Oregon Dairy Fun

It’s a great day to pick sunflowers! I love them they instantly brighten up any bad mood. You can’t possibly be around a sunflower and be mad. I was I invited to pick some sunflowers at Oregon Dairy and boy I’m so glad that I went! Instant day of fun!

I took my twin, two daughters and my niece! I wanted them to enjoy their time doing the corn maze and sunflower field! They instantly loved it. Between the Jump Pad and all of the other fun it was more than enough fun for all ages!

First up was the corn maze. I let my 5 year old daughter and 3 year old niece lead the way! It probably in hindsight wasn’t the best thing but I loved watching them work together to lead us out! They purposefully got us lost! I enjoyed watching them run all over the place screaming and squealing!! Pure joy!

They decided to also find anything they could get into! I loved it! It was time for the sunflower party or sunflower maze. It was pure joy!

We were given sheers and with unlimited time we were given amble time to pick our own sunflower! You get a complimentary sunflower with your ticket! We decided once done to get a bucket to put them inside instead of the water bag they offer! I loved it! All of the staff was amazing! Everyone has a heart for the people! They helped me tremendously! My girls and I loved the fact that we could run around and be free!

So what are the details you need to know?!

Sunflower picking Days

Picking days are Saturday and Sunday from now until Labor Day

Adults are $15 dollars and kids 3-12 years are $10! There are two time slots from 10-1 and then 1:30-5pm!

For the month of October will be the corn maze, pumpkin patch and flash light maze!

So it will be an amazing time to get out and take your entire family for family time!

I definitely look forward to going back especially for the Fall! Unlimited amounts of fun and food! There was food and snacks at the Barn!

If you want a sit down meal you can enjoy the restaurant up the way! They have amazing fresh food! Food made to order and with fresh ingredients! Oh and for my mommy and daddy friends; the kids meals are super good! They give them a full bag of goodies to keep them occupied! The kids’ includes a main dish, a side dish, drink, and a complimentary ice-cream scoop! The prices are good and budget friendly!!

Do yourself a favor and grab a group and have a blast!! Your day will be made!

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Week 8: Storr Summer Adventure

So yes we I have started the plunge of Back to School shopping that means Summer is almost over. With that in mind I have started my fall back on paying events because I like to save more now and until I know what Back to School will cost, I cut back for 2 weeks than we pick it back up! I know that seems strange to do but my system works and has worked for years! Week 8 we spent a hefty $14.38!

Monday

We went to the library and attended the end of Summer Reading Party. We have been going to the library weekly and completing fun tasks that gave them a free book each week. This is in addition to Week 7’s Barnes and Nobles. Reading has been pushed it’s hardest this Summer and my requirement is simple. Just read what you love. It worked! Thanks to Eastwick Library there were we least 30 kids in attendance!

Nothing more fun than Ritas water ice and Philadelphia Pretzels

They also gifted them one last book!

Tuesday

It was a park day! A day of working out as well as physical activity for them! It waa hot but we got it done!

Wednesday

I had a blog event at the Philadelphia Zoo and I was able to take the kids. In addition to being able to visit the new Gorilla Tree House they toured the rest of the zoo for an ultimate win! It was super hot but we were armed and ready with food, snacks, and water!

Thursday

We went to the James Shuler Memorial Gym Back to School event! They did an amazing job! The kids enjoyed the time with the boxers! They are also celebrating their 25th anniversary! More to come with a separate blog!

I had an event Thursday night with Diva Girl Philly as we learned to not get stuck! It was informative and relaxing.

I was able to relax afterwards at my favorite spot: Piazza Pod Park!

Friday

I wanted it to be laid back plus Marques Sr. was sick! These kids had me cracking up! They played hard and in addition convinced me to chase the incream truck down! It was worth it I was able to get an old school bomb pop! Total $14.38!!

So between work, the blog, the kids; life is always moving!! We will wind down a bit for week 9 but end the Summer with a bang and an amazing recap of all money spent. I’m on a mission to spend less but not cheapen the fun!

Knowing Yourself College Edition

What I know now is no where what I knew in college about myself. In college is where you begin to take the veil off of your eyes to what you learned all your life to what you want to be in life. It’s a line that crosses to merge the two and the journey is a battle!

I left high school and entered Penn State university and this was what I knew at the time: I was a straight A student since 2nd grade, I was a daughter of ministers, and I was goal oriented. That was my identity. I didn’t know I could be Toi and have my past be my identity while learning who I wanted to be. I could date if I wanted to and define what dating meant to me. I could party and still be an amazing student. I could be goal oriented and want to find joy in all things and I didn’t have to choose.

Growing up in a strict household and having everything be about church wasn’t the issue. The issue is my church in particular only preached Hell and marriage as the basis of life. Everything was Hell and being married because marriage was great was the focus. I watched couples who shouldn’t have been married run and get married just cause they wanted to date and dating wasn’t allowed unless it was for the purpose of marriage. Most of those marriages didn’t make it! Truth hurts! You wasn’t allowed to date just because two people had an interest in one another! You couldn’t see where things went. Every date doesn’t end in a proposal! It actually breeds unhealthy dating relationships in other areas!

As a college student my focus was going to college, completing a degree and finding a husband. The reality is I could form my life on my terms and college is where SOME find husbands but the reality is getting my degree was key, finding myself, and enjoying the experience should have been the focus. Now that also means learning how to incorporate my love of God into a balanced life. No one not one preacher at my church taught it. So many of us went to college and struggled. Some dropped out! Some completed and got shunned for breaking away from what we were taught! Some still have resentment for that period of their life.

I struggled without support. I should have been supported into being able to be an adult and make healthy choices instead of thinking even healthy choices were dooming me to Hell. I should have also been encouraged to just be free instead of this pressure of if you are dating and it’s not for marriage than I was doomed. Great respect to those who married young but as an 18 year old passport stamps, girl trips, and fun while maintaining my grades should have been the focus! I choose to try to please everyone and in the end I wasn’t happy!

So freshman year I meet this amazing guy. Rewind, I met amazing guys. I literally messed up relationships because the thought that I could multi date was foreign. Men do it and are applauded. Women do it and they are a hoe. You do know women can date multiple folks and not have sex with them if she doesn’t want to? It exist! Women do it all the time. I lied to my parents about my relationship with my then boyfriend who is now my husband and then covered it and that was one is the most horrible experiences I went through! Shout out to the folks around me who called me out! Grateful for getting through! Grateful for even the friends lost during that heavy transition if I’m honest!!

Why am I talking about this for college students?! Take your time to enjoy your time on campus. Even if you find an amazing person you don’t have to commit to them right off the bat. I love my husband now and then as a boyfriend but I should have allowed myself the opportunity to do whatever I wanted. Our love was intense. College years are different than normal dating time. The connection for me was intense. We were in classes together, we were in the same scholarship program, so we were together alllll the time! When we loved hard it was great and we fought hard too! Instead of being sneaky just be an adult! It’s understandable that you are going to find yourself in situations that your parents aren’t going to approve of. I would be lying if I pretended that wouldn’t happen. No matter what you get into I know you will be okay. You will find a way out! Don’t do anything you as an individual aren’t proud of. Do what you can stand on. If you can’t be proud of a decision don’t do it! Don’t do anything to make someone prouder than you feel looking in a mirror-EVER!

Make every decision on what makes you happy, safe, and fulfilled! Stay on top of your studies! You are there to learn. Don’t start the journey by going into a field that someone else has for you. The biggest lie you can tell is the one that has you lying to yourself! You can’t keep up a lifestyle that only honors those around you! Trust me the heartaches, lost friends and friendships, broken promises, and general dishonor to yourself isn’t worth it. When I think about those beginning years of how in the end I dishonored myself saving my reputation from folks I later found out was doing the same makes me parent my kids differently, live with purpose and makes me grateful I figured it out!! FYI this isn’t about my parents doing something wrong this is about a I needed to do right by me!

For every decision right or wrong I fully own! As a college student I learned how to break out and be okay being who I wanted to be. I learned that I like what I like and daily instead of packaging myself to make others happy I make sure I can live daily with myself! College is more about getting to that aha moment than what your GPA is! But don’t sleep on your studies! The best opportunities come for those who do the work. So do your work literally. Don’t skip a bunch of classes-at least not all the time. You get out what you put into it in every aspect!

If you’re returning to campus return and start the process of what makes you-you! Don’t show up on campus for your parents, your church, your community more than you show up for yourself! Not one person is getting your grades and they definitely won’t help wipe shame off your soul when you live on their terms. Not one!

To my parents who send your kids with the do as I say do cause I’m paying for it: you will get a better child, a better person; when you support your child where they are. If you want to not “waste” your money invest in your adult child where they feel like they will thrive. Support them in mistakes. If your child has to lie to you it isn’t just because they are a liar it too may mean you aren’t fostering an environment conducive to having an open engaged communication!

To my husband who at the time was my boyfriend-you stuck by my side and didn’t hold it against me when I couldn’t be authentic! You loved me during that time and hadn’t we not married now I would have still had nothing but the most upmost love and respect for you!

To my parents: the life you gave me protected me for a point of life. As much as I could easily blame you for my inauthentic ways life showed me that I would be faced with more inauthentic areas that belonged to me and only me. I would love to go back and stand up for myself. The only thing I regret was not doing it sooner. I love that you gave me a great foundation and for that I will always honor that!

To my Penn State friends who stood by my side you are amazing! I definitely know we have made each other life friends! The love we experienced life together! If it hadn’t pressed through together we wouldn’t be as close as we are now!

My parents birthed me and gave me the foundation I still have in many ways. Penn State refined me. Life polished me and now as a parent I get to redo little mes!!

Go back to college or step into college and take the journey for what it is. You will fail in many ways and you will succeed in a lot of them. As you continue the journey get grounded. Make new friends. Find ways to travel. Take that internship! Study Abroad! Go to that party! Date that guy/girl just because! Smile and take the lumps because it all will mold you into a dynamic person!

Monday Motivation: College Edition

As some of the college bound students pack up to attend various schools make sure you remain grateful, vigilant, and hopeful! It’s every walk of life represented at college. It’s super easy to get discouraged if you start to compare what you have against the next. If you’re support system isn’t strong it will take you for a loop.

The pressure to get into college is already hard. Once you are in you might have had to work your butt off to secure enough to maintain. So many students have to work not only a federal work study position but often times a regular job in addition to have their basic needs met. It’s easy to forget that college starts some students’ first hustle but it’s true! It’s where the first flight or fight can begin. Don’t underestimate the struggle or look down on others who are literally first time college students in their whole family. It can be a time of love and pain.

Not everyone comes from well rounded families built on support. People’s idea of support starts and ends at drop off. People don’t have folks in their lives that check on their well being. No care packages are being sent, money being deposited, or even care being given-just drop off. That can mess with a young person’s heart. People think college is JUST about academics but it’s more to it. It’s walking into adulthood and learning about yourself in the most raw form.

This is a great time full of excitement and some stress as well. Not knowing what to expect is sometimes the first lesson in life in how to move when things aren’t aligned. Being that you are on campus having to survive it teaches you how to boss up and take care of yourself quick. It will give you the skills to be resourceful and how to work hard. You will learn about work ethic and if you lack self care you will bump your head until you dive into it. Some students will realize for the first time that they have a mental illness. It’s important to seek help early and often. Do not suffer in silence just because someone back home thinks it’s weak to ask for help. You can’t preserve you on their mindset when it no longer fits!

I applaud all the college bound adults as you make you mark. Study hard, play hard and learn about yourself! This week is all about you! Make this year a great one!!

Toi first day at Penn State 20 years ago

Amp up your Self Care

This weekend I found myself caught between love and self care. I celebrated my 7th wedding anniversary so all the lovey and dovey feelings came flooding in. But I also needed to reorganize and bolster my self care.

I needed to increase it and with all that is going on in the world it’s super necessary to feed our souls often. I find that it’s imaginable to think that we can exist only merely being an extension to others. We have to show ourselves more grace, understanding and love that others pull from us. It’s like being on a plane and making sure that everyone else on the plane has oxygen but depleting our own. This is self sabotage. You can be booked and busy but still need rest and recharging! It’s not selfish to bolster self care back into your soul.

Defeated

Sometimes we feel defeated because we have forgotten we need to renew our reasons why! Why do you want to pursue your goal? What does it mean to you? How much work are you prepated to do? How hard is your drive? These are the things that must be thought about and re-evaluated daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly!

Re-alignment

What can you do to take some pressure off of yourself? Can you collaborate with someone else? Ask for help? Prioritize? Take a break? Make a to do list? Whatever you need to do; do it today! You have to be one with yourself to get things done. An organized mindset and working environment can help!

Burnout

Burnout is real! You can blow a fuse without the right amount of energy flowing in your life. Moderation in all things will help create balance! Learning to drink and eat and have a spiritual connection will be key to creating balance! We all need balance! We need structure! If you go hard for a few weeks solid schedule some mental time off. It may not mean take a day off but it could mean schedule some rest stops! You could schedule a nap, an hour of quiet, reading a good book, a massage, an appointment in your favorite spot, or time to just watch something you enjoy! Whatever is is you need it!

You will burnout trying to take on the world especially if you don’t fill your cup up of those things that make you smile. Even if you have someone in your life having things that you like that that doesn’t require your significant other’s participating is better!

Sunday Message: In the Middle of Tears

Crying is a release. It cleanses us from the inside out. It doesn’t mean that after the tears are shed that it changes our circumstances! It does mean we have a temporary relief. Some of my best moves have come from tears.

Life is hard! It comes with ups and downs. I used to view crying as a sign of weakness. That’s not the case! Tears for me personally means I’m hurting and I’m overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed for many especially if no sign of comfort is nearby is what makes people stay in the feeling of hopelessness! It’s a terrible feeling. I’ve felt that sense of not having hope. It’s scary and often times it feels lonely. I would be lying if I acted as if the tears were inspirational all the time. They don’t feel like it!

I’m grateful for the times I’ve been able to cry and let it out and in addition to that dried my face and faced my shortcomings, failures, or humiliation! That isn’t weak at all that takes strength! It takes strength to say I’ve messed up and I’m not measuring up! You don’t know what and how others will view you! That is scary! But I am a witness you can look at the bottom and see the top even in darkness. In darkness if have had to ask God to turn on my night vision! That’s why when you are riding in life in light to build yourself up for those dark days! They are coming!! We also experience it!

So if you’re in a dark time right now-I understand! It’s not a great place but remember the time before this? Guess what? You come out! I know you see no way out but it’s coming! A way out is always near even if it seems out of reach! I pray night vision in your darkest time! Grace is there to carry you! This is why the whole cancel culture doesn’t make sense! Be mad at what a person has done but the same grace that covers me in my mess is the same grace that covers others! You can lose everything and be at the bottom but with work, forgiveness, and love you can shine. You might shine with humility or different support but you can still shine!

Happy Sunday! Make it your best!!

Chima Shares All The Love

We went to Chima to celebrate our 7th anniversary. Between the ambiance, good food, amazing drinks; Chima is definitely the spot to enhance any celebration!

Anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, promotions or just because Chima is your go to! They will acknowledge your special day with flare. No matter the detail they will make sure you feel the love from the time you enter and until you leave! We first encountered Chima as a couple at our year 4 anniversary and it was just as special going back for year 7! Chima has the freshest foods you could ask for! There’s something for everyone!!

My favorites has to be the cinnamon pineapple. Like I get extremely giddy when it comes to the table! It’s so warm and fresh. Chima had to remember from my last visit. They were told a little birdy told them. God bless that bird because I had many slices!

Let’s talk about the Passion Fruit Dressing; it’s amazing!

The meats for those who eat it was top of the line and made to order!

Service is always impeccable! Shout out to Christian who was outstanding! He never let my cup go low and he knows that menu like no other. He made the night go super smooth!

I love that we could see the growth over the years and see how much joy Chima brings to our anniversaries!

It’s nothing to like getting dressed up to experience world class cuisine at a restaurant that stands by customer service and elegant delivery. You can ask any of the staff and they absolutely go above and beyond for every patron! They treated us like royalty! They are standing by to do the same for you! Consider them for your next event!

Here’s a few things that stuck out to me this visit:

For my parent friends they have a baby changing station in both men and women bathrooms!

There bar is amazing and don’t think for one second you won’t get amazing service vs being seated at a table because that’s not the case!

Speaking of drinks they are amazing it doesn’t matter which one you try!

Los Olas Old Fashion; bulleit bourbon, angostura bitters, sugar cube, orange peel and garnished with luxardo cherry

White sangria

Chima has you covered for all of your needs! Thank you Chima for an amazing night! Thank you Marques for these 7 years!! Let’s make it a lifetime!