Friday Favorites Week 373 – Mini Moist Banana Muffins

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5 Ways Being A Mom Has Changed Me

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Being a Mom has changed me, in fact it honestly continues to change me every day.  Before I had kids, I was very confident in the fact that I knew almost everything, but, boy was I wrong.  I am not sure that anything can adequately prepare you for motherhood.

Perspective:  Being a Mom has forever changed my perspective on life.  I no longer believe that things are just black and white.  In fact, the gray areas far surpass any other.  Through the eyes of my children, I have seen things in ways that I don’t think I ever would have otherwise.  Because they are still so young, and tend to see the world without cynicism and fear.  And, because of them I try my hardest to be less judgmental and dogmatic.

Patience:  I am not sure you can successfully parent without some kind of patience.  Yet, I fear this will be a lesson I will continue to learn for my whole life.  There is no way that you can hear your name called over and over again, in various octaves and within 3 minutes, without having to exercise patience.

Understanding:  I think the older we get, the less sympathetic we become. We start to become easily annoyed with things that we feel require simple common sense and effort.  But, after becoming the parent of little people, I find myself being a little more compassionate towards other people’s plights.

Forgiveness:  Crayons on Walls, Vaseline all over faces… General messes… and the older they  get hurt feelings… Motherhood is a daily exercise in forgiveness.  I know I am not alone in feeling this way.  You clean up a room, only to have it destroyed moments later, by the cutest little thing you have ever seen.  Or you drive your teenager all over town, only to have him throw a hissy fit, because you won’t get back in the car to take him somewhere else.

Love:  I know it sounds cliche, but children do teach you the true meaning of unconditional love.  You love your spouse, or your significant other, but… you have very real and very definable expectations where they are concerned. Not that you do not have expectations of your children, but when they fall short you are the one who has to be there to pick them up, dust them off, and give them that needed push to get back on the horse.

I would be remiss if I did not say that being a Mom, is one of the hardest jobs that I have ever had.  It is challenging, it is rewarding, and sometimes it is a thankless job.  There are days when I feel unappreciated and burnt out.  But, the ups far outweigh the downs, and for that I am forever grateful.  God entrusted me with these little souls to love, to cherish and to mold, and even when it’s not easy, I intend to do just that.

How has being a Mom changed you?

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week!!

Teacher Appreciation Week - Free Printable Teacher Gift Tags

It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week!!  A week to celebrate one of the most noble professions out there.  I have always been in awe of teachers.  It truly takes a special kind of person to invest in the lives of  children, who are not their own over and over again.  That is exactly why I always try to make a big deal out of this week.  For their time dedication and devotion to my babies, I am extremely grateful.  There are so many great ideas all over Pinterest for Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas.   If you are looking for some ideas, be sure to check out our Pinterest Board.  No matter what you choose as your gift,  these Super Cute Gift Tags are a sweet addition.  Grab yours today!!

My oldest child is 20 years old, so , I have see my share of teachers over the years, enough to know that having a good teacher in your child’s life is a blessing.  My middle child has some auditory processing challenges and having an amazing team has made all the difference in her progress through out the years.  My baby girl is just in the 1st grade but we’ve been  pretty lucky there, as well.  I tend to hold my little ones a little tight.  So it makes me breathe a little easier just knowing that these kind of teachers still exist.

Teacher Appreciation Week Tag Supplies Free Printable

To Download your Own Copy of the Printable Teacher Gift Tags Click Here.

“IT IS THE SUPREME ART OF THE TEACHER TO AWAKEN JOY IN CREATIVE EXPRESSION AND KNOWLEDGE.” -ALBERT EINSTEIN

Friday Favorites – Week 370 – Mango Salsa

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Friday Favorites – Week 366 – Bunny Butt Cupcakes

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Friday Favorites – Week 363 – Easter Bunny Luncheon for Kids

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Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:

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Lisa at Condo BluesTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Amy at A Day of Small ThingsPin

Penny at Penny’s PassionTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Kelly at Under a Texas SkyTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL

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Our Visit to the King Center: A Photo Blog

Visit to the King Center : Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

Earlier this month, we loaded the kids up in the car and went to visit the King Center.  My older daughter had been to the King Center before, but unfortunately she was too little to have really understood exactly what the Civil Rights movement or Dr. King’s dream was about.  And so, with  blatant racism, and bigotry being displayed everywhere these days, we thought that it was important for us to remind our children of their significant heritage.

As a parent, I always err on the side of caution when it comes to telling my kids the gruesome and graphic details of life/history.  My philosophy on that is that they have their whole lives to be adults and to deal with such things.  And, I simply don’t want them living in fear.  But, as we were walking through the King Museum and I was trying my best to answer all their questions and explain the things we saw.  I was reminded that the Civil Rights movement was not just for adults.  There were several children on the front lines standing up for what they believed was right.  And, it brought me back to the famous quote by George Santayana, “that those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Surprisingly enough, I do not have too much to say about our trip other than to say that it was a humbling and solemn experience.  It filled me with both great pride and waves of grief.  Pride because of the long journey that our ancestors took on behalf of the very inalienable rights we are supposed to have today.  And, grief for those who lost their loved ones in the struggle and continue to do so in the name of upward mobility and dreams yet to be actualized.

Visit to the King Center - A Day On ... Not A Day Off

A Visit to the King Center : Call To Lead

A Visit to the King Center: Signs from Marches

A Visit to the King Center: Freedom March

I'm Black and Beautiful.

I hope that you enjoyed these pictures that my husband took and, if you are ever in the Atlanta area definitely put this on your list of places to see.  It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.  How do you deal with telling your children about things that are unpleasant?  Do you sugar coat it, or give it to them straight?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, in the comments below.

7 Things Every Parent Should Know

7 Things Every Parent Should Know - www.stage-presents.com

  1.  Every child is different.  I think sometimes we base our parenting styles and decisions on how things worked the first time around, or how our parent’s raised us. I have three children and they couldn’t be more different.  Growing up, I remember thinking that my sister had it so much easier, because I had already gone through all of the hard things.  And, that my mom favored her over me, which.. well I am still not sure that isn’t entirely true, lol.  But… now that I have children of my own I know that what worked for one of them wouldn’t necessarily work for the other.
  2. There is no such thing as the perfect parent.  Even though it is what we all aspire to be, we would save ourselves so much time right out of the gate, by acknowledging from the very beginning that we are human, and therefore flawed. There will be times when you have to say you are sorry.  You will not always be right.  You are charged with shaping these little lives that have been entrusted to you, but try as you might you can’t mold them into your own image.  (Trust me I’ve tried, lol)
  3. Quality and Quantity.  I know you probably thought I was going to say  Quality over Quantity.  But Nope.  Here’s is my reasoning you are probably never going to be able to please everyone see #1.  And, even though you will most likely try to find things that everyone is interested in and or try to give them as much one on one time, as possible.  That simply may not be the way that they remember it.  So do you best to spend as much time as you can, whenever you can.  And hope that it is enough.
  4. Routine. Routine is the key to any well oiled machine.  Bed times, chores, expectations, etc.  As I mentioned before, I thought my parents were too strict.  But, the thing about it is that looking back I see now that knowing what was expected of me and how I was to conduct myself played a large part in shaping me.  I can see now that a lot of the heartache that my friends went through I was lucky enough not to have experienced, because I simply didn’t live that life.
  5. Enjoy it.  I will be the first one to tell you that parenthood is NO WALK IN THE PARK.   You love your babies and you can’t imagine life without them.  But, sometimes you do.  You imagine what it would be like to pull your hands through you hair, throw on some bright red lipstick and skinny jeans and just jump in the car heading off to God knows where and for God knows what reason.  But, you know those days are over.  So once you are back from your pity party.  Make sure to enjoy these days.  One day you will miss it.  Since my oldest is 20 and my youngest is 6, I have a unique vantage point.  I can see the other side while still in the trenches.
  6. Document your days.  This is a controversial one for some people, because if you are snapping pictures then maybe you aren’t present.  I guess I have mixed feelings about this, because I see things from behind a lens that I am not sure I would notice otherwise.  Or maybe it’s that the things that I see make me want to pull out my camera to preserve the memory.  Like taking my daughters to the beach last year, and watching their faces so go from fear, to fun, to frolicking.  It was amazing to sit there and watch them grow before my eyes.  To me, it’s equally amazing to look back on those pictures and remember that day with joy in my heart.  I think I have always taken a lot of pictures, but when my son was little there were no iPhone’s and such, so there are way less pics of him than of the girls, and it is one of my biggest regrets.
  7. We Time and Me Time are a necessity.  Before they came, it was just the two of you.  And, before you became the two of you, it was just you.  Every relationship needs cultivation, even the ones we have with ourselves.  And, I believe this with all my heart.  If you are depleted at some time in some way, it is going to come out.  I am lucky enough to have my parents close by and when I need a break they are more than happy to afford us that luxury.  But, even if you don’t have a support system close by, little things mean a lot.  Can you both get off work for a couple of hours while the kids are at school, for lunch or for a movie or both?  Can you schedule a babysitter, and make a night of it?  Or maybe you just need the peace and quiet, or solitude of a massage, or mani-pedi appointment.  Figure out what feeds your spirit and your soul and do that, make time for that.

“TODAY’S LITTLE MOMENTS,  BECOME TOMORROW’S PRECIOUS MEMORIES.”

End of Year Review

2016-a-year-in-review

It is the last day of 2016, and I for one am glad to see it go.  2016 has been the most tumultuous year I have experienced in my 40 years.  It has literally been filled with the lowest lows and the highest highs,  a perpetual roller coaster of emotions, blessings and disappointments.

We entered into 2017 full of hope and vision.  And, as seems to be the norm at this stage of my life the days quickly turn into months and the months into years.  This is something that most Moms tend to be cognizant of as you watch your babies speed through their younger years. And, believe it or not with a business it is not much different.  I sit back a little awe struck at times, as I watch it develop in new ways.  The most minute changes can garner the most significant rewards.

On the Business/Blog Side of Things:

We started off the new year by re-branding.  Even though we loved our original logo, we wanted a new logo that we felt represented where we were going as a company. I assume that this can be a fairly easy project for larger companies who hire out this type of work.  But, we decided to do it ourselves, or I should say my hubby did it.  And, since we both have the perfectionist gene getting on the same wave length was a bit harder than we thought.  But, ultimately we were both pleased with the finished product.

TheStagepresentsBlog got its own Instagram Page. Having another account separate from the one we already had for our Etsy Store allowed me to share more of myself, my family and my daily life with all my Stage Presents friends.  It also gave me a chance to connect with other like minded bloggers.

Our Etsy Store hit 400 + Sales and officially passed the 3 year mark.

Our Back to School Binder Covers went viral.

Increased our Social Media presence and Developed relationships with other bloggers

Collaborated with other bloggers to present the Friday Favorites Linky Party.

We had some amazing Guest Bloggers.

2016-highlights

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”
― Charles BukowskiFactotum

On the Personal side of Things:

Life dealt more blows than I would like to remember in 2016.  Only months into the New Year, my toddler niece got very sick and passed away.  It is something that I honestly don’t know if I will ever truly understand. The only thing worst than experiencing that loss, was watching my baby sister go through it.  As a big sister, you never want to think that there is something that you just can not help your younger sister with or through.  But, I had to accept that this was something that we could only call on God to help and heal.   Then some months later, I had a health scare that consisted of  a spider bite and my blood sugar being way too high, that landed me in the hospital.  Though terrifying, it turned out to be exactly what I needed to get my act together as far as eating what I should eat, instead of what I wanted to eat.  This year, I also started subbing at the School System for longer periods of time.  I got a quick refresher course on just what a balancing  act it was to work full time hours and still juggle being Mommy and Wife, Blogger, Etsy Shop Owner, Cook, Taxi…  The flip side to that was being able to do more of the things we wanted to do as a family with more money coming into the household, and having a little more to invest back into our business.

“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”
― John SteinbeckThe Winter of Our Discontent

The pain makes us change. The change makes us grow, and finally the growth makes us strong.

FOR WHATEVER REASON, THESE BOOKS HELPED ME OUT THIS YEAR.

Favorite Books:

Why We Can’t Wait by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Fervent by Priscilla Shirer

Make it Happen by Lara Casey

2016 has been a year of growth for the business and for the blog and it is with bated breath that I wait to take in all that 2017 has to offer.  We are humbled by the support of our readers, our customers, and our community.  We acknowledge that without you we couldn’t have come this far.  As we end this year, and venture into the new one keep these words in mind.

THROUGH ADVERSITY, NOT ONLY ARE WE GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY TO DISCOVER OUR INNER STRENGTH, WE ARE ALSO GIVEN THE  GIFT OF FORESIGHT SO WE CAN SHINE A LIGHT FOR OTHERS WHO GO THROUGH THE EXPERIENCE AFTER US. — RACHAEL BERMINGHAM

Our 2016 Christmas Home Tour

2016 Christmas Home Tour Front Door

2016 Christmas Home Tour Front Door

2016 Christmas Home Tour Front Hallway

2016 Christmas Home Tour Front Hallway1

2016 Christmas Home Tour Mantel

Every room in the house gets decorated with  traditional Christmas Colors, except for the Formal Living and Dining Room.  This year I added some Christmas Plaid and Buffalo Check just to introduce a new element.  You can see it in the printable by the front door and weaved into the Garland over the Mantle. I also added a Vintage Lantern I bought to sell in my Etsy Store, but decided to hold on to.  I loved the feel of it.  I must gush about the new piece I got to go in the foyer.  It is not a Christmas decoration at all.  But, what a find at Hobby Lobby!!  Do you spy it?  “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

2016 Christmas Home Tour Christmas Tree

2016 Christmas Home Tour Coffee Table Centerpiece

2016 Christmas Home Tour Side Buffet

2016 Christmas Home Tour Tablescape

2016 Christmas Home Tour Dining Room and Living Room

Purple and Gold have been part of my color scheme for the last Couple of Christmases with other colors  mixed in there.  This year I just used Purple and Gold.  I loved the way it came out.  The purple poinsettias in the Christmas tree were part of my tablescape some years back.  And, I added them to the tree for an updated and more professionally decorated look, or at least that is what I told myself.

I have an announcement, Christmas is my favorite time of year.  No duh, right.  But, honestly there is soo much ugly in the world.  I relish the opportunity each year to bring some of the magic inside for my family. There will be more than enough years of serious life ahead of them, but during Christmas my main focus is joy – joy – joy.  This year, I tried my hardest not to purchase any NEW Christmas decorations.  And, I did really well.  I literally only purchased a new Tree Skirt for the real tree in the Formal Living Room, and some Festive little plates for the Tablescape.  Everything else I used were things that I already had.  I tried to use them in a new way or change where I put them around the house, but that was about it.

Can you believe 2016 is really pretty much over?  And, I for one am pretty much over it.  So Merry Christmas to All and to All A Fantabulous Holiday Season  from Our Home to Yours.

THE BEST OF ALL GIFTS AROUND ANY TREE: THE PRESENCE OF A HAPPY FAMILY ALL WRAPPED UP IN EACH OTHER. – BURTON HILLS