Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tis' the Season for My Love and Dislikes

I have a love/dislike relationship with the holiday season. 

Being an only child and a self proclaimed black sheep I have rarely ever had the big holiday gatherings that I have dreamt of. I rarely get invited to gatherings and when I do, I rarely want to go. I usually avoid gatherings as to avoid my own personal "awkward black girl" thing. To me, the actual holiday itself is usually disappointing, mostly because after eating the meal or opening the gifts the rest of the day is boring. Most people I've been around during the holidays tend to retreat to their designated corners to tinker with their gifts, take a nap or watch T.V. Honestly, I don't know what I expect.  

The stress that comes along with the holidays from having to uphold your end of the "bargain" by giving gifts or being appreciative when receiving a gift gives me a headache. I don't want gifts for the holidays. I want something more. I'm still uncertain as to what. I do know that it is filled with warmth, sparkle, warm fuzzies and holding hands. I'm a dreamer. I dislike feeling as if I need to get something for people on a certain day. I feel like this mostly because life is already stressful enough without having to remember to buy a gift and to get the gift right. Have you ever stood in the middle of a mall trying to figure out what to buy for a person with no clue of where to start? I'm sure I may be a bit biased in my stress because shopping is just not my thing. I'd rather take a cold shower on the coldest day of the year with my heater broken. Speaking of gifts, sometimes they are just not in my budget. I'm more concerned with what's on my budget like, making sure my kid can take dance lessons or saving enough money so I can update things in my house or finally giving my family that awesome vacation that we deserve. Can't we have a holiday day where we give love instead of stuff that cost money? Is it possible for this to exist and people REALLY just be appreciative of the moment instead of how many items they receive or what someone else brought to the table?  Give me gifts on my birthday. Those are fun.

We have been so conditioned to expect things due to the commercialization of holidays. I love the holiday decoration, the traditions, my own beliefs for the season and the spirituality that comes with the holiday time. I love the goodwill towards men. I love the holiday spirit. While the actions of others to give toys, food and other items to collection organizations give me the warm fuzzies, the stress that is put on parents to find these places, qualify to get the items and in some cases, swallow their pride to wait in line to get the items makes my heart hurt. Why does this even have to be a thing? I mean...I get it...but geesh......I dislike the commercialization.

After all of this, yes, I dislike when the holidays are over. It's so sad to me that all of the decor comes down. I get a little misty eyed knowing that I can't just turn on the radio to hear Christmas music. I often wonder why the kind gestures from people that come from being in the holiday spirit goes away. Can you imagine what an awesome world we could have if we stayed in the "holiday spirit" all year. I do like that we can get back to our regular schedules and that my businesses slow season comes to an end. Happy Thanksgiving Eve. Appreciate your family and take it easy on yourself. Don't let others expectations, determine your expectations.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

No doubts

Let me tell you what not doubting God and staying positive in a storm will do: 

Yesterday after an awesome day at AP I went outside to start my car and it would not come on. I called my husband several times but could not reach him. I posted to FB about me being "stuck". 

Honestly, I was happy that it was at AP where I had AC! Finally, I called my mom and she came over to pick me up. She dropped me off and about 5 minutes later my husband arrived at home. His phone had died and he had forgotten his charger. I told him about the car and we ventured back over to AP to see if he could get it on. No luck. I could see the frustration in his eyes. (Our cars are 2000 models, we really need NEW cars. One of the ways we've cut cost over the years WHILE TRYING TO ESTABLISH A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS is by having no car payments. The downside has been the maintenance of the old models at times over the years. I am even grateful that my car was given to me by my no cost when we really needed to get another vehicle lately). I told him not to worry and that God would take care of us! I asked him not to worry but to instead to pray and BELIEVE that God would provide just what we needed. 

Back to my story......
He took Amaya and I back home so we could prepare for the evening. We ate dinner after which he began searching for a rental vehicle. I would need a vehicle because he goes to work early and I would need a way to get Amaya to dance camp and for me to get to work. It's the Independence Day weekend so all of the vehicles are a much higher cost than normal.  Once again I called my mother for the rescue. She agreed to take Amaya to camp in the morning and to take me to work as well. I love my mom......So it was all settled, I didn't need the car. Next up was calling AAA. Thomas set up the tow truck and we ventured back to AP.  It was 10pm.  I dropped him off with plans of picking him up from the mechanic shop after the car was towed.  I got Amaya back home and prepared for bed with a heads up that I may need to wake her up so we could go get daddy. Around 10:45pm I got a call from my husband saying that he was on his way home with my car. AAA got the car to turn on! Apparently the car gear was not completely in park therefore it would not cut on!! Seriously?! Lol! 
I'm so grateful to God! Something that would have been way more stressful and could have cost us a LOT of money was no issue at all!  Not once did I doubt God for a solution or get frustrated about the situation. God is truly good! 


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Meet our Newest Family Member!

Amaya Papaya is closed all week! I get to play, complete projects or do basically whatever I want to do for 7 full days!  I'm calling this time my "rejuvenation week". I plan to relax, complete some projects, refocus spiritually and organize my house for summer!  

One of the things I've wanted to do for the longest was adopt a dog that I could make my running buddy. He would ultimately be Amaya's dog so he'd need to like her a lot and be willing to sleep in her room or close by.  Since I'm off for a few days I figured this may be the best time to incorporate a new addition into our family life. On Monday, Amaya and I headed to the animal shelter after school to check out the dogs that were available for adoption. We visited the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando and Seminole County Animal Control. There were so many dogs. Most of them were older. We definely had our hearts set on getting a younger dog that could grow through the tween and teen years with Amaya. We finally came across a cute boxer named Benji. We were able to sit with him, walk around with him and interact. 
He was perfect! We decided to rescue him and immediately completed his adoption paperwork. One of the things we noticed was that he didn't really respond to his name. Amaya decided that she wanted to change his name to one that fit our family personality more. That would mean naming him after a Disney character of course!  After she selected a few names I posted to my Facebook page asking for help with deciding upon the best name. Stitch was the overwhelming choice of most. Luckily it was......that's the name Amaya picked as well!! 

When he arrived at our home. We introduced him to our 12 year old chihuahua Simba. Simba has been with my husband and I since before we were married. He's seen us get married (literally, he was in the wedding) and he was right there when Amaya came home after she was born. I think it may take a few days for Simba to adjust. He's not used to being around other dogs. Please pray that his adjustment is peaceful and fast. ☺️.  

Stitch loved his first encounter with our huge back yard. He ran in circles so fast! He's also great at fetch! Currently, he is sleeping at the foot of Amaya's bed. He's snoring so loud! I hope this finally keeps Amaya in her own bed. 😁

I'm looking forward to our new journey with Stitch. I hope he likes his new home. Amaya is sure happy that he has join our family.     

Sunday, May 8, 2016

What does the Amaya Papaya logo mean?

As we take time to reflect on the importance of Mothering, I would like to share with you my inspiration for the Amaya Papaya name and logo. AMAYA PAPAYA is a TERM OF ENDEARMENT FOR MY DEAREST DAUGHTER (and best business partner ever) Amaya.

When I was pregnant with Amaya I dreaded the thought of getting STRETCH MARKS!! It was not until 2 days before I gave birth that the first stretch mark appeared, from that moment on they spread like wild fire! I was devastated (or so I thought, vain I know).

Once Amaya was born my favorite song to sing to her was MY GIRL by the Temptations. The first line was so true..."I got SUNSHINE on a cloudy day".... Amaya was truly my SUNSHINE in the mist of anything that I was going through as a new mom.

When Amaya began to speak she would ask me about the boo boo's on my belly. I would tell her that they were not boo boo's at all. I began telling her that the stretch marks where SUN RAYS that I was blessed with when she was inside my belly.

As I began to think of a logo for Amaya Papaya, I thought that nothing would be more fitting than the SUNSHINE to represent Amaya and every other child that a parent has been blessed with. If you took the sunshine in our logo and turned it sideways where the sun rays are facing down it would appear as if it were a mama's belly with sun rays beaming from it.  Isn't that beautiful and so true! 

Ask Amaya....she will tell you how she put the SUNSHINE on mommy's belly! If your ever at Amaya Papaya and you hear the song "My Girl" playing please excuse me if I get a bit teary eyed. After all it's "our song" and it reminds me of my forever blessing.....MY GIRL. 

I am ever grateful to have been chosen to be her mommy. I come from a long line of amazing women and I look forward to watching Amaya become an amazing woman as well. 

Now with the addition of my new mission and movement, Bomb Mom, I hope to inspired and support other moms to be their greatest self.  Bomb Mom grew out of my daily interaction with mothers at Amaya Papaya.  Through those moms I see a need for a motherhood empowerment movement that will address the mental health of mom, her need for non-judgemental bonds with other moms and overall support for her on her journey as a mom. 

Happy Mother's Day Bomb Moms! 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Captain America: Civil War Epicness

I had the chance to see an advanced screening of Captain America: Civil War.

The action was continuous from start to finish! My husband, daughter and I are huge super hero fans. We have seen every movie that Marvel has released over the years. This movie delivered what all of those movies of the past deliver and more! It was by far the best Marvel production ever! The stunts were epic. I think my heart palipitated through the entire movie! The roster of super heroes that joined the cast in this movie was a super hero fans delight. Each hero delivered on their individual character and we even got to see some huge surprises.  By far,  my favorite character was Mr. Chris Evans, Captain America himself. Ladies, this man in gorgeous (sorry, I had to say it, lol). I am Team Captain America...because his heart was in the right place, of course. 
This movie is a must see for the entire family however,  I will caution parents that there is some language to be mindful of(the movie is PG-13).

*The views expressed in this blog are those of Amaya Papaya's mom. I was not paid to review this movie. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Mommin' Ain't Easy

Ok let's face it, we moms are our own worst critic. We spend our days taking care of little humans, trying to make sure we are the best parents possible and still at the end of the day some of us feel like we didn't do enough. Our not enough is not doing enough for our kids, not doing enough for everyone else and most of all not doing enough to take care of ourselves. Truth be told, we most likely meet the needs of everyone and every obligation except for those of ourselves. How many times have you bathed your child, brushed their teeth and made sure they went to sleep peacefully yet, you crash on the couch without a bath or clean breath? 

The past few weeks I've been feeling uneasy. So many things regarding motherhood in general, my community and my own parenting journey have had me on edge. I want to find answers, I want to be my best, I want to help as many moms as I can achieve peace. 

I've wondered to myself some of the following things:

1.) How do I create my tribe? 

I have friends. I do not have a best friend. I have friends but I don't have that group of friends that I call my tribe. I think one of the reason I'm in a constant state of oneness is because I'm an only child (disclaimer: I'm my mothers only child, I have siblings via my father however, I was raised as an only by my mother). Finding friends has always been easy. Creating temporary best friends hasn't been a problem....keeping a real long term female best friend has never happen for me. (Disclaimer: my first best friend passed away when I was 14. She's been irreplaceable) 

2.) How do I not feel guilty when telling people that I can't or that don't want to do something? 

I've mastered the art of saying no. In most cases,  I'm often a giver of no fucks.  Then there are those times when the guilt of saying no consumes me. This happens especially when those people I say no to are those that usually say yes to me. I feel selfish....but man, I'm usually saying no because I'm just so tired. 

3.) How do I help my child free friends/colleagues understand and not take personal me not wanting to participate in extracurricular activities...especially ones that take place after I've worked and mommed all day. 

I just want to go home, put my child to sleep after dinner and disconnect. 

4.) How do I protect Amaya from the crazy world? 

Yikes! I walk a thin line between being a mama bear and the mother of a free spirited child. I want Amaya to experience the real word but at the same time I want to protect her from the unfairness of the word too. I don't want her to experience heartbreak yet I want her to be tuff enough to deal if it should come her way. 

5.) Am I living up to my greatest potential? 

There are so many things that I want to achieve in my lifetime. There are so many people that I want to help. How do I achieve these things while also being fully present for my family? 

6.) Organization

How do I keep life organized when living life? One of my favorite sayings is: homes are not messy, they are lived in. How do we achieve complete organization while raising children? Will that mother come help me? Please? 

I believe that everything happens as it should. I guess that is what helps me during the times I feel so overwhelmed. I believe that God never puts more on us than we can bear. I just wish my inner self  would acknowledge this!

What inner dialogue do you have with yourself about mothering? 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Bomb Mom Stories: Donating Breast Milk After Miscarriage

On a busy Thursday afternoon at Amaya Papaya a sweet mama walked in to drop off her donated breast milk. Amaya Papaya is a breast milk drop off location for Get PUMPed so initially, the moment was routine.  Every donation is special. I love getting to celebrate the mamas for such a huge act of love. While every donation drop off is amazing, this moment and this act of love would leave a huge impact on my heart. Like normal, I asked for the container that the milk was transported in so I could take it back to the freezer to be stored. I noticed that the mama was hesitant to let the milk go, literally. She said "I'm not ready to let it go". I asked her how old her baby was....she looked at me with loving eyes and told me that she had lost her child a few weeks ago. In that moment everything that was happening in the lounge stopped. It was just that sweet mama and I. I noticed her eyes begin to fill with tears so I asked her if I could offer her a hug. We embraced. Mama support is one of the most powerful forms of energy another mom can show to another mom.  I offered her the chance to be able to walk to the freezer with me to unload the milk from her cooler. She gladly accepted! We walked back through the busy lounge to the freezer. I'm not going to lie....all types of thoughts popped into my mind about the mom seeing other babies playing.  While at the freezer I asked her about her family. I was really hesitant to ask if this was her only child, but to my surprise she was very open I'm a counselor by trade, so I am very cautious about asking people to much without a sign that they are willing to share more. She told me about her two small daughters and how the baby that she lost was her first born son.
 While she transferred the milk to the freezer I offered to take a picture of her doing so and of course all 164oz of milk that she donated! More hugs and some laughs later we headed back to the front where we chatted a bit more about her son Dominic and most important how she was feeling about the drop off. This milk was the last "physical" reminder of her son that she could see, feel or smell. I messaged her the picture that I had taken and gave her another hug before she left.  Later that night when I got home I messaged her to share how this moment made a huge impact on me.  I asked her if I could share the story about her drop off on my blog and if there was anything that she wanted me to include about her story. I was surprised to receive back such an amazing text about her birth and her son Dominic.  This sweet mama's name is Sharita. Here is her story in her words........ 

"I was 16 weeks pregnant when I went into preterm labor with Dominic on February 9, 2016.  My boy was healthy, my body wasn't, I had just suffered a miscarriage in August of 2015. After eight hours in labor I had my first vaginal birth, he came feet first! My heart was broken, I hated my body and it has taken me a while to trust my body again. I didn't anticipate my milk coming in as the Doctor assured me it wouldn't, but it did.  Once it did, it was the most devastating thing after my loss, the milk that was supposed to nourish my baby was here, but my son was not.  I couldn't take the pain of my breast being engorged. I asked for advice from people in the ICAN (The International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc)  group.  One of the ladies suggested I donate my milk.  I knew it was the right thing to do.  I got in touch with Get PUMPed. They explained to me that donated milk stays local and that they don't charge for it.   I knew that was something I wanted to be a part of. I knew my son, even in death, would be a blessing to another baby and mom. In his name I wanted to help and do the right thing. 

Supporting a mother who has lost a child due to miscarriage in the second trimester can be tough.  For a while, I did not want to see another pregnant mom.  I did not want to hear a baby crying.  I found no comfort in pumping.

To offer support it is important to listen, encourage and also respect the mother's space.  Understand that she is not broken or handicap.  She is hurting. Everyone grieves differently and that is OK.  There is no comparison to the loss of a child. Don't compare your loss to another woman's loss."

Sharita was able to express her milk and store it with the donation of a brand new breast pump and supplies from Get PUMPed.  She says that Get PUMPed played a huge part in her donating her milk. Per federal mandate for insurance companies they cannot give a pump before 28 weeks.  Her milk was donated locally here in Orlando to a baby that was adopted! The mother who adopted the baby suffered her own loss previously by loosing two children via miscarriage and also pumped to donate milk after those losses as well. Upon accepting the milk from Sharita and Dominic she wrote Sharita a note.

About Get PUMPed: 

Get PUMPed(Providing Urgent Milk to Parents) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing breast milk to babies in Central Florida who, due to extraordinary circumstances, cannot be nursed by their biological mothers. We do not sell or buy breast milk. We facilitate the donation of milk from screened donors.

Starting this week I will select one mother's story a month to write about. These stories will be titled Bomb Mom Stories. The stories will be about the triumphs and challenges of motherhood. I am honored to share Sharita's story as the first blog in this series. 

About the Bomb Mom Movement: 
Bomb Mom by @amayapapayasmom is a modern mama movement that supports mothers at all stages of their parenting journey. 

Bomb Mom is a community of women who honor a "no judgement" approach to uplift each other while navigating the maze of motherhood.

If you are interested in sharing your story please email me at 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Jungle Book Live Action Movie

Tonight I had the honor of being able to watch an advanced screening of The Jungle Book with Amaya and some of my awesome customers from Amaya Papaya! 

Our group ranged in age from 1 years old to 40+. After the movie everyone was smiling and boasted about how good the movie was and how it held their attention the entire time. For the kids I think it must have been fun to see the characters brought to life. For the adults if they are anything like me, seeing the new movie stick to the story line however, giving a bit more depth to the story made the movie Epic. The end was indeed heartfelt and I cheered as a new ending was left open for us to only image what happens next. 

Each moment of the movie was captivating. I cried from joy and sadness, cheered as Mowgli ran as fast as he could, laughed at the cute moments and clung to my seat as Mowgli found himself in some pretty intense moments. 

Movie remakes are always a risk. Disney totally hit the ball out of the park with this one. Certainly a risk worth taking. My favorite character in the movie was definitely King Louie! He will now be know to me as the King of the Monkey Mafia! Him singing was nostalgic yet refreshingly mondern for this remake. 

*The views expressed in this blog are those of Amaya Papaya's mom. I was not paid to review this movie. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

April Fools Pregnancy Joke

I have mixed feelings about this. 

For 8 years on and off we struggled with not being able to get pregnant until finally this year we decided to let the dream go and that adoption would be in our future. 
Over the years to make light of my own situation I HAVE posted April fools pregnancy funnies. I'm not sure what has made me sadder...a friend posting that they are pregnant for real....or the relief I've felt around April fools day when someone says their post was a joke. Don't get me wrong. I find joy in others happiness but when you have a goal in mind and you keep failing while others seem to be winning it can be discouraging. 

I just don't know. I guess if you've been on both sides of the spectrum you could either feel like people are insensitive or like people are to sensitive.  I try my hardest not to judge other people as I could never walk in someone else's shoes. I don't want to. From my perspective, in the past I've posted because it helped me to make light of my own situation and helped me to laugh at myself. In my case I believe God knows what's best for me and what is meant to be will be. This year, I will not post an April fools pregnancy funny. Out of respect for the women who like me have struggled with infertility and who don't find it funny that happen to come across my post I'll remain pregnancy post free on April fools day.  Empathy and compassion are the first steps in being my sisters keeper.   I'm sure I can come up with something else that is sure to be way more epic and unforgettable. After all....I'm a huge jokester! 

What are your feelings on this topic? 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

I am a Mother Runner....I am!

This week I began running.........again. Consistency with running has become a great challenge that I must get over. For the past year I have started running again ....over and over and over again.
I love running. No, not in the way that I love Disney but, I do love running. Ok, it's more of a love hate thing, but once I'm consistent the benefits far outweigh the hate. Running gives me peace. This is the time I'm able to meditate and pray clearly with no distractions. I've never been good at praying. I'm sort of like Dori from finding Nemo when I pray. I start praying about one thing and then....oh! Running is great for my self diagnosed ADD. I can concentrate on going forward, listen to my music or nature and pray without ceasing for as long as I run. Winning! 

In 2014 I ran my first and only 1/2 marathon. It was a Disney race of course!
I was even featured on the Drink Chia blog during my training. I've run many 5K's and have discovered that 10K's are my sweet spot! A 10K is 6.2 miles. This distance gives me a bit more of a challenge than a 5K yet prevents me from trying to kill myself by trying to run 13.1 miles.  Don't get me wrong, I love the challenge of the 1/2 marathon however, as a mom and a business owner I barely have time to shower let alone train enough to get that mileage in.  I do have this crazy idea that I'd like to run the Walt Disney World Full Marathon in 2017 or 2018. Crazy. I know. I'm going to do it! 

I've found that being signed up for races is key for me to be motivated to run. This year so far I have run a 5K to support Autism. I was excited to sign up for this race as it included a medal also known as "bling" to the runner community.
Bling, is also a good motivator for me to run. It gives me something to remind me of my accomplishment. I am also signed up for my one Disney race of the year.  The Star Wars Dark Side 10K is sure to be a fun race! While I'm not a Star Wars fan, I am a Disney crazy lady. I'm trying to brush up on my Star Wars history by watching movies before the race. I'm planning to run as C3P0. 

If you are looking for stress relief I encourage you to start walking/running. It's a great way to relax and be healthy. If you would like to join me in my next race on April 9, I am giving away a FREE race registration this week on my Facebook page! If you miss the contest you can register for the 2nd Annual Live, Work, Move Seminole 5K online at

Be sure to join the Amaya Papaya team! 

Please pray for my running consistency 😜.  

Holiday Traditions

 I've always been the type of person that loves holiday traditions. Traditions have not always been something that was a big part of my life as a child, but I always knew that traditions would be a part of the life I would create for myself as an adult and for the child(ren) I would have one day. 

Aside from Christmas, Easter is my favorite holiday. I love to celebrate the sacrifice of my lord and savior Jesus Christ with my family.  It's a great time to be reminded of the reason we live this life. I love the tradition of getting the children dressed up in their Sunday's best. I can remember as a child getting a new dress and getting my hair done in candy curls. I am grateful to my mother for always making sure that Amaya has a new dress on Easter Sunday just as I did as a child. She reminded me of this tradition a few days ago when I told her that having a new dress wasn't a big deal......most likely to make myself feel better because I felt I lacked the time to go shopping. I'm usually working so much during the week and weekends at Amaya Papaya, that Easter week sneaks up on me and I end up rushing to be sure I have everything that Amaya "needs" to be ready for this special day.   This year she opted for a cute navy blue dress, a big difference from the flowered dress she and I picked out last year when I was able to take her shopping! I guess she's growing up. 

I love all things Disney. Anytime I can incorporate a tradition that involves Disney in my family's lives I'm ecstatic! Last year I came across a fun Easter event that Disney host at the Grand Floridian. They have giant chocolate Easter eggs on display in the lobby of the  resort. Each egg is designed to look like the scene of a Disney movie or character!  The smell is divine. This year we got to experience the Easter egg displays again. The designs were exquisite!
We even discovered that there was another display over at the Contemporary Resort. That display made me really happy as it featured an egg designed with my favorite princess, Ariel! 

This display is definitely an Easter holiday tradition that I hope my family continues to do every year.  Check out my Instagram account @amayapapayasmom to look for our family picture from last year. Here we are today after checking out the displays. 

Happy Easter from my family to yours! What are your favorite holiday traditions? 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Amaya's Dad on Potty Training

Potty training. Two little words that mean many things to parents. It could mean your little one is growing up. It could mean saving money on all those money-eating disposable diapers. For Mom, it could mean replacing a diaper bag with a change-of-clothes bag. For Dad, it could mean no more mall trips toting that lovely Disney Princesses Diaper Bag. It could mean breaking out in song; our drumming instructor, Mark, even has a song to sing that helps kids go potty! No matter what those words signify to you, they also mean consistency, effort and patience! 

When potty training your child, you have to be consistent with potty breaks. Have your little one sit on the potty chair with or without a diaper for several minutes each day. Don’t leave them alone; stay with them. Even if they sit there and don’t go, still praise them. We know how hard it is to have a 1 or 2 year old just sit still. My mom told me she set it up in the living room, in front of the TV to have me sit still, but that’s my mom! 

Be aware. When you notice your child is squirming, holding their private parts, or even squatting, get them to the potty fast! Become aware of the signs and help your child become aware of the signs, so they can begin to head to the toilet. After a couple of weeks of successful potty trips, it’s time to wear training pants (or underwear)!  My advice is to have your child wearing bottoms that are easily removed. Don’t put them in those farmer overalls that you need a college degree to unhook. Not being successful because your equipment is not setup for success is frustrating. Soon, you won’t even remember when they wore diapers! 

Be careful with incentive rewards. If you choose to use a reward system, it should be based on the day’s efforts, not on singular events. I was listening to a Freakonomics podcast a while back and a father thought he could use an economic incentive strategy to help his daughter potty train. He decided that he could reward her with M&Ms for successful bathroom trips. But, little did he know that KIDS ARE SMART. She figured out she could go and “tinkle” every 30 seconds and get a reward for each “tinkle.” Kids 1 - Dads 0. 

It’s a tough job, but its one that parents like you have been succeeding at for thousands of years. Look at the bright side; just think of all the funny potty stories you’ll be able to embarrass your child with when they reach adulthood. I remember when...well, I’ll save that story until Amaya is 21!

 *The information mentioned in this post are the opinions of the blog owner.....................

Use this potty training chart to help with your potty training success! 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Strawberry Picking Fun

Today was a rare Saturday off so when I saw the post on the Pappy's Patch U-Pick Strawberries notifying the public that they were open today I had fit it into my plans for the day!  My strawberry picking crew ended up being an all girls squad of awesomeness. My cousin, a fellow mommy friend and their daughters joined Amaya and I for a girls afternoon out of gathering. 

When you arrive at Pappy's Patch park just along the fence near the road. There are a few tables along the beginning of either side of the rows of berries loaded with crates or flats. Grab your desired container and then go picking! We arrived about 2 hours after the patch opened. The crowd was moderate. There were still lots of good berries to be picked. I've heard that on certain days it can get really crowded and that the berries can get picked really fast, so my advice would be to arrive earlier than we did. After you are done picking your berries head over to the shed where the nice staff (I believe it was one of the owners, I can't remember her name... BOMB Mom brain) will weigh your berries and complete your transaction. Be sure to bring cash. I paid just over $11 for 3 huge crates! 
I definitely recommend that you visit this local jewel in Oviedo, Fl. It's a great time and you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor, literally, for days....or in my case weeks to come (I'm freezing a bunch for smoothies)! 
Pappy's Patch U-Pick Strawberries is located in Oviedo, Fl off SR 434. Information about the patch can be found on their Facebook page under their name. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Don't Personalize Seasons

Going through my FB group pages tonight I noticed that a few people had disconnected themselves from the groups. At first thought I felt a little defensive and took personal the reason they may have disconnected. After a few minutes of thought I was reminded that for everything there is a season. People in our lives will connect, disconnect, reconnect or move on for various reasons. It's important not to personalize other's season. If we merely think of ourselves as rainbows in a persons cloud we will understand that a rainbow appears and then it disappears. There is often no specific beginning or a specific end. We may see an illusion of what appears to be a beginning or an end but it is simply a perception of the reality we choose to see. The only "person" I've ever heard of finding the end of a rainbow was a leprechaun...and they are not real.....I don't think...but maybe they are.
My lesson: Their season in the group is over. It is now my season to inspire someone new! That's exciting!
My word for you: Stop looking at what's not and pay attention to what is!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Adult Interaction

I just read a thread in a mom group that asked, "How many hours of adult interaction do you get, as a stay-at-home mom, a week besides with your spouse?". About 95% of the women said they got none. Throw on sleepless nights, crazy days, and no friends and you'll find a depressed and stressed out person.
Mama's, you have a very special job of holding down the fort, you GOTTA take care of yourself FIRST! (Crazy right) Accept company at home, no one cares, truly, that a hurricane frequently passes through your home leaving chaos in its wake. We all understand. Go out with a friend or 2, even if it's just to sit around. Join a local play and support group and come to their meet-ups. Socialize outside of the Internet.
To family and friends: Try not to take no for an answer when we say we don't need help or want to go out. It's not easy accepting help from others when we feel that we're supposed to do it all. We don't realize that sometimes we're drowning and need a hand or just someone to talk to. Heck! Come over and just let mama shower alone and sleep alone while you watch the littles in the living room. Bring a meal, even if we don't ask. Help tidy up, even though we all know it won't last long. Every little bit you do makes a difference and that mama will appreciate you more than words can describe.
Lots of love to all mama's out there! You're doing a GREAT job!

Blog written by Ashlie King
Ashlie King is the mom of Isaiah. She enjoys volunteering at Amaya Papaya and keeping cupcakes away from Amaya Papaya's mom! Ashlie is the Happy Momma Orlando for Happy Family Brand Foods.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Party Planning Guide

When planning parties for little ones I often encounter parents that are at a loss as to where they should start or simply lack time to properly organize without becoming totally frazzled.  My advice for parents is to do what makes party planning the least stressful and the most fun for your family, especially the birthday child. Since 2009 I have had the privilege of helping countless families plan their child's birthday celebration.   From the very simple play party to the most extravagant birthday blowout my staff and I have helped to create the "par-tay" magic! As my favorite shirt says: "I LOVE Parties" and nothing makes me happier than to help a parent create a day that they or their child will not forget.  Whether you are planning a birthday party at Amaya Papaya or another venue let me share my advice on planning the best celebration of your child's birth.

            Who are you planning to invite? Maybe you want to have a close family-only event, or maybe you want to invite 25 children (and their adults) to the party. If your child has a BFF, make sure you include them. Sending invitations out four to six weeks out usually ensures a good turnout to your party.
            What is your budget? Decide on a budget for your party. If you are looking to spend $100 or $1,000, you can create a memorable party for your little one. If you are looking at a venue to host your party, calculate the components of the party package within your budget. For example, at Amaya Papaya, half of our party packages include invitations, paper products and balloons, so you could deduct these items off your "to purchase" list.

            What are you going to do? Themed parties can be so much fun! If your child has a favorite character, movie, or television show, you can use this to determine the theme. Discover your creative side to develop a theme, or you can peruse sites, such as Pinterest, to give your creative side a kick-start! In addition to a theme, you might want to add entertainment. Balloon artists, face painters, bounce houses, characters and a DJ might be fun to add to a party. Make sure you contact your entertainment at least 6 weeks out from your event; they might require a deposit. Certain venues, like Amaya Papaya, are the entertainment. If your budget is tight, put your extra money toward your food and drink. Your guests will enjoy your party better.


            When will you start your party? One decision is weekday vs. weekend. On a weekend, more of your scheduled guests will be able to attend. For older children, a weekday party might be preferred; it stays clear of Saturday sports, rehearsals, etc. The time of day matters as well. If you plan to serve a meal, have your party during lunch or dinner times. If you are not planning to serve a meal, then plan your party between traditional meal times.


            Where do you want to hold your party? Home parties can be less expensive and you are not confided to time restraints. Venues, like Amaya Papaya, can be fun, exciting, and they make your job a lot easier, especially the cleanup.  Local parks can be a fun place for a party. Make sure you contact the local Parks and Recreation Department to secure the location. When choosing to host your party at any venue, reserve your spot as early as possible to ensure you are able to get your desired time and location.


            Why are you hosting a party? Parties are supposed to be fun, so don’t forget the fun items such as: goodie bags for each guest, party games like a piñata or pin the tail on the donkey, and a fun music play list that gets the party going. Throughout the entire process, don’t lose sight of the reason you are hosting a party: to celebrate the birth of your child with family and friends. Make sure you take plenty of pictures to remember to have fun!

I hope this advice has been helpful and that it makes your party planning stress free. This year for my daughters birthday she opted on a destination party after having countless parties at Amaya Papaya over the years.  My husband and I planned every activity yet left room for alterations in the schedule. It was a fabulous day for her and her guest. My husband and I left the party happy also. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Vision Board Planning for 2016

When I was a counselor one of the coolest things I did with my clients was to have them create vision boards. A vision board is a really simple craft project that helps you to reflect on goals you may have or things you may want to manifest in life. To create a vision board you gather pictures, single words or quotes that you would like to adhear to a board.

When I was in the preparation phase for Amaya Papaya I created a huge double sided vision board. The board helped me to organize my ideas about various play areas and the type of toys I wanted to have at my facility. This really helped me in establishing my vision for Amaya Papaya as a creative play space called a playlounge that mostly offered kid powered & classic toys. 

5 Benefits of a Vision Board
  • Helps you to visualize your goals
  • Helps you to set your intentions
  • Helps you to gain inspiration 
  • Help you to stay accountability
  • It works!
Creating a vision board is simple and only requires a few simple items that you most likely have sitting around your home. Gather the items below, set your intention and start creating!

Materials needed
Blank piece of card stock or poster board (8x10 or larger)
Various Magazines

To create a vision board follow these simple steps
1.) Set your intention, think about your goals and the things you want to manifest in your life.  

2.) Cut out pictures and words from magazines that related to your goals or things that you want to manifest in your life.

3.) Organize the cut outs how you would like to have them on your board.

4.) Glue the cut outs to your board

Putting your vision board to work

Once your board is created you can share it with your friends or keep it to yourself.   Ideas of sharing with friends are posting a photo of your board to social media and explaining your board in a post.  You can meet up with a friend or friends to discuss your goals and intentions. Talking about your goals can often times be therapeutic and help keep you accountable.  If you should decide to keep your board to yourself,  keep it in a place where you can see it and reflect on it often. The more you are reminded of your goals and have them organized the better it is to achieve them.  You can add items to your board over time if you would like or create a new board for various aspects of your life.

Join me on Sunday January 10 at 2:30pm or Wednesday January 20 at 3pm for a Vison Board Session for the Bomb Mom! At this session you will visualize your goals through guided meditation, set your intentions through a Bomb Mom discussion with Amaya Papaya's Mom, gain inspiration from other Bomb Moms, create a network for accountability and have fun!