Posted in Family

A Look Back at 2018

man beach holiday woman
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As we come to the final day of 2018. I can’t help but reflect on the year that I’ve had.

If I could characterize this year…I would say that 2018 has been a year of change for myself and for my family. It has also been a year of faith as we stepped out into unfamiliar waters.

In March I officially published my first book, “ The Death of Marriage: A Lesson in Love.” , through Christian Faith Publishing. One day I hope to write a few blog post on marriage and surviving infidelity.

However, this book has opened the door for me to share my experience with other women and offer them hope for their own marriages and working through the healing process.

In June, I walked away from my job of 10 years as a high school science teacher to become a stay at home mom. We have had to adjust from living on a dual income to a single income while trying to raise 4 kids.

It has certainly been a learning process for us as a family. But I still believe that it was and still is God’s will for our family and that all the sacrifices have been worth it. We are not experts at it yet and we still have a way to go in learning how to live on a budget and make budget-friendly choices.

author blog create creative
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In August, I started this blog, The Crafty Afro, it took me forever to work up the courage to even start it. I felt like no one would care about what I had to say or even read what I wrote.

And even though I don’t have 1000’s of followers I am just grateful to have a place to express what’s on my heart and share the things that I care about. I only have 29 followers, but I am grateful to every one of you.

My Top 5 Post of the year were:

It appears that my crafting corner is quite the hit!

chocolate cupcake with white and red toppings
Photo by Plush Design Studio on Pexels.com

In October my daughter turned one. If you would have asked me 2 years ago if I wanted a little girl the answer would have been, No. But I can’t imagine my life without my daughter. She has changed me in some many ways.

In many ways, she has made me more aware of my feminine side and softened me up a little. I have always been a staunch tomboy. Even now I’d rather wear a pair of jeans and a comfy shirt, then put on a dress and heels.

Having boys definitely played to my strengths as a tomboy. My husband didn’t mind it as much. He would fuss that I didn’t dress up enough, but it wasn’t a deal breaker.

But now because of her, I find myself being a little more mindful of my looks and the things I wear. I’ve learned to be a little softer in my responses to her and her brothers. I’ve never wanted to paint nails and have pretend tea parties.

But my daughter has definitely opened my heart to the possibility of doing those things if that’s what she wanted to do.

At the end of October, my eldest son (who was 7 at the time) was suspended from school for accidentally bringing a pocket knife to school. This was his first year of public school and he’s never been suspended for anything before. Unfortunately, this incident made him a target at his school.

The weeks that followed were stressful and tumultuous for us. We were told that none of the kids at school knew why he was suspended only to find out that his teacher had done a lesson on the incident with his classmates.

Everything he said was monitored by the teacher and other students. I was called to the office because he said a joke, from a kids joke book, about shooting a bee with a “bee bee” gun.

They sent him to the counselor because he said if he was the governor of Virginia he would have guns (They were doing a lesson about the settlers and Native Americans!). At this point, we went into fasting and prayer for my son and the issues he was facing at school.

He began to be scared of going to school and was constantly afraid of getting in trouble for anything he said. As a parent nobody wants their child to feel that way. But after a month of prayer, fasting, and visiting the school. Things have calmed down.

As you can imagine I didn’t do a lot of posting to my blog during that time.

Now, we find ourselves in December.

people doing marathon
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In my infinite wisdom and in somewhat an attempt to re-live my glory days as a college athlete. I signed up to run the 3000m in an actual track meet! I had been ” training” since October and I felt pretty good running 2 miles.

So yea…this 35-year-old mother of 4 got her butt on the track and raced against young ladies in their prime. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I contemplated if I had lost my mind.

As I ran 15 laps around a 200m track…by the time I got to the halfway mark I seriously considered stopping and just walking off.

But all the while I could hear the voices of my kids, husband, and parents cheering me on. I couldn’t let my loved ones down even if I came in last place.

I finished (15:24). I survived. Not in glorious victory like I had hoped, but I pushed through it. I didn’t come in last lol  There is a meet in January…but I’m not making any racing promises.

After all that has happened, I am looking forward to wrapping up the last day of the new year. We’re not doing anything fancy.

My son turns 8 today and we’re going to celebrate his birthday and then bring in the New Year with our church family.

2018 has been a good year for us. Full of challenges and new endeavors. I’m looking forward to 2019 and all that God has in store for us.

How has your 2018 turned out? I hope that you will take the time and reflect on your own progress this year and see how far you’ve come in 365 days.

See You Next Year,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Crafting Corner

Crochet Blankets and Scarves for Christmas

It’s Christmas eve and I’ve finally finished all of those crocheted Christmas presents that I foolishly promised people I would make. A superman themed baby blanket, 2 blankets (lap blankets), and a hat and scarf set.

The first blanket I made using:

Isaac Mizrahi Yarn (Sutton, 7 balls)

Q/16 mm Hook

Darning needle

I really love the color of this yarn. It’s a super bulky yarn so the project worked up pretty quickly.

I’m not big on fashion, but apparently, Isaac Mizrahi is an important designer. I was lucky and found this yarn on sale at A.C. Moore. Seven balls of yarn for $5.

The pattern for this yarn consisted of double crochets and single crochets. Unfortunately, I forgot to bookmark the pattern. If I find the link I will make sure to add it to the site.

The second blanket I made using:

Isaac Mizrahi Yarn (Sutton, 7 balls)

P/11.5 mm Hook

Darning Needle

I used the same yarn for this blanket I just used a different pattern. Instead of trying to do something fancy I just made a blanket using granny squares. Since the yarn acrylic and wool, both blankets turned out to be pretty warm.

My last Christmas gift was a hat and yarn set. Honestly, I really like the scarf, but I’m not thrilled about the hat. She wanted a slouchy had, but somehow it didn’t turn on like I imagined.

For this project I used:

Grey Crochet Hat & Yarn Set

Studio Classic Yarn (Grey, 1 Jumbo roll)

K/6.50 mm Hook

L/8.00 mm Hook

Darning needle

I followed the pattern here to make the slouchy hat. However, I didn’t have bulky yarn so I just used two strands of the grey yarn.

Grey crochet hat

The scarf was made using a half double crochet stitch with the stitches crocheted in the back loops only.

Chain 142 stitches

Round 1: Insert hook into the second chain, half double crochet into that stitch and all the remaining stitches.

Round 2: Chain 1. Half double crochet into the back loops only. Repeat until you achieve the desired width.

Then I added the tassels at the end.

The hat is not my best work. I am still trying to figure out what kind of embellishments to put on it to make it look better. However, the scarf turned out great.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Family, parenting

What Not To Do When Your Child Says They’re Ugly

rear view of a boy sitting on grassland
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You’re beautiful, my sister is beautiful, my brother is handsome, and I’m ugly…No, parent wants to hear their child utter such words. But this beautiful morning my 7-year-old son did.

I was taken aback by his statement. Why would he say such a thing? Who had told him he was ugly?

As a mom, my brain went on high alert.

How do I fix this? How do I convince him that he is not ugly?! Better yet, what child do I need to yell at for saying such a thing to my child?!

So I asked him,” Why do you think you’re ugly?”.

“Well mom my teeth are crooked and my face looks weird”, he said.

“Your face isn’t weird. You’ve got two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and two ears. And everybody’s teeth are crooked at this age. ” I replied.

It’s easy, for an adult, to tell a child not to worry about what other people think. Even though most adults are constantly worried about the same thing.

Sadly, we live in a world that constantly puts pressure on adults and children to be like someone else.

Yes, we are becoming more accepting of different body types, and skin tones, but at the same time still promoting an ideal of physical perfection.

When was the last time you’ve seen a model with acne or movie star with crooked teeth? (That wasn’t part of their character).

Perfect skin. Perfect hair. Everyone needs to have a boyfriend/girlfriend or some unrequited love.

Whether we realize it or not, our children feel the pressure to conform just as much as we do.

In a previous conversation my son told me he didn’t want to be alone.

He needed friends and a girlfriend.

I’m thinking to myself,” Where is he getting these ideas?”

I for one am not a fan of kids having boyfriends/girlfriends in elementary school.

Crushes, sure. But being in a committed relationship at 7 or 8. No, thank you. Let’s just be kids and have innocent fun.

But at the age of 7, he is already wrestling with the ideas of loneliness and what the ideal boy looks like.

And as far as he’s concerned it doesn’t look like him.

I don’t even remember being concerned with those things at that age. I don’t even think I started to really like boys until I was 10/11.

As you can see I jumped head first into this conversation. I will admit that there are plenty of things I should have done differently.

Here are my top 5 tips on what NOT to do when your child says they’re ugly or expresses any other kind of negative self talk for that matter:

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

1. Instantly Correct Their Negative Self-Talk

I think this is probably the hardest part for parents. Nobody, wants to hear their child talk negatively about themselves. Our first instinct is to jump in and reassure them that their negative perceptions are wrong.

However, this is the wrong way to solve this problem. Instantly, correcting their negative self talk sends a message to your child that how they feel is wrong and their perceptions of themselves (whether you believe it’s true or not) are not valid.

2. Take Over the Conversation

The instant my son shared his feelings with me, I began to take over the conversation. Telling him what he was and what he wasn’t. Providing justification why my opinion was right and he was wrong.

This is hard to do, but as parents sometimes we just need to keep our mouth shut. Instead of trying to talk, we should focus more on trying to listen.

Ask your child open ended questions about why they feel or think that way. Let them do the talking for a change.

3. Downplay Their Feelings

As grown up’s we know that children can and do overreact to things. However, that is not a valid reason to brush off or downplay what they are feeling.

In a time where more kids are committing suicide because of bullying and feeling isolated, we as parent’s can’t ignore out children’s emotions.

Children usually don’t come to their parents or adults about bullying and other harmful situations because they think that we will just brush them off or tell them to toughen up.

I know I have been guilty of this with my son, but I’m trying to do better.

4. Refuse To Share Your Own Stories

When your kids are small they believe that their parents are superheroes and most teenagers believe that their parents have never struggled with anything.

After you’ve listened and validated your child’s feelings, then it’s time to share your own stories. Our kids need to know that grown up’s struggle with or have struggled with the same issues that they face.

Low self-esteem was something I struggled with as a child and even as an adult I still struggle with it sometimes.

As I grew older I became more accepting of who I was and my body image. I could have shared my story with him, but I didn’t. I should have.

5. Forget To Lift Them Up

Now is the time to tell your child what you think of them and how you feel about them. Remind them of how great and awesome you think they are.

If you are a Christian provide your child with Biblically based affirmations.

My son decided to give his life to Christ when he was about 5.

As Christians, our self-worth and our self-esteem should be based on Christ not on the world’s standards. 

…I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalms 139:14

I reminded my son, of Psalms 139:14,”… I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”.

God has made each and every one of us unique. We are like a piece of art made by the almighty creator.

Some people will think it’s beautiful and some just won’t get it. But to God, we are beautiful. We are his masterpiece. The work of his hands.

Final Thoughts

As a parent, it’s hard to see your child struggling with these issues, but the best thing we can do is be there for our children.

Oh, and don’t forget to give them a big hug and a kiss ( if they’ll let you).

I would love to hear what other parents have to say about this issue. I have 3 more kids that I’m sure I’ll have to go through this with. So any advice is welcome.

If you can think of more tips or things that I could have done differently. Please share them in the comments below.

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Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro