Building Barbie Houses! (DIY)

Hey everyone!  I just had to share what my daughter and I have been up to.  If you’re a follower, you probably noticed a big lull in my posts.  That’s because my baby girl and I were super busy!!  What were we doing?  Oh some of everything…

Making Barbie clothes, (pardon the grainy pictures)

20150122061127 20150122061139 20150122061218 20150122061308…creating rooms, decor and furnishings out of cardboard (& other random stuff)20150122061417   2015012206150720150122061652201501220615182015012206142420150122061437

…and we even made a playground!!!  20150122061707

How, you ask?  We found My Froggy Stuff!

This all stemmed from my daughter wanting a Barbie mansion this Christmas.  After looking at the reviews (they were pitiful, y’all) I thought I could just come up with something else.  After a short search, I came across videos on how to DIY Barbie rooms.  That way you can pack them up after you’re done.  I looked at a few videos, but when I found My Froggy Stuff I was more than impressed!  It is the best set of YouTube videos I’ve seen.  Yes, it’s sad, but true.  It was so good that I just fell in love with Barbies all over again!  She’s got tutorial videos galore (there are actually 2 different tutorial and product review channels) and at the end of each video there’s a crazy skit using items she’s created.  So if you love Barbies, American Girl or any other dolls, you’d love this site.  It got so bad that I went out and bought myself some dolls.  Well, some were to measure the rooms and items, but let’s be real.  My daughter and I had a TON OF FUN playing with dolls!!!

I hope you enjoyed my pics.  To be honest, this doesn’t even scratch the surface.  Maybe I’ll do a tour of our Barbie mansions one day.  That sounds like fun!

Anyway, have fun spending quality time with your family!


Monday Mom Tip (5 tips to handling homework time when you have multiple children)

Are you ready?  I know you are!  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (or read my book(s)), you know I have 3 children.  I have an 8th grader, a 4th grader & a 2nd grader.  They have VERY different homework.  How do we cope?  Well, it took a little trial and error.  Not just because of the ages, but also their homework volume, their teachers’ teaching styles, the medium (electronic, paper or a mix of both), the subject matter and last but not least, each individual child’s learning style.

So on to the tips:

1.  Be sure YOU’RE ready to do homework

There’s nothing worse that a parent who’s tired, angry, irritated, impatient, distracted or sleepy trying to help with homework.  Yeah, I called it out.  Love ya.  Just trying to help you with the process.  If you need 30 minutes to wind down before you begin, add it into the schedule.  Be sure to monitor your behavior and adjust the schedule as needed.  Remember, you’re there to HELP with homework, not be a deterrent from the educational process…

2.  Get all of your materials ready before you begin.

Round up those elusive erasers, pencils, paper and other items before you begin.  Don’t invite frustration by being ill prepared.

3.  Know where to begin before you start.

I hate agendas but I love agendas!  I’m talking about those spiral bound planners that our school system adopted.  They’re a pain sometimes (remembering to sign them every night mostly), but they help teach organizational skills, time management and even have great tips, tools and notes in them.  We check there before we begin so no one can say they don’t know what they have for homework.

4.  Adopt a method

Here are 3 different methods we tried (well, what I can remember anyway).  You may find one works for your family.  Feel free to leave a method of your own below.

Stagger method

After observing your children, figure out who needs how much time.  Also find out who works best when.  We found that working with our youngest first (our most eager child with the least amount of homework) would allow us to gear down from work then get our homework mojo in gear.  By that time we can work with the wiggly middle child who has by that time had time to wind down from school and focus.  Then the oldest walks in the door and we are ready to help him where he needs it.  *He’s mister mature and only usually requires light supervision of grades using a grade portal provided by the school system.  I’m so glad he’s that way (I’m riding the wave while it lasts-high school is coming in less than 7 months!)

Team method

I help one while the husband helps the other.  Then we switch depending on the subject.  Sometimes I’ll recruit my oldest to help, too.  My children are required to read 30 minutes a night.  Big brother can handle that.  He can also check long division, multiplication and other math problems.  Then I usually end up checking everyone’s math (go figure-these people must expect me to actually use these math degrees!  lol)

Dogpile (not for the faint of heart)

This is the crazy, noisy, disarrayed method.  It’s when everyone helps someone with something.  There’s no rhyme or reason and it’s completely disorganized!  I can’t say it works perfectly, but there are nights when company’s coming in 30 minutes, the house has to be cleaned and dinner is being cooked.  It’s for the truly desperate.  Don’t judge.  If you’ve been there, you know what I mean.  If you haven’t, keep living…

5.  Take deep breaths and GET HELP!

There’s nothing wrong with delegating homework time.  Hire a tutor, barter with a school teacher (a man once hired me on a long term basis in exchange for a new computer-sweet!), see if they can stay after school with their teacher, send them to an after-school program or ask around and see if your school system has a homework hotline, online tutorial program or websites to beef up their skills.  You’re not in it alone, kiddo.  See what’s out there to meet your needs.  You’ll be glad you did!

I hope you enjoyed these tips.  I had to bulk up on them since I’ve been so busy.  Being a mom must take priority over being a blogger.  But I think you know that 😉

Until next time, try NOT to kill your kids!!!



Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’ve been up since God knows when.  I got up to do something important, I’m sure.  Anyway, in the midst of starting (whatever it was) I clicked on my FB feed and came across a private message with this:


And this…11004831_10203662360379625_1971405556_n

from my husband!  Now you may wonder why this is important to today’s post.  I’d told my husband yesterday that I just wanted to spend time with him for Valentine’s.  We’ve been married over 15 years and been together over 20.  Believe me, I know the best part of the marriage is just enjoying him.  So stuff is great, but he is better.  You can’t compare the smell of roses to the embrace of your only love.  Nothing is as sweet as his kisses.  So to me, this was awesome!  He knew me well enough to know that I’d open my feed first thing, so I’d see it before anything else.  And I know we’ll get our time together where we can just relax and enjoy each other’s presence.  The best thing about marriage is having someone who knows your ins and outs, ups and downs and still decides to be on your team.  I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and be sure to show someone some love.



Monday Mom Tip: Check Your Pipeline (Decluttering Tips)

Check your pipe line.

Is it time to declutter?  Yes, I know that some of you just went on a massive decluttering, New Year’s resolution, this year will be different crusade.  But have you checked on your upkeep since then?  Is the clutter starting to resurface again?

Maybe it’s time to check your pipe line.  Do a heavy duty, industrial decluttering!  Here are some ideas:

  • Don’t just delete unwanted emails, unsubscribe.
  • Need the email for later?  Create folders just for coupon emails, date night ideas, bills, etc.
  • Have folders?  Go clean them out!  You don’t need Harris Teeter emails from 6 months ago.
  • Sign up to be removed from the junk mail, email and call lists.  Click here for the most comprehensive one that I’ve found (and for full details).
  • Do a deep clean on the junk drawers (yes, all of them), closets and the attic.  You’ll be glad you did!

One last thing.  Take a look at why you have been keeping what you’re keeping.  Do you notice a pattern?  There may be another issue going on.  Take time to address the issue and you’ll find that the clutter will decrease!

Until next time, take care & try NOT to kill your kids before they turn 18!

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Monday Mom Tip

Build connections.

This is every Mom’s safety net.  You need a team, sweetie!  A big one.  Well, the more hats you wear, the bigger your team should be.  Of course you need your medical team (dentist, OBGYN, family doc, eye doc, whatever other docs you need), but do you think about your life team?  Your business needs a mentor, if you have child then you need a Mom team.  Then there’s work.  Do you have people who you can consult about your career (not those people you just hang out with or gossip with) but ones who can actually help you navigate?  Don’t forget marriage, finance, and don’t forget to put some people in there that help you unplug and have fun!

If you’re really thinking hard now, be sure that your spouse is on that team.  But if your spouse is in multiple areas of that list, be careful.  You don’t want to put a strain on that person by them becoming your everything.

Also, be sure you have different types of personalities for each category.  For instance, my business mentors have really different personalities:  no nonsense (a bottom line thinker)-my husband; the fire-Ms. Mua (a top notch accountability partner who keeps me moving and doesn’t tolerate excuses); the ice-Ms. Legacy (she’s calm and cool and is a big thinker who always helps me to focus and think).  I call all 3 and then end up with a well rounded view of my situation.  But in everything, I seek God first.  Ok, sometimes I pick up the phone first-no point in lying!  But I know His voice when I hear it and then I always know which direction to take.

Make sure you identify those people on your team.  If some changes need to be made, don’t be afraid to reach out and embrace new ones.  Remember, teams were made to accomplish, inspire, hold up each other and grow each other.  Identify and grow your team and see your life change for the better.

Until next time,

Try NOT to kill your kids before they turn 18!

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Tonya Joyner is a wife, mother of three, author, speaker, educator & entrepreneur.  To her clients, she’s known as The Jewelry Lady (  To her readers, she’s the voice behind Tonya Joyner Speaks ( & the author of her first book, Mostly Sunny…With a Chance of Clouds & Rain (available on, PDF & Kindle) as well as her latest book of her new series, Are We There Yet?  How NOT to Kill Your Kids Before They Turn 18.  She’s been guest speaker at colleges, universities, churches & corporations on removing blockages to your success, interviewing skills, workplace attire & navigating a path of success.  Tonya also is available for booking for seminars & workshops for businesses needing assistance with correcting office attire.  If your office attire is in need of correction & you don’t want to “be the bad guy”, contact her to do it for you.  By her own admission, she’s the nicest “bad guy” you’ll ever meet!