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Tis The Season

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Christmas is my favorite holiday. What I love the most about Christmas is that it is just so festive. The decorations, the music, family coming together, gifts, and let's not forget about the food. There's just something about Christmas that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 

As I mentioned in my Thanksgiving post, holidays won't be the same this year due to the impacts of COVID. 

Unfortunately, some family members won't be able to spend time with their loved ones or don't have the means to celebrate the holidays due to job loss or work closures. It can really put a damper on the holidays, but I want to make the most of the holidays despite what's happening in our world around us. 

Taking family photos this year was a pretty big deal. 

I knew that I wanted to be that cliche family taking pictures in our holiday pajamas, in front of our Christmas tree, smiling, and looking as though life is grand. And we did it!

I got our matching pajamas from Children's Place. Let me say that finding pajamas in the sizes we all needed was like finding a needle in a haystack. It's possible that I hoped on the matching PJs a little late in the game, but damn. 

I am so in love with the way these photos turned out. To say that I used my phone, my tripod, and natural sunlight I think these photos came out exceptionally well. It was a little difficult at first getting Liam to cooperate initially. But, what can you expect with an active four-year-old? 

Taking these photos is just a reminder to me that our family has been quite blessed this year. It shows me to be thankful for all that we have and to never take any moment we have together for granted. 

I know it's hard to find a piece of happiness in the midst of chaos, but I'm here to show you guys that even the small blessings count. 

Here's to having a Merry Christmas!!!

December Journal Challege: Week Three

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Last week's journal challenge was quite emotional for me. Remembering the saddest memory/event of this year was a challenge, and to be honest it still is. And although 2020 hasn't been filled with the greatest of memories I would be lying to you all if I didn't acknowledge that my family had some great moments this year despite the chaos.

Week Three: Things You Are Proud Of In 2020

2020 forced my family to consider doing things outside of our normal. We took leaps in directions we never thought were possible, and we pursued things we surely thought we weren't ready for. 2020 wasn't the best, but there were definitely moments I am proud of. 

  1. Leo started his trucking business, Positive Spin Trucking
  2. I got my first paid article published in Introvert, Dear
  3. I began a side business of creating voice-over work on Fiverr
  4. I quit my job that I hated and started working part-time at a job I enjoy more than any job I've had
  5. I re-launched and rebranded my blog site after not posting here for months
  6. I was offered two sponsored post opportunities on my Instagram feed
It may not sound like much, but these were big for our family. Looking back, it seems so long ago that these opportunities happened for us. But truthfully, these were no more than a couple of months ago. 

I know it can be hard to see the greatness in the midst of chaos, but I promise you it's there. Count your blessings...even the small ones!

December Journal Challenge: Week Two

Friday, December 11, 2020

This week's challenge is definitely a challenge. I struggled with writing this one because it brought up a lot of emotions I thought I finally accepted and got over. But the truth is, I never got over it and it's likely it will be a while before I am over it. 

Week Two: What is the saddest event/memory of 2020?

2020 was for sure filled with a ton of sad and depressing ass memories. I could go on and on about the several losses we've had this year. And although I could choose from several events that occurred in 2020, this one is most personal for me.

In February, a friend of mine from college, Jalissa, passed away. It's still unclear to me the exact reason for why, but I heard it was due to complications from surgery. I knew she struggled with some health issues, but she never gave the impression that it was life threatening. I can still remember exactly what I was doing and exactly what was happening when I found out.

It was early morning. I had just arrived at that God awful job I posted about in my previous week's challenge. Because I hated that job so much I would sit in my car for an extra 10-15 minutes before walking into the building. Typically, I would talk to my mom to pass time, but this morning I was scrolling through Facebook.

As soon as I opened the app, a classmate shared an old picture of herself with Jalissa and captioned "May you rest in peace."

My heart dropped.

I screamed to myself, "Oh hell no!"

I began digging through Jalissa's Facebook profile and the captions were continuous. Everyone was saying rest in peace. Everyone was sharing old pictures they had of her, and remembering such good times they shared.

All I could do was cry out because I didn't know what happened.

I sat in my car crying outside of my job. I couldn't move and I didn't know what to do. The shock of it all completely numbed me. 

Eventually, I mustered the energy to message my supervisor to let her know what had happened and I came home for the rest of the day. 

I was devastated. I still am. The last time I spoke with Jalissa was over Instagram as she commented on a video I shared of Liam. It was three days prior to finding out about her death. 

Jalissa was one of my first friends at Claflin. I don't make friends easily and she was someone that I found easy to be around. She was wild but fun. She was quiet but loud at the same time. She pulled something out of me that I didn't know was there, and for that reason alone I valued the friendship we had. 

My biggest regret is not keeping in touch more often after we graduated from college. She lived in Spartanburg and I am here in Charleston. We kept saying that one day we'll come to visit one another, but for some reason we never did. 

We still kept in touch frequently over social media. To this day, whenever I scroll through Facebook memories there's most likely a post in which she commented on or shared with me. Although she and I didn't have the friendship most people would consider close, she played a huge part in my life that I didn't acknowledge was dear to me until after she passed away. 

The best memories I can think about during college, she was a part of it. I'm angry with myself for not letting her know just how much she meant to me.

We often think we have so much time, but life is short. I believe she and I thought we had so much time to see each other again that we didn't push ourselves hard enough to just do it. 

This is still a very sad reality for me. 

What I learned from her death is to value the relationships you have with people. Tell them how much they mean to you and don't delay spending time with them. 

It makes my heart smile to know that she touched so many people in her life and that so many people have such great things to remember about her. She really was a great person! 

RIP Jalissa.

December Journal Challenge: Week One

Friday, December 4, 2020

Around this time last year, I started journaling. Writing in a journal became extremely therapeutic for me and helped me during what was likely one of the most stressful times in my life. It helped me to slow down time and organize my thoughts. It helped me to find answers to questions I struggled with for so long. It helped me to cope with some of the things that were troublesome for me.

Journaling is what helped me to the space I am in today.

I've been wanting to do a journal challenge for a while, but each month that rolls by I fail to commit to the prompts. So I figured as we're inching towards the end of the year...why not?

I'm a few days late in joining in on this challenge, but better late than never. I'm excited to begin and I hope you all follow along on my journey.

Week One: What were your goals at the beginning of the year and now?

Lord! Let me just start off by saying that what I thought I wanted at the beginning of the year is not even close to what I want now.

At the beginning of this year, I was working with a very notable software company in the Charleston area. This was supposed to be my dream job. This job was supposed to be a step up for me in my career. It offered more pay, better benefits, and a few perks. However, I was miserable in this position.

I never quite went into details as to what happened during my time in this position, but let's just keep it short by saying I only lasted in this role for six months.

It was that bad y'all. Each day I would walk into that building, I felt I was walking through mud. The position wasn't at all how I thought it would be, and what made it worse was that the communication between myself and supervisor was beyond unsettling. I don't know what it was, but speaking with her was like pulling teeth. Each time I had to speak with her, I felt like the dumbest person ever. But aside from this, there was just so much more that wasn't a good fit for me with this company.

I jumped over obstacles that made it nearly impossible for me to do the job I was hired to do. I tolerated it for as long as I could until I couldn't anymore.

I endured being in that position for six months because I figured, who quits a new job after only a few short months? 

My goal at the beginning of this year was to settle into this dream job, save up the extra money, and become the working woman I always wanted to be. But that didn't happen. 

I coincidentally quit my job around the same time COVID became a thing, and businesses were transitioning to working remotely. I didn't have a back up plan other than to apply to some staffing agencies in hopes that it would get my foot in the door somewhere until I could figure some things out. 

By April, I got hired working at a bank through a staffing agency. I'm still working there.

So what are my goals now? 

The goals that I have for myself now are quite simple: Balance. 

I'm no longer chasing a dream job. I'm no longer living up to this image that I once carried in my head. I'm no longer trying to portray myself as what society deems as a superwoman juggling career and home. I am doing whatever will bring me peace and balance. 

Getting hired through this staffing agency turned my focus all the way around. I went from wanting to be this big time working woman, to wanting more time home with my family. I was no longer working a full-time job, I asked to be part-time.

Being part-time allowed me space to still be a working woman and still be home to tend to the needs of my family. It has been the perfect balance I didn't know I needed.

That is my goal now as we reach the end of 2020. 

That God awful job showed me that I had my focus on the wrong things. It showed me what was really important to me. Sure! More money is always awesome. But it doesn't mean crap to me if I'm going to be miserable each day. 

Balance is the key. Balance is the goal. Balance is what I'm striving even if it doesn't entirely make sense. The beginning of the year seems so long ago, but I'm glad to say look how far I've come. 

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Due to the impacts of COVID-19, I'm sure celebrating the holidays has been quite a strain. Some have not been able to visit families because of traveling limitations or just simply not wanting to take the risk of exposing family members and friends. 

I understand entirely. 

This Thanksgiving I will say that my family has been blessed to feel such minimal impacts of COVID-19. I am thankful to my family. I am thankful for my health. I am thankful for waking up and being in good spirits. I am thankful that we were able to enjoy the holidays and celebrate Thanksgiving with each other. 

I continue to pray for you all. I pray that you all are still playing it safe and taking care of yourselves. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

OxyFresh Nutrition Vibe Review

Tuesday, October 13, 2020
This post is sponsored by Oxyfresh Nutrition. I may receive compensation should you choose to make a purchase using one of the links provided below. For more information, please see my Terms of Use page.

Oxyfresh Nutrition Vibe Protein Powder Review

As you all know, I love me a good smoothie. I've shared several here on this blog. However, I've never added a protein mix to any of my smoothies before.

Truthfully, I thought adding protein to a smoothie made it more of a "workout shake". I wasn't working out. I just wanted a great combination of my favorite fruits and vegetables. However, when Oxyfresh Nutrition reached out I found that not all protein mixes are used as a pre/post workout additive.

Oxyfresh sent over their Vibe Pea Protein powder in the flavor of vanilla. This Vegan friendly mix is the perfect meal replacement and offers a full serving of 7 nutrient dense greens. You have kale, collards, spinach, cabbage, cilantro, broccoli, and watercress. It's rich in antioxidants, amino acids, and Omega-3s; all essential for proper bodily functions and boosting your immune system. 

I did a quick overview of this protein powder to see what others had to say about it, and I saw tons of great reviews.  I wanted to be sure that if I was going to vouch for this I would enjoy it as well. 

  • I definitely felt full after having one smoothie. Typically with my other smoothies, I require a snack in between. But, by adding the Oxfresh Vibe to my smoothie I didn't require another meal until later in the afternoon. 
  • I felt energized. I didn't feel drained or tired by midday. I actually felt in great spirits and ready to move. 
  • The taste is quite good. Vanilla is a pretty subtle flavor so it wasn't too overpowering. 
  • It's Vegan friendly. It uses a pea protein instead of an animal-based protein.

  • There is a bit of a grainy consistency. I'm not sure if with this protein powder it requires blending a bit longer to eliminate that texture. But, eventually, I did get used to it
  • It's a little too sweet for my liking. Some may find it a perfect balance between vanilla and sweetness. But unlike my other smoothies where I use orange juice or almond milk, I actually prefer to just use water on this one. 

Oxyfresh Nutrition Vibe Protein Powder Review

I really enjoyed this product and plan to use it again. I've already used more than half of the container. It's for sure given me a reason to dabble into more smoothie recipes for you guys and to share them with you all. 

For this smoothie here, I just used a frozen berry mix purchase from my local grocery store. I added 1 cup of water, 1 scoop of the Vibe protein powder, and blended it all together. In the short time frame, I've already begun to notice such positives from using this product. 

A Day at Riverfront Park

Monday, October 5, 2020
Riverfront Park is an amazingly beautiful historic park here in the Charleston area. It's located in North Charleston on the old Naval Base. Although the naval base closed in the mid-90s, there are still some areas that are open to the public.


The park stands as a memorial to pay tribute to the thousands of men and women that served at this here base, but it has definitely evolved over the years. It's a popular spot to view the 4th of July fireworks, tons of festivals are held here, and even concerts are occasionally held at this park. It's truly a great venue.

I decided to bring Liam out here for a day to run around and just get some fresh air one Saturday morning.

Due to the impacts of COVID, I haven't taken Liam to many places. We haven't been to a playground, restaurants, kids' museum, or any place that tends to be heavily crowded. My biggest fear was putting Liam and myself at risk at just the thought of being out.

However, playing in the backyard and drawing on the sidewalk can become so bland after a while. He needed a change in scenery.

What I love about Riverfront Park is that it is pretty secluded. At just the right time of day, you can literally have the park to yourself or pass by a person or two going for a quick morning jog. I knew this place would be perfect to take Liam as I wouldn't have to worry about being in the midst of several others and can still practice social distancing.

The park has had quite a few additions and renovations. For many years the park had been left pretty abandoned as historical buildings simply rotted away. But the city of Charleston has now taken over these buildings and working to restore them.

Liam loved just being able to run freely through the area.


He really needed a change in scenery to be the awesome kid that he is. I'm glad that I was able to take him out here to just enjoy some fresh weather without the worries of coming in contact with others.

We didn't venture over to the side of the park that oversees a larger portion of the Cooper River, but we did get to walk the boardwalk, enjoy the breeze and watch as the waves brushed into the rocks below.

Highly recommend that if you guys are in the Charleston area that you stop by here. The view is beautiful and you can soak in so much of Charleston history.


DIY At Home Salon Nails

Tuesday, September 22, 2020
DIY At Home Salon Nails

Can I tell you guys a secret? I don't get my nails done at the salon. 

I've never been huge on nail salon visits. Not that I have anything against them. It's just I get bored easily with my nails, and it would be a waste of money for a fresh set only to want them removed after a week or so. Instead, I found that doing my own nails at home has not only saved me money but also gives me that fresh salon look I'm going for. 

Yes. These are press-on nails. 

Remember back in the day when you'd get roasted for wearing press-on nails instead of going to the salons to get your nails professionally done? Well, times have changed. Kiss has created a line of Press-on nails that are pre-designed nails just for your convenience. 

I personally like my nails short, but the Kiss brand offers such a wide variety. You can get them long, short, or medium. They offer coffin shape, stiletto, and my favorite...square. 

In the wake of COVID, press on nails became even more popular as nail salons were temporarily shut down and we ladies needed an alternative to keeping our nails manicured. 

What I like the most about these nails is how easy it is to apply them. 

It literally takes little to no time to put these on. They're beginner friendly and once you find your groove, you won't feel the need to pay $50-$60 when you can just do them yourselves. The package provides step by step directions on how to apply these nails and most kits include a nail file, multiple sizes to fit your nails, and nail glue. 

How To Apply

I like to begin by cutting my real nails very low, making sure my nail is clean, and pushing my cuticle back. 

From there, I find the nails within the set that will fit to my nails. When I find the correct size, it's super easy to find the match as each nail has a number on them. 

I personally like to use the nail file to the surface of my nails. It isn't necessary, but in my mind I feel it helps give the nail glue some friction to my real nails for a better stick. 

I take the nail glue applicator and apply it to the back of the press-on before firmly placing onto my nail. Hold for 10 seconds and move on to the next nail. 

Pretty simple!

Where To Buy

I've found these nails in Walgreens, Walmart, Target, Sally's, and my local beauty supply store. However, I've noticed that Amazon tends to offer more designs as well as the Kiss website

I've been able to make these nails last at minimal 10 days before the nail glue begins to wear off. However, I've had them on for a good two weeks with proper care. 

Give these nails a try and tell me what you think! 

DIY At Home Salon Nails

Our Journey To Positive Spin Trucking, LLC

Wednesday, September 9, 2020


About two years ago, Leo came to me one night and said, "Babe, I want to start my own trucking company."

Now hearing this from Leo isn't surprising. Leo was good for picking up a side hustle to earn a few extra bucks here or there for our family. He's really good at studying a business and figuring out how to master it for himself. I always knew Leo was more of a bigger picture kind of guy, but trucking? That was a new one.

He didn't know where he would begin or what he needed to do to get started, but I could tell after that conversation he would do whatever it would take to learn the ins and outs of starting his own trucking company.

He found an online trucking business class that taught the logistics of what is necessary to purchase your own truck. And through this class, it also broke down key business essentials to consider when getting into this line of work. Leo was initially on the fence about whether or not he wanted to drive the trucks himself or begin a fleet. But through this class, he felt assured that he wanted to manage his own fleet of trucks.

By managing his own fleet he'd be able to stay home with family, continue working with his current job, and still operate his business on the side.

A lot of time and energy went into building this business. There were some long days and even longer nights. There were moments I was even jealous that he couldn't watch a movie or stay up with me because he was glued to his computer screen studying as much information as he could about the world of trucking.

When he was ready to purchase his truck, it was probably the scariest moment for us. It was a huge step in a direction we weren't sure lied ahead. We were taking a leap and hoping everything he learned in his class would guide him through any pitfalls.

Leo for sure ran into some obstacles along the way. It certainly wasn't a smooth breeze purchasing a truck. It's not like going to a car dealership and picking which car you'd like. They're laws and rules that goes into it.

There were moments where Leo would have to take a step back and try again. There were moments where Leo made mistakes and had to figure out where he went wrong. There were moments when we even bumped heads on how to approach handling certain situations.

And here he is now. Positive Spin Trucking, LLC is now live. 

I'm so proud of him. He said it was what he wanted to do and he kept his word. Here's to the start of something big. 

My Thoughts on Turning 32

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Happy Birthday to me! On August 24th I turned 32 years old. Due to the current climate of our country, I couldn't do much to celebrate. Although restaurants and bars are open, I still abide by social distancing and didn't want to take the risk of going out to celebrate. Instead, I enjoyed the time well spent with family and friends. We ordered food. Had some drinks. Moms made me a birthday cake. I can truthfully say it was a blessed birthday and thanking God for another year. 

I have to admit though, 32 isn't at all what I thought it would be. 

I used to think most people in their 30s had life figured out. They were secure in their careers, financially stable, and right where they needed to be. But now that I am amongst the 30 and over club, I can honestly say I have no clue what the hell I'm doing. Although I have the house, the car, and the family, I'm still in that awkward stage where I think I know what I want to do with myself and still just playing it by ear. 

More times than not...I'm playing it by ear. 

When I think back on the days that I was a child and my parents were in their 30s, they just seemed like such real adults. As though they knew what was to come next and was more than prepared. Truthfully, my parents carried themselves with so much maturity. But here I am, and I feel still childish AF. Trust me, I'm laughing as I say this. 

There are things I still have no clue about. Things I still call my mom and confirm with her about. Things that I still Google just to make I'm doing it correctly. Like, this can't be the same 32 my mom and dad were when I was four.  In my mind, I like to think I'm in my 20s. That I can stay up late rewatching episodes of Scandal and will have the energy to wake up early the next morning to go into work. But then my body reminds me that it's not 25 anymore and I need to be in bed before 10PM in order to get the adequate eight hours of sleep I need. 

However, I'm allowing myself some grace. I'm giving myself room to continue working on me and taking the time to figure it out. I don't have to have all the answers right now, and until I get there I will enjoy all that I do have. I will enjoy the home my husband and I have. I will enjoy the time spent with my son. I will enjoy the job I have, my car, food in my belly, and shoes on my feet. I will enjoy my bed and a glass of wine at the end of the night. I will enjoy the small blessings on the way. 

Here's to 32. Thank you all for the birthday wishes.

Blueberry Bliss Smoothie

Friday, July 10, 2020
Can I be honest for a moment and just say that due to COVID-19 I have likely gained 19 pounds. Being home in this capacity has made me want to eat all the things I can find. 

At the beginning of this pandemic, I felt inspired to cook more and take this time to eat healthily. But after a while, you grow tired of finding new ways to prepare your favorite dish. So, I got lazy and would order out or stuff my face with tons of snacks. 

But this Blueberry Bliss Smoothie brought me back to reality and reminded me it's time to get fruits and veggies in. 

Blueberry Bliss Smoothie

The best part about this smoothie (like most of my smoothies) is that it uses a handful of ingredients. I used about a cup and a half of frozen blueberries, a little less than a half cup of frozen mango, and a fresh banana. 

Typically, I would use a frozen banana too. But, I found that having a fresh one that was on the verge of going bad adding that extra sweetness and creaminess I love my smoothies to have.

If you're not a fan of blueberries, you can opt for blackberries or even raspberries. Both berries are high in antioxidants and low in calories. 

Blueberry Bliss Smoothie
Give this Blueberry Bliss Smoothie a try filled with tons of antioxidants.
Prep Time: 1 min | Cook Time: 1 min | Total Time: 2 mins
Course: Breakfast, Smoothies
Keyword: Breakfast Smoothie, Smoothies, Vegetarian, Blueberries
Servings: 1 glass

1 cup frozen blueberries
1/3 cup frozen mango
1 large handful spinach
1/2 banana
1 cup Vanilla Oat Milk

1. Add your blueberries, spinach, and oat milk to the blender
2. Blend for 45 seconds or until ingredients are a smooth blend
3 Pour into a glass and enjoy!

You can add more oat milk or water if you prefer a thinner texture
I recommend using a fresh banana for a creamier texture

Blueberry Bliss Smoothie

Cheesy Garlic Ranch Pull Apart Rolls

Monday, May 25, 2020
I hope you all are still hanging in there amongst the impacts of COVID 19. Depending on the state you're in, you may be noticing that some places are beginning to loosen the rules of social distancing and reopening businesses. Here in SC, some businesses have reopened. However, most places will only allow a few customers at a time. 

Me, on the other hand, my family and I are still easing back into the world. We're still eating primarily at home and only leaving the house for work and necessities. But, I have another simple recipe I think you guys will enjoy!

I found something similar on Tik Tok where the user (can't remember their name) created cinnamon sugar pull-apart rolls. I liked the concept of it and decided that I would try it with my two favorite combos...garlic and ranch. 

Cheesy Garlic Ranch Pull Apart Rolls

Cheesy Garlic Ranch Pull Apart Rolls

Cheesy Garlic Ranch Pull Apart Rolls

Cheesy Garlic Ranch Pull Apart Rolls

This is super easy. It's an inexpensive addition to any meal or can even be finger food for any family gather. These cheesy garlic ranch pull apart rolls literally took no longer than 30 minutes in total to prepare. Considering that this was my first time ever creating it, I think I did fairly well.

Cheesy Garlic Ranch Pull Apart Rolls
Using only a handful of ingredients, recreate this cheesy garlic ranch pull apart rolls for any app or side dish
Prep Time: 5 mins | Cook Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 20 mins
Course: Side Dish, Appetizer | Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cheesy, Garlic, Ranch, Biscuits, Rolls, Garlic Ranch Pull Apart Rolls
Servings: 12 servings

1 can of 8 count Pillsbury Grand Flaky Biscuits
2 tbsp melted butter
1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix
1 cup shredded Colby and Monterrey jack cheese

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F
2. Open your canned biscuits and separate
3. Cut each biscuit into eight mini triangles
4. In a mixing bowl take your sliced biscuits, melted butter, cheese, and ranch seasoning mix and mix together
4. Take a nonstick muffin pan and place 4-5 of the pieces into each muffin hole
5. Place in the oven and allow to bake for approximately 10-15 minutes or until a golden brown on top
6. Remove from oven and sprinkle more cheese over the top if you desire

Cheesy Garlic Ranch Pull Apart Rolls

5 Toddler Friendly YouTube Channels

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

YouTube has become a very popular platform for preschool and toddler friendly programs. Truth be told, a few of these channels really helped Liam developmentally. 

We believe that if we're going to offer screen time, it may as well be educational. Since Liam was a baby, we began introducing channels that focused on teaching the essentials for child development. Essentials such as ABCs, numbers, colors, shapes, and other cognitive learning concepts. 

These YouTube channels came in handy as well because we didn't have cable. For families that may not have access to other streaming platforms, YouTube is an amazing substitute. 

Leo and I are always very careful of what videos Liam has access to while on YouTube. Although an awesome platform, there are some videos out there that we obviously wouldn't want our little one to land on. It's best to either install some parental controls or be present with your child as they're scrolling through. Overall, we love seeing Liam's growth from these programs and highly recommend it. 

Here are 5 Toddler Friendly YouTube Channels for Education and Learning

CocoMelon (formerly known as ABC Kids TV)

I have to start this list off with one of the more popular channels. Nearly every parent I've met is familiar with CocoMelon. This channel is such a fun channel that offers sing-a-longs, nursery rhymes, and simply encourages the little one to move and dance while learning. 

BabyFirst TV

Liam loved this channel when he was a baby. It's filled with so many bright colors. It teaches the ABCs, numbers, colors, offers a few programs that tap into cognitive learning. 


This channel was the first YouTube channel we introduced to Liam. What I love about this channel is that it is very infant and toddler focused. It hosts a ton of learning programs with shows that Liam to this day still enjoys watching. I must say this channel helped him with identifying numbers, and shapes.


Originator Kids

Out of all of the channels, this one is my absolute favorite. I stumbled on this video while searching for a channel that teaches sight words. This channel not only goes through the letters but also teaches words that start with the letter. It's been very helpful now that Liam is beginning to read and be able to recognize some of the very words that he sees on this channel. 

I have to admit that this channel is very different in comparison to the others listed, but Liam loves it. It's still bright colors, numbers, and shapes...but with trucks! If your child is anything like mine and enjoys trucks they will surely love learning while seeing their favorite truck across the screen. 

Mothering During a Pandemic

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Just a few days ago, my job sent an email letting us know that due to the potential dangers of COVID-19, all employees were to work remotely until further notice. I have to admit, that although we've been hearing the buzz of the steadily growing numbers of those infected by the coronavirus, a part of me was shocked to hear that as a country we were at this point. 

My initial fear was thinking about my son. The idea of possibly getting infected and putting my son in danger of this terrifying virus. So, we're abiding by government rules and socially distancing ourselves. 

That means no more visits to the park. That means avoiding taking him to the stores or anywhere public. That means wearing masks and constantly washing our hands. That means whatever I feel it may take to protect myself and my family. Because even though we're in a pandemic, it doesn't stop me from still being a mother. 

The challenges I face with being a mother during a pandemic is trying to relay to my son why we can't do things in the same capacity as we used. He's only thee. So, he doesn't understand why he's not allowed to get out and about like we normally would on a Saturday. He doesn't understand why he has to stay home with daddy even though he wants to do a grocery run with mom. It's a sad reality, but one that has hit us like a ton of bricks. 

I've been doing my best to find new ways to keep him busy during the day. Pinterest has introduced me to new ways of incorporating fun and education for him, but even still...he yearns to be around other kids. 

These times have been so challenging and taking it all in has been extremely overwhelming. Reading over the stats and hearing the numbers of those that have lost their lives to this virus makes me fight even harder to protect my family. 

Mothering during a pandemic isn't something I thought I would be saying. But for all the mothers out there, I'm here with you. 

Creamy Cucumber Tomato Pasta Salad

Tuesday, March 31, 2020
When I first started my food blog, one of the first recipes I shared was my Zesty Italian Pasta Salad. Pasta Salad is one of those recipes that if I had to bring a small dish for a gathering, it's my go-to. I could prepare it the night prior and for little to nothing.

This creamy cucumber tomato pasta salad is very similar to the zesty salad. The major difference is the kind of dressing that I used.

Creamy Cucumber Tomato Pasta Salad

Creamy Cucumber Tomato Pasta Salad

Creamy Cucumber Tomato Pasta Salad

What Did I Use

I sent my husband to the grocery store to grab my usual zesty Italian salad dressing, but with the stores low in stock due to the impacts of COVID-19 and social distancing, my favorite salad dressing wasn't available. 

No worries though. I was able to make a different spin to this salad and it actually turned out great. 

The great part about pasta salad is you can add whatever you like. If you want to get fancy you can include some peas, broccoli, olives, or even carrots to really make this a vegetable loaded pasta salad. For this salad, however, I kept it simple and added tomatoes and cucumbers. When I say that this a cheap dish, I mean that.

I took my penne noodles, cooked them, allowed them to cool, chopped up my veggies, and then mixed everything together. I refrigerated for a few hours and then it was ready to serve.

You can serve this with whatever tickles your fancy. Grilled chicken, meatballs, burgers or whatever sandwich you'd like is what I find this best served with. But to be completely honest, I've also eaten this as a meal in itself. 

Creamy Cucumber Tomato Pasta Salad

Bring this creamy cucumber tomato salad to any small gathering as the perfect side dish
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 20 | Total Time: 30 mins
Course: Side Dish | Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pasta, Penne Noodles, Vegetarian Friendly, Pasta Salad, Cucumber, Tomatoes
Servings: 4-6 servings

3 cups cooked penne pasta noodles
1 cucumber chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup Kraft Creamy Zesty Italian Salad Dressing

1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil to cook your noodles. Allow your noodles to cook until tender
2. Drain your noodles and set aside
3. Chop your cucumber into quarters and tomatoes into halves
4. In a large mixing bowl add your noodles, cucumbers, tomatoes, and salad dressing and mix well together
5. Store into the fridge and allow to cool
6. Serve cold

Creamy Cucumber Tomato Pasta Salad

Lazy Meat-Free Baked Ziti

Sunday, March 22, 2020
Who else is going stir crazy during this time of social distancing due to COVID-19?

I hope that you all are being safe. This has been a scary time for our country as it feels one moment we're receiving an influx of information, but nothing very consistent. The shelves in the stores are empty, people have taken loads of toilet paper (still trying to understand that one), and everyone is advised to work from home if they can. It's been a lot to take in.

I've been making sure I can create simple meals to feed my family now that we're advised to stay home. Although some places are allowing carry-out, I've found it best to prepare our meals at home to avoid going out as much as possible.

I'm not entirely sure I could even call this a recipe because it is so easy. It only took me about 30 minutes to prepare this dish, and we had tons for leftovers; which ultimately served its purpose.


I haven't shared a pasta dish in quite some time. But this lazy meat-free baked ziti is always delicious. There's literally no way to mess up this meal.

All you'll need is ziti pasta noodles, your favorite marinara sauce, and beefless crumbles. I prefer to use the Gardein Beefless Crumbles brand, but there are several others you can choose from. Or, if you rather avoid the soy, you can opt to leave this piece out.

You can swap the beefless crumbles out for lentils or anything that will give you a "beefy" texture.

For spices, I love using Italian seasoning and garlic powder. I feel you can't use enough of this stuff. It always adds some extra zing to this dish that my family loves. If you've been following me for a while, then you already know that I don't use a ton of salt for seasoning. However, you can always add as much or as little as you'd like in this dish.

This meal is so customizable to your liking.

And oh my!!! How could I forget about cheese!!!! 

The cheese brought this dish all together. I used a fiesta blend sold at Walmart, but you can use whichever cheese you prefer.

Lazy Meat-Free Baked Ziti

Lazy Meat-Free Baked Ziti

Lazy Meat-Free Baked Ziti


I like to break this part down into four easy steps. Cook noodles, add in beefless crumbles with marinara sauce, mix in together, put it in the oven. 

That's it. 

This is probably the simplest dish anyone could ever make. But I think it's nice to find a simple meal that takes a spin on being meat-free. 

This Baked Ziti is the perfect family dinner with all of the craziness going on. My small family of three was able to eat from this dish multiple times. It's one of those meals that regardless of how many times you eat it, you can't get tired from it. 

Add in your favorite spices and voila! You just fed your family the best dinner ever. 

Lazy Meat-Free Baked Ziti

This vegetarian-friendly baked ziti is great for those lazy nights to feed your family.
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 25 | Total Time: 35 mins
Course: Dinner | Cuisine: American, Asian
Keyword: Pasta, Baked Ziti, Vegetarian Friendly, Mock-Meat
Servings: 6-8 servings

3 cups cooked ziti pasta
2 bags of Gardein beefless crumbles
1 cup white onion chopped
2 24 oz jars of your favorite marinara sauce (I used Prego Chunky Garden)
2 cups of Fiesta Blend shredded cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of Italian Seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 400°F
2. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil to cook your noodles. Allow cooking until noodles are tender
3. Drain noodles and set aside
4. In a separate pot, add in your chopped onions until onions are translucent
5. Add in your beefless crumbles and pasta sauce to the onions
6. Add in your garlic powder, Italian Seasoning, and pepper to taste
7. Stirring occasionally, allow simmering for approximately 10 minutes
8. In a baking dish, combine your cooked noodles and pasta sauce
9. Stir noodles and pasta sauce together so that everything is evenly distributed in the baking dish
10. Sprinkle cheese over top the ziti to cover everything
11. Add to oven and allow to bake until cheese is melted or browned
12. Sprinkle fresh parsley or more Italian Seasoning before serving

Lazy Meat Free Baked Ziti

Best Vegetarian Chili

Sunday, February 23, 2020
Can you believe we're closing out of February and entering into March? Time flies. I'm sure you all have noticed a change in the recipe posts. Well, we had to do a bit of transitioning the site over to a new platform; giving it a new look and new feel.

I've been back and forth on the best way to deliver recipes for you all and decided that the site worked best when it was simple. But nonetheless, thank you guys for keeping up with the blog and sticking around as we made some adjustments.

Now on to this chili.

I've been sitting on this one for a while. I created this recipe a couple months ago, but while we were transitioning the site over I figured it would be best to save this gem for a better time.

Best Vegetarian Chili

This vegetarian chili is the best I've ever had. I went to a gathering a couple months back and they offered a meat-free chili. I was happy to see that there was an alternative, but let's just say the chili wasn't great. First, it was sweet. Second, it lacked spice. I mean, isn't that the point of a chili.

I like a chili that has some spice, a lot of beans, and a tad of sweetness from the corn. Anything outside of that is just a no for me.

For me, I like to include the beefless crumbles from Gardein to give this chili a bit more texture. Of course, you can always opt-out of adding the crumbles. However, I would suggest adding more variety of beans (pinto beans, kidney beans,) or even lentils to thicken this chili up if the meat substitute isn't your thing.

It doesn't require a ton of ingredients. Chili is one of those meals that you can literally make it whatever you want to.

Best Vegetarian Chili

The Best Vegetarian Chili
This meat-free chili option is the perfect winter dish to warm you up.
Prep Time: 5 mins| Cook Time: 25 | Total Time: 30 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch | Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chili, Vegetarian, Meat-Free, Vegetarian Chili
Servings: 8-10

1 bag Gardein Beefless Crumbles
15 oz. Black Beans
1 cup frozen corn
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp crushed red pepper (or cayenne pepper)
24 oz. Mild Corn and Black Bean Salsa
1/2 cup water (or vegetable broth for more flavor)

1. Rinse and drain your black beans
2. Add all ingredients into a pot and stir until everything is mixed
3. Bring to a boil and stirring occasionally
4. Allow simmering for 5 minutes

Best Vegetarian Chili

Loaded Bomb Biscuits

Sunday, January 19, 2020
I've said it several times before, breakfast food is my favorite meal of the day. Looking back on the recipes I've shared over time I noticed that I share a lot of breakfast recipes. There's just something about starting your day with a good ass meal. And you can't go wrong with these Loaded Bomb Biscuits.
Loaded Bomb Biscuits

Loaded Bomb Biscuits

Loaded Bomb Biscuits

These are so simple I'm not even sure I should call it a recipe (OK, I say that a lot too). Sometimes I get a little bored with the usual go-to meals so I try to put a spin on them. I had a batch of those Pillsbury Biscuits and decided I wanted to do something a little different with them. That's right. These are not your mama's regular old boring biscuits.


To keep these pretty simple, I went with the basics. I added eggs, cheese, and bell peppers. You can always put your own spin to this and add whatever else it is that you'd like. You can get away with adding mushrooms, onions, or even jalapenos if you're looking for an extra kick.

I used 4 eggs. However, I think 4 eggs was a bit much as not all of the filling would fit into the biscuits while cooking. I'd recommend going with three. Pillsbury has several biscuit options you can choose from. Whether the honey butter, buttermilk, or the flaky layers it all works the same.

Preparing this is rather simple as well. You would cook your eggs first while your oven preheats. Once eggs are cooked, you would just need to cut a small slit on the side of your biscuits and fill it on up. Add the biscuits to your oven and allow them to cook through until they are a flaky golden brown.

You guys know I like to keep it simple. Breakfast is ready and you have more to go back for seconds.

Loaded Bomb Biscuits

These loaded bomb biscuits aren't your mama's regular biscuits. These are the perfect spin to breakfast morning.
Prep Time: 10 mins| Cook Time: 35 | Total Time: 45 mins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch | Cuisine: American
Keyword: Breakfast, Biscuits, Loaded Biscuits, Brunch, Loaded Bomb Biscuits
Servings: 8

1 can Pillsbury Grand Buttermilk Biscuits
3 eggs beaten
1/3 cup diced bell pepper (I used red bell pepper, but any works)
1/2 cup of shredded four-cheese blend
1/2 tsp of salt
oil for cooking

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease cooking sheet for biscuits
2. In a frying pan, scramble your eggs and add in your bell pepper and cheese over top
3. Stir until eggs are cooked and everything is mixed
4. Set aside to cool
5. Taking your Pillsbury dough, separate into 8 biscuits and cut a slit into one side to create a pocket
6. Place small spoonfuls of your egg mixture into the center of your biscuits
7. Press the side of the biscuits to close in the egg mixture
8. Place in oven and allow to bake for approximately 15 minutes or until biscuits are a golden brown on top to your desire

Loaded Bomb Biscuits

Super Fast Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Saturday, January 11, 2020
I had a list of recipes I planned to share on the blog for this month and I have to tell you all, this wasn't one of them. Creating this Oatmeal Raisin Cookie was random AF. I wanted an evening treat. Something that was sweet, but not ridiculously sweet. I checked out my pantry and this is what I came up with.

Super Fast Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Super Fast Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I shared the recipe on my Insta stories and got a lot of views. I decided to share on here as well for those interested in recreating this simple snack

These are similar to my Peanut Butter Energy Bites that I created a while. I used just about the same amount of ingredients. However, this time I added cinnamon, raisins, and a pinch of salt. Literally a pinch of salt. 

Super Fast Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Create your own oatmeal raisin cookie with just a few simple ingredients.
Prep Time: 10 mins| Total Time: 10 mins
Course: Snacks, Dessert | Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cookies, Oatmeal, Raisins, No Bake
Servings: 10 cookies

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I melted mine in the microwave for about 30 seconds)
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
1/3 cup raisins
1 tbsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp almond milk

1.Preheat oven to 375­°F
2. In a mixing bowl, add your ingredients
3. Stir until everything is evenly mixed
4. Taking a tablespoon amount of your mixture, and begin forming into cookie rounds
5. Add to your baking sheet
6. Allow to bake for approximately 10 minutes or until cookies are crisp
7. Enjoy

You can use almond butter if peanut butter isn't your thing

4 Amazing Breakfast Toast Ideas

Sunday, January 5, 2020
I like toast, but toast has never been my fave go to breakfast option. I usually eat it when I'm sitting at Waffle House or if it automatically comes with a breakfast meal I ordered. Sometimes I'll even toast my bread if I want a banging club sandwich.

But for breakfast, toast hasn't been one of those key options for me. Then I started to realize that toast can be much more than just bread, jelly, or some type of flavored cream cheese. You can add so much more on top of your toast, and that's what really makes it a bomb breakfast. 

Since I found that I can jazz up my toast so many different ways, I decided to ask for a toaster for Christmas (thank you awesome husband). He got me a Stainless Steel Four Slice Toaster. Unfortunately I can't find a link to the one he purchased, but this toaster is pretty similar to what he got for me. 

Let's just say we've been some good old toast these last few days! I decided to compile my favorite toast options (since I'm a pro to this now) and share with you.

4 Amazing Breakfast Toast Ideas

4 Amazing Breakfast Toast Ideas

Loaded Avocado and Egg Toast

This style of toast is myfavorite, hence why I listed it first. It's your classic avocado toast with a little extra on top. I like to add in scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon bits, and some chili red flakes on top. This may not be the most original combination, but it's always a plus for me.

What I use:
1/2 avocado
sprinkle of bacon bits
sprinkle of red chili flakes
1 scrambled egg with a sprinkle of shredded cheese

4 Amazing Breakfast Toast Ideas

Classic Peanut Butter and Strawberry Toast

I bet you though I would say peanut butter and banana. Now don't get me wrong. Peanut butter and banana is a great combo, but you HAVE to try it with strawberries! And to top it off I added some chia seeds, which is a major superfood with so much nutritional value.

What I Used:
Peanut Butter
Chia Seeds
Honey Wheat Bread

4 Amazing Breakfast Toast Ideas

Avocado, Eggs, and Tomato Toast

An oldie, but a goodie. This may not be the most original combination, but it's always a plus for me. I actually like to scramble my eggs with cheese to give iut an extra kick, but you can certainly leave the cheese out if you like.

What I Used:
1/2 avocado
1 scramble egg with a sprinkle of shredded cheese
3-4 grape tomatoes
Honey Wheat Bread

4 Amazing Breakfast Toast Ideas

Bananas and Greek Yogurt Toast

This may sound like an odd combination, but it works pretty well if you have the right kind of yogurt. I found that using Greek yogurt makes all the difference when adding to toast. Although I'm sure any kind of yogury would work, I highly recommend a strawberry or vanilla flavored Greek yogurt. 

What I Used:
1 tsp of Strawberry Greek Yogurt
Honey Wheat Toast

4 Amazing Breakfast Toast Ideas

Did you create any of these for breakfast??? I want to see them. Tag me in your posts on Instagram #iamrhondajames