas they have so many blends you won’t be disappointed and they currently have an Easter special going as well!

Until next time…..

Happy Blending!

Meka

Momtourage Monday: City Girl in a Southern World

1. How would you define Momtourage? I haven’t been to any momtourge events YET but from on the outside looking in, it looks to be an amazing group of woman supporting one another threw this journey of motherhood and daily mommy struggles.

2. How do you balance Motherhood? I wake up everyday and throw on my cape lol…… speaking honestly it’s a daily struggle everyday brings something new nothing like the day before. So I’ll say by waking up with a clear mindset ready for what that day will bring.

3. What is your Mommy must have item?

A sports bottle with WINE!!! just joking…. I must have this thing we call patience it’s not easy to find Lord knows. I search everyday for it, but no matter what with everyday that comes no matter how deep it’s hidden I always seem to find it!

4. What is your Momtourage story?

My story is one that would take years to explain…but to sum it up I’m a mother of 4 wonderful children 3 girls ages 17,15,& 12 and last but most certainly not least my most recent addition my 1year old baby boy! They are my world they are what I live for. I know all mom’s say it but for me it’s what keeps me grounded without them there is no me. I’m a stay at home mom with the struggle of a disability (Psoriatic  Arthritis) it’s a daily struggle all of its own. But my kids would never really know because I push threw for them without hesitation. My children and I recently moved to Charlotte, NC from Maryland something I wanted to do but never had the courage. One day I took a step out on faith and here we are… going from having their Dad active in their daily lives to having to do video calls and phone conversations is a huge struggle. Somehow we manage somehow I still have all my hair my edges still holding on cause Lord knows it’s hard with teenage girls and a toddler (Bless my little heart)! I’m a single Woman with 4 wonderful children. I say Single woman and not single parent because they have an amazing active father in their life, so I always say I’m SINGLE not a single mother to me it has two different meanings.

Thank you so much Esha for sharing your story! As always we hope these stories encourage, or inspire other moms and moms to be!

Until next week….

XO,

Meka

Spring Fashion

I’m seriously ready for warmer weather, why are we still dealing with SNOW 😩 Sunday I got to shoot with my favorite photographer in RDU, Erin and boy was it cold, but the pictures turned out pretty dope!

Bell sleeves are so in, and thanks to Target’s A New Day line I’m able to have a nice style at a low cost! I paired this super cute wrap dress with theses statement earrings from Charm City Noir

And I added another pop for color with my new crossbody from Madewell. I just love monogrammed items so of course I had to get the gold foil.

This crossbody is really going to be seen a lot, I’m so excited to pair it with my favorite spring looks. It comes in additional colors see here.

The thing I love about this wrap dress is that it compliments so many different body types!

The classic stripped blue and white helps it to be the perfect addition to my capsule wardrobe this spring!

So here’s to S P R I N G, May the bugs be less aggravating , and your allergies nonexistent! Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Family Friendly Eats: Harvest 18

Family nights are so important, most of our family nights include food or a movie. This time we chose food. The crew and I were invited to checkout Harvest 18, a family style restaurant located in Durham and boy were we in for a treat!

Often times parents dread going to restaurants with kids because of the lack of kid friendly food options in addition to GOOD food for parents. Or in my case you have that ONE child that likes to embarrass you every time you decided to eat out. I won’t call out any names but sometimes you have to just let your child stand up while they eat and not feel judged!

Once everyone was settled we were able to order our meals. There were so many awesome options and I was to happy too see the kids absolute FAVORITE item on the menu…. Mac and Cheese!

Before our meals came out we were able to sample a few items not on the menu!

Fried Mac and Cheese balls

Sautéed Fish with beets, Elle actually really loved this she has a sophisticated pallet to be 8 years old.

I started off with the Kale Caesar salad and of course I had the Wood fire grilled Atlantic Salmon which I LOVED!

JoColby opted for the wood fire grilled Mahi Mahi he absolutely enjoyed it and got the most inquiries via our Instastory .

And of course the kids wanted their fave…. Mac and Cheese and it was so delicious! They were able to choose from sides or fries for a side option.

For dessert we had the Rise Glazed Donut Bread Pudding with a cherry glaze!

Wow we truly enjoyed dinner everything was absolutely amazing and the atmosphere was so welcoming to our large family. So here’s why we LOVE Harvest 18 and why we will be back!

  1. The atmosphere is inviting, and the service is great! As I said earlier everyone was so welcoming and inviting to our family!
  2. The food!!! We enjoyed everything and having a place that accommodates parents as well as kids is always a plus.
  3. Location! With Harvest 18 conveniently located minutes from South Point Mall it makes for the perfect location to get shopping and dinning done.
  4. 80% of the food served is harvested from local N.C. farmers!

We officially stamp this restaurant #HWTHapproved when you go be sure to let us know how you enjoyed it! I personally can’t wait to visit when the weather is nice so we can dine outside. Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Staycation Date Night Edition

Often times as parents we get caught up in the daily hustle and bustle of #MomLife and forget how our kids actually got here. I’m so guilty and I know I’m not alone, so going forward I’m making an effort to date my husband!

Thanks to our amazing friends at the AC Hotel, JoColby and I were able to get away from the kids and focus on ourselves. We checked into this amazing hotel located in the North Hills Area of Raleigh on Friday night.

Everyone at the hotel was so helpful and gracious to have us stay. After checking in, I spotted some cool local snacks they had available, I love that the feature local businesses.

After checking in we headed to our room to drop off our bags. I loved that the room was so chic and I truly appreciate the floors. I seriously dread hotel carpets because of how dirty the are! This room made me feel at home, the modern floor plan as well as the all around feel was a plus in my book.

After checking out the roomwe headed upstairs to Level 7 Rooftop Bar for cocktails and tapas.

I never really drink but tonight I wanted something sweet with a little tang. So I tried the infamous Midtown Margarita and boy was it a treat! The toasted Citrus Salmon was absolutely delicious. But the crisp potato wedges OMG so yummy. JoColby really enjoyed the roasted wings. I highly recommend getting several tapas and sharing them you will be full in no time.

The atmosphere at Level 7 was great, everyone was enjoying their company, drinks and the game. This would be a great alternative to going out. I’m always looking for a fun locations for date night or just hanging with your crew.

After drinks, amazing tapas and lots of laughs we took an Uber to downtown Raleigh.

After several recommendations we ended up at the Boxcar Arcade this was the perfect place, it was like a flashback to my childhood!

JoColby and I played games until we couldn’t hang anymore! Everything from PacMan, Tetris, Mario, Ping pong the list goes on, and not to mention PopCorn… which I actually didn’t eat because of my OCD We didn’t stay out too long because the way our bodies are set up…. we got tired from dinner and cocktails. Once we got back too the room we decided to watch a movie and boy were we in for a surprise when we saw that we could sign into Netflix!

I can’t thank the AC Hotel enough for such an amazing and relaxing stay! Boy did we need some alone time and we were refreshed the next morning to pick up the kids and have family day! The next time you’re looking for a hotel please book with AC Hotel it’s the perfect place for a staycation, getaway or family travel! Trust me you won’t be disappointed. Until next time…..

XO,

Meka

Mommy & Mav Date

Being a mommy of 4, you’re constantly pulled into several different directions and it doesn’t get any better as your kids get older! One thing I try to do to help is scheduling one on one time with each of my kiddos. Yesterday Maveric and I were able to check out a pre-viewing of the Beanstalk the musical thanks to our friends at the Raleigh Little Theater. The play official showcases tonight until April 1st.

The show is just as we remember the book as a child. Young Jack, eager to please his mother climbs the Beanstalk to retrieve golden coins, a hen that lays golden eggs and back again for the magical harp. Unlike the book, the musical is packed with entertainment and several laughs! The actors did an absolutely amazing job. The one thing I really loved was that the play was just the right amount of time to keep Maveric entertained and no tired. With the show being 1 hour long, it’s perfect for families of all ages.

Last night was such a perfect way to spend our Mommy/Son Date, we laughed, we were intrigued and Maveric had several questions after the performance which will have us at the library today to check out the book.

I highly recommend incorporating the arts into children’s lives early on, even if you have to bring babies and tag team with a friend to the lobby when they need a break, do it! The earlier you start the better and more open minded they will become.

A huge thank you to our friends at the Raleigh Little Theater for allowing us to experience such a fun memory together. Be sure to check out upcoming plays here . I personally would love to see Alice and Wonderland with Elle next month.

What shows are you looking forward to check out? Whatever you choose enjoy it and take your little one with you. Until next time…..

XO,

Meka

Advantages of First Foods


Many of you have heard my cries about how fast Axel has grown up, so I’m pretty much in denial that he turns ONE in 16 days!  I have been so thankful that the kids are healthy and if you follow me on Instastoy you see how quickly he’s become so independent while eating.

Incorporating healthy eating habits in the early stages is so important and one brand that has never let me down is Gerber.  In addition to making all of Axel’s baby food, I incorporate Gerber cereals to assist with a healthy brain development for my little one.  Since I breast fed Axel, we all know how important it is for breast fed babies to get iron and DHA.  Gerber has been trusted for years, and has yet to let me or my family down, here’s why I love it:

• Single-grain infant cereals are an ideal first solid food to check for food sensitivities and help develop baby’s eating skills.

• Just two servings of Gerber infant cereal meet 90% of your baby’s daily iron needs

• Gerber cereal has essential nutrients such as Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Vitamin C, E and six B Vitamins for healthy development

• Cereal is complimentary to breastmilk for breast-feeding moms

• Non-GMO: Not made with genetically engineered ingredients.

• No artificial colors or flavors.

• Package made with no BPA.

We want our kids to have the very best for everything so why not make sure that every bite counts!  Be sure to snag a coupon here so that you can stock up! This morning Axel enjoyed his Gerber cereal with applesauce, and he actually let me feed him!  Pretty soon he’s going to be so indepent and I will possibly have baby fever again…. Ssssssh don’t tell my hubby!  J/k we are good the shop is CLOSED, Axel will forever be known as THE BABY.  In the mean time stop by here to learn even more amazing info about Gerber and feel free to share pictures of your little one enjoying their first meals, trust me it goes by fast so capture those memories. Until next time…..

XO,

Meka

Momtourage Monday: Strength, Faith and Love!

1. How would you define Momtourage? Momtourage is a group of moms who understand and support each other. They share tips, and provide a safe place to discuss all the bad that comes with motherhood. They lift each other up and provide support when needed.

2. How do you balance Motherhood? I’m barely balancing, lol. It’s a daily struggle. I take it a day at a time, and when things do not go as planned, I don’t beat myself up. I know I get to start fresh every morning.

3. What is your Mommy must have item? My iPhone, it has my calendar, it’s my connection when I am away, and it holds countless apps that make my life easier.

4. What is your Momtourage story?  My story is long, but I’ll give a condensed version. I was your average mom and wife. I had a great corporate job, and so did my husband. We had a 2 year old son and I was pregnant with our 2nd son. Like was good. We adored each other and our son and could not wait to have another son. On a sunny beautiful day during our annual vacation, our lives shattered in a million pieces, pieces I am still trying to put back together. My husband broke his neck and was left paralyzed from the chest down. It has been 6 years since his horrific accident. Our eldest son is now 8 and our youngest is 5. It has been a struggle to say the least. I never expected my life to be this way. However, some things have not changed, and that’s the love we have for each other and for our kids. It’s that love that pushes us through each day. Life is a daily struggle, but I lean into life and I understand clearly that “life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you”. We have taken these struggles and used them to our advantage. I know I am stronger, more compassionate, more hard working, and more determined then I would have ever been had this accident not happened. I know my boys are going to grow up with a unique set of experiences that will make them more empathic and more kind than most. They also see first hand, on a daily basis, that even when things are hard, you fight and you get it done. I hope they carry that fire with them always!

Thank you so much Yasmine for sharing your story! As always we hope these stories encourage, inspire and uplift other moms and moms to be!

Until next week…..

XO,

Meka

The first 6 months

 

 

 

As we quickly approach Axel’s 1st birthday, I can’t help but think about how important the first 6 months were! As many of you know, I struggle with Rheumatoid Arthritis and my personal breast feeding goal was to make it to 6 months. In addition to breast feeding, many of you know we get adjustments from the chiropractor and the one thing I learned was how important it is to have a healthy gut. And the best thing to help with a healthy gut is a good probiotic, and that’s where Evivo comes into play.

Evivo helps babies keep good bacteria that improves the digestions system.  By Introducing B infantis to our babies gut it truly makes a difference with developing a healthy immune system as well as a healthy metabolism.  I really wish this was something I learned about when I had Elle, so that’s why I am always excited to share Harrell Approved products with my Momtourage!

Here are some awesome advantages of Evivo:

  • Contains activated B. infantis
  • Developed from a decade of research with world- renowned scientist at the University of California
  • Clinically proven to reduce the presence of potentially harmful bacteria linked to asthma, allergies, obesity, and diabetes
  • The first and only baby probiotic to restore the infant gut microbiome to its original, natural state.

As our kids grow, we see new advantages with technology as well as new advances when it comes to our health so why not focus on our little ones as well?  I hope that this post helps another mom in my Momtourage.  And yes, if you’re wondering I made it to the 6 month goal of breast feeding Axel before I started back with my infusions.  Hmm now I’m wonder if something like Evivo could have helped me as a baby

Click here to see just how easy it it to mix Evivo

Until next time…

XO,

Meka


Momtourage Monday : Fashionable Mom killing it!

1. How would you define Momtourage?

The word Momtourage makes me think of a group of mom friends that you can share your ups and downs with and support one another. 

2. How do you balance Motherhood?

To try and balance motherhood, I try my best to stay organized and plan ahead.  That really only works 50% of the time because something always comes up with kids.  I’ve gotten better at adjusting at the last minute.  I really try to do the best I can with any obstacle that comes my way.

3. What is your Mommy must have item?

My mommy must-have item is a cute small cross-body bag. My cross-body bag is strapped to me most of the day. My phone, wallet keys, diaper, and fruit snacks are always in my bag.  If I carried a big purse I would probably leave it somewhere.

4. What is your Momtourage story? I am a full-time family fashion blogger.  My content is primarily based on my girls and their style. Working with your kids for a business can present some challenges. I try not push them to do anything they don’t want to do but at the same time, I have deadlines.  I try my best to keep our projects fun and simple.  Both of the girls are pretty good at cooperating to get things done.  The promise of cookies and ice cream also help.

As far as struggles as a mom, finding time for myself has been a challenge.  Since my “job” is to blog mainly about them and in addition to being a SAHM, it can be hard to separate work and do something for myself.  Weeks will go by I haven’t had any time to myself. This year I’m taking more time for myself on a regular basis. It’s important that we have a moment to ourselves.

Motherhood can be challenging but I just try to be the best mom I can be, not what others think I should be.

Thank you so much Trina for sharing your story! Be sure to check out Trina and her beautiful family here! As always we hope these stories encourage, or inspire other moms and moms to be!

Until next week….

XO,

Meka