children, Home, Kids, Life, Reading

How To Make Reading Fun For Your Child

For those that know me, know that my daughter loves a good book! In this day and age, some school-aged children would rather play on their electronic devices or watch television, than read a book. A lot of parents ask about where Marley’s passion for reading came from, especially with all of the distractions that face us.

  1. Create a comfy and fun environment for reading. We have a loft with a reading nook – comfy pillows are a must and I let her decorate it to her liking.
  2. Take a trip to a book store. Let your child pick out a book and read it together. Afterward, discuss the book.
  3. Encourage and praise them. Applauding their efforts, regardless of how big or small their achievements are, will boost their self-esteem.
  4. Make a deal and reward them. Have them read for 10-15 minutes at at time and reward them with time on their iPad or something else they enjoy doing.
  5. Have fun. Reading is supposed to be fun. Marley describes her reading experience as ‘an adventure in her mind’. Don’t force the issue and enjoy the experience with them.

Be positive and use power words during this process.

Head over to Instagram and follow: Luxeyway to enter into a drawing to win a free bundle of books. We also have a gift for parents too!

Drawing will occur April 13 at 5PM ET.

Thanks for reading.

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Home, Sunday Funday

Sunday Funday: Slime Time

FullSizeRenderI should have posted this yesterday but motherhood and spring cleaning got in the way. Anyway, Marley has this obsession with making slime and managed to perfect the recipe so figured we’d share it with you. There are tons of Slime recipes on the web but with trial and error, managed to find the best one that worked or us. The ones we came across were either too sticky or too wet but follow these steps and you’ll make the perfect slime.

I have been trying FOREVER trying to upload a video we made via iMovie but technology isn’t by friend today. Maybe Mercury Retrograde? I dunno. Whatever it is, it’s annoying AF so I took the liberty of improvising and taking screenshots. You won’t hear the cool sound effects, my 1-year old laughing hysterically or the excitement in Marley’s voice but nonetheless…Enjoy!

What you’ll need:

  1. Borax
  2. Bowl
  3. Contact solution
  4. Elmer’s Glue
  5. Food coloring
  6. Hot water
  7. Shaving Cream
  8. Tea Spoon
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Steps:

  1. Pour two teaspoons of borax into a cup of hot water and mix. Put this aside to use later.
  2. Squeeze about 1/2 cup or more (depending on your size preference) of Elmer’s glue into the bowl.
  3. Add a cup or more of shaving cream to your glue and mix it all together until it’s nice and smooth.
  4. Add food coloring and mix some more.
  5. Add a teaspoon at a time of the borax mix, from step 1, to your slime mixture and stir. You should see the magic start to happen!
  6. Use your hands to kneed the mixture and add a teaspoon more of the borax mix. Don’t overdo this step or it may get too water – Use your judgment.
  7. Add some squirts of contact solution to your slime to get rid of that sticky feeling.
  8. Kneed and voila! You’ve made slime!

 

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Home, Money

Home-Buying Revealed

We purchased a home in November 2015 and although my husband has been through this process a time or two. I haven’t. In my mind, I thought it would be simple but it was quite the contrary. I knew my credit had to be on point. I knew that I had to have money saved and I knew that I had to stay with my employer and not resign (God knows I wanted to). No one prepared me for what I’m about to share with you. I had no idea what this process would be like and every process isn’t created equal. This is just my experience.

This process was extremely stressful. It took months for me to find something I loved and and I had to act fast because cash-buyers are buying up everything under the sun. Here are some things I’ve learned. Feel free to comment your two cents – everyone’s experience is different but this was mine.

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  1. Save Money. There are a few things that you need to save money for besides your down payment and closing costs. Once you find a home that you love, you need to purchase an inspection, a 4-pt. inspection and a termite check. The inspection tells you all the things wrong with the home. The 4 pt. inspection tells you if your home is insurable and the termite check, checks for termites. These things need to be purchased every time your offer is accepted to make sure your new home is worth buying. You will also need to purchase a title search after you’re happy with the inspection results. This search makes sure that your new home doesn’t have any liens against it etc. You also need to pay your attorney. Some people don’t bother getting one but I did.
  2. The Loan. I thought getting the loan would be super easy but I learned that not every loan in created equal. I learned that there are many ways to secure a loan weather it be from your bank, a credit union or though a broker. Make sure you’re finding out how much the fees are because if you deal with a broker, there are broker fees that you’ll pay a closing. You also want to make sure you’re getting a low interest rate. Talk to your loan officer for more details on how to ‘buy down’ a lower interest rate. Also look into FHA vs. Conventional loan. Pick one that works for you.
  3. Find an awesome team. My realtor was amazing! Not only is he professional but knowledgeable and compassionate. I was pregnant during my home-buying process and extremely miserable but he didn’t seemed phased and was super accommodating. Click here to contact Heron! You want to make sure you have a list of wants and needs. Having this list helps him/her to help you better. A good realtor will have his/her amazing team as well so trust them and listen to them. He/She will be like family for that time you work together. For instance. I knew I didn’t want a large home because I’ve been there done that. I knew that I needed at least four bedrooms with a space for Marley to play and do homework. I knew that I needed a large backyard so the kids can play and so that I can garden and grow my own fruits and vegetables. The area had to be safe because my kids are outdoorsy and love to be outside. The cosmetics didn’t matter to me because I planned to renovate the property anyway. Make sure to jot down wants vs. need on a piece of paper. Because, yes, there’s a difference. For instance, I wanted a pool but didn’t need one per-say. I wanted tons of large windows because I love natural light etc. These are just examples. My lawyer was amazing too. She was there to make sure everything worked out as it should and boy did I need her. I had to change my lender at the last minute because of their many mistakes and thank goodness she was there to make sure everything worked out properly.
  4. Search. Your realtor is there to help find properties for you but do your own research as well. Drive around to the different neighborhoods in the morning, afternoon and at night. Trust me. Some neighborhoods are quiet in the morning but it’s a different story at night. Google the address and the neighborhood for any news. There was a house we were looking at in Miami and come to find out, there was a stabbing and a shooting, on the same street, just the week prior. Yikes! No wonder the newly renovated house was selling for so cheap.
  5. Vibes. I am big on listening to vibes! I pay attention to everything. When the universe talks to me. I listen up! We found a hidden gem that was move-in ready, had a huge pool, newly painted and newly paved driveway. I didn’t like the area that much but the home was beautiful. As we left,  to walk back to our cars, someone ran the stop sign and BOOM crashed into another car. What if Marley was riding her bike and that happened? That was a sure sign for me to move on. Next!
  6. Patience. Things will not go as you think they will. I’ve had to switch realtors twice (before my beloved Heron was introduced to me). I recommend to choose someone that understands you and is willing to go above and beyond – someone that keeps you on your toes and works magic for you – especially when you live in an area where the real estate is booming like South Florida. You’ll find that properties come and go like there’s no tomorrow. We were in the process of closing on a home in Miramar and the home was broken into. The AC unit was stolen and the place was a complete mess. I was in New York City at the time, traveling and was completely devastated – I had no way to be there to see what happened. As a result of the unit being pulled out of the wall, a flood occurred and destroyed the walls, kitchen cabinets and flooring. I told myself everything happens for a reason and I just had to move on. I was heartbroken but I got over it. The home was so beautiful though. It reminded me of a Boston home – greenery everywhere, huge front and backyard. Hidden rooms – it had everything. Home #2: During the closing process, mind you, I had already paid for a title search, inspection and everything else. Something told me to look into the address again and sure enough, the home was foreclosed on. So this is the thing: the house was selling as a short-sell and the seller stopped making the payments, causing the home to foreclose. So that was that and the deal fell through, days before closing.

Just keep in mind that there may be hurdles and hoops you have to jump thru and over before you find your dream home. Stay positive and motivated and everything will work out as it’s supposed to.

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Home, Kids, Life, Women

Perfection

“Mom I don’t like when you say you’re fat because it makes me sad,” Marley said.

I wondered why it made her sad. After all, it’s MY body that I’m referring to, not hers. She’s perfect.

After having two children, my body just isn’t the same. I’m thankful for the hips and more ass but my tummy though? No matter how many sit-ups I do, there’s this kangaroo pouch that shows itself when I sit down or bend down for something. I can even squeeze it and make it talk. I’ve even named it.

And then it dawned on me. I’m her superhero, her role model and I’m perfection in her eyes. It also dawned on me that I need to react positively to myself because it’ll allow her to react the same way about herself.

Because at just 7 years old, I overheard her say that she’s dieting, needs to consume less calories and would prefer to walk then drive to burn fat. Nah, I gotta do better.

I am 100% at fault for this. My child is perfect and therefore I am too.

 

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Home

Operation Lemonade Stand

TadaaI’ve been getting a lot of questions about my daughter’s lemonade stand, especially considering no one really does the ‘lemonade stand thing’ anymore. I think mostly because parents are just too busy and children don’t really have an interest in being outside anymore, but there’s a bigger picture here. Too many children, in my opinion, suffer from the ‘just ask and you shall receive’ syndrome. Many children don’t understand how money works and how hard their parents work, to earn a living. Allowing my daughter to continue with the syndrome is setting her up for failure. Just because you may have the finances to do so, doesn’t mean you should – not all the time. Doing this lemonade stand with my daughter, was pretty amazing. We both learned a few things.

Value of a dollar. There have been too many instances where she asks for a toy, just because and  I find myself coming up with reasons, in my head, to justify buying her one. It’s nice to get rewarded, once in a while, but certainly not all of the time. Soon enough, every time we would enter a store she would start with the ‘I want this! I want that!’ and enough was enough. Marley needed to learn the value of a dollar. I also want her to understand that those things cost money and how that money is earned.

After seeing how much money she was earning, she wanted to save every bit of it and hold on to it. She was finally getting it.

Marley$

Learning how money works. Having to conduct real life transactions has helped her to understand how to add and subtract money. She has also learned how to count the money she receives, all while giving her customers back the correct amount of change. It’s one thing knowing how to do this with pencil and paper but completely different when dealing with real life customers.

Community. Where I live, you hardly see children outside. One of our goals was to bring the community together, even if it was for that moment. We got tons of compliments, not only on the stand itself but on the fact that she was outside being independent and making her own money. It made our neighbors happy seeing her outside. There has been a lot of racial tension around, due to recent events, but our family believes strongly in peace and love. We’re giving more smiles and hoping for less divide. More Smiles Less Divide. I’m pretty sure I made that up and I actually like how that sounds. I’m going to make that a thing. #moresmileslessdivide

Time spent. We made the lemonade stand AND the organic lemonade together. We took turns squeezing the juice out of each lemon, one by one. We have our very own recipe that we ad-libbed – that part we won’t share! Initially, we tried it with maple syrup but it reminded me too much of the ‘lemonade diet’ I tried with cayenne pepper that week I was trying to be Beyonce. Finally we decided on organic cane sugar and it was a hit! Her customers aren’t getting the powered stuff, they’re getting the real deal for only a dollar.

Something fun to do. I told myself that I would make the stand from scratch and sure enough, I did! With the help of my amazing father-in-law. We made it happen! Marley even painted the stand herself and had fun doing it.

Financial Independence & Responsibility. Marley’s goal is the save enough to buy her Lego castle, put a portion of it in her bank account, invest some and donate some. She wants to be outside every weekend  selling her lemonade, and I don’t mind. As long as she’s showing a genuine interest, I’m happy.

Entrepreneurship & More! Hopefully, in doing all of this, Marley will want to work for herself one day. This experience has shown her that she can do whatever she puts her mind to. There are no limits.

I challenge my readers to do something similar with your children and please share! Let’s make Operation Lemonade Stand or More Smiles Less Divide a national thing.

If you’re interested in learning how to build the stand, let me know! I’m more than happy to share.

Please excuse the background in our pictures. We are currently remodeling our new home and still working on the back patio.

Painting

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What Are You Doing For Others?

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What Are You Doing For Others?

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Home, Kids, Life, Shopping, Yummy Mummy

Five Very Embarrassing Motherhood Moments

I can attest to many times of being embarrassed by my little one. As adoring, amazing and enlightening this journey has been, there’s a flip side that’s quite embarrassing. From grabbing my breasts in public to announcing needing to do a #2 in a restaurant- my little one has been the cause of a few embarrassing moments over the years that I just have to share.

1. I can recollect several times my little one publicly molested me by prying my blouse open desperately searching for my breast because she was feeling parched. This happened anywhere, mostly in checkout lines.

2. Passing gas in a public elevator – and not a silent one but one that sounded like a blow horn that lasted for about five seconds. This was around the time she couldn’t speak yet and it sounded very much like an adult fart. All I could say was ‘Oh my! Excuse her!’ Yeah, but no one believed that it was her.

3. The time when she asked for us to hurry home to so she can ‘poop’ as we’re enjoying a nice dinner at our favorite spot. It happened as the waiter came by the table to check on us.  He pretended he didn’t hear her – but he definitely did.

4. The time when I was in the longest line ever at a popular ice scream parlor down the road. I was holding her because she decided to wear her roller skates and I was afraid she’d fall. “Eww mommy! You’re breath is stinky!’ she announced as she fanned her face with her little hands. The sad thing is, I knew that was going to happen because I chose to eat Doritos before we left the house. All I could was hang my head in shame.

5. How about the time when we had company over that was waiting for me downstairs? As I came out of the bathroom, there she is with her toys in tow right by the door. I forgot my towel in my bedroom after I had showered, so I’m completely naked at this point. “Mommy! You have a lot of hair!!!’ pointing to my groin area. I have no doubt my company heard her from downstairs – after all my walls are paper thin! Between working 70 hour work weeks and barely having time to eat, who has time for a wax? I pretended I didn’t  hear her but I know my company did!

 

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