8 Spare-Time Activities for Preschool Girls

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On babysitting duty? Are you the busy mommy of an adorable, high-energy preschooler who is in need of  fun ideas that will keep your little “mini-me” smiling? Or maybe you have a little granddaughter, niece, sister or goddaughter and you are looking for some high-energy, explorative girl-time activities to release some of her energy into? Well you’ve come to the right place!

Sometimes I babysit, as a side job. And I am pretty darn good at it. My objectives are always to do at least one thing educational, feed them the meal/snack their mommy left with them, have a lot of high-energy fun (this way they’ll take a nap for me, hehe) and lastly, make sure they return safely to their mothers, in one piece.

My formula is simple.

I first lay out a blanket, a blanket in which you are OK with getting a little dirty and possibly having to wash often (I figure the blanket getting dirty is much better than my carpet getting stained).

This blanket I call the “magic carpet” — they absolutely love it!

Together you two can spread the magic carpet out in a designated area, and if you’d like, you can also add pillows underneath the carpet to give it a more comfortable, plush feeling. Then each of the activities listed below are to be done aboard the magic carpet – which makes for an awesome adventure only the imagination can enjoy (not to mention a much easier and faster clean-up! – as a result, everyone is happy ;)

So… (*drumroll please) the 10 totally cool and fun activities Ce’Marie, especially, loves for her family or babysitter to do with her:

1. Read to her, better yet, with her.

By reading to her in a way that she is engaged and following along (as in having her actually looking at each word as you read each one), will help her to mentally start forming cognitive thinking and build her vocabulary.

We all have that preschooler who wants to know why and what does that mean, and why again – which is awesome! It’s really a beautiful thing how interested and curious they are at this age. And here’s a cool fact for you: From the time a child is born til the age of 5, his/her brain and knowledge is developing and growing at a faster rate than it ever will again.

When we read to children, and even talk or sing to them, their brain cells “are literally turned on” like a light switch.

2. Color pictures.

If I had to rate this activity on a scale of 1-5 for level of complication — easily, its a 0.9, meaning it’s one of the easiest activities you can provide for your little girl to do.

If your girl is anything like the preschoolers I have babysat, then she will for sure have a ball coloring pictures from her favorite character’s coloring book.

By the way, did I mention this is one of those activities that require little to no involvement? While she’s busy making her pretty pony neon yellow and red, you can kick back and read your favorite novel, get started on cooking or catch up on work. This one is pretty easy to do.

But use your time wisely and get right to whatever it is you choose to do with the down time, because once she completes the picture, it’s show and tell time.

Try skimming the coloring book with her before she begins, this way you can have her choose 3 of her favorite pictures to color. Mark those pages for her with post-its and voila!  You’ve scored yourself some time.

3. Complete puzzles and riddles from coloring activity books and/or puzzle boxes.

They are at a beautiful age, an age in which they LOVE to read, write, learn and explore. So whether it be via reading books, coloring books or activity books, learning will take place in some shape or form. Puzzles and riddles are good tools to learn analytical skills and new words, among other great benefits.

I’m a strong believer of it never being too early to introduce children to higher learning, not when it comes to academia.

And if you do not have a riddle book that is her reading level, this can turn into an activity that you two can do together.

Putting together a puzzle of her favorite characters can be interesting. It also has the ability to get her brain working, in her attempt to figure out which piece goes where. Puzzles are a good challenge, a challenge in which your little girl will not shy away from.

Without her even knowing it – she will be working on her memory and stimulating her brain’s growth.

4. Draw a masterpiece, then write the character’s story behind it.

Have your preschooler draw a picture, letting her know that afterwards she will be explaining the actual story behind her picture. This not only helps her to develop the skills of brainstorming, planning then executing, but also encourages storytelling and a love for writing and illustrating.

It’s up to you how in depth you want to go with this one.

You can have her describe to you each of the following: the setting, characters, plot and what’s going on in the picture she drew. Or, you can simply leave it at, “Draw a cool picture then write the story behind it.” With the latter directions, she will have the freedom to provide a unique story of her choice.

At this age, children are learning their likes and dislikes and discovering their skills and natural talents. So this is a fun, creative activity that you can do with her.

Have a show & tell of both of your masterpieces and enjoy allowing your imagination to run wild.

At the end of the activity, if she enjoyed it, frame her photo and story in her bedroom for her to always see and remember how fun it was to write and illustrate her own short story.

5. Create collages.

When I was a little girl, I loved to look at the pretty, glossy photos of magazines.

If you have a stack of magazines lying around (which many of us do), recycle a couple of them by giving your little girl some to sift through and find appropriate photos that in some way or another interests her or fit within the chosen theme.

Collages are great visual projects to make – you can start with a theme, for example, the outdoors. Have her find (and help her cut out) as many pictures from her two magazines that have something to do with the outdoors. Then on construction paper or a poster board (size of your choice), have her arrange the photos in a way that makes sense to her. Lastly, with a glue stick, have her glue the photos down.

Collages are great, interactive activities for finding similarities and differences in photos. Completed collages can also later become pages of a scrapbook, a scrapbook gift in fact :) You can give her a theme for each page, like daddy’s favorite thing to do, daddy’s favorite color, daddy’s favorite sport, etc. A theme specific to a particular person’s likes can become a handmade scrapbook collage gift for them (birthdays, father or mother’s day, anniversaries, etc).

When engaging in the activity, girls are actively searching and loving the exploration for something in particular, like all things “outdoors-y”. This activity gives them a head-start on developing good research skills.

**And a couple activities outside of reading & writing…

6. Paint nails.

No, like literally.

Ce’Marie is not the best at polishing the actual nail itself. She’s more of a wide-stroke painter. So I would call it more of painting your fingertips (laughs).

BUT, that’s why I have this tip for you – which can actually also turn into a fun game – place a strip of tape around each nail to serve as a “NO PAINT ALLOWED CAUTION ZONE” then play nail-zilla and Edward “tape” hands for a few minutes. It will not only be a great laugh but it will also teach your girl how to polish the nail, well for the most part.

7. Go for a walk…

At the park, around your neighborhood, at the museum, and my all-time favorite–> at the beach. Hey, I’m a Cali girl :)

Taking a walk is the perfect way to end a day of excitement. The walk will bring her back to a calm place and help her to realize just how sleepy she really is (chuckles).

If you decide to take a walk to your local park, while there, allow her to have fun on the swings, monkey bars and the other equipment there. Play with her. Take sack lunches and have a mini picnic (don’t forget the hand sanitizer!).

Museums are great places to have intellectual talks with your little one. Look at the art and take turns sharing your thoughts on it. Share with her when the work of art was made and by who. Briefly explain the artist profession to her. Her interest may be piqued by a particular something and this might just mark the start of a young Picasso.

Lastly, the beach is quite a wonderful getaway. You get to enjoy the serenity of the waves hitting the rocks and the birds chirping. But be prepared to make a day out of it. Kids love the beach even more than you do. And definitely expect your little adventurer to feel the urge to at least get her feet in the water. If your girl is anything like those I’ve babysat, she’ll want to not only get in the beach water but afterwards play in the kid’s outdoor showers.

The purpose of this last activity is to slow it down, reflect on the day’s activities and to engage in good conversation. The beach may not be ideal for this “cool down session” because an adventurous kid cannot deny the temptation of the beach water and sand. So then what should have been a quick 30-45 minute wrap-up, will indefinitely turn into a few more hours of fun. So choose the location wisely :)

Parent Bonus: Create mood boards.

Similar to collages, you can orchestrate a mood board-making party. Same materials of magazines, scissors and glue are needed, along with random trinkets (like rhinestones, buttons, feathers, yarn, crayons, etc) that may come in handy – can also be helpful to bring a 3D element to it.

The difference between the collage and mood board – for the sake of this article – is we will use the mood board to present emotions.

This is a healthy exercise for the child. It’s a clever way to keep up with how she is feeling at any given moment.

For example, explain to her that a mood board conveys her current, past or future mood. Have her describe how she is feeling today, at this very moment. We will use the emotion “happy” for an example. Have her search the magazines for anything and everything that either portrays happiness (like a smiley face or someone jumping for joy) or anything and everything that makes her happy (like picnics, butterflies and puppies), and of course she can mix the two. You can leave it at that then at the end have her explain her board.

Or, mommies, you can have her make an entire story out of it; help her to get passed a sad moment. Break it up into pieces. Instruct her to think of a moment when she was sad and have her also think about what happened that helped her return to a happy state or what could happen that will make her back happy. Have her express her emotions through magazine images.

This is a clever way to stay in-the-know about your little one. Expressing her emotions are healthy for her and enlightening to you. It will also make it more comfortable for her to openly share what’s going on and reinforce to her that you are the person she can always talk to about everything.

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Try out one (or all) of the activities above and let me know how it goes. Which seems to spark your interest the most? Do you have a different activity your little girl loves to do? Please share!

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5 Good Reasons to Take Your Kids to the Library

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When I was around 3 or 4 years old, I remember my mother took me to the local public library. I was an avid reader by that age, whether I read the words correctly or not, I was a true storyteller – sharing an elaborate story based off its illustrations alone.

So going to a place that housed so many books, on top of books, on top of books… I was right in literary heaven! From colorful picture books to interesting topic-specific fact books, I wanted them all to come home with me. And with my new library card in tow, the library became a weekly venture for my mother and I.

Why should you make sure your kids take occasional trips to the library? Christine French Cully, Editor in Chief of Highlight Children, provides these 5 Reasons to Take Your Kids to the Library:

1. Regular library visits inevitably leads to more reading.

  • Remember, within the first 5 years of a child’s life, their brain and knowledge is working at a faster rate than it’ll ever work. So go, feed that baby’s brain. They’ll thank you in a big way later, after graduating from an Ivy League university ;)

2. When you visit the library, you can expose your kids to more books and magazines than you can afford to buy.

  • Take home as many cool books as you can carry out to the car. Then after that load is read, return it and get a whole new pile of books. Explore the many aisles of the children’s section and allow your kid to pick up his/her favorites. It doesn’t get much better than that.

3. Your local children’s librarian can recommend books that you may not know of or think to suggest, broadening their tastes and expanding their minds and vocabulary

  • Constant learning and exploring their imagination is the point, right? :) And you’ll be surprised – by what books you may see as random – your child fall in love with and want read to him/her every night

4. Library time is active, not passive

  • Libraries often host events where they bring in animated storytellers, different engaging shows and even the authors themselves come in and interact with the kids. Connecting with their favorite books and its authors along with the other little library goers, really gives the children an invaluable experience.

5. Owning a library card teaches kids responsibility.

  • Owning their own library card make kids feel responsible and important. They learn to keep up with it and value their belongings.

To read the entire, original article, click here.

How about you – what are your library stories? Do these 5 reasons sound about right to you? Or based off the 5 reasons will you now take your kids more often? Let us know below! :) #SomethingAboutCeMarie? She loves books!

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Work Cited

Original article is courtesy of Huffington Post.

View the original article here.

28 Days of Royalty: Madame C.J. Walker

Determined ♥ Innovative ♥ Inspiring.

Do you have a bright idea that you think can help many people and in the process pay your bills and possibly even send your children to college? Did you give up or slow down on that idea because it was just too difficult, strenuous and/or too time-consuming to achieve? This is perfect for you! Read on and learn about a courageous African-American woman who bravely built her company from the ground up even when all odds were stacked against her and her only daughter.

Born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 on a Louisiana plantation that her parents sharecropped, Madame C.J. Walker would go on to become America’s first self-made female millionaire. Walker became an entrepreneur after suffering from a scalp disorder that resulted in severe hair loss. During the 1890’s, when her hair began to fall out, Walker sought remedies that she hoped would cure her scalp condition. In 1905, Walker began working as a sales agent for Annie Malone, another black female hair product entrepreneur. The sales position relocated Walker to Denver; this move became the catalyst for Walker’s success. There in Denver, she found her third (but short-term) husband Charles Joseph Walker, changed her name to “Madame” C.J. Walker, founded her own hair product business, and began a door-to-door sales hustle of her products. She strategically traveled the deep south to promote and teach interested potential customers how to get the most out of her products. As business picked up, Walker moved to Pittsburgh in 1908 to temporarily run her business and open a beauty college-like establishment to train her sales teams. The actions Walker took in her business were innovative, creative, and avante-garde. In 1910 she had moved her business to the then-largest inland manufacturing area, Indianapolis. There she built a factory, a one-stop shop (hair and nail beauty salon), and another beauty college. Throughout the growth of her “all-things hair and beauty” empire, Walker supported the efforts of black higher education and the civil rights movement. She donated generously to what we know today as Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU’s) and to organizations like the NAACP.

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Madame C.J. Walker December 23, 1867 - May 25, 1919

Madame C.J. Walker
December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919

“I got my start by giving myself a start.”

“One night I had a dream, and in that dream a big black man appeared to me and told me what to mix up for my hair. I made up my mind that I would begin to sell it.”

“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the south. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations. I have built my own factory on my own ground.”

– Madame C.J. Walker

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Embarking upon the entrepreneurship path is not an easy one but it is a well-worth-it one. Each individual is born with and acquire through schooling and training special skills and talents. If there is a special something you do well and enjoy doing, take the leap! Be bold and put the fears to the side. Become the entrepreneur you are absolutely capable of becoming. Requirements: Hard-work. Dedication. Time. Persistence. Patience and Positivity. Believe in yourself and your capabilities. Do your homework and research whatever it is to learn more and to stay in the know.

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Work Cited

  • madamecjwalker.com
  • video: WSHH youtube

28 Days of Royalty: W.E.B. Du Bois

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, known simply as W.E.B. Du Bois, was born in Massachusetts on February 23, 1868. He was an intelligent man who stood for equal rights and the advancement of blacks. Coming from a predominately white town and schooling where he was nurtured, received support, and identified himself as a “mullatto”, Du Bois moved to Nashville Tennesse in 1885 to attend Fisk University. If he had ever wondered what it was like to be hated for the mere color of your skin – living in Tennesse provided him with that experience. “For the first time he began analyzing the deep troubles of American racism,” (biography.com).

Du Bois began to focus his attention on the advancement of blacks – through his accomplishments and efforts, his popularity rose significantly over the years.

  • Du Bois became the first African-American to earn a PhD from Harvard University in 1895
  • Du Bois became the first publisher of an African American case study in 1899 with the study The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study** This study was the first significant piece that began his writing career. ** The talented tenth phrase was introduced in this study – which is “a term that described the likelihood of one in ten black men becoming leaders of their race,” (bio.com).
  • Du Bois nationally became known after publicly expressing ill thoughts toward Booker T. Washington’s Atlanta Exposition Speech, or as Du Bois called it, the “Atlanta Compromise”. **Washington believed that in order for blacks to advance, they must focus on getting a vocational education as to help them in the workforce which would then enable them to provide for their family. So he urged blacks to not work towards political goals-leave politics to white people, just as long as the blacks were given opportunities to work and a due process in court – separate but equal was A-ok. Du Bois strongly disagreed; he felt this was yet another method that would keep blacks inferior and dependent (much like sharecropping). He advocated equality, so whatever it was whites did, blacks should have the right to strive for, under the 14th amendment.
  • Author of The Souls of Black Folk
  • He was a known supporter of women’s rights
  • Du Bois co founded NAACP in 1909 and had a big role in the making of the organization’s magazine, The Crisis
  • Later, Du Bois moved to Africa where he also helped in the advancement of African colonies by aiding in their freedom from European rule
  • Du Bois died at the age of 95, on August 27, 1963, one day shy of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech
W.E.B. Du Bois February 23, 1868 - August 27, 1963

W.E.B. Du Bois
February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963

“The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.”

“A classic is a book that doesn’t have to be written again.”

– W.E.B. Du Bois

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Work Cited

http://www.biography.com/

28 Days of Royalty: Thurgood Marshall

What comes to mind when we think of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall?

Intelligent. Powerful. Activist. Strong. Fighter. Winner.

Born July 2nd, 1908 in Baltimore, Maryland, Thurgood Marshall was the great-grandson of slaves. He was a smart young man growing up with goals to go to college then become a dentist. During high school he would get into trouble in the classroom and as his teacher’s disciplinary action, Marshall was instructed to memorize parts of the U.S. Constitution. To give you an idea of just how many times he found himself in a little trouble, by the time he had graduated from high school, Marshall had memorized the entire U.S. Constitution. September of 1926, he went on to attend college in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at Lincoln University.

Marshall had always held 2-3 part-time positions to make ends meet. He was a very skilled speaker; capable of persuading any crowd with his oratory skills. Embracing this skill, Marshall decided to change his course of study to law in his second year of college.

After being rejected from his first choice university — Maryland Law School — because of his race, Marshall went on to attend one of the most well-known historically black colleges today, Howard University. During his time at Howard, Marshall became an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1933, not only did Marshall graduate first in his class, he also passed the bar exam later that year.

He began fighting significant civil rights cases and made equality a reality for blacks. “Overall between 1940 and 1961, Marshall won 29 of the 32 cases he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court,” (about.com).

In December of 1952, Marshall argued the infamous Brown v Board of Education case before the U.S. Supreme Court. This case was like no other. No longer were the NAACP and Marshall fighting for the segregated equal in “separate but equal” (Plessy v Ferguson 1896), but they were fighting for equal. Period.

May 17, 1954 the court ruled unanimously in Marshall’s favor. October 2, 1967, Thurgood Marshall became Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Marshall served from the age of 59 to 82.

Thurgood Marshall  July 2, 1908 - January 24, 1993

Thurgood Marshall
July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993

“Today’s Constitution is a realistic document of freedom only because of several corrective amendments. Those amendments speak to a sense of decency and fairness [to all].”

“Customary greeting to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, ‘What’s shaking, chiefy baby?'”

– Thurgood Marshall

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The law is a fascinating subject. Knowledge of your country’s Constitution gives you power – just as it did for Marshall. Also, having the confidence and ambition to pursue your goal(s), whether if you started out with that goal or if it came into fruition years later after starting something totally different, takes strength and hard-work that we all possess. Like Nike says, Just Do It.

We want to know what path you chose – was it easy? Did you start out with this same path? Has it remained the same since you chose it? Comment below and let us know :)

xoxo

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Work Cited

28 Days of Royalty: Ida B. Wells

There really are some incredible women in our past, our present and to-be in our future. One of which is a brave African-American journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist and civil rights leader named Ida B. Wells.

She was a force to be reckoned with.

Ida B. Wells was born July 16, 1862 in Holy Springs, Mississippi. In the late 1880’s, Wells worked as a teacher at a segregated-all-black elementary school to provide for her siblings after the death of her parents and a younger sibling during the 1878 yellow fever epidemic. She resented the fact that she was paid $25/month while white teachers were paid more than triple the amount, ~$80/month. Fueled by her resentment and the “reign of terror” violence that came down on African-Americans, Wells used her talents in writing and social skills to spread awareness about the plight of the negro people. She wrote extensively on the lynchings that were still taking place in America post-Civil War’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. A lot of Wells writing assessed the motives behind the violence black people were experiencing. Like the lynchings, she believed it was done to tame and stifle the growth and ambitions of blacks who competed with whites. In addition to Wells’ active involvement in the civil rights movement, she was also an activist of the women’s suffrage movement that fought for the rights of women.

“For more than 40 years, Ida B. Wells was one of the most fearless and respected women in the United States. [She] was one of the most articulate women of her time,” (idabwells.org).

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Ida B. Wells
July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931

“Somebody must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning, and it seems to have fallen upon me to do so.”

“The Afro-American is not a bestial race.”

– Ida B. Wells

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Interesting Fact: Wells was one of the first people to fight for blacks’ right to sit wherever they please on public transportation. After being physically forced by the conductor to vacate a Memphis, Tennessee train in 1884, Wells filed a lawsuit against the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad for wrongfully vetoing her decision to sit in the ladies coach section of the train. After articulating her experience in an article, she seemed to have found her calling in writing.

Ida B. Wells is a great person to study for many reasons, especially if you are interested in journalism. Writing this post was both fun and educational – which by the way is #WhatCe’MarieIsAllAbout ;) – it was difficult to stop adding information. We try to keep the posts short and scrumptious – we know how it is to have the attention span of a fly haha jk

Do you have a daughter or know a young girl or boy who is interested in a career in journalism or even just loves to write? Maybe you have someone in mind who could learn something new today (we all do!) why not let that “newness” be about Ms. Ida B. Wells? :) Share or forward this post with a friend and with the friend of a friend. Let’s spread the love ♥

28 Days of Royalty: Dr. Martin Luther King

Brave. Strong. Alpha man. A man who dreamed of an equal society. A society in which people are not prematurely “judged by the color of their skin [or the kinkiness of their hair or the color of their eyes or the fullness of their lips] but on the content of their character.” A society where children are not afraid to quench their thirst at the nearest water fountain and NOT necessarily at the mandated Black fountain. And in doing so, he dreamed that we wouldn’t “satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.” He had a dream that “[right here in America] little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – for “1963 [was] not an end but a beginning.”

Martin-Luther-King-I-have-a-dream

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
January 15, 1929 – April 04, 1968

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As the creator of Ce’Marie, I also have a dream.

I have a dream that our little black girls will grow up loving their black dolls just as much as their white dolls. Most importantly, that little black girls will not see being black as an ugly dead-end but as being someone who also has the creativity, strength, potential and overall capacity to succeed, just as their non-black friends.

~ ♥ ~

I have a dream that little black girls and other girls of color will see more and more girls and women who look like them in the media (books, magazines, tv shows, movies, etc.) doing great, positive things.

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I have a dream that schools, parents, and all of society will continue to teach our children about diversity and tolerance. And that we will continue to progress in our acceptance of others and their differences.

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I have a dream that little girls and their parents will not shy away from supporting diverse companies, like Ce’Marie and rkc. And that the number of diverse companies will continue to grow and show that they embrace diversity through their actions and products.

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I have a dream that little girls – brown, purple, yellow, white and black – will grow up in nurturing environments in which they are taught to love themselves and share love and kindness with others. I have a dream… I have a dream that little girls will always feel like they have an adult to talk to, help them, and not judge them for their mistakes or unfortunate circumstance(s). Girls everywhere will learn the importance of staying true to themselves and realize how much cooler it is to do so.

        

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’

– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

~ ♥ ~

i-have-a-draemDo you have a dream? Of course you do! Comment below and let us know your dream(s) and if you’re feeling really good, include what it is that you are doing now to accomplish that dream ;)

Until next time…

xoxo,

ZeeZee Dandridge

Creator of Ce’Marie

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Photo Credits (searched through Google)

  • Photo 1: davidbrim.com
  • Photo 2: amlit-kaplan.wikispaces.com
  • Photo 3: laschoolreport.com
  • Photo 4: deeperstory.com
  • Photo 5: pinterest.com
  • Photo 6: dodgeburn.blogspot.com
  • Photo 7: bevelle.wordpress.com