When the Child Becomes the Teacher

My daughter has had a playful and stubborn personality since she was in the womb. When people ask me about my pregnancy with her, I often tell two stories that both show how even in pregnancy God was trying to prepare me for her personality.
Johanna's Mama(4)When I was about 8 months pregnant I was lying in bed being the exhausted human being I had come to be while watching my husband play Call of Duty. Suddenly the baby began to move and I brought it to his attention so that he could watch my belly and be in awe. As soon as he turned around she, of course, stopped moving, so he decided to tap my belly. Oddly enough, after 2 breaths Johanna tapped back . Thinking it was just a fluke he did it again and again, Johanna tapped back. This went on for the next minute until he decided to jump back into his game. When he left the game he was playing with her she continued to tap for a few seconds longer wondering where he had gone because she wasn’t done playing yet. I tried tapping in his absence and didn’t get a response.

The second story I tell is of how painful my pregnancy become. By the time I gave birth to her at 37 weeks I was measuring 51 weeks. My body was stretched out and utterly exhausted. I had a anterior placenta, and this made Johanna like to hang out facing my back. I also had a very roomy uterus. The doctor said “wow! you can fit 3 or 4 babies in there!” Yeah, that wasn’t happening. Thank God for only one. With all of this extra room Johanna had space and freedom to flip around all day, and she did just that. One of her favorite things to do was to lie down so that her right heel would dig into me right below my right breast. It was a sharp pain that would not go away. I did everything I could to get her to move her foot. I pushed it. I tried shifting positions. I tried to reason with her like a mad woman. Nothing worked! I knew right then that she was stubborn as a mule and that I had my work cut out for me. She actually didn’t stop digging into me until I gave birth. So rude.
2yrsToday Johanna’s favorite thing to do is play. Nothing is better to her than playing, especially not eating, or sleeping. If she could she would play all day everyday for the rest of her life. And as you may have guessed, her daddy is her favorite person to play with. When he’s tired and wants to get ready for bed, she dissolves into tears, not understanding why playtime can’t go on forever, although clearly she too is sleepy as her big eyes begin drooping and her speech becomes confusing. And then she fights with everything she has in her against us. Not just at bedtime, but pretty much anytime she is playing and doesn’t want to stop to do something we deem important. Then we have a standoff, the battle of the wills.

There comes moments when I find myself disappointed in Johanna, usually followed by confusion. When she doesn’t really try in an area that I find important, or when she’s disobedient and ends up dropping the plate of food on the carpet just like I told her she would if she didn’t sit down while eating. It makes me frustrated and curious as to why she feels like my instructions are mere suggestions. When I speak to her about it, she continues on playing, dancing around the living as if she doesn’t have a care in the world, all while answering me. Stubbornly she has decided that playing is way more important than anything I am talking about and since she wants to play, that’s just what she’ll do. She’s usually pretty aloof and in her own world, causing me to raise my voice and verbally shake her, so that she can calm down, stand still, and give me an answer. Then as she snaps out of her world and comes to the realization that mommy isn’t playing, and this is serious, she dissolves into tears, and my confusion deepens.

Clearly kids need discipline. I keep trying to train up my child in the way that she should go, but I think my manual is broken. I think I need one that tells me how to deal with a hippie kid. I’m still trying to get this discipline thing just right with her (I’ll probably perfect it by the time she goes to college),but in the meantime, I’ve realized that I can learn a lot from Johanna.

Whenever I run into a problem it stops me in my tracks. Sometimes it ruins my day for a couple of hours, other times it takes all of my attention and it’s all I can focus on. I’m a naturally happy person, and I usually just deal with issues head on, but more often than not these days they leave their scar on me. It’s taking more and more energy to just get up and keep it moving, like Johanna does. When I look at her in those moments, I realize that it really is up to me how I decide to deal with things in life. I can continue to let the joy of the Lord drive me through it, carrying me high like i don’t have a care in the world, or I can let it stop me cold and welcome in fear, anger, doubt, and slowly spin out of control. I never was the kind to cry about spilt milk, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t grumble while cleaning it up. Johanna doesn’t grumble. She just cleans it and sings a song she made up while doing it. Then she goes right back to that happy place I snatched her out of in my frustration, seeming as if she didn’t care that the milk was spilt. She cared, but it didn’t stop her happiness. She cared, but she knew it wasn’t the end of the world and all she had to do was clean it and move on. She cared, but she chose to not let it change who she was. Just about everytime that she cleans up the proverbial spilt milk, she dances away only to come back moments later hugging my neck tight and planting a kiss on my cheek. Every once in a while she even comes back and says “you’re a great mommy” and then dances off again. It’s at those times that I whisper to Jesus my thanks that I have not ruined her.

Yes, I want Johanna to learn that there is a time for playing, and there is a time for taking things seriously, but I don’t want to change her personality. I just want her to find a balance. I want her not to push so hard against us, without her losing that inner-joy that she has. I don’t want to change the essence of her because truth be told, I learn a lot from her. I feel like everyday God is dropping little nuggets of wisdom off of Johanna in my presence and it’s up to me to pick them up. I just want to say hey God, I see you, and I’m picking up every single piece I can get.


Pinterest Tested Thursdays: Easy Jell-O Popsicles

If you follow me on pinterest, chances are you saw me pin these Easy Jell-o Popsicles about a week ago.

I was searching for a treat to make for Johanna and these popsicles did the trick because they sent me right down memory lane.

When I was a child my mother would send me to my grandparents house in South Carolina for the summer.I loved it because I was surrounded by my cousins and aunts. We walked everywhere! It didn’t matter if a family member lived around the corner or 3 miles away, we walked. As you could imagine it got pretty darn hot in S.C. I think today I would simply melt away if I was that hot, but back then, we felt it, but kept right on pushing. One of the things that helped us keep on pushing was our walk to visit the lady that ran the corner store out of her house. We could go there and buy all kinds of goodies, mainly candy, and popsicles. Now our popsicles didn’t come on a stick or anything fancy like that. I promise you it was straight up kool-aid frozen in disposable plastic cups. And it was heaven. I would walk away from her house griping my cup full of sweet, icy goodness impossibly tight, delightfully licking the top of it as we made our way back to our grandparents house. Such a simple, sweet memory that fills me with joy.

So you see, I obviously I had to make the popsicles! The ingredients are super simple, and it’s quick to make.

johannasmama.com*Quick tip – If you have a hard time getting the popsicles out, simply run them under hot water for 60 seconds.


  • 1 (3oz) package Jell-O
  • 1 packet of Kool-Aid
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cup boiling water
  • 2 cup cold water


  1. In a pitcher, combine the Jell-O, Kool-Aid, sugar, and boiling water. Stir until dissolved.
  2. Mix in the cold water and pour into your molds. Freeze for 4-6 hours or until solid.

That’s it! I let it stay in the freezer overnight and surprised Johanna with it the next day. Did she like it?
Johanna's Mama(3)She LOVED it! She has had one for dessert every night this week!

This recipe gets an A+ from me. It’s yummy and great to have on a humid summer day. The recipe was just as easy as it claimed to be. Definitely have fun with the flavors. There are so many awesome combinations that you can do! And I’ll let you in on a little secret – in my freezer right now are a few cups of this mixture,frozen solid, waiting for me to grab one and enjoy a nice walk down memory lane. I had to do it!

*Original recipe can be found on the One Sweet Appetite blog here.


Library Summer Reading Programs for Kids and Adults in the DMV Area

Every Hero Has a Sto#91B101 (2)Washington, DC

May 30-Aug. 31

Win prizes for reading!

This year, DC Public Library is teaming up with The Washington Nationals. All kids and teens who reach their summer reading goal win two tickets to catch a Nationals baseball game. Kids, teens and adults who complete will win free Chipotle too.

Check our calendar for a schedule of special events at your library.

Fun for All Ages

For children birth to age 5 and their parent or caregiver. It’s never too early to foster a love of reading in your child.

For children 6 to 12 years old — Win prizes for reading. Ask a librarian about joining the League of Extraordinary Readers and a chance to win a special lunch with 7 famous children’s authors.

For teens ages 13 to 19  Win prizes and have more fun by earning badges!

For adults — Win prizes for reading and learning new skills.

For more information please visit the DC Public Library Website.

Prince Georges County

Every Hero Has a Story: May 15-Aug. 15, 2015

Did you know that children who read at least 20 minutes a day during the summer months perform better in school than those who do not? Summer is the perfect time to explore books and reading. Here’s How!

  • Sign up for Summer @ Your Library (May 15-Aug 15) and get your gameboard. The first 3,500 students to register in person at a branch library will receive a free tee shirt. Sign up at any branch!
  • Complete the activities to earn a prize and enter to win the grand prize drawing for electronics, event tickets and more.
  • Check out the recommended reading lists to find great books for all ages! Don’t forget about ebooks and audiobooks, too. Children’s book lists  Teen book lists
  • Help your child get their very own library card.  See the Student Library Card Agreement.
  • Attend events and performances like Superhero Training Academy, puppet and magic shows, superhero movie nights, and community hero storytimes (events calendar on gameboards below).
  • Contact your local branch library for more information!

Visit the PG Library System website for more information.

Anne Arundel County

Summer Reading Club 2015 – Branch Kickoffs

Hero Training Academy

Create your secret identity and hone your powers at our drop-in hero academies. Be prepared to put your physical, mental and creative abilities to the ultimate test! Activities may vary by branch.


Wednesday, June 24 – 2:00 pm


Thursday, June 25 – 2:00 pm

Brooklyn Park

Thursday, June 25 – 6:30 pm


Wednesday, June 24 – 2:00 pm


Wednesday, June 24 – 2:00 pm

Eastport-Annapolis Neck

Tuesday, June 23 – 2:00 pm


Monday, June 22 – 9:00 am

Glen Burnie

Thursday, June 25 – 2:00 pm


Thursday, June 25 – 6:00 pm

Maryland City at Russett

Tuesday, June 23 – 2:30 pm

Mountain Road

Tuesday, June 23 – 2:00 pm


Tuesday, June 23 – 2:00 pm

Riviera Beach

Saturday, June 27 – 2:00 pm


Thursday, June 25 – 2:00 pm

Severna Park

Tuesday, June 23 – 2:00 pm

For more information please visit the Anne Arundel County Library Website.

For information on the Montgomery County Library System Summer Reading Program, please visit their website.

Fairfax County, VA

June 19 – September 5

Watch this video for more details and great ideas on places to read, books to read and more!

Get ready to enjoy “Read to the Rhythm” during the 2015 Summer Reading Program at the Fairfax County Public Library. You will be able to register online or in person at your local library beginning June 19.

Preschoolers through high schoolers earn a coupon book with great prizes including free and discounted items by completing their reading and going to their local library branch by September 5.

Activities are planned for families, preschoolers, school-age youngsters, teens and adults throughout the summer. Search our calendar of events or pick up a printed copy of the summer calendar at your local branch.

Come back on June 19 to register and learn all the details. Read for fun this summer!

For more information please visit the Fairfax County Library System Website.

Alexandria, VA

Calling all kids! Beginning Monday, June 22, 2015, you can sign up for Alexandria Library’s summer reading program! This year’s theme is “Every Story Has a Hero.”

Click to access SummerQuest Jr. Click to access SummerQuest Click to access Unmask
SummerQuest Jr.   

Ages 0-5


Ages 6-12


Ages 12-18

SummerQuest Jr.
If you are between the ages of just born and five years old, you can sign up for SummerQuest, Jr. You will receive an early literacy activity sheet. When you are finished, show us your completed sheet and receive a surprise! SummerQuest, Jr. also features fun programs such as funny puppet shows and lively music concerts.

Starting on June 22nd, kids between the ages of 6 and 12 get to sign up for the Every Hero Has a Story SummerQuest reading challenge. SummerQuest participants also track the books they read and receive a special prize after reading ten books. The Library has also invited a group of special guests to entertain with music, magic and much more!

Unmask — Teen Reading Challenge
Students between the ages of 12-18 may register for the “Unmask” Teen Reading Challenge. After logging in 5 or more books, their names will be entered in a raffle to win one of two $50 gift cards. Rising 6th and 7th grade students may sign up for either “Every Hero Has a Story” for ages 6-12 or for the teen program, “Unmask.”

For more information please visit the Alexandria Library Website.

Happy Reading!


Mommy Wig Janet Collection Review

For a couple of years now I have been threatening my husband that I was going to shave all of my hair off. I was getting sick of hair. I didn’t want to wash it, condition it, untangle it, nothing. Now when it’s below 60 degrees outside I do tend to wear a wig majority of the time. My hair gets extremely dry and tangled when it’s cold out, so it’s best to just hide it away. And actually, I just love wigs. Being able to go from curly to straight, long to short so quickly is fun! I can change my hair based on my mood. You gotta love that!

Most have seen me either with my natural hair, a long wig, or a bob cut wig. But I wanted my hair gone. Like this:

Shave it clean off! My husband side eyed me quickly when I told him and said ok lol. And while I was very serious, I knew I couldn’t do that to him, or me. I love long hair too. I really did want tp try a short cut though, so I headed over to blackhairspray.com and bought myself a short do. Short without the commitment. What do you think?

Johanna's Mama(2)
I must tell you I am in love! My husband loves it too! Why didn’t I go short years ago? This is the Mommy Wig, part of the Janet Collection. Yes, seriously, it’s called the Mommy wig lol. It’s so light and easy! It’s human hair so you can wash it and curl it too, if you want. I have been using a spray bottle filled with water and conditioner on it. It helps the curls pop and stay fresh. I wash it every other week. Now, the wig doesn’t show up to you like this. It comes like this:

Which is cute if you’re into the whole finger waves style. I am not. So as soon as I put it on I started messing with it, rubbing it with my fingers until I got it out of this pattern and a little more natural looking.

This wig has me feeling like I’m doing some things and I can imagine that it will be a staple in my collection for years to come. I have experienced very minimal shedding, and it is still going strong a month later. No complaints here! You can buy the Mommy wig on the Black Hair Spray site for $20.19.