SomoSoPhi

I had a wonderful time yesterday at SOMO South Philly. It’s a beautiful restaurant right in of course, South Philly that is within a short distance of all of the sports complexes. SOMO is a great place to grab some quick bites if you’re about to tailgate, have some amazing drinks with your friends, happy hour with co-workers, or you just want to get out with your family.

SOMO is the perfect spot to sit in a traditional restaurant style seating or sit on the second floor and eat patio style on a nice day and enjoy the scenery.

Somo is located at 3101 South 13th Street, Philadelphia PA 19148

Especially loved the see through kitchen so you can see your food being prepared

SOMO has two locations. The one in South Philly as well as Manayunk. SOMO is an upscale casual that combines elegance in their design with the casuality of their space and great and amazing food selections from their bar food to their sit down menu.  We were there yesterday which was Tuesday and it was “Taco Tuesdays.” Let me tell you that the tacos are something to talk about. I had the vegetarian and they were amazing. One of the things I look for even with being vegan is flavor. These tacos were simply wonderful from the first bite to the last.  I was impressed.

From left to right, vegetarian, mahi-mahi, and brisket tacos

My favorite the vegetarian taco with radishes, spinach, asparagus, and mushroom

Now when I go and preview a restaurant I look for a few things that I know my readers want to know:

  • Price
  • Hospitality
  • Convenience of location
  • Taste of Food

Price

Let’s face it we all want great food without sacrificing all of the coins to achieve it. SOMO prices are not going to break the bank. For instance I had my kids with me and I rarely do when doing these outings. The kids menu was $5.  Let me repeat that $5! So you’re getting premium food for your kids for less than you would spend at a fast food restaurant. As a mom that is right up my alley. Drinks were priced right around what you would expect and they didn’t skip on the alcohol or water it down in any way. The drinks were good and worth the price so don’t skip on it. Plus the happy hour has great prices on their drinks. Keep in mind if you are coming for happy hour make sure you enjoy them in the downstairs bar area for the pricing. Oh and ask for the pretzels!!

Bar Menu

Try the Sling Blade

Hospitality

I like to see how restaurants treat you before you identify who you are and why you are there. SOMO from the waitress/waiter to the manager were more than pleasant.  Everyone had smiles and everyone was welcoming. Since I had my children with me which let me say they were stellar in their behavior, staff was attentive to their needs as well. Devon is hands down an amazing manager who understands people and how they want to be treated. Kudos for SOMO for snagging him! I liked as I watched how they serviced others that they don’t do that weird hover over you as you try to eat. Not one time was my water-glass empty. They weren’t intrusive while I ate. They allowed other patrons to eat and yet they were there to assist in any way.

Convenience of Location

Again its right in the pathways of all of the sports complexes. So for me it’s like seeing Philly for real while you eat. You can’t beat that. If you know anything about Philadelphia you know we care and love our sports team. I was observing the people walking to the game and the Justin Timberlake concert and that energy alone is something that SOMO tapped into with the location. South Philly is the heart of Philadelphia and you feel that here. Do you like open air? I enjoyed the fact that it was nice enough for them to have all of the patio doors open. It was refreshing to see. I am an outdoor type eatery girl and my husband isn’t. Going back I can get the best of both worlds.

Few specials to think about: come and get drink specials, djs, etc.

Taco Tuesdays

Thirsty Thursdays

Daily Happy Hour 5-7pm

Taste of Food

I asked my children especially my son who loves his food how he thought the food was. He gave the immediate thumbs up. He isn’t a picky eater but he is particular about how he likes his food. When I didn’t hear him talking I knew SOMO did his food right. There was nothing but smiles from the entire table. Every dish was amazing.  I know you will find something for everyone. I am vegan I didn’t leave hungry by any means. They do not have a vegan menu but they allowed me to tweak my order to fit and it was still great. Thank you for the great experience.

Charred Brussel sprouts, with parmesan cheese. I removed the cheese but it was extremely good cooked with apple cider vinegar

Kid menu mac and cheese; the picture doesn’t even show the depth of how big the bowl is

Kid menu hamburger and fries, $5

Colton Court Podcasts

Did you know that Colton Court Podcasts is taped right in the sit down sports lounge of SOMO SoPhi? I had no clue. I was impressed with the lounge area as it sits downstairs when you walk in. The big television, the seating, it was definitely is a well thought out space.  I was even more impressed once it was transformed into the podcasts recording space. It was the perfect space. Take a listen for yourself; Colton Court Podcasts.

Owners, James M. Morrissey son of a fashion designer along with Jahri Evans and wife, Takia definitely got it right. Mix in Morrissey’s eye for creating a beautiful space and Jahri sports affiliation and love for the city, how could you go wrong? I absolutely loved the collaboration of SOMO. It’s inviting, well-managed, and the food and drinks will keep me and my family coming back. This is the go to spot for any dinner or luncheon you need. It has food for the whole family from kids to adults. The drinks had me smiling too! Check it out as well as my other pictures on my Instagram

Keep in mind they also offer space for private parties, birthdays, and they have an amazing brunch! You already know how I feel about a great brunch spot!

Also follow SOMO SoPhi on Instagram

Thanks to the #Travelwithchefcherryl and the brunch bunch, Philly Dine Out for an amazing time.

Need reservations, book your time at SOMO SoPhi with Open Table

 

 

 

Christmas Village Experience 2018

So as many of you know I came across the Christmas Village last year doing a Google search for free family fun. I then convinced my family to give the authentic outdoor German Market a try. We were impressed and excited to attend again this year. This year I was invited to take an intimate look at what the Christmas Village really has to offer behind the scenes. This year thanks to the renovations of the Love Park sign, it was even more special!

I was able to attend the opening ceremony to light “The Present.” Thanks to Mayor Jim Kenney who hit it home with his opening speech about giving towards others. This is the season to not just think about ourselves and our families but how we can best serve the people of Philadelphia. The Present is 27 feet in height, well-lit holiday present. It is in the middle of the Christmas Village.  Not only is it visually stunning, its set as a reminder to give to others.  If you are in the area you can give by texting and you will receive a gift tag that can be displayed on “The Present” that is a symbol of what the holiday is all about. You can actively give by doing the following:

  • TEXT PARKS to 501501 to donate to Fairmount Park Conservancy will go towards helping Philadelphia Parks
  • TEXT BOOKS  to 20222 to donate to Welcome America’s holiday book campaign for Parks and Recreation. Every $5 raised will purchase a total of 4 books. 
  • TEXT 80100 to donate to Project Home to help end poverty and homelessness

Inside “The Present”

“The Present is open starting today to the public all the way through December 24th. It’s free to enter and as you can see from the above photos it’s a beauty to see, take photos and walk inside!  I felt like the biggest kid. The colors and lights had me mesmerized. 

So I knew after watching “The Present” light up that I was off to a good start. The first stop on the tour was the German Grill. The open grill had all the best of the German deliciousness. From Bratwurst to Schnitzel, I was in pure Heaven. The open grill is such a delight and the smells pulled me in. I was completely satisfied.  As soon as I got home, I was upset as to why I didn’t take a Bratwurst to go. 

This took me to the second stop on the tour and that was to the open beer garden, The Alm. It’s always a good idea for beer. There are a lot of new items on the menu. Let me also point out for families with young children. This is a great spot to combine adulting and kids. It’s closed in. So this means a lot of play for the kids and drinks for the adults. This year they have a new beer mug. It’s a beauty to behold and you know that the bigger the cup, the bigger the gulp!

As if the beer wasn’t enough, I made my way to one if that’s right one of the wine offerings, German Gluhwein.  It’s a mulled wine. They offer a white and a red wine and both were amazing.

Next up was Käthe Wohlfahrt. This indoor gem blew my mind. This unique shop was full of mostly hand-made treasures. From one of a kind pieces to ornaments and decorations, it was a delight. Note there is no videography or photos for the public. However I was able to get you that inside look. What I will say is this is a must on your stops through the open village. Be careful as some of the pieces are pricey. So if you have little ones just hold their hands. I do believe once they see how well-lit and how beautiful the pieces are, they will spend more time asking questions than running through the store.

Next stop was the The Bacon Jams. I’ve never had bacon jam but today I wanted to buy all of them. These easy to spread jams taste super authentic to real bacon. The flavors were amazing. I tried every last one. From the maple bacon to the honey bourbon! All of them were a treat!

I believe I was turning into a foodie by the end of the night. The next stop was to Sweets where we tried some toasted chestnuts. I’ve never had any before but I was a believer tonight. Be sure if you attend that you make your way. There are other sweet treats as well.

Keeping in line with sweets we make our way to John and Kira’s. This was like chocolate Heaven! I tried for her first time honey bee chocolate made from local honey bee. First of all this gooey treat should be eaten in one bite. It’s honey flavor mixed with chocolate had to be the best that I have had in a long time. We also had some amazing sea salt caramel.

If you ever been to the Christmas Village you are full aware of the Raclette. It’s basically the best cheese I’ve ever eaten, that is melted under a special heated lamp and the cheese oozes onto some of the freshest bread Philadelphia has to offer. I was in cheese coma. Let me say that yes I took one for the team of non dairy, but I ain’t feel not ounce of shame.

For those who love unique cards you must stop at Love Pop. You can get pop up 3D cards. I enjoyed the tour and I plan to grab a few to give to special friends.

Our next stop was Mike’s Hot Honey. We were told that when you taste it, it would be sweet and then bitter and it was true. Mike’s Hot Honey is a spread that can be put on almost anything from bagels to chicken. I enjoyed it. I don’t know if I am getting a cold but if I was when I left I definitely felt like my palette was cleared. 

mike hot

girl

sign

Of course we needed something a little sweet so we headed over to Helmuts Original Austrian Strudel. They had your classics like cherry but they also had some that were a definite go back and true such as the meat and pulled pork puffs. They even have a mac and cheese one!  

helmut

cherry

One of the final stops before ending with hot chocolate was Truffleist. This is what the name says, Truffle. So between some amazing cheeses and salami, the truffle butter was everything. I mean everyone enjoyed it. They have an amazing selection and to be honest I could eat that truffle butter by the spoonfuls. It was that good. 

truffle

One more goodie before I end, I love hand blown glass. The colors are amazing. So I had to take a picture of the Mouth Blown Ornaments. 

blown

So the tour was everything and more. You and your family or friends will have an amazing time. I tried to give you a snippet of what it would be like. The only thing that I didn’t see was Santa but you can catch Santa in the Santa Hut for pics starting on the weekends and then close to the season being over he will be there everyday. I would make sure you go and see him if you’re trying to get on the Nice List. 

Special thanks to Philadelphia Christmas Village, the sponsors: Bank of America, Acme, Käthe Wohlfahrt, and Hernnhuter and all of the partners who helped to make this day. Also shout out to all of the amazing vendors who bring the Christmas Village to Life rain or shine. Remember its free to enter and you only pay for the food, drinks, and treasures you find. 

Special shout out to Kory Aversa and the Aversa PR and Events for having me. 

So head on over and grab your kids, your friends, your girls, or your boys and  have an experience to remember!

Hours:
Sunday – Thursday: 11:00am – 7:00pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:00am – 8:00pm
Christmas Eve: 11:00am – 5:00pm

Location:
LOVE Park, 1500 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

What I love about Thanksgiving

This is not a drill. We are exactly one week away. I can’t wait. I love to eat. I love Thanksgiving for a few reasons. A lot of them has to do with how people act. It’s like the one time of the year for the most part that others around you lay their issues down. Now I know some folks turn up and like to ruin the day, but the folks and family I am around these last few years especially come together and celebrate what it’s all about.

We generally have no rules for Thanksgiving. We usually go to our uncle’s house where he graciously does all the cooking. I usually still cook my own meal at home too. Got to have more food for later in the week. Nothing is better than Thanksgiving food days later. We also started a new tradition where we go to the movies the day off too. I love it because it’s not crowded and we can see what’s coming out for the rest of the holiday season too. Also its about coming together and relaxing and enjoying one another’s companies. It’s a time to catch up before Christmas comes. I love it. I love to sip my wine pretty much all day. Thanks to my husband for being that designated driver because by end of the night we always end with a final glass together. It’s our way to tell each other how thankful we are for what we have. Its our own couple’s tradition. We  have a lot to be grateful for.

I love the traditional food. You know turkey, mac and cheese, greens, etc. However the only thing I don’t like is the struggle plates folks want to post. We all eating generally the same thing. No one’s plate looks great. It is a plate with every piece of food that could fit on plate number 1. I don’t post my plates and try my best to scroll past the other plates that day. I love how happy everyone is. I love how people give the best hugs that they must have been saving all year because hugs just feel warmer this day. I love watching my kids interact with family and how happy they are.  I love seeing my grandpa do his yearly dance and all of the kids try to teach him the newest and latest moves. I record it every year. I know eventually it will be a memory that we will hold on to. I love calling my family and hearing about what they are doing. We generally stay in Philadelphia for Thanksgiving so I call the Lancaster family or FaceTime them .  It’s always good to check on them and to see how much potato salad my mom made. I love talking to my friends and checking in on them. We have one set of friends this year who will be parents. So baby watch is in full effect. I love waking up to the smells of the kitchen.  The only thing about the holidays that we miss is my Mother in Law, Deborah, my great grand parents, Beverly and Olivia Sims, and my maternal grandfather Fred McGinnis. I always wake up and remember them on these big holidays. I wonder what they would be doing if they were. I know their memory will live on.

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I hope that as you prepare for the holiday of Thanksgiving that you remember what it’s about. That you take in the moments that you can. That you remember how grateful you should be on that day and everyday. I hope that you will have a great Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. I hope that it’s not ruined by anyone. If you know you are bound to cause issues don’t go to someone else’s home starting stuff. Stay home. Thanksgiving isn’t the arena to air out differences. It’s a time to come together. Go to those you need to make it right with, and do it before the dinner. Don’t come to the dinner table ready to start the mess that could have been worked out before the day. Work it out or find another home by which you can have a good time. Drama and holidays don’t have to mix. Also to some of my friends who I know the holidays trigger you, you don’t have to be the one to start issues to not go to a function that will further trigger you. I would rather you do a Friendsgiving than a family one if the family one is going to make you all kinds of upset. I don’t spend my time holidays or not around folks that I feel I can’t get along with. Life is too short to spend it with miserable people.

Also I know some deal with anxiety of getting together with others. I would try to take someone with you if you can. Also if there is a family member you get along with more, stay around them until you get comfortable. Especially if you haven’t seen others in quite some time. Be prepared for the 3rd degree. Those family members that’s asking others a thousand questions, leave folks alone. It’s no ones business why they aint married or have kids yet, worry about your own mate and kids. These types of situations make it hard for some folks to be around your nosey behind. Eat your turkey in peace and leave other folks lives alone.

Let folks come and enjoy their time together. That is what I love, the coming together without the issues. Eat and have a good time-sharing your gratefulness!

Keep your Thanksgiving Wits

So this is the last weekend before Thanksgiving. Keep in mind that the grocery stores will be super crowded. So take your patience with you as you travel out. Between stores and traffic it will be a testing time.

Prepare for the holidays with more than what you will eat. Think about who you will invite and if you can find it in your heart to give towards others who may not be as fortunate. Think about ways you and your family can assist others either by donating food to food banks, volunteering to serve meals to others on Thanksgiving morning, or finding a family to sponsor. Either way let’s open our hearts to one another.

Another way to get ready for the holidays when going to the grocery store is to go with a list. I would attempt to get all that you need and treat it as if it was the day. This will help you to make those trips and you may find it may take more than one.  You will always need extra milk, eggs, and butter. So stack up early. I for one know that I need to get the list going so I don’t forget the key items. Thanksgiving eve is not the time to go to the store. All of the last-minute folks will be on super edge. Avoid them if you can.

chicken close up dish food

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Also think if you are doing a fancy seating chart, how you want things decorated and who will sit where. Also don’t forget about the kids. It’s best to have activities to keep the littles occupied.  This will save from the necessary meltdowns. If you are having dinner at a specific time and you know you are the late type person, have appetizers for others to enjoy while they wait. It’s super annoying to go to someone’s house, arrive on time, and they still making key dishes and they have ZERO snacks. Think about your guest and have good appetizers as well as great drinks.  Trust me you will be the hostess with the mostest if you have the necessary food in place.

If you can’t cook let me stress this isn’t the time to train. You should have been practicing all year-long but not today. Today is the day you stick to the things you do well. Maybe that means you should bring the wine.  Either way don’t be out here telling folks you got a speciality dish and your food ain’t hitting. I don’t know about you but the way my family is set up, you getting clowned. Stick to what you know and stick to the basics. If you have kids also bring them extra activities. Not all host will keep your children entertained although they should if they invited guests with kids. Even with our kids being a little older, we come prepared with extra outfits, entertainment, and we have a code word if we think things are getting out of hand. We have a code word between my husband and I for everywhere that we go. We use this word if one of us is ready to go or something is happening that is too much. This has been our saving grace.

If you go to someone’s home bring something. I always try to bring something. Like the times we go to my mom’s house. I bring a dessert, something. I have 5 folks in my home. There’s no way I am coming to someone’s home squad deep with nothing in my hand. Unless the person insists, bring a dish. Or even bring a bottle to share. That is always a gift. If the person of whom you are going doesn’t drink, make a non alcoholic drink that is festive to share. There are ways around no alcohol. Get on Pintrest, online, anything and make it special.

bowl of red round fruits

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Think about what you are going to wear. Some people wing it and that is fine, but if you want to be dressed up, make sure you have your outfit together. My uncle doesn’t require fancy attire so unless I get the kids Thanksgiving shirts, I just stick to being comfortable.  If your gathering is requiring more formal affair, be cute and comfy. Do not over do it and especially with kids. They are going to get dirty. They are going to play. They do not ever care about dressed and dress shoes. So go into the situation knowing that and always bring a back up outfit for them so when the pictures are done being taken you can move along and enjoy your day!

Above all be grateful for what you have. Think about the day and what it is all about. More than prepping food, it is about making sure that you spend it with those you love. It’s about being grateful for all advancements that we have. It’s about sitting around the table enjoying one another’s company. So enjoy as you prepare it doesn’t have to be filled with stress! Don’t forget to call your loved ones who couldn’t be with you on the day as well and tell them you love them!

Summer Be Good to Me!

Welp in a few days Summer will officially make its mark.  There a few things we can do to ensure we have a great one.  So here are some ways to get Summer going:

Make Me Over

Ladies, all of my ladies, do me a favor and check your make up bag.  Have you checked your bag to make sure that you are getting rid of a few things you might need to switch up.  I know there are a few things that we just absolutely love and don’t want to part ways but don’t let your makeup bag be the cause of increased acne breakouts or other facial issues.  Please let it go or replace it.  Trust me your face will thank you.

Wardrobe

It’s the time for sun dresses, shorts, swimsuits! Who isn’t excited?  There are all of these items in every size.  So you can be cool and cute all Summer long no matter what size you are in.  Enjoy it! Trust me once the heat is gone and the snow is back on the ground you are going to be sad.  Let me say especially to my ladies, there are way too many options to be comfortable for whatever you are doing so there is absolutely NO reason to be in these streets in your pajamas.  I do NOT care how they feel, wear some clothes.  Real clothes!  Thanks the world would appreciate it.  Also back in the day I was taught not to come outside in a head scarf, now we can wear them fashionably.  There are a thousand YouTube videos in how to tie one so that you can match it up and wear it flattering.  Do not come outside in the regular you slept in your scarf look.  Thanks again.  We got to care about how we walk out the house not only due to the fact that you may run into someone you know but just because self-love causes us to walk differently.

Know your Arena

If you are going to concert dress for one. This could go under wardrobe but I wanted to make it separate.  You can’t be at Brunch with sports clothes unless you are going to a game. I know we can do what we want, but know your arena.  Would you go to a wedding in jeans?  No! Then be sure that you are in the right arena with the correct clothing.  It makes a difference and not only that we live in a take a picture world and I remember when I was going through depression that I would be out looking a hot mess. I wasn’t dressed for the right arena and that sent me further in a tail spin. It happens trust me.  So research and use Pintrest.  Pintrest will actually align up some suggestions if you do not know.  Have some fun with your looks and be fly all Summer long.

adult background beach blue

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Summer Parties

This could be in the form of a cookout or a good party, make it your best one.  If you are the one who is throwing one, pick a theme and commit to it.  Nothing is more fun than a good Summer party with all of the frills.  Also realize you can be super creative and stay in budget.  Trust me when I have a theme even for my kids, I find ways to keep my budget on point but nail it every time.  Have some fun and make it a great party.  Also drinks are important non alcoholic and alcoholic. You can really find some new ways to drink a refreshing drink that makes you feel good and wow a crowd.  Do your research.  Also if you choose to consume alcohol do so conservatively and use Uber or Lyft or a trusted friend or family member for a ride.  DUI are super expensive.  Don’t let that Summer turn up cost you or someone else their life. Have fun and be responsible.

Get Out

There are many events in your city or town that is free.  Please explore and get out. Do not sit around salty all Summer long complaining about how there’s nothing for you to do. Get on  Google and find something to do.  There may be events in towns and cities near you to explore as well.  All I am saying is the boredom that kicks in by adults are self inflicting. You have the choice to sit and be miserable or be creative.  If you are single and are saying well I have no one to go with, I understand.  I used to say that too.  One part of doing better socially is sometimes pushing past that and getting out.  It’s scary I won’t lie.  However be open to meeting new people while out.  Even married my husband hates all activities that require you to be outside in the sun or around bugs.  Every festival that I want to attend I used to not go or break him down to go.  Now yes he will go, but the ones that he won’t I have learned to get out and have a great time.  One time I went somewhere and eventually he showed up.  I refuse to not attend these types of events.

Solo Trips

Yes I took a big solo trip in April but I also take solo day trips or beach days.  These are important as getting together with my girls, family time, and baecations.  You got to know you and what you like.  The best way is to push past being uncomfortable and explore.  I love it NOW.  I will not pretend that it’s always been this way because that is a lie.  However EVERY time I have come home I have been better. I do NOT answer any non emergency calls while I am out.  That is my time and my family respects it.  If I am on my phone the whole time, when am I having my time?  Reserve your time and don’t let anyone infringe on it and that’s family and friends.  The only thing that should happen is confirmation that you are safe and if an emergency then yes a call.  Your time is your time.

female leisure recreation relaxation

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

My Summer Playlist

So here is my personal Summer Playlist.  I love music and nothing is better than having that AC on or having the windows down and have the base jumping:

Nice; The Carters

Summertime; DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince

New Rules; Dua Lipa

Nice for What; Drake

Wait; Maroon 5

Rock with you;  Michael Jackson

I like it; Cardi B

This is America; Childish Gambino

Can’t stop the feeling; Justin Timberlake

Big Poppa; Notarious B.I.G

Image result for music

My Summer Must Haves

Pool time-tan lines are made at the pool or beach. I love tan lines because they remind me that I have enjoyed a little bit of life.  I look forward to them and allowing all of this melanin to pop!

Ice-cream sundae bar: yes this can be done all year-long but nothing is better than eating it and stepping up my ice-cream sundae bar in the cutest of dishes

Outside Movies: in Philly they do series of movies for all age ranges throughout.  You will find me at one or more of these in the city

Beach day-self explanatory

Summer Fests-another thing that I love about Philly is that all summer long there is a festival for many reasons and many of them come ready to go with alcohol. I love the ones that are kid friendly since I have kids.  We all have fun, it wears them out, mommy and daddy can have our time or have a quiet house afterwards.  It’s a win, win!

Cookouts-who doesn’t like grilled food?  It’s the best and couple that with some awesome Summer salads and you got a good meal.  Nothing like getting together with a few folks and having a great time while the kids play!

So break out the sunscreen and fill up the water jugs it is happening.  Today alone it’s almost 100 degrees and the smile on my face can’t be wiped off.  So bring on the sweat, the fun, the sun, and all of the things to do. I will be hitting the streets and blogging it along the way.  Enjoy this season!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas at the Storr Household 2017

My family is blessed.  I can’t even begin to think that we aren’t.  Even on hard days when it seems a bit crazy, we are blessed.  Christmas at the Storr household is about events, spending time then it is about gifts.  Now they do get gifts, but we focus the attention off of that as much as we possibly can.  We have a limit that we set to the amount that we give them.  It’s not a cruel thing but it is due to the fact that there should be a limit and two they have two sides of the family that gives them things. We do not go broke keeping up with all of the trends.  We woke up the day after not regretting anything.  We get whatever we want and I look for as many deals as I possibly can.  Why?  I like to keep my coins accounted for.  So for all of those who spent the light bill on gifts, that’s your choice.  I for one like stability and love seeing their smiles within a budget.  However let me say this too, the debate on how much to give is a personal choice.  No one has to do it my way and I don’t have to do it your way, what we do works in our home.  You do or don’t do what makes sense in your home.

Larry the Elf

We do the Elf on the Shelf in our house.  I am not quite clear on all of the rules so I make them up on my own.  He comes out at on Thanksgiving day and he goes back Christmas Eve.  The kids absolutely love him.  He is a focal point for them.  I caught my son on Christmas Eve make up a story and read it to Larry. He was seated so cute next to him and was so upset when Larry left a note explaining he would see them again next year.  I know that the holidays aren’t about elves, presents, Santa, but for kids to be kids is always going to be what we push in our home. Larry was doing the most though let me say.  He was into a lot of things.  It kept the kids from getting into mischief.  It was super fun having the kids say oohhhhh I am telling mom you’re not supposed to be in that.

elf

GingerBread Houses

I love and hate gingerbread houses.  I love the fun that they bring and the creativity but I do not like the stress of making sure this house stays in place. It took me and my husband holding this house up to make sure it was fit for the kids to decorate.  Shout out to the parents whose houses look glorious.  For us it came down to making sure the roof didn’t cave in and there were no tears.  We made it though!!!!! I had a great time anxiety and all.  The kids, well whatever candy they didn’t eat, made it to the house and they were making sure there was more candy at the end so they could watch movies and eat them.  Just believe we made sure I was like a sergeant in the bathroom making sure there teeth were nice and clean afterwards.

gingerbread

Hot Chocolate

It’s a standing tradition in our home to make sure if not the entire month, that we have one dedicated movie and hot chocolate night.  The requirements are simple, have candy and toppings available, have warm pajamas on, come with smiles, and leave with memories.  As always we nailed it! The kids and I love this time. As soon as December comes, I get the whole when is it mom?  They know and I love how excited they are.

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This month we were able to attend a lot of Christmas themed events.  Check out my blogs for all of the fun. One of the things I also enjoyed was watching my oldest perform in the choir for Christmas eve service.  She always looks so beautiful when she’s super dressed up.  I loved her performances.  On Christmas we got up, opened up presents, had breakfast and traveled to my parents home to have Christmas with them and my siblings and their families.  It’s always a lot of fun. The kids love playing with one another as well as eating well and opening up more presents from everyone.

I am truly grateful for the things that God has blessed me with that don’t have price tags attached to them.  I am also for a family who honored my weight loss journey with gifts that will keep me accountable.  I wanted a kettlebell and got one, as well as my new ear phones that are wireless so I can stop pulling the cord during my weight lifting or runs.  I am grateful for friends who gave some of the best gifts this year as well.  Overall my family had a great time.  We had the most jam-packed month to be honest.  I was actually super tired Christmas morning and that was with a lot of the gifts being pre-wrapped.  I hope that if you celebrated with your family that far above what you received you were able to give.  I pray that your family and friends had peaceful holidays.

Before we open gifts we always remind our children that there are a lot of things they aren’t getting.  We let them know that there are children who woke up that morning with nothing or didn’t wake up.  We reminded that life is precious and that enjoying the small moments is just as important as the big ones.  We try to instill this all year-long, however because of the holidays and gifts I feel its important for our children to give back to their communities and they do.  We make sure we donate, and get involved.  It’s not important to simply exist in this world, we are all connected to one another.

Ask Toi: Christmas Concerns

It’s 7 days before Christmas and with that in mind, let me answer a few Ask Toi that have been sent my way these last couple of days.  Keep in mind that in order to submit a question, please email them to toitimeblog@gmail.com

Although I am preparing for Christmas, end of the year, etc I will always and forever be available via email or any of my toitimeblog social media sites

  1. What do I do if I am early in the dating stage and the new boo family gives a gift to me? ANSWER: One I would always go to a family event even as a new dater, with a hostess gift. Ask the boo if the family drinks, or bring something that can be used in the home. It doesn’t have to be expensive. This holiday season I bought these wine bottle holders from Michaels for 3 for $5 and one bottle can be around 10 so there’s a gift for under 20.  Do not feel the need to get anything that is too personal yet.  You want to be appropriate and welcoming.  Be yourself and enjoy the time.
  2. Do I have to go to all of these holiday parties? ANSWER: No.  I would get the list of parties that you are going to and go to the ones of those who you are the closest.  I know that some folks will be bummed but the reality is no matter how much money you may or may not have, holiday parties can become expensive.  You have to be smart in how you do them.  If you want to go to them all, then do.  Find a black number, and dress that same outfit a number of ways.  If you are asked to make something, find a signature dish that you know will take little to no effort like a pasta salad.  Make sure you know how long you want to attend and make an entrance as well as an exit.
  3. My family can be a handful, how do I politely tell my new boo that I do not want him to interact with the fam bam just yet? ANSWER: Go to your individual celebrations with your own family and meet up and do something that is just for you and the new boo.  Let the new boo that you don’t want to bring them around just yet.  This will only work if you are being truthful and honest.  If you have multiple boos and you trying to be slick, trust and believe things will reveal themselves.  Don’t ghost you’re new boo just because you aren’t sure of where you, spend time with them and make them feel like you are trying to put in the energy you want in return.

Keep in mind that no matter what stage of life you are in, not everyone is in a jolly spirit.  This doesn’t mean you need to water down who you are and what you want to please them.  Be yourself and enjoy or not enjoy it as you seem to fit. If drama is on your menu, kindly exit stage left.  People all around the world are practicing self-care and don’t be surprised if a few of them look at you sideways or exit left.  Don’t nobody have time for the foolery any year.