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The Responsible Book Keepers

If you are anything like me and my family, you may have a book or two, or fifty, on loan from your local library at any given time. However, on March 15, 2020, all Durham County Public Library [Durham, North Carolina] locations closed to the public until further notice. With the closing of even the drop boxes, my family became the responsible book keepers of a few books for an indefinite amount of time. Okay, 22 books to be exact! I thought it would be fun to share which ones!

The Responsible Book Keepers of 22 Library Books
Are you responsible for any borrowed library items until libraries open back up? What do you have?

What the Kids are Reading

Elijah’s Picks

Just under half the books we have were picked by my twelve and nine year old sons. My nine year old is the historian-in-the-making, so it was a complete surprise when my oldest son borrowed history books on one of our last trips to the library.

  • Frederick Douglass: Slave, Writer, Abolitionist by Brenda Haugen
  • Phillis Wheatley: Slave and Poet by Robin S. Doak
  • Lincoln and the Jews: A History by Jonathan D. Sarna and Benjamin Shapell
  • The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary

Graphic Novels

Graphic novels are very popular in my household. I am not the biggest fan of them. However, if graphic novels keep my boys interested in reading, I cannot complain too much. We are currently the responsible keepers of these four graphic novels.

  • Compass South by Hope Larson
  • The Graveyard Book, Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell
  • Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Samir’s Picks

My nine year old decided on books related to classroom reading: a couple of retold ‘epic poems’.

  • Homer’s The Iliad retold by Gillian Cross
  • Homer’s The Odyssey retold by Gillian Cross

My Pick for Elijah (and Possibly Samir)

Ten books down. Twelve to go. Although I am responsible for picking the last twelve, I picked one with Elijah in mind.

  • Keyboarding Made Simple by Leigh E. Zeitz

When I was in middle (or high school), I took a typewriting class; during a time when being online was a novice idea. Typing, or keyboarding, is an much more important skill today than I could have imagined 25+ years ago. It is, therefore, surprising to not see more dedicated classes to enhance the skill.

The Books I Have More Time to Explore

My sons are much better that I am when I comes to reading borrowed library books. I am, however, deciding to embrace this unexpected time with these books as an opportunity to actually explore them.

Margaret’s Picks

  • Imam Bukhari’s Book of Muslim Morals and Manners compiles by Muhammad Ibn Ismail Al Bukhari
  • Little Victories: Perfect Rules for Imperfect Living by Jason Gay
  • At Home with Handmade Books by Erin Zamrzla
  • The Non-Designer’s Design Book by Robin Williams
  • Creative Lettering Edited by Jenny Doh
  • The 24-Hour Customer by Adrian C. Ott
  • Spark: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success by Angie Morgan, Courtney Lynch, and Sean Lynch
  • the zen of social media marketing by Shama Hyder Kabani
  • Pitch Perfect: How to Say it Right the First Time, Every Time by Bill McGowan and Alisa Bowman
  • this is social media: tweet, blog, link, and post your way to business success by Guy Clapperton
  • The Infographic Guide for Entrepreneurs by Carissa Lytle and Jara Kern

The Responsible Book Keepers

After a few weeks, we are still getting used to how different our lives are compared to just two months ago. Although there is a great deal of worry, anxiety, and fear right now, there is also room to explore benefits of our new reality. I am choosing to recognize our extended time with these library books as a positive consequence of this traumatic situation.

Would you like to hear more about any of these books? Have you read any of them? Do you have borrowed library books, CDs, or DVDs that you are the keeper of until libraries open back up to the public? Are there any books, CDs, or DVDs that you wish you still had from the library? Comment below – we would love to hear from you.

Note: Although libraries are closed, many still have online materials available. Durham County [North Carolina] residents can even get temporary library cards. Check out the website of your local library to see what they have available.

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Need Help Finding These Three Items?

Pinterest Pin: We Could Use These 3 Items. . .  Here's Some Help Getting Them!
You are probably looking for at least one of these items!

During this time of change, many desired items have suddenly become unavailable. My recent visits to stores have shown that most food and beverage have returned to the shelf. Plenty of water, eggs, bread, and milk are available again – with new purchasing limits to help keep it that way. However, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer are still of low quantity or nonexistent. Now, with the CDC’s (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention) recommendation to wear face masks in public, we add an additional item to our hard to find list. Here is some advice and help for finding/making three of these important items.

1. Face Masks/Coverings

On or around April 3, 2020, the CDC officially recommended wearing cloth face coverings in public settings since other social distancing measures could be difficult to maintain. Due to the increase demand of face masks and coverings, many people are using a more accessible Do-It-Yourself (DIY) option. Check here for DIY instructions from the CDC.

According to a recent Business Insider article, CEO of Suay Sew Shop, Lindsay Medoff, says a cloth mask is not enough.

Medoff and two friends were appalled by the dozens of mask patterns calling for cotton, a highly breathable, permeable fabric, and became obsessed with finding a fabric better suited for the job.

Business Insider

After testing many materials, Medoff concluded that the ideal material is the stretchy blue shop towels. If you are going to use a cotton mask, insert one or two blue shop towels for filtration. You could also make mask out of the blue shop towels. The video below is shows how to make a No-Sew shop towel mask.

To increase effectiveness, insert an additional towel within this mask.

I altered my mask to use 4 rubber bands and 2 additional paperclips to secure the mask around my head versus around my ears. I will also insert an additional towel within the mask.

My Mask Supplies!
My Supplies: One Blue Shop Towel, Three #1 paper clips, four #32 rubber bands, scissors/shears, scotch tape.
My Final Product!
My final product.

2. Disinfecting Wipes

When is the last time you went to the store and saw disinfecting wipes for sell? It has likely been at least a month. Although I purchased a few containers before the panic began, my supply is running low. I, therefore, started looking for alternative solutions. Here is one useful recipe! It calls for “rags”, but you could also use high quality paper towels. *You may want to adjust the amount of mixture depending on the amount of “cloths” you have available.

Homemade Clorox Wipes

1 cup water
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
1 tsp. Dawn dish soap (only use Dawn)
2 Tbsp. ammonia (optional)
24 rags – cut into squares. (I cut them to about 4×6 inches but whatever size you have available or whichever size you need will work. I also use old washrags that have seen better days.)

Mix the ingredients and pour over the rags.* Then, when you need to clean your bathroom, use them as you would the disposable Clorox wipes.

Note: This mixture does not include bleach. For anyone using bleach to clean, remember that bleach does not mix well with others, and is dangerous if ingested. Please be extra careful when cleaning with bleach.

3. Hand Sanitizer

I recently received an article about a few Black-owned companies selling hand sanitizer. I was ecstatic to see a hometown favorite of mine, Hairizon. Hairizon is beauty bar based out of Durham, North Carolina. Check out this article to find other companies who may be able to help with your hand sanitizer needs.

I found a homemade recipe for hand sanitizer, but it came with an warning. See the article for further information.

A word of warning

Hand sanitizer recipes, including the one below, are intended for use by professionals with the necessary expertise and resources for safe creation and proper utilization.

Only use homemade hand sanitizers in extreme situations when handwashing isn’t available for the foreseeable future.

Don’t use homemade hand sanitizers on children’s skin as they may be more prone to use them improperly, leading to a greater risk of injury.

How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer recipe

What you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent)
  • 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel (to help keep your hands smooth and to counteract the harshness of alcohol)
  • 10 drops of essential oil, such as lavender oil, or you can use lemon juice instead

Directions:

  • Pour all ingredients into a bowl, ideally one with a pouring spout like a glass measuring container.
  • Mix with a spoon and then beat with a whisk to turn the sanitizer into a gel.
  • Pour the ingredients into an empty bottle for easy use, and label it “hand sanitizer.”

Versus making your own hand sanitizers, try one of the companies above. If you are not an essential worker, stay home as much as possible and use good, “old-fashion” soap and water!

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Stay safe, everyone!

Current Inventory of Youth Shirts On Sale!

The New Stress in the Time of Social Distancing

Is grocery shopping more stressful than ever?

Grocery shopping is a new stress in the time of social distancing. Especially if you are actually trying to practice social distancing. I start my social distancing in the parking lot. When I can, I park where no one is parking directly beside me. I walk into the store with a few of cleaning wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer.

I am using the wipes to clean the grocery cart, to open doors and pick up items. When someone is in front of me, I keep a good distance from them. If they stop, I stop or I redirect. When I see someone coming toward me that is obviously not planning to follow the Social Distancing guidelines, I try to move in a direction as to not pass each other directly. Grocery shopping would be a lot less stressful if people would be more patient and make sure to leave at least three, preferably six, feet between themselves and others.

Read: Who Knew Grocery Shopping Could Be So Stressful?

Safe Grocery Shopping in COVID-19 Pandemic

Safe Grocery Shopping Tips

If you are responsible for grocery shopping, carrying or putting away grocery, please give this a watch. We all must go the extra mile to keep ourselves and each other safe.

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Starting today, we also have t-shirts and totes with the Essential Employee design below.  So many Essential Employees, like my mother, are placing themselves in harms way because of their commitment to the health and well-beings of others.  They also continue to work because of their commitment to themselves and their families.  No Essential Employee should have to fight for a livable wage. Essential Employees should be paid for their Essential work.       

Buy the essential worker in your life this special t-shirt and we will make a donation to help other essential workers. Place your order and we will email you to see if you have a specific fundraiser/organization/person that you would like the donation to go toward!

Until next time, be safe!

Celebrate Often – Even Now

We are officially in week two of no school. Assignments for my middle schooler are piling up. I am behind on lessons with my second grade, special needs son. Even more, my middle schooler and forth grader have already had to be separate. However, I can still find ways to celebrate often – even now!

Celebrate Often - Even Now
Make sure to celebrate often, even during times of uncertainty!

Stuck at Home

Having three sons – ages 12(E), 9(S), and 8(H) – in a three bedroom home means someone is sharing. Although I am grateful for the space we have, figuring out the best rooming arrangement has been difficult. For most of the time, E had his own room; while S and H shared a room. Last year, S was done with this arrangement! Since H is Autistic, his sleep pattern can unexpectedly become unpredictable. He might be up laughing or turning on lights at midnight. He would even climb up the bunk bed steps and bounce S awake, that is if he made it to sleep.

Eventually, we decided to move S into the room with E. It has “worked” for some month, although every couple of weeks or so they are fighting about something. But after last week’s pushing and hitting, E and S are in separate rooms. H is with me for now. H doesn’t seem to care about what changes we have going on. He keeps running to “his room” every night. So we are working on a few big adjustments right now. Regardless of the challenges, we can still celebrate!

Celebrate Often: Opportunities to Learn

Although I feel like my “home-schooling” abilities are lacking, I appreciated that this crisis has forced me to be even more hands-on with my sons’ education. It has been somewhat stressful, on top of my full time job, but it is also rewarding. E has lots of homework, but at least I know that he is turning it in . . . and not losing or forgetting it! As far as S, he has been more self-sufficient, but it has been nice to have a physical book to “teach” out of versus just going over homework.

H’s teacher gave me a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) manual and H’s binder of pictures so I can work with him at home. I am very much excited to learn more in hopes to help his ability to communicate more effectively.

Furthermore, I started a free online course, The Science of Well-Being through Coursera.

Celebrate Often: Opportunities to Explore

Being stuck at home does not mean we cannot explore. Check out this list of virtual field trips, which also includes “lesson ideas, activities and book suggestions to extend the learning for each type of destination.” We have also used YouTube to explore one of my favorite aquariums, the Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, CA), our favorite local museum, the Museum of Life and Science (Durham, NC), and our to-visit-once-we-can-travel-again, Stone Mountain State Park (Roaring Gap, NC).

Exploring does not have to be all about places. Explore your talents! Do you like to sketch, or up for a sketching challenge? Check out author/illustrator Remy Lai on Twitter (@Remy_Lai) for the #sketchwithremy theme of the day. You do not have to be a professional illustrator to participate, just have fun!

Further explore your creativity with downloadable activities from writer/illustrator Jarrett Lerner. You will find a variety of blank comic book pages, “Finish This Comic!” comics, and drawing/writing prompts. There is plenty to explore on this website!

Celebrate Often: Being Apart Brings Us Together

As we all experience this world-wide pandemic, we are able to witness people all over the world giving support in ways that may be unique to their regular lives. Authors are having online book readings to help bring comfort to us in our new reality. Neighborhoods are organizing bear and scavenger hunts to indirectly connect with and support each other.

One huge way that I witnessed people come together, in terms of numbers alone, was on Instagram. This weekend, DJ dnice hosted a nine hour ‘party’ for more than 100,000 of his “closest friends”! People from all over the world came together to dance, sing, or just listen together! It was a wonderful experience within a difficult time. I can imagine the people who got dressed up to “go to Club Quarantine”!

Support Not Mad. Motivated.

Times are difficult for so many people all around the world. We are Praying for everyone’s safety and well-being. You are not alone. Stay in contact with people. Check on each other. Everyone is in need of some type of support. Hopefully, this post have added a little something positive to your day. If so, leave a comment, subscribe to our newsletter and blog, or visit our shop to purchase Not Mad. Motivated. merchandise.

Kindness in a Time of Uncertainty

A few weeks ago, a stranger paid for my lunch. This random act of unexpected kindness was shocking. Had it not been for my temporary state of disbelief, I may had “paid it forward” immediately. However, this weekend, I saw the perfect opportunity for kindness in this current time of uncertainty.

Let's make a world of kindness in a time of uncertainty
At any time in this world, someone is dealing with uncertainty. Always find kindness in your words, actions, and thoughts!

I went to a store to buy a couple of items. During checkout, I noticed some bagged items had been left. I brought the bags to the attention of the cashier, hoping that no one left them accidentally. Afterwards, the cashier motioned toward the near-by customer using the phone. Then the cashier realized that the customer was attempting to use an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer/ Food Stamp) card, which the store did not accept. As I finished my transaction, I quietly asked the balance of the other customer’s purchases and paid for it before they had the chance to leave the building.

Kindness is Contagious

Kindness is contagious! Although we will witness some ‘ugly’ acts such as hoarding needed supplies, we often see very beautiful acts of kindness during our most difficult times. We could never predict the exact affect of such actions. We cannot know with certainty how many lives a seemingly small act can touch. The recipient may pay-it-forward with kind words to a friend or an unexpected call to family member. Perhaps they will be encouraged to help an elderly or physically challenged person with a difficult task. Or just maybe, they become a little less bias because of receiving kindness from someone they normally would judge as ‘bad’.

We do know, however, that we all can greatly benefit from kindness. Check out these Kindness Health Facts! And if you have never visited the Random Acts of Kindness website, please check out their wonderful resources!

Kindness in a Time of Uncertainty

Many of us are currently connected through the unprecedented times that we are currently in, but please remember that people all around the world are in crises and are suffering everyday. When new cases plateau and the threat level has receded, don’t forget to be kind to the man, woman, or child fleeing from extremely impoverished and/or war-torn countries. Do not forget to be kind to the activist fighting to improve the community of children who live in uncertainty everyday. Be kind to the homeless, even if it is just an acknowledging smile. Kindness is always needed!

Kindness in Action

I would love to hear from you! What are some acts of kindness that you have experienced?

Many of us are staying home more then usual. What are you watching, reading, or listening to in order to stay busy or entertained? What hobbies are you picking up? Which interests are you building upon?

A lot of us parents are overseeing school assignments that are usually completely at school. Teachers, what advice to you have for parents? What resources do you suggest? What special accommodations are you making for your students?

Some of us are cooking at home more. Are you trying any new meals? Do you have tips or recipes to share?

Let’s share and spread kindness!

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Tennessee Orange Youth Size XS

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