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Belly Butter Time!

During my pregnancy with my twin girls I was worried about how the stretching would affect my stomach. I also shocked and horrified myself by going online and looking at all of the people that were pregnant with twins and thought, “Oh Lord! I’ll never make it!”

(Yeah, so don’t do that – the internet can be a tool for information and resources but so is your doctor. Focus on your baby and NOT the what IF’s. If you do you will scare yourself silly and stress yourself out!)

– Brittney 

My first pregnancy with my daughter had left me almost untouched by the wicked mommy lines but this time was different because there would be two of them. I figured there would be no way for me to get out this time without a line so, I started doing some research.

One of my girlfriends and I were talking and she mentioned that she had made something called, whipped belly butter for her sister when she was pregnant. I asked for the recipe and the rest is history! One of the things to always consider when pregnant period is just that there will be a lot of itching in the tummy region. This is mainly because your skin is being stretched while the little people take up temporary residency in your uterus. Keeping moisture on your stomach reduced that itchiness for me but mainly just staying focused on not scratching after my doctor informed me that this can make them worse made me hone in on NOT scratching as much. Don’t get me wrong, NOT scratching is not easy but thinking about the end result motivated me!

A few weeks after our conversation, I finally decided to make it and loved it! It lasted a few months even after my pregnancy so, I started using it all over my body and honestly it kept my skin even more hydrated than lotion I had used in the past! Now of course there are other retailers that sell body butter and they are marvelous!! However, if you like projects like me it’s something fun to do and the ingredients are all natural! Which are two of my favorite things.

Natural Stuff + DIY Projects = A few of my favorite things

Recently, I had several friends and family members that became pregnant. It is also that time of year where skin seams to be at it’s most fragile and needs the most attention. This is a real DIY project that you can repeat year around and it doesn’t hurt as a nice gift to someone else! So whether you are low on a budget, have parched skin, or preggo this will work. However, I made this mainly for my preggo pops, the beautiful life bringers, for my other oh so pregnant, unable to see their toes, and/or reach their shoes friends! This one is for you! Enjoy!!

Many of these types of recipes can be found online so don’t get caught up in specific oils because different stores have different options. Additionally, everyone has different skin, tolerances to certain things, and sometimes allergies so please consider that as well. You can get all of these ingredients at your local health food store or even a beauty supply so, don’t worry! Full disclaimer though because I typically get lost in either one for a while honestly so don’t get discouraged if you go in for one thing and come out with a bunch of extras! Mostly though when I go to the health food store, I always get more ideas on everything from healthier cooking options to skin and/or hair concoctions that I can try on myself and my kids.

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Tools/Ingredients:

1 cup shea butter (white or yellow)

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup jojoba oil

Spatula

Measuring cup

Large mixing bowl

Mixer

Boiler or double boiler

Empty storage container

Infographic - Belly Butter; MAAT - DIY-10

Note: Either white or yellow shea butter will work well with this DIY. The main differences between the two is that they are from different parts of Africa. I have used both and they both gave me the same result. This is a personal preference and will not affect the viability of your butter. Additionally, use any essential oils that you like to make this mixture. The key is the shea butter because of the thickness. I personally like coconut oil because it keeps my body and hair well moisturized. Remember that you can use any type of oil you like.

5 Easy Steps to Belly Butter

Step 1:

Place the following ingredients in a large mixing bowl:

  • 1 cup shea butter (white or yellow – either works fine)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup jojoba oil (substitutes are almond oil, olive oil or any other essential oil)

Step 2:

Use a spatula to mix ingredients together. Place ingredients on the stove on low to medium heat until all ingredients are melted completely. (Use a double boiler). This step does not take particularly long. It’s actually pretty quick. It should only take about 15-25 minutes to boil the mixture down to a liquid. Once you have gotten it all to melt, allow it to cool for about 20-30 minutes before placing it into the refrigerator or freezer (if you want it to cool faster.)

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Step 3:

Once melted, place liquid into a freezer or refrigerator safe container and place into the refrigerator for 45 minutes (*20-30 minutes in the freezer) or until liquid begins to solidify (DO NOT allow the liquid to harden!) You can use a timer to keep track of time.

Step 4:

Take mixture out of the refrigerator and use a mixer on low to medium speed to blend to desired thickness. Personally, I like my butter a bit thick but you can blend until it is thin as lotion if you like.

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Step 5:

Place butter into desired container and enjoy! Place container in the refrigerator or keep at room temperature to preserve.

Finally, Enjoy your butter!

Want more DIY projects, mommy resources, and tips?? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook,Twitter,or You Tube! Don’t forget to “like” and share @multiplesandatoddler with all of your mom friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mommy Makeover Extravaganza!

“Once you become a parent it’s all about the kids.”

Meet Ebony Lewis of Dallas, wife to Dominique and mother of four beautiful babies. Their names are DaQualyn, Domonique, Destiny, and Danielle. Recently, Multiples and a Toddler collaborated with a DFW stylist and boutique to reward a deserving mother of the Metroplex with a day of glamour in honor of Mother’s Day! We met on set the last weekend in May to bring the ambiance to Ebony and it was most definitely a hit! Stay tuned on our channel to see Ebony’s mom webisode coming soon!

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Mommy moment: “I get the most joy out of the random mommy I love you and mommy can I have moments!” – Ebony

Q: What would you tell a first time mom?

Be patient and don’t stress yourself out. Your baby will tell you what they want just go down your checklist! Pampers, milk, or paci!

Q: What were your expectations as a first time mom?

I always thought that I was someone’s mom so when I finally had my own children I felt like it was my time. It was very nice and came naturally to me.

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Pictured: (Left) Ebony, (Left) Destiny (6 months) (Right) Dominique, Dad (Middle) Domonique (2 years) (Right) DaQualyn (4 years)

Q: How did you feel about being nominated to get a mommy makeover?

When I first heard about it from my moms friend Shangra, I laughed and was like “Uh, do you know these people?!” after she told me that she did, I felt at ease. I started to get excited but then I also thought jokingly, “Hmm okay who has been in my business?!”

Q: Out of 22 people you won this contest. Tell us about yourself, your life, and your history with makeup.

My name is Ebony Lewis. I work for the United States Post Office as a Postal Carrier. I have been married for two years and I have four kids, ages 5 months, 2 years old, 4 years old, and 6 years old. I was an athlete in high school and did not really wear a lot of makeup and honestly never really learned a lot about it. Now, being a mail carrier its easy for me to sweat out my hair and makeup so easily so I seldom wear it at all.

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Out of 22 contestants Ebony was randomly chosen and brought her A game the last Saturday in May! Multiples and a Toddler would like to thank Ebony Lewis for her participation, G.O.D’s Image Consultants, Kierria Thompson, and Main Event Boutique for all of the fashion styling, jewelry, and makeup. Photo credit goes to Lanetta Moore and Multiples and a Toddler. Thanks to Assistant Stylist, Prince who served onset and last but definitely not least, Dyjuana McDonald for hair styling and working onset with our mommy model, Ebony!

Ebony Lewis Mom Makeover-2

I must say that this was an amazing opportunity to work with such a talented stylist and her team of style and fashion experts but also just in the way that everything came together. The day could not have gone better especially for this mom. Ebony was so ecstatic that she cried before we went on set for photos. This was by far the coolest part of the day because it was like she was re-introduced to who she had always been. As parents and especially mothers, it seems like we take care of everyone else except our own selves. So this project was truly a success and especially because someone else got the chance to really feel special. This entry is a photo journal of Ebony’s Big Day! Check it out and enjoy!

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Ebony Lewis pictured with collaborators Brittney Iwegbu (left) and Kierria Thompson (right)

“In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.”
N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms    

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Q: How do you make sure to decompress or take care of yourself now?

Do you want my real answer?… Well, I lock myself in the bathroom, get a pedicure, or get my hair done. Doing stuff for myself always makes me feel good because for me its all about my kids.

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Q: Tell us about your support system and the importance of having one.

My support system is awesome! My aunt is the babysitter and she is always willing to help me when I need time to myself.

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Q: How did you feel going back to work after your last baby?

I didn’t want to go back but I did 12 weeks maternity leave and she was my first child to breast feed. I feel like we have a really strong bond. She knows when I’m not home when I should be.4

Q: What are you excited to learn today during this event?

I’m excited to just get to play around in the makeup because I don’t know a lot about it.

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Infant Photos (Pictured) (Left to Right/Top to Bottom) DaQualyn, Domonique, Destiny, and Danielle

Q: What advice would you give a new breastfeeding mom?

Keep on trying. My last baby and I breastfed four months and she stopped. Now she is on the bottle. My other kids thought that it was nasty because they were all bottle fed.

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Special thanks to Ebony Lewis for allowing us the opportunity to work with her. I would also like to take the time to give a special thanks to Kierria Thompson of G.O.D’s Image Consulting of Dallas. This collaboration would not have been possible without her cooperation. Thank you to all the participants that made this collaboration possible.

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Summer Time Recap

 

Welcome

Welcome, welcome, welcome! School is in session, the air is starting to get nippy, and the kids well most of them are back in school. Not mine though! They are still home with me but that’s my way of life and I would have it no other way. This year has been such a blessing and I am grateful to have so many people that love and support me in my writing and creative projects!

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Mommy Makeover kicked off the summer with a vengeance! I got to give back to a deserving mommy who needed a little me time. Then, I learned about how to help a child in need by donating my old car! After that I got to meet some wonderful WNBA players, attend my first game as a fan, and last to host a diaper drive to bring awareness to an awesome non-profit that helps first time mothers in Dallas!

Whoo! I know that was a mouthful but this summer was jam packed with activities, community engagement, and giving back! I am excited to tell you all about it, so let’s get into it!

Mommy “May” Makeover Extravaganza

Meet Ebony, wife and working mom of 4. She was chosen after her nomination by a friend to get a day of pampering that was all about her. The day included over $1500 worth of giveaways and reminded her of the importance of self care! Special thanks to G.O.D.S Image Consulting and owner Kierria Thompson for bringing out her Glam Squad and making the day magical for Ebony! Check out their like page here!

 

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Dallas Can! Cars 4 Kids Program “June”

In January I had two beautiful twin girls, Mikah and Maelani! One month later I got a new car or “mama van” as I call it and had room to seat a small soccer team. Well, it’s spacious but not an entire team, but you know what I mean. It traveled all of my “stuff” and kids “stuff” with no problem. This left us with a whole car that we could do nothing with for another couple of months. My brother-in-law and I were talking one day and he said, “Why don’t you donate it? They have all kinds of programs that can use it.” Lo and behold he was right! Dallas Cans Cars 4 Kids Program is a nonprofit organization that benefits at risk youth in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The money is donated from your car sale to help these youth obtain their high school diplomas! 100% of the net proceeds go to the kids!! My donation was super simple and they came and picked my car up for FREE! Want more information on how to donate? Click here for more info!

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Got Wings? – July through – August

This summer I began volunteering at a nonprofit organization called, WiNGS. They service the Dallas/Fort Worth area and have an office in the Medical District on Inwood road. The organization is near and dear to me because they have a free grant funded program called, Nurse Family Partnership. In this program I was afforded a nurse (Vicki) who came to my home and guided me through my experiences as a first time mom with my daughter, Moriah. My experience was so profound that I wanted to give back in some way so, I became a volunteer! Being on the volunteer side brings a complete picture to the organization and made me love them even more!! Check out WiNGS and Nurse Family Partnership here for more info.

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Nurse, Vicki from Nurse Family Partnership. Moriah turned 2 y/o and graduated the program!

There’s tons to do as a volunteer from tabling at events and passing out information to facilitating financial workshops for the public! This is up my alley because I love people and what better way to give back than to give them info they don’t even know they need yet. Once they learn about all the programs that WiNGS offers they jump onboard, so I am definitely a willing participant.

During one of my volunteer efforts at WiNGS, I got the chance to meet an amazing group of women, the WNBA Wings! They came to learn more about the nonprofit and to support the cohort of graduates completing one of WiNGS programs, the RISE Financial Series. I attended their next game and was blown away by the amount of showmanship and positive energy radiating from the court! Check out the team and their highlights from their last winning game here!!

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Diaper Drive: “Bottoms Up Diaper Dash” – August

During the entire month of August, I partnered with WiNGS to host a diaper drive for the moms of Nurse Family Partnership! The drive fostered a lot of community support and sponsorships from H&R Block and Champions Townhomes in Dallas. The drive raised  a little less than $200 worth of diapers at a whopping $196! Hopefully, this will be an annual effort but it definitely raised awareness for the program and can help another first-time mother.

Diaper Selfie Contest

We gave away two tickets to Choose Again Yoga for people who participated with diaper selfies! Thank you to all of those who participated in the contest and by donating packages of diapers. Special thanks to our sponsors of the diaper dash H&R Block and Champions Townhomes.

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Mom Feature of The Week – Shani T.

It doesn’t matter how much money you have or don’t have, kids could care less! All that matters is mommy and daddy being there for them. -Shani T.

This weeks mom extraordinaire is Shani! Mother to 2 year old Peretty and independent business owner with her own financial firm and call center in the heart of Lancaster, TX! Shani paints a beautiful picture for all mamapreneurs alike. She tells us about turning her own challenges into positive lessons for her daughter. Shani also gives insight into her life as a full time mom and business owner and how she does it all. Please welcome Ms. Shani T! Enjoy.

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“I was one of 14 siblings but when she came I was so scared to touch her. I literally thought she would break!”

What makes you feel like a success as a mom

Waking up every day to see my daughter living, smiling, and happy. Knowing that we have food to eat and that she is learning something each time she goes to daycare. When people tell me that my daughter is smart it lets me know that I am doing something right and I take great pride in that.

What are some of your mom philosophies?

I love teaching my daughter manners. Personally, I was a very respectful child and I want to instill those same values in my own daughter. The other philosophy has to do with teaching her about financial literacy elements. When I was younger my own credit was not my best attribute so its important to me to teach her to manage her own finances so that she has something to build on.

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What advice would you give a first-time mom?

Don’t overdo it! Save your money, especially when other parents tell you things you do and do not need. My first thoughts when people tried to tell me not to spend on certain things was, “No way! My baby will have everything!” I even bought diapers before the baby shower. Sadly, most of those newborn clothes ended up hanging in the closet because Peretty outgrew all of it! So, don’t buy that $200 bathtub, just use the sink!

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“Once she starts talking she’ll make you laugh every time!” 

What were some challenges when you became a first-time mom?

I was so afraid of my own baby. Growing up I was the second oldest of fourteen siblings. I knew how to make bottles, change diapers, and take care of others. When she came, it was so scary to me that I needed help with things like putting on her clothes and changing her diaper. Her soft spot terrified me and literally I thought she would break!

What is one of your favorite things about being a mom?

Spending time with her. I love taking my daughter places because she loves to meet new people. There is not a stranger anywhere that she goes because she is always walking up to people making new friends. One of our favorite places to go is the park, where she can play and climb.

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“I let her buy her own candy so she knows how to manage her own money.”

How do you track milestones?

I like to keep travel and event tickets as keepsakes. I also take lots of pictures and give her lots of praise when she does things that are new.

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“When I was younger we didn’t have a lot. We had to cherish everything we had. I am proud that I can show my own daughter how to add to her own legacy.”

Can you give us some advice from a business mom perspective?

I was very driven to find a way to get out of the day-to-day hustle of working for someone else. It never left me enough time to be a mom. Excellent pay without being able to participate in my daughters life was meaningless. Getting dressed everyday to have her at daycare by certain times where she was the first one there and the last to leave, killed me.

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Having my own business allowed me to set my own hours. Plus, I don’t have to go when I’m sick.

Once you started your business how did being a mom change?

None. Now I was able to write my own rules. She came to work with me everyday! I had a play area and swing set for her to play in. My element was now her element and it gave me so much more peace of mind knowing that she was always in my line of sight.

What advice can you give a mom working to become her own boss or an entrepreneur?

Dream big and don’t give up because it’s worth it! And once you get there just keep pushing to expand those dreams!

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Want more from Shani?

Shani’s company Elite Working Individuals services clients from Direct TV to Disney and Carnival Cruise Lines to name a few!

interested in working from home?

No cold calling or sales involved! Full-Time positions available. Perfect for stay at home moms and college students! Please send resumes to ShanTaylor.ewi@yahoo.com.

Mom of the week – Christina S.

“I feel privileged to be a mother to such a bold, strong willed, and wild-spirited baby girl.”

Meet Christina, mom to one year old fireball Alexis Le’Ann. Christina is a community advocate to young women between the ages of 13 and 19 years old. Her mentoring program counsels teen mothers. She caters to keeping a spiritual perspective on addressing such challenging circumstances. Christina gives us activity tips for young kids and shares her philosophies about embracing the bad with the good.  Please give it up for Christina and Lexie. Enjoy!

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What do you love about being a mother?

At first I struggled and didn’t like being a mother due to my situation of being a teen mom. As time went on I fell in love with it. All the hugs, kisses, and laughter took over and just being able to watch my daughter develop a strong personality changed all of that.

What advice would you give a first time mom?

Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Everyone needs some help at some point. It takes a village to raise a child so take it one day at a time. Lastly, enjoy every moment good or bad.. Its worth it!

What are some of your mother philosophies?

Put God first.  Remember that life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it. Embrace what happens in life whether that is good or bad because not everything that happens to you is the end of the world.

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“She’s my little stunt devil and she’s only 1 years old!” – Christina

 

What are you teaching your daughter right now?

How to pray at night before bed and when she wakes up in the morning.

How do you track your daughters milestones?

By using an app called Baby Center, writing them down in my journal, and taking pictures or videos.

I like using the app because every month it gives me something to look forward to. It tells me what my baby should be doing at that age. I get to see how advanced my baby is and I am proud because she normally ahead of schedule.

Do you have any baby activity suggestions?

Stay active and have fun with your baby! Lexie and I spend lots of time with my parents, go to parks, the aquarium, and the zoo. Some things we do at home include playing chef, singing, and dancing around the house.

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Want More From Christina?

Follow her on Instagram @christinaalexis16

 

 

 

Mom of the week – Tova C.

Its amazing to me to see how many people love her. Essentially, it’s a manifestation of how others feel about me.

Meet our rockstar mom of the week, Tova and her daughter Harper. Tova is a mom, teacher, poet, organizer, and photographer. Here she tells us how to keep things in perspective while charting milestones and returning to work post baby. She also shares her philosophies on motherhood and how to allow your child to be their own little person. Please welcome Tova to our mommy roundtable! Enjoy.

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Tova and her daughter Harper

Q: What were your expectations of becoming a mom?

I didnt have any. I was brought up with you are a girl so you have to do certain things. I thought this is an opportunity to break a cycle of self hate through traditions of what others thought girls should be. I wanted her to respect her own interests not what others wanted her to be. It was important for me to let her be her own person and respect her own agency not those of others.

I knew motherhood would be hard but hard in different ways I knew that I would be okay. I love hanging out with it my kid. When you’re pregnant all you hear is bad shit so I was really scared. It didn’t help when I watched baby stories and they had you thinking child is deformed and c-section. Giving birth was crazy it also made me think the worst because I seemed to be signing my life away in a hospital bed during my contractions.

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Its a cool experience to see the world through her eyes. -Tova

How did you feel about returning to work after having your baby? What advice would you give other moms doing the same?

Knowing that I would leave her was hard. You also feel guilty that you’re not home because you want to be taking care of your kid. I had a lot of guilt and thoughts in my head about whether she would eventually forget about me.

I got through it though because as a school teacher is cool long breaks spend time with her and for major holidays when older cool adventures.

Its like watching a flower that you planted grow. If you are not there to watch it grow you feel guilty or like a bad person.

Q: What would you tell a first time mom?

You are doing a good job, don’t give up because we make mistakes just keep going and don’t give up.

Its going to be okay. Don’t try to look at too many blogs. Try and find more medically based advice and stick with those. During my pregnancy I used TheBump.com and Whattoexpect.com a lot.

When people give advice take it with a grain of salt. Everyone will have advice but at the end of it, this is your baby and its your rules. This is your game, you’re the mom and you know what’s best.

Make sure that you have good support and family that will swoop in when you need a break. It will get easier just make sure you have people around that can take care of you.

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It’s like watching a flower that you planted grow -Tova

 

What do you like most about being mom?

I love the fact that having her means that I have the ability to make things and to create life. Its also a cool experience to see the world through her eyes. The other day we just started feeding her single fruits. We gave her pears and she loved it. Her eyes got all big like her whole world had just opened up.

How do you chart your baby’s milestones?

There is an app called Wonder Weeks that also translates into a Facebook group that helps you keep track. It sounds simple but literally every baby grows different some short and others fat. You have to remember that when you use all these apps because you will miss all the cool stuff they do.

 

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Harper, 5 months old

Milestones are just suggestions. When you are pregnant you find out about development that the baby should have. Whether late or on time the baby comes when the baby wants because they are on their own time. You are just here for the ride!

Want more from Tova?

Check her out her out curating her daughters Instagram page @blaque_harper. Follow her and stay tuned for more cuteness!

 

Cooking with Mama

Lately, I have been pushing the bounds of possibility with my cooking for my family. So, I called my friend Shianne, who loves to cook and also loves to eat healthy. We did an experiment and cooked for a week straight, trying all different things the whole week. The goal was to make healthy meals and feed my large family for several days with lunch and dinner. I figured this would help make it easier for me to manage my oh so busy schedule. After a little thought we came up with a few things based on what was in my pantry and refrigerator and the results were amazing! Anything that makes my life easier is definitely worth mentioning. So shout out to Shi! Love you girl!!

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First, I must say that never in a million year did I think that I would be capable of making meals that are this hearty and healthy at the same time. I always thought that it was either eat little to nothing or eat things that I didn’t like to be healthy. Now, I know that couldn’t be further from the truth. Since that week I have been cooking almost every other day experimenting with other healthy alternatives and ingredients.

**All of the photos pictured are healthy hardy meals that Shianne coached me through during our virtual sessions. Check them out! They were so good!

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2 of the meals I cooked virtually with @sunflower_jones

Queso con carne with fresh pico de gallo

The other night we had couples movie night. Before Shianne and Garrison came by Shianne and I did a virtual cooking class for this recipe. It came out great! The pico de Gallo was so fresh that it made me regret ever not liking it in the first place.

Note: I have never been a big fan of pico de gallo until this dish. Also I have made nachos and queso before but this was real restaurant quality.

Sweet and Savory Stuffed Chicken

So this was our first official meal of experimentation. Fresh seasonings and veggies together made the stuffing for my chicken breasts. We topped this with a dry rub and included roasted carrots and potatoes. The flavors were different than anything I have ever had in my life! So excited to keep trying new flavors. This one gave me so much confidence!

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(Top) Roasted vegetables  (Bottom) Spinach and mozzarella stuffed meatballs

Spinach and Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Our final meal of the week was meatballs! Full of flavor and according to three of my co-workers they couldn’t even tell that these were made with Turkey.  Even after day 2 the noodles were not dry! Definitely, have to make this again.

We both have such busy schedules that Shianne came up with this idea to do virtual classes. So, between changing diapers and taking care of my family we walk through these amazing recipes. It was a great experiment and it left me wanting more ideas to keep my family lean, healthy, and full in the most affordable fashion.

 

Need virtual classes or recipe ideas?

Hit her up on Instagram @sunflower_jones

Minivan or SUV?

Minivans used to make me think of a magic Mary Poppins character. A cookie-making, homemaker with a family dog that takes everyone home after soccer practice. Mama-van people seemed to me like the multi-tasking all knowing creatures that in a way were living the life.  A life that I personally pictured having in a 4-door SUV. (A Chevy Tahoe to be exact!) I thought that once I started a family that this would be my transportation solution for sure.

The first time I took my first daughter Moriah to the doctor we had a small 4-door Kia Spectra. It barely held her car seat, the baby bag, and my purse. I figured then I needed to upgrade. When my twins were born life in a 4-door car seemed to go right out of the window. I started thinking about where everyone would sit, how they would be safe, and selfishly enough how cool I would look driving said car.

A cookie-making, homemaker with a family dog that takes everyone home after soccer practice.

Buying a new car

My process of getting a new car had several moving components included. Cash car, spacious enough for all of the kids (and Emmanuels long legs), reliability, and again how cute I would look driving. Everyone offered us an opinion of how to choose a car for our growing family. Some said 3rd row seating SUV’s and others told us to get ready for the mama van.

The Cash Car Experience

A cash car is a car that you purchase with a lump sum of money rather than paying a car note every month under a financed contract. We considered that we needed a newer vehicle to decrease the likelihood of repeat repairs. Looking at our monthly expenses made us ultimately choose this over a finance vehicle.

Seeing Dollar Signs

I really wanted to get an SUV but another thing that is important to point out is that they are a lot more expensive than minivans and they take more gas to run. Did I mention we needed to save as much money as possible?! This made dollar signs circle my head like a cartoon that had just been hit with an anvil over the head.

Note: My van only takes about $25 or $30 to fill up and is pretty good on gas so I think we chose wisely.

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Minivan or SUV?

Now, I would choose my van every time! Something I dreaded so much is now one of the best things that could have happened to my family and I. I have enough room for each of us and all of our stuff. I don’t feel like the kids are unsafe, and I look cute driving it! Choosing a cash car also saves us lots of headaches.  Definitely a smart buy!

Going to the hospital and finding out that twins were in our near future made these thoughts a reality. Thinking everything didn’t fit in a tiny car for one kid. How will we fit for two more? I never imagined though that one day I would be a minivan driving mama. I always thought that the largest car that I would drive was a Chevy Tahoe. I thought that once I had a family that this would make for a nice family car and it was cute. What’s funny is that I had no idea that I would one day have twins making our family go from three to five!

Purchasing a new vehicle for your newly large family? Which one did you choose? Minivan or SUV? Tell me on Twitter @BrittneyIwegbu

How To Make a Luxurious Body Scrub

In a previous post I made mention of using a body scrub to relax. In my opinion there are a few benefits to using scrubs. When I exfoliate with the scrub it makes my skin super soft by removing the dead/dry skin. Also, usually I add oil to the mixture and that helps add moisture. Once I get out my skin feels like satin and I feel completely relaxed.

I scrub maybe once or twice a week on my face and body. Mainly, I use my body scrubs while I am in the shower. This way I can kill two birds with one stone. I get to take care of myself and re-energize for my family.

The two scrubs that I typically do are sugar and salt. I have heard about using coffee grounds (non-instant) for scrubs but honestly I have never used that method. Normally, I use the sugar for my face and lips because it’s softer and the salt on my body.

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I like to do projects with everything: food, arts & crafts, and anything that helps to improve my daily productivity. One day I went to Ann’s Health Food Store in Dallas to search out body scrubs. I had bought a few scrubs before at Sephora and loved them! They were just a little more pricey than I wanted to pay for at about $30 or $40 a pop. I figured that at that rate the way that I was using them I would have to buy one every week making it a little over $100 a month. After I began going to the health food store I saw that they had different healthy alternatives to eating and most of the things you could eat could also be used on your body. That made me a believer so I have been there since looking for natural, healthy alternates to use in my home.

Note: Body scrubs are salt and/or sugar with an oil added. I use sea salt or brown sugar for each of my scrubs.

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What you need:

Essential Oil(s)

Any type of oil will work honestly but my favorite is vitamin e oil. The higher the number means more moisture. When I run out of that I just use baby oil until I can get back to the store.

Sea Salt or Sugar

I use light brown sugar and honey for my lips (S/O to my sister, Tiara for that recipe) but brown sugar and oil on my face. This is because sugar is more gentle on the skin than salt. Since the skin on the face is not as thick as it is on the body I use that to gently exfoliate my face. Use about 4 tablespoons.

Note: The sea salts that I use come mostly from health food stores. My favorites are eucalyptus or rose pedals. They both smell nice and like I said they make my skin really soft.

English

(1) Small Bowl or Container

(1) Spatula or Plastic Spoon

(1-2) TSP of Oil

Directions:

In a small bowl mix about 4-5 tablespoons of sea salt or sugar and oil together in a bowl and with a spatula until the components stick together. You don’t want to put too much oil in but just enough to absorb the salt or sugar. Otherwise, it will be too greasy.

Once mixed, jump into the shower, massage the mixture onto your skin, and rinse. You should feel immediate results! Enjoy.

I am forever searching Pinterest.com for ideas! My gift to you is here! Some ideas on how to make your own low-cost body scrubs. They work as great gifts too. Check it out!

Mom Feature of The Week – Shanee’ M.

“Fulfillment is not in my career but my family. That is number one, then everything else!” -Shanee’ M.

This weeks mom is Shanee’, an on-the-go working mom, wife, and business owner. She talks to us about fostering encouraging messages in your children, her philosophies as a mom, and the importance of having a tribe to make things run smoothly. Shanee’ offers us the perfect example of a mom on the go who like many others perform a daily balancing act to run their homes and careers all at the same time. Check out her interview. Enjoy!

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Q: What do you love about being a mom?

“Everything! I love having so much to give to my daughters. There are so many ways that you can show love to your kids from discipline to compassion to affection, it’s limitless.” 

Q: Any advice for a first time mom?

I want her to know that she is good enough and that she can do it! We are so hard on ourselves and what we have to remember is that we can do nothing alone. 

Involve your childs father or your husband from the day of birth. Don’t dictate the way that they are allowed to help. Encourage them to form a bond and let them know that whatever they do to contribute is right just because they are there.

Hug your kids and love on your kids while they are kids because they won’t stay that way forever!

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Shanee and Tribe: Left to right – Aliya (3), Jabari (Shanee’s husband), Alauna (5), Shanee, and Rosalind (Shanee’s mom)
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Look how cozy! It’s Jabari and Shanee’

Q: Share one of your current parenting principals?

Compassion is a big principal that my husband and I are teaching our girls. They are learning to be grateful and to help others. They always want to know what they can do to make the lives of others better. We even have talks about bullying and standing up for others. They are my super girls. 

 

Q: Tell us about your “Tribe”? Why is it important for you to have a good support system?

“Jabari , my husband and my mom, Rosalind have been a driving force in my success. My husband has always been influential in helping bring out my confidence and the abilities that God gave me. My mom is so loving and helpful with whatever we need. Truly, without that support a lot of what I have been able to do would not have been possible.” 

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(Left) Aliya – 3 Years Old (Right) Alauna – 5 Years Old

“They look out for each other. If someone is giving one of them something and the other is not there, they ask for an extra for their sister.”

Q: What do you do to make your girls feel beautiful?

Every single solitary day we tell them that they are beautiful. We also ask them do they feel beautiful. Since we don’t want them to be all about vanity we make sure to validate them as well. We tell them how smart they are and praise them for qualities that they exhibit. 

Q: What advice would you give a mom attempting to start her own business?

 

“Utilize your Tribe! Personally, my husband and my mom have been rocks for my success. I could have done nothing without the two of them. ” 

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“My philosophies of motherhood include raising God-fearing young women.” -Shanee’ M.

Q: Any final pieces of advice?

Expose your children to people who are less fortunate. To further build the compassion piece this has really aided us in parenting our girls. Seeing these things encourages them to want to do more for others.

Want more from Shanee?

Currently, serving as a light to others during their storms, Shanee’ owns a virtual assistant consulting firm. Lighthouse Consulting Group, assists various popular guest speakers in curriculum management, editing their promotional materials, and content development, all at an affordable cost!

“My aunt Renee’ Bass that passed away in 2003 of Pancreatic Cancer served on my tribe for years. She taught me the foundations and cornerstones to what is now my business.  She gave me a phenomenal woman to model myself after in life and business.  For this I am forever grateful.

Need a consultant? Message Shanee’ at lhconsultinggroup1@gmail.com