This is part of a sponsored collaboration with HBO and DiMe Media. However, all opinions expressed are my own. #SesameStreetonHBO

Dear Diary,

I grew up in the suburbs in a house my parents purchased because of the big backyard. My mother planted a garden and told my sister and I stories about her childhood, living in the countryside making almost everything. We helped my mom dig holes and water seeds that blossomed into roses and grew into tomatoes for sauces and salads. We giggled when the rabbits raided our crops or when the beans barely sprouted through the soil. When I became a mom, I wanted to make the same kind of memories with my daughter. But I had one problem–we lived in the city! But I didn’t let our environment stop us from becoming one with Mother Nature. In fact, city living probably prompts us to get outdoors more often. As a mom, it’s important for me to de-stress from my full-time job and unplug from my blogging business and spend quality time with my little girl. Here’s how we’e celebrating spring together.

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We Look for Outdoor Adventures

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to find something fun to do outdoors. We live near a popular park, so our adventures are only a few feet away. We feed the ducks, hike the trails and toss pennies into the fountain. When it rains, we play in the covered courtyard of our building, blowing bubbles or bouncing balls. Or, we snuggle on the couch and tune into Sesame Street. The show airs on HBO at 9 a.m. on Saturdays. (It also airs in Spanish at the same time on HBO Latino. If you’re child is an early riser, you can catch daily episodes on HBO Family at 8 a.m.) When I wrote this post, there was an online special for a free month subscription!

It’s cool to connect with my daughter over a show I grew up on. I also enjoy watching a program featuring positive images of African Americans. The I Love My Hair video is on heavy rotation in our house. Plus, the new season includes a celebrity line up featuring Ne-Yo, Pharell William, Lupita Nyong’o and more. And since I’m a former teacher, knowing my child is being taught and not only entertained scores big in my book.

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We Get Our Hands Dirty

Not having a backyard didn’t stop us from growing a garden! We headed to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens to pot a plant. You can recreate the activity at home by following the instructions for a teeny tiny garden on the Sesame Street website. This is a great way to bring the outdoors into your apartment.

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We Rock at Celebrating Spring

If you don’t have a green thumb, you can still celebrate spring! Go on a scavenger hunt around your neighborhood and look for unique rocks. Then, fill a container (You can pick up a plastic bin at The Dollar Tree) and dig around. You can add other objects to build towers or hide treasures.

Hey DFTM Fam–You can celebrate spring by entering to win a Sesame Street spring planter set and herb kit. 

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About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 4-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 20+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

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