Friday, January 29, 2010

Disney's Dreamers Academy 2010

Hey Y'all:

Guess who's been invited as media to attend Disney's Dreamers Academy 2010?????

You got it!
MrsDeveter is off to another fabulous Disney Journey!

Disney's Dreamers Academy has been going strong for 3 years and just in case you haven't heard of it... The Disney Dreamers Academy is a partnership between Steve Harvey and Walt Disney World Resort. 100 High School students were nominated by parents, teachers, friends or guardians who wrote essays about their need for inspiration and direction in achieving their dreams. The program’s aim is to expose teens to creative and nontraditional career opportunities in everything from culinary arts to animation, set design and show production to the business of sports, while inspiring them to exceed the boundaries of their dreams and imaginations!

Last year I was blessed to attend and I'm so excited about this year.
Disney's theme for 2010 is all about celebrating the volunteer spirit of families. You know this is right up my alley right? Remember my post all about MLK
Day and my Disney Give a Day, Get a Disney Day participation? No. well check it out here.

The 2010 Academy will not only be a motivating and inspiring experience for the attending Dreamers but they will be encouraged to share what they learn with communities and help others realize their dreams.


Isn't this just WONDERFUL? For more information on Disney's Dreamers Academy click here. To check out my blog from last years Academy check out Disney's Family Channel on BlackPlanet.com.

I so can not wait to share all my wonderful pictures and this exciting journey with you!

Until next time...
MUAH!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

5-4-3-2-1 Summer Camp Blast off!


Hey Y'all:

I know it's a bit early in your mind to start thinking about summer time especially since it's still cold outside (if you are in the north east it might even be snowing like it is for me right now) but.... I received a booklet in the mail yesterday about summer camp and it got me to thinking. Registration forms are typically due by March/April. I guess I need to get the ball rolling because Erick is going SOMEWHERE this summer!

My mom was a stay at home but we still either went to sleep away camp for a couple weeks or went to visit a relative out of state. Most of my family members who live out of state have to work as well so we don't have that option and I'm not to keen on any type of sleep away camp for Erick just yet. Since I'm embarking upon this journey of finding summer camps for my little one I figured I'd share a top 5 list of things to think about when searching for a summer camp.

5. Location - Should the camp be near home or work? How long is the commute to said center. Would you rather deal with a pick up and drop off bus service or do you want to do the honors yourself? Lots to consider

4. Hours - Now if you are like me and work from 9-6 you need a camp the opens early and closes late. If the camp doesn't offer either of those options you have to consider alternate options like someone else taking your little one to camp and picking them up. Lot to think about so make sure you know what the hours are. Some places have later hours but you have to pay more... make sure you aren't shocked by any of this in the unfortunate instance that you are stuck and can't pick your child up on time.

3. Activities - There are so many summer camps out there. Make sure the camp you choose has everything that your child would be interested in . I would recommend a camp the offers a range of activities like day trips, sports, education etc... if you choose a camp that only has one particular focus your poor little one might get bored.

2. Affiliation - Most large churches and synagogues have summer camps, then you have the YMCA and camps that are run through schools and private organizations. Make sure you are comfortable with the camp affiliation.

1. Price - Camp can be rather costly! Especially if you have more then one child attending. You have to consider what your true budget is and what it includes. Is the camp price all inclusive? Does the total price cover meals and all activities or will you have to come out of pocket for those? Make sure you read the fine print. Don't want to get any surprises during the summer. If Erick comes home with a permission slip to go to Six Flags it better be included in that over all payment I made when he registered!

Here are a few sites I've fond for the Greater NY area to assist with finding summer camps.
NYC.gov
Camp Page
Free & Cheap Camps

What are your suggestions? I need all your help.

Until next time...
MUAH!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"A Box of White Chocolate" Book Review (well sorta)


Hey Y'all:

So I'm a romance novel junkie. I mean I have so much going on in my real world that every now and again I have to take a break and read some mind numbing goodness. So hand me a Brenda Jackson, Rochelle Alers, Francis Ray or Sandra Brown and I'm one happy subway commuting mama! Recently I picked up an Urban Soul romance novel "A Box of White Chocolate" from my local library and dug right in.

This novel is about a young attorney Bailey Gentry living in "Chocolate City" in her words she's "a 37 year old, six-figure-earning family attorney, proud owner of a beautiful three bedroom, four bath single family home, cute and manless. " Bailey has an unwavering loyalty to black men and has a serious case of "got-to-be-itis." which is explanined to Bailey by a very funny bicicyle messenger Rex; "got-to-be-itis" is "an epidemic that afflicts single black women in alarming numbers. A disease that keeps them in their single-black-woman status. You know a woman has it when her girlfriends are trying to hook her lonely ass up with a good brotha and all she can say is, he's got-to-be over six feet. He's got-to-be chocolate brown, bald, with at least a mustache. He's got-to-be a college graduate of a major university. He's got-to-be white-collar. He's got-to-be earning six-figure income or close to it. He's got-to-be a homeowner." You get it right?

Well Ms Gentry had the opportunity to meet her "Mr. Right"at an Urban League fun-raising party, he just happened to be white. Tony and Bailey dated for about four months and even went on a weekend vacation together, with out having 'relations'. Finally they come to the night when "it" would happen and she freaks out on "white chocolate". In the misdt of the do she tells him she can't go through with the 'swirl' (you know like icecream mixing the vanilla with chocolate) she then yells out "I want a black man, I need a black man". She hurt Tony to the core and pushed him into the arms of one of her clients (unknowingly of course.) This was a really good read and has wonderfully colorful characters that made it a quick read. Now I said this was a review of sorts because I have a topic that I'd like to discuss.

Interracial relationships

It's a major topic. Books, movies and plays have been written about it and still the discussion goes on. As a black woman I must admit that I LOVE a black man. I love the color of our skin together, I love that he understands who I am in the 'struggle' and I love looking at someone that looks like me. But if I were a single girl in the city I think I would consider a non Black as a mate. Is that wrong? Black men do it all the time... why is it such an issue with Black women????

I have been with my husband for 18 years, 13 of which we've been married. We started dating when I was 16 years old. Yes 16! I've never had the opportunity to consider dating outside of the color lines. Now that I'm a 35 year old woman I sometimes wonder if I would have. I am not opposed to interracial dating. I don't think it's about skin color only but all the other things that are needed to build a releationship, like trust, honesty, compatibility, attraction etc. Growing up my mom made it clear that she wasn't interested in a white man by saying... "there is nothing a white man can do for me", I wonder now though (since my mother is still very much single) if she would change that. If the man you meet, meets all your 'critira' for Mr. Right except his skin color why would you walk away from him?

Does race really matter? When considering dating outside of your race what really counts?

What y'all think?

Until next time...
MUAH!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Derrick Ashong Experience


Hey Y'all:

I mentioned him in my MLK Day post but I gotta tell you some more about Derrick Ashong! I'm so proud of him. He is a young man that my husband performs and records music with. The name of the group is Soulfege but the great news is that ... Derrick now has his very own show on Oprah's Sirius XM station!!!!!!!

The show airs tomorrow 1/23 live from Park City, Utah with a the band and celebrity guests! You can listen to the show online here if you don't have Sirius XM.

Check out his interview from this morning at Good Things Utah (at the end you'll get a cameo of my husband among the ladies in the 'audience')

Here is a little bit from the press release about Derrick and the show:

About Derrick


Derrick N. Ashong, or DNA as he is sometimes known, is a Ghana, West Africa, native and has dedicated his life to building bridges between the fields of business, media, technology, youth culture, pop culture and politics. Derrick has lectured on five continents on the use of media as a tool for human development, including recent talks at the London School of Economics, King's College (Cambridge), the Reconciliation Forum in Washington, D.C., the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and before UK Parliament on the subject of "The Obama Generation." He is a member of the internationally recognized Next Generation Leadership Forum and a participant in the Arts & Entertainment task force of the U.S.-Islamic World Forum. Derrick is a Harvard graduate and resides in Los Angeles, where he is the leader of the band, Soulf├Ęge.


About Derrick's Show


Taking social media to the next level, the The Derrick Ashong Experience is socially meaningful media designed to entertain, inform and elevate the national dialogue. Experience a multiplatform, globally plugged-in community with interests spanning the arts, society, business and politics and with the passion to seek the truth and to empower seekers to make a true difference.


Until next time...

MUAH!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Missy's Magical Moment


Hey Y'all:

So you've seen pictures of Leah right? She's beautiful (yes I'm biased) but she is right? She's the cutest little girl I could have ever imagined making! She's Missy and she's mine. Well.... Missy doesn't like to get her hair done and I LOVE doing hair. When she sees me with the light blue comb and the Blue Magic or Just For Me hair mosturizer, girlfriend takes OFF! Yes, she runs from me. I have to beg her to let me do her hair she just doesn't like to get it done.

All that said.. I was asked by the wonderful Blogrollers if I would be interested in doing a product review. A product review for what you might ask? Well... for the new hair care and body line from Carol's Daughter! Let me correct myself this is the hair care and body line from Carol's Daughter in honor of and conjunction with Disney for our first African American Disney Princess, Princess Tiana! Got your attention now? Good!

Just in case you need some background
In the early 1990’s, Brooklyn native Lisa Price (a.k.a. Carol’s daughter) began experimenting with fragrance, essential oils and natural moisturizers to make gifts for her family and friends. Soon after she packaged her home-spun creations, word spread like wildfire and the demand for her unparalleled hair and body care products led to a highly successful mail-order and web-based business. Within a few years, Carol's Daughter counted celebrities like Jada Pinkett Smith, Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, Brad Pitt and Chaka Khan as loyal fans, or as she refers to them, "friends of the family."
If you've seen the movie Princess and The Frog you totally get the connection between Princess Tiana and Carol's Daughter.

We received:
"Sharing Means Caring" Bubble Bath  - As soon as Leah and  Myles heard the water in the bathtub turn on they came running. So naturally both of them ended up taking a bath... what started out in my mind to be a Missy Magical Moment ended up being a Twin Magical Moment. We loved the bubble bath it certainly had plenty of bubbles which kept the kiddies entertained. "Sharing Means Caring" Bubble bath also smells wonderful and got the two pretty clean.


"The Beauty Within"Shampoo - Now here cames the struggle... I had to actually apply this to her hair y'all! Do you see all of that hair? Ok so it was a process to say the very least but we got it done and of course I had wash Myles' hair as well. "The Beauty Within" smells just as nice as the bubble bath. It had a lovely lather and got my girls hair good and clean after having a braided do for a week or so.




"Inner Shine" Conditioner - That is some good conditioner y'all. It was thick and a little difficult to get out of the bottle but it smelled wonderful and left Leah's hair with a beautiful shine and pretty loose curls.
I recommend this line of products to all the Mommy's of beautiful mocha little girls just like mine.


Until next time...
MUAH!

Adoption Wednesday - The Babies In Haiti


Hey Y'all:


I know I am always talking about domestic adoption but with the earthquake in Haiti I began to think about all the children who are going to be without families. Just looking at the pictures of the littlest victims makes me so sad.


So I did what I do best and that's search the web for information on these little ones. Here's the skinny. As is typical adoption is DIFFICULT to say the least but the adoption of children who a affected by a natural disaster is even more difficult. You see there is no way to prove that the children are actually orphaned. Especially if they are small and cannot communicate. It could be that a child was living at home in Haiti with their grandparents or another family member while there parents went to another country (typically the US) for a better life and were going to send for their child when there finances allowed. In this case the child cannot be put up for adoption but if there is no proof that the child is without family - well you know the rest.


Now specifically for Haiti and the babies that were affected on January 12th it's even worse.... according to InterCountry Adoption Office of Children's Issues U.S. Department of State
Haitian law does not allow for a Haitian child to travel to the United States to be adopted. Therefore, prospective adoptive parents must obtain a full and final adoption under Haitian law before the child can immigrate to the United States. Prospective adoptive parents can expect a lengthy process to adopt a child in Haiti. 
Furthermore specific to the Earthquake...
During times of crisis, it can also be exceptionally difficult to fulfill the legal requirements for adoption of both the U.S. and the child's country of origin.  This is especially true when civil authority breaks down or temporarily ceases to function.   It can also be difficult to gather documents necessary to fulfill the legal requirements of U.S. immigration law.  There are many ways in which U.S. citizens can help the children in areas of natural disaster or conflict.  For example, individuals who wish to assist can make a financial contribution to a reputable relief or humanitarian organization working in that country.  

At this time it is important that we donate to the humanitarian organizations that work in the country and most importantly PRAY for the babies.


Here are three reputable organizations.



Until next time...
MUAH!

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2010

Hey Y'all:

In honor of the life and legacy of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Erick and I participated in a volunteer project through "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day." We had a fun filled day at Martin Luther King, Jr. H.S. in NYC, we volunteered with Children for Children! Erick and I created placemats, decorated eco friendly shopping bags and desinged book marks. We made a Valentines Day card for a vision impaired person and wrote cards to children who will attend summer camp this year. It was really a great experience for Erick with a rather large turn out! Check out some of our pictures!

Our celebration as a family actually started on Sunday evening, we had the pleasure of attending an event in Newark NJ with Mayor Cory Booker, Derrick Ashong and Vicki Winans! It was excited to be in a room full of dignitaries and 'stars' as my mom would say we were 'rubbing elbows' with the big wigs.

The celebration was a true example of what Dr. King represented; the church ran the gamit of ethincities Dr. King would have been very proud. Mayor Booker was a gracious host, funny and cute as could be! Derrick Ashong - who is a personal friend of the family and the new host of the "Derrick Ashong Experience" on Oprah's Sirus XM station - was the keynote speaker. He inspired us with a speech about hope and a beautiful song from his homeland of Ghana. Vicki Winans was her usual funny self! She came in straight from the taping of the Stella awards where she won album of the year. Mrs. Winans was great as usually, it was fun to witness a Gospel concert in a Catholic church! During the beginning of the program a young lady sang "Ava Maria" after her song Myles and Leah proceeded to clap, alone! So seeing the the audience up on their feet clapping and singing along with Vicki Winans was awesome.



We had a wonderful weekend celebrating Dr. King as a family. How did you celebrate?

Until next time...
MUAH!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Beginning of Birth Pains

Hey Y'all:

My heart is heavy today.
I've been surfing the web and have seen many pictures of the devastation in Haiti. No doubt the death toll will be extremely high. My prayers and thoughts are with all those who are here in the states and feel helpless and especially to those in Haiti right now.

The title of this blog is from Matthew 24:8. I am a Christian and besides praying when I heard about the earthquake, this passage of scripture stood out to me.
.
3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"
 4Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,[a]' and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.
 I truly believe that this is one of the signs. These things however sad and unfortunate, MUST happen before Christ can return.

I'm praying for you my readers and I hope you are praying for me as well.

Here are a few ways I pulled from NewsOne.com you can help the victims:

Donate $$ via text message:
1. Donate $5 to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund (Wyclef Jean’s Foundation) by texting “Yele” to 501501 (the amount will be charged to your cell phone bill) or visit www.Yele.org and click “Donate.”
2. Donate $10 through the U.S. Dept. of State:  text “HAITI” to “90999″ and $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross, charged to your cell phone bill.  Or call (800) RED-CROSS.
Donate $$ via the Internet or US Mail:
1. Save the Children. Donate at savethechildren.org or make checks out to “Save the Children” and mail to: Save the Children Income Processing Department, 54 Wilton Road, Westport, Conn. 06880
2. UNICEF. Go online to unicefusa.org/haitiquake (site may load slowly) or call (800) 4UNICEF.
3. Direct Relief International. Donate online at directrelief.org.
4. Mercy Corp. Go online to mercycorps.org or mail checks to Haiti Earthquake Fund, Dept. NR, PO Box 2669, Portland, Ore. 97208 or call (888) 256-1900
NEED INFORMATION?

Americans seeking info on family in Haiti, call toll free 1-888-407-4747.

Until next time...
MUAH!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Twin Tuesday: A Picture

Hey Y'all:

Don't have much to say today so I figured I'd share a few pictures with you. After all a picture is worth 1000 words so here is 3000!


The precious 3

Myles in Leah's baby doll carriage

Myles in Leah's baby doll carriage

Monday, January 11, 2010

Guess what I did ....

Hey Y'all:


In the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. this year my son Erick and I will volunteer on Martin Luther King Jr. Day... it will be a day on, not a day off for us. I hope you will also volunteer this year for MLK Day.

DEVETER

We're thrilled that you've signed up to participate in the “Grow Involved on MLK Day with CFC - Upper West Side location” opportunity on Monday, January 18, 2010 10:00am-2:00pm. We have notified Children for Children of your commitment and sign-up for the “Give a Day. Get a Disney Day.” program. You will need the following information for your volunteer opportunity so please save this e-mail.
Registered Participants:
DEVETER BROWN
ERICK BROWN
Opportunity Location:
Address:Martin Luther King Jr. High School
122 Amsterdam Avenue
New York NY 10023
Directions:Take the 1 train to 66th St - Lincoln Center Station. Walk west on 66th Street to 122 Amsterdam Ave.
Until next time...
MUAH!

Friday, January 8, 2010

If It's Free... It's for Me Friday - ZocDoc.com

Hey Y'all:

Phew it's Friday and I'm so very glad. It's been an interesting first week of 2010 but good none the less. I've learned a few valuable lessons that I'll use the whole year though.

Today is "If it's Free ... It's for me Friday" and honey do I have a treat for you! At the end of the year I promised myself that I would find a new medical Dr and make an appointment for the first of the year. Well I went onto my insurance site and was confused and unsatisfied. I did a search for the doctors in my network, out of the network yada, yada, yada and could only base my choice by location. There were no reviews from patients or from the insurance company, disappointed I went online to search for some help.

I put the names of the Dr's I was considering into search and up popped ZocDoc. It's a free service that allows you to search for a Doctor/Dentist by specialty, in your requested city, state or zip, who accepts your insurance. On ZocDoc you can find the Dr., choose anappointment time and book it! No need to call the Dr.'s office to find out if he/she is accepting new patients etc. ZocDoc removes all of that! It was nice and truly seamless. The other thing that I loved were patient reviews. It was nice to hear from a recent patient that the Dr was great or that they sucked and I should stay away!

Once you make the appointment you receive an email confirming and links back to the site if you need to cancel or make changes to the date/time. Once your appointment is set the selected Dr.'s office will contact YOU with all the information you need, and answer/ask any questions that need to be addressed.

It's a pretty cool FREE service! My Dr. appointment is today so wish me luck!

Until next time...
MUAH!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Top 10 Reasons Why...

Hey Y'all:


While on the subway this morning I noticed something on each advertisement I saw. I noticed a .com, .edu, .org or .net and realized that I love the internet! So here is my top 10 reasons...

I <3 (HEART) The Internet

10. If not for the internet I wouldn't have a job! I currently work for an internet company and have work in the digital space for the past 12 years.

9. I would never have found my friend from New Zealand. Recently on Facebook I reconnected with a friend that I worked with in 1995!

8. How else would I find tips and tricks on being a fab mother? The internet has connected me to some of the greatest sites about parenting!

7. The internet gives me a chuckle just about everyday! I've found urban legends, jokes, funny pictures and sites that are just plain ridiculous(but I love it!)

6. Viral Video -My favs are Miss Teen USA 2007, Wedding Dance Intro and Evian Roller Babies

5. AIM - How else would I communicate with my coworker who sits 10 feet away from me? Heaven forbit I get up and TALK to her!!!! Somebody might hear us LOL

4. Twitter - I'm still trying to figure it out... but can you imagine 2010 without it?

3. Knowledge! Knowledge is power and I've learned so much about me, life and parenthood from the internet.

2. If  not for the internet I would never have met the wonderful women of Disney's Magical Mocha Mom's October 2009. If not for them I wouldn't be blogging!

The #1 reason why I <3 the Internet is because  MrsDevetersFabJourney would not have been born. I would not have the ability to share my musing and the journey I call life, with all of you. You would miss out on all the fun drama that is the Brown family. So I am so grateful for the internet!

Can you agree?

Until next time...
MUAH!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Adoption Wednesday: When they grow up!


Hey Y'all:

I was hit with something a couple days ago that kinda saddened me. I know that most of my adoption blogs have been pretty positive. I am still an advocate for adoption but I want to be very clear and paint a true picture of adoption -- after the children are grown.

I checked my Facebook page and saw a message from one of my brothers where not only did he say that the rest of us siblings didn't exist in his life just our mother counted, but he changed his name back to his birth name and specifically called me out.  In his status update he asked me when was the last time that I told him I loved him. I thought I did on our shared birthday, maybe not. I thought I showed my love through conversations of encouragement and my wish to help him (but you can only help those who help themselves) I thought I showed him my love by not asking my mother to make him leave her house after some unsavory activity, I thought love was shown when my husband hired him for some web stuff... but I guess that's not love.

Sometimes no matter how much you love your children both biological and adopted they may not grow up to be who you want them to be. I heard a preacher say that we have to love people for who they are, not for who you want them to be. I also heard my kids great grandmother often say "you can't make a calabash a pumpkin" meaning just because they are in the same family you can't change them to be the other. So just because you raise a child doesn't mean that they will be who you think they should be or even who you raised them to be.


All of my mother's children are adults. Two of us are married with children and living on our own, one is a dad but still lives at home with mom,  one has two children and is living a lifestyle that we didn't dream she would pursue but she's happy and that's all that matters,  one is 'missing', one is a drifter and another is in college, one just graduated HS and isn't sure what she wants to do with her life and the 'baby' is still in HS but getting in trouble for little things here and there. To date that's the Bennett Crew. It's not what I foresaw when my mother asked me child after child if they could come live with us.  I dreamed of all of us being successful individuals. I dreamed that my mom would be cruising around the world, traveling to play with her grand children at our expense. I thought that by this stage in all of our lives she would have to want for nothing. Unfortunately that's not the current case. However I am hopeful that what the Proverb says is true -- "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." We are old but not dead so hopefully we will find our way back to how we were trained.

To the brother who prompted this post... I love you and mentioned it in this Bennett Family blog! I always have loved you and always will, regardless of your name change you are who God made you whether it's Bennett or not. You are and will forever be MY BROTHER!

Until next time...
MUAH!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Twin Tuesday: Permanent Marker

Hey Y'all:

A funny thing happened last night. Leah and Myles got a hold to a black sharpie! Now you all know that Myles is our Picasso in the making right? So you wanna know what happened?

Monday, January 4, 2010

10 Things for 2010


Hey Y'all:

Happy New Year everyone. On this first business day of 2010 I wish you much success and happiness the whole yeah through!

I was checking out a post by my girl Tara over at The Young Mommy Life and was inspired to write a blog of 10 things I hope to achieve in 2010!


Here are 5 business and 5 personal goals:
  1. Blog notoriety. I want to Blow up! Not like KABOOM but you  know what I mean, I want to be known in the blogosphere and turn a profit so Mrs. Deveter can really go on a journey!
  2. Become an Assocated Content Provider
  3. Get to writing my first children's book
  4. Incorporate my side business (Bee & Bee Creations)
  5. Become a notary (something I've wanted to do for a while)
  6. Get Life Insurance. I did a whole post on it now I really need to get to it. I want my family to be well taken care of if something should happen to me. You know, for the "If's in life."
  7. Take a Mother Daughter vacation with my Mom and Leah.
  8. Go back to Curves! No more excuses
  9. Potty train the twins
  10. Plan my wedding vow renewal.
What are your top 10 for 2010?

Until next time...
MUAH!