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Putting on Our Crowns

Did you know that inside everyone of us as women is the power to find our inner queendom?  According to the Queen-Queen Latifah that is-“there seem to be an epidemic of lousy self-esteem in this country, especially among young women,…We ladies have stopped putting ourselves first, and I wanted to share something with you that would help you feel empowered and make you recognize the individual and innate beauty that is you.”  Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom is Grammy Award winning songstress, talk show hostess, Oscar nominated actress, Queen Latifah’s author debut.

In her book, Queen is quick to point out to readers that she “never set out to be anyone’s role model. That’s too much responsibility for any flawed human being to carry.”  She also lets it be known that this is not some mapped out self-help book either.  Instead, she bares her soul and shares some of her most intimate stories and experiences of success, fear, love and much more to serve as guides or lights on readers individual journeys through life.

Put on Your Crown is pretty much like saying ‘here are the mistakes I’ve made.  This is what works and this is what doesn’t work.’  A conversation similar to the ones many of us have shared with older siblings or our closest friends.  This is certainly a must read for all women out there, especially those of color.  Join the female empowerment movement by picking up this book.  Don’t forget to share this book with your daughters, sisters, mothers and friends.

You can purchase Queen Latifah’s Put on Your Crown at the following retailers:

or
You can enter for a chance to win a copy by commenting on this post.
Extra Entries (Leave one comment for each)
-Subscribe to my blog
-Follow me on Twitter (@Yummommies)
-Like YUMM on Facebook (See badge on right sidebar)
-Tweet about this giveaway/blog 

2 winners will be chosen on Sunday, May 30th.
This giveaway is sponsored by
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Putting on Our Crowns

Did you know that inside everyone of us as women is the power to find our inner queendom?  According to the Queen-Queen Latifah that is-“there seem to be an epidemic of lousy self-esteem in this country, especially among young women,…We ladies have stopped putting ourselves first, and I wanted to share something with you that would help you feel empowered and make you recognize the individual and innate beauty that is you.”  Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom is Grammy Award winning songstress, talk show hostess, Oscar nominated actress, Queen Latifah’s author debut.

In her book, Queen is quick to point out to readers that she “never set out to be anyone’s role model. That’s too much responsibility for any flawed human being to carry.”  She also lets it be known that this is not some mapped out self-help book either.  Instead, she bares her soul and shares some of her most intimate stories and experiences of success, fear, love and much more to serve as guides or lights on readers individual journeys through life.

Put on Your Crown is pretty much like saying ‘here are the mistakes I’ve made.  This is what works and this is what doesn’t work.’  A conversation similar to the ones many of us have shared with older siblings or our closest friends.  This is certainly a must read for all women out there, especially those of color.  Join the female empowerment movement by picking up this book.  Don’t forget to share this book with your daughters, sisters, mothers and friends.

You can purchase Queen Latifah’s Put on Your Crown at the following retailers:

or
You can enter for a chance to win a copy by commenting on this post.
Extra Entries (Leave one comment for each)
-Subscribe to my blog
-Follow me on Twitter (@Yummommies)
-Like YUMM on Facebook (See badge on right sidebar)
-Tweet about this giveaway/blog 

2 winners will be chosen on Sunday, May 30th.
This giveaway is sponsored by
Posted on Leave a comment

Putting on Our Crowns

Did you know that inside everyone of us as women is the power to find our inner queendom?  According to the Queen-Queen Latifah that is-“there seem to be an epidemic of lousy self-esteem in this country, especially among young women,…We ladies have stopped putting ourselves first, and I wanted to share something with you that would help you feel empowered and make you recognize the individual and innate beauty that is you.”  Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom is Grammy Award winning songstress, talk show hostess, Oscar nominated actress, Queen Latifah’s author debut.

In her book, Queen is quick to point out to readers that she “never set out to be anyone’s role model. That’s too much responsibility for any flawed human being to carry.”  She also lets it be known that this is not some mapped out self-help book either.  Instead, she bares her soul and shares some of her most intimate stories and experiences of success, fear, love and much more to serve as guides or lights on readers individual journeys through life.

Put on Your Crown is pretty much like saying ‘here are the mistakes I’ve made.  This is what works and this is what doesn’t work.’  A conversation similar to the ones many of us have shared with older siblings or our closest friends.  This is certainly a must read for all women out there, especially those of color.  Join the female empowerment movement by picking up this book.  Don’t forget to share this book with your daughters, sisters, mothers and friends.

You can purchase Queen Latifah’s Put on Your Crown at the following retailers:

or
You can enter for a chance to win a copy by commenting on this post.
Extra Entries (Leave one comment for each)
-Subscribe to my blog
-Follow me on Twitter (@Yummommies)
-Like YUMM on Facebook (See badge on right sidebar)
-Tweet about this giveaway/blog 

2 winners will be chosen on Sunday, May 30th.
This giveaway is sponsored by
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#52BooksIn2016 | February Reads and Faves

We’re still going strong with our reading challenge.  You can check out our January update here.  We finished out February strong having read a total of 54 books.  That’s an average of two books a day.  Keep scrolling to see all the books we read in February, find out which ones were our favorites and what we’re knocking off our TBR (To Be Read) list this month.

February Reads

    
   
 
   
   
   
 
  
   
  
   
  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Our Fave Reads

The Honest Life by Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba is the real MVP when it comes to breaking down how to create a naturally healthy lifestyle for yourself and your family.  A lot of times people get turned off from trying to live healthy because it seems so complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.  Also, living naturally looks different for everyone and every family.  What I loved was that this book was filled not only with helpful tips, but recipes, lists, an appendix of resources and more.  If you’re interested in improving your family’s healthy lifestyle, I highly recommend reading this book and then going from there.

 Bad Kittly Meets the Baby by Nick Bruel

Moo is hooked on the Bad Kitty series.  I can’t even remember how she got hooked on it.  I think my niece let her read one of her Bad Kitty books and the rest is history.  Now she’s kind of gotten me hooked on them.  When I say that I haven’t laughed so hard reading a children’s book before, I literally laughed until I cried.  Kitty is a hot mess, but in a kid-friendly/hilarious way.

Kitty is a handful and when her family decides to adopt a baby, she is not having it.  I think Moo really loved this book because being the older sibling she could relate to Kitty feeling threatened by Baby’s presence.  No one likes to feel like they’re being replaced whether it’s kids or cats for that matter.

 Thomas & Friends: The Adventure Begins

It’s no shocker that JJ’s favorite book was The Adventure Begins from the Thomas & Friends series.  He’s been obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine for years now and show no sign of losing interest.  He had never seen or heard the story of how Thomas came to be Sir Topham Hatt’s number one really useful engine before and loved it.  We learned that Thomas actually used to be a green engine stenciled with yellow lettering, but was painted blue because it was one of Sir Topham Hatt’s favorite colors.

In addition to being beautifully illustrated this book comes with a poster that your Thomas lover can hang on his or her wall and boarding tickets so that they can play train.  It definitely worth it to order the paperback copy instead of an ereader version because obviously you won’t get the poster or tickets with that version. 


What We’re Reading This Month

The first week of March is already under our belt and we’ve been chugging right along still and continuing to read daily as a family as well as individually.  Here’s a sneak peek at some of the books we’ll be reading throughout the month.
Joyce Meyer is another minister that I grew up listening to as a kid and I feel in love with her tell it like it is preaching approach.  She’s very transparent and has been honest about her Christian journey, sharing both good and bad moments.  You don’t find too many ministers who will go into detail about their pasts like Joyce Meyer has and will.  I already own a few of her books and have even gifted her books to family members before.  I was super excited when FaithWords reached out to me and asked if I’d like to check out her new book.
Honestly, their offer came at the right time because unleashing myself from the many stresses in my life is definitely something that I need to work on right now.  My hope is that after reading this book I will come away with some tips and tricks on how to better leave my worries and stresses at the alter so that they don’t hinder with my faith/relationship with God as well as tips that I can put into place to be more present with my loved ones.
  
Disney Frozen fans don’t have to wait until the Frozen 2 release to find out what Anna, Elsa and the lovable Olaf have been up since their big screen debut.  Your Frozen lover can follow Anna, Elsa and Olaf as they go adventures in this easy to read and magical book series.  
From Princess Anna teaching Queen Elsa the ropes of Arendelle to rescuing a summer queen in a distant land this series sounds like it’s going to be a blast to read.  We have all 8 books and Moo’s already started on reading All Hail the Queen.  I’m going to be honest and admit that I’m quite the Frozen myself!  I’ve been struggling hard to not read ahead in this series since we’re doing a mother-daughter read along, but we’ll see what happens.
  
Growing up my favorite genre to read were mysteries.  The only issue was that there were little to no mysteries with characters of color.  So my mom got me started with the Nancy Drew series.  I’ve read a few of the old and new Nancy Drew books to Moo and like me she’s noticed that none of the characters are brown skinned.  I did a little research and found out about the Clubhouse Mysteries series from Sharon Draper.

I can’t wait to start reading these Moo.  I wish this series had been around in the late 80s and the 90s when I was a kid because it would have been nice to read about and see more characters that looked like me, but it’s never to late to catch up on these now that I know about them.  These books are fairly short and can each be read in a day.


Kimani Romance

 Aside from mysteries, self-help and Christian books, I do enjoy reading romance novels.  I especially make it my business to stay up to date on all of the Kimani Romances from Harlequin because African Americans are greatly underrepresented in the world of fictional romance.  I’m actually glad that Harlequin saw this void and decided to create Kimani imprint to not only bring forth more African American love stories, but to also give Black writers a way to get their stories in front of a wider audience.  My mom being a minister only purchased Harlequin romances because they were PG or PG-13 at most back in the day.  So it makes sense that I have not only become a few Harlequin lover, but also a Harlequin book reviewer.

This month I’m reading and reviewing, Falling for Autumn by Sherelle Green.  Scheduled for an April 1st release, this is the first book of Sherelle Green’s that I’m reading.  I’m only a few pages in on Ajay and Autumn’s love story, but I’m liking it so far.  I can’t wait to check out the rest of the books in Green’s Bare Sophistication series.

Also this month I received an advance review copy of His Love Lesson by Nicki Night.  This is book two in her Barrington Brothers series and will be released this May, but is currently available for pre-order.  Like Green, this will be my first time reading Nicki Night.  I haven’t started on this book yet, but it’s set in one of my favorite places- New York!  This story also involves a snowstorm and you guys know how much I love snow! I’m really looking forward to reading this book and continuing to support other authors of color.

That’s it for our March TBR/Currently Reading List.  Since we’re reading more chapter books this month, I’m not sure if we’ll read 52 books this month, but I think we’ll be pretty close.  Having also read 54 books last month, we’re only 44 books away from reaching our family reading goal of 150 books for Dani’s 52 Books Reading Challenge.  I’m thinking that I might have to up our goal to 200 or maybe even 300 since we’ll being doing our own 100 books reading challenge for the 100 days of summer.

Have you read any good books lately?  Leave us some suggestions in the comments below.

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#52BooksIn2016 | January Reads and Faves

I inherited my love of reading and books at an early age from my mother and her side of the family.  I’m proud to see that I’ve passed this inheritance down to my children as well.  There’s nothing quite like escaping to a new reality when reading a work of fiction or learning things you never knew while reading nonfiction.  When it comes to reading, it’s serious business around here.  Our librarians can tell you that they see us multiple times throughout the week and that we check out on average upwards of 100 books every month between the kids and I.
When I read the my friend Dani was hosting the 52 Book Challenge, I knew my family had to join in and show our support.  We committed reading 150 total as a family. We’d like to invite you and your family to join in as well.  The challenge is pretty easy.  
All your family has to do is commit to reading 52 books before the end of 2016.  One book a week is doable, right?  As you finish reading books, snap a pic and share it using the hashtag #52BooksIn2016 on social media.  Since we read so many books, I’ve decided to do monthly updates sharing all the books we’ve read for that month along with which books were our favorites for that specific month.
We really hope to see you and your family participate.  Speaking as a parent and having worked in the school system, I can tell you that doing this challenge as a family will have many benefits such as providing bonding time and a tool to help your children become stronger readers.  There are plenty of ways to make this challenge fun like choosing to read books that have been turned into movies and then hosting movie nights after you’ve finished them.

Anyways our list of January reads are below.  Feel free to click on any of the pictures below to pick up a few of our reads for your little one!

Our January Reads

A Valentine for Percy
Eight Silly Monkeys
This nursery rhyme was one of my favorite growing up and it’s been remixed many ways over the years.  When I saw this book I knew I had to get to start with the kids and I’m glad that I did because it ended up being one of the kids’ favorites that we read for January.  What really sold them on this book were the 3D die-cut monkey faces on each page.  We read this many times and I see us reading it many more times in the future.
Mommy Loves You So Much
This is a Peach

I Can Draw

I Like School

Bubble Shapes

Say I’m Sorry

Curious George and the Dump Truck

Minions Banana

Heated Moments

The Sweet Life

This book has been on my TBR list probably since I first heard the news that Dulce was writing a book.  Dulce is a fellow YouTuber and blogger who’s managed to go from a teenager spiraling out of control to a big time beauty/mompreneur.  Dulce has such a lovable personality in her videos that it’s hard not to like her.  In her new book she spills the beans about how she got control of her life and became the star she is today.  She also shares secrets and tips on how she built her brand.
I Can Be a Farm Vet
Moo is pretty obsessed with anything Barbie related and I can’t really blame her.  One day I decided to surprise her with this book to read for our bedtime story.  She loved it!  It combines two of her faves- Barbie and animals.  We’ve read a handful of books from the Barbie: I Can Be series and I’m looking forward to reading more.  I’ll encourage my kids to reads that encourage and empower them to follow their dreams.

Stop Train, Stop

Olive Marshmallow
This book is so adorable and probably sums up every only child’s feelings to becoming a big brother or sister.  We were hanging in the library (our favorite spot) when Moo came up and said, “Is this how your belly looked when I inside?”  We checked the book out, read it and loved it.  Moo declared it a great read because it will help her brother prepare for when we have another baby.  I love that kid’s thinking!  Anyways, there’s a followup book, Olive the Alien and we can’t wait to read it. 

Treasure on the Tracks

Lizzie & the Last Day of School

Where is Petey?

Hippo Says “Excuse Me”

Pete the Cat: Cavecat Pete

Back in the Saddle

The Unfairest of Them All

Tuscan Heat
I did get to get in a little adult reading in January.  I was excited when I got an ARC (advance review copy) of this book from Harlequin Kimani because I love supporting Black writers/authors, especially in the romance genre.  If you’re not a book nerd like me then you might not know that over the past few years there’s been quite the buzz about how there isn’t a market for Black romance because nobody wants to read it and/or there aren’t any good authors writing it.  I can say that both of those statements are a lie.  There are plenty Black women ( a few non-Blacks) who want to read about Black romance.
Clearly there were enough for Harlequin to start up their Kimani division which publishes Black romances only.  Anyways, I’d heard nothing but great things about Deborah Mello and I am proud to say all of those great things were true.  She’s definitely a master of romance writing.  As I told Harlequin in my feedback, this book reads like sweet poetry and has that true hopeless romantic feel with a few moments of humor here and there.

The Big Green Pocketbook
Thomas and the Shark
If there’s one thing my little guy goes nuts over, it’s Thomas the Tank Engine!  We’ve read this book a million times already, but that didn’t stop him from picking it up at the library for us to read again.  We ended up reading at least five more times before he would let me check it back in.  Don’t tell him, but this is one of many of the Thomas books he’ll be getting for his birthday!

Tea Time With Sophia Grace & Rosie

The Storybook of Legends
Okay, I have a confession to make- I’m totally hooked on the Ever After High series!  I know this series is supposed to be for middle school kids, but I can’t help but love these books, especially after reading the Monster High series with Moo last year.  When she asked if we could read this series together, I was game.  It felt great to get lost in such whimsical world and tale.
If you’ve never heard your child talking about the Ever After High series, it’s basically a series chronicling the lives of famous storybook characters’ children like Snow White’s daughter Apple White and Raven Queen the evil queen’s daughter.  Really great series with an undertone of encouraging children to blaze their own paths!  Definitely YUMMommy approved.

Clean Up, Clean Up

Up and Down

Pat-a-Cake

The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nut House

CinderElephant

Splat the Cat: Back to School, Splat

Bad Kitty Does Not Like Dogs

Squares

Toot Toot, Beep Beep
Happy
Bedtime singalong anyone?  If you loved Pharrell’s song Happy before, you’re going to love it in book form even more!  This was a crowd pleaser for sure and I love the photography of the kids as well as the inspirational note he wrote to readers at the end of the book.  Definitely pick this one up!

Best Friends in Fairyland

If You See a Kitten

Tug the Pup

The Berenstain Bears: Down on the Farm

Katy Duck & the Secret Valentine
Sofia Martinez: The Missing Mouse
Who said learning Spanish had to be boring?!  We love the Sofia Martinez books because they’re funny and the kids are learning some key Spanish words.  Moo’s also learning that just like Blacks, Hispanics come in all shades of brown and tan as well.  I’m always open to books that educate my children on different cultures.  I’ve already purchased a few of the Sofia Martinez books for Moo for her birthday even though it’s more than six months away.  Who knows, I might gift them to her early!

Cold Rose

Amazing Gorillas

There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose

Jeff’s Job

The Monster of Sodor

One Big Blue Family

Farm Alarm

TMNT: Too Much Ooze

Peppa Goes Swimming

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I can’t until next month to share our February reads and faves with you all.  We’ve been having a blast reading and discovering new and old faves as a family!  Thanks again for the challenge Dani!
Do you read as a family?  If so, what are some of your favorite reads?

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Wish Me Luck

Hey YUMMs!  Have you guys missed me these last five days?  I’ve missed y’all.  But I’ve been absent for good reasons.  While I don’t usually post on the weekends, Monday was the Mr’s off day and JJ’s therapy session.  Then, I had a meeting with his caseworker to talk about my concerns and future therapy schedules.  After that we decided to make it family day went to the library.
When I got to the library, I saw that they had early voting and I voted.  Then we hung out reading books and playing in the children’s section until they closed. Tuesday, the Mr had a procedure to get done and then I spent the rest of the day and pretty much all of today preparing for a pretty sweet opportunity that I will have tomorrow.
Pinterest
I’m going to pitching an editor from a major publishing house an idea for a novel I’ve started writing!  Yes, I’m writing two books at once now.  It feels a little weird because I wasn’t sure I could do it, but now that I am, it’s not that big of a deal.  Forever Branded is almost finished and I’m excited to be soon debuting the cover for it.
So, I’m pretty nervous about having the opportunity to pitch an editor in a one on one setting.  It’s different from writing a query letter because then you have months and months to agonize over what the response is going to be.  This time around all feedback will be given to me upfront.  I’m super nervous for a variety of reasons.
For starters, there’s the rejection aspect.  I know it’s not personal and rejection is part of life, but I really want this opportunity.  Also, I haven’t met the editor yet, but I’ve read a lot of about her and we have so much in common.  At the end of the day, even if I don’t get offered to be taken on as a client to have my manuscript published, I just want to make a good impression.
Since, my pitch will be my first impression, I want to make sure that it’s flawless and very well written.  I don’t want to look like I don’t know what I’m doing or that I didn’t take this opportunity serious because I am.  Also, I’m nervous because what if my manuscript does get picked up?  What then?  I’m not anywhere never finished with it.  Then, you always hear that when you sign on to a publishing house, they try to edit your voice a little bit.
That worries me a lot, but still this is an experience I want to have for myself.  Every author’s journey is different.  I think the editor that I’m pitching is really cool.  I don’t think she would try to get me to force my characters into a story that isn’t them.  People who don’t write books don’t always get that often characters write themselves.  The best way I can describe it is that it’s like having a bunch of people inside your head telling you their story. 
Pinterest
Sure, they start off as ideas, but then they take own lives of their own and we the authors simply become their communication device.  Anyways, I don’t want to draw this post out and bore you guys.  I know a few other people who are pitching tomorrow too.  So, I ask that you all wish us good luck and send up prayers for us!  I’m not tagging them in this post because they may want to wait until they know where their pitches have been accepted or not before letting anyone know or they may not want anyone to know at all.  
Nevertheless, cross our fingers, cross your toes, wish on a star, etc.  I’m excited for this chance and look forward to whatever comes from this opportunity.  I will wait until tomorrow evening to post my Thankful Thursday post and let you guys know the results then.  Off to finish working on my pitch!
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Unfinished Business

Hi guys!  Today Christina from Being Mrs Jones is sharing the book cover and an excerpt from her new novel, Unfinished Business.  Unfinished Business is the sequel and follow-up to Strictly Professional, a contemporary romance in which Christina introduces us to Terrence Whitaker and Gabrielle (Gabi) Jacobs.  Terrence is lawyer at Pritchard and Graham and his determination on trying to make partner leaves him with no time to focus on a relationship.

Gabi is fresh out of law school and a bad relationship with both her ex-boyfriend.  She’s relocated to Atlanta to work at her uncle’s law firm and to show her parents that she wants to be more than a trophy wife.  She and Terrence meet and things start to heat up.  Well, Unfinished Business is set five years after things heated up and took off with Terrence and Gabi.  And if you’ve read Strictly Professional, you’re going to be a bit heartbroken to learn that Terrence and Gabi are no longer an item.

I don’t want to give too much away about Unfinished Business, but I will say it DOES NOT disappoint!  This is by far and hands down my favorite book by Christina and I haven’t a clue how she’s going to top it with her book.  If you haven’t a purchased a copy of either book, I don’t know what you’re waiting on!  Trust me you are missing out big time!  Anyways, check out the book cover and excerpt below!


Excerpt

            “Daddy!”
            I had just picked up my suitcase from the baggage claim when I heard my baby girl’s voice.  I turned to see her huge puff of curly black hair bobbing in the air as she ran toward me.  I caught her in my arms and pulled her into a hug, placing a kiss right on her forehead.  She was giggling like crazy, just as she always did.
            Maybe it was just a typical kid thing, but Joci was always thrilled to see me. It was mutual.  Joci was so happy and energetic that you couldn’t help enjoying yourself around her.  She was really just an awesome kid, and I knew it had everything to do with her mother.  I peeked through Joci’s hair over to Gabi, who was watching us.  She had her top lip pulled through her teeth, but her eyes were shining and I knew she was trying to suppress a grin.
            “Come on and show me that pretty smile Gabi,” I said, lowering Joci to the floor. I led her by the hand over to where her mother stood, taking the opportunity to look her over.
            Damn, she looks good.
            Gabi was wearing a dress the color of orange sherbet, made of a fabric that clung to her curves, but flowed away from the rest of her body every time she moved.  The sleeves reached her elbows, her hem reached her knees, and she was showing just a hint of cleavage, but still, it was sexy as hell.
            Her lips parted into a smile as I closed the distance between us, pulling her into a hug and giving her the same kiss on the forehead I had given Joci. 
            “Trying something different, are we?” Gabi asked, reaching up to stroke my beard, which I had allowed to grow a little longer than usual. “I like it.  It makes you look more distinguished.”
            “Daddy says he’s gonna grow a big beard like Santa,” Joci chimed in, still giggling as she grabbed one of each of our hands.
            Gabi’s eyes widened as she turned to me. “Oh, is that so?”
            “Well, I didn’t agree to Santa-length,” I said, giving Joci a fake scowl. “But, my baby girl said she wanted to see me with a puffy beard, so we’re doing a puffy beard.”
            When I looked from Joci back to Gabi, she was staring at me, with her lips slightly parted. “You do anything this girl asks you to do, don’t you?”
            “Anything in my power.” I flashed a smile at her, which made her blush.
            What the hell was that?
            That was… new.  It had been a long time since I’d been able to make Gabi blush with just a smile.  When it came to me, those feelings of hers were an impenetrable wall.  Sure, we were on great terms.  I would even be comfortable calling Gabi a very good friend. But anything that even looked like it might want to consider implying a hint of something of a romantic nature, she immediately shut down.  To her, that part of our lives didn’t exist anymore, a conclusion she probably came to after I started officially dating Sabrina, shortly after Gabi left for Dallas.
            But I wasn’t with Sabrina anymore.  I wasn’t with anybody now, and that blush, paired with the fact that she wouldn’t meet my eyes now gave me a bit of hope that maybe, if I went about it the right way, Gabi and I could pick up where we left off.
            “So,” I said, picking up my suitcase as we exited the airport. “I was thinking I could maybe take two of the most beautiful girls in Texas to dinner and a movie tonight.”
            “Yeah! Yeah, can we see the one with the ice princesses?” Joci stopped walking to look up at me with pleading eyes.
            “Of course, sweetheart.  Whatever you want to see.”
            “Uh, actually,” Gabi said, allowing the end of the word to trail off. “I, uh… have a little… dinner… plan… thingy.”
            My energy deflated a little. “You mean… a date?”

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Eat, Read And Grow Together

Want to know the biggest reason that I love McDonald’s?  They care!  And I’m talking about my money.  They care about me and my family beyond being customers.  And this me and my family can testify about, especially my baby brother who received McDonald’s scholarships two years in a row to help pay for his college education!  The McDonald’s in my hometown has donated to multiple charity and school events that I had the pleasure of being a part of.
There are hundreds more stories and hundreds of more individuals from across the country who could probably tell you stories of how their local McDonald’s have gone beyond the duty of just taking orders.  McDonald’s commitment to caring is something that their company as a hold is about.  There latest display of this commitment will be taking place starting November 1st on National Family Literacy Day.  
Dedicated to being advocates for children’s happiness and well-being, McDonald’s will be putting an original McDonald’s Happy Meal Book inside every Happy Meal ordered between November 1st to November 20th.  Over 20 million families here in the US will now have access to limited-edition children’s books that will combine nutrition, imagination and play in a fun and enjoyable way while helping our children to devlop a sense of community.  Each book will feature McDonald’s Happy Meal characters like Ferris, Deana the dinosaur, Goat, Ant and Doddi the dodo bird.  Your children will recognize them from the new McDonald’s Happy Meal commercials.
McDonald’s has also partnered with Reading is Fundamental (RIF) in effort to help families discover the joy of reading.  RIF will be will distributing 100,000 copies of Happy Meal Books to families across the country who do not have access to books.  “Books are essential for inspiring children to explore, dream, and achieve, yet far too many children do not have this basic resource,” says Carol Hampton Rasco, RIF CEO.  “To change this unfortunate reality, RIF is uniting with McDonald’s, a company that embraces the transformative power of books and is committed to helping families and communities thrive.  Together, McDonald’s and RIF can truly help enrich kids’ lives through access to books and by putting the fun back into reading.”
Also, partnering with McDonald’s is award winning global publisher DK Publishing.  In addition to the print books inside of the Happy Meals, families will also be able to access interactive digital books starting November 1st through the end of 2014.  These books will be available through McDonald’s Happy Meal app, McPlay, McDonald.com and MeEncanta.com.  The first interactive e-book will be The World’s Greatest Cities, part of DK Publishing’s new Amazing World Series.
This Friday, the YUMMommy will be helping our local McDonald’s to celebrate going beyond encouraging families to eat together by attending Family Reading Together Night!
We love books.  Around here we’re not just committed to eating together,  but reading and growing together.  So, I challenge all you parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents and guardians to commit to eating, reading and together with our children!!  They are our future and that future will only be as bright as we help them to make it.  Let’s commit to caring more about giving them the tools they need to succeed and have a good life.  Be sure to check with your local McDonald’s to see if they will be hosting events for National Family Literacy Day.

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Lazy Saturday

Today was a lazy Saturday.  I didn’t answer any business emails or take any calls.  I’ve been feeling like I’m burning the candles at both ends lately.  And that just can’t happen.  So, I took some time to just focus on relaxing and enjoying time with the kids.

We enjoyed some time at the library.  The kids got some cool Thanksgiving books.  Moo’s favorite is Nate the Great Talks Turkey.  I picked up a few books too.  I’m trying to diversify my reading list.  And I was pleasantly surprised that the book above is actually turning out to be pretty interesting.  I’ve already submitted a request for books one and three.

And I also took time out to make biscuits from scratch for both breakfast and dinner.  The Mr was very impressed because I don’t often make scratch biscuits.  Plus, I think the few times I have made them he’s always been at work or I was out of town at my mom’s.  I think this is going to be something I do on a weekly basis.

I feel a little recharged.  Let’s hope this feeling lasts until Monday because that’s Turkey and Ham Shopping Day!

Tried out the heart shaped cutter from my CCLP conference goodie bag.
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Putting on Our Crowns

Did you know that inside everyone of us as women is the power to find our inner queendom?  According to the Queen-Queen Latifah that is-“there seem to be an epidemic of lousy self-esteem in this country, especially among young women,…We ladies have stopped putting ourselves first, and I wanted to share something with you that would help you feel empowered and make you recognize the individual and innate beauty that is you.”  Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom is Grammy Award winning songstress, talk show hostess, Oscar nominated actress, Queen Latifah’s author debut.

In her book, Queen is quick to point out to readers that she “never set out to be anyone’s role model. That’s too much responsibility for any flawed human being to carry.”  She also lets it be known that this is not some mapped out self-help book either.  Instead, she bares her soul and shares some of her most intimate stories and experiences of success, fear, love and much more to serve as guides or lights on readers individual journeys through life.

Put on Your Crown is pretty much like saying ‘here are the mistakes I’ve made.  This is what works and this is what doesn’t work.’  A conversation similar to the ones many of us have shared with older siblings or our closest friends.  This is certainly a must read for all women out there, especially those of color.  Join the female empowerment movement by picking up this book.  Don’t forget to share this book with your daughters, sisters, mothers and friends.

You can purchase Queen Latifah’s Put on Your Crown at the following retailers:

or
You can enter for a chance to win a copy by commenting on this post.
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