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

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

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

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

Momtourage Monday: American Girl in a Caribbean world

1. How would you define Momtourage?

My Momtourage is my family and close friends. My mom plays a major role in my Momtourage. The boys know her as “Honey”. She spends the night Monday-Friday to help with getting the boys ready for school as well so drop off at school. My family (aunts, grandmother, sister) helps with date night or just relief time. Our friends help with support and encouragement.

2. How do you balance Motherhood?

How do I balance Motherhood…umm I don’t. I’m still learning how to take time for me. Motherhood have taken over my life completely. Although, being a wife and mother is rewarding, it can also be stressful. If we are not careful, we can easily lose ourselves in the process of trying to build our families. Often, I tend to take care of my household and neglect myself. After, self evaluation … I’ve realized that, I  cannot give what I  don’t have. So now, when I need time to myself, I take time. Having boys,  I’m always busy, whether it’s straightening up after them, doing homework, or having to be at baseball, basketball practice or a school event. One of my goals this year is to get “me” back. I have a membership at Massage Envy and I try to go at least once a month as my “me day”. I’ve had my membership for about 4 years, but don’t go as much as I should.

3. What is your Mommy must have item?

Sorry…I had to make it plural…My phone and Jared’s epi pen is most important, both boys are asthmatic and Jared has severe allergies along with my planner is second- to make sure I have all their doctors appointments scheduled.

4. What is your Momtourage story?

My husband and I started our family the “non transitional” way as some may call it. We had Joshua, then got married,  when Joshua was 3, and had another child 3 years later. I was a “nontraditional” college graduate. I attended college at 25 years old. I finished up my degree while I was pregnant with Joshua.

I am a wife. My husband is from a small island in the Caribbean named Saint Kitts. Having a mixed cultural family makes us unique.  We have traveled to St. Kitts as a family 5 times. We usually travel to visit my husband family every other year during Christmas time. This new culture has made me open minded and taught me so many things. I have learned how to cook Caribbean foods. (Which I love, because I love cooking). I have also, sampled different Caribbean dishes that I never would have sampled prior to meeting my husband. I have also dressed up in a mascarade costume, during their carnival time. Having a mixed cultural family and living in the U.S. has it’s challenges.  The boys do not get to see their extended family often. We usually communicate with my in laws through social media. Visiting St. Kitts has taught the boys and I about small island Caribbean culture. Traveling has taught us how to be open minded to any culture that we may come across in life.

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

Until next week….

XO,

Meka

Girls Run The World

AG or American Girl Dolls as we all know are the “it” dolls for girls both young and old. Many of you know that our tradition for the past couple of years is to get Elle an American Girl doll for Christmas, so of course we were ecstatic when given the opportunity to partner with American Girl and tell you all about the new girl of the year Luciana.

We were so thrilled when we heard that Luciana encourages STEM and she’s an aspiring Astronaut. As black mom I am personally so excited when I see companies with diversity! Representation is so important to all brown girls and Luciana doesn’t disappoint. Elle loves reading the stories about all of her AG dolls. Each story is so unique and inspiring.

Luciana is just as stylish as Elle, from the purple streaks of hair to her cosmic dress and hologram doc marten inspired boots, as well as her cute choker and awesome fanny pack. I truly believe that Elle and Luciana are kindred spirits when it comes to style!

I asked Elle what was her favorite thing about her American Girls dolls and without a beat she said reading their stories and playing with them all day. Currently we live in a technology driven world where kids are glued to tv’s, iPads, video games and no longer being KIDS! I love that Elle still loves playing with her dolls for hours. Before Elle got her first AG doll at age 3, she played with her Aunties AG dolls. That’s when we knew she was ready.

Several dolls later she still has the same excitement she had 4 years ago. Be sure to check out all that American Girl has to offer, there is truly a doll for everyone. And cheers to Luciana the doll of the year! Elle is already plotting on getting the astronaut outfit.

Did you grow up with AG dolls? Do you buy them for your little one? If so share with us which dolls you have at home. Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Museum Of Ice Cream 🍦

If you haven’t heard the hype, you’re truly missing out! Yesterday I had the chance to venture out to Miami to visit the Museum of Ice Cream. Yes you read correctly, there is a museum dedicated to Ice Cream and it’s a blogger and photographers dream.

Just as you’ve all seen on Instagram, the rooms exude color and the vibe is fun. The museum is currently located on Collins as many of you know, they just closed the one in LA, aside from these locations there is also a San Francisco location.

As a lover of all things PINK, I was in heaven when I walked inside. First we were greeted by the Ice Cream tarot reader and she was a true character.

After meeting the tarot reader we had to come up with our “ice cream” names so I conveniently used the name “Sprinkle Meek” as in sprinkle me…. Cheesy perhaps but it was all in good fun.

The sprinkle pool was as cool as I’ve seen on Instagram. This is the only timed location, since it’s so popular. They gave us about 2 minutes to snap away and enjoy before the next group entered.

Oh and if you’re wondering, no the sprinkles are not real. They are plastic replicas actually. Still fun and great for photo opps.

I felt like a kid again! I was so amazed by the colors, the staff was so friendly and engaging. Be sure to come with a sweet tooth because you get to indulge in some delicious desserts like key lime ice cream cones, chocolate covered bananas and melted ice cream drink, which literally taste like MELTED ICE CREAM 🍦

The hands on exhibits made for a fun adventure and there were several children in the museum young and OLD.

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Although the tickets were more than I would normally pay for a museum,($38 a pop) I feel like the experience was totally worth it!

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If you’re able to snag some tickets I would highly recommend doing it ASAP, they sell out daily and they are limited to 2,000 tickets per day!

This just reminds me of how there are so many ways to make money out here! Utilize your creativity and always think outside the box. Seriously a freaking pop up museum of all ICE CREAM! This has been such a successful and innovative business venture and believe me there will be many other pop ups in the near future!

Be sure to check out the gift shop as well!

You can score anything from Sprinkle crowns, socks, a glass backgammon set to whip cream!

If you get a chance to visit be sure to comment below or tag me in Instagram! 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

S is for Spring & Soccer

*The following post is a sponsored blog post with Nuby, all opinions are my own *

Yesterday we started a new adventure with the #HWTH crew, Maveric started soccer!  I can’t believe my little guy is about to be 4 and he’s already into sports.  Currently the kiddo’s are taking swimming lessons and now we have soccer and next week Elle is hitting the pavement and starting out with the running club.  With all of these extra curricular activities, it’s so important to stay hydrated and thanks to Nuby’s new Thirsty Kids water canteen we are doing just that!

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This canteen holds 12 oz of water which has been perfect during breaks.  I love that it’s easy to grip and that the spout stays clean when closed.  The silicone band makes it easy for little hands to grip as you can see above, and it’s BPA free.

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With this durable plastic we are surly going to make it through the entire season with this one.  Be sure to snag one for your active little person from Target . What are some of the activities that you have signed your little ones up to start this season?  IMG_0855

I’m not sure what it is about kids, and new cups but this one has received two thumbs up.  Thanks to our friends at Nuby for the cool new canteen.  Until next time….

XO,

Meka

 

 

 

DIY Playdough with Maveric

I had the pleasure of coming up with a fun kids DIY craft for my friends at The Craft Bar! Be sure to follow them on IG for more fun filled DIY projects, Sip and Paint Parties and Crafting Events! @thecraftbarsite 

Here’s a fun and easy way to make your kids all time favorite item!

Items Needed: img_7078

2 cups of Flour

1 cup of hot water

1/4 cup of salt

Food coloring of your choice

  • Mix together flour & salt
  • Add your choice of food color 4-5 drops to the water img_7072
  • Pour the colored water into the flour mixture stirring as you pour img_7077
  • Add more flour as the mixture gets sticky img_7079
  • Separate the mixture and add additional colors FullSizeRender (4)
  • Store in ziplock baggies
  • Enjoy!