Momtourage Monday- Super Mom of 6!

1. How would you define Momtourage? 

I would define Momtourage as your mommy support group. It doesn’t necessarily even mean that they have children. It’s your go-to squad of people that have helped you survive motherhood.

2. How do you balance Motherhood? 

 I balance motherhood by making sure I devote time to spending with my little ones, but I also have no problem saying I need a break. Usually, once a day, I find somewhere to go and just sit in silence. It’s necessary for my sanity. Once I get home I’m mentally able to handle everyone because they’re like Velcro. 

3. What is your Mommy must have item? 

My phone 

4. What is your Momtourage story? 

Whew…... So I am a separated mom of 6 boys ages 13,11,7,7,7&4 trying to get accustomed to my pending single status and have an amicable split from their dad. I want nothing more than for us to be the best co-parents we can be. 

 I was a school teacher and realized that I wasn’t passionate about it so now I am a Site Coordinator with Communities in Schools all while trying to rebuild my business—which is a drop-in child care center. 

 When people ask me how I do it…forget the career they’re usually just talking about having 6 boys—all I can say is take it one day at a time. Don’t lose sight of who you are. Make time for yourself, make time for your children.

Everything doesn’t cost money. A dance contest in the living room, a picnic in the park, a weekend slumber party in the living room or basement are things that create lasting memories and a ton of money isn’t  being spent. Quality time is key. I’m not perfect and I don’t want to be, but my children think I’m awesome!

Thank you April for sharing your story of Motherhood, as always I hope that these transparent stories will help someone and I hope you enjoyed it! Until next week.

XO,

Meka

Holiday Guide for HER

Welp here we are the first week of December has gone and if you’re anything like me you might be a last minute shopper.  So I’ve put together a shopping guide for that will make life easier! So here you go:

1. A watch from Jord

I have the Frankie in purple and it’s so cute! I love that it’s super original and whenever I have it on, it’s an instant conversation starter! Currently I’m giving all of my friends a 25% off coupon so snag one here choose from an amazing selection of men’s or women’s unique watches.

2. A Gucci Cross Body

While everyone else is swooning over the Gucci belts, I’m here for a crossbody! This classic black with gold hardware it a timeless piece that will last for generations. I’m not the biggest spender on designer bags, but I do believe in quality or price to some extent. And this bag is a YES for me. Snag yours before they sell out!

3. The Master Planner

How many times have you purchased a planner only to receive a pretty cover with BLAH pages?! Well this is NOT that planner, with the Master Planner you get more BANG for your buck and it’s made by a small business located in Charlotte! Monthly goals, A reusable menu/ grocery list and monthly affirmations are just a few of the amazing features of this journal I’m sure you’ll love!

4. Fenty Beauty Trophy Wife

When pop sensation Rihanna launched her beauty line, makeup junkies across the globe went WILD! I’ve heard nothing but great reviews from her products ranging in amazing foundation colors to this BOMB a$$ highlighter Trophy Wife! I went to Sephora and had a personal consultation, my coverage was awesome and this highlighter is a dream. Rihanna has totally changed the makeup industry for women of every shade.

5. Anne’s Apothecary Black Honey Facial Cleanser

If you follow my Instastory then you know how I feel about the recent use of this amazing product! Not only is it all natural and made local in Cary, NC it’s a small business and this cleanser is like Heaven in a bottle. I washed my face with this and it felt like new skin! I had a beautiful natural glow and my face was hydrated. This cleaners is a must have item for your daily regimen.

6. KeepSake Capsule

This compact capsule allows you to cherish memories in a stylish way! Recently I have been battling what I want to do with Mommy’s ashes. Most of you know I lost my mom at age 21 and here I am 36 and holding on to a black box. I’m so thankful that Keepsake reached out to me, that’s when I knew exactly what I wanted to do with Mommy’s ashes. With the help of my husband I’m going to turn my keepsake capsule into a memory necklace with mommy’s picture and ashes. This is the perfect way for me to let go and always have her with me. There are so many options for the keepsake this gift is perfect for parents, newlyweds and so much more!

7. The Weekender by Birdling Bags

You guys know my love for this awesome bag! I have literally packed my clothes as well as the kids for an overnight staycation. As well as a our Fourth of July road trip to Baltimore and I’m using it next weekend as we head off to the mountains. This bag is EVERYTHING and more! It has pockets galore and the compartments inside allow for easy packing for families. Be sure to grab one before they sell out and they just launched a new color as well! Go here to find out more.

Well there you have it! I’m sure there is something on this list that you mom, sister, Wife, daughter, girl friend, Auntie, grandma, or bestie will LOVE! Now everyone be sure to tell JoColby I’m need number 2 when you see him!

Stay tuned for Kids Guide tomorrow! Until next time…….

XO,

Meka

Easy Maryland Style Crab Cakes

As most of you know I am from Baltimore and even though I️ recently attempted going Vegan ( I️ haven’t given up on that just taking a PAUSE) I️ LOVE crab cakes. Actually I️ LOVE seafood period! So I️ wanted to share my quick and easy crab cake recipe! So here’s what you need :

  • 1 pound of Real crab meat (preferably lump or back fin)
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 tablespoon Mustard
  • 1 egg
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of Old bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Mayo
  • Oil

Prep time 10 mins, cooking time 15 mins

One of the very first steps you want to do is to check your crab meat for any shells. I simply dump the entire jar into a bowl and feel through to make sure all shells are discarded. Once that’s done I personally like to massage my old bay season into the meat.

Next add the remaining ingredients to the mixture: beaten egg, mayo, mustard and bread crumbs

Once your ingredients well mixed, you will form your mixture into a patty. Most of the time you can get 4 big crab cakes or shoot for 5 nicely portioned ones. Once this step isn completed, I let them sit in the refrigerator for at least a hour. This allows them to set and prep for easy cooking and avoid falling apart.

After your hour is up, it’s time to fry. Now I typically use minimal oil, I don’t even cover the entire frying pan as you can see in the picture below you only need enough oil to toast the crab cakes. The goal is to cook them without them being overly oily.

I recommend frying them for about 3-5 mins on each side or until they are golden brown. After frying each side I let them cool on a paper towel, this also allows for excess oil to drain.

Once they are done simply add your favorite side or make a delicious crab cake sandwich. Growing up in Baltimore eating crab cakes was as common as eating eggs for breakfast! I️ love them I can literally eat them every week. Well I hope you enjoy this easy recipe as we all know I HATE cooking but this is such a simple meal I don’t mind making these for family and friends. Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Girl Power!

Last sunday we were invited by the Raleigh Little Theater to see one of our favorite books come to life, Grace for President. If you’re not familiar with the storyline it is based around Grace, a little girl that learns about the Presidential election process and the fact that there has never been a female president. With this new discovery Grace, instantly starts her political career and runs in the schools mock election.

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The book was brought to life in a musical form by some amazing actors. Most were in high school!

The cast did a wonderful job, the audience was engaged and really enjoyed the jokes as well as the songs.

After the play we had the opportunity to meet the cast and snag some autographs. I thought it was so important for Elle to get this experience as well. Especially since she can be shy at times.  This was my opportunity to help her engage on a deeper level.

 

Elle was very hesitant to ask for autographs, but I knew that she would have regretted not taking this opportunity.

I hope that this play will give Elle the acting bug! She’s so talented but she’s still in her shy stage. I’m not exactly sure what to do to help her overcome her fears, besides constantly reminding her how talented she is and how she needs to share her talents with others.

It was pretty cool to have a chance to chat with TaMaya’s (Grace’s) mom after the show, she told me how shy she had been when she was little as well.  So maybe hearing this story will also inspire Elle to test the waters in the acting world.  

Be sure to check out some upcoming events, here are some that I’m looking forward to checking out:

  1. Cinderella  December 1-17
  2. Little Shop of Horrors February 9-25
  3. Beanstalk the musical March 16- April 1

If you have any advice for getting your kids to come out of their shell  or any personal stories of overcoming shyness, please comment below, until next time…..

XO,

Meka

Library Adventures

A few weeks ago the kids and I ventured downtown to check out the re-opening of the Central Library.  It was everything I could imagine and more.

IMG_3113 The Children’s section was out of this world, it’s set up for play and reading.  I love that they have items that will entertain toddlers and school aged children.  I’m not sure who had more fun, the big kids or Jagger.

IMG_3106 From the reading nooks, to the computers, I recommend going in with a game plan or you will get a bit overwhelmed.  I will be honest, I was a tad bit nervous taking Jagger, all I could think about was the stereotype of a library and the fact that you have a librarian saying Sssshhh but this is the complete opposite.

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They have story time, an auditorium, a cafe, a teen section and a PARKING DECK and so much more!!!! There are so many levels that we didn’t even have a chance to check out the entire library.

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One really neat thing, is that kids can get their own library cards starting at age 4 and up.  Maveric was so happy to check out his first book on HIS card!  This was such a cool Mommy moment.  Elle has been getting books with her card for a while, now she’s pretty much a pro so this is a pretty sweet memory for us.

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I totally plan on going back so that I can truly soak in all the Central library has to offer, until then please make a family trip downtown, you won’t be disappointed! Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Raising Readers

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We’ve teamed up with IncrediBundles  to share our love for raising readers!  As a child I can honestly say, that I never had anyone sit down and encourage me to READ!  Reading has never been one of my favorite subjects, I was thankful enough that my high school had mandatory summer reading list, thank God for Cliff’s Notes (no judgment).  I’ve always known that I would make sure my kids loved reading and that I encouraged my little ones to become avid readers.  When we had our baby shower for Elle I remember asking for gently used books instead of cards so that I could start her library.  That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and it’s created reading monsters in the Harrell house!

Speaking of baby showers or gifts for babies in general, Incredibundles offers some pretty cool gift bundles for any occasion.  We were able to choose a bundle that best fit our family and since we’ve been collecting books for over 8 years, I decided to create a bundle for the kids.

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They offer a variety of bundles, anything from toys, books, diapers, bath products, and organic items.  My goal was to get as many new books as possible and I was able to throw in a teether and stacking cups for Axel.  I love that you can truly create cool custom gifts at any budget.  Free shipping is given for all bundles that are $49 or more so for me, it only makes since to start my budget at $50.   Check out all of the awesome bundles here .

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One thing I love about my mother in law is that she is a retired educator as well as an advocate of early childhood literature!  So of course she was thrilled when our new books from IncrediBundles arrived.

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Here are some tips that we feel are very necessary to help jump start your child to becoming reading machines:

  1. Start as early as in the womb.  Sing, read, talk to your baby!! This also helps with early language development.
  2. Make it a family endeavor, take time out for family reading together. 
  3. Utilize your public library, there are so many amazing toddler and preschool programs.  This is such a special trip for our kids with their Nana.  They also meet so many new friends at our local library. 
  4. Keep books available at a kids level! We like to keep them in the car, in baskets throughout the house and on their bookshelves.
  5. Utilize the art of story telling.  Talk about your childhood adventures, our kids get a kick out of this!  They always want to hear more stories of their Nana, Papa and Dad’s childhood memories.
  6. Talk to your child at dinner, yes TALK!! No distractions, ask open-ended questions and truly engage with them.

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Thanks to Incredibundles for allowing us to share our reading rediness tips!  Share the gift of reading with someone you love. Check out this awesome giveaway and enter to win by clicking the link below!

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Happy reading and until next time…

XO

Meka

 

 

 

#KidGoals with Gymboree

Summer’s officially OVER, and I don’t know about you but I feel like it really flew by.  I mean we are already wrapping up Elle’s first week of school.  I can hardly believe that Elle is in the 3rd grade.  This year Maveric will be off to Pre-K and since Jagger is 2, we are letting him attend preschool twice a week.  Although it’s only half days, I am all in my feelings about Jagger venturing off to school.  Yesterday, Jagger’s teachers came by to do a home visit and we discussed our goals for the year.  It really resonated with me how important it is to have attainable goals, not only with my self but with the kids as well.  .

 

We have been given the opportunity to partner with Gymboree and share our #KidGoals for the school year and Gymboree really came through with some cool gear just in time for back to school! Here’s a snap shot of a few of the pieces, each of the kids have their own style and especially since I have 3 boys, it’s so important to get durable staple pieces that will last and be able to pass down to the next “little bro”

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My little fashionista Elle, is all about the emjoi’s, currently her goals for 3rd grade are to knock those EOG’s out of the park! It’s funny we just started school and she’s already thinking about end of grade testing! My personal goal for Elle is to come out of her shell and show her secret talents of singing and dancing in  PUBLIC!  She’s awesome and we just want to support her dreams in anyway possible.

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Maveric is off to Pre-K and we are so excited for him,  if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting him, you know he’s a BALL of energy and one of his favorite places in to release energy is at the playground!  His goal for the school year is to play, eat lunch and go to music class!

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My personal goal for Maveric is to master his penmanship and continue to indulge in his love for music!  Music lessons are coming soon…. I love mixing classic looks with fun looks so pairing this cute monster button up with these awesome joggers just made sense!  He’s always running, jumping, and climbing so we need his clothes to be durable and functional.

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As I said earlier, Jagger is headed to preschool and we are thrilled!  Since he’s doing his  speech therapy he’s been having more phrases.  I am so proud of him so my personal goal for Jagger is to  meet new friends and use his words more.  We call him the professor because he’s so serious and extremely analytical.

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Boy moms know how much their boys loveeeeee trucks, so of course we went with the truck theme for Jagger.  My boys are absolutely obsessed with them, the joggers are so cute and I loved the yellow and blue details at the ankle.

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Last but obviously not least, was baby Axel.  He will still be home chilling with Mommy and Daddy so his goals are to stay cute and keep hitting milestones.  He’s rocking his awesome onsie because well he’s AWESOME! We are so excited about the school year and looking forward to all of the memories to be made.  And thanks to Gymboree our kids remain stylish!  What are your kid’s goals this year?  Cheers to a happy school year!!!

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Don’t forget to capture as many memories as possible! Stay tuned for a giveaway!!!

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Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Mommy Uniform

Mommy Uniform…. we all have them, weather it’s your favorite leggings paired with the perfect tee, your favorite workout gear that you wear when you’re not working out or it’s your favorite dress with your most comfy pair of flats.  Today I’m sharing my uniform for this weekend.

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A simple black dress paired with some cool kicks !  This bodycon is super comfy and what I love about it most, is that it’s easy access for nursing Axel! Snag one hereFullSizeRender (21)

I always love to wear a nice denim jacket or in this case a chambry because I am ALWAYS cold!  I found a similar version here  Some how I managed to pair an entire outfit from Forever 21… yes I still love finding pieces there regardless of my age.  Even the baseball cap and choker came from there.  Oh well I absolutely love cool caps, especially when you’re having a bad hair day!  In my case I just did a good conditioning last night and I didn’t want to put a lot of stress on my hair so I threw on a hat and pulled my hair through the strap.  Take your pick of cool satin baseball caps here 

FullSizeRender (25) Lastly a good mommy uniform has to have some cool kicks!  I was able to snag these for only $19.99 during a recent Reebok sale! Currently they are $39.97, still a good price in my eyes!  Check them out here

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My style is more about COMFORT! Weather I’m chasing after my boys, driving Elle to practice or hitting the road, this look will never let me down! Stay tuned for the next Mommy Uniform share.  What’s in your closet? Be sure to share you Uniform must haves below!  Until next time……

XO,

Meka

 

Cooking with Kids

*The following post is sponsored by KidStir, all opinions are my own*

This weekend the kids and I hung out at home for some much need “mommy rest”, however, we were able to have some fun thanks to Kidstir.  In case you’re not familiar with Kidstir, it’s a cool subscription box that sends kid friendly cooking utensils, as well as monthly recipes straight to your doorstep.  IMG_2681

Elle and Maveric were super excited, they scanned through the cookbook and agreed on making Watermelon Cucumber smoothies.

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I love that the recipes are so kid friendly and they really make it exciting for the kids.  Elle and Maveric really took pride in creating these smoothies without any help.  I was basically there to capture the memories and assist with the use of the Ninja.  First step was cutting 2 cups of water melon, Maveric of course was the first to volunteer to complete this task.

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Elle completed the second step of peeling and deseeding the cucumber.  This cute veggie peeler was a gift from kidstir and it’s so safe for them to use.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was for Elle to peel.

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After gathering all of the ingredients the kids were able to blend and taste!  The recipe took no more than 15 minutes and that’s with me taking pictures.

All in all the kids gave it 3 thumbs up!  I have to say I truly enjoyed watching them work together creating these smoothies.  I personally look forward to making the next item on our list.  Stay tuned for S’mores Shakes! IMG_2684

Be sure to snag a subscription box for your family, trust me you won’t be disappointed.  It’s totally worth the $15.95!  You can easily choose from 3 options: 1-5 kits: $15.95/kit,   6-9 kits: $14.50/kit or 10-12 kits: $12.95/kit.  Click the link below to get started.

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Until next time,

XO,

Meka

1 bag 4 kids

So I’m sure many of you read my last post about our staycation and as we all know at the time I took 3 out of the 4 kiddos, however this amazing bag from Birdlings can actually hold clothes for all 4 kids and myself for an over night staycation!  “How Sway? you might ask, well let me tell you below…..28

I currently have the grey weekender and I LOVE it!!! Seriously it sucks to have to pack 5 separate bags for myself and the kids.  This bag makes quick trips with a big family a total breeze.  23The weekender has three interior compartments, six interior mesh pockets a key clip, seven exterior pockets as well as a removable shoulder strap.   gweekender7 I don’t know how I managed to go this long without this bag.  We are going to visit family in Baltimore this weekend and we are totally packing this 1 bag for our clothes and possibly a smaller bag for shoes… hmmmm  *runs to the Birdling webpage*

51 I love the classic color combo with the leather and metal details.  I know without a doubt this bag will be a family favorite, the only thing it’s missing are wheels!

Here are some other bags that I am totally loving :

I’m crushing on the mini day tripper  for Elle I think she would absolutely love it especially during road trips to keep all of her art supplies, American girl dolls and snacks organized .  And the  day tripper for me would be perfect when we are flying with the kids to hold snacks and activities on the plane as well as road tripping or daily park trips.  So if you’re looking for an amazing quality bag  you’ve found it and it’s Harrell Approved.  Get used to seeing this weekender  because it will be in heavy rotation throughout the year and years to come.

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Until next time…..

XO,

Meka

 

*The following post was sponsored by Birdling Bags, all opinions were my own*

11 things I’m doing this summer

For the past week and a half I have been asking myself “What season is THIS?” We have literally gone from fall, to spring, summer sun and back to monsoon week just recently.   With all of this bipolar weather I haven’t even had a chance to think about the fact that my favorite season is right around the corner! _MG_1113

School is about to be out for SUMMER!!!!  Seriously in a matter of days we will be halfway through the year.  Time is moving by and this makes me want to hold on to as many memories as possible.  Just thinking about how fast my kids are growing makes me so emotional.  I want to share 11 things I’m doing with the crew this summer:

  1. Strawberry picking
  2. Enjoy a Staycation
  3. Visit the Zoo
  4. Sit on the porch and indulge in a fruit salad
  5. Enjoy a movie outdoors
  6. Take a trip to the beach
  7. Have dinner at the park
  8. Plant flowers
  9. Visit the farmers market
  10. Make your own lemonade
  11. Make tie-dye tees

Well this is my to do list this summer! What plans do you have for the family?  I try to set small goals and anything else is icing on the cake! In the mean time I’m enjoying these pictures to remind myself of how much I can not wait until summer is here!

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Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Let the Church say…..

Sunday I was on a mission to make it to church on time!  I haven’t been to church since having Axel so Saturday night I made up my mind that we were going to church in the morning.  I set my alarm clock so that I had enough time wake up, nurse Axel, do my hair, do Elle’s hair, get all 3 boys dressed, grab some breakfast on the go for the kiddos, hop in the car and make it to church ON TIME!  That was my goal Saturday night… fast forward to Sunday morning!

I woke up at 7:30 and drifted back to sleep some how then I woke up again at 9am, thanks to my back up “get yourself together so you can leave the house” alarm.  Church started at 10 and by the time I did everything I mentioned above it was 10:10.  Ummmm I’m not sure how that happened but I told the kid’s there was no point in going to church now because we would get there at 10:30 and that’s not cool.  But for some reason I decided to look on Instagram and there was my sign… Church didn’t start until 10:30!!!!!

Well needless to say Momma we MADE IT, on time and the kids enjoyed themselves.  See I almost gave up, but this time social media came through in our favor.  We even managed to have an impromptu photo sesh afterwards #winning. 18595415_10156050503858368_2679487757354792922_o

Well that was my Sunday summed up! How do you get your squad ready, out the door and on time?  Until next time…

Meka