Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Bye, Bye 2015

Hi, Sugars!

This is my last post of 2015, and I want to send you over to Disney's parenting site, Babble, to read my piece on creating a happy list.

I hope you'll find it inspirational!

And if you didn't already see on my social media pages (links to the left), I got to sport a pretty awesome Black Santa sweater this holiday season from Tipsy Elves!   In fact, I saw Whoopi Goldberg wearing the same sweater on THE VIEW!   Find Tipsy Elves on Facebook, Twitter, and IG to see more crazy cool sweaters and other gear!

Thanks for being here this year and hanging out with me.  My next post will be Wednesday, Jan 6. I'm starting a new blog series where I write letters (of love, of course) to you every Wednesday.

Get ready!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Holiday Traditions in the G House: Adoption Link-Up

Welcome to the last link-up post of 2015!


Here are some of our family's favorite holidays traditions, in no particular order:

1:  Making reindeer cookies.  They are so easy!  Take your favorite basic cookie recipe, and once the cookies are baked and begin to cool, add two chocolate pretzels as antlers, two eyes and a red nose with colored candy (such as M and Ms).  So easy for little ones to make.  (We use a peanut butter oatmeal cookie recipe).

2:  Adding to our Black Santa/nativity/angel decor collection.  (We also like to visit Black Santa at the mall.)  

3:  Making gingerbread houses at our local library.

4: Sending Christmas cards to our nearest and dearest.  

5:  Playing with our special stash of Christmas toys, including the Little People nativity set.

Of course, let's not leave out Christmas Eve church, visiting family and friends, opening gifts, and eating!  

What are some of your holiday traditions?

Now on to the Adoption Talk Linkup!

Today's topic is Names. Grab a button for your post and join Erin, Jamie, Jenni, Jill, Madeleine, Rachel, and me!
New to linking up? We'd love to have you join us, here's how.
No Bohns About It

Monday, December 7, 2015

My Favorite Things: Christmas Books for Black Children

Every December, my mom and dad would bring all our Christmas decorations out of the attic and down to our living room.  My siblings and I would impatiently wait for my parents to anchor the tree, string lights around it, test the lights, and then add the silver tinsel.   While we waited, we would open up a special tub full of Christmas books.  These books would only be out on our coffee table during the Christmas season, and then their magic would be packed away until the next year.  

This is a tradition I've carried on for my kids, and today I want to share with you a list of Christmas books just for Black children.   I hope you'll add to your collection!  (Some are only available used from Amazon.)

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas: An African-American Version (Melodye Rosales)
Under the Christmas Tree (Nikki Grimes)
We Believe in Christmas (Karen Kingsbury)
Everett Anderson’s Christmas Coming (Lucille Clifton)
A Treasury of African-American Christmas Stories (Bettye Collier-Thomas)
The Night Before Christmas (Rachel Isadora)
An Angel Just Like Me (Mary Hoffman)
EllRay Jakes Rocks the Holidays! (Sally Warner)
Christmas Soul: African American Holiday Stories (Allison Samuels)
Hold Christmas In Your Heart: African American Songs, Poems, and Stories for the Holidays (Cheryl Willis Hudson)
A Child is Born (Margaret Wise Brown)
Mary Had a Baby: An Advent Bible Study Based on African American Spirituals (Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan and Marilyn E. Thornton)
Addy’s Surprise: A Christmas Story (The American Girl Collection) (Connie Porter)
Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite (Anna Harwell Celenza)
Christmas Makes Me Think (Tony Medina)
What a Morning!: The Christmas Story in Black Spirituals (John Langstaff)
Elijah’s Angel: A Story for Chanukah and Christmas (Michael Rosen)
The Secret of Santa’s Songbird: African American Cover Edition (D.S. Jackson)
Jump at the Sun: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Holiday Classics (Rex Perry)

Thursday, December 3, 2015

My Favorite Things: Gifts for Young Black Boys (Adoption Talk Link-Up)

'tis the season, Sugars!

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!   Yep, it's in all caps.

This month, I'll be sharing my favorite things, starting with today's Adoption Talk Linkup post focusing on gifts for young Black boys.  I hope these suggestions inspire you to put them on your child's wish list and purchase them for other children (nieces and nephews, cousins, friends, kids you select from the local angel tree, etc.).  Today we're focusing on gifts for young Black boys.  All these items can be purchased from the links I share.  (I do not have an Amazon affiliate account, and I do not profit from sharing these items with you).

Stinkykid Doll Billy:  This is my son's favorite doll.  Billy is soft, adorable, and has curly black hair and medium/dark brown skin.

Corolle Mini Black Boy Doll (see him the middle row to the far left):  This doll is small and sturdy.  We had to call several specialty toy stores in order to order him, because these lots of dolls are sold to toy stores as shown.  You cannot JUST order a specific doll from a website like Amazon.   We found our doll at a toy store in Chicago who shipping him to us.  He ended up costing about $17, which is a lot for a small doll of his size, but he's absolutely adorable and well-made.   (The newer dolls, see second image below, are also for sale in toy stores.  The doll in the middle of the back row is a Black boy.)
poupon mini calin
Les Minis Bath 8" Asst

Circo Mini Babies Dolls:  These are a cheaper alternative to the dolls above.  Target sells the mini dolls for about $5 each.   Though they aren't specifically girl or boy, you could purchase clothing to make your doll more "boy" looking.   These are also well-made and travel well, and you can't beat the price!  They are not sold online, so you must find them in store.  These make great stocking stuffers.

CIRCO Mini Babies
I Am So Brave! (Empowerment Series):  We LOVE this board book.  The art is simulatenously modern and vintage.  The colors are bright.  The message is empowering.  The entire plot stars a Black boy.

The Snowy Day:  You cannot go wrong with this book.  It's timeless!  It's classic!   My kids love the part where the snow goes "plop" on Peter's head and when Peter drags his feet through the snow.  Themes of friendship, of joy, of creativity.  

Joshua By the Sea:  There are three Joshua books, and this one is our favorite.  The illustrations are simple and soothing, and the words are calming.  All three books star Joshua, a young Black boy.

Peekaboo Morning:  This book is fun, bright, and always makes my son smile and giggle.  The character could be a Black boy or Black girl (the book doesn't clarify).

Art from TheExtentofSilence on Etsy:  We love her artwork.  (She's the illustrator for some of the LemonStarfish books including Princess Truly and the Hungry Bunny Problem).

Baby Toddler Boy in Red and Brown Teddy Bear - Apple Green Car -  The RACE CAR DRIVER  - Art Print - Nursery

Hallmark's Personalized Books, including THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS:  You can personalize the book's main character (skin, hair, eye, gender) and the name which appears on the cover and throughout the book.

Night Before Christmas Personalized Book

Fisher-Price Little People Wheelie:  These are fun to play with alone or with a designated set.  Makes a great stocking stuffer.  Affordable, sturdy, adorable.

Hallmark African American Ornaments:  There are always a handful to choose from every year.  Here are a few available this year.

African-American Jazz Santa OrnamentAfrican-American Father Christmas and Owl Ornament

African-American Baby's First Christmas Sleigh Ornament

Now on to the Adoption Talk Linkup!

Today's topic is Names. Grab a button for your post and join Erin, Jamie, Jenni, Jill, Madeleine, Rachel, and me!
New to linking up? We'd love to have you join us, here's how.
No Bohns About It

Monday, November 30, 2015

National Adoption Month: Some of My Favorite Birth Parent-Centered Resources

I love learning from the different adoption triad members, and today I want to share with you my favorite resources that focus on birth parent perspectives.  Some were created by birth parents, though not all.   All of these are available on Amazon:



Juno (Single-Disc Edition)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

National Adoption Month: Some of my Favorite Adoptee Resources

Hi, Sugars:

If you are unfamiliar, the term "adoption triad" refers to a triangle, it's corner points representing birth (biological/first/natural) parents, parents who adopted, and adoptees (people who were adopted).

There has been much talk in the adoption community in recent years about the silencing or ignoring of adoptee voices.  The argument is often that adoptees matter the most in the triad, yet they are often the ones whose input is pushed aside by the other triad members (biological parents and parents by adoption) as well as by policy makers, educators, social workers.

My dear friend Madeleine Melcher is an adoptee and mom through adoption.  She once shared with me that I need to, above all, listen my children; not because they were adopted, but because they are my children, my responsibility.  And because when it comes to the things associated with adoption (visits with birth parents, for example), what is most important is what my children want, not what the other adults involved want.  (Madeleine has written two excellent books, in case you are interested, and also has a blog.)

I have seen a shift in the past few years among parents who adopted.  They are more willing to listen to adult adoptees.  In my experience, besides face to face, authentic relationships (which trump everything else, in my opinion), reading and viewing material can be incredibly beneficial to parents by adoption.

Here are some of my favorite adoptee-focused resources, most of which were created by adoptees:


ADOPTEE BOOKS/FILMS: all available on Amazon

The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom


What are you favorite adoptee-centered resources?  I'd love to add to my list!  

Monday, November 23, 2015

National Adoption Month: Best Non-Sappy Adoption Picture Books

I'm going to tell you here and now, I'm not sap.  I hate the "born in my heart" adoption sentiment (and others).  Hallmark and Lifetime movies have me rolling my eyes.   Kitties and puppies have pretty much zero effect on my tear ducts (babies are WAY more precious).  I very rarely cry.

I carry my non-sappy attitude to choosing adoption books for my kids.  Not because it's not ok to have emotions surrounding adoption, but because kids like things that are funny, vibrant, and different.  Pastel illustrations do very little for most young children.  (Thus why it was SO important to me that my children's books, Black Girls Can and Poems for the Smart, Spunky, and Sensational Black Girl had colorful, fun illustrations.)

Even though all adoption books don't apply to your particular situation (special needs, transracial, sibling group, international, etc.), reading about the different types of adoption can be interesting to kiddos.  We have such a large diverse group of friends, may of those children adopted via foster care and international adoption, that my kids love learning about their friends' stories!

So in no particular order, here are our favorite non-sappy adoption books, all available from Amazon: