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Explaining MLK Day to Kids :: 3 Life Lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Life & Legacy

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Every year, on the third Monday of January, we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Programs and events are held and acts of service occur in and around local/state/national communities. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK Day) is now a federal holiday, when in 2000 it was finally recognized in all 50 states in the U.S.

It’s easy to let MLK Day to come and go without much recognition, or to view it only as a day to relax with your family or work on those items you have been putting off on your to-do list. And while those things aren’t necessarily bad, it is important to not miss out on the opportunity to recognize the holiday and explain to our kids WHY we celebrate this important day.

The establishment of MLK Day was to honor Dr. King’s life and legacy and conduct acts of service. He was a man whose life was devoted to the service of others; from his role as a pastor at his Baptist church all the way to the Civil Rights movement and his fight for unity and diversity in this country. There are many lessons to be drawn from his life; however, there are three that stand out to me as powerful life lessons to pass down to our kids, those that can help explain MLK Day to kids.

“The time is always right to do what is right.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

3 Life Lessons Your Kids Can Learn From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Life & Legacy

  1. Speak Your Truth – Dr. King was a man who was committed to speaking his truth and speaking the truth on the behalf of those who had no voice. What an incredible lesson to teach our kids: the value of making sure that their words always ring true. To remind them that wherever and whenever they are in a position of privilege and there is injustice unfolding, it is important for them to speak up and speak the truth.
  2. Be A Positive Influence – The Memphis Sanitation Strike, Montgomery Bus Boycott, March on Washington, and Native American activism are few examples where Dr. King used his influence to change countless lives for the better. His involvement in those events is part of what made these events impactful and memorable. Our kids need to understand that their influence is powerful and can bring about change in a positive way beyond just today. It is also a reminder for them that who they choose to be influenced by is just as powerful and so being mindful of the friends they keep is vital.
  3. Never Stop Dreaming – Dr. King had a dream. We are all familiar with his memorable “I Have A Dream” speech in some capacity. Despite the horrific backlash and challenges he faced, he never stopped dreaming that one day there would be unity among us all. While we still have a ways to go to see the true fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream come to pass. We have made great strides as a nation toward it. Teaching our kids to never stop dreaming, even when they face great adversity, is a tool in their life lesson tool belt that they will need to use often.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This MLK Day, I encourage you to take a moment and learn something new about the life and legacy of Dr. King. Share what you have learned with your children in an age-appropriate manner. Talk with your children about the lessons I suggested here that can be learned from his life. Better yet, in explaining MLK Day to your kids, let them SEE those lessons in your day-t-day actions.

Let’s make an intention this year to learn more and set an example. If we don’t take the time to look back and observe and see what we can learn, we will be doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. This is not a call to perfectionism, but a call to action and intent because the next generation depends on it.

 

Join the Collin County Moms Writing Team for 2021

Are you a Collin County mama that enjoys creative writing? Do you want to find a unique way to connect with local moms? Are you eager to share your unique experiences or voice with fellow moms? 

At Collin County Moms, we are passionate about the Collin County community and the moms who live here. Our goal is to make this area of North Texas feel just a little bit smaller. By using both our website and social media outlets, we want to keep our readers up to date on family-friendly activities around town, provide advice on parenting and motherhood, and encourage everyone to get out and explore all that our wonderful county has to offer.

That’s where our contributing team of writers comes in!

We are looking for local women with fresh and diverse voices who are passionate about motherhood and who want to share their experiences with other women in Collin County and beyond. We’re committed in 2021 to creating a community where ALL moms feel welcome at the table, and we are expanding our writing team to give space to the voices we haven’t heard from yet.

Note :: You do NOT have to be a “blogger” to apply! This is a volunteer role with some fun perks. Keep reading…

Who we are looking for…

Collin County is a huge community with so many amazing parenting styles and cultural, ethnic, and racial backgrounds represented. We would LOVE to continue to build a team that echoes the diversity of our community. We want to make sure we are representing ALL moms! With that in mind, the writers we are looking for are…

  • Moms in and around the entire Collin County area (from Farmersville to Frisco and Plano to Anna + everywhere in between!) who have a passion for motherhood, their city / our county and enjoy writing.
  • Women with a sense of humor and zest for life who don’t tend to take themselves too seriously.
  • A diverse group of women who represent the demographics of our community.
  • Moms of children of all ages, from infants to college-age and beyond.

 

Think LOCAL: We love to keep our content relevant to Collin County and the suburbs it contains… or at least within driving distance for day trips and outings. Blog posts can feature places to go and things to do while more general topics {potty training, DIY, working, etc.} can be given a local twist simply because they are written by a local mom – YOU!

Think MOMS: It may sound obvious, but Collin County Moms’ target audience is made up of moms, so it only makes sense that our content remains under the broad category of parenting, within which you have a ton of subtopics to choose from. If you have an idea that interests you and your friends, our readers would probably love to read about it too!

Most Importantly: Write what you love, and love what you write!

As you consider what content to submit as a sample with your application, please think about these important guidelines:

  • Your sample submissions must be original to you, meaning, you are the author. Please keep copyright infringement laws in mind.
  • The submission with your application should be a sampling of your writing (500-600 words). Writing samples might include a blog post from a personal website or national contributing site, newspaper editorial, magazine feature, or microblog (see definition below). You can even write something brand new or unpublished.
  • Content should be free from the following: profanity, sexual language, political endorsement of a party or candidate, political commentary, op-ed commentary on controversial social and/or political issues, and derogatory or inflammatory language.

Tell Me More…

This is a volunteer position, but there are some really fun perks to make it all worthwhile if you’re selected to join our team! Here’s what you can expect:

What you GIVE…

  • One original post per month on the topic of your choice that fits within the brand and mission of Collin County Moms; posts can vary from month to month or you can be a monthly “expert” on a subject you’re passionate about.
  • OR 3 MicroBlogs! :: Have you seen those pictures floating around Facebook with lengthy captions? Those are micros. They’re prominent on Instagram as well. You can think of them as mini-blogs, but they’re not great for everything, so here at Collin County Moms we mix these in with traditional blogs and lots of other content!

Since they are shorter in length, microblogs are meant to grab the reader’s attention immediately. Personal, relatable stories about everyday life and relationships often connect with our readers. If this sounds interesting, microblogging might be for you!

  • A 12-month voluntary commitment from February 2021 – January 2022.
  • Your presence, when possible, at Collin County Moms events and contributor gatherings (which are designed to be a great time!)
  • Interaction with our content on Social Media

What you GET…

  • New connections, new friendships, and an amazing experience
  • Social and direct networking with a huge community of moms (and kids) in Collin County
  • Discounted admission to all Collin County Moms Events
  • Your photo and bio on the Collin County Moms Team page (with links to your business, personal blog, and/or social media handles if you choose to share them)
  • Access to our private contributors’ group
  • Access to information and professional development in the areas of writing, blogging, SEO, social media, and event management
  • Opportunity to test out products and/or services for review as they become available to Collin County Moms contributors.
  • Fun! Even if you don’t consider yourself a blogger, writing is therapeutic and awesome.

Ready to Apply?

Fill out the application below and submit your writing sample. Once we close submissions, we’ll let you know that we’re on the way to bury ourselves in all of your content. Ongoing updates will be sent by email!

Deadline to Apply: Friday, January 29, 2021 @ 11:59PM

*There are no exceptions to the application deadline

Conversations from Family Movie Night: Disney’s “Safety”

This week, my family and I sat down for a movie night. We had heard a lot about the new Disney+ movie Safety, so we thought we’d give it a shot. We knew nothing about it before turning it on other than it had a Blind Side vibe to it, so we took a chance.

I am so thankful we did. The conversations that flowed from this feel-good movie were very surprising, hard, meaningful conversations. So I thought I’d take a minute to share some of what we talked about with our kids as follow up.

First, you should know that these were conversations with our seven and nine-year-old. Our youngest, five, watched with us, but he didn’t pick up on a lot of the nuances like our bigger kids did. I think any kid 5+ could enjoy this movie, but some of the subtle issues might go over their heads.

And it should be noted that this was not a big family meeting we sat down for. These were very quick, subtle conversations we had individually with each child. Over the years we’ve developed more of a quick bite over big meals mentality to discussing hard topics with our kids. We find they’re much more likely to talk to us about uncomfortable topics in small doses when the door is always open as opposed to sitting down for one big talk.

Family Fights for Each Other

Without giving too much away, I’ll share that a huge theme of the movie is that family never gives up. The movie centers on older brother Ray fighting to keep younger brother Fahmarr safe while their mother is in a rehabilitation facility. This family theme is also seen as the Clemson football team rallies to support them. This brought up a fantastic opportunity to discuss how family is more than just blood. While it’s important to us as an adoptive family, it’s also a great opportunity to discuss the importance of supporting classroom families, team families, and church families.

Perseverance & Grit

The title of the movie comes from Ray’s position on the team, but in my opinion, it speaks more to the theme of the film: protecting a brother’s safety at all costs. This is not an easy task for a freshman student athlete balancing practices, academics, and more. We see time and time again in the film where Ray refuses to give up on his brother despite obstacles, something we can likely all relate to after the grit we needed in 2020.

Foster Care

At one point in the movie, Fahmarr is removed from Ray’s care and placed in a group foster care facility. Though my kids have known several foster babies through friends with placements, this was their first exposure to older children in the system. My daughter was especially concerned with this, and asked lots of questions about what might lead an older child to need foster placement which flowed into the conversation on addiction.

Addiction

Ray and Fahmarr’s mother enters into a rehabilitation program for substance abuse early in the film. Many times, Ray refers to her as “sick” which opened a door for us to discuss how that version of “sick” is different than when they get sick. This subject had to be explained in very child-like and age-appropriate terms, of course, but we didn’t skirt around it.

If I know one thing for sure as a mom, it’s that I want to be the one initiating conversations about topics like these before they hear it elsewhere. (Because, moms, they will hear it elsewhere. Go first!) This movie was funny, inspiring, and opened up very natural pathways to tough topics. I highly recommend it, and I’d love to hear what conversations it opened up in your home!

My Struggle with Adult Acne

One of my biggest sources of shame is my struggle with adult acne. It seems that most people who have acne get it out of the way in their teenage years, but for me, it seems to have happened in the opposite way. Sure, I had the occasional pimple in high school that I would cover up with some light mineral powder. My struggle with shame…I’m living with acne did not begin for me until I was about 18.

What is CAUSING My Adult Acne?

I have spent the better part of the last decade trying to figure out what caused the acne originally; was it the stress and suddenness of my parent’s separation? Was is it starting college and not sleeping or eating as well as I had previously? Was it all of the emotional ups and downs of dating in college? Once I stopped obsessing with how it began, I started focusing on solving the current breakout that I have on my face…and I always have one. Sometimes, they are not so bad, and I only have a few blemishes, but more often than not, I have a face full of acne.

Am I eating too much fried food? Too much dairy? Am I not getting enough green in my diet? Is it my mask? Is it my pillowcase? Am I not washing my face enough? Washing it too much? Am I inadvertently touching my face too much? These are just a few of the things I question on a regular basis regarding the cause of my acne.

What I’ve Tried to Combat Adult Acne

I have tried what feels like everything, different face washes, not using face wash, face wash wands, changing my mask after each use, dermatologist appointments which ended in prescriptions for antibiotics that didn’t help, prescriptions for birth control which caused a whole host of other issues, and the talk of the dreaded Accutane.

Mother's face covered with acne
My face right now; this is difficult for me to share.

Anyone who has any experience with acne knows the fear of Accutane. I know many people close to me who have used it with a great many side effects. Not to mention the required stress of birth control while on it and the blood work that always scares me. The people in my life who have used it had great success once it is not an option.

How Adult Acne Has Affected My Self Image

All of that being said, I feel more like a teenager now than I did when I actually was one. I am so embarrassed by the way I look with my acne that I don’t even want to look at myself in the mirror at all, while washing my hands, brushing my teeth, and even washing my face. I often find myself not wanting to see anyone outside of my family even via FaceTime or Zoom. Makeup is of little use no matter how much I slather on and how amazing my makeup artist brother is, it always shows through. I feel dirty no matter how much I wash my face.

In addition to acne, I have a lazy eye and have worn glasses since I was 18 months old. I love my glasses but that coupled with my acne can sometimes cause me to really struggle with my self image.

I would love to be one of those women who looks amazing without makeup, who has perfect skin, and never has to use more than water and a little bit of soap for it to remain flawless. No matter what happens, I know my face will never be that perfect.

I know that I am more than my acne, that there is more to me than what is on my face, but it is a struggle none the less. Sharing my struggle with adult acne has not been an easy one to talk about but it is one I feel like needs to be shared in case anyone else is dealing with the same thing.

Family Executive Retreat: Part 2

One of my first posts written for Collin County Moms was A Unique Valentine’s Day: the Family Executive Retreat. It’s hard to believe that was the beginning of 2020, and now here we are at the end of the craziest year of my lifetime.

Creating Family Values
In addition to creating goals last year, we came up with some family values.

The idea of having a family executive retreat was born when my husband, a new vice president at his company, attended his first company executive retreat. I thought, “Why not have our own executive retreat?”

Family values and goals for the year.
This picture was taken during our Executive Retreat in 2019 going into 2020. These poster boards represent the first of many of these retreats we plan to take!

It was the absolute most fun we have had together. We got a hotel while my parents watched our kiddo, and we enjoyed hours of conversation planning our future and evaluating the past.

After much interest from my insta-family in doing their own executive retreat, I decided to make it a workshop! On December 31, which is the day we dubbed our Executive Retreat Workshop, we worked through our workshop along with several friends and family members!

If you are interested, you can check it out here, or go to my Instagram page where I am constantly sharing about our executive retreat. During the course of our workshop, we focused on three main things.

Looking Back

While I firmly believe it is not healthy to dwell on the past; it is, however, very valuable to look at your past areas of opportunity and areas of accomplishments. This will help you to learn and grow. When one fails, one has the opportunity to grow. And listing your accomplishments will help to increase your feelings of self worth.

It’s been a trying year for a lot of people, but if you buckle down and evaluate all areas of your life, you are bound to realize how much you have accomplished.

List Your Focus Areas

This is a fun part for me! Listing your focus areas will help you to identify what you want your goals to be. Once you know the areas you want to focus on, you can then delve deep and create ways you want to grow in those areas.

Last year, my husband and I chose the following: personal, family, health, and financial. Other areas that you might consider can be career, education, volunteerism, spiritual growth, social, or even romance.

The great thing about focus areas is that they can change year over year, and definitely won’t be the same person by person. Your focus areas might look vastly different from mine, and that is perfectly OK!

Goal Setting

Now that you have your focus areas, you can create goals. Along with those goals, you will want to create steps on how you will accomplish those goals.

For instance, if you chose health as one of your focus areas and you want to lose 15 pounds, that is your goal: Lose 15 pounds. The steps you can take to get there could be as follows: work out 4 times a week, track my food, and drink a gallon of water a day.

With each goal that you set, you want to create specific and measurable action items that will allow you to work towards your goals. If you just say that you want to lose 15 pounds, but don’t have a plan as to how you will get there, then the chances of you completing that goal are slim to none.


My husband and I were so excited to complete our Executive Retreat Workshop. This 50-page workshop guided us through conversations together that ended with us having a plan for 2021 and beyond. When we have these conversations, it gives us not only a platform to discuss our hopes and dreams, but gives us time to create an action plan that will help us achieve those goals.

The great thing about this process is that it can be done at any time throughout the year, and does not have to be done with your spouse. If you have a best friend that you’d like to do this with, then grab some wine, or in my case, some sparkling cider (#pregnant), and get to planning! And most of all, enjoy yourself along the way.

Cultivating a Culture of Honesty with Our Kids

We were sitting in the car in the drive-through line. One kid was telling a story, the other was rummaging around to make space for his drink in the cupholder. The phone rang. I didn’t even look to see who it was and sent it to Bluetooth.

“Hello?”

“Hello, Miss Hauser, this is Solis Mammography calling to discuss the results of your recent scans.”

Crap. They’ve never called before. Something’s up. MY KIDS ARE LISTENING. Should I just hang up? No, that’d make them more concerned. Crap. Stay calm, Alisa.

“Yes?”

“Well, Miss Hauser, we’ve detected some abnormalities in the scans so we’d like to bring you back in this week for additional tests.”

Crap. I knew it.

“Ummmm…MOM??? What’s going on?”

Stay calm, Alisa. Your kids need you to just stay calm and be honest.

“Well, guys, I’m not exactly sure, but I promise you one thing: Whatever it is, we’ll get through it.”

“Okay.”

And that was it. I pictured crying. No, actually, I pictured hysterics. Our family has seen more than its share of trauma and I thought FOR. SURE. something like this would tip them right over the edge. But it didn’t. The food arrived. We went on our way. All was calm.

Huh????

Here’s the thing. Our kids need to trust us to tell them the truth. They need to trust us to tell them what they need to know. As parents, we heartily embrace our responsibility to protect our children, and oftentimes mistakenly believe that includes shielding them from information that could cause stress. But in reality, keeping the truth from our kids could lead to greater feelings of helplessness and anxiety.

From current events to COVID to heartbreak to health concerns, the guiding principle in sharing with our children is to tell them the truth in a way that they understand. Young children (up to 8 years old) don’t need as much detailed information, while older children (8 to 12 years) and teens, in my experience, will want to know more. When life becomes unpredictable, feeling assured that they’ll always know what’s going on will help them adjust and feel safe.

Isn’t the same true for us as parents? How many times have I said to my kids, “I can take anything you have to tell me; just tell me the truth” ? Well, the same holds true for them. And as parents it’s our job to cultivate a culture of honesty and transparency in our families.

After all, we can’t ask for honesty from our kids if we’re not willing to give it.

I’ve made a ton of mom mistakes. I’ve messed up, screwed up, and blown it BIG TIME. But one thing my kids know for sure is that even though I’ll never be perfect, I’ll always be honest with them.

I don’t know what’s going to happen, and truth be told, I’m nervous. I want to make it all go away. I want to spare them from any more heartbreak. But I can’t.

What I can do is be honest with them. Inform them. Stay close with them. And keep reassuring them that whatever happens, we’ll get through it together. And that comforts them because they know I’m telling them the truth.

Cozy Comforts for the New Year

Collin County Moms only features products we actually love! Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link in this story, Collin County Moms may receive a small commission of the sale.

The cold winter months always make me want to curl up, hibernate and get my hygge on, but living through the disaster that was 2020 has turned that annual desire into a full-blown, screaming need for self-care. So will you join me in a little self care this month as we tentatively welcome 2021 from under the cover of our comfy and cozy blankets?

Here are my favorite cozy comforts for welcoming the new year!

Reading Shawl

Are you ever minding your own business, trying to read in bed or on the couch, but your arms and shoulders keep getting cold and you can’t cover them because then you can’t hold your book? Me, too. It’s a problem. Enter the reading shawl! This super soft and cozy wrap will keep your shoulders and arms warm while keeping your hands free to hold your book. Or TV remote. Whatever, man. Bonus: It has pockets!

reading shawl

Book of the Month Club

Now that you have the warmth of your upper torso under control with a reading shawl, it’s time to settle down with the perfect book! The Book of the Month Club is a great way to find books perfectly suited to your preferences. For a $15 monthly subscription fee, you’ll receive 5 book recommendations from the professionals at BOTM; from those recommendations, you’ll choose the one you want to read and they’ll send the hardback to you. Easy peasy! Not interested in a subscription service? Join Goodreads to get personalized book recommendations delivered to your inbox!

books

Candles

Nothing says cozy like a delicious-smelling candle as it adds some warm mood lighting to your evening. Over the last few months, lighting candles has become a sort of ritual for me, signifying the end of long days as they turn into (hopefully) peaceful evenings. The BEST candles are sourced locally in Frisco from 192 Candle Co. The owner of 192 Candle Co., Natalie, is a local single mom with a passion for candles (read more about her amazing story here). All candles from 192 Candle Co. are organic, 100% soy and hand-poured in Natalie’s home, and they are absolute heaven. You can order online and pick up your candles from Natalie locally (or she delivers within 20 miles). 192 Candle Co. also ships nationwide, or you can visit the 192 Candle Co. booth at Painted Tree Marketplace in Frisco.

2020 candle

Mulled Wine

Who says this holiday classic can’t extend its cozy-inducing vibes into January? Not me! A mug of mulled wine is just the thing to warm you up and relax you from the inside out. And it will make your entire house smell fantastic! Here is the mulled wine recipe I use from Fork in the Kitchen. If you prefer something not grape-based, a classic hot toddy will also do the trick!

mulled wine

Licorice and Peppermint Hot Tea

If mulled wine isn’t your thing or if you’re taking a break from alcohol, you have to try licorice and peppermint hot tea! I know, it sounds gross, but trust me in this! I actually detest licorice flavor and peppermint is far from my favorite, but this tea combo just works! It’s sweet—no need to add any sweeteners or honey—with a little bite from the licorice, followed by a hint of mint. And it’s caffeine free with only one calorie per cup! If there’s a perfect hot tea, this is it! I drink the Teapigs brand with wild abandon (also available on Amazon).

hot tea

Fuzzy Socks

This one almost goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Fuzzy socks are an absolute cozy requirement. My feet are always cold in the winter months so there’s nothing I love more than pulling on a pair of thick, fuzzy socks, preferably combined with some baggy sweatpants. I own many fuzzy socks, ranging from Target Dollar Spot specials to the plush Barefoot Dreams socks that are, well, dreamlike. I love them all and keep them in constant rotation.

fuzzy socks

Let’s let this new year come in gently with all the warmth and coziness we can muster. Enjoy these cozy comforts, mommas!

 

10 Ridiculous Lessons Learned in 2020

mom holding toilet paper shopping at target during covid
Who knew Target would look like this?!

I think we’ve all had our fair share of “lessons” that 2020 has taught us, whether we wanted them or not. While I’ve had plenty of serious realizations myself, I’ve also discovered quite a few on the ridiculous side. These are things that can only be described as 2020 epitomized.

Lessons Learned in 2020

  1. You can, in fact, live comfortably as a hermit. There are enough services available now to bring you anything you need so that you really never need to leave your house again.
  2. It is possible to run out of TV shows you actually want to watch. And you can also find the end of the Internet, where you’ve seen and read everything that you can see and read.
  3. I should have bought stock in Zoom. Missed opportunity for sure.
  4. My flaw of forgetting to cancel monthly deliveries from Amazon Prime actually kind of worked out for me. It turns out that I already had a stockpile of Clorox wipes and toilet paper before Covid-19.
  5. Retail therapy is not nearly as satisfying when it’s all done online. We really do need Target in our lives. I’ll never take you for granted again, Target!

    mom holding toilet paper shopping at target during covid
    Sometimes I have to make little outings at Target just to get out of the house
  6. Getting a puppy will exponentially increase your stress. I cannot emphasize this enough. Do not get a puppy unless you’re ready for more of your stuff to get destroyed.
  7. I am the worst “homeschool” mom ever. Teachers deserve to be paid a million dollars. Full stop.
  8. Do not EVER ask if things can get any worse. Enough said.
  9. People are the worst. See: the comments section on any social media post.
  10. People are the best. See: health care workers, first responders, and all the people reaching out to their neighbors in love and kindness.

Everything that 2020 put us through is mind boggling when you look back on it. It certainly taught me some strange things that I’m not really sure I needed to know, but now I do anyway. Regardless, I’m taking this info into 2021 and hoping for the best.

What unusual things did you learn in 2020? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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A Collin County Mom’s Guide to the Month of January

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It's January! New beginnings. A clean slate. Let’s throw off the moldy old husk of 2020 and get down to better business. All that...