Monday, June 6, 2016

You Are The Company You Keep (and Other Lessons I Learned from a Superstar)

Not long ago, I wrote about how I had distanced myself from a group of friends.  I find myself wondering every so often if I would be in the place I am in if events had not turned out as they did.  And for the record, my heart is in a fantastic place.

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to attend the Superstar Speaking Academy hosted by the renowned Michelle Villalobos.   Here I connected and reconnected with some amazing women the majority of whom happened to be entrepreneurs.  The 3 day seminar focused on monetizing your magic.  What makes you special?  What makes you unique?  How can you find your niche market?  How can you convince that market to pay you for your talents?  

And I will admit, for the first half of this event, I was completely lost.  I'm a mom.  I'm a wife. I am good at being those things.  Why would anyone want to pay me money to be a wife and a mom?  

They wouldn't.  

That's Nicole on the left.  That's Desiree on the far right.  She is a lady truck driver trying to change her entire industry.  How cool is that?!?!

So I was sitting in and witnessing and celebrating and collaborating with all of these women as they had these amazing breakthroughs and "ah ha" moments.  Yet here I was, struggling to find my own.  Frustrated that the only things I could find value in myself was being a wife and a mom.  Not that those jobs are unimportant or don't matter.  In fact, they're arguably the most important jobs I have ever had.  But for all intents and purposes, they didn't serve me well being without my child and my husband at this event.

And then Michelle said something to us that I will never forget for as long as I live.
"You Cannot read the label of the jar you put yourself in."


If I wanted to have my million dollar idea, I had to dig.  I had to get uncomfortable and I had to get out of my jar.

If it were not for the people I chose to surround myself with, I don't know if I would even be writing this blog post.  My dear friend, Nicole, said "You need to be a professional team builder for companies."  to which the incomparable Mary Wong chimes in "You are a creativity coach."  
That's Nicole on the far right and Magda, the most badass photographer on the planet.

My Ah ha moment was here and I could finally focus on building my magic.

Here is what I have come to realize about myself over the last few days.  As great of a wife I am, I have been a wife for only shy of eight years.  For as good of a mom I am, I have only been one for four years.  That does not make me an expert in either field. BUT I have been creative MY. ENTIRE. LIFE.

I have this dear friend, Whanadi, who is one of these goddess women who magically seems to float into a room.  She's incredibly kind, wise and soulful.  And on top of that, she is from South Africa and has this amazing accent (seriously, I could just listen to her say the word 'water' all day) and she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro (because of course she did)  She was also at the conference. It was her birthday this week  and in her card, I signed it as I do most of my messages to her:  "You mover of mountains, you titan among mortals."  And I realized, hey...I am those things, too!  So during this 3 day conference I had promised her I would speak to this entire group of women (about 150 of them) with my intention for a new path.
The movers of mountains.  The titans among mortals.

And on day 3, you bet I ran to that mic and I declared my new path.  So look out, world  I'm here.  I'm making a playbook and I am coming for you.  I would like to leave you today with what I told that group of powerful women.

"Hi I am Kate Teixeira and I am kind of a big deal.  I have been creative my entire life and it took me coming here to realize that I am a creativity coach.  And companies are going to pay me a ton of money for my ideas and to build their teams.  I am a difference maker and I am a superstar.  I am shamelessly awesome and I am a mover of mountains and a titan among mortals.  Get yourself ready.  Because I am coming.  BOOM."

If you're out there and you're reading this and you keep finding yourself stuck, put one foot in front of the other.  Get out of your jar.  Look at who you're surrounding yourself with.  As Michelle would say, are they an engine to your ship or are they an anchor?  Find your crew.  Make sure they're all engines.  If you still feel stuck,  reach out to someone.  Reach out to me.  Let me help you.  Let me support you.  Let's find your Crew.  That's what I do.

After I stopped shaking and sat down, I realized people were cheering for me and I gotta say, it was one of the best moments of my life. And I have never looked forward to a Monday so much in my life.  You have all been warned. 

Until Soon,

Sunday, April 3, 2016

All Good Things

The last few months have been those of great changes.  Some are very difficult to discuss.  Some hard decisions were made.  Some friendships were even ended.  But I am happy to report that the Teixeira clan are all doing amazing and we are happy and much wiser for the ware as they say.

For starters, the sad news.  Things ended with my closest circle of friends.  It was hard and I'm pretty sure all of us were hurt, but I took my own advice , reevaluated some choices I've made, regained some self worth and accepted that some people are who they are and that's fine.  I don't judge.  I don't wish anyone any ill will or harm and I hope that each of them go on to live full, happy, loving lives wherever they are.

The good news about this, I made a resolution to reconnect and nurture my existing friendships.  While I have made plenty of new ones, reconnecting with old friends is always so rewarding.  After all, these were the people who "knew me when."  I feel like my friendships have gotten deeper and more meaningful and therefore, more fulfilling.

In more sad news,  we had to give away our newest baby, Scallywag.  It happened about a month ago and it is still very hard to talk about.  Let me start by saying that you never go into a pet adoption with the intention that it isn't going to workout and be a lifetime commitment.  Fausto happened to be home sick and took Scallywag out to get some fresh air.  While they were outside (Max and I were not home), a little girl ran into our yard to see the doggie and Scallywag lunged at her.  Thankfully Fau was able to pull his lead back before he bit her in the face.  Fausto called me panicked and Max and I rushed home.  After a lot of talking and crying (mostly from me), we made the difficult decision to return him so that he may be adopted out to a family with no children or older ones that were more educated with how to approach a dog.  My heart hurts but I know he's somewhere happier running around and being loved on.

On to happier news, Max is registered for VPK...this is happy for everyone except me.  I'm still not sure what I will do without my "ride or die" sidekick with me all day everyday. Max is super excited especially since he will be in class with one of his very best friends.  I just can't believe that it's happening all so quickly!

So with my partner in crime off to dream his big dreams and do bigger things,  I have found myself at this really weird place in my own life.  I'm caught somewhere between "WhatTheHellDoIDoNowsVille" and "HowDoIFillThatTimeField."  Thankfully, the answers came by taking a leap of faith and yes, reconnecting with some old friends.

I am very excited to have become a Scentsy consultant.  Any of you who know me knows how obsessed with things that smell amazing.This is a great way of me to share that with the world and yes, maybe even make some extra money along the way.  You can find my page and shop here.

But the real progress and thing I am currently most excited about is my opportunity to volunteer my time and work as a Difference Maker.  A long time ago I taught a small cake decorating class and met this wonderful woman who just happens to run the Office Depot Foundation.  I liked her immediately.  We lost touch for some time but recently reconnected.  Through her, I was invited to two separate conferences that were meant to inspire and lift these brilliant ladies and CEOs.  Little did I know how much they would impact me.  Going to these things was very much out of my comfort zone.  You want me to sit with these female CEOs, Innovators, Titans of Industry and mingle?  I'm nobody!  But I did it.  And I wake up every day so happy that I did. I had women who I never met before speak and it changed my life.  I'm happier, my marriage is healthier and I am even a better mom.  

Going to these events and, as Dr. Traci Lynn (that's her in that top photo) would say, "Stretched my wing out", I am so proud to say that I am working with a great team in assisting the Summer Internship Program at Office Depot Foundation.  I haven't been so excited about something that is happening for myself in a really, REALLY long time.  I'm using my creativity and helping a team inspire so many young people and it's being valued and appreciated.  We're working closely with a bunch of non profits to set up events and we're really teaching the future generation how important helping your community really is. The best part is that I can bring Max who has quickly and unsurprisingly become a rockstar.  

I've also made some really good, new friends. I met a woman who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and for whatever reason, thinks I am awesome and wants to be friends with me.  I met a woman who, even at a young age, has devouted herself to helping others through her love of fashion.  She has literally clothed orphans and people who cannot afford to provide basic necessities to their children.  She has also inspired me to buy clothes for myself for the first time in 3 years!

 I'm off on some really exciting new adventures and I'm resolving to blog more to keep the few of you who read my little life blog updated.  I really missed writing on the regular.  I didn't start this project with any perks or freebies in mind, I started it because I truly, honestly and genuinely love to write. That's what's new with me.  I'm hoping to make it through my next journey unscathed but I will keep you posted.

Until Soon,

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sometimes It Pays Off

I joke often about the trials and tribulations about parenting a threenage boy.  How many challenges it makes me face that I never considered before.  And yes, even how I feel like I am failing as a parent the majority of the time.  

The thing is, I kind of feel like being a part the sisterhood of motherhood is sharing these feelings.  We laugh at satirical blogs and memes and Facebook lists because they ring so clearly with truth.  And I know I am not alone in feeling like most days I am screwing it all up and all I want it to pull the covers over my head, cry and eat ice cream.  

If you have ever met me in real life and we've ever talked about parenting, you'd know that I cannot stress enough that I love being a mom.  I was born to be a mom.  It is a passion greater than any craft I have ever perfected, any dish or dessert people tell me I could sell, any blog post I've ever written and any joke I have ever cracked.  And if you've ever seen me in public, you may have caught me speaking sternly, smacking a hand, or even doling out a "time out" to Max.  And to the people that tell me to my face or worse, whisper behind my back that I'm "too hard on him," here's the thing:  I have one job in this life. It's to make sure that when I'm gone, that he isn't an asshole.  That's it.  End of game.  

And yes.  I am very strict.  I make him stand in the corner for not listening or hitting.  I make him apologize when he's done wrong.  Even if he's apologizing to the dog.  I don't let him win every game.  I make him let the girls in his music class walk in before him.   I make him do worksheets for tot school.  I make him say please and thank you.  I make him clean his plate and wash the table and pick up his toys and put his laundry away and mind his manners.  I make him hold himself accountable. Because that's life.

And I make him jump in puddles. I make him catch frogs and inspect bugs.  I make him color and glue and glitter and paint all over my dining room table that has seen better days.  I make him cook with me.  I make him read me stories and come up with knock-knock jokes.  I make him mash play doh with my potato masher and cut it with my pizza cutter.  I make him listen as I use the wrong words to songs to make them silly and him laugh uncontrollably.  I make him jump on the bed.  I make him let me chase him around the house and poke that one spot just below his ribs that tickles him more than the rest.

What a terrible life for a strong-willed boy.

And every so often, I feel like I am failing.  But not today.  

Today we had the chance to play with a new friend who joined us for tot school.  She is a few months younger than Max and had no expectations about what tot school with us would be like.  So when she couldn't sit for story time, it was my son, not me,  who said "we sit like this and listen to mommy" as he sat with his hands in his lap and his big brown eyes looking into mine.  When she wanted to grab a tray before completing the first one, it was Max, not me,  who said "we really need to clean this first and put it away.  That way, we have room for another game."   When his friend wanted his water or his toy or his crayons, he gave them up and said "It's ok.  I'm a good sharer and I can take a turn later.  She's littler than I am."  When we walked into the restaurant for lunch, he let her and her mom go in before us "Ladies first, mommy."

So today.  Today I won at being a mom.  Today, today I did my job.  Today I won't feel like I failed.

Tonight as I read him one last book and sang him one last song and gave him one last hug and one (okay 10) more kisses, I thanked him.   "Thank you for being so good today and setting a good example for your friend buddy."  "You're welcome, Mommy.  I'm a big boy now."  he yawned back with the last bits of energy he had in him.  "You are a big boy, Champ.  And I love you."  

"I love you too, Mommy.  You're my best friend."

I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow.

Until Soon,

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Three is a Challenge

Whoever coined the phrase "Terrible Twos" never experienced three.  As a parent, when your kid is about 10 months through two, you think to yourself "This is easy! I don't know what the fuss is all about."  And you go about your happy life standing in the warmth of the sun and planning a third birthday party and enjoying the fact for this one, brief, moment in your life, you're the greatest parent on the planet.  You are perfect.  Your child will never need therapy because you screwed them up.

I hate to bust your bubble (I'm lying, I don't hate it), but my friend you are so wrong.  You will spend months planning an epic third birthday party for your perfect child but what they don't tell you is this...when your kid blows their candles out, the devil comes may actually see your child immediately swap their halo for a pitchfork and horns.  

It's true.  I wouldn't lie to you.

And it will be subtle at first.  You'll think "ohhh...little Johnny missed his nap today.  He's so cranky."  "Oooohhh...little Susie doesn't like strawberries today because she had them everyday this week.  She's probably sick of them."  And all of your friends with three-year-olds will agree with you and then go home and tell their spouses and they'll laugh and laugh.

Don't get me wrong.  99.9% of the time, your kid is amazing and kind and as awesome as he/she was at two.  But there is that other .01% of the time that really sticks out.  And sometimes its a whole day of that .01%. 

I have said before that I knew so much more about parenting before I actually had a kid.  I was judging you, mom in target with your yoga pants and top knot and coffee stained, smelly t-shirt as I watched you try to reason with your screaming child.  I giggled as you tried to put your kid in the car as he wretched like he was a cat and you were putting him in a bathtub.  But now...I get it.  And...I'm so SO sorry.  Which is why I'll be the first to push your kid on the swing so you can rest.  I got you, momma...were in this together.

Until Soon,

Tot School Week 3- Letter M

This week not only did we learn the letter "M," but we have all the letters of Max's name now in our arsenal.  This meant that Max had a huge rite of passage this week as he successfully wrote his name several times.  And like a crazy person, I naturally cried tears of pride and snapped a picture...and no, I have not erased the blackboard yet.  No YOU'RE crying. And also, don't judge me.

I made an awesome game this week for Max that we played with several times.  Using a hard plastic wipe container, I added paint and googly eyes to it and made it an alphabet monster.  Thinking about it now, I think I'm going to add some letter stickers to it, but I digress.

Then, using recycled caps to various bottles, I cut out circles with my cricut (you could also use a large circle punch) and I wrote the upper and lowercase alphabet on the circles.  I then ran them through my sticker maker and affixed them to the caps.  Max then picked a piece of paper with a letter on it, found the corresponding cap and fed the monster.  Truth be told, the matching of the paper was a bit much considering there are a lot of pieces.  So moving on, we'll probably just match upper and lowercase letters.  At any rate, he loved this tray and was super excited about it and asked for it several times during free play this week.

We also had a lot of books this week that we loved.  With Halloween fast approaching, I tried to avoid the "M is for monkey" thing and tried more for "monster" stuff which he is super into.  Lucky for me, there is no shortage of kids books featuring monsters.  A reader also asked me if I could write a blurb about some of our book choices so I will try to do this more often.

Our Letter M Books
1.  The Mitten-Jan Brett:  Wonderful story.  This is beautifully illustrated by Brett as well.  We went back and looked at the pictures several times.  
2.  Maxwell Moose's Mountain Monster- Barbara deRubertis
3.  Maddie's Monster Dad- Scott Gibala-Broxholm:  This was a cute story about a dad who works a little too hard and Maddie creates a Dad to cope.  The story is a bit long but worth the read.
4.  There Was an Old Monster- Adrian & Ed Emberley
5. The Monster Show:  Everything you Never knew about Monsters- Charise Mericle Harper
6.  The Monster at the End of this Book-Jon Stone:  This book is laugh out loud funny.  It features Grover who hears that there is a monster at the end of the book and begs the reader not to turn the pages.  It is very silly and fun.  A great book to read together.
7.  Millie Waits for the Mail- Alexander Steffensmeier
8.  Max the Monster - Kate Cuthbert
9.  The Mixed Up Mail Mystery-  Huck Scarry
10.  If you Give a Moose a Muffin-  Laura Numeroff:  This is along the same chain-of-events series Numeroff has become known and loved for.  Max is a giant fan of her other books so he was especially happy about this one,  We read this book on the first day of fall just so we could make muffins.

Which is the perfect segue to our cooking we did this week.  Seeing that we read a book about muffins and that it happened to be fall, we made pumpkin cream cheese muffins.  They came out amazing.  Max even ran some to the neighbor the second they came out of the oven.
 For this you will need:
1 can of pumpkin
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 T pumpkin pie spice
1 T cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

In bowl, Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Put in fridge.
Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 muffin tins  
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda and spices, set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, sugar, oil and eggs until well blended.  Add dry mixture just until blended.  Do not over mix.

Scoop a small about of muffin mix into each cupcake so that it covers the bottom.  Add about a tablespoon of cream cheese mix to each.  Add pumpkin batter so that cream cheese is covered.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

I hope you all enjoy these as much as we did.  They really are delicious!  

That's a Moose.  Obviously.

Until Soon,

Monday, September 21, 2015

Chef Max Cooks - Tangy Coconut Chicken

Max LOVES to cook.  It makes sense that he came out looking nothing like me (I mean, I only carried him for 38 weeks but whatever) that he like many of the things I like.  He even has an apron and a toque so it basically makes him the cutest chef ever. I get asked for recipies and cooking tips all the time and when I started this blog, I had intended on sharing many with you and haven't done so.  I'd like to change that. 

The importance of kids in the kitchen is one that I am pretty firm on.  Kids feel things just like adults and one of those feelings is pride.  Also, I am very much against making a second "kid" meal when I cook meals.  He eats what we eat...and if he cooks what we eat, lo and behold, he will eat just about anything.  If you have a little, especially is your little is picky, take out the step stool, accept the fact that you'll have more spills, and cook with your children.

Tonight we made a family favorite, Tangy Coconut chicken.  For this you will need:

* 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
*  1/2 cup deli mustard
*  3 Tablespoons honey
*  2 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
* Salt & Pepper

  • Preheat oven to 400
  • In small bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, salt & pepper until completely blended.  Set aside
  • Place coconut on plate, set aside.
  • Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels.  Dredge in honey mixture and coat with coconut.  Place on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on thickness of chicken.

We love this recipe.  I love it because it's only a handful of ingredients.  The boys love it because it's actually really, REALLY tasty. Try it with ground pecans if coconut isn't your thing or with maple syrup, agave or molasses if you're out of honey.  Try it with different cuts of chicken and let me know how you like it!  I bet it would be delicious with hot sauce on wings...mmmmmmm!  
This is great with our favorite side of smashed potatoes, salad and green beans.  I hope you like this as much as we do!

Until Soon,

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Tot School Week 2- Letter X, #1

This week, Max learned the letter "X".  As I explained last week, we're learning our letters out of order and I figured I'd get a tough one out of the way.  By tough I mean that there simply are not a whole lot of words that start with the letter X.  

One of the things we started last week that I failed to mention was our hand print book.  I found this awesome site and kind of ran with it.  Last week we made an alligator and this week we made an "X-Ray"

I do this on standard card stock usually on Monday or Tuesday each week.  Once it dries, I put them in a 3 ring binder.  I also date each one so I can see how much Max grows throughout the year.  Yeah.  I'm sappy like that.  

We read a bunch of great books this week.  Max picked out 12 at the library that we got through.  He recently has become very interested in books that have actual photos so we read several of those.  Again, there are not too many words that begin with the letter X so we had to settle for a lot of book titles that just use the letter.
  Our "X" books this week were:

1.  Xavier Ox's Xylophone Experiment-Barbara deRubertis
2.  Fox in Socks- Dr. Seuss
3.  Jessica's X-Ray- Pat Zonta
4.  Hattie and the Fox- Mem Fox
5.  Taxi Dog- Debra Barracca
6.  My Mom Has X-ray Vision- Angela McAllister

My Mom Has X-ray Vision was our favorite book this week.  We talked about what superpower we would have.  Max said he would want to fly and be really strong like the hulk and his super name would be "Super Maxy Boy."  I can't argue.  Max responded really well to this book...who doesn't love a good superhero story?  Since we try to do an art project with all of our books, we made daddy some new art for his office:

Those are the Avengers.  Obviously.

One of our Montessori trays this week was so successful, Max has been pulling it out all week and weekend.  He thought it was a game (point 1 for mommy).  I took some of his cars and labeled them with the letters and numbers we were working on in all different colors.  I then labeled the tray in corresponding colors.  He had to "park" the cars in their rightful spots.  This seriously took me maybe 5 minutes to put together and has literally provided hours of entertainment. 


We also tried out yoga at our favorite place, We Rock the Spectrum in Boca.  If you haven't gone with your little(s) yet, you are really missing out.  The class is fantastic and we will be attending every week.  We even have used the breathing and relaxation techniques we learned throughout the week.  Max has also been walking around the house saying "mamastay."  He'll get it. :)

One of the special events we did this week was celebrating National Play-Doh day.  Play-doh is incorporated in our trays often.  Sometimes we "trace" letters and numbers with it, sometimes we use a pizza cutter to build practical life skills with it, the possibilities are pretty endless.   We went to a local library where they had fun activities set up for all the kids.  Max and I made this awesome dinosaur flying a kite. 

Side Note:   People always ask me where I get my ideas for activities for Max during the week.  The library is usually my first resource.  Not only does it give Max something to do, it's free (my favorite price),  but I take the opportunity to talk to other parents and swap ideas.  I cannot reiterate enough that the social aspect of home schooling requires work on your part, but if you start doing it, you'll meet enough people where you can easily fill your week up simply by sharing ideas.  

The science project that we did this week dealt with absorption.  It took not much preparation but provided a solid hour of quiet (ie, laundry folding time).  It's called "Walking Water."  Check the pin out here.  We did yellow and blue to make Max's favorite (this week) color, green.  We were both pretty amazed.

I'm looking forward to the upcoming week.  I have a lot of really really ideas and games planned so stay tuned.

But before I go, every time I talk to someone they ask if they can share my blog, comment on it, etc.  The answer is a resounding yes.  Please, PLEASE share.  Comment, post, ask me questions, give me ideas to write about or tips to try.  I'm here and I'm listening.  

Until Soon,