The Produce Box – Delivering Inspiration

I do not eat enough vegetables. This means, consequently, my sons do not eat enough vegetables. This truth haunts me, and it has for years. I have attempted to develop better eating and cooking habits to no real avail. However, I am still determined to make essential changes for the sake of my sons. My latest endeavor is subscribing to The Produce Box, a fruit and vegetable home delivery service. Here’s to the Produce Box – delivering inspiration!

My first (Harvest) box was full of goodness: broccoli crown, a eggplant, Ginger Gold apples, grape tomatoes, a sweet onion, yellow peaches, and two zucchinis. It originally came with corn and a corn insert (basically an instruction card), but I switched those out with tri-colored carrots and bananas.

How I Used the Produce

I am old school when it comes to broccoli: steamed and covered with cheese. The Ginger Gold apples and peaches…what a sweet treat! I am traditionally a Gala apple consumer, but I am now a serious fan of the Ginger Gold. And the peaches were perfect! I have always like peaches but I rarely buy them in the grocery store. Perhaps I do not trust my ability to find the right ones.

I tried out four new recipes to use the other items.

The Produce Box – Delivering Inspiration

The first recipe I tried is Grape Tomato, Olive, and Spinach Pasta, minus the olives. This pasta is easy, light, and meatless. The delivery came with lots of grape tomatoes and this pasta was a great way to incorporate them all. You can alter the amount of red pepper flakes to increase or decrease the spice level. Find the recipe here to give it a try.

No one in our family eats bananas like we used to eat them. Many bananas have gone bad and I was determined not to throw these bananas out. I found a great Banana Bread Muffins recipe and they were delicious. [I could actually use a few banana right now to make this recipe again.] My youngest son enjoyed the tops off of all the muffins left on the counter! Here‘s the recipe!

Next I tried Stuffed Eggplant with Ground Chicken. I only had one eggplant so I did not follow the exact recipe. I ended up over cooking my chicken – again not following the recipe. However, the outcome was still good. Next time I get eggplant in my box, I will order two and try this recipe again. Try the recipe yourself and tell me how much you love it!

Lastly, I made Sauteed Zucchini and Carrots (Pictured Above). They were very good. I did not have clarified butter, or Ghee, so my vegetables were oilier than they should had turned out to be. I have passed by Ghee many times in my local halal store. Picking up some during my next visit is planned.

You can find all four recipes on Pinterest. If you try either or all, share a picture or comment on the Not Mad. Motivated. Pinterest Page!

Not Mad. Motivated. to V.O.T.E

It is easy for people to take for grant access to healthy foods. Food deserts, regions where people have limited access to healthful and affordable food, exist throughout in the United States and the world. When larger grocery stores decide not to invest in poorer regions, the residence of the area must depend on small stores, usually with highly priced items, or they must travel outside of their region to the large stores. Both options can be unreasonable for some. This can drive already vulnerable folks to depend on highly processed, unhealthy food choices.

This is one of many reasons that our vote is so important. Our vote is our voice! We must value our vote and choose to uplift the vulnerable out of modern oppression. We must vote to help all people have opportunity to thrive. The time is now! The truth must be acknowledge. Everyone must engage for us all to have a change to excel!

I’m Not Mad. I’m Motivated. to V.O.T.E! I hope you are, too.

Email for your Voting gear!

Tell the Children the Truth: About America

There are many songs by the legendary Bob Marley which often brings me to tears. After hearing about Trump’s “Mount Rushmore” speech, one song, in particular, has occupied my mind space. The toward the end of the song Babylon System, from the album Survival, the phase “Tell the Children the Truth” repeats. Mr. Marley’s pleas to be honest with the children is still painful to hear, as I witness a “president” who refuses to tell the truth about America!

Have the heart to Tell the Children the Truth!

In his speech, Trump portrays this idea that schools are vilifying the heroes that built our country. However, I have witnessed the exact opposite. I have donated to many book projects for teachers, classrooms, and schools over the last couple of years. Looking at those books, I do not see “our heroes” being vilifying. Instead, I see our heroes becoming more inclusive.

“Our children are taught in school to hate their own country and that the men and women who built it were not heroes but that were villains.”

Trump, Mount Rushmore, July 03, 2020

When our teachers expose students to the US enslavement of Africans and their descendants, they teach that those Black Lives Mattered. They teach about men and women who literally built our country. Men and women who were literally vilified – not even recognized as human for a time!

When our teachers teach about the land stolen from the Native Americans, and the immigrants whose labor also built America, they teach about the truth that Trump and his followers would rather forget. The US was built by many, but greatly profited only a few. To keep that balance of imbalance, those who invested the most blood, sweat, and tears were made the enemy of the US. This is not hate speech, it is truth.

A Not Mad. Motivated. Point of View

The history of America gives witness to the fact that wealth and power has always been more important than its people. There is a lot to be mad about when it comes to our history and the impact that it continues to have on so many today. If you are angry, make sure you are angry with a purpose! Seek knowledge. Have real conversations. Move with kindness. Have compassion. Tell the Truth. Do NOT just get MAD. Get MOTIVATED. The difference starts at home.

Get ready to make positive  moves!
Change in US starts with us!

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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Teaching Future Leaders

Every day is a opportunity to make a better tomorrow!

For weeks, the lyrics to Greatest Love of All have been playing in my mind often. I believe the children are our future. Really, I do. Teach them well and let them lead the way! We are constantly teaching the youth in our lives with our words and actions. Whether we like it or not, what we say or do to or around children can greatly influence our future leaders and communities. In other words, we can make a difference on how they view themselves and others, how they react to disappointments and difficulties, and how they celebrate accomplishments. So when we are around children, we should remember that we are teaching our future leaders!

Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Let us encourage the youth. Highlight their strengths, while advising them in areas that they have opportunities for growth.

Give Them a Sense of Pride to Make it Easier

A Little Bit of Everything: Hygiene

There is a segment in the Not Mad. Motivated. Newsletter called A Little Bit of Everything: Starting Conversations with the Youth in Our Lives. In our first issue, January 2020, our focus is on hygiene. Although most children learn about aspects of hygiene at an early age, it is important to keep those conversations going and the lines of communication open.

Talk about the different types of hygiene and the benefits of healthy practices. Discuss when and how to wash hands, clip nails, brush teeth, etc. Evaluate if skin and hair are getting moisturized properly. If there is physical evidence of the need for improvement, help pinpoint what is being done incorrectly. Revisiting these types of lessons can be very helpful.

Poor hygiene habits can also affect your self-esteem. Looking and feeling presentable can give you a confidence boost and a sense of pride in your appearance.

Creating a Personal Hygiene Routine: Tips and Benefits

If necessary, establish a hygiene routine. Include tasks such as washing clothes, changing sheets, towels, and pillowcases, and cleaning living environment. These tasks are not just chores, they are extensions of our wellness habits.

A Little Bit of Everything: Following Instinct

Our second issue, February 2020, we are encouraged to speak to our youth about trusting their instinct. One way to do this is to talk to them about their feelings and to value the thoughts that they share. We have to help build their confidence while they are young so that they are better equip to make those hard decisions later.

Acknowledge their perspectives, and value their choices. Don’t fault them for trusting their own instincts, even if their choice doesn’t match yours.

5 Ways To Teach Your Child To Trust Their Instincts, According To Experts

Check out 25 Things You Can Do Right Now To Build a Child’s Confidence!

Let the Children’s Laughter Remind Us How We Used To Be

No one has a perfect childhood. Therefore, being reminded of how things used to be may not always bring up the best memories. However, if your childhood is overshadowed by negativity, let the youth of today be your way to “make it right”. Be reminded of the good that you experienced. As far as the bad, be reminded of the love and compassion that you deserved! Let’s stop teaching our future leaders destructive cycles of hurt (disguised as anger) and abuse.

Home and school should be safe havens for our youth. Everybody’s searching for a hero. People need someone to look up to. Be that person that the youth in your life can look up to! We do not want to make “our children” look too far for a hero; they may find someone not worthy of that title. So be the model that they need to see.

Teaching Future Leaders: A Not Mad. Motivated. Point of View

My oldest son has been struggling academically, while my middle son struggles with behavior at times. Although there are some elements of each of these circumstances that have been frustrating, I have decided to get back to the basics! Starting with establishing better hygiene practices to build a solid foundation of confidence and self-esteem.

It could be easy to get upset and blame children for their challenges but I understand that their “failures” are really representations of my own failures. So I’m Not Mad. I am Motivated. I want to encourage my children, and any child, to look at their struggles as opportunities for solution. Above all, I want to inspire parents, teachers, and caregivers to model the Not Mad. Motivated. mindset to the children in their lives. We need to uplift our future leaders and accept that if they fail, it is because we failed them somewhere along the way.

End-of-Inventory Sale on Youth Shirts!
Stay Motivated!

Help us get the Not Mad. Motivated. message to communities across the country by purchasing a t-shirt or tote! We want to spread encouragement to people of all ages, but have a special interest in uplifting our young community. With this in mind, our youth size t-shirt will be sold at $10 each until we run out of our current inventory.