Behind The Scenes- Our Photo Video Lessons

My business The Groom Room has expanded to offering photography and video services along with the regular imaging that we offer as a company. Since offering these services we have been receiving business from lots of local brands wanting to enhance their social presence as well as capture the essence of their projects and services. We also gather content for our company blog Since I homeschool I decided to turn my business into a family business and allow everyone to be involved. This decision sparked a talent within my sons for photography and video. As a twelve year old in todays society my oldest son Makhi is already tech savvy, he knows out to figure out new gadgets and technology quickly. This natural ability makes him an asset to our team. He also gets to observe the hard work that goes into imaging or making a music video or marketing campaign come together. We also give him access to our equipment so that he can create his own images and he owns a cannon professional grade digital camera that he can practice with. He has already had one of his photo’s published on an artist CD cover. Our youngest son, also helps out by carrying equipment and greeting our guest to make them feel comfortable if we are shooting in our home. They enjoy being apart of the company, traveling to different areas and cities with us, and learning the business. They are great team mates and we reward them with gifts or a pay check, but the biggest reward is being able to work together!


Organic Blueberry Pancakes & Garden Spiced Eggs

dsc_0634     I absolutely love quick meals, especially during breakfast when things are moving hastily and my boys are instantly hungry when they awake. A house favorite is my blueberry pancakes. I start by using Bob’s Red Mill , organic, seven grain pancake and waffle mix.I use fresh blueberries from the market and fresh picked jalapeno in the eggs. ( If you don’t have a garden yet. stay tuned I plan to post about it) Sweet and spicy is a great combination if you are yet to have the two paired before.

What you will need:

1 cup of organic pancake mix

5 organic eggs

1 tablespoon organic butter (plus a little miscellaneous butter)

3/4 cup Califia Farms unsweetened vanilla almond milk and 1/2 cup for the eggs

3 oz. of fresh organic blueberries

1 tablespoon of coconut oil( not a shy table-spoon either)

1 tea-spoon of brown sugar

1/4 water

1 finely chopped garden fresh jalapeno

First  add your mix , 1 egg , and butter (gently melt your table-spoon of butter in your pirex measuring cup) , last add your almond milk into a large bowl and stir until you have a nice smooth batter.  To oil your pan you can use coconut oil or butter the choice is yours I usually do butter, so it does not have to be added when the pancakes are complete.  Make sure your skillet is heated on medium heat and evenly pour the mix into the middle of your skillet. When I made these I used a huge skillet and was able to make them three at a time, they did not make perfect circles but it was quick! Also if you want to put blueberries in the pancakes you will have to double the recommended amount. I only made mine into a syrup/topping.  This recipe should yield about 7 pancakes give or take a few.  After you finish your cakes turn your burner down to 2 or low. To create the syrup add the coconut oil and blueberries to the skillet stir slowly, sprinkle in the brown sugar and add water little by little until you  create a syrup. The mix will slowly start to thicken , let cool for 5 minutes, stack your cakes and pour over the top. Garnish with a dash of powdered sugar, as pictured. ( Do not, I repeat DO NOT put powdered sugar on your children’s pancakes, they already have a fresh full pack of energy, they will be in electronica concert mode if you add this to the mix lol)

For the garden spiced eggs I used 4 eggs. I placed all four eggs in my glass measuring cup. I also added 1/2 cup of almond milk and whipped them together. I used a pinch of pepper no salt ( totally your call) in the egg whip. I heated a very small amount of coconut oil in my egg skillet and added the jalapeno. I sautéed them for about 2-3 mins and added the eggs. They scramble very fluffy with the milk, so if you feeding a few extra people and you have a limited amount of eggs that’s how you can increase the amount. The milk also counters the spiciness of the jalapeno’s although in my opinion fresh jalapeno is not as spicy as the pickled kind.

I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we have and that its quick for you on your busy mornings. A tip would be to make your pancake batter and egg batter the night before so all you have to do is cook the next morning. Please comment and share if you like this recipe.

D.Y.I. Pallet Planter

dsc_0972      The do it yourself pallet planter is a fun, easy and low-budget project that you can do with your seeds. First you will need a pallet, you can find these on the side of the road like we did, on construction sites, or grocery stores. They are always free just ask permission if you are getting them from a store or construction site to make absolutely sure.  Once you have your pallet take garden cloth or plastic garden cover, and tack it into place on the boards that are parallel. ( this will give your youngsters a chance to use a hammer and “nail” techniques if they are not already familiar) Once you do this you can reinforce with burlap, because once you put the dirt in, it will be a little heavy. So make sure you pull your cloth or plastic very tight. (we had to go back and reinforce our’s.)

The next step is to paint the exposed boards with chalk board paint. (*Tip-You can purchase a small bottle that will last for most projects for approximately three dollars at Hobby Lobby.) Once the paint dries you can write what you are planting so that as the seeds grow you will not forget what plant is there. We used all organic seeds and Vigoro potting mix to plant them in, as shown above. It has taken us  three weeks to get sprouts of the tomato, parsley and four weeks for small sprigs of lettuce and oregano. Still have not gotten our chives or catnip to sprout, but Kingston talks to them daily. So please comment if you try out our pallet planter and let us know how your plants are doing. My sons have been so excited to see it work and we can’t wait to utilize our herbs and veggies from our planter!

Inventor Inspiration

14550790_10154722179874391_1700495611_oI am always looking for ways to inspire my young Kings, so I purchased Black Pioneers of Science and Invention by Louis Haber. Originally I brought the book for my middle schooler, but decided that I would share the knowledge with both of them. The book starts with Benjamin Banneker scientist, astronomer, mathematician, clock maker, and surveyor. What we enjoyed most about the story is that he was self-taught, in a time where melanated people were not allowed to be educated, nor seen as naturally intelligent people. This not only gave them perspective on how important being educated back in the 1700’s was, but it also gave them insight into the mind of someone who persevered beyond barriers just on interest alone.

Once we finished our chapter I challenged them to create something as Benjamin Banneker had done. My twelve year old decided to produce an almanac, which took a great deal of time. ( and he was just copying information) In doing this he gained a sense of the time in took Banneker to construct such a detailed almanac and why it was so appreciated at the time. He also gained understanding on how farmers could use the almanac to know when the best time was to plant and harvest. For my seven year old we recreated a flat card stock clock creation, similar to the creation of Banneker’s wooden clock. This invoked thought on how our modern clocks have changed and how they operate.

I feel as a parent it is very important to share these stories in hopes of boosting a thirst for knowledge. In a traditional school setting many important Africans and native “black” americans are written out of history. Especially those that have been way makers ( the scientist and inventors) It is extremely important for us to share these stories with our seeds, so that they are encouraged to think outside the norm. I highly recommend this book and will be sharing one chapter a week with my young Kings to continue to spark the excitement of science and education.

The Winding Road

Peace and good vibrations to all of our wonderful readers that will be following our tips, advice , venting, raving, and bragging about our young seeds. I figured as a new author I should introduce myself by telling a part of my story of how I got to this place of homeschooling and all of my side  hustles and ventures.

So I usually go by Lex and I’m generally an artist. The word artist encompasses all of my creative outlets and does not limit me. This was basically my basis for homeschooling my twelve and seven year old moving forward. I simply did not want them limited or boxed in, by sheep-like thinking. I was disappointed with them being labeled and the soul focus on behavior and not their brain power. Also there was an incident of test studies being performed on our children at the middle school without parental consent and that was indeed the last straw.

When I grew up we had wonderful teachers whom were genuinely invested in me, in and outside of school. They had the time and freedom to observe and make plans around their knowledge of individual students and put you in a position to excel if you were ahead of the class. The relationships between teachers and parents was a trusted dynamic, with full communication and disclosure about what was taking place in the class room. Students were not labeled and stamped because it was understood that they were seeds…..and seeds must be placed in the right environment for the most effective and fruitful growth.

However, even within that construct there were many flaws that stifled my growth as an individual and it was because of perspective in the way we as a society  view what is correct and incorrect regarding the formula for success. So for my own sons I wanted to empower them using a collective of techniques and range of tools to inspire them to organically become the men they envision, not what I or society see as the fast track to success. It was also important for me to be able to teach them about their ancestral history and the skills that are genetic to who we are as a people. I feel that in order for one to achieve mastery of self you must first know your self, sometimes that alone is such powerful motivation.

For example, a long time ago boys went through an apprenticeship in order to inherit the business from their father. So, if your father was a carpenter you learned to master the skill of carpentry. Now, let’s say within that chain of family someone finally says “No, I’m going to be a sculptor and wisk off to have a career in the arts”. This person still has inherently been influenced by the great carpenters that came before them and most likely has a natural ability in this field. For instance artist are fluent on my paternal side, my father,  his mother, her father, and now myself and my son. See? It’s something that should be taught to our youth just to encourage some of the traits and natural qualities that they have inherited from there great ancestors. ( Now everyone has good and bad stories about their families so please just focus on the positive when revisiting this topic with your young royals)

These are just some of the reasons that I chose to homeschool.  I also choose the content and teach based on their interest. I want them to blossom in an open field rather than a vase in the window. We also get to travel at will and having more hands-on experiences is something they react to very well.

Now for me personally this has required plenty of adjustments. For starters I had to decide which was more important- my current business and entrepreneurial efforts or my children being in an environment where they can thrive and be all they can be? I evaluated my situation and decided I was in an okay position to focus on them and put the business on a lower priority.  I know it may sound crazy, especially to a single mother but my business was starting to over stress me, so I reduced my hours to three days a week and sometimes four if I had clients overflowing. This  actually increased my finances because it pushed everyone to specific days and rid me of having slow periods during the week. I also have been able to open myself up to other opportunities such as focusing on my blog and writing for wonderful blogs like Milk Brain. So my college dreams of becoming a Journalist are coming true. If someone would have asked me two years ago what I’d be doing now the answer would not be what my reality is. However I have fully adopted the organic way of living  thinking and being. (It’s a beautiful thing!) Guess what, it’s working!  I’m happier, my children are happier, and slowly I am seeing them regain confidence that the school system stripped them of.