This is my favorite DIY project we accomplished during our 2020 quarantine. Did you accomplish any “wish-list” projects this past year?
My son and daughter had been asking for a lemonade stand for years, and I finally had the extra time to make their dreams come true. I love the idea of using our Market Cart for all different occasions. Currently, trying to convince the kiddos to set up a flower market for our neighborhood.
Le Marche is French for “The Market”. Makes these Walmart crates feel so fancy, and not limited to only serving lemonade. What do you think?
Please tell me I’m not the only millennial mama so excited to see the return of the 90s?!?! My daughter turned 7 on the 7th, and had asked for an epic home art party. I whipped up the easiest at home art party with a subtle tribute to Lisa Frank, the Queen of 90s kid art.
Individual Desserts-jars with strawberry vanilla icecream topped with whipped cream and gummy candy
Art Project-wooden wind chimes to paint
Kitchen set up as the art room and Dining Room set up as the food table
😉 Easy Peasy
The girls had so much fun, and of course our Balloon Shop was a hit with the decorations. The balloon wall and table runner made from my childhood paper fortune tellers were my absolute favorite!! What do you think?
Do you want to experience extreme parental joy at minimal cost? Celebrate International YES DAY with us!
We recently had a “YES” power hour, and I let my children go wild with a food fight. It felt great to say YES, and watch the magic of pure joy immediately appear.
Let’s face it, everyone deserves a YES DAY! – A day when parents get to say YES! to their kids (with some ground rules of course!). It is a great way to reconnect with your kiddos, change up the routine, and have lots of FUN together!
YES DAY is all about creating memorable experiences with our families right at home!
Check out the YES DAY Family Activity Guide for fun ideas and activities to get the party started!
We can’t wait to see how you spend your Yes Day – be sure to share your adventures with us on social media using #YESDAYchallenge, @NetflixFamily, and @NetflixFilm!
More about YES DAY:
Always feeling like they have to say NO to their kids and co-workers, Allison and Carlos decide to give their three kids a YES DAY — where for 24 hours the kids make the rules. Little did they know that they’d be going on a whirlwind adventure around Los Angeles, that would bring the family closer to each other than ever before.
Director: Miguel Arteta
Writer: Justin Malen, based on the book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Producers: Lawrence Grey, Ben Everard, Daniel Rappaport, Jennifer Garner, Nicole King, & Adam Marshall
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Edgar Ramirez, Jenna Ortega, Julian Lerner, and Everly Carganilla
Streaming on Netflix this Friday, March 12!
We invite you to join us this Friday, as we celebrate International YES DAY!
If you haven’t guessed already, I’m a Texas blue and white diehard lover! Blame my mother, whom collected the “real” deal–unlike me, as I collected from Homegoods. 😉
I call my decor style “Eclectic Chinoiserie” (a little mix of this, a little mix of that, and a whole lotta JOY)
chi·noi·se·rie/ˌSHēnˌwäzəˈrē,ˌSHēnˈwäz(ə)rē/noun: the imitation or evocation of Chinese motifs and techniques in Western art, furniture, and architecture, especially in the 18th century. -definition by Oxford Languages
Here’s a sneak peak of our downstairs this year, and I hope it inspires you to decorate however you want! There are no rules in art!
Last month, I was in Southern California with my two kids, and took them to a beach with a warning sign, “DANGEROUS SHOREBREAK if in doubt, don’t go out”. My 8-year son was apprehensive to venture into the water, but I assured him I grew up going to these beaches and it was fine. Fine, we were not. Mila, my 6-year old, spotted a wave and took off running toward sand. Caleb and I, however, had our backs toward the open sea and didn’t notice our impending deaths. The not-so-giant-but-strong-wave took Caleb and I under and washed us up to land. We avoided death, but our pride was killed that morning. Caleb gave me a long parental speech about taking the warning signs more seriously, and I’m sure he will not let me forget this lesson until my actual death arrives.
I wish the movement of Mental Health Awareness came with a warning sign. Warning: Don’t share your mental health or advocate for mental health unless you’re strong enough to endure the fight. “Slogan: Share, but be prepared.”
Dak Prescott, Cowboy’s quarterback, recently shared his struggle with mental health, and a sports journalist called it “weakness”. The truth is it takes strength to talk about your mental health. Strength to be vulnerable, and strength to endure the potential punches from strangers and loved ones.
I think talking about mental health is wonderful, especially, during a pandemic when more people are processing a season of depression or anxiety. You’re not alone if you struggle with a mental illness. I also want you to be prepared before you share. Have a plan and be prepared if your mental health is used as a weapon against you. We’ve often heard, “hurting people hurt others”, and there may come a time when your vulnerability and words are used against you. To hurt you.
I live a vulnerable life where I share my struggles with mental health both privately and on my social media, and I have felt the bruises from enemies misusing my mental health against me. It’s not often, and definitely not the norm, but it does happen. I’ve been called names to my face and behind my back, and it takes strength to not let the verbal fight defeat my spirit or trigger my depression and anxiety.
Please hear me when I say, I don’t want you to stay silent in your struggle with mental health! No! I just want you to be prepared. To build your strength. To have a plan.
While visiting Southern California we went back to the beach every day. We got back into the water and braved the waves. Our little Texan-legs learned how to not get knocked down by the waves.
The waves will come, my friends. You’re not alone on the beach.
Jeremiah 29:13-14 “You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.”
I assumed we weren’t going on vacation in 2020 for two reasons, 1). Pandemic, 2). I quit my job in the summer of 2019, and have self-funded my solely-owned small business…budget cuts do not include family vacations. But God, had other plans.
The past 12 months have been filled with me imperfectly seeking the Lord with all my heart, and He has been so faithful and kind to generously pour His love and joy over our family. He has provided clients for my small business, He has provided for us during a world-wide pandemic, He has drawn our family closer to Him, and He has taught us to seek joy in His presence. Let me be clear, this hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies…there have been sacrifices. We dramatically changed our finances by giving up some luxuries like my monthly salon visits, letting go of our House Manager, and hubby sold his truck to purchase a cheap car. Through it all, God is good.
I love how in Psalm and 1Chronicles, David consistently seeks the Lord for His opinion on what he should do next. David inquires of the Lord, and then obeys Him. There are beautiful examples of what happens when David does seek God’s wisdom and follows it, and warning examples of what happens when David doesn’t seek God or obey Him. Thanks, David for taking one for the team!
God, being good and a gift-giver, gave me the gift of a 2 week vacation. Hubby was offered a 2 week work trip to Southern California that would fall over the Labor Day Holiday, and his work was paying for a large hotel suite and rental car. I coincidentally, had more than enough American Airline miles to pay for me and my 2 kid’s plane tickets and a rental SUV for 2 weeks. It could have just been a great coincidence, but I have been seeking the Lord daily, and knew this was a gift from God. I needed a break from our house, and I desperately craved an adventure.
Y’all, I felt guilty needing a break from our lovely house, but…I. NEEDED. A. FREAKING. BREAK. (and all the moms of small-dependent-children during a pandemic said, AMEN!) Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”
God doesn’t always make sense to me. It makes more sense to go on a vacation in the summer, not when my kids are going back to in-person school. It makes sense to not travel during a pandemic, because hello, I don’t want to get anyone sick or my family sick. It makes sense to go on a vacation with the kids when my hubby can be with us the entire time, not go on one by myself with the kids. All moms know that a vacation with kids just means living in a different place still having to be responsible for everything…why would I want to take that on without the help of my hubby? God doesn’t always make sense to me, but he’s good and does good for His glory and our joy.
Our 2 week adventure in Southern California taught me more of how good God is, and how much He wants us to be in His presence for His glory and our joy. We had a small kitchen in our hotel suite, and our daily maid service would do the dishes. Y’all, I have never been more excited in my life for hotel service. Beds were daily made, bathroom daily cleaned, and DISHES WERE ALWAYS CLEANED!! The Heavens basically opened and I cried tears of JOY to not have to clean one thing for 2 weeks, ha! Oh, yea, and we were in Southern California so we could enjoy the mountains and the beaches within a 1 hour drive of each other.
We had a blast! Hubby worked every day minus the holiday weekend, but the kiddos and I had the time of our lives. It was the kids fourth trip to California and I thought they would be bummed that Disneyland and our “normal” vacation traditions would be closed but they were not. I think a part of them was just as excited to get out of the house as I was. Laying on the beach, lake, or mountains every day was just what our quarantined hearts needed. Fresh air, outdoors, and adventure.
For those that follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit is God with us. God’s presence actually with us. Have you noticed that every great story has a “sidekick” character? Disney Princesses have a pet companion so they aren’t alone, and Frodo has his bff, Sam, to journey with. The Holy Spirit is much more than a sidekick, BFF, or pet companion. It’s a dull comparison by far, but my point is all great stories echo God’s perfectly good story. We are not alone. We have been given a relationship with His Holy Spirit to be with us. Sometimes seeking Joy includes gifts from the Father. God didn’t have to give us a 2 week vacation, just like I didn’t have to buy a few unnecessary toys for the kids from Downtown Disney. Seeking Joy isn’t a formula of seek+do=rewards/gifts. I’m a mother that buys extra unnecessary toys randomly for no good reason/celebration, so is my Father. In fact, he’s an even better gift giver for no good reason. Two weeks in CA with no dishes and cleaning kind of gift giver. 😉
I am a tired mama. I know you mamas feel me. Remember when us millennial mamas would get unsolicited words from our elders telling us “how easy we have it”…you know the ones that would say, “in my day we didn’t have xyz”. Pandemic mamas. We’re no longer the lucky millennial mamas that get to have careers and families or iPads and a quiet meal at a restaurant. Nope. Across the globe we’ve been thrown into a hell fire of impossible tasks, and mental exhaustion from putting out fires.
Just when you think you couldn’t possibly experience any more burning flames…the backdraft begins. Make another impossible decision. Are you team “In-person School” or team “Remote Learning”. Whatever decision you make, you WILL feel the heat from the fire of the opposing team. Only this time, it’s millennial mama against each other. “Save the teachers and staff!” “Save the kid’s mental health!” Whatever you choose, you will be burned with guilt from the opposing team.
Mamas. Friends. Sisters. We must stop. I don’t know if it’s my 90s childhood of southern baptist-Texan-fashion WWJD bracelets, or what…but…I just can’t stop thinking about what would Jesus do and say. I know it wouldn’t be words that burned. Bob Goff wrote in his book Everybody Always, “burning down people’s opinions is arsonist”. Mamas, we cannot be arsonists. What are we teaching our children? What words and behaviors are we modeling for them? We cannot be arsonists.
Our elementary school principal emailed a procedure outline for this upcoming school year on what in-person and remote learning would look like. Within a few hours, our Facebook school group was flooded with opinions. One poster decided to ask the oh, so dangerous question of, “Curious to hear how people feel about the email Dr. Daniels (principal) emailed??“. My heart sunk. Was a fire about to ablaze? I’m tired, but I’m also filled with peace and joy from being in God’s daily presence (and secretly missing my WWJD stretchy bracelet). Filled with peace, I reluctantly wrote words with love in response, “I’m thankful for her communication to us! Speaking from a Hospital and Secondary Market Operation experience, Dr. Daniels has an enormous amount of operating procedures to write and implement, and we as WSES parents should offer her grace and support. No choice is perfect, we all have a hard decision to make and we need to be compassionate and supportive. Our kids are watching us, and we have a unique opportunity to model the behavior we want our children to learn and grow in.”
Mamas, we can’t control everything. Heck, 2020 has proven we hardly can control anything. We are, however, in control of our words…typed or spoken. “Words have power” is true. We have control on how we wield that power for either Grace or Fire. I tiredly rest in knowing and trusting that God is in control of all things. I tiredly sit in His presence being filled with JOY and pouring out joy, grace, and love to all. Even the arsonists. It’s not easy work, but it’s worth it.
Let’s be honest, social distancing sucks. If you’re like me and are diagnosed with any mental health illnesses then this season of social isolation can potentially worsen our illness.
I decided to get creative with social distancing gatherings because I refused to give up on trying to find healthy, safe, and law abiding ways to interact with my neighbors and friends.
Have you heard of drive by or drive thru parties? Well, if you literally just can’t take another virtual hangout then this is the route to go! Those blue balloons pictured above are from a drive-thru baby shower, and the hosts of this shower were just the cutest! They set up a drive-thru shower in their front yard with just a table with food (Bottled Drinks and individually wrapped custom cookies), and I provided the balloon garland. Simple, safe, and you get to see people as you drive past/stop by the house. I NEEDED this. I needed to see a person’s face in real life.
Since then, I’ve been to or hosted several drive-thru gatherings and they have brought me so much JOY! For July 4th, our neighborhood parade was canceled so I decided to create a balloon photo backdrop in my front yard and invited my neighbors to stop by to take a family photo at their leisure. I know it’s not much, but I refuse to let Covid-19 cancel our joy.
Friends, throw a drive-thru gathering. This Saturday, 25th, is Christmas in July and a great chance to safely see friends for a social distancing celebration. I’m sure it will bring you JOY!
Racial reconciliation has been on my mind for awhile now. Back in January, I sat down with 3 of my mama friends to discuss motherhood and race for a podcast episode. Motherhood is hard, and it’s our job to have hard conversations in order to know better and do better. Our kids are needing us to lean into this.
My friends and I:
Toni – a Filipino woman raised in Africa
Krisler – a black woman raised in multiple states in America
Sarah – a white woman raised in Texas
me – a first generation born American woman, half Mexican, half Arab
Together we discuss how racism affects our conversations with people of a different race, how racism impacts our parenting, and how can we be a part of the solution to end racism.
I don’t know if I will see the end of racism in my lifetime, but I do know if we don’t enter the space of befriending those that are different than us, or don’t start having in-person conversations about race, then things won’t change.
Our children are so observant, and are excellent at mimicking our behavior. What are we doing to actively be agents of racial reconciliation? Listen to our conversation on Season 2, Episode 2, and then join us as we learn to know better and do better. Be The Bridge Nonprofit is a great place to start for more resources.