Fall is for Linvilla Orchards

So I love Fall.  I love going to Linvilla Orchards.  We do this yearly.  I have a blast and so does the kids.  So this year was no different.  If you aren’t familiar with Linvilla check it out here.

We had a blast from the food to the apple slinging, it gets better yearly.  What I am most excited about was watching me and the kids’ growth over the years.  For instance when we first went my oldest was about 2 and my son wasn’t even walking.  Now they can participate in all of the events.  My youngest who is the pro at apple slinging was in my belly a few years ago and loves to run around playing. Linvilla has something for everyone.  If you love country fall foods, they have it.  If you like hay rides, they have it.  It is an all year round treat for the entire family.

So of courses let me give you our highlights.  I love corn. But nothing is better than corn than corn on the cob hot with piping hot butter drizzled on it.  They have corn down to a science and literally is the first stop on the trip.  Oh and the seasoning station, has everything you can think of for a messy good time.

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The kids didn’t want any parts of corn.  So they opted for funnel cake instead and cotton candy, duh!

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Nothing to do but to sit for a bit than let them run all of that energy out.  We let them play on everything.  You pay a dollar a ticket but the adults are free.  PSA, if you have more than one parent or a friend, designate one person to take a few pictures at the beginning and then focus back on the kids.  I see too many parents either taking pictures or just on their phone.  Your kids can still be injured or lost because you’re taking a parent time out. Linvilla has the kids within a fence but its super easy for kids to wander out if you’re not looking.  So keep an eye out and be vigilant.  The kids took advantage of us not saying no.  Kids need room to run so for me I enjoyed letting them be free.  Super grateful for having my husband come because the age ranges allowed the kids to play with their age of kids without worry that a bigger kid will over power my 3-year-old.  It allowed us to conquer and divide.  I definitely think having a group of parents and kids will allow a better time.  Not to mention not everyone wants to do the same things at the same time.  You can have some do face painting, while others are playing, etc.

They also have pony and train rides for a fee too as well as a petting zoo station.

The kids enjoy asking for things and getting them.  Always try to have cash to spend.  They do have ATMs but they are usually a bank no one has and I am on team save money.  You don’t have to pay to get in or for parking but the amount of money you will spend inside quickly covers it.  So be prepared.  We always get a pumpkin so we can either carve or paint them later at the pumpkin patch.  Linvilla has pumpkins of all sizes and even some black and white pumpkins too.

The highlight of the kids day outside of the hay ride, is apple slinging.  They also have corn and straw mazes, and a pumpkin toss.  The kids being able for $5.00 a barrel sling apples onto targets is always a great time.  The recommended age is over 5 but with our 3-year-old we just had to assist her.  If you don’t want to assist your little ones, avoid this area as they aren’t going to be content watching others sling them.

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I love being in Linvilla.  It is very crowded.  Everyone pushing up against one another but not in a bad way.  I have never seen an incident take place there because of the crowds and I have been going there since 2012.  It is a true family oriented spot with everyone just enjoying themselves. I love the apple cider.  They make it themselves so if you are an apple cider connoisseur you will love it.  Also never leave without trying an apple cider donut.  These things are super addictive.  I made sure I ONLY bought one to eat because if you buy any more than that, it’s not going to make it home and that’s a promise.  And of course a candy or a caramel covered apple too.  My kids snuck theirs and almos them done before we got home.  You can imagine our home being an immediate candy fest.  I was never so happy for bedtime.

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So if you like fun, family, and a little outdoors mixed in with Fall activities then Linvilla is your spot.  I hope you enjoyed my little glimpse into our yearly indulgence.  If you can make it out, make it a priority. They even have a friendly hayride to the witches house for apple cider and a marshmallow roast.

Extra Hints to get through with kids

  1. Wear pants-the hay can be itchy so if you’re allergic to hay obviously avoid it.  We also bring blankets to lay down
  2. For asthma adults/kids, bring your inhaler, the air is different because it’s not city air.  We always have to use the inhaler before and after,
  3. Bring a first aid kit that can fit in a bag. Kids seem to graviate to scrapes and to avoid having to find a station, bring your own.
  4. Have enough money and space your time out-kids will ask for everything to do at the same time.
  5. Plan to be there for at least 2 hours and even then you may not get through it all
  6. Be patient as some lines are longer than others
  7. They have a market to purchase frest fruit, etc
  8. You can pick your own apples at this time too
  9. If your little one can walk but may get tired, bring a fold up stroller.  Also keep in mind you can’t take a stroller on the hay ride, but you can park it in a designated area but never leave valuables in it, it’s family oriented but like my momma would say, everybody ain’t saved.
  10. Have fun!

Natural is not a Phase

If you look around in the African-American community you see so many embracing themselves for the first time.  It’s a beautiful thing.  It’s not a phase for most.  This is the time to really embrace yourself in all of your flaws and especially when you’re Black or minority and there are limited amounts of things you can see in print, film, etc.  The time for making moves for you is now.

One of the things that I have always hated which is sad in itself to write is that I never wanted to find out my natural state of my hair.  Let me break it down because I am not alone in this at all.  On Saturday I did the most bravest thing ever and that was to cut the relaxer out of my hair and see what the natural state of my hair was.  To some, this is no big deal but I have had a relaxer in my hair since I was about 4 or 5 years old.  I was always told that my hair was “nappy.”  Now phrases like kinky and thick is being celebrated.  The conversation of what is good and bad hair is always going on in the Black community.  I know that since having my first daughter I have always told her that healthy hair is the best hair. I didn’t want to get caught up in her “kinky” hair being less than others because I knew that was what I was being taught from a little girl.  My twin when we were younger had that “grease and water hair.”  Her hair type was always the type that my mom could easily mange and mine wasn’t do to it being coarse, nappy or untamable without the aid of a relaxer.  With a relaxer my tresses became like my sister in the sense I could do more styles with it.

As I became an adult before kids I was in a salon every 2 weeks  getting it done and every 4 weeks I was getting my regiment of “creamy crack.”  By the way creamy crack is relaxer so it became normal.  I learned how to take care of my hair with a relaxer. I knew what I could and what I couldn’t do.  So fast forward to Saturday, my decision to cut the relaxer out has been months in the making.  This wasn’t just a new me thing.  It had to do with the fact that until I made my decision I put a weave in my hair in December.  I wanted to do the “big chop” in January but I got cold feet.  So back to Saturday I was thinking of all of the pros and cons. The cons had more to do with the stigma of natural hair.  Since I have been relaxing my hair all my life I knew  I would have to chop most of my hair.  So the stigma came from appearing bald-headed, or looking like a man.  I have had short hair several times including the months before I put the weave in I had cut my hair.  My hair grows back fast so when I took the weave out this time I really under normal circumstances could have just relaxed it and it would have been in a bob style.

I go to the salon of my choice here in Philadelphia and I tell them I am ready for the “big chop.”  My hands are sweating, my heart is beating fast, and I feel like I am going to throw up.  I thought about my daughters.  One has the same kinky hair that I do the other has thick curly hair.  How would I want them to respond about themselves?  My hair is my glory but I can be who I need to be without relaxed tresses.  As I was being washed it felt weird not being based for the relaxer.  I kept looking around.  I finally was washed and the cutting began.  I kept taking deep breaths as the hair was falling on the floor.  My hair dresser is telling me that she has to cut some more and I am thinking here I go, bald is going to be my expected end.  However she tries to show me my hair after just the cut but I refuse.  I just know what I want my hair to be.  Can my hair be healthy with a relaxer yes, it has been at times.  However I just don’t want chemicals in my hair.  I want to embrace this for me and for my daughters.

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So the cut is done she styles me and reveals that I actually have wash and go hair.  I am looking at her like she has 3 eye balls.  Like who has some wash and curl hair?  But she reveals it and I am super happy.  One its super convenient since I do work out at least 3 days a week.  I love it.  I love the look.  It’s what I wanted and for the first time in years I don’t have to wait 24 hours for my hair style to grow on me.   I also am learning that team natural doesn’t mean team don’t comb or do anything to your hair.  Your hair needs to be treated well with regular washes, moisturizer, and love just like relaxed hair.  And no I don’t mean the same methods.  I mean at the end of the day relaxed or natural if you don’t take care of it, it won’t look or be much of anything.  You can’t be lazy in taking care of yourself whether or not you can afford to go to the hair dresser or not.  Taking pride in your hair is the number way to take care of your hair in either phase.

So as I get home I don’t have nerves of what my family or husband will think.  Not one.  I walked in like any other day hungry and ready to eat.  I was at the salon for quite some time. I post the pic on Facebook not looking for validation.  I was happy and I was okay with the world seeing my happiness.  I wasn’t looking for approval from my parents and siblings either.  I like and love it and that is what is important.  I am determined to eat right, look tight, and be happy and that means putting my needs to the top of the list.  I am loving the skin I am in not because I am team natural but because I am embracing and finding ways to create the happiness that isn’t always there.  Life sucks but I refuse to look bad and feel bad in this life.

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I am not a pro in this natural hair thing. I do not pretend to be.  I do know how I felt the moments leading up to my big chop as well as how I felt afterward.  I do know that it’s not easy to transition.  I am well aware as I learn my hair.  I have to dispel the thoughts that have come back to my mind already.

 

I am not advocating team natural over relaxed hair.  I refuse to get into a debate over it. There are pros and cons to both processes.  What I am advocating is being strong and confident like we teach our daughters.  What makes you look and feel the strongest go with that.  This day and age everything is destined to kill our vibe, time for women and men to find ways to be happy and healthy from the inside out.  I choose to be happy, fierce and strong in my own skin…..

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All Things Fall, My Favs…

So as we draw closer and closer to Thursday I just want to jump for joy.  I love this time of the year.  As discussed here are the list of my Fall favorites in no particular order:

Apple Cider

Hot or cold I am here for it.  To make it more adult like I would suggest the following recipe which I have had and it tastes great:

  • 4 mug’s worth of apple cider
  • 1 mug’s worth of caramel vodka (you can always use less (or more?) if you want, this makes it fairly strong)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (mostly for rimming your glasses, taste the cider before to see if it needs sugar or not)

1. Mix all of the ingredients above in a large pot. (Edit: Heating up the cider before adding the vodka ensures that the alcohol doesn’t burn off! Heat it up to your desired temperature and then add the vodka.)

2. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until liquid just begins to steam (don’t over heat or else the alcohol will burn off).

3. While cider is warming up, take your mugs or glasses and rim them with brown sugar.

Oh and throw in some apple cider cupcakes and man oh man you got a winner!!

Pumpkin

I am surprisingly not into pumpkin everything.  I am more of a sweet potato chick but I have an aunt that makes the BEST pumpkin roll.  Now I have had others, hers still stands tall but let me say if you can make an awesome pumpkin roll that is the one thing pumpkin I will super indulge in.

 

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Me and Starbucks already have a love affair all year-long but when the Fall or Winter favorites come out that’s when my soul does a leap.  I’ve already had the pumpkin latte which again I’m not a super fan but when you are a member and you get a preview coupon, I hopped right on it.

Dunkin Donuts Image result for dunkin donuts gif

Now I can get a caramel hot chocolate anytime but I prefer to get one during the Fall. I also love the salted caramel hot chocolate too.  I will eat a pumpkin munchkin because it again is small and I can handle a little pumpkin flavor but not too much.

I also love the smells that Fall brings. I love the smell of leaves.  I really do.  I love the colors.  Red is one of my favorite colors and its one of the most vibrant of the Fall colors. So it’s another excuse to decorate on overload in my house.  My kids love it too.  We celebrate any and all holidays so that’s no surprise.  My kids had me decorating for the Fall 2 weeks ago.  So we are definitely ahead.

Clothing

Clothing becomes more of comfort. I can wear boots, sweaters, and long sleeve shirts and my absolute favorite is my scarves.  You can never have too many scarves.  It’s like the seasonal go to. You can dress up or dress down an outfit.. I think it allows for pops of color and spice up a mood. I could be the only one who thinks that but nevertheless I am here for it all!  Don’t forget a cute hoodie too.

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Makeup

Make goes to warmer and darker colors.  I love a nice purple lip.  I haven’t quite caught on to that vibrant I can see you across the street purple just yet but I love a deep purple or burgundy.  I also like to switch out my bb creams, and moisturizer at the change of Fall. What works in the Summer will not fully carry you over into the Fall.  It would be time for you to change eye liners, etc as well.  There are lots of high and low-end of makeup you can grab.  I tend to stick to more department stores or drug stores.  One they have convenient hours than some of the higher end stores for me.  Have you seen a mom towing 3 kids into MAC?  Not this mom.  If I can’t go on a solo trip even to Ulta or Sephora than CVS or Target here I come.  I’m always there anyway why not.

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I could go on and on especially since I haven’t even added my love for just apple anything. Also being an alumni of Penn State I absolutely loved when they brought back Banana foster icecream. That’s something you can throw right on top of a piece of apple pie. As you can see this is why my work outs mean so much.  I eat and/or drink what I like but I have learned to scale back and find ways to do better.  However if that means one more hour on the treadmill to get a piece of apple pie, than so be it.  Oh and my cookie game, well you can ask the 3 that call me mom.  I have many recipes even an apple tarte cookie I can’t wait to try this year as well.  They don’t care.  Anything that gets them to be my little helpers, they definitely love.  Fall equals comfort and with that in mind I have to stay on my gym regime so I can keep my fluffy a little tighter.  What are some of your Fall favorites?  Tell me on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/toitimeladies/