5 Different Ways To Celebrate Your Child's Birthday Without Throwing A Birthday Party

1. Have A Birthday Dinner- who says birthday dinners are only for adults? Make reservations at a fun kid-friendly restaurant and invite family and close friends. Birthday dinners are sort of a tradition in our family. No matter what we have planned we always like to meet up for a family dinner to celebrate. For my youngest daughter first birthday, we all met up at a fun restaurant called Mellow Mushroom. Inside the restaurant, there is an amazing decked out bus cut out with tables inside that you can actually eat your meal in. The groovy design of the place called for a 70's theme birthday dinner to celebrate our youngest turning one.

2. Grab Your Child(ren) Bestie For A Day Of Fun- no need to invite the whole gang every year grab a few of your little one's best friends or cousins close in age and head out for a day of fun. A girls day of manis and pedis followed by lunch, a trip to their favorite indoors trampoline park or even a day at the movies! What you kiddo is interested in is always a little more special with a bestie to enjoy it with.

3. BIRTHDAY VACAY- Let's be honest kids birthday parties can get expensive. Why drop all that dough on one day when you can use it to explore the world!? My middle child birthday is in the summer and most of her friends are classmates. Unfortunately, she doesn't always keep in touch with them all over the summer so our birthday traditions have been birthday vacations since she was about four. Not to mention we try to get in at least one family vacation before summer break ends so why not combine the two and EVERYONE WINS!  

4. DECK THE HOUSE OUT IN BIRTHDAY DECORATIONS AND BALLOONS ANYWAY- GUESS WHAT! Birthday party supplies don't have to be limited for just birthday parties. WWHHAATT!!?? Yup, you heard me correct. Is there a character or theme are just obsessed with but don't have the time or funds to through an entire party? No worries, grab those balloons, special plates, birthday banners or whatever and decorate the house while your little one is fast asleep. When they wake up the next morning to a birthday banner and balloons there is no way they won't feel the birthday love!

5. GO ON AN OUTING- look up fun local places that your child would love to visit and take them on their birthday! They can wear a cute birthday outfit or a fun birthday hat to let everyone know it's their birthday and their face will light up with all the birthday wishes they will receive that day.

5 DOLLAR ZOO DAY


My daughter just turned 8 yesterday (July 18th) and we celebrated with a day at the zoo! I'll admit it was an impromptu zoo day. I decored the house the night before and covered the floor in balloons sticking to our family birthday tradition. Her birthday fell on a weekday and while we have plans for a weekend at the waterpark to celebrate I still wanted to make her feel special on her actual birthday. That morning I woke up to a text from my aunt saying it's 5$ day at the zoo. WHAT!? Perfect! No matter how many times we go to the Jacksonville Zoo is always super fun!


After a quick breakfast, I packed my Lily Jade bag with waters, snacks, and a change of clothing. Aya slipped on her festive birthday tutu outfit from it's my party kids, grabbed her tiara because, let's face it you can't celebrate your birthday without a tiara, and we were on our way.

I'll admit when we first arrived I almost turned around and headed back home. The parking lot was packed! I thought mid weekday the zoo wouldn't be that bad but hey 5 dollar admission is a deal you can't beat and clearly, everyone in town thought the same. I had already got the kids out the house and we had already pulled up to the zoo so there really was no turning back now. Or was there? No no no they were all wwaaayyy too pumped. We found a parking spot far in the back, I took a deep breath and headed in. I was ready to take on a packed zoo with three kids ALONE! To my surprise, it wasn't that bad. We only waited in line for a few minutes before entering and once inside it actually wasn't as packed as I assumed, judging from the parking lot. Maybe our zoo parking lot just isn't that big or maybe our zoo it actually bigger than I thought. Either way, I was glad I decided to brave the day.


Da Bratt Pack had the time of their lives. They saw all their favorite animals, I have a bad habit of going to the zoo during the animals nap time so they are always struggling to see anything they can find lol. My zoo crew got to enjoy their favorite snack KONA ICE... note to the Kona Ice company STOP STALKING ME! LOL, everywhere we go Kona Ice is there. I really can't complain though I LOVE ME SOME KONA ICE! It's the perfect snack to help you stay cool when we are out on these fun Florida adventures. Our zoo has a cute splash park which was great to help them cool off after walking around in the heat for a while, and they even ran free playing on the super fun playground. By the end of our visit, they were exhausted. If you live in Florida then you know summers are for rain storms so the thunder started and we headed out just in time to beat the rain! A full day at the zoo plus rain equals a bomb naptime! Aya woke up from her rare nap to thank me and let me she had THE BEST DAY EVER and that is what it is all about. THANK YOU, AUNTIE, FOR THAT MORNING WAKE UP TEXT!!





Cuddles With A Cause ft Cuddle + Kind

NEW BESTIE 

My kids have always leaned more towards stuff animals. While the girls like dolls they would much rather have something to snuggle so when I ran across Cuddle + Kind on Instagram I knew I had to get my hands on some of these adorable snuggle buddies. A cuddly doll! PERFECT. Their handknit designs are so beautiful they almost make you want to hoard them so your littles won't ruin them. That idea quickly went out the window when the cuties little mermaid, Maya, showed up on our doorstep. My youngest daughter immediately claimed her as her own and Maya the Mermaid has been on every summer adventure ever since. Luckily for me, little Miss Lennox loves her so much she's extremely careful with her. 


REPRESENTATION MATTERS

If you follow my blog or our Instagram than you know that I am a melanin momma raising three beautiful black kids and I am passionate about inclusion, diversity, and representation. When Maya arrived not only was she a mermaid (exciting because come on what little girl doesn't like mermaids) but the cutest little brown mermaid I have ever seen! There is nothing more special than having your kid excitedly open a doll and calls out "SHE LOOKS LIKE ME!" Cuddle + Kind does a great job at providing a wide range of dolls male, female, animal, majestic creature, pink, orange, or white, whatever your little one is into I'm pretty sure you will be able to find something they would love. 




THE CAUSE

When taking a closer look at the brand I fell in love with them even more. For every one doll they sale they are able to give 10 meals to feed children in need. You can check out their website here to read all about why, what, how, and where they give back. The creators of Cuddle + Kind also believe cuddles are important but so is fair trade. Beyond the meals:





"We started cuddle+kind 
to be a reflection of our values. 
That's why all our hand-knit dolls 
are ethically produced in Peru where 
we provide incredible artisans 
with a sustainable, 
fair trade income." -Cuddle + Kind




"Fair trade is a different way 
of doing business.
 It’s about making principles of fairness
 and decency a part of the products we buy.
Fair trade is a way for 
all of us to identify products 
that meet our values so we can
 make choices that have
 a positive impact on the world."
-Cuddle + Kind



HOW DOPE IS THIS BRAND?! Visit The Website- www.cuddleandkind.com


 

Christmas In July

"It's Christmas time in Hollis Queens
Mom's cooking chicken and collard greens
Rice and stuffing, macaroni and cheese
And Santa put gifts under Christmas trees" - Run D.M.C

Anyone else mom called them yesterday to discuss Christmas? (Raises hand) MINE DID. My mom is that person that starts talking about and planning for the holidays in January. I like to tease her about how Christmas obsessed she is but the truth be told I love Christmas just as much. It is hands down my favorite holiday. While we have tons of candid family photos from Christmas pass we do not have official Christmas card photos. You know those ones you send out to family and friends every year showcasing your family holiday spirit? I always said I wanted to be that kind of mom that sends out Christmas cards every year but per usual I wait last minute get overwhelmed and never get it down. Well, not this year. Thanks to Basic Invite we will be well prepared. I absolutely love their custom holiday cards.  




While browsing through their site I couldn't help but check out their baby shower invitations. NO, we aren't expecting but I swear just about everyone I know is, it's been a hot summer. Their collection has something for everyone, from fun co-ed shower invite ideas to the oh so popular bohemian vibes. 





There are a few reasons Basic Invites caught my attention:


1. Basic Invite is one of the only websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. After picking the design you like best you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options. This allows you to be able to create exactly what you want. I mean that's the point of customizing right?


2. Basic Invite is one of the few websites that lets you order a printed sample of your actual invitation so you can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before you ever have to place your final order.

3. Basic Invite offers you an address capturing service that allows you to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any of your social media platforms to request your friends and family’s addresses.  Their addresses will then be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. All recipient address printing is free on all Christmas card orders.

4. Basic Invite's foil cards are available in gold, silver, and rose gold. You can choose flat or raised foil on all foil designs.
















IF YOU ARE FEELING BASIC INVITES AS MUCH AS I AM THEN YOU ARE IN LUCK!
                       Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51 



Feel Free To Check Out Basic Invite 
On Social Media and Tell Them 
That Dope Mom Sent Ya!







Summer Must-Haves featuring Lily Jade

Summer 2018 is in full swing so I figured now is the perfect time to share with you all FIVE of our summer must-haves. 




1. Empress Abode luxury thick whipped creamy shea butter to keep us moisturized and protect us from the sun! If you are interested in this natural non-greasy shea butter you can order here

2. Shades! From target to forever 21 or our favorite at the moment Junia.co (you can catch Aya sporting her fav trendy pair from this brand all over my Instagram ThatDopeMom  

3. Yeti Cup- these cups are perfect for these hot summer days. Fill it with ice and your drink (whether it's water or mommy juice)  will stay cool for hours! You can purchase one here

4. Curl Cap- these hats for us natural mamas has been saving me all summer long. Running around with three kids can get crazy and I don't always have time to style my hair so I toss one of these babies on and not only does my bad hair day turn into a dope hat day but I'm protected from the sun too!

LAST BUT NOT LEASE

5. LILY JADE- this diaper bag literally goes EVERYWHERE with us. I'd have to say this may be #1 on my list. 


Lily Jade

From Vegas to the Florida beaches my Lily Jade diaper bag has had the LITEST summer! I always tell people to call this diaper bag a diaper bag doesn't do it justice because it is so much more than that. My youngest is three, well past the diaper stage, and we still use it faithfully. Pack full of our summer must-haves, snacks, and my camera we wake up ready to take on the day. 





Lily Jade was created when one of our own, a fellow mom, noticed the need for a stylish yet functional bag when it was time for her to purchase one for herself. Now I don't know about you but I can relate. Who says you have to give up your dopeness just because you are a mom? You can still be THAT DOPE, MOM! Like I mentioned before this bag goes way beyond the baby years and that is exactly what she strived for, something that will last. Made out of rich leather, blush materials, and a well-organized design you can take this bag from play date to dinner date effortlessly. Now this part is what really got me with Lily Jade Co






"Your diaper bag dollars 
go the distance to help 
moms all across the globe. 

Lily Jade believes in elevating the life-giving, 

more-challenging-than-you-ever-imagined, 
glory filled role of motherhood." -LilyJadeCo

They have partnered with embracegrace.com to provide loving and practical resources for women with unplanned pregnancies and you can also check out their hashtag #LJADOPTION on Instagram to see how your purchase help to bless families committed to adoption.  

Visit Lily Jade Co. Instagram here to check out all the other dope moms styling in their bags and to keep up with what this amazing brand in up to.


HEY, YOU GUYS ARE IN LUCK 
THERE IS A SUMMER CLEARANCE SALE 
HAPPENING NOW! DON'T MISS OUT!