Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dark Girls Premieres on OWN


Tonight, the documentary Dark Girls will premiere on OWN at 10 PM Eastern.  Dark Girls explores the bias in the black community against women with darker skin.  For my husband (who is white), colorism is a concept that is difficult to grasp.  To him, any black woman - whether light hued, dark or in between - is simply black!  The tone of her skin doesn't matter.  It doesn't speak of the character of the person.  Certainly, not their level of attractiveness.  As a dark-skinned black woman, I understand the pain that stems from colorism.  Growing up, I knew I could be anything, with hard work and good grades!  Anything that is, but beautiful, attractive, desirable.  Pretty was not the domain of girls like me.  While there should be more to a girl's life than her looks, we all know a certain degree of a young girl's self esteem comes from validation of the external.  For me, it took moving away from familial circles and into more diverse environments to find a space where my dark skin (and even my weight) were not a mark against me.  And, more importantly personal healing and self acceptance. 


It saddens me in this day and time, when we have a gorgeous, dark-skinned woman as First Lady, there are still little girls feeling and experiencing the hurt of colorism.  That don't want to exist in the beautiful, brown skin that God so wonderfully made them in. 

Mary Ellen

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I Enjoy Being A Girl!

Yes, indeed - I do enjoy being a girl! :)  Thanks to BB&W poster Capt. Smooth for sharing this vintage gem.  He thinks it would make a good theme song for yours truly!

Nancy Kwan - I Enjoy Being A Girl
Flower Drum Song (1961)

Mary Ellen

Friday, June 14, 2013

In The Garden & Slug Beer Trap Success!

square foot garden, pepper plant

So far, so good with this year's Spring/Summer garden!  I'm always cautiously optimistic when it comes to gardening.  I've yet to figure out how to produce large bounties of home grown vegetables in my backyard.  The perfectionist in me however, won't stop trying!  I still have more herbs to plant (got a late start this year).  But, the vegetables are all in place.  Yellow and Patty Pan squash; Roma, Grape and Big Boy tomatoes; Zucchini and Red, Green & Yellow Bell peppers and Jalapeno peppers.

square foot garden, pepper plant, bell pepper

This has been my best year with the peppers.  Typically, I plant them alongside the tomatoes.  This year, the tomato and squash plants went in first.  So, the peppers were moved to my second garden square.  The pepper plants seem to be doing much better in other square.  They're growing bigger and haven't suffered from slug damage.  One of the pepper plants even produced a teeny, tiny pepper.  Fingers crossed for regular sized peppers later!

square foot garden, zucchini plant

The squash and zucchini are blooming, and their leaves are getting bigger.  They've expanded even more since the above picture was taken!

square foot garden, tomato plant, tomatoes

Starting to see some tomatoes!

square foot garden, slugs, beer trap

 Fearing the slugs were going after the zucchini plants, I put out a slug beer trap.  To my surprise, it worked!  I did feel a bit guilty the next day seeing them in the dish - Bless their little sluggy hearts!  But even more so grossed out by the sight of them - Ewww!  Thank goodness for my husband being willing to handle disposal.  Definitely a man job! :)

Mary Ellen      

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Requiescat in Pace {Rest in Peace} - Jason Leffler

Tribute video from remembering driver Jason Leffler

Jason Leffler, Great Clips, NASCAR

Jason Leffler #38 Great Clips Nationwide show car
"LEFturn" written over the door
North Carolina State Fair 2011

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Homemade "Clorox" Wipes - {from Living On A Dime}

Homemade Clorox Wipes
Recipe from Living On A Dime

1 cup of water
1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol
2 Tbsp. Dawn dish soap (only use Dawn)
2 Tbsp. ammonia (optional)
24 rags - cut into squares (4x6 inches but whatever size you have available or whichever size you need will work.  Old washrags that have seen better days are great for this!)

Mix the ingredients and pour over the rags.* Then, when you need to clean your bathroom, use them as you would the disposable Clorox wipes.  The best thing about these homemade wipes is that you can just throw them in the washing machine and use them again! Really! It's that simple!

*After you make this recipe, you will need to adjust how much of the mixture you pour over your rags. I didn't have that many rags and they were pretty wet so I just used less of the cleaner.

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Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit , sign up for our free Living On A Dime Newsletter and learn to save more!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Requiescat in Pace {Rest in Peace} - Reverend Monsignor John F. (Tim) O'Connor

Msgr. Tim performing Ashleigh's baptism 
Divine Mercy Sunday 2003

I was saddened this morning to learn of the passing of our former parish priest, Monsignor Tim O'Connor.  Monsignor Tim performed my baptism into the Catholic faith after completion of the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) process back in 2002.  He also performed the baptisms of both Ashleigh and Clayton.  I still remember being so moved by many of his homilies.  A little bit of a funny story.  After Sunday Mass, we gather for fellowship (and snacks!) at the hall next to the church.  One Sunday, Msgr. Tim was making his rounds when he stopped to speak with us.  At the time, Ashleigh was around a year old and happily snacking away on a cookie.  Msgr. Tim playfully said to her, "Give me that cookie!"  And, she did just that - placing the whole, soggy cookie mess right in his hand!  We all had a good laugh, Msgr. not so much! 

Prayers for the family of Msgr. Tim.

Mary Ellen   

Friday, June 7, 2013

Last Day of Sale! I Can Teach My Child To Read

Today is the last day to get your copy of I Can Teach My Child To Read:  A 10-Step Guide For Parents for just $1.99.  Read my review here.  It's important to keep kids reading, even during Summer break.  Don't miss out on this valuable resource!
Mary Ellen

Monday, June 3, 2013

{Book Review} - I Can Teach My Child To Read!

Our children love to read!  But, just as their personalities are unique, so to has been their journeys towards reading.  For Ashleigh, she took to reading in kindergarten and quickly excelled.  Clayton really hit his stride towards the end of first grade.  Now, Reed is making those beginning steps towards literacy.  To find ideas for strengthening Reed's abilities, I eagerly turned to I Can Teach My Child To Read!  A 10-Step Guide For Parents by Jenae Jacobson (of I Can Teach My Child).

I Can Teach My Child To Read is not a program or curriculum.  It is a guide which explains the components of reading and how to implement them into the daily lives of your children.  Jenae lays out ten strategies which can be put into practice right away.  She also presents activities which go beyond rote memorization to build reading skills.  In reading I Can Teach My Child To Read, I came away with ideas and strategies to not only help Reed, but to also support Ashleigh and Clayton in their stages of reading.  Like continuing to read aloud (even with my independent readers) and the questions to ask to aid in reading comprehension (which is the most important component of learning to read).

I Can Teach My Child To Read is a great resource for parents. Regardless of where your child is in the process of learning to read (even infancy), you will come away with beneficial strategies and resources to start them on the path of a life long love of reading!

Buy I Can Teach My Child To Read for $3.99  $1.99 through June 7th!

Mary Ellen