5 Reasons You Must Watch American Housewife #ABCTVEvent


American Housewife is my new favorite comedy show! Last month at the Queen of Katwe Event I got to visit the sets of a few ABC TV shows as well. This new show is one of them. I know you’re going to love American Housewife (if you didn’t see it already last week when it premiered) and here’s why:

1. The American Housewife Cast!

The cast of American Housewife is AMAZING. Katy Mixon (you know her from Eastbound and Down) plays Katie Otto, and is hysterical as usual. She plays off very well with her on-screen nemisis Leslie Bibb who is hysterical on camera and in real life as well.

Rounding out the cast is her husband played by Diedrich Bader who you know from The Drew Carey Show, Carly Hughes of Broadway fame, and Ali Wong who are Katy’s best friends on the show…. and my best friends in my head:

They were ALL amazing to meet and it was wonderful seeing them all interact and be all chill with each other off set. Their chemistry and friendships off screen is what helps the hilarity ensue on-screen.

2. The American Housewife is Real

Every mom has been Katie Otto at some point in their life. There’s so much to resonate with on this show. Katie is the “second fattest housewife” in town and gives the sturdiest side-eyes to all the size 0 chicks in town, wearing two fit bits and what not. She’s got a husband that she loves to bits but sometimes has to keep in check. She’s got 3 kids which means too much drama to deal with in one day. A teenage girl which is a job in itself, a son who’s got…quite an interesting view on life…and a tiny tot with special needs. Her friends offer some color to the show (literally and figuratively) because they’re Black and Asian…and gay. So we’ve got something for everyone here folks. But it’s so real life. Her mom moments are legit and funny because you’ll see yourself in them.

3. The American Housewife has Girl Power

Katy Mixon is the star of the show, the main character and everything revolves around her.  Hubby plays second fiddle. I love that we have a strong female lead with mom and housewife as her title vs lawyer/doctor etc. As an American Housewife myself, I’m glad seeing it take a starring role. Additionally, it’s not all perfect and stepford wifeish. She’s imperfect, she’s flawed and proud of who she is despite it. She’s definitely not PC – Even saying which of her 3 kids is her favorite….in her head tho! LOL.

4. The American Housewife is Funny

I mean…I couldn’t recommend a show that wasn’t funny. This show (along with The Real O’Neals) had me giggling out loud as I watched. We got to see a few advance episodes and they just get funnier and funnier as they go along. There’s always something to relate to, and laugh about. Katy’s inner monologue will have you rolling.

5. The American Housewife’s Lineup

American Housewife comes on Tuesdays at 8:30pm eastern. This is clutch. It’s in a funny prime-time lineup. Starting at 8 with The Middle, American Housewife next, then at  9:00pm is Fresh Off the Boat and 9:30 is The Real O’Neals. You can plop down on the couch and watch and laugh straight through.

Enjoy ABC’s American Housewife!


How to Homeschool a Toddler and Preschooler


Full disclosure: Rohan is not homeschooled full days. He attends a p/t Montessori place where he basically learns through play with a bunch of other adorable 4 year olds. Kaya is thoroughly jealous of Rohan going to “school.” She stages sit ins at her own personal picket line every time I bring her to drop off or pick up. It’s to the point now that I just drop her at my gram’s house, go pick up Ro, then scoop Kaya back up…just to avoid her protests. But, we felt sad that she felt left out so we have started “homeschooling” her. That wasn’t enough. She still begged to go to school, so she now attends “Library School.” (And she will tell you about her school, proudly.) It’s tricky having two different ages/stages to handle while helping them learn through play.


Here is how I handle homeschooling my toddler (2) and preschooler (4):

Remember that everything is homeschooling:

This is key for me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Everything you do at home is homeschooling whether you label it that or not. Our lilspongeybrained kids are always watching and soaking up what we do, say, and don’t say. Play and interacting with us as parents is about 99% of their days and that’s how they learn. So I intentionally make everything a learning opportunity. Whether it’s decorating the bathroom, or doing laundry, we find a way to make the task fun and educational. I also narrate my moves telling the why behind what I’m doing and ask the kids for input on it to get their wheels turning. (Most recently Kai asked me why I was going outside to shake the dirt out of a rug, I asked her why did she think I was doing it outside? She said because the rug is too cold in this house. -… I took the hint and turned down the A.C. hahaha)

kaya peek

Make a dedicated school zone:

Our old kitchen table has been moved to the family room and has been dubbed the “activity table” where we do our arts and crafts and “school” work. I help one kiddo at the table while the other one uses The Touch & Learn Activity Desk™ Deluxe by VTech®. We then will do an activity like clay play or kinetic sand together. The Touch & Learn Activity Desk™ Deluxe by VTech® is a hit in our house. Rohan absolutely loves the desk and calls it his “station” and it really is. It’s an interactive play center that has nursery rhymes, games to teach him concepts, reading, math and more as he goes along. It also transforms into an art center with an easel that he can use chalk on, or clip paper to, and it can even be a music center as well. Kaya likes “the station” and when it’s just the two of us at home she will pull it over to wherever I am and start doing her “school”work. (It’s very light but very sturdy.) It’s also easy to switch out the activities so the kids can be independent and play on their own.

Be creative (or…just lie.):

Remember that “Library School” Kaya goes to? Yeah…well that’s just story time at our local library. They lead a group of kids in singing songs, reading a few stories and doing a craft. It’s twice a week but when it’s not in session (or when we’re late) Kaya and I go and she does “puzzle class” using all the puzzles in the kid section, and we discovered the computer area for younger kids so she’ll start “computer class” too (Basically whatever computer games they have while mommy uses her laptop to do some work beside her.) So….yeah…we got a little creative with the titles… or maybe we just straight up lied to our two-year old… either way, she’s happy and learning through play!

library school


Have special items for each child:

We share a lot in our house and try to instill sharing as a value with Rohan and Kaya…to an extent. We also know it’s important for them to have their own special items. So, with The Touch & Learn Activity Desk™ Deluxe by VTech®,  we let them know that they have to share it. They each get a set amount of time with it each day. However, we also made it special for each of them by giving them both their own proprietary extension packs. Rohan has the Getting Ready for Kindergarten pack and Kaya has the Getting Ready for Preschool pack. I’m going to buy the Math pack for them both to share, though. They have 8 extension packs to choose from for ages 2 through 5 so it’ll take a long time before your child “ages out” of the desk. This was one of the best educational toys purchases I have made in a long while. I really love that both my 2 and 4 year old are able to get so much out of it. I really love that the volume has more than just high, low and off like so many other toys that talk and sing. The kids know to keep the volume lower when they’re using it next to mommy while she works. #win. Another great feature is that the legs can come off without too much effort. Kai prefers to sit down and use the desk as a laptop toy. Rohan likes to sit at the desk “station” using the stool that’s included. So not only can we customize the skill level, the subjects and transform the desk to an easel, we can also cater to each kid’s comfort preference.

Check out The Touch & Learn Activity Desk™ Deluxe by VTech®! If you have a curious toddler or preschooler I am certain they’ll love it and learn from it!


What subjects do your little ones love to learn about?


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Phiona Mutesi and Robert Katende Interview


When people speak to your soul, it’s just undeniable.  In our final sit down interview during the Queen of Katwe press trip we got to pick the brains of Phiona and Robert.

Interviewing Phiona Mutesi, the chess phenom that inspired the movie Queen of Katwe, and her “coach” and mentor Robert Katende is one of the absolute highlights of my year.

There was an energy around both of them that was hard to describe. They were soft spoken yet had this strength and surety around them… I can’t explain it. I just was very drawn to them both.

I already had it in my mind that Robert was my life coach…he just didn’t know it. The lines he said to Phiona in the film were very much like what he told her in real life. It was clear this man was divinely gifted to lead, mentor and change lives.


We have this young girl from the slum of Katwe. Selling corn in the streets to help feed her family. Luckily she meets Robert and learns chess and turns out to be a prodigy and becomes a Candidate Master in chess and changes life for herself and her family.  It sounds like it’s a movie…(well, it is now, so go see it today!)… but it’s real life for these two.

And still…after being a chess champ, having a book, a documentary and now a Disney movie made about her life, Phiona sat across from us with a humble, shy energy, in awe of what was going on and still not believing it was happening to her.

We had to tell her YOU BELONG HERE. (a powerful line from the movie – but applicable in real life as well, even today #impostorsyndromisreal)

We asked Phiona and Robert how closely the film mirrored their actual lives and they let us know it was fairly true to life. That was good to know. (I hear the book goes more into some of the darker/sadder events in Phiona’s family and Robert’s hardships, but Disney didn’t take it there in the film.)


We asked Robert to speak to us about the life lessons we can learn through chess. He shared how we can apply anything in life to chess. All situations can be paralleled in the game. Decision making skills, responsibility, planning, taking control, switching your game plan and sticking through with what you planned to do. Also, as in the movie, we learned that through chess we learn never to give up.

Robert also told us how the chess program he started in 2002 has grown to over 80 students, his children have started school, become university students, and are thriving in various ways. All of the children have grown into leaders.

All of us in the room were so awed and proud to hear how Robert’s chess program that started with 6 children has grown, so I can’t even imagine how he feels.

I’m really grateful that this story was brought out of obscurity and shared with the world. First in book, documentary and now Disney. If you haven’t seen Queen of Katwe yet, know it opens everywhere today!!


Fun Facts from Queen of Katwe Director Mira Nair #queenofkatweevent


During my recent visit to LA for the Queen of Katwe Premiere trip, we got to have a sit down with Mira and it was incredible. You can tell she’s an artist by the way she speaks, and the way she paints an image with her words for you to see. She’s a born storyteller and I’m honored to have met her.

Here’s a bit of what we learned from Queen of Katwe Director Mira Nair:


  • Mira Nair is an ex-pat, living in Uganda since the early 90s!
  • She founded a film school in Uganda, and knew Lupita from her school years before this film was being made
  • While she doesn’t play chess, her son (I told you about him) is a competitive chess player!
  • She’s a wicked gardener, and bonded with Harriet through gardening (the woman played by Lupita Nyong’o in the film)
  • Mira lives just one town over from Katwe where Phiona lives and Queen of Katwe was shot



  • Mira, having such close ties to the area, was certain to ensure that Disney maintained a green set while in Uganda
  • She was an advocate for having the children that were cast, be local children for authenticity’s sake
  • Casting Phiona was a long process that stretched as far at the UK… but they finally found their Phiona right in town.
  • Wardrobe from the film was entirely from neighboring town Kampala, which is a hub for used clothing from all over the world
  • Disney is giving back to Katwe via an educational center as well as improving on the chess programs currently in place
  • Mira loved working with the local children and non-actors for their fresh, raw, natural emotions and talent
  • Mira got very creative with filming each chess game in the film. (FYI: She ended up creating chess games that felt like sports)

The stars truly aligned perfectly for the Queen of Katwe film to come together. Lupita and the cast are amazing….but Mira Nair…and her passion for the people of and the country of Uganda…and ensuring it coming to life on film in the best possible light… it makes this film something extra special. Go. See. It. Tomorrow!!! (I told you how amazing it was already!)

Want a little peek? OK FINE!


#QueenOfKatwe Cast + Lupita Nyong’o Interview


We spoke about the red carpet premiere of Queen of Katwe… and how that REALLY goes down.

We went over the movie review and how inspiring and amazing the film was.

Today, Im sharing my “pinch me” moment, where I along with my fellow Disney bloggers got to interview the amazing Lupita Nyong’o and her castmates Madina Nalwanga (who played Lupita’s daughter, Phiona) and Martin Kabanza (Brian, Phiona’s sister).

So picture this:

Bloggers are seated around a conference table in a large white room. The air is full of anticipatory energy…everyone’s on the edge of their seats waiting for the flawless Oscar award winning Lupita to make her entrance. We hear the door open. Everyone’s head swivels. In walks Lupita, flanked by and holding the hands of her two co-stars Madina and Martin. The room errupts in applause and cheers. Lupita glows. Madina Glows. Martin looks abashed.

Lupita holds their hands and walks around to the 3 open seats, and she pull the chairs out for her on-screen children and in such a motherly way directs them on where to sit. PS She looks like a gorgeous tiny sprite and aint no way she’s any body’s mama with a body like that! (but don’t worry, it’s believable in the film)

Once they’re seated and comfortable…us bloggers start letting the questions fly.

We asked about how it was with the 3 of them working together (since it was Madina and Martin’s first time acting) and boy did we get a surprise.  We didn’t realize the simple questions we were asking about the film would elicit such powerful responses, and tears.

Lupita answered first sharing how they met, and prepared for the roles. She mentioned that Madina walked in and just said “Hi Mama.” And we found out that both Madina and Martin both call Lupita Mama to this day. Madina shared her story of being away from her own mother since the age of four and how Lupita is the only other person she’s ever called mama. Martin shared his tear jerker tale of being an infant when he lost his parents. He was raised by extended family and he had never called anyone Mama until Lupita in this role. And he still calls her Mama (and probably always will.)


No dry eyes in the room after Martin shared that with us. Lupita included. (PS Lupita still looks gorgeous when she cries)

They shared about how real a certain scene was (I won’t share which because #nospoilers – go see the movie when it opens on Friday!) because both of the children lived that life. The scene had both children very pensive and quiet before shooting it (which was not the norm on set with these kids.) Madina was very similar to her character, Phiona, in that she too sold corn in the streets of Katwe. And Martin, he lived there his whole life as well. They both dealt with the realities of poverty in the area….and now are playing it out onscreen. #trippy!

When asked about acting for the first time both children said they owed a lot to Lupita.


Lupita showed the children how to get into character, and both children said they would watch her closely and try to mimic what she was doing. Madina said she dubbed herself “copycat” because she would watch Lupita’s movements and expressions so closely and try to emulate her.

The cast shared their favorite scenes and it was hard because there were so many great scenes in the film. Martin chose the Budo scene where the children go to a “fancy” school for a chess tournament for the first time. He digs into some chicken in that scene and he said it was one of his favorites because he had never tried chicken like that before.


Madina’s favorite scene is one where David Oyelowo’s character is telling a story to the children and acting it out very animatedly. She said she loved how David was jumping up and down, running around, collapsing and popping up. It was funny, but the reason it was her favorite scene is because he was spending time devoted to the children and it made her feel special. She said she hadn’t had someone devote time and attention to her in that way before.

These kids yo… They were pulling at my heart strings for the whole interview!!

After we finished throwing questions at them, we all gathered for a group photo so the kids could go explore hollywood and Lupita could run over to Ellen.


It was an awesome interview. I can’t even get into every single thing that we covered because this post would go on forever. I loved how motherly Lupita was with her two “adopted” children. I loved how open, honest, geniuine and sweet the children were. It was lovely to see and I’m honored I got a chance to meet and interview these 3 amazing actors.