Shimmer and Shine: How to Host a Sponsored House Party FREE!

105-genie-treehouse-full-1x1A few weeks ago we were chosen to host a Shimmer and Shine House Party for this past weekend. It was a ton of fun! Shimmer and Shine is a new NickJr. show premiering tonight!

Shimmer and Shine are Leah’s secret genies who sometimes misinterpret what Leah wishes for — and that’s when the adventures begin. Your kids will love the humor and music in every episode; plus, it teaches problem-solving and teamwork. – NickJr.

They greatest part about this party is that we were sent a bunch of products for free to host it! You too can host your own house party. Here’s how it works.

  • Sign up on the House Party website to be alerted when new parties are listed.
  • Peruse the site for a party you are interested in. There are parties for adults as well!
  • Apply and do all of the extra steps they ask you to do to have a good chance of being selected.
  • Cross your fingers and say a prayer!

That’s it! It really is that simple. If you are selected, you will receive a party pack like this:

Johanna's Mama #ShimmerandShine PartyWhat’s great is that you can invite everyone right from the website. They provide the evite for you to send, and they also provide printable party favors on the site. The only thing you have to do is provide some vital vittles and have your party!

The kids colored in this poster while they waited for the other party guests to arrive.

Johannasmama.comEveryone quietly watched the show munching on popcorn.

Johanna's Mama #ShimmerandShineViewing Party!After the show they enjoyed punch and cake, then had a ball running around playing with each other.

Johanna's(1)I just wanted to add a tiny bit more sparkle to the party favors, so I added shimmery lipgloss, a sparkly bracelet, sparkly maracas, and neon bubbles to the favors.

Johanna's MamaAs mentioned, this was a house party sponsored party, and received the shimmer and shine products for free!

STORIESThe best advice I can give when hosting your own party is to remember this is a great opportunity to have a party for almost free. If you’re a party planner like I am, you’re going to want to go all out and it’s going to be hard to restrain yourself, but I had to remind myself that this wasn’t a birthday party, this was a party to show off the new Shimmer and Shine show, so it was ok not to have a candy buffet, a ton of food, etc. Trust me, that part was hard. Hopefully the next house party we do is around her birthday and I WILL be able to go all out!

Johanna's Mama #shimmerandshineCatch Shimmer and Shine Monday, Aug. 24, at 7:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nick and the Nick Jr.

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Winner of the Crayola Multicultural Crayons+ Giveaway

Thank you so much to everyone that entered the Crayola Multicultural Crayons+ Giveaway! I was really excited about this giveaway, and I hope you were too. If you don’t happen to win, you can go here to find the crayola products I was giving away.

The Winner Is...Congratulations Barbara W.! You have until Sunday at 10am to contact me for your prize.

Good luck next time everyone!

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Crayola’s Multicultural Crayons+ Giveaway!

Were you ever asked to draw yourself in class when you were a kid and the only skin color crayons you could find were peach or brown? Or how about coloring books? Did you ever go to color in a picture of a kid that kind of looked like you in a coloring book and the brown was too dark, or the peach was too pink to really resemble you? That’s the world I grew up in. There was not a lot of diversity in crayon colors when it came to trying to match my skin tone. So imagine my surprise when I was browsing twitter and saw a crayon box that said Crayola Multicultural Crayons! Family, I literally started tearing up and squeeeing all at the same time. I believe I shouted “OMG WHAT??? Squeeeee!!!!!” I confused the heck out of Johanna. She didn’t know if she should flee or dance.

You all know that I love products that celebrate diversity in skin tones and hair, especially products that my daughter can relate to and use to reflect herself. Needless to say I dropped everything I was doing to contact Crayola and say ” are you serious? Is this for real? You guys are amazing!”. Now, I won’t say that this includes every skin tone in the world, but it is a great step forward.
Johanna'smama(2)Crayola sent me several products to test and they were gracious enough to send me products to do a colorful giveaway as well!

One winner will receive:

  • (1) 8 pack of Crayola Multicultural Crayons
  • (1) 8 pack of Crayola Multicultural Colored Pencils
  • (1) 10 pack of Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Markers
  • (1) 64 pack of Crayola Crayon Colors
  • (1) Pack of Modeling Clay (4 colors inside)

To enter, simply 1) subscribe to this blog and 2) leave me a comment below telling me what your favorite crayola product is. Follow the guidelines below for up to 5 extra entries:

  1. Tweet about the giveaway and make sure to at me @johannasmama
  2. Follow me on twitter
  3. Share the giveaway on instagram and tag me @iamjohannasmama
  4. Follow me on instagram
  5. Visit my facebook page

You have until 11:59pm est Thursday, August 20, 2015 to enter. Winner will be announced via blog post and by email at 10am on Friday, August 21, 2015. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me to claim the prize. Good luck!

*Open to the US only.

DISCLOSURE: Johanna’s Mama received several samples of crayola products for testing. However, no additional compensation was received, and all opinions expressed are my own.

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Miss Black USA 2015 Crowned in Washington, DC

I love it when women of color can stand up and say I am brilliant, I am beautiful, and I know what I want out of life! That is one of the many reasons that I support the Miss Black USA pageant and felt so blessed to be able to cover the event this past weekend.

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Miss Black USA/Sharde’ Sherelle, Founder of Concert Daily

On Sunday, August 9th at UDC Theater of Arts Building Miss Black USA 2015 was crowned in front of a sold out audience. The winner is Miss Greensboro, NC Madison Gibbs. Madison is a native to North Carolina and an alumnus of North Carolina A&T. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta and will begin her first year of law school at Howard University this week.
Miss Black USA/Johannasmama.com

Miss Black USA/Johannasmama.com

It was a gift to be able to see 50 amazing, beautiful, confident brown skinned women stand on stage to compete for the crown. They each had a platform that was dear to their heart, and they could all boast that they had done an overwhelming amount of community service. As I heard the credentials of each one, I became proud and slightly teary eyed. I could not wait to get home to tell Johanna about it and show her the photos of the new “princess”. It was yet another opportunity for me to pour into her and subtly convince her to love the skin she’s in.
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Btw, Lola Adeoye (in the white next to the newly crowned Miss Black USA) representing DC came in as 2nd runner up. Not bad at all! As for the newly crowned Madison Gibbs, she’s already off to a busy start! She’s already made an appearance on News Chanel 8 “Let’s Talk Live” Monday, and on WTTG Fox 5 Good Day DC Tuesday.
For more information on Miss Black USA, please visit www.missblackusa.org.
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Pinterest Tested Thursdays: The Best Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

I can bake my butt off. I mean, cakes, pies, I’m your girl.However, I can’t seem to really make chocolate chip cookies to save my life. They never seem to come out the way I want them to. I mean, their aight, but I’m no Mrs. Fields. Well, I wasn’t, until this recipe. You know a cookie recipe is bomb when your husband doesn’t want to eat the last cookie for fear of there being none left and when you tell him to go ahead and eat it he says “I mean, will you be able to make more tomorrow???” Yasss! I finally found the winning recipe. So easy, so yummy, and you don’t even have to refrigerate the dough to get it to come out beautifully! Anyway, without further ado, the recipe!:

Ingredients
  • 8 tablespoons of salted butter
  • ½ cup white sugar (I like to use raw cane sugar with a coarser texture)
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (but I always add a little extra)
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips (I use a combination of chocolate chips and chocolate chunks)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Microwave the butter for about 40 seconds to just barely melt it. It shouldn’t be hot – but it should be almost entirely in liquid form.
  2. Using a stand mixer or electric beaters, beat the butter with the sugars until creamy. Add the vanilla and the egg; beat on low speed until just incorporated – 10-15 seconds or so (if you beat the egg for too long, the cookies will be stiff).
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until crumbles form. Use your hands to press the crumbles together into a dough. It should form one large ball that is easy to handle (right at the stage between “wet” dough and “dry” dough). Add the chocolate chips and incorporate with your hands.
  4. Roll the dough into 12 large balls (or 9 for HUGELY awesome cookies) and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes until the cookies look puffy and dry and just barely golden.Warning, friends: DO NOT OVERBAKE. This advice is probably written on every cookie recipe everywhere, but this is essential for keeping the cookies soft. Take them out even if they look like they’re not done yet (see picture in the post). They’ll be pale and puffy.
  5. Let them cool on the pan for a good 30 minutes or so (I mean, okay, eat four or five but then let the rest of them cool). They will sink down and turn into these dense, buttery, soft cookies that are the best in all the land. These should stay soft for many days if kept in an airtight container. I also like to freeze them.

Annnnd voila!

Can you sayTrust me when I say these are so so so yummy. I followed everything Lindsay at Pinch of Yum said and these are indeed the best cookies ever! Head over to Pinch of Yum for more tips on this recipe, and for more awesome recipes, follow me on pinterest!

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5 Ways to Celebrate Back to School as a Homeschool Family

btsOne of the things that I love about being a homeschooling mom is the flexibility I have in teaching Johanna. I am able to make things magical and very creative. If she decides tomorrow that she wants to learn more about flowers, I can drop EVERYTHING and we can head down to the national arboretum. It really is just that simple. However, the one thing that I have noticed a lot of families have not yet mastered is how to make “back to homeschooling” exciting.

I know that quite a few homeschooling families don’t do Back to Homeschooling like parents who have kids that go to regular school do. A lot of that is because many homeschool parents, like myself, school year round. Also, a lot of homeschool parents simply do not have the time. They are busy putting together their schedules and binders for the school year, and that can be very hectic. Some don’t know quite how to celebrate starting school up again. I have decided to take a two week break this month before starting back up with our activities. I want Johanna to feel special when we start back up again. Because of this I created this list of 5 ways that parents can celebrate Back to Homeschool with their kids:

1. Go school supply shopping with your kids.
Don’t you remember being a kid and being super excited about what color folders and what cool pens you were getting for the new school year? I remember being absolutely crazy about trapper keepers and these super awesome pencil cases:

Taking your child shopping with you can create that very same excitement. It also makes them feel like they have a hand in their education, giving them a sense of pride.

2. Create an inviting space
I think it is important to change up your homeschooling room every year to make it more exciting. Put up a new theme, maybe change some of the furniture in the room. While you’re setting things up your student could decorate their notebook, or decide on a piece to add to their homeschool area that makes it feel more like their own. A change of decor tends to add to the excitement of starting a new journey of learning.

3. Back to Homeschool photos
As parents we tend to love documenting each new journey that our children take, and the first day of school should be no different! It helps to create buzz, and it’s a great way to capture how much they grow from year to year. Checkout my pinterest board here for photo props and ideas.

4. Back to school breakfast
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Why not make it super special by heading out to get a stack of pancakes and discuss all of the excitement over a new school year? Honestly, this will also help me to not stress as Johanna is a picky eater, but one thing is for sure – she LOVES pancakes!

5. Take a field trip
I love taking field trips with Johanna because it reminds me of why I homeschool. The fact that we go on field trips weekly and she is able to see what we study in action means a lot to me. Field trips are also very exciting for her. They get her out of the house and into an interesting new world. Why not kick the school year off with a fun, yet educational, field trip? It’ll help keep things light for the first day and ease everyone into a new school year.

Something else I like to do at the beginning of the school year is a scavenger hunt for school supplies. This is pretty age specific as I’m sure that once Johanna is 12 she will tell me that she’s too old for that sort of thing, but last year she loved it. I simply had her search for specific letters around the house and told her if she was hot or cold. wherever there was a letter, there was a school supply and treat for her to add to her book bag. This year the search will be a little more creative and complex. I also adore this back to school interview! The options really are limitless when creating excitement and buzz about a new school year, even if you homeschool! Your child is starting a new chapter of learning and that should be celebrated.

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