February is the month of hearts, love, and flowers, but if you tend to procrastinate in the gift department like me then you’re probably rushing to find the perfect gift for your significant other. Don’t fret, because I have some last minute DIY Valentine’s gifts that your loved ones will fall in love with.
(pictures via pinterest)
Valentine’s Day Jar
Let me know some of your favorite DIY projects in the comments below and don’t forget to follow my Pinterest board for tutorials of the projects listed above.
Let’s be honest, technology is pretty much inescapable when it comes to our kids. But with many games lacking educational substance or showing things not suitable for younger children, it’s imperative that parents keep watch over their children’s devices. I always select games for my daughter that help her grow as a learner, so when I was contacted by the Heart For Heart Girls company to review their mobile game, Heart Street Market, I was more than happy to play this game with my daughter and get her feedback.
The Heart Street Market mobile game explores the lives of Rahel, Nahji, Consuelo, and Dell. Each girl takes you on an adventure to explore their countries and play mini games helping them collect supplies to build their unique neighborhood.
Heart Street Market features the H4H doll characters who represent their respective geographical regions on a globe. Within each region exists various mini games which exercises various learning skills such as pattern recognition/creation and basic math. However, I would suggest if your child is around four years old or younger that a parent or someone older play along with them as some of the games may be a little difficult. For example, my daughter (who just turned four a month ago) became a little frustrated with a snake-like game in Nahja’s town because it was a bit hard for her to control. Once I played along with her a few times she slowly began to understand how to play better.
Many of the mini games feature similar controls and functionalities but may have different gameplay mechanics and are themed for their specific countries. One example is the matching gameplay of Rahel’s raindrop game (my daughter’s FAVORITE game) and Consuelo’s bakery game. Even though they both require the player to match items on a board, Rahel’s game uses the matched raindrops to fill jars of a specific color while Consuelo’s bakery game matches pastries with a Mexican theme.
Outside of the games there is also a marketplace where players go to purchase mission items using the in-game currency earned from the mini games. These mission items are then used to help build the neighborhoods of each H4H girl’s geographical region. One aspect of the marketplace that was a bit confusing was the navigation. The marketplace has numerous stands where players go to purchase items, however these stands aren’t really labeled so it becomes kind of a guessing game as to which stand held what items. After playing for a while it becomes a little easier to find certain items in the marketplace but it does take some time to almost memorize these locations.
Overall my daughter really enjoys the app and as a parent I feel this is a great game for children that can help with various learning skills while also discussing culture. To download the game a one-time purchase of $3.99 is required, but keep in mind the app does not require any other in-game microtransactions to play once it has been purchased. So if you’re looking for a mobile game with a little more substance than something like Candy Crush for your kiddo, I’d highly suggest giving Heart Street Market a try.
You can purchase the app here:
“She’s sunshine mixed with a little hurricane.”
The quote above describes my daughter to a T. She loves to learn, expresses herself using creative outlets, and is completely fearless when it comes to jumping off of everything she sees. In a few days my daughter Brielle will be four years old, and while I’m still processing this fact, I am extremely proud of the kid she’s become so far. From the day I was told that there was a little queen growing inside of me, I knew I wanted to raise her to be strong. With this new wave of black pride sweeping across our culture, I am more confident than ever that even after she leaves the nest, my daughter will continue to flourish as self-confident black woman.
I’m still learning tips and trick along the way but here are a few of my favorites I’ve rounded up so far:
Let her create her own identity:
As parents we often have an idea of what we want our kids to be like; from sports to clothing we low-key always want some input. But around the time Brielle turned 3 we decided as parents to start letting her pick out her clothes or choose what activities she would like to participate in to help her build her own identity. There are still situation where we step in to make executive decisions(because wearing Jordan flip flops in 10 degree weather is not going to happen), but for the most part we give her space to be herself.
Surround her with positive examples:
My daughter made me a better person, so everyday I try to be a positive example for her in return. I also make it a goal to surround her with positive images with her books, clothing and tv shows, making sure she sees people that looks like her in a positive light. Representation Matters.
Raise a free thinker:
I want Brielle to always be a free thinker. It’s easy to get boxed in to society’s norms and feel the need to do what is expected of you. I’m raising my daughter to make her own choices, ask questions, give her opinion, and do things HER way.
If you have followed my blog for any time now, you may have noticed that I make it a priority to encourage my daughter to love and accept who she is and what she looks like. Many young females, especially girls of color, grow up with such a negative view of themselves that it leaks over into adulthood, creating completely avoidable self-esteem and self-worth issues. So, anytime I am offered a chance to review a children’s book such as My Hair Is Poofy & That’s Okay by Nikkolas Smith, I jump at the opportunity to continue exposing my child to positive literature. With its beautiful and unique illustrations, relatable storyline, and overarching message of embracing your self-image, this book will be a mainstay in my daughter’s library for a long time.
Kids are very smart; they notice how you dress, speak, or what books you’re reading. Ever since I was blessed enough to become a mother, the phrase “Representation matters” has become so much more meaningful to me. Young minds need to be exposed to literature and characters they can relate to, and Poofy is definitely one of those characters. She has a big personality, self-confidence, and a massive crown of thick curly hair which my daughter loved. The illustrations are amazing with vivid colors and brush strokes, great detail in every character’s features, and a lightness that makes you want to keep turning the page to see how great the next one will be.
The importance of being unique is displayed throughout the book, but I love the fact that the story also highlights the idea of not letting others negatively label you because of your uniqueness. Although the story does jump around a little bit pertaining to the scenarios, there is always a positive and uplifting message being echoed by each of the characters. I am a mom to a brown skin girl with a head of thick curly hair and because of authors like Smith she is able to read stories and see images that look like her. It fills me with joy any time I am able to expose my little princess to a character like Poofy and hear her say “She looks like me!”
Over this past year I have purchased and had opportunities to review many children’s books for my daughter, but My Hair Is Poofy & That’s Okay definitely stands out as one of our favorites. If you are interested in purchasing a copy take a visit to author Nikkolas Smith’s website (https://www.nikkolas.art/shop/poofy) where he also has artwork, stickers, and other literature. If there are any other positive self-image children’s books you would like to suggest or share, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll see you all next time!
Life for me has been a little all over the place lately. From getting ready for the holidays, middle of the year testing for school, and daily life. I’ve been feeling out of focus and needed to be reminded of why I began myself care journey. In the video below I share a few of my go-to self-care tips.
I’ve been asked a few times what products do I use in my daughter’s hair/ what is her current hair routine. Let me start by saying I am not a professional or anything, this is just what works for my daughter’s hair. Some of these items and ideas may not work for you and that’s ok. It took a very long time for me to get to where I am with my daughter’s hair regimen, so hopefully this list can help someone improve their own child’s hair care. With that being said, today I’d like to share a few essentials from my princess’s current hair care routine.
Shampoo & Conditioners:
I wash Brielle’s hair every 2 to 3 weeks depending on the style. My go-to shampoo is Creme of Nature Ultra Moisturizing shampoo, I grew up using it and love the way it makes her hair feel. Sometimes I may switch it up and use Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl/Shine Shampoo.
For conditioner I use Creme of Nature Moisture Extreme conditioner, and I also deep condition Bri’s hair at least once a month with Mielle Organics Babassu Oil & Mint deep conditioner.
Leave-In Conditioner & Detangler:
Ok, I will admit I’m not a big fan of leave-in conditioner; it weighs Bri’s hair down so I don’t use it very often. However, detanglers are my ish because she has REALLY thick hair just like her mom and her shrinkage is insane. My favorite detangler is Silk Elements Curly Cuties spray since it adds a good amount of slip to her hair, making her curls easy to comb and eliminating painful hair combing breakdowns.
Before styling or blow drying her hair I add a little of Mielle Organics Mint Almond oil to her hair and scalp.
I recently started using Just for Me Hair Milk as a daily moisturizer when her hair is in puffs or twist and so far I’m loving it.
Most nights Brielle will sleep with her silk bonnet cap I purchased from Sally’s Beauty Supply store. However, she’s a wild sleeper so it’s not surprising that by morning the bonnet has managed to become part of the lost and found in the area between her bed and wall. So some nights I may tie an extra silk scarf around her hair prior to placing her bonnet on.
I did my best to narrow down the most important ideas and products I use in her hair regimen. None of these products are set in stone because I may switch things up based on her hair needs, seasons, and sometimes I just like to try new things. Feel free to tell me your must-have hair products In the comment section .